Howdy, folks, and welcome to HowWL! Today we’re going to really explore the depths of Opus IX – Lords and Chaos and get prepared for how this exciting new limited format will shape up! There’s a lot of cool stuff happening in these cards, and both draft and sealed look like they will be an absolute blast. I don’t have much else to say, none of the elements yet look to be particularly more or less powerful than the others, so let’s get right into it!
5: Almost singlehandedly wins you the game.
4: Creates an incredibly difficult game state, or solves one.
3: Provides great value, or balances power with a weakness.
2: Is on curve, maybe with a little extra benefit, or decently above with a drawback.
1: Is below curve, or has a crippling downside.
0: Discards for 2cp. Maybe not even that.
Backup – Sniper – PICTLOGICA VIII
When Irvine enters the field, choose 1 Forward. Deal it 5000 damage. If the number of Forwards your opponent controls is greater than the number of Forwards you control, deal it 7000 damage instead.
There are a lot of fire backups that deal damage on entry, so each of these will be less impactful than it would be in other sets, but it’s still a strong ability. Irvine is perhaps the worst of them in general. He does excel in one area, however, and that is as an early to midgame play in a slower style of deck. Playing him as your third backup while halting your opponent’s early forward development will give you a lot of breathing room to set up in the face of pressure.
Summon – MOBIUS
Select 1 of the 3 following actions. If you have a total of 5 or more Card Name Ifrita and/or Card Name Ifrit in your Break Zone (before paying the cost for Ifrita) select up to 3 of the 3 following actions instead.
“Choose 1 Forward. Deal it 7000 damage.”
“Choose 1 Monster of cost 3 or less. Break it.”
“Deal 3000 damage to all the Forwards opponent controls.”
Lets just get this out of the way quickly: with no Ifrit in the set it is astronomically unlikely Ifrita will ever be fully realized. That said, each mode is pretty decent on its own. 7k for 3 is a fine amount to burn for, and 3k to their board will be a fine way to clear out multiple forwards when combined with other damaging effects or with combat. Every once in a while you’ll be able to use the Break a Monster mode to break Bomb and get a lite version of the 3k mode on top.
Backup – Class Zero Cadet – DFF TYPE 0
When Ace enters the field, choose 1 Forward opponent controls. Reveal the top 5 cards of your deck. If you have a Job Class Zero Cadet among them, deal it 7000 damage. Then, shuffle the revealed cards and return them to the bottom of your deck.
This set has so many Class Zero Cadets that it will be relatively easy to build a deck that can reliably pull his effect off, but even if you fail you still only paid the going rate for a backup, which makes him acceptable at worst and an incredible cp swing at best.
Backup – Samurai – VI
When Cyan enters the field, until the end of the turn, all the Forwards you control gain +1000 power and Brave.
Cyan gets a bonus to his score for being the only backup in fire that isn’t damage based. He seriously screws up any combat math your opponent will have done, as your attackers will be both larger and able to block afterwards. Honestly we would probably run this at 3cp and still be happy with him as a top end. While the rest of fire’s backups this set are usually best early and mid, Cyan is good early and late, letting him fill a unique niche.
Forward – Class Zero Cadet – DFF TYPE-0
You can discard 1 Job Class Zero Cadet (instead of paying the CP cost) to play King from your hand onto the field.
When King enters the field, choose 1 Forward. It cannot block this turn.
Just so there’s as little confusion about this as possible, King’s first ability only alters his cost. It does not remove the timing restrictions on playing a Forward from your hand, so no Back Attacks here. Getting a 2cp discount is pretty good, and 8ks are usually pretty relevant. Being able to stun a blocker can be a great way to force some damage through, or force some favorable blocks if you’re threatening lethal.
Backup – Assassin – VI
Fi Dull, put Shadow into the Break Zone: Choose 1 Forward. Deal it 8000 damage. You can only use this ability if a Forward you controlled has been put from the field into the Break Zone this turn.
Shadow gets a small bonus for being the only fire backup that isn’t an ETF. He lets you make some interesting attacks, as the 8k burn is so cheap that having your small forwards blocked lets you take down nearly any forward on the opponent’s side. It can also make attacking into you very threatening if you leave so much as a small blocker back, although you’re risking losing 2cp if your opponent simply passes turn. What he also does is make casting removal against you less enticing, as you can crack back very cheaply. His mere presence will scare off a lot of lines your opponent may be looking to pursue. Unfortunately, it’s a telegraphed effect that your opponent has a lot of control over when and how it may be activated, which diminishes its value by a reasonable amount. Look to combine this with cheap efficient forwards like Porom.
Backup – Standard Unit – FFTA2
When Fusilier enters the field, you may pay Fi. When you do so, choose 1 Forward. Deal it 5000 damage.
This guy is a huge upgrade from Cid (FFL), since you only pay the extra when you want to. Granted, it makes playing it for damage a little more restrictive since you need two sources of fire, but being able to drop him as a standard backup when you don’t need that oomph is strong. The flexibility of cards like this cannot be overstated. Also, being non-unique is great, since you can load up on him and not get fussy with diversity. In draft, you’ll want to pick him up early and often as your core, and use the unique damage dealing backups to round out your backline. Can’t wait to hear all the great ways people are going to butcher his name.
Forward – General – XIV
When Nael enters the field, reveal the top 3 cards of your deck. Add up to 2 Forwards among them to your hand and put the rest of the cards into the Break Zone.
Remove 1 Backup from the game: Until the end of the turn, Nael gains +2000 power and Haste.
Remove 2 Backups from the game: Choose 1 Forward. Deal it 8000 damage.
Just gonna start this by saying you can only pay costs with your own resources, as every time a card like this gets printed I see this question a dozen times. If I’m playing a slower deck, I’m totally in the market for a vanilla 9k for 6cp, and Nael is so much more. He gives you a variable discount that gets better the more forwards are left in your deck, and also lets you convert backups into board control on a critical turn. Don’t be afraid to yeet your whole backline into the aether if it’s going to win you the game, since if you don’t get another Active Phase, it doesn’t really matter that they’re gone. Haste + Removal is insane in limited, Jellyfish was incredible as a 1of in op8, and he still needed another body to combo with. Whether you’re in a hyper aggressive 24+ forward deck, or a super steady deck with 15 or so backups, Nael will pay dividends. The only downside to him is that he heavily incentivizes shaving as many summons/monsters as you can get away with.
Forward – Standard Unit – XII
Fi: Hume gains Brave until the end of the turn.
Fi 1: Hume gains Haste until the end of the turn.
A fine baseline that lets you pay for extra abilities when and where they’re useful. Brave is a solid ability on an 8k, and Haste is always a dangerous ability, much moreso when applied to a forward with this size. Hume is pretty flexible, has a solid power, and will be something you always have to consider when you are at a dangerous amount of damage.
Summon – MOBIUS
EX BURST Choose 1 Forward. Until the end of the turn, it gains +1000 power and First Strike. Draw 1 card. If you have received 4 points of damage or more, it also gains Haste until the end of the turn.
This card’s gonna be a lot better early in the format when people aren’t yet used to playing around it. It’s a decent burst, it’s a crazy cheap combat trick, and late game the Haste can mess with combat math. I’d say always be careful if your opponent has a single fire backup open, but honestly discarding 1 and overpaying is still good value. At common, you pretty much just expect every fire deck you play against to have access to one of these, if not more.
Forward – Judge – MOBIUS XII
You can only pay with CP produced by Fire Backups to play Bergan from your hand onto the field.
When Bergan blocks or is blocked, deal 7000 damage to the Forward that blocks or is blocked by Bergan.
Fi 1: Choose 1 Forward. Deal it 1000 damage.
3.5 draft / 0.5 sealed
A huge incentive to go heavy fire, getting an 8k with bonuses for 3 is a bargain. If you manage to get Bergan out he threatens to kill 8ks with ease, and anything less for free. With enough investment, he can even rumble with 9s and 10s and walk away without a dent in his sweet armor. Even without his Active Ability, Bergan deals a total of 15k damage in combat, enough even to take down Yiazmat and Garif. You have to be seriously committed to fire, though, as 3 fire backups isn’t an easy ask. If you can supply the fuel, though, he’ll burn through your opponent’s whole frontline.
Monster – Bomb – Crystal Hunt
During your turn, Bomb also becomes a Forward with 5000 power.
When Bomb is put from the field into the Break Zone, deal 2000 damage to all Forwards.
Bomb is small and volatile, not a combination you really want. He can trade up against 7ks, which does not seem like something that will get you very far ahead in this set. Because your opponent has a reasonable amount of control over when he breaks, you run the risk of having him turned against you. What he is good at is being the first attacker each turn, when your board is on average smaller than your opponent’s. This makes him difficult to block, as breaking him will put future blockers much closer to death, letting you threaten to trade up. This really is only good when threatening lethal, however, as otherwise the opponent can simply tank the damage and leave you down 2cp and a card.
Forward – Consul – DFF XII
All the Forwards opponent controls gain “At the end of your turn, if you don’t pay 1, break this Forward.”
One of those cards that is utter garbage in constructed but actually pretty decent here. One setback to his effect is that CP efficiency is less important in limited (it’s still important! Just not the end all be all of each game) but on top of demanding a handful of resources each turn, he’s huge. It will be tough for the opponent to deal with him profitably, meaning if they do break him ASAP you probably go up resources, and the longer it takes the more of a lead you gain. Don’t be afraid to throw him into combat, as the 9k statline is a huge reason why you are playing him.
Forward – Instructor – VIII
EX BURST When Quistis enters the field, reveal the top 5 cards of your deck. Add 1 Category VIII Forward among them to your hand and return the other cards to the bottom of your deck in any order.
The Job SeeD Candidate Forwards you control gain +1000 power.
LV? Death S Ic D: Reveal the top card of your deck. Break all Forwards opponent controls with the same cost as the revealed card. Add the revealed card to your hand.
It can be tough to get enough relevant cards together to make Quistis’ abilities reliable, but if you can she’s a powerhouse. Cheap, draws you towards the better cards in your deck, then buffs them, and has an interesting S as well. If you draft a Quistis early, you might consider putting a very low priority on anything that doesn’t cost 3 or 4, to maximize your chances of ? being a relevant number. Because you draw the card, it’s a cheap gamble that has a major payout if it lands. Hitting a single forward puts you up a ton of resources, and she has the capacity to hit two at once, though that will happen incredibly rarely. On top of all that, she has EX Burst too, to help you win races or stabilize against aggressive decks. She asks a lot in terms of deck construction, but Best Girl is totally worth it. Why she isn’t Job SeeD I will never know.
Airborne Trooper 024C
Forward – Standard Unit – Type-0
Airborne Trooper cannot attack.
When a Forward other than Airborne Trooper enters your field, Airborne Trooper loses all its abilities until the end of the turn.
Decent when you’re the beatdown or when you’re the control. On offense, a cheap and expendable attacker is good, provided you can keep the fuel up to keep him airborne. On defense, he puts up an early wall that can be tough to get around. Doesn’t do a super great job of either, but he’s a passable way to fill out your deck.
Summon – MOBIUS
Choose 1 dull Forward of cost 2, 3, 5, or 7. Break it.
Zalera deals with right around 2/3rds of the set at an insane rate. The forward does have to be dull, which means it’s less powerful when you’re particularly aggressive or trying to punch through for that last bit of damage, but most of the time it blows out most attackers. Zalera’s mere existence makes every 4cp forward in the set slightly better. What’s best about this card is that, since it is an H, it will be rare enough that people rarely play around it. Quick note for math nerds: before the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic was proved in 1801, Zalera would have hit 1cps as well.
Cid Aulstyne 026C
Backup – Grand Marshal – PICTLOGICA TYPE-0
EX BURST When Cid Aulstyne enters the field, choose 1 Forward. If your opponent has 2 cards or less in his/her hand, dull it and Freeze it. If you opponent has no cards in his/her hand, break it instead.
Be prepared to never ever let your hand empty against ice. At C, you can assume every ice deck has access to this, and since it’s an unoptimal early play it will likely be kept until useful. Tacking o1 Shiva onto a backup is strong, and tacking on o1 Odin is even stronger. Cid is absolutely going to define o9 limited, even if it can be somewhat awkward at times.
Forward – SeeD Candidate – VIII
The cost required to play Squall onto the field is reduced by 1 for each Category VIII Forward you control (it cannot become 0).
When Squall enters the field or attacks, choose 1 Character opponent controls. Dull it.
Dulling anything you want as an attack trigger is a strong edge in combat, as your opponent has to either play more defensively than usual, or give up blocking entirely. If you’ve played op7 limited at all, you will remember how oppressive Snow could be, and while Squall isn’t quite that powerful, he also is a body himself. Sometimes he’ll even cost less than normal, but I wouldn’t stretch my deck too far to accomodate that, as he’s strong enough as is. Still though, as soon as I have a Squall, I will probably draft Quistis over anything short of a 5/5.
Azure Dragon l’Cie Soryu 028L
Forward – L’Cie – Type-0
EX BURST When Azure Dragon l’Cie Soryu attacks, reveal the top card of your deck. If it is an Ice card, add it to your hand.
Discard 1 Ice card: Choose 1 Character. Freeze it.
Discard 3 Ice cards: Choose 1 Forward. Break it.
Not sure why the L in l’Cie is only capitalized in the Job line, regardless, Asuka Langley Soryu is a great payoff for devoting oneself to ice. Getting a single hit off its attack trigger makes it incredibly efficient, and both of its abilities are strong, giving you serious control the flow of the game. Even in decks with a lower ice count, it’s a fine body and it’s Freeze ability is useable, so don’t expect to see this late. Draft it, then mono-ice, not vice versa.
Forward – Magitek Knight – VI
If a Forward is dealt damage by your Summon, the damage increases by 2000 instead.
Not too many ways to make her ability useful, but this card is still on curve. Absolutely disgusting with Ifrita.
Backup – Moogle – FFTA2
When Hurdy enters the field, reveal the top card of your deck. If it is a Character, add it to your hand.
Dull, put Hurdy into the Break Zone: Choose 1 Category FFTA2 Forward in your Break Zone. Add it to your hand.
Even as only 1cp backup, Hurdy has a leg up on 01/6 Summoner, as it digs you deeper towards your powerful cards. Every once in a while you’ll be able to use his second ability, even if it is rare. Just remember, the more summons you are running, the greater chance you have to whiff.
Mind Flayer 032C
Summon – IV
EX BURST Choose 1 Forward opponent controls. Dull it. Draw 1 card.
Mind Flayer is a cheap way to mess with combat math, whether staving off an assault or clearing the way for damage. Between it and Cid Aulstyne, you’ll have to be well prepared against ice in the final turns of the game, as they can clear blockers with ease.
Class Ninth Moogle 033C
Backup – Moogle – Type-0
If Class Ninth Moogle is on the field, Class Ninth Moogle can produce Wind CP.
An on curve backup who handily facilitates a two element deck or a splash into wind for an ice-centric build. This guy is cheap and flexible, and will be a strong foundation for any deck that can abuse him. He doesn’t work nearly as well in reverse, in wind decks that are just splashing ice, but he’s still one of the better cards to support that splash.
Forward – Marksman – DFF VIII
When Laguna enters the field, you may search for 1 Ice Forward and add it to your hand.
Let’s compare this to Airborne Trooper for a sec. Both are functionally 3cp 8ks, but where AT has a downside, Laguna gives you immediate access to your best ice forward. Sometimes you will use it to grab your WORST ice forward, and then immediately pitch that card for CP so you never have to worry about drawing it late. Also makes Quistis more reliable.
Nu Mou 040C
Backup – Standard Unit – XII
When Nu Mou enters the field, you may pay Ic. When you do so, choose 1 Forward or Monster. Dull it and Freeze it.
I’m just gonna say right now, I love this whole cycle. Having modular cards like this in your deck give you a lot of flexibility in how you approach each game, especially when they aren’t unique. For almost no extra cost, Nu Mou lets you control the flow of the game with an ability that is useful at nearly any stage. Being able to hit monsters is great against the monsters that are only forwards half the time. Even late, this is an effect that can win you the game, and you will happily pay 3 for it if it means icing over blockers, making Nu Mou a good play on literally any turn.
Forward – Sky Pirate – DFF XII
You can dull 2 active Job Sky Pirate Forwards you control (instead of paying the CP cost) to play Vaan from your hand onto the field.
Weird, I thought FFTCG didn’t have flavor text.
Monster – Ahriman – Crystal Hunt
During your turn, Ahriman also becomes a Forward with 7000 power.
When Ahriman deals damage to your opponent, choose 1 Forward of cost 5 or more opponent controls. Break it.
Ahriman’s got a strong effect and dodges ETF based removal, but 7k doesn’t feel like it’s going to be super relevant this set, and not being able to block is a real downside. A lot of the time, Ahriman is just going to sit there without being able to get any value. Make sure to pair him with things that let him get through, like dull/freeze from ice. Even better, if your opponent does have a 5cp forward, Ahriman basically reads “this card must be blocked” which makes him an excellent target for combat tricks like Belias and Titan. You do run the risk of being blown out by removal summons, so pay attention to what your opponent is representing.
Forward – Heritor – FFTA2
If you control a Category FFTA2 Forward other than Adelle, Adelle gains +2000 power and Haste.
If you control 5 or more Backups, Adelle cannot be blocked.
While her 1st ability will be difficult to pull off reliably, her second is a nice payoff for playing a control deck. The rest of your pool can be dedicated to building your backline, churning advantage, and gumming up the board, then BAM! Unblockable! Make sure she isn’t your only win condition, as 7k is not very resilient. Also does not really do anything else very well, although she can be a plan B in aggressive decks in case they get stymied at 5 damage.
Summon – DFF
EX BURST All the Forwards you control gain +1000 power until the end of the turn. Draw 1 card.
A fine summon that will let you either trade up or outright win an even battle for very little investment. It’s not often that the buff being teamwide will matter, but every once in a blue moon this will completely blow out a carefully planned Ifrita or Seven.
Backup – Class Zero Cadet – DFF TYPE-0
When Seven enters the field, deal 2000 damage to all the Forwards opponent controls.
If you’re looking to rush 5 backups, you definitely will want to pass her up, since you’ll be valuing backups you can play ASAP. For decks that aren’t planning on going up to five, she’s an excellent way to top off an already damaged forward while also advancing your CP economy. Sometimes you’ll be able to make two chump blocks, then use Seven to ace both attackers for mad value.
Forward – Standard Unit – Special
When a Card Name Chocobo you control forms a party and attacks, all Forwards in that party gain +1000 power until the end of the turn.
I’m super confused by this card. Typically the reason that you party is because you’re otherwise stonewalled by a larger forward. No forward in the set is going to be so big that any wind party wouldn’t kill it without the power buff, which makes the +1000 basically irrelevant. Which means you’re paying a premium for a vanilla 7k. If this is the quality of card that Fat Chocobo can get, I’m really not sure about going all in on that deck in draft…
Fat Chocobo 051R
Backup – Chocobo – Crystal Hunt
When Fat Chocobo enters the field, reveal the top 5 cards of your deck. Add all Card Name Chocobo among them to your hand and return the other cards to the bottom of your deck in any order.
Oh lawd he comin! If you’re only reliably hitting one chocobo with him, congratulations, you’ve made an on-curve backup with extra steps. This absolute unit really needs to be hitting 2+ at least half the time you play him, which means the rest of your deck needs to be stacked to the brim with choco goodness. If you can get him to WARK he’ll not only be a hyper-efficient backup, but will set you up for an aggressive few turns. If you can’t? Then he’s the fat you should be trimming from your deck.
Forward – Class Zero Cadet – DFF TYPE-0
The Forwards other than Deuce you control gain +1000 power.
The Job Class Zero Cadet Forwards other than Deuce you control gain +1000 power.
1cp forwards are great because they deal the same amount of player damage as any other forward, which means even though Deuce cost you almost nothing, your opponent can’t just ignore her. Also, having a cheap anthem is great, especially if you can get enough Class Zero Cadets to make her second ability relevant. She’s especially good paired with Rem. Keep in mind how easy it is to clear her off the field, so that you can keep your combats as safe as possible.
Forward – Sky Pirate – DFF XII
When Balthier enters the field, select 1 of the 3 following actions.
“Choose 1 Monster of cost 2 or less. Break it.”
“Choose 1 Forward. Deal it 4000 damage.”
“You may pay Wi Wi. When you do so, choose 1 Forward. Deal it 7000 damage.”
At least one of these options will be relevant often enough that Balthier will almost never be played as an empty 8k, and most will earn a fair amount of cp back. A great return on investment for only paying a premium of 1cp.
Backup – Dancer – DFF XII
When Penelo enters the field, you may search for 1 Job Sky Pirate and add it to your hand.
Wi Dull: Choose 1 Job Sky Pirate Forward you contol. It gains +1000 power until the end of the turn.
None of the Sky Pirates are really so good that you’ll be dancing when you see Penelo, but her Active Ability will help make Balthier a true monster (and help Vaan be playable.)
Forward – Dragon – MOBIUS XII
EX BURST When Yiazmat enters the field or at the beginning of your Main Phase 1, select 1 of the 3 following actions.
“Choose 1 Forward of cost 5 or more. Break it.”
“Choose 1 Monster. Break it.”
“Activate all the characters you control.”
10k is huge, but not unstoppable, especially not in a set with Rinok at C. He’s gonna give you some rebate when you play him, though I suspect his abilities will be harder to leverage here than in constructed. Most matches you’ll be able to nuke a problem card while plopping down the baddest forward on the table, while also forbidding your opponent from playing more 5 drops or monsters, but honestly there aren’t that many monsters or 5s in the set.
Forward – Youth – FFTA2
For each Forward you control, Luso gains +1000 power.
If there are 3 or more different Elements among Forwards you control, Luso gains First Strike and Brave.
When Luso attacks, if there are 5 or more different Elements among Forwards you control, Luso deals your opponent 1 point of damage.
2 draft / 3 sealed
Luso needs a lot of support to be good, but an 8k First Strike Brave is well worth that investment. Playing 3 elements in draft will necessarily destabilize your deck somewhat, so the easiest way to go with this will be ice to take advantage of Ninth Class Moogle. In Sealed, you’re probably running 4 elements anyways, so he becomes a bit more reliable. Be super careful going into combat with Luso, as a timely piece of removal on one of your other forwards will give him -1k, and potentially cause him to lose first strike. Also, leave his On Attack trigger for the Golbez decks.
Forward – Class Zero Cadet – TYPE-0
If Rem is dealt damage, reduce the damage by 3000 instead.
At the end of your turn, activate Rem.
Dull: Choose 1 Forward other than Rem. Activate it.
Most of the time, Rem will be used to essentially grant Brave to your forwards, and will do very well at that, as she can do it twice per turn cycle. Being able to effortlessly block 8ks while she does it will give you a huge safety net. On top of this, she goes absolutely crazy with several other cards in the set, Deuce makes her an 8k “Brave” that will take 11k damage to down, and anything with a dull ability becomes great. Quistis, Larkeicus, and Golbez will love to be blessed with that REM sleep. This card does come with one major downside, however: you cannot play her at the same time as backup Rem.
Backup – Class Zero Cadet – TYPE-0
Dull: Choose 1 Job Class Zero Cadet Forward you control. It gains +1000 power until the end of the turn.
There are only a few potential targets for Rem, and some of them aren’t even good. +1k on Deuce isn’t relevant except to dodge small sources of burn like Ifrita, and forward Rem can’t be on the field at the same time. Still, you’re not paying any extra for her, and even a single activation can result in a huge CP swing. Locking yourself out of forward Rem is a serious cost, though often enough in sealed it won’t matter as you will only have one in your pool.
Heretical Knight Garland 061R
Forward – Knight – MOBIUS
If a Forward opponent controlled was put from the field into the Break Zone this turn, the cost required to play Heretical Knight Garland onto the field is reduced by 3.
Ea Ea 4: Until the end of the turn, Heretical Knight Garland gains “When Heretical Knight Garland attacks, deal 6000 damage to all the Forwards opponent controls.”
You’re gonna find yourself paying full cost for this guy more often than you’d like. Sure sometimes you can play him on the same turn you play removal, and sometimes your opponent is at 5 damage and has to make bad blocks, but a lot of the time that you break an opposing forward will be on their turn. Paying 5 for an 8k just is not where you want to be. His active ability is crazy expensive, and is relatively easy to counter with cards like Mind Flayer and Cuchulainn. Even if you get it off, 6k doesn’t kill a ton of forwards, requiring additional assistance. It does effectively act as a double Lava Spider for that turn though, which is nice, especially with any First Strike.
Forward – Gunslinger – VII
When Vincent enters the field, you may put 1 Backup you control into the Break Zone. When you do so, choose 1 dull Forward. Deal it 8000 damage.
Zoom S Ea 1 D: Choose 1 Backup of cost 3 or more. Break it.
A fair sized body with removal attached to it. Allows you to more easily run multiples of named Backups with ETFs. Also in multiples he becomes hec3 but 1 cheaper, which is great.
Forward – Judge – XII
EX BURST When Gabranth enters the field, you may search for 1 Forward of cost 5 or more and add it to your hand.
If you have received 6 points of damage or more, Gabranth gains +3000 power and Brave.
Sentence S Dull: Choose 1 Forward. Deal it 3000 damage and 1000 more damage for each point of damage you have received.
You gotta have a good target, preferably two, before you even consider putting Gabranth in your deck. His value rises commensurately with the quality of 5+ drops you have access to, although even just a couple of Garlands will make him at least playable. His other two abilities are #1 impossible in limited; and #2 the stars must align; so Gabranth’s payoff has to come from the forward you grab, as a 2cp 5k really isn’t worth playing on it’s own.
Forward – Standard Unit – XII
If you control 5 or more Earth Characters, Garif gains +2000 power.
8k is a fine size for the cards that are rounding out your deck, but Garif’s effect is absolutely worth dedicating your deck towards if you can get multiples. 10k is huge, and it will be very difficult to take down one Garif, let alone a whole tribe.
Summon – TYPE-0
EX BURST Choose 1 Forward. It gains +2000 power until the end of the turn. Draw 1 card.
Was tempted to just copy/paste sylph’s review here, but +2k is much stronger than +1k. The mere existence of Golem is going to make combat against Earth terrifying.
Forward – Captain – XV
If you control Card Name Regis, Cor gains +2000 power.
When Cor or a Category XV Forward enters your field, until the end of the turn, Cor gains +1000 power and Brave.
Not sure the FFTCG team really captured the quintessence of the moniker “Immortal.” As it stands, if you have easy access to Regis, Cor is an undercosted 7k, which is ok I guess. There really aren’t enough Cat XV forwards to rely on his trigger, even with Ravus at R. Too much effort for not enough payoff.
Monster – Tonberry – Crystal Hunt
During your turn, Tonberry also becomes a Forward with 4000 power.
When Tonberry is put from the field into the Break Zone, choose 1 Forward opponent controls. Deal it 1000 damage for every 2 Forwards in your Break Zone.
Once you start getting into the late game, Tonberry is a dangerous attacker. He threatens to trade up against nearly anything, and even triggers when any monster removal like Ifrita or Balthier is used against him. It will be difficult to get his damage up to serious numbers, though, and I feel like a broken record at this point but not being able to block is a serious drawback. First Strike isn’t too common, but having him eaten by a Belias or walled by a Luso is going to hurt.
Forward – Headhunter – XII
The Job Headhunter Forwards other than Ba’Gamnan you control gain +1000 power.
When Ba’Gamnan enters the field, you may search for 1 Card Name Gijuk, Card Name Bwagi, or Card Name Rinok and play it onto the field.
Bagman not only gets you a huge discount on a second forward, he even makes that forward stronger! Granted, none of the things he gets are winning any strongman competitions, but going wide is absolutely a strong strategy, especially in an element with Golem.
Backup – Standard Unit – XII
When Bangaa enters the field, you may pay Ea. When you do so, choose 1 Earth Character in your Break Zone. Add it to your hand.
Being able to rebuy one of the best cards in your deck is good. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk. If music is playing when you deploy this card, you can say “this track is a bangaa” to deal one point of psychological damage to your opponent.
Forward – Monk – IV
When Yang enters the field, choose 1 Forward. Until the end of the turn, it gains +2000 power and Brave. If it is a Job Monk or a Card Name Monk, until the end of the turn, it also gains “When this Forward attacks, choose 1 Forward opponent controls. Deal it damage equal to this Forward’s power.”
Solid body with a strong ETF that will let you punch in for a power hit. Once Belias can grant haste, you can choose Yang for his own effect, haste him, and murder anything.
When Larkeicus enters the field, choose 1 Monster in your Break Zone. Add it to your hand.
Ea Ea Dull: Search for 1 Monster and add it to your hand.
Ok, so none of the monsters in the set are really all that good, but they’re still decent, and Larky lets you really just power them out. In limited, it’s a lot more common that you have turns where you don’t use all your cp, and having something to sink spare cp into will give you a monstrous advantage. Also, leaving up Ea Ea represents Golem, which can deter a wary player from certain choices in combat. Unfortunately loses a little synergy with its own in-element monster, Tonberry, as the Larkster wants you to run as many monsters as possible, and TonB wants a ton of forwards.
Forward – Headhunter – XII
Ea: Choose 1 Job Headhunter. During this turn, the next damage it deals to a Forward becomes double the damage instead. You can only use this ability once per turn.
A 10k blocker is absolutely worth 3cp, considering he kills basically every forward in the set, even if he only works once. On offense, the opponent is likely to just take the damage, as it will be hard to find a way to trade in combat at equal value, also now you no longer have to leave one Earth cp open on your opponent’s turn. Sometimes you can dull out with one in hand and bait your opp into thinking you can’t activate. Rinok is absolutely playable on his own, and once you factor in the other Headhunters he stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Forward – Standard Unit – FFCC
When Lilty blocks, choose 1 Forward in your Break Zone. Add it to your hand.
Lilty is just so over the top good for defensive decks I honestly can’t believe I’m reading her correctly. If she chump blocks, you get your best forward back. If she takes the attacker with her, you’re up a decent amount of CP. If the attacker dies and she LIVES? The game is basically over. Pair her with any power booster, Belias, Sylph, Golem, even Deuce, and she may as well be the Great Wall of China. On top of that, you can play her in multiples. Works especially well with Nero (XIV) who will deal an extra 2k when Lilty returns him. You can bet your bottom dollar that at some point I will draft a deck that uses Lilties to get back Lilties to get back more Lilties and just block forever while I mill you out.
Backup – King – XV
When Regis enters the field, you may search for 1 Category XV Forward and add it to your hand.
1cp backups are great for efficiency. Regis’ targets may be slim, but he enables you to splash lightning by using Ravus, or makes your EaLi deck that much more consistent. Considerably less exciting if all you’re getting is Cor, although if you have 3 or 4 Cors it isn’t too bad.
Forward – Witch – PICTLOGICA VIII
EX BURST When Edea enters the field, choose 1 active Forward opponent controls. Deal it 1000 damage for each Lightning Character you control.
Any amount of free damage on a forward’s ETF is good, and Edea can regularly get up to 4 or 5k. This lets you make an attack with a weaker forward in order to get some damage onto a blocker, and use Edea to top it off, or just combine her with something like Fusilier. She also can deal enough damage to clear out problem small forwards like Deuce or Rinok.
Forward – Dragoon – LOV IV
Before paying the cost to play Kain onto the field, you may put 1 active Lightning Backup you control into the Break Zone. If you do so, the cost for playing Kain onto the field is reduced by 5.
When Kain enters the field, choose 1 Forward opponent controls. It loses 8000 power until the end of the turn.
Kain will almost always slay something on the way in, and has a respectable body to boot. Late game when your backups are nearing the end of their usefulness, putting one into the bin for a massive discount on him is a great option. He may not be as strong as Prishe in o7, but he’s also cheaper, sometimes by a lot. Also you can use him to make space in a full backline if you need to drop something like a Cyan or Nu Mou.
Cid of Clan Gully 085C
Backup – Clan Leader – FFTA2
Li Dull, discard 1 Category FFTA2 Forward, put Cid of Clan Gully into the Break Zone: Choose 1 active Forward. Break it.
There aren’t many cards Cid combines with, but most of them are only situationally good, so having an extra use for them is pretty decent. If you can get this ability off, it’s a super cheap way to deal with problem forwards.
Monster – Goblin – Crystal Hunt
During your turn, Goblin also becomes a Forward with 5000 power.
When Goblin deals damage to your opponent, you may put Goblin into the Break Zone. When you do so, draw 2 cards.
Goblin may seem like a budget o8 Zidane, but since he has to break himself to do it you aren’t really able to gain much advantage. He basically just pays for himself. Getting a free point of damage is acceptable, but you have to really be applying pressure hard to make use of it. That works well, since you will need to clear the way for Goblin, and the cards you use to do that will help your other attackers. Larkeicus also makes Goblin better, as his ETF lets you pull Goblin back for a second run. Really though, it’s a lot of work for not much payoff.
Forward – Warlock – IV
Li Dull: Reveal the top card of your deck. If it is a Forward, play it onto the field. You can only use this ability during your turn.
Double Meteor S Li Li: Choose 1 Forward. Deal it 9000 damage. You may discard 1 Card Name Golbez. If you do so, use this special ability again without paying the cost.
9k is huge, and the potential his Active Ability has is also huge. Look to combine him with forward Rem or Moogle (XII) to make him even more reliable, although in a pinch you can just jam as many forwards into your deck as possible. At H, it isn’t out of the question that you get to H him at some point during the format, and 9k is a great deal for how few resources it costs. Totally sounds like two kids arguing though.
Tellah: “I cast Meteor, you’re dead now!”
Golbez: “No way, I cast DOUBLE Meteor! You’re the one who’s dead!”
Forward – SeeD Candidate – PICTLOGIVA VIII
If you control a Job Witch, Seifer gains +3000 power.
Seifer can be made pretty reliable, and a 2cp 8k is a way better bargain than 2cp 7k. With Edea at C and Meia at L within element, and Ultimecia at H in water, there are a couple ways to combo with him. Also worth mentioning is his synergy with Quistis.
Backup – Standard Unit – XII
When Seeq enters the field, choose 1 Forward opponent controls. Break it.
Expensive but strong. Unconditional removal is rare to come by. Probably don’t want to load up on these, though.
Backup – Standard Unit – FFTA2
When Sage enters the field, you may pay Li. When you do so, choose 1 Summon in your Break Zone. Add it to your hand.
Probably the worst of the cycle, just because having a summon in BZ is the most restrictive condition. Still good.
Nero (XIV) 091H
Forward – Chief of Staff – XIV
When Nero (XIV) enters the field, if you control a Forward of any Element other than Lightning, until the end of the turn, Nero (XIV) gains +2000 power, Haste, and Brave.
When Nero (XIV) is added to your hand from the Break Zone, choose 1 Forward. Deal it 2000 damage.
Haste is a great ability on strong forwards, and by also gaining Brave you’re not even losing out on a blocker. Nero’s ETF is pretty easy to trigger, and his Added to Hand clause can combine well with Lilty. Once you get his initial hit, though, he’s just a 3cp 7k, so try to make the most of that one hit, ideally in a critical turn at the end of the game.
Forward – Standard Unit – XII
When a Lightning Forward other than Baknamy enters your field, choose 1 Forward opponent controls. Dull it.
A repeatable source of dulls on top of a forward that can attack through it. A nice reward for stacking lightning.
Fusoya – 094L
Forward – Lunarian – MOBIUS IV
The cost to cast your Summons can be paid with CP of any Element.
When Fusoya enters the field, choose 1 Forward opponent controls. Reveal the top 2 cards of your deck.
Deal it 1000 damage for each CP required to play the revealed cards. Add all the revealed cards to your hand.
Just make sure that whatever you’re choosing is almost certainly going to die. Don’t just yolo this and hope to flip 9k worth of damage unless you really have to. A 3cp 6k is not where you want to be. Making summons a little easier to cast is nice, but we don’t have super strong EX summons in this set like Mateus and Odin in o8 so it’s not often you’ll want to run out-of-element, not when you need an L to make them playable.
Forward – Witch – MOBIUS
At the beginning of your Attack Phase, select 1 of the 3 following actions. If you have recieved 5 points of damage or more, select up to 2 of the 3 following actions instead.
“Choose 1 Forward. Until the end of the turn, it gains +1000 power and First Strike.”
“Choose 1 Forward. Dull it.”
“Choose 1 Category MOBIUS Forward other than Meia. It gains Haste until the end of the turn.”
Meia is a flexible card that can apply a lot of pressure, clearing blockers, buffing attackers, and every once in a while she’ll give a random card like Yiazmat or Garland haste. She triggers the turn you play her (probably) making it easy to get value out of her, and all her effects are decent. Soft removal attached to an on curve body is pretty good, I hear. Where she doesn’t shine is on defense. None of her effects help you stave off your opponent’s aggression, so while Meia is a strong card she’s not really an outright bomb. She definitely rewards you for playing as aggressive a deck as possible, though that typically is Lightning’s modus operandi.
Forward – Detachment Commander – XIV
When Livia enters the field, if the cost to play Livia didn’t include CP of 3 or more different Elements, put Livia into the Break Zone.
1: Livia gains Brave until the end of the turn.
3: Break the Forward that blocks Livia.
4 draft 5 sealed
Getting a 2cp discount on a 9k is a great reason to draft a 3 element deck, and in sealed she’ll be easy to play out. Remember that, since you can always overpay by 1 if you’re discarding a card, you can dull backups for 2 elements and discard for the third. This means you’re not getting quite the discount, but she’s still great. Her two abilities are both incredibly strong as well. One last thing to mention, she’s a dangerous card to run with Ultimecia. If she is cheated in, she will still ask “were 3 elements of cp used to pay for me?” and when the answer is no she’ll commit seppuku on the spot.
Forward – Captain – XV
EX BURST When Ravus enters the field, choose 1 Forward opponent controls. Dull it.
When Ravus enters the field, choose 1 Forward opponent controls. If the number of Forwards opponent controls is greater than the number of Forwards you control, dull it.
Decent body, decent EX, clears 1 blocker on the turn he enters, sometimes 2. This knock-off Goblin King will help you punch through damage, and late game you will often be able to use his ETF to plot a course to victory.
Backup – Witch – DFF VIII
When Ultimecia enters the field, each player reveals the top card of his/her deck. Each player who revealed a Character may play it onto the field.
Wa Wa 2 Dull, put Ultimecia into the Break Zone: Choose 1 Forward. Put it on top of its owner’s deck.
Crazy risky, but there are things you can do to mitigate her randomness. The most powerful is to set her up ahead of time with Moogle (XII), but there are other tactics to consider: Run as few summons as possible, prefereably zero; wait until your opponent’s backline is full, to maximize their chances of whiffing; load up on strong effects like Nael, Kain, or Yiazmat; and have some strong removal ready to go. If things go south, she has her own out you can use, although it is expensive and you’d much rather save it to counter a combat trick or on a critical turn. Also enables Seifer.
Backup – Emperor – XV
Dull, put Iedolus into the Break Zone: Choose 1 Summon of cost 4 or less in your Break Zone. Cast it without paying the cost. Remove that Summon from the game after use instead of putting it in the Break Zone.
You’ll have to look outside of Water for good options for this, but in a pinch even hitting Cuch late game lets you effectively dull Iedolus for 2 instead of 1. You really want to be getting more value than that, however. Costing an extra 2cp up front is a huge stumbling block in your cp economy, so if you don’t have good access to strong summons, leave him on the sidelines.
Forward – Wild Child – VI
If you control a Monster, Gau gains +2000 power.
If you control 3 or more Monsters, Gau gains Brave.
Not too terribly hard to make him a discount 7k, but even that isn’t really that great. All the monsters in this set are fragile, and some you actively want to die, which makes Gau inconsistent at best. Also, with only six in the set total, he will almost never be Brave.
Forward – Mime – VI
There aren’t that many action abilities in the set, Rem, Cecil, and Larkeicus are ok, but Golbez is the dream. You still have to be able to pay the elemental requirements, so even if Gogo has a target you may not be able to make use of it.
White Mage 108C
Backup – Standard Unit – FFTA2
When White Mage enters the field, you may pay Wa. When you do so, draw 1 card.
Good card is good.
Forward – Paladin – IV
If you control 2 or more Category IV Forwards other than Cecil, Cecil gains +2000 power and Brave.
0: Choose 1 Forward you control other than Cecil. During this turn, the next time this Forward would take damage, reduce it by 4000 instead and deal Cecil 4000 damage. You can only use this ability once per turn.
Cecil changes combat math so hard that it becomes incredibly difficult for your opponent to win any single battle. It will be pretty hard to enable his Field Ability, but that’s fine, his Active is strong enough on its own. It always deals 4k to Cecil, no matter how much it actually stops, so be careful of your opponent baiting you to use it against a smaller amount of damage so that they can do a 4k burn to finish him off.
Backup – Standard Unit – FFTA2
When Paladin enters the field, select 1 of the 2 following actions.
“Choose 1 Job Standard Unit in your Break Zone. Add it to your hand.”
“Until the end of the turn, all the Forwards you control gain +1000 power and Brave.”
Functionally a 2cp backup if you have enough SUs. A lot of the SUs in this set are pretty decent, Baknamy, Hume, and especially Lilty. Later in the game, you can even use it as an expensive Cyan.
Summon – MOBIUS
Each player selects up to 2 Forwards or Monsters he/she controls (select as many as possible). Put them into the Break Zone.
Like Irvine, the best time to be playing this is in a slower deck towards the end of your set up. Being able to eat two forwards from an aggressive deck will put you into a great position. If you can combine this with Porom you can also make some incredible swings.
Cuchulainn, the Impure 114C
Summon – XII
EX BURST Choose 1 Forward. It loses all abilities until the end of the turn. Draw 1 card.
There are a few neat cheeky plays you can do with this, and the opportunity cost is so low that it’s worth running one or two. Even only as EX, sometimes going +2cp is enough to swing the advantage. There are lots of forwards that this really doesn’t do anything to, however, so be prepared to just use it to churn through your deck.
Forward – White Mage – PICTLOGICA IV
EX BURST When Porom is put from the field into the Break Zone, choose 1 Summon in your Break Zone. Add it to your hand.
You’re not going to be able to do all the crazy stuff in Constructed that Porom is capable of, but she still is good for making party attacks and giving you extra access to powerful summons. Famfrit becomes especially damaging when you can select her as one of your sacrifices.
Moogle (XII) 116R
Forward – Standard Unit – XII
When Moogle (XII) attacks or blocks, look at the top 3 cards of your deck. Return there to the top and/or bottom of your deck in any order.
Moogle really lets you sift through your deck quickly for what you need, whether you’re still trying to set up and need more backups, or are trying to get access to as many forwards as possible, or need that crucial piece of removal, or are looking to close out the game with your bombs. On top of that, he can set up EX, and combines well with cards like Golbez, Ultimecia, and Quistis. All for a very affordable package, and a relevant enough power.
Backup – Fourthborn Son of the Emperor – PICTLOGICA XII
Dull: Negate all damage dealt to all the Forwards you control.
Lets clarify exactly what this means real quick, because I remember all the confusion Asura caused in o5. When you negate damage, you clear off any existing damage that is already on a Forward. It does not prevent any future damage. This means that if your 8k blocks a 7k first strike, and they hit it with a burn effect, once the damage from the burn is applied you can negate it, so that the first strike will no longer be enough to break your forward. With that said, let’s move on to Larsa’s review.
Larsa is really strong against decks that will be seeking to combine multiple sources of damage to break your forwards, cards like Fusilier and Edea. If you’re looking to focus on large bodies, Larsa will make them much safer against stacking damage. If you pick up a Cecil, Larsa is also incredible with him, as you can spread damage out then negate it.
Forward – White Mage – IV
If a Forward you control is dealt damage, reduce the damage by 1000 instead.
When Rosa forms a party and attacks, activate Rosa. Rosa can attack once more this turn.
Pray S: Reveal the top card of your deck. If it is a Water card, activate all the Forwards you control.
Stopping 1k from all sources of damage will really help the survivability of your other forwards. Like Larsa, she is strong against stacking sources of damage, which makes your large forwards much more durable. If you can draft a heavy water deck where she can party often, she can make for some seriously devastating attack steps.
Forward – Warrior of Light – MOBIUS
You can only pay with Fire CP, Wind CP, Earth CP or Water CP and you must use CP of 2 or more different Elements to play Wol onto the field.
When Wol is put from the field into the Break Zone, choose 1 Forward opponent controls. Deal it 9000 damage.
Absolutely nuts, not only do you get a discount on a 9k, but when your opponent finally manages to deal with it he takes something with him. Sure you don’t want to be playing this with Ice or Lightning, but that’s small price to pay for the power he packs.
Forward – Treasure Hunter – DFF VI
At the beginning of your Main Phase 1, reveal the top 2 cards of your deck. Add 1 Category VI Character among them to your hand and return the other cards to the bottom of your deck in any order.
When Locke attacks, all the Category VI Forwards other than Locke you control gain +2000 power until the end of turn.
There are plenty of VI characters at C that you can stock up on, so while his MP1 trigger won’t draw you a card that often, it will still get you a pick up often enough to be worth building towards. His attack trigger will be best in water, where both Gau and Gogo can take advantage of it. At his worst, he’s an on curve 8k that doesn’t require any specific element of CP, which is playable.
Chaos (MOBIUS) 123L
Forward – King – MOBIUS
When Chaos (MOBIUS) enters the field, if the cost paid to play Chaos (MOBIUS) included Fire CP, deal 5000 damage to all the Forwards opponent controls. If the cost paid to play Chaos (MOBIUS) included Ice CP, your opponent discards 1 card from his/her hand. If the cost paid to play Chaos (MOBIUS) included Lightning CP, your opponent selects 1 Monster he/she controls. put it into the Break Zone.
If you can get a single ability off, Chaos (MOBIUS) is a great rate. If you can get more? Then he’s mad value. The lightning one probably the least reliable as monsters are a little scarce this opus, but both fire and ice are killers. Don’t hesistate to run this if your deck is half fire or ice and half wind earth or water, as you don’t need to get full value to make this card worth running. Even if you can’t trigger any of his effects, he’s still a 9k and still worth rounding your deck out with.
Thank you for reading my thought on the new set. I’m super excited to get into the format and really play around with it! Feel free to follow me on twitter @HFftcg, and I look forward to seeing you all next month!