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Building The Most Powerful Hands in Rathe — WTR Edition

One of my favorite things to do in Flesh and Blood is set up big turns. Hayden Dale talked briefly in his Moving beyond the Basics — 3 Concepts to Level Up article about how important it is to work out how you win the game. Big turns are a huge part of this, so what do these big turns look like? Each hero has access to unique cards that can be used in a multitude of different ways but in general I think you can break them down into three distinct parts:

The Core

These are the cards that you need to have in hand to pull off your big turns. Sometimes they include a multiplicative element that really starts to scale the more cards you have access to or are cards that are inherently powerful or difficult to block effectively. If you don’t have some specific combinations or all of them in hand, it is often better to set the most important card into the Arsenal for later or wait for a better combination of cards and play out an efficient turn to control your life total instead.

The Gravy

Cards that make your good turns even better, often these will be additional efficient red cards that help you push more damage or perhaps a multiple of one of your core cards.

The Best

You might not ever get one of these hands when it counts but when you do, you probably just win the game outright. It’s important to know what the best possible combination is so that you can better evaluate actual hands you draw and determine whether it is worthwhile taking damage from your opponent to swing back with a full hand.

To help evaluate each of the different hands I will rank them from 1-5 based on four different metrics:

  1. Damage output – How much damage this hand can realistically deal?
  2. Block prevention – How difficult is it for your opponent to block the damage?
  3. Consistency – How often is this likely to occur in a game, are there interchangeable cards?
  4. Utility – Does the hand give you another significant advantage?

First start with what on paper looks like the best hero for executing this game plan from Welcome to Rathe:

Katsu, The Wanderer

Katsu, the Wanderer

It’s clear that Katsu was a hero designed to take advantage of playing multiple cards a turn. His keyword combo is all about stringing multiple attacks together on a turn to really pressure your opponent’s defenses. While his attacks are very efficient, your turns can be quite awkward if you draw the wrong pieces at the wrong time. Here’s a simple example:

The “Natural” Combo

Often as Katsu you will annoyingly draw only some of the same combo line in a turn meaning you need to rely on your hero ability to find the missing link and finish your combo line. These hands are passable at best and often you will want to block and attack back with Kodachis where possible. However, sometimes you will just straight up draw the combo outright really forcing your opponent to make tough decisions about what to block.

The Core

Surging Strike (Red)Whelming Gustwave (Red)Mugenshi: RELEASE

Ideally the version will be red but most of the time yellow (or even blue) versions will be enough, the Surging Strike combo line has just been used as an example here, the other combo lines are often just as good.

The Gravy

Plunder Run (Red)Ancestral EmpowermentRazor Reflex (Red)

Buff effects really help you to push damage through on these big turns, you can also often substitute one of these cards for the third combo card above if you have a card costing zero in hand and attempt to find the final piece of the combo.

The Best

I’ll will get to this later. For now, here’s a look at a different line of play, still involving some of the cards above:

Art of War “Combo”

Because Art of War increases the damage of every Attack Action you play by one it really starts to scale the more attacks you play in a single turn. On top of that, it also helps filter out some of the bad cards in your hand to help you find other combo pieces or generically good attacks like Snatch. These are the turn you want to save equipment cards like Snapdragon Scalers for to make sure you can keep on attacking no matter what you draw.

The Core

Life for a Life (Red)Art of WarScar for a Scar (Red)

Life for a Life and Scar for a Scar are just examples which can be used here but any red cards with go again will do (provided you meet all the conditions).

The Gravy

Razor Reflex (Red)Plunder Run (Red)Leg Tap (Red)

Again, buff effects are good to pair with this combo as they allow you to trigger on-hit effects as well as find additional combo pieces you may need. Ninja starters are also the best attacks to pair with this combo as if they hit you can search up the next combo piece in line.

The Best

Really, the best is just a combination of both above scenarios, having a Plunder Run (Red) in Arsenal followed up with a natural Surging Strike combo line plus any blue card and Art of War is one of the best hands you can get. If you really want to push the boundaries though you need to take advantage of one of my favorite cards.

Energy PotionFyendal's Spring Tunic

Having Energy Potion in play is pretty much the holy grail because it allows you to effectively have an additional combo piece in your hand. As a result, it makes it almost impossible for your opponent to block either of your first two attacks even when they have a Defense Reaction in Arsenal, this means you are guaranteed to hit either a draw from Plunder Run, and probably Whelming Gustwave or hit them with Mugenshi: RELEASE, effectively winning the game. A Mask of Momentum draw will add to the pain if you manage to fit this in too.

Ratings:

  1. Damage output – 3 to 4.5 – Your big hands will often easily output 20 but the ceiling is upwards of 40 if you manage to resolve a Lord of Wind with a significant amount of cards in your graveyard.
  2. Block prevention – 1 – Picking when to block is important against this hand but there are not any intimidate or dominate effects which need to be played around. Armor really helps against the big turns.
  3. Consistency – 3 – Setting up a big turn can take some investment but many of the cards can be run in multiples of more than three. Katsu’s hero ability also helps with finding the missing pieces.
  4. Utility – 2 – No real utility here apart from forcing your opponent to block when they may not want to.

Dorinthea Ironsong

Dorinthea Ironsong

Often, Warrior is played as more of a value deck, looking to block efficiently and then forcing your opponent to block Dawnblade incorrectly. However, you can certainly pull off some powerful turns throughout the game, most of which involve buffing your weapon for the entire turn.

Supreme Determination

The main scaling mechanic that Dorinthea can take advantage of is Steelblade Supremacy. On its own it is easy to block, however if you can force it to hit even one, you can gain a massive advantage if you draw well from the on-hit ability.

The Core

Ironsong DeterminationSteelblade SupremacyWarrior's Valor (Red)

The synergy here is obvious, give your weapon dominate and go again meaning it is more likely to hit and when it does you draw a card and get to attack again. While dominate is a pretty good block prevention mechanic, it can easily be played around if your opponent keeps a Defense Reaction in the Arsenal.

The Gravy

Stroke of Foresight (Red)

An additional Attack Reaction makes the attack (almost) impossible to block. Your opponent needs to have some combination of armor, and two Defense Reactions (one in Arsenal) to be able to block nine and then respond with another Defense Reaction from hand.

The Best

Twinning BladeEnergy PotionIronsong DeterminationSteelblade SupremacyHit and Run (Red)Spoils of War

Because Twinning Blade gives you an extra attack, if you start with an Energy Potion, Courage of Bladehold and Spoils of War instead of Warrior’s Valor, you can attack for eight with dominate, incentivizing your opponent to block from Arsenal. Then if you, play Twinning Blade, Hit and Run (Red) and attack again your opponent again, they will be unable to block nine damage in almost every situation, drawing you a card and allowing you to attack a third time. This situation is unlikely to occur but shows how powerful Twinning Blade can be if your opponent decides not to play around it.

Ratings

  1. Damage output – 1.5 – 2.5 – The raw damage output is mediocre, in general you will be dealing between 8 and 20 damage depending on how many hits with your weapon you get in and what you end up drawing.
  2. Block prevention – 3 – Dominate is a pretty good block prevention mechanic but can be played around in most situations.
  3. Consistency – 4.5 – Because the core combo is based around two cards and a go again effect, it is easy to setup a decent hand at least two times a game.
  4. Utility – 3 – Getting a counter on Dawnblade should not be underestimated and drawing a card from your last attack to set in the Arsenal is also pretty good.

Bravo, Showstopper

Bravo, Showstopper

Similarly, to Warrior, traditional Bravo decks mostly revolve around blocking and attacking efficiently. In general, your big hands revolve around giving an Attack Action card dominate with your hero ability to push through damage and trigger your powerful on-hit crush effects.

Crippling Crush

Bravo’s signature card, Crippling Crush is basically a combo card all on its own, but it comes at a hefty cost. Alternatively, other powerful cards with on-hit effects like Spinal Crush can be just as devastating against some deck.

The Core

Crippling CrushCranial CrushCranial CrushCrush Confidence (Blue)

It costs nine resources in total to activate Bravo’s hero ability and attack with Crippling Crush, but the payoff is there, forcing your opponent to discard two cards at random if it hits along with 11 damage and dominate is strong. Again, similarly with Dorinthea, Defense Reactions from Arsenal are good against these hands.

The Gravy

Potion of StrengthEmerging Power (Red)

Setting up an attack for 13 or even 16 makes the crush effect almost impossible to prevent really putting your opponent on the back foot regardless of what they decide to do. Alternatively, you can look at setting up a direct buff to the attack on your turn.

Show Time!Pummel (Red)Sloggism (Red)

By playing Show Time! on your previous turn you gain an extra card at the start of your action phase allowing you to play Crippling Crush for 15 or 17 and forcing your opponent to discard between two and three cards.

The Best

Towering Titan (Red)

Realistically, playing the red version of this card is probably a bit greedy to play but the blue version suits the deck perfectly and is a great play on the first turn of the game. Even with only the blue version of Towering Titan, this turn still deals a heft 19 damage with Pummel or Sloggism, and almost certainly triggering crush in the process.

Ratings

  1. Damage output – 2.5 to 3.5 – Depending on how many buff effects are involved, the damage output here is pretty good.
  2. Block prevention – 3 – As with Dorinthea, dominate is a pretty good block prevention mechanic.
  3. Consistency – 4 – The biggest issue here is drawing enough blue cards to pair with Crippling Crush, which isn’t really that difficult.
  4. Utility – 4 – Forcing through a crush effect can be game breaking against some opponents. Crippling Crush is always good especially if you can pair it with Pummel.

Rhinar, Reckless Rampage

Rhinar, Reckless Rampage

While Rhinar wont often deal the most damage per card, intimidate makes blocking irrelevant so your turns will often deal the maximum amount of damage per card. Generally, your best hands involve one of the most powerful scaling cards in the game.

Bloodrush Bellow Combo

Because Bloodrush bellow buffs brute weapons as well Attack Actions, mandible claw goes from a mediocre attack to a powerful threat with go again allowing you to push through significant amounts of damage.

The Core

Bloodrush BellowWrecker Romp (Blue)Savage Swing (Yellow)

Because you draw two additional cards from Bloodrush Bellow, the absolute floor of this hand is two attacks for five and intimidate one which is slightly above par for a three-card hand. More than likely, you will get two attacks in and get to Arsenal a card as well which is not bad at all.

The Gravy

Fyendal's Spring TunicBloodrush Bellow

The only thing better than one Bloodrush Bellow is two. Note that you need to have one in the Arsenal to make this scenario work. I’ve put Fyendal’s Spring Tunic into the mix here as it is great to play the first Bloodrush Bellow using tunic allowing you to pitch a card without 6 attack for the second Bloodrush Bellow. Alternatively, Art of War pairs nicely as well.

Art of WarSavage Feast (Red)

Here you want to use Art of War to give your Savage Feast go again, allowing you to attack with it for eight, drawing a card, intimidating an additional time, and finishing up with a couple of claw attacks. Scabskin Leathers can also be used in a pinch, but the downside is real, in most cases it is probably not worth the risk.

The Best

Bloodrush BellowBarraging Beatdown (Red)

Because you draw so many cards on these turns (at least four cards in each of the scenarios), it is entirely possible to combine both together especially if it is near the end of the game and your deck is loaded with copies of them. Paired with one or two Barraging Beatdowns (or even a third Bloodrush Bellow) you can easily intimidate your opponent’s entire hand.

Ratings

  1. Damage output – 2 to 4 – Depending on how good your draws are, you can deal anywhere from 10 damage to upwards of 20
  2. Block prevention – 2 to 5 – Depends on how many intimidate effects you can trigger.
  3. Consistency – 4.5 – Because you are only looking for two key cards, you can often just set one in the Arsenal and wait until you draw a second. Alpha Rampage also sets up similar turns and can easily intimidate three to four times.
  4. Utility – 0 – Intimidate only prevents your opponent from blocking effectively allowing them to attack back with a full hand.

If you enjoyed this piece, make sure you look out for my next article which will feature the four heroes from Arcane Rising Dash, Viserai, Azalea and Kano!

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