Welcome Mysidians to Fabul, a peaceful kingdom defended by high walls and an order of formidable monks. These martial artists excel in hand to hand combat and are led by their humble yet fearless, leader, Yang Fang Leiden. Now we are not here to today about Yang, however. This article will be focussed on Yang’s daughter and disciple, Ursula (11-064L).
Ursula is the latest of hyper-specific Earth Legends that can only be played in decks built around them. As Earth is my favourite element, I am not always a fan of this design choice. In this case, I have found some optimism (doesn’t hurt that Ursula is Category IV). I recently played some test games on Untap.in with my pal David using an Ursula/Monk deck. While the games were casual, I was surprised by how useful Ursula’s abilities were, and how often I had a chance to use them. That inspired me to write this article, so let’s get started.
Note: I am going on a 14-day trip with my school to Europe and will miss a lot of the spoilers for Opus XI, hence the early article. Please take this into consideration if amazing Monk cards are revealed in Opus XI but are not featured in the article.
Right off the bat, Ursula’s ETB allows her to bring in two-drop Monks into the field, which makes it feel likes she’s free. If you pitch the Monk and another card for her, that is three cards from hand and two of them ended up on the field. For this ability, you will likely want to play some of the 2 CP Monk Backups, as that allows a CP efficient way to get on board early. If your opponent can’t match your Forward and prioritizes playing Backups, you can get some early damage in. Ursula also makes great Famfrit and Veritas bait, although you don’t really want to see her go to the Break Zone if you are playing a Monks build.
You cannot include just 2 CP Monk Backups however, because depending on your situation and your Backup lineup, you may need to play a Forward using Ursula’s ability. Monk 1-119C, Sabin 8-019C, and Yang 2-091C are your options so far (hopefully we see a 2 CP Monk printed in Opus XI).
Ursula’s second ability allows you to sack a Monk in order to do one of two modes. The first, "Until the end of the turn, Ursula gains +4000 power and Brave.", is pretty self explanatory. This mode is great on offense and defense as you can always threaten it. This can also be built in protection against damage-based removal.
Ursula’s second option, "Choose 1 Forward. Deal it damage equal to Ursula's power.", is a little harder to work with. Sure, you can break two Monks to use both abilities, but we are looking for a more sustainable option. Ideally, we can power up Ursula so that this ability can become as strong as possible with as little CP investment as we can swing. This leads us to the heart of the article, what kind of deck will Ursula thrive in? I believe there are three possible options: Mono Earth, Earth/Wind, and Earth/Fire. Below I will talk about the possibilities each archetype gives you and will provide a sample deck list based on the currently spoiler Opus XI cards.
Before I talk about each list, I will quickly address some cards that will appear in all lists.
Monk 1-119C: This card is a nice Forward target for Ursula and because we are focusing on power, this Monk could easily get up to 7k if not 8k power. Plays well with our other boosting methods and is a handy Famfrit/Veritas sack.
Monk 10-084C: I am currently unsure of this card but am testing it in 2 of the 3 decks. It is important to have multiple outlets for Yang 9-075R’s ability. The ability to boost its power in combat when you have a lot of untapped Monks is nice. It can deter blocks or removal from your opponent.
Wol 5-075L: This card is essential for giving a consistent power up to Ursula with the 2k + Brave mode. This allows you to apply the buff and then sack a Monk for Ursula to do 7k+ to a Forward.
Kadaj: Similar to Wol, Kadaj gives us another efficient power boost for Ursula and even cards like Monk 1-119C.
Yang 9-075R: Again, another way to boost Ursula, and provides a removal effect for any of your Monks.
Ingus 2-075H: This card is another way to play your 2 CP Monk’s on to the field. He also provides a way to colour fix if you have other 2 CP Standard Unit Backups in Fire or Wind. Ingus is helpful right after you sack a Monk with Ursula, as you can play Ingus to bring that Backup right back to the field.
Cecil 5-086L: Solid removal and ex-burst. Plus, this is the Mysidia Post, of course we are playing Cecil.
Summons & Monsters:
Hecatoncheir 4-093R: A solid summon especially when focusing on power. You should have lots of big Forwards to take advantage of this with.
Luminous Puma 8-080C: Important recursion card for Earth. Brings Monks and Ursula back to hand.
Monk 1-120C: I prefer the cheaper action ability cost of this monk over Monk 2-089C, especially in Earth/X.
Monk 4-095C: It is expensive to use this ability, but it is nice to have Diabolos protection among other things. Otherwise it’s an Ursula target. Could be switched with other 2 CP Monks based on your preference.
Monk 11-079C: Our new Opus XI Monk Backup. I have had this dude ready to ping for 9-12k consistently. Keep in mind that he does not count towards the count of Monks as you sack him as part of his cost. Your opponent can also remove your Monks (likely your Forwards) to reduce the damage of this ability.
Enna Kros 1-095R: One of our power boosters for Ursula and a lot of our Forwards. Loses a bit of value in the Earth/X lists. This may be a candidate to be cut if I find I don’t need it consistently to boost Ursula.
Star Sybil 5-091H/Maat 6-078R: Maat is a neat card with cool effects. He also helps you set up by searching a any Monk from your deck. However, his 6 CP cost is a lot to pay without Star Sybil bringing him in. I wouldn’t play him if you aren’t playing Star Sybil, as his other abilities are nice, but not necessary.
Using Summons to Power Up Ursula:
While you might think of trying Golem 1-106C, Titan 8-077C, Golem 9-065C, and Exodus 11-070R to boost your Ursula for her removal ability, I am not entirely sure if it is worth it. In most cases you are losing a card from hand AND your sacrificed Monk. Using something like Titan 6-075R however, can be a very cool two for one as you are already getting the benefit of the Titan's power boost and removal. Just be careful they don’t remove Ursula before Titan resolves.
It's time to move onto the deck lists! You can click each deck title below to go to the FF Decks page.
Option 1: Monk of the Crag
Playing Mono Earth has a lot of benefits for a Monk list. You can run more Earth-specific cards such as Ingus 5-074H, Raubahn 4-096H, Sieghard 10-070H. It also gives you access to more stable Backup development with Cid Garlond 9-067C. Recursion is also easier to build in with Miner 5-082C and Apururu 8-069R. Ingus and Enna Kros become your passive Ursula boosters. Don’t sleep on Ingus’s action ability, as it can be a good way to boost Ursula without spending any cards from hand. You can sack the Monk Backup you dull to his effect as well. The only downside with the Opus V Ingus, is that it makes it harder to play the Opus II version.
Option 2: Monk of the Gale
Earth/Wind brings with it the Star Sybil/Semih Lafihna package. This allows you to set up very efficiently and use Moogle (XI) to find any missing cards. Cheaper Star Sybils mean you can get Maat out easily as well. Don’t be afraid to pop the Sybil for a Wol, Kadaj, Ursula, or Ingus if you need to. The downside to Earth/Wind is that the deck can plug up your Backup space and make it harder to play as many Monk Backups for Monk 11-079C’s ability. Wind also gives you access to powerful staples such as: Zidane 3-056H, Y’shtola 5-068L, Aerith 8-049L (she is great with Hecatoncheir), Diabolos 5-062L, and Deathgaze (IX). Maria 1-083H gives you access to another Ursula booster and also makes your entire Forward army difficult to deal with.
Option 3: Monk of the Inferno
Adding Fire to your Monk list gives it access to an entire other set of Monks including Duncan 8-014L and three versions of Sabin. Picking which Sabin to play has been difficult so far. Sabin 8-019C requires his brother Edgar, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it also boosts Duncan. Sabin’s ping can combo with Ursula’s damage ability forgoing her need for a power boost. Most importantly, the 2-CP Sabin provides you with a 2 CP Monk that Ursula can bring back from the Break Zone, which is a place Sabin is likely to be if you have pitched him for Duncan’s Special Ability. Sabin 4-021L is a powerful card on its own and can take over matches by forcing its way through defences. This Sabin also has synergy with fight summons like Hecatoncheir. Sabin 11-018H seems to be another powerful card that can solo your opponent but is also at that sweet spot of a 3 CP cost compared to the Opus IV Legend version. This makes Sabin easier to play allowing you to get more Monks on the field.
Besides the Monk support, Fire also provides Lyse 8-139S, a fantastic booster for all your Forwards, and of course, Ursula. Terra 10-132S is a great all-round card that can combo with Hecatoncheir or just fish it out of your Break Zone. Bahamut is an anti-Feolthanos measure. Red Mage allows you to navigate a tricky combat situation where you’d like to attack with Yang’s removal stacked on a Forward but do not want to be blocked by another Forward. Red Mage is also an Ingus target. Shadow is one of my favourite Fire Backups and has synergy with Ursula’s second ability. If you sack a Monk Forward, Shadow is ready to two for one by pinging another Forward for 8k.
Ok, we did it! This is definitely one of the longer articles that I have written. Now I want to hear what you think? Which deck is your preference for Monks? Did I miss anything that you would add to these decks, or maybe you have an entirely different concept all-together. Let me know in the comments below. As always, thanks for reading Mysidians.
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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.