Welcome to the Sarafina In-Depth Guide. In this guide, you'll learn all you need to learn about Indines' Hologram Elf! Note that this guide is NOT a substitute for experience. It's always better to go out there and play some games!
About the Author
Marco's back at it again, writing guides for characters! He is the creator of the BattleGUIDES and BattleTIPS series, and works for Level 99 Games as a content creator.
Sarafina's Implosion and teleports make her quite effective against opponents without a lot of range like Hikaru. On the other hand, she also does well against opponents who rely on having huge pay-outs with stat bonuses, like Cesar.
Certain characters with lots of range like Rexan tend to nullify the benefits of Sarafina's teleports. On the other hand, characters like Cadenza who have excellent defensive stats tend to easily shrug off her attacks.
Sarafina is a tactician-brawler who uses her great melee options and positioning trickery to overwhelm her opponents. Her unique ability allows her to teleport on-demand, making her one of the game's most mobile characters. If you like playing mix-ups or tricking your opponents into attacking thin air, Sarafina is for you.
Play at two ranges. Sarafina is at her most powerful when her Projection marker is at a different range from the opponent relative to her. Simply put, if Sarafina is in melee and the marker is at long range, or vice versa, the opponent now has to make a hard guess: are they dealing with a melee opponent or ranged opponent. Often, this simple 50/50 decision can trip people up and force them to make bad plays. Use this to your advantage.
It's still a teleport. Many Sarafina players make the mistake of solely focusing on the 50/50 aspect of her ability. This often leads to them forgetting that it's still a teleport. That is, you can still use it as an effective gap-closer; all without bothering with 50/50's. If doing a teleport can result in you getting a 100% guaranteed beat, don't hesitate to do it.
DODGE. While true for many characters, it is especially true for Sarafina. This is because much of her strength is tied to specific cards. Once said cards are in Discard, a huge portion of the threat she represents disappears. This means that she needs to wait for her resources or positioning to be right in order to work effectively. What better way to do this than Dodging?
- Amazing mobility.
- One of the game's best mix-ups.
- Intensely powerful melee options.
- Ranged options leave a lot to be desired.
- Requires some set-up to work right.
- Ultimately lacks stats and relies on mix-ups.
Role on the Team
Sarafina is a specific counter-pick should the meta ever get to melee-heavy. She thrives in environments dominated by hardcore rush-down characters. Therefore, on the team, she can serve as a melee-counter if your team is particularly vulnerable to that kind of strategy.
A large portion of Sarafina's power comes from her Unique Ability. Projection Swap allows her to quickly move around the board at lightning speed. In fact, it is one of the game's fastest movement effects; happening during ante phase. This means that, if Sarafina wants to teleport, she will get to do it, regardless of what the opponent plays for the beat.
This guaranteed nature of the movement means that Sarafina can reliably be where she wants to be, making it hard to pin her down and easy for her to stick to opponents.
Mechanically, this Ability is tied to her styles as they each have a Projection value which dictates where Sarafina can place her Marker. We'll go over them more when they're relevant to a Style's power level.
As mentioned earlier, the ability's greatest strength is letting Sarafina "operate" at 2 ranges at once, essentially turning it into a guessing game of whether or not she'll activate the teleport. This can lead to some awesome scenarios of the opponent attacking thin air as Sarafina teleports away. Trickery and movement abuse are the name of Sarafina's game. Abuse them and you'll find much success.
We'll start with a Style that seems wholly unremarkable outside of Sarafina's kit. Tactical doesn't have a lot going for it outside of the stat department and even then, the stats are nothing to write home about.
Ultimately, this shows how valuable a stat Projection is. Tactical allows Sarafina to place her Marker at the edges of the board, instantly setting-up for her mix-ups. Now, the opponent has to worry about trying to hit a spot that is likely on the opposite side of the board.
Pairing Tactical with Dodge is a great idea as it allows her to safely set-up. However, the best use case for this would be to teleport into melee, stun the opponent, then use the Projection to place your marker at long range once more, setting-up once again for another mix-up.
We move on to what is arguably Sarafina's best style. In a sharp contrast to Tactical, Implosion's stats and Projection value are a bit clunky. While its Projection often allows Sarafina to set-up a mix-up, what we're really here for is the other passive effect.
Implosion allows Sarafina to passively dodge attacks at range 1. This means that, so long as she's in melee, Sarafina is safe from ALL attacks. This is the crux of her mix-up game-plan. Many characters would simply be OK playing a Strike into any of Sarafina's teleport into melee plays. However, with Implosion, this option gets negated, giving Sarafina a "free" 2-3 damage against most careless opponents.
In the end, Implosion is one of her best styles, allowing for excellent melee pressure and wonderful set-up potential, especially with the Hit effect. Use this judiciously as once it is Discarded, a huge portion of your threat disappears.
Silver is arguably Sarafina's second best style. It has received a few speed nerfs here and there, but it still retains much of what made it good: hit confirm and resource negation.
Silver's most apparent use is its Before effect, which gives Sarafina effective Range +0~2 on any attack. This is her best form of hit confirm and lets her easily stick to opponents. In addition to this, the passive effect plays more into her tricky side.
Passively, the opponent's Power and Priority are "locked" into their printed values. This means that bonuses from UA's and, more importantly, the Force Gauge are negated. This lets Sarafina ante for Force Priority and "ignore" the opponent's counter ante, essentially making Silver a Priority +2 attack if you're willing to spend the force.
Used well, Silver is quite oppressive as opponents, ultimately, become scared to ante for anything once Silver is in your hand. Much like with Implosion, be careful of when you use it as it represents a huge chunk of your threat.
Locus lets Sarafina show opponents that it's nothing personal, kid. While it's Projection is decent, it's biggest draw has to be its Reveal effect, which turns it into a Power +1 and Priority +3 style, making it one of Sarafina's best-statted cards.
However, the Reveal effect only works if Sarafina switches sides with the opponent, meaning that she has to use her Projection teleport during ante to gain Locus' benefits. This hints that Locus is a pressuring style that lets Sarafina get a decent amount of damage off at lightning speeds. Just be careful with your set-ups.
The specific board state for Locus is quite obvious to many opponents and they can simply perform a Strike and out-trade you with ease. One awesome way to counter this, however, is by playing a Locus Burst. Don't be predictable and mix-up your mix-ups for maximum effectiveness.
Hollow is Sarafina's ONLY style with baked-in Range, meaning that it's her best "ranged option." What used to be her worst style has received quite a buff, giving it decent albeit unremarkable stats.
Hollow serves as a sort of "positioning payout" for Sarafina, allowing her to cash-in good positioning for extra Power. This makes Hollow Grasp quite a force to be reckoned with, especially when Sarafina uses her teleports to set-up for it.
Unlike many of Sarafina's other attacks, this doesn't necessarily scream "tricky mix-up." Instead, this is more of a stat stick that allows her to go more on the offensive.
Finally, it is worth mentioning again that Hollow has baked-in range, letting Sarafina pair this with Shot to hit opponents at range 5 or 6. While this might not seem that effective, remember that your mix-ups could sometimes end with Sarafina at those ranges to avoid a powerful attack. This lets you hit the opponent while doing so.
Field might seem like an odd base for a primarily-melee character, seeing as it shares many similarities with Khadath's Snare. However, looks can be quite deceiving.
On a surface level, Field is a more "offensive" Snare, boasting more Priority, letting Sarafina hit distant opponents at blazing speeds; a feat usually reserved for zoner characters. While all well and good, this does not cover the card's primary usage: resets.
Field's Hit effect prevents opponents from moving, which usually keeps the board state the same. Often, you'll want to be using Field when the Marker is near the opponent, while Sarafina is far away. In this set-up opponents are constantly pressured by Sarafina's ability to teleport in and use Implosion or Locus to get damage in for free. However, the attacks that often counter those plays tend to lose to Field. This lets Sarafina cash-in a decent chunk of damage while continuing her mix-up game, making Field an odd, but useful card for Sarafina.
Force Special Action
Sarafina is a character built totally around the Force Gauge, especially in the context of her Silver style. When used well, Sarafina can easily scare her opponents into not counter anteing her options. This lets her get way more stats out of the Force Gauge compared to any other character.
As for the Special Action, be weary of using it. Sarafina's Marker can only be placed if her card has a Projection value. Since the Special Action does not have a Projection value, she won't be placing her Marker on the beat that she uses it, so be careful as this might ruin your set-ups.
Fulminating Vortex is a Vanilla finisher that's quite "unexciting" to the naked eye. It literally has no effects. However, its stats often make-up for that weakness. While its range is definitely limited, this Finisher's huge Power and Priority cover-up Sarafina's biggest weakness: her lack of huge stats. Sarafina is a character that can easily pressure her opponents into using Burst AND Dodge in quick succession. If this even happens, Sarafina can use Fulminating Vortex for an almost-always guaranteed 8 damage, making it a great closer.
In much of the same vein, the Infusion is meant to cover one of Sarafina's other weaknesses: her lack of Range. By giving her +0~2 Range on all attacks, Ritherwhyte Infusion supercharges Sarafina, making her mix-up game even more effective as she can now play at nearly ANY range at peak efficiency. However, this Finisher does have its drawbacks. Outside of the obvious life loss, the boost is also tied to hitting with the attack, which has lack-luster stats at best. Be careful of when you use this as you can find that a Priority 4 "honest" finisher will usually not be enough.
Content & Editing - Marco De Santos