Scouting Boxes – Advanced Topics

Previously, we discussed the basics of how scouting boxes work. However, the game is dynamically changing, and new form of scouting box campaigns are being released every now and then. My previous post was aimed to cover the baseline of the boxes, but in this post, I would like to talk about some of the advanced topics of the scouting boxes.

The content of this post will frequently be updated as new developments are made.


Foreword

As the article’s topic implies, if you don’t already have a firm grasp of how most scouting boxes behave, I highly recommend you read my previous post on the Basics of Scouting Boxes.


Main Box Update Trend

Let’s start with a shorter topic. Cards from new sets are released in batches to the main box. µ’s new batches are released in 4 parts, while Aqours are released in 2 parts, as shown in the diagram below:

The Worldwide version of the game is approximately 4 sets behind the Japanese version. For the most part, the Worldwide version’s release schedule is similar to the Japanese version, so we have a perk at getting a sneak peek of what’s to come. Unfortunately, pinning down the exact time schedule is no longer 100% reliable, since K-Lab has shown instances of shifting the release schedules for certain seasonal sets. The latest incident of this was the release of the currently on-going Aqours Universe Set, which – according to the Japanese version of the game – wasn’t supposed to be released until after Aqours China Dress Set. The shift was speculated to be related to Chinese New Year, coming in during February.

Although it is no longer reliable to pin the exact release date, you can still take note of what kind of sets will be coming up. KachAgain’s LLSIF hub has a Main Box Listing Page, which sets a prediction of the release schedule of the WW version, based on JP’s past releases, on top of the listing of all cards that are currently in the main box. So take a peek if you are interested.


Understanding the risk of BOX Scouting

The Limited BOX Scouting is a tremendous resource sink if you do not know what you are getting yourself into. If you really crave getting your hands on one of those Limited URs, then these are the things you need to know about the BOX prior to attempting it.


Illusion of a Guarantee

The Limited BOX will list how many Limited UR cards are left in the box. The concerning part about this is that the Limited UR can be ANY of the three featured on the box’s banner, and you cannot make a choice as to which cards you will get. This means that you can empty the box, and not even get the Limited UR of the girl that you want at all. Take it from me, who’ve emptied the µ’s 2nd Year AC Unity Box, and got two copies of AC Kotori. Your only option once you’ve picked up the 2 Limited URs in the box is to reset the box and try again, hoping that this time it will drop the card that you want.

Fortunately, this risk is likely going to be irrelevant soon.

First off, this risk do NOT apply to the Limited Birthday BOX Scouting of ANY version (to date). In those BOXes, there is one, and only one, possible Limited UR you can obtain, and that is the Limited UR of the birthday girl. As such, if you have enough resources to empty the BOX, you are GUARANTEED to get your hands on that Limited UR.

Furthermore, in the JP version, the Limited BOXes also have been revamped. Now, there is only a total of 100 cards in the box, as opposed to 200 cards that it had from the mechanic’s introduction. Additionally, starting with the introduction of Aqours AC Unity Limited UR set, you can also choose the member that you want from the banner, as the Limited UR in that box. This means that, unlike before, you can now guarantee the chance of getting the Limited UR that you want, provided you have enough resource to empty the box, of course. The trade-off, however, is that you can reset the box only TWICE (so you have exactly three BOXes of 100 Cards to work with). The intention is most likely to allow collector players to hedge their chances of getting at least one copy of all the three Limited URs featured on the banner.

I will update this section (or rather remove it) again when the JP’s version of the box arrives on WW.


Great for Guaranteeing a Limited UR; terrible in every other area

From Honoka’s 2018 Limited Birthday BOX Scouting. Just lovely, isn’t it??

The main selling point of a Limited BOX is that there is an upper limit of the gems you have to spend in order guarantee getting its main Limited UR.

But unfortunately that’s really all it has to offer.

In a typical box with unlimited number of cards, 10+1’s will guarantee a card that can be an SR or higher rarity. In a BOX Scouting, you run the risk of getting 11 R’s with 50 gems, because there is no SR+ guarantee.

Because of this, you should consider scouting in a Limited BOX when, and only when, you have the intention of emptying its contents.

If your goal is to empty the box anyway, getting more or fewer R’s hardly make a difference. But if your goal is to get as many high rarity cards, you are better off trying your luck on Step-Up boxes with great perks. If you have only a few hundred gems, I strongly advise against attempting the BOX, and saving it either for next BOX when you have more gems or on step-ups with better deals.


It’s worth noting that there is always the off-chance that you will get the Limited UR in only just a few scouts in, but it is definitely not something you should rely on. If you got your Limited UR in just a couple of tries, remember that the RNG is NOT as generous to everyone else.


Birthday Boxes

Birthday Boxes deserve its own section because of its unique characteristics: their arrival is completely predictable, but the boxes that entail the campaign are constantly evolving.

Starting 2016, SIF deploys special Campaign Boxes on each character’s birthday, which feature boxes containing only cards of the respective characters. In the later years, the Birthday Boxes also evolve, offering unique scouting boxes with perks that could make you regret missing the occasion. If you are one of those people who play this game for cards of your best girls, it is definitely one of the most attractive kind of box to shoot for. In this article, the word “Birthday Boxes” is a blanket term that refers to all scouting boxes featured during the Birthday Campaign period.

The birthdays of each respective members are as follows:

The Birthday Boxes are available for 3 days: the day before, the actual day, and the day after the birthday. As I mentioned above, the kind of boxes featured on each birthday changes each year. The following is the forms of Birthday Boxes that will likely be featured in 2019, based on Dia and Hanayo’s Birthday Campaigns.


Aqours – Simple Step-Up

Aqours members birthday feature a standard 3-step box.

The first step scouts 11 at the cost of 30 Gems, guarantees one SR or above.

The second step scouts 11 at the cost of 40 Gems, guarantees one SR or above.

The third step scouts 11 at the cost of 50 Gems, guarantees one SSR or above. 
The box disappears after the 3rd step have been performed.

This version of the Birthday Box is featured for Aqours members on both JP and WW version of the game, and honestly, there is not much to talk about it. If it’s the birthday of your best Aqours girls, definitely consider dumping 120 gems in for her.

As a fun fact, µ’s used to feature this standard 3-Step Box during the member’s birthday, on top of another standard scouting box (5 for 1; 50 for 10+1SR+) containing only cards of the respective member that you can scout for unlimited amount of times. Aqours’s version of this, however, do not feature the separate solo box, and the Step-Up will disappear once you hit all the 3 steps.

It’s worth noting that in the JP version of the game, You was the first Aqours member to have a Birthday Box Campaign. If You started the rotation, then it is very likely that Aqours members may see a new form of Birthday Box Campaign in April 2019. I will update this section if there is anything new.


µ’s – 3 Box Combo

This version of the Birthday Box Combo is introduced to SIF JP and WW in January 2019, and features a combo of three boxes as follows:

1) 2019 Limited Birthday BOX Scouting

As I mentioned in the section about understanding the risk of a Limited BOX, the Limited Birthday BOX has also been revamped to contain only 100 cards. The trade-off is that there is no Standard UR in the box now, but that is hardly a set back, in my opinion. The BOX still cannot be reset once it is emptied.

Please refer to the Emptying a Limited BOX Scouting section for an approach on tackling Limited BOXes.

2) 5-Step Box with infinite 5th step

This is the latest evolved form of Birthday Step-Up Box to-date, and arguably the best box of the combo. The steps are:

The first step scouts 11 at the cost of 30 Gems, guarantees one SR or above.

The second step scouts 11 at the cost of 40 Gems, guarantees two SR’s or above.

The third step scouts 11 at the cost of 50 Gems, guarantees one SSR or above.

The fourth step scouts 11 at the cost of 50 Gems; ALL scouted cards in this step will be SR or above.

The fifth step scouts 11 at the cost of 50, guarantees one SR or above; can be performed indefinitely

This box is extremely good for several reasons. First of all, the 2019 Limited Birthday UR is included in this box with increased appearance rate, meaning you have a chance of getting the 2019 Limited Birthday UR without even having to attempt the Limited Birthday BOX above.

Secondly, the first 4 steps of this box are incredibly good deals. The first two steps are good because it allows you to guarantee 3 SR or above at the cost of only 70 gems. Normally – to guarantee the same number of SR or above – you have to perform three 10+1’s, which costs 150 gems. That is over TWICE the cost of the first two steps.

And finally, I don’t think I have to explain why one SSR or above, and 11 SR or above at the cost of only 50 gems each are so good.

This box should definitely be your priority if you want to scout for the birthday girl.

3) Solo Birthday Girl Box with rate up on 2018 Limited Birthday UR

This is a typical scouting box (5 for 1; 50 for 10+1SR+), featuring only cards of the birthday girl. However, the main highlight is the Limited Birthday UR from 2018, which will be included among the URs in this box. The effective drop rate of the 2018 UR is 0.75%, so if your draw procs a UR, there is a very high chance that it’s gonna be her.

!!! UPDATE !!!

4) 2018 Limited Birthday BOX Scouting

As a surprise to pretty much, well… everyone, KLab issued an announcement on 17 January 2019 as written above. To summarize, for only the WW version of the game, we will be getting the 2018 version of the Birthday Limited BOX Scouting for the girls that missed this version of the Birthday BOX Scouting in 2018. Those girls are Hanayo, Umi, Maki, and Nozomi. Because this announcement came in at the exact day of Hanayo’s birthday, the BOX has been scheduled onto a different unannounced date in February, as per the announcement. However, for Umi, Maki, and Nozomi, the three of them will have the fourth box available during their 3-days Birthday Campaign period. The detail of the BOX is as follows:

Honoka’s Limited Birthday BOX Scouting back in August 2018
The BOX kind of requires an arbitrary start-up to choose a member for the Standard UR in this box, which is why the Std. UR in the pic is zero and the total Remaining are at 199 cards.

The BOX features 200 cards with 1 Limited UR and 1 Standard UR among them. There is one and only one Limited UR you can get, and that is the Limited Birthday UR featured on the banner. The Standard UR in the BOX can be ANY UR of that respective member. Once you empty the contents of this BOX, you cannot reset it.

Because there is only one possible Limited UR you can get from this BOX, emptying its contents guarantees that you will definitely get it for sure.

If you are going for both 2018 and 2019 Limited URs, then you better make some serious preparation well ahead of time because 455 + 910 gems is NOT a small amount to rack up in the given time span.

For more information on the approach to tackling Limited BOXes, please refer to the Emptying a Limited BOX Scouting section.

/// UPDATE ///


Emptying a Limited BOX Scouting

If you are reading this section, I assume you came here with the intention of emptying a Limited BOX. It is important to highlight, once again, that the appeal of Limited BOXes is that they have an upper limit of cost to guarantee the Limited UR. If you do not have the gems to hit that upper limit (or at least 80% of that), you are fighting against a very unfavorable odd.

To empty the contents of a BOX, you have to be well-prepared for it. While there are several approaches to preparation, I think the first step to planning your assault on the Limited Box is calculating the exact number of resources you need in order to empty the box.


Do not doubt 10+1

As I mentioned in my “Basics of Scouting Box” article, unlike every other scouting boxes, scouting 10+1 here do not guarantee SR or above. So you run a risk of your Scout 11 giving you only R’s. However, it is still very beneficial to perform a Scout 11 over a solo due to the free additional card. As I mentioned before, you should attempt this BOX only with the intention of emptying its entire or most of the contents. And because of that, any additional deduction to the total is always better.

To illustrate this in an actual scale, a typical BOX Scouting of 100 cards will require 500 Love Gems (100 solo yolos). However, assuming you are using as many 10+1 as you can, you can empty the box using only 455 gems (9 x 11 = 99 cards, using 450 gems, plus additional 5 gems for the last card), saving you 45 gems.


Gem Equivalence

One of the things many players still seems to take for granted is the true value of the no-guarantee scouting resources, namely Green Tickets and Scout 3 tickets.

Gems aren’t the only thing you can use to scout in a Limited BOX. Green Tickets, Scout 3, and Scout 11 Tickets are all eligible for this box. Because your goal is to “empty the BOX”, not “get a good card from the ticket used”, the no-guarantee property suddenly becomes irrelevant in this equation. You should prioritize using no-guarantee items to chip away the total remaining cards, before spending the ones that actually guarantee rarities in other boxes, such as the Scout 11 Ticket, and of course, Love Gems.

To illustrate its usefulness, let’s take a look at my main account’s current resources:

Two Scout 11’s is 22 cards.

Eight Scout 3’s is 24 cards.

And finally, 29 Green Tickets is basically 29 cards.

Add all of that together, and you can see that I’ve already knocked out 75 cards and I haven’t spent a single gem yet. With only 25 cards left, two more 10+1’s (100 gems) and another 15 gems will empty the box, no problem.

Because Limited BOXes are usually spread apart from each other with a reasonable time frame, you have ample time to accumulate Green Tickets (and Scout 3 or 11 if you buy the packs). With this knowledge in mind, next time you pick up a Green Ticket, do consider this perspective before spending it on a typical scouting box where it would most likely just give you another R’s.


An Optimal Strategy for 2019 Birthday Box

So you want the Limited Birthday UR of µ’s members in 2019. There are three boxes during the birthday campaign, and you are really not sure which box you want to hit up first. Worry not, because I’ve come up with an optimal strategy for tackling the 2019 µ’s Birthday Boxes.

This strategy is aimed to maximize your chance of getting the 2019 Limited UR, using the lowest possible gems. The idea here is to hit the Step-Up box first; hit all of its first four steps. If you did not get the 2019 Limited UR, then you can hedge your chances with the Limited Birthday BOX. After that, you can do whatever you want per the three branches in the diagram above.

The reason you want to hit the Step-Up Box first is because not only does it offer ridiculously good deals for other cards, it also has a chance of giving you the 2019 Limited Birthday UR as well. As I mentioned above, Limited BOXes are great only for its upper limit of gem cost. Scouting in Step-Up first gives you the chance of getting the Limited Birthday UR together with a bunch of really great cards at a significantly lower cost. If the Limited Birthday UR does not come out from the Step-Up box, then you can proceed to scout in the Limited BOX to damage control your chance of getting it.

Obviously, this strategy can’t be executed for free, and you are very likely going to need a lot of Love Gems; 625 gems for the 4-Steps and emptying the BOX, to be precise. It can still look like a hefty amount, but remember that it is the “upper limit”. There is a very good chance you will get the card prior to hitting the 625 gems mark, unless you are ridiculously unlucky.

Please note that this strategy is strictly for acquiring 2019 Limited Birthday URs ONLY.

If you also wish to scout for the 2018 Limited Birthday URs (Zodiac Goddesses) of Hanayo, Umi, Maki, and Nozomi, you will need an entirely separate stock of gems for them. So please, spend responsibly.


Afterword

And that concludes my topics on scouting boxes. Hopefully the information presented here helps you plan out your strategy or see things in a different and better perspective.

Remember that these boxes and mechanics are constantly being updated. If there is any major changes, I will update this post to catch up with the most current development.

As always, if you find this article helpful, feel free to use it as a source of reference and share it with your friends who play this game.

Hope you guys enjoy reading this article.

This has been the Mad_Cartoonist. Signing out.


Credits for info and assets in this post:

Caraxian’s Twitter

KachAgain’s Twitter

KachAgain LLSIF Hub

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