Ice Crystal Cup Germany 2019

Last weekend on the 9th and 10th of March the first Crystal Cup of the 2019 season took place in Dusseldorf Germany. The event was hosted by FFTCG.org who provided a team of friendly judges and entertaining commentators, the same two from the Grand Open in Bochum last year. There was also a dedicated table judge for the stream, although he seemed to be having more fun than most of the players. The event ran smoothly and was by far the best FFTCG tournament I have been a part of (except for Worlds 2017). Big shout outs to every player in the room making the event extra entertaining, just about everyone had big smiles. The people I stayed with were all really kind and fun to be around, definitely looking forward to rooming with them again in Milan! I will miss the sandwich toaster in Milan, but I cannot have everything, what I can do is be sure to take enough potassium with me to Milan to get my EX Bursts on point.

The event was the first split draft and constructed tournament for FFTCG. Many people had doubts about drafting, however, it really did make the top 8 cut feel like the top 8 players in the room, after playing 8 rounds of swiss in day 1 and 4 additional rounds of draft on the 2nd day, to make it through that gauntlet was no easy feat. I finished top 4, losing to the same 50 cards in a very back and forth game. During the Swiss portion of day 1 I finished with a score of 7-1 losing again to the mirror and during the draft portion I lost to an aggressive opening. I had a lot of help from many different people with the construction of this deck, a big thank you goes out to: Robert Phillips, Jackie Haden, Xavier Saint Hilaire Knowles, Matthew Okimoto, Matthew Rice, Vince Scanlan, Kurosawa and finally Jonathan "Laguna" Southway for first inspiring me to play a Magic Pot Sephiroth deck (you'll have to wait for opus 8 to see that bad boy in action).

Wetherspoon Warriors. Final formation, Ice/Earth. Aka. SuperHappyFlanO'Clock

https://ffdecks.com/deck/5691570095390720

--Generated By FF Decks (ffdecks.com)--

Deck Name: Wetherspoon Warriors. Final formation, Ice/Earth. Aka. SuperHappyFlanO'Clock

Created by: yehosera

Forwards (24):

1x Argath (1-033)

2x Cid Raines (1-192)

1x Lasswell (7-042)

2x Serah (1-195)

3x Genesis (3-033)

3x Rinoa (6-041)

3x Cecil (5-086)

3x Cid Aulstyne (3-036)

1x Kuja (6-027)

1x Orphan (5-029)

3x Sephiroth (7-034)

1x Nidhogg (6-130)

Monsters (6):

3x Flan (4-043)

3x Flan (7-081)

Summons (3):

3x Glasya Labolas (5-032)

Backups (17):

1x Cid (WOFF) (4-034)

2x Harley (3-044)

2x Jihl Nabaat (2-037)

1x The Emperor (7-134)

3x Duke Larg (1-057)

3x Edward (5-031)

1x Jessie (1-204)

1x Mog (XIII-2) (1-196)

1x Minfilia (6-079)

2x Shantotto (1-107)

The Tournament

Round 1 - Water/Wind, this was the stream game for round 1, my opponent opened well, but I was talented enough to rip a 2nd copy of Shantotto after he committed to the board. Then eventually grind him out of cards and won, it was a real slug fest. Normally Water/Wind games that go this way end up being lost (as he hit 5 EX Bursts), but I had a string of powerful draws in the mid game to help me accumulate enough advantage that he could not recover.

Round 2 - Mono Fire, there's not much an aggressive deck can do to this deck as it's a full defensive deck. In addition the deck has no protection from Shantotto, so that round was rather easy. Just wait for Cecil/Cid Aulstyne to come online and the matchup is simple.

Round 3 - Water/Wind, I played this really cool Sephiroth card and my opponent exploded.

Round 4 - Earth/Wind, my opponent opened very poorly, and I was able to capitalize on that with Sephiroth taking away all of his remaining cards after his first turn. From that point onwards it's just about keeping their hand permanently empty every turn. Even 2 cactuars and a Dadaluma are not enough to stop this Ice/Earth deck as the vast majority of the forwards have 9,000 or more power making 2 Dadaluma pings not enough to stop them. Once Dadaluma is reduced to Black Belt/Celes status, the deck doesn't have very much left going for it.

Round 5 - Water/Wind, I played this really cool Sephitoth card and my opponent exploded.

Round 6 - Earth/Ice, this time my opponent played this really cool Sephiroth card, however, he also played a Rinoa. It was my turn to explode 🙁

Round 7 - Mono Earth, this is where all of my practice against the EX master Robert Phillips paid off. Against high EX count decks, just deal 1 damage a turn except if it's an EX in which case you need to find a way of messing up the draw string they're on (more on that and why Rikku is inherently unfair another time). So by dealing only 1 damage a turn I managed to evade EX Bursts due to my superior potassium levels and close it out with a win. Vs a more standard Earth deck, your dudes are just as big as theirs, but the Ice portion grants an additional line of assault; attacking their hand. Once their hand is depleted, all they can do is play 1 forward a turn and eventually lose.

Round 8 - Agrias something?, basically the deck is forced to go in hard early on thus putting them into the role of aggressor. As Ice/Earth is a full defensive deck and they have no protection from cards like Cecil/Shantotto/Cid Aulstyne just sitting around and waiting for those cards to be live is good enough.

Draft

My initial thought going into draft were that I wanted to draft Earth as it's the 3rd most powerful color in this opus. Due to this it shouldn't be too highly contested and if the all powerful Galuf is found the color can do some serious damage. As such my first pick from my first pack was Yojimbo, however, I was then passed 2 copies of Styx confirming that water was free. So I swapped over to a water based deck focusing on bounce effects to try and stall the game out until I amass enough forwards for a 2 turn kill. I did get the Galuf later on into the draft, but I could not find enough Earth cards to justify swapping away from what I considered a very powerful deck just to splash Earth. Due to the cards being in German, I had to ask the judge for translations on 3 cards, Mime, White Mage and Geosgaeno, funnily enough Rob also asked for translations on the exact same 3 cards, due to his lack of an indoor voice I heard this and found it funny that we were both on Water and didn't know what half the cards we picked did.

Round 1 - Earth/Fire, my opponent opened 2 backups into Aigis + 2 drop. I didn't actually die quickly to that opening, but my lack of a lightning backup really hurt me and once one was found it was too little too late.

Round 2 - Ice/Wind/Earth, this game took forever, my opponent kept dull freezing my only 8,000 power forwards for 5/6 turns. This meant I was stuck forever unable to attack due to my forwards being so weak. In addition he could never attack because I kept bouncing his key attackers back. Finally thanks to Coeurl was able to find a lethal setup with a Red Mage bouncing one of his blockers then, thanks to the haste from Coeurl, activating it's action ability to remove a 2nd blocker.

Round 3 - Ice/Lightning, this was another stream game. I got lucky and my opponent thought that Yuri would be his ticket to victory, however, I bounced the Yuri at least 4 times. This meant that a lot of CP was wasted playing Yuri each turn meanwhile I was able to progress my own game plan without much of a problem.

Round 4 - Water/Fire/Lightning, again streamed. My opponent used Exdeath Tidus at least 7 times, however, I was able to just about punch my way through it and get another win securing my spot in the top 8.

Top Cut

Round 1 - Water/Wind, another slow game that I could've lost, however, repetitive large forwards meant that there just wasn't the diabolos count to remove them all. Aulstyne lined up perfectly with one of his Yuris and Rinoa on the same Aulstyne destroyed the 2nd. This lead was enough to let me close out the game despite opening slowly. Game 2, my opponent started with a Porom, however, due to his bad opening hand Sephiroth was able to destroy his hand and his hopes of making it out of top 8.

Round 2 - Ice/Earth, Stream game. Game 1 I went first and was able to combat his aggressive opening. A string of potent removal tools meant that I was able to manage his board and what was left of his hand allowing for a timely Aulstyne draw to essentially seal the deal. Game 2 I was 2nd, and his opening was far too powerful for me to handle, I died very quickly that game. Game 3, I managed to handle his aggressive opening thanks to Shantotto, however, I drew some blanks in the following turns while he was drawing gas every turn, this eventually added up to a defeat and me finishing the tournament in the top 4.

The Deck

This deck is meant to be played as a fully defensive deck. First manage their hand size, then manage their forwards and leave them with nothing. If in doubt play defensive and make them discard.

Forwards

Discard

Argath/Serah, both of these cards are needed for when the opponent finishes with 1 card instead of 2 to play around the Sephiroth a bit. Serah is exceptionally potent as Mog XIII searches for her making for some clean and efficient early turns. The Argath isn't too needed, but with Thaumaturges ban, some cheap discard effects are needed and there isn't anything else to fill the hole left by Thaumaturge...yet. The ratio 2 and 1 has been working nicely, I wouldn't consider any more of less of them at this time, it's just enough that I can draw one of them early and hold them until they're needed and not draw so many I clog.

Sephiroth, the center piece of the deck. The deck functions because of Sephiroth's ability to distort board states and oppress the opposing forwards and their options. Not only does the card force the opponent to discard 2 cards, but it has a potent on attack effect and an even more potent S ability. All of which have synergy with each other, making the card require little to no support other than more copies of itself to generate hostile board states for the opponent.

Dull Freeze

Genesis, powerhouse since opus 3. With Duke Larg, Genesis is able to bully a lot of the forwards played by Water/Wind making him a hassle for that deck to manage. With Duke Larg on the field I highly recommend playing the Genesis as soon as possible. This way he not only denies the opponent a forward for 2 turns, but also taxes their hand by drawing out removal spells making the Sephiroth even more devastating. It is worth noting that during the early periods of the game, only Sephiroth and Genesis should be attack mostly. This is because they have on attack effects and you should never really want to block with them.

Kuja, I almost want 3 copies of this card. As the deck has 2 breakable backups and 1 of them being situational, the Kuja to free space is almost mandatory. Kuja also has 9/10,000 power granting him the hidden text "massive", making the opponent's usual removal tools ineffective some of the time against Kuja. He is a really potent removal scout for Sephiroth as they tend to die to same things, however, the Kuja can come back later when needed.

Orphan, I didn't really use Orphan much, he could be cut from the deck. He has many merits, 9/10,000 granting hidden text "massive" and category XIII making him a powerful lategame search off of the Mog XIII, but even so, the card just wasn't very impressive due to the huge cost. I would rather the Serah from opus 7 as Jihl and Mog allow her to be as effective on the lethal turns and she provides the deck with an infinite value card.

Removal

Cid Raines, the greatest card to date. Puts you a step ahead while putting them 2 steps behind. Punishes early Zidanes/Paine EX from Water Wind. Punishes Leila Viking. Making people sad. Beats up nerds. Cid Raines does it all. Generally he is most potent during the early phases, so if he is in the hand, then setting up a turn with him/Lasswell/Glasya/Rinoa can really set the opponent behind.

Lasswell, Cid Raines lite. Lasswell has the advantage of sometimes dealing 7,000 damage to allow him to solo kill most of Water/Wind's forwards or a Dadaluma that has been pinged. The biggest advantage is that he can be played at the same time as a Cid Raines! This is something that 2x Cid Raines cannot do, so that's the main reason to play a single Lasswell over the 3rd Cid Raines.

Cecil, the perfect card for any defensive deck. Sit back, take damage, swing the board with Cecil. He's big and tends to demand a Diabolos otherwise he trades into everything, and if left unchecked will not only remove a forward on entry, but also block and remove more forwards during the combat phase with ease due to his large stature.

Cid Aulstyne, him touching the field tends to signify that the game is won. The conditions for him to be live are that the opponent's hand is empty. Due to this combating a 9/10,000 power forward that just removed one of yours with an empty hand is no easy thing to accomplish. In addition, unlike all the other removal effects in the deck (bar Nidhogg), Cid Aulstyne can target active forwards, thus signaling that it's time to start the offensive. Essentially, once Cid Aulstyne is drawn, setting up to get his entry ability off will end the game or severely damage the opponent's ability to win the game making him a worthy focal point when planning how to play out a hand.

Nidhogg, the big bad removal and discard endgame super boss. Rinoa on him finishes the game. He was originally a 3cp EX Cloud, however, I was sick and tired of Yuri running away with the game, so added in a super boss to delete Yuri. Although thematically Nidhogg should probably be sending it's time hunting Estinien, I brainwashed it and made it think that Yuri claimed it's eye. The moment a Yuri hits the field, Nidhogg should come rushing towards the top of your deck to claim that Yuri's life and slow down the opposing deck.

Rinoa, every single forward has an entry ability. Prime targets are Cid Raines, Nidhogg, Sephiroth.

Summons

Glasya, sadly Ice only has 1 playable summon (except if you want to play 4-6 Shivas), so I was kinda forced into Glasya x3. Works well with Cid Raines and 7,000 tends to remove everything Water/Wind plays.

Monsters

Flan, Ice Flan is part of the deck's mid game plan, setting them up to provide bonus CP by searching Earth Flans and amassing enough of them to delete the enemy hand for 0cp on the turn they're used to set up Cid Aulstyne. Without the Earth Flan the Earth cards would be almost impossible to play as there are so few of them. Earth Flan is hard to play around as it can be played from hand for 0cp allowing weak forwards like Serah to trade up into valuable forwards like Y'shtola. Finally, as the opposing player's hand should be taxed all game, the Earth Flan providing a way to make a forward unable to block if CP isn't paid should be enough to close out most games, this is because the opponent simple shouldn't have access to that much spare CP. Don't be afraid to play out an Earth Flan early and start pressuring their hand with it's ability to try and force Genesis attacks through.

Backups

Cid (WOFF), brings back Flan if you have to discard one early and extends the amount that can be discarded in one turn by one more. Also, it cannot be broken by Archer (*cough* Sascha *cough*). Essentially it's a breakable that discards a card or setups flans, so it's very potent. I would like a 2nd copy in the deck ideally.

Harley, it's just there to help high roll Edward. As the deck is a discard deck, the Harley is needed as the Edward is needed. 2 is enough to see it kind of frequently enough, much like 2 Semih in my Urianger decks hoping to high roll the Star Sibyl on the following, but not so many that I clog or dead draw them frequently in the late game.

Jihl Nabaat, there are too many Alhanalem floating around, and due to the hand pressure it is a required tool to manage your field as they are generally too low on cards to pull off big summon based removal. In addition, the auto win vs Fusoya decks is nice.

The Emperor, I would not cut this card from the deck, I actually want a 2nd copy. The EX and entry ability are so potent. It allows for closing out games while your usual dull freeze cards cards are already on the field to be a possibility and with Kuja the Emperor can be used multiple times during a game. The discard 2 to break a forward is an effect I've not used very often, but having the option to has been nice.

Duke Larg, allowing Genesis to bully weaker forwards is so very powerful. The trick to the Duke is to treat him as having an entry ability instead of a passive one. Look for spots where the 1,000 extra power actually matters and favor other options instead when it does not make a difference.

Edward, says discard and sometimes Silent Verse wins the game. I wouldn't suggest holding onto Edwards except vs Water Wind in board states where a Diabolos would ruin your field.

Jessie, adds Sephiroth. Sometimes it can be used to add Genesis, but Sephiroth has so many really cool lines of text I always want him.

Mog (XIII-2), searches Serah and Cid Raines. The main reason the card is in the deck is because 3cp backups are so much more powerful than 2cp ones, so I wanted to include as many as possible for making efficient early turns. Mog is the best for efficient early turns as if there would be wasted CP when playing the card Serah can utilize the CP to keep the turn efficient.

Minfilia, as the deck aims to simplify the game state early on, this tends to mean that multiple powerful cards end up being discarded to play card like Sephiroth. Being able to add those cards back to your hand when they become good later on in the game is a really strong effect.

Shantotto, this is the main advantage the deck has over Mono Ice. The added dimension of Shantotto making certain matchups that Mono Ice would usually struggle with into a walk in the part is where most of the power comes from. Shantotto is all element except Light and Dark so Kuja can be used to break Shantotto to gain space to play a new one.

TL;DR Cid Raines got me top 4 at Crystal Cup Ice

- Joshua Freeman-Birch

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