Combo Breaker: Phoenix Combo
In this first installment of Combo Breaker we are going to look at the summon Phoenix and decide how we will best utilize the card and build decks that can synergize with what it can do. So let’s take a good look at the card first.
Here is the card:
The first thing you’ll notice is that this card allows us to put a 2-cost forward into play and it also allows us to do damage to opposing forwards. Vivi is a card that combos well with Phoenix in a very obvious way as you can bring back a Vivi that you broke to deal damage to a forward and break Vivi again to deal damage to a second forward. Since Phoenix can be played off-turn you can also bring back a Vivi and use it to block a forward your opponent did not expect to be blocked and then use Vivi’s ability to do lethal damage to a forward that has yet to attack. Pretty fun interactions so far.
Here is the first deck in our series of brews based around Phoenix.
This particular deck has a nice alternative win condition of running your opponent out of cards.
Phoenix can return a few of our forwards but the main targets will be Cid Highwind and Thief. We can get multiple uses out of Thief's enter field ability this way and bringing back Cid to block an opponent's forward will further our “deck out” strategy. We have multiple ways that help us add to the damage we do with Cid and Phoenix (7K). If we use Belias on Cid we can combine this with the additional damage effects to ensure Cid survives the combat as well. The other summon we rely on in this deck is Valefor. Since our alternate win condition is a slower strategy than normal we will use Valefor to hinder the opponent's offense as well as gain additional use out of our Thief, Barbariccia, and Zidane abilities.
Other notable interactions are Barbariccia and any damage effect.
Archer being used for eliminating Minwu. (It would shut down most of our damage effects.)
Not satisfied with just the one brew, I came up with another surprise blocker deck that has even more crazy combos in it.
This Ice Fire deck has some combos we have seen before. It has the Shelke into Gadot into X combo. This is a good way to start off an early turn and put pressure on the opponent. We also see the Palom/Summoner + Moomba trick to eliminate forwards of any power. I really like Palom in this deck because not only does the card interact well with Moomba, but all the other damage effects we managed to include. We also have Devout in ice to help us bring Palom back when the need arises. For example, using Terra’s action ability with Palom out will do 2k to a dull forward instead and if her S ability is active it will do a whopping 3K per each Ice CP you pump into it!
This is not a deck all about Palom though as we are here to talk about Phoenix. We still have the Cid + Phoenix combo from the last deck but this time it gets much better. When we Phoenix in a Cid Raines in response to an opponent swinging in with a non-brave forward we are dealing 6K damage before blocking with Cid and can trade up with a 11k after blocks. If we used Belias and had Palom in that scenario it moves us up to 15k and we get to keep our Cid after combat. We can also use Phoenix to bring in a Gadot and then drop a card like Vivi or Red from hand and give all our forwards +1k, all within the opponent's combat step. Even without a Palom in that scenario, the Red could block favorably against an 8K forward.
Another trick I like to do is attack with 1 cost Palom and damage a forward with the 2k damage ability and then use Moomba on that forward after it has been damaged. That way you can use Palom’s self break ability to get the 4 cost version into play.
Some tips when playing the deck are to make sure you apply damage to a forward first and then use Moomba to finish it off rather than the other way around. No matter how many times the opponent tries to increase the power of the card it will not save the forward.
I usually will discard a Terra early on to help set up for when I have a Devout in play and draw a second copy of Terra. With Palom in play you can Devout back the Terra and target two dull forwards and then respond with Terra’s Special to deal 9k to each. I usually rather Devout Terra into play in this scenario because I want to save my backups for using the Action ability on Terra to deal an additional 3K per activation to dull forwards.
I feel like there are many more lines of play in this version of the deck and it is my personal favorite of the bunch.
I can’t just end this with only two decks though. To the next deck!!!
This deck builds upon multiple damage effects that hit all of our opponent’s forwards and aims to wipe the board. Hecatoncheir is here to take care of any pesky Minwu that try to cramp our damage stacking style. Our Phoenix does 2k to all the opponent’s forwards on its own and then we can bring back some nasty 2 cost forwards that come with their own damage effects.
Check out this interaction: If put into play via Phoenix or its special, Scarmiglione does damage equal to half its power. Yang’s special also does damage based on his power in the same way so we can increase the damage these cards do using Enna Kros and Kefka. I especially like the idea of using Phoenix on Scarmiglione and then Kefka to quickly boost damage, followed up with Scarmiglione Special. The first forward will most likely take lethal damage and then when the Kefka breaks the Scarmiglione it will return to play with +2k power and deal its damage to another forward before the Phoenix damage clears. On top of all of this the opponent cannot respond to this since it all happens in the end of turn step where neither player gets priority to respond to things on the stack.
Phoenix on a Serafie allows you to bring back cards you can use to activate/reactivate Specials in a pinch or in situations when your opponent doesn't expect it. Phoenix on a Krile then activating Krile (no dull cost) does a combined 8K to all opposing forwards alone.
Machina has a crazy good special ability but his other ability interests me even more.
With all of the damage we are doing across the board, just a small amount of damage is needed to finish off a forward and once we deal damage with Machina to break a forward we get a chain reaction going. One of those enablers is Cinque to force our opponent to block with a forward of our choosing. The other card is Belias. If we save the damage abilities until our opponent blocks machina and then follow it up with Belias and said abilities we don’t have to worry about the opposing forward dealing damaging back to Machina.
The last and my favorite enabler is Raubahn.
Raubahn is a great way to get the chain reaction going from Machina and you know combo players like myself can’t resist a chain reaction. Because of the way Raubahn is worded we get to deal damage with Machina and trigger his 4K ability when the damaged forward breaks and do not need to enter combat to do so.
That is it for my first installment of Combo Breaker. If you have any of your own Phoenix combos you would like to share or if you have any suggestions for a card you want to see me brew deck ideas around feel free to leave a comment below. Keep brewin’ my friends.