So, I’ve been pretty quiet recently due to the Opus VII launch and trying out a tonne of brews myself – hopefully other content creators have managed to keep you occupied while I’ve been absent! I figured it was time to get the ball rolling again with a full set review of Opus VII – I wanted to leave it a little while to see the set in it’s entirety rather than jumping the gun to get a legends review out early (because holy shit, I was so so so wrong about Minfilia last time..)
This is going to be a fairly long article, so pop the kettle on and let’s get into it. I’m just gonna be writing a short bit about each card, and I won’t be putting a rating against them as I feel they’re pretty arbitrary.
Auron – He’s Cyan with sunglasses. The Guardian archetype initially looked like it could have been quite cool, with Kimahri and Auron revealed, but it didn’t really go far beyond that (with the Jecht + Tidus not really having too much interaction with anything else.) I can see Auron being pretty solid in X title though, giving all your forwards Brave (including himself), which means you’ll have plenty of blockers available to take advantage of his action ability.
Aigis – Aigis is pretty similar to Auron in his initial effect, but his second effect is what really lets him shine. I’ve been using him in a Mono Fire deck with Gadot to drop 3 forwards for 4 CP. Good card.
Red Mage – I’m not a massive fan of any of these dual-element standard units, as there’s usually a unique version that’s more consistent or just straight up better. Fire/Ice already feels like it’s a pretty tight list, I’m not sure where you’d be fitting this guy in. These units were pretty good in pre-release though, where due to the nature of the sealed format you end up playing more colours than you usually would.
Fritt – Fritt is essentially a free forwards, providing you’re running enough copies of Ifrit to support him. He’ll replace the CP you used to pay for him when he dies by grabbing an Ifrit from the deck. He’s also able to trade with anything up to 10k (as long as there’s nothing like Minwu out) due to blocking for 4k, and then burning with the searched Ifrit for another 6k. You can even reach 11k if you run the new, terrible Ifrit!
Ifrit – Not even once.
Varuna – I’ve been running these as a 2-of when testing mono fire, I’ve found him fun to play as he’s a great early game play and really warps your opponents block decisions – letting through an early point of damage no longer allows them to just build board, but it may also contribute to them taking further damage from Varuna – his conditions are really easy to meet due to Fire’s ability to either deny blocking, or it’s earlygame haste. Good card. Try it if you’re considering running Mono Fire this Opus.
Black Mage – This is a reprint of Black Mage from Opus 1, but in the V category, which is relevant for play alongside the new Bartz or Faris, and in title. I don’t think I’d be able to find space in a deck for this outside of title, tbh.
Sazh – More searchers are always nice! The only issue you have here is that there’s not a huge amount you’d be wanting to search in Fire that isn’t already searched by Vermillion Bird l’Cie Caetuna (6 cost) better. He can pick up the 7 cost Phoenix, which is useful, but it’s unlikely you’re playing it the same turn.
Samurai – Hey, Samurai’s pretty good! I like the on play effect, I don’t like the weird caveat on the action ability. I don’t think it would have been particularly gamebreaking to just have a normal cost on there as well as the tap & break, and fire really could use something like this so it’s not tapping itself when it’s going aggro. It’s a step in the right direction, at least!
Jecht (did nothing wrong) – Dad of the Year! Play him at the right time, and you can often finish the game when the opponent isn’t expecting it. If your opponent is only expecting a certain amount of attacks, and leaves an appropriate amount of blockers up, you might find Jecht is the card that wins you that game. He’s also got some nice synergy with Opus 1 Tidus, where you can tank a load of damage to stack a 5-6 hit Blitz Ace, drop Jecht and then go in for a turn with a lot of damage on your opponent. You just need to be ready to cry when you hit an EX burst.
Summoner – This was nice in sealed, I don’t see it finding room in a dual-element deck, especially now that Amon is so easy to find.
Sol – the ideal play off of an Aigis, Sol’s a pretty damn good card. Playable off of Aigis, Shelke & Gadot. Once his effect is live he’s insanely good value for a 2 cost.
Berserker – why
Baugauven – I can’t say I’m a fan of Baugauven. Below curve, decent entry effect (but easier to pull off with Light Cloud from Opus IV) and a really weird restriction on the S ability. Unless some Four Generals/FFL support comes out, I don’t see this getting played over Emperor Xande anytime soon.
Fang – Fang obviously belongs in a deck that’s stacked with XIII characters, and gets her max value probably in an XIII title deck. The fact she’s on curve already though is pretty nice, and she gets First Strike just being on field with another XIII character, which is really nice. In Mono Fire with Lebreau out, you can essentially treat her as an 8k First Strike for 3CP which is solid. Don’t focus on getting her latter two abilities online, treat them as a bonus. She’s fine just from her first effect.
Bomb – Bomb is below average at first glance, but combo it with Manasvin Warmech and you can do some pretty severe damage pretty quickly – because the 3000 & the 2000 hits are seperate instances of damage, you end up doubling up on the benefits of Warmech, leading to some really efficient removal. Might end up becoming one to watch down the line. Really nice foil too.
Meeth – Meeth is unironically really good! His effect being may is what stops him from being rubbish. and he even lets you hand filter clogged cards/light & darks or just to set up combos and S abilities. Great card, every deck that can run it should consider at least 1.
Lann – I’ve gotta admit, it took a couple of reads of Lann before I was sold on him. Since actually trying him he’s an absolute beast who has a lot of stuff going for him. First of all, he’s a 9k just from being on the field the same time as his searcher (Opus 1 Reynn). His effect can chain off of himself, providing you have the CP to pay for it, and also the cost for the effect is actually paid at resolution, which means if your opponent has made your target invalid or moved it out of kill range, you can just not pay the cost and let it fizzle! I think we’ll see Lann quite a bit this format.
Latov – I thought this guy was cool first time I saw him, but I’ve since come around and think he’s not so great. Because Yuri’s light, you cant even discard the Yuri to play Latov for some Leila/Viking-esque value.
Lulu – Lulu’s really solid. She’ll let you clear backups, and does some really relevant damage in the early game. Drop Lulu, hit something like Meeth, and get ready to play a second. Did wonders in sealed.
Reynn – Reynn is a soft 1CP 6k, due to searching when she comes into play, but I don’t think she’s the Reynn that you’re going to play with the Lann mentioned further up the page. She might become more relevant as we get more WOFF monsters (and considering the nature of WOFF, I can see us getting a lot more.)
Emperor (FFL) – His effect is a bit too niche in application to ever really be useful, especially as we don’t have a huge amount of FFL characters you’ll be playing along this guy. If you need to be stopping 5 costs and higher, you’d be running Vayne and saving your 2CP backup slots for something a bit more useful.
Eduardo – That tiny jaunty hat haunts my dreams. The only other Bard in the game aside from Eduardo is Edward from FF4, and most of the time if you’re running Edward you’re gonna be using the backup ones. I can see some pretty fun Hashmal memes with this guy, though.
Bard – First glance looks okay, second glance you realise that Ice already has way too many important 3 costs it wants to be running. If you really need the double freeze, run Opus 1 Jihl Nabaat.
Cu Chaspel – Cu Chaspel is a bit of a weird one. It’s primary effect to buff Galdes makes Galdes worse in some aspects (as you will likely want him to die to get value off of his effect), but his secondary effect has some interesting, yet niche applications. Cu Chaspel, because your opponent ‘selects’ the target rather than ‘chooses’ it has a couple of important things worth noting: As they’re selecting, not choosing, it will hit things that cannot be targeted by ‘choose’ effects (Zidane, Gullwings, Kam’lanaut etc.), also it does not trigger effects that are activated by targeting such as Delita, Ashe, and Dadaluma. Also as the target is selected at resolution (like Famfrit), it has a low chance of fizzling as they have to select something appropriate at time of resolution – no dodging it by making a target invalid. I’d say try and find a spot for this in an Ice deck, you’ll get quite a bit of mileage out of it.
Gremlin – Whew, thank god they banned Thaumaturge and Gesper before this made it’s way into Turbo Ice. Really scary card, still worth an include in any Ice deck that includes any kind of discard engine going in, and makes discards even more valuable.
Black Mage – You’re going to want to play this off backups to get any kind of real value off it. Water/Ice vikings lists are usually pretty tight already, and as this doesn’t actually fire when played off of Rinoa or Time Mage, I don’t see it getting a spot.
Black Mage – This one’s a reprint of Scholar from Opus 2, but in category V rather than XIV. It can help to secure kills off of Celes, Lasswell and Cid Raines, I guess?
Kefka – This guy was the absolute best in sealed, as you’re always almost playing him off of 3 colours. I wouldn’t run him in constructed, though. He’s a bit of an awkward card to use, and doesn’t really do anything once he’s in. He could have seen a bit of play if Orphan didn’t exist, but Orphan does exist, so.
Goblin – Pretty cool in burn-based Ice decks! You can discard it to simply blow up a Viking an opponent has swung in with, or you can use it so search something like Flan to thin the deck, or Gremlin if you know you have some discard on the way. The search isn’t restricted to just ice monsters, either, so you could use it to set up some good plays in a full monster deck! I’m interested to see how people use this.
Shiva – I don’t see this getting a spot over any other Shiva cards that are available. I mean, the EX is really nice, but freezing 2 forwards for 3 does not feel like good value, especially if the opponent’s forwards aren’t already dull. I can see it being kind of useful in niche situations like freezing a Yuri + Chelinka in response to a party attack to buy you a turn’s breathing room, but outside of that I think there are better Ice summons and Ice has better ways of dulling and freezing already.
Jihl Nabaat – She’s not better than other Jihl Nabaat cards. Yaag Rosch and Jihl are the only job PSICOM cards in the game, so to get any meaningful plays off of this card, you’re going to want to be playing towards a Hashmal in response to her entering the field, or you’re going to be using her in title.
Snow – I’ve heard a tonne of people decrying Snow as broken or overpowered, I personally think he’s neither. He’s good for Ice/X decks that are based around FFXIII cards (I can see him having a spot in Ice/Lightning for shenanigans with Opus IV Lightning and Twilight Odin) but I can’t find a spot for him in mono at all. Also his effect is not optional, so look forward to dulling your opponent’s Ashe, buffing it to 10k, then the opponent paying 2, reactivating and blocking you with the fist of an angry god. Another one to watch out for is a Dadaluma deck, you’re going to need to abandon any thought of playing this if you think your opponent has a Dadaluma-based deck, as you’re handing them free 4k damage pings against your forwards if they leave it as the only targetable forward. Snow responsibly, friends.
Sephiroth – I’m a massive Sephiroth fanboy so I can’t really offer an objective opinion on this card, but I love everything about it and I want to see it grow up strong and healthy. I only have two in foil so far (anyone going to Winter Cup in Cardiff wanna sort me out with a third?) Objectively best card in the set, if you disagree you are wrong. I’m not sorry. 100/10
Serah – Why are Serah cards always really good? I think she must be someone at Hobby Japan’s favourite character. Be careful when using this one, as you HAVE to choose the correct amount of characters to put her effect on the stack – including your own. Best bet is to play her off of backups so if you do have any ‘overflow’ on her effect after dulling all your opponent’s stuff you’re able to pick the backups you already paid with.
Terra – Terra’s not terrific. Because of the way targeting works, you can’t use her to make Glasya’s burn effect live if the target is not already dull. One card she does interact nicely with though, is Zalera! She also has the bonus of making it much easier to resolve Locke’s on-entry discard effect, as she’s another backup searchable off of Setzer (the other backup being Geshtalian Empire Cid.) If you’re running summon-heavy ice for some reason, you might find she’s worth it, especially as your 2 cost Shiva now essentially dulls 3 targets – for me she’s always been one of the first characters I cut from a list.
Time Mage – It feels like we should have gotten this guy in a set before Genesis decided to exist.
Bablizz – Super good in a Shiva burn list, average outside of that. Being able to threaten a drop Shiva to dull 2 if you block and break Bablizz is pretty scary though, and plays into the aggro Ice archetype nicely.
Mystic Knight – It’s only for your own summons. This is another one where the list it should work in is already too tight to fit it in, and in most Ice/Wind decks I’ve seen people have success with, they’re more heavily-leaned towards Wind summons. This wasn’t even good in sealed due to only 1 target existing in the whole set.
Yunalesca – Yunalesca is similar to Kuja from Opus III, but requires you to discard a summon from your hand to get the dull & freeze off. If discarding a summon to dull & freeze sounds appealing, you’re probably not running very good summons. If you do run Yunalesca, using her effect sparingly is probably your best option. A good application for her though is to break Illua’s effect protection, as even if you don’t activate the effect, you’re still choosing something.
Yeul – One of the earliest cards revealed, I’m not sure how I feel about it, really. You can use it to threaten an EX burst forward if you’re expecting to take more than 1 damage, or you can immediately draw, or you can activate it at the end of your opponents turn to ensure that you draw that forward in your next turn anyway. I’m not entirely sold on this one, but I’m not writing it off either. You can combo it with Geomancer & Fusoya to ensure that you get a good hit off of the EX? Niche applications at best.
Lasswell – Good card. If you’re running Mono Ice, run this guy. He hit so much stuff with his effect, and the vast majority of it costs more than he goes. Every time you play this guy, you’re probably gonna get some good value off of it, and he’s even a solid Rinoa/Time Mage flicker target. There’s an exclusive alternate art of this at FFBE Fan Festa events that will not be coming to Organised Play, annoyingly.
Aleria – Searches for two good cards. If you’re running Yuri/Chelinka, you’re running this. EX too!
Alhanalem – With some reactivation shenanigans, this guy can become pretty scary in a Yuri & Chelinka deck. Also lets you snipe Vikings off really efficiently, and even gains a 1k damage boost from Chelinka being in play!
Alexander – The summons in this set aren’t great, and Alexander is not the exception to the rule. If you’re in a local meta where you’re expecting lots of huge bois, you might find Alexander useful.
Vata – He’s 0 cost in Mono Wind, and lets you get more hits out of Alhanalem or get multiple Yuri activations. I think we’ll see this guy as a 2-3 of in most Mono Wind decks, and I’d put him as the best of the Four Generals we got this set.
Dancer – Another reprint, the original doesn’t see play so I’m not expecting this to either.
Ranger – Ranger tries to fix a problem in a deck that has already been ‘solved’. As with all the standard units with mixed elements this set, I don’t see it getting a spot in many decks.
Kelger – Playing Kelger will either be brilliant or be totally useless. Dawn Warriors feels like it’s almost a whole archetype right now, but is missing something to complete it. Kelger is the only one that actually interacts with the other Dawn Warriors aside from Xezat from Opus III. Dawn Warriors could be a thing? I can see this being good in V title.
Condor – If you get Condor actually out & active as a forward, you are almost definitely winning the game. The fact he costs 4 and that he needs to be in play before backup 5 enters play means he’s pretty awkward to get online.
Cactuar Conductor – It’ll let you attack with something pretty fearlessly when you play him. The action ability is definitely the more useful of the two abilities, as it can be activated in response to an attack from an opponent to ensure your blocker survives.
Thief – This card has a similar effect to Nanaa Mhigo. Mill decks don’t run her already, so I don’t see them running this. Probably the most viable ‘mill’ deck at the moment is the Urianger/Leyak/Dadaluma Mill deck, which is pretty backup locked already, and uses Rikku for mill in that deck.
Zu – Zu’s pretty good! This’ll be a big part of combo decks in decks that can fit Zu in. Being able to discard Zu to activate 2 backups is also good, as it’ll let you use powerful backup effects like Fusoya multiple times, if needed.
Chelinka – Chelinka makes the FFCC ping engine really dangerous. She hits for 2k when she enters (due to being buffed by her own effect), and lets Yuri ping for 5k and Alhanalem ping for 3k. Plus that last effect: once it gets online can be incredibly scary, as you have an 8k + 7k party attack coming at you, as well as targeted removal. I’ve been on the opposite end of this effect when I was already behind before, and it was the exactly opposite of whatever fun is.
Chocobo – As far as Chocobos go, this card is certainly a Chocobo. He’s essentially a combat trick that lives on the field, but heroically sacrifices himself once he’s done his job if his target leaves the field.
Dorgann – Dorgann looks pretty fun at first glance, but when he dies you’re essentially subjecting yourself to the auto-abilitypocalypse. If Dorgann dies, and you’ve been removing forwards with him, prepare for a whole world of pain. There’s a pretty neat interaction with Buccaboo & Remedi, where you can have them all out, Dorgann dies, opponents forwards try to come back (so Buccaboo is consumed, forcing them to discard two cards), which leaves them with less resources to pay Remedi’s tax, which should break a lot of their returned forwards. Pretty nice.
Gnash – The EX is nice, but his effect is not terribly useful at all. You might kill the odd Cactuar with it, or you might get a 1 cost Snow or Famed Mimic Gogo with it. Add to this that it’s under curve, and it’s pretty disappointing for a rare.
Ninja – It’s Firion from Opus 1, except now he’s terrible.
Bartz – incredible art, and a really nice on-play effect if you’ve got a board setup to take advantage of it. His S abilities lead toward the third one, but he’s a pretty vulnerable card that requires a lot of setup to do this. His best quality is that he can be a 1 cost 7k under the right circumstances. Rapid Fire needs too much of a commit to pull off without getting instantly nuked. I think he could have been a Hero rather than a Legend, and as a Legend he’s not as game-changing as he could have been. I look forward to getting wrecked by Rapid Fire now I’ve said this.
Bartholomew – If you’re running any number of Hope (and Nora), Bartholomew could be good. I’ve not even considered running this one, but he’s pretty niche in what he can do. The second effect is a more narrowly-scoped Oracle on a more expensive card, but it is nice that it has a second effect after playing Hope onto the field. As a turn two play, playing this and then the Hope that searches an Alexander can really help to speed up the early game of a Wind/Hope deck.
Wind Drake – This can help to stave off death when needed, but I don’t think that stopping something from attacking is as good as dulling/freezing in a lot of scenarios, as it doesn’t allow you to damage back through if you’re worried about getting blocked.
Hope – Hope needs any Father & Mother to get his ability, he’s not fussy who’s Father or Mother it is. As far as Fathers go, you have Latov and Bartholomew, and for Mothers you have Aleria and Nora. If you’re running some kind of strange Yuri/Chelinka/Hope deck you might find it’s easier to get him online, but for your efforts he only becomes a 9k that can’t be targeted by abilities, when Kan-E-Senna is probably much easier to set up for a similar effect. I don’t think this will see play over Opus IV’s Hope, who is a key part of certain Wind ping-based decks.
Rem – I was so excited when I saw this revealed as a community spoiler! I assumed it meant more cadets this set, however I was wrong. Rem gives a bit more speed to cadets, and frees you up from running too many expensive backups – she also lets you discard Light Ace for something that might be less cloggy at the time. Great card for Cadets, really nice that it costs 2.
Asmodai – Can’t say I’m a fan. Any opportunity that came up to run this card, I’d prefer it was an Opus V Cecil instead. Even if Cecil’s effect whiffs, you can still get value off of Dark (his S ability). If you whiff with Asmodai, you have an under curve forward that doesn’t do anything else.
Vanille – If you can check the top card of your deck before you play her, or are playing the odds of your deck, or you’ve made some strange deck that is exclusively all 1-cost, Vanille is free removal when she comes into play. The main thing that hurts her is that Opus 1 Vanille exists, and once she hits the board is generally not going anywhere. Her S ability is a bit strange, and of course should only ever be activated in your opponents turn unless you can freeze everything.
Carbuncle – Live the turn 0 dream and play this in your opponent’s turn if you’re going second, then drop a 3 cost on your first turn. Glad to see Back Attack hasn’t been forgotten about.
Galuf – Galuf seems like he’ll be a huge pain the arse to deal with, and is a strong contender for “most likely to get Nidhogged” this set. There’s some fun plays you can do by dropping Sin when you have Galuf out, as Galuf won’t die. His S ability isn’t great, but his action and field ability are good enough it doesn’t hurt him. In an Earth deck focused around forwards being absolutely massive, he’s probably going to kill a lot of things & doesn’t have to worry about EX bursts for the most part.
Krile – Krile’s really hard to deal with, and helps turn every summon you have into a combat trick (like Garnet from Opus III), yet she can save herself from targeted abilities by discarding a summon. Her first effect seems like it’ll be good in a deck like Urianger which uses the combo pieces it needs to from whatever element it can, I think we’ll see Krile in some places you might not expect.
Kolka – The guy that spoiled this card sure is a cool dude. If you need more immediacy than Mog (MOBIUS), this card is the card you want. He’s also great if you need name variance while still running Mog. The 4 cost searchers are always pretty solid.
Zaghnal – The most obvious way to get him online is to use Shantotto from Opus I. He’s best off being dropped early as he can turn a Shantotto into a legitimate win condition – when you Shantotto with Zaghnal on the board, you’re not just clearing the board, you’re clearing the board and leaving yourself with a 9k attacker (potentially multiple, as he has the multiple card icon.)
Shantotto – If you don’t mind going -1 CP on a play, Shantotto can help you colour fix. I don’t think you’d run this if you have access to Chaos, Cosmos or Shantotto from Opus I.
Summoner – He’s not great.
Xezat – I like this guy, he’s like if Dadaluma was designed while remembering that other cards in the game actually exist. Seeing as Earth usually has access to off-Colour CP, he’s in a pretty good position to activate all of his effects when needed, so he can be a strong multi-tool for the deck when needed.
Tama – I don’t think it’s Tama’s time to shine now, but one day it will become really useful. Minfilia or Miner do what this card does with a much wider scope. Another one that I lazily label ‘probs ok in title lol’
Tilika – if this was a backup I’d be 100% onboard the terrible-decision-15-dark-cards-in-1-deck hype train. As it’s a forward, it’s probably a bit too vulnerable to rely on.
Necromancer – You can use this to combat trick out a PSICOM Warden and make them all more powerful than they should be, or you can use it to bring out a Paravir from the breakzone to avoid a nasty field wipe or to block some attacks. It’s an expensive effect, but will have some really good applications, especially as we get more standard units into the game.
Noctis – Hoo boy. Noctis does a lot. His EX burst won’t fire unless you’re late into the game, but the effect you’ll be using most (the second one) is really scary. I was using Noctis along with Cecil (3 cost) and Fusoya to get 19k of removal for 1cp every turn. Noctis can also block things without dying as long as you can pay for his action ability, and save himself from the damage he takes from his second ability. Great card, on curve, worthy of the amount of hype people there had been around FFXV entering the tcg.
Bahamutian Soldier – Not terribly exciting. Potentially a 2 for 7k if you have a lot of monsters in your deck.
Geomancer – This is a reprint of Monk from Opus I, except if you kind of squint at this card it looks like the scarf is actually a big red beard, with the button being a hole for his mouth. You can unsee that now. You’re welcome.
Prishe – If you can get Prishe down to a reasonable cost, she’s extremely good removal. Obviously you’re going to run this in a Prishe-heavy deck (and Prishe is very good at replacing herself, so you can often cheat this out), and she won’t see much play outside of that, but under Enna Kros you’ll be hitting something for 10k when she enters, which basically makes her a better Raubahn Mid/Late game. I haven’t tried to build it yet, but I’ll probably dabble with a Prishe spam list somepoint later this set.
Flan – it’s Flandit but it explodes dramatically and is more of an inconvenience for your opponent to pay for. Best play with this is to wait for your opponent to literally be unable to pay for it and then use the effect to sneak some damage through. It’s also searchable off of the Ice Flan from Opus IV!
Moogle (FFCC) – Look how damn adorable this card is. If you need colour fixing and don’t want to run the Shantotto further up this article or the Shantotto from Opus I, this is probably your best bet as he doesn’t leave you -1CP on your plays like the 2CP Shantotto does, and also allows your Mog (MOBIUS) to go off-colour as well. Also 10/10 for art Jesus Christ would pat on head.
Monk – Being only able to hit a damaged forward really hurts him, but he’s a solid Main Phase 2 play. The play that springs to mind is swinging in with Yda, putting damage on a dull forward and getting damage through, then playing this guy in Main Phase 2 to finish the forward previously damaged by Yda – however I think there’s certainly better things to be putting in a scions deck.
Yojimbo – “Hey guys, what if we made Titan bad.”
Red Mage – In case you haven’t really been able to tell, I’m not too sold on these Standard Units outside of Title/Sealed, this is no exception. Returning something to its owners hand isn’t as desirable as it once may have been, especially as a lot of things have really powerful on-play effects now. Being only able to hit 3 or less with this effect hurts it even more. The action ability is somewhat like the 4CP Odin though, so worst case it’s an Odin that can stab people if needed.
Argy – Perhaps good in a deck that uses Firion/Lulu to put your own forwards into the Break Zone? Even then, there’s better ways to grant haste in Lightning (Red Mage), but the surprise activation of a forward could be nice, especially combined with the 5k from Lulu – it could let you trade some small forwards like Rygdea into much more valuable forwards as a surprise blocker.
Exdeath – I can’t decide if I really like this card or really hate it. Your opponent can Archer/Hecatoncheir your backups to throw off your numbers for what you’re targeting, but if you can steal something powerful from your opponent’s break zone or get an Estinien from your own and go for game, it seems like it would be a really nice 1-of. Ideally Exdeath would be played as a the 5th backup in a Mono Lightning deck to get maximum value off of him.
Gilgamesh – Golbez’s new waifu. Playable off of Opus I Golbez, and can then search into other copies of himself if he dies, or if you’re set up will just be able to attack twice. Also combos really nicely with Kefka from Opus I to grant him +5k to get that effect online much earlier, and even when he breaks at the end of the turn, you can just pay 2 to search for another one and put it into play. If I get another one of these, I’ll probably try building it just to see how the Gilgabez deck does in Opus VII.
Coeurl – Pre-prerelease, this was probably what I was most excited for in the set. Kills Leyak? Check. Kills Cactuar? Check. Actual combat tricks for Lightning that aren’t Cyclops? Check. Plus, it’s really nice art. How do you say the name though? I imagine it’s how Rick says ‘Carl’ in The Walking Dead.
Gladiator – This card is meta-warpingly average. It’s not good, it’s not bad, it probably won’t go in any decks. It’s just… there.
The Emperor – If he wasn’t called ‘The Emperor’ he might get some play. Having to dull 2 things means his effect can actually fizzle if your opponent only has one target in play. His second ability also seems incredibly awkward to use, and would need to be combined with some outside form of dull or ping to get the most out of it. In an idea situation, you’re playing him onto a field of 3 forwards your opponent controls, dulling 2, and pinging the other one for 6k twice.. Good value under the right circumstances, but Lightning already has Estinien and Edea occupying the boss slots, and I don’t see Emperor pushing either of them out anytime soon.
Thancred – I don’t prefer this to old Thancred, but his effect of dulling something when he comes in is extremely nice. A friend described him as an Amon that deals damage when he comes into play (assuming haste from either the effect or from Alisaie), which is a good enough description of him.
Zapt – Zapt is probably my favourite of the WOFF Monster/Forward hybrids, as the Ramuh cards he searches for allow you to trade into things that a 2 cost forward has no right to be killing. Opus V Ramuh lets Zapt take out 11k Forwards, Opus VI Ramuh lets Zapt take out 11k Forwards and dull a second or clear a monster! Really strong! Plus, it passes the ever present validity check in lightning of being playable off of Al-Cid.
Seymour – Pop a 7 cost Odin or the new Ramuh on top of your deck when you trigger this guy (either by EX or on play) and watch them become a lot more hesitant to attack. I really want to be able to Lance of Atrophy a Raiden one day, but for the CP investment it’s probably more straight forward to cast Raiden normally.
Cid Previa – New favourite turn 1 play in Mono Lightning. Pay for Cid Previa and include either Lulu, Gramis or Cid of Clan Gully, get them into play and you’re looking at 2 backups turn 1 for some serious value.
Noel – I can’t say I’m a fan of Noel. Almost every situation I would want to play him, I’m going to want to play Edea instead, as at least she has the ability to cast Death past her first turn. If Noel’s going to kill something, either everything is dull anyway, or they’re going to block with the one thing you’d be able to get with his effect anyway. I don’t think he dethrones the Estinien + Edea boss lineup in Lightning. Could be nice in an XIII Lightning/Ice deck though, capitalising off of the dulls Serah + Snow provide.
Barbara – You almost tricked me into playing Dragoons again, you sneaky tcg. I’m expecting to see some Dragoon decks in swiss at tournaments, but I still don’t think they can generate enough advantage to just win against the more consistent, advantage-generating decks we’ve been seeing on the top tables recently. Dragoons might become a thing if we get more Freyas to cast the special of Opus III Freya, or something to lower their cost – for now I think they’re firmly a middle-tier/fun deck.
Flanborg – Militarized Flan seems like a good name for a band. The fact they’ve worded it in a way that it references the Job Militarized Flan and not the name ‘Flanborg’ makes me think there may be more of these on the way, so this could be one to watch. As for viability, breaking forwards of cost 3 or less is what the Lightning element does best, so you should find it easy to turn this card into a forward and he’ll replace himself if they deal with him. Added bonus, he makes Opus IV Lightning live without having to pay for something more expensive like Twilight Odin!
Cannoneer – I’m pretty sure this is a reprint of an Opus III card. It’s not a good one, it’s essentially a worse version of Lulu from the Fire segment of this set. If you have a forward you need to get into the breakzone to generate some advantage, you might find it has some good applications there (Dycedarg?) but outside of that, you’re looking at losing a forward and a backup to do 7k, not really worth it.
Mystic Knight – Another reprint, this time of Black Mage from Opus I – This one I think might actually see some play, as it really neatly deals with Dadaluma decks, or can let you chump block and break a bigger forward, or even to get value off of Rygdea. As far as reprints go, this is one of the ones I’m happier to see again.
Mid Previa – If you manage to play him off of Cid Previa, you get to 9k something. You can also use him as an outlet for clogged hands/dead draws, which also will 9k something. I can see this guy sneaking into a few Mono Lightning decks, I’m not 100% sure what’s going on with that art though.
Lightning – There are other Lightning’s I’d want to play in almost all situations, however she works great with Opus V Snow, as when you play him you can pay 2 to put this backup into play, which is a really nice setup play.
Ramuh – Now this is a summon I actually like! It gives lightning another solid combat trick, and gives them an EX burst that can deal with both Ashe/Rasler & Y’shtola (Wind and Earth). It’s a really strong multi-tool in lightning, really helps to alleviate the Minwu matchups, and is an objectively better version of Ifrit that fire got this set.
Ramza – Ramza’s nice, but I don’t know where he goes into a deck right now. He occupies the same space as Opus 1 Gilgamesh XIII, but gets a lot more mileage from every CP you spend on him, but with the downside of starting at 6k lower power. If you can find the room in Mono Lightning, I’d say he’s probably a 1 of, especially as you can drop him and haste him for 1CP, threatening more CP if anyone tries to block. Probably one of the stronger 1CP forwards in the game right now.
Dragoon – If you’re running Dragoons, you are probably either Mono Lightning or Lightning/Water. Lightning Wind is typically a more ping-based deck, so I don’t see it running this.
Agrias – in the right deck, Agrias is an absolute beast. You can get so much value off of her by hitting the right target. However, you will likely want to be keeping an eye on what’s been and gone already, so you have an idea of what’s in your deck. Cards like Geomancer will help to let you know what’s coming, or Oracle to see the top two cards. In a deck that runs lots of non-unique units, you should hit something worthwhile a lot of the time, if you can hit something like a Viking or a Searcher off of Agrias, you’re really getting a lot of bang for your buck. There’s also the option of filling your deck with nothing but 4 costs to search out 1 of a few 3 costs you have in your deck to make sure Agrias fires every time, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
Gawain – Gawain looks like he threw a cape on and wandered out of a Persona game into FFTCG. Why’s he got a hawaiian shirt on? He’s on curve, has an ability that lets him eat Al-Cids and Fusoya like they weren’t even there, but the fact he doesn’t do anything else doesn’t make me think he’ll see play in Mono Water. I could see him in Knights, as the Knight job enables you to get some nice interactions, being one of the best supported jobs in FFTCG right now.
Kimahri – If Kimahri extended his proteciton to himself, he would be extremely playable – even if there was a stipulation that he only gained the effect when another Guardian forward was in play. As he doesn’t have this, he’s the vulnerable part of the Guardian Archetype, and as such isn’t as resilient as the Gullwings we got last set. The fact you can get his cost down extremely low may be useful in the future, but at the moment you’re playing some non-optimal cards to get enough Guardians on the field for it to matter.
Chemist – Astrologian from Opus II cosplaying as Toad from Mario 64.
Sahagin – Sahagin is really good, if you have the monster space. Reactivation + a combat trick to two forwards is extremely powerful. Especially as it’s an “up to” so you don’t even need to meet the 2 target requirement to pull this off. His discard effect is less relevant, but you may find it useful in some scenarios.
Geosgaeno – Voted card most likely to be called “uhh, this guy” by Midgar.blog magazine! Water doesn’t do a whole lot of returning anymore, so this card has turned up a bit too late. He has a Cagnazzo-like effect, without the benefit of being Cagnazzo. With water as it is currently (a Cloud of Darkness, Viking spamming, Cagnazzo-replaying Fusoya abomination), I don’t see this guy getting much play, but it may happen one day!
White Mage – This card feels like it’s a reprint. I actually went and checked, it’s not. It’s a solid Main Phase 2 play if you’ve swung with a couple of attackers or been dulled/frozen by EX bursts or summons. I’m not sure it being 6k for 3 is enough to warrant this effect when Sahagin exists.
Styx – Morelike you should ‘Styx’ to using other forwards, amirite ladies?
Sarah (FFL) – It’s a big commit for a backup, but you can do some really silly plays off of this. I’d like to make a Fire/Water Warrior of Light deck for casual play, and my ideal target for this would be Aigis. Sarah into Aigis into Gadot into Sol is a pretty scary play. She’d be made obviously a whole lot better if she could play Light and Dark Warriors of Light, but that’s probably why she can’t. Nice to see a backup searcher that straight up puts something into play while being a bit more effective than Fat Chocobo.
Dusk – It’s pretty obvious that when Sephiroth forgets his coat, he fits right into a Warrior of Light deck. Giving the deck a draw advantage while staying in theme is really nice, and I wish the new Guardian archetype had been designed with the same degree of care the FFL Warrior of Light Archetype has been. The action ability is a nice little bonus, combined with Yuna can let you throw out 1 cost Famfrits, which is something that should never happen. I actually kind of want to go build Fire/Water Warriors of Light now.
Tidus – Mindgames: the card. I’ve seen people complain that he’s telegraphed a mile off, but that can be a very good thing if you’re sensible with it. If you leave 3 water backups up, and your opponent hasn’t attacked from fear of Tidus, and you don’t even have a Tidus in your hand, you’ve bought yourself a turn just because your opponent knows this card exists. You’re probably best off running 2 of these for this reason, so your opponent never sees the third and never feels quite comfortable attacking in to your empty board. One thing worthy of note is that his first ability to “Activate all Water forwards” does actually activate opponents too, so be careful in the mirror match.
Tidus – I like this Tidus. This is likely the one I’d run as my 4th-5th copies of Tidus in a Blitz Ace/Guardian deck. Bounce and replay Jecht to get another point of damage through off of Jecht’s auto ability. You can also use it to bounce a Viking, draw a card, and then replay the Viking to draw another card.. He has quite a few applications to abuse on-play effects, and basically works as a less cost-efficient version of Rinoa.
Ninja – Actually.. kind of good? The self bounce makes her reusable, and Fire/Water is an actual thing that exists. Play her off of backups to avoid overpaying, and get some surprise unblockable attacks through.
Halicarnassus – Please no, make it stop. Halicarnassus could have gotten away with being a water Legend this set. The effect counters a lot of stuff. Xande doing 9k when he goes to break? Nope. Cagnazzo taking less damage? Nope. Gullwings being untargetable? Nah. Dadaluma’s ping madness? They better stack that or they’re gonna have a bad time. Also giving water access to straight breaks is nice, and they essentially only cost 4 cp to do so. Good card.
Faris – Faris is the other reason why this set has a TONNE of Opus V standard units in. She has a possiblity to hit a lot of stuff. She goes to being on curve if you’re playing Lenna (and if you’re playing water, you probably are playing Lenna), and she also looks kind of relieved to not be a fire card anymore.
Braska – Braska will be one to watch. Jessie was a similar card and ended up banned in Title with a not too dissimilar effect. As we get more Summoner cards, bear this card in mind. It’s a missed opportunity to have this reduce the cost of Guardians by one, which would have been more appropriate for the set, and still thematically fine as Braska is almost always shown with Jecht and Auron ingame.
Mime – Gippal but bad.
Yaag Rosch – He’ll let you replay some backups to get their on plays again or to remove them once they’ve done their job – re-using searchers is likely his primary use, or bouncing things like Shantotto to threaten their re-use. Really nice to see 1 cost backups with drawbacks that can also be used as benefits if used carefully.
Oracle – Oracle feels like it could see some play in decks that revolve around things like Hildibrand’s special or Fusoya, but the fact that it’s on play only really hurts it. May see combo play with Yaag Rosch.
Leviathan – I don’t think this needed to be limited to cost 4 or less. From a removal standpoint, Opus 1 Leviathan is better, allowing you to remove anything for 1 CP less. Granted, this has the added benefit of allowing you to draw a card off of an EX burst, but it’s not as huge an advantage hitting it off an EX burst to completely discount the Opus 1 Leviathan’s consistency.
Wakka – The only time I can see this being played ever is in a Guardians deck, in all other scenarios I’d want to be using the other Wakka. I wasn’t a fan when they released an XIII version of this in the Serah Starter Deck, and I’m not a fan now.
Yuna – I actually like this card, even though everyone else I’ve spoken to about it strongly dislikes it. It’s not for the ability on the card, it’s more because it lets Mono Wind Gullwings with Valefor be a thing. Whether that’s a viable thing is another matter entirely, but it’s certainly doable now. Always good to see names that enable combo plays in other elements (I’m holding out for an earth/wind Cloud next set!)
Yuri – If you are playing any kind of Mono deck, I strongly, STRONGLY recommend you at least give Yuri a go. Letting decks that shouldn’t be able to dull and freeze suddenly be able to dull and freeze is phenomenally powerful. If you have floating CP to threaten a combat trick, you can use that CP to draw a card at the end of your opponent’s turn. He’s a fantastic on-curve forward that can party attack with basically anything as an added bonus, and gains boosts from all mono buffers that currently exist. Yuri’s just a great card, could have likely been the light Legend justifiably, but I’m glad he’s not as it’s better there’s more of these in circulation to keep mono decks strong.
Galdes – Galdes is an extremely offensive earlygame play, and not a bad lategame play. He’s actually above curve with the only drawback being that he’s a Dark Forward, which isn’t much of a drawback. If you have the room, I suggest testing with him. He can also trade with things much larger than himself due to his last effect, or becomes extremely CP efficient by picking up a monster from the Break Zone. If all else fails, just make them discard randomly.
Sin – I’m a fan of high-costed stuff with big effects. I don’t really like Sin, and I’m probably gonna keep on using Nidhogg in places where I need a big forward to swing the game. Giving all decks access to a board clear is really nice, especially as it his monsters, but Giga-Graviton is probably not something you should aim for unless you have some kind of crazy infinite loop deck and can resolve both Giga-Graviton and Eald’narche’s Paradise together… I’m sure Shikadi will come up with something.
Warrior of Light – That art! That effect! Warrior of Light is really really strong in Aigis-based aggro decks, Fire/Water Warrior of Light, or Golbez. He fits into a suprising amount of places and shouldn’t be disregarded just because he’s a 2CP in what many consider the worst element. The plus 2k is also often what you need to push through a lot of damage, and is often seen on higher-costed cards.
Firion – Firion is almost great. If they hadn’t had capped his damage at 6k I think he’d see quite a lot of play in aggro decks, and probably even beat out the legendary Firion for a spot. However, they didn’t, and we got this.
Ultimecia – They gave us a new Ultimecia in a more appropriate element, so naturally she has seen play in Mono Lightning decks off of backup Edea – cheating her in with backup Edea at the right moment gives you insane value, and if you’re resolving her on the 6th point of damage you’re likely going to break whatever stalemate has kept the game at 6 points of damage and win on the spot. She doesn’t fit in Ice because Orphan exists, but as a splash card in Mono Lightning she can be extremely scary.
The Emperor – I wanted to like this card, but I’ve found in testing I never really wanted to use his action ability. I’d originally envisioned it as a way to bleed off dead draws/dark cards from hand, but found that there was almost better options than using his action ability.
Cecil – Probably my favourite new card from the Heroes and Villains starter, and I was lucky enough to pull a foil one! I used one in Ice/Wind, and towards the end of a game he can roadblock extremely hard, with many decks that aren’t based around summon-based removal simply not having a way through him outside of party attacking. Great card!
Y’shtola – I can’t find a situation I’d rather not use the other available Y’shtola cards in, especially as the 2 cost forward from Opus I is often the best choice if you want to run a full pew pew ping deck.
Garland – Garland is a great card – being a Knight he can fit into a knight deck & is open to be searched by Duke Goltanna, but he’s also on curve and strong enough to stand when played on his own. In combat he’s usually going to take down at least 1 forward when he’s on the defensive, unless your opponent feels like using hard removal on him, and even then he leaves a 4k buff on another friendly forward to make it harder for him to get through. One way I’ve been using him is to swing in, if the opponent blocks him and breaks him, give the +4k to Legend Ramza to put his break effect online.
Golbez – I’ve had people swear by this card, but I’ve never found a situation where I hadn’t wished he was Hraesvelgr instead. Still a great card considering he’s from the starter, though.
And that’s Opus VII! It’s probably the set I’ve had the most fun with since Opus III, and I’m really excited to see where the game goes now. Anyway, I wrote all this in one go, so I’m going to go and not look at a computer screen for a while.
Thanks for reading!