After a little behind the scenes brewing, I’m super excited to announce my brand-new Flesh and Blood series on ChannelFireball – Flesh and Blood Cards of the Week. Every week, we’re going to look at three specific cards – one on the rise, one on the fall and one to look out for in the current meta.
There are brand new developments happening all the time in Flesh and Blood, and new variations and spins on old favorites can quickly set the tone for what cards are dominating the current competitive scenes. We’ll get to discuss not only why these cards are rising or falling, but exactly why and how to counter them/take advantage of their sudden appearance or disappearance in the FAB meta.
Hopefully, these pieces help you not only snag meta-defining cards at great prices before they jump up, but also help inform your purchases on the best/worst singles around. Without further ado then, let’s get right into it!
Many times in society, the expectations and hype around a certain person/product can be so high that living up to expectations is almost impossible. In a few rare cases, however, the implementation of what was speculated upon is far better then it was thought to be. This is to case with Art of War.
While I was guilty of heavy speccing on how good AoW was going to be, once I saw it in play, I was blown away. Let’s take a look at how this card has gone from a solid instant to a top tier game breaker in the meta.
Art of War presents four solid effects, of which you can choose two to resolve. In 90 percent of cases, AoW usage includes the banish one and draw two effect. In the case of Chane however, the draw two is not downplayed by the forced effect of banishing a card before you do so. This is due to many Shadow cards having the ability to be played out the banished zone.
I cannot overstate how good this is. This makes Art of War truly a “draw two” with no drawback at instant speed, which is almost unheard of in terms of card efficiency in TCGs. Add in the second conditional effect of go-again and Chane can string together massive turns playing out of banished. Since usually Chane will have two or three solid cards to play out of banished anyway, the draw allows him to access the pitch he usually needs to string this all together.
Although Chane takes the cake, AoW also helps Levia string together some rather big turns if she so desired. Levia loves action points when she’s on the offensive, and the go-again with Art of War gives her exactly what she needs to string together two big six or more attacks.
Out of all Shadow Brute cards to banish for the draw two, Deep Rooted Evil probably takes the cake here. Not only does it fulfil her ability to cancel blood debt when banished, but it’s one of the only Shadow Brute cards playable out of banished when she fulfils her hero effect. This lets you plop down a go-again action hitting for six, and then Deep-Rooted Evil right behind it on the same turn. While I mainly think of this card when I’m plucking all those nasty weeds out of my lawn this summer, I’ll definitely admit that it’s going to be a key card along with Art of War for our new Shadow Brute.
In retrospect, even though Tome of Fyendal has one the strongest raw abilities in the game, it has become a little too high maintenance in the current Blitz meta. Although it still does seem to have some limited potential in Classic Constructed, Tome takes a heavy hit since it almost exclusively needs to be played out of Arsenal. As the game expands, the most valuable zone in the game has more and more contention for cards that want to be played out of it, and Tome has been slowly slipping down the priority curve in this regard for the last little while.
Being one of the few classes who natively uses the card draw of Tome after playing it, Tome showed some potential in the mid/late Crucible meta as a solid life gain option for these classes, along with a good way to add onto big turns. A few large problems have remained present for Brute however, with Tome becoming almost a hinderance if not played with an extra action point available. In the case of a singular action point, Tome’s life gain has to at least surpass three life to beat out a Sigil of Solace (Red), and even then you give up a ton of momentum singularly playing Tome on any given turn.
Probably the strongest class for Tome, Wizard actively loves both the life gain and extra draw to rapidly use Kano’s effect for massive blowout turns. However, due Wizard’s low life count, Tome can be detrimental when its stuck in Arsenal on turns where you need every card to be involved in an offensive burst to win the game. Keep in mind – Tome cannot be played out of Arsenal with Storm Striders, as that legendary specifies a Wizard non-attack action card only.
Finally, Tome isn’t a great card to have in hand. It only blocks for two and pitches for the same. In this case, it can sometimes be that “dud” card that you draw when you absolutely do not need it. All in all, this heavy leniency towards situational usage is what makes Tome so great and so poor at the same time and has been the reason some Wizard decks have lately begun to leave it aside.
Mage Master Boots
The anthesis to Tome’s go-again issue, Mage Master Boots is the reason Guardians, and even some Runeblades, ran Tome for some time. In the grand scheme of things however, even these classes have much better non-attack actions to use with this equipment slot, and don’t much care for extremely large hands or massive life gain either. In this sense then, the love story between Tome of Fyendal and Mage Master Boots has also broken down.
Man, how can you not love Coax a Commotion? It’s just a really fun card to put down that forces weird decisions from your opponent due to its variety of possible on-hit effects. Although it fluctuated in and out of the meta this past winter/spring, I think Coax could make a minor comeback in some Chane and Boltyn decks.
When played as the last card in a longer go-wide turn, it works great to set up an extra card draw to replenish Arsenal, along with a valuable Quicken token. If you can reliably empty out your opponent’s hand (which Chane and Boltyn can both do), then both the Quicken and card draw can be tenfold more useful to you on your next turn to keep the pain rolling. Add in that it costs zero and blocks for three and I think it has all the right fundamentals to be a solid card in both these classes.
I think Coax will be best here. If you charged earlier in the turn then not only can you possibly elevate it to 5 attack, depending on the block, but you can also give it go-again if you do raise its base attack in any way. In addition, a Quicken token and card draw is always appealing to Boltyn, where he can use it next turn to start another strong chain without having to empty his Soul consistently for go-again reactions.
I think Coax is going to function as either a fantastic end of chain card or simply a tempo swing card as part of a one-card hand. Giving Chane a free go again with Quicken is much too dangerous and will force out a double block or equipment most of the time to prevent the effect from coming through. Although it does lack pitch, which may be what ultimately removes it from some Chane decks, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing some action from Coax a Commotion in the meta to ultimately decide if it can hold its own in this class, and I have a sneaky feeling that it will.