The Back Breaking Black Mage – Dan Nguyen

Hey everyone, Dan here.

As some of you in the competitive scene might know, I have somewhat of an affinity for breaking my backups to break my opponent’s strategies. Opus 7 spoilers have spun up and provided us with a new Lulu backup. This spoiler caught my eye and it’s safe to say I’m really excited to see if we can build around this new card. It’s been a while since a fire element card has interested me but with what the new Lulu backup does that is similar to the old heroic Lulu of opus 1, this one seem like its right up my alley. With this article, I wanted to take a moment to evaluate the new card and look at some existing examples with how older cards interact with the new Opus 7 Lulu backup.

The obvious interaction is to pair her up with backups that have enter the battle field effects like Irvine (2-001H), Vivi (3-018C), Black Mage (2-108C), and Fusoya (2-116R) that have one time removal effect. However, I also want to draw attention to other backups that aren’t just solely used for removal. Fire typically doesn’t have too many strong backups outside of cards like Red Mage and Lebreau from Opus 1, so Lulu definitely adds a lot of utility to the element. First off, most of the more popular Fire backups don’t break themselves. This can lead you to having a lot of dead draws after you’ve capped your backups at five. While you can’t just chain backups over and over again like the Heroic Lulu, with this new Lulu from Opus 7, you can at least squeeze out one more trigger from one of your backups that you draw later in the game from your deck. That’s a pretty powerful for a 2 CP backup that can be used to kill a lot of 7000 power forwards being played right now.

When I first saw Cid (XI) I was really intrigued by this effect on a Fire backup. I’m sad he doesn’t see play right now. However, I think that has more to do where Fire as a whole stand instead of the backup itself. In the early game it can act like a 2 CP backup and help you dig a little deeper for that card you need. The backup can also be used to fill your Break Zone with Devout targets or Archfiends. The downside of using a backup like this is that drawing additional copies feels really bad later in the game. The +3000 power buff to all your forwards can help you finish out the game if only you could play a second copy later in the game. Now with the new fire Lulu, not only can you nuke a target for 7000, but now you would be able to break the first copy of Cid(XI) so that later on you could play a second. This allows you to have access to a Gippal level buff possibly swing the game in your favor. It won’t win you the game if you’re behind, but it will definitely break you out of a stalemate.

Not the most exciting interaction with Lulu, but it does make it so you aren’t behind a backup when you do play her and it thins out your deck by a card. Maybe more of an honorable mention but I don’t think Gumbah by itself is good enough to see play. There are too many strong Ice backups to choose from and I couldn’t see other players wasting precious real estate for this mysterious youth.

So, this card is one of my favorites and has the same problem that this new Lulu has. Once you play the first copy the additional copies feel pretty bad to draw. However, because the effect is pretty good, you are incentivized to run multiple copies. Because the downside is pretty significant, this card ends up getting cut. However, with Miounne, you can now pick up Lulu (if you played Lulu first) and draw a card. The Lulu can then be recast to break Miounne so that you could play other copies. If Miounne was played before Lulu, the Lulu can be played to break the existing Miounne to again free you up to play additional copies of Miounne. There might be a Fire/Wind deck out there where you get to cycle these two ladies over and over.

What’s great about Thordan VII is that he finds you the exact card you need. What’s even BETTER is that a lot of players forget you draw a card when Thordan VII goes to the break zone. That doesn’t happen in most decks. Most players play him as this 5 CP card that nets you another, so he’s a pseudo 3 CP backup. However, with the new Lulu, Thordan VII because a pseudo 1 CP backup. This can allow you to play another copy of Thordan VII (if and when you draw the next copy) allowing you to search out another card you may need.

In conclusion, I’m hoping with the new spoiled Lulu backup and other Opus 7 fire cards we have yet to see, that fire starts to make a comeback in the competitive scene. Even if it doesn’t, there’s a chance that fire could at least become a strong support color based on using this new and inexpensive backup. Also this new lulu backup is another useful card for FFX Title format decks – more Thundaga fodder !! (someone play title with me!).

I hope this quick look at Lulu sparks some of your deck brewing juices. I know I’ll tinker with it when I finally get my hands-on Opus 7. What other interactions do you think will be a potent combo with Lulu? Let us at Meta Potion know!

- Dan Nguyen

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