Yomi Opening Moves


Yomi is unique as it is a hybrid of resource based openings and optimization.  Most of the time, all 4 options are available but sometimes during a card game, probability decides to interfere with play, resulting in suboptimal opening hands or after dumping a hand into a combo, lady luck decides to make you suffer by not drawing into a particular option.   It’s like getting mana flooded or land screwed in MtG and there are no mulligans to save you.  Read this article on Street Fighter to get a better idea of reaction/prediction based play.

Regardless, most openings consist of a  small set of moves:

So, how to start a game?  Here is a quick rundown of common character specific opens that I have experienced over the years and reasonings behind them.


  • Lightning Cloud (J) – 2.4 speed means it will trade/beat all normals except Setsuki’s 2, stuffs a throw and negates the tempo boost of a block.
  • Block – Grave only needs a few cards to do solid damage, a few early gains only speeds this up.
  • Throw – As stated above, he only needs a few cards to do 18-21 damage, so an early throw can knock 20-25% off an opponent as early as turn 1.


  • Smoldering Embers (10) – If she has one of these turn 1, 90% you will see it.  Why?  The faster it goes to the discard, the faster it can start punishing dodges.
  • Charged Shot (J) – Well, if my opponent thinks I’m going to play a smoldering embers,  it’s a free 8 damage to the face.  If they want to try for block/block,
    it chips 7.
  • Dragonheart (Q) – It’s .2 speed, deals 13 and the faster your opponent knows you have it, the faster they have to start playing around it and you can act accordingly.


  • Ninpo Flash (Q) – This should be self explanatory.  0.0 speed, is an opener and the best way to dump your hand.
  • Throw – You are more likely to have one of these than a Flash, punishes opponents for thinking you’re going to flash and in general what you do when you don’t have a flash/dash.  Also sets up for an early game cross up.
  • Block – “Wait, what?  Setsuki can block?”  Yes, contrary to what most people experience playing against her, she is capable of blocking and by doing so, you can throw off turn 1 fast attacks intended to punish your throws/non Q attacks or feint a bad hand.


  • Throw – Being a grappler means your throws are always a threat and turn 1 is as good a time as any to show this.
  • Stone Wall (5) – If your opponent is going to punish your throw hard, this will teach them otherwise.  Usually better to hold on to these for late game.
  • Block – Like stone wall without the goodness of bashing them over the head with their own attack.  Plus more cards == more Rock Armor beats.


  • Block – Big hand Geiger is scary as Temporal Distortion makes large combos viable and deadly.
  • Throw – Another way of playing Geiger is a throw/Time spiral heavy aggro that punishes players for trying to throw/block.
  • Slow/Fast Time Spiral – Does the same thing as a throw but hedges against characters with faster throws and can trade with many other attacks.


  • Point/Counterpoint (7) – Unless your opponent attacks with something faster, you win combat.  A good way to set the tone early and with a 6J follow up.
  • Ghost Riposte (A) – For opponents that think you’re going to point/counterpoint, this combined with a Pilebunker or fatty normals ended with a J will start the game well.  As with Jaina’s Dragonheart, the faster your opponent knows you have it, the faster they have to play around it.


  • See Rook.  No Stone Wall or Rock Armor though =(


  • Bubble Shield (A)  – The best block in the game.  Same thing as Ghost Riposte/Dragonheart, making your opponents have to play a certain way is very advantageous.
  • J/Q/K/2 – Arg is rather fast when attacking and does solid damage, so doing it is a rather safe play.  It also punishes the notion that many players have of Arg being a very defensive character.
  • Throw – When attacking just isn’t enough and to punish those who want big hands (Val/Geiger/Lum), throwing is the way to go.


  • Chromatic Orb (A) – The Mad King open.  10 damage at 1.0 speed and draws a card on hit, what’s not to like about that?  Plus with how easily Val can power up for A’s, even losing combat often means 3 chip damage.
  • Block – The more cards Val draws, the better her combos become.  The better her combos become, the more A’s that get powered up for.  Rinse, repeat.
  • Throw – As a way to set the tone early and to set up an early cross up.


  • Block – Lum likes cards even outside of gambling away the last tournaments winnings.  They fuel his throws, power up for PANDAMONIUM and set up easy mode yomi aka Poker Flourish
  • J/Q – Fast, deal solid damage and can get boughtback with his innate, yes please?

Why the lack of attacking? As of right now, blocking offers more benefits than attacking early.  If/when the normal attack draw rule gets fully implemented, attacking will become a much less risky option.

That’s all for this yomi article.   No yomi tournament this weekend means deluks’ tourney and the international team tourney better have good turnouts.


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