Welcome back Mysidians. It has been a few weeks since I last posted an article as work became very busy for me in the last month. But I am back and writing again, and I am also preparing for the Crystal Cup in Portland next month. Selecting a deck to play has been very difficult. I am unsure if my favourite Mono Earth deck is going to cut it and have been looking at some other choices. I have also been playing Earth/Wind, Fire/Ice, and Mono Wind. While my lists are starting to look a little more refined, for awhile I was trying out different combos and new cards. My testing led to the idea of this article… 7 CP Backups are the best!
Out of the 4 Backups that cost 7 CP currently in the game, only Shantotto is boring and doesn’t warrant discussion #shotsfired. Today I want to talk about 3 Backups that share a common theme. These three Backups all play other cards when they enter the field, although each through different methods. The three backups are:
You might notice that all of these Backups have the Hero rarity, this is no coincidence as they are all personal heroes of mine, spicing up any deck you put them in. At this point you are probably asking what is so awesome about these cards? Well let’s talk about it.
When you play any of these cards, you will also be able to play a Forward. In the case of Lezaford (Hum!) you also have the choice of playing a Monster or Backup. Therefore, when you pay for one of these Backups, you are really paying to play two cards (barring someone canceling their effect with a Y’shtola). As an example, imagine you play one of three 7 CP cards off of one Backup and by discarding three cards, it is like you are paying 3 CP for the Backup and 4 CP for the Forward. This is better than playing a 3 CP Backup and a 4 CP Forward normally, because that Forward would also be a card discarded from hand (these cards bring the Forward from your deck or break zone).
Obviously, you want to play these cards off of three Backups if possible, because we generally don’t play 3 CP Backups that don’t have search or some other card advantage providing effect. However, with the exception of Sarah, the other two cards do have action abilities to provide future value, so paying “3 CP” to play them is not terrible.
Where these cards can really shine is if you combo them with a card that adds a card to your hand, removal, or some sort of ETB ability. If you play a searcher this way, it lowers the net number of cards that left your hand to play your 7 CP Backup. Removal or other effects can provide additional CP or virtual card advantage over your opponent. Below I will go into a little more detail for each of the Backups and name some popular targets you might want to try out.
Popular Targets: Delita (3-088L), Brandelis (3-093H), Cecil (5-086L), Vincent (4-075H), Yang (5-095H), Hugh Yurg (6-077R), Ignis (8-072R), Glaive (8-076H), Barret (8-145S), and Raubahn (4-096H)
I am going to begin with Tama, as she is my favourite of all three of these cards. Tama has the hardest prerequisites to fulfill at first, because it requires your break zone to have targets just hanging out. Luckily you can discard a Tama target and play it onto the field since Tama’s ability reads “when Tama enters the field”. This means that the payment has already taken place and you can select a target with your discarded cards already in the break zone.
This provides decent value for Tama as an early game option off of 1 Backup, since she can play a Cecil, Delita, or Ignis by discarding them in the cost. When played this way, it is almost like you discard one card for the forward and one card for the Backup, as if they were each 2 CP. Earth has a lot of 5 CP searching Forwards, making Tama an interesting inclusion in any deck running them. This doesn’t mean you have to play 5 CP Forwards with Tama however. As we have seen with all of these cards, even playing 4 CP Forwards is providing a discount. Not to mention Earth has some juicy Forwards that your opponent will want to kill and you will want to replay, for example, Dadaluma, WOL, and Vanille are all great Tama targets.
While utilizing the break zone means Tama can get off to a slower start than Lezaford or Sarah, this is also one of her greatest strengths. One of the best parts of playing Earth is the recursion of powerful cards. Miner, Minfilia, and Apururu let you play your best cards over and over. Tama is no exception. Being able to play extra Cecils and Raubahns as removal lets you reduce their count in your deck for other tech choices. Maybe your opponent was able to play around your Delita or had to sacrifice cards/damage into it to finally break it. Well Tama wants to make sure you play that Delita up to two more times.
Tama’s action ability is terrific, although expensive. I often use it to close out games by playing Raubahn to remove the last blocker or Cecil to remove a threat. The ability is best used this way, as it can set you back if you are reckless. Not only are you paying 6 CP, you are also losing Backup. If the Forward you recur doesn’t have an immediate impact, you can fall behind quickly. P.S. Don’t forget that this ability plays the Forward in dull!
Popular Targets: Vaan (1-063H), Bartz (1-080H), Kan-E-Senna (4-055H), Cecil (7-135S), Moogle (4-069H), Aerith (1-064R), Maria (1-083H), A-Ruhn-Senna (4-050R), Fat Chocobo (4-064L), Echo (5-053R), Norschtalen (8-058R), Aria (Type-O) (5-051R), and any 3-CP search Backup.
Lezaford is one of the most fun cards to play in the entire game. Flipping over the top 5 cards of your deck is an interesting effect, but actually being able to play a card from that draw is nuts. In Mono Wind this card always hits (unless you shuffled 5 Summons in a row somehow). It is important to try and hit something with good value when playing Lezaford, but unfortunately it isn’t always going to happen. I like to run him in my Kan-E-Senna Mono Wind since he can hit Kan-e-senna, Bartz, or Vata to activate your Backups and allow further plays. Playing a Moogle is also great value, as you draw one card. Lezaford into Opus I Vaan can provide some serious tempo, but if you don’t have a Y’shtola be careful of overextending.
I recommend you always try and play Lezaford off of 3 Backups. This leaves space open to play a Backup with his effect, ramping you from 3 to 5 Backups. Any searcher gives great value, as does Maria since it skips that dead turn where you have to pay 4 CP for her.
I wouldn’t plan my deck around playing monsters with Lezaford, but it could be interesting to fish for a Deathgaze in a pinch.
Finally, Lezaford comes packed with an action ability to boot. It can be nice as a combat trick, but it is just great that Lezaford can remove himself to make space for those coveted Mono Wind Backup slots.
Sarah (FFL) (7-114H
Popular Targets: Wol (5-075L), Faris (7-120H), Dusk (7-115R), Warrior of Light (8-048), Aigis (7-002R), and Ingus (2-075H)
Sarah is the most consistent out of all three of the 7 CP Backups because she searches your deck directly for a target to play. This comes at the cost of a limited number of targets and no action ability. Her only value target is Faris, who needs to be played in an FFV themed deck. However, the cards Sarah can pull are very powerful. Earth Wol for example, is an early game beater that can put you on the path to victory. Being able to develop a Backup early and play Wol at the same time is good value. The new Opus VIII Warrior of Light is also a nice target, as it can be key to a standard unit deck going off. Being able to not only tutor for it but play it onto the field can help your deck’s consistency.
Searching for Aigis to play into Sol or another 2 CP Forward can be an aggressive start, but will cost an additional card out of hand, and could leave you overextended. The Opus II Ingus would work similar to Aigis, but instead of overextending, you develop two Backups and a Forward all at once. This does require a pretty specific hand configuration but could be fun to test!
You would have to call me a jerk if I didn’t warn you about some of the drawbacks of these three Heroes.
1. Expensive cards are expensive.
If you are facing an aggressive or discard based deck that reduces your hand size early, this can potentially draw you dead as there is no scenario where you can top deck a 7 CP Backup and one other card and play the Backup (even if you were on 5 Backups you would need to break one first). This means you need to have at least one card in hand to top deck and play a 7 CP Backup (assuming you are at 3-4 Backups).
2. You have to build around them.
These cards can be slotted into any deck, you will need to play a specific element or archtype to play them. This can limit your deck choices, and if that doesn’t work with the current meta, then you are SOL (straight out of luck 😉).
3. Everyone is playing some dumb card named Veritas.
You heard me. Veritas so dumb he once tripped over a cordless phone. In all seriousness, in the current meta, you have to be very careful floating a Forward out onto the board alone, even if it did come at a discount. If you are midgame and have other Forwards out, then you are safe to use these Backups, just be careful making an early ramp play when your opponent can answer by slamming down a Veritas.
I hope I have inspired you to try some of these cards out. I guarantee that they are a lot of fun to play. In my opinion, Tama has potential to be a very competitive card this meta, and I will keep testing to find the best use for her. In general, whenever a new set is printed, don’t forget about these cards. If we see some nice 5 cost Forwards printed in Earth or Wind, always consider if it would be worth playing them off of Tama or Lezaford. New Warrior of Light card? Don’t forget Sarah! Well that’s it for me, I will keep working on my Crystal Cup options, and report back to you all next time.
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.