Flesh and Blood has invested a lot into its competitive circuit. The game’s commitment to real-life competitive play is part of its main draw to a lot of players. With that being said, COVID-19 threw a wrench in a lot of competitive events, leaving many players wondering how to continue.
Whether you’re planning to continue with your Flesh and Blood journey or you’re looking to start playing competitively, today we’ll be looking at all you need to know.
The Competitive Circuit
Flesh and Blood 2021 Organized Play Roadmap
The best thing about Flesh and Blood’s approach to competitive play is that it offers you a clear-cut pathway to prizes or becoming a professional player.
There are a lot of different events in Flesh and Blood, with most mainly favoring the Classic Constructed and Draft formats. Some events have an entry fee to enter, while others require an invitation - these are generally high level events.
Besides qualifying through excellent performance at lower level events, you can qualify for higher-level events using the XP system.
You gain XP for each match win you accrue, with the level of event you’re competing at deciding the XP multiplier. For example, three wins in an Armory will net you 9 XP while the same number of wins in a Road to Nationals event would be worth 18 XP. Three wins in an On-Demand event will bring only 3 XP.
For most players, this is irrelevant, however, if you’re planning to qualify for a National Championship, you should be looking to be near the top of the 90-day XP leaderboards.
The Types of Tournaments
Armory Events are weekly events occurring in LGS (local game stores) featuring any of the competitive formats - Classic Constructed, Blitz or Draft. As of recently, LSS allows stores to also run Commoner (pauper) format Armories.
Each registered store, which of course includes Magic Omens, receives a monthly prize support kit from their distributor. It contains prize materials for 4 Armories, a month's worth. So in addition to any prizing offered by the store, there is the added prize of a valuable cold foil promo for the winner, a series of rainbow foil promos for other players, as well as a playmat or two for the month!
You can find Armory events near you using the Event Locator.
Pre-Releases take place a week before the release of a new main set. Main sets are the ones that advertise supporting an 8 player draft pod on their box packaging. In this event, players will get to use the new cards before they’re available for purchase anywhere, as well as receive an exclusive promo or two. The events are very newbie-friendly and pretty much anyone is welcome to join them. Generally, pre-releases feature Sealed and Draft formats.
Skirmishes are a tad more competitively-oriented than most Armory or Pre-Release events and support faster formats of play. Expect Blitz, Sealed or Draft when attending one. If you're looking to rack up XP, Skirmishes are the lowest level event that offers a 6x multiplier for wins, so bring your best game!
Road To Nationals
Road to Nationals is a local event where everyone’s competing to gain entry to the National Championship. This makes it pretty competitive environment at a local level and you probably shouldn’t be going to one with a casual deck or one that’s underprepared for the meta. The format for all Road to Nationals events is Classic Constructed or Draft, the two main competitive formats of the game.
Pro Quests are similar in nature Road to Nationals, except the winner gets a one-time invite to the Pro Tour! Otherwise, except the same level of competition, same game formats and same stringency in regards to rules. For example, deck lists are mandatory.
Battle Hardened events go up a step in competitiveness from local level events. You should expect players to travel to attend, as there's plenty of cash and 2 Pro Tour Invites on the line, as well as exclusive top8 playmats! In regards to format, it seems anything goes for Battle Hardened depending on the events it's running alongside with.
National Championship is a national level event held once each year. Depending on the country's active player base it can be invite only, as is the case with bigger countries, or open entry in case of smaller countries such as Croatia. In both cases the tournament is open only to country's residents and runs in Classic Constructed, Draft or a mix of both.
Magic Omens is proud to host Croatian National Championship 2022. Follow the link to find out all the details if you're able to attend, or to find our coverage YouTube channel.
Callings are professional level events organized several times a year throughout the world. With plenty of cash, prize cards and Pro Tour Invites up for grabs, you better come prepared! Lasting the entire weekend, Callings are a true test of skill and you can expect to face your continent's best player on your way to the top. Even if you're not letting your ambitions run too high, they are still an amazing experience. Packed with side events and attended by people from many different countries, they're a celebration of Flesh and Blood and its community.
Legend Story Studios have also shown willingness to organize Team Calling events which bring a whole new level to metagaming and fun you can have playing!
Pro Tour is, at the moment, the highest level of competitive play in Flesh and Blood. With a limited number of invites available, only the best of the best from each community can attend this three day event. For this the players are recognized and rewarded with many exclusive goodies for merely attending. The prize pool itself really sets the Pro Tour apart from anything else! Make sure to tune into the coverage for Pro Tour Lille on the last weekend of August!
If you wish to attend a Pro Tour, but you're not qualified, fear not! There's a Calling running over the weekend, as well as a Battle Hardened on the Sunday every time there is a Pro Tour!
We really cannot say what to expect from the World Championship, as Flesh and Blood hasn't hosted one yet. It's coming though and very soon. Start of November in US will have FaB's first World Championship kick off. Much like the Pro Tour, it will be a very exclusive invite only event and players will get their last chance to qualify at their National Championships. If you can secure that precious Pro Tour Invite (PTI) prize at your Nationals, maybe look around for trips to the United States. 👀
- Armory events award 4-8 cold foil cards, 24-32 extended art rainbow foil cards, and 1-2 “People’s Champion” playmats throughout the course of a month.
- Pre-releases and Skirmishes give out promo cards to everyone that participates and often there are additional promos or exclusive playmats for the winners.
- Road to Nationals and ProQuest events have a variety of top-heavy prizing. Besides an invite to the next tournament level for the winner, 1st place wins a very valuable prize card. Top8 is similarly rewarded with exclusive materials, the exact specifications of which vary from event to event.
- National Championships award a rich cash prize pool, Pro Tour Invites and more tournament exclusive prize cards, such as Gold Cold Foil Legendary cards!
- Battle Hardened, Calling and Pro Tour all award prizes in similar manner to National Championships, except the scale grows as we move up that list. Prize pool of a single Calling is an order of magnitude bigger than that of a Battle Hardened, and same goes for Pro Tour compared to the Calling.
Legend Story Studios will be offering a grand total of $1 million in cash prizes for Flesh and Blood Pro Play 2022. This is split as follows:
- $300,000 for the World Championship
- $200,000 for two Pro Tour events
- $300,000 for a grand total of 30 The Calling events
- $200,000 for the National Championships
Preparing For A Tournament
Whether you’re going to your first Armory Event, or preparing for the National Championship, preparing for a tournament can be very nerve-wracking. Some might think that you simply take any good old deck and can expect to win. That's why we have some budget decklist options to get you started on this journey
While once in a while, this might be true, if you want to perform consistently well in tournaments, that will take some preparation.
Analyzing the Metagame
The metagame is a set of decks that is played most often. These are the decks that you’re most likely to encounter as you play in more and more competitive tournaments. It stands to reason, then, that you should be paying attention to it and lay plans to beat it.
Learning how to analyze and prepare for the meta is crucial in performing well at higher-level tournaments, but meta analysis can be very useful even if you never plan to attend FaB’s more competitive tournaments.
At your LGS, there’s going to be players playing overlapping decks or strategies - the most common and best performing of these form your local meta. Once you’ve analyzed your local metagame properly, you’ll find it much easier to build decks to combat it. This is one of the situations where even a budget brew can overcome a tier 1 deck.
To analyze the metagame there are a few crucial steps to take:
- Determine the Locale: The Hong Kong nationals meta doesn’t have much relevance to your LGS. Figure out what area you’re looking to analyze first.
- Find the Best Decks: For a national meta, look at tournament data from your region first. Take a gander at other regions for rogue decks that might pop up. On a local level, play a couple Armories to get a handle on what the most popular decks are.
- Analyze Game Plans: You can separate decks into a few broad categories. Separate decks by their strategies and damage types. This will help you understand what kind of strategy is overrepresented in the meta.
- Research Each Deck: You want to be able to create a detailed breakdown of each meta deck’s gameplan. Understanding the ins and outs of each specific deck is great for helping you combat them in the future.
Learning the matchups between each meta deck is often crucial in getting a good understanding on what makes each of them tick. A good idea is to proxy up a few decks and play a few rounds with them between each other. This will help you understand the matchups within the meta in case you choose to play one of those decks.
Playtesting your deck is incredibly important for competitive success. Every nuance in the game can lead to victory or defeat. Understanding how your deck stacks up against each meta deck is a great boon.
Besides this, learning the matchups properly helps you pick tech choices you might want to include in your deck. Testing different matchups will also help teach you when to pivot strategies and how to abuse certain weaknesses. Lastly, match-up theory is nice, but there's no replacement for experience ("the reps") in Flesh and Blood!
Picking A Deck
Once you’ve done all that, how do you pick a deck? The easiest way to do this is by taking a deck that previously topped a tournament of the same level you’ll be playing at, and playing it with minimal changes.
The biggest upside of this is that you’ll be playing a deck that has been confirmed to be a good pick in the metagame. This means you don’t have to agonize over choices, and the matchups for the deck have probably been studied enough that you might be able to find a lot of the data online.
On the downside, almost everyone will be prepared for your deck. Some choices might even become bad as a result. We can see this in the Calling Las Vegas where Chane was by far the most popular hero. However, the deck the winner - Tyler Horspool was piloting was Prism. He won the tournament with excellent play and more importantly, crucial tech pieces made to combat a Chane-heavy meta.
As Prism was a relatively underplayed Hero, few entrees were packing “hate” for the deck. It was also very well positioned against most Heroes in the meta, with Katsu as one of its few “bad” matchups.
The tournament illustrated one of the biggest advantages in playing an underrepresented deck. Many people don’t know what kind of deck to expect when sitting down against Prism. This can in turn lead to them playing suboptimal turns, sometimes letting you steal a win where there shouldn’t have been one.
Netdecking vs Brewing
“Netdecking” is the practice of taking a deck off of the internet, while “Brewing” is creating a deck on your own. While many players consider netdecking to be “cheap” or uncreative, there’s a lot that goes into playing each FaB deck.
Brewing is quite difficult. Making a brand new deck that can actually compete with the meta is extremely hard, and it’s much more difficult to find the optimal cards when there aren’t hundreds of players playing matches every day.
The main benefit of netdecking is that you’re definitely going to be playing a tried and tested good deck. Brewing, on the other hand, lets you surprise your opponents and lead them into making suboptimal plays.
The ideal approach is usually somewhere in the middle; to take a good deck that is not overrepresented in the meta, and make some select tech choices to help you counter the decks you’re expecting to run into on your way to the top. This way, you get some of the benefits of both netdecking and brewing, and as the Calling Las Vegas showed, it can get you to the top.
The Flesh and Blood competitive circuit is extremely well thought-out for a newer card game. Every step from your local Armory tournament to the World Championship has a clear path to it. Because of this, Flesh and Blood is potentially the most rewarding TCG to get into competitively right now.
Written by Ilija Miljkovac & Hrvoje Hedžet
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