Flesh and Blood

Game Guide

FaB: Arsenal Guide - Its Importance and How Beneficial It Can Be

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In today's article, let's analyze the concept of the arsenal as more than just one extra card per turn. Let's see how useful it is and how beneficial or not it can be - besides bring you a more in-depth reading of this zone in the game.

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translated by Joey Sticks

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revised by Tabata Marques

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Carrying on with our analysis of a few Flesh and Blood concepts that are a bit more advanced, today we'll discuss one of the most important zones in the game, which can swing many games in your favor: the Arsenal.

When we learn how to play Flesh and Blood, the arsenal is presented to us as a zone where we can place one card from our hand at the end of our turn. This card can only be played from the arsenal, and can't even be used to pitch or to block (if it is an Action).

We can consider our arsenal as our "fifth card in hand", but this zone goes beyond that. Let's discuss a few situations in which the arsenal can be excellent (or can get in our way).


The Arsenal as a Tool and Its Benefits

Let's start by analyzing a situation in which placing a card in the arsenal gives you better effects. This will be the most obvious situation in which you should use this zone.

Cards that Benefit from the Arsenal

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The most obvious situation in which you should place a card in the arsenal is when this card has some sort of bonus effect when you play it from this zone.

One of the best heroes that takes as much advantage as you possibly can from this situation is Iyslander, Stormbind. Thanks to her ability, it is desirable (most of the time) to place a blue card in the arsenal every turn - even more so if this is an Ice card. Let's see an example:

We're playing with Iyslander, Stormbind and your opponent is irrelevant. We have less health, equipment pieces and weapons don't matter and this is our hand:

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In our turn, we play Scar for a Scar (1) with Go Again and finish with Wounded Bull (1), but which blue card should we use to pay for costs, and which should we place in the arsenal?

Of course, this decision should be made with the proper context, but, in general, we can say the best play is to pay for the cost with Frosting (3) and place Cold Snap (3) in the arsenal. In our opponent's turn, we can play Cold Snap (3) (through this hero's ability) and, as it has a bonus effect when it is played from the arsenal, we draw a card and give our opponent a Frostbite. Thanks to this bonus effect, placing Cold Snap (3) in the arsenal is an excellent play.

Cards You Can't Play In Your Turn

Some decks can't set up a turn with all the cards in your hand, so, in various situations, we can use the arsenal to save one of these cards and play it at a better time. The best examples of this are the Defense Reactions - considering we can only play them in our opponent's turn. Let's see an example:

Our hero is Uzuri, Switchblade. We're equipped with a Spider's Bite and a Nerve Scalpel, and our opponent and the rest of the equipment pieces don't matter. We have three cards in hand:

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In our turn, we can't play Sink Below (1), so the best option is to use Isolate (2) to pay for the cost of one of the daggers and finish the turn with Leave no Witnesses, placing Sink Below (1) in the arsenal and keeping it to use it at a better time.

Cards that Boost your Turn

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This is a situation based on a turn with a "five-card hand". Knowing when to place a certain card in the arsenal to boost your turn really depends on how your deck is built, how much you know your hero, how much you can recognize whether playing a certain card in that turn is good, and the current game state analysis. Let's see two examples.


Our hero is Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire. Our weapon is Teklo Plasma Pistol, we start with Induction Chamber and Teklo Foundry Heart (the other ones, we'll ignore). Our opponent is unknown, and we have the following hand:

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In this case, should you use High Octane now (to create several attacks with the weapon) or place it in the arsenal to use it at a better time? Let's assume it was used now, paid for with Zipper Hit (2), leaving you with one resource left. We then draw a Zero to Sixty (1) and get the following hand:

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The best we can do with this hand and one resource left is Zero to Sixty (1) -> Activate Teklo Foundry Heart's ability (leaving you with two resources available) -> T-Bone (1) -> Throttle (1). We declare a 13-damage attack, but High Octane has practically made no difference, and there is nothing left to place counters on Teklo Plasma Pistol.

In this case, we could have done different. If, instead of playing High Octane now, we had placed it in the arsenal, we could have set up the following turn:

T-Bone (1) -> Activate Teklo Foundry Heart's ability (using Zipper Hit (2) to pay for the ability and saving up three resources) -> Throttle (1) -> place a counter on Teklo Plasma Pistol and attack with the weapon.

In this turn, we declare an 11-damage attack (two less than the previous turn), however, saving High Octane in the arsenal makes it available to use at a better time and set up turns that threaten 22–23 damage. Situations like these require you to know your deck thoroughly and understand well the potential it has with these cards.

Let's see another example: our hero is Fai, Rising Rebellion, our weapon is Searing Emberblade, and we have a Phoenix Flame in the graveyard. Let's ignore all other equipment pieces. Our opponent is irrelevant, and we have the following hand:

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In our turn, the best sequence we can do is:

Brand With Cinderclaw (1) -> Searing Emberblade (paid with a Ronin Renegade (3)) -> Lava Vein Loyalty (1) -> Phoenix Flame (through this hero's ability) -> Salt the Wound.

If our opponent doesn't block anything, this hand declared 16 damage (considering Salt the Wound got 4 extra power), however, let's add another variable. Let's assume our opponent blocked all our attacks. In this case, should we play Salt the Wound?

In this situation, the attack would only threaten 2 damage. In an endgame situation, it would be interesting to play this card to get closer to a lethal attack, but, early to mid-game, this isn't an interesting situation. Considering our opponent is willing to block everything, it would be more interesting to place this attack in the arsenal to set up a turn later on that is more interesting, such as an Art of War turn, for instance, or punish them in a turn in which they can't block any of your attacks.


Another situation in which setting up an arsenal is good is matches in which it is always more interesting to set up turns with five cards. This strategy is particularly efficient against fatigue strategies, in which your opponent will always try to block your attacks. Like so, when you play a "small turn, then a big turn later on", some damage always manages to get through.

Adopting this type of posture might lead to a temporary loss of value, but it brings the promise of a higher value in the future. This type of decision is complex, and depends on the context, but, as the player masters a particular deck, these decisions get clearer and clearer.

Through Draws at the End of the Turn

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This is one of the simpler situations in which you should use the arsenal. We're referring to when, after playing our whole hand, we draw a card through a particular effect: it might be that Snatch (1) dealt damage, or after you play a Spark of Genius. In these situations, we place the card we've drawn in the arsenal.

To Protect Yourself

This is a situation that became more evident after the Outsiderslink outside website set was released. Sometimes, we want a full arsenal to protect ourselves from the Codex cycle (Codex of Inertia, Codex of Bloodrot, Codex of Frailty). Having an arsenal prevents us from discarding cards in hand that would probably be used to block.

Besides protecting this type of strategy, having an arsenal might guarantee we won't have a "lost" turn (if you end up using your entire hand to block, for instance). Your turn might be a bit weaker, but it won't be lost.

Bad Arsenal Situations

Sometimes we place bad cards in the arsenal. Let's see some situations in which this happens and what we can do to avoid them.

Bricked Arsenal

In some situations, we place a card in the arsenal because we're considering playing it at a better time; however, this opportunity never comes along, and this card ends up stuck in the arsenal for the rest of the game.

For instance: a Guardian has a Pulverize in the arsenal, but they never managed to get ten resources to play it, or a Mechanologist who has a Maximum Velocity in the arsenal, but can't play three boosts in a turn.

These cases can happen both because the player made a bad choice or because their deck wasn't built efficiently. For this reason, you need to study each card's utility in your deck and determine how many turns it can be in the arsenal. If you, as a player, realize it will stay in your arsenal for too long, you should consider removing this card from your deck.

Another way to unclog your arsenal is by using Crown of Providence. This is one of the reasons this crown is one of the best equipment pieces in the game.

Bad Cards in the Arsenal

There will be situations in which you have bad cards in the arsenal. This can happen because of a few reasons.

If a bad card is in your arsenal because it was drawn (as explained in the section, "Through Draws at the End of the Turn"), there isn't much you can do, but this isn't an issue. In a well-built deck, it is possible to play this card as soon as you can and free the arsenal. Now, if this card was placed in the arsenal because it was the last card "left" in your hand, it might be a sign the player hasn't played as efficiently as they could in terms of value.


Example: Our hero is Levia, Shadowborn Abomination. It is the first turn (so, we don't have anything in the graveyard or in the banished zone). Our opponent is irrelevant, let's ignore our equipment and we have the following hand:

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The player decides, then, to play Swing Big with an inefficient pitch with Boneyard Marauder (1) and Deadwood Rumbler (3), this way placing Dread Screamer (3) in the arsenal.

In this case, we have a bad card in the arsenal because the player in question employed some inefficient decision-making. The best thing to do in this situation, assuming the player wants to draw four new cards, is to play Deadwood Rumbler (3) with an inefficient pitch with Swing Big and Dread Screamer (3) (as the opponent will have to block it all, it isn't worth it to play the best attacks we have), like so placing Boneyard Marauder (1) in the arsenal.

Going Beyond the Arsenal

Some heroes end up using the arsenal beyond these basic concepts. Let's comment on them a bit.

The Ranger Class

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As the Ranger class has attacks that can only be played from the arsenal (the Arrows), the arsenal zone ends up becoming an important part of your strategy. As a result, some concepts end up expanding for these classes (and having cards stuck in the arsenal might be much more harmful to this class than for the other classes).

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Additionally, New Horizon allows the player to have two arsenal zones, enabling extremely aggressive turns with up to six cards available (four from hand and two from the arsenal) when we play with decks such as Lexi, Livewire.


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As said before, Iyslander, Stormbind uses the arsenal uniquely. Besides the fact it rotates this zone multiple times, she still benefits from placing blue cards (which you usually just want to use to pitch) and taking advantage of cards such as Brain Freeze (3), Cold Snap (3) and Channel Lake Frigid.

Even though it might seem counter-intuitive to place red cards in the arsenal, the concepts still apply in this case. This ice mage can place them in the arsenal, either because it is the best option in her hand, or even to prepare a better turn.

Final Words

Deciding whether to setup the arsenal or not is one of the most important decisions in the game. Sometimes setting up an arsenal is an easy choice, and, sometimes, in several situations, the question "should I play this card from the arsenal now?" is quite complex.

Mastering and recognizing these moments requires not only the player to be skillful but also knowledgeable about their deck, in order to know exactly when to make the most out of their cards.

If you want more in-depth information about the game, also check out my Guide on Value and Turn Cycle!link outside website


Thank you for reading and see you next time!