Howdy, folks, and welcome to HowWL! After an extended period of time between Opus XI and now, we’ve finally got another set. It will be hard for many of us to end up getting limited events going, with varied levels of lockdown around the world, but with some areas able to hold events, and more and more people playing online, we’re still excited for a new limited format! Opus XII has a lot of moving parts, between Multi Elements (MEs from here on out,) a focus on party attacks, and actual archetypes like Ice/Wind Multicast, Warriors of Light, Fire based 3CPs, and loads of good build-arounds and payoff cards. There are only ten EX Bursts in the game, so if you like a little less variance you’re in luck.

One thing I’d like to talk about briefly before we begin is the idea of draft archetypes. We’ve had a few in the past, but this set really brings them to the forefront. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a draft archetype is a collection of cards that work well together, and are clearly designed to support each other, like Fire/Earth Headhunters in Opus IX. Rather than simply decide on your elements and then play the best 40 cards in those elements, you’re trying to build a cohesive strategy with interlinking parts. For instance, this set has two cards that really want to be played to the field without being cast, Alphinaud and Forza. There are a few ways in Fire to do that, but both Ice and Water can also play them out for free. Because of this, and because of the ME cards also supporting those element pairs, Fire/Ice and Fire/Water decks will have strong synergy, and even though pairs like Fire/Earth and Fire/Lightning may have more raw power in their individual cards, that synergy may prove to make the Ice and Water decks stronger overall. The inclusion of so many of these archetypes makes the set looks really interesting for limited, so let’s dive right in and see what we’ve got!

Rating Scale

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.

Fire

Aigis 001R

5cp 9000
Forward – Warrior of Light – FFL
The Job Warrior of Light Forwards you control can form a party with Job Warrior of Light Forwards of any Element.
When Aigis enters the field, you may play 1 Job Warrior of Light of cost 4 or less from your hand onto the field.
3
There are a fair amount of WoLs in the set that Aigis can unload, and both his abilities help when you splash deeply to fit them in. A big body at a reasonable cost with the capacity to drop extra beef for free will make Aigis an attractive early pick to build around, as even when neither of his abilities are relevant he is still a completely acceptable card.

Amaterasu 002H

3cp
Summon – FFEX
Choose 1 auto-ability. Cancel its effect. If the cancelled auto-ability triggered from a Forward, deal that Forward 8000 damage.
2.5
There will be times when this just skips your opponent’s turn completely, and times when this rots in your hand for the whole game while you leave up dedicated CP every turn waiting for an opportunity to cast it. Where this card will be least risky is in aggressive decks, where you can use it as protection for your early bid to control the board. At H, it is unlikely your opponent will play around it, as long as you don’t make it too obvious you’re looking for a chance to blow them out with it.

Alisaie 003R

3cp 7000
Forward – Scion of the Seventh Dawn – XIV
When Alisaie enters the field, select 1 of the 2 following actions.
“Play 1 Card Name Alphinaud from your hand onto the field.”
“Search for 1 Card Name Alphinaud and add it to your hand.”
2.5
Alphinaud is going to be a hot commodity in Fire, as there are plenty of ways to cheat him in. Alisaie is for sure one of the best methods, but if you take her early you should expect to be fighting at least one other drafter for her brother. Still, she’s not completely unplayable if she doesn’t have any familial support, and will make for serviceable deck filler. You should find other ways to play out Alphy for free so that you don’t stress too much about waiting to draw him naturally. There’s a lot of super efficient bodies in the set, and a 1cp 7k is a perfectly acceptable statline when compared to the common ME cycle of 2cp 7ks.

Alphinaud 004R

3cp 7000
Forward – Scion of the Seventh Dawn – XIV
When Alphinaud enters the field due to your Summons or abilities, you may search for 1 Character and add it to your hand.
3
Immediate access to your bombs is a great payoff for jumping through Alphinaud’s hoop, and luckily there are lots of ways to pull it off. Alisaie, of course, but also Magissa, Esha’ntarl, Crystal Exarch, Lightning Ninja, Strago, Dusk, Selh’teus, Thancred, technically Regis, and if you’re crazy lucky you can hit it off of Lani. Do note that casting him with Amidatelion will not fulfill his condition.

Ifrit 005C

5cp
Summon – FFEX
EX BURST Choose 1 Forward. Deal it 9000 damage.
3.5
Kills just about everything in the set. That kind of power is well worth the cost. Very splashable, especially considering what a strong burst it is. There are only ten bursts in the whole set, so a burst as powerful as this becomes pretty chase. This is the kind of card that rewards you for picking up multi-elements early on speculation.

Ogre 006C

4cp 8000
Monster – Ogre – IX
When Ogre enters the field, select 1 of the 2 following actions.
“Ogre also becomes a Forward with 8000 power.” (This effect does not end at the end of the turn.)
“Put Ogre into the Break Zone. When you do so, choose 1 Forward. Deal it 8000 damage.”
2.5
What Ogre lacks in raw power he certainly makes up for in flexibility. At only 8k he does run the risk of getting stonewalled by 9s but there’s still lots of targets for him to smack down. Unfortunately he’s too expensive to combo with the “monsters matter” cards like Quacho Queen and Urianger, but he’ll make a fine addition to any deck.

Black Mage 007C

2cp
Backup – Standard Unit – XIV
Fire Dull, put Black Mage into the Break Zone: Choose 1 Forward. Deal it 5000 damage.
3
Great utility to have on a Backup. Loading up on sources of cheap damage like this will help you out in lots of situations, give you extra reach in taking down large Forwards, and give you more resilience against combat tricks like Carbuncle and Remora.

Princess Goblin 008R

2cp
Backup – Goblin – WOFF
When Princess Goblin enters the field, you may search for 1 Light Forward and add it to your hand.
When a Light Forward enters your field, put Princess Goblin into the Break Zone.
1.5
You can’t go wrong with 2cp backups, though this is certainly the worst option in Fire. If you happen to pull Lenna, then you’re absolutely in the market for this.

Samurai 009C

2cp
Backup – Standard Unit – XIV
Fire Fire Fire Dull, put Samurai into the Break Zone: Choose 1 Forward. Deal it 8000 damage. You can only use this ability if you control 3 or more Job Samurai or Card Name Samurai.
2
His ability is probably too tough to pull off, but being able to convert your developmental Backups into tangible late game benefits is great if you can get it, especially when they’re as powerful as an 8k burn. Multiplay is a huge boon on common 2cp Backups, meaning you can’t lock yourself out if you take a bunch of these.

Warrior 010C

3cp 7000
Forward – Standard Unit – XIV
When Warrior enters the field, you may dull any number of active Backups you control. When you do so choose 1 Forward. Deal it 3000 damage for each Backup you dulled due to this ability.
3
Warrior will shine in the late game, a 6cp 7k that burns for 9 on entry is a strong addition to any deck. What makes him particularly good is his optionality, as even towards the start of the mid-game he can be used for 3 or 6k damage to do damage combos or outright blow away small forwards. He does require some set up, and is very demanding on your backline the turn you play him, so the conditions for getting max value from him are not effortless.

Sol 011C

1cp 2000
Forward – Warrior of Light – FFL
If you control a Job Warrior of Light Forward other than Sol, Sol gains Haste.
When Sol forms a party and attacks, you may search for 1 Job Warrior of Light of cost 2 or more and add it to your hand.
0 or 2.5
Decent in a fire based WoL deck, super awkward in anything else. You need to be pulling his trigger to make him worthwhile, and without his haste there are so many cards that incidentally kill him before he can get his value, like Blaze, Firion, Leon, and Freya. The most awkward part of him is that you want to use him as a developmental stepping stone, but his haste demands you already be mildly developed. Both Faris and Lenna are great options for him, but you also have access to Bartz, Krile, Dusk, and Sarah. While I think building a deck where he’s reliable is a tall order, in that deck he becomes exceptional.

Tenzen 012L

6cp 9000
Forward – Samurai – XI
At the end of each of your turns, reveal the top 5 cards of your deck. Add 1 Job Samurai or Card Name Samurai among them to your hand and return the other cards to the bottom of your deck in any order.
When Tenzen leaves the field, choose 1 Job Samurai or Card Name Samurai of cost 3 or less in your Break Zone. Add it to your hand.
2.5
With only Samurai 009C to work with, it’ll be difficult to really squeeze much value from him. Luckily, he is a 9k which is always welcome in any deck, he gives you more than one chance to draw off the top, and 009C is playable in multiple, so if you end up with an early Tenzen you can fill your deck out with targets somewhat.

Ninja 013C

2cp
Backup – Standard Unit – Special
When Ninja enters the field, choose 1 Forward. It gains “When this Forward attacks, choose 1 Forward. Deal it 5000 damage.” until the end of the turn.
2.5
I’ll welcome any text on a 2cp Backup, but this is particularly good text. This couples well with other sources of incidental burn like Blaze or Leon to wombo big boys, and also helps if you’re being stonewalled by a large blocker (for one turn). The likeliest use is to wait to attack with the Forward you’ve chosen and attack with other small forwards first, threatening to use the 5k to top off any blockers.

Bahamut 014R

3cp 7000
Forward – Bahamut – X
If you have 3 or more Fire Summons in your Break Zone, Bahamut gains +2000 power and if you have 7 or more, Bahamut also gains “When Bahamut attacks, deal 5000 damage to all the Forwards opponent controls.”
Impulse S Fire: Deal 4000 damage to all the Forwards opponent controls.
Mega Flare S Dull: Choose 1 Forward. Deal it 9000 damage.
2
These Specials are absolutely top of the line, but on his own Bahamut is a little lackluster. With only two fire summons in the set, one of them H, it’s beyond tough to make him a 9k, and all but impossible to get the attack trigger with. This leads to a strange situation during the draft itself where you either want to take him early and in multiples, or avoid him like the plague. Considering he’s an R, probably the latter. Relm looks a lot better once you have two or three of these.

Forza 015H

3cp 9000
Forward – Fighter – V
You cannost cast Forza.
When Forza enters the field, choose 1 Forward opponent controls. Deal it 7000 damage.
3
For za decks that can reliably cheat him out, Forza is going to feel unfair. You do want to be somewhat deep in those effects, so it does take some commitment, and lacking Alisaie synergy or the ability to cast him makes him much less flexible than Alphinaud. This is the kind of High-Risk-High-Reward card you want to take early and build around, rather than try to jam in at the last minute. Oh, and you still can’t cast it even if Amitadelion flips it.

Blaze 016C

4
Backup – Crystal Bearer – FFCC
EX BURST When Blaze enters the field, choose up to 2 Forwards. Deal them 5000 damage.
Dull, put Blaze into the Break Zone: Choose 1 Forward. Deal it 7000 damage.
3
You’ve usually got room in your deck for one or two midgame backups like this. While Blaze is atrocious in the first couple turns, 5k is enough damage that you can always find some way to make use of it. On top of that, in the late game once you don’t need the resources from your backups anymore you can cash him in to help close out the game. Be wary about him during the draft phase though, as at C there will be several of him flying around. While he is an excellent card, you really don’t want to dedicate too much deck space to him, and you should be able to pick one up relatively late in the pack.

Magissa 017H

4cp 8000
Forward – Beastmaster – V
0: Search for 1 Fire Forward of cost 3 and play it onto the field. You can only use this ability if Magissa has received 4000 damage or more and only once per turn.
2.5
Magissa has a super high potential payoff, but triggering her is going to be very hard. There are few effects in the set that will trick an opponent into thinking they’re about to deal lethal to her, and none of them are in Fire. You can set her off easily yourself with Blaze or Ninja, and there are other more convoluted ways to do it as well, like Machinist, cashing in Black Mage, or party attacking to enable Firion. If you do end up building around her, that’s likely the way to go.

Lani 018H

4cp 7000
Forward – Headhunter – IX
When Lani enters the field, your opponent removes the top card of their deck from the game face down. You can look at it and/or cast it at any time you could normally cast it. The cost for casting it is reduced by 2 and can be paid using CP of any Element.
4
Lani promises absolutely insane CP value. Once in a blue moon you’ll hit a named character you already have, but outside of that you should nearly always get your money’s worth. Try not to lock at 5 backups if you have a Lani in your deck that you haven’t cast yet, but outside of that she’s completely braindead. Just drop her on the field and profit.

Initial Impressions

Forwards: 2C 4R 3H 1L
Backups: 4C 1R
Summons: 1C 1H
Monsters: 1C
Fire will be a more aggressive element, based on it’s lower backup count. It has more complexity and combo potential than in many previous opuses. It can specialize as a WoL based deck, or one focusing on cheating 3cps into play. It has great removal, coming 2nd only to Lightning, and has plenty of power to go around. Its natural archetypes are with Ice and Water, but also I think it will synergize well with Wind due to Wind’s glut of Forwards.

Ice

Amidatelion 019R

2cp
Backup – Crystal Bearer – FFCC
Ice Ice 1 Dull: Remove the top card of your deck from the game. If that card’s cost is 4 or less, you may cast it without paying the cost this turn.
2
While getting the most out of him does demand an Ice-centric deck, the ability is extremely powerful if built around. You’re breaking even on revealed 2s and profiting off 3s and 4s. Bricking will be extremely painful, so as much as you can, focus on spreading out names and avoiding 5+ costs. Paradoxically if you build around him, you want him in multiples so you can guarantee him, which increases your brick odds. Most decks will just use him as a 2cp Backup and only activate him in a pinch, and that’s just fine.

Ulmia 020R

2cp 5000
Forward – Bard – XI
The Ice Forwards other than Ulmia you control gain +1000 power.
Damage 3 — Dull: Choose 1 Ice Forward. It gains +2000 power until the end of the turn.
Damage 5 — Dull: Choose 1 Ice Forward. Until the end of the turn, it gains +2000 power, Haste, First Strike, and Brave.
2
Speaking of Ice-centric decks, Ulmia is a great payoff for dedicating your forward slots to Ice. All her abilities are powerful, although her 5k body will be tough to leverage, especially considering she dies to common Fire backups Blaze and Ninja. Outside of Ice heavy builds, Ulmia will almost never make the cut, so if you take her early be prepared to dedicate yourself to the element.

Necron 021R

5cp 9000
Forward – Necron – IX THEATRHYTHM
You can play 2 or more Dark Characters onto the field.
When Necron enters the field, choose 1 Character other than Necron you control. Its Element becomes Dark. (This effect does not end at the end of the turn.)
At the end of each of your turns, if you control 3 or more Dark Characters, Necron deals your opponent 1 point of damage.
2.5
With only one naturally occurring Dark character in the set, just assume you’ll never get Necron to deal damage. This makes his non-optional ETF a downside, as Dark backups can no longer dull for relevant CP, and Dark forwards will no longer be able to party, benefit from Ulmia, or count towards Vayne (and are suddenly targets for Fenrir.) Playing a second Necron after you’ve already blackened one character will be super risky, so be prepared for the potential of a blow out if you stock up on Necrons. This definitely isn’t enough of a downside to stop anyone from playing a 9k though, just be careful about what you convert to the dark side.

Esha’ntarl 022H

4cp 8000
Forward – Member of the Armathrwn Society – XI
Dull, return Esha’ntarl to its owner’s hand: Play 1 Forward of cost 7 or less other than Card Name Esha’ntarl from your hand onto the field. You can only use this ability during your turn.
3
Every Forward in the set bar Locke is in Esha’ntarl’s range. You can of course turn her moderate initial investment into big returns by dropping expensive cards like Thancred and Neo, but because you can use her at summon speed, she allows ETFs to be used as combat tricks, making even 2cp cards like Ulmia and Beatrix attractive options. And at a respectable 8k, she can stand on her own while being resilient to many smaller direct damage options, making her less risky a play. Since returning her is part of the cost, she can’t even be Shiva’d in response.

Eduardo 023H

4cp
Backup – Bard – FFL
When Eduardo enters the field, dull all the Characters opponent controls.
Runic Requiem S Ice Ice Ice Ice Ice: Break all the Dull Backups.
4
If you thought Bahamut ZERO was oppressive at 6cp then hold on to your butts. Eduardo breaks stalemates wide open, makes it much harder to stabilize against aggressive decks, if your opponent leaves backups open for an obvious combat trick then you can lock that CP down during MP1. He lets you seriously capitalize on an advantage. Keep in mind that even though he’s excellent while you’re even or ahead, he does almost nothing while you’re behind and you’re trying to turn a bad situation around, so maybe pitch him if you’re a slow deck playing against a fast one.

Emet-Selch 024H

4cp 9000
Forward – Ascian – XIV
When Emet-Selch is chosen by your opponent’s Summons or abilities, remove Emet-Selch from the game. If you do so, play Emet-Selch onto the field at the end of the turn.
Damage 5 — When Emet-Selch enters the field, you may pay Ice. When you do so, select 1 of the 2 following actions.
“Choose 1 dull Forward. Break it.”
“Choose 1 Forward of cost 2 or less in your Break Zone. Play it onto the field.”
4
A 9k for 4 is already quite playable, and on top of that his resistance to targeted effects means almost the only way to deal with him is in fair combat. If you’re able to hold on to him and stabilize at 5, he becomes a true monster, as both of his ETF options put you dramatically ahead on CP. Just make sure you’re not relying on him as a blocker, as lots of effects will yeet him from the field, including all the common MEs save Steiner.

Carbuncle 025H

2cp
Summon – IX
Select 1 of the 3 following actions. If your opponent has 2 cards or less in their hand, select up to 2 of the 3 following actions instead.
“Choose 1 Forward. Dull it.”
“Choose 1 Ice Forward. It gains +2000 power until the end of the turn.”
“Choose up to 2 Characters opponent controls. Freeze them.”
2
Unless you’re getting two options, this is pretty underwhelming. This will do best in more aggressive decks, where you’re really applying pressure to the opponent. Combat tricks are few and far between in this format, so the power buff may catch some people with their pants down.

Scholar 026C

2cp
Backup – Standard Unit – XIV
Dull: Choose 1 Forward. Until the end of the turn, it loses Haste, First Strike and Brave.
1.5
Well it’s ability isn’t totally useless. First Strike would actually be a good use for this, but the only card in the set that gives First Strike is Ulmia, and only at 5 damage. There is a fair amount of Haste and Brave about, though Brave I have to wonder how useful it is to strip. You can use it to prevent some damage if you’re in a position where they absolutely need that forward as a blocker against your established board, but that’s a lot of givens. Haste isn’t bad to strip, but if you’re holding this up then they just don’t play the haster and you’re out one cp, so it’s only really useful here as a hedge against Haste taking you to 6 damage. You’ll still end up with these, since they’re common, 2CP, and multiplay, so opportunities will arise naturally where this really does do something; It just isn’t worth going out of your way for.

Gunbreaker 027C

4cp 8000
Forward – Standard Unit – XIV
When Gunbreaker forms a party and attacks, your opponent discards 1 card from their hand.
2.5
Ice in this set feels like it really wants a heavy dedication, and this is another good payoff card for that. Getting a free discard is a strong incentive to party, and an 8k statline is big enough to make smaller Ice Forwards like Ulmia or Emperor relevant.

Bard 028C

3cp
Backup – Standard Unit – XIV
When your opponent discards a card from their hand due to your Summons or abilities, you may put Bard into the Break Zone. When you do so, draw 2 cards.
2
Once you’ve already gotten a few CP from this, exchanging it for 2 cards is going to be a pretty nice boost. Just make sure you’ve got plenty of ways to trigger it, try not to stock up on too many, and don’t forget to get some CP from it first before throwing it away so you don’t end up with less than you started with.

The Emperor 029L

2cp 5000
Forward – Emperor – II
When The Emperor enters the field, if you have 2 or more Card Name The Emperor in your Break Zone, your opponent discards 1 card from their hand.
When The Emperor is put from the field into the Break Zone, you may search for 1 Card Name The Emperor and put it into the Break Zone. If you do so, play The Emperor from your Break Zone onto the field dull at the end of the turn.
0
At L, it’s astronomically unlikely to get the 3 you need for his ETF, and even if you magically get 2, double dipping on a 5k just doesn’t matter.

Shiva 030C

2cp
Summon – FFEX
Choose 1 dull Forward. Deal it 10000 damage minus 1000 damage for each card in your opponent’s hand.
3
Ice has a fair amount of discard and it won’t be hard to get this to punch way above its paygrade. Unlike Vivi/Black Waltz style effects, it’s nice that this can’t be reduced by casting/activating something. There will be situations where you just can’t get it to a reasonable number, but it still does enough and is cheap enough to combo kill.

Summoner 031C

2cp
Backup – Standard Unit – XIV
When you cast a Summon, you may put Summoner into the Break Zone. When you do so, choose 1 Forward. Dull it and Freeze it.
2.5
A cheap Backup, playable in multiples, that helps close out the game at no additional cost. Any Ice deck will be happy to have this.

The Crystal Exarch 032R

4cp 7000
Forward – Overseer – XIV
At the beginning of Main Phase 2 during each of your turns, you may play 1 Forward of cost equal to or less than the number of Ice Backups you control from your hand onto the field.
4
Here’s the big payoff for going heavy ice. Alphinaud, Forza, Warrior all want to be cheated out like this, but even other elements will be good to splash. Being able to get this trigger the first turn you play him will be a huge point in his favor. Even just the 2CP MEs make this desirable in more moderate Ice decks.

Snow 033R

6cp 7000
Forward – L’Cie – XIII DFF
When Snow enters the field, you may search for 2 Card Name Serah, each with a different cost, and add them to your hand (Snow cannot search for 1 card).
When Snow attacks, you may dull 1 active Category XIII Forward you control. When you do so, choose 1 Forward. Dull it and Freeze it.
0
Lightning was already bad enough in Opus X as a 6cp 8k, and Snow is even worse. There are no other category XIII cards in the set so Snow may as well be blank. He’s understatted, overcosted, and at R he’s going to plague every single draft.

Nooj 034C

4cp 8000
Forward – Mevyn – X
EX BURST When Nooj enters the field, choose 1 Character opponent controls. If your opponent has 2 cards or less in their hand, dull it and Freeze it.
2.5
Luckily being a shitty Genesis doesn’t matter when you’re not competing with Genesis for deck space. Like Carbuncle and Bard, you really want some discard support, but the effect is a decent payoff for including things you would want to include anyways.

Belle 035C

3cp
Backup – Informant – FFCC
When Belle enters the field, your opponent reveals their hand. Select 1 card of cost 4 or more in their hand. Your opponent discards this card.
3.5
Belle is pretty interesting. Without being able to hit 2s or 3s, she can’t really disrupt the early econ race too much, but she does hit the powerhouse cards that players are likely to be holding for the mid to late game. You’ll hit nothing often enough, but at 3 it isn’t that risky of a play. She also combos with Bard and Baralai, and scouts for information about combat tricks and what’s likely to come down next turn, all for very little investment.

Mimic 036C

3cp 7000
Monster – Mimic – IX
When Mimic enters the field, select 1 of the 2 following actions.
“Mimic also becomes a Forward with 7000 power.” (This effect does not end at the end of the turn.)
“Put Mimic into the Break Zone. When you do so, choose 1 Forward. Freeze it. Your opponent discards 1 card from their hand.”
1
Mimic is barely filler. 3cp 7k just doesn’t cut it this set, and Freeze + discard 1 is going to be awkward to use. Outside of Baralai decks, I’ll only be including this as a way to get all the way to 40 cards.

Initial Impressions

Forward: 2C 4R 2H 1L
Backup: 4C 1R 1H
Summons: 1C 1H
Monsters: 1C
Ice has so much inward synergy that the more of it you can take the better. It has a mix of cards that are very good, very bad, and middle of the road, so I recommend only moving into it if you have a strong reason to, as it’ll be very easy to end up with an unplayable pile of ice cards. Both of your common forwards are chunky 8ks, and you have Necron at 9 as well, so you’ve got some respectable power even before Ulmia. Ice’s strongest partner is definitely fire, Crystal Exarch and Esha’ntarl can bring a lot to fire’s desire to cheat out their 3s.

Wind

Ashe 037L

2cp 5000
Forward – Princess – XII
If you control 6 or more Characters, Ashe gains +2000 power and “Ashe cannot be chosen by your opponent’s abilities.”
At the end of each of your turns, if you have cast 3 or more cards this turn, draw 1 card.
2.5
Wind has a lot of cards dedicated to this Multicast archetype, and Ashe is a nice way to profit off of that, but her statline is very small, so unless you have a way to make use of that, or are reliably triggering her draw, she’s going to be less than spectacular. Wind has a bunch of cheap units, but fewer backups than other elements, so getting to 6 characters will not always be reliable.

Althea 038H

3cp
Backup – Princess – FFCC
When Althea enters the field, choose 1 Character other than Althea you control. Activate it.
Dull: Choose 1 Character other than Althea you control. Return it and Althea to their owners’ hand.
2
For when you really need to abuse an ETF. Costing 3 with an activation is a little interesting, makes her super awkward early if you don’t have anything to do with the extra CP, but sometimes you’ll be able to “Brave” something or double up on Chocolatte, Dancer, or Oracle of Light, and more Baralai triggers are always nice.

Alexander 039C

1cp
Summon – DFF
EX BURST Draw 1 card. If you have cast 4 or more cards this turn, draw 2 cards instead.
1.5
It’s cheap filler, a decent EX, and a solid payoff for Multicast combo. You could do worse than adding a couple of Alexanders to your deck. You could do better, too.

Enkidu 040H

3cp 7000
Forward – Warrior – V THEATRHYTHM
When Enkidu enters the field or attacks, deal 1000 damage to all the Forwards opponent controls.
Hurricane S: Choose 1 Forward. Deal it damage equal to its power minus 1000.
1.5
At H you’ll probably see about as many Hurricanes as I do in Seattle; that is to say zero. This means you really have to be getting value from either his auto or from Gilgamesh. 1k is a pretty tough amount to make relevant, as most other sources of burn are for 5k versus the glut of 7k bodies in the format, but it does allow your Forwards to punch up.

Dancer 041C

3cp 7000
Forward – Standard Unit – XIV
Dull: Deal 1000 damage to all the Forwards opponent controls. If you control 7 or more Wind Characters, deal 4000 damage to all the Forwards opponent controls instead.
2
Jeff, you suave and sublime speculator, how is this getting a better rating than Enkidu, I hear you ask? You have to wait a turn for the effect and also can’t get it and attack at the same time! Well, accurate and observant reader, I will explain. You can use Althea, Ninja, and Rikku to reactivate this in order to get multiple pings in one turn, you can use it on defense, and it also is a target for The Oracle of Light. Now granted these synergies do not a good card make, but they’re much more relevant in your average draft than Enkidu’s Gilgamesh/Syldra synergy. And if you manage to be the only Wind drafter at the table, you might even live the dream.

Cactuar 042C

1cp 4000
Monster – Cactuar – Crystal Hunt
When Cactuar enters the field, select 1 of the 2 following actions.
“Cactuar also becomes a forward with 4000 power.” (This effect does not end at the end of the turn.)
“Put Cactuar into the Break Zone. When you do so, choose 1 Forward. Your opponent reveals the top card of their deck. If the revealed card’s cost is 3 or less, deal it 1000 damage. If the revealed card’s cost is 4 or more, deal it 10000 damage.”
0.5
A 1cp 4k that can’t even be played off Bartz. Its damage reveal is too coin-flippy for my tastes. It’s too risky to gamble on the 10k, and too expensive for the 1k. Outside of inefficient Quacho Queen/Urianger synergy, Cactuar isn’t going to make it into very many decks.

White Mage 043C

2cp
Backup – Standard Unit – Special
When White Mage enters the field, choose up to 3 Backups you control. If you have cast 3 or more cards this turn, activate them.
3
This is a great payoff for building up to a critical turn, but it does have a few caveats. You need at least 2 other backups, some cheap cards, some discard fodder, and something to make use of the activated backups. That sounds like a lot, but I think this will make for some seriously explosive Turns 3 or 4. And when things don’t line up, it’s still a 2cp backup.

Shikaree X 044R

2cp 5000
Forward – Sin Hunter – XI
For each Job Sin Hunter other than Shikaree X you control, Shikaree X gains +2000 power.
The Job Sin Hunter Forwards other than Shikaree X you control gain Haste and “This Forward cannot be blocked by a Forward of cost 4 or more.”
When Shikaree X forms a party with Card Name Shikaree Y and Card Name Shikaree Z and attacks, Shikaree X deals your opponent 3 points of damage.
2.5
Getting all three and Exodiaing your opponent to the Shadow Realm is of course going to feel awesome, but let’s be real; it’ll be wildly inconsistent at best to assemble these three Rs on the field at the same time. You can tutor them with Crystal Exarch, which happens in MP2 so you’re setting up for next turn, but even with that you’re just chasing waterfalls. So let’s talk about getting 2, a much less herculean task. 2cp for a pair of 7s is pretty on par for this set, and each has the ability to get immediate value off dropping another one. Granting Haste makes this optimal to play 2nd, provided you’re playing both in the same turn. This lets you get the ETF trigger of Y or Z while also getting X’s benefit. There are so many efficient 2s and 3s in the set that the blocking restriction is going to be less effective than if they were in literally any other set, but it’ll still come up frequently enough. All in all it’s a fun and exciting package, even if it isn’t particularly dependable.

Shikaree Y 045R

2cp 5000
Forward – Sin Hunter – XI
For each Job Sin Hunter other than Shikaree Y you control, Shikaree Y gains +2000 power.
When a Job Sin Hunter other than Shikaree Y enters your field, choose up to 3 Backups. Activate them.
3
Honestly I like this one best just because it plays into the Multicast archetype, enabling not only cards like Ashe, Locke, and Alexander, but also Baralai and Chocolatte as well.

Shikaree Z 046R

2cp 5000
Forward – Sin Hunter – XI
For each Job Sin Hunter other than Shikaree Z you control, Shikaree Z gains +2000 power.
When a Job Sin Hunter other than Shikaree enters your field, draw 1 card.
2.5
Definitely the runt of the litter, although the draw opens you up to conserve that CP gain into a future turn, which is nice.

Chocobo 047C

2cp
Backup – Standard Unit – Crystal Hunt
When Chocobo enters the field, the Forwards you control can form a party with Forwards of any Element this turn.
Dull: The Forwards you control can form a party with Forwards of any element this turn.
2
Wind doesn’t have the biggest bodies, so letting them party with whatever your other elements are is at least mildly useful. This set has plenty of party payoffs like Sol, Firion, and Yuna, so this will actually be more relevant than if it had been printed in any previous Opus. It’s still not the most useful ability, but you’re not paying anything extra for it so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Chocolatte 048R

2cp
Backup 2 Chocobo WOFF
Dull: Place 1 Item Counter on Chocolatte.
Dull, remove 2 Item Counters from Chocolatte: Draw 1 card. You can only use this ability during your turn and only once per turn.
2.5
Limited decks tend to be a lot less tightly constructed than, well, Constructed. Because of that, there will be plenty of turns where you just can’t use all your CP. Chocolatte lets you bank that, while helping you to build towards Multicast triggers, and giving you more fuel for your critical turns in the late game. You’re out a total of 1 every time you pull it all off (you skip making CP 3 times in order to draw one card worth 2cp) so hopefully most of what you’re putting into it is leftovers. I have to wonder though, isn’t a chocolate latte just a mocha?

Diabolos 049H

2cp
Summon – FFEX
Choose 1 Forward. If its power has been increased or decreased, break it.
3
Here’s a list of things this completely dunks on: Ulmia; Carbuncle; Ashe; Shikaree X Y & Z; Boko; Gippal; Glaive; Objet d’Art; Oracle of Light; Alba; Beatrix; Lunafreya; Vayne; Iris; Prishe; Noctis; Steiner; and sometimes Bahamut. Also combos with Ultros or Yuna to kill anything (and technically Remora but hell’s horses that’s a lot of CP…) There will be circumstances where this doesn’t have any targets, but it’s so efficient when it does that it is absolutely worth that risk.

Ninja 050C

2cp
Backup – Standard Unit – FFEX
Wind Dull: Choose 1 Wind Forward. Activate it.
Wind Wind Dull, put Ninja into the Break Zone: Activate all the Wind Characters you control.
2.5
Dancer, Iris, and Y’shtola are all prime targets for this, letting them double activate or act as huge “Brave” beaters. It also helps protect against Shiva, Eduardo, and dull/freeze effects.

Paine 051R

4cp 8000
Forward – Gullwings – X
When Paine enters the field, if you control 3 or more Category X Characters, activate all the Backups you control.
2
Bahamut in Fire, Nooj in Ice, Gippal in Earth, Yuna in Water, and Rikku and Baralai in Ice/Wind. That’s six total that are well scattered, so it’ll be tough to pull this off, even in ice/wind. When it happens, though, it’s going to feel great.

Bartz 052H

4cp 8000
Forward – Warrior of Light – V DFF
The Forwards of cost 1 you control gain Haste.
When Bartz forms a party and attacks, you may search for 1 Forward of cost 1 and play it onto the field.
2.5
Boko and Sol both synergize well with Bartz, and both are C, making his effect reasonable to try and pull off. Since he’s playable off Aigis, Bartz slots well into a Fire based WoL deck. Don’t count on pulling Boko and getting to immediately draw a card, as your opponent is highly incentivized to block Bartz to stop you from getting any more value from him (and also to strip haste from Boko). Pulling Borghen off this will be nearly game ending.

Boko 053C

1cp 3000
Forward – Chocobo – V
The Card Name Bartz you control gains +1000 power and Haste.
When a party you control deals damage to your opponent, draw 1 card.
0.5
If you’re not playing Bartz or an insane party enabler like Gippal or Mid, then stay the fuck away from this.

Moogle (Crystal Hunt) 054C

3cp 7000
Forward – Moogle – Crystal Hunt
Damage 3EX BURST When Moogle (Crystal Hunt) enters the field, draw 1 card.
2
Decent filler, a 1cp 7k is solid but not excellent. Wind doesn’t really lend itself to the sort of “tank early damage and come back in the late game” playstyle, and 7ks aren’t really what you’re looking for when trying to stabilize against aggro. He may not be in your starting lineup, but he’ll put in enough work to warrant a spot on the bench, even if you end up never committing him to the field. Flipping him on damage 1 and 2 is gonna cause a lot of frustrated groans before the format is over.

Initial Impressions

Forwards: 3C 4R 2H 1L
Backups: 3C 1R 1H
Summons: 1C 1H
Monsters: 1C
That is not very many backups. Keep that in mind and make sure you don’t end up completely front-loaded. Wind is probably the worst element in the set (like always) which isn’t to say that it’s unplayable, just make certain it’s open before really committing to it. It’ll be fine as support, but unless you’ve got the luck of the Shikaree I wouldn’t try to play it as a primary, so maybe 24 cards max.

Earth

Dark Knight 055C

4cp 8000
Forward – Standard Unit – XIV
Damage 5 – When Dark Knight enters the field, choose 1 Forward opponent controls. If its power is less than Dark Knight’s power, break it.
2.5
It’s a pretty tight window, and a lot of opponents will take you straight from 4 to dead, but when you can get it off it’ll be a huge swing. Combos with both Oracle of Light and more importantly White Mage, who can bring this back in between damage 5 and 6, and it’s that Summon speed interaction that earns it a score above 1.5.

Galuf 056H

3cp 7000
Forward – Dawn Warrior – V
During each Attack Phase, Galuf cannot be broken.
Damage 3 — When Galuf is put from the field into the Break Zone, you may search for 1 Earth Forward of cost 2 or less and play it onto the field.
Unfaltering Volition S: Activate Galuf. Until the end of the turn, Galuf gains +10000 power and “Galuf can attack once more this turn.” You can only use this ability if Galuf has received damage this turn.
3
His temporary unbreakability is going to be hard to make use of. As a Hero, his S is going to be a rare occurence, and if he takes lethal damage he will die at the start of MP2. What he can do is block multiple times in one turn, so he can be handy if you just need that one turn to stabilize. His Damage 3 is where he shines, giving you access to solid replacements like Krile, Borghen, Shadow Lord, Prishe, and Shantotto.

Machinist 057C

2cp
Backup – Standard Unit – XIV
When Machinist enters the field, choose up to 2 Forwards. Until the end of the turn, they gain “Dull: Choose 1 Forward. Deal it 4000 damage.”
2.5
This gives you a great out for board stalls, a solid use for outclassed forwards, being able to split the 8k among two forwards is a nice bit of modularity, and it even gives you a cheeky Magissa activation. There will be lots of small ways to utilize this, and it’ll make a home in any Earth deck.

Gippal 058C

3cp 7000
Forward – Faction Leader – X
The Forwards forming a party you control gain Brave.
When a party you control attacks, all Forwards in that party gain +5000 power until the end of the turn.
3
Both of these abilities are huge towards making party attacks an enticing prospect. Earth doesn’t benefit from party attacks as much as other elements do, both because its forwards are the largest on average, and also because this is the only real payoff card. Looking at Earth’s neighbors, Wind has some Parties Matter cards like Bartz, and giving Dancer Brave lets you swing and activate. Lightning is a huge potential payoff, with two of its three common forwards being on the smaller side at 6k and 7k, and with Mid Previa and Firion as strong payoffs. The other three elements also all have their own payoffs, but without the ME support you’re a little less inclined to move into them, but only a little.

Kujata 12-059C

4cp
Summon – VII MOBIUS
Choose 1 Forward. Deal it 2000 damage for each CP required to cast it.
3
This outright kills 34 out of the 80 forwards in the set (including the monsters) although keep in mind this counts things like Iris/Glaive who can buff themselves out of the damage range and also unplayable cards like Snow. That’s still a huge chunk of the field, much of it consisting of powerful bombs like Thancred and Neo, and all it takes is a little push from cards like Dancer to take down even more. That makes for a pretty solid piece of removal that any deck would be happy to be able to cast.

Graham 060R

3cp
Backup – Dark Knight – FFL
You can only pay with CP produced by Earth Backups to play Graham from your hand onto the field.
When Graham enters the field, choose 1 Forward opponent controls. Deal it 9000 damage.
0
This is so monumentally hard to cast in a set so dedicated to multi-element decks that I’m honestly flabbergasted by it. Like I get the mono-Ice archetype they’re pushing, since there’s so many cards that support it, but pushing mono-Earth here just feels so out of place. Aside from Gippal, there’s no other incentive for going all in on Earth. I get Snow being awful, since it’s clearly a plant for other formats. But this? OK, sure, the payoff is massive, but the cost restriction is ludicrously prohibitive. You need three Earth backups out already and be willing to lock in a 4th and have the space for it and not need the backup CP for anything else that turn. You only have room for one off-element backup for the whole game. There’s no access to any cards like the Shantottos or the Class Whatever Moogles or Moogle (FFCC) or Princess Sarah or even just a goddamn Kimahri that would let you cheat on this at least a little bit. I could get if it was a check and not a restriction, like “when this enters, if you only paid with Earth backup CP then you get the effect” but it’s not even playable as just an overcosted backup. Someone help me here, I don’t know what this card is for. Earth is so strong that you’re never going to be uncontested during draft. It’s not like Ice or Wind where sometimes you’re the only person at the table drafting it. You’ll ALWAYS have stiff competition. My mind is like checking its fucking database to determine why on the fucking Earth anyone, ever, would play a card they can’t cast and that doesn’t help splash another element. It’s like I’ve got a million angry office workers going through files in my head to figure out what possible deck would have space for this card, and none of them can find shit.

Krile 061L

2cp 5000
Forward – Warrior of Light – V
When Krile enters the field, choose 1 Summon from either player’s Break Zone. You can cast it this turn. If you cast it, remove that Summon from the game after use instead of putting it in the Break Zone.
1 Dull: Choose 1 Summon from either player’s Break Zone. You can cast it this turn. If you cast it, remove that Summon from the game after use instead of putting it in the Break Zone.
3
Even just hitting a stray Alexander is going to be acceptable value with this. Your opponent will have to think seriously about casting Summons with her out, or even using them for CP. Make sure you have enough fuel that you’re not reliant on your opponent’s BZ, and remember you do still have to match elements when casting. Pair her with Amaterasu to really restrict the opponent’s plays.

Glaive 062R

4cp 8000
Forward – Warrior of Darkness – FFL
Brave
The Category FFL Forwards other than Glaive you control gain +1000 power and Brave.
Damage 3 – Glaive gains +1000 power.
2.5
There’s a solid amount of FFL in the set, so you’ll be able to get a decent amount of use from Glaive. He has the capacity to be a huge stat stick, especially considering the brave lets your FFLs use those stats on both offense and defense. On his own, you’re usually more than happy to include a 4cp 9k brave, so don’t hesitate to pick one or two of him up on speculation.

White Mage 063C

4cp
Backup – Standard Unit – XIV
Dull, put White Mage into the Break Zone: Choose 1 Earth Forward of cost 4 or less in your Break Zone. Play it onto the field.
3
There are so many good things to recur with this, and it even sets up some cool tricks: dropping in blockers during combat; the aforementioned Dark Knight on Damage 5; Glaive to buff an FFL forward; and converting a Backup into a Bearer Counter on Layle. It does all this without too much of an extra initial investment, although if you have too many 4cp backups you’re going to find your early game economy pretty stunted.

Objet d’Art 064C

2cp 6000
Monster – Statue – V THEATRHYTHM
When Objet d’Art enters the field, select 1 of the 2 following actions.
“Objet d’Art also becomes a Forward with 6000 power.” (This effect does not end at the end of the turn.)
“Put Objet d’Art into the Break Zone. When you do so, until the end of the turn, all the Forwards you control gain +2000 power and Brave.”
1
+2k to all forwards isn’t awful, but it isn’t good either, and a 6k just isn’t big enough to do anything in this format.

Nacht 065H

5cp 9000
Forward – Warrior of Darkness – FFL
When a Job Warrior of Darkness you control is chosen by your opponent’s Summons or abilities, choose 1 Job Warrior of Darkness other than Card Name Nacht in your Break Zone. Add it to your hand.
When Nacht is put from the field into the Break Zone, you may play 1 Job Warrior of Darkness from your hand onto the field.
3.5
Big boy that gives you CP when targeted and drops another body on death. The other WoDs are all playable too, so you’re not going out of your way to enable him.

Vaigali 066C

4cp
Backup – Guild Master – FFCC
When Vaigali enters the field, you may search for 1 Multi-Element card and add it to your hand.
3
This is a great tutor at any stage of the game. Early on it helps fix your CP, even allowing you to do a solid earth core that splashes multiple other elements. In the mid and late game it fetches out plenty of heavy hitters like Iris and Noctis to help close out the game.

The Oracle of Light 067R

2cp
Backup – Oracle of Light – XIV
Dull: Choose 1 Category XIV Forward you control. It gains +1000 power until the end of the turn.
2.5
There are 10 targets for this at C and R, and also Emet, Y’sh, and Thancred at H/L, meaning there will be plenty of cards to power up.

Fenrir 068H

5cp
Summon – FFEX
Select up to 2 of the following 4 actions.
“Choose 1 Light Forward or Dark Forward. Break it.”
“Choose 1 Backup of cost 4 or more. Break it.”
“Choose 1 Monster. Break it.”
“Choose 1 Earth Forward of cost 2 in your Break Zone. Play it onto the field dull.”
2
As we saw with Galuf, there are multiple good 2 drops in Earth. The issue with Fenrir is finding value with the other selections. With only two Light/Dark cards in the set and Necron, there will be few targets for option 1. Option 2 is the most likely. There are several 4cp Backups, with Blaze and Exdeath being powerful examples that many decks may be running. As for Option 3, for the most part the monsters in the set are middling at best. A non-zero amount of decks aren’t going to play out any Fenrir targets, but it’s a strong enough play against those who do that it’s a safe inclusion regardless.

Borghen 069H

1cp 9000
Forward – Captain – II
When Borghen is put from the field into the Break Zone, your opponent selects 1 Forward in their Break Zone. Your opponent adds it to their hand.
4
Let me get this straight. I get to shave FOUR off the cost of a 9k, and the only downside is my opponent gets two CP? And only after it dies? Sure, there will be times you’ve killed like a Neo and are unwilling to give them the chance to redeploy their bomb, but most games this is just insanely above curve. On top of that, it even combos with Bartz and Diana.

Monk 070C

3cp
Backup – Standard Unit – XIV
When Monk enters the field, choose 1 Job Monk or Card Name Monk in your Break Zone. Add it to your hand.
Earth Dull, put Monk into the Break Zone: Choose 1 Job Monk Forward or Card Name Monk Forward you control and 1 Forward opponent controls. Each Forward deals damage equal to its power to the other. You can only use this ability during your turn.
1
This is the only monk in the set, then it’ll have a tough time being considered for use except in great numbers. There is no forward that it can use it’s ability on, so it’s essentially an evoker, but only conditionally.

Shadow Lord 071R

2cp 9000
Forward – Kindred – XI
When Shadow Lord enters the field, your opponent may play 1 Backup of cost 2 or less from their hand onto the field.
Earth: Until the end of the turn, Shadow Lord gains Brave and “EX Bursts of cards put into the Damage Zone due to Shadow Lord cannot be used.”
3.5
A risky play, to be sure, but Shadow Lord does present a colossal body. Let’s look at ways to mitigate his downside: Be super aggressive and win before the opponent can leverage the backup; Play him late game, when the backup doesn’t matter; Play him when the opponent is locked at 5 backups; Use a card like Belle to scout for an opening; Play him against an empty hand. His downside is large, to be sure, but so is his upside, and I’m certainly going to run him often.

Layle 072R

4cp 8000
Forward – Crystal Bearer – FFCC
When Layle or a Forward enters your field, place 1 Bearer Counter on Layle.
Remove 3 Bearer Counters from Layle: Choose 1 Forward. Remove it from the game. You can only use this ability while Layle is attacking.
3.5
Layle demands an immediate answer. He’s a decent sized body on his own, and getting to 3 counters isn’t particularly demanding. Keep in mind the Monsters that turn into Forwards don’t trigger him, so don’t try to get cute with Objet/Cactuar. Because he threatens to act as such efficient removal, he can lightning rod the opponent’s kill spells, clearing the way for your real bombs. Or he can just completely take over the game if unanswered.

Initial Impressions

Forwards: 2C 3R 3H 1L
Backups: 4C 2R
Summons: 1C 1H
Monsters: 1C
Earth is pound for pound the thickest element. It has so many strong cards at C/R that I think it will prove to be the best element in the set. It doesn’t quite have the removal of Fire or Lightning, but it does have a serviceable amount. Earth will be pretty hotly contested, so be careful about trying to force it in draft, as you don’t want to be stuck with a bunch of Monks and Objets just so you can make your elemental requirements. Vaigali will lead towards Earth preferring to be paired with its neighbors, which is supported by its strong options for ME.

Lightning

Red Mage 073C

3cp
Backup – Standard Unit – XIV
When you cast a Summon, you may put Red Mage into the Break Zone. When you do so, choose 1 Forward of cost 3 or less. Break it.
2
Without even factoring in the +1CP cost, this already isn’t quite as good as Summoner in Ice. At the point you’re planning to crack these, the game will be almost over, meaning that the difference between dull/freeze and break is minimized, so since this has targeting restrictions it will be harder to leverage. In it’s favor, it does provide a clean answer to certain hard to kill bombs like Vayne and Y’shtola, so you’re still happy to run one of these.

Argy 074H

3cp 7000
Forward – Memorist – FFL
When Argy is put into the Break Zone in any situation by your opponent’s Summons or abilities, add Argy to your hand at the end of the turn.
Damage 5 – When Argy is put from the field into the Break Zone, choose 1 Forward of cost 3 or less opponent controls. Break it.
1.5
This is pretty funny against discard heavy Ice decks, but her first ability is not particularly relevant outside of that. On the field, it only applies to break effects like Odin and “put into break” effects like Neo. Her Damage 5 makes her a somewhat threatening blocker in the super late game, but you’ll find that 7k worth of damage plus the ability to break a cheap Forward will be less impactful than it may seem.

Alba 075R

2cp 5000
Forward – Warrior of Darkness – FFL
When Alba enters the field or attacks, choose 1 card in your opponent’s Break Zone. Remove it from the game. If it is a Summon, Alba gains Haste until the end of the turn. If it is a Character, Alba gains +3000 power until the end of the turn.
3
BZ removal will always be relevant, and the potential for a 2cp 8k haste is too good to pass up for decks that want to apply lots of pressure. She does die to cheap direct damage, but she herself is cheap enough that it isn’t a big deal.

Exdeath 076R

4cp
Backup – Wizard – V THEATRHYTHM
When Exdeath enters the field, remove any number of Forwards in your Break Zone, each of a different cost, from the game. When you do so, choose 1 Forward of cost equal to or less than the number of cards you removed. Break it.
3.5
It’ll be hard to hit anything 4 or higher, so don’t expect to be protecting yourself from any heavy hitters, but Exdeath should put you quite ahead in the economy race. Like Blaze, don’t stock up on too many of these, as they’re awful in multiples, but at R instead of C you won’t have as many opportunities to pick him up, so snag him much earlier in the pack than you might Blaze.

Odin 077H

6cp
Summon – IX
The cost required to cast Odin is reduced by 1 for each Card Name Odin in your Break Zone (it cannot become 0).
Choose 1 Forward. Break it.
2.5
It’s unlikely that you’ll get the cost of this under 6, but 6 to break anything is still a card we’ll play. Sometimes you just have to have a non-negotiable answer, even if it is more expensive than what you’re trying to break.

Gilgamesh 078L

5cp 9000
Forward – Praetorian – V MOBIUS
Put Gilgamesh into the Break Zone: Choose 1 Forward. Break it.
Dull: Search for 1 Card Name Enkidu and play it onto the field dull.
Lightning Lightning Lightning 2: Choose 1 damaged Forward. Break it.
3.5
OK move over Odin. Gilgamesh is the business. Kills anything on demand, can snag out a cheeky Enkidu if you’re lucky enough to get it, and combines with small damage like Freya to take out most threats. A+ all around.

Cid (FFCC) 079C

2cp
Backup – Engineer – FFCC
Dull: Choose 1 Character opponent controls. Select 1 Counter placed on it, and remove the selected Counter.
1.5
Well, it slows down Layle and Lenna… Oh, and Chocolatte too I guess…

Cid Previa 080H

1cp 2000
Forward – Engineer – V
When Cid Previa enters the field, choose 1 Forward other than Cid Previa. It gains Haste until the end of the turn.
2
Haste is a pretty good ability to be able to grant so cheaply, and it even leaves a body for fun party shenanigans. An acceptable substitute for Boko in Bartz decks, and of course great with Mid.

Jegran 081R

6cp 8000
Forward – Knight – FFCC
When Jegran enters the field, you may search for 1 Job Princess of cost 3 or less and play it onto the field.
2.5
Paying 6 for one cast does not synergize well with Ashe’s goals, although getting two bodies for 6 is a fine way to fill your board. Counting on an L to make this playable isn’t exactly the way to go, so let’s focus on the only other princess in the set: Althea. I’m not really sure that her abilities are what lightning is interested it, but getting a free Backup is pretty decent. You don’t even need to be in Wind if you’re confident enough in your CP base that you can afford to run one or two off-element cards.

Diana 082R

3cp
Backup – Warrior of Darkness – FFL
EX BURST When Diana enters the field, you may search for 1 Forward of cost 1 and add it to your hand.
2
Sol and Boko at C and Borghen and Ciddy P at H are the only targets for her, so keep in mind that you’ll probably have to splash deep in order to support her.

Ninja 083C

4cp
Backup – Standard Unit – XIV
When Ninja enters the field, choose 1 Forward you control. Return it to its owner’s hand. If you do so, you may play 1 Forward that costs 1 CP more than it from your hand onto the field.
2
This is such a cool ability. It lets you double up on ETFs, you can attack and still end up with a blocker. The big issue here is how restrictive the timing on this is going to be, how inflexible it is in terms of when in the game you can even cast it. You need a Forward out, and it needs to be one that you WANT to bounce because this ability is not optional, and you need a forward that costs exactly one more than it. Thankfully there’s no discard effects that can be thrown in response (barring Amidatelion hitting Belle) your opponent can’t leave you without something to replace your Forward with.

Vivi 084C

3cp 6000
Forward – Black Mage – IX THEATRHYTHM
EX BURST When Vivi enters the field, choose 1 active Forward. If its cost is equal to or less than the damage you have received, break it.
3
A little bit awkward, most of the time when you’re taking heavy damage, the things you want to hit with Vivi will be dull. There will still be lots of options for him, and even though his statline is on the weak side for this meta, you should still be able to get decent value out of him. He won’t be killing any serious bombs headed your way, but getting rid of the small fries should push you reasonably along the economy game. If you stabilize at four or five, this will be able to punish almost any forwards the opponent plops in your way.

Firion 085R

2cp
Backup – Rebel – II DFF
Dull: Choose 1 Forward. Deal it 4000 damage. You can only use this ability while a party you control is attacking.
2
I appreciate that this set is pushing for party synergy, but there’s so little in Lightning to enable this. It is a large amount of damage for only one CP though, so it may be worth going out of your way for. And you’re going to play 2CP Backups anyways, so it’s nice to have options like this in your back pocket.

Behemoth 086C

5cp 9000
Monster – Behemoth – Crystal Hunt
When Behemoth enters the field, select 1 of the 2 following actions.
“Behemoth also becomes a Forward with 9000 power.” (This effect does not end at the end of the turn.)
“Put Behemoth into the Break Zone. When you do so, choose 1 Forward. Break it.”
3
Lightning sure does have a lot of unconditional break in this set. Behemoth is big enough to rumble with anything short of Neo and Vayne, and even when stonewalled like that can still break whatever is troubling him anyways. Flexible options like this are always nice, and Behemoth should be high on your pick list for Lightning commons.

Mid Previa 087H

4cp 6000
Forward – Engineer – V
When a party you control attacks, choose 1 active Forward opponent controls. Deal it 8000 damage.
When Mid Previa enters the field, choose 1 Lightning Forward of cost 1 in your Break Zone. Play it onto the field.
4
The only target he has for his ETF is Cid Previa, so if you take him early just count on only getting value from his attack trigger, and what an attack trigger it is! You can get it off the turn you play it which is huge, and it’s enough damage to take down most anything you point it at.

Ramuh 088C

5cp
Summon – FFEX
EX BURST Choose 1 active Forward. Break it.
3
Ramuh is slightly worse than Ifrit, but for the most part everything I said about it applies. Unlike Ifrit, it can take down 10ks like Vayne and Neo which is nice.

Dragoon 089C

3cp 7000
Forward – Standard Unit – Special
When Dragoon enters the field, you may reveal any number of Job Dragoon or Card Name Dragoon from your hand. When you reveal 1 or more, Dragoon gains Haste until the end of the turn. In addition, when you reveal 4 or more, choose 1 Forward. Break it.
1.5
3cp 7k Haste is ok. Not great, but ok. And keep in mind that in order to give him Haste reliably, you’ll have to fill your deck with substandard Forwards. There are three Dragoons in the set, don’t get your hopes up for his reveal 4 trigger.

Dragoon 090C

2cp
Backup – Standard Unit – XIV
Dull, put Dragoon into the Break Zone: Choose 1 Job Dragoon or Card Name Dragoon in your Break Zone. Add it to your hand.
2.5
Freya is a strong card, but not so good that you’re really looking to enable this interaction. If it happens naturally, it’ll be a nice way to convert a backup into a threat in the late game. Also keep in mind that you can use this as an emergency CP battery; instead of dulling for 1, you can break it for another card and discard that for 2. You’ll be out CP in the long run, so make sure it’s worth it.

Initial Impressions

Forwards: 2C 2R 3H 1L
Backups: 4C 3R
Summons: 1C 1H
Monsters: 1C
Lightning has so much removal, but also so many backups. This will lead to a much slower pace for most Lightning decks, though with cards like Alba you’re not locked into that paradigm. Behemoth as a 9k at common will help many Lightning decks have a strong board presence. Just be careful you get enough non-backups. Lightning has enough raw power that it can pair well with anything.

Water

Blue Mage 091C

4cp
Backup – Standard Unit – FFEX
When Blue Mage enters the field, choose 1 Forward opponent controls. Return it to its owner’s hand.
2.5
A nice way to interfere with your opponent’s tempo game while also building resources. It’s effectiveness is somewhat lessened when hitting ETFs or hasters, but you’re paying so little extra that it won’t be too bad. Also helps negate a blocker when you’re pushing for lethal.

Ultros 092C

2cp 5000
Forward – Octopus – VI THEATRHYTHM
When Ultros is put from the field into the Break Zone, you may pay Water. When you do so, search for 1 Card Name Ultros and add it to your hand.
Dull, put Ultros into the Break Zone: Choose 1 Forward. It loses 5000 power until the end of the turn.
3
Stellar in multiples, and at C it won’t be hard to get three or more of him. When supported with another blocker, an active Ultros is going to be super threatening to attack into, and he is great at covering your other attackers as well. Being able to replace himself after swinging a combat seriously in your favor is going to be the deciding factor in many games.

Scholar 093C

4cp
Backup – Standard Unit – Special
When Scholar enters the field, choose up to 2 active Forwards you control. Dull them. Then, draw 1 card for each Forward you have dulled due to this ability.
2.5
A good way to get value out of smaller forwards who have been outclassed statwise. This is pretty good value if you’re able to get the double draw, but there will be plenty of times where it’s hard to find an opportunity to play this. Scholar isn’t quite on the power level of other 4cp backups like Blaze and Exdeath, but is still a good inclusion for decks that can put out multiple cheap forwards early.

Captain 094C

3cp 7000
Monster – Warrior – II THEATRHYTHM
When Captain enters the field, select 1 of the 2 following actions.
“Captain also becomes a Forward with 7000 power.” (This effect does not end at the end of the turn.)
“Put Captain into the Break Zone. When you do so, choose 1 Forward. Return it to its owner’s hand. Draw 1 card then discard 1 card from your hand.”
1.5
Not the worst card to fill out the last few slots in your deck. The draw/discard is a convenient addition to the leviathan effect, helping sculpt your hand and stock your BZ. Neither effect is really worth 3, though, so try to discard him for CP if at all possible.

Keiss 095R

2cp
Backup – Partner – FFCC
When Keiss enters the field, look at the top card of your deck and your opponent’s deck. Put them on the top or bottom of the respective decks.
Dull: Choose 1 Card Name Layle. It gains +2000 power until the end of the turn.
2.5
Yes, he’s good with Layle, sure, but on top of that he has a really neat ETF. You’re not gaining like tangible CP value with it, but there are lots of ways he will smooth out your game just that little bit, which has a lot of value itself. You can EX check your opponent before attacking, stop yourself from drawing cards you don’t want to, stop your opponent from drawing cards that they DO want to, in a pinch you can even check whether Cactuar will use 10,000 Needles or not. He is named, so don’t stock up too heavily on him, but he’ll be an undersung hero for the duration of the format.

Quacho Queen 096H

4cp 8000
Forward – Queen – WOFF
Quacho Queen is also a Monster in all situations.
When Quacho Queen enters the field, choose 1 Monster of cost 2 or less in your Break Zone. Add it to your hand. If it is also a Forward, play it onto the field instead.
1.5
If she got more than just Cactuar and Objet, or if she played them directly onto the field, then we’d be talking, but as it stands the only targets she has are out of element and bad.

Syldra 097H

4cp
Summon – V
Search for 2 Water Characters, 2 Category V Characters, or 1 of each, each with a different cost, and add them to your hand.
2
There’s a huge amount of V in this set, and Syldra will be able to effortlessly fix your elements. Important to note is Lightning Exdeath, a non-water backup she can snap up. Syldra will give you a ton of consistency. Even without V cards, you can use MEs to fix for fire and lightning.

Strago 098H

5cp 7000
Forward – Blue Mage – VI
When Strago enters the field, choose 1 Forward opponent controls. Return it to its owner’s hand. Then, you may play 1 Character of the same cost as it from your hand onto the field.
3.5
Playing Strago is a huge swing, setting your opponents back both on resources and on tempo while ideally dumping two bodies on the board. Even if you’re not able to capitalize by dropping a forward of your own, it’s still a CP positive play.

Sarah (FFL) 099R

6cp
Backup – Warrior of Light – FFL
When Sarah (FFL) enters the field, you may search for up to 2 Category FFL Forwards or Job Warrior of Light Forwards and add them to your hand.
Dull, put Sarah (FFL) into the Break Zone: Choose 1 Forward. Activate it.
3
Aigis, Sol, Glaive, Nacht, Alba, Dusk, Gawain, Bartz, Krile, Lenna, Faris. There are so many good things this gets. Being able to reactivate something on demand also presents a pseudo-brave that the opponent has to respect when attacking. You do have to build towards her to make her good, but in the deck that can pull her off she’s top notch.

Astrologian 100C

2cp
Backup – Standard Unit – XIV
Dull, put Astrologian into the Break Zone: Reveal the top card of your deck. If it is not a Backup, add it to your hand.
1.5
You can use Keiss to enable this, but at the point where you’re trying to cash in your backups, the last thing you want to be doing is playing more backups, ergo this is always a risk. Keep track of how many backups you run vs how many you’ve seen, so that you know whether you’ve got good odds or not. I’m not a gamblin man, so I’ll be hedging my bets when it comes to this one.

Dusk 101R

3cp 7000
Forward – Warrior of Light – FFL
When Dusk enters the field, you may pay Water. When you do so, play 1 Forward of cost 3 or less from your hand onto the field.
Blessing S Water: Choose 1 Forward of cost 3 or less other than Dusk. It gains +5000 power until the end of the turn. Draw 1 card.
3
Getting a 2cp discount is huge, and you don’t even need to match elements on whatever you’re playing. Dusk wants you to play a lot of 3 drops, and then also a lot of Dusks to reliably capitalize on your deck build. Luckily, he even has a built in was to make use of extra copies of himself, so you can keep drafting more and more Dusks without getting too locked up.

Paladin 102C

4cp 8000
Forward – Standard Unit – XIV
If Paladin forms a party, the damage dealt to Paladin becomes 0 instead.
2
A nice safe way to enable party attacks. If you’ve got the synergy, then this is decent.

Beatrix 103H

2cp 5000
Forward – Knight – IX
When Beatrix or a Job Knight enters your field, all the Forwards you control gain +2000 power until the end of the turn.
0: During this turn, the cost required to cast your next Job Knight Forward is reduced by 2 (it cannot become 0). You can only use this ability during your turn and only once per turn.
2
There’s not too many Knights in the set, but luckily Beatrix’s buff hits all forwards, so you don’t need to be jamming your deck full of them. A couple of Steiners should do nicely. 2k is a huge buff, and a 2CP discount off your Steiner is great value.

Minwu 104C

2cp
Backup – White Mage – II THEATRHYTHM
Water Water 2 Dull, put Minwu into the Break Zone: Cast 1 Summon of cost 7 or less from your hand without paying its cost.
2
This is a lot just to get a 1cp discount on Remora or Odin, but since he costs competitive market rate, you may as well toss in a Minwu or two. If it just so happens that you can save a CP in the late game then go for it. Just don’t plan around it. The discount is not enough of a reward to go out of your way for. And please God don’t go “oh boy now I can splash Odin without putting lightning CP in my deck!”

Yuna 105L

3cp 7000
Forward – Gullwings – X
When Yuna enters the field, if a Forward you controlled formed a party this turn, draw 2 cards.
When Yuna forms a party and attacks, choose 1 Forward. It loses 4000 power for each attacking Forward.
0: Name 1 Element other than Light or Dark. Yuna becomes the named Element until the end of the turn. You can only use this ability once per turn.
4
Now here’s a party reward that is ABSOLUTELY worth it to go out of your way for. Yuna slots well into any deck planning on using small forwards to tag team large blockers, and with all the other party attack enablers in the set it shouldn’t be hard to end up in a deck that can get all of her triggers reliably. Pulling off even one of her autos will be huge, and if you manage to chain both of them you’ll be very far ahead in econ. She’ll be unwieldy if you’re behind, so don’t try to build a deck that slugs along until it takes over in the late game and you’ll be fine.

Relm 106R

4cp 5000
Forward – Pictomancer – VI
EX BURST When Relm enters the field, choose 1 Character without Multicard other than Relm. You may search for 1 Character with the same name and add it to your hand.
1
She’s useful for getting fuel for your Specials, like Dusk or Bahamut, but a 2cp 5k just isn’t impressive when compared to the ME cycle of 2cp commons. Try to make sure you’re getting value from both her ETF and her body, whether that be from party attacks or effects like Scholar.

Lunafreya 107R

2cp 5000
Forward – Oracle – XV
Dull 1 active Category XV Forward: Lunafreya gains +2000 power until the end of the turn.
Dull 4 active Category XV Forwards: Choose 1 Forward. Put it in the Break Zone.
1.5
Earth/Lightning/Water shouldn’t be too hard with all the MEs floating around, and once you’ve got a Noctis or a Regis backing her up she threatens to block at 9k. She really does need support though, as she absolutely does not pull her own weight. You’re only getting her dull 4 in Magic Christmasland, so don’t go too crazy.

Remora 108C

6cp
Summon – MOBIUS
EX BURST Choose 1 Forward. Draw 1 card. Then, until the end of the turn, it loses 2000 power for each card in your hand.
2.5
Look, I know it’s expensive, and I know it’s unwieldy, but we gotta play with the removal that we have. It’s gonna be an overpriced combat trick a lot of the time, but when we’re stuck with cards like Relm and Luna we need ways to get them up and over larger blockers. Remora also helps deal with 9ks, something water often struggles with. It’s a huge commitment, but it’s one we have to make. Also the EX is insane.

Initial Impressions

Forwards: 2C 3R 3H 1L
Backups: 4C 2R
Summons: 1C 1H
Monsters: 1C
Water has a bunch of really cool tricks and synergies. Ultros at C will make it hard to push through, and that coupled with Blue Mage will make it easy for water to make it to the late game where it can best leverage those tricks. Because of this, it makes a natural pair with lightning, who also wants to play to the late game. Dusk’s synergy with 3s, and the Warrior of Light support will also lead towards a collaboration with fire.

Light/Dark/Dual Element

Lenna 109L

3cp 8000
Forward – Warrior of Light – V
When Lenna enters the field, place 1 Arise Counter on Lenna for each Backup you control.
When a Backup enters your field, place 1 Arise Counter on Lenna.
Dull, remove X Arise Counters from Lenna: Choose 1 Forward in your Break Zone. If its cost is X, play it onto the field.
4
This will make for a great addition to slower decks who naturally want to play lots of backups. She pairs very well with Althea and lightning Ninja, both of whom bounce her so that you can get a new set of Arise counters. She even enables Alphinaud and Forza.

Neo Exdeath 110L

6cp 10000
Forward – None – V MOBIUS
Neo Exdeath is also Card Name Exdeath in all situations.
At the end of each of your opponent’s turns, your opponent selects 1 Character they control. Put it into the Break Zone. When Neo Exdeath is chosen by your opponent’s Summons or abilities, your opponent selects 1 Character they control. Put it into the Break Zone.
5
This card is The One. Backbreakingly good in literally every situation. If you ever pass this in draft, you are wrong.

Vayne 111R

3cp 8000
Forward – Consul – XII DFF
If you control 4 or more Fire Characters, Vayne gains +2000 power.
If you control 4 or more Ice Characters, Vayne gains “When Vayne attacks, your opponent discards 1 card from their hand.
3.5
Enabling either end of Vayne makes him a serious threat, and if you’re able to satisfy both conditions he becomes a thing of terror, gaining advantage with every swing. Not much else to say about him, just drop him and go to town.

Selh’teus 112L

4cp 7000
Forward – Kuluu – XI
When Selh’teus enters the field, remove up to 5 Fire Forwards and/or Ice Forwards in your Break Zone from the game. Then, reveal the top 5 cards of your deck. Play 1 Forward of cost equal to or less than the number of Removed cards among them onto the field and return the other cards to the bottom of your deck in any order.
4
Pulling this off for even a 2 drop will be a huge swing, but dropping something truly big like Aigis or Vayne will completely dominate the board. It doesn’t even ask much in terms of build cost, just play lots of good forwards in your elements and you’re set.

Leon 113C

2cp 7000
Forward – Rebel – II THEATRHYTHM
When Leon enters the field, select 1 of the 2 following actions.
“Choose 1 Forward. Dull it or Freeze it.”
“Choose 1 Forward. Deal it 3000 damage.”
3.5
Some of what makes Leon so good applies to all the common MEs, so I’m going to collate that all here instead of repeating it for every one. They’re all very efficient bodies for their costs, with extra abilities on top of that. They’re flexible not only in the sense that they have two ETFs to choose from, but also in how they can be discarded for either element of CP, making any deck they’re in that much more consistent. They enable greedy splashes for out of element bombs, and they will be hotly contested in the draft phase. If you don’t pick them up early, they will almost never wheel back around the table to you. Some of this also applies to the rest of the DE cards, but usually those are so powerful that you’ll almost always want to play them out, so I’m only focusing on it for these. At any rate, if any of the DEs feel like their score is a little inflated (looking at you Urianger,) this flexibility is why.
All the 2cp MEs are excellent, but Leon in particular is a cut above the rest. Both abilities are extremely useful, and counting double for Vayne is also a huge bonus.

Baralai 114R

3cp 7000
Forward – Praetor – X
When 1 or more dull Backups you control is activated due to your Summons or abilities, deal 3000 damage to all the Forwards opponent controls.
When your opponent discards 1 or more cards from their hand due to your Summons or abilities, choose 1 Character. Dull it and Freeze it.
3
Baralai is a super cool build around, giving you tons of extra value for doing things you want to be doing anyways. White Mage, Rikku, Belle, these are all cards you want to be playing anyways, and Baralai lets you squeeze just a little more blood from the stone. Freezing Backups, especially in the early game, has a way of seriously screwing with the opponent’s plans, and any ability that lets you do it should be valued highly.

Rikku 115C

2cp 6000
Forward – Gullwings – X
When Rikku enters the field, select 1 of the 2 following actions.
“Choose 1 Character. Dull it.”
“Choose 2 Characters. Activate them.”
3
Rikku bucks the trend of this cycle being 7ks, but she counters that by giving you a huge rebate. She triggers Baralai, helps get to 3 cards cast, and in the super late game can even remove a blocker. Even though she’s a little on the small side, she checks off so many boxes that it’ll be tough to pass her up.

Locke 116L

8cp 9000
Forward – Treasure Hunter – VI DFF
The cost required to cast Locke is reduced by 2 for each card you have cast this turn (it cannot become 1 or less).
When Locke enters the field, select up to 2 of the 4 following actions.
“Your opponent discards 1 card from their hand.”
“Choose up to 2 Characters. Dull them and Freeze them.”
“Choose 1 Forward of cost 6 or more. Break it.”
“Choose 1 Monster. Break it.”
4
The big payoff for the Multicast archetype. His first two selections are where the bulk of his value is going to be, if you force discard and freeze two backups you’re denying your opponent a massive 4CP. In the late game he locks down the most threatening forwards in your way, and if you’re really behind he can stop a couple of attacks on the next turn. His other two abilities are much more situational. I think there will be a fair amount of decks that don’t run any targets for them, but every once in a while he’ll murder a Thancred or take down a Behemoth. Unlike Fenrir, there will be very few times where you can’t get value out of him since he’ll always have two reliable options.

Iris 117R

4cp 8000
Forward – Lucian Subject – XV
When Iris enters the field, choose up to 2 Wind Backups you control and up to 2 Earth Backups you control. Activate them.
Wind Earth: Select 1 of the 2 following actions.
“Iris gains +2000 power until the end of the turn.”
“Iris gains ‘Iris cannot be blocked by a Forward of power 9000 or more’ until the end of the turn.”
4
You won’t always be able to get 2 and 2 for Backups, even in dedicated E/W decks, but honestly even getting two CP back will be good value. A built in way to buff her up makes blocking difficult, as few things can handle a 10k, and she doesn’t stop there. Iris is cheap, adorable, and she’ll completely dominate the board.

Prishe 118C

2cp 7000
Forward – Abhorrent One – XI DFF
When Prishe enters the field, select 1 of the 2 following actions.
“Choose 1 Forward. Until the end of the turn, it gains +1000 power and Brave.”
“Choose 1 Monster of cost 3 or less. Break it.”
3
Brave is a solid ability to give something, even if it is a one-time deal. Prishe is the least impressive of the 2cp DEs, which is like saying she got last place in the Olympic 100m dash; she’s still going to be a highly chased after cog for E/W players.

Y’shtola 119L

3cp 9000
Forward – Scion of the Seventh Dawn – XIV
Haste
If Y’shtola is dealt damage less than her power, the damage becomes 0 instead.
Y’shtola cannot be blocked by a Forward of cost 4 or more.
5
They could have stopped at a 3CP 9k and we would have first picked this all day. As it stands, Ysh has an absolutely unbelievable list of abilities, and the only thing I’ll ever take over her Pack 1 Pick 1 is Neo himself. She doesn’t even share Sehl’teus and Thancred’s demand for more characters of their respective elements, she’s just 100% pure USDA Prime quality beef.

Shantotto 120C

2cp 7000
Forward – Mage – XI DFF
When Shantotto enters the field, select 1 of the 2 following actions.
“Choose 1 Forward other than Shantotto. It gains Haste until the end of the turn.”
“Choose 1 Forward you control. It gains ‘This Forward cannot be broken’ until the end of the turn.”
3
There’s lots of great things to give Haste to in these elements, and the unbreakable can let you do things like get Layle’s break effect without risking him in combat. Shantotto may not be as powerful as Leon or Freya, but you’ll still be able to find plenty of uses for her.

Noctis 121R

3cp 7000
Forward – Prince – XV DFF
When Noctis enters the field, choose 1 Category XV Forward other than Card Name Noctis in your Break Zone. Add it to your hand.
When Noctis forms a party and attacks, until the end of the turn, all the Forwards you control gain +2000 power and Haste.
2.5
Well I guess we’ve got one in-element card to combo with Gippal or Firion. There aren’t too many XV Forwards running around, just Iris, Regis, and Lunafreya, so if you’re not getting value off his party boy attitude or picking up his daddy, just use him for his elements.

Regis 122L

5cp 8000
Forward – King – XV
When Regis enters the field, choose up to 2 Forwards other than Card Name Regis, Light or Dark put in your Break Zone from the field during this turn. Play them onto the field.
Royal Sigil S Earth Lightning: All the Forwards you control gain “This Forward cannot be broken” until the end of the turn.
4.5
Let’s ignore the S on the L, and focus instead on his outrageous ETF. You can make bad attacks, offering totally unfavorable trades, and then SURPRISE, they’re back! God help your opponent if you manage to draft a Gilgamesh too. Don’t worry too much about trying to arrange a double, just getting one forward is likely to be backbreaking, considering Regis is an 8k himself.

Urianger 123R

3cp 7000
Forward – Scion of the Seventh Dawn – XIV
When Urianger enters the field, you may play 1 Monster of cost 2 or less from your hand onto the field. When you do so, choose 1 Forward opponent controls. Return it to its owner’s hand.
2
Neither monster that he can play out is even in his elements, and both of them are awful. You’ll still take Uri early, as a source of dual elemental CP, but don’t plan to cast him unless you are in desperate need of a vanilla on-curve body.

Thancred 124L

7cp 8000
Forward – Scion of the Seventh Dawn – XIV
When Thancred enters the field, choose 1 Forward in your Break Zone. If its cost is equal to or less than the number of Water Forwards and/or Water Backups you control, play it onto the field.
When Thancred attacks, choose 1 active Forward opponent controls. If its cost is equal to or less than the number of Lightning Forwards and/or Lightning Backups you control, break it.
4
Like Sehl’teus, Thancred provides a serious deployment of stats, but beyond that also threatens a severe attack trigger. He’s all killer all the way through, and all he asks is that you play lots of lightning/water. Do be careful about the cost of what you’re targeting, though. For example, if your water Forward/Backup count is at 4 and you choose a 4CP Forward to reanimate, a quick bit of removal can cause Thancred to fail.

Freya 125C

2cp 7000
Forward – Dragoon – IX DFF
When Freya enters the field, select 1 of the 2 following actions.
“Draw 1 card, then discard 1 card from your hand.”
“Choose 1 active Forward. Deal it 4000 damage.”
3.5
4k is a pretty good amount of damage when looking for a second damage source, and even if you don’t have a good target for it, the draw/discard will help smooth out your hand and dig towards your business.

Gawain 126R

4cp 5000
Forward – Knight – FFL
When Gawain enters the field, you may search for up to 1 Job Knight other than Card Name Gawain and up to 1 Water Job Knight other than Card Name Gawain and add them to your hand.
3
With Beatrix and Steiner in element, you’ll be able to turn this into a 0CP a pretty good amount of the time. If you’re interested in adding lightning as well, you can also pick up Jegran, who can then splash further to get Althea. Important to note, you can get 2 Steiners, one for each half of his ability, but good luck getting than many tbh.

Steiner 127C

2cp 7000
Forward – Knight – IX DFF
When Steiner enters the field, select 1 of the 2 following actions.
“All the Forwards you control gain +2000 power until the end of the turn.”
“Choose 1 Forward of cost 3 or less opponent controls. Return it to its owner’s hand.”
3.5
Steiner gives you a way to overwhelm the opponent’s defenses or puts them back a bit on their economy, both of which are quite useful at different stages of the game.

Faris 128L

4cp 8000
Forward – Warrior of Light – V
When Faris or a Job Warrior of Light Forward enters your field, select 1 of the 2 following actions.
“Choose 1 Forward. Deal it 2000 damage for each Job Warrior of Light Forward you control.”
“During this turn, the cost required to cast your next Job Warrior of Light is reduced by 2 (it cannot become 0).”
3.5
You’ve got Sol, Aigis, and Dusk all in the same elements, meaning you’ll be able to get more than just her own triggers for this. You really want to be running Sarah so that you can make this reliable.

This set looks particularly interesting for limited. There are very few useless cards, lots of interesting build-arounds, good multi-element synergy, and not a lot of unbeatable gigabombs. There are lots of different builds that look fun to try out, and I think we’ll be coming back to draft more and more as the format goes on. In the near future, I intend to make a write-up of All-Star Draft once the Opus XII list drops. A brilliant tool has been made recently to allow players to run an All Star Draft online that I’ve been playing heavily since its release. Once Crystal Cups start up again, this will be a monumental aid in preparing for the draft portion. I owe another big shoutout to the Zodiac Braves, whose Opus XII spreadsheet helped make this much easier to get out. Thank you all for reading this review. I feel blessed to be able to connect with so many people, and I hope to see you all in the future, whether it’s at an event, in online play, on social media, or even just here next time at the Crystarium.