Hi, Viridian here, with my first article on the Crystarium. Most of you probably don’t know who I am, but recently I co-commentated the Haunted Hotel event with John ‘Snugsy’ Schreiner. Now that Opus 14 is starting to wrap up, I wanted to write something for all players to refresh their knowledge on some common interactions that I would frequently run into during my OCTGN grind sessions, as well as the tournaments I participated in, R4 and Haunted Hotel. Hopefully you get something out of this; knowledge is power, and all players should understand these interactions in order to avoid getting cheated or to eke out small advantages at competitive events! Shout out to Jeff Curran for helping me out with some clear explanations on some rulings as well as providing twitter links. So, without further ado…
Primals Leviathan and Bismarck have some powerful bounce triggers, and it’s important to know that they get their own ability if they themselves are bounced. This works exactly like similar leaves the field effects like death triggers, and we can compare to how Yuna 1H can remove herself from the game if she really wants. Characters always see themselves both enter and leave the field, and any abilities they may have that trigger at that time will go off. This really amplifies the Althea synergy with both of these cards, getting to draw an extra card or another -9k while at the same time protecting these primals is quite insane.
Following up on Bismarck, if Bismarck gets bounced and then replayed, it’s considered a new instance of Bismarck. This means that the next time you bounce your own character, you get the draw again. The game can’t track Bismarck through another zone (even if it’s public, like if Bismarck broke and was Arisen) so it has no idea that Bismarck already got his draw for the turn.
Keep in mind that if Bismarck (or Sophie) puts you to 6 or more cards during your End Phase, you will still have to discard down to 5 once all triggers have resolved. End of Turn effects happen at the beginning of the phase (specifically at 126.96.36.199.) and only once they have all been dealt with will the game move to discard (at 188.8.131.52.)
Susano’s board wipe ability is actually a two-part auto ability. The first part, on resolution, sacrifices a Backup. This triggers the second part, which then goes on the stack. When the second part resolves, then Susano will finally deal 9k to the board. Make sure to cast Amaterasu after your opponent sacrifices a backup for maximum value. On the flip side, your opponent might not be as knowledgeable as you are (since they haven’t read this article,) and may respond before you sacrifice a Backup, such as preemptively using Sterne pump triggers. In that case, don’t sacrifice your Backup unless you have some other synergy you need like Garland drawing a card. Similarly, Illua also has a two part auto. Attacking creates a trigger which gives the player an option to dull active fire backups, then once that happens the player chooses a valid target. The best time to Amaterasu this would be after Illua’s controller has dulled their active fire backups, denying them their CP. Little plays like these add up over the grindy games.
Sophie… Lots of fun things relating to people’s favorite card. Love her or hate her, she’s here to stay for Opus 14.
Sophie’s power gain is a field ability. If your opponent has a Garuda on board, and Sophie would enter as a 10k or higher, your opponent would draw a card off Garuda’s ability. Make sure to sequence playing your characters on board carefully in the face of Garuda. A common line would be playing Sophie before Sarah (MOBIUS) so she enters as less than 10k power. This way you avoid the draw from Garuda.
Next Sophie interaction: Let’s say Sophie is exactly 10k with a combination of Lenna, Sarah (MOBIUS), and Sophie. Your opponent has a Neo Exdeath on board, and you have to sacrifice a character, what do you do? Ideally you want to draw a card and deal your opponent a point of damage. Sophie has a conditional auto ability, if she’s over 10k power at the end of the turn, it will go on the stack. However it will check again at resolution to see if the requirements are still met. For this reason you don’t want to sacrifice Lenna or Sarah (MOBIUS) as you would then lose out on damage and a draw. However if you choose to sacrifice Sophie, the game still reads Sophie’s last known power. This gives you a bit of flexibility with dealing with Neo Exdeath.
Lastly there is a cute interaction that results in both players losing the game. If Sophie’s ability does the 7th point of damage, but Sophie’s controller cannot draw a card, then when Rule Processes are next checked they see that both players lost the game. This results in a draw, and you will have to start the game anew and hope one of you can win before the round ends.
Cid Randell is the no fun police, turning off your Forwards’ entry abilities. Back to field abilities, Typhon can enter as a Monster, or as both a Monster and Forward. If your decks only out to a Cid Randell is Typhon, make sure you play Typhon when you have less than 3 Wind Backups. Otherwise you’re just playing an overstatted Black Belt, since Cid Randell will see Typhon enter as a Forward and give him the ol’ red card. You can perform other cool things with Typhon, for example you can block an attack, then use Althea to bounce something, potentially turning off Typhon as a Forward due to not meeting the conditions of having 3 or more Wind Backups. This is also useful for avoiding board wipes, letting you save Typhon while you return another Forward to hand, and having the ability to turn Typhon back on the next turn by playing Wind Backups and still being able to attack (since it won’t have summoning sickness.)
By this point in Opus 14, players have realized Macherie and Sterne are busted. They turn your Break Zone into another resource, one that is often well stocked. Most decks do not have efficient ways of removing from game cards in the break zone. It really speaks magnitudes that people are playing 3x Mist Dragons as a way to clear Break Zones, because Mist Dragon really isn’t that good. Remember there is no stack when players play Characters, so there is no chance to interact once they put the Macherie/Sterne down. Mist Dragon should be a proactive play, cast on your turn against decks likely to play Macherie/Sterne (looking at you Chocobos/Verstael/Doga) to avoid a top deck Macherie/Sterne into lots of draws or killing your entire board. This brings up an interesting scenario: if both players are in a top deck scenario and the Doga player has a million Summons in the bin, should a Fire player Amaterasu a Sara search into a potential Macherie?
Sometimes you get excited when you get to play your favorite card, and you have a 10k power Cloud that can kill an opponents forward every turn by forcing an opponent to block with their forward. What’s not to like in this situation? Well if your opponent has an 8k power forward that is forced to block, and you don’t pump your Cloud in response to block, your Cloud will die as part of rules processing after blocks. Once the game goes to priority, it will see the 8k should be dead and will break it, then instantly will check again and see that now Cloud is an 8k with 8k damage and break him too! You do not have a chance to pump after Damage Resolution, so make sure you discard for Cloud’s ability before damage if you want your Cloud to live!
Garland’s text is the same as Y’shtola’s protection. It’s pretty unexpected to run into this effect on a Fire card, but break effects, or “fight” effects, or a Typhon to ship it away are the best ways to deal with Garland. Fight may be risky if it doesn’t have summoning sickness and is threatening a Flare. For the record, Ursula does not work. You will need an effect like Hecatonchier or Monk 14C. Normally, Summons/abilities themselves are what deal damage, but these “fight” effects instead give a Forward a command to deal damage. Thus, the damage will come from a Forward and not the “fight” effect itself.
Ramuh is a tricky card. When you cast a Lightning Summon, or get a Lightning Summon off EX Burst, Ramuh will create a separate auto for each Forward damaged by a Lightning summon. It is not a Field Ability that replaces the damage with Break. This means if damage is reduced to zero, Ramuh will not trigger. It also means that if multiple Forwards are hit by a Lightning Summon, an Amaterasu can only save one of them.
Vaan’s entry ability of searching a sky pirate and playing it, then activating all backups is one auto ability. This must resolve completely before either player can do anything on the stack. For example, if Vaan plays out something with an ETF, like Elza, Backups will activate before the player can move to resolve the new Forward’s effect.
Shout out to Mr Cool for this one as it’s one of his pet peeves, and is especially noticeable when playing OCTGN. Xande and Cecil both are two-part auto abilities. First, you take a point of damage which triggers the second part. Then the next time a player gains priority, the second part of the ability goes on the stack. When Part 2 goes onto the stack, that is the point where you declare choices. If you hit an EX burst during Part 1, though, you need to resolve that first, while the part 2 trigger is still waiting to stack up. An EX may change your intended target! If I’m playing against these cards, I may choose to Amaterasu the damage trigger or the trigger targeting my Forward, depending on if I think my opponent’s deck benefits at being at a certain damage threshold (though it’s nearly always correct to Amat after the self-damage!)
Lastly, a small shoutout to one of my favorite tech cards in the Opus 14 meta is backup Y’shtola. This cute card says that if a Backup you control is targeted, you may cancel the effect and draw a card. This cancels the entire effect. This makes Y’shtola extremely annoying to play Fenrir against. If your opponent chooses to break a backup, the Fenrir will not get its second selection either; the entire effect is canceled. Hopefully you never play into it. My opponents usually forget the first time playing against this card when casting their Lockes or Fenrirs.
Now you’re well armed to handle many tough or strange situations that may crop up, at least until we get the next batch of cards. Thanks for visiting The Crystarium, we hope to see you again soon!