The Incarnate System (心意システム, shin'i shisutemu) is a secret ability of Brain Burst. It is the ability of a Burst Linker to use the power of will as a way to become faster and more powerful or to strengthen their moves in battle. Only a few Burst Linkers know about Incarnation, including the Six Kings of Pure Color.
Normally, a Burst Linker's Duel Avatar - and presumably any other virtual reality avatar they use - is controlled by the Neurolinker reading the person's brainwaves. Essentially, it reads activity in the brain's motor cortex while piping information to the brain's sensory cortex. This style of control is dubbed "control via physical order".
However, there is a second, more difficult method to manipulating one's Duel Avatar - "control via power to image". Similar to willpower (though the Neurolinker likely cannot read abstract feelings like willpower), it uses the Burst Linker's ability to strongly picture something happening to bring about a change in the environment. As this is closer to using one's imagination, the Neurolinker is able to read this information. The players of Brain Burst have named this the Incarnate System.
Depending on the strength of the pictured image, the Brain Burst program handles this irregular signal by producing physical particle effects. These have been called "Over Rays" by the Burst Linkers who have managed to acquire the technique. Most of the time, if the incarnation (pictured image) is strong enough to be used in battle, these Over Rays will appear.
Sky Raker categorizes the usage of incarnation into two groups: using it as a proxy for something that could be more easily done physically, such as Raker propelling her wheelchair with incarnation instead of wheels, and using it as a means to bring about impossible phenomena. However, it generally takes a long time and a lot of experience to master the Incarnate System.
In addition, the system is not without its downsides. Using the Incarnate System draws power from the hole in your heart - your trauma. It is ultimately the Burst Linker's decision whether to believe in something (the longing that created their Duel Avatar) or to despair. Each time a Burst Linker uses incarnation, it draws them closer to the darkness of their own heart. This is related to the coordinate plane system of describing the Incarnate System, explained below. It also causes heavy mental exhaustion if used recklessly.
Silver Crow, while ascended to the Highest Level with Metatron's second form, realizes after shedding his figurative "armor" around his heart that the nightmare associated with a Duel Avatar's creation is taken from the person's imagination, and thus, Duel Avatars are born knowing how to use the Incarnate System, and indeed already have.
The main use of Incarnate is in battle. By strongly picturing different ways to fight in your head, you can make that real. However, in pretty much all cases, these attacks are nothing that couldn't be done more easily by using tools your Duel Avatar already has. For example, Silver Crow's ability to use Firing Range Expansion type incarnate skills is essentially useless, as his main characteristics are his speed and Aviation Ability; and Scarlet Rain's ability to use blast attacks of the same variety is rendered pointless by her Enhanced Armaments.
However, incarnate-powered attacks cannot be defended by normal means; they can only be defended by incarnate-powered defenses, or countered by incarnate-powered attacks. This is their main use in the Accelerated World. Because of that, most that learn of how to use the Incarnate System obey a strict rule of not using it in combat unless it's used against them first.
As incarnation skills are used by solidifying an image in one's head, most Burst Linkers that use it attach a name to specific skills as a trigger to activate the image more quickly. However, unlike Special Moves, using incarnation skills doesn't necessarily deplete one's Special Gauge.
Basic Incarnate Skills
- Firing Range Expansion (such as Silver Crow's Laser Sword and Cyan Pile's Cyan Blade)
- Movement Ability Expansion (such as Silver Crow's Light Speed)
- Attack Power Expansion (such as Rust Jigsaw's Rust Order)
- Armor Density Expansion (such as Sky Raker's Wind Veil)
However, a Burst Linker can only learn how to do two of these types. The two types they can learn are determined by the traits of the specific Duel Avatar - most importantly, the specific desire that gave birth to the Duel Avatar in the first place. For example, Scarlet Rain's main longing was to separate herself from the world for fear of getting hurt; that's why she can learn the Firing Range Expansion and Movement Ability Expansion types, but she can't use incarnation to power up her attacks or defenses.
The specific desire that gives birth to a Duel Avatar can also be condensed to even more abstract terms, and this decides the color it will be. See Duel Avatar for more information on this.
As the Incarnate System can be powered by either hope or despair, one can also divide the techniques resulting from it into the four quadrants of a coordinate plane. The X axis represents the "breadth" of the Duel Avatar's imagination - whether their scars and desires are directed towards them self or towards the outside - and the Y axis represents whether the imagination used is born from hope or despair; though the abilities are originally born from one's scars, the difference is whether the individual turns that into hope or despair. The quadrants are as follows:
- First quadrant (upper-right): Area-targeted positive energy
- Second quadrant (upper-left): Single-target positive energy
- Third quadrant (lower-left): Single-target negative energy
- Fourth quadrant (lower-right): Area-targeted negative energy.
For example, Haruyuki's Laser Sword and Black Lotus's Vorpal Strike are both Attack Range Expansion-type Incarnate abilities, and they both fall into the second quadrant, "hope from within".
Dusk Taker possessed an unnamed Incarnate ability in the third quadrant; the purple waves he could use to attack were born out of despair, rather than hope.
The most dangerous powers lie in the fourth quadrant. Rust Jigsaw's Rust Order falls into this quadrant, born from despair and targeted towards an area. Haruyuki also speculates that Ardor Maiden's other Incarnate ability, the sea of fire, falls into this quadrant as well.
The Incarnate System's "second stage" refers to Incarnate abilities that require far more imagination and concentration than normal ones. Only two are described thus far in the novels.
The first is one that Black Lotus has been working on for a long time. By using her Duel Avatar's attribute, "severance", against herself, she tries to "sever" her Terminate Sword arm into fingers and a thumb. She isn't able to do it for very long, though.
First introduced in Volume 19, the third stage of incarnation has even greater power than the previous stages. Curiously, however, the third stage of incarnation has a relatively tame appearance — while the first and second are flashy with colorful OverRays, third stage incarnation releases almost no light.
The theory of third stage incarnation is fundamentally different from that of the first and second stage. First and second stage incarnation simply overwrites the results output by the system. However, the system’s logic still works against the user, weakening the power of the Incarnate technique. In contrast, Third Stage Incarnation works differently: it directly interferes with the system’s logic at the base level. By substituting the system's logic for one's own, the system itself would support the user’s Incarnate technique, giving it extreme power. According to Graphite Edge, a good user of third stage incarnation could destroy a third of the duel field instantly, giving them what would appear to be administrator privileges.
Graphite Edge escaped his Unlimited EK from Genbu by making use of a very basic third stage technique, making his swords one atom thin and breaking the seal from the outside, thus being able to escape into the Imperial Palace.
As Incarnation is the use of willpower to become stronger, Zero Fill could be considered the lack of willpower; the opposite. Zero Fill was described as the user’s refusal to fight, a condition when they are filled with zero willpower. Incarnation is the exact opposite. It can be described as the state of a Burst Linker when the amount of willpower they possess overpasses reality and takes them to a whole new level of power. This way, it allows them to use their ‘locked’ power.
The result of having a strong incarnation. Those who manifest it are wrapped in an aura of their emotional state.
Known Incarnate Skills
- Silver Crow
- Cyan Pile
- Scarlet Rain
- Unnamed attack-type Incarnate
- Unnamed teleportation Incarnate
- Black Lotus
- Graphite Edge
- Vorpal Strike
- Starburst Stream
- The Eclipse
- Elucidator (third-stage)
- Sky Raker
- Wind Veil
- Ardor Maiden
- Purification Flames
- Unnamed fourth-quadrant Incarnate
- Aqua Current
- Rust Jigsaw
- Rust Order
- Scarlet Rain has stated that she prefers to name her Incarnation attacks.
- The Incarnation System doesn’t really make a player stronger, but instead helps unlock their duel avatar’s hidden powers that have always existed in them.
- It is possible that Silver Crow's flying ability is actually unlocked from this system.
- There are no foolproof diagnostics for the use of Incarnate abilities. While the typical identification criteria for Incarnate abilities are that they glow and do not use up the special attack gauge, there are Incarnate ablities that don't fit these criteria, such as the enhancement of regular abilities or special moves using Incarnation.
- Accel World Volume 07 Chapter 10