Hello everyone! Tarou Kageyama here. For this week’s column, I’ll be taking over in place of RB! I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce a few of these cards myself and decided to give it a try this week. I hope you enjoy what I’ve prepared!
- What was your first FINAL FANTASY?
This isn’t exactly card-related, but do you remember which FINAL FANTASY you first played? I believe each person has an irreplaceable connection with their first FINAL FANTASY and that it’ll always have a special place in their heart. Of course, there may be individuals who, though they may be FF-TCG players, have never played the video game versions of FINAL FANTASY before. Well, that would make FF-TCG their first FINAL FANTASY, which is quite an honor for me!
My first experience with the series was FINAL FANTASY II, which was released 30 years ago. I still remember the initial shock of my entire party being destroyed in battle at the beginning of the game. How the fourth party member switched out throughout the game to reflect the progression in the storyline has also stayed with me. And more than anything, I of course remember the unique growth system in which characters became stronger the more they were used, instead of the traditional experience-based levelling system. I found each of these facets of the game ambitious and immeasurably appealing. And for me, with all of its unique and memorable qualities, FINAL FANTASY II itself embodies ambition and magnetic appeal.
Which brings me to the card I’m introducing today! Yes, it is indeed one of the main FINAL FANTASY II party members: Maria [6-057L]. Even better, this card is specially illustrated for FF-TCG by Toshitaka Matsuda, who was also responsible for the Opus VI box art featuring Firion. Let’s take a look at Maria, whose illustration exemplifies the ambition and appeal of FINAL FANTASY II!
- 3 Powerful Abilities
Maria [6-057L] is a 2 CP card with 5000 power, making her easy to get onto the field, and her three action abilities make her a very versatile Forward. Her first ability allows you to choose a Category II Forward and add +2000 power to it until the end of the turn. Her second ability allows her to deal 1000 damage to all the Forwards the opponent controls. Finally, her third ability allows you to choose 1 Forward and reduce the next damage dealt to it by 3000.
Although each of these abilities are very powerful, some players may be concerned that they require dulling Maria on top of the fact that Maria is a Forward. It’s true that Forwards, in addition to requiring players to wait one turn before using them, are also more easily broken or removed from play when compared to Backups. However, don’t forget that until the opponent can do something about your Maria, they will be forced to play with a significant disadvantage. This really speaks to the fact that an ability usually requires dulling precisely because it is so powerful.
- Cards with Good Synergy
Next, I’d like to take a page from RB’s book and introduce a few cards that have good synergy with Maria [6-057L]! Considering Maria’s ability to increase their power, it makes sense to make a conscious effort to bring other Category II Forwards into the fray with her. Forwards with Brave work especially well with her, so pairing her with cards like Guy [1-097H] or Josef [1-056H] might prove quite interesting. Additionally, abilities that allow cards to gain power tend to have great synergy with First Strike. The combination of high power and First Strike will help you dominate the field in terms of defense as well as offense. With these points in mind, I’d say a card that has abilities to gain both Brave and First Strike, such as Firion [1-022R], would be perfect to take advantage of this synergy.
Maria’s second ability requires that you dull her in order to deal 1000 damage to your opponent’s Forwards. This promising ability brings to mind Cactuar [4-058C], who has made quite a splash in the tournament scene thanks in no small part to a particular strategy that takes advantage of his own similar ability. To be more specific, using Maria’s second ability in conjunction with [4-101H] Orlandeau will give you the opportunity to break your opponents’ forwards with ease.
One thing to note, however, is that Maria’s ability doesn’t deal damage to your own Forwards, so the oft-seen combo between Cactuar and Dadaluma [4-085H] wouldn’t work with her. However, unlike Cactuar, Maria has the ability to deal damage to all the Forwards the opponent controls, not just one. This opens the door to other types of synergic effects; for example, her ability would work very well in tandem with the special ability of Barbariccia [2-064H].
All three of Maria’s abilities call for her to be dulled. However, we can also take this to mean that as long as a player has the ability to activate her, she has the potential to use her abilities multiple times. Thankfully, activating cards is a Wind Element specialty. Cards like Bartz [1-080H] and Diabolos [5-062L] are great candidates to be used with Maria.
Of course, there are many more cards that would work well with Maria other than the ones I’ve covered above. Oh yes, and although all of the cards haven’t yet been announced, I’m pleased to say that Opus VI features a number of new cards that would go hand in hand with her, too! I hope you’ll look forward to those as well!
Well, it’s time for me to sign off, but don’t worry – Card of the Week doesn’t stop here! I’ll be handing back the reigns to RB for the next column!
Until next time!