You may have noticed a “Spark Goal” on the sidebar for a while:
As it suggests, I’ve been saving up my tickets and crystals to “spark” an item. The way things are going, I think it should be ready by the end of May, or June at the latest.
What is Sparking?
Well, let me back up first. “Sparking” refers to the process of rolling 300 items from the premium draw (gacha) within a certain draw period. Each roll increases the Cerulean Spark counter by 1 (a 10-part draw yields 10 sparks), and when the counter hits 300, you are obligated to trade the 300 sparks for any item of your choice from an available pool of items. When a draw period ends, any leftover sparks are converted in a 1:1 ratio to Cerulean Stones, and the Cerulean Spark counter resets to 0.
As you can see, the current draw period lasts until 18:59 JST 2017/04/21:
Sparking is one way to guarantee getting a character (or summon) of your choice. Usually, you can get characters of your choice via Surprise Tickets or Start Dash, but some characters (e.g. limited and seasonal) are not available on them; or you’re staunchly opposed to spending any money on the game (a perfectly fine position to take, to be sure!).
For better or worse, quite a few seasonal/limited characters are considered extremely good: Summer Zooey, Limited Sturm, Summer Beatrix, Limited Katalina, Christmas Arulumaya, Limited Eugen, Mahira, Andira, Lecia, Summer Heles, Lucio, and Limited Orchid; to name a few. Unfortunately, the only sure, viable way to acquire them (besides sheer luck) is to spark them.
Should I Spark?
No. If you’re a beginning player, don’t. Unless you have tons of disposable income that you don’t mind throwing in Cygames’ direction*. It’s pretty important to roll on the Premium Draw not only because it has the chance to provide SSR characters and summons, but also for SR carbuncle summons, as well as weapon stones**.
*A spark from scratch costs ¥90,000 (approximately $823 US).
**Character weapons yield much more weapon stones when they are reduced.
In my case, I only made my decision to spark in mid-December, about eight months after I started to play. By that point, I had at least one carbuncle of every element, and passable dark, light, and wind teams character-wise (“earth fest” helped to turn around earth from a liability to a strength).
But yeah. It’s been four months since I started to save all my crystals and tickets, and I’m just 44 rolls away from the goal. From what I’ve heard, it seems like it typically takes around 6 months to cobble a spark together. It should be noted however that crystals were recently removed from Qilin (Kirin) raids, formerly a pretty good source for crystals if you could catch many Kirin raids in a row (AKA a “Kirin train”).
Who am I Sparking?
Let me just say who I’m not sparking: Summer Zooey (dark SSR). S.Zooey is arguably the single most useful (and therefore “best”) character in the game, and my stubbornness to not pursue her is detrimental to my dark team, and a foolish decision overall. However, it is pretty unlikely that Summer Zooey and the other summer seasonal characters will get rate ups during the Premium Gala (Legend Festival AKA Legfest) this year. I don’t want to spend 300 rolls outside of legfest when the SSR rate is a mere 3%.
As for who I will spark, my order of priorities go:
Limited Lecia (wind SSR)
I always liked Lecia’s design with the distinctive hat, and Ayako Kawasumi–while not a favorite–is a voice actress who I like quite a lot. It was disappointing then that the free playable story version of Lecia was exceedingly mediocre. But when the SSR limited version was unveiled, I thought she was incredible.
Although some people complained that her signature third skill “Stalwart Command” stifled team building, what I saw was a world of possibility thanks to an exceptionally flexible skill that made Lecia a ‘Swiss Army Knife’, capable of covering any role.
Anyway, she was what motivated me to save for a spark, and I planned to be a wind main after I got her; although I’m not so sure about the latter now.
Mahira (earth SSR)
Originally off my radar, Mahira has come into strong consideration after I recently got a lot of great earth characters from free draws. Coupled with the fact I have the Titan summon, earth will likely be my strongest element in the long run.
Mahira is the top earth buffer and covers the shallow harvin spot for Tezcat teams (although the Tez meta will slowly go away in the future as more people acquire Alexiel). Although Mahira is quite cute, I don’t personally like her that much. Nevertheless, her value is undeniable.
I don’t have a plan C in the highly improbable case that I manage to roll both Lecia and Mahira before I hit 300 rolls.
I used to want Black Knight (dark SSR), but in general her utility isn’t needed very much; and there are other, better dark attackers, such as Orchid (dark SSR). Orchid is powerful, but offers little team utility in the same vein as Seox (Six). I’m not sure that I’d want both on the same team.
Rosetta (wind SSR) is extremely good for wind players who want to beat content solo, she’s the best wind buffer, but her value plummets in raids. If I were still planning to be a wind main, I would’ve given her serious consideration.
I like Katalina (water SSR) and she’s very good, by far one of the best water characters in the game. Unfortunately, I only have one water SSR character at the time of this writing.