Hey guys, it’s time for Part 4 of the set review! After Wind it’s time to bring it back down to Earth and look at one of the historically less exciting elements, and see if there’s been a fundamental change in the terrain for this element in Opus IX! As always, I will only be covering constructed play, if you want content for limited formats, these boys gotchu.
More after the read more bit. Which is below. Press it!
Heretical Knight Garland – 9-061R
I think the Heretical Knight Garland is best looked at as a 2CP 8k in heavy spot-removal Earth decks. His second effect seems a bit too meme-worthy to be viable, especially as you can’t declare an attack and then use his action ability, as by that point you’ve missed the trigger. If you fancy sinking 12CP though, you can easily wipe basically any board in the game with his ability, (2x 6k hits should clear anything!) and he can occasionally be used as a slower Fina in a few decks. Decent card, I think his power is in about the right place for a rare.
Vincent – 9-062H
I’d been waiting for a new Vincent to go with the 5 Cost EX searcher for quite some time, especially since the Opus II mainstay has fallen out of relevance. I’ve personally been trying this guy in a deck with the Turks, which is pretty gimmicky but really fun to play. It gives FFVII Fire/Earth access to backup clear and a hefty on-play burn, which is very nice. Zoom isn’t irrelevant, allowing you to turn your extra copies of Vincent into Hecatoncheirs as required – my main complaint about this card is it’s an FFVII cover card in a set that mostly ignored FFVII 😦 Ticks all the boxes. Clears backups, good category, relevant name, on curve, kills something when it enters. I think you’ll see this one in quite a few places!
Gabranth – 9-063L
Gabranth has a lot of homes in a lot of decks – unfortunately as he’s a Legend he’s either regarded as the best card to ever be printed in the history of the game, or is regarded as unplayable trash. Personally I don’t think his field ability is relevant in the slightest, as if you’re that close to death (and haven’t got that close on purpose for say, Noctis), an 8k Brave isn’t saving you. I personally rate his first effect, combined with the fact he’s EX as the main draw to play him, as getting hit can allow you to toolbox an appropriate response to pretty much any board. Get smacked in the face by a field of weenies? Go get a Fina and go off. Need a Cecil so that you can cast Dark with Noctis in play to take the game? Go for it. Sephiroth? Veritas? Kam’lanaut? This guy fetches a huge amount of really relevant stuff, and I can see it being the ‘money card’ of the set, at least while we’re in the infancy of the format.
Garif – 9-064C
Is there a reason to play Standard Units in Earth right now? They’re the element that does big boring bois the best, and I think having more of the same doesn’t particularly bring anything new to the Earth play-style of just dropping impossibly huge 4CP forwards onto the field. There’s maybe a build with Pugilist, WRO Members and this guy? If there is, I don’t think we’ll see it causing quakes anywhere.
Golem – 9-065C
Golem more like stoplem lmao. This card is only relevant because it’s a +1 ex burst, although at 2 it’s not an unreasonable combat trick. I definitely think there’s better options in Earth though, as the element has the option to use things like Yojimbo and Titan to force 2-for-1s, or Carbuncle if you just need a recyclable 2k on things like Aerith, Y’shtola and Noctis.
Cor – 9-066C
Every time a new XV card is printed, 2CP Noctis gets better. Most of the time you’re going to have Cor down as a 7k, which is good for 2CP. If you’re running FFXV as a category deck, you’re probably running as many FFXV cards as possible, so there’s not really much for me to say about a forward that is as heavily category-favoured as this.
Cid Garlond – 9-067C
Oooh baby. I’d probably place this as the best card Earth got this set. Earth really suffers from not having a whole host of really really good early game backups, and Cid Garlond really solves that. The break effect also isn’t irrelevant, as you can get things back like Miner, Nidhogg, Hraesvelgr, and basically any card in a Scions deck. Grabbing Miner back with it, and then grabbing this back off of Miner, and playing this to grab a backup from the deck can really help accelerate your early backup game, too!
Mist Dragon – 9-068H
I don’t really rate Mist Dragon. Mist Dragon obviously has arrived to deliver us all from Porom Mill, however people are teching for the Mist Dragon tech, causing Mist Dragon players to try and tech in things like Hill Gigas to tech for the anti-Mist Dragon decks, it’s created a strange feedback loop in some areas of the meta where we all end up playing terrible decks filled with cards that hate on Porom & its counters. Feel free to test this card, but I can guarantee most of the time it’ll either feel like you’ve casted it too early, or you’ve casted it too late. It’s definitely better than Carbuncle as a summon cancel though!
Tonberry – 9-069R
Man, you have to feel bad for these little guys. They’re adorable but you’ve gotta admit they’re not very useful. Late game Tonberry can be a pain to block, and can hit pretty hard, but Earth has better spot removal, and better forwards.
Ba’Gamnan – 9-070R
The heart of the Ba’Gamnan turbo deck, truly the best deck to come out of Opus IX… but really, ol’ Bagface can get one of three other Headhunters from the deck, that can be toolboxed to match the situation, with the perfect setup leading to a 10k field wipe! Give this guy a go if you fancy having a bit of fun, I certainly think he’s vastly better than the King and Queen of Eblan.
Bangaa – 9-071C
Think of Bangaa as an Evoker that is effectively “trade the worst card in your hand for the best card in your graveyard.” That’s a good card. I’ve seen people rate the Lightning Summon-based version of this higher, but I vastly prefer this, especially if it leads into some madness with Gid Garlond or Miner – Earth got some real love for backups this set.
Baigan – 9-072H
Why’s his arm so huge? He’s like Quagmire after he discovered the internet. Baigan’s a really cool card. He can take Valefors like a champ all day, he’s not going down to ping damage, and if they do try to remove him with damage (and that damage doesn’t immediately kill him) he can threaten to just nuke the entire field, without blowing up your own. Things worth noting about this card: 1) You cannot resolve his auto ability if he receives fatal damage, as he will be dead by rules process before you can put him into the break zone to trigger his 7k wipe. 2) His wipe only affects opposing forwards. I’ve seen a few people wrongly assume he hits everything on the field, but no, he’s actually just quite a good card. Earth didn’t need a pseudo-Cagnazzo!
Class Fifth Moogle – 9-073R
Not a fan of these, but that should be obvious by now. Also what kind of uniforms do they wear in Class Five? Get dressed.
Class Tenth Moogle – 9-074C
At first glance this card seems tailor-made for FFVII Vincent/Turks or FFXIV Scions of the Seventh Dawn – however in both of those decks you’re likely going to want to finish on a pretty-specific category-based backup line, and I don’t think Class Tenth fits in there. Maybe he’ll see play in some kind of Ea/Li that lacks its own specific support, like Warriors of Darkness?
Yang – 9-075R
I’ll be honest, I don’t really know what is going on with Monks. They’ve kind of doubled down on playing into the big boring bois archetype, without really offering much in the way of synergy or spot removal – until we got this card. Good targets for this I could see are things like Sabin, who you could pump up to really amplify the damage of the effect that Yang enables – the issue there being that you’ve paid 4 to put Yang down in the same turn, so it’s probably cost you a bit of CP to do so. Maybe Monks will become an actual thing in the future, but for now they feel very much like a half-archetype, and that’s looking at it generously
Larkeicus – 9-076H
Sick full art, a name that’s really easy to pronounce incorrectly and being from a game the majority of the community never played seems to be the hallmark for a good Hero in recent sets. If you’re running a Monster deck, you are probably bending over backwards to play Larkeicus. He’s effectively a 1CP forward that allows you to turn an Earth card in your hand into literally any monster once per turn for as long as you can keep him on the field. Both he and Galdes are searchable off of Epitav, so perhaps there’s the beginnings of an Earth/X FFCC monsters deck in the works? I don’t see it happening any time soon though, as out of all the card types, monsters are certainly the most inconsistent when it comes to power levels, and Opus IX’s monsters haven’t been great.
Rydia – 9-077L
A deck builder’s dream, Rydia lets you get really weird with really strange high cost summons. We’re 2 and a half weeks into the format and we’ve already seen a Rydia deck top 2 a major event (but got slapped by my boy eureka yeet). I think this is exactly what a Legend should be – a unique effect, with a powerful effect if built around. The Light/Dark restriction keeps the deck building a bit more interesting too, and forces you to go to Fire/Lightning to abuse cards like Phoenix, Raiden and Bahamut, rather than relying on ‘safer’ choices like Madeen, Ark, Ultima and Zodiark. Paying 9 for the action ability and not hitting a Raiden would feel impossibly bad though, I am not brave enough to play this deck!
Rinok – 9-078C
She’s not aged well since FFVIII, has she? You use this when Ba’Gamnan comes in to search the field wipe Headhunter (Gijuk) to cause a 10k board wipe. Probably don’t see play outside of that, but seems like it could be especially obnoxious by making your Headhunter chump blockers suddenly trading with things like Yiazmat for one CP. Not horrible, will only see play in Headhunter decks.
Lilty – 9-079R
Lilty’s not as great as it appears. If your opponent is attacking into it, and you’re getting stuff back repeatedly, it’s likely you were going to win the match without playing Lilty anyway as your opponent probably isn’t making optimal choices. Against more experienced players, Lilty is either going to get spot removed, turned sideways and frozen until the heat death of the Universe, or you’re just going to get milled out. There are better slots available in Earth, and I think the fact that this seems powerful, and has a full art means that we’ll probably see it in a lot of places for a while. Combined with something like illusionist it could potentially do something, but I’m not seeing it.
Regis – 9-080C
More FFXV cards = more fuel for the Noctis Highroll. Also allows you to go Regis > Ignis > Noctis > hopefully something which is a reasonably nice in-category search chain. Also brings Cor online, so if you’re running one you’re likely running the other. Also the mocap/voice actor for Regis is going to be at UK Nationals, so that’s pretty cool!
So yeah, that’s my feelings on Earth! What do you think about it? Did this set move mountains for you as an Earth player, or did it bring your lofty ambitions firmly down to earth? Let me know either in the comments or on my Facebook page!
Thanks for reading,