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!
With this deck you want to put down things as fast as you can, and force the opponent to reconsider their choices while you hammer them with more big attackers than they can deal with. The attackers in the deck may not look large at first, but with Gadot applying haste after he attacks, Lebreau for +1k across the field, Luneth for another +1k, and Warrior for +2k after attacking, you’ve got some serious fire-power (groan) going on.
Let’s have a look over some of the card choices.
Llednar – He’s a 2 cost, a good blocker, and his effect means that he’ll often stay alive a lot longer than you’d expect. You can also run 2-cost Tifa in this slot if you want a bit more speed to get early damage on, that’s down to you. Gets +2k from Gadot as well, which is nice. Can get surprisingly large when your deck is setup, and even if you’re not attacking with him, he forces your opponent to leave resources available to deal with him, and sometimes taxing your opponent can be what allows you to force through a bit of damage for a win.
Vivi – 2 cost, nice ping, can occasionally ping for 8k which will kill something. Pair him with Manasvin Warmech and you can get some great value out of this card.
Warrior – When this guy attacks he applies +2k to your entire side of the field including himself. You’re generally going to want to attack with this guy first in almost every scenario, even if it doesn’t look like he’ll make it through the combat alive – that +2k to all your forwards will allow your ‘real’ attackers to overpower the enemy board with little resistance.
Dark Lord – One of the new guys from Opus VI – don’t be disheartened by his first auto ability. Removing 10 cards from the top of your deck isn’t as devastating as you would think it is unless your opponent decides to try and stall you out. If you’re going in on your opponent as hard as you can, you’re like not going to see those last 10 cards anyway. His 3k ping upon moving to the battle phase is absolutely incredible too, and enables cards like Vivi, Brynhildr, Zell and Rubicante to get really easy kills on things. Also putting 3k on a forward and then swinging with Rosso can make your opponent think twice about blocking her, as it’s likely she will live but the forward with the damage on it will not.
Luneth – +1k to your field. He’s on curve at 7k for 3. You may occasionally use his action ability with other things to score a kill, although it’s probably not going to happen too often. Not the most exciting card, but he does work.
Rosso – Takes half damage! Well under curved but takes some serious commitment from your opponent to get rid of – they either have to run something big at it or hit it with hard removal. Either way she can work as a great mini-lightning rod, but combined with the various ping effects in the deck she does a good job of pretending to be unblockable. I find when I play a Rosso in this deck she sticks around for a very long time. Also objectively the most pain-in-the-ass boss in Dirge of Cerberus.
Gadot – Your MVP bruiser in this deck. Getting Gadot down early will allow you to sneak quite a bit of damage through if your opponent can’t answer him quickly. He’s on curve, his effect of giving something else haste is great, and the +2k to 2-costed forwards is also awesome. A solid 3-of in mono fire, especially as it frees up your summon/monster slots so you can get by without running Goblin or Belias.
Zell – A straight replacement for Firion in Mono Fire. Can ping for up to 6k on entry with Luneth and Lebreau out, or nuke a monster, and has haste. Don’t let his low power fool you, he’ll do some damage to your opponent when they’re not ready for it. especially relevant at the moment seeing as low-costed, low-power forwards are a definite thing in certain decks. Looking at you, Thaumaturge and Argath.
Vermilion Bird l’Cie Zhuyu – Zhuyu is a flex slot in this deck. You can run anywhere between 0-2, depending on how useful you think you’ll find him. He’s absolutely insane late game when your opponent has to start blocking things. Mid-game, your opponent likely will not block him as to avoid triggering his effect. As he gains first strike when attacking, you can also pop a small ping onto a forward to help Zhuyu take it down and emerge unscathed. The fact he can haste for 1 fire CP is also awesome, and he’ll help you steal games pretty often.
Rubicante – BUDGET XANDE. Once you’re set up, he’s a 4 CP 9k. Which is already good. When he attacks and is blocked though, you can select a forward and hit it for 5k (as well as the damage that he’s doing from his attack). Pair this with the ping from Dark Lord, and you’re potentially looking at putting at least 8k damage a turn on something before any damage calculation has taken place.
Ifrit – 7k when you’ve met the requirements. 8k under Caetuna. Kills Ashe when flipped off of an EX burst.
Brynhildr – As above, really.
Bahamut – Cast this from the deck with Caetuna if there’s something you need to hit hard and RFG! A great card. If I could run more than 3, I would.
Manasvin Warmech – Stretch out another 2k from any character in your deck. You can use it on Zhuyu if your opponent has the audacity to block, or use it on any of your pinging forwards/backups. You can also leave this up for use when blocking, it’s a great multitool for the deck! It affects all damage the forward deals that turn, so in terms of cards like Rubicante and Dark Lord, it affects both their ping & the damage they deal in combat.
Ninja – Removes a forwards ability to block, use late-game to squeeze through the last couple of points of damage.
Red Mage – As above, but you can use it whenever you feel like you need to apply pressure.
Sage – Does the same thing as Manasvin Warmech (but isn’t re-usable & is forwards only) can help you stretch some serious damage out of your pings/forwards.
Scholar – A modest ping to 2 forwards for 3k – pair with Manasvin Warmech/other pings for some decent damage!
Selphie – Makes your big dudes even bigger when attacking. Most of the time you don’t even need to activate this, it’s just there for psychological warfare against your opponent. Leaving this backup active in the combat phase and having the resources ready to pay for it will often lead to your opponent just letting damage through.
Black Waltz #2 – May occasionally score a kill on playing or EX burst. You can run Irvine in this slot if you prefer consistency.
Lebreau – It’s +1k to all your forwards!
Mono fire thankfully has a super easy upgrade path, and the playstyle of the deck stays largely the same. I’d try to include all 3 of these changes in the deck, where possible. Here’s my list for reference if you want to see an upgraded build.
Vivi – Legendary Vivi is a beast. Played early enough, you’ll score a tonne of damage on a forward, and if your opponent wants to save that forward, they will have to spaff card from their hand to make it survive – even if they do do this, we have plenty of options in this deck to finish off the damage Vivi has caused with another ping, and your opponent has just played a load of cards for nothing. Works really well as a surprising soft-discard card. I’d slot this in over the Vivi currently in the deck.
Phoenix – 9k with Caetuna, and a forward from your break zone. We’ve got plenty of targets for this card to maximise value, although I’d avoid picking up Dark Lord with it if you’ve already played one in that game, unless you’re sure you’re going to win. I’d slot this over the Ifrits currently in the deck.
Emperor Xande – Fire’s boss monster. Does what Rubicante does, except he doesn’t have to be blocked to do his ping. Combine Xande with Dark Lord, or Manasvin Warmech, and you have a tonne of removal for free (once they’re out). Also, if they manage to kill Xande, he does a massive 9k to something on the field when he goes. You could potentially block with Xande, pump him with Manasvin Warmech so he does 11k back on blocking, then when he dies do another 11k to something. Welp.
That brings us to the end of this Budget Build Friday, hopefully this article has given you some ideas or simply just a deck to try that you otherwise wouldn’t have tried. Mono Fire is a lot better than it’s reputation, I hope more people give the deck a chance (it recently top-2’d a LQ, so it can’t be all bad!)
Thanks for reading!