Ever since the release of Uprising the meta game in Flesh and Blood became very open. That means a larger variety of heroes and playstyles can perform at a competitive level and it is difficult to determine if there is a clear best deck - currently it seems there isn't one. In this post we will present some of our own best choices for this meta.
Measuring the Best
We know "the best" is a very subjective term. To some the most important thing to find out is the deck's strength in game's two constructed formats - Classic Constructed and Blitz. However, there is plenty of other factors to take into account when looking to find the best deck for you. Does it play a proactive, fun game? Is it better if it annoys the opponent by being very disruptive and defensive? Could be a matter of money as well, some heroes ask for bigger wads of cash in return for their services. Once the money is spent, were the hero's cards a good, versatile investment into the game - are there other decks you can run those same cards in for a different strategy? To keep it relatively simple, we'll be tracking 5 things:
- CC Strength - Hero's viability in Classic Constructed, higher is better.
- Blitz Strength - Hero's viability in Blitz, higher is better.
- Difficulty - Skill requirement to play the hero at a functional level
- Price - Cost of the deck, lower is better.
- Versatility - Rating of how well the hero's cards can be used in other decks. Higher is better.
The best aggro Flesh and Blood decks
FaB as a TCG emulates 1v1 fighting games and aggro picks are essential to the genre. Aggro decks play a proactive game, looking to always strike first and work their way around any obstacles presented by the opponent. Such a high level of agency makes their games quick, as the decks tend to be glass cannon in nature. They will burn bright, but not for long. The choices we present are Fai from the newly released Uprising, and one of the classic heroes Viserai.
Fai is a Draconic Ninja, a phoenix rising from the ashes of Volcor. Leading his oppressed people in a rebellion, he sets his sights on the emperor's head and this red-hot nature is reflected in the deck's playstyle. Throw out a flurry of small ninja attacks and spark the flames of rebellion as the many weak become strong enough to take down giants through unity and card synergies!
Fai's hero ability allows him to start with a Phoenix Flame in the graveyard. A small attack, barely worth mentioning, but one Fai can always grab from his grave at the cost of 3 resources. For every Draconic attack on the combat chain the cost of this ability is reduced by one, meaning with 3 Draconic chain links it is a free 1 power hit! Many Ninja and Draconic cards have weak power and defence stats for their cost, but the more of them there is, the easier it is to enable other bonuses. Phoenix Flame is the first, but definitely not the last example of a card that is helped by the size of the combat chain in Fai. Mask of Momentum has been a Ninja mainstay equipment since Welcome to Rathe, as its ability to threaten a draw creates pressure even when the individual attacks themselves bring only damage. With Fai easily capable of generating long combat chains, in no small part thanks to Phoenix Flame, preventing Mask of Momentum becomes an arduous task requiring multiple blocks each turn.
More generally, such cards are power buffs that affect the entire turn. Spreading Flames and Art of War will buff every attack action Fai plays, while Salt the Wound will benefit from every hit landed before it is played. Phoenix Form and Rise Up can benefit from a high quantity of otherwise weak Phoenix Flames to land finishing blows. Every Rupture effect will gain a bonus from being played as chain link 4 or later. In general, Fai wants to keep as many cards in hand as possible to land as big of an attack chain as possible. This approach could be described as glass cannon because he doesn't pay much attention to the defensive values of his cards as a result. Many cards block 2 and when opponents present blocks that cannot be ignored, he starts to struggle.
To work around small disruption or weaker hands, Fai benefits from smart arsenal usage. Usually, Fai's turn starts with a Draconic Ninja attack that has go again. Rising Resentment, Ronin Renegade, Brand with Cinderclaw and Mounting Anger all fit the bill. Often it is followed by Searing Emberblade, immediately making use of its go again and getting a 2nd Draconic chain link. Afterwards, anything 0 or 1 cost flies without trouble, hopefully ending the chain with a strong finisher such as Salt the Wound or Lava Burst. To make sure this pattern continues smoothly, often it is correct to save one turn "starter" for arsenal if you see multiples, or even arsenal the Phoenix Flame you grab with Fai's ability if there's no benefit to playing it out. Examples of benefits to playing it out are: forcing a block from hand to prevent Mask of Momentum trigger or utilizing 2 or more attack buffs from Art of War, Spreading Flames or Tiger Stripe Shukos, making it effectively a 3 or more power attack. If worst comes to worst and your hand has no starter, having the Phoenix Flame ready in arsenal is better than using Fai's instant ability and pitching a whole blue on opponent's turn to get the same Phoenix Flame.
A slightly more advanced tactic is to arsenal a power card such as Art of War, Tome of Firebrand or Belittle to make a later turn with a sufficiently strong hand go way over the top of any defences your opponent could hope to put up. Fai as a hero benefits a lot from card synergies, so the more cards you have available, the higher the potential for great synergy! If you want to feel rewarded for planning of your aggressive pushes, look to arsenal a Belittle or an Art of War when your Tunic is on 2 counters. Then next turn, you can remove 3 cards for a resource and start fixing your hand without pitching a card first. Belittle grabs a blue, Art of War filters, and just imagine what happens if you draw an Art of War to your arsenaled Belittle! Tunic pays for Belittle which grabs a blue that pays for Art of War and likely the rest of the turn! Fai may be deceptive as a simple "go face red aggro" deck, but there is many elements to consider when trying to master a purely aggressive hero in Flesh and Blood!
Check out our decklist and its detailed sideboard notes if all the talk of rebellion lit a flame in your heart that only the heads of your enemies can feed.
Washing up unconscious on the shores of the Demonastery, Viserai had a rough time. His heart replaced by a pulsating crystal in a ritual combining mad science with dark arts, he's got plenty of reasons to seek revenge. Those who cross him soon meet the strength of the Arknight, a warrior with both immense physical prowess and mastery of arcane powers.
When Viserai first came out in Arcane Rising his hero ability didn't amount to much. With few ways to play out multiple actions in a turn, it rarely resulted in more than 2 Runechants. However, with increasing support in Crucible of War, Monarch, Tales of Aria and Everfest it became a force to be reckoned with! Suddenly, turns where it gained 4 or 5 Runechants became possible, granting free damage that simply wasn't there before! Everfest was highly relevant to this, introducing Revel in Runeblood and Swarming Gloomveils, two cards which effectively deal 5 damage for 0 cost when used on big turns.
The basis of Viserai's play are compact turns which deal respectable damage or generate multiple Runechants while arsenaling a moving piece that will help the deck deal with its inherent consistency issues. Viserai is, after all, a Runeblade. A deck that is half attack actions and half non-attack actions can and will encounter "brick" hands - hands where not all cards can be utilized, resulting in damage and tempo loss. To prepare for this, it is smart to arsenal cards that can guarantee or near guarantee alternate options to playing out hands. For example, Mauvrion Skies or Lead the Charge in arsenal guarantee the next turn's attack will have go again. Sonata Arcanix or Gorganian Tome in arsenal create the possibility of digging through the deck for an attack action if none are drawn in the following 4 cards. Rattle Bones simply digs the attack out of the graveyard to reuse an old one. Ideally Swarming Gloomveil as it will have go again for Rosetta Thorn attack afterwards.
Viserai has a solid number of 3 block cards and strong armor, making his defences way above average for an aggro deck. Due to efficient 2 and 3 card plays, he can allow himself to block with a card or two from hand too, carefully choosing his moment to advance. Rattle Bones into Gloomveil into Rosetta Thorn was already mentioned as a 2 card play, but Viserai's bread and butter play is a 3 card play of Mauvrion Skies/Lead the Charge into Shrill of Skullform/Spellblade Assault into Rosetta Thorn, presenting an annoying mix of physical damage breakpoints, arcane damage which requires Nullrune and pitching to prevent, and an on-hit effect that could lead to even more damage! This is why many lists nowadays run all 9 copies of Mauvrion Skies and Shrill of Skullform, with Spellblade Assaults and Lead the Charges added as a consistency boost to this turn pattern.
As a good rule of thumb, Viserai's majestics are all power cards which shouldn't be used carelessly on 4 card hands. Rather, saving them for arsenal and playing them out on a turn with 5 cards available will bring out the best in them. Mordred Tide, Revel in Runeblood, Sonata Arcanix and Swarming Gloomveil all work amazingly together and contribute to turns that most heavily abuse Viserai's ability for maximum Runechant generation. Power cards are a limited resource, so make sure to get good use out of them.
Find our Viserai deck and all you need to know about siding over here. Let no one match the Arknight!
The Best Control Flesh and Blood Deck
Control is a playstyle some players adore, while others despise. Playing reactively and countering every move and piece of preparation the opponent makes through disruption of some sort, forcing the opponent to play on your own terms is what control is all about! In Flesh and Blood control decks tend to also include strategies that utilize fatigue as a win condition, simply due to limited attacking resources when enough cards is dedicated to defence. We'll take a look at Oldhim, the best "tank" in the game.
Frozen in time, Oldhim awoke eons after his last battle alongside the Ancients. The last Guardian of Ollin, he's back on guard to defend the world from threats unknown and has no issues forcing opponents to match his glacial pace. Protecting the world, however, is a daunting task and one could always use a strong, trustworthy ally. Will you answer Oldhim's call?
If you've ever looked at a hero and wondered how it should be played, the thought shouldn't have lasted very long with Oldhim. Defence reaction as a hero ability is so far unique to him and immediately lets you know how he rolls. With an array of defensive tools at his disposal Oldhim doesn't like taking damage and doesn't mind not attacking at all for several turns in a row. Even when he does attack from behind his defences, small swings of Winter's Wail threatening Frostbite aren't the worst thing out there. But he is still a Guardian with a strong array of attacks at his disposal. If you give him room, expect heavy hits with lots of inertia to start changing momentum in his favour.
Oldhim's greatest power is his ultimate defence. Crown of Seeds combined with Rampart of the Ram's Head make it difficult for enemies to push damage through against the Shieldbearer of Ollin. Most decks, when presented with a chain of attacks with 4 power, 1 power and 4 power, would struggle to not take 3 chip damage. They would either have to spend some of their armor which represents permanent value they'd rather not lose too quick, or block with extra cards, losing them forever. Oldhim can prevent 4 damage with Crown of Seeds and a 3 block, 1 damage with Rampart and bleed 1 damage on the last attack as he blocks with a 3 block from hand. Alternatively, pitch into his Earth defence reaction to prevent even that bit of damage coming through, all while losing only 2 cards to block. He pitched 2, so they're still going to be there for the late game he is likely to reach, all he needs to do is arsenal his last card. Arsenal and wait for his opponent to experience the slow onset of fatigue as the number of red attacks dwindles and the ever-increasing percentage of weak blue cards in the deck starts showing up in hand.
Fatigue Oldhim isn't the most fun thing to play though and risks going to time, which results in a double loss in tournaments if a winner isn't declared on the final turn of each player. A better approach is to play a more flexible game, maintaining Oldhim's strong defence when necessary, but finding moments to punch back with haymakers such as Spinal Crush, Oaken Old and Endless Winter. With a more aggressive approach Oldhim can still be very disruptive to his opponents as his attacks could necessitate some blocking from hand. Then on the opponent's turn when the weakened hand strikes back, Oldhim's Ice defence reaction will crush dreams, likely crippling the turn!
Oldhim takes a very measured approach to Flesh and Blood's classical fights. Unlike most other heroes, he doesn't have to worry a lot about the quality of cards in his arsenal, Crown of Seeds solves that problem. Where any other hero would be left feeling stuck with some mediocre blue card in there, Oldhim just ships it to the bottom of the deck and draws a new card - ability that can be extremely useful on your own turn to dig for threats when you have tempo. A more advanced strategy for Oldhim abuses the fact Crown of Seeds can be used to stack late game pitch with cards you wouldn't want to pitch otherwise because of their low resources values - e.g. Oaken Old. As a red it won't do much when pitched, but if you attack with Winter's Wail pitching an ice card, arsenal Oaken Old and draw into an Earth card, you can now pitch it for Crown of Seeds and Rampart. Next you can pitch whichever blue you want and some 10 turns down the line you'll draw a beautiful hand of Oaken Old, Ice card, Earth card and a blue, ready to devastate the opponent!
Here you can find a list that slows even time to a halt.
The Best Budget Flesh and Blood Decks
Prices are a part of any physical card game and Flesh and Blood is no exception. Be it for collectible purposes or due to a shift in meta, the value of individual cards, dubbed "singles", can far exceed what someone not intimate with the TCG world would call normal. Some of those prices easily exceed the budget of many players. If you're among them, you should learn where the best bang for your buck lies both in terms of hero choice and budget alternatives to expensive staple cards. We're presenting 2 heroes in this section, chosen because on the following criteria:
- Their legendary class piece is available in 50-60€ range - relatively cheap compared to most classes
- Their full loadout requires only one additional legendary generic piece, making future upgrades easier on the wallet
- Their majestic cards are cheap and playsets can mostly be obtained for under 10€
With an inquisitive and sharp mind, hands ready to put ideas on paper and then into metal, Dash is a brilliant inventor always ready for a new challenge. Despite being among the defining prospects of Metrix's future, she finds the city and its uptight elites boring. It's time to take off the brakes, mischief and adventure await!
Dash is perhaps the premiere budget hero. With a very efficient engine (heh) containing almost exclusively Mechanologist cards and equipment consisting largely of commons even in full builds, she easily sits near the top of our budget list. Teklo Foundry Heart is the big spender card in the deck, sitting around 60€, potentially lower depending on History Pack 1 availability in your region. Providing 3 armor and resources every turn you boost, it packs a lot of value into its price. Vest of the First Fist or Heartened Cross-Strap are both solid alternatives if you don't want to commit this chunk of cash right up. Other than that, the deck is comprised mostly of commons and rares, with supers and majestics requried regularly sitting under 2.5€ a piece. The only exception here is High Octane which goes for between 4 and 5€. What you get for your money is a really flexible, yet straightforward deck. Mechanologist class offers no impactful on-hits, so the onus is on you to extract the maximum out of every card. The downside here is that she is currently the only Mechanologist hero, so all the cards you get for her can only be used in this deck. There is a lot of simplistic beauty to a deck where every card has good stats, chance to attack with go again, and there is always the possibility to set up permanents that turn the grind game into a cakewalk.
Depending on the match-up you're facing, Dash opts for one of the two sideboard packages. Both are deceptively simple to execute, but navigating through the match-ups really does require maximum efficiency, making Dash one of the most rewarding heroes in the game to master. The first package is aggro boost, making use of the boost keyword on most of Mechanologist cards. When attacking with one such card, you may banish the top card of your deck and if it is a Mechanologist card the attack will gain go again. This turns your deck into literal fuel you burn through as you attack your opponent over and over. If you're careless, you'll run out of fuel before the chequered flag comes down and lose the race by default - a DNF. The other package is items and defence reactions package. Items serve as upgrades to our Pistol weapon, while defense reactions help us buy time until we set them up. This methodical approach is best against heroes who are way too fast to deal with in a straight race, too good at blocking to die before we deck ourselves out with boosting, or too slow to deny us the ability to set up items for an unstoppable weapon.
Dash's hero ability allows her to start with an item from deck in play and 59 cards in deck as a result. With the aggro boost package the starting item is usually Teklo Pounder, a three time use power-up to the first boost attack of your turn. Boosting is desirable when we're expecting a short game where gaining item value is not a viable proposition. If both heroes enter a race where they attempt to maximize their overall damage, we need whatever we can get right this very instant. Only items that remain in the deck are additional copies of Teklo Pounder and Teklo Cores. Both items are blue, so likely won't be needed for blocking and can pitch well. Playing them creates above average value for future turns, which, provided we expect the game to go that long, is amazing. It is especially powerful to play Spark of Genius after a turn of boosting, get Teklo Core out, draw a card to replace Spark of Genius and effectively have 2 Energy Potions for free! Like any other aggro deck, having a card in arsenal increases the potential value of future turns, as blocking them out becomes more difficult and it generally contributes to consistency. Don't forget to shoot the pistol at the end of the turn, still getting some damage in without contributing to the boost deckout!
With items and defence reaction package Dash starts with Induction Chamber and rarely wants to boost, as the risk of missing boosts is increased with generics and even successful boosts than banish items are detrimental to the overall gameplan. Item Dash plays a careful defensive game as she gets Induction Chamber and Plasma Purifiers out to make Teklo Plasma Pistol the most efficient weapon in the game. Since every card spent on weapon attacks is pitched instead of played, item Dash only loses cards to blocking, making deckout near impossible, which is the polar opposite of how boost Dash plays! Once Teklo Plasma Pistol can swing for 4 power 3 times a turn, requiring only 7 resources, the game is as good as over. The road to get there is not as easy. You have to defend carefully, keep in mind that items don't block and could cost you a heavy on-hit effect, and save defence reactions for when they matter most. Teklo Core is also good to play out, as the 2 resources it generates either load up Pistol and Chamber, either pay for another pistol item without keeping a card in hand. Whichever version you play for the match-up, here's a tip: Teklo Plasma Pistol can be loaded multiple times in a turn even if it already has a counter. It won't gain further steam counters, but you can use this to filter your hand if you're going 1st in the match-up and want to get closer to the power cards of the deck, be they High Octane for boosting or pistol items.
If there's gasoline in your veins and you feel the need, the need for speed, the decklist is already in gear! Maybe consult the sideboard and upgrades guide before hitting the gas, not all problems are solved by boosting. 😅
Travelling performer and strongman, Bravo is summoned by old friends to a cause of much higher importance. Like Oldhim, Bravo is a Guardian and with the increased number of demonic threats from iArathael threatening Rathe, his overwhelming strength is needed to protect the people. If all goes well, he'll be able to enjoy Aria's festivities once more.
Bravo has always been among the best budget heroes in the game, as a lot of his strength comes from Anothos, the efficient weapon. It turns any blue into 4 power, so as long as every blue in the deck blocks for 3 he has a solid foundation of defence and offense. If two blues are pitched instead, both with costs 3 or more, it attacks for 6 to really grind down the opposing health bars! This can be done either through Bravo's ability, which won't give Anothos dominate, or through Tectonic Plating, a legendary Guardian chest piece that effectively carries one resource over to the next turn, should you want to attack with something that isn't Anothos. Coming in around 50€ in today's market, it's one of the cheapest legendary pieces. A real good selling point to Bravo is that it also has the best budget alternative in the game - Earthlore Bounty at 2-3€. It comes with the much needed 3 armor and an ability that could be utilized well if you slightly adapt the deck to focus more on the aura plays. For example, Blessing of Deliverance red and blue alongside Embolden blue create a small draw engine that can start pumping out Seismic Surges with Earthlore Bounty. As for the super rares and majestics, most of them are below 2€ a piece, including Bravo's most devastating attack - Crippling Crush. Spinal Crush and Tear Asunder tend to run in 3-4€ range due to their playability in every Guardian, while the freshest haymaker Pulverize goes for 7-8€.
Bravo is another hero with a deceptively simple playstyle. In fact, that could probably be said about every hero in Flesh and Blood, but Bravo really takes it to a whole new level. On the surface he has the big hitters he wants to throw down, a hammer to smack people with, and none of that sounds like it should require a lot of through to play. He rewards disciplined play like no other, resisting the temptation to take damage and throw out his own big hit, in favour of doing a smaller punch, but setting up a series of devastating blows. Currently his main weakness would be a part of his strength - around 2/3 of the deck are blue cards. While Guardian blues are much higher quality than is the case for this game's other classes, a hand full of blues is often unable to present a meaningful threat. There will always be a lot of blues in Bravo's hands, feeding the massive attacks that every hero fears, but one blue too many and Bravo's attack line crumbles. Anothos for 6 is usually laughed off and the pain is brought back to Bravo tenfold, as the Guardian can struggle to regain lost tempo without sacrificing health and armor - other heroes would try to do it through impactful 2 or 3 card plays as they keep blocking, but Bravo doesn't have many of those. His disruption is reliant on 4 and 5 card hands.
A big selling point of Bravo's playstyle is his efficiency. Besides Anothos attacking for 6 without losing a single card from the deck, even the big attacks such as Crippling Crush, remain very efficient in how they utilize cards. High costs mean more cards are pitched, meaning more cards remain in the deck even after the attack is gone. Crippling Crush can be played dominated with Bravo's hero ability by pitching 3 blues, or played without the dominate off of 2 blues and a Seismic Surge from the previous turn. In both cases only 1 card is going to the graveyard once combat is over, leaving the deck full of fuel for future use. Guardian blues are no joke, so that fuel presents actual threats. Many expensive attacks in Macho Grande, Thunder Quake and Cranial Crush present 8 damage in a hand full of blues. Tear Asunder threatens to rip the hand apart.
An advanced part of Bravo's strategy is using this knowledge to play a defensive, grindy game while pitching away power cards for Anothos attacks. Then later in the game use armor to block out attacks and start throwing out dominated haymakers turn after turn, as you know you'll be drawing into Crippling Crush after Spinal Crush after Disable and Pummel after Tear Asunder and so on. In practice many games won't go that long though, and in such games the goal is to aim for mini-version of this, where a powerful card is placed in arsenal. Then when a hand is drawn with 3 blues and another power card, use armor to block, dominate one of the two power cards, leave the remaining one in arsenal, repeat this next turn, hopefully preserving yet another threat and keep this going until the opponent's health is so low that even attacks without any on-hits present a game-ending threat.
Harness the power of the planet and bring the hammer down with our decklist (inspired by Cayle McCreath's teachings) and check out the proposed upgrades and sideboarding.
When starting out in a game, it's important to know what you want and what suits you, so that no time or money is wasted on something you won't have much use for. We tried to include a little bit for everyone in this one and hope you liked it! Stay on the lookout for more deckbuilding articles in the very near future.