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!)
Ark Angel GK – 8-023R
Starting out, naturally with an Ark Angel, here we have Ark Angel GK. He sports the same body vs cost as Orphan, but with the advantage of 1) not being called Orphan and 2) having an EX burst which will occasionally be useful (but won’t stave off death if you were going to die that turn). I actually ran one of this guy instead of one of my Orphans, and just having the slight name variance felt like a huge boon, as it lowered my chance of drawing another Orphan when I already had one down. Give him a shot if you need a bit of variance in your names in Ice, but of course fill up on things like Orphan, Kuja, Sephiroth and Cid Aulstyne before you consider this card. Also looks great in foil, naturally.
Umaro – 8-024C
If Fire/Ice FFVI are the Avengers, this guy is the incredible hulk. For a deck that already has access to some pretty impressive statlines thanks to the new Edgar, Umaro fits in really nicely as a 1-2 of. You can really increase the pressure by dropping this guy reasonably early, and of course he puts your Celes and Locke online easier too. Just make sure you either have an empty hand or 1 ice CP to lose when you attack with him!
Imperio – 8-025H
I’m not a fan. If you find yourself running both Yuri and Veritas in your decks (probably the most viable Light and Dark cards right now), AND you happen to be running ice in your deck, Imperio might be worth a shot. I think he’s niche at best though, but I have seen a few people run him just to threaten a Veritas on death (ignoring the entry effect entirely) which still isn’t so bad!
Garland – 8-026L
Garland can be an incredibly oppressive turn 1-3 play in the right deck. He’s not massively useless dropping him lategame, and has the downside of dying to the lightest touch with a sub-standard 6000 power. I’ve tested it, when it comes down vs a bad hand it really puts some work in, but in other games I find it doesn’t really do anything at all. I’ve seen a few people play this against me now as well, and the 6000 power has never been anything I can’t immediately deal with. You’ll hear polarized things on this one, definitely test it if you like control. Just don’t miss those triggers!
Scholar – 8-027C
Ice already has plenty of good backups, but if you find yourself in a build and you’re a few backups short, by all means give this a try. Basically speeds you through your deck a bit quicker, and can be used to burst some extra CP out late game, especially if you use multiples.
The Mask – 8-028R
The Mask is looking a lot less green than his movie appearance, but he’s a generic searcher for FFL category forwards. While there’s nothing particularly busted he will go and grab now (outside of perhaps Asmodai/Alba/Diana), searchers by nature always get better as the game progresses. Also, how do you pronounce that job?
Bard – 8-029C
Not really a fan, Ice has access to a lot better backups than this.
Black Mage – 8-030C
Shout out to Nado! But for real, this card kinda sucks. If you want to spend this much CP on removal, you are probably playing the Opus VII Emperor backup, which costs the same net CP and doesn’t lose you a backup. Searchable Ice CP by Star Sibyl gives it some niche playability.
Cocytus – 8-031R
This basically gives ice access to Opus I Starter Jihl while still being able to play the “no you don’t get to use Fusoya or Alhanalem” Jihl from Opus II. Freeze 2 on EX, dull 1 & Freeze 2 on play. Great card. Also counts your monsters towards the 4 characters, so very easy to get online in a Flan/Scale Toad build.
Shiva – 8-032R
My only criticism of this card is it cannot be used defensively. However, it would be fully stupid if you could. A great card, and will steal you many games. I’ve tested 2 in a deck, and it felt pretty good. Also searchable off of Bablizz, so you can effectively swing fearlessly with your Bablizz, threatening that if they block they lose 3 blockers and probably lose.
Shiva – 8-033C
Potentially hitting 10k off of this? I still don’t think that’s massively worth 4CP. I’d probably want to be winning the game on the spot for a 4CP summon, or using it to start a big comeback. The 2 CP Shiva that hits harder for every Shiva in break is a better version of this for half the cost.
Scale Toad – 8-034R
So I’m not a massive fan of monsters in general. Scale Toad is a monster I’ve tried to run, and I’ve found that he either wins you the game, or the opponent just plays everything in their hand and you die from getting swarmed. It does make getting Cid Aulstyne to go off much easier though, especially run alongside flans, but it’s really a personal call if you want to run this or not. Being a 3CP monster it’s pretty tricky to kill, but if your opponent attempts to end their turn with 6 cards in their hand (not unlikely for Water or Water/Wind), they will discard one for Scale Toad and then end the turn with 5 in their hand as per the hand size limit. A nice card, too easy to play around.
Squall – 8-035H
I want this card to be amazing, but we can’t always get what we want. If you want a 4CP 8k beater in ice that isn’t Celes, you’re better off looking at Vayne. If your opponent doesn’t control any forwards when Squall comes in, the ability doesn’t even hit the stack (you can’t use his action ability in response), which really hurts this card. Also this card is technically called Leon but w/e.
Setzer – 8-036C
The linchpin of fire Ice! Setzer will grab you back any one of your extremely good VI forwards, and set up plays like Mirage Dive from Locke, even on EX! And he gets Locke’s and Celes’ auto abilities online much easier! Great card.
Celes – 8-037R
This card is good. Other Celes is good. I think 4CP Celes beats this one out for me from a personal perspective, but I can certainly see this getting a lot of play in FFVI Fire/Ice, especially if you manage to haste her also.
Sophia – 8-038C
I don’t see this seeing a huge amount of play unless you want to wombo Scions at a local level.
Time Mage – 8-039C
I love the art, I love the flavour, and I really like the effect, but I find it’s a bit awkward to use being a one-shot ability on entry. If this was a card that either had an effect that let you return it to your hand for re-use or maybe triggered on attack instead of field entry, I think It could be a real contender, but Ice has some really good forwards from previous sets that you will want to run over this (especially if you look at the discarded card as extra CP paid into its cost, in which case it’s a 5 cost)
Mateus, the Corrupt – 8-040C
This card has had its day. Maybe you take it in sealed?
Palom – 8-041H
This guy has come out of my Ice deck like mad since Opus VIII’s launch. I find the third auto-effect the most useless of the three, as if they are going to do something horrible to you with their backups, they will just do it in response most of the time. He’s a reasonable Phoenix target to disrupt your opponent’s backup in their main or battle phases, but he really shines because of his low cost and multiple auto-abilities. Each player discarding one from their hand is fine, especially if Palom was the last card in your hand or you have something you especially want to get into the break zone to devout out later. His second auto ability is the one you will likely pick most of the time, with a 2CP investment on a body freezing an opponent’s attacker (or something annoying like a Yuri) being a great investment. Pretty cool card, I think he occupies a similar slot to Argath/Serah.
Dark Fina – 8-042L
If any legend in Opus VIII was a “buy three of this card and sit on it until it becomes broken”, it would be this card. At the moment, the obvious play is to use Dark Fina to 7 cost Phoenix something out for a bit of value, but I don’t think that’s anywhere near the full potential of this card. For the Phoenix interaction, I don’t think this card will see a whole lot of meaningful play (I know it’s been in quite a few lists lately, but a lot of those players have said that they wished it was anything else every time it came up) – give it a few sets and see what madness Dark Fina enables.
Lasswell – 8-043H
Stupid good card. Takes Fire/Ice’s pressure game and elevates it to a whole new level. The S ability is pretty negligible, but the auto ability paired with the action ability, AND the 8000 power, means that Lasswell is probably getting through and setting the pace for the rest of the game. Pretty much a mandatory card if you’re running Fire/Ice, and if he was usable in mono Ice I think I’d start retiring copies of Genesis for this card.
Lancer Unit – 8-044C
What if Flan but worse. I don’t see this doing a huge amount with Flan and Scale Toad existing, and plenty of other valid sources of Dull/Freeze existing in Ice. Perhaps it could pair up with Opus 4 Lightning in Lightning Ice to make sure you have a permanent XIII character on board? In that deck you’re probably filling that role with Jihl Nabaat anyway.
So that’s my thoughts on Ice!
Thanks for reading, we’ll finish things off with Earth hopefully sometime next week.