What can I say about Jarlaxle Baerne? He has been everywhere. The leader of the drow mercenary group Bregan D’aerthe, the power behind the Five High Captains of Luskan and the male third child of the High Priest of Lloth in Menzoberranzan, I’m frankly surprised Ludia acquired the rights to use a major character from the Forgotten Realms in their mobile game (sorry Mr. Evans, your Brimstone Angels just don’t have Salvatore’s reach). Jarlaxle is an Icon of the Realms, and this is your chance to get him.
To unlock Jarlaxle as a character (or unlock a legendary pack if you have Jarlaxle already), you must complete 3 Stages of the “Jarlaxle’s Grand Entrance” Test of Might Heroic Adventure event. If you have a VIP subscription, then you can clear a fourth stage to unlock a legendary pack for Jarlaxle.
Each stage requires 20 PvP wins to clear. [Note: thanks to @gpinsky1313 for confirming the final stage needs 20 wins to clear as well.] For the first stage, you have unlimited tries to complete the stage. For the second stage, you can lose up to 3 times before you must pay 30 gems to clear the stage. This cost rises to 40 gems for the third stage.
There are gold, equipment card and Brawl Chest rewards (which correspond to your arena level) along the way.
If you unlock Jarlaxle through this event, you will also open a “Jarlaxle pack”, which contains 6 buckets. The first bucket is gold, and the remainder 5 buckets are for equipment cards. There appears to be no minimum equipment rarity guaranteed because I received 5 common cards, each between 40 and 50 cards.
The event will last for a little more than 7 days starting Thursday January 24th. The event will expire at 9:00 am EST (Ludia standard time) on January 31st.
[Note: Jarlaxle is a new character which had only been available for pre-purchase for actual currency. This is the first time Jarlaxle become available using in-game currency. Although there are no guarantees that there will future opportunities to acquire Jarlaxle, in my opinion, there will very likely be future opportunities to acquire Jarlaxle.]
The event takes your highest Battle mode trophy count this season as your base event trophy count for beginning of the event. [There is no point in tanking Battle mode trophies. It only wastes your time and aggrieved your fellow Battle mode players.]
Your event trophy count appears to carry over between stages.
Moreover, your highest Battle mode trophy count this season also counts as your lowest event trophy count for matchmaking purposes. Losing matches during the event can get you back to your starting difficulty but now lower. [This effectively renders the the “Lose Early; Lose Often” strategy ineffective for this event. It may also be that your highest league’s floor also serves as your trophy floor for the event.]
However, there is a possibility that the game may track your trophy count even if it is lower than your season high. Therefore losing many games during the first stage before moving on to the second stage may be advised.
Luckily, the developers have complied with the players’ request to adjust the event trophy count based on the participant’s relative event trophy count, rather than their Battle mode trophy count. [For more detail, see: Recommendations to fix Test of Might]
This means that players are no longer punished for early wins and no longer need to fear positive feedback loops that drive fights harder and harder.
Play the first stage with intent to win each match to determine what your overall win-loss rate will be, until the final match. Attempt to lose 10 matches or more to reset your trophy count before you start stage 2. The cost for completing stage 2 will roughly be ((losses)-1.5)*10 gems, which I will roughly estimate to be 200 gems. Stage 3 will likely cost 300 or so gems to complete. If the prizes and unlocking the character seems worthwhile for that amount of gems and the time it takes to win 40-60 more PvP battles, then go ahead and finish the event. If your win rate is dismal, then skip it. Even if you have a good win rate, I don’t think it’d be unreasonable to skip this event.
[Note: I kind of stumbled into a very favourable situation by doing something silly with my approach to Battle mode this month: Battle mode and zero-sum gaming
This made my season’s battle mode trophy count artificially low, about 700 trophies lower than it ought to have been. I ended up going 20-3 for the second stage, which only cost me 30 gems to complete.]