Opus VIII Set Review Pt. 7 – Light & Dark

Let’s have a look at the last 4 cards of a set, that hardly warrants its own article because let’s be realistic, it’s 4 cards.

Light and Dark Cards are historically extremely impactful, so let’s have a look and see if that is the case in Opus VIII.

Continue reading “Opus VIII Set Review Pt. 7 – Light & Dark”

Goodnight Sweet Prince – Dadaluma Banned

This surfaced this morning on the Square Enix FFTCG website.

https://fftcg.square-enix-games.com/na/news/regarding-banned-card-for-fftcg-constructed-format-matches?fbclid=IwAR1RHtC90-uK2bHCrRP2huA0NtFwnJtuHswRsUyWBwFODFCg_C24Et1su6k

■ Banned card

We have determined that Dadaluma [4-085H] will be banned from Standard Constructed Format matches. It will still be usable in Title Format matches.

■ Ban enforcement timing

July 19th, 2019 (simultaneous to Opus 9 release)

■ Reason for this decision

Since Opus 4, this card has long been a reigning presence in the landscape of this game, a card that players have always needed to be conscious of during everything from deck construction to actual matches, and it has acted as an obstruction to changes in the tournament landscape. As it stands now, the card’s strength is not so great as to be insurmountable; however, in order to prevent the tournament landscape from becoming too stagnant, we have determined that it will be a banned card.

We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you in advance for your understanding.

That’s that, then. Fs in the chat for the most interesting 4 cost potato Earth had. RIP Dadaluma (2017-2019). He is survived by his wife Cactuar, and his daughter, Semih Lafihna.

(That puts our ban list to Gesper, Thaumaturge, and Dadaluma. For now.)

Esufer

Opus VIII Set Review Pt.6 – Earth

Hi guys – time to start rounding off my coverage of Opus VIII with the last major review of the set – earth. Perhaps I should have done earth earlier, to get some good groundwork down?

I’ve had a couple of people voice concerns that I’ve missed the boat or taken too long with the Opus VIII set review series, and while I’m thankful for any and all feedback, I just wanted to take a moment to address this & say that the reason that my reviews have come out significantly later than other content creators was that I didn’t want to make snap judgments about any cards, and I also wanted to make sure I’d had a chance to play all the cards in the set before making a judgement. Regardless, I will try and be a bit quicker for next set, if time allows. The last thing I want to do is to provide any rushed content or anything I wouldn’t consider up to par.

Less tarrying though, let’s get on with it!

Continue reading “Opus VIII Set Review Pt.6 – Earth”

Opinion: The Cards that are beating You

We’ve had a bit of rumbling recently around cards that could potentially be banned for ‘the Opus IX environment’ – one of the cards I’ve been disappointed (but not surprised) to see people call to get banned en masse is Veritas of the Dark from Opus VIII. Today I’m going to posit the thought that it isn’t the Veritas that comes down to remove your last blocker when you were on 6 damage that caused you to lose the game, but it is in fact a lot of early game, high impact cards that pushed you into that gamestate in the first place, by impacting the game in an extreme way for very little investment or risk. These cards you will have likely faced in the past frequently, but probably didn’t realise just how much they were impacting your game. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I am omitting Yuna 1-177R from the list on purpose, as I believe the main problem with that card is that it stifles card design for water summons, rather than it being a massive impact turn 1-3 play.

This is all opinion, of course, so don’t take any of this as a personal attack or a callout to any player that doesn’t (or does) run these cards. To get the most out of these cards takes a reasonably high skill level, they’re certainly not auto-win cards. I also don’t work for Square Enix and am not affiliated with them at all in an official capacity, so don’t interpret this article as some kind of ‘sneak peek’ at a banlist.

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Zidane – 3-056H

Zidane is the absolute scourge of the game right now – if you have a deck that has the capability of running Zidane, and you are not running 3 Zidane, you have actively made a deckbuilding choice that has put you on the back foot. Zidane is one of the highest impact turn 2 plays in the game right now, arguably more so than Sephiroth due to the extra information that the enter the field auto ability gets you. If you end up seeing a Zidane come down against you on turn 2 of a match, and the pluck a backup that you were going to play the next turn from your hand, you are now massively behind, as your opponent has disrupted your curve play, and now has a body on the field to start hitting you with early. Plus they know what is in your hand, so not only know what deck you are playing in more detail than you know theirs, but they also know what plays you will be able to make in the next couple of turns, and can play around it accordingly. Zidane can also really affect the game when you decide to commit a large board, as it allows you to check for potential threats/field wipes. If you look at Zidane as a zero-risk forward that lets you take any card in the game from your opponents hand (effectively removing the card before it comes in and gets ANY value), he’s technically the best removal in the game. The fact that it can combo with cards like Phoenix in the late game only add to it’s ridiculousness – for this card to be remotely reasonable it needed to be a 4 Cost card with it’s current stat line, and even then being able to gather as much advantage as Zidane offers you is way too efficient. If you look at this card costing the same as Serah, and 1 more than the banned Thaumaturge (while giving far more than an extra 1CP’s worth of advantage), how problematically efficient this card is should become apparent.

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Cactuar – 4-058C

Cactuar in and of itself is not a problematic card. What it enables can cause some serious issues. The obvious combo with it is the Dadaluma/Cactuar combo, offering extremely efficient removal for almost no buy in at all (especially as in the signature deck Dadaluma appears in, you have Urianger to set up your combo at almost any time), and Dadaluma is another card that I see people frequently calling to be banned – my personal opinion is that to attack the Dadaluma Cactuar problem effectively without completely killing the deck would be to address Cactuar. Pinging off of Semih Lafihna gives Dadaluma similar efficiency to Nacht, while still rendering it a playable strategy – addressing the free 8-12k that Dadaluma Cactuar would be otherwise doing and replacing it with a CP sink effect more in the vein of Opus VII Ice Backup Emperor or the aforementioned Nacht. Cactuar also enables much ridiculousness with Opus VII’s Noctis, which is far more of an efficient play than Dadaluma Cactuar in the Opus VIII metagame. If you notice your opponent has Noctis and Cactuar on the field, and they’re letting you race damage on them, the probability is that as soon as they hit 5 damage, you are going to lose 3 forwards – they will use Cactuar’s 10k ability to kill one forward and deal a damage to themselves, which in turn triggers Noctis’ 6 damage break ability, and his normal ‘Hecatoncheir’ ability. Cactuar may seem innocuous and ineffective upon first glance, but the chances are if it’s being used against you in an Earth/Wind combo deck, it is a large part of the reason why you might be losing.

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Miounne – 5-067R

Miounne has recently started making some waves in the metagame due to allowing you to re-use basically any searcher in the game, and doing so effectively (by allowing you to draw a card when you return a character to your hand, effectively making this card pay for itself or better, depending on the followup play.) Most commonly, we see turn 1 Star Sibyl, search Semih Lafihna, followed up soon after with a Miounne to return the Star Sibyl to your hand, to draw a card, to then replay the Star Sibyl for 3CP rather than 5, which then allows the deck to effectively ‘go off’, usually searching a Kam’lanaut into a Chaos, Galdes or Veritas, depending on what need has arisen. Miounne is also extremely efficient with cards like Izana, allowing Chocobo decks to swarm extremely quickly in the early game. Miounne will also allow you to reuse effectively any enter the field auto ability in the game while developing you a backup and drawing a card – think of her in a similar way to Rinoa, but able to fit into more relevant decks without taking up a forward slot, and applicable to a much wider range of cards. If this card ever becomes searchable, it’s going to be time to panic. If your opponent uses Miounne on you around turn 3 or 4, it is likely you will not realise how far behind she has made you until it is too late into the game. Also using Miounne in tandem with the Zidane mentioned earlier in this post can put your opponent extremely behind with very little investment.

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Star Sibyl – 5-091H

Star Sibyl is an extremely efficient card. One of the few 5CP+ backups you would want to play on turn one, even overpaying for it, due to it allowing you to sculpt your hand and play out of an otherwise bad opening hand. The second effect allows it to break itself which not only puts a sizable CP threat on the field for you to deal with, but allows another Star Sibyl to come down (likely for 3CP), allowing your opponent to go and fetch another threat from the deck for you to deal with, and then that Star Sibyl can later be broken to play another threat onto the field – you get the picture. Star Sibyl also having EX is also extremely powerful, as if you are applying pressure to your opponent, and flip a Star Sibyl off the top, you can bet they’re going to go and get a Shantotto to reset the play environment with. Veritas of the Dark is the card that is most commonly asked to be banned right now (at least from what I’ve seen), so being able to drop one onto the field for the literal cost of 1 backup (which has already searched you something, and you want to resolve again) is far too strong, even for 5CP (3CP under Semih Lafihna). Star Sibyl enables a lot of off-colour plays you may not otherwise see, be it via the tap and break action ability or the common search chain of Star Sibyl > Kam’lanaut > Chaos. If you have a chance to break a Star Sibyl (in your own turn), it’s usually recommended to do it, just to deny a little value from the card – even then it’s still done most of its job.

So yeah, there are some thoughts about some cards that I consider too powerful and low-risk for their CP investments. Not-coincidentally, all these card can be played alongside Veritas extremely effectively, in an Earth/Wind deck, but hopefully this article has highlighted that it’s not just the Veritas that is beating you – it is the end result of an extremely efficient deck that starts accruing advantage from as early as turn 1. While you are putting down a backup, the Earth/Wind player is setting up and putting you behind. The Veritas is just the end result that closes out the game – calling for Veritas to be banned certainly wouldn’t solve the problem of turns 1-5 being probably the most impactful turns of the game in a tournament environment.

tl;dr – If you lose to Earth/Wind and you think it’s because of a big CP investment play in the late game, you are analyzing the wrong part of the deck – it is a deck that is based around incremental advantage from the extremely early game, and that’s the part you need to tackle to win.

Thanks for reading!

Esufer

Did you like this style of article? Would you like to see more opinion pieces like this? If so please let me know on my Facebook page or down in the comments!

Opus VIII Set Review Pt.5 – Ice

It’s a pretty warm day today, let’s cool off by looking at some Ice cards. After this, we’ve only got Earth and Light & Dark to look at, and I plan to do those sometime next weekend (or over the weekend depending on how things pan out!)

Let’s go!

Continue reading “Opus VIII Set Review Pt.5 – Ice”

Opus IX Spoiler Compendium

I didn’t do one of these for Opus VIII, I’ll be doing one this set. Keep an eye on this post, I will be updating it. Not massively bothered with image quality here, more bothered about getting this all in one place ASAP for you guys. You’ll have nice high quality images on the official site when the set launches!

Opus IX releases on the 19th of July 2019.

Nael – A tepid box topper

Hey guys, we’ve got 2 Opus IX cards out in the wild now, Nael and Vincent.

I wanted to take a bit of time to talk about Nael today, especially as it’s radically different from its Chapters source card, and a massive step back on what Fire needs in a 5 Cost card after the extremely good Cloud from Opus VIII.

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Let’s get the first thing out of the way – the art is really nice. Nael’s design from FFXIV 1.0 makes her one of the more memorable villains of the FFXIV series (especially with Gaius being an equally cool follow on pseudo-villain). Unfortunately the art makes the text on the full art actually quite hard to read, something probably made a bit worse by the foiling we are presumably going to get on this card when it releases.

I’ve seen a lot of reactions around this card (as is natural for the first revealed legend for a set) – a lot of experienced players are disappointed with it (myself included), but there is an equal amount of it that are viewing the potential of what this card can do if everything goes right.

Opus IX’s Nael is the very epitome of a high roll Card. To get maximum value out of it, you want to be running a high amount of forwards in your deck so that you get a 2CP 9k (which in fire isn’t really anything special compared to better, searchable attackers like mah boi Hien). Realistically, you can probably hope to hit 1 forward off of her effect, making her a 4CP 9k, at which point I honestly think I would prefer Rubicante. If you miss with the effect (likely, you’re only looking at the top 3 cards and probably running 22-25 forwards in an average deck), you’ve sunk 6CP into something that could be a Veritas of the Dark.

I’ve seen the counterpoint to this that if you pay 6, get 2 forwards off of her etb effect, and then pitch all 5 backups to 8k 2 forwards and then haste Nael, you’re probably winning the game, but it doesn’t take a lot to disrupt that. A random Famfrit out of nowhere, or the ever-present in the meta Diabolos coming down mean that you’ve just sacrificed 5 backups to effectively lose the game. People seem to only be looking at this card at the absolute peak of what it can be, ignoring what fire actually needs from a legendary card (especially one with this big a CP investment) – consistency. I’m happy to be wrong on this card, but I don’t see myself playing it unless it gets some REALLY good support to go with it, or if it works really well in a dual-element deck. Time will tell on that. The issue with the card is it not only doesn’t do things better than cards that already exist, it doesn’t do it even as well as card that already exist.

If you want something in Fire that searches and gets you value and a body, you run Marche with Montblanc. If you want a big attacker, you have plenty of natural haste,  you run the infinitely more valuable Cloud, or the incredibly threatening Ark Angel HM. You’re probably wanting to kill your opponent way before they (or you) get fully set up, and I don’t think Nael plays into that gameplan at all. If we end up with a “Big Fire” deck like we had “Big Ice” emerge in Opus 6/7, it could potentially see some play. But at that point if you want a forward without a meaningful etb to just attack with, I can guarantee you’re looking at Xande before you look at Nael.

Anti-synergy of wanting to run both a high amount of forwards and backups is what really hurts this card. The etb wants this to see play in an “all-forwards” deck – yet to get further value out of it, it wants to you to remove backups from the game for it? That’s a big ask for a not particularly game-changing effect. If I want to spot remove my own backups, I vastly prefer Firion from Opus 6 (and he’s a potential 2 cost 9k that can access Haste, Brave and First Strike, and he doesn’t even see play – that should tell you something.)

A couple of minor tweaks would be all that would need to change to make Nael more playable. Let us look at the top 4 cards of our deck, or top 3 and let us choose characters. Change the “remove a backup from the game” to be “Remove 1 card from the top of your deck from the game” for the first effect, and “Remove 2 cards from the top of your deck from the game” for the second effect, but make them once per turn if you’re worried about the removal being abused. In its current state, for 6CP it doesn’t cut it at all. 6 CP is the same CP investment for a Dadaluma and 2 Cactuar, after all. For 6CP you want to be bringing the centerpiece of your deck online, or lining up a fantastic swing play. Not just dropping a card onto the field.

This is all opinion, and if you’re hype for Nael I hope I haven’t taken a massive shit on it, but it’s not going to be the transformative boss monster for Fire that Cloud was. If there are backups that get effects from being removed from the game, she could be something. Not holding my breath though.

tl;dr: Run Veritas instead of this

Thanks for reading!

Esufer