Hey guys, it’s time for another part of my Opus VIII set reviews – I’ve had a chance to play pretty much everything in the set so hopefully my opinions on the cards have a bit of weight behind them as opposed to what I might have said had I rushed these out. As always, I don’t do ratings as they’re entirely arbitrary, and will instead be writing a bit about each card instead.
This week we’re gonna be looking at Water, so lets… dive in. /eyeroll
In a vacuum, Alexander does a hell of a lot for 1 CP, and looks really good on paper. In practice, it’s overshadowed by a lot of other summons water has access too, especially as all water summons may as well have a printed cost of 1 less than they read due to the ever-present Opus 1 Yuna that is a mainstay of the element. If Alexander had a minor change to remove the stipulation of “opponent controls” it could be a nice combo piece, but I don’t see this getting much play outside of sealed. The foil is sickeningly nice, though. It’s also our first non-wind Alexander, which allows 4 cost Hope to toolbox for Water CP now, if you ever find that’s something you’ll need access to.
Eiko – 8-112R
Not gonna lie, I was pretty excited for Eiko before I got a chance to use her – She’s like a slightly more expensive Viking that allows you to fetch a big summon and then go to town on your opponent. Again in practice, she ends up competing with other cards that water will want to be running, such as Lenna & Cloud of Darkness, who affect the game a hell of a lot more than Eiko currently does. She could be nice in the future, if Braska.dek ever becomes a thing, but for now I don’t think she sees much play outside of an IX focused deck (again, due to being able to cross-search CP if needed), but even then you’ll probably want to go with 3CP searcher Eiko, or 2CP summon retrieval Eiko.
Garnet – 8-113C
My pre-release MVP, destroyer of dreams and Madeen’s best friend. Surprisingly hard to remove via damage-based summons (unless you fancy hitting her for 10k in one go?) and can spring you a surprise blocker when she gets hit off of EX. Again, one to watch for a Braska-centric deck, as she goes down to 1CP under that backup. If you’re wanting to spend the format yeeting the field with Madeen, I would strongly recommend Garnet for your lineup. Also means you can’t get Valefor’d to death!
Quina – 8-114H
Man, Quina is a polarising card. I’ve seen a few people saying it’s absolute trash, and others calling it an un-removable 10k nightmare. I’m a bit annoyed water got this, as I was hoping after the Cloud L reveal that burning cards off the top of your deck would become Fire’s thing. I’d definitely say it’s better than the other Quina that we currently have access to, so if you’re wanting to build around category IX to take advantage of the Vivi I reviewed in last week’s set review, you’re probably considering this as well. I can see the effect being pretty darn nice vs Lightning right now, as it allows Quina to avoid Al-Cid, Edea, and Sakura, who are quite prevalent in the fledgling Opus 8 meta (here in the UK, at least.)
Zidane – 8-115L
KILL IT BEFORE IT LAYS EGGS
Shamonde P Grauche – 8-116R
An almost relevant card. If you want a Minwu style effect, but for some reason prefer objectively worse cards, Shamonde P Grauche has you covered. If his effect hit the entire field, I could see him being a really nice tech against DadaCac decks. About all you’re really going to be stopping with Shamonde is Yuffie’s 1k ping, which is irrelevant in a lot of cases because she can become an 8k+ first strike really easily.
White Mage – 8-117C
A nice alternative to 2CP Wind Oracle for Mono Water players. The threat of surprise blockers can make the leap from 6-7 damage vs Water take a lot longer than the first 6 damage did. Nice card for a 2 cost backup, and more impactful than the single target Astrologian.
Steiner – 8-118H
A good card that is a bit boned by his naming clash. If you’re running a Cat IX focused deck, you’re probably wanting to run 5 Cost EX Steiner before you run this handsome chap – which is a shame as you can really get quite a few good buffs off of his action ability if you’re spamming the board with dirt-cheap IX characters. The strange wording on his first ability is also pretty useful, as it means you can res Steiner off of a 7 cost Phoenix and he’ll hit the field active, which means you can blast something for 8k and then block with Steiner to hopefully go 2 two-for-one. I’d really like to see a Fire/Water IX list, but the competitive season is still in it’s early day so we have plenty of time for things to crop up.
Strago – 8-119C
If you find you really want to res your Opus 4 Relm, but you don’t want to play Lenne and would rather lose a backup, this card has you covered. Realistically I don’t see this seeing any play, regardless of name clash.
Astrologian – 8-120C
Astro probably would have been a cool card to see in Opus 1-2? It plays into Water’s whole ‘power modification’ thing, but the once per turn is what keeps it from really being better than most other options, especially as Water already has a lot of good forwards for a mono build (and I don’t think you’re running this outside of mono). One potential application is you can reveal the top card of the deck to abuse effects like Gilgamesh’s Strongest Sword, Hildibrand’s Manderville Dance, or to check the top of the deck for an EX burst before you decide to block or let something through. It’s a nice card, but I think it’s several sets too late.
Paladin – 8-121C
Gramps – 8-122R
I kinda like Gramps! It’s another alternative to 4CP EX Merlwyb, although gives you a little less options in what you keep, instead just giving you a straight draw. If you feel you want to run more Merlwyb/Baderon style effects, but are worried about name clash for consistency, you might want to give this a look.
Nichol – 8-123H
Ah, Nichol, the destroyer of dreams. This card honestly feels borderline unfair to play against, as combo’d with… pretty much anything it’s going to result in at least two forwards dying. Considering water can get ridiculous amounts of available CP due to legend Zidane on top of it’s already impressive CP economy from Leila, Viking and Porom, it’s not unfeasible to be dropping Nichol swiftly followed by a Cloud of Darkness, Cagnazzo or even just a couple of summons like the new Leviathan to finish things off. His second effect is one to pay attention to, as can throw off calculations when you’re going for ping-based board wipes (or shut them down completely if they’re running say, Minwu.) A very powerful Hero, I can see the price of this card only going up.
Ninja – 8-124C
First off – really nice art. Secondly, the effect is nice. I can definitely see this sneaking into the odd deck, as if your opponent is trying to push through damage, for the cost of paying 1 and tapping + throwing away this Ninja, you can steal one of their forwards to block another attack. Considering you can do this upon declaring 2 blocks with Ninja, he can stop 2 attacks (3 if you take into account that the forward you stole now can’t attack) on his own, which is great value. 3 cost means he’s also grabbable by the popular Gladiator backup. I’m surprised I’ve not seen this sneaking into more decklists even as a 1-of.
Fairy – 8-125C
Fairy was great at one point in time, but unless you’re running a 3CP Starter Garnet based combo and feel you need the reactivation, I think Fairy has had its day.
Freya – 8-126H
If this card took into account Job name Dragon as well as Dragoon, I’d be falling over myself to play this card alongside Green Dragon. Freya’s probably right at home in a Water/Lightning Dragoon based deck, which would be fine, but now Warrior of Light from Opus 8 exists, most Standard Unit decks are now changing to advantage-gaining rushdown decks. As such, Freya’s likely like a boneless Cloud of Darkness for your water deck.
Whale Zombie – 8-127C
Pay 2 draw a card. Pretty nice! Also to my understanding, you can stack the action ability to look at the top two cards of your deck before the draw resolves. If you have a 47-49 card deck and just want to fill the last couple of slots with some advantage/deck thinning, I’d recommend Whale Zombie just to get to your key cards quicker.
Meltigemini – 8-128R
The sky is falling! The game is doomed!… except not. People panicked when they saw Meltigemini revealed, but it ultimately hasn’t done a whole lot. It goes a way to de-fanging Yda in Scions, but doesn’t hit much else relevant. Best case scenario, Meltigemini is blanking a blocker, but at the same time if you have this out, you don’t have a blocker either, so the playing field is still levelled. I can see it countering a couple of niche decks, but I don’t think it has applications outside of that. I at first thought it might see play in something Fusoya based with lots of power-reduction, but if that has happened I don’t think it’s made any showings in any top cuts just yet. One thing that is worth noting, is that it doesn’t affect ‘settting’ to a certain power, so if anything says “power becomes X”, they still work with Meltigemini. Maybe this will help people find applications?
Lion – 8-129R
If any of you have ever spoken to me ever, you know I’ve been asking for Lion to come to the TCG for a while – but I wanted the 2 cost backup version from Chapters which you put into the break zone to grant something Haste! She’s very nice to play when you have no forwards out, and is an ideal turn 2 forward, especially as she’ll let you hand filter if you’ve drawn anything you either need in the Break Zone, or is clogging you. Not a terribly exciting card, and I think it’s another card that falls to the wayside because Water already has so many good options that let you draw more for less.
Leviathan – 8-130C
That noise you can hear in the distance is me screaming internally. This card is GOOD. It costs 2 CP under Yuna, and if you have a full backrow + Leila and Viking (not an uncommon occurrence for Water), you’re reducing something by 7k. For 2CP. Combo this with Nichol, Cagnazzo or Cloud of Darkness, and this card is horrifyingly good spot removal.
Relm – 8-131C
With Bismarck existing, I don’t think this is seeing play. Especially as the monster to remove right now is Deathgaze (IX), which will likely get played on the same target, or a better one if one has come along. Personally I think the Opus 4 Relm is strictly better if you’re hoping to use something to interact with your own monsters anyway.
Lunafreya – 8-132L
The real question with Lunafreya is why oh why have I pulled so many? I think I’m on 8 of these currently? Luna’s got some nice applications, and is essentially the Devout/Rinoa flicker combo in one card, but unfortunately doesn’t interact with our Lord and Saviour Nidhogg. It does play well with a few powerful field entry effects, however, such as Cloud of Darkness, Lenna, as well as Sephiroth, Orphan, Edea (if for some reason you’re running this with Edea) as well as a host of other backups. My best advice with Lunafreya is to try it wherever you can and see what feels good with it.
Anyway guys, thanks for reading, that’s Water done with – next article should be up next Monday!
Thanks for reading!