Card Analysis: Sephiroth PR-001

With Sephiroth being released to the public now – a lot of brews are on their way and everyone have their ideas what to do with the card. Many say it’s bad since it lacks brave unlike Cloud. Many say it’s broken. Here’s my thoughts! Pretty in-depth so skip to the parts you like! ^^

sephifullcard

Card art: 8/10 pts +1 bonus point

Sephiroth’s art is not the brilliant new renditions we’ve seen of late and it’s not an original art. There is new art of Sephiroth available. But… this is one of the most iconic so it gets a few extra points here! It’s an older art from the Nibelheim incident where the hero of SOLDIER descends into darkness and lay ruin to the whole village. Wreathed in the flames of Nibelheim – thus is Sephiroth portrayed on this card. Ominous and dark, just like we want our Sephiroth.

 

Card value (not $): 9/10 pts

Sephiroth is a very vanilla card with no effects other than his special. This is a huge downside that makes him _generally_ worse than Light Cloud in most ways. He lacks flexibility and the brave hit + Omnislash to clear the way is a way higher tier and in-card synergy. That he cannot attack AND use his (S) which makes him lose a lot in my book. If you use him for his (S) it often turns into a less agressive pure passive/control type of play.

Still – 8k is a good number to be at. Brynhildr isn’t enough and it’s cheap enough for not being too damaged by bounce. Odin is painful though.

Sephiroth is not exactly a fighter at 8k though, many 2 or 3 costs are able to trade with him. Keffka-meta and similar really ruin the day aswell. Thus sephiroth’s job atm is not to hit a whole lot but just go for the control and clear summoners or Aerith out of the way before Odin’s or Bahamuts perhaps? 🙂

Keep in mind that using it near the end of the opponent’s turn is great, as he’s available as a defender for their whole turn first, then proceeds to break a character when they’ve spent resources in their 2nd mainphase. This way he’s safe from Mustadio aswell! Relatively. There is no true end of turn so despite having tapped most backups they might just toss their full hand down for a Mustadio the moment he’s opened Hell’s Gate.

 

Card Cost: 10/10 pts

  • 4 cost is just perfect for a good card we never want to go higher unless it’s a completely broken card. 5 and 6 costs are dead cards turn 1-2 usually.
  • Odin 7 is a bit expensive on him and Leviathan not that efficient on long term. Odin 4cost is our biggest enemy as our opponent has a full turn to use it on Sephiroth before we can start using his special.
  • Being colorless really helps for consistency. Whatever backups or cards you have on hand you are still able to pay for his cost on the 2nd or 3rd turn for an early play. And keep in mind that for a double colored deck it’s not too big of a downside to not be able to discard him for 2 crystal points.

 

Abilities: 9/10 pts

Hell’s Gate (S) + 2 colorless & dull the character. Choose a backup and break it.

The ability is unique, there is no forward other than Sephiroth that break backups. There are many deck archetypes that are really countered by destroying backups. High cost curve decks will struggle a lot. Things like burn decks suddenly can handle Minwu quite alright – atleast if you also bring archer, hades or Hecatoncheir aswell.

There’s currently only Archer, Hecatoncheir & Sephiroth that reliably break the opponent’s backup characters. As there are several key backup characters that we can really benefit from removing – Sephiroth’s value increase. Lulu, Yuna, Time-Mage, Keffka, Aerith, +1k global, Summoner and many other backups adds so much to the decks mechanics that we really need ways to break or remove them somehow.

Breaking a backup usually doesn’t have an immediate impact on the tempo or field state. But it might remove abilities that people rely on from backup characters, reduce certain characters’ effectiveness and damage the economy in the long run. I’d value breaking a backup as around 4 crystals points of damage and an extra crystal point per turn until they reach 5 backups. Bonus points if you break the last backup of a certain color or remove synergy characters.

To get the most out of his Hell’s Gate (S) ability – use it before the opponent backups reactivate if you can. This means you score an extra crystal point’s worth of damage. But if you wait until near the end of your opponent’s next turn you can still use Sephiroth to block so this is probably the best way to go about it.

 

Strategy:

In my opinion – the early game is dominated by responding effectively to your opponents drops or getting ahead in economy. We can work with this!

  • Early game:
    • It’s all about making plans for the future. The best opener is 2x 2cost backups and then a Sephiroth turn 2-3. Then some sort of response to your opponents play.
    • Just like Hecatoncheir is a way to throw off your opponent on their start and backup reliance – Sephiroth can target key backups early game and doesn’t have to do it while attacking. I prefer taking a damage and possibly triggering an Ex aswell as attacking their economy for the coming turns.
    • He’ll force the opponent to focus on removal of him instead of going for the great plays most likely. Odins/bounce will fly. Better protect against it! Just like with Light Cloud.
    • Some counters to their first drops are recommended. Cards like Yuna Ex or
    • The deck really need to be able to let sephiroth and the hand work on destroying backups – simply killing 2-3 doesn’t always do much. But 5-6 is a huge economic hit. During your first 5 turns you’ve normally only seen 5+10 cards, of which around 5 of them are backups for a deck with 17ish backups.
  • Mid-game:
    • Closely watch their greatest backup targets and go for cards like Aerith. It can have a huge impact overall. Go for combo plays like forcing Aerith’s (S) Planet Protector and reply with removal on a forward. This means both Aerith dies and your removal spell goes through.
    • Try to deny specific colors. Against
    • Don’t free up Seymour, Mustadio or Yuna Ex unless you know they don’t run more copies or if you think it’ll still benefit you in the long run. If it’s their only backup for example, it might still be of value to kill it – forcing an expensive replay aswell as a crystal point of damage per turn in economic damage.
  • Late Game:
    • Sephiroth struggles in the late game because economic damage is of little use this late, unless you’ve somehow managed to keep them at like 2 backups.
    • Removing cards like Aerith, Minwu, Kefka, Jihl and similar might ruin their win condition or break their chances at ruining yours.

 

Counter difficulty: 4/10

(S) abilities that targets backrow characters have fewer counters at the moment while summons that target forwards have the most. If you pay a lot for destroying a forward it’s likely that they can answer with a Scholar, Aerith or a whole bunch of other skills while at the moment – Yaag Rosch is just about the only thing that stops the spells resolution.

(S) abilities that requires tap have a fair few things that might stop them from affecting the game overall. Shiva, Jihl, Leviathan, Yuna Ex, Odin and a ton of other abilities can be used to stop Sephiroth from being able to do much. Since he does not have haste – the opponent have a full turn rotation to deal with him before he can start breaking backups.

 

Direct counters:

  • Cheap backups are not as efficient to remove
  • Play a little bit more backups. Just the 1 or maybe 2 is fine. The backup removal costs a lot.
  • Cards that deal with Sephiroth the moment he appears. Odin, Shiva etc are usually the best. Using shiva on characters like Cloud and Sephiroth might screw up their entire hand. Bounce works too for this reason – they might have 2-3 on hand if unfortunate! We love it!
  • On-play backup effects means they are nearly useless to remove. Mustadio, Yuna Ex, Seymour, Jessie etc have a large portion of their cost used when they’ve been played. Note that destroying a unique (without the 3-card icon top left) is scary. You might throw yourself into a situation where you are hit by another Shantotto, Mustadio, Seymor or similar 🙂
  • Backups that can break for effects. Archer is a perfect example. If they would target archer just activate it and they have a net loss. They’ll not target archer though.

 

Strengths: 8/10

His effect is amazing and the ammount of options are increased. When Sephiroth works well he clears the opponents backup line. Together with a hecatoncheir or similar – there’ll be no Minwu in sight, and Aerith will go down. Summoners won’t stop us. +1k  global buffs like Maria don’t last for long. It’s a huge deal under decent circumstances.

For this card to work there are 4 main areas to conquer.

  • Field. You have to retain a decent field to not lose to aggro or tempo plays. And Sephiroth rarely really does much here.. Perhaps Keffka & something like 9+ cost ~2-3 units could help us do this for example. Other extremely effective cards could also do it. Cheap or defensive being the focus.
  • Economy. You have to somehow get ahead in economy. We cannot just spend it all on sephiroth. We need an advantage, thus we have to quickly build ours up to 4-5 preferably.
  • Handsize. As this card directly hurt your opponent’s economy – they’ll have to discard more cards from hand to keep up. 1 backup is equal to half a card per turn in advantage. Plus their effect being lost until replay! Destroying them really means business. We want them to be top decking after a few turns so cards that helps us out with this would be great – Serah is a great example or something that might work. Delicious Kefka synergy too.
  • Damage: While stalling Sephiroth is just great and attacking their hand is nice as a strategy overall. We also need to actually deal damage and not get too far behind. My recommendation is to play a bunch of Ex effects and allow a damage or two early if needed and use a hecaton and sephiroth to deal with the worst things like Keffka, Maria & Aerith. Perhaps going for a Shantotto or Cloud of Darkness could be useful to narrow down our opponent’s option. Once Sephiroth is killed or bounced, Shantotto is often a great plus.
  • Backup numbers: They will only draw a backup on around every third card. So if we get backup removal per turn they will stay at 0. Unfortunately there are not that many – but if we get a few early and mid game we can still remove the most important effects aswell as hurting their economy so much that Sephiroth easily pays for itself.

 

Synergies: 8/10

For the best synergy colours and card choices we look at a variety of card strengths and different types of synergies. Sephiroth need a fair few synergy cards to really get the ball rolling. Just a Sephiroth by himself is rarely value as a cloud would usually perform better.

  • Defensive synergies would be cards like Aerith, Cecil, Summoner, Terra and Titan that could let our Sephiroth live enough to start attacking their backup line.
  • Direct synergy cards for backup destruction would be Hecatoncheir, Hades & Archer if we really want to tilt the game a lot in that direction.
  • Indirect synergy cards could be cards like Keffka & cheap units to make sure you can live while doing this – stalling cards or Control cards works great too if cost efficient. You want to stall and then starve probably. But also cards like Serah or Squall (R) that depletes the resources your opponent might have on their hand will work.
  • Strategic synergies in my opinion would be to go for a control/stall/starvation type of deck with effective plays and starvation in mind. Maybe a little bit higher cost curve but still a bunch of cards to survive the early game or counter rush decks.
  • Tactical synergies for me is running something that works alongside the direct use of his removal. Aerith to keep him save/sylph to enable the use of it. Scholar to bounce him back and force another removal spell. Tama to bounce him in after the opponent have exhausted resources and proceed to use it safely in the beginning of your turn? Titan for protection? Loads of different abilities really give him useful in the interactions with other cards.
  • Enabled synergies would be Bahamut, burn cards or similar as you are now able to kill Minwu with relative ease so that burn works. Or kill summoner/Aerith so 7-9 cost Bahamut work out fine. This is what I’d call an enabler. It let’s us use those kinds of strategies and clear the way for our win conditions.

 

On play value: 3/10

A vanilla on play.. there is no immediate value to make sure the play is foolproof. We have to first set up a protection for him just like with Cloud. An Aerith, Titan, Golem, Summoner, Terra or Scholar is ideal but there are other ways to work with him. Making him last a bit longer is useful.

The value is highest if played early as our opponent have not always drawn into their removals but don’t play it at any price. We need backups first and possibly a small blocker to prevent free damage.

Value is further reduced once our opponent hits 5 backups. Giving them the chane to replay a backup or play a new one for an effect can be a problem, so we want to do it as early as possible, in general. Or perhaps wait for them to discard their first Minwu dupe and then kill the one on field – but that’s tactics you’ll have to feel while playing! ^^

 

Meta impact: 7/10

This card will hit the market slowly but surely and it brings a new ability. It will not destroy the meta nor will it be stapled in all decks – but it gives backup removal to colours that did not have it native, and complete backup annihilation when used with other backup destroyers. Anyone could bring 4-5 Sephiroths without it adding too much of a problem.

We always compare Sephiroth to Cloud. Dark to Light. And well – Cloud is amazing. The absolute god tier. And no – Sephiroth is worse than Cloud, but brings this unique ability into play which will hit the meta. You can’t only bring 3-5cost backups and pray that it will work well. Sephiroth will hite those like a truck. Poeple will have to bring more on-play effects to reduce the damage Sephiroth will deal and increase average ammount of backups to maybe ~18-19 to be on the safe side and discard more backups if scared of being clogged by it.

Still. The meta receives more ways to get to Minwu, Aerith, +1k buffers, Kefka and other god tier backups that really needs to be gone.

 

Sephiroth’s favorite colour

Earth is a given in my opinion. The advantages are many and the color is really strong overall. It offers great synergies and melds well in with our strategies.

earth-choices2

  • Jessie, while not a must-play kind of card – the card searches Sephiroth. Fine. Not too bad! It’s not my top card but if you like Sephiroth and early, it’s definitely something to consider. Play 2 probably.
  • Strong defensive cards, ideal for walling or stalling. Just like mill decks profit on it, it’s great for starvation. 2x cheap cards on board and Kefka means that their 2x 9k characters can’t hit. Try bait into a Shantotto play with a card or two if they commit to field. They’ll remove Sephiroth after a while and that’s the best timing. They’ll think you won’t use Totto since your god tier card is on the board so they might commit to field! <3
  • Earth supplies us with Hecatoncheir which is a complete baller. Definately one of my favorite cards atm. Paves the way against decks that incorporate win conditions from backup characters that are normally hard to reach. Great with another swing at their economy. Direct synergy to tilt the game even more in our favor.
  • Great cheap cards that double for blocking things like Zidane or assist with deterring aggro or help out as suicide bombs with Kefka. Each being a complete terror when potentially buffed to 11-12k+ for free.

 

Secondary Color

The second color is much more difficult to choose for me. Ice is in no way near mandatory as these cards can be splashed 2-3 of them with no real negative impact overall. As long as I keep a big hand and a majority of my main color, having 2-3 colors is no issue. The second color we choose is way more difficult. Here are a few cards I chose of my secondary colors I could see myself running,

Wind

wind-choices

  • Archer supplies a direct synergy to further make holes in the opponents economy. It kills off key cards like Minwu and Red Mage fairly easily.
  • Aerith, Sylph, Maria and Baralai gives us many ways to protect him against Mustadios or any other kind of ability/summon flung his way.
  • Reactivates really helps in case you are in an ice matchup.
  • Chocobo included as a joke but synergy with Keffka is real. 9k threat with haste. MVP Vaan!
  • Hope included for Kefka synergy. Effective 2cost with Alexander Synergy. Useful in this build if only as a Kefka/Golem target. Baits into great plays or walls of against someone afraid of the Kefka.
  • 5 Aerith in any deck is a great tool to have. My favorite near omni-counter, ever.
  • Zidane offers little synergy but is always handy. In a worst case scenario he just costs or gives 2cp. Not a big loss, stop complaining about Squall L etc! 😀

Water

waterchoices

  • Low costcurve cards with Knight, Mime, Geomancer to go with Kefka for sick synergy. Bring along Warrior of Light for a multifaceted synergy & backup plan.
  • Ultimecia & Cloud of darkness supports more slow & control type of plays.
  • Ultimecia, while a control card, doubles as a tempo play, and with Mustadio, Leviathan and Yuna Ex synergies she’s great! <3
  • Cecil as a lightning rod to save Warrior of Light or Ultimecia for example. Stops ice entirely aswell. Squall, Shiva, Snow and it all just fizzles.
  • Yaag is useful against Sephiroth mirror matches but does not stop Hecatoncheir. Still 2cost backup that does something is fine. Not important in my book though unless Sephiroth becomes a thing.

Ice

ice-choices

  • Ice is great with Earth for a starvation deck.
  • Serah & Argath are AMAZING with Kefka (11k & 8k). On play goodness that kills something then demolishes a defender or attacker to then die for an easy 2 for 1! Great against decks with bounce as only removal too.
  • Great control cards.
  • Replay Sephiroth with Devout near the end of your opponents turn for safest Hell’s Gate (S)! 😀
  • Lots of freeze/dull available
  • Great targets for Kefka (Knight, Terra etc)
  • Squall R & Kuja can help making sure the opponent is top decking at which point lower economy is EXTREMELY painful. A great counter against good (S) abilities. They can’t sit there stacking Gilgameshes and Aeriths for lategame.
  • Hades has it’s uses. Try to not bounce great on-plays! X(
  • Will probably skip the knight but I’ve found that it’s actually not that bad. With Kefka atleast. Golem means it kills most attackers that are not garland, it blocks zidane and survives Squall L shot. Overall decent, but is usually skipped in favor of something with more text… Kefkas sweet spot is 5-6k for 2-3 + a decent effect.

Overall we have options with great synergy in many colors. Lightning nor fire is bad – but I’ve chosen these as my top synergy colors for now. Fire is bit weak atm bar a few techs and I feel the offensive tech of for example red mage is a bit wasted here. Lightning work as control cards are great, but I just don’t feel the synergy elevating the Sephiroth to greatness.

 

TLDR:

  • Sephiroth is a decent card. Arguably amazing but nische.
  • Cloud is amazing god tier material which is the main reason most decks won’t run it.
  • All colors could run it.
  • For decks that are completely shut down by Minwu/Keffka/etc it’s golden and of top priority. Burn effects becomes a thing again!
  • On play effect backups value increase as it’s not as big of a loss to lose a backup where part of the cost is their on-play.
  • Archers and similar backups that can break for their effects are also great – a targeted Archer can activate itself as response and break an opposing backup – effectively rendering the effect of the opponent useless. Perhaps more of these will appear? Looking forward.
  • Yaag Rosch might finally see more play. It only really stopped Archers threat before – but now with Sephiroth PR added, it might be useful to hide your good stuff behind him!

2 Comments

  1. I’m just getting into the game and just got the FF7 Starter Deck as a basis and going to modify it with cards. Would Sephiroth along with Hecatoncheir and Vanille work well with this deck to counter Minwu to allow your Fire burn abilities to go through?

    • I find Hecatoncheir to be an absolute necessity in this format. Zemus, Devout, Tella, Maria, Kefka, 1k in-element boosters etc. Always so many great targets! Hecatoncheir+Sephiroth also means a lot of backups will be killed so I’d focus on some cards with good sustainance on the board. While Vanille is a good example – she also remove the Hecatoncheirs out of deck so I’d go 3 Hecaton and 0 Vanille atm.

      Some good cards to use:
      – Cheap cards like Cloud C, Serafie, new 2-cost Yang with Kefka+Golem still breaking larget 4-6 cost cards.
      – More expensive control type of cards like Raubahn, Guy, Prische or Vincent.

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