In anticipation of the DOA Regionals season and Store Championships, there is an important rule change we want to implement going forward, effective on June 26th, 2023:

A champion leveling up will no longer wake it up.


This mechanic where leveling up your champion allows it to wake up again has been something we have discussed internally for game design for a while now. We are also aware that it has been a point of discussion several times within the community. Initially, this rule was made to give a feeling akin to a burst of energy you'd get from leveling up a character in an RPG. While this works in terms of flavor, this sort of mechanic is unbalanced, giving certain champions an edge over others innately, which thereby limits design space.

We no longer feel that this rule is worth keeping as the problems it creates far outweigh the touch of flavor we wanted to incorporate.

In more detail, the two primary reasons for this rule change are design space limitations and champion momentum. In terms of design space, it affects our ability to design interesting and interactive champions that focus on activated abilities that rest, such as Merlin, and many of the attack and combat-focused classes. On the other side of the same coin, it also makes leveling mechanics difficult to design when it amplifies the power of those kinds of champions. In terms of gameplay, waking up champions can provide a huge tempo boost over and above that of champions that do not make use of rest effects, whether they are abilities or attacking. We think this is the right change for healthy future design and allows us to push the frontiers of design space more safely.

Future sets and designs have already been going through testing with this change and we truly believe that this will improve the experience of Grand Archive gameplay as a whole.


Dungeon Guide, Beseech the Winds, and Freezing Hail
Situations primarily affected by this change are those involving Dungeon Guide and Beseech the Winds, which both offer the player an opportunity to level up twice in a turn, as well as with cards like Freezing Hail, which may cause a champion to not wake up at the beginning of a turn.

In the case of Dungeon Guide and Beseech the Winds which allow waking up a champion after it has been leveled, the best example is with players leveling from Lorraine, Blademaster (Lv 2) to a Crux Lorraine after having dealt damage. This allows Spirit Blade: Infusion to be activated for free and start the combo chain with Spirit Blade: Ascension on that turn rather than requiring more investment through Spirit's Blessing. This kind of momentum goes against our updated design philosophy in terms of how many turns the game is expected to take after players level up to their Level 3 champion, unlocking their advanced element.

In Freezing Hail's case, it has the opposite effect, in which case a champion rested with Freezing Hail will no longer wake up when being leveled. These kinds of effects can conserve the tempo gained without being effectively countered by a free wake-up effect on leveling. We will be closely monitoring the efficiency of Freezing Hail after this ruling update.

Why a Ruling Change?

Another consideration would be to eventually ban Dungeon Guide and Beseech the Winds. However, these cards allow the possibility for players to build their decks in a way that prioritizes power in later points of the game rather than earlier. We believe this type of deck building space is great for Grand Archive if each strategy is properly balanced.

This concludes this ruling update regarding leveling up champions. The new ruling will be effective June 26th, 2023 and won't be reflected in the Comprehensive Rules until then. Events may adopt the new ruling earlier at the Tournament Organizer's discretion. We're excited to see people playing in the upcoming Store Championships and Regionals!