With Opus XIII: Crystal Radiance in full swing, we thought it would be an ideal time to take a look at the best competitive FF TCG cards in the current game. We would like to thank Steve Dolman, one of the five founders of the Yuna Young Team, for collaborating with us and sharing his knowledge about competitive cards.
Ovelia is the first ‘new’ card from Opus XIII to make it onto our list, and in the short week or so the set has been out, has revolutionised several decks by her bizarre methods of play. In part, Ovelia offers a large refund whenever a FFTA Forward dies, and in any deck playing more than a couple of FFTA Forwards she’s likely to refund the entire cost over the course of the game. With that being said, it is the ‘Special’ that makes this card beyond interesting.
Never before in the FFTCG has a resurrection-type of effect been so cheap, nor has a negation-style effect been so explosive since on-entry abilities of the ‘un-deceased’ Forward re-trigger. She even gives her targets Haste, for when additional pressure is more important than an intricate reanimation.
It would only be fair to give ‘Edward’ an honourary mention, as he shares a lot of similarities with Ovelia. Just as is the case for Ovelia, Edward is a ‘named’ (non-multiplayable) backup, and yet players don’t mind packing a playset of him in Ice decks. They both warp decision-making processes by being left active and forces your opponent to ask themselves – “does my opponent actually have the Special in hand?”
When FFTCG began, it was a relatively fair and calm game with minimal emphasis on combo decks or unbreakable resource locks. Decks were almost universally on the aggro to control spectrum, with minimal focus on stack-heavy combos, and for the most part, any deck could at least make the top cut of a major tournament. As time went on, several hurdles arose that changed the criteria to succeed at an event.
The first major stumbling block was the ‘Ice plague’ deck in late Opus IV. The best deck in the format was open for debate right through the game’s early stages, but nobody could deny that Ice had a better inevitability and interaction plan than the rest, when ‘Flan’ finally met ‘Aulstyne’. The next major evolution of the game came around Opus VI, when the notorious ‘Dadaluma’ deck had been perfected globally and won almost every event it entered.
The third ‘metagame evolution’ came in the form of ‘Fina’. The YRP archetype had seen reasonably consistent play from as early as Opus II because some clever players acknowledged that casting all three copies of ‘Valefor’ in a single turn might as well be classed as an instant win, much like Exodia in Yu-Gi-Oh. The deck was never entirely dominant, however, until Fina came along, which massively simplified the process of assembling the winning combo.
Arguably, Fina was the predecessor of the first-ever FF TCG deck that had an entirely separate game plan, other than just playing good cards and trying to count to seven damage. It seemed for a long while that absolutely nothing could beat Fina’s YRP girl group, through a combination of EX density to buffer against aggro and discard, and enough negation and card-blanking effects to muscle through slower decks with little thought.
While YRP hasn’t gotten many direct buffs since around Opus 10, Fina has continued to move from strength to strength as the ultimate Swiss army knife card. A combo card for destroying entire boards with any kind of Valefor substitute, a devastating stopper against decks going wide with 5000-or-less power Forwards, or even just a ‘free’ card to cast for a couple of turns worth of CP at once, Fina showed no signs of running out of decks to call home in Opus 12, and this doesn’t look likely to change.
White Tiger L’Cie Nimbus (13-112L)
Another new contender from Opus XIII, ‘White Tiger L’Cie Nimbus’ wasted no time in proving itself as one of the simplest, yet most effective, of the dual-element cards.
When it comes to this card, the FFTCG community is once again divided into two player bases – those who play Nimbus in fair Ice/Earth midrange decks, who get to three Backups as fast as possible to apply pressure to multiple areas of the game at once, and those who want to bypass the ‘cast only with Backups’ restriction. Nimbus belongs in a sweet spot with regard to cost and ease of splashability, being a feasible ‘cheat-in’ card for Crystal Exarch, lying right on the threshold for ‘Phoenix’ and ‘Agrias’ decks, yet also cheap and impactful enough to play honestly.
Sara (13-093H), Norschtalen (8-058R)& Star Sybil (5-091H)
Perhaps the biggest change in deckbuilding mentality in the history of FF TCG was the printing of playable Backups that generate other Backups. Simply put, both ‘Star Sybil’ and ‘Norschtalen’ have revolutionised the patterns seen in tournament-winning decks, and most ‘normal’ Standard-Unit style Backups have taken more of a back seat.
The importance of getting a good start in a TCG where cards in hand are also mana is impossible to understate. In order to establish as many avenues of play as possible, the game has gone through stages of refinement any time a new Backup, who can search for further Backups out of the deck, is released.
Of this subclass of cards, Star Sybil, Norschtalen, and Sara, another new card from Opus XIII, are the most impactful. Sara has Backup targets in every single element, but possibly the most important is ‘Princess Sarah’ in Light, who can start to produce any other element of CP upon entering the field.
As lockdown restrictions continue to ease around the world, competitive players of the FF TCG will undoubtedly be excited to get back into the action at their local stores. This means that now is the time to fine-tune your decks and join up with friends in person to test your skills and have fun!
If we have missed out any of your favourite cards, keep an eye out for our future articles covering the best competitive cards in the FF TCG. If you would like to see more of FF TCG best cards, you can read part 1 here. If you would like to take a closer look at the latest FF TCG set, Opus XIII: Crystal Radiance, check out our article here
Mathew Parkes – Ludkins Media
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