Final Fantasy TCG – The undefeated deck at Manaleak.com Birmingham’s first OP tournament, by Michael Cheung
Anticipation filled the minds of many fans when this new game was announced last year, but with no further big announcements or teasers, Square Enix decided to keep the details of the Final Fantasy Trading Card Game under wraps until its official release last October. Beloved and a cult classic, many fans (including myself) were keen to get their hands on the collectable cards, regardless of the gameplay and rulings. However, the game itself includes core elements from competitors MTG and Cardfight!! Vanguard, whilst adding its own interesting mechanics and Final Fantasy charm to create a brand-new game suitable for card game veterans and beginners alike.
Fire/Wind – By Michael Cheung Deck Tech
On the 21/01/17, Manaleak.com hosted its first Organised Play tournament in Birmingham, UK. After 5 rounds and a grueling 6 hours of dueling against different archetypes of decks, I managed to place 1st out of 28 players that attended! The videos link below show the deck I used (player on the right with the space playmat!).
You can watch videos of all 5 rounds here: January 2017 – Final Fantasy Opus 1: Organised Play Tournament at Manaleak.com Birmingham
The following is the deck I used to win the tournament:
Fire/Wind – By Michael Cheung
3 x 1-005R Warrior of Light
2 x 1-009C Cloud
2 x 1-016C Tifa
3 x 1-027H Lann
3 x 1-071L Zidane
3 x 1-085R Yuffie
2 x 1-086C Yuffie
3 x 1-182L Cloud
3 x 1-187S Cloud
3 x 1-189S Tifa
3 x 1-003C Red Mage
2 x 1-028R Reynn
3 x 1-064R Aerith
2 x 1-065C Aerith
2 x 1-083H Maria
3 x 1-088C Archer
2 x 1-188S Zangan
3 x 1-018L Bahamut
3 x 1-023R Brynhildr
Reasoning behind card choices
I built this deck with 3 types of forwards with different objectives in mind; unblockable attackers, removers, blockers.
The general idea behind the deck was to deal damage quickly and efficiently every turn if possible, ramping up your opponent’s damage zone early on before they can catch up. In the event that an attacker is blockable, an opponent 3 cost forward for example, a remover would come in play with its objective of removing any threats to the attackers. Finally, blockers are walls to prevent aggression from the opposition, allowing me to catch up on setting up the board for my attackers.
1-005R Warrior of Light – blocker
Warrior of Light was critical for my wins, his ability kept my opponent on their toes on how to deal damage without trading for a 2 cost forward. With this card on the board, I was able to buy an extra couple of turns setting up my field, playing Zidane for aggression or Red Mage to counter anything stopping him. Opponents had to think carefully on what resources they had to remove Warrior of Light, with it being a 2 cost forward it didn’t seem right for my opponents to spend so many resources to remove him.
This card is an instant plus in that the cost to play him gives you a greater advantage than your opponent who is trying to remove him.
1-009C Cloud – mainly for Cloud S effect/blocker
C Cloud was much more useful than I originally planned, I was able to chain his enter on field ability with the S effects of Yuffie or Tifa, and at one point, even an EX burst Brynhildr. A forward that gains 2000 power if a VII forward was on board, not to mention the Maria I played that also pluses 1000 power to all forwards you control, that’s a 2 cost 8000 power forward.
Very good for holding off any aggression from cheap forwards or for trading opponent forwards, so you can bring out the other Cloud’s.
1-016C Tifa – attacker
C Tifa was mainly used for the S effect of Tifa’s “Waterkick”. However, there were games in the tournament where I gambled on giving that first point of damage to my opponent on turn 1 to gain a quick advantage.
1-027H Lann – attacker
Lann was a key player in this tournament. Being unblockable against larger forwards, I managed to keep the aggression going by attacking with Zidane, dealing 2 damage per turn kept my opponent on the ropes. However, with Maria on the board, Lann’s ability wore off slightly as it became blockable to 8000 power forwards such as L Cloud or S Tifa. Nonetheless, at 3 cost, Lann quickly became a big threat for my opponents that they had to deal with.
1-071L Zidane – attacker
Zidane played his role amazingly, which was “the star of the show”. An unblockable forward to 4+ cost and cannot be targeted by opponent summons or abilities means that the only way to counter Zidane is to play a low cost forward to block him, or a way to deal AOE damage. My opponents quickly caught on and played small forwards rather than heavy hitters. However, with removal options such as L Cloud and Brynhildr, I quickly dispatched anyone in Zidane’s way to keep the aggression going.
Zidane kept the aggression going
1-085R Yuffie – attacker/remover
R Yuffie was very versatile in the way this deck works. She was able to accompany Zidane in dealing damage to my opponents, but should my opponent try to play a forward to block my small forwards, Yuffie became a remover and dispatched the threat immediately, allowing Zidane to attack on the next turn.
1-086C Yuffie – attacker/mainly for Yuffie S effect
C Yuffie was a very cheap option in dealing damage. Many of my opponents were focused on playing 3 cost forwards to deal with the Zidane, but were puzzled as to why I attacked with C Yuffie. To their surprise, the small Yuffie cannot be blocked by even the 3 cost forwards! This card completely caught some of my opponents off guard and did not have time to counter the forward before it was too late.
1-182L Cloud – attacker/remover/blocker (basically the most versatile card in the game)
L Cloud, there is a reason why he is the most wanted card in the game right now. He fits in all 3 categories perfectly. With Maria on board, you’re looking at a 9000 power forward with brave. During the combat phase on either players turn, he can potentially trade for 2 big forwards, clearing your opponents board to make room for Zidane. However, due to the threat that he poses on the field, my opponents were quick to prioritize on removing such a huge threat, and Cloud is prone to being destroyed by Odin or thrown back to my hand with Leviathan.
L Cloud’s versatility is endless
1-187S Cloud – attacker/remover/blocker
S Cloud was a big presence on the board, he buffed my attackers by an additional 1000 power until the end of the turn, including himself! The cost to play him also reduces if I have Yuffie or Tifa on board, and is 1CP cheaper to remove a big threat than L Cloud’s “Omnislash”.
1-189S Tifa – attacker/remover/blocker
S Tifa was used similarly to Warrior of Light. Keep in mind that S Tifa’s “Waterkick” ability does not require for her to dull. I was able to combo this with a simultaneous attack to remove any small threats, or to simply dull any big threats, and then make room for Zidane to pinch an additional point of damage. S Tifa can also be used defensively, as “Waterkick” also dulls an opponent forward so that I can prevent them from attacking.
1-003C Red Mage
Red Mage was surprisingly the 2nd most useful backup in my deck. Paying 2CP, you can make a forward unable to block for the turn, a problem with my opponents decks was that they didn’t contain many low cost forwards. In the event that no options were available to remove the forward, Red Mage allowed me to slip through enemy walls and deal more points of damage from Zidane and Yuffie, and with the lack of backup removal in the current set, my opponents could only pray that they would draw more low cost forwards.
Reynn was only really useful when it lands in the damage zone, giving me a free Lann from my deck, as it is difficult to play 4 cost backups whilst keeping the aggression going.
R Aerith was absolutely needed on my backline. A very influential card to have on my board to keep my opponents guessing on whether I would use her “Planet Protector” to save my forwards from getting removed. Not only that, but the fact that she plays free if you have 3 backups on the field, she really is an amazing card that served me well in the games I played.
R Aerith made my opponents think twice about targeting forwards
C Aerith was ONLY used for R Aerith’s “Planet Protector” and nothing more. Her enter on field ability makes her a 1 cost backup, but doesn’t even come close to R Aerith in terms of quality.
Maria was great in that I was able to gain that slight power advantage against my opponents that played identical forwards to my own. I was able to keep the aggression going when my L Cloud was 1000 power more than their L Cloud, or I was able to attack with R Yuffie when their small cost forward no longer matched Yuffie’s original power. Often overlooked because she costs 4, she played a big part in my victory in the finals.
Archer was not that useful in the games that I played as I didn’t meet any particularly threatening backups such as Minwu or Red Mage. However, chaining damage to opponents is a big part of this deck and will be impossible if a Minwu was on board. For that reason, and the fact that it’s the best 2 cost wind backup right now, I had to play 3.
Zangan played the same objective as Reynn, hopefully landing in the damage zone to get a free Tifa. On one game an EX burst Zangan allowed me to clinch the victory as my opponents forwards were all dulled, I was able to play C Tifa next turn to deal that last point of damage.
Bahamut costs a lot. That should be the first thing to pop up in anybody’s mind, but the pros absolutely outweigh the cons in that it changes the board completely. Being able to remove almost any 2 forwards from the game allows me to carry on attacking immediately after it resolves. If I’m falling behind, I go straight to Bahamut to remove the 2 biggest threats, and make a comeback by playing cheap forwards from there. The card is such a game changer, and I’m hoping to see more of this card in the future as its usefulness is very overlooked.
Brynhildr was an absolute must in removing a majority of forwards blocking any of my small attackers. The fact that is EX burst as well can surprise my opponents in playing too many small forwards or overextending.
The opponents that I encountered were not what I was expecting when I built this deck. The idea was to counter decks that contained and relied on big forwards, particularly Earth and Water decks. However, all 5 of my opponents hardly played any noteworthy big hitters, with the Lightning element being the most common theme out of my opponents.
If you’re an aggressive player and enjoy watching your opponents lose hope early game when they cannot block your forwards, this is the deck for you. If you have any changes or your opinions on the deck please let me know!
Post event interview and deck discussion
Finally, if anybody has any suggestions to what they would name this deck please comment below.
Thanks for reading,