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!
Ark Angel TT – 8-067R
First up we have another Ark Angel – the only element that didn’t get one is Water, I think? Ark Angel TT is a fantastic card, like the majority of his counterparts. 2 Cost means he’s great to punish any early aggression, but his simple targeting requirement of just ‘something being dull’ is really nice. Even though the break is delayed, Ark Angel TT does not need to stay on the field for it to resolve. He’s also searchable off of Star Sibyl, and because of this I think he’s actually been seeing play as a one-of in quite a few Earth/Wind builds – searchable removal on a forward is nothing to turn your nose up at!
Ardyn – 8-068L
Ardyn is our first earth Legend of Opus VIII, and he’s certainly a polarizing one. I’ve seen people call him broken (despite on the card it literally says he can’t be broken ayy lmao), and I’ve seen people calling him beyond worthless. I think the card is a really good risk/reward card, ideally Ardyn wants to come down as early as possible and start pressuring your opponent – the issue is that if he’s dropped on his own, and you get punished by either a Famfrit, the Darkening Cloud or a Veritas of the Dark, you’ve sunk 7 CP into literally nothing. Fantastic synergy with Hecatoncheir and Yojimbo, and can play alongside forward Shantotto without being at risk from her fieldwiping ability. Counterplays to this card are usually just building a large field, then getting as much damage past him as possible using his auto-ability (saccing a backup or a monster to bypass his ability to block.) – alternately, just hit him with Deathgaze, Nidhogg, Famfrit, Veritas, or reduce his power to zero. Or bounce him. ‘Ardyn cannot be broken’ is not as intimidating a line of text as it sounds. Great to see FFXV finally getting some love this set, even if his job is straight up wrong.
Apururu – 8-069R
A great card in sealed/draft, or as part of the FFXI package in constructed. I don’t see Apururu getting a massive amount of play outside of that, and ideally you want it to be the last backup that you put down to make sure you get the maximum value out of it. Less restrictive than Miner, but also with the caveat that it doesn’t break itself when you’re done using the effect – perfect fodder for Veritas though.
Dark Knight – 8-070C
The Dark Knight armor from Stormblood was so cool, and this card is so average. For the cost of 2 + putting it in the break zone, I don’t feel it does enough, especially as the game isn’t massively combat-trick focused right now and if you’re playing Earth or Earth/X your forwards are probably massive already.
Undead Princess – 8-071H
Undead Princess is really nice. Her ability isn’t once per turn, so if you need to revive her to use her ability to stop something from attacking and they somehow remove it, you can do it more than once if you wish – also she can be used as emergency Famfrit/Veritas food, and can be used both offensively and defensively – and at the end of the day, 5k for 2CP isn’t that bad either. You can use her to clear out things like Apururu, Shantotto, Raubahn, Mustadio etc to threaten more of them, while gaining a body. I think this card should be considered as a one-of in almost everything that has the option to run it right now.
Ignis – 8-072R
THAT’S IT! I’ve come up with a new archetype searcherrrr. Ignis is fantastic. He’s already a soft 3CP for 7k power, putting him on curve (and getting you a Noctis in hand, with both Noctises (Nocti?) already being very good.) Giving the rest of the Chocobros (and Ardyn) +1000 and Brave makes an already efficient forward lineup pretty scary indeed. And his S ability lets him spot delete things straight away. If you’re running FFXV, you’re probably maxing out on Ignis. As 2 cost Noctis gets better, this card will get better.
Machinist – 8-073C
Gladiolus – 8-074H
Gladiolus seems to always appear in the top 2 cards of the deck as soon as you play 2CP Noctis. 2CP for 9K isn’t massive, but alongside other FFXV cards, Gladiolus can become a real force to be reckoned with (a 2CP 10k Brave alongside Ignis and Noctis). His S ability also hits that 7k sweet spot, and can deal with a lot of boards and help with blowing out swarm decks.
Graham – 8-075C
If you get a foil one of these, he’s technically a Golden Graham. Outside of that, he’s a worse version of Asmodai and Cecil, with those cards filling the “removal attached to a 5CP body” niche in earth exceptionally well already. I don’t think we bother with this one outside of sealed.
Glaive – 8-076H
Another searcher in a similar vein to Ignis, getting you value an an extra added buffer effect (although an extra 1k in this case instead of the Brave). Most of the time you’re probably searching for Diana for a bit of value ramp off of this card, but being able to search for Sol means you can splash 7 cost Phoenix into a deck where you otherwise might not be able to play it, using Sol as searchable fire CP. Cool card, pick it up incase Warriors of Darkness ever become tier 1 – they’re a bit of a half-archetype right now, and Nacht is especially slow.
Titan – 8-077C
Titan’s weird. It’s like some Opus II card design has somehow snuck its way into the game’s 8th set. It’s not that Titan is bad, its more he’s not good enough to warrant a space in a deck with a hard 50 card limit. I don’t see any gametype this can get played in, as for draft/sealed you are likely on two colours, and in constructed you’re almost definitely running something better than this.
Nacht – 8-078L
Nacht reads much better than he actually is – his first effect will usually be live, and can be especially potent alongside Glaive, his second effect had a lot of people concerned that this card was too strong for the game, but paying 8CP to break a 4CP is not really great card economy. His best utilisations are paying 0CP twice to break Illua’s ‘shield’ effect, or paying 2 to break a Cactuar – not exactly the most exciting plays, but Nacht is unfortunately quite the CP sink outside of this. His S ability also isn’t fantastic value, either, but at least you don’t need to dull him to use it.
Noctis – 8-079H
I like Noctis. I recommend grabbing a playset while he’s cheap, just incase he becomes insane.
Luminous Puma – 8-080C
Luminous Puma is a strange card. Getting some value back as soon as you play it is nice, but the second ability being an instant-speed ‘no cost’ Miner is really good. I think similar to Goblin from Opus IV, Luminous Puma fills slots 48-50 if you have nothing else to put into your deck and want to recur more copies of cards you have already played. One nice play you can do with this card is cracking it in response to a Chaos, Walker of the Wheel, to get something into your hand you can then use to play onto the field for free.
Fenrir – 8-081R
Let’s be realistic, Fenrir reads very situationally – however the majority of the top decks right now are running Dark cards (Veritas, Kam’lanaut, Galdes, the almighty Nidhogg) or Light cards (probably just Yuri?) so Fenrir is actually live against a lot of decks. If you’re one of the people complaining that Veritas needs to be banned ASAP, maybe try a Fenrir or two and see how that goes for you.
Prompto – 8-082R
Arguably the least playable of the Chocobros, however when he goes off he goes off. Worst case scenario, he is a Mustadio that costs 1 more to not have the restriction of targeting only dull forwards (which isn’t that bad an ability), but if your opponent has gone really wide with a lot of forwards (as decks like Mono Water love to do with Lenna/Knight and Leila/Viking), you can really ruin their day with a well-timed Prompto. Important to note, when he comes over on EX, only the RFG ability fires, the break does not fire as well.
Hecatoncheir – 8-083C
A reprint of an eternally relevant card – thank you for this one Square Enix ❤
Libroarian – 8-084R
This card feels so much better on paper than it does when you actually play it. In theory, you are drawing 1 extra card a turn for 4 turns, which can grant you some massive advantage. In actuality, it gets bounced by something like a Bismarck and you have just lost 4 cards to the void permanently. Probably skip this one. Potentially good in a format that has limited access to monster removal?
Marlene – 8-085C
Probably one of the best EX bursts you can see go over if you’re playing Category VII right now (Barret nonwithstanding). Generally doesn’t feel great to play it as an actual backup, unless you are trying to get 2CP Yuffie online, but when you see it flip into damage, and pick up a 3CP Light Cloud from it, that is a good feeling indeed.
Moogle Knight – 8-086C
Not a massive fan of this one. The artwork is amazing, the ability is decidedly ‘eh’, but the Brave is nice. 3CP for 5k is rarely going to ever feel good though, unless you are getting some kind of instant return or value off of it, and unfortunately with Moogle Knight, you’re not. Party attacking is probably far too risky considering that before blockers they can just remove Moogle Knight/whatever it’s party attacking with and let the other one die to the blocker. Another card that feels decidedly Opus II-III and has snuck its way into Opus VIII.
Monk – 8-087C
Monk isn’t quite as good as the older Monks we have had access to – Monk backups are generally best when they’re used as a ‘you better not block me’ combat trick – with this Monk being restricted to the Main Phase, it can’t fill that niche, unfortunately. I’ve seen a few decks include this as a one-of, if they need to force damage through, but as a combat trick it’s not great.
Layle – 8-088C
Layle is the big gross. Searchable off of Norschtalen, fits into almost any deck that can run it, and can counter a lot of stuff in the game right now, most notably Water’s deluge of summons, Lightning’s multiple Ramuhs, and Wind’s ever present Valefors. Definitely give this guy a look if you are struggling for good 2CP backups in Earth.
Cloud – 8-143S
I have played a LOT of matches with this card. I’ve resolved his field entry auto ability around 3-4 times total. This Cloud is best viewed as a 2CP (with Jessie) 7k that can block an 8k. His second ability is vastly superior to his first ability, especially as you’re likely already winning if you’re resolving that first ability. Additionally, due to some excellent working, if your opponent has no forwards, and you have enough to make his ability fire when you play him, Cloud will have to break one of your own forwards. Sub optimal.
Tifa – 8-144S
On paper, Tifa seems like a beast. A Brave 2CP 8k that fits into the VII category neatly? And has a 10k auto ability? Nice! However to get that reduction, you need to have a Cloud in play. And the majority of Clouds get better when they already have another FFVII character in play. You end up in a situation where you either put Cloud into play, and whiff his effect so that you can play Tifa for cheaper, or you pay full price for Tifa to get Cloud’s effect to go off. Or you have the best of both worlds, and already have an FFVII forward in play to really get some value going, but at that point you’re probably already into the ‘win more’ stage of the game, rather than doing some kind of big swing play. I must admit, following a Shantotto, it is really nice to play down 2CP Yuffie, 3CP Light Cloud (for 2CP, and then this Tifa for 2CP, but those moments are rare indeed.
Barret – 8-145S
Don’t be dissuaded by Barret dying pretty much instantly the majority of the times he comes out. If your opponent can’t answer him immediately, you will likely win the game. I’ve seen people argue around hasting him with Belias or Sage, but I personally don’t buy into that, as if they are going to remove him instantly, they’ll do it on the stack when you try to Belias him and deny you a draw as well as the forward (and attached auto ability). Once Barret starts resolving though, hoo boy. That’s the FFVII category deck at its best, effectively drawing an extra card every combat phase, giving it at massive amount of cards to play with. Most of the time though, Barret will eat a Famfrit or Diabolos, so be prepared to protect him with something like Y’shtola if you want value out of this guy. Combine him with Jessie for a ridiculous 4CP value machine. I like Barret.
So that’s my review of Earth all done, I’ll likely get Light/Dark done later today, to cap it all off. Earth isn’t quite the most exciting element in the game, but give Noctis and his pals a look if you want something a bit different for the element that is still fun to play (although quite luck based)
Thanks for reading!