This deck is designed with the firm belief that Ice is the currently one of the stronger colors in the game. Passive control, counterplays and great low cost characters among other things are available in abundance.
While fire often is considered weak because the burns just don’t reach up to the characters so popular in the western world, Lann enjoys this fact as so few characters are able to block him. And most that can are smaller and break beneath his decent 7k body. Paired with ice we can easily pave the way by breaking ANY character below 7k with ease.
This type of deck have consistently scored well in Japan. While the meta there is different, it’s a very flexible deck that can be adapted to western meta if needed. The western formats are often more midrange or control related which suits this deck just fine. A few more ways to break or ignore the big characters are just what’s needed.
We’ve also seen examples in our formats do well. Michael Cheung ran a list with a similar strategy but fire with wind so the strategy overall is a proven one. Not only in Japan. He used Yuffie, Zidane and Lann paired with a bunch of ways of breaking the small defenders for cheap – paving the way for Zidane, Yuffie and Lann to deal the damage and Bahamut if several expensive forwards appear. It feels like a solid strategy.
Deck profile Video
Just finished foiling up the last card for this deck, Lann, this month actually! Really frustrating as foils are worse on photos and videos, but it looks good in real life atleast.. Some comfort. I tell myself it’s worth it.
Deck in Action
- High pressure from low cost curve.
- Avoid the first strong defenders with dulls, freeze, red mage.
- High pressure with Lann, and loads of ways to pave the way for a certain damage (Brynhildr, Bahamut’s Fury, Squall’s shot and Tifa’s (S) all make way for our Lann to do his job!
- Anti Summons! Summoner & Terra makes it more expensive and possible to completely negate just about any good removal or spell. Most players will discard expensive spells or wait for you to use your summoner.
- Bahamut for where there are 2-3 strong defenders and we can’t run past enough of them.
Forwards & alternatives:
Warrior of Light is one I tried to but just could not fit in. It is a great replacement for most cards. A 2cost that makes most 4-6cost characters unable to attack is great.
Terra is just overall great. Increasing summon costs by 1 for our opponent is always something. Especially in combination with a Summoner in backrow – our opponent will think twice before using Odin (5 cost) and Bahamut (10cost)!
Squall: Really cheap and hopefully eats an Odin for 5-cost with Terra out! One less Odin to play around and we just payed 3. Really nice! Well that’s what usually happens. If it doesn’t – this card can defeat most 5-6 cost cards, and sometimes without dying! Strange that it usually involves Squall dying, for some weird reason.
Snow (H) is a true meta card that combined with Red mage and Shiva we ignore 3 defenders and go for game. If they have no answer to a Serah-buffed Snow the opponents are in for trouble. If you play snow, however strong their first defender is, you can just ignore it. There are so many plays that just are so extremely powerful along Snow. Watch out for Guy, Sylph, Aerith though as they are among the best counters.
Kuja is my hero. Beautiful art and wrecking many of my opponents opportunities which is just what we want. Normally 5 costs are the target of ANY spell in the game. But this one effectively increases the CP cost of any ability or summon that target him by 2 unless they are in top deck mode. … Which is where we always want our opponent. We want to leave our opponent with as few options as possible – so it’s easier for us to deduce what’s coming and we won’t need as many answers to match their plays. Still trying to fit 2 Kuja in the deck..
Cloud is always a good choice in this deck and I’d suggest running 4 or maybe 5 clouds only we don’t want too many cards locked up being called cloud as Cloud will usually be removed. Cloud goes really well with Summoner and Terra. If no Cloud there are several great options: Kuja, Laguna R, Cid Raines, Terra R, another Jihl etc. Cloud is not a big loss for the deck. If not running Cloud I’d also drop the Summoner backup as it’s mostly for Cloud.
Argath is a solid choice. For 2cp the opponent have to discard a card. And you produced a small body that could either block or deal a damage. Not too bad.
Laguna R is basically an inconsistent Shiva & a 7k drop which is not bad at all really. The problems I see is that we often run into 2for0 or 2for1 situations with these dependencies. What happens is usually that we swing, they block with a 8k character and odin/bounce Squall. Both gone! Good players love to screw it up for us this way and I’ve had little success with the card with only a 7k body by default. The Ex trigger is lovely though which totally warrants a spot. But until Wind dies down a bit where I’m at – I just can’t play this card much 🙁
|3||Red Mage (Fi)|
Serah is amazing in my opinion. You always need 2 cost backups and this one makes Snow impossible to get to for many decks. There needs to be a blocker or a burn spell to kill him! Really nice. Or a AoE but Valefor nor Magus sees much plays. And if a Cloud copy is wasted on Snow.. We are fine with this!
Jihl is absolutely necessary and her ex is very powerful and her on-play effect is the cheapest source of freeze available. Running 2 or 3 is a choice of yours. In my format, there is a lot of wind, wind and earth and each have a great counter with reactivates or guy. While not fool-proof – it reduces the value. Run atleast 2, and always 3 if you face fewer reactivates than I do! 🙂
Red Mage only costs 2 for some reason and this makes sense to use then! Offering a unique opportunity to always be able to run past their best defender – if needed! Extremely useful to have. Always play one even if you don’t plan to use it. You opponent has to take red mage in consideration if you don and this usually saves you a damage or two or renders the likes of Prische completely useless. Fortunately for us who only really have Omnislash to remove 9k+ characters.
Time Mage is a unique backup with great control ability. If needed – it can shut down one whole attack per turn. Imagine using this on Gilgamesh (3cost) or Tidus (L) Blitz Ace. That is good value! Rendering their best attacker useless is the opposite of Red Mage but just as useful.. Sometimes your opponent will only have 1 attack that pierces your defenses and will hurt you – making sure they can’t use it might just save a few of your games. Definately a must have in current meta, though mostly for huge attackers, Lann, Yuffie (1), Gilgamesh (3) and Tidus (L).
Summoner is just amazing in my opinion. Always bring atleast 2. Your opponent will ALWAYS run some kind of summon that you absolutely must stop because it’ll ruin your win condition. Just having one on the field means Bahamut can’t hit you and that Odin is too expensive for the opponent. Imagine using this to block a Valefor L or a Bahamut. The ultimate satisfaction was had right there.
Zhangan/Reyn are great ex effects that help you keep the tempo up. Extra Tifas are immediately available as water kicks! Note that these are pseudo 2-cost with built-in handfix! Tutoring for the cards we want. I’d suggest 3-4 of these, with a Majority of Zhangans as we can easily get rid of extra copies of Tifa while we can only have 1 Lann out.
Evoker have a few uses. I’m playtesting 2 but have varied success. Having a 1cost backup on your second turn is the best position ever to be in. Free ramp without losing a single card is insane. This is all done while playing forwards to keep our opponent on their heels and tempo is bound to be in our favor. To keep up they might have to stop playing backups and focus on forwards – if they don’t they just have to defend and won’t score points of damage back. A great situation!
1 cost backups are underestimated but poor first turn plays so we don’t want to see too many. And we want space for Jihl, Red Mage and a Serah. Rest are of little importance in comparison. Always leave a single space for summoners imo. This deck usually don’t need 5 backups out at all to work anyway. We prefer the tempo rather than making slow investments in general.
Mog: First turn it’s a pseudo 2-cost while 2nd turn it’s a pseudo 1-cost. With tutoring for snow. Can’t argue with that. It’s a good card. Currently playtesting but atm, what I needed were extra fire backups so I brought 2x 1 cost fire as a test but we’ll see. Might replace with Mogs if it works out anyway! 🙂
|1||Bahamut’s Fury Ex|
|2||Shiva (3) Ex|
Shiva (3) is a powerful tool. The synergy with Snow is the icing on the cake. Style points for keeping Cloud tapped and a gold star for double freeze with Red Mage on third for ignoring three defenders. But sometimes it just delays the inevitable death. Their cards are still on the board. You have to make a meta call here, Bahamuts fury or shiva. Or a few of each. 2-3 Shivas is great and makes to really amazing plays. But it’s your call
Bahamut’s Fury is a downgraded brynhildr but cheaper to use against small targets. Not much to say here really. Brynhildr is better imo, but this can get rid of your worst card for dealing 7k, or just discarding a single card for a 5k burn. This can save you from a point of damage or let Lann swing true. Whichever is fine. Great option in place of Shiva.
Brunhildr is where my money is at for this deck. Brynhildr deals with most 2-3cost drops and several larger drops. After a (S) Meteor Rain or Magus it finishes off 9k+ characters. By itself it deals with Squalls, Lann, Paine, unbuffed Rikku, Yuna (Forward), Snow, Cecil (Earth) and all sorts of medium sized drops. Overall it’s more often an impact on the board and even as just a singular Ex trigger it usually leads to breaking a forward.
Bahamut. Oh this is such a fun card to play. It is the most satisfying card even to pull out. With the only good counters being Summoner & Aerith. While this deck can’t do much about it, we can often bait them out and respond with Bahamut instead to be safe. The math works out. This spell is amazing.
- Bahamut costs 1 card and 9 cp. So 11 CP. Murders 2 forwards and put them out of game. Golbez emperor and vanille counter built in.
- Odin costs 4 so 2 of them costs 2 cards and 8 cp. Effectively 12 cp. And it has requirements on what it can target.
Enough said. Bahamut just works.
- Cloud L: Not mandatory in anyway. Bring 2-3 Laguna R, another Kuja, squall R, Terra R or similar for still having that spice. Cloud is just a cool tempo beatstick. Slow starter, but once he gets going it’s game over for the opponent.
- Squall L: Squall L have great synergy with Lann. Most things that can block Lann are not exactly 7k. They are usually broken by Squalls shot so Squall really offers great synergy. We can swap out Squall but then I’d recommend 3/3 of Brynhildr & Bahamut’s fury to really have a way of letting Lann hit hard.
- Bahamut L: really cannot be switched out without making major differences to the deck. Bahamut is our main way of making sure the opponent don’t build up their win condition. It’s also the one of our few ways of dealing with 4-6 cost characters at all in this deck. Very important. Fortunately it’s generally not that expensive in Europe atleast! If you have to swap – we’ll need to add more and bigger creatures or better break effects!
- Lann H: Could be swapped out but the idea here with this deck is generally that Lann is our win condition. People might target Cloud and kill it to not lose, but Lann is scoring the free damage. It’ll be difficult to play without Lann, try get atleast 2.
- Cid Raine’s is a great budget option to keep the cost curve low while still being able to do damage. If they block your Argath or take damage in another way just play Cid Raines in mainphase 2 \o/
- Firion R: Firion R is such a great attacker. Works wonders! A solid cheap alternative in a deck that fights more card vs card. Really a great one <3
- Terra R: Terra is really a great card. If you do not have 3 Terra H, the R Terra or a combination of the two can serve you well. Well costed at 4 it can wind-wall a bit for you together with Squall (shot+burn) and the on-play effect is really a good one! Keep in mind that her effect is put on stack so she can respond with a burn or two AND her special to double all of it for a whopping 10k x2. Oh that’s an Ice Bahamut right there!? And leaving a character. Sweet.
- Laguna R: Great cheap forward that can replace Shiva in many decks without a big problem.
- Squall R: Squall is a decent pick if you go with 3 Laguna R. Great with hand disruption.
- Sephiroth R: A really underestimated alternative. If you drop it from an empty hand to discard 2 of your opponent’s cards it’s really powerful. Not a big loss for this deck. Easy to get off for great benefit! 😀
Mulligan & opening
- We’re looking for preferably 2x 1-2cost or Pseudo-2costs like Zhangan or Reyn. We have lots so it’s very consistent. You’ll always see 1-2.
- Mulligan for economy mostly, forwards will come. Argath/ice backup & Red Mage is probably my favorite opener.
- Bonus points on Evoker/Snow for turn 2 plays where we discard 0 cards!
- No first turn 1 Clouds please! It’s generally a really bad thing. It works against some decks that don’t have much responses to it, but please think first. If they use Yuna H or turn 2, or Leviathan with their first backup and a card it’s still a net win for them while they just keep playing economy. This isn’t Golbez. Try to not throw 2 cards for a character early unless you have to.
- Build economy while building backups.
- Jump for chances for tempo plays. An early Snow forces them to commit cards to the field while you spend a single CP. Value! Snow and Shiva might just ignore their first 2 plays anyway so this is still a great chance. Then just keep the ball rolling.
- Play Cloud as soon as you can and keep tempo up with Snow + Cloud. Effectively removing or running past 2-3 defenders per turn easily.
- Summoner early against decks running expensive removal spells like Odin 4 cost. It’s really important. Sometimes saving Cloud until you have one is wise.
- The mid game is all about Cloud. Use attack+Omnislash as much as possible.
- Kuja usually bring huge value and is difficult to remove without being on the losing end.
- Lann should be able to swing for a damage or two here and there against most decks and you have loads of tools to remove anything that could block him. Squall, Brynhildr, Bahamut’s Fury, Waterkick or Omnislash to name a few. Most really cheap and adapted perfectly for paving the way for our Lann.
- Red Mage & Snow both guarantee that any expensive early defender is quickly ignored.
- Deal 4-5 damage as soon as possible because that’s where ice&fire really becomes scary! Your opponent will not dare attack much.
- Just destroy any cheap small drop immediately.
- Ignore the first big drop with red mages or similar.
- When the second big drop appears, if you can’t snow+red mage it, start thinking about that Bahamut play! 🙂
- Keep them damages coming.
- We can go for game from 4 damage or there around.
- Across Snow, Shiva, Jihl, Red Mage & Omnislash we can easily deal with 3-4 defenders and still deal a damage or two with minimal losses. When it all goes as planned..
- Paving the way for a final damage Lann with a clutch Brynhildr secures games quite often. A great synergy! ^^
- Time Mage any Tidus or Gilgamesh R that goes for their gambit. #1 priority.
- Keep any Clouds or similar threats frozen if possible, until you can break them.
- Bahamut is the way we win usually.
Worst counter cards atm:
- Aerith counters just about every spell we’ve got up there. Fortunately, there is only 2-3 of those in the deck and we can play around it sometimes. Bait Aerith use and respond with Bahamut for great effect!
- Terra (H) makes all summons cost more, we can’t remove it with our summons and it also counters Lann very well.. But Squall can get her sometimes! Or Red Mage until we can deal with her.
- Guy is really annoying and skips half of our effects so break that dude and do it quick. Or Red Mage and look the other way.
- High power characters are a big issue. This deck has difficulties with fighting things over 9k. Fortunately, they are often high cost cards and Omnislash and Bahamut have a much easier time becoming cost efficient against many bigger characters.
- Scholar can be frustrating to deal with as it removes a lot of Bahamut’s value
- Titan stops half the Bahamut for effectively 4cp, quite cheap. Not in format atm, but it might become more frequent.
- Summoner. Well it stops Bahamut. Funny how the mirror have so many of the hard counters ^^
- Seymour breaks half of the deck while generating a backup. It hurts so much.