Budget Build Fridays #5 – Dirt Cheap

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 are having a look at a Mono Earth deck, it’s one I’ve been wanting to do for a while but couldn’t settle on WROs or… well. Not WROs. I settled on the latter. I think there’s something slightly wrong with how FFDecks is currently working out total prices for decks, as the deck at time of writing shows $28.73 as lowest price, but I calculated manually and it’s actually $18.15, which is much more on the nose for the budget builds I like to do. Let’s take a look!

FFDecks Link: Dirt Cheap

dirtcheap

This deck is all about 2-3 card combos to build a really oppressive midrange gamestate. As with most earth decks, you’ll be wanting to get to 4 backups (usually by turn 3 or 4), and then just be dropping large forwards and seeing if your opponent can deal with them. You’ll hit your ‘endgame’ a lot sooner than your opponent simply because you need a lot less setup, and you have two buffers in the form of Ingus and Enna Kros making even your smaller forwards a legitimate threat. You’ve also got some nice EX bursts to fend off aggressive plays (although there’s only five of them), and Hecatoncheir to use to break backups that might give you trouble like Minwu or any of the 3 cost buffers.

Let’s take a look at the cards that make up this deck.

Forwards:

Ursula – Ursula’s here to be a small forward to play early game if needed, and is a combo piece with Yang that makes her a real threat. She’s also searchable off of Maat if you need to grab her to complete the Yang + Ursula combo, which is super nice.

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Delita – Delita combos with Vanille to allow you to remove 4 costs for basically free – as it’s an auto ability you can take out even stuff like the Emperor, and then replace the Vanille by removing a Hecatoncheir from your deck, which is just pure advantage. He also gets 1k larger whenever he is targeted, which catches people off guard, especially against burn-based decks.

Ingus – Our first buffer. +1k to all your forwards is astounding in this deck, having Ingus + Enna Kros out at the same time means that your forwards are much larger than they should be, and you can even dull 3 forwards/backups to +2k something again. If done in response to blocks, this can be really really strong. Earth isn’t a deck that typically needs combat tricks because of how big all their forwards are, but you get them anyway. Absolute 3 of in this deck.

PSICOM Warden – Played on his own, he’s a soft 1 cost 5k. If there are two of him, he’s a soft 1 cost 7k. If there are three, the last one is a 9k for 3CP. He’s great. You can either play him for early board presence and a bit of free CP from the deck, or go full swarm. Some matches you’ll find he’s useless, other matches he’ll be your MVP.

Rydia – Rydia is the secret superweapon against Ice & Lightning at the moment. Lightning and Ice both have trouble fielding forwards over 7k without a buffer. Rydia lets you discard a summon you may not actually be doing anything with at the time and just blow them up. Expect to get multiple fieldwipes a game off of this if you can keep her down, and with her being on curve at 3CP for 7k, she’s a great addition to the deck.

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Raubahn – Raubahn makes himself and his target basically explode when he comes into play. As a 4CP that does 9k damage to something on play, he’s technically better value already than fire’s Bahamut – where Raubahn really shines is when Ingus and Enna Kros are out – He’ll hit his target for 9k, likely kill it, and then survive! You can also use Ingus’ effect in response to Raubahn’s effect to save Raubahn if Enna Kros isn’t present too, and at that point you’ve effectively got a free forward and broken a guy. #raubeast

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Vanille – Vanille is not my favourite character from FFXIII. She is a great blocker, though! She can take it like a champ and keep on kicking thanks to her auto ability, and you have 5 Hecatoncheirs in this deck, so Vanille is basically that poop that simply will not flush. She also works nicely with Delita in that she can revive herself after being used to pop an opponent’s forward.

Yang – Yang’s here to combo with Ursula and get searched by Maat. He’s not the most exciting card, but he can allow you to play Ursula for free from his auto ability, and with a set up field you’re looking at having an 11k brave attacker, which isn’t bad at all.

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Maat – I preferred the original chapters version of Maat, but this version is much more relevant and less memey. If you have Maat, Yang and Ursula down, Ice will have a really hard time keeping you pinned down as they cannot dull any of your monks. He seems high-costed, but with the amount of search targets in the deck, he should have no problem finding a monk to make him a soft 4 cost.

Summons:

Hecatoncheir – Your forwards should basically always be bigger than your opponents forwards, making Hecatoncheir fantastic removal. 2CP should pretty much always break something once you’re set up.

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Hecatoncheir – Keeps your opponent slightly behind, lets you break things that might cause your opponents forwards to become a valid threat. Also can be used as a semi-combat trick to break a buffer backup in response to a block!

Titan – This week’s Card of the Week. I love him! Makes your big guys even bigger, and will almost definitely kill something dead.

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Atomos – This is here mostly to kill Ashe off of an EX burst, because ho-dang I am not Ashe’s biggest fan. I should really write an Ashe/Rasler combined Card of the Week article, but I haven’t stocked up the necessary amount of self-loathing yet. Realistically this slot could be Cockatrice if you preferred.

Backups:

Cait Sith (XIV) – Protects you from combat tricks and spot removal. Would be a 3-of if it wasn’t a unique unit.

Mog (MOBIUS) – Grab missing combo pieces from your deck, or search chain with Mog > Maat > Yang/Ursula.

Monk & Monk – Both work best when they don’t have to be activated. If your opponent can see them, they have to play around them or play Emperor. I’d always try and leave these active when you’re declaring attacks, as it makes your opponent much less likely to block. Plus, both searchable off of Maat!

Tama – Sometimes it’s fun to Raubahn someone during their attack phase, or just throw down a huge blocker out of nowhere.

Enna Kros – +1k to all your forwards. Exciting!

Momodi – Total flex slot, but Earth usually does what it does best when everything is huge and brave.

Miner – Miner is great. It’s a soft 2CP backup early game, and allows you to pick up pieces you may need in the mid/late game. Raubahn will likely be your primary target for picking up unless you are wanting to get a Yang/Ursula combo off.

Upgrades:

Unfortunately, the rest of the good stuff in Earth stuff is pretty hecking expensive, but it keeps the playstyle of the deck mostly the same.

Wol – Wol makes Earth’s midrange game way less fun for your opponent. You can either boost your forward by 2k to de-incentivise blocking, but the most common combo of effects to pick is to make something brave and to not allow your opponent to target with EX bursts. You’ll still get dunked by Famfrit, but everything else becomes a lot less threatening, you’ll be able to attack into Lightning safely without fear of getting Edea’d or Odin’d, Wind can’t Chaos, Walker of the Wheel you off an EX burst, etc. Great card, if you’re serious about playing Earth he’s definitely worth the spend.

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Shantotto – Ohohohooooo! Shantotto is the reason you generally play to 4 backups in Earth. You want to be able to threaten that board wipe at any time. A well timed Shantotto WILL win you games. A Tama’d Shantotto in your opponents turn is really hilarious. Would strongly recommend 2 in an upgraded deck. Searchable off of Star Sibyl.

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Minfilia – I didn’t love this card originally, but since playing it I’ve warmed to it a little. If you run two you can run expensive recursion loops to toolbox out of your break zone, but she’s well utilised as a soft 2 cost that lets you get good stuff out of your bin, and deals with Kam’lanaut the moment he’s played.

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The Dark Package – I really like this combo, but it can lead to some fantastically dead draws. The barebones of this setup would be Kam’lanaut, Chaos, Zodiark, Keeper of Precepts and Gabranth. You can also add Emperor and Eald’narche (just as a huge, annoying beater) as you see fit. Star Sibyl can also help to search chain with Kam’lanaut. The above setup is for using Zodiark to field wipe and use Gabranth’s effect so you don’t instantly die, but it’s definitely more of a ‘fun’ combo than something consistent.

Guy/Dadaluma – Alternate big guys if you want to just play big 4CP forwards. guy is relevant with the prevalence of Ice right now, and Dadaluma helps you out in the Wind/Earth mirror match (and stops any Al-Cid combo dead in it’s tracks).

That brings us to the end of this week’s Budget Build Friday, hopefully you all have a great weekend and this gives you something to try if you’ve been toying with trying the brawly playstyle of Earth but you didn’t want to drop a huge amount of cash!

If you want an example of an upgraded Earth list, here’s James Cunningham’s list from UK Nats, which saw him to multiple top cuts at regionals across the UK (and knocked me out of Huddersfield top 4, curse you.)

Thanks for reading!

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