Blitz, as the name suggests, is a very fast paced format. The reduced life totals from Classic Constructed not only reduces the game time, but enhances the impact of permanents that start in play, such as equipment. Choosing the right equipment for each matchup is crucial to get an edge and come out with a win. All this is amplified by the fact equipment slots are your only adjustment slots in the format for different matchups, hence why optimizing your choices is crucial.
In this article, I will discuss the difference between common equipment and legendary equipment and how each type can fit with your game plan. Then, I will discuss the reasons for using particular equipment when going first or second. As the game evolves, it’s important to keep a critical analysis of all equipment, regardless of its rarity, because sometimes it’s the most accessible or overlooked equipment that is actually strongest in particular situations.
There’s a big difference between legendary equipment and common equipment, not only in the price tag, but in their inherent design. Legendary equipment often presents stronger defense values than common equipment, while common equipment offers cheap but powerful single-use effects. While the effects are often more powerful on the single-use common equipment, legendaries often give up access to repeat usage, and therefore, repeat value.
This is why we often see legendaries present in more control type decks. Control archetypes likes to drag a game over as many turns as possible, giving the control players more value from repeating activations on equipment such as Fyendal’s Spring Tunic or Braveforge Bracers. Also, the defensive value helps to achieve the defensive game plan. However, the common equipment, even though they only offer single-use activations, is more often a lot more cost effective and impactful than the legendary counterparts.
Let’s take a look at Tunic and Heartened Cross Strap as an example. Tunic has better defensive value and can generate a lot more resources over time, but Heartened Cross Strap gives us access to effectively two resource points at a single time.
Comparing the two illustrates that legendaries are more consistent, while commons are more explosive. In the example, Tunic seems much better if you’re planning to play the long game, and virtually “pays itself off” after you have six turns of the game. Six turns gives you two resources in total, which becomes comparable to the two Heartened Cross Strap gives, making the defensive value a bonus.
On the other hand, Heartened Cross Strap gives you a resource cost reduction of two on a single turn, meaning you can create much more powerful plays in that single turn. This example has seen some mileage even in the Classic Constructed format. Many Katsu players started opting for the Heartened Cross Strap against other aggro decks, because the game would end before turn six, meaning it was a much more resourceful pick.
The same applies in Blitz. When deciding on optimal pieces of equipment for particular matchups, ask yourself if the value over time from your legendary equipment outweighs the powerful burst turns common equipment offer. There is a lot of room to play around with different iterations, so make sure to practice different matchups with different equipment set ups to see how they feel.
Carrion Husk and Aether Ironweave are great examples of the defensive properties of legendaries. While Carrion Husk offers an amazing defensive stat line, Ironweave gives us a strong, proactive activation.
Going first or second has a tremendous impact on your overall strategy going into a matchup, and in turn, the equipment you choose to use. This is especially true in Blitz, where decisions from the very first turn impact the dynamic of the game. If you’re going first, you’re often using the turn to set up, while giving your opponent the first aggressive four-card hand turn. This is why choosing more defensive equipment when going first, and offensive equipment while going second is a good heuristic.
An example of this is a matchup between aggro Briar and Lightning Lexi. As the Lexi player, my preferred piece of chest equipment going first is Coat of Frost. This is because I want to reduce the impact of Briar’s first turn, which often can get punished by even a single Frostbite. A zero-cost deck is effective in the first situations, but having to pitch a single card means more often than not, I’d save myself three or four life by creating that Frostbite on turn one.
Similarly, if I was to go second, I’d use Deep Blue to guarantee I have a proactive hand and I can play an aggressive turn into my opponent. Because I need to pressure them as much as possible, Deep Blue gives me the assurance that I will have enough resource points in case I draw a hand of all reds. Do note: both Coat of Frost and Deep Blue are proactive, common pieces of equipment. Because both my opponent and I are trying to end the game quickly, I prefer these to something like Fyendal’s Spring Tunic, which rewards drawn out games, as chances are, neither my opponent or I will make it to our turn three!
Knowing what your overall goal for a particular matchup is can dictate the choices you make with your equipment setup. It isn’t a coincidence you choose who goes first and who goes second and then you decide what equipment you want to present before the game starts.
For example, let’s say you’re playing an Oldhim versus a Chane. You know they might present a Duskblade and that you’ll be the aggro player, trying to end the game as quickly as possible. You also know they have access to lots of blues, making Winter’s Wail not as powerful. Switching out of the classic Crown of Seeds/Rampart of the Ram’s Head and Winter’s Wail into a more proactive Anothos, Arcanite Skullcap and Snapdragon Scalers paired with some Enlightened Strikes in the main deck could help you put pressure on your opponent, rather than rely on a standard fatigue plan.
As Flesh and Blood expands, the different combinations of equipment is going to get exponentially higher and just the equipment alone will have some interesting strategic depth. Many pieces, such as Stubby Hammerers or Bloodsheath Skeleta, create whole decks built around individual pieces. So remember, just because an equipment is legendary or common, doesn’t mean it’s a superior or inferior choice. There is a lot of explosiveness and proactivity that can be accomplished with common equipment, while also a lot of defense and long game consistency that can be achieved with legendary equipment. Trying out different iterations, combined with a clear strategy for each matchup, can help you optimize your blitz build and win!