Turtle Tips – Mono Water: Thomas Nguyen

Turtle Tips - Mono Water

With Opus 3, mono water received one of its best cards, Cagnazzo (3-130R). The turtle is capable of decimating an opposing field if the mono water player is allowed time to build up water characters to a respectable count. This card was pretty much the focal point of many early mono water strategies: ramp out backups and flood the board with as many forwards as possible. Flooding the board was facilitated with the early combinations of Lenna (3-137R) + Knight (3-139C) and later (with Opus 6) included Leila (6-126R) + Viking (4-133C). Lenna and Leila provided the mono water player the ability to go from having 0 forwards in play to 4 or more forwards in one turn all while still maintaining a healthy hand size. Once the mono water player builds a sizable board and a full back-row of backups, it’s only a matter of time before Cagnazzo comes down and either wipes the board or alternatively shrinks the board so small that blockers are not able to compete against the forwards that mono water has on board.

Since Opus 3, mono water received a few great cards which helped with the game plan of shrinking opposing forwards. Shrinking is a great way to deal with forwards that don’t take damage from combat or abilities or forwards that can’t be broken. Furthermore, shrinking doesn’t care if the opposing forward is active or dulled (which can pose tricky timing issues that lightning, earth, and ice can have). Cloud of Darkness (5-126L) provides the ability to kill off an opposing forward if the mono water player goes wide enough and provides a repeated ability to shrink the biggest forward on the opposing side each turn on attack. Another card that comes to mind also is Bismark (5-133H) which (along with the Yuna (1-177R) backup) allows the ability to half opposing forwards power for a mere 1 cp. Not many forwards can win combats with only half their power. Notably you can also bounce your cagnazzo for 1 cp instead of cracking a scholar backup for the 1 turn board wipe.

With the release of Opus 8, I’m excited to test out mono water again with two big new additions: Nichol (8-123H) and Leviathan (8-130C). These cards will most likely see homes in mono water decks as the cards care about how many water backups and water characters you control, respectively. A sample deck is below:


Nichol provides additional sources of power reduction for the mono water deck by allowing you to shrink up to two opposing forwards by the number of water backups you control. With a full resource row (e.g. 5 backups), Nichol provides 2 opposing forwards -5k power. This most likely will let even your smallest forwards attack through (or trade) with your opponent’s forwards. In a pinch, you could even bounce replay Nichol (doing a pseudo Cagnazzo impression) to remove two 9k forwards if needed.

The card I’ve been most impressed with in mono water is the new Leviathan. For the simple cost of two cp (presuming you have Yuna backup out), you’re now practically able to kill any opposing forward in play. As I discussed above, the straight power reduction gets around annoying abilities that prevent combat damage or opposing break effects (e.g. I’m looking at you Ardyn and Aerith). It is not hard, as the mono water player, to have 5 water backups and a couple forwards starting the mid to late game. With its cheap cost, the new Leviathan can even be combined with other shrink effects to take out larger forwards if needed. Don't forget that it counts water characters so if you go the monster route it is even easier to turn on Leviathan for a bigger power reduction!

I have some random other tech cards that I want to test out in the new mono water list to see if they’d fit. I wanted to run the heroic Eiko just because I think being able to cast Leviathan a fourth time in the game would be nice. Eiko can be searched up via the Steiner FF9 package that I’m choosing to run. Steiner is able to pick up the new Zidane (8-115L) when your hand is full and can continue to provide you card advantage. Also since it is 2 cp, it can be recurred via Lenna. Steiner can also pick up the new Freya (8-126H) to act as a mini Cloud of Darkness. Steiner can even pickup two other backups Artemicion and Brahne as needed to fix your draws or search for specific standard units.

Another tech card I want to test out is the new White Mage (8-177C). White mage provides mono water the ability to activate all forwards after swinging in (say after a Cagnazo shrink). With all the Valefor, Chelinka, Yuri, and Alhanalem shenanigans, Minwu seems in a great position to neuter what that deck is trying to do to. I also wanted to add in The Emperor (2-147L) as well to double up on shutting down Yuri and Alhanalem as well as Cactuar/Dadaluma (if that’s still a thing). I think The Emperor (2-147L) may be currently underrated with everyone looking to play with the newer dark cards like Kamalut and Veritas of the Dark.

Another notable mention I'd like to make is that while I am focusing on this deck with The Emperor as my dark/light card of choice, you best be sure that many Veritas of the Dark & Light Fusoya Mono water decks will still exist and even likely be played at the upcoming future events!

Anyways, with the upcoming Crystal Cup this weekend in Tampa, it’ll be an interesting to see what decks come out of the gates with the recent Opus 8 meta. What better way to take down the Fire Crystal Cup this coming weekend in Tampa than with a mono water deck!

- Thomas Nguyen

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