A silent assassin from childhood, Azalea learnt the cruel lessons of life through sheer survival. As a little girl, she had to rely on herself to find ways to stay alive another day as other children perished around her in the cold and grim underground caverns of the Pits.
Nothing hardens a person like desperation. Nothing sparks ingenuity like the need to hunt. Nothing teaches caution like the damp streets of the Pits. Life has been far from easy for this Ranger, but these hardships and challenges are what made her one of the most sought after assassins in the region. With a bow by her side and an assortment of punishing arrows, she knows how to track her prey down and make sure they stay down.
“Working out of the Blackjack’s Tavern, Azalea has carved out a reputation for herself as one of the best mercenaries in the Pits. In contrast to the anarchy and disorder that surrounds her, Azalea carefully selects each contract, going to great lengths to secure a flawless execution.”
Azalea’s reputation as an outstanding marksman and even better hitwoman is reflected in her hero ability.
By lining up the top of your deck to be a deadly arrow, you can swiftly load it up with your Arsenal and shoot it off with dominate. This maneuver is perfect to get through a potent arrow with an on-hit effect to land and disrupt your opponent.
Getting one of Azalea’s disruptive arrows to hit gives you a tempo swing to continue to blast arrows in your opponent’s way. Being a Ranger, Azalea doesn’t have the same heavy armor as other classes, which is why more so than other heroes, she relies on her offense to play the role of defense. By disrupting your opponent with arrows like Sleep Dart and the Azalea specialty Red in the Ledger, you are creating awkward turns for your opponent and hopefully saving yourself from a big swing back.
The dominate is also extremely useful in closing games out. Once your opponent is below a certain life total, a single powered up and dominated arrow can be enough to finish off the job.
As any respectable Ranger, Azalea relies on her Bow and Arrows in combat. While these are her bread and butter, the arrow power up non-attack action cards are the gravy. Using these gives her arrows evasion, making them harder to defend, and utility and added disruption.
Each disruptive power-up added to an arrow makes it more likely to be defended from your opponent, while the evasive power ups help to make it harder to be defended. Each power-up makes Azalea’s hero ability so much more potent – the bigger the arrow, the more damage the dominate ability threatens. This is why Azalea benefits more from shooting one big arrow, rather than a series of smaller arrow attacks on the same turn.
Talking about arrows, one of the strengths of having different detrimental on-hit effects is that as an Azalea player, you can pick and choose the arrows that work best against your opponent. Take Sleep Dart for example – the arrow is great against heroes that heavily rely on their hero ability. A single Sleep Dart can kill a Levia player in the right spot. A Fatigue Shot can seriously reduce the threat level of a big attack from a Guardian or Brute player. A Hamstring Shot can foil plans of a very redline heavy deck like Ninja or Runeblade. Having a good play around with different kinds of arrows can help you pick the right ones against different opponents.
Same thing goes for the Bows. Each bow can either give a direction for your deck, or serve as a utility choice in a particular matchup. Red Liner and Death Dealer give you a direction for how to build your deck. Red Liner is great at swiftly loading your Bow at no resource cost, making it a perfect fit for a zero-cost based deck – great for those zero-cost power-up cards and zero-cost arrows. Death Dealer, on the other hand, is more suitable for decks that do like to pitch and works best in decks that use the powerful one-cost arrows and don’t mind pitching for power up cards and other utility cards.
A new addition to the Bow selection for Azalea is Dreadbore. This card shines in matchups in which your opponent heavily relies on defense reactions. By using Dreadbore, you can really amplify Azalea’s hero ability by making those dominated arrows significantly harder to defend up. This bow pairs especially well with Release the Tension – a power-up that stops your opponent from defending from Arsenal. This way, they cannot use defense reactions from Arsenal or hand, making them a dead card for the turn.
The glue of any Azalea build is the additional cards that help you line up the correct arrows. Cards like Three of a Kind synergize nicely with those reload power ups like Rapid Fire and Take Aim if you already have those in your Arsenal. You can play out all your pumps from hand, play Three of a Kind and hit an arrow from those three draws, and then use either the reload of a Take Aim or Rapid Fire, or just use your bow to load up an arrow.
Cards like Rapid Fire and Nock the Deathwhistle help to give your arrows that extra potency on your turn. Rapid Fire lets you go wide, shooting multiple arrows in a turn. The reload ability sets up that initial arrow, while your bow can help you load another one.
The standout utility card that only Azalea has access to is Nock the Deathwhistle. The card lets you search up the most potent arrow in your deck, reload a card and then use Azalea’s hero ability to swiftly give it dominate and shoot.
Azalea provides a very flavorful way of playing Flesh and Blood. Bow, arrows and Arsenal management gives you the feel of loading up your bow, powering up the arrow and then shooting it out at your opponent. The prevalence of detrimental on-hit effects reflects the mercenary nature of how Azalea operates – slowly hunting her prey, finding out their weak spots and capitalizing on those. Her specializations in the form of Red in the Ledger and Nock the Deathwhistle give her a unique edge over other Rangers, and a potent toolkit to stop her enemies in their tracks. The unique way Rangers play is quite mechanically complex and can take time to get used to the playstyle, but with enough practice those complexities will become second nature, as you master the art of the bow.