Hey guys, eureka (Jared Wallace) here with another Quick n’ Dirty rundown of the new set, Opus XII. Normally I only go for the Legends on these, but there are a lot of powerful and interesting cards at Hero or lower this set, and I couldn’t stop myself from talking about them. Because we’re talking about all cards rather than just Legends this set, the rating guide looks a little bit different than previous Quick n’ Dirty articles I’ve done before. Here it is:
- I don’t expect the card to see play or will only be played for the meme.
- The card has a niche use that could cause it to see play by means of a strong card.
- The card is fine on face value and/or contributes heavily to a synergy.
- The card is great on face value and/or has a good enough payoff to build around it.
- The card is insane on face value and/or is a primary buildaround and/or will have meta-warping impacts.
Let’s get started and talk about some cards, then!
Aigis 001R – 3
I had next to no interest in this card when it was spoiled, but as good Warrior of Light targets for this continued to be revealed, and now with the full spoiler out I’m definitely on board for this. Enabling party attacks unlocks the new Yuna L, Bartz, and Sol synergy more consistently while the bottom ability helps some of the inherent issues with 3 color decks, were the dominant Warrior of Light archetype to take that route, while still being perfectly reasonable in Fire/X WoL 2 color. There are some thoughts to be had on whether you play Faris out of Aigis, or Faris into an Aigis combo; it mostly comes down to what WoL pieces you have in hand and if you have targets to shoot down with Faris first. Don’t think about that too hard just yet. Not an all-star, but I definitely expect to see it perform well in WoL decks this set.
Amaterasu 002H – 4.5
Somehow, Amaterasu is perhaps the most criminally underrated and overrated card simultaneously. From a critical perspective the major flaw with the card is that it’s reactive in a mostly proactive game, meaning leaving up 3 to pay for it mostly blows and that when it comes too late it’s a blank piece of cardboard. But to be honest, anyone who’s spent a set or two playing the game should understand that trading against half of the Forwards in the game (including some of the most powerful Forwards, and often at CP advantage) is entirely unprecedented and too strong to just brush off. Amaterasu will change how the game is played. I expect a lot of it to show up at the beginning of the format to destroy the hopes and dreams of people playing conventional decks until we get good enough to build and play around it, at which point I expect it to still police the format.
Talking about these two together only makes sense. There are a good amount of options in-color to get the Alphinaud onto the table without Alisaie, namely Phoenix, Xande, Magissa, and Caius. Personally I think the first two stated there are mostly a meme, but ‘search anything’ text is strong enough that maybe there’s a shot for them. Outside of Fire you’re mostly looking at a Water pairing with Dusk which doubles as a Forward vomit train (easily sneaks us into Fire/Water Haste deck), Lightning for Louisoix tutor access and a good way to use vanilla bodies (Sheol), or Earth for Minfillia. The least talked about is probably Earth, which might be more interested in using these defensively. Food for thought. In any case, I’m sure they will be thoroughly abused.
Ifrit 005C – 2
I don’t feel like I should have to play advocate for a generic Fire summon, but EX Burst kill Kadaj while also not being a totally shit draw is actually pretty decent. I think people are shitting on it prematurely given that it’s actually relatively unprecedented to have an EX Burst straight kill in Fire. The biggest problem is slots, but if the game speeds up this will probably be slotted. If it slows down you’re going to want to play utility summons instead.
Ogre 006C – 1
These monsters are mostly all poop. I’m not going to talk about them much.
Black Mage 007C – 1
Power crept Opus 1 Black Mage. Good meme, and maybe some Black Mage in pauper shenanigans? Not gonna think about it too much.
A slightly divisive card that is kinda difficult to evaluate because it’s being pulled in different directions. We should probably just look at this card as 2 separate cards, with one being a mostly blank Fire WOFF backup, which is probably just good (God knows the Backups are absolutely trash in that deck and are holding it back a ton), and the other is a pseudo-combo piece that can search you Citra or Lenna. There are some cute synergies for the card like searching this out with Verena, discarding the Light card you searched with Ashe, Rosa, or Porom, or bouncing this with Miounne before playing the Light Forward. Nael is obviously great and can help mitigate the downside. These synergies really make it feel like the only deck playing this at its fullest will be Water/Fire that doesn’t need to play Kadaj, which is a lot more awkward than it appears to be at face value. I’m mostly on board but I can’t help but feel it’s not all the way there just yet. I look forward to someone else figuring out how to break it.
Samurai 009C – 2
You can mostly ignore the text, this is just important for hitting a critical mass of Name Samurai Backups and cards in deck for Tenzen. Nothing stellar, but will definitely see play in the Samurai deck.
Warrior 010C – 2
Not a great Standard card, but could potentially be okayish in L3 and is fantastic in Limited. I hope they add this to the Opus 12 cube.
Sol 011C – 2.5
Criminally underrated I think. People seem to be very obsessed about how bad small Forwards are into sweepers, completely overlooking that we are getting this for free and/or getting our value back the first turn he comes out. Obviously don’t play it from your hand into open mana if you know your opponent could remove it. Bartz with Boko (or wait a turn for another party pal) grabbing this from deck with Bartz’s ability to then party with a ready WoL and grab another Forward from deck is going to be absolutely disgusting, and basically free.
Tenzen 012L – 4.5 I learned my lesson from Ninjas last set. Edge nearly singlehandedly dragged that archetype from being a big meme to viable, and Tenzen will make Samurais viable. I don’t know how good they will be, but they will definitely evolve from complete meme tier to at least showing up on my tier list. Regarding Tenzen himself, he’s just good at any point in the game for that deck, spinning wheels the longer you can keep one on the board while trading at a CP advantage against nearly if not all removal in the game if you can get at least 1 card in your End Phase and 1 card from the Break. I do not look Forward to playing against this shit on turn 1.
Ninja 013C – 2
Another Fire Backup that Ninjas wanted. Also incidentally enables Magissa. Nothing special but one of the better Cs and could probably show up in a few different decks this set, and will definitely be played in L3. Looks really good in fullart.
Bahamut 014R – 2 in Standard 3.5 in L3
I am very torn on Bahamut, given that it’s basically not feasible to play in Standard given how much BZ hate we have and all the incentive we have not to be playing Mono Fire at the given time. Both the S abilities are good, and being able to use a Summons is obviously a plus; the downside being that Bahamuts are mostly trash compared to Ifrits. The Mootie synergy is actually pretty good, most of the other stuff with Fang etc is a meme. In L3 however, I think a good amount of the time this is actually just competitively viable as a 3 CP 9000 vanilla that sometimes has a nuts upsides, especially if we get any Bahamuts in the next two sets. Definitely a card to keep your eye on.
Forza 015H – Optimistic 3
Regardless of downside, 3 CP 9000 ETB deal 7k is no joke. Basically has all the same enablers as Alphinaud, minus Alisaie. Not being able to cast it isn’t that bad. Definitely less flexible than Alph, and I wouldn’t expect to see a pairing with Earth, though Lightning could still be on the table given that it’s a decent element for enabling Magissa. Excited to see it coming in off of Caius and Dusk in Water/Fire or a dedicated no-cast build in Mono Fire.
Blaze 016C – 2.5 I wanted to shit on this card when I saw it revealed, but seeing the whole set shaking out I think this card might just be pretty decent. 5000 to two is fantastic at clearing up weenies, which could definitely be a problem with all of the party attackers and Haste Forwards running around. A little overlooked synergy is using the effect to enable Magissa, and via EX even do so on your opponent’s turn. Being tutorable via Norschtalen is probably not very relevant, but could be. Having a way to remove itself is a big upside as well.
Magissa 017H – 4
A buildaround card not weak to Amaterasu that is very difficult to evaluate. It’s important to recognize this ability can be used on your opponent’s turn. You are usually going to have to sink around 1-2 CP and a card (can also be read as 3-4 CP) to enable this effect consistently. There is some stack chicken going on with this card as well; if your opponent sinks a kill spell into her you can stack any 4-5k damage onto her to use the effect relatively safely. However, if you attempt to enable her proactively, then a kill spell on stack can create a large CP deficit similar to the use of fight effects such as Hecatoncheir. On a similar wavelength, fight effects are good at enabling her and other Earth cards are great at protecting her. I can’t believe I’m saying this but Opus 1 Titan comes to mind. I don’t expect to see her outside of dedicated Mono Fire and Earth/Fire decks, but I expect she’ll be very annoying and difficult to remove when built around correctly.
Lani 018H – 4
There isn’t a lot to say about this that hasn’t already been said. I don’t think it’s quite as overwhelming as I thought at the time of reveal, however. A 0 CP 7000 is very good, yes, but when you miss it’s gonna hurt like a bitch, and taking a CP deficit against Amaterasu isn’t great. There are also going to be a lot of synergy cards this set which could possibly increase the number of misses. I still think Lani is great, but not the 5 star card I thought at first.
Amidatelion 019R – 2
FFCC Backup with a playable effect. Theoretically works on the opponent’s turn, but you can’t cast Characters meaning that without scry that part of the ability is useless. Maybe some shenanigans to be had with Yuna Astrologians, but I’m having a hard time believing it for now.
Ulmia 020R – 2.5
Anthem on a cheap Forward is actually much better than given credit for, and both of her Damage abilities are really quite good. I just don’t have high hopes for Mono Ice in general, and it seems difficult to slot her. Still, giving Ice access to more power buff and Haste isn’t something to turn your nose up at, so there might be a case for her at some point.
Necron 021R – 1
This is a meme going straight into my Boss deck if it’s not already going to be in there. Looking forward to losing to some random on OCTGN playing this and getting salty about it.
Esha’ntarl 022H – 4
Incredibly interesting card design promoting very unusual play patterns. Gives ETB-focused decks a great way to play around Amaterasu, while being weak to conventional removal and perhaps most interestingly, creates an avenue for opponents to attack your economy and tempo simultaneously via dull/freeze effects. Very powerful but I am unsure if the card is fast enough and how realistically it can dodge removal.
Eduardo 023H – 1
This is a meme.
Emet-Selch 024H – 3.5
Playing against Emet-Selch is going to be a nightmare. Difficult to remove and good power level, kind of playing like Kadaj a lot of the time. Promotes racing and fast strats, but is awful against untargeted removal which Neo Exdeath and BFA are already promoting. Also in an age of cheap 9ks, I’m not even sure if this card can ever do anything against Earth.
Carbuncle 025H – 3.5
Pretty unique Ice summon. Freezing Backups is spooky. Probably good enough to force some unorthodox strats (like using Black Mage to freeze all the Backups!). This is a tough one to rate, but I have it high just because freezing Backups is being doubled up this set with Locke as well, and the ceiling is pretty high here.
Scholar 026C – 1.5
Looks good for Limited and probably not useless in L3. No shot in Standard.
Gunbreaker 027C – 1
Bard 028C – 1
It costs 3.
The Emperor 029L – 3
I had to read this card like 3 times to understand what was going on and why I would want to play it. There is probably some bullshit to be done in Mono Ice with this recurring itself early and Emet-Selch recurring it later in the game, with some wonky “can’t choose and I have Emp to chump block” dilemmas. High power ceiling, but Break Zone interaction is everywhere and that is a big frowny face for this card. Also the deckbuilding cost is absolutely insane.
Shiva 030C – Optimistic 3
Cheap removal always needs to be inspected closely. Opposite of Vivi’s design, it’s very difficult to increase your hand size on the stack rather than decrease it, meaning that Shiva is generally going to have a lot less counterplay. The primary counterplay is not playing cards, meaning that discard is more effective. Kind of feels like a damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario. I’m hesitant to say things like “this can kill Ritz” and “this can kill Kadaj”, but there is definitely merit to trying it out, especially given how abysmal Ice removal is. Very good in L3 I think. Borderline 2 and 3, but a niche against aggressive strategies is always nice.
Summoner 031C – 1
Not the Summoner spoiler I wanted. This is garbage.
The Crystal Exarch 032R – 2.5
I tried making a couple of preliminary builds around this card and it just looks like garbage. Forcing you into essentially Mono Ice as a build around while being weak to Amaterasu is a cruel joke. I hope I’m wrong but I’m just not seeing it.
Snow 033R – 1
Good for XIII title, which is all I wanted anyways.
Nooj 034C – 1
This contributes to the Wind/Ice X count for Paine, but is just so bad I don’t even think we see it there.
Belle 035C – 3.5
Great Norschtalen search target in Ice that gives you information. Probably good enough to be played without Norschtalen. Decks without 4 CPs don’t really exist (though Storm might not have them in hand very often), so as long as they have a hand size I imagine you are going to be hitting.
Mimic 036C – 1
Ashe 037L – 4
I’m going to take the time now to talk about the “cast X or more cards in a turn” (effective requirement is 3) archetype, AKA Storm. There are two primary candidates for the deck looking to abuse the big powerhouse card that is Locke, Ice/Wind and Ice/Wind/Earth, with the advantage of Earth splash being some of the better multicolor Forwards (Y’shtola, Iris), utility summons like Cu Sith and Mist dragon, Krile, cheap 9ks (Borghen and Shadow Lord), and the Sibyl engine. Ashe is going to be absolutely fantastic and a very nice payoff for the deck at 0 CP 7000 untargetable that threatens more draws every turn. Untargetable is actually quite underrated, and her innate resistance to Amaterasu is also appreciated. People talk about this card as if it’s a Mono Wind card and it blows my mind no one seems to think outside of established archetypes.
Althea 038H – Soft 3 A fine one-of search target for Norschtalen offering cheap protection on your opponent’s turn. Doubles as a Storm enabler that lets you protect and replay Locke, which barely pushes it up from a 2 to a 3 for me. Biggest issue is slots and Norschtalen overload, but I think it’ll see play regardless.
Alexander 039C – 4
Cantrip doubling as one of the primary payoffs in Storm decks. People seem to be overlooking how easy it is to play 2 of these in the same turn, once to increase Storm count and another later (via Krile or Citra) to actually draw the extra card reliably. EX Burst is just icing on the cake here.
Enkidu 040H – 3
Works well in Wind/Lightning and comes out for free off of Gilgamesh. Sakura is no joke and 0 CP enablers (especially ones that don’t target) are good in my book. Don’t have super high expectations for the card, but expect it to see play.
Dancer 041C – 1
Probably not totally useless, but pretty close.
Cactuar 042C – 2
Relm getting two Forwards very early into the game is actually kind of promising. We don’t talk about the other effect.
White Mage 043C – 2 This will end up in some kind of wacky combo deck at some point, but on face value anything that lets you cast this many times probably wants to keep a decent hand size or already has Backups developed. The Storm deck in particular is also going to have a hard time making room for anything cute like this.
Shikaree XYZ 044-046R – 2 Neato combo that can probably never be assembled outside of big meme stuff. They’re all Rares meaning that it’s probably not feasible in Limited either. Sad day. Looking forward to dying to it. Kurosawa brought up some good points about this on stream, mainly that the Tidus Miounne combo with Tilika effect in play can utilize this to generate infinite CP while comboing off draws, whereas Paine could only do draws. The ceiling is there.
Chocobo 047C – 3
A generic Chocobo Backup for Fat Chocobo and Izana is good news. We can finally make use of these powerful Chocobo synergy cards without having to play shitty Forwards. Also very good for forcing Bartz and Yuna and party attack synergies in Warriors of Light or other decks.
Chocolatte 048R – 4
Same as what I just said, Izana being able to search this and another Backup (and possibly the Chocobo summon in the package as well) is pretty good. Chocolatte herself is also just great for basically anything that would want this type of effect, including Wind/Water, Storm, regular Wind/Ice, and Mono Wind. I expect to see a lot of Item Counters this Opus.
Diabolos 049H – 3
I don’t like removal that sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t, and Diabolos is kind of sitting in that hot seat. However, this thing can kill some really nasty targets that other removal has a hard time dealing with, including Ritz (before attack!), a buffed Kadaj, a buffed Nael, and anything getting passive boosts from anthems or otherwise. We can also use our Kadaj ability on their Forward to enable it in a pinch, which is pretty cute. I don’t expect to see this card a ton, but I am hopeful that it will help keep some of the “why does this have a power buff even” cards that exist in check.
Ninja 050C – 2
Another Wind Ninja Backup for Edge.
Paine 051R – 3
If you’re playing Storm as just a Wind/Ice deck, this could potentially be quite good. I’m having trouble thinking of a Backup lineup that enables her consistently without crowding out Norschtalen and crew without having Rikku or a Yuna Forward already on board, but if it comes to fruition I’m sure this will be great for the deck.
Really great for both dedicated Warrior of Light decks and just for aggressive strategies. Boko being out means Bartz isn’t going down to Amaterasu either, which is a huge upside. This with Cid Previa and Diana to search really gives Wind/Lightning blitz some new legs. Probably great for Ninjas too. Warrior of Light has the easiest search access to this with Sarah FFL and Syldra, but I think he’ll just be a powerhouse no matter where he goes.
Moogle 054C – 2
It’s not bad and there’s something to be said for EX stacking in Wind. I don’t expect to see him around.
Dark Knight 055C – 1
Galuf 056H – 2 in Standard 3 in L3
Very annoying Forward that is probably just not going to be able to keep up in Standard. In L3 it’s more likely to be able to get the Damage 3 value out consistently given how much slower the game is, which is kind of a double whammy since the pool of targets for his ability in L3 with Borghen, Krile, and Shadow Lord is more or less the same competitive pool as in Standard.
Machinist 057C – 1
Probably sees play in L3.
Gippal 058C – 1
This is definitely a 1, even considering the infinite combo deck using the Onion Knight / Rosa party enabled by Chocobo. Deck looks pretty memey but I look forward to dying to it.
Kujata 059C – 2.5
Relatively unprecedented removal in Earth given that it isn’t reliant on your Forwards or the Forward being dull. Basically nukes anything 5 cost or higher and kills on curve 4 drops, which basically don’t exist. Still probably sees play in Mono Earth and maybe Earth/Fire. Great at killing Neo Exdeath in Limited and L3 as well.
Graham 060R – 2
Mono Earth exclusive card. Awful in Limited. Probably good in L3.
Krile 061L – 5
One of the main problems with Summon recycle ala Citra and Terra is that once you play it, you have to choose that 1 Summon to retrieve and can’t retrieve a different one until the Citra or Terra dies. Krile is unprecedented in that regard because you cast the Summon you’re retrieving ‘immediately’ (the same as Citra and Terra costing 1 and 2 CP less respectively) while also threatening to cast additional Summons in the turns afterwards. This also means generating value over time with a low upfront cost, meaning they feel obligated to kill it, at which point were you so inclined you could still just play another one. Icing on the cake is just being able to steal your opponent’s Summons. Were it not rude enough this means they don’t get to retrieve them either, since they get removed afterwards. The card just feels an all-win to me. It even trades CP favorably against Amaterasu. I think we’re gonna see this card be a staple that sticks around for a long time.
Glaive 062R – 1
Worse than the old Glaive by a good shot I think. Good in Limited for the WoD archetype though.
White Mage 063C – 2
Devout for Earth only but on either player’s turn. Some niche uses but a little too cute I think. Awful with all the BZ hate we already are inclined to play. Maybe when Dadaluma is unbanned.
Objet d’Art 064C – 2
2k Brave to the team is a little better than the other ones. Still don’t expect to see it anywhere, but there’s a shot. Also probably just fine in L3.
Nacht 065H – 3.5
Nacht himself is good but I have very little expectation that Warriors of Darkness will hold up given everything else that’s going on. I think the one saving grace for me here is that old Diana is fantastic with more playables and old Glaive +2k is a really big anthem for them. If the WoD deck works it’s being held together by this card, but the deck hates playing against Kadaj and other BZ removal, doesn’t want to target BFA/NeoExdeath… It feels like an uphill battle. Giving him a 4 just based on his own merits feels disingenuous because he really only fits in one deck and I’m not even sure he’s enough to carry it.
Vaigali 066C – 2
Searches Y’shtola in Earth/Wind and Regis/Iris in Earth/Wind/Lightning, but Kolka already does all of these things and can search a lot more of the deck. Maybe sometime in the future this is better than Kolka? Maybe he’s supposed to get Locke. The card is in a weird situation this set but might have a better shot later on.
Nothing to be said.
Fenrir 068H – 3.5
When Fenrir was revealed I was mostly unconvinced given the only guaranteed value came from the bottom ability and there was a stunning lack of good targets for it outside of Krile. Seeing Shadow Lord and Borghen enter the mix, this makes a lot more sense and looks pretty viable as a versatile summon. I would expect to see maybe 1 or 2 copies when you do slot it just given how expensive it is and how difficult it is to fit outside of Mono Earth. Still, being weak to BZ removal sucks so it’s hard to get super excited about this card.
Borghen 069H – 3
I think Borghen’s downside is more difficult to mitigate than Shadow Lord’s, but still pretty good. Decks running Mist Dragon and Kadaj are most likely to want this. Good value all around and sometimes the downside doesn’t even matter that much.
Monk 070C – 2
Nut card for Ursula, but part of me thinks we’re past that point. Maybe if you’re highroll.
Shadow Lord 071R – 4
People don’t seem to understand the density of 3 CP+ Backups that are played in this game. There are tons of effective 2 CP Backups at 3, 4, and 6 CP, but none of them are going to be played off of Shadow Lord. Moreover, 2 CP Backups are usually the first ones you play to the board, meaning your opponent is less likely to have viable targets after the first few turns in the game. This makes it an excellent cheap, defensive Forward in my mind. Still works well for aggro in the mid stages as well. Baffling that so many people misevaluate this.
Layle 072R – 1
Monster in Limited, awful in Constructed.
Red Mage 073C – 1
Argy 074H – 3
Discard hate card, and pretty okay as a removal beatstick in later stages of the game. Still pretty situational and vulnerable to Break Zone removal all things considered. Probably sees play at some point, though.
Alba 075R – 3.5
Unfortunate name clash for the Warriors of Darkness deck, but has a shot at being an alternative Alba there and is just pretty good as cheap pressure in random Lightning decks outside of that. Refreshing to see Break Zone hate that isn’t binary. I expect maybe 2 in non-WoD Lightning when you find the slots for it.
Exdeath 076R – 1
Maybe in L3?
Odin 077H – 2
Not only do you want me to play Break Zone reliant cards, you are encouraging me to play the 6 CP 8000 Amaterasu lightning rod to enable it? Okay. This came 2 sets too late.
Gilgamesh 078L – 5
A card that’s good by itself but also has great synergy options is a recipe for success. The card is just standalone great, similar to Nael in its ability to create no-win situations, but also benefits from being a fantastic option for Regis to reanimate in Earth/Lightning. The threat of Enkidu coming in for free provides pressure to remove it (which doesn’t really work out well) and when they let it slide Enkidu even enables his last ability. Works fantastic with all the other stuff we want to play in combo removal Wind/Lightning anyways, where Enkidu is also just a good Forward. A very exciting card that looks incredibly powerful and difficult to answer effectively from any one angle.
Cid (FFCC) 079C – 2
FFCC Lightning Backup not reliant on an extra color. Counter removal is mostly a meme, but stripping Arise and Item Counters could be somewhat relevant. Probably sees play as a searchable vanilla.
Cid Previa 080H – 4
Strong card, unfortunate name clash for Mono Lightning but I always hated that highroll shit anyways. This is the enabler for all the party attacking Lightning based synergies, and is strong enough that it might just see off color play, provided we have a good way to cheat it out (like Bartz) as a result. High expectations for the card.
Jegran 081R – 2
Not bad but really awkward. Seems like you have to build for a very specific early turn interaction that gets you a Backup, and I don’t think it’s that powerful or flexible a result, despite searching. Sucks to get Amaterasu’d too.
Diana 082R – 3
Can be thought of as completely separate from the other Diana for me. I don’t think Warriors of Darkness wants this effect very much, but it seems very much appreciated in Wind/Lightning party stuff. Getting Cid Previa is really just good enough, though.
Ninja 083C – 2
I don’t know what to do with this card, but it’s named Ninja and it does some wacky stuff, so I guess there’s that. Better than some of our other Standard Unit Backups.
Vivi 084C – 3
Good way for Lightning to deal with Hauyn on an otherwise playable card 2 sets too late. Memes aside the card is pretty good and has EX Burst, and synergy with Kuja to boot. All comes down to how well it fits the primary targets in the meta.
Firion 085R – 2
Wind/Lightning focusing on party with Bartz and Mid Previa can probably make use of this. Very niche use but could be quite strong in the archetype when things line up with Mid Previa.
Behemoth 086C – 1
Cool for limited.
Mid Previa 087H – 4
Works quite well with Cid Previa, Ramza, and Noctis, and alongside Bartz could do some pretty nasty early game damage. Any Lightning strat looking to abuse party attack synergies is obviously going to look towards this card for support. Wind/Lightning, Water/Lightning, Earth/Lightning, and Mono will probably all want to play this card. Feels like the new Al-Cid.
Ramuh 088C – 1
Maybe a critical mass of kill EX in Lightning is good? Who knows. The active condition is pretty bad synergy with EX though, making it worse than Ifrit.
Dragoons are always 1 card away from being top tier, or so the meme goes. While these are both quite good considering they are Dragoons, I have very little faith this goes anywhere. Important to note that the Backup isn’t actually searchable off of King of Burmecia, as he was mistranslated and could never get Forwards in the first place (errata has been announced).
Blue Mage 091C – 1
I can’t think of a reason to run this in Standard. Maybe we can play 1 in L3, but then you’re playing Water, which is a problem.
Ultros 092C – 1
Maybe if this came out at the same time as the Legend, I could see it doing something. We’re just so far past this kind of thing being workable.
Scholar 093C – 1
There is something to be said for Mono Water trying to play Leila/Viking, using this for draw 2, and then next turn hoping to enable Yuna. It feels too bad, and I don’t think it ever makes the cut.
Captain 094C – 1
Keiss 095R – 2
Fringe playability in Ultimecia decks and maybe Yuna Astrologian combo stuff. Neither of those are particularly competitive strats. Good effect to have in the card pool.
This is a really powerful card someday, but not this day. I hope that one day WOFF has the ability to really use this (preferably with a Water WOFF Monster addition) and we can run a neat Fire/Water WOFF. Outside of WOFF stuff, it’s still okay but a lot worse. You’re probably looking at getting Zapt in Water/Lightning, and it alongside Urianger just feels like something we should have had like 3 sets ago rather than now. Probably cool in Title.
Syldra 097H – 4
People keep evaluating this card as if you’re actually paying 4 for it and it makes no sense to me. It’s a Water summon, so you’re only ever paying 3 for it really. In Mono Water it searches your entire deck, which is a godsend since the biggest problem with it most of the time is an inability to assemble combos. This gives access to Cagnazzo, Nichol, and Cloud of Darkness in the order of your choosing. In Summoners, you’re probably actually only paying 1 or 2 for it a good chunk of the time, and it searches half of the deck including Krile. Warriors of Light is probably the only deck that will ever actually end up paying 4 for it, and there it will search them enough Warriors of Light to easily make their CP back with Faris. I think this card is seriously slept on.
Strago 098H – 2.5
People are hyped about this and I think it’s kind of a meme. The best thing I can say for it is that Syldra searches Strago and a card of your choosing with the proper cost to be played off of it. I think it might have a shot in Mono but I’m still not totally sold. Very meta dependent at any rate.
Sarah (FFL) 099R – 3
There’s not a lot to say about this other than searching your missing WoL pieces and easy access to Aigis, Bartz, Faris, and Dusk is probably potent this set. Good card that’ll help hold WoLs together.
Astrologian 100C – 1
When I first saw this I thought it was a clone of the other Astrologian. I thought there could be great fun with Yuna double Astro combos, until I realized this one has to break itself. Why even.
Dusk 101R – 4
Dusk is a fantastic card for both Warriors of Light as well as all of our 3 CP Forwards that benefit from coming in by means of effects, especially Forza and Alphinaud. If it wasn’t enough, this is essentially just color fixing for all 3 CPs in the game and makes playing 3 color strats a whole lot easier if one of your main Colors is Water. I expect to see Dusk around a lot and for a long while. It is a little strange that if Wind/Water/Fire 3-Color turns out to be the competitive strat for Warriors of Light, she doesn’t really have a ton of targets to play. The other Dusk will fit in just fine in that case, however.
Paladin 102C – 1
Beatrix 103H – 3.5
Beatrix herself looks great, but you have to play Knights, which really only has Gawain going for it outside of this. I don’t think those two alone are strong enough to carry the archetype just yet. Maybe if we get some more Fire Knights in the future there’s some crazy stuff to be done, but it just feels so much more underwhelming than everything else in the whole. I expect to see this card in the future, but not so much right now.
Minwu 104C – 1
I’m pretty sure this effect has been printed on Earth and Lightning Standard Units and it sucks every time. Why?
Yuna 105L – 4.5
When Yuna was spoiled I definitely thought party attacking was a meme, but now that we’ve seen the rest of the set and especially given all of the support give with Bartz and Chocobo in Wind, I think it’s mostly safe to say that Yuna is probably going to be pretty easy to enable. The whole card lives and dies on your ability to party and I’m feeling pretty good about that in any dedicated deck with the full spoiler revealed. The on-attack ability is icing on the cake, and were Chocobo and all of the other assisters not enough, she can even match her element to enable it. Looking forward to party attacking being an advantage-based strategy with this at the helm.
Relm 106R – 2
I really wanted this card to be good when I saw it revealed, but as we got further and further into the set reveal it felt like taking a tempo loss this big for an effect that only sometimes works just wasn’t realistic. I really hope we get to play this card in something but I don’t expect to it show up without some kind of clear Water-based synergy cards.
Lunafreya 107R – 2
All-star in XV title for sure. In Constructed, it might be possible to use this as a cheap Forward for Lightning/Earth XV playable with Tyro and the Lightning Moogle. Seems a little optimistic for me, but it would be a neat card to see included there if it ended up working out alright.
Remora 108C – 2
Not exactly the removal spell Summoners was hoping for. It’s decent if you’re committed to playing EX stacking effects. I’ll probably use it in some version of Summoners with Leviathan to stack it. Not being stackable with Ephemeral Summoner is really sad for this card.
LIGHT & DARK & MULTI-ELEMENT
Lenna 109L – 4
Dark Forwards are often given an extra 1k, but this is the first time we’ve had an overstatted Light Forward at 3 CP 8000. Lenna looks pretty good. Retrievable with Arc, searchable with King Tycoon, Sarah FFL, and Syldra, trades evenly with Amaterasu and lives with Sara in the back means the card looks pretty consistent. I don’t imagine a lot of decks will opt for Lenna over Citra, Kadaj, or Neo Exdeath, unless they are running a lot of synergy cards (WoLs) or are looking to abuse it with Haste and/or dedicated combo slots. Definitely an interesting effect with a lot of avenues to be abused; I look forward to seeing what comes from it.
Neo Exdeath 110L – 5
I’m not going to try and convince anyone of this card’s strength because all of our minds are already made up. Whether you think this card is good or bad, can we all just agree that no one really wanted this in the game? I do not look forward to playing with or against this card.
Vayne 111R – 3
Big boy Forward with a big boy on attack effect. Seems like a pretty easy 2x in Fire/Ice. Name’s bad, but the card is good enough that it mostly makes up for it.
Selh’teus 112L – 4
Lots of potential for early game (as early as T1) combo abuse while also just being a good value engine in the mid to late stages barring Mist Dragon. That doesn’t feel as bad as with other things weak to BZ removal, mostly because Fire/Ice is notoriously difficult to find time to Mist Dragon against. I expect to see this guy around, but I’d be lying if I said I was looking forward to playing him myself.
Leon 113C – 2
It’s a 2 CP 7000 with two mostly irrelevant effects. Can’t be all that bad but I doubt we end up making room for him, unless aggro takes off and shooting down weenies while putting out a 7k body is relevant.
Baralai 114R – 4
Ignore Ghido memes. Baralai is just good enough by himself, given that we are already encouraged to play a lot of things that trigger one of his effects. Fina, Pandemonium, and Diabolos are go-to cards that I personally plan on using to trigger sweep damage, and I’m sure Zidane and Locke will be triggering the bottom effect consistently. The value is just always there with Baralai and I expect to see him around a lot. Only weakness here is the Amaterasu vulnerability, but at least you’re trading at even.
Rikku 115C – 2
As a standalone card Rikku is obviously not very exciting, but she works very well with Baralai and Locke, which just makes her good.
Locke 116L – 5
My personal pick for most powerful Legend of the set. All of the text is good, and playing him for 4 CP or 6 CP even is going to be reasonable a good chunk of the time. Freezing backups isn’t okay and I have no idea why he’s allowed to do it. 2 CP is just disgusting, and blinking or playing multiple times via bounce is going to be game ending. Looking forward to playing this one a lot throughout the set.
Iris 117R – 2.5
Mostly ignore the action abilities on the card and just look at the 0 CP 8000. Very narrow scope, but it probably does work in the Storm deck assuming you go for the tricolor build. There’s also some motivation to build an Earth/Lightning/Wind build for this and Y’Shtola to play with your Regis and other XV cards. Sucks to get Amaterasu’d though, so I’m pretty reluctant to give it a 3.
Prishe 118C – 2
It kinda feels like Prishe got the short end of the stick this set. She looks good by herself and coming from the Opus XI mentality (during spoiler season) I was hopeful she would have a home somewhere, but with some unfortunate name overlap and the introduction of bigger and better cheap Earth Forwards in the same set with Borghen and Shadow Lord it feels like there’s really no place where she’s the right pick.
Y’shtola 119L – 5
Big statstick. Just a way above curve, resilient hasty girl. People are up in arms about the card and I don’t think they should be. Yes it’s great, yes it’s power creep, but it’s more like the meta police than the end of times. She’s here to act as a “you must be this tall to ride this ride” for competitive decks. As Kakka put it, “a Forward with no enter the field abilities needs to be this overstatted to even see play”.
Shantotto 120C – 3
Unfortunate name overlap but otherwise a good card. Seems unlikely that it’ll see as much play in dedicated Earth/Lightning under the assumption that Ranperre continues to be the desired core for the archetype. Probably sees niche use in some archetypes where the Lightning is most likely cheated out via Tyro and Earth Moogle, or when Shantotto is coming out of Fenrir or Phoenix. Unsure why people are so quick to turn their nose up to this card.
Noctis 121R – 5
Looking fantastic with the whole set revealed. Great at all points in the game, lots of text and doesn’t really have name clash since we’re so far past the Legend being worth its weight in slots. The Haste via party obviously looks great especially with the addition of Cid Previa. I expect to see this card forcing Amaterasu at low risk and carrying games when allowed to stick around.
Regis 122L – 4
Very powerful card text that isn’t really that difficult to set up. Has a ton of search support with Clarus, Cindy, Kolka, Aldo, Gabranth, and so on. Recyclable with all of Earth’s normal stuff and Noctis. Enabling the ability with self-sacrificing Forwards like Gilgamesh and Nyx (also with Libertus) is probably the name of the game, but honestly just running Forwards into the wall during combat is probably also going to work a good chunk of the time. If they don’t block, you got free damage when you have no right to. Only reason this isn’t a 5 is because it’s very vulnerable to both Mist Dragon and Amaterasu, with no good way to play around either.
Urianger 123R – 2
Cool card, bad name, kind of an underwhelming effect. I was looking forward to doing Zapt & Co shenanigans with Quacho Queen in a Water/Lightning Monster deck, but then they didn’t give us a WOFF Monster Forward in Water to go along with Quacho Queen. I feel like I got trolled. Maybe someday.
Thancred 124L – 2
My personal pick for worst Legend of the set. I don’t know how it’s possible for one to realistically be excited for this card in a competitive mindset. Why does it cost 7? Why is it only 8k so it dies to Amaterasu? Why do I have to swing my deckbuilding to build for one of its abilities and neuter the other? I just have no idea.
Freya 125C – 2
Solid forward that, like Leon, will probably only see play if a cheap 7k body dealing with weenies is relevant. You also have to be playing Water/Lightning (or going out of your way to enable it,) which seems to be a meh strategy.
Gawain 126R – 4
Powerful card that is sorely lacking in Fire Knight targets. You’re basically forced to get Steiner and like it. If Knights exists, this is definitely one of the things carrying it (alongside Beatrix,) but I think we’re 1 or 2 playable Fire Knights away from getting there. Maybe Lasswell next set.
Steiner 127C – 3
Really the only Fire Knight that’s worth grabbing with Gawain. A solid addition to the Knight collection with some rather unfortunate name clash, given that we would like to play 1 or 2 of the other Steiners given the opportunity. Still, 2 CP 7k bounce isn’t anything to complain about, especially when it enables you to push through with your 0 CP 5k that searched it out. Like the other good Knights, I’m sure we’ll see this card at some point, just not sure when.
Faris 128L – 4.5
Fantastic card with a fairly limited scope and incredible return on investment. Straight Fire/Water WoL builds will benefit a lot less from this than say, Fire/Wind/Water or Fire/Water/Earth builds aiming to maximize the Warrior of Light count (within reason) just by sheer lack of numbers. Even then, I’m sure this card will be fantastic in 2 color strategies. The fact that this reduces any Job Warrior of Light means that Sarah FFL (the Backup) can also be discounted, multiple times even. The burn effect is obviously great when you need to push through boards and/or start running out of things to discount. High expectations for this card now and in the future.
That about wraps up my thoughts on each individual card in the set. In terms of early archetypes, I mostly expect to see a lot of the following:
- Earth/Lightning XV abusing Regis, Gilgamesh, and Noctis, both with and without Ranperre
- Warriors of Light in various colors but always Water and Fire (at least enough for Faris), sometimes additionally Wind or Earth
- Neo Exdeath prison decks, most likely Earth/Wind for protection
- Wind/Ice and Earth/Wind/Ice Storm decks abusing Locke and Co.
- Earth/Wind goodstuff with Y’shtola
- Bartz/Yuna focused party attack decks, not necessarily limited to Wind/Water
- Earth/Fire Control of some kind… let me dream
There are definitely other archetypes to be seen (I would be surprised if Ninjas and FFTA just disappeared), but I feel like they’re likely to fall out of popularity temporarily while people have fun trying new things.
So, do you mostly agree with my analysis or do you feel like I’ve made some egregious misevaluations? Either way I hope you enjoyed the article and come back to read my next one. Have fun at your pre-release, and let’s all have fun with Opus XII!