Welcome back to another Opus IX Deck Tech! This week I am going to talk about Mono Ice, as it has received some rad new tools for its list. If you missed last weeks article we talked about Type-0 Cadets, and you can find that piece here.
When I first started playing FFTCG, Ice was my favourite element. I played a lot of it until Opus V, and then I started pivoting more towards playing Earth based decks, and a little Wind too. Despite that I have always checked in and maintained a Mono Ice list, playing it occasionally. But let’s not wait any longer, its time to check out the list.
The list looks fairly standard, however there are 3 major additions from Opus IX that make this deck infinitely better. Because of this, I will start with the Key Cards for this deck before moving on to its game plan.
Note: I want to congratulate Kody Snodgrass for winning Gen Con Constructed with his Mono Ice list. He played the FFVI package with Forward Locke, Setzer, Celes, etc. I started this article at the beginning of Opus IX, and was trying to see how Mono Ice would work without the VI package, but am by no means saying this is the better choice (although it could be with proper refinement, who knows!).
One of the biggest challenges that Mono Ice has faced as an element is a lack of card draw. Because of this, Mono Ice can have trouble setting up Backups, often using 5 CP Setzer to find a Category VI Backup to play in the early turns. Whereas other colours could search Backups or draw cards easily, Mono Ice could not. Locke solves this issue.
When you play Locke, if you want a Backup, you will get a Backup. This can help smooth out openings where you didn’t draw Backups to curve into. You don’t get to pick the Backup, so sometimes you will get another Locke, or a Backup that you might not have wanted to play right away (Jihl Nabaat).
Locke can also search every other type of card. If you need a Summon, he is getting you Zalera or Glaysla for sure. I also have included one Aloeidai as a guaranteed search off of Locke. If you draw well and set up quickly, Locke can help you grab additional Forwards to apply pressure on board. Hopefully he will grab you this next guy…
Laguna is unfair. I don’t understand how he was printed with 8k power, but I love it. Being able to search any Ice Forward is so versatile, and it is much better than Ysayle, because you can play Laguna multiple times throughout the match, and without having to worry about Backup space. This means that when you need that Cid Raines to kill a Viking, Zidane (Water or Wind version), Leila, you name it, you will find it. You can go Laguna into the Azure Dragon to set up some serious value.
The other advantage of this search effect being on a Forward if that you are now competing on board and can pressure your opponent with Damage. This is why the 8k is so relevant. Your opponent doesn’t want to trade into him as he effectively cost 3 CP and his job is done. Let alone the fact that you can play another one once your first Laguna goes down. Opponents will break him with Diablos and Zalera, but that saves your other high cost Forwards that need to stick around on board. One combination that I am testing out right now is the Opus 1 Squall (1-024R). You can play Laguna to search for Squall and play him to make your opponent discard two. You need to spend your whole hand to do this efficiently, as it is a symmetrical discard effect.
Azure Dragon l'Cie Soryu
I am 90% sure that this girl will be commonly known as the Azure Dragon and we will ignore the rest of her name. Azure Dragon is just what Ice needed. At it’s worst, it is an EX Burst draw a card in a pure Mono Ice list. However, if it can swing once, it has already become good value. If your opponent is unable to deal with it, they can quickly lose control of the game. The downside for you, is that you need to keep swinging to keep digging through your deck and getting value. Sometimes you will need to decide between leaving a blocker up or taking some damage so you can find some answers by attacking. You will also need to be very careful against Water (Famfrit), Wind (Diabolos), Ice (Zalera), and any deck running Veritas when you play this card. Laguna and the other high cost cards can take some of the pressure off by forcing removal if they land earlier. The deck also runs lots of efficient smaller Forwards to sacrifice to Veritas.
This deck wants to get to three Backups ASAP to start playing odd costed cards such as Laguna, Azure Dragon, Sephiroth, Serah, and Garland. A big step towards this is having Locke in your starting hand to ensure you can open consistently. The deck uses Laguna and Azure Dragon to continue accruing value. Laguna is also very valuable for mapping out early turns and deciding your game plan. You can respond to smaller forwards by guaranteeing your Cid Raines or you can take a more aggressive route and focus on Discard with Sephiroth, Serah, Genesis, and more.
The sooner you get Backup Snow out the better, as this can put a clock on your opponent’s game and you can win outright by switching to a more aggressive style. If you identify yourself entering a base race, play some smaller Forwards to enable more swings for damage. Without Dadaluma in the Meta this strategy has become more viable (not against Water/Wind so watch out). We haven’t seen cards like 4 CP Zidane, Kan-e-Senna, or Ranger in awhile allowing Snow to be effective most of the time.
Why This Deck Will be Relevant in the Meta
It already is! Albeit the more FFVI focussed version with Forward Locke, Celes, and Setzer. Personally I think that this version has some potential, due to how potent the Backup Locke is. There are also more options for deck building variety with the space available due to removing the VI cards. However, I will likely bring 4 CP Celes back into this build for testing, as freezing a Rikku and Summon canceling are both very relevant.
Why This Deck Will Not be Relevant in the Meta
How players tech for this matchup will be very important. If we see cards like the new Shemahazai, that can affect our dull and freeze, and can even bounce Snow to our hand on a pivotal turn. You must be very careful playing against any deck containing Wind in general. As well, since we aren’t running Earth (Shantotto), and we are running one Cid Aulstyne, we have less ways to punish players for dumping their hand when they recognize that we run discard. If your opponent is aggressive, make sure you use your Laguna accordingly to protect yourself, searching for each game’s specific needs.
I like the utility that this card offers, forcing a Diabolos pre-combat or freezing a Forward for extra pressure. The discard is harder to set up to not be symmetrical. I will be testing out 2 CP Lasswell in this slot.
This card is great against Leila/Viking and not too much else. Honestly, at the beginning of new sets I tend to put more homer cards into my lists before my testing refines them out the f-ing door.
I will likely cut down the numbers of Squall. He can really apply a lot of pressure with Laguna, often becoming a discounted Sephiroth if you play out your hand. Even if you make yourself discard, he is still similar in cost to a Sephiroth, with the same impact. This effect can be disrupted however, if they remove your Laguna. If you search Squall with Laguna and don’t play it out immediately, you have telegraphed too much to your opponent.
I really like this card, but 4 CP and a 1 CP activation cost is steep. However, the card sits at 8-9K power and dodges a lot of removal (3 CP Famfrit and Fina/Valefor, and Shantotto to name a few). The key is to attack last with it whenever possible. Don’t activate it into a Forward until it needs to swing. This will allow your opponent less chances to interact with it and save it from any EX Bursts that other Forwards trigger. The discard on damage effect is very powerful (obviously), so I would like to test this card more. Also Shemhazai wrecks this card, so that only will bump it from the list if Shemhazai sees play.
That’s all from me for this week folks. I will be back next week with more articles and videos. I hope you enjoyed this deck tech, if you would like me to cover any decks in particular, let me know in the comments below or send me a message on The Mysidia Post’s Facebook page. I also want to hear how Mono Ice has been working for you! Have you tried out any of the new Opus IX cards? Sound off below and we can discuss!
P.S. I have started creating videos to accompany my articles, as well as, work with some other styles of content. You can check out the video version of this article below!
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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.