Welcome back to another edition of The Good, The Bad, The Synergy. This week we have a quick and easy discussion of the newest FFTCG card of the week: Lani.
Lani is a strong card. Her effect is to steal the top card of your opponent’s deck. She will remove from the game the card of your opponent’s deck, face down. You are allowed to play the removed card with any Element and it costs 2 CP (Crystal Points) less. Fundamentally, you are simply drawing a card from your opponent’s deck. On average, most cards in your opponent’s deck (like your own deck) are going to be worth playing. So, the cards that Lani hits (on average) are going to be worth “drawing”. The discount on the card is just icing on the cake. There is also another aspect of the card.
Lani mills a card from your opponent’s deck. She forwards the alternate win condition of decking out the opponent. Drawing a card plus milling out your opponent means that this card will have a home in Mono Fire at least. Lastly, we can think about this card’s effect in a different space. Yes, Lani “draws” you a card. But, this card isn’t subject to discard. Against Ice, you will still have the ability to play cards, even after they discard your entire hand. It also isn’t subject to hand size. You can hold five cards in hand and still “draw” a card with Lani’s ability without worrying about discard.
This card lives and dies on the target. Hitting a backup while you are on five backups, or towards the end of the game, doesn’t feel good. If it’s backup that’s in a different Element, it may hurt in the long run. Removing a small forward towards the end of the game is not great. There are many effects that require synergy (cards like Locke and Celes) but the deck that Lani goes into may not be equipped to utilize the synergy, so the impact may not be what you want.
There can be some Light/Dark friction. You can hit a Light card when you have a Dark backup on the field, and vice versa. While I mentioned Lani’s effect is fundamentally drawing a card, there are plays that rely on drawing CP. The card you “draw” from Lani can’t be discarded for CP. You may find yourself wanting to play one specific card and other cards just to play defensive stats. In that specific case, Lani is a huge gamble, that you may not want to play.
There isn’t much to note on Lani’s synergy. She is a Category 9 and is searchable by Eiko and Steiner, yet both of those are Water cards. She lends herself well to a dedicated Fire/Water 9 deck, but that deck has a problem of not enough Fire backups and too many Fire forwards. Also, that deck wants to have as many Category 9 characters in play as possible, and hitting a non-9 backup doesn’t feel good if it doesn’t help your board. Lani’s job is headhunter, so she has some synergy with the Category 12 headhunters, Rinok, Bwagi, and Ba’gamnan. However, stat buffs on this card aren’t particularly relevant. There’s only one card with enough synergy worth mentioning here:
Ghido will put a forward of cost 5 or more on top of the opponent’s deck. It’s a “choose your own target” for Lani! Now, if only Ghido didn’t have such a strong downside. Another card is the Opus 9 Ultimecia backup. It does the same thing as Ghido, but rather than eating your CP, she just gives your opponent a character. Unlike Ghido, Ultimecia isn’t recursive.
While I can’t, in my right mind, tell someone to play Ghido, I do want to highlight that effect. “Put a card on top of your opponent’s deck” is a powerful effect that is often seen in other card games. However, there is a lack of that effect in FFTCG. I would like to see some more of these effects. Obviously, the creators of the game recognize the strength of these effects. If they didn’t they wouldn’t put it behind these huge downsides. Nonetheless, I would like to see this effect on an expensive Summon, or on a forward of Legend rarity.
Lani is a strong card. The worst case scenario isn’t particularly terrible, and the best case scenario is game winning. She doesn’t have many situations where she is bad to play. She has a significant lack of synergy, but that doesn’t really matter. Gaining buffs isn’t as relevant as what she can enable. She doesn’t belong to any specific plays, she is simply a strong card that develops your strategy while hindering your opponent.
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