Building your first deck is a daunting task in any TCG. This goes double for newer games like Flesh and Blood, where there isn’t enough time for any real meta to settle, and even the pros are constantly changing cards in their decks around.
With that said, there are some general strategies you can employ to help you build your deck. Today, we’ll be going through the process of making your first Flesh And Blood deck, and how you can ensure it is successful.
Flesh and Blood currently officially supports three different constructed formats. How you’ll approach deckbuilding can vary in between these, although most general strategies remain more or less the same.
Classic Constructed is the game’s Premiere format, and what we’ll be focusing this guide on. Games generally last between 20 and 50 minutes, and tend to be more mentally draining than other formats.
- Adult heroes are legal and preferable to their young counterparts
- 80 card deck limit including weapons and equipment
- Both players present their hero and then side. Players must present a 60 card deck, not counting weapon and equipment.
- Cards can be played at a maximum of 3 copies
You must follow the current banned and suspended restrictions
Siding before the first game is quite unusual in TCGs, allowing you to counter opponent's strategies before a single card is revealed. It allows for all kinds of trickery and can be a big source of advantage. However, what comes first is creating a solid proactive strategy for our own deck. Learning to counter what others are doing will come with experience.
Blitz is FaB’s newest format, it’s made to be a lower power, quicker form of Classic Constructed. Games are expected to last between 10 and 30 minutes and smart utilization of health as a resource is important from the very start.
- You can only use young heroes with half hp of their classic constructed counterparts
- 40 card deck plus 11 weapon or equipment cards
- You can play at most 2 copies of a specific card
- You must follow the current banned and suspended restrictions
Commoner is Flesh and Blood's pauper. Being the cheapest and most approachable format, it's a great introduction for new players. Deck construction rules are the same as in blitz with all cards being limited to common, with the exception of a possible rare hero and up to two weapons. Lower rarity formats tend to favor aggressiveness, as defensive main deck options and armor become limited.
Brainstorm For Deck Ideas
Every deck first starts as an idea. Whether that is something as simple as “I want to try out Dash” or a complex card combination you're looking to take advantage of, it's important to visualize a framework you will
Look Through Cards At Random
One of the easiest ways to brainstorm ideas is by looking at cards in a semi-random way using a website like FABDB. If you’ve got a vague idea, you can expand on it by narrowing down your search. If you have no starting idea, you might stumble upon something completely new. In any case you are going to expand your knowledge of the available card pool which will benefit you later when it comes to tweaking and deck optimization!
Use Flavor As Inspiration
If you’re a lore enthusiast, you might start your brainstorming off with some lore. It can be a fun exercise to build a deck inspired by events that transpired in the lore. Maybe a specific Hero and Weapon combination springs to mind, or maybe you’ll get the gist of a synergy you’d like to try.
With that being said, be careful not to go too hard on the lore. Sometimes, a lore-friendly interaction won’t be very good in the actual card game so be on the lookout for this.
Imagine Concepts That Inspire You
Thinking of a concept like “I want to take instant cards and shove as many of them as I can in a deck” can sometimes work out in a fun deck. It’s important to note that these aren’t quite playstyles, they’re more general themes you want for your deck.
Your theme might be “deck with all reds” or the like, you don’t necessarily need to stick to it, it’s important that it gives you a starting point.
Pick A Playstyle or Archetype
In this step, you want to create a cohesive idea of how exactly your deck wants to work and what its purpose is. If you’re building a competitive deck, your “all reds” idea might be unfeasible. On the other hand, if you’re looking to build a low-power deck for casual play with your friends, that might be the best deck idea you’ve ever had.
Once you’ve decided on that, you’ll want to decide on an archetype or playstyle. There are a couple questions you’ll want to ask yourself in this step:
- How do I want to win the game?
- What kind of weapon/equipment loadout do I want to use?
- Is there a pet card I want to build my deck around?
Once you’ve answered these, you should think about where your deck fits in the aggro-control-midrange paradigm.
- Aggro decks generally look to start threatening damage as soon as possible and try to win the game early.
- Control decks generally try to slow the game down as much as possible, defending from and rebuffing as many of your opponent’s offenses as possible.
- Midrange decks fall in between these two, defending from aggro in the early game only to win it later, and trying to win the game before control can get to their late-game gameplan.
Another way to look at a playstyle is by looking at whether your deck wants to go tall, wide, or play an attrition game:
- Go wide decks are generally more aggressive and try to play many attacks with Go Again in order to overwhelm their opponents with the number of attacks. Usually, they tend to play many cards that deal 4 damage because the amount of block most defensive cards give tends to hover around 3.
- Go tall decks tend to focus on one big attack and attacks with on hit effects. Cards like Alpha Rampage and Crippling Crush are common in this type of deck.
- Attrition decks try to exhaust their opponent’s options by waiting for them to deck out. They try to exhaust as few cards as possible while their opponent runs out of steam.
Once you’ve got a playstyle in mind, it’s time to…
Pick A Hero
If you’re building a hero-centric deck, then you’ve already got this step covered. You’ll want to pick the face of your deck- your Hero.
There’s a lot of Heroes in Flesh and Blood, however, a lot of them pretty much tell you how to play them right on the tin. For example, Viserai tries to take advantage of his ability to deal both physical and arcane damage by opting for a go-tall strategy most of the time.
When picking a Hero, don’t just look at them in isolation. Look at all of the equipment available to them too, how well do they work with your gameplan? Generally, your hero should offer a lot of synergy with what your deck is trying to do.
Keep Consistency In Mind
While it can be tempting to put in all the juicy 1-ofs you can think of in your first deck, having multiple copies helps a lot with the consistency of your deck. You want to play 3 or at least 2 of each card that is crucial to your gameplan or offers it a great boon.
Many top-tier decks won’t play any 1-ofs at all(apart from Legendary Specializations) due to the fact that makes them less likely to draw the cards crucial to their gameplan.
Furthermore, you’ll want to ensure that you’re including the right amount of reds, yellows, and blues in your decks. Unfortunately, there aren’t many general guidelines here, as it’ll heavily depend on your deck. In general, aggressive decks favor reds, midrange decks favor yellows, and control decks will favor blues or yellows.
Make The First Draft
Finally, if you’re making your deck around a single interaction or synergy, make sure that there are enough cards to fill your deck with cards that support it.
As a general rule of thumb, you should be dedicating between 40 and 55 cards in your deck to your primary game plan. This is where most resource cards and cards that are responsible for your progression belong.
If you’re making an aggressive, go-wide deck, these are the 4-5 damage value cards, while defense cards belong to the next section we’ll talk about. Although there are matchups where you’ll want defense cards, you want to have a solid core to your deck before adding them.
Next, you’ll want to make a 40-25 card “toolbox.” These are cards that help you either combat your opponent’s strategy, or help your deck pivot to a more effective one in the matchup. These are supplementary cards that you’re likely to change depending on the matchup. Here, you can play some cards to specifically counter decks you have a bad matchup against.
Keep in mind that you’ve only got 80 cards in your deck, so you’ll need to make every spot count. Just because the toolbox has fewer cards than the core of your deck doesn’t mean its less important, so don’t just throw whatever in there.
Once you’ve assembled these cards, that will be the first “draft” of your deck. This is the first version that you’ll be refining in the future.
Making your deck online on a tool like FABDB can be a great way to get a bird’s eye look at your deck. How does it look at first glance? Does it look like you’ve got too many blues? Or maybe you haven’t dedicated enough slots to your primary gameplan?
Writing out on a sheet of paper the benefits and costs of every card you want to include is a great idea. There’ll almost always be over 80 cards you want to play, but some of those cards simply can’t make the final cut.
Playtest Your Deck Against Multiple Opponents
Once you’ve got your first draft ready, it’s time to playtest. Ideally, you’ll have a LGS with a variety of different decks present to go to. It’s very important to test out a variety of different matchups to get a grasp over which cards work with your deck and which don’t.
If you don’t have an LGS, Untap.in and Tabletop Simulator both enable you to find a match online.
For every match you play, jot down a few notes. What cards felt really good? What cards felt bad? What issues did you face during the match? These will later help you refine your deck further.
Categorize these by matchup. If you played 20 games against Wizard, you shouldn’t be optimizing your deck solely towards beating that. Instead, you should be looking at your deck’s performance across the board.
Refining Your Deck
It’s time to take the data you’ve gotten from the playtesting stage and put it to good use. If a specific card underperforms in almost all matchups, it’s time to cut it and add a different card in its place. If those are matches you lost, it might be a good idea to add a card specifically to counter them.
If you are interested in competitive play we have a competitive guide for those starting out.
First drafts will generally perform worse than average against well-refined decks, so don’t feel discouraged if you’ve got a relatively low win rate.
If you’re planning to be a competitive player, then optimizing towards your local metagame is a good idea. This means that if you’ve played 20 games against 20 different Wizard players, you’ll want to put a lot more cards that work well against Wizard.
Once you’ve finished the refining part of the deckbuilding process, go back and playtest the changes. Try to make just a few changes at once so you can see whether they made your deck better or worse.
Flesh and Blood is a game with a lot of depth, which leads a lot of people to be scared away from deckbuilding for it. Today, we’ve shown that it really isn’t as daunting of a task as it seems at first glance. You can check out some budget deck ideas here if you need a starting point.
The final piece of advice you should heed is that you should be prepared for your brews to fail. Not every deck is an undiscovered competitive gem, and it’s only natural that you’ll occasionally stumble upon some of the weaker strategies in the game. Don’t let this discourage you though! Just start brewing again and who knows, maybe your deck will shape the next global meta.
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Written by Ilija Miljkovac
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