flesh and blood guide to limited play how to get better at sealed and draft

For many TCG players, limited formats are their primary; or even only, way to play the game. Flesh and Blood is no exception to this rule. However, it can be difficult to find guides providing general strategy advice for limited, as it’s quite different from most TCGs.

Flesh and Blood provides a very balanced and curated limited environment for its premiere limited format - draft. Sealed tends to have the simplest deck be the strongest one, leading to a less balanced format. Today, we’ll be exploring how these formats function in Flesh and Blood, as well as some general strategy advice.

Booster Draft In Flesh And Blood

In case you’ve ever drafted a card game like Magic, there isn’t much of a difference between the basics of how the draft format works. If you haven’t had any experiences with draft previously, don’t worry. The format is very easy to pick up:

  • You play with 7 other players in a "pod" of 8.
  • Each player gets 3 booster packs of 16 cards each.
  • Players open one pack from which they exclude the tokens and pick out 1 card. Token hero and weapon are available to all.
  • The remaining cards are shuffled and passed to the next player clockwise.
  • Once a pack is emptied this process is repeated with each of the remaining two packs. With every new pack the direction you pass the cards in changes.
  • Between each pack there is a 60 second review period during which you can look at the cards you picked.
  • Using only the drafted cards players construct a deck of minimum 30 cards for their chosen hero.


What Does A Booster Pack Contain?

flesh and blood tales of aria toa ele first edition booster pack contents

To get started with drafting, you’ll need to know what each pack contains first. Every booster pack of a main-line Flesh and Blood set is made with limited in mind. The exact contents of each pack vary from set to set:

  • 3-4 generic common cards that can go into any deck
  • 6-7 Class common cards evenly distributed between classes
  • 1 Equipment card
  • 1 Rare card of any class
  • 1 Rare or higher rarity card of any class
  • 1 Foil card of any rarity and class

This is very worthwhile to keep in mind, as it will help you track what your opponents are building. For example, if on pick 2 or 3 you notice one class already has no commons present it means the player(s) to your right are forcing the class and you should avoid drafting it.

Building A Draft Deck

At the end of a draft, you’ll have 45 cards available and need to build a deck of at least 30. This 30-card deck doesn’t include the equipment, hero, or weapon cards. You can pick a single young Hero to play from a pool of hero and weapon tokens provided by the shop you’re playing at. Keep in mind that the 3-card limit enforced in constructed doesn’t affect draft.

In case you don’t have 30 cards that you can legally fit into a single deck, you have to add a number of Cracked Baubles equal to the difference.

That’s all you need to do in order to construct an eligible deck, however, there’s a lot of strategy that goes into creating that crucial 30-card pile.

Building A Sealed Deck In Flesh And Blood

flesh and blood tales of aria ele first edition booster draft sealed guide to limited play

If you’ve played sealed in another game, sealed in Flesh and Blood is quite similar. Each player will get access to 6 pack’s worth of cards. Much like draft, you can only have generic cards and cards with the same class as your hero. Keep in mind that the 3-card limit enforced in constructed doesn’t affect sealed. 

Once again, you have to make a 30-card deck, and will need to add cracked baubles until you can if you aren’t able to make one.

The strategy for the actual deckbuilding process is quite similar to draft. You’ll still be prioritizing making a playable deck first so that you can minimize the number of cracked baubles in your deck.

Flesh And Blood Draft Deckbuilding Strategy

Focus on having enough playable cards

With only 45 cards available to create a 30-card deck, you need to focus on getting as many playable cards as you can. Although you can technically get away with having just 30 cards that you can play in one deck, you’ll want some equipment as well, so realistically you’ll be looking to have at most 10-5 unplayable cards in your pool.

Because of this, it’s generally a bad idea to draft cards for many different classes at once. This can lead to you getting stuck between a few classes that you have a decent amount of playables for, while not having 30 for any single one.

An example of this is picking Warrior cards picks 1 and 2, seeing great ninja cards and grabbing some picks 3, 4 and 5, then deciding to switch to Brute. This will lead to you already having at least 5 unplayable cards in your pool by itself. Because of this, it’s often a good idea to start by drafting generics and deciding upon a class toward the end of the first pack. 

There are some exceptions to this rule. Sometimes you’ll want to switch classes (and have enough generics to do so) when you see a lot of strong cards for a class popping up in the later packs. This is called pivoting and is generally advised against for beginners.

Pick up generics first

As a beginner in Flesh and Blood draft, you want to start drafting red generics as early as possible. This is one of the fundamentals of draft which you’ll occasionally be breaking as you grow in skill level, but it’s a great rule of thumb to keep in mind. In sets with talents, such as Monarch, Tales of Aria and Uprising, talented cards are also generics in a way, as they leave you open to at least 2 heroes when you pick them.

The reason we do this is because that keeps you open to more classes for as long as possible while retaining the power of red cards. It allows you to see what the other players are aiming for before “locking in” on a class. If you manage to be the sole pilot of a class that is a great advantage to have! The downside is players who commit to a class earlier will have 

You’re also more likely to end up playing generics in your deck than mid-power yellow class cards. Since you need to take care to draft as many playable cards as possible, you will want to maximize the value of generics. Some of which, you'll notice, fit certain classes better than the other and can help narrow down your ideal class choice. Example of such a card is Pummel in Welcome to Rathe, quite good in Bravo and Rhinar, near unplayable in Dorinthea and Katsu.

General Limited Strategy

example of draft and sealed flesh and blood deckbuilding gameplay

Color Ratios

When making your deck, you should be considering how many cards you’re playing of each pitch color. Usually, you’re going for a number that fits the hero's playstyle. An aggressive deck is going to go for more red cards, while a deck relying on weapon efficiency will opt for more blues. In both cases ending up with yellow filler is unavoidable.

Aggressive heroes will want between 15 or more red cards, going for ~8 blues. The lower the cost requirements of class' cards and weapon in general, the more reds it can afford to play without losing out on efficiency. Latest example of this is Fai in Uprising, who is almost always drafted with close to 20 reds.

Slower or resource-intensive heroes will want 15 or more blues and a small amount of red threats. When cards cost a lot they have to be paid for somehow. Bravo in Welcome to Rathe is the original example of this, liking expensive cards for both his hero ability and weapon. Uprising's Iyslander functions a lot better with a blue in arsenal.


Value Strategy Above Individual Cards

Simply taking the best card available isn’t a good strategy for Flesh and Blood limited. As you can already see from the previous tips, there’s a lot of strategy that goes into crafting your draft deck. When making a pick, you should consider what kind of deck you’re making. Once your deck already has a cohesive theme on the horizon, you should be asking yourself:

  • What does this card contribute to my game plan?
  • Does this card skew my color ratio in a way I don’t like?
  • Is there a more situational card available that fits my game plan better?
  • Should I pick away a really strong card outside of my class so I don't have to face it?

Learn The Pool

Each draft limited format has a limited set of cards within. Knowing what cards are in the set can help you anticipate your opponent’s plays and bluff your own.

This applies to draft and sealed equally. You need to know what cards your opponents are likely to have in order to properly play around them. This is more true in Flesh and Blood than it is in other games, as the game rewards format knowledge and skillful play quite a bit.

In draft, this will also help you expect what cards you might be able to pull from later packs and what the odds are for pulling some key pieces. The rarities in FaB are distributed as:

  • Every pack has at least 1 rare, 75% of them have 2.
  • 1 Majestic is present in every 4 packs
  • Legendary cards are in 1 of every 96 packs

This means that relying on a Legendary or Majestic rarity cards is extremely risky, but if you pull them early they could become the centrepieces of your strategy.

Prioritize Taking Equipment

This is the 2nd most important tip for beginners to keep in mind. You want to be looking to draft equipment early so you can fill your equipment slots the best you can. Having a full suite of equipment will give you a massive edge over opponents that didn’t prioritize it. No matter how small their impact may be, you can use the equipment you get in every game, while some power card may be drawn too late to fulfil its potential.

This is even more important once you’ve got a hero in mind. Any equipment surrounding that hero becomes a much better pickup because of its bonus ability and possibly block.

Don’t Stick To Tips Too Strictly As You Improve

All of the tips we’ve talked about today are general. This means that they won’t always be the correct decision to take. As you improve, you’ll get a lot better at evaluating cards and situations, which will let you find situations where the tips we’ve discussed lead to suboptimal decisions. More importantly, with each new set come new challenges and priorities. Learning the card pool and strategic archetypes available to each hero is what will really help your game grow.

Strategies mentioned so far will lead to you making good draft decks, but to make an optimal deck, you’ll need to develop the soft skills involved in the format. 

Draft Tips & Tricks

flesh and blood guide to limited play sealed and draft tips and tricks


Tracking Signals In Draft

Looking at signals in a draft environment isn’t something you need to think about if you’re brand new. However, when you’ve got a solid grip on most beginner-level strategies, it’s time to start learning about signals - the most important soft skill to have.

Signals are essentially information that you send and receive from the picks you and your opponents make. One kind of signal is when early on a pack is passed with a common class card missing. The person who made that pick is trying to tell everyone to their left "I want this hero for myself, don't touch it or we both lose out!" If the signal is read by everyone, the player who sent it will be rewarded in pack 2 picks with his class cards being passed to the right untouched. By reading signals you can avoid being in the same class as someone close on the right, as they'll have dibs over you on majority of the good class cards in packs 1 and 3.

To send a signal yourself it's necessary to put yourself in the shoes of a person to your left once the card you want is taken away. What kind of a pack are you receiving? At first glance, picking a red class power card should be a clear signal to your left, right? But what if the card you picked belongs to equipment, rare or foil slot? You didn't pass any information this way, as those slots can be occupied by any class or generic cards. Alternatively, what if there's more than 1 power card for your class in the pack? Since there is 7 common class cards, they're never going to be perfectly evenly distributed and picking 1 away makes the player to your left suspect one of two classes is being forced. If they still see a powerful second card for your class in the pack they could deduce you're on the class that, by chance, only had 1 class common in the first place. Now they're taking your good cards away in pack 2!

This is why sending signals isn't as simple as reading them. It requires careful thought of how a pack will "play out" around the table as cards are picked off. Learn the individual set's basics, power cards and strategies before utilizing signals to this degree, but once you do you'll notice a step-up in your drafting ability.


Don’t Hyperfocus Too Early

When new players realize that it’s very important to draft a functional, 30-card deck, they sometimes decide on a class before the draft even starts. This isn’t something you should be doing when looking to perform at a competitive level. 

When you decide on a class or hero before you start drafting, you limit your options. The whole point of drafting generics early is to keep your options open as long as possible. Maintaining flexibility in a draft environment ensures that you get to go with the hero and class combo that fits your position at the table the most.

Because of this, you should always think about whether it’s worth switching to a different hero or class altogether. Sometimes, a successful draft might have you switching your class at the start of pack 2!

Don’t Be Blinded By “Contested” Picks

Sometimes you’ll figure out someone else is playing the same class you are  and that’s okay! The first mistake many beginners make when they learn to read signals is playing too cautiously.

Just because a player is playing your class doesn’t mean you necessarily need to pick a different one. Most classes will comfortably be able to support 2-3 players at once depending on the pool. Depending on the set, the same hero can be built with completely different strategies in mind, causing only a small overlap between you and the other player drafting the same hero. Tales of Aria with heroes controlling 2 elements each is a great example, but it can be as simple as aggro and control Katsu in Welcome to Rathe. One likes his red go agains and combo lines, the other is grabbing all the 3 blocks he can get.

Wrap Up

Limited is a great way to experience Flesh and Blood, and even primarily constructed players might find something enjoyable within the two formats.

Above all else, they're a more fun and social way to experience cracking packs! If you’re playing casually, sometimes you might want to make a suboptimal or “greedy” play and that could end in a great story to tell others, it's what local game store communities are all about. Of course, it could fail, but unless you’re playing at a competitive event there is little consequence and you can afford to make and learn from mistakes. 

If you’re looking to begin your sealed journey, the Welcome to Rathe set provides a great starting point for beginners, while fans of greater complexity might find themselves to be more at home with sets like Monarch.

If after all this you think you might enjoy constructed play more you can check out our guide for building your first deck and blitz deck overview.

Written by Ilija Miljkovac & Hrvoje Hedžet


Check out our other Flesh and Blood articles below:

Flesh and blood

Leave a comment