User:Kiefmaster99/Rumbling Spell Orchestra
The Great Resource Wars ~ SP Management
Now, if you have played long enough, you've encountered the situation where you're just wondering, just wondering, "if I only had one more SP". Well, this primer will help you understand the mechanics behind SP and how to make the most of it.
Disclaimer: This article represents my view on the usage of SP. They are by no means 100% optimal; you are free to expand upon or reject some of these ideas.
SP is as SP goes. To do anything, whether to activate Spells, equip Supports, or use Events or Specials, you NEED SP. Spells are the basis of SP; everyone knows a deck can't get off the ground without at least some Spells in reserve, so make sure you run an adequate number of Spells. The current standard around here seems to be 19-21 Spells, though Japanese tend to run 21-25. I personally run anywhere from 19-24, 21 being the general minimum.
Keep in mind that the 'ideal' SP to damage ratio is 1:1. Thus, for every 1 SP invested, you want to either a) deal 1 damage b) prevent 1 damage or c) waste 1 SP from your opponent. Above is great; below is subpar.
Basics - Spells
Spells form the core of your ability to deal damage. As mentioned before, you want to deal or prevent 1 damage for every 1SP investment. For example, Yukari's "Curse of Dreams and Reality" [1SP 214] is at-par on Intercept. Reimu's "Duplex Barrier" [1SP 114 Prot 1] is above-par on Intercept, being able to deal 1 damage and prevent 1 damage.
Basics - Spells on Attack
Most players like to think the SP replenishing step as "gain 1 SP for each Reserved Spell." However, I like to think of it as "gain 1 SP for each Spell, then lose 1 SP for each Active Spell". Thus, attacking with a Spell always carries an imaginary +1SP cost.
Let's go back to "Curse of Dreams and Reality" [1SP 214]. It costs 2SP to deal 2 damage, making it at-par. Murasa's "Sinkable Vortex" [3SP 324 Prot 1] and Utsuho's Subterranean Sun [5SP 625] are also both at-par.
Koishi's "Rorschach in Danmaku" [3SP 315 Faith 1] on Attack is only at-par if the Faith 1 absorbs 1 damage. Otherwise, it's below-par. On a similar note, "Sinkable Vortex" [3SP 324 Prot 1] is only at-par if its Prot 1 absorbs damage. Against Nue's "Heian Dark Clouds" [1SP 004 Prevent 1 damage], it is below-par. (4SP 2 damage vs. 1SP 0 damage)
Basics - Supports
Supports serve two main purposes regarding SP, at the cost of one hand card - itself. First, they can be a short-term investment for long-term SP-advantage. Remilia's "Servant Flier" [1SP 1HP +1AV] is a good example of this: it pays itself off in two turns, and can rack up SP advantage if used for longer.
Secondly, they can help mobilize SP, if it comes with an activated ability. Eirin's "Super Genius" [4SP 1SP: Prevent the next 1 damage that would be dealt to your Leader this turn.] can help utilize excess SP on a 1:1 ratio; it just requires 4SP upfront.
Eirin's "Dangerous Medicine" [Whenever you activate a Spell, gain 1SP and deal 1 damage to your Leader] is weird in that it is Super Genius in reverse. Instead of paying 1SP to prevent 1 damage, your opponent gains 1 SP and takes 1 damage. Just like Super Genius, it requires 4SP upfront. More on SP mobilization later.
Supports do serve a lesser-known third purpose in SP warfare - they can help set up walls. More on that later as well.
Sometimes, it may be better to forgo spending SP to set up a Support sooner, or even forfeit a bit of SP advantage. It is up to you to determine what decision is best.
Basics - Events
Events are quite similar to Supports. Unlike their cousins however, they confer a one-time boost, and an element of surprise, at the cost of 1 hand card - itself. Not much else to say here.
Just like Supports though, Events help mobilize extra hand card resources - when Spells by themselves just aren't enough. Unless you're using a 40-Spell Flandre deck of course.
RSO is unique in that Spells can hit or miss. When they do miss though, they can swing SP advantage hard in one direction. It's why Leaders with high EV and low BV tend to have less HP (Cirno, Remilia), and vice-versa (Minamitsu, Mokou).
Take Aya for example:
Aya's "Saruta Cross" [3SP 324 Conc] vs. Chen's "Rumbling Jigoku-ten" [4SP 335 Conc Unfoc 1]. As it stands, the battle is at-par, since: 4SP 3 damage vs. 4SP 3 damage. If the Attacker used "Pattern Dodging" [3SP +2EV] to evade the intercept Spell though, and 2SP to BV, the 5SP used to evade partially pays itself off by not having to reactivate the Spell: 6SP 3 damage vs. 4SP 0 damage. Or a +1SP advantage.
Conversely, in the same battle, the Interceptor can use Pattern Dodging [3SP +2EV] to make "Saruta Cross" miss. The Intercept Spell doesn't have to be reactivated next turn, but it stays active, costing an extra 1SP. So now: 4SP 0 damage vs. 4SP 3 damage. Or a -3SP advantage.
One other note about evasion though. Spells with Protection, Faith, healing, or direct damage can "cheat" evasion in that they will still prevent damage, or deal damage, even if they do miss.
Take Aya's "Saruta Cross" vs. Kogasa's "Parasol Star Memories" [4SP 325 Prot 1] instead. As it stands: 4SP 2 damage vs. 4SP 2 damage. At-par. Now, if Aya does her routine again, we get: 6SP 2 damage vs. 4SP 0 damage. At-par, despite it missing.
Because of the potential for Spells to hit or miss, Spells with a seemingly good SP advantage, damage-wise, suffer from poor HV. Conversely, Spells with a poorer SP advantage at face-value have boosts elsewhere, usually in their evasion or accuracy.
Two more things to keep in mind. SP advantage is diminished if a Spell with Protection or Faith evades a Spell, since that Protection or Faith is not being put to use. And lastly, this goes without saying, the stakes are higher the more expensive Spells are.
Remember how before I said before that the ideal SP-to-damage ratio is 1:1? Well, that's still true, but that's only possible in the early game. Later in the game when you start accumulating SP, that's not possible. And nothing is worse than accumulating SP and being unable to put it to use.
SP mobilization is using excess SP reserves and putting it to use to deal or prevent damage. You'll notice that as more and more SP becomes accumulated, the amount of work you can do with it becomes less and less efficient. Instead you're pumping SP into less-then-ideal situations, usually at a 2SP:1 damage ratio, such as Yukari's Parasol, or Keine's "Legend of Gensoukyou".
Eirin's Super Genius, as mentioned earlier, provides an avenue for this. At a 4SP upfront cost, you can transfer the 1:1 ratio in each of your battles. Conversely, her Dangerous Medicine can actually force opponents into that uncomfortable "excess SP territory", whilst dealing 1 damage per SP granted.
Last-turn SP Mobilization
RSO is a game of whoever has the last laugh. Last-turn SP mobilization is being able to utilize SP reserves on your last turn to win the game. Keep in mind that in combat, the attacker always hits first. It doesn't matter if your intercepting Spell also brings down your opponent's HP - you still lose. Some characters and teams are better able to utilize this than others. For those that do have it, your opponent's starting HP may as well be that much less.
One good example of a character with this is Mokou. Mokou is able to dump all her SP into Imperishable Shooting and Suzaku's Fire for some extreme damage. They may seem inefficient at first glance but that doesn't matter in the end when it wins you the game.
One good example of a team card that does this is Great Wairy Wars. You're paying 9SP and 5 Reserved Spells for +7AV +7HV, a more or less guaranteed hit and incredible damage. If it fails, well you'd be lucky to survive.
The next two sections are scenarios where the whole SP advantage paradigm is broken.
In damage racing, one opponent is able to purely deal more damage per turn in order to win than the other. SP advantage matters less when the other opponent simply can't keep up. Partly, this is because the other opponent is unable to efficiently mobilize SP, and because the aggressor has last-turn advantage. The aggressor may forgo intercepting to dump as much SP resources as possible into attack.
Marisa for example is best able to attack relentlessly; her intercept options pale in comparison to what she can do offensively.
Walls are a special exception to the SP game. When there's a wall set up, no amount of SP can overcome one. There are two types of walls - partial, and complete.
A partial wall is when it is difficult or impossible to outpace the opponent in terms of damage output in a spell to spell battle. For example, Yukari can reach a potential of Protection 4 with her "Danmaku Barrier" (7SP 437 Prot3) and her Parasol (1SP 2SP: Prot 1). It costs a massive amount of SP, 9SP in fact, but that means little if your opponent has low AV and no Penetration. Your opponent is forced into the excess SP territory like this.
A complete wall is when it is impossible to lower your opponent's HP at all. Yuyuko4 has the potential to heal 6HP/turn on intercept alone, 10HP/turn if on attack as well. Reimu has an EV wall that locks out spell damage. Suwako and Hisoutensoku are both capable of locking out opponents via a Faith wall.
In summary, SP is a very important part of the game, and it is necessary to manage it wisely in order to win over your opponent. The theory behind it is also important in understanding what makes decks tick, and how they work. It is also important to keep in mind the special circumstances in which SP advantage begins to break down.