Wave 1 Guide
What is Wave 1?
When Opus 1 was released demand for the product far outweighed what was expected by Square Enix and Hobby Japan and, as a result, it quickly sold out everywhere and it became incredibly hard to find any sealed product. There was a rush to reprint the set to meet the demand but, in the process, there were some changes made to fix a few grammatical errors made during localisation to English and 2 cards in particular (1-042R Squall and 1-145C Ramza) had a more major change to the card image. Crucially, they also changed the foiling method used on the cards so that you could identify which cards were from the first print run (Wave 1), and which were from subsequent prints.
So how do I tell them apart?
The first differences to come to light (the Big Six) were the images of Squall & Ramza, and some grammatical errors on 4 other cards:
- 1-042R Squall – Wave 1 background image was on the right-hand side of the card, so the Gunblade of the foreground image crossed the throat of the background image. This was seen as distasteful, so the images were flipped to rectify this in Wave 2.
- 1-062L Valefor – Wave 1 text had the incorrect “ owner’s ”, wave 2 was corrected to “ owners’ “.
- 1-090R Rikku - Wave 1 text had the incorrect “ owner’s ”, wave 2 was corrected to “ owners’ “.
- 1-100C Black Belt – Wave 1 text ability referred to a “blocked forward”, wave 2 was corrected to “blocking forward”.
- 1-106C Golem – Wave 1 text stated “if it is blocked”, wave 2 was corrected to “if it is blocking”.
- 1-145C Ramza – Wave 1 background image was on the right-hand side of the card, so the sword of the foreground image crossed the throat of the background image. This was seen as distasteful, so the images were flipped to rectify this in Wave 2.
Further differences were discovered over time which led to the ability to fully distinguish Wave 1 & Wave 2 cards from one another.
- Cards which have a Special or Action ability with a colon (:) in the text has the : aligned to the bottom of the text line in Wave 1 cards, but more central in Wave 2 cards. Wave 1 card is on the left in this image.
- The type of foil pattern used on Wave 1 cards is different to that used in Wave 2 and later sets, which allows us to distinguish even cards which do not feature any of the previously mentioned tells. Wave 1 cards have a diagonal pattern to the foil speckles whereas Wave 2 are in a horizontal/vertical grid. This also causes the foils to reflect light differently from one another, allowing a trained eye to quickly distinguish Wave 1 cards from a batch of foils.
With this information you should be able to reliably search your own collection and identify any Wave 1 foils lurking within, but what about non-foils? You can identify approximately half of the non-foil cards by checking the Big Six and the colon placement on cards that have them, but everything else is a bit trickier.
- Colour saturation - Wave 1 cards had noticeably darker colouration to the background images especially. We can see the Delita on the right is Wave 1 thanks to the colon placement, now look at the background image, notice how it has deeper colour whereas the Wave 2 card on the left is lighter, more transparent.
We can apply this to similar cards that have no other tells and as we can see on the Lightning cards below, the right hand card is clearly darker so that is our Wave 1.
- CP Crystal Height/Card Template Height - this one is quite inconsistent but bears mentioning as some people consider it a reliable tell. The CP crystal and card template (Job, Category, Card Text etc) are generally slightly higher on Wave 1 cards although it's not guaranteed. You can see on the Lightning example above that the Wave 1 card has a slightly higher template/crystal, but the Delita above that has no noticeable difference. The example below shows two Wave 1 Golems with very different template/crystal heights, so although it's worth knowing about this element it should only be used in conjunction with other methods, not as a deciding factor in itself.