【FFTCG】Talks About Decks! ~Focus on Decks achieving success abroad~

Welcome back to another entry into the official article series for the “FINAL FANTASY TRADING CARD GAME”. This week, our writer Taruho will introduce two standard decks that have produced good results in overseas tournaments.
(Sorry,This article was created during “Dawn of Heroes” enviromanet. This information written here is not up-to-date. )

Hello, everyone!
I’m Taruho, and I’m an official article writer for “FFTCG”.

We are now midway through the “Dawn of Heroes” metagame, and the meta decks for both Standard and L3 constructed have been solidified.

Up until this point in the series, I’ve been introducing decks that are performing at the forefront of local tournaments, but this week, I’d like to spotlight decks that have made a mark in the World Championship qualifiers abroad.

There are often differences between Japan and overseas in terms of tournament formats and trending cards. Thus, it’s not always a matter of directly copying a deck and using it with success in Japanese tournaments. However, there are surely aspects of these successful decks that can serve as inspiration for us.

In this article, I’ve picked out a few decks from the international tournament scene that caught my eye. I’d like to delve into and analyze them from my personal perspective.
Looking to the future at the upcoming the final qualifier of the “Japan Championship 2023 Autumn” in Tokyo and the “JAPAN CUP 2023” scheduled for the following week, it’ll be interesting to see if similar decks are represented at these prestigious events.

◆The buzzworthy new deck “Earth/Wind Cast” that conquered Europe
First up, I’d like to introduce “Earth/Wind” the deck that won the “European Championship 2023” held in London on September 16-17.

●Deck List “Earth/Wind” (Winner of “European Championship 2023” Format: 2-Deck Standard)

Deck List
[10-074C] Suzuhisa 1
[17-063R] Luso 3
[12-061L] Krile 3
[15-083L] Rydia 2
[16-048H] Zidane 3
[18-119C] Chelinka 1
[20-056H] Bel Dat 2
[14-057H] Rosa 2
[16-135S] Lulu 3
[2-049H] Asura 2
[12-039C] Alexander 2
[17-053R] Chocobo 2
[10-055H] Chocobo 3
[10-068C] Cu Sith 3
[9-068H] Mist Dragon 2
[16-043H] Atomos 2
[1-103C] Kimahri 1
[6-067R] Epitav 1
[11-073H] Tilika 1
[13-043C] Stiltzkin 1
[17-049C] Cid Pollendina 1
[8-058R] Norschtalen 3
[19-046C] Buddy 2
[11-072R] Tyro 2
[1-107L] Shantotto 2

This deck features cards like [17-063R] Luso, [14-057H] Rosa, and [16-043H] Atomos, as well as summons with strong drawing capabilities such as [12-039C] Alexander and [10-055H] Chocobo. From these selections, it’s clear that the deck primarily revolves around the wind element casting gimmick.

However, what makes this deck exceptional is that it doesn’t merely rely on the casting gimmick. While traditional casting decks aim to overpower the opponent by utilizing the vast resources gained from their casting gimmicks, Earth Wind has another win condition in mind: aiming for the opponent’s deck-out.

One significant advantage of targeting a victory through deck-out is that it strengthens the matchup against removal control decks like Mono Water. The traditional Mono Wind vs. Mono Water matchup typically favors Mono Wind. Still, there were numerous instances where, despite Mono Wind having board advantage, they would end up losing due via deck-out because they over-extended to counteract Mono Water’s removals. Having a deck-out strategy stabilizes matchups against control decks.

Contributing to both resource-based victories and deck-out victories is a new card from “Dawn of Heroes”, [20-056H] Bel Dat. With Warp-2, [20-056H] Bel Dat has an auto-ability that sends two cards from the opponent’s deck to the break zone every time a Warp counter is removed from her. Moreover, she has another auto-ability that, when she enters the field, exiles a forward from the opponent’s break zone, allowing you to cast it.

The gimmick of reducing the opponent’s deck and allowing you to cast cards is similar in role to [16-048H] Zidane, which is also included in the deck. However, while the highly random [16-048H] Zidane takes cards from hidden zones, the [20-056H] Bel Dat, though limited to Forwards, has the distinct strength of being able to use specific cards.

To address the summons that cannot be chosen by [20-056H] Bel Dat, the inclusion of [12-061L] Krile offers a consistent solution that fits with the deck’s concept.

Another excellent point in the deck’s construction is using [1-103C] Kimahri to produce CP of the same element as the opponent. This is to cast cards chosen by [20-056H] Bel Dat or [12-061L] Krile. The idea of using [12-061L] Krile and [1-103C] Kimahri as a set has been around since the release of “Opus XII,” where [12-061L] Krile was included. However, with the introduction of [19-046C] Buddy searching for [1-103C] Kimahri, and [20-056H] Bel Dat adding value to cards other than [12-061L] Krile, this idea has been elevated to a practical level.

Moreover, due to the overall low cost of summons in the deck, [15-083L] Rydia can operate solely on her initial growth counters, which further supports the accumulation of casts. The deck is so finely tuned that it feels like a build that was destined to win, achieving a very high level of win rate.

On the other hand, the choice to include [14-067H] Shantotto instead of [1-107L] Shantotto emphasizes a dedication to cycling one’s deck, a decision that feels particularly tailored to the 2-Deck Standard format. Especially in Japan, because there are many aggro to mid-range decks like Fire/Lightning and Ice/Lightning, if one considers using this deck in domestic tournaments, additional tweaks for faster decks will likely be necessary.

◆The Culmination of a Long Evolution: The New Mono Lightning
Next, I’d like to introduce Mono Lightning, a deck that placed highly at the “North American Continental Championship 2023” held in Los Angeles on September 9-10.

●Deck List “Mono-Lightning [Chaos Ark]” (11th Place at the “North American Continental Championship 2023” Format: 2-Deck Standard)

Deck List
[5-068L] Y’shtola 1
[12-004R] Alphinaud 2
[16-100L] Y’shtola 3
[20-090H] G’raha Tia 3
[16-090R] Seymour 1
[20-086H] Alisaie 3
[17-096H] Man in Black 3
[10-098L] Feolthanos 1
[16-129L] Chaos 3
[17-090R] Ixion 3
[20-103H] Ramuh 3
[15-101R/6-102R] Ramuh 3
[15-090H] Odin 3
[19-105H] Ark 3
[6-086H] Arecia Al-Rashia 2
[19-076R] Kuja 1
[20-095C] Weaver 3
[20-098R] Chadley 2
[1-150R] Lulu 1
[5-120C] Louisoix 1
[19-084R] Ricard 1
[13-077C] Zemus 1
[17-094C] Cid of Clan Gully 1
[20-105C] Reeve 1
[10-138S] Ramza 1

Among the international tournament results I’ve seen, this Mono Lightning deck stood out the most. At its core, the deck relies on a potent control package of [16-129L] Chaos + [19-105H] Ark.

This high-cost Dark element Forward + [19-105H] Ark package has been in the spotlight since the previous meta, and beyond Mono Lightning, it’s been incorporated into various decks like Mono Water, Earth/Lightning, and even Mono Wind as a two-card combo.

A star in this deck when incorporating this combo is [6-086H] Arecia Al-Rashia. While it may be somewhat less efficient than cards like [19-068R] Rydia in terms of cost, it can search for the key card [19-105H] Ark at any time. Moreover, if you have excess [19-105H] Ark in your hand, you can discard them and convert them into other Summons. This boosts the combo’s consistency and mitigates the risks of heavily using Dark element cards.

The deck features a wide variety of summons, including [17-090R] Ixion, which enhances aggro resilience, and [15-101R/6-102R] Ramuh, capable of monster removal.

Furthermore, with the presence of [17-096H] Man in Black, reusing these summons becomes effortless in a deck already boasting high value potential.

On the other hand, in the previous meta, aside from the Chaos-Ark combo and [17-096H] Man in Black, there were limited means to gain an advantage. The forward value seemed somewhat insufficient. However, the release of “Dawn of Heroes” has given us tools to significantly improve on this issue. New key players include [20-086H] Alisaie, [20-090H] G’raha Tia, and accordingly, [12-004R] Alphinaud, which has now been elevated to an all-purpose search card.

[12-004R] Alphinaud, a forward with an auto-ability to search for a character when played to the field through abilities or summons, has been experimented with since its release. However, it was challenging to consistently bring it to the field using more than two methods in any deck, and thus, its true value was rarely ever actualized. Now, with the introduction of [20-086H] Alisaie (which can be played from the break zone) and 【20-090H】G’raha Tia(which can be played from the deck), the utility of [12-004R] Alphinaud has greatly improved.

In this deck, even the wind attribute [5-068L] Y’shtola has been adopted, which I found to be the most impressive card. It functions not only as a special ability source for the listed [16-100L] Y’shtola but also as a support for safely executing the Chaos+Ark combo, which makes it truly a masterpiece of a card choice.

Additionally, in “Dawn of Heroes,” cards like [20-095C] Weaver, which enhance mono-element decks, have emerged. Although there’s a cycle of these backups for each element, [20-095C] Weaver, which can boost the power of [20-090H] G’raha Tia, provides significant benefits to the deck. This easy integration is another strength of Mono Lightning.

◆In Conclusion
Today, I introduced two decks from international tournaments that particularly caught my eye.

There are many unexplored deck types internationally, providing valuable insights as we approach the end of this meta. The final qualifying round for the “Japan Championship 2023 Autumn” is just around the corner in Tokyo. It might be a good idea to utilize this as a testing ground for decks that have been successful overseas, especially as a precursor to the “JAPAN CUP 2023”.

Next time, I plan to bring an environment analysis article as a comprehensive summary for the upcoming “JAPAN CUP 2023”. I aim to cover everything from the decks I’ve introduced so far to the latest ones that will shine at the Tokyo event of the “Japan Championship 2023 Autumn”. Stay tuned!

Until the next article, take care!