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Bubbles

Friend or Foe?

Oh, bubbles. A very handy tool in the arena. You may hear this word “bubble” being used in guides or around the arena. Well, I’m here to explain what they are, why they’re important, and when/how to use them.

No, they aren’t Auras

What are these bubbles? They are what the game describes as “global spells,” such as Wyldfire, Balefrost or Darkwind. They are spells that either buff (nearly every global in the game) or debuff (looking at you, Doom and Gloom) certain spells for all players. They act like any blade, Weakness, Infection or Guiding Light would, except they affect all spells cast while the global is active. They can cost 2-4 pips, and are generally a very good use of those pips.

What are they for?

Globals generally give stat buffs to all players on the battlefield. These stat buffs are usually school specific and modify offensive stats. They help you keep up your “battlefield,” or one might even say a favorable environment. Given that they usually buff school specific stats, they are of more use to you than your opponent. Although they generally buff offensive stats, or in the case of Doom and Gloom, debuff defensive stats, they are not always offensive moves. I consider a bubble to be a more neutral move. Which leads into…

When should I use them?

Doom BubbleUse them often. At all levels they are quite helpful for boosting all of your attacks while it is up. However, at top level, some people can’t seem to justify even spending 2 pips for a bubble (a fact that I wonder about myself.) An important aspect about globals is that they replace the current global in play when they are cast. There can only be one bubble up at a time. This means that using your bubble can negate an opponents bubble, effectively taking away their 25-45% damage buff. This can be considered a defensive move. This aspect of bubbles is what makes me consider them neutral.

Another effect this “one bubble at a time” mechanic has on the game is what are commonly referred to as “bubble wars.” This is the name that players have given to the concept of players repeatedly casting their school’s bubble over and over to attempt to keep control of the global and the stat boost that goes with it. These “bubble wars” are the reason why many avid duelists carry 4-8 bubbles in their main deck, and often extras in their side deck (yes, the bubble war is this important; it is a huge advantage to have your bubble up and deny your opponent theirs at the same time).

Fire Bubble WyldfireThis is also why it is generally advisable to wait until your opponent uses their bubble to bubble yourself (for technical reasons having to do with resource management) unless you want an extra buff for a soon-to-come attack or are facing a generally weaker bubble school.

Of course, most of this works best with the 2 pip bubbles you get before level 50; they are more easily spammed and give a straight damage boost, which is helpful both at lower levels, where more damage is always better, and top level, where pierce and low resistance make the damage even more prominent.

The 4 pip bubbles are generally agreed to be much more situational. They are best reserved for adding more pierce against high resist opponents, and aren’t possible to spam effectively. This means you should probably be using them right before you attack. However, the most popular Jade schools are generally the weaker bubble war schools (Death, Life, Balance) so you may be able to get away with using it early on.

Jewel Katabatic Wind

Of course, there are exceptions to these “rules” about bubbles, and bubbles can tie into different schools general strategy differently. For this reason, I will highlight each school and their bubble (all bubbles have 100% accuracy.)

Fire

Wyldfire

Pip cost: 2

Effect: +25% Fire damage (Treasure card 35% or 45%)

Level trained: 26

Category: Damage

Best use: Spammable bubble, to be used often.

Wyldfire is Fire’s tool for buffing damage and winning the bubble war. It is also the only bubble available at lower levels. Do not hesitate to use it to overwrite an opponent’s bubble or give an extra buff before an attack string.

Combustion

Pip cost: 4

Effect: +17% Fire critical, +20% Fire armor piercing

Level trained: 97

Category: Critical/Pierce

Best use: Against Jade/high resist opponents, before a big attack string

Fire’s version of the Khrysalis critical/pierce bubble.

Ice

Balefrost

Pip cost: 2

Effect: +35% Ice damage (Treasure card 40% or 45%)

Level trained: 33

Category: Damage

Best use: Spammable, an incredibly helpful damage boost

Ice’s damage bubble is blessed with an extra 10% damage. This is very helpful to ameliorate Ice’s lower damage output. Along with being a good tool for bubble wars, Ice’s damage bubble offers it an even better boost than other school’s bubbles give them. This means it is even more essential to use it as Ice, or keep it down against Ice.

Katabatic Wind

Pip cost: 4

Effect: +10% Ice critical, +25% Ice pierce

Level trained: 97

Category: Critical/Pierce

Best use: Against Jade/high resist opponents, before a big attack string

Ice’s version of the critical/pierce bubble. Helpful to weaken Jade/high resist target’s resistance before an attack string.

Storm

Darkwind

Pip cost: 2

Effect: +25% Storm damage (Treasure card 35% or 45%)

Level trained: 33

Category: Damage

Best use: Spammable, counter bubble

I’ve found Storm’s Darkwind to be more of a counter bubble to help resist opposing bubbles rather than adding to your damage (although the extra damage boost is very nice, especially coupled with Storm’s naturally high pierce and Infallible.)

Astraphobia

Pip cost: 4

Effect: +20% Storm critical, +20% Storm pierce

Level trained: 97

Category: Critical/Pierce

Best use: Against Jade/high resist opponents, before an attack string

Storm’s version of the critical/pierce bubble. Helpful to weaken Jade/high resist target’s resistance before an attack string.

Life

Sanctuary

Pip cost: 3

Effect: +50% heal boost (Treasure card 60%)

Level trained: 42 (!)

Category: Healing

Best use: Situational

Personally, Sanctuary is tied for the spell that repulses me the most. Despite my bias, this spell does have some situational uses. I think that it is best used to combat opposing bubbles at opportune times, such as when your opponent may be close to attack-ready or if Doom and Gloom is up and a heal is needed. It should not be used to fight an all out bubble war, as your opponent can quickly take advantage of this spell’s pip cost and drain your pips. Keep in mind that this is more of a lower level main deck bubble. Life has more useful bubbles in treasure card form and at top level.

Namaste

Pip cost: 4

Effect: +12% Life critical, +20% Life pierce

Level trained: 97

Category: Critical/Pierce

Best use: Situational

This bubble can perform the same function as Sanctuary at top level, as well as doubling as a pierce buffer against high resist opponents.

Extra

Giant Spider Brown SpiderBrown Spider/Giant Spider

Pip cost: 3

Effect: 215 Life damage and +30% Life damage (90% accuracy)

Level trained: Treasure or Item card (Brown Spider pet) only

Category: Attack/Damage

Best use: Situational

Rarity of use: Uncommon

This is Life’s only variation of a damage bubble. It works much like White Rat Magician, except that there is no alternative to its bubble. This is probably Life’s best bubble war tool, but the availability of this card makes it unreliable. It can replace Sanctuary at lower levels because of a more Life-specific bubble, and Namaste at top level due to the pip cost. Keep in mind that it does eat blades, so you may not want to make this the only bubble you have.

Death

Doom and Gloom

Pip cost: 2

Effect: -65% healing (Treasure card 75% or 85%(!))

Level trained: 33

Category: Anti-Healing

Best use: Depends

Doom and Gloom. One of my favorite spells in the game (again, biased.) It is useful to any school at any level to effectively shut off healing. The timing of when to use Doom and Gloom is very difficult to explain, as it can easily backfire on you. In general, when using it, try to have more pips than your opponent and be in an offensive or neutral position. It is situational when used in this way, however, Doom and Gloom can be exploited to act as a bubble war weapon. I wouldn’t suggest this style of play to a beginner, as it is not very forgiving, but it can work wonders when used right.

Age of Reckoning

Pip cost: 4

Effect: +15% Death critical, +20% Death armor piercing

Level trained: 97

Category: Critical/Pierce

Best use: Situational

Death’s only trained offensive buffing bubble. It costs 4 pips, so it won’t be great for a bubble war, but it can be used to nullify a bubble if you desperately need to heal and want to keep their bubble down. Also works to counter Doom and Gloom. It can also act as a buff to pierce against high resist opponents, like the other critical/pierce bubbles.

Extra

Red GhostJPEGRed Ghost

Pip cost: 3

Effect: 200 Death damage and +25% Death damage (85% accuracy)

Level trained: Item card only (Red Ghost pet)

Category: Attack/damage

Best use: Depends

Rarity of use: Somewhat common

The Red Ghost pet is commonly considered on of the top pets for a Death wizard due to it giving 3 copies of this spell. It works much like Life’s Brown Spider, except Death also has the 2 pip Doom and Gloom that they could use for bubble wars. This spell is excellent for offensive builds, and is especially good and commonly used at top level due to the lack of blades and high pierce nature of top level pvp (which both help this spell shine.) Keep in mind that it is 3 pips, and Death does have a 2 pip bubble alternative (although situational.)

Myth

Time of Legend

Pip cost: 2

Effect: +25% Myth damage (Treasure card 35% or 45%)

Level trained: 26

Category: Damage

Best use: Spammable, to be used often

This bubble is similar to Fire’s Wyldfire in use. A good multi-hit damage buff, which is especially important for Myth’s combo game, which doubles as a bubble war weapon.

Saga of Heroes

Pip cost: 4

Effect: +15% Myth critical, +20% Myth pierce

Level trained: 97

Category: Critical/Pierce

Best use: Against Jade/high resist opponents, before an attack string

Myth’s version of the critical/pierce bubble. Helpful to weaken Jade/high resist target’s resistance before an attack string.

Extra

(Item_Card)_White_Rat_MagicianWhite Rat Magician

Pip cost: 2

Effect: 180 Myth damage and +25% Myth damage

Level Trained: Treasure or Item card (White Rat Magician pet) only

Category: Attack/Damage

Best use: Situational

Rarity of use: Rare

Although I have personally never seen anyone use this card in a pvp match due to Myth already having a 2 pip damage bubble with treasure card variants more powerful than this, I feel like this card is somewhat underrated. Its use is very much situational, and this use is to recover the tempo of the match. For example, if your opponent has their bubble up and two Tower/Myth shields on them (not an uncommon scenario vs Myth) using one of these will clear one of the shields, as well as denying them their bubble. A downside of this is that it also destroys your blades, so I wouldn’t use it with blades on. This can be a powerful tool if used right.

Balance

Power Play

Pip cost: 4

Effect: +35% Power pips (Treasure card 45%, 50%, Item card can be 60%)

Level Trained: 22

Category: Pip boosting

Best use: …

Power Play is widely considered to be the worst bubble in the game, due to its high pip cost and an effect that benefits everyone equally in every situation. The vast majority of Balance wizards don’t even carry this spell in their deck. In general, do not use this spell. Although it can have some uses, those uses are certainly not suitable for beginners. Such uses include countering opposing bubbles (which should only really be done in a situation where you want to knock down a big attack and/or have max pips) or in certain minion-heavy strategies (in which you can give the minion pips to use their utilities faster; again, not a beginner friendly strategy, and not always very effective.)

Counterforce

Pip cost: 4

Effect: +15% Balance critical, +20% Balance pierce

Level trained: 97

Category: Critical/Pierce

Best use: Situational

Balance’s version of the critical/pierce bubble. This is your best bet at top level if you for some reason desperately need to change an opposing bubble. Do not get into a bubble war with this, use it to counter your opponents bubble when your pips will allow it. It also works to add pierce against high resist opponents, like the other critical/pierce bubbles.

Extra

Clockwork_Spider_Item_CardClockwork Spider

Pip cost: 4

Effect: 325 Balance damage (355 Item card) and +35% Power pips (40% from Nightmare pack) (85% accuracy, 90% from Nightmare pack)

Level trained: Treasure or Item card (Spider Golem, Clock Spider talent, Rokugo Armor, Keen Beak pendant) only

Category: Attack/Pip boosting

Best use: Situational

Rarity of use: Uncommon/Rare

Basically Power Play 2.0. As Balance doesn’t generally rely on too many blades, this is a step up from Power Play. This is a much better counter bubble than Power Play, but it is still a sub-par bubble. Use it sparingly, if at all, to counter opposing bubbles while dealing some damage or breaking a Tower Shield/Weakness.

Conclusion

That concludes this crash course on global spells. If you have any questions, please leave them below. Now get out there are start using some bubbles!

Happy Dueling!

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