Flesh and Blood Guide for Magic Players
If you came from Magic and need a little help to learn better how to play this wonderful TCG that is Flesh and Blood, this article will help you to deal with the differences between the two!Edit Article
Differences between Flesh and Blood and Magic: the Gathering
Where to start?
Where are my lands?
“pitched”go to the Pitch Zone, and at the end of the turn they are placed under your deck, being able to be drawn in the future whenever your deck gets there. Almost all cards have a pitch value that varies between 1 and 3. Most cards also have three versions, which are separated by “color”: one that pitches for 1 (which has a red stripe at the top of the card) , another for 2 (yellow) and another for 3 (blue). But then, why would I choose to put a red card if there is a blue version of it that pitches for more? Well, let's look at these cards:
How does a game without lands work?
pitchand the amount of
pitchyou have access to will not change during the game, unlike Magic where the more turns that go by, the greater the amount of resources you have access to is.
win condition, I mean the kind of card that is expensive in terms of resources needed, but which - when played - gives you a huge advantage. Another consequence of this is that cards are all very close in
power level.For a card to be in your deck, it can't be just something to do on your way to the
ideal board .All cards must have a good enough impact that when you draw it, it does something. This becomes very easy to do with the defense system. As all cards can be used as
pitch,or used to defend (as well as, of course, being used as something you play), it is always possible to find something to do with the cards that are in your hand, and
a big part of the skill in a game of Flesh and Blood is figuring out how best to use the cards you're dealt turn by turn, not unlike in Poker.
Who is winning?
turn cycleis two subsequent turns. If I have a turn in the middle of the game where I start with 4 cards and force my opponent to use all of their cards to defend, then on my opponent's turn they will just pass without doing anything, after all, they have no cards to play. In this
turn cycle, then, I have the initiative.
Deck DamageOne last simple way to judge a FaB match uses the concept of
deck damage. This concept is not always applicable, but for some matches it can be the determining factor in deciding who is winning. By pitching blue cards, we are doomed to draw them if the game doesn't end early. A FaB deck can only hold so many red cards before it runs out of resources to take turns, so it's inevitable that blue cards will be used as a pitch.
pitch in a more balanced way, I will eventually draw good offensive cards while my opponent only has bad offensive cards. The idea of
deck damage,as you might imagine, is the concept of gaining an advantage simply by having a more balanced (and maybe even bigger) deck in terms of blue and red cards for the late game.
Everyone is Aggro!
payfor the attack. If I defended with those two cards, I could defend for 6 instead of hitting for 7. When I finally thought about it more carefully, I started to better understand the value of blocking.
Each card left in your hand at the end of a turn cycle is a card that could be used to block without any loss.The thought that all decks are
Aggrois partially justified for a specific definition of Aggro.
Aggro, since there is not much board presence, and “stabilizing” is a concept that doesn't make much sense. Since almost no FaB deck can win the game by tanking the pressure and "stabilizing" itself, then, in this view of what characterizes an
Aggro deck,almost all FaB decks are Aggro.
I propose here, however, a different definition of Aggro that best fits FaB: a deck is Aggro if your game plan prioritizes putting on pressure by playing cards while not blocking beyond vital. Under this definition, not all FaB decks are Aggro. I find it helpful to think of different ways to judge the “macro strategy” of a FaB deck. My criteria are:
How interchangeable are the cards in the deck?Every deck tends to have “key cards”, but some have a lower reliance on combos of two or more cards, in addition to having access to different cards that serve the same purpose. The less interchangeable the cards in a deck are for developing your game plan (that is, the more reliant on combos of two or more cards), the more “combo-centric” the deck is.
How good is a deck with different amounts of cards in hand?Obviously, the more cards in hand, the better a deck's turn will be, but some decks play better with smaller amounts of cards in hand than others. Usually, the ability to play better with few cards comes from your hero's weapon, but that's not always the case. Having one less card in hand for some decks can represent a difference of 6 or more damage, while for others a 2-card turn is only 2 damage better than a 1-card turn. The better a deck is with smaller amounts of cards, the more “midrange-centric” it is, as the deck is more comfortable using part of its hand to defend. Similarly, the worse a deck is at playing with fewer cards, the more “aggro-centric” the deck is.
What factors define how the deck wins a game?Some more “aggro-centric” decks have a wincondition, forcing the opponent to use the cards in their hand to block by being able to apply greater pressure than the opponent with a greater diversity of hands. This type of deck often has cards that have synergies with each other (therefore they depend on more cards in their hand to perform a good turn), and they have numerous cards with the same purpose (dealing damage). Other decks have the win condition of trading cards efficiently, blocking when advantageous and putting pressure when, looking at a full turn cycle, the damage presented is greater than what would be stopped by blocking. These differences between winconditions indicate whether a deck is more Aggro or more Control.
And where's the Elves deck?
Warning!Don't play the decks I'm suggesting here hoping you'll have the same experience playing Magic. FaB (again) is a very different game, but maybe these decks can help scratch that itch of wanting to play something familiar in another game.
Decks with similar philosophy between MTG and Flesh and Flood
Hammer Time:Aggro Katsu, Dawnblade Dorinthea. These two decks need you to know how to use your window of opportunity well and know how to bluff, and have (especially in the case of Dorinthea) the ability to play long games and win via attrition.
Azorius Control:Bravo, Dash, Oldhim. These are great attrition decks for making efficient trades, gaining small margins throughout the game. Most of your cards block well, and the advantages are gradually won, mainly through the use of your weapons (Anothos and Teklo Plasma Pistol).
Izzet Murktide:Midrange Katsu, Midrange Viserai, Raydn Boltyn. Decks that are comfortable with trading cards every turn (blocking a little, hitting a bit), but that can also swiftly win the tempo of the game and turn small advantages into scenarios that are impossible to swing to the opponent.
Rhinos and BTL Scapeshift:Midrange Viserai, Rhinar, Herald Prism. Similar to Murktide, they are decks comfortable in trading cards, but still capable of taking big turns and gaining huge advantages.
Burn:Lightning Briar, Kano, Levia. This is probably the hardest to find a parallel in FaB because there is no deck that goes
all inand tries to win as fast as possible and has no chance after the opponent "stabilizes". That said, these decks are extremely proactive and demand some kind of interaction; otherwise they will simply run over the competition.
Jund Saga:Rhinar, Aura Prism, Ice Lexi. These decks are good at exchanging resources and disrupting the opponent's
game planin different ways. Rhinar hampers the opponent's ability to block, Prism is good at protecting board advantages, and Lexi taxes the opponent's resources with
on hit effects.
Yawgmoth Combo:Chane, Earth Briar, Saber Boltyn, Kano, OTK Viserai. All of these decks have in common the ability to have huge turn sequences, often being able to kill an opponent 100-0, and, as is traditional in FaB, are still capable of playing fair until then.
Esper Reanimator/Living End:Chane and Levia? There is no deck that interacts frequently with the graveyard, as recursion is a tricky word for FaB (see Drone of Brutality (1) being the first card banned from the game). That said, these decks care about cards in the Banished Zone and also in the Graveyard in one way or another.
Amulet Titan:Chane, Kano. No deck equals the madness of Amulet triggers and sequences, not even in Magic. These decks rely on sequencing things correctly, often several turns into the future, requiring mastery from the player to pilot the deck correctly. Analogously, a bad Kano or Chane player leaves a lot on the table that a more experienced player would be able to optimize, and Chane even has his “Primeval Titan” called sur, the Soul Reaper
Mill:Oldhim, Dash, Bravo. There are no decks that interact with your opponent's deck in FaB, and that probably won't change for quite some time. FaB is a game that rewards good
pitchingand in some
matchupsit's not uncommon for all cards in a deck to be used to win the match. That said, these decks can - depending on the matchup - win by wiping out the opponent's deck (not directly, but when someone runs out of cards it's hard to win the game) by blocking all of the threats your opponent is capable of throwing at you.
Ad Nauseam/Belcher:OTK Viserai. There's nothing that wins the game "without setup" in FaB, and there's nothing that draws your entire deck (card draw is expensive in FaB), but OTK Viserai has a plan to defend the entire game to then draw 7 to 10 cards during your combo turn by using the Bloodsheath Skeleta with Arcanix Sonata interaction, having more than 20 Runechant on the field to draw a bunch of cards and win the game in a single gigantic turn.
Storm:Kano. Storm is a different combo deck than Ad Nauseam, Belcher and other “I have these cards, I won” decks, which, as I said, don't have good equivalents in FaB. Storm is a deck that needs a huge advantage in resources and cards that eventually culminates in a win, and Kano is a deck that looks to do something close to that. Top deck manipulation, access to many cards with explicit synergy between them (see Blazing Aether) and the ability to catch people off guard are all qualities of Kano.
Tron/Eldrazi Tron:Dash. Dash's game is to amass items on the field to make her Teklo Plasma Pistol stronger, eventually spawning an
enginethat - quickly - overwhelms the opponent. It's not always easy to do so, but when Dash manages to get her items on the field, it's hard to hold her back.
Affinity/Scales:Lightning Lexi, Lightning Briar, Raydn Boltyn. These are all fast, synergistic decks that require, in one way or another, good sequencing. There's no such thing as the "permanent spew" that Affinity does in FaB, but turn planning, knowing when to go hard and when to hold back, those things these decks can encapsulate well.
Hatebears/Humans:Ice Lexi, Oldhim, Azalea. These decks are the best at being disruptive while putting on pressure. Azalea's
on hit effectsare impossible to ignore, and the Frostbite tokens of Ice heroes can tax the opponent's hand and resources.
Dredge:Chane. As I said about Reanimator, no FaB deck interacts with the graveyard very often, but Chane, through his ability, creates several Soul Shackles that banish his deck and then uses cards with
Blood Debtlike Rift Bind (1), Ghostly Visit (1) and Howl from Beyond (1) to cast spells directly from the Banished Zone.
Elves/Goblins:Lightning Briar, Prism. Creatures aren't very common in FaB (so far there are only two, and they are locked behind difficult conditions to complete), so tribal decks have no parallel in this regard, but Briar manages to pull off the Goblins' plan to throw a swarm of attacks at their opponents, while Prism manages to do the “Elf combo” of generating numerous resources while having several Spectral Shields on the field that hit the opponent.
How do you build deck without mana curve?
mana value7 is going to cause a big problem in the early turns (unless you're Tron). In Flesh and Blood, the
card poolis limited to cards that fit your hero (think of it as Commander) or that are of the Generic type, and this greatly reduces the amount of possible cards that can be in a deck. In FaB, too, there is no concept of balancing the deck in terms of card costs necessarily, as there are no lands that are played every turn. Unlike Magic, FaB is concerned with the
average cost of a hand.In a deck where your weapon hits for a resource and its cards mostly cost 0 resource (like Lightning Briar, for example), there is a lower need for blue cards (which are those that pitch for 3 resources), thus freeing up space for more red versions of the cards that are more efficient in their effects. In contrast, heroes like Bravo who use their 3-cost hammer Anothos and whose strongest attacks are expensive (see Spinal Crush and Crippling Crush), need a large amount of resource generation, which is why competitive Bravo decks have more than half of their deck with blue versions of their cards.
matchupsyou will also see the
second cycle of your deck.The second cycle refers to the moment you start to draw the cards you pitched since the beginning of the game. These cards will be ordered in, more or less, the exact order of pitch that occurred during the game, that is, when you reach your second cycle, theoretically, it is deterministic and public information the order of the cards in your deck (only theoretically because, in practice, it is not practical to count the exact order of cards that were
pitchedin the middle of a game). More experienced players can use this second cycle as a way to create an all-stars-aligned turn, but with no stars, simply by pitching with extreme attention. Personally, the mere possibility of
securing an unstoppable hand in the late gamethrough “responsible pitch” attracted me to the game early on, even though I was definitely incapable of doing so. In deckbuilding it is also important to consider how your deck will work in this second cycle, when you will have seen all the cards in your deck at one point or another and will need to decide which cards will be played now and which will be drawn in the future. FaB deckbuilding, therefore, requires great consideration of ratios, that is, proportions between different categories of cards. We looked at considering the average cost of cards to decide which colors of which cards we need to play, as well as considering the amount of redundant effects in the same deck. In addition to these reasons, some decks also require consideration of:
- How many Attack Actions versus Non-Attack Actions do I have in my deck? (Important for every hero playing Rosetta Thorn and every Runeblade-type hero so far, at different weights);
- How many Items do I have in my deck? On average, can I use all my cards efficiently? (Important because you may lack Action Points to do everything if you draw more than 1 Item in a hand, for example);
- What is the average Block of my hands? (A low Block average can simply prevent a deck from being able to compete against aggressive decks, unless you're extremely agressive yourself);
- Is the average of my hands functional enough, or do I rely too much on having 3 different card combos to do something substantive on my turn? (Arsenal manages to make sure you save a card for later, so it's not uncommon for "combos” of two cards being used, but if your deck depends on 3 or more specific cards to get off the ground, then that is a bad sign);
- In my second cycle, do I get stronger or weaker? (Aggro decks generally get weaker in their second cycle, as they're likely pitching blue cards to play their efficient red attacks, while decks that defend more often tend to be able to control their pitch choice better, after all, just don't block with the card you want to pitch, and they can often get stronger on their second cycle).
Blood Debtand without, or Elemental heroes who need to consider the ratio between element cards like Earth and cards that have
What about Limited? Do you have draft?
fillercards in FaB. Common cards are close in efficiency and
power levelto Rares and Majestics. This makes the Limited format have an excellent
power leveland is not dependent on "bombs", like some Limited formats from Magic are.