A draw engine in Ice! What a time to be alive. Thanks to Tim Schilder for the spoiler! With some luck an absolute game changer of a card that directly affects my spoiler doesn’t come out of nowhere just before this gets published this time.
Let’s look at a breakdown of the card first of all. Werei’s a 4CP Ice Backup with a unique (at time of writing) name and Category XI. He sets up a conditional auto at the end of your turn which will check if you’re made your opponent discard during your turn, and if you have, you get to draw a card. Very nice.
Werei seems like it has potential to be a one-of in a lot decks that like to discard things. If you’re one of those fine upstanding gamers who like to spam Zidane and Althea, you’re going to be able to get a lot of value out of Werei very quickly, and create some really huge advantage gaps between you and your opponent while you dismantle their hand. I’m of the opinion it’s a good one-of because it’s pretty searchable, either by Emet-Selch or by Star Sibyl. Emet-Selch’s not been hugely played in the past, but maybe he’ll get a second chance now he’s able to get a legitimate value engine online in the early game? Maybe this gets Earth/Ice some traction, as this adds a fifth Ice Backup that’s searchable off of Star Sibyl into its arsenal (although the playability of some of those is up for debate.)
Cards like Argath, Serah, and Zidane become really strong when they also cause you to draw a card in the end phase. With this card’s effect taking place at the end of the turn, there’s no way the ability can be cancelled, as neither player can manually activate effects or cast cards during the end phase – no Amaterasu to deny you resources! It’s very easy to cram a lot of discards into a deck that’s running Ice, and receiving a 2CP every turn you make your opponent discard might really help get Ice back on track as an element – one of the issues I’ve found is the late game economy vs more efficient decks, and hopefully this goes some way to closing that gap. Realistically, I definitely see someone running this alongside Zidane and Althea and making someone completely miserable as they just run away with the game though.
There’s also an argument that cards that get you discard over time like the new Orphan, as well as classic Ice cards like Locke and Genesis may see a resurgence now that they are able to ensure you draw an extra card on turns where you’re able to deal damage to your opponent. You’ll just need to make sure that you’re going into the end phase with 4 cards or less in hand so you don’t immediately have to discard down to 5!
A couple of things worth noting with Werei as I’m sure people will ask these:
-It’s a conditional auto. It needs to meet its conditional check to even enter the stack in the end phase. You need to make sure you’ve made your opponent discard something before you enter the end phase, or this will not trigger.
-“At the end of each of your turns” means only at the end phase of each of your (the controller’s) turns. I see this get asked every time a card with this wording gets printed, and the same stands true here. If you make your opponent discard during their turn (with Glasya Labolas for example,) you will not draw in your opponent’s end phase off of Werei. Before anyone suggests “this would be nice with Scale Toad,” – even if it did affect discards on your opponent’s turn, it still wouldn’t trigger due to it being a conditional auto.
I think Werei is a card that’ll see play in Ice and Ice/X Backup lineups, although it’s not as if the Backup lines of the decks were the things that were particularly lacking there – it’s just very nice to see a value engine get added to an element that needed it without it involving some kind of looping and while remaining compact (in that it only takes up one deck slot). The 4CP investment with no ETF is pretty high, but this card can pay for itself over the course of a game pretty easily if your deck is doing what you want it to do.
I like the design space this card sits in, as it’s a way of tweaking the dials on discard cards without simply making discard cards cause additional discards or simply cost less. With discard being a thing that can only really go up or down in whole numbers, I’m glad they’re finding other ways to adjust the mechanic without making it overly oppressive to play against.
Also I played a lot of FFXI in my time and I honestly cannot remember this guy. Seems an odd choice for a card, but it’s a great effect so I’ll let it slide.
Thank you for reading, and enjoy the rest of spoiler season!