Budget Build Fridays #3 – Vermilion Fire

Budget Build Fridays are geared around making affordable decks that are a good starting point for newer players, that you can build from bulk or are affordable. We aim to provide a deck every week with a wide range of playstyles that won’t break the bank.

Hot on the heels of our Card of the Week, Vermilion Bird l’Cie Caetuna, we’re going to be taking a look at everyone’s favourite underdog deck, Mono Fire! According to FFdecks.com, this week’s brew is buildable for a mere $13.74, so hopefully this can help you try out Mono Fire without a large monetary commitment! Plus, if you’re in the UK and ‘enjoying’ the hot weather at the moment, Mono Fire must be an appropriate deck… right?

This week’s deck is based around high-powered attacking forwards and multiple pings for removal – you’ll find that you need to play around Flintlock & Minwu for the pinging aspect of the deck, but Caetuna helps out there and the fact that our forwards can be a potential +4k when attacking is huge!

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Card of the Week #3 – Vermilion Bird l’Cie Caetuna

For this week’s Card of the Week we’ll be having a look at Vermilion Bird l’Cie Caetuna, a 6-cost fire backup from Opus VI.

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I’ve found Caetuna has been a real help in mono fire for shoring up against bad matchups (which unfortunately was pretty much everything). While testing, getting her down as early as possible has really helped to put a lot more pressure on your opponent by making your best summons even better. The main thing you will want to play off of it’s auto ability is Bahamut, for a 9k burn with a remove from play effect if the forward you targeted dies, which is really nice considering it’s cast from the deck. By dropping Caetuna early you can really take the wind out of someone’s sails and put them on the back foot early which is what fire needs to do at the moment to stand any chance of winning – early pressure and then aggro aggro aggro.

Because her 1k boost effect is a field effect and not an auto ability as well, she also makes your EX bursts way more lethal. Flipping a Brynhildr for 7k is nice, but flipping a Brynhildr into damage for 8k is almost definitely going to kill something against most decks – it can be a really nice answer to see Ashe die to a Brynhildr EX burst that hits for 8k, so Ashe even with Wakka in play still dies. A little help against water is what fire sorely needed, although you might find you still have trouble with the Minwu backup.

She can also be used with the Opus V Caetuna‘s S ability to wipe board, although I tested (and got really hype) for the last Caetuna and she didn’t work too well. I feel the right amount of Caetuna is 2 of the Opus VI one, and 0 of the Opus V one, unless you’re playing something like Cadets. Even in Cadets, there’s better backup choices than Opus V Caetuna.

Initially I wanted to run this card as a 3 of because of how game-changing it is to fire, but felt that I’d see it all the time and probably end up hating seeing it if I had run more than 2. I don’t think she has a home outside of mono fire with the stipulation that her effect only boosts fire summons – then again I could see her being a little too strong if she was able to boost summon ping damage across all elements, so no complaints from me here.

Caetuna is all about value from her 1k ping, she makes your cheap stuff good and your expensive stuff better – seeing 9k and playing something from the break zone off of Phoenix for 7 is incredibly powerful, and the extra 1k helps you get kills on forwards that have been buffed (or are just big), even if you need to follow them up with things like Dark Lord or Emperor Xande to kill confirm. She can also be used with 9-cost Bahamut to hit 2 things for 11k and remove them from the game, but it’s personal preference whether you’re looking at Bahamut or Phoenix, and I personally prefer the latter.

You can also use her effect to pull Belias, the Gigas from the deck which allows you to sneak some unexpected haste out and get a point of damage in where you otherwise might not have been able to, which I’m sure will have some applications.

This card was also a hoot in sealed because you can pull the new Bahamut out (10/10 art in foil, but that effect makes me physically wretch) and bosh something for 11k, which feels good when everyone’s playing less-than-optimal decks.

Bahamut o5

This card will only get better as more fire cards are released, so I would pick a playset up now while they’re still cheap just incase they become scarcer or suddenly spike in value.

I’m rating Vermilion Bird l’Cie Caetuna an OH GOD EVERYTHING’S ON FIRE out of 10.

Budget Build Fridays #2 – One-Cost Wonders

Budget Build Fridays are geared around making affordable decks that are a good starting point for newer players, that you can build from bulk or are affordable. We aim to provide a deck every week with a wide range of playstyles that won’t break the bank.

This week we’re having a look at a deck based around low-costed forwards, Shemhazai, the Whisperer & Spiceacilian (which I still maintain sounds like a pizza.) FFDecks has the cost of this deck for $10.09, and with the majority of the deck being Rares and Commons, hopefully it’s something you can build and try out!

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Card of the Week #2 – Frimelda

Hey all, we’re back with another Card of the Week article, this time we’re having a look at Frimelda, an FFTA2 Lightning forward from Opus VI.

Frimelda Opus 6

With a 4 CP cost and an 8k body, Frimelda at first glance looks like lightning’s version of Opus 1 Firion. Looking a little closer though, she has some nice interactions and improvements over her Opus 1 counterpart. The first main difference comes in her targeting requirements. A welcome change is that she has to pick a forward your opponent controls, unlike Firion she isn’t occasionally compelled to smack herself in the face upon entering play. A slightly less welcome change is that she has to target an active forward, but that is a recurring theme in lightning so it’s not that big of a deal (plus reins in some of the things you can do with her.)

The interesting part in this card comes from the latter half of her ability, which allows her to do more damage the more job Sword Saint you have in play. Currently, we only have two other Sword Saint cards in the game, both of which are named Orlandeau (and both of which don’t really have art that does such a cool character justice, but that’s another thing entirely). There is another – less obvious – Sword Saint, however, that plays perfectly with Frimelda.

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If Bartz is in play when you play Frimelda, because his ability to gain jobs is a field ability, he immediately gains the job Sword Saint! Which means your Frimelda is hitting for 8k! This should kill the vast majority of things, and if it doesn’t in a wind/lightning deck you’re already perfectly poised to kill something with either a bit of ping damage or an effect that breaks a damaged forward. Bartz’s interaction with this card is why I didn’t basically pass her over straight away, and why I am really interested in making a build with Frimelda, Bartz, and Orlandeau in.

You could also boost her damage to insane levels if you had a Hashmal, Bringer of Order ready to go, but it’s unlikely that will come up. Now that I’ve said it’s unlikely to come up, I’m really looking forward to getting rekt by it at some point.

She also plays very well with Rygdea & Onion Knight (and by extension Al-Cid, although she cannot be played off of his effect), and with her cost only being 4, it’s not unfeasible to revive her with Zemus‘ effect, especially if you have already played Orlandeau and want to re-use her burn effect.

I can see Frimelda doing pretty well in a deck that’s focused around pinging damaged forwards, more likely to be a Wind/Lightning deck than an FFTA2 deck. She could potentially become more relevant as more Sword Saints appear in the game, but with Sword Saints only appearing in FFTA, FFTA2 (Orlandeau and Frimelda respectively) and Airborne Bridage (speak not of that evil), it’s unlikely we’re gonna see many more that have different names for now.

I’m rating Frimelda a Hi out of 10.

Guest Article: Top 5 Cards called Leviathan

Time for a guest article! This one is submitted by Hazel Greaves, the resident Mono Water player of our local meta. Want to submit a guest article? Get in touch with me via the contact link and we’ll sort something out.

FFTCG has only had six sets but some characters have as many different cards, if not more. In this article I’ll be ranking the five cards so far called Leviathan (and everyone makes the top cut!).

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Budget Build Friday #1 – EX Knights

Budget Build Fridays are geared around making affordable decks that are a good starting point for newer players, that you can build from bulk or are affordable. We aim to provide a deck every week with a wide range of playstyles that won’t break the bank.

A new player at our locals has been wanting to play something that plays similar to a black deck in Magic the Gathering. Knowing virtually nothing about MTG, a friend said that that kind of deck should be around sacrificing life to make big plays go off – with this in mind I thought a Fusoya-based deck would be a good fit, and that Knights would allow me to make a pretty low-costed build that’s easy to play for a new player, while still reasonably powerful. With 22 EX bursts, it’s pretty forgiving to play as well.

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Card of the Week #1 – Thordan VII

Here’s our first card of the week article! The card we’ll be looking at today is Thordan VII from Opus VI.

Note: Card of the Week is *meant* to be on wednesdays, but someone got sidetracked and didn’t get the article done in time.

Thordan VII Opus 6

Thordan VII is a 5-cost searcher that can literally search for any other card in the game with no additional costs or caveats, and is based on arguably one of the most forgettable villains in FFXIV’s history (Nidhogg was way cooler).

First off the bat, a 5-cost searching for anything theoretically makes him a soft 3-cost. If you can manage to break him after you’ve played him, you’re looking at another 2 CP gain, making him a soft 1-cost if you can resolve both of his effects. Really powerful for a backup that has allowed you to sculpt your hand by getting a card of your choice from your deck, and allowed you to draw one.

The fact that he’s also an EX burst is what sets him apart from the other searchers (such as Merlwyb in the same element, or Mog (Mobius), who kinda costs the same but can be put down much earlier.)

I’d personally be open to running multiple copies of this guy for the EX burst, and he can also search himself, if you felt so inclined, although I can’t really think of a time you’d want to do this unless you were planning on immediately breaking him with something like Firion, Mystic, Delita or the ultimate big boi Feral Chaos.

I want there to be a setup with Caetuna from Opus V, but that’s definitely in the realm of things you can do rather than things you should do.

I’m expecting to see Thordan crop up in certain decks this Opus that can capitalize on his second effect, I don’t see him seeing too much play for just his first effect and EX, but he’s still solid even then. EX searchers are just solid.

Plus he looks like Shiva from Heavensward in a really bad disguise.

I’m rating Thordan VII a Forgettable Villian out of 10.

New Promo – Wol

Here’s the next promo we’ll be getting after Exdeath!
A little soon for a reprint of this one, in my opinion, promos are a great opportunity to reprint older stuff that has synergy with newer releases or to reprint old staples, but they still seem pretty random in what they reprint.

A friend pointed out that with the new Edea backup, a reprint of Opus 2 Edea or Opus 1 Ultimecia might have been a good opportunity to re-release these cards on to make all three more playable, but hey. Especially as Opus VI Ultimecia isn’t great. Still feels like they don’t quite know where they’re at with promos, but the art on this one is really nice. Definitely a great card to have in Warriors of Light tribal!

Wol Promo

Opus VI Legends Review

Garland
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Synergises really well with Water, but pigeonholes you towards playing Water/Fire (or tri-colour). Obvious synergies are Ovelia and the Knights that water brings with it (Steiner and Beatrix being a good pair) as well as Claidie in the event that anything does actually get dulled. Also provides breaks in his Round Edge ability which is something water and fire does not have many of. He’s a solid card, but his merits come from the things that work with him rather than the card himself. He’s certainly not the best legend in the set, and he’s definitely not the worst. Plus there’s loads of Garlands already released, so if you want to spam his S abilities, you could. If that’s what you wanted to do.

Firion
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I scoffed at Firion first of all, but I’ve grown much more fond of him as more of Opus VI got revealed. Another card I think would work best in Fire/Water (paired with Guy), although he’s feasible in Fire/Wind as well, if you really commit to the FFII/Rebel theme. He’s also a really great way to clear out backups that you may want to get off the field (Opus VI’s Thordan VII being the example that immediately leaps to mind), and a potential 2cp 9k with Haste, First Strike and Brave could steal games. I think he’s a good pick for one of the FFII legendaries, and the art is awesome too.

Kuja
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…It feels like Ice didn’t really need this? I mean, he’s a good card, great card, nice EX burst & a cool (badumtish) effect, but the mono ice lineup is reasonably cramped already. Dull and Freeze off of an auto ability is incredibly potent (as seen on everyone’s favourite Ice 4 cost), and you probably won’t resolve the second effect too much unless you’re lining up a second 1 cost Edward play or a second Jihl Nabaat for more freeze, but you’re looking at quite a bit of lost CP to replay those backups again. The EX burst on top of all this is just the ‘icing’ on the cake. Groan.

Rinoa
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Rinoa’s great. She had some fun tricks in pre-release play (replaying Kiros for an instant haste, brave, first strike 9k, or re-playing Nidhogg) but I think Rinoa is one of the cards that will only get better as the game progresses. She essentially has a more flexible & quicker version of Opus 3 Time Mage‘s effect, and if you combine her with Tama to play her from your hand in your opponents turn, you could really catch your opponent off guard. Time Mage had some good applications but was expensive and slow, Rinoa is a faster, cheaper Time Mage that can stab people. And you can revive her with things like Devout, as well. I can’t wait to see what people do with this card as sets go forward, I think the most immediate applications we see will be in Mono Ice, with Rinoa re-playing things like Genesis, Orphan, Cid Raines, or any of the discard forwards. Best card in the set for potential.

Zidane
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Famously errata’d before release, and with good reason. If it wasn’t fixed so that the re-activation could only be applied to Wind forwards, we would be looking at some extremely bad Gesper-based times. There’s still combo opportunity available, but it requires a bit more setup to do. I think Zidane will find a home in most Ice/Wind decks, perhaps we’ll see a resurgence in Nathan Perez Starve style decks thanks to Zidane? If you get Zidane, Genesis and Locke all on the field all attacking, it’s pretty much game over for your opponent.

Maria
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I am not thrilled with Maria. The art is nice, and the second effect could have some applications in Wind/Lightning decks, but I think she suffers most from being called Maria. And getting super-countered by Emperor. She may possibly have some application in title series decks, but I don’t really like this card too much.

Minfilia
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I pulled this in pre-release and immediately traded it for a Garland. I think this was a bit of a weird choice for a Legend slot in earth. It’s basically a less good Miner. You’ll end up with this stuck in play if you can’t break a Light Character or Dark Character (although there is the very niche application you might blow up a Cosmos or Chaos with it) unlike Miner which you can break to pick up a forward from the break zone, as well as the ability to play multiple Miners at once. 9 times out of 10, if you play this Minfilia, it’s gonna stay in play and you’ve just picked up a couple of backups. She also doesn’t beat out Shantotto for the high cost Earth backup slot. The ability to pickup characters rather than backups is a plus, but at the end of the day I’d say it’s a one-of at most. I’m totally happy to be proven wrong!

Leo
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Leo’s fun! He enables a lot of weird decks to work if you can get him out and bulked up, but if he isn’t buffed up by his effect he is going to die hilariously quickly. He can be played in a Golbez deck (and could be played off of Golbez if only he was 2 cost) to make playing all your different colours a lot easier. Not a whole lot to say about this card, he’s just a good include if you’re building any strange rainbow decks.

Estinien
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As a mono lightning player I’m hilariously biased towards Estinien & Seifer, and I could see Estinien being a really big hitter this opus if he isn’t immediately dealt with by your opponent. Most of the time, your opponent isn’t going to block him, and you can restand him to either attack again or simply leave a blocker up – if you resolve 2 of Estinien’s attacks a turn, you’re putting your opponent on a really short timer. One thing to note though is, he will probably get wrecked by Ashe + Rasler + a combat trick, which is certainly something to keep an eye out for.

Seifer
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Seifer has a really similar ability to Opus 1 Legendary Squall, except in this case bad things happen to your opponent even if they don’t block him. He gets Haste from Raijin, and First Strike from Fujin, and if his effect resolves, it can make it a lot easier to burn things down with cards like Al-Cid or Opus VI Ramuh. Cool card, made better by his backups. I only wish Fujin had been lightning too!

Minwu
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Oh boy. When they released a second Minwu, they needed to release one with a beast of an effect so that people might actually replace the Opus 1 backup Minwu. If his search effect hits, he’s a soft 2 cost with 7k attack power, which is good in itself, but when you attack it opens up a whole world of kickpunching on your opponent. There are currently 66 different cards Minwu can cast for free when he declares an attack. Sixty-six. Some work strangely, or not at all (hello Cactuar), but some are insane. Prepare for Water decks throwing out 4 cost Odins, 4 cost Bahamuts, or their usual array of Leviathans and swinging for free attacks. Good card. Will only get better.

Yuna
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Another legend I pulled at pre-release and I wasn’t thrilled for it. Now, full disclosure I’m not a YRP player (which I assume stands for Yang, Raubahn, Prishe?) so there’s not much in this card for me. Her first effect(s) are pretty nice in that it effectly lowers her cost by allowing you to play a second gullwing forward or search for a second gullwing forward upon playing her, which puts her not too far away from starter deck Ace in that regard (a card I have played and enjoyed playing). You could potentially play Opus 1 Paine off of her effect to recoup some (a lot) of the CP you spent playing Yuna, which is nice. Her second effect is mainly where I take issue with her, her costs seem a bit high and specific for the purpose. 1 cost is fine, activating a forward is great, gaining +1000 is a pretty nice combat trick. Removing 3 summons from the break zone from the game is a bit pants. With the majority of decks running 7-10 summons, you’re realistically gonna resolve this once or maybe twice, and even then you will have needed to have gotten a lot of stuff into your break zone to do so. Looks nuts in foil though.

Hraesvelgr
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This one’s easily going to win the “Opus VI award for hilarious mispronunciations.” The first effect is potentially really powerful, and could win you the game. If it backfires though, it could put you really behind with the self-mill of 5 cards. If someone plays this towards the end of the game you can just turtle and let them lose by deckout. The second effect is probably the one people will go for the majority of the time, as it makes Big H a 4 cost 9k. Nice. The last effect will likely be good in the future, but isn’t incredibly relevant right now, as recursion is not as prevalent as it is in other games.

Nidhogg
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I realise I have an objectively wrong opinion on this card, but I love this card and I want to see it grow up healthy. 9 cost seems a bit high at first glance, but his two effects make up for it, especially in the way they are worded. With how the effects are worded, even if one effect can’t be activated or would fizzle, the other will still resolve. Removing a forward is great. Removing a random card from the opponents hand will either force them to panic spaff their hand or will just remove something. Either is good for you. Also if your opponent ever activates Chaos, Walker of the Wheel against you, you are legally obligated to airhorn as you play Nidhogg for free off of it. One of my favourite cards from previous sets was Raiden, this is a Raiden that can stab people. I love it. I am biased.

So that’s the legends done.
I’m gonna go pass out from the heat.
Peace!

Opus VI prerelease weekend

Well, my two pre-releases are done and they both went well in terms of pulls!
In terms of games, not so much. I usually do okay in sealed but didn’t really get enough scary forwards to push for damage much. Day 1 I managed to pull around 11-12 forwards that were actually useable, day 2 didn’t go much better.

Between the 5 pre-release kits my wife and I bought we pulled:
Rinoa (foil), Estinien x2 (foil & nonfoil), Garland x2, Seifer x2 (foil & nonfoil) and Firion. And a Yuna.

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As a lightning player I’m pretty thrilled with the pulls as it means my main deck should really be finished by the time I pick up my box on release date.

Favourite interaction of the pre-release sealed format was Rinoa + Kiros, which worked as a pretty cool way to push damage through. Rinoa + Pieuje was pretty useful as well for CP ramp & getting forwards out quickly, but unfortunately as I didn’t get too much removal in my packs or too many big guys, my decks fell over pretty quickly.

I was hoping to pull Nidhogg for Rinoa + Nidhogg shenanigans, but it wasn’t to be.

Caetuna was also pretty fun to use in pre-release too, got a few surprise 11k nukes with the new bahamut in the second pre-release, but i found that with only 6 points of damage rather than 7 that point of damage dealt as part of the effect really hurt.

All in all, seems like a very cool set, it feels slightly less power-creepy than I expected but I guess we’ll have to see what happens when constructed decks start appearing.

Hope you all had a great pre-release weekend and I hope the warm weather didn’t make it too unbearable!