It’s Opus XI and the full spoiler is out (no one said for how long), meaning it’s time for another Quick n’ Dirty Legend Review. This might be the first time ever that we’ve had a set where every single Legend is playable at the least, despite a few having a very restrictive niche, which makes this opus feel like a pretty substantial improvement over the last few sets. This makes rating cards way harder, since there are hardly any hitting the 1 or 2 out of 5 that I was usually able to get away with for the worst Legends in the set, so I’ll try to be a little harder on my grading this time around (though peeking ahead at the first Legend might make it seem like I wasn’t!)
We’re starting right off with what I think is the best of the bunch. Shadow gives us something that Fire and, frankly, most archetypes in this game really want: Backup consistency. Additionally, he makes viable the kind of deckbuilding we couldn’t hope to reliably get away with in competitive up until this point with 15-16 Backup standard builds. In Fire/Ice VI (where I imagine a lot of people immediately put this card, myself included), the ability can net us a critical Backup and potentially one to put down with his ability. It’s important to note that these don’t have to be the same thing; you can grab a Gestahlian Empire Cid and play a 2 CP backup you already had in hand. His partner Backup Interceptor is obviously a great search target and an additional VI Backup to turn on Locke, and haste him and the rest of the crew to boot.
I think the part a lot of others overlook is just how great this card has the potential to be in literally any deck with Fire and an adequate number of 2 CP Backups. The two other obvious candidates here outside of Fire/Ice are Mono Fire (which has some potential with self-damage builds) and one of my personal favorites, WOFF. WOFF has a plethora of 2 CP Backups and often has Backup trouble despite a high count (around 18) because of naming problems; Shadow is a perfect addition here to help search out what we need and continue developing smoothly. The additional Fire Forward in a deck that seriously lacked reasons to play Lebreau is also appreciated, and I’m sure if WOFF sticks around we’ll be seeing Shadow in the deck going forward.
Braska’s Final Aeon 3.5/5
The Summoner archetype’s supposed boss monster. The ceiling on this card’s power is insanely high. The second ability is really where the playability of this card lies, given that if you manage to attack with this card and resolve the ability on anything but free Forwards once or god forbid twice you are almost certainly winning the game. So, how playable is the second ability? I personally think that we might be 1 or 2 good Summoners short, and naming problems are not doing us any favors. That being said, if you can resolve the 2nd ability reliably, the card is insanely good and only gets more disgusting with cards like Cu Sith, meaning that there is probably a place for this card somewhere down the ride.
Playing the card is a viable strategy, especially when paired with Haste, and for that reason I would be very surprised if we didn’t see Braska’s Final Aeon making something of a splash sometime over the course of this set. That being said, 7 CP is no joke and there’s a reason Forwards have to be as good as Fusoya, Ardyn, and Sephiroth to see play at that cost. The pseudo protection on the first effect is really not enough to justify it without another use for the card. Additionally, I’ve certainly let my personal bias influence my rating more than a bit here, given that I love Summon-centric decks and think that the current pool of Summoners lends itself to something very interesting for the current set.
As a 7 CP Forward I don’t really like where we’ve started with this card, but Umaro almost certainly has his place. He is a unique form of removal and his high cost lends himself very well as a bullet in Fusoya-style lists, with 3-Color Ranperre and possibly Water/Ice/Lightning Fusoya coming to mind as options (especially if you play Mog (VI) to extend combos and discount him even more!) Additionally, he is a very decent in-color blink target for Unei the way Scylla was in Opus 10.
Obviously, Umaro encourages us to try Ice/Water VI given the heavy-handed Mog (VI), Locke, and Celes synergies thrown at us with this set, which is an archetype that needs a lot of exploring to really get a feel for how good it is in the breakout meta before it can be spoken of in certain terms. Maybe that ends us as an Unei deck as well. I am sure, however, that we will see Umaro show up as a 1-of or 2-of in various decks at the very least, and because of that feel comfortable with the rating I have given him.
Barthandelus is an excellent standalone card that also has insane combo potential, the telltale sign of a good card. The 2k leftover from the first ability can be a little awkward to finish off compared to what we normally expect on cards like this (power minus 1000), but is still relatively easy if your partner color is Fire, Lightning, or Wind, as well as some less impressive options in-color. The category XIII tag makes this an easy search off of Mog XIII-2, a mainstay in Mono Ice. Some of the obvious partners for this ability include Raiden (XII), Sylph, Ace, Vivi, Lasswell, Celes 4’s on-hit, Cid Raines, Chelinka, Fina, Valefor, and itself via Rinoa or Unei blink.
The second ability is the reason the card works on standalone and is incredibly powerful, but yields even more combo potential. Forcing our opponent’s Backups active when they end their Main Phase 2 with Asura leads to a full dull/Freeze combo on the backline, though obviously risky if it’s possible for them to re-use the CP you generated for them. Overall Barthandelus is a card that will be doing some real degeneracy over the course of the set and going Forward with two powerful and relatively unique abilities.
Yuna is without a doubt the hardest to evaluate Legend of the set. The static ability is shared with Fusoya and appreciated, though hardly ever built around. The ETB ability here for Yuna will make it’s return if you can grab at least 3 Summons, meaning we don’t have to try unreasonably hard to build around it to make a decent return, as 3 or 4 colors will be just fine, assuming we have 3 Wind to pay for the ability. Unfortunately, that Wind restriction means that if you have a 3 or 4 color deck, you’re not going to be able to resolve the effect easily. She is a consequently a pretty hard sell in otherwise existing archetypes, like standard Mono Wind, Wind/Water, or Unei.
I haven’t even gotten to talk about the S ability yet. Doublecast building a chain of Summons that you presumably searched off of her first effect can probably just win you the game on the spot, but I have yet to come across a build (or build myself) a deck that could ever realistically hope to pull it off in competitive games and function outside of literally just Yuna herself.
This card is undoubtedly powerful, quite possibly the most powerful in the set, but given the current deckbuilding conditions and lack of visible structure to take the card I don’t think I can rate it higher than what I’ve given it here. I am totally prepared for Cid and/or the rest of the genius deckbuilders around the world to show me how wrong I am over the course of the set, though.
Ritz is about as good as we could’ve asked for within reason; not all cards can be as good as Reynn. That being said, I’ve learned my lesson about underrating archetype specific cards and realize that Ritz is a powerhouse. Marche is more or less built to abuse this card to the fullest, providing her with a partner that enables her first ability and ensures that if she’s killed there is a good way to recycle her. The on-hit auto is heavily appreciated in Fire/Wind simply for CP’s sake and enables a lot of disgusting combos, particularly with the new Chelinka and (separately) Alhanahem.
I fully expect Ritz to carry FFTA just about as hard as Reynn carried WOFF, though requiring much fewer slots and not costing 0 CP. Hopefully without the “dominating 40% of the competitive tournament meta” part as well.
One of our earlier spoilers, the potential for Ursula to abuse her 2nd ability gives her a lot more depth than her setup ability would lead you to believe. Monks have been a great meme for a long time, and I’m happy to say that this Ursula at least gives them a reason to be considered for play. While blowing up all of your Backups is generally not a great strategy, the ability for Ursula to act as a closer, by clearing up a board to swing in, while also generating a Backup when coming in off of Yang is pretty decent. Monks are also not without other support with this set, given our new Sabin and Monk backup, both of which would be very decent additions to a Fire/Earth Monk list. Additionally, being a IV character gives (alongside Yang) the possibility of showing up in a Water/Earth IV list.
However, I can’t lie and say it isn’t a little demoralizing being roped into relatively low-quality 2-CP Backups when playing Earth (though, again, Shadow has a good chance to make them shine,) and would much rather be on good econ cards like Miner and Minfillia, or some of the stronger EX Backups like Raubahn. I don’t think that Ursula will be enough to make the archetype really shine through some of the better looking effects, and that leaves me rating Ursula with 2 and a half stars.
While undoubtedly the best girl, Tifa is probably one of the worst Legends in the set; this really speaks to the quality Legends this set, because Tifa is actually just a very decent card. Sometimes a 4CP 9000 isn’t a bad place to be, but requiring a VII core to function really limits our options. She supports the VII core very well though, and is theoretically splashable in, for example, an aggressive Mono Fire that may benefit from boosting Legend Cloud (old or new) as well as the plethora of additions to VII in Fire we’ve had this set. Other than that, there is basically no great use for this card. It’ll probably be a total monster in Title though, given how messed up that deck is already.
I’m gonna get a lot of flack from the XV fanboys out there, but between the time that Aranea was spoiled as the first Legend of Opus 11 and now she has lost a lot of her appeal. The last line of text is obviously very strong, but Damage 6 isn’t exactly a low bar to set for putting a card in playable territory. Until we hit Damage 6, how playable is Aranea? She can be fetched off of King of Burmecia, and her Damage 3 ability is just fine, meaning that she is maybe playable in a dedicated Earth/Lightning XV build and Mono Lightning.
Her friends are plentiful and I am sure we will see the very forced aforementioned Earth/Lightning deck, but even then I am not convinced that Aranea will be anything more than just another okay part of them. The scope for the card feels very low, and I think as a community we might have gotten a little too excited when she was first revealed.
In terms of straightforward cards, Kuja is most likely the best card in the set. He’s on curve, and his removal ETB is good, which means he will see play. It’s very nice that you also get to trigger EX? There isn’t really a whole lot to talk about, this is just epitome of what has always been good in FFTCG: tempo ETB Forwards. There’s been some talk about this in Fire/Lightning and Wind/Lightning, I’m sure any deck playing Lightning will be considering him, and if they benefit from damage or have a high EX count I’m sure he will find a slot or two.
This is not the Amano Garnet I was promised, and I am very sad. Opus Amano Garnet lets the Summoner deck swing in at insane power levels and has a very, very unwieldy action ability that lets you sometimes get insane value and sometimes do nothing at the cost of your attack with her. So, how do we abuse it? The very clear answer is to just have only 1 card in your hand and use this to make it happen. While this works basically one time, the problem with the notion is that basically every Summon-focused deck does not want to empty their hand, so the payoff has to be really great, AKA Raiden, Bahamut, or Phoenix for the most part. The card obviously comes in the Summoner deck and alongside Rydia, or maybe by itself in a Fire/Water deck that avoids Raiden and stacks up on Phoenix.
But I can’t deny that in order to make this card work at all we really need to be building around it, and without getting value off of the active ability I’m not sure we would even want to be playing this card. Still, whatever Summoner deck makes it out of the breakout meta is probably going to be on it given the lack of playable job Summoner Forwards and its synergy with Rydia, giving it a niche for the time being at least.
Celes is very simply good redundancy for every deck that wants to run cards like this. Fire/Water Gilg wants to Haste Water cards that swing in to generate advantage, such as the namesake Gilgamesh (XI) and Zidane 8L, and this is a great partner to go alongside it. In Ice/Water VI we are ideally swinging with Locke every turn to generate advantage, and this is another Forward who, while potentially less potent, does a similar thing in reverse (drawing cards instead of forcing discards). The most glaring drawbacks are a lack of an ETB (mostly forgivable given we can Haste it with Sage or Interceptor, or given its uniqueness in Water/Ice VI) and that it overlaps with what would otherwise be a fantastic attacking partner in Opus 8 Celes. The most overlooked effect is probably the last one one; returning the Backup you control can often be a bonus rather than a cost, given how good the ETBs are for Fire, Ice, and Water generally are, and the potency of having a slot efficient bounce effect.
Cloud suffers from an all-too familiar problem: the text is strong but the name and Element is not. The deckbuilding cost is a lot smaller than some of these other Legends, and gives us something that the VII deck has sorely missed, a good way to search VII characters given that we usually want to go for Opus 4 Jessie (which is a great search target for this Cloud) over the standard category VII searcher Jessie. The action ability is incredibly cost efficient, but essentially means you must push proactively to finish the game, something that has been hard to build for very effectively in Opus.
Being Light is often as much of a curse as it is a blessing, but in Cloud’s case I think some decks that would traditionally often opt to skip out on a Light or Dark, such as Mono Lightning, could potentially benefit quite a bit from the action ability and fact that they don’t have to rely on a color. The addition of a few decent Lightning VII characters this set might let Cloud see some use outside of his obvious Earth/Fire pals color pie.
The more aggressive the meta is, the more viable this card will be (as his removal cost becomes relatively unimportant), but I am hesitant to believe that aggro will be turning the corner even with the addition of some powerful aggressive cards. These factors led me to rating Cloud as I did.
Octaslash [S]: Choose up to 1 Forward, up to 1 Backup, and up to 1 Monster. Remove them from the game. You can only use this ability if each player has received 5 points of damage or more.
People are getting way too wound up about this card. (Most of) the text is definitely strong, and if you can play the card and resolve the S ability even once you are probably in a winning position. The entire problem is just in the first line; our deck needs to be built around getting into a position where Sephiroth becomes playable to even consider slotting him without ways to cycle him out. The good news is that we got a lot of tools this set to go about doing both of those.
First of all, damaging ourselves got a LOT easier with new cards such as Sabin, Dadaluma, and Warrior of Light alongside existing cards like Zodiark. Damaging our opponents also got a lot easier with the pile of aggressive options we got (though as I stated earlier, I don’t necessarily think that aggro will be dominating as a result) and the general tendency that card games are faster when the card pool is bigger. We also got a lot of ways to filter cards this set in Water, with the new Porom and Rosa alongside additional pre-existing options in Merlwyb and Artemicion. The other option for making sure this card isn’t dead all of the time is perhaps the most obvious: playing more Sephiroth. The Opus 7 and Opus 10 Sephiroth both have S abilities in addition to this one, and having a way to get some kind of value out of this, especially Shadow Flare, is a great way to boost the viability of this card.
Now, where do I see Sephiroth actually getting slotted? Fire decks running the self-damaging effects, like Mono Fire, Fire/Ice VI, and possibly Monks, all have a decent chance of making this work, though to what success I really can’t say. Mono Ice also clearly benefits from this (as S fodder for Seph 7 and a great mid-late finisher otherwise,) but hasn’t necessarily been huge on Sephiroth 7 as WOFF and other aggressive decks took on upswing last set. The deck would also miss Veritas of the Dark greatly, and I’m not sure that this is pulling the deck in the direction it wants to go. It also doesn’t help that basically every deck that doesn’t have it’s Light or Dark slot already taken is going to want to be on the swiss army knife 4 CP 9k Forward beast that is Kadaj. Because of that, I’m not really sure Sephiroth is going to end up slotted in anything, leaving me with a hesitant but firm rating at 3 of 5.
And that’s it for the Opus 11 Legends! I was pleasantly surprised at how many Legends seem to have at least a good niche this set, and I look forward to seeing how I did over the course of the (non-existent) Opus 11 competitive format, as well as what kind of clever things everyone will be doing with them. Happy building!