Costume Chao Comparison

Hey all!

Caution: wall of text (with some pics) about heroes not high on people priority list. This what happens when I got bored and nerd on out.

I was excited last costume chamber to get Chao’s costume. Mana control is a huge part of the game and the vanilla options are very meh :man_shrugging: at the 4* level. I am a F2P but was fortunate enough to get one of the special mana controllers over the years in Gretel. That was game changing for me :+1:.

In reading Chao’s card it seemed like a big upgrade from a mana control standpoint compared to the other vanilla options, but I wanted to see how good. I have gone on rants before about the poor quality of vanilla mana control heroes, so I will try to avoid getting too caught up in that this time … keyword “try” :laughing:. When I say vanilla mana control I am basically referring to:

Li Xiu - small cut to all enemies (20%), negligible damage (150% at 616 base A value)

Li Xiu w/ costume - smaller cut then base Li Xiu (10%), but higher damage (180% at 660 base A value). IMO the damage is still negligible, not that her special is meant to be damage dealing. Aside from emblem quests and messing around the base version is better IMO with the costume boost as you might as well take the bigger mana cut because the damage is poor regardless.

Little John - Reduces mana production of enemies by 64% for 3 turns and does decent damage for AoE hero of 185% at 741 base A value. I would note he works well combined with Li Xiu as his mana reduction exacerbates Ali’s 20% cut to feel like more. You are also using 2 hero slots out of 5 though. 40% of your team be a lot to commit to mana control.

Little John w/ costume - I don’t count this. You can gain mana to your heroes by dodging, but does nothing to the enemy.

Chao - Gives a 25% cut to a single hero and 315% damage at 607 base A value.

My main issue with these is some times Chao and Li barely buy a half turn. It’s so small. To touch briefly comparing these to the likes to Hansel, Proteus, Mist, etc. is a joke and not fair at all to say they’re in the same class, or supposedly comparable, of mana control is absurd. I really feel for F2P’s and new players who are still using vanilla mana control, it’s really almost unfair. Anyways …

Costume Chao is clearly better than any of the options above. I wanted to compare him then to Gretel to see just how good he is. It’s not quite a fair comparison as Gretel has more emblems. It is the best I could do as she is my best mana controller and is considered below the previously mentioned special mana control heroes, but better than the vanilla batch.

I have only compared them on S3 normal, not on raids. They each had a level 11 mana troop so the troop boost is identical. I played them on multiple stages together although most pictures are from the same one.

Here is Chao:

Here is Gretel:

In general what I found was that if the enemy has a fast recharge, it was 50/50 on whether Chao would recharge to fire before the enemy fired its special. If the enemy had an average or slow mana generation Chao would pretty much always charge before the enemy charged it’s special. This would allow you to stack his special into the same enemy or impact a second enemy before the impact to the first one wore off. Obviously get repeated damage from his hit too. More on that below.

I was a little torn because the enemy can still charge and fire, but their charge, even at fast mana, is noticeably slower. On one hand you want to pump tiles to recharge Chao/increase steal. On the other you still want the enemy to not fire.

With a single average to slow mana enemy Chao could effectively prevent them from firing. It was then much safer to pump tiles and keep Chao rolling. Fast mana the enemy will still fire pretty regularly depending on tiles. Say, roughly half the time. If you have multiple fast mana bosses he won’t prevent them firing.

I will say his mana slow drain, even on fast enemies, is noticeable and given his fast recharge makes it more effective on a single enemy than say Little John’s generation reduction. In context with mana pots and back up time stops for say a quest or event, Chao can be super effective.

Gretel we know how her special works, I won’t get too into it. General concept is hit the enemy with the special and pump tiles into them while the special is in effect to create extra damage.

Gretel is average mana, but completely stops the special. Chao is fast and can regenerate himself to keep firing. Gretel will need mana pots to get the same output. She can be more effective then, but also requires more battle items and resources to be.

Then is comes to damage. I was surprised by the difference. Here is +1 Chao:

The 260 isn’t a ton compared to a sniper. Given he recharges himself and can fire effective faster than fast mana, repeated 260 hits add up.

Here is +18 attack path Gretel:

The 173 is way lower. You do get the splash damages to the adjacent enemies, which is something I guess. If those were other bosses though, and not mob-level foes, that damage would be nothing.

In a straight initial hit Chao wins, but tile availability will make all the difference. As I mentioned Chao can keep firing if he is still mana while you’re dumping tiles. In a 3 turn span say you fire him twice for 520.

Here is Gretel’s damage from her mana effect. The pic is from a different level, but that damage negates D value, etc so it’s all the same:

204 is pretty high for bonus damage. Usually you can get the bonus at least once for a total of 377, but if the tiles align and you can get that bonus damage 2 or 3 times it starts to tip the scales to Gretel. Again, not factoring the splash damage to other enemies. That also depends on tiles to dump in those 3 turns during Gretel’s special too.

Reduced damage but a total stop of enemy firing specials rather than increased damage for a reduced fire rate. Kind of a toss up going situationally to either one.

Overall I was surprised how close these two are. If you need a full stop Gretel wins. If you just need them to fire less Chao can do that pretty well and cause comparable to better damage.

I was really excited because I know a lot of people still dealing with using vanilla mana controllers. Having one of them now be so effective that they’re comparable to a special event one is huge. Way better than the other options and I would argue better in many scenarios than the vanilla 5* option, which would just be Leo and his 40% drop. I think if you’re in this boat leveling Chao’s costume should very well be a priority and potentially worth emblems too. He is a huge gain in that regard.

Wow, you made it this fair …

Good luck out there!



Thanks for the post! I was lucky enough to get him last month but have been too busy leveling viv to pay attention to him. I might level up his costume quick now though and even give him some emblems again :laughing: always in need of mana controllers for war teams


Thanks for the feedback @Itty glad you found it helpful.

Haven’t tested it much PvP yet, but let us know how it goes!

Good luck out there!



thank you @Muchacho ! great insight. I only have Renfeld’s costume, but was already excited about Chao’s. your post will help me if I ever get Chao’s and will already help me figure out Renfeld’s :slight_smile:


This a coustome I do want… I have chao+7 don’t see much love these days except trails, 4* tournament maybe event depends… I have another at 3/60, running multiple I think could be a laugh. but he’s costume is funny wtf.


Yeah, that bird is something else bro. I get birds are light but that is still a big bird. Chao must have some epic shoulder strength.

I started using Gretel and costume Chao together on elite enemy stages and they have been a phenomenal pair so far. Took this team on boss stage of province 23 and they just shut it down:

Let me know how it goes, your Chao has more emblems than mine. Mine won’t see any soon either stuck behind some staples like Athena and Lianna. Good problem to have I guess :laughing:



It’s an easy mistake to make, but that’s not Chao in a costume with a bird on his arm, that’s Chao in a costume sitting on a random dude

Great summary of the hero, though. Mrs the Bard has Gretel and I’ve been quite envious, hopefully I can snare me a dodo :laughing:


I used him extensively in the last 4* rush attack tournament. He was only at 1 node though so his damage wasn’t that great especially in rush since the opponent’s healers will keep healing, and he wasn’t durable enough. But the ranger emblems are all booked for him from now.

I did use him once in a war in a mono team against an Alfrike flank, and she never got the chance to fire. Against a slow enemy, he will be very useful. Hit the enemy hero with his special and then dump tiles on it.

Edit : Oh, I should note that my mono yellow also has Leo and cLi Xiu so that’s a lot of mana cutting :smiley:

Edit 2 : He’ll probably be used in the upcoming Event since it’s reflect purple again so Proteus is out for 4* mode

:no_mouth: … some costumes are at best a lateral shift in aesthetics … to go from a raptor or bird of prey to a dodo is like trading in a Porsche for Mater from Cars … I would have a strongly biased letter for HR if I were Chao …

Cool story :+1:



My theory is that someone responsible for design has seen “Pirates: an Adventure with Scientists”. Spoiler alert: Polly the parrot is actually a dodo.

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Soooooo, I power leveled the guy basically immediately after I posted here. Been testing him out the past few days. I’m sad to say, I don’t think the man is gonna get his emblems back, even though he has a ridiculous looking large bird sitting on his arms (and I’m a huge fan of men that like animals :rofl: ).

I think a few months ago he would have been a very useful addition to my then more limited roster. These days I can’t imagine when I would want to use him over my Mist and I’d basically only use him for cleanup flags for war - which I could use a lot of other heroes for. His main issue is that the mana drain is too slow - so it doesn’t really do that much to prevent heroes from firing. You need to combine him with other mana controllers, such as Li, to really be effective in preventing enemy fire. Also he only hits one target - I get that he’s fast but this means he drains less mana as well. I gotta say I was much more impressed by costume Renfeld. I don’t even think I’ll use him in tourneys much because I’d rather use Mist.

OP did say he’s not as good as Mist to be fair. I gotta agree. I also don’t use my Gretel much at the moment as she’s way to squishy without emblems. We’ll see - I’ll keep testing him out and maybe he’ll grow on me. For now, my ranger emblems are gonna stay in the inventory.


I like Chao “as is” - if I get the costume I’ll level it for the bonus, as one must, but unlikely to equip it. Chao was a staple in my progress team for ages, but has never had emblems and probably never will.

Renfield’s costume goes down as one of the great successes, from feeder to favourite in one fell swoop. It’s funny how some work well but others that seem similar just don’t.

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Nice feedback @Itty , thanks.

I was leery of the birded wonder in raids as I am predominantly in the low diamond arena (high platinum when I have been lazy and not raided for a few days :laughing:). In that arena my Gretel +18 doesn’t come all that often for the squish-factor. When I do she is there for tile damage and a back-up plan, never a key part. …or variety.

I did mention the benefit I saw may not translate to raids and all my testing was done in provinces. In the provinces he has still been doing well for me. I may get around to trying him in raid teams but his special is of limited use on fast mana charges and we all know fast is the current meta. I noticed above that fast mana enemies still fire probably 50% of the time.

Good luck out there and keep us posted on what you find!

Agree, too many good rangers. Mine is +1 and will stay there for a very long time)likely forever).


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Kept tinkering and he is still impressing, again compared to vanilla options.

I used this team for the nature trials:

As the sole mana controller and slowed everyone down enough that each boss fired once before dying. Their specials were not coordinated or anything, more random shots so never a real threat. Again, didn’t prevent them but reduced number of fires effectively. :+1:

Ran this team on ultimate in costume chamber:

He pairs well on multiple bosses with Gretel. I fire Chao with everyone else at the beginning to start the drain and hold Gretel until someone not being drained by Chao is a threat. Those to prevented bosses from firing at all with no mana pots used to ensure this. At one point Chao was holding two back because he was charging so fast. When he is effecting multiple bosses he charges stupid fast from the double steal :+1:

He is frail unless you emblem him, which I do not intend to any time soon. If it weren’t for Gullinbursti’s overheal he would be a survival liability.

I used to combine Leonidas with Gretel, but Chao has been a more effective combo IMO. He has outperformed Leo from a pure mana control aspect. Leo survives, self heals, and hits harder so he still has use and perks obviously.

I haven’t gotten around to raiding with him yet, and may not, as his power and survivability don’t translate to diamond arena well.



To clarify when he impacts multiple bosses I have seen him charge every other turn regularly and if I can flip yellow tiles I can next turn charge him. If he gets rolling he can snowball and keep firing stupid fast.


Hey all!

I have one last update from additional experimenting. This will be my final update as I have decided not to try c-Chao in PvP. Mine is at +1 and will not receive more talents due to the use of some other rangers. A +1 4* just can’t hang on my attack teams in diamond without better synergy. I would encourage someone with a +18-20 c-Chao to take up the PvP mantle if they felt so inclined.

The reason I am updating is I changed some stats and tried a different team combo. So what changed was Gretel. My yellows expanded since originally getting her. I don’t need her as a primary damage dealer anymore so I reset her to HP/D as her surviving and mana control is more important. That being said her A value is still good. I intend to take her to +20 when I have enough emblems for the final health boost.

Here is the new Gretel:

Again, here is c-Chao (unchanged):

I brought them to stage 10 of province 29 (I think?) on S3 normal against Kadilen and Elkanen as bosses. A fair warning in advance I realized they had different troops this time, which make some difference in attack. This is a less scientifically “pure” experiment I guess :laughing: Close enough though …

Here was c-Chao’s damage to Elkanen:

Comparable to other tests from some of the initial experiments on S3 normal. Mid 200’s is what to expect on normal with no emblems.

Here is Gretel’s updated damage:

So Gretel dropped her damage about 20-30 points. I knew the drop wouldn’t be that big as her attack percentage is low on her special minimizing the impact of reduced A value. Her A value is still high though.

Here is Gretel’s damage from enemy max mana:

This is further down than I expected. About 20 or so, which is proportional to the reduction in special.

Basically c-Chao will do 260.
Gretel will do 159 (initial damage) + 184 (max mana) for 343. Option for bleeding as barbarian at roughly 30 for 373.

This does assume you get the damage at least once from Gretel. The scale tips to c-Chao’s favor if he can charge rapidly as his hit is more powerful verses getting Gretel’s enemy max mana effect more then once (+76 to c-Chao). 76 isn’t huge but as a proportion of damage we’re looking at is significant. Gretel is also a barbarian, so if emblemed you can expect an addition 30 or so from bleeding to her damage on occasion.

Here is the latest team I have been bringing to difficult levels or elite enemy stages:

I add Leo to the mix. Gretel and c-Chao work well on a team, but not together. When you hit someone with Gretel you want their mana to charge fast, not be drained. Using all 3 c-Chao and Leo can tag team the same enemy effectively (or different enemies situationally too). If you don’t have Leo regular Chao or some other reducer will work too. Gretel then acts as a back stop or a pseudo time stop for when a cascade charges too many enemies, etc. This has results in a reduction in mana pot use.

Gullinbursti helps survival with overheal and Justice helps by blinding all, and being sturdy, so in the off chance someone shoots they miss. It also makes slashes miss as c-Chao and Gretel are not the sturdiest heroes. A slow, methodical team, but still effective.

Finally, a funny picture of when I took a screen shot at the wrong time. Kadilen’s special in effect so Gretel’s special did virtually no damage:

I didn’t realize what happened at first and what like “What the hell!?!” :laughing:

That’s it. It was a fun comparison to make and play with. If someone has more to add feel free to take over and run with it, especially PvP, but I am done tinkering in my end. Hopefully this helped someone out there, or was at least interesting read.

Good luck out there!



Who is generally better in war - Gretel or cChao (without emblems)? Thx for answer :wink:

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Bro…I’m sorry, but I have to disagree with you on Little John Costume. Out of all the mana controllers you mentioned, I think Little John costume is very underrated.

You say that the dodging does nothing to the enemy, but you simply need to look at it from a slightly different angle. The other heroes take some percentage of mana away, which can take a turn away from them, which is huge. Or, they can slow down the mana gain to give yourself an extra turn or two, and those things are great, but the dodge just might be the best of them all.

First of all, he does damage to all. Second, the dodge goes up to 70% depending on how much damage is incoming. Now think about this…if an enemy sniper is successfully dodged (snipers have a higher chance of being dodged since it’s based on dmg) then you didn’t just take away 10-20% of their mana or slow their mana generation down for a few turns, you literally made them waste 100% of their mana, their skill activation, and all of the damage that the skill would have done, and on top of it, you gain a bit of mana as a result, increasing your mana generation and possibly even setting up your heroes to activate a turn early.

If 3 snipers all miss, and at 70% there’s a really good chance of that, then, by far, this would be a better result in terms of mana control than any of the other heroes.

Yes, it’s situational and depends on the other teams makeup, but still, I say Little John Costume is way overlooked and underrated.


Thanks for the response @Crowcaine . I think on this one we agree to disagree. I see your point on having an enemy attack miss. I would view it more as a secondary perk than a functional measure of control and here’s why:

1 - The enemy still has a 30% chance to hit which means there is a 30% chance you did nothing to control mana.

2 - If you’re getting hit be AoE enemies the dodge chance is much lower given the reduced per hero strength of the hit meaning you’re more likely to get hit. Especially a factor with raid formations.

3 - If you’re trying to stop a non-damage dealer/passive special his impact is negligible (healer, buffer, minion maker, etc.).

4 - You’re referencing PvP scenarios I believe and he is still slow mana. As a counter to snipers that is problematic initially as the odds of charging him prior to fast mana snipers, which most are, is … uncertain at best. Perhaps inconsistent?

  • If he isn’t set to dodge he is not very durable in the event he is hit.

It seems to me to be on par with say Malicna, Danzaburo, and Rumple as it could work great, but you never know as you’re adding an element of RNG towards its efficiency each time it is active.

Not to say that he isn’t good. We may be in agreement to him being underrated. I have and use Malicna. I used to use Danzaburo a fair bit as well. I think the most effective mana control is more precise in nature. So it is comparing a broadsword to a scalpel. Both have their place.

I would be curious to know more though. As I said, we may agree he is underrated. If you wanted to do your own comparison with something that would be great. I would be more than willing to help gather additional data for you in any way I can. The more detailed information out there in the forums the better the community is as a whole.

Thanks again and good luck out there!


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Why are your heroes not locked? Lock them or I won’t talk to you.

eta… I love my costumed Chao. Ninjas hate him.


Hey, Cheers Brother, I appreciate the intelligent debate. So, to respond to each point you made:

  1. Yes, I agree, of course there is still the 30%, which is not insignificant, so yes, it will be somewhat inconsistent and when it doesn’t trigger, it will suck royally. That is the game you play if/when you chose to play him, it is a risk/reward mechanic. Risk 30% for a great reward. I’m not saying he’s the best mana controller in the game, just that he’s very underrated.

  2. Yes, against other type of damage his efficiency will suffer, but that is sort of a given. That is why I said that he’s “situational and depends on the other team’s makeup” and that a very important stipulation to consider. Obviously you wouldn’t consider him an all-around great mana controller, but for perhaps best for sniper heavy teams.

  3. my response to 2) also seems to apply here.

  4. The slow mana does suck. I do wish he was at least average, but the fact that he remains slow, sorta reinforces the notion that his ability is good, because generally slow heroes are rewarded with the better abilities, so if the designers of the game, who test their design changes prior to launching, decided that the abilities they gave him were fitting for what he is as a slow hero, then yeah, I think it might just be a better ability than most might think at first glance. That’s not to say that they’re always right, become obviously some heroes are really unbalanced, but I’d be really interested to see the actual data.

I would say that the difference between him and the likes of Danza or the other multiple option outcome RNG type multiple possibility specials is that, unlike Danza, where you have a 25% of any 1 of 4 things to happen, with John, so long as you’re using him in the right situation, you can expect to get what you want almost 3/4 of the time, which is much more consistent than the others.

So…I obviously don’t have the solid data to back up my claims as of yet. I’m going to need to actually do some testing with him, but once I do, I’ll be sure to post it, because I agree, there simply isn’t enough information out there yet about Costume Little John.


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