Hello Mysidians, I am back after a brief break before Opus IX. We ended up getting our product a day late in Vancouver, which was a very pleasant surprise, as we were expecting it not to come until 5-7 days later. This past weekend I drove down to Everett, Washington with another Vancouver player, Phil. We played an Opus IX draft at Geeky Villain, and afterwards joined them on the Live from Midgar podcast! It was a lot of fun being a guest on their show. I recommend the episode if you haven’t heard it yet, as we go over some draft info for Opus IX, and talk about some constructed decks we are working on.
I also want to thank the players at Geeky Villain, as well as the owner Edward. Throughout the product shortage in Vancouver, they have been very supportive of us, even offering to drive some pre-release kits up to the border! I honestly love playing down in Everett, and I can’t wait to return in August for some constructed play.
Now to the main part of this article, my first Opus IX draft! Going into the event, I had read the cards as they were spoiled, but since Vancouver didn’t get a pre-release, I hadn’t actually played anything yet. I definitely think I could have informed my draft more if I had some experience with the cards, but I ended up going 3-1 and came in 4th on tiebreakers. Another note is that Geeky Villain plays Bo3 for draft, and I went to game 3 each round, so I actually played 12 matches with this draft deck.
Round 1 vs Ice/Lightning/Fire (loss)
Round 2 vs Earth (lots of Garifs and Cor’s) (win)
Round 3 vs Wind/Water Sky pirates (win)
Round 4 vs Fire/Lightning Generals (win)
After settling on Ice as my main element, I looked around in a few colours before recognizing Water as a free element. Below I will talk about some of the cards I drafted that worked out, and some that did not live up to my expectation.
Laguna was an all star. He is essentially a 3 CP 8k Forward, which is better than great… its good! Being able to search out Forwards is excellent, as it enables you to stay on the front foot. Onepleasent interaction was Laguna à Quistis à Adell, or even another Quistis or Laguna that could be used for CP. Often times I would search for an Airborne Trooper, since I was on 3 CP and it would help me stay on curve the next turn.
I hope that if there is a lesson to take away from this post, it is that 3 CP 8ks are good (at least in limited). As limited (especially Opus IX) has less removal, often you can develop bigger board states. This is aided by only needing to deal 6 damage to win. Often times you will have to take trades, chump blocks, party attack, etc. to navigate through a game. If you have a 3 CP 8k that can trade with a 4 CP 8k, you will often come out ahead. It is also easier to play out more 3 CP Forwards, but being at 8k you can swing into your opponent, making them trade or take the damage. The limitation to Airborne Trooper rarely was an issue, as you often have a Forward to play each turn in draft.
This girl is insane. Imagine all those stalled boards with both sides having 8k Forwards. Now with Rosa out, your opponent has no choice but to chump block or take damage since their 8k’s can’t trade with you anymore. Just leave one Forward up to block your opponent next turn.
I loved these 2-3 CP versatile Backups. I often played them to get set up, but in the middle to late game the value Nu Mou was fantastic. You can drop it as a 4th Backup and get some damage in, or even off of 1 Backup to get ahead in damage at the beginning of the game. It was so potent that I have to try it in constructed now, although I expect it won’t make the final cut.
I said this on the podcast, but Locke was very powerful. He finds whatever you need, which was usually a Backup for me. This allows you to set up fast as well as colour fix, something that can be vital in draft. Depending on how many monsters or summons you run, he can guarantee a pivotal card at the right time. This guy is absolutely going into any Ice constructed decks that don’t run the VI package with Legend Locke.
I drafted two Gestahls! This is a big part of how I went 3-1. In case you hadn’t heard, you can break Gestahl without paying anything for his second ability, similar to Star Sybil. This turned out to be a godsend, as I would break him regularly to play the second Gestahl, a Nu Mou, or a Cid Aulstyne. 5 CP break a Forward is excellent removal in draft, and you won’t find much better in this set.
This was a great early play to help fix draws. I also used it to block, trade and set up EX Bursts if my opponent had more Forwards to swing with.
Gogo, AKA Cecil! I used Gogo to steal the Hero Cecil’s action ability against two different opponents during the tournament. He also used a Nael ability once to ping a Forward for 8K. He doesn’t get top tier status as he is so situational. In some matchups he is a vanilla 3 CP 7K.
Malboro was so close to being an A+. I had some hang ups on these new types of monsters, but I wish I could have gotten over my bias and used this guy from the beginning of the tournament. Since they can’t block (why it’s a B grade), just attack every turn! My opponents were reluctant to block these guys since it would allow my other Forwards through for an attack as well. I often swung with two a turn until my opponent was forced to get involved. Having cheap Airborne Troopers to block allowed me to play my Malboro’s without fear of falling behind.
Man, this card was INSANE. But then it just sat around for games at a time not being live. Don’t hold on to this card, as the set only has one discard (Yuke) and it is hard to set up. If you are in a tight game with an opponent, both your hand size can get low and you can punish them with this card. Even the dull and freeze effect closes out games. Who needs removal in this set when you can just bypass your opponent’s Forwards?
I wasn’t able to draft enough FFVIII cards (never even saw a Rinoa!), but this was still a great card. I hit with her every time I played her, but it was often a Forward I already had out. Solid card.
Terra & Ghis (aka the Black Belts)
8k power was pretty relevant in this draft. Because of this, I often searched Terra with Laguna and played her out to start swinging away. Ghis’s ETB was disappointing overall, and you rarely have a chance to activate his Auto Ability. I did use it once in MP2 to trade up a 7k into an 8k.
Larsa was mostly Water CP this draft, but in my matchup against Sky Pirates, he really came in handy. Very situational, not a bad card to just have down.
It was hard to set up a dull to cast this, but it was great for clearing out some 5 costs like Adell or Azul. The one card you really want to hit with this is Livia, but she is usually Brave.
Great EX Burst and can help late game to sneak in some damage, but overall was CP more often than not.
Again, great EX Burst, used it as CP a lot. Cast it once on Azul to force a trade.
Fantastic utility. Get Larsa down first turn, play this second turn and tap Larsa to draw a card. Would have seen more use if I had more Water Backups in my deck.
I thought this would be a significant beater, but I only played it once. My CP was often better spent developing my board with more 3 CP’s.
Discarding one is not the end of the world, and Yuke was often too weak to get through.
I wanted to try this guy out, but it was hard to find time. Between Wind and Fire, they had a lot of ways to ping him off, and I didn’t feel like rolling the dice with his Auto Ability. 3 CP was tough to pay for someone that wouldn’t progress my aggressive game plan. Used him to get my Airborne Troopers online a few times.
King of Concordia
Used this once to close out a game, otherwise never played it. My deck wouldn’t have liked the second part of that ability.
Interesting things I learned from my opponents:
1. I had 2 Airborne Troopers and a Laguna out, and was feeling pretty cocky, and my opponent used a Chaos (5k to the board) and an Ifrita to wipe my board!
2. Sky Pirates seemed pretty good in draft. Lots of opportunity to trade up and combo using Rem as an immortal blocker/attacker, and cards like Balthier and Fran to finish people off.
3. Livia is very strong. So is Nero. Gaius is rad. Nael was dope.
4. Squall and Rinoa are ridiculous, ITS TOO BAD I DIDN’T DRAFT ANY.
This draft was a lot more fun than I had predicted. I was worried because Opus VIII, had been so soundly built for draft with Summon reprints and solid archetypes. I think this set is just as fun and emphasizes certain skills as a player and a drafter. The lack of removal does make it harder to remove threats, and games can snowball. Maybe limited is why the King and Queen of Eblan can’t attack if your opponent doesn’t have any Forwards in play! What a powerful turn that would be early in a game when you only play to 6 damage.
Looking forward, I will be writing about some of the constructed decks that I have been testing. So far, I am working on Mono Earth, Mono Lightning, Fire/Wind Cadets (splash Lightning), and Mono Ice Blue Eyes White Dragon. I also have set up some pretty exciting spreadsheets with macros (ok maybe not that exciting) to help me track some meta data. By next week I should be able to give some info on what everyone is playing overall, and what is doing well at competitive events. Until next time!
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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.