Are you looking for a new card game? Maybe you’ve had friends recommend this new trading card game called Flesh and Blood and you’re trying to decide if it’s for you. Whether you’re a veteran of CCG/TCGs or you’ve never played a card game before, Flesh and Blood has something for you. It has great options for new players starting out, casual players wanting a good game to explore with their friends on game night, or more competitive players who wish to take a further leap into the depth and complexity Flesh and Blood provides at higher levels.
What Is Flesh and Blood
Flesh and Blood is a brand new TCG from Legendary Story Studios- a TCG company based in New Zealand. Flesh and Blood revolves around two heroes in a struggle of swords and sorcery, using their skills and equipment to triumph over the other.
The game follows two formats: Blitz and Classic Constructed. Classic Constructed is the game’s premiere format, using 80-card decks helmed by the adult version of a Hero. Blitz, on the other hand, has a smaller deck size and generally lower life totals, leading to quicker games.
At the start of each FaB match, both you and your opponent will reveal your hero and equipment, which marks the start of the match.
Ease of Entry
One of FaB’s biggest draws among new and experienced players alike is its ease of entry. Flesh and Blood is a testament to how you can create a deep and complex game, while still keeping the learning curve from becoming too steep.
If you’re coming from a game like Magic of Yu-Gi-Oh, you’ll have an easy time adjusting to the way FaB works. But we’ll get into the comparisons later.
Part of what makes Flesh and Blood so easy to approach is the availability of preconstructed decks that do their job well. Unlike Structure Decks in Yu-Gi-Oh or the Planeswalker Decks in Magic, the Monarch Blitz decks are playable right out of the box, and can provide a cohesive and fulfilling gameplay experience.
The Blitz format is the ideal entry place for new players. The heroes are less complex, and it has a smaller deck size. The Monarch Blitz decks provide you with a great product to start your FaB journey with. Getting 1-2 of these decks is all you need to create a deck that can hold its own at more casual tables.
If you’re looking to enter the competitive scene, you’ll want to get yourself familiar with the competitive metagame. Thankfully, FaB publishes all results from larger tournaments so you can quickly see what is performing well in the metagame. If you want to get more into competitive Flesh and Blood you can check out our article about it.
LSS has taken a rather unique approach to set availability. As a new game, FaB is seeking to satisfy collectors and players alike. Because of this, the first edition of every set is printed at a fixed quantity.
In most other games, this leads to LGSs running out of stock, and prices skyrocketing. In Flesh and Blood, this only happens in the short-term, due to the Unlimited print runs.
LSS prints every single set to demand after a period of time elapses from the First Edition of it. These Unlimited versions of sets are printed at much higher volumes, and contain the exact same cards as the First Edition.
This means that if you’re looking to collect, the first editions and unique treatments of cards are a great way to do so. On the other hand, if you’re looking to play the game, and would rather avoid inflated prices, you can simply wait for the Unlimited versions to come out.
If you’ve seen inflated prices on products like the Monarch Blitz decks, know that these will come down as soon as they are back in print.
First and foremost, the best reason to recommend any game is the gameplay. Whether you’re a fan of sharp, tactical gameplay or strategic depth, Flesh and Blood has both, placing you as a dueling hero whose goal is to reduce the opposing hero to zero life.
You start with a full suite of armor and weapons and as the game progresses, use that equipment, supplemented by your hand, to attack and defend throughout the game. Flesh and Blood plays out quite thrillingly as you thrust and parry, looking for the perfect time to turn your opponent’s weak spot into his demise.
One of the strongest features of Flesh and Blood is its clever way of making almost every card in your hand able to attack, defend, or be used as a resource. This turns each hand into a deliciously tense puzzle in which you try to find the best use of your options.
Do I defend with this card, or do I take the hit from my opponent and hope I can swing back with it for more damage on my turn? And because there is no slow ramp up of resources as in other games like Magic and Hearthstone, you’ll find yourself in the middle of the action from the first turn of the game.
Another interesting aspect of FaB is that a lot of decks start out at their strongest, and get weaker as their equipment breaks down. This helps maintain strategic integrity at all points in the game.
Your Hero is the central piece of your deck. The number on the bottom-right corner on your Hero represents your life- if this number goes to 0, you lose the game. Conversely, if your opponent’s life drops to 0, you win the game.
On the bottom-left corner of your Hero is their intellect. This is the number of cards that you draw at the start of the first turn, and at the start of each of your turns.
The hero is generally the core of your deck’s gameplan. Most FaB decks are made to get the most out of your hero’s abilities. For example, a deck like Levia will look to play cards with at least 6 attacks to get the most out of her ability to use blood debt.
At the bottom of your hero’s card, you can see their Class. The Class of your hero determines some of the cards and equipment you can play alongside them, in addition to giving you a hint about their playstyle. The classes in FaB are as follows:
- Brute: Brutes generally care about big attacks, dealing 6 or more damage. They give off a berserker-like feeling in gameplay. Common choices include Rhinar and Levia.
- Guardian: The Guardian class is often hailed as being the most resource-intensive one in the game. The Guardian focuses on setting up defenses in order to launch a barrage of massive attacks to end the game. The premier Guardian is Bravo.
- Ninja: Ninja is a class revolving itself around combos and chip damage. Heroes like Katsu let you set up strong synergies and multi-instance chains of damage that are very difficult to defend from.
- Warrior: Warriors are generally focused on their weapons, and will look to power up their weapon attacks and ensure your opponent can’t block profitably. Heroes like Boltyn and Dorinthea represent the warrior class well.
- Mechanologist: One of the most versatile classes in the game, with a variety of different playstyles. Dash is the premiere mechanologist, and will show you playstyles from up-the-wall aggression to a more control-focused style.
- Ranger: The Ranger provides a more low-fantasy feel, giving you access to traps and different arrows. Azalea lets you play with your arrows as long as they’re in your arsenal.
- Runeblade: The Runeblade was made to fulfill the spellsword fantasy. They do a mix of regular and arcane damage, helping it combat multiple kinds of defenses. Chane and Viserai show the two different paths that this class tends to take.
- Wizard: The Wizard class puts emphasis on being an arcane damage glass cannon, most akin to an aggro deck in other games. Kano has less health than other heroes in the game, giving him a unique niche in being a blazing-quick hero.
- Illusionist: The illusionist is the last class added to FaB, with its only hero currently being Prism. Illusionists rely on gimmicky phantasms to get the most out of their power.
Selecting a class is a very important step in your FaB journey. Most people will have a few classes that jump out at them at first glance. Look through each of their heroes and decide on one of them.
Equipment is one of FaB’s more unique aspects. You start with your equipment and your weapon already in play at the beginning of the game. This ensures that the game starts out with both heroes at their best. This gives it one of its biggest appeals- there is no “setting up” period where neither player does much, the game is interactive from turn one.
In Classic Constructed, you can even pick and choose what equipment to use for what matchup. This gives the feeling of “sideboarding” in other games without making you wait for an entire game before you get to it.
Equipment choice is crucial in FaB, in fact, most of its most expensive cards are equipment. This is because they play a crucial part in your defenses, and can provide excellent offensive support as well.
Flesh and Blood provides a lot of unique ways to play the game:
- You could opt for a go-wide strategy where you play lots of attacks with “Go Again” or a similar mechanic.
- Alternatively, a go-tall strategy where you opt for fewer, stronger attacks can also work.
- Fatigue decks are looking to whittle down their opponent’s decks before they go in for the kill. Combo decks
- Combo decks look to assemble a set of cards that’s nearly impossible to defend against
A lot of classes will allow for 2 or 3 of these playstyles, however, they’re usually best suited for only one or two.
Beyond this, there’s a lot of nuance in playstyles. Some people like recursive mechanics, while others prefer to get fewer resources, but have stronger avenues to use them. Think about what you’re really looking to get from a deck before you go about making or purchasing one.
You can think about the aesthetics of a certain hero, or even just the feel of playing a given kind of deck. A playstyle doesn’t have to be concrete, you can just play the way you like and chances are there’s a deck to be built there.
The Competitive Scene
For those players who are drawn by the highest levels of competition, LSS has the best support in the TCG world. From beginner-friendly weekly events being run by local game stores all the way up to large tournaments which draw hundreds of players. To top it off, LSS just announced a $1M Professional Play schedule for 2022, which is sure to grow the game even more. For a complete look at Organised Play and to find an event near you, check out the official website at fabtcg.com.
A lot of new players don’t want to be spending hundreds of dollars on their first deck. Because of this, the viability of budget decks can be crucial in picking a TCG to play. Thankfully, FaB is great at giving budget decks a shot in the spotlight.
Sure, you aren’t likely to win your nationals with a $50 deck, but a local tournament is hardly unfeasible. This is because FaB doesn’t balance cards around rarity. This makes budget brews quite potent.
Blitz is probably the best format to go to for budget deck building, as there’s a variety of different budget decks available in the format. You aren’t very restricted in terms of playstyle, as long as you aren’t looking for a completely controlling game plan, you won’t have trouble finding a budget deck that suits your tastes.
Sublime Limited Formats
Many players are introduced to the game in the form of one of the game’s two Limited formats, which are typically tournament formats (although they can be played casually around your kitchen table as well).
Limited formats are designed to build a deck through either buying a few packs and building a deck from only that small pool of cards as your friends do likewise. Then you play a tournament with just those cards (known as Sealed). Alternatively you can take a similar small amount of packs and draft those cards by taking one card and passing the rest around the table before building a deck from your chosen pool of cards.
Of these two, Sealed and Draft, Sealed is much more accessible to newer players and is a great way to build your collection without having to worry about more established players having a much larger collection and access to more cards than you have.
Once players get more familiar with the game, the Draft format is excellent and requires much skill to master. Legend Stories Studios has designed the game with a focus on how it would play in Limited formats, especially Draft, and that special attention makes for a format that is a joy to play.
The Flesh and Blood team puts a massive emphasis on balance. They try to make sure that all classes are well-represented in the game’s ecosystem.
The game features a very robust ban list. This doesn’t mean that it’s long, but rather that the team behind the game has put a lot of thought into how they want to manage their game. Their goals are twofold:
- To create a dynamic meta-game for competitive play
- To ensure that cards remain useful in the long term
To attain both of these, Flesh and blood uses a Revolving Card Legality Model. This means that cards flow in and out of competitive legality. Since you can only use generic cards and cards that share a talent or class with your hero, hero cards are the fundamental determinant of card legality.
When a given hero has won enough tournaments (each of which gives a number of points) they will gain “Living Legend” status. This puts them outside of competitive play legality for a time.
This ensures that the game never becomes stale by balancing out oppressive heroes. This system uses an objective metric- tournament performance rather than feelings or even unweighted win rates.
What FaB does to differentiate itself from its competition
The big question on many prospective players’ minds is what exactly Flesh and Blood does differently compared to other TCGs. It could be a great game, but in the end, another Magic clone would be simply that- a Magic clone.
The first difference is rather obvious- the game doesn’t really have “creatures.” All of the big 3 TCG’s (Magic:The Gathering, Pokemon TCG, and Yu-Gi-Oh) place a large emphasis on cards that let you summon a given kind of creature. Flesh and Blood forgoes this, instead opting for a very hero-focused approach. It’s more of a one-on-one duel than a battle of armies.
Another is its heavy emphasis on competitive play. While games like Magic are slowly dwindling their prize pools, FaB encourages its competitive circuit rather heavily.
While other games tend to balance cards according to their rarity (Yu-Gi-Oh is notorious for this) FaB doesn’t do this. There are many commons and rares that perform better than some supers or majestic rares. This makes decks a lot more affordable, and decks that forgo expensive cards still capable of keeping up.
Finally, in a time where most games are slowly moving to online play. With Hearthstone, Magic: Arena, Legends of Runeterra, and the like dominating the TCG space. Other companies are flocking to that area, while Flesh and Blood stays true to its roots, providing a game made to be played in Flesh and Blood.
Written by Ilija Miljkovac
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