Similar to the BvS/DC Collab, I’m going to mail in this review. Hopefully you can take away something useful regardless. Thankfully, there’s really not much to say about it: it’s by far the best we’ve ever gotten in terms of top-end power which is made all the better by it reaching NA with a respectable delay, allowing many of the cards to still be somewhat relevant. Collabs will always have horrible EV and this is no exception, but if there was ever a time to roll in one, this is it. For all those fans clamoring for this collab, they gave you a decent product, so now’s the time to show your support.
6-Star Gold Eggs
Grades are given relative to monsters of the same rarity.
Cloud – A
- The most useful 1P system team in the game got better (more subs, more HP)
- Devil killer is an amazing awakening
- An underwhelming uevo that didn’t increase team damage makes him a poor leader choice outside of farming
Cloud was the only roll worth anything the first time the collab came to NA due to the long delay. Now he’s arguably the worst of the 6-stars as his uevo did little to improve his status beyond a farming lead and even that position has been partially usurped by Superman. Even dupes aren’t that great anymore due to Leonis filling in admirably, especially now that it has an SBR. That being said, Cloud will remain a relevant leader the longest of all the 6-stars; when it can’t be buttoned, Cloud-Leonis has been my go-to team for farming. Perhaps only Lightning will be more valuable in the long term due to skill inheritance.
Yuna – A+
- Easy, consistent 64x which translates to sub flexibility and utility
- Capabilities are currently “just good enough” and will likely fall off a cliff with the next round of power creep
Yuna is likely the most difficult leader to evaluate in this REM. While I was previously convinced that a straight 64x prevented her from breaking into the elite leaders of the game, JP slowly came around on her so I was compelled to reevaluate my judgment. While I still believe she’s on the precipice of irrelevancy, I can’t deny the results JP has had with her teams. The ability to run just about any set of subs on top of skill inheritance allows her to adapt to most challenges and cover any weaknesses. Her 64x is currently at the point of being “just good enough”, sort of like how Yomi Dragon’s 36x was just good enough for a while, but similarly I think she’ll fall off once the content gets harder and/or power creep passes her by. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a team that gives so much while requiring so little to activate; even with the advent of Awoken DQXQ, I’m sure plenty of players will enjoy playing Yuna for a long time to come.
Sephiroth – S
- The machine destroyer
- Weaknesses can be covered via co-op play
- Current sub constraints prevent him from being a great, all around lead
- Not much of a sub
Sephiroth’s claim to fame is his prowess in the multitude of machine-themed dungeons; Machine Zeus in particular due to no-RCV being a perfect fit. Apparently this is enough for him to be considered on JP as one of the best overall leaders in the game, but from my perspective he’s far from being one. He excels at his niche, but I feel there’s too many constraints on his subs for him to be considered good for everyday use despite 81x ATK and 2.25x RCV being very strong. The biggest shortcomings are a limited sub pool, a lack of SBRs and his subelement failing to cover any other colors. While none of these are fatal flaws by themselves, when they’re all combined it makes it impossible to run a respectable team. As an example, let’s look at the type requirement which precludes DKali’s use as a board changer. In my opinion, a rainbow team that can’t use DKali has a huge liability. Ichigo works as a replacement, but further compounds the color-coverage problem. These types of problems seem to go on forever and outside HKali there’s not much stability on his team. So when you’re evaluating Sephiroth as a leader, make sure you do it with all the constraints in mind. However, I’ll openly admit that the first thing I’m going to do when we get the updates is destroy Machine Zeus with his team; even if I don’t think he’s one of the best overall leaders in the game, I will say that he’s one of the best and most useful to come from a collab.
Cecil – A+
- 45.56x ATK, 2.25x RCV seems pretty strong
- Can use the full arsenal of amazing dark subs
- A competent sub
- Light uevo not nearly as good as his dark
Cecil is a victim of circumstance. His initial form was completely overshadowed by the 6-star uevos and Lightning and by the time he got his buffs he was pretty much an afterthought. Now that he’s finally made it to NA, he’s once again easy to overlook as the JP meta shifts to pure burst teams along with other tank teams — namely Xiang Mei — doing more damage while being tankier. It even seems like Persephone is getting more love; sure, she’s tankier, but Cecil’s superior damage can’t be denied, either.
Regardless of how he appears to be perceived, he’s still a fine leader with many of the qualities one would expect from one: respectable ATK multiplier, RCV multiplier, board change, good awakenings, and a deep sub pool. His most obvious weakness is being orb hungry — very much similar to what plagued Zaerog∞ — meaning his burst almost always needs to be accompanied by an orb change. Combine this with bind vulnerability and a small HP pool and there’s just enough to knock him out of the elite leaders.
Sadly, his light form is hardly worth talking about. Trading about half your ATK multiplier for twice the RCV is not a great deal to begin with, but also having to make both light and dark combos to activate really constrains the type of orb changers you can use.
Lightning – S
- A competent leader and sub
- One of the best skills for inheritance
- God killer
- True damage with triple skill boost
- Overshadowed by DQXQ
- Nowhere near as restrictive as Sephiroth, but she shares similar team building constraints
A card with a DKali board change is always relevant and Lightning is no exception. Her active might be the best in the game, allowing the player to both deal with PreDRAs and activate their Ra Dragon. For this reason alone, Lightning could be the most relevant card from this collab for years to come (even in the face of new cards like Sherias Roots).
Skill inheritance aside, just how good is Lightning? As a leader, it’s a familiar story: while she’s great, she’s overshadowed by more recent offerings. This is obviously a reference to Awoken DQXQ who Lightning blazed the trail for. While she has a higher raw multiplier, she’s also significantly more difficult to fully activate (more required elements, can’t use water orbs for the “row” component). DQXQ’s rows also do much to overcome the lower multiplier. As a straight sub, she’s not all that exciting. With the influx of DKali clones, Lightning doesn’t really occupy any space that makes her particularly more valuable than other options even considering her god killer.
5-Star Gold Eggs
Grades are given relative to monsters of the same rarity.
The new wave of FF 5-star gold eggs and buffs to the old ones have helped elevate the overall value of the REM. While none of them are exceptional, they’re all useful to a certain degree. Aside from awakening count and low weighted stats, perhaps what holds most of them back is only having a single type which limits the number of teams they can help. They’re all but useless as leaders, but at least they might see some use as subs which is all you can really ask for from troll golds.
Squall – B
Last time, Squall was the only 5-star anywhere near usable. He’s still fairly good, but there still isn’t anything to get excited about. His strong suits are his orb change with haste and his fairly strong awakening selection, but it’s difficult to compete as a sub with less than seven awakenings and fairly poor weighted stats.
Rinoa – C+
Even after her buffs, Rinoa is quite underwhelming. She still suffers from being a mediocre bind clearer in an element that has one of the best selections; she’ll pretty much always live in the shadow of Awoken Isis as both a leader and sub and Snow White is generally a better budget option.
Tidus – C-
Tidus is still an embarrassment and has arguably gotten worse since last time due to the release of the awoken Norse and the Gemstone Princesses and the ability to skill up the Armored Knights through the pal machine.
Zidane – B
Zidane may have received the most meaningful buffs of all the old cards. His skyfall buff was increased to five turns from three, giving it a 71% uptime without factoring any hastes. The single OE they gave all the old cards also means most here due to the synergy with his active. His two skill boosts also help in an element that is usually challenged in that area. That being said, there aren’t many great teams to use him on and the fact that he also buffs light skyfall also hurts.
Bartz – A-
Bartz is one of the best 5-stars in the collab, but is unfortunately in the worst element. However, considering TPA-based teams like Verdandi and Bastet are still fairly popular he still has a home and could easily see the most actual use out of anything at this rarity. While the lack of skill boosts hurts, all of his other awakenings are quite good and his active is very powerful; both of which can help players struggling to consistently activate a leader like Bastet.
Terra – B
Terra is similar to Bartz, but is slightly worse due to creating columns of different elements and being OE-based rather than TPA. While she’s a perfect fit for a team like Tsubaki, her qualities limit where she can sub as there are few fire teams that can put both her OEs and light orbs to good use. She can obviously see use on an Ilm team, but I don’t see her being more than a filler sub there. At worst, she can be used like Supergirl and help players hit two elements for their rainbow leads. Speaking of Supergirl, they basically have the same active yet Terra’s is one turn longer.
Shantotto – B
While quad rows are sexy, we know from Australis that simply being a row stick isn’t quite enough to make you a relevant sub. Shantotto’s active skill is also a bit awkward as the generation of a questionable wood row significantly raises the cooldown cost (12 turns). By comparison, you can get a single dark row and haste for eight turns (Diadem) meaning the wood row effectively cost four turns; far too steep a price for something that is all but useless. Also compare this to Chad (13 turns): trading in the haste and another cooldown turn for making the second generated row on-color seems like it’d be a pretty good deal. Well, even if the active is far from optimal, the package is still usable and when compared to the old 5-stars, Shantotto starts to look better. I could see her being a good budget sub for teams like Pandora and Zuoh.
Vaan – B-
Vaan is basically the light version of Shantotto, but is arguably worse since he splits his awakenings between rows and TPAs rather than focusing on a single type. However, this also means he’s more flexible, a fact that starts to shine on hybrid farming teams like Cloud and Superman. He also has potential as an Ilm sub as his active guarantees a full activation.
Edit: I’ve overheard some talk of keeping all the FF row/column changers for skill inheritance, but Vaan’s skill seems to be singled out in particular. I believe it’s mostly for use on MZeus teams. I don’t really get it, but if you’re into co-op then it might be worth keeping your Vaans around in case it does become a thing.
Y’shtola – A
If you’ve read my blog for any decent amount of time, you’d know I’m a big fan of time extends; this makes Y’shtola easily my favorite of the 5-stars and close to my overall favorite roll in the REM. Hero-style orb changes are always great and if you’ve used Awoken Pandora at all, you know how powerful the additional haste is. She shines on a team like Rukia that desperately needs the time extends and can also tolerate a sub that has no SBRs. Granted, Sumire is probably still a better time extend + heartmaker option if only for the greater HP, but I think it’s closer than one might think. Unfortunately, her lack of offensive awakenings makes her difficult to fit on teams that are short on damage, but hopefully that shortcoming doesn’t let players overlook what is otherwise a very nice card.
4-Star Silver Eggs
Grades are given relative to monsters of the same rarity.
The last time I postulated that the FF silver eggs were so poor because GungHo couldn’t price the cooldowns for haste actives properly (this collab was essentially the debut of the haste mechanic). However, even after a round of buffs, the cooldowns are still too long for what you get. This problem is only compounded by the lack of skill up fodder. They did add a respectable silver in Rain, but he’s not enough to save this rarity — the rarity that players are most likely to roll — which is quite unfortunate, especially when GungHo seemed to be making strides in their silver selection for a little while.
As the previous notes I had for Ace, Aemo and Vivi are still relevant to this day, I’m going to keep them around.
Ace – C
Ace would’ve been much more appealing had they dropped the dark damage enhance to shave off a few turns on his cooldown. In this way he suffers in the same as many of the Shinrabansho silvers do, but they’re overall more useful, if only as low cost leads. When compared to the awoken Norses’ actives, there’s obviously much room for improvement. While not much help can be expected for a silver egg, hopefully they decide to throw him some love in the future (spoiler: they did, but it wasn’t enough).
Aemo – C-
Unfortunately, Change the World effects aren’t particularly valuable these days, especially since many combo teams can reach the same orb movement duration through time extend awakenings. In extreme cases her active could actually decrease your movement time. The ability does have value for setting up burst boards like Venus does for light row teams, but Aemo doesn’t bring enough value otherwise to justify using a sub slot on her.
Wol – C
I would’ve left the old Wol notes up as well, but the circumstances have changed a bit. I originally stated that he was a bad Athena, even with the haste. They did upgrade his active to be a bit more like Athena’s (he now also enhances fire where Athena also enhances wood), but the problem now is that Athena got a pretty significant buff due to the round of orb enhance active buffs (lowering her cooldown from seven to five turns). Long story short, he’s still relatively bad and is no longer the best silver due to the addition of Rain.
Vivi – F
This card is actually pretty insulting. The active is a joke and the leader skill is even worse. Who thought counterattacks were a good idea? MP is MP, I guess.
Rain – B
Rain is the only new silver and he’s relatively good. He’s not at the level of the premium silvers from other collabs, but considering FF’s silvers were a barren wasteland before this, his addition is quite nice. 75% damage shields are fairly rare — especially on NA — so it’s nice for fire to finally get one; not to mention he comes with decent awakenings. Compared to Kushinadahime, you’re sacrificing two turns of cooldown for one turn of haste; not a great trade-off, but acceptable. Skill ups are always a problem with collab silvers, but even at 15 turns his active isn’t totally embarrassing, especially if it allows you to live through something critical like a DQ Hera preemptive.
The usual conclusion for every collab REM is “don’t roll” and FF isn’t an exception even with it’s amazing 6-star selection. While the top-end is quite good, the horrible silvers and mediocre 5-stars make rolling much too risky for the average player. For new players that are still developing their boxes, it’s highly recommend you wait for the PCGF or a good godfest lineup instead.
However, we live in a world where people will roll anyways, so taking that into consideration FF looks to be one of the better values for a collab in a long time, especially when you look at the Bleach and BvS collabs we just got. While the variance is high due to the low-end being devoid of value, landing any of the 6-stars will be a valuable addition to just about any box. So for the people willing to roll, the question is whether you’re willing to face that variance (or whether you have enough rolls to minimize it).
Another subset of players are those that already rolled everything last time, but are considering rolling again for the new cards. I fall into this category and I personally think going for Lightning is worth the risk; the true damage + DKali board is just that powerful. It will truly be painful rolling dupe Sephiroths and Yunas, but I’ve rolled under worse conditions many times; I’m just hoping it takes less than five or so packs.