Welcome back folks. As someone that bought into Opus I and started playing locally during Opus II, I have a decent collection. There hasn’t been much power creep in this game yet, so I still use lots of my staples from the earlier Opuses. However, some cards in my collection are as pale as a ghost, meaning they never see the light of day.
Why haven’t I played these cards? Well some of them suck. That is not the case for all of them though, but there is generally better stuff to play with if your goal is be competitive. Maybe I am not creative enough to utilize some of the more niche cards, but I think there are strong cards in this game that set themselves aside from the others. These are the cards that we call staples.
For those interested in seeing the Shuyin deck list right away click the link below.
What Makes a Powerful Card?
What makes a card a staple, or a strong card you ask? Fantastic question. Strong cards are strong because they are (for the most part) are good on their own. Genesis, for example, works wonders in aggressive decks, decks that want forwards to be dull, or decks that need to catch up, but he is also just a good card on his own. He doesn’t need any of that synergy. You could slap him into any deck playing Ice and he would help you win games.
Some other examples of cards that are just strong on their own are: WOL, Dadaluma, Zidane, Yuri, Chelinka, Sabin.
Powerful cards tend to be fast. When I say a card is fast, I mean that it impacts the game in some way as it enters the field or play. The legend Laguna from Opus 1 has a very strong effect, but that is assuming he sticks around for a turn, gets to attack, and your opponent has a dull forward that can die to his 7k ping (plus whatever you might stack it with). The five-drop slot is competitive in most decks, so you will have a hard time justifying including Laguna in your build. That being said, I love Laguna and I want to play him anyway.
Some examples of fast cards are: Al-Cid, Illua, Edea, Vivi, Leila, Cloud of Darkness, Genesis, Cecil.
Strong cards are sticky. Meaning they don’t leave the field easily or if they do, they have negative implications for your opponent. Cards that are untargetable by abilities and/or summons are good examples of cards that stick around. Vikings that draw you a card when you chump block with them. Capricious Reaper makes your opponent discard when they target it (this card doesn’t see that much play anymore but was a force earlier on in the game). Xande is an interesting example of how a card can be slow and still be good. Just like Laguna, he attacks to damage a forward, but there are less conditions for that damage. Furthermore, if your opponent tries to get rid of him, he will almost certainly take someone with him.
Some examples of sticky cards are: Vikings, Zidane, Ranger, Garnet, Xande, Galdes, Delita.
Now there are exceptions to the guidelines above, but for the most part, you will see cards matching their description in top tournament decks.
Time to Dig Out Some Forgotten Cards
I am done talking about the “good” cards. Now its time to write about the cards in your collection that are in immaculate condition. The cards that stay hidden away out of sight. Alright you guys, time to come out of my binder. I know its bright, you will get used to it (no promises).
In this “Lightly Played” series, I will write about some, in my opinion, underplayed cards that have a lot of potential. With further ado, introducing…
Boy what a cool effect to put on a card. When Shuyin came out in Opus VI there was a lot of excitement about new interactions that could be explored in FFTCG. However, Shuyin is very hard to use consistently and ended up not seeing much play. You could say his job is aptly named, as any chance of him being competitive was an illusion.
I tried a Shuyin deck back when it came out, however it was hard to have enough CP to pull of any combos with him. I ran triple Star Sybil (meaning I needed some XI targets) to try and pre-pay for Shuyin, but the deck was very slow and not consistent. The introduction of Leila-Viking made me want to try this deck again, and wow do they make a big difference, but before we talk about my build, lets talk about the main Tidus wannabe himself, Shuyin.
Everything you Need to Know About Shuyin:
Shuyin is a 5 CP Water forward with 7000 power. He is Category X and has the job Illusion. His ability text reads: When Shuyin enters the field, choose 1 Forward with a power inferior to Shuyin’s. You gain control of this Forward until the end of the turn.
Some important notes:
Shuyin’s ability is worded that when he enters the field, you choose your target for his ability based on his current power. If you have a booster like Wakka on the field, he will be at 8000 power and can choose any 7000 power forward or lower. Because you choose your target during entry, you do NOT have a chance to stack any power boosts on top of that (ie summons, abilities etc). This means that without a buffer on the field, Shuyin can only gain control of a 6000 power or less forward.
Another important note is that if you return a forward stolen by Shuyin to the hand using Leviathan or another bounce effect, the borrowed forward will return to its owner’s hand (as worded on all bounce cards), and not your hand.
The forward you grab with Shuyin’s ability has summoning sickness and cannot attack or dull for an ability. The forward does not trigger any ETB abilities as it never left and entered the field, it only changed control.
So why the $@!# would I even play Shuyin?!
That’s a #@!$ing great question! One simple way that you can use him is to pull a blocker out of the way in order to swing for damage.
My favourite way to use Shuyin is much greedier than that however. The deck I built has the goal of stealing a forward with Shuyin and using that forward to kill a second forward with a card like Famfrit. If it works, Shuyin reads “When Shuyin enters the field, break two Forwards your opponent controls.”. Best part is, if you steal a Viking and kill it, you draw a card!
If you want to see my Water/Earth Shuyin Combo deck list, you can find it here.
Now you are intrigued, I can tell. You want to know what other cards synergize with this soon to skyrocket in popularity Hero card.
Boosts Shuyin, makes him much more playable.
Can be used to lower a forward’s power which can then be kidnapped by Shuyin. This card is nice since you can play it ahead of time and save CP.
Also used to help steal forwards.
Star Sybil (5-091H)
Sometimes you will need play a Shuyin, a power reduction, and a combo piece all in one turn. Star Sybil helps take CP off your plate in order to pull off some big plays. I have even been able to search Shuyin with Mog (Mobius) and then play him with Star Sybil for a big play.
Same as Star Sybil, but also a 2-CP Famfrit is just great with Leila-Viking.
The Overall List
This deck has other great synergies, as Water/Earth is a strong combination. For example, Delita also works wonders with Leila, Vikings, and Vanille. Kefka has synergy with Vanille and Galuf. It also plays great with Vikings and Hecatoncheir to remove big forwards.
Below I will list some of the other inclusions in this deck and my rationale for including them.
Strong standalone card to ward off aggression.
Originally added to search out combo pieces since this deck is fairly slow. Leila-Viking is so great that this card can be cut altogether.
Used to replay Delita, Leila, Shuyin, and even Shantotto if you really biffed it.
This card is pretty alright.
Hey if I am building a fun deck you better believe I am going to include some homer cards. But in all seriousness, he is a fun card to play with and his boosting ability works great with Leila-Viking to help them party attack over things. But I should mention I do not own any Cloud of Darkness’s or Lenna’s etc.
I also considered Gau in this slot as a way to play back Tonberries.
Since this is a slower deck, Cecil may be a more competitive option in this slot, but Galuf has a ton of synergy in this deck and can get rolling pretty quick. Never used his special before.
Included for Vanille and for its general utility at breaking Fusoya’s, boosters, Snow, and Cid (II).
Early backup to fix your draw of three Shuyins and two Tonberries.
It is ok to discard combo pieces if you must, you can always grab them back with her or Miner.
Running two for Star Sybil targets and for slow starts.
The Dangers of Shuyin
The downfall of this deck is that so many parts of the Shuyin combo are open to response. Delita, Famfrit, and Hecatoncheir can be responded to, and you can lose value if they kill your target before you do (although that still gains you card advantage potentially). Shuyin himself can be responded to, and your opponent can make their forward stronger so that it isn’t stolen on resolution. Be careful playing Shuyin against Water, if they have a Famfrit or Leviathan, they can make you waste some CP.
This deck also gets rocked hard by discard. So, make sure you set up your backups.
This deck is one of the most fun decks I have played. Pulling Shuyin off feels really good, and it there is tremendous value (and greed) to be had. I know this deck will never win a Crystal Cup, but it can actually win some good matches against strong decks. Maybe Shuyin isn’t so bad after all. Maybe you owe Shuyin and apology. I’ll wait…
Glad you two made up. Let me know if you find a cool Shuyin build yourself, or if you end up trying this list. I myself am going to try and make this deck into a more competitive Water/Earth with just a hint of Shuyin as a deck against those pesky Leila/Vikings. Until next time Mysidians!
Alex is a FFTCG player from Vancouver, Canada. His favourite Final Fantasy is IV and his favourite Elements are Earth and Ice, although he has a soft spot for fire.