Should You Pull?
Maybe, leaning toward No. B2 Junko is the better meta pick, even if she is going to leave before A12 Byakuren Hijiri’s Festival Prayer ends. However, B3 Reisen Udongein Inaba and Sanae Kochiya are here to co-run with the Buddhist, and at an even longer runtime at that (until April 21st compared to this prayer’s April 17th). Furthermore, the 300 Seal Crystal Ultra Festival might be a more appealing deal to some players, either for a random new Friend or the 600 God Crystals it provides for pulling. For a new Friend, Byakuren has some tough competition to run against.
Still, Byakuren is a great Friend deserving of her A-Type multiverse tag. Exchanging the defenses of her L1 self, A12 Byakuren goes straight to dealing damage through heavy Yin ATK buffs and Yin DEF debuffs. Her breaking is not the most incredible (though she does possess a 0P All-target Sun Focus shot), but she is able to somewhat spam Burn anomalies which she can break on all opponents with her Focus shot. She might not do much outside of damage, which is why she is still behind her Ultra Festival competition, but Byakuren is certainly a friend who will serve you well.
As a Festival Prayer, A12 Byakuren can be exchanged for 150 Exchange Points. Additionally, God Crystal Step-UP is available for this Prayer with a descending rate (600 GC, Free 10-Prayer, 400 GC, Free 10-Prayer, 200 GC). This might not be as appealing as 60 GC Step-UPs, but getting Free 10-Prayers still provides the 10 Fortune Dust from normal GC pulls and gives double the change to ensure a pulled Friend, perhaps being the monk herself.
+ 0P All-target Sun Focus Shot
+ 6/6 Sun on All-target Last Word with great damage potential
+ Good amount of Spirit Power restoration on spell 2 and skill 2
+ Spammable Burn anomalies on skill 1 can be broken with 2P Focus shot
- Backloaded LW; though slightly mitigated by Spirit Power restoration
- Little team utility outside of Accuracy support and Yin DEF debuffs
- Mediocre breaks; only for damage and not much else
Byakuren Hijiri (Fantastic)
Byakuren Hijiri was not initially born as a youkai, but instead became one from learning more and more about the magical arts. She is defined as a magician youkai, as it is possible for humans to become youkai from studying magic. This is the reason why Marisa Kirisame does not live in the human village despite being human, as the villagers fear that her magical studies will convert her to a youkai. After becoming a youkai, Byakuren feared for her longevity, as becoming a youkai paused her aging, but she still worried that she would expire without other youkai. This is why she began to protect youkai while acting like she was exterminating them from the human’s perspective. At first, it was for mutual benefit, but soon enough Byakuren started to sympathize for youkai and genuinely cared for them.
Byakuren would continue to protect youkai lives, such as freeing the phantom Minamitsu Murasa from her curse of sinking ships and gaining the trust of Ichirin Kumoi and her nyuudou Unzan. Shou Toramaru was recruited by the monk due to inhabiting the area around her temple, and the youkai around the temple came to enjoy Byakuren’s presence. Sadly, when humans discovered Byakuren’s exterminations were an act, they feared Byakuren as a demon and decided to lock her in Makai within the fires of Hokkai.
Byakuren would stay sealed for many years, until she found herself in Gensokyo. Her youkai crew has been trying to enter Makai to save their religious leader, a plight that Reimu Hakurei, Marisa Kirisame, and Sanae Kochiya indirectly found out when seeing Murasa’s flying ship in the events of Touhou Seirensen ~ Unidentified Fantastic Object. After following them and eventually entering Makai, Byakuren’s seal is unintentionally lifted and the youkai magician could spread her teachings once more.
In LostWord, A12 Byakuren takes a more “rowdy” approach than her defensive L1 self and acts more as she did as the final boss of Unidentified Fantastic Object: aggressive. Her shots and spells have many secondary effects, from Yin ATK UP on her focus shot, Name-Reciting Chant, to Agility UP on her spread shot, Resurrecting Light of Dharma, and second spell, Superhuman: Byakuren Hijiri. That doesn’t even go into her pre-attack effects, raising her Yin ATK by 2 levels (3T) on her first spell, Great Magic: Devil’s Recitation, and giving herself 1 Burn anomaly with a 80% chance for another with Superhuman: Byakuren Hijiri. Thanks to her character ability, each Burn anomaly inflicted on herself grants her Yin and Yang ATK UP alongside CRIT ATK and Accuracy UP, only further boosting her power. Finally, Mantra of Truth is her fully-sun, Yin-only All-target Last Word that buffs her Yin ATK by 2 more levels (2T) and debuffs all targets Yin DEF by 2 levels (2T). The first line even has Sure Hit to ensure hits despite Accuracy and Evasion.
Her skills are mostly there to make her better at what she’s already doing. Her first skill, Fires of Hokkai, gives herself 2 more Burn anomalies while also inflicting 2 layers of Burn on all opponents. Name-Reciting Chant has Incineration, or Burn anomaly breaks, at 2P and Mantra of Truth has the same at 3P, meaning Byakuren can break 2 Burn barriers every 4 turns if you are patient. Persecuted Hersey primarily serves as a Spirit Power boost of 1.00, but it also gives herself 1 layer of Barrier Restoration, which is rather good with a 4 turn cooldown. Sorcerer’s Sutra Scroll is this Byakuren's main form of team support, giving all allies a CRIT ATK and Accuracy buff by 2 levels (2T), along with granting herself Charge to be supported by debuffs.
Outside of that and the heavy damage, Byakuren is unfortunately not doing much else. Her breaking potential is pretty underwhelming when looking past the Incineration and 0P Sun on Name-Reciting Chant, as Great Magic: Devil’s Recitation is just 2 Star, Moon, and Sun breaks and Superhuman: Byakuren Hijiri has no elements at all. While no elements might assist in doing more damage and ignoring elemental resistances, it doesn’t leave Byakuren with much else to show off. However, the damage Byakuren can pull off is still very strong, and she is even known to farm 2 story card stages at the moment (with one of them being future content). Join Byakuren as she releases her inner youkai rage for being sealed away for so long!