Hey guys, it’s time for the fifth, and not-final part of my set review, this time I’m gonna be looking at Lightning. Has lightning finally managed to break free of it’s mono prison? Are we going to be shocked by lines of play that don’t involve just blowing up things that are active? Or are we going to be sorely disappointed by a set where lightning lacks the spark to get going? You know the drill by now, this will be a purely constructed look at the cards – that means no limited or sealed opinions here!
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Azul – 9-081R
So we’re not starting Lightning off well. Azul looks like one of those boss monsters that could have been around during Opus 2-4 and would have seen a decent amount of play (especially being searchable off of Opus 4’s Restrictor), when Minwu was at it’s full strength. Having a pseudo-Minwu/Cagnazzo effect baked into a forward in an Element that doesn’t usually have access to that kind of thing would have been awesome, but why we got a second Azul before we got an actually playable Weiss or Nero (or even a single actual Hojo/Jenova) seems a really weird choice. Maybe someone at Hobby Japan really likes Dirge of Cerberus? If you’re running some strange Tsviets gimmick build, you might find you run this guy to get the most out of Restrictor, but at the same time the Tsviets archetype is a nightmare to look at and none of the cards particularly work. Maybe this is a sign of a “second round” of Tsviets. The more FFVII the better!
Edea – 9-082C
When this was revealed, I was firmly in the “this is a good card” camp, with a tonne of people instantly denouncing it as unplayable because of the name clash. If I aim to play a special, I generally aim for 4-of a certain name (with a couple of exceptions), and this Edea would definitely be my 4th Card Name Edea in mono. A good EX burst, she might kill something on play late game, but she’s also Death fuel for Opus 2 Edea, who continues to be a mainstay of the Mono Lightning deck. Also an 8k body in lightning is not insubstantial!
Odin – 9-083C
Easily the worst of the “do a thing, draw a card” summons we got in Opus IX, with the most common thing you’re gonna be killing with it being a Porom. Which likely gets your opponent a Valefor, Famfrit, or Diabolos back. Super great art, I really like the Dissidia NT version of Odin, but Lightning has better options for spot removal, and the EX can only resolve if it has a valid target so it’s not even a decent +1 EX.
Kain – 9-084H
Kain is awesome – he’s an alternative to having to run Al-Cid, freeing up a lot of space in the deck, he’s power reduction so he can actually kill pesky things like Cagnazzo or not be dampened by Minwu, and effectively he’s only 3 cost – sac an Opus II Fusoya to pay for him and you’re getting a forward back from your break zone too! A really nice swing card, my only criticism is he works in direct contrast to the other good Dragoon, Estinien L. One loves being at 5 backups, one likes to trash a backup to come in cheaper. Personally I’d really like to build around this card and something like Rinoa (Opus 6) in a flicker deck, as getting that effect off twice seems really really strong. Giving Lightning a way to deal with non-active forwards without using Edea is also really useful, and he’s searchable off of King of Burmecia – who you can then sacrifice to Kain’s ability to get him down. Just being free from Al-Cid makes Mono L deck building much less restrictive.
Cid of Clan Gully – 9-085C
If you’re running an FFTA2 theme deck, I think you’re running the searcher instead of this, especially as Lightning and Lightning/X have a tonne of spot removal already, that don’t require you to lose a backup and a card from hand. Hard pass!
Goblin – 9-086R
The only time I see myself ever wanting to actually use Goblin is if I’ve been field wiped, and I want to get a point of damage through and then get a couple of cards deeper into my deck. I like what they were going for with this cycle of monsters but I don’t think they’re going to be hugely impactful. There’s perhaps some Urianger shenanigans with this one though? I’m sure someone smarter than me will build around it if it’s worth doing so, but this is definitely a card that suffers from not being good enough to make it into a deck right now.
Golbez – 9-087H
GAZE UPON THE MEME KING AND DESPAIR. Expect to see loads of really unbalanced builds with 40+ forwards in attempting to use Golbez to play massive forwards off the top for very little investments. His Double Meteor special is also pretty cool, if you’re running a huge amount of Golbez, and assuming you’ve amassed a terrifying board with the first effect could end games very decisively. Seems to be the centerpiece of a deck that when it goes off, goes off, but otherwise I don’t think something like this can go off reliably enough in a best-of-1 format (I think Opus 1 Golbez works better for a ‘surprise, you’re dead’ tactic right now.). Hit a Nidhogg/Yiazmat off of this and watch your opponent’s reaction.
Seifer – 9-088C
2CP 8k with Meia/Edea/Ultimecia in play. I think if you’re leaning into the ‘Witch’ archetype (IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN SORCERESSES GDI), you’re probably running the EX searcher Seifer. Not a huge amount to say about this. Searchable off of Selphie and the new Quistis.
Seeq – 9-089C
Hey it’s a Mustadio but more expensive and Purple. Alternatively it’s a Prompto that is strictly worse in all situations. If you need a backup-based break in Lighting, just run Seymour from Opus 1 instead, it hits more than enough relevant stuff. Why this card costs the same as Shantotto is beyond me, I think it could have done with being 6CP.
Sage – 9-090C
I’ve seen a tonne of other content creators/players put this in their top 10 cards of the Opus, and I really don’t get it! Being able to get back a summon is nice, but I think I prefer Bangaa? Just because getting a character back is potentially better for establishing a really strong board, but I can also see that Sage allowing you to get back any summon can let you get back some really nasty stuff in Lightning/X. I’d like someone to show me the light on this card!
Nero – 9-091H
Nero is pretty cool. In Lightning/X he’s a massive attacker the first turn he comes down, and his second ability can snipe some really strange stuff, especially if you manage to continually recur him from the Break Zone – and another 3k if you then play him with a Gaius in play. I think this will be one of those cards that ends up being degenerate loopable removal at some point in the game but I don’t think there’s any really abusable loops you can do with him right now. Perfectly adequate for a 3CP 7k that’s searchable by a good EX searcher, no complaints with this card at all.
Bakamny – 9-092R
Just dull everything. Literally everything. Makes lightning’s already incredibly scary hasty stuff (Estinien, Hildibrand, Illua etc) even scarier, as they’re dulling something when they come into play. I’m expecting a Mono L alpha strike to crop up soon, with Baknamy likely being in it as he can effectively be used as a pseudo-Snow on a body. Also gives Mono L a viable secondary target for Gramis, which is definitely welcome.
Bahamut ZERO – 9-093H
Oh dang. That is one hell of a summon. The turn you resolve Bahamut ZERO, you’re probably winning the game. Knock out their biggest active blocker and turn the rest sideways? For 1CP less than the classic Odin EX? Go for it! Just bear in mind if the primary target becomes invalid (i.e. it gets dulled or leaves the field), the dull will not go off, so be sure they can’t interfere with your target when you go for this. This card is great though, and I see it sneaking into quite a few builds indeed.
Fusoya – 9-094L
Fusoya is pretty dang good value, if you can afford him in the first place. He’s effectively a 3CP 6k that might kill something when he enters play – you’re probably going to want to build around him so that you can take advantage of his ETB effect, weighing your deck so that you have a good chance of killing a 7k+ when he comes in. That you then get the cards you reveal is nuts good, and giving Lightning a bit of an ability to get through their deck quicker is certainly welcome. The first ability is a bit odd, but allows you to get really creative with your deck building, and lets you slot big stuff like Opus 1 Bahamut & Diabolos without fear of it bricking once Fusoya is in play. You’re gonna see decks built around this + Rydia for sure (we already have, in recent Japan Master’s tournaments!)
Meia – 9-095L
Full disclosure, bit embarrassed by this card art. Effect wise card is okay, most of the time you’re going to be taking the Dull or +1k First Strike when you move to attacks, but she can also haste things like Wol & Cloud of Darkness which isn’t irrelevant. Mobius (the mobile game) has a stupid amount of potential stuff to come to the TCG, so this is definitely a card that may get better with time as more Mobius gets released. At worst she can be treated as an Amon that gets it’s effect every time you move to combat, without needing to tap. Which isn’t horrible!
Class Third Moogle – 9-096R
Skipping this one.
Class Sixth Moogle – 9-097C
I kind of like this one. Lightning/Water has been on the verge of being pretty playable for a while, and I think this might nudge it ahead by allowing you to cut back on the amount of Water backups you run without hurting consistency. In something like a Dragoon deck, this is a nice enabler for Opus 8’s Freya, and also allows you to get things like Rosa in to go with your Opus II Kains without going all in on the Water stuff, or allowing Steiner to lead into King of Burmecia pretty well. I certainly think it’s more relevant than the Earth/Lightning one in terms of enabling new stuff.
Reeve – 9-098C
Can find Cait Sith for an emergency dull + chump blocker, can find 5 Cost Vincent for a search chain, or can go straight into Opus 3 Vincent for spot removal. A really nice searcher with some pretty good potential, I really wish this one was Wind or Earth, but it’s a great piece in a Vincent/Turks build.
Livia – 9-099R
Livia absolutely has to be paid for properly to avoid exploding to her first effect. You can’t use Star Sibyl, you can’t use Phoenix, you can’t use Al-Cid. I’m expecting to get challenged on that, so here’s the source! Now that that’s out of the way, Livia’s a pretty cool card you can slot as a by product into a deck if you’re already at 3 Colours. I don’t think I’d build around her, but as a big body that can brave and just break anything bigger than her that dares to block, she can essentially render herself immune to combat tricks. I don’t think she’s quite worth building around, but with all the new Garlemald cards we got this set, I’m expecting a Fire/Ice/Lightning deck to crop up in some form that includes things like Livia, Varis, and Gaius & co. I don’t expect it to be massively high tier, but I think it could be a fun tri-colour build.
Ravus – 9-100R
Ravus seems like a less awkward version of Opus VII’s Emperor, dulling something on entry or EX. If you play him and they have more forwards though, you get to dull 2 things, which can enable you to just slam down an Illua/Alba and steal the game. If you’re planning on running Ravus, be aware of the order that you do things as it could easily cost you the game if you play him after you’ve already played a forward.
So that’s my thoughts on Lightning!
Did my opinions positively charge you? (that one was bad) or was I shockingly off base?
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Thanks for reading and have a good week!