We’re back with another Card of the Week! This week it’s the voidiest of bois from Opus 3, Exdeath! (I’m taking a break from Opus VI stuff for now, as there’s not much to write about that hasn’t been said elsewhere.)
As someone that’s primarily played lightning at most middling-to-large tournaments I’ve gone to, I’m aware that lightning has some super weird matchups sometimes. I’ve also had varying degrees of success with the different lighting ‘boss monsters’ – I find that Estinien gets killed pretty darn quick, and Vaan is too slow as an alternative, can cause handclog, and can also die pretty darn quick. Lightning is great, but requires quite a lot of support cards to get her effect off reliably. Ramza is also a little too disruptable (move to combat, get Bismarcked, die inside), and if you are playing him onto the field with his effect live you are likely already winning. In a quest to find something that covers our weird matchups, can tank a bit of damage and also punch people in the face, I’ve been looking through my binder to find a very dusty playset of Exdeath from Opus 3.
5CP for 9k, Exdeath’s on curve, and with Lulu out is nothing to balk at. His power puts him out of range of being instagibbed by Dadaluma shenanigans (unless they have 3 cactuars in play, but lets hope that never happens with Ramuh, Ramuh and Odin available). He’s also gonna win combat against a lot of stuff you’ll see today. He’ll have no problem knocking a Nidhogg on it’s arse, suplexing a Cagnazzo (even if they have Wakka out), and he’ll even give things like a moderately buffed Yda a run for her money.
Now, when Exdeath launched, he admittedly had one of the least hype auto abilities ever printed. In Opus 3, he was basically only going to ever disrupt Standard Units and Cadets. Today, his auto ability is a hell of a lot more relevant.
Opponent has a scary 12k Y’da? Attack with Exdeath, no they don’t. Opponent has some completely untargetable Gullwings you can’t deal with with Odin or Al-Cid? Declare an attack with Exdeath, before blockers, use stuff like Odin to clear the way, or Main Phase 2 drop the hammer with Al-Cid. I find that Warrior of Light in Mono Earth with Wol and Ingus gives me some serious grief (although admittedly I’m not tuned to deal with 4 cost stuff right now due to local meta), turning Al-Cid & Ramuh into wet noodles that can’t kill much, however after an attack with Exdeath they lose their protection that gives them favourable trades off of Hecatoncheir and helps them survive Al-Cid’s effect.
One of my losses at a tournament yesterday was due to not having an answer to light Warrior of Light throwing my numbers off and being really tuned to dealing with 3 and below costs – running Exdeath would have alleviated that nicely. Live and learn!
Considering we are getting a whole host of Warriors of Light next set (Opus VII) at time of writing, I can see that Exdeath is probably going to get more relevant as a good rogue pick if the WoL meta becomes real.
Now, Grand Cross, Exdeath’s special ability is probably the hypest ability. Pulling this off when your opponent has very few cards in their hand is always hugely devastating. Pulling it off when they have 4-5 cards in their hand will probably make you die horribly. You can use Grand Cross to cover a lot of stuff that can give lightning grief, as it’ll clear out Minwu, Rasler/Ashe, untargetable things like Zidane, Trey, as well as the previously mentioned Warriors of Light. With Exdeath not needing to dull as part of the cost either, you can do it immediately upon playing him without needing to haste him. Glorious. Also removing everything from both break zones as well is extremely relevant against things like Leyak Control decks and anything with the Leila Viking engine in it, which should stop your opponent from tempo-swinging back ahead of you providing they don’t get some godly topdecks.
If you’re running a Lightning deck and are finding that you are having some trouble with some matchups at the moment, try a few matches with your Estiniens slotted away and run a playset of this guy instead. You’ll be surprised. Hold the entire board to ransom. If you don’t get to have fun, no one gets to have fun.
I’m rating Exdeath an he’s actually a Tree out of 10.