This week’s Card of the Week is Zell from Opus VI, who definitely deserved art with a nose.
Upon seeing Zell & Kiros get revealed, I was super hyped to make an FFVIII theme deck to play in Opus VI, but then they went and made the cards all basically not interact with each other, and even worse, give them a searcher in Selphie who was almost great but searches for SeeD Candidates, not all of which are great (I just wanted to be able to search for Opus 1 Legendary Squall, damnit!)
Zell found a home in basically every mono fire deck I’ve built since the start of Opus VI, he’s great. He’s essentially Opus I Firion but with much more potential for advantage swings. With how prominent small forwards are in the current meta (turbo Ice’s Argath & Thaumaturge and Viceking’s Leila & her groupies), it’s not unthinkable you’re gonna break something with him the majority of times he’s played. The way his effect works means you can also buff him in response to his own effect for a slightly larger burn, which should hit for a respectable 5k-6k depending on what your buffer situation looks like. Combine him with another ping and you can get some really good damage off of this card, and because he has haste it’s likely you can swing through for damage too.
His other ability that lets you pop monsters is also useful in that it can disrupt decks that rely on monsters – smack a Cactuar and that earth/wind player is likely not going to be happy. Just be warned they’ll likely obliterate your Zell in response, but it’s almost always worth it.
I’ve found in testing that Zell is a really nice early game play, as he can put damage on something and swing straight away. Best case scenario, he kills something, and you get damage through really early. Elsewhere, you might hit an 8k forward for 4k, then swing with Zell. If your opponent takes the block, you’ve removed something bigger, if they don’t, free damage, and you can follow up with a ping summon or something like Irvine in main phase 2. It’s pretty much a win/win. Comboing him with Xande ping can be really strong, as well. 9k total to a forward, or remove two smaller ones.
I try to include Zell as at least a two-of in my fire decks I brew at the moment, although the more I test him, the more I want to max them out. He’s less useful if you have to deal with Minwu frequently, but the same could be said for quite a lot of cards in fire.
I’m rating Zell a “managing to get the last hotdog in the canteen” out of ten.