Final Fantasy Trading Card Game Opus VIII review – Reader’s Feature

A reader reviews the latest core set for FFTCG and finds that Final Fantasy VII’s Aerith is one of the most powerful cards ever made.

Some readers may recall that last year I wrote reviews concerning the Final Fantasy Trading Card Game (FFTCG) fifth and sixth core sets. Recently the eighth core set, aka Opus VIII, was released alongside two brand new starter decks.

FFTCG is a one-on-one competitive trading card game based on the worlds and characters from the Final Fantasy series, where players utilise familiar characters and monsters to inflict damage on their opponents. It features many characters from both mainline and spin-off games from the series, such as Final Fantasy VII, IX, and Brave Exvius, and introduces new titles to FFTCG, such as Final Fantasy XIV expansion Stormblood and Final Fantasy XV. Opus VIII consists of 148 cards which now brings the total card pool to over 1,200. Each card also has a premium foil counterpart if you are a completionnist.

The two starter decks are pre-constructed of 50 cards based on Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy XIV, along with cards made up from previous sets. They also contain a handful of exclusive cards that are not obtainable through opening Opus VIII booster packs. These starter decks are specially designed for competitive play straight from the box, just find an opponent and you are ready to go.

The Final Fantasy VII starter set features familiar faces from the series in the form of Cloud, Tifa, Barret, Red XII and lesser known individuals including Marlene Wallace and Godo Kisaragi (Yuffie’s father). All of the cards from this deck are based on either the earth or wind elements.

The Final Fantasy XIV deck includes characters such as Lyse, Alisaie, Yugiri, and Fordola and compromises of the fire and lightning element types. I touched on each element’s characteristics in my Opus V appraisal, if you would like to know more.

Both starter sets and cards from Opus VIII complement and boost existing deck archetypes. For example, the Scions of the Seventh Dawn card trait now has additional support and synergies thanks to the influx of these new cards. Themed or tribal decks that revolve around a specific job class or card name, such as Ninja or Dragoon, also gain additional interactions.

I would still recommend playing any of the multiple existing starter decks as the best way to learn and get into the game. Once you have enough practice and are familiar with the mechanics I would then start customising your deck by swapping cards that suit your playstyle.

If you are struggling with the deck-building process or inspiration then you can turn to any of a number of content creators that dissect every single card in a set, weighing up its strengths, weaknesses, and overall playability. Top tier critics also rediscover long forgotten redundant cards that are now suddenly playable due to new cards thanks to fresh interactions. One such individual who has been creating video since Opus I is the excellent Joesephyr, check him out on YouTube. There are also a multitude of deck lists online to be found, from casual lists to national tournament winning.

This recent IGN article was dedicated to just one card, Aerith from Opus VIII. This in-depth profile lists its strengths, weaknesses, counters against it, and cards to include in your deck alongside it to maximise its effectiveness. For example, as the review mentions, the Marlene card can bring Aerith from the discard pile if she ever gets destroyed. Marlene’s full text reads as ‘When Marlene enters the field, choose 1 Card Name Aerith or Card Name Cloud or Card Name Tifa or Card Name Barret in your Break Zone. Add it to your hand.’ You can have this Aerith card as your deck centrepiece and build around this single card.

Another notable card from this set is Ark, which is the highest costed card to date and costs a whopping 10 Crystal Points (CP). To put this in some sort of context you would have to discard five cards from your hand just to play this card, so it is quite a gamble. Ark features as a boss in Final Fantasy IX, found protecting the Gulug Stone in Oeilvert. Ark is a summon type card which have powerful single-use abilities that are put into the break zone/discard pile after use. Whist this card text is undoubtedly powerful it also targets your own characters, so seems a bit too situational for my liking. The card is not bad to look at though, especially when you have the foil variant.

Staying with the artwork, Opus VIII features exclusive original artwork. It is always lovely to see a fresh take on an old design. Also, for the first time a handful of Opus VIII cards are depicted with their Kingdom Hearts design, by renowned artist Tetsuya Nomura.

Next up for FFTCG is Opus IX with Vincent Valentine as its cover star, which releases in July 2019.

By reader Thomas Pozzetti (Eyetunes – PSN ID)

The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

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