With the 8th series of Fire Emblem Cipher recently released, it’s time to look at what this card game has in store for the future. Series 9 will be bringing the game into its third year, and has already started off by breaking some traditions…
Cipher fans were fully expecting that Ryota Kawade would reveal details of the set during the Autumn Livestream in November. However, instead of a full-blown announcement, we received little more than a teaser.
Kawade announced that Series 9 would feature three main themes, as opposed to most sets that focus on two at most. He also revealed the first part of that theme: Hasha no Tsurugi, the Binding Blade spin-off manga.
Return to Elibe
Pre-release artwork gives us a bit more of an insight into this part of the set. In addition to Hasha no Tsurugi‘s original characters, Binding Blade characters will also make an appearance in the set. Al, the main character of the manga, poses together with Roy in this joined artwork.
Other manga-exclusive characters, such as Jemmie and Gant, have received card artwork, as has Raigh of Binding Blade.
Back in S7, Roy received an secret card as a preview of his appearance in this set. Numbered B09-054R+X, this gives us a bit of insight into the composition of S9.
Al, as the Hasha no Tsurugi main Lord, will receive the first three cards in this block, numbers 51-53. 51 will likely be his SR, with 52 an R, and 53 an unpromoted HN card. Since Roy’s R card is numbered 54, Roy will not be receiving an SR card. The joined art of Roy and Al will be used for their unpromoted cards.
If you haven’t read Hasha no Tsurugi before, now is a great time! A fan translation of the manga can be found right here on Serenes Forest.
Laguz of Tellius
The second theme of Series 9 was revealed during the S7 pre-release livestream. It will feature a return to the Tellius continent of Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn, and will focus on Laguz characters in this world.
New artwork has been revealed for some Laguz characters that have been absent from Cipher so far, such as Skrimir of Gallia and Rafiel of Serenes, both from Radiant Dawn.
We’ve also seen some new artwork for recurring Laguz, such as this rather smug artwork of Naesala, the King of Kilvas.
Tellius characters will not just be limited to Laguz, however. The most recently revealed artwork of Ike, featuring his Radiant Dawn design, proves that some Beorc characters will also receive cards in the set.
Otherwise, little has been revealed of this section of the set. We can hope that some of the important missing Tellius characters will finally see their first inclusion in Cipher as well.
Shadows of Valentia
When Fire Emblem got its very own Nintendo Direct back in January, the reason for S9’s secrecy became clear. The third and final theme was none other than Fire Emblem Echoes, and the first piece of artwork for that part of the set was revealed right in the Japanese direct itself!
Since then, Cipher artwork has been one of the foremost way to see how Gaiden‘s characters are being revamped for Echoes. We’ve gotten to see a few different artists’ interpretations of the new character designs for Alm, Celica, Mae, Saber, Tobin, and Valbar.
The first Echoes cards to be revealed were actually S8 promos that are included in special edition versions of the game in Japan. These cards confirmed that Echoes characters will be red, the same colour for cards from Marth’s games as used in S1 and S4.
Since then, we’ve received preview promo cards for both Alm and Celica as booster box promos in S8. These promos are special cards that use the official art for both characters. The same cards will be released properly in S9, but with unique artwork made just for Cipher.
Set Details & Pre-Orders
Aside from pre-release artwork, we have few other details regarding S9 for now. However, when the set was officially announced to retailers, a promotional advertisement was released, showing off some information.
There’s no new art here, but we can tell that all cards, aside from Alm and Celica, are unpromoted. The cards use N/HN borders, but that may not be accurate in the final run, as evidenced by the S8 ad that used an N/HN border around Altena’s SR card.
If the ad’s chosen cards are any indication, we can also guess at the set’s overall composition. So far, it looks as if Echoes may get 50 cards, with 25 cards each devoted to Elibe and Tellius. Since Echoes is the newest game, it makes sense that it would receive the most new cards.
Additionally, Kawade revealed over Twitter that Structured Decks will be returning with S9! The deck will feature Echoes characters, and will likely have Alm as the star lord. It will also include a DLC code for Echoes that will give the players some items. However, the code will probably only work with Japanese versions of the game.
More information about the set and its contents will likely start to be revealed in early- to mid-May. In the meantime, you’re welcome to come chat with other fans in the Cipher section of the SF forums!