Final Fantasy TCG – The undefeated deck at Manaleak.com Birmingham’s third OP tournament, by Michael Cheung
Ice/Water – By Michael Cheung Deck Tech
Not as catchy as the first one, but another undefeated win nonetheless! Manaleak.com hosted their third Organised Play tournament on the 18th February, with 16 players attending.
The following is the deck I used to win the tournament:
Ice/Water – By Michael Cheung
2 x 1-033C Argath
3 x 1-042R Squall
3 x 1-043H Snow
3 x 1-046H Terra
3 x 1-058L Laguna
3 x 1-059R Laguna
3 x 1-152L Ultimecia
1 x 1-158H Cloud of Darkness
2 x 1-160H Gordon
2 x 1-195S Serah
3 x 1-053C Summoner
3 x 1-157C Scholar
2 x 1-171H Minwu
3 x 1-176H Yuna
3 x 1-193S Jihl Nabaat
2 x 1-196S Mog (XII-2)
3 x 1-038R Shiva
3 x 1-170C Fairy
3 x 1-178R Leviathan
Reasoning behind card choices
I built this deck with the intention to remove my opponent’s cards away from their hand as soon as possible. They can’t play cards if they’re discarded, right? Especially when they are not expecting it.
The style of play really depends on the player, it can be played very aggressively as a tempo deck. Or, you can set up your backups, play a few big forwards and keep controlling the board as a slow control deck. Generally I played it as a combination of both, starting aggressive with cards such as H Snow, dealing damage whilst playing backups to gain momentum, and finishing off slowly with L Laguna and L Ultimecia.
Argath fits well with the tempo style of play in that he is very cheap for what he does, his highlight isn’t his power, but his ability to make your opponent discard a card. Being able to play H Snow and Argath by discarding just 2 cards in the first turn can generate a huge advantage early game. Not only do they discard a card, but they must play a minimum of 2
forwards to counter H Snow, or use more CP (again, by discarding) to remove him. If not, your opponent is looking at getting hit 2 points of damage in turn 3, and if they are even more unlucky, 4 points by turn 5.
R Squall was a very important player in keeping the advantage on my side of the table.
By having both R Squall and R Laguna in your hand you are given the option of playing in 2 ways, you can keep the tempo going by playing R Squall first and then R Laguna to dull and freeze an opponent, allowing you to get a few hits in the turn. Or, playing R Laguna first and then R Squall to keep your opponent from playing cards, both ways give you an incredible advantage and both cards coming to your hand is more common than you think.
Note: in this deck, there is an incredible combination that can be triggered if you have R Squall and R Laguna in your first hand. Playing first or second, you discard your entire hand to play R Laguna first, and then playing R Squall to make your opponent discard 2 cards. This immediately sets your opponent on the back foot with only 5 cards instead of 7 (if playing first), and they must figure out how to deal with 2 9000 power forwards in the space of a few turns.
R Squall’s combo with R Laguna is amazing
H Snow on turn 1 almost guarantees a couple points of damage at the beginning of the game. Your opponent will either normally have to spend an inefficient amount to remove a 1 cost forward, or play 2 forwards (which for the first turn, that’s many discarded cards already gone), keep in mind this forwards costs 1. But that’s not all! Whilst you’re generating momentum, your opponent is stuck in a very awkward position of having 2 forwards and no backups or cards in hand, play a R Shiva to dull and freeze 1 of them, and then use H Snow’s auto-ability to dull AND freeze the other! Another couple of free hits as your opponent whines about their forwards not activating. Marvelous!
H Snow is such a big problem for so little cost
H Terra was a very tricky card for my opponents to play around. In this tournament, a majority of my opponents were also playing water themed decks, with many strong summons such as Leviathan/Fairy (also in here!).
Your opponent must make the decision of generating more CP to play summons. Worse off, even if the extra fee is paid, H Terra can’t be targeted by them! Keep her on the field, your opponent is already at a disadvantage in paying more than they should. Her S effect also keeps your opponent guessing on a 3k buff and First Stike, keeping her active as a wall can make sure your opponent slows down.
L Laguna is very difficult to deal with for your opponent in either players combat phase. You’re able to dull and freeze thanks to the many options in this deck, but by attacking with L Laguna your opponent is left with a choice: to block and break the blocking forward, or to let the damage go through and potentially break a dulled forward. Either way, a good amount of the time, you are breaking a forward whenever L Laguna attacks. His S effect has great versatility, it can be used any time without dulling, particularly defensively when an opponent forward without Brave attacks.
R Laguna was a great card in the tournament, partnering up with R Squall as mentioned above gave me an overwhelming advantage against my opponents.
As mentioned previously, the duo are lethal when played together, the fact that his ability is also an EX burst only makes him that much more valuable in this deck.
R Laguna’s synergy with R Squall is amazing
Ultimecia played a great role towards the end of my games, my opponents at 6 points of damage had no choice but to play L Valefor to take all our forwards back to our hand. By immediately playing Ultimecia on main phase 2 they were unable to block when it was my turn again, taking the final point of damage as their forwards were dulled!
A great card that keeps your opponents alert. Generally, your opponents must be wary of Ultimecia as many players tend to forget about her field ability. It may catch your opponents off guard when they believe they can block this turn, only to find that whatever the play in comes in dulled.
1-158H Cloud of Darkness
Cloud of Darkness gets me out of uncomfortable situations, allowing me to reset the board. A neat trick I have used included a H Snow on board against 4 forwards, by playing CoD and choosing H Snow I can deal a point of damage by removing all but 1 forward.
Gordon played the annoying role of keeping damage away from my side of the table, my opponent had no choice but to pay inefficient amounts to break the 2 cost forward, giving me time to set up my back line and gain card advantage.
Gordon is definitely an underrated 2 cost card, similar to Warrior of Light’s role in my Fire/Wind build, he keeps your opponents from damaging you too much. The difference being that WOL generally trades, Gordon can stay on the board for a very long time, the longer the more annoying for your opponent! A great synergy can derive from blocking with Gordon, and then using Fairy to reactivate Gordon to block again, keeping your opponents from getting through.
Serah played the same role as Argath in keeping your opponents cards away from them. I was able discard any of their tricks when necessary. One opponent played L Lightinng to search for an Odin, with only 1 card in his hand I knew exactly what to play on my turn to keep my forwards safe.
Serah can also be searched by Mog (XIII-2) if you already have a H Snow on field.
Summoner was a great help for my deck in that it protects any of my forwards from summons. Because it doesn’t require dulling and only 1 Ice CP to use, keeping him active meant that my opponents had to play a summon or backup removal to break him. My opponent didn’t spot this and played 7 cost Odin only for it to go down the drain thanks to this card.
Summoner prevents your opponent from playing summons, plain and simple. A decent 3 cost backup that pays for itself to use its ability, and can definitely catch your opponents off guard.
Scholar offered great synergy with a lot of the forwards in this deck. Once I had the upper hand, using scholar to bring back an Argath only to play again applies even more pressure to my opponent. Another opponent tried chip damaging my Ultimecia, using Scholar on the 2nd part of the chip damage wastes even more resources for my opponent.
Scholar prevents your opponent from chip damaging carelessly. In some ways, it offers similar capabilities as Minwu in that you bounce back your forward at any time if they are in trouble of breaking. With this in mind, I decided to not include Minwu in this deck as I found him less versatile than Scholar.
Minwu doesn’t require much explaining, he essentially shuts down any deck that relies on chip damage, period.
H Yuna was a very valuable backup in the event. Bouncing my opponent forwards with a great field ability altered the board completely in my favour.
H Yuna is essentially the extra 3 Leviathan in this deck, bouncing your opponents forwards is very effective especially when they just discarded their hand to play it. Her field ability also counters field to break zone forwards such as Golbez and The Emperor, and keeps your opponents break zone with limited options as cards such as Sage and Devout require a filled one.
H Yuna offers a great amount for 5 cost
1-193S Jihl Nabaat
Jihl Nabaat gets the trophy for most valuable backup, at 2 cost she offered an incredible amount of synergy for the large majority of my deck. There was never a wrong time to play her, with so many cards in my arsenal to dull forwards, Jihl puts the ICE-ing on the cake by freezing them!
Not only is her ability amazing, but it is an EX! Opponents must slam the brakes in aggression as their forwards are suddenly frozen, giving you an extra turn to recover from the hit. Her S effect can also be sprung offensively to prevent a forward from defending, or defensively to prevent a forward from attacking!
Jihl Nabaat puts the ICE-ing on the cake
1-196S Mog (XII-2)
Mog (XIII-2) searches for your H Snow and S Serah, should you have this card instead of H Snow, grab him immediately and play him next turn!
Shiva was outstanding in my games. Keeping the pressure going by casting Shiva and then using H Snow to dull and freeze 2 opposing forwards just lets me swing and swing for damage.
An EX that can also stop your opponents from attacking, casting this whilst your opponent attempts to use L Tidus’ Blitz Ace or L Lightning’s Army of One makes them waste even more resources.
Fairy wasn’t as influential as I thought it would be. Whilst it had great synergy with Gordon, most of the time it was used for CP to play other things as I didn’t really require the extra card draw.
Leviathan on the other hand was the most efficient summon in this deck. Bouncing big forwards such as L Lightning during the combat phase created many big groans. For 3 CP, keeping a Leviathan in hand can get you out of sticky situations from too many opposing forwards.
The opponents that I encountered again didn’t exactly play the decks I was expecting. The idea was to counter decks focusing on the Lightning element, where Odin will be difficult to cast as cards such as Summoner and H Terra prevent it. L Lightning showed up once in the event, bouncing a 6 cost forward for 3CP thanks for Leviathan gave me an instant advantage for so little.
I truly underestimated the value of this combination until I played it thoroughly, the bouncing offered from Water compliments the consistent discarding from Ice, it really forced my opponents into terrible scenarios with very limited and predictable options.
If you’re a more tempo-y player and enjoy watching your opponent lose hope early game when they run out of cards to counter anything due the discarding from Ice, finishing off with big hitters that keep your opponents forwards in check, this is the deck for you. If you have any changes or your opinions on the deck please let me know!
Finally, again I’m terrible at naming decks, any suggestions to give it a corny name are greatly appreciated.
Thanks for reading,