Okay real talk – I 100% forgot what element I was gonna review next. I figured with the recent Death Machine errata, it’s time to get down some shocking opinions (1/1 puns) about lightning on paper. As always, I won’t be bothering with a number rating system as they’re pretty much arbitrary and very much subject to change in an ever-evolving card game like Final Fantasy.
Ark Angel EV – 8-089R
My main issue with the Ark Angels is that they don’t really interact at all. I think I prefer the other version of this card to this one, although I can definitely see its value in certain formats (not constructed). The first part of the effect is Amon’s entry with a small burn. The second part of the effect is Opus VII’s noctis but costs 1 more CP, but as a trade off doesn’t care what CP you use (which is nice, I guess?) I’m not sure what deck she fits into, but she has an okay effect and a decent 8k body, so I’m sure we will see this turn up somewhere. Definitely treat yourself to a set of O8 Ark Angels in foil though, they look really really nice.
Alisaie – 8-090C
Personally, not too much of a fan of this one. We can already give Alphinaud (and all the other Scions) haste with her 4CP version from Opus 5, although an extremely niche application of this card is that it can give backup Alphinaud haste, if you want to do that. I can see her being used in sealed for sure, especially as we have a 2CP Alphinaud to accompany her.
Alba – 8-091H
Hey it’s the girl from the Hit or Miss video. Alba’s real good. A couple of things worth noting – if you hit her off of an EX burst and you don’t actually have any Warriors of Darkness in play, nothing happens. Additionally, if you have too many of Warriors of Darkness that you cannot assign the appropriate amount of targets, Alba’s effect doesn’t fire. For example, if you control, Diana, Alba and Glaive, and your opponent has Leila and Viking out, you cannot dull them as Alba’s effect is not an ‘up to’ effect. Also, Alba’s number of targeted forwards is locked in when her effect enters the stack, so even if your opponent removes some Warrior of Darknesses in response, stuff still gets dulled.
Alphinaud – 8-092C
Combo’d with things like Lava Spider, Jake and Wol (from Opus 5), Alphinaud can dull a surprising amount of stuff. Giving you another 2CP forward in Scions is pretty welcome, and he also means that Louisoix can toolbox you out a forward or a backup as needed. I’d definitely say experiment with this guy, with some support he can become really dangerous. A great common!
Electric Jellyfish – 8-093C
Now maybe it’s because I was stung by a jellyfish as a kid, but I don’t like this card. It reads like a worse Coeurl, but does let you skip a blocker if you put it into the break zone, which will likely steal you a game or two one in a blue moon. What Electric Jellyfish does is already done better by Opus 6 Ramuh and Coeurl, especially as Lightning already has a lot of better sources of dulling and haste outside of those mentioned.
Odin – 8-094C
Insanely high skillcap on this card, it’s all about hitting it off of EX burst at the right time. Never cast it ever ever unless it’s totally unavoidable. This card has had its day, but I’m appreciative for reprinted spot removal (also it’s another chance to foil out my Odins I guess)
Black Mage – 8-095C
Grab a summon out to end the game. Lightning has a lot of viable 2CP backups, and this is another one added to the pile. You’ll most often be wanting to go for Opus 6 Ramuh off of this, as it’s one of the highest impact vs cost summons in the game (in Lightning, at least.) Or you can go full yolo, grab an Opus 4 Raiden and go to town on someone. (If you do this in a tournament setting, I will not be responsible for whatever happens)
Sakura – 8-096L
Sakura dies to a light breeze, but there’s a chance she’s taking down something with her. If she sticks around, lightning can basically dull all 5 backups to answer anything (an unconditional break for 5 is really really good, and helps to widen leads that Lightning can create.) A very win more card, but I’d 100% consider it if you like how Edea plays. Mono Lightning is placing a lot right now, so you might want to pick these up cheap while you can – they seem to be a 2-of in a lot of builds.
Jake – 8-097H
Jake’s real good. You can combo him with a few effects such as Opus 6 Ramza, Alphinaud (as mentioned earlier) or just to make a hasty attacker even bigger. Also being able to grant things haste is conditionally useful, assuming you don’t want to attack with Jake that turn (you’d usually want to be hasting the thing that just came into play.) One thing worth nothing with Jake is because his trigger goes on the stack every time you play a forward, you are essentially putting a priority pass into the game every time you play a forward – where you could play multiple forwards (without auto abilities) safely without your opponent being able to respond previously, if you have Jake in play, you are giving your opponent a window to respond to each forward entering the field, which could be pretty dangerous. Use at your own risk!
Shango – 8-098C
As we all know, Lightning generally wants to race to 5 backups as soon as possible. That makes Shango a 10k-11k forward for 3. He’s playable off of Al-Cid, and you can grab him out of your break zone with Diana. He’s essentially a better version of 4CP Ramza from Opus 1, with the negligible drawback of only really being useful in Mono Lightning.
Summoner – 8-099C
Honestly? Not a fan. I feel fire has the better version of this card in Red Mage. Lightning already either has enough innate haste or ways to grant haste, and enough spot removal to make the First Strike on it worthless. I could be wrong, but Lightning isn’t hurting for playable 2CP backups.
Jinnai – 8-100R
Your opponent is swinging in blind with an 8k? Splat them with Jinnai! Bear in mind this will go horribly vs Minwu/Aerith, but having access to back attack is really really nice, especially as Lightning often doesn’t do a whole lot during it’s opponent’s turn (outside of the obvious stuff like Ramuh, Cyclops etc.) Also ticks the box of being another good forward to grab out of the break zone with Diana, I’d definitely recommend trying this guy in your Mono Lightning build. He also has a really funny interaction with Zodiark, where you can force your opponent to take more damage than they were planning by bringing in Jinnai in response to a Zodiark cast. Likewise, he can be used as emergency fodder for Veritas/Famfrit if you have something you really need to protect!
Diana – 8-101H
If you’re running any combination of the new FFL stuff in your Mono Lightning deck (and you should be), you should be considering Diana. She comes down as a 1CP forward, with a tap effect that gives a decent boost to anyone from the same category as her. I’m currently running her in an Earth/Lightning build, and she never feels bad – especially as she’s able to be searched off of Glaive!
Death Machine – 8-102R
Raiden – 8-103R
I cannot work out what is going on in this art. I was pretty hype for this card before I got to play it, but truth be told it rarely feels good to play. Lightning has better options for summons right now, and I’d only consider using this if you for some reason don’t have access to them. If it had a body (like Sakura) I’d be a lot more warm to it, but I’m not a huge fan of a summon that can only be cast off of backups.)
Ramuh – 8-104C
Considering how solid the Leviathan Water got this set, and the Garuda wind got this set, you’d think that all the FFXI summons would be really solid this set, right? Wrong! As I’ve said a gorillion times this article, Lightning has better summons available, and definitely better ones called Ramuh, so I don’t even see this really being played in a deck focused around Zapt. As Fire’s proven many times, a big burn for 4CP without a body isn’t really useful.
Lid – 8-105H
Big fan of Lid as a one-of right now. She does a similar job to Sage from Opus 1, with the non-drawback of it needing to be lightning, and also lets you bleed off dead cards in your hand to burn something for 8000. The action ability may seem inefficient at first, but it gives you on-demand spot removal, and allows you to load your break zone for effects like Zemus, and Diana.
Dragoon – 8-106C
Dragoons seem to be a pretty reliable thing we get each set now (have we had a set without any dragoons in? If you’re running a deck like Lightning/Wind Dragoons with the new Warrior of Light, this guy can be pretty scary. He’s not the most exciting card in the set, but he’s definitely not the worst, either. Dragoons are generally pretty easy to throw onto the field, but you’re usually hasting them with Barbara anyway.
Dragoon – 8-107C
Plays well with the above, dropping a few of these for 1 or 2 CP can be really scary. Again, I see this guy seeing most play in a Lightning/Wind Dragoon OTK deck.
Rude – 8-108R
Good god that S ability is about as welcome as a fart in a lift. 8000 damage to ALL active forwards is not ideal, as if you’re using this to remove blockers, you are likely blowing up your own field to do so. Plus it costs 7CP (9CP if you include the S), AND a tap to do so… I can see Rude being the first Turk to get dropped from the Turk package as soon as literally any other option comes along.
Rufus – 8-109L
Rufus is okay. I’ve picked up a playset on the off chance he ends up being nuts with future support, but for now his best interaction is that he can trade with a 10k from his own effect, or he lets Reno tap and break himself to do 8k to something (which is legitimately pretty good.) As he has the potential to be a reasonably generic searcher in the future (if we get into Before Crisis and Crisis core there are a lot more Turks that can be added), I’d say to grab these incase the price spikes. Not gonna lie, I’m a little disappointed we didn’t get a Dark Nation monster to go with him!
Reno – 8-110R
Boring, but functional. And a cheap S ability that might help you sneak the occasional game (or stave off defeat for a turn!). Nice interaction with Rufus.
Thancred – 8-146S
Come on now, what’s going on with Thancred’s outfit here (Yes, I’ve played Heavensward, and yes, it’s still stupid). This guy’s probably going to see the most play in a deck focused around Scions of the Seventh Dawn (especially as he allows us to go to 5 Scion backups), but you’re not going to be using his First Strike a massive amount, as your beaters in Scions, Yda and Y’shtola are likely not getting blocked a large percentage of the time, anyway. Also, you lose the option of running Opus VII’s Thancred if you run this, and Opus VII Thancred is really good. Maybe this one will see play if we ever get a playable XIV deck that’s not based around Scions?
Fordola – 8-147S
Fordola’s great. She’s an abosolute unit, and with Lulu on the field ends up as a 10k Haste, First Strike, Brave with no drawback outside of choosing a backup and removing it when she enters play – do note, that if your opponent blows up that backup (with something like Hecatoncheir) you don’t get the boost, so choose wisely! A play I’m a big fan of (shoutout to Graeme Pentelow) is using Exdeath to bring Fordola into play out of the break zone, and then using Exdeath as the backup to remove to get her effect online.
Yugiri – 8-148S
Yugiri can technically win any combat with enough CP investment (and it’s non-targeting, so it gets around the likes of Zidane), but she’s small enough that she’ll die to a single Dadaluma ping. The first effect is okay, I guess? She’s a good turn 1 drop to force your opponent to not set up and instead answer her. Definitely playtest this one!
That’s all for Lightning, guys.
I hope it’s been electrifying.
Thanks for reading!