Red XIII might not be much to get excited about at first, but it’s the kind of card I really appreciate. Red XIII highlights a trend I’ve been seeing in recent backup design that excites me as a player that tends to favor the control and setup side of the game. A Modal tempo backup that can still just be a regular ol’ backup when you need it to be.

Xande and in some cases Ace have been a staple in Fire decks since their release and while the cost difference isn’t negligible here, Heidegger (despite Lightning’s shortcomings) has proven to be a healthy tempo backup for a while now and Red XIII can hit two forwards for the same cost to curb wide board states and yet, it doesn’t have to use either, or even both triggers.

In the interest of teaching, do keep in mind that like Xande, both of Red XIII’s auto-abilities are two part. How Xande works is that he enters the field and his auto ability goes on stack. The first part of the auto ability is to pay the cost of taking damage, then the “Choose 1 Forward. Deal it 7k” goes on the stack as a separate auto ability and needs to resolve independently. Where this distinction is most important for Xande, is that you can hit EXburst before declaring a target. As an example, you can hit Brynhildr on EX and potentially break a bigger target, or simply draw a card with the Bryn choosing your intended target before Xande’s 7k resolves. There’s much broader implications for how this order works, but it should highlight what the card is capable of when played correctly.

When Red XIII enters the field both autos enter the stack at the same time so you choose the order in which they go on the stack (they’re basically the same thing, but it matters). When the topmost resolves, that’s when you choose to pay the cost, then if you do so, the “Choose 1 Forward. Deal it 7k” portion goes on top of the stack and needs to resolve independently. Keep in mind that Red XIII’s other auto to pay the cost is still below this. Now say there’s a target I really want to remove with the 7k, but my opponent counters with a card like Leviathan, or buffs the target above 7k power so it survives. As the stack resolves down, I then can choose to pay for the other auto ability, putting “Choose 1 Forward. Deal it 7k” on stack again, to guarantee I get my intended target.

There are some niche synergies to mention with Red XIII and the one with the most potential in my mind is Zack depending on future Category VII forwards. For fans of Light Cloud, I’m sure a searchable removal backup wont go astray. Finally, and most certainly least, he is searchable by Hugh Yurg for the warrior roleplayers amongus.