In Opus XII: Crystal Awakening, we will see cards with multiple elements. This is the first time in the series that this has happened. As such, the creators have outlined the inherent traits that these cards have. I will explore these traits and then assess the first multi-element (ME) card that has been released (in its entirety). To begin, we have to assess some of the traits that other cards possess.
Single Element Cards
A regular Ice card requires at least one Ice Crystal Point (CP) as part of the cost. The remaining can be paid for in any element. Playing a card like this requires your deck to be able to consistently generate Ice CP. This is often secured with Ice back-ups.
Light/Dark cards require any amount of any element to pay for the cost. These cards have the only restriction removed, which means you don’t need color consistency to play these cards. Oftentimes cards that are more flexible have a lower power level. Yet, in this case the opposite is true. Light and Dark cards are often more powerful than their elemental counterparts. The main reason this can happen is the heavy play ability restrictions that Light and Dark cards have. These cards cannot be discarded to generate CP. Additionally, if you have one of these cards on the field, you can’t play another one. If you draw a Light or Dark card, you will eventually have to play it. It will be stuck in your hand almost indefinitely. An excess of these cards will lead to situations with unplayable hands.
So, how do we assess ME cards? Let’s compare them. When it comes to elements, these cards are the most restrictive. You need to pay with CP of two specific elements. In essence, it is twice as hard to pay for multi-element cards than regular cards yet this card doesn’t have the restriction of Light/Dark cards. Multi-element cards can be played while another multi-element card is already on the field. Moreover, this card is more flexible when it comes to generating CP. It generates 2 CP of either element. Multi-element decks often have some clunky early turns when they are trying to set up ways to reliably play backups for the rest of the game. ME cards add either, alleviating some of the early game clunkiness.
ME cards are less restrictive than Light/Dark cards. As such, they won’t usually be as strong as them. However, they are much more difficult to play than single element cards. It’s because of that they will be more powerful than those cards.
Here’s a table that sums up everything.
|Discard For CP||Yes||No||Yes+*|
|Play ability Restriction|
(can only control 1)
*ME cards can produce two different kinds of CP as opposed to other cards.
**ME cards require more specific CP than other cards.
So let’s get into the newest multi-element card, Selh’teus:
I’d like to give a big shout out to James Lockwood (of Cards of Ivalice fame) for the lore dump and FFXI history lesson he gave me. To begin with, Selh’teus is a card that is oozing with flavor. His Fire/Ice card element is a direct reference to his multi-colored wings. As the reincarnation of the phoenix, his manipulation with the break zone and the “birth” of new cards feel on-theme, while being a strong effect. This duality is also seen in the cover of the “Chain of Promanthia” expansion.
Selh’teus’s job feels a bit off, as in-game he is often referred to as an Enigmatic Youth. As a job in FFTCG, this fits quite well, yet his job on the printed card is his race (Kuluu).It’s quite odd to have a character’s race be their job, especially when we already have people of the Kuluu race in the game (such as Grav’iton, with [job scholar]). In recent FFTCG printings, many jobs haven’t been particularly well placed, so this is easy to forgive.
Selh’teus costs 4 CP. He has 7000 power. His power is under the curve. This is surprising as the design space should allow for this card to have power that is on curve. Additionally, he only has one effect. Some of the strongest cards in the game draw power from the versatility to be able to do multiple things. As we have seen in Ranperre decks, cards with only one effect are viable, they require heavy impact on the game and strong synergy. We have yet to see synergy with this card.
Selh’teus has only one effect. By removing up to 5 Fire/Ice forwards from your break you may look at the top five cards of the deck and play a card with a cost of the amount removed. This effect is ridiculous, as it has the ability to swing the game completely in your favor. However, it also has the ability to do nothing. It may not always be a strong forward that you play when you use it, receiving only a small forward. While it may not be terrible, then, it also may not be impactful. On the other hand, you may hit some strong cards. You might hit a Cid Aulstyne (3-036H) at the right time and break your opponent’s forward. The ultimate hit might even be a Marche (11-017H) when you have a Ritz in the break zone.
This effect is powerful but for the card to be good, it has to be powerful on average. However, Selh’teus features wild variations and has a small oversight — this card cannot be played early in the game. Ideally, you would want to remove 4-5 cards to use his effect. Early in the game you may not have enough forwards in the break zone to do so. However, Selh’teus is a great color fixer. In the mid-game he is strong and in the late game he can be downright game-ending. Then in the very very late game he is almost useless. Cards that want to be played later in the game are often played as a single copy. As a single copy, you may run into the trouble that you don’t see him enough.
There are some unfortunate situations he may see in play. As I mentioned earlier, he can swing games wildly in one player’s favor. Sel’hteus can be seen as a backup plan. This isn’t great for gameplay. If one player is playing very well, but still loses because Selh’teus got lucky, that player feels discouraged from playing. Fortunately, this effect is similar to Vaan (10-133S). While Vaan’s effect is strong, it isn’t strong enough to make gameplay feel sour.
Things to Note
You may have noticed that I’m only mentioning Fire and Ice cards as targets for Selh’teus. That’s on purpose. Hitting targets other than Ice or Fire will be very difficult. Selh’teus requires both Fire and Ice CP to play. You need to have a reliable way to generate Fire and Ice CP. Only Fire/Ice decks do just that. Unlike regular elemental cards, you can’t just splash this card in a Fire/Wind deck, or an Ice/Water deck. Even if you play a combo deck with Tyro (11-072R) and Shantotto (1-107L) for the color fixing, you will lack the targets for Selh’teus’ effect. His effect requires you to remove Fire or Ice forwards from the break zone. In a Fire/Earth deck, you will lack the targets to consistently use the effect. Outside of a Fire/Ice deck, this card has no home.
Additionally, his effect can’t be used repeatedly. The break zone will become empty. Lastly, with the advent of Kadaj (11-140S), break zones in the meta become light. As the popularity of Marche/Ritz increased, so did the play ability of Mist Dragon. Kadaj makes Selh’teus unplayable, and Mist Dragon is a hard counter to him.
Selh’teus may have a difficult time seeing play. His only effect has wild variance and the current meta already has good ways to play against him. However, if the average Selh’theus trigger is strong enough, he will be a staple in Fire/Ice decks.
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