Xiang Mei Vs. Kaede: High HP vs. Heart Cross Shields

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Xiang Mei Vs. Kaede in the Current Meta

Xiang Mei is not out of the meta yet, in my opinion, and I want to tell you all about why. To do this, I will compare Xiang Mei to the new hotness which is Kaede and the heart cross Meta. As always, I want to start by saying that just because there is a new card that ranks extremely high above other cards, that does not mean that older cards are automatically irrelevant.

Xiang Mei is a fantastic lead and one of the four gentlemen series while Kaede is a God Fest Exclusive of the Dragon Caller series. Both have similar characteristics that make them part of the current meta being high HP, high attack, and tankiness (taking large hits more easily).

History of the Four Gentlemen

Many people wondered why Xiang Mei looked like a girl, despite the name of the series being the four gentlemen.  I personally was able to learn more about the four gentlemen last year while visiting an exhibit in Hong Kong Island.  It was there I learned about the Four Gentlemen which are also known as the four Noble Ones, and are an ancient Chinese style of painting.  The Four Gentlement equate to the plum blossom, orchid, bamboo, and chrysanthemum, as depicted by the cards you play with in PAD.  They essentially represented four seasons, beauty, strength, and more.  You can in a way equate them to Zodiac signs in that certain characteristics of the plants they represent equal something distinct in humans.  For example, I saw myself as Bamboo because I am naturally strong and I don’t bend easily.  While I’m kidding about the strong part, I don’t bend in my belief that Xiang Mei is not outclassed by Kaede, one of the top tier heart cross cards in Puzzle & Dragons.

As far as the history of Kaede, I am unsure of any lineage that Kaede has.  Let me know if you know more info about her background!

Breakdown of Leaderskills

With Xiang Mei as a lead with another Xiang Mei, your team will receive a 2.25 HP boost, up to x81, x 2.25 attack for healers, and a naturally high RCV since all of your subs will be healers.

I have had runs in coop with fans where I pair Xiang Mei with other cards. Of course it is not ideal, but since Xiang Mei is so powerful, we are still able to clear a ton of content. Some of the leads I have paired Xiang Mei with are:
Awoken Freyr, which means you will be able to heal to full every single time you match even 3 hearts. Freyr gives a 2.5 RCV boost and nice attack boost for all fire attributes.
Shiva Dragon is not ideal, but in a pinch I can make it work. What is missing is the extra 2.5 for God type cards. Because Xiang Mei is only healer type and Gadius is not a God type, my cards do not benefit from Shivadra, but with the proper techniques, you can still do millions per card, which is always my goal. If you can have single cards reach over 2 million at least occasionally, you won’t have an issue with cards that have 1.5 million defense or more like Extreme Metal Dragon and Awoken MeiMei.
Awoken Cao Cao I haven’t been able to play around with yet and not many of my friends have him, but he fits semi-decently with the team, except he isn’t healer type and you’ll need 9 connected reds for maximum damage.  You just need a row which is what I go for with Xiang Mei anyway so I don’t see why the attack element won’t contribute.

Kaede, on the other hand, hits like a truck as well since she has triple TPA, which is never a bad thing, but she is also able to rank high hits through a cross of hearts on the board.

You will want to pair Kaede with another Kaede to get the full damage reduction shield of 75%. I have had a fan say they have paired Kaede with Ronove, which is interesting. With this pair, you will be guaranteed x8 when you get a heart cross (x2 for Kaede and x4 for Ronove). What I don’t like about this pairing is you cannot optimally use a skill like Verdandi because you won’t get the rainbow aspect of Ronove’s leaderskills without Skyfalls. I can see the plausibility of this because natural boards that have 5 hearts, 8 greens and rainbows the rest of the way, you will be able to insta-kill anything that is in your way and survive a big hit.

When it comes down to orbs needed to fully activate each leader, you can break it down as:

Xiang Mei, minimum orbs needed to achieve full multipler
9 separate heart orbs
3 fire orbs
12 orbs / 30 orbs

Minimum with a row
9 separate heart orbs
6 fire orbs
15 Orbs/30 orbs

True Maximum damage and best board set up ( with Gadius + Uriel)
9 heart orbs
21 fire orbs
30/30

If you are wondering, this is the board set up PADRagnarok was looking for Michael to pull off in the Official Gung-Ho Stream

pad
This leads to using the entire board, getting 6 combos and 2 rows

Kaede, minimum orbs needed to achieve full multipler
9 wood orbs
5 heart orbs
14 orbs/30 orbs

minimum orbs needed to achieve full multipler with 3 TPAs
12 wood orbs
5 heart orbs
17 wood orbs
4 Combos And depends on board set up after this to gain more Skyfalls. Kaede requires a ton of cascading skills and Tevvie is a great example of how to go about setting this up.

At first glance, Kaede’s maximum requires more orbs to achieve 3 separate TPAs and a heart shield, granting 75% damage reduction for one turn and an output of x64.  This means you are more likely to have the materials at hand when running Xiang Mei over Kaede, which is one of the reasons I love XM over Kaede.  Sometimes I feel trapped when I have 1 heart and one Kaede active left.  The problem with Kaede lies in the probability of getting this board set up without many uses of kaede.  Since Xiang Mei’s subs can produce more fire orbs at once, if there are lots of yellows in addition to existing fires, it becomes easier.

Breakdown of Active Skill

Xiang Mei has an amazing skill that guarantees x9 no matter what is on the board (Aside from locked orbs, which may cause you to not have a heart generated due to RNG). In scenarios where you have 6 red orbs and no hearts, a quick use of Xiang Mei’s skill will grant 6 more hearts which you can combine with a row And do over 1 million damage per card just for a few combos. If you have 3 hearts in addition or have some Skyfalls, then you will reach Xiang Mei’s true x81 potential and wreck anything, even Kali and Mech Zeus when you use an inherited active like Arcline.

Kaede, in comparison to Xiang Mei, is not always able to activate with the use of her own skill. You will randomly create 3 hearts and 3 wood orbs, but if you have 0 wood and hearts, you won’t be able to trigger a TPA or heart shield. This means that some times you will need to use 2 Kaede skills to be able to attain the heart shield, but even then you may not be able to get 3 wood orb combinations. Aside from this, the skill is amazing and with such a low cool down, you are likely to have your Kaede ready again in a few short turns.

In addition, both cards have charge or haste which means you can create a system around both cards. If you are unfamiliar, system teams require either multiple duplicates of the same card or similar cards that have haste to help have other skills be ready quicker.

Rows vs TPAs

I wrote a guide about rows vs TPAs and how to maximize combos here.  I will be writing this assuming the user with Xiang Mei can reach these types of combos after row achievement.  I also have a guide on matching heart cross formations and getting combos on my YouTube.

Here is a diagram from Reddit that shows many ways to go about getting heart crosses on the board and the end state you should be striving for.

[Question] Cross meta is here. Anyone have combo/orb movement tips? Board setups? from PuzzleAndDragons

Both play styles revolve around hearts which means you are consistently healing and your HP will be full or close to it many times in your dungeon runs. However, Xiang Mei can be more orb hungry as you need at least 6 fire orbs in a row to maximize the damage. Getting x81 with 3 fire orbs vs x81 with 6 fires in a row will be a difference of millions of damage overall. I have spent a lot of time playing Xiang Mei and can gauge when I am okay with out going with a fire row and when I know I need a skill to activate the full potential of this card.

In most play styles, TPAs are much easier to attain than rows and less orb hungry. The difficulty with Kaede is when you factor in a heart cross, which makes it hard to get 3 separate TPAs since you have to work around it. Unlike Xiang Mei, you have more time extends to bob and weave your way through the board and set up your TPAs. However, TPAs allow each Kaede that you have to hit for millions and millions of damage against 2 enemies.

Both cards have great stalling techniques. For Xiang Mei, with 3 Uriels on your team, you don’t even have to match hearts every time depending on what the enemy will do. Naturally high HP means you are not reliant on having heart orbs for a few turns if you are trying to save your skills.
Kaede arguably can stall longer than Xiang Mei because you only need 5 hearts

Maximum damage vs consistent damage

With Xiang Mei, I am able to reach 5 million damage per card on average when I use Gadius + Uriel. The great thing about these two cards is they make an amazing board each time you use the skill. You don’t always need to use Uriel if Gadius makes an idea board.

With Kaede, using a full board changer like Verdandi, you may not get many hearts or wood orbs so you’ll need to use a second skill.

Below I was able to do 5 million per Kaede with 5 combos, 3 of which were TPAs

5t 5-combo

However, I was also able to get 8 combos, without 3 TPAs and only got 4 million.  While this damage is great, as the power continues to creep, it seems that the best way to get high damage is through multiple TPAs, which is not always possible without using multiple Kaede actives.

8-combo 8-damage

Xiang Mei on the other hand allows for consistent damage without as much trouble or active skill consumption.  Without using an enhance attack active like Arcline, Xiang Mei reached 8 million per most cards below.

xm-8-million

As such, one red row, 6 combos, and one red row created 4 million per card, something that is achieved with only one Uriel active below.

568

While Uriel does not have charge, he certainly creates more of two essential orbs than one Kaede can ever do.

With both XM and Kaede, there is space for orb trolling, but both cards do a great job of overcoming this.

Depending on the enemy and dungeon, you don’t always have to create a heart cross. Sometimes, 3 TPAs without a heart cross will do more damage since you can maximize combos and the heart cross won’t get in the way. In addition, if the enemy doesn’t have a preemptive, you can take advantage of a heart cross made in the previous turn as long as you swept the previous floor. This allows you to attain x64 with a minimum of 3 wood TPAs and more combos, leading to tons and tons of damage.

There are times I have used just a fire row for Xiang Mei without needing to use hearts and the x2.25 from the leader skills has been enough to finish weaker floors or help get an enemy below a perseverance threshold.

Both cards are able to deal millions of damage per card or do very little damage to work around enemies with perseverance that you don’t want to one shot.

Pros and Cons

XM
Pros
High natural HP
Great natural RCV
Works off of rows which are easy to pair with more combos ( See this video on how)
Active has haste and automatically allows 2/3 leader skill activation

Don’t always need hearts or a shield to survive hits up to 50,000

Cons
low orb movement time
low sub pool
costs 300,000 MP per Xiang Mei

Kaede
Pros
75% shield with just 5 heart orbs in a cross formation
Takes advantage of TPAs

High Orb movement times
Active has haste
Can reach millions of damage per card without a heart cross

Cons
Must be pulled from REM as a 6 star God Fest Exclusive
Need multiple awesome pulls from the REM to attain the ideal team.
May be hard for newer players to get used to creating a perfect heart cross and getting 3 separate wood combos.
Leaderskill does not guarantee full leader skill activation

Must have a shield of hearts to survive hits over 30,000

Optimal Teams vs Possible Teams to Use

Mantastic PAD has a great resource for Xiang Mei and Kaede that breaks down each specific sub you can use. Definitely check out his site to see these since I won’t list them all here.

According to all the best sources out there, the ideal team for Xiang Mei is
Xiang Mei, Xiang Mei, Xiang Mei, Gadius, Uriel, Xiang Mei

 

This team covers everything you will need, has 4 cards with haste, and means you will have 100% skill bind resistance. Most of your Xiang Mei cards should have skill bind resistance or skill inheritance that will block skill delays, but still provide that much needed charge or a shield against high damage (genie to block dark attacks for 3 turns or Raphael for damage being void for 2 turns for example against Ilsix).

HOWEVER, I hate this team. I have played on Mrs. Ragnarok’s account where she uses 3 Xiang Mei’s, and does not have Uriel. I find this to be the most boring team that is among S ranking cards since you are just creating heart orbs. With only red main attribute cards and possible light sub typing on Gadius only, you have nothing to attack with. While you’ll be able to heal every turn and activate x9 or x81, you won’t be able to attack if there aren’t any fire orbs. This is the biggest reason I much rather prefer this team:

Xiang Mei, Gadius, Uriel, Uriel, Uriel, Xiang Mei.

xm-team

With this team, I can make Arena 1 completely farmable without much effort. Even Arena 2 isn’t much of an issue because I have Arcline able to breeze through pre dras. I am able to generate fire orbs with 3 different Uriel’s (Gadius when I’m not saving the active) and I can charge back into these skills with both of my Xiang Mei’s. It leads to a playstyle that can stall when you want to, and burst an enemy down at any time, with the use of one skill only or proper stalling for the right orbs needed.

Great subs for Xiang Mei
Xiang Mei really only fits well as a sub for Xiang Mei herself, and she doesn’t have a sub atribute, but her skill fits perfectly with Xiang Mei as a lead.
Gadius is an unbindable card, fits perfectly with Uriel’s active skill after using his own, has a 12 pack for the ladies, and has fire rows. I tend to save his skill for bosses to pair with Uriel to finish the enemy off, or when my team is bound and I don’t have enough hearts on my board. The only inheritance I would put on Gadius is another Gadius
Uriel has 2,000 auto heal and 3 rows.  The key to my successful XM team is 3 uriels since I have a high change of having fire orbs and heart orbs.  Essentially, unless my board is mostly wood or water, I will have hearts or fires after a Uriel activation.

Sub optimal subs for Xiang Mei
Red riding hood provides 3 red rows with her most recent buff and a nice bind clearing ability.
Valen isn’t the most optimal since you won’t need a shield that often with 50,000 HP in solo mode.
Mitsuki has a double orb into heart skill which makes her a great sub, but she plays like Xiang Mei as a sub in that she doesn’t create fire orbs
Kiriko Another is a full board changer with the same active as Saria, minus the charge.
Himiko is a farmable sub from the New Year’s Dungeon who makes wood and darks turn into hearts.  The awakenings are severely lacking however.

Kaede
Optimal Team
Kaede, Kaede, Kaede, Weejas, Flex spot, Kaede

This team is a tremendous team that allows a ton of heart orb creation, a nice amount of wood orb creation, and a bind clearer since tons of cards love binding wood. In addition, 4/6 cards have haste to speed up the creation of orbs.

Optimal subs
Kaede Is the best sub for herself as she has haste and more TPAs too really boost damage for your team.

Weejas is arguable the best bind clearer for the team and also provides a full second of orb movement time, an automatic row of hearts to unbind (unless you need to use these to make a heart cross) and 1 turn of delay for the enemy.

Verdandi is my favorite sub because she is a full board changers. Even if she only makes 3 hearts and 3 woods, you can always use one Kaede skill to create enough hearts you need. She also has great synergy with her orb enhance awakenings.

Odin dragon has the best RCV as a sub in the game and 3,000 auto heal, which is half of what 3 Uriels can do on Xiang Mei’s team all by himself.
Parvati is a great unbind clearer that makes heart orbs and has great awakenings

Ceres I personally use Ceres G/D for machine and God killer, in addition to being an unbinder plus healing to full instead of percentage based which awoken Ceres does.

Sub optimal subs
Michael has many green rows and 2,000 auto heal. Like his angel counterpart in Uriel, but his rows do not help Kaede like Uriel’s help Xiang Mei. His active is the best part and you can inherit him as needed.

Astaroth/odin – Both of these cards provide a bind clear you may need for your teams in solo mode.  If playing coop, you probably only need one bind clearer and can maximize orb creation.

 

Summary

While it is obvious I am a fan of Xiang Mei, I would love to try Kaede with the ideal team.  I still don’t see how Kaede is able to get by more easily than Xiang Mei.  We all make mistakes and I honestly believe that not every player is able to consistently get a heart cross, or have enough heart orbs for a heart cross, just to stall on tough enemies.  Xiang Mei is able to tank 50,000 hits without needing a shield at all.  The 6,000 auto heal and the fact that all of the subs you have are healers with naturally high RCV means you can survive a lot, sometimes without even matching a heart.

Xiang Mei is severely lacking on the sub pool, and Kaede is obviously much more fluid.  This means Kaede is available for all players, if you’re lucky enough to get her.  Then, to achieve maximum potential, you need to pull 2 more to complete a system.  Any team without the system is not consistent.  It seems if you make any mistakes, you are not easily forgiven as my most recent video will show in my Kaede fail against Kali in arena 1.  Not getting a great board from your board changers is tough to overcome.

I admit I need more practice with the heart cross meta, but Kaede is tough to play.  It seems all top tier leads are getting heart crosses so it’s important we all get used to them.

What do you think!  I understand many people won’t agree with me, but I stand firmly that Xiang Mei is easier to play, her optimal team (in my opinion) is more obtainable is you roll when uriel is around, and she is more fun and consistent.  I’ve also never hit the numbers with Kaede that I can hit with Xiang Mei, just check out my mech Hera solo run where I one shot Hera and then some.  Kaede lacks consistentcy and is downright frustrating sometimes.

 

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