Should You Pull? Star Festival Guaranteed Step-UP

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Should You Pull?

Maybe. This Festival is unique in that it features three different Festival Friends, with each of them switching out after 24 hours. The festivities begin with Marisa (Scarlet) on September 12, followed by Shinmyoumaru on September 13 and ends with Misumaru on September 14.

The common thread between these three Friends is that they are all very competent Star breakers. Marisa (Scarlet) in particular stands at the very top, with a whopping 14 Star breaks in her kit, with some Water and Fire thrown in for good measure. Shinmyoumaru follows suit with 12 Star and 6 Metal, while Misumaru pulls up the rear at 11 Star and 10 Earth, but also comes with the ability to apply and instantly break Blind anomalies. Although the Star element isn’t as elusive as it once was, top performers are still mostly confined to a select circle of closely knit Friends.

Breaks aside, it is worth taking note of how well these Friends perform. Marisa (Scarlet) still stands as one of the hardest hitting Friends around, with a Last Word that is bolster by her incredible Slice scaling, Youkai killers and Crit DEF down. Shinmyoumaru fills the support role, helping buff party YANG up as well team-wide Accuracy up. Misumaru is a mixed attacker specializing in debuffing enemy teams, while applying a cornucopia of different offensive and defensive buffs for your own team.

Following the God Crystal Step UPs until the end will net them a guaranteed copy of the Friend at 2,000 God Crystals total, with an increasingly high chance of getting her at every step. Finishing every Step UP will also allow players to exchange for an additional Friend, as exchange points are shared between all three prayers.

Quick Overview

+Extremely damaging and frontloaded All targeting Last Word
+Fantastic CRIT and Killer Support
+P0 Fire on a Basic Shot
-Doesn’t quite hit the damage levels of other meta units

+ 0P Star on Focus shot
+ Fully Star Last Word hits hard with set up
+ Comes with her own Accuracy support
- Lacking in elemental breaking on spells
- Team support mainly on spells instead of skills
- Evasion debuff on Last Word is a tad excessive
- Rather fragile; little Yang DEF buffs

+ 0P All-target Earth break on Focus shot
+ Very balanced Earth and Star breaks on spells
+ Buffs herself a decent bit for a strong Last Word
+ Variety of Yin, Yang, and CRIT-related buffs and debuffs
- Confused mixed attacker; doesn’t buff Agility for Slice scaling
- Not so focused on a specific stat to buff

Marisa Kirisame (Scarlet)

Hailing from a land where she and Reimu have failed to resolve the Scarlet Mist incident (as featured in Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, the game which started modern Touhou), this version of Marisa is still sharpening her skills. Her Spell Cards are experimental and prototypes, but she’s still raring to go, Mini-Hakkero blazing, shooting first and asking questions later. Still, she’s less selfish than some other versions of Marisa, as a supportive nuker. She’s also wearing socks and not shoes, for some reason…?

The cornerstones of Marisa Kirisame (Scarlet)’s kit are her skill Borrowed Grimoire and All targeting Last Word, Prototype - Blazing Star. Each lowers all targets CRIT DEF by 2 levels for 3 turns, letting her inflict a staggering 4 levels of CRIT DEF DOWN against every enemy. Whilst she can take advantage of it herself with her Youkai killer, this is particularly stellar when paired with other CRIT or Killer focused attackers. Otherwise, the rest of her kit’s all about attacking - starting with her skills, her character ability gives her 1 level of Yang ATK UP (1T) for Boosting and Agility (1T) for Grazing, alongside an additional 20% damage UP to effective elements - meaning anyone weak to her will fall over real quick. Hidden Items provides 2 levels of Agility UP (3T) for her entire party, Rusted Mini Hakkero provides 1 Spirit Power UP and 2 Levels of Accuracy UP (3T) for Marisa, and Borrowed Griomire gives Marisa 2 levels of Yang ATK UP (2T), a further 2 levels of Agility UP (3T) for her whole party, and the prior mentioned 2 levels of CRIT DEF DOWN (3T).

Meanwhile, whilst her attacks may be experimental, they pack a huge punch. Magic Missile (Scarlet) provides 1 Solo targeting Fire Break for 0 Spirit Power, making it very spammable. Magic Sign: Stardust Reverie provides an above average 1/1/3/4 All targeting Star Breaks for 0/1/2/3 Spirit power, and grants Marisa 2 levels of Agility UP (3T) and inflicts 2 levels of CRIT Evasion DOWN (3T) - the former is only really noteworthy in longer fights, and compliments the Spell Card’s 50%/0%/0%/0%/50%/60% Slicing scaling well. The beta version of Master Spark, meanwhile, is no slouch either - Love Sign: Proto Spark doesn’t quite have the control yet to be All targeting, but it still inflicts a solid 3 Fire and Star Breaks for 3 Spirit Power, alongside raising her Agility by 2 levels (3T) and inflicting 2 levels of CRIT DEF DOWN (3T) - complementing both its 40%/0%/50%/0%/50%/0% Slicing scaling, as well as its solid Youkai Killer. Lastly, Prototype - Blazing Star is reckless enough to lack the Solo targeting finesse of its finished version, instead being an All targeting nuke with a ton of buffs (3 levels of Yang ATK UP (3T), 2 levels of Agility UP (2T)) and the prior mentioned 2 levels of CRIT DEF DOWN (3T). Between its 90%/100%/100%/0%/0%/0% Slicing scaling and the Youkai killer, it’s a devastatingly strong Last Word perfect for farming and harder fights alike.

Overall, whilst this version of Marisa may be getting dunked on by Remilia still, that’s more a testament to how powerful the Remilia of her world must be. She’s an incredibly potent attacker with great support for CRIT and Killer attackers - just watch out for her lies, she hasn’t quite broken out of that habit yet

Shinmyoumaru Sukuna

Shinmyoumaru Sukuna is an inchling, a rare race of tiny people whose treasure is the Miracle Mallet, an artifact with the power to change the size of anything; but only inchlings can use it. Shinmyoumaru is the current owner of the Miracle Mallet, and uses it in battle, as well as using it to create the tsukumogami Benben Tsukumo, Yatsuhashi Tsukumo, and Raiko Horikawa (albeit by accident). In the Social Upheaval Incident, Seija Kijin took advantage of Shinmyoumaru's ability to use the Miracle Mallet to start a rebellion, but Reimu Hakurei, Marisa Kirisame and Sakuya Izayoi eventually defeated Shinmyoumaru and convinced her that Seija lied about why she wanted to start the rebellion, returning Shinmyoumaru to a docile state. She lived with Reimu for some time after the incident while waiting for her Miracle Mallet to recharge, but returned to her original home, the Shining Needle Castle, some time after, and has lived there ever since.

In LostWord, Shinmyoumaru fights back against those who decided to pick a fight with someone smaller through focusing on raw strength. Both of her spell cards have pre-ATK effects focusing on Yang buffs for the entire party, not only herself. Her first spell, Mallet: Grow Bigger!, is 2 levels of Yang ATK UP (2T) while her second spell, Bewitched Sword: Shining Needle Sword, is 2 levels of Yang DEF UP (3T). The Yang DEF is specifically meant for Shinmyoumaru’s Hard scaling, which is present on all of her attacks but highest on her Last Word, Giant Killing. In a…rather long fashion, Shinmyoumaru throws out a strong, Star and Yang only Last Word that excessively decreases the singular target’s Evasion and CRIT Evasion by 4 levels (2T). 

Naturally, Shinmyoumaru’s skills follow up the trait of straight-on power, mainly helping the inchling herself while manipulating size via the Miracle Mallet. Her first two skills, Shrink Just a Little and Grow Just a Little, both provide 0.80 Spirit Power, but the latter has an extra benefit of a whopping 3 levels of Yang ATK UP (2T). Along with her plentiful Spirit Power restoration comes her third skill, Grant a Little Wish, which provides the entire party with 2 levels of Accuracy UP (3T) along with Charge for herself. This can be counter-intuitive if you are trying to use Giant Killing to debuff Evasion while everyone else uses their Last Words, as Shinmyoumaru will end up setting the debuffs after everyone goes. Still, Grow Just a Little and Grant a Little Wish stand out for helping Shinmyoumaru’s offensive role while helping the team out as well.

Unfortunately, Shinmyoumaru doesn’t provide much else outside of these buffs and attack power. A small issue with her main buffs being on spells is that, unless spells are restored via Bomb items, the buffs will not be re-applied in an extended battle situation, making her utility somewhat limited. Still, with a Power link, she can swap out of the battle after buffing her Friends and provide Spirit Power to the rest of the team afterward. Her elemental breaking is also rather lackluster, outside of the 0P Star on her Focus shot or the 6/6 Star on Giant Killing. Overall though, don’t underestimate this Friend’s size or overlook her long history of powerful ancestors!

Misumaru Tamatsukuri

Misumaru Tamatsukuri is another crafty god out of the many within Gensokyo, but instead of crafting schemes, she crafts objects you might be more familiar with. While nowadays she crafts magatama, divine items that Misumaru can use to store people’s souls and identify their thoughts, she claims to be the one that crafted Reimu Hakurei’s yin-yang orbs, an important artifact that Reimu relies on for youkai extermination. The power of the orbs themselves still remains a mystery, which also puts into question Misumaru’s relation with the Hakurei line as a whole. Still, she has proven that she wants to protect the current Hakurei shrine maiden by assisting her multiple times during the incident revolving around the mysterious cards, so she should be a trustworthy ally.

Misumaru takes full advantage of her crafting skills to actively attack opponents with a flurry of Earth-element and Star-element attacks. Not only is her Focus shot, Plentiful Jewel Making, a 0P Earth break that targets all opponents, but all of her spells (including her Last Word) have 3 Earth breaks and Star breaks to make her great at breaking either element when needed. As for the attacks’ effects, her first spell, Orb Sign: Yin-Yang Divine Orbs, primarily serves to debuff a single target’s Yin DEF and Yang DEF by 2 levels (3T). Misumaru is a mixed attacker, meaning she attacks with both Yin and Yang on her spells, making this a good damage buff for her, but this can serve well for Friends who attack in either bullet type. Her second spell, Queenly Gem: Beyond the Rainbow Door, is a partywide 2 levels of Yin ATK UP (3T) to help any Yin nukes on the team. Her Last Word, Yin-Yang Planet, is a bit strange, buffing her own Yin ATK and Yang ATK by 3 levels (3T) on a Yang-only strike. At the very least, she makes up for the semi-pointless Yin ATK buff with good Hard and Slice scaling. This attack, along with her Spread shot, String of Magatama, can also break Blind anomalies, something that synergizes well with Queenly Gem: Beyond the Rainbow Door’s post-ATK effect of applying 3 layers of Blind on all targets.

When it comes to her skills, Misumaru gives herself a lot of benefits but still takes consideration of her team’s status. Her first skill, Izanagi Object Item, restores her own barrier for 1 or 2 layers (a 50% chance of the latter), provides all allies with Yang DEF UP by 2 levels (3T), and inflicts Blind on herself, which provides more defense thanks to her character ability. Her second skill, Imperial Regalia Spell, is more offensive thanks to its 2 levels of CRIT DEF DOWN (3T) on all foes and self-Burn anomalies that increase Misumaru’s offensive stats. Finally, her third skill, Mysterious Regalia, is a great support tool through its 1.00 Spirit Power restoration for herself along with 2 levels of Accuracy UP (2T) for the team. While Izanagi Object Item and Imperial Regalia Spell have some lengthy cooldowns at Level 1, they can be heavily decreased to make Misumaru a very practical supportive ally in longer fights. She also has some silly passives, particularly her first and second ones that have a 35% chance to block any Yin or Yang attacks respectively. Being random, they really shouldn’t be relied on, but they are a fun nod toward her mastery of the yin-yang orbs.

The main issue with Misumaru is that, while not having a real significant weakness, she is somewhat confused in her purpose. The strange Yin ATK buff on a Yang Last Word was already mentioned, but her several buffs and debuffs cover so many different stats that she ends up not being significantly great at a single one, a factor that other Friends can beat her at if a fight need a specific type of support or stat change. But Misumaru still holds up well in offense and the slight support that she can provide, with her likely ending up as an offensive nuke that can provide some supportive buffs and breaks on the side.

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About the Author(s)

Writer. Event Organizer. People Person. Focused on growing the local Touhou scene while contributing content to larger online communities. I copywrite for a living. Reach out to me at Kairyu#2386 on Discord to discuss any work you'd like done for yourself or your organization.