Flesh and Blood Deckbuilding 101

In Flesh and Blood there are presently three constructed gameplay formats. Classic Constructed was the first format to be introduced alongside the release of the game and has traditionally been the most popular through the first year of Flesh and Blood. Blitz is the new kid on the block, a fast paced 10 to 15-minute game where both players use 40-card decks and young heroes. Lastly there is Ultimate Pit Fight, Flesh and Bloods multiplayer format which is touted as a more social and casual format for two or more players. If you aren’t familiar with the ins and outs of these formats or you want to learn more about them, you can check out the official rules and guidelines for each format. 

With classic Constructed being the primary format for the majority of players, I want to start there as the base for an introduction for deckbuilding in Constructed. The phases to deck construction that I share here can be taken over to both Blitz and Ultimate Pit Fight, but they are grounded first and foremost in the Classic Constructed format. Today I am focusing on building your own decks and concepts you should keep in mind while doing so. If you have already played a handful of Classic Constructed or Blitz games with pre-built or hero decks, or if you are an avid Constructed player then these concepts are going to sink in fairly easily. if you haven’t yet played much Flesh and Blood Constructed, then don’t fear! Grab some hero decks or even a booster box or two and get a start, these concepts will still be useful no matter the level and experience of Constructed play and deckbuilding.

Firstly, let’s recap exactly what the deckbuilding constraints are for Classic Construct:

  • Each player can use up to a maximum of 80 cards plus their chosen hero card
  • The 80 cards include any weapons and equipment you wish to include for your hero, and you must ensure you are able to present a 60-card minimum deck for each game. So at the very least you must have 60 legal cards for your deck excluding weapons and equipment
  • You may have up to three of each unique card legal in Classic Constructed in your deck, for cards with cycles this means up to three of each specific cycle, red, yellow, blue (for card legality check the site, however all cards printed in the first three booster sets are currently legal)
  • Adult heroes are legal for Classic Constructed and these are what you should probably be playing. Young heroes are best left for Blitz!

So how exactly should we approach deckbuilding for Classic Constructed?

  1. Begin with a Core Philosophy for Your Deck

The first place you should start in constructing any deck for Flesh and Blood is know what you want to achieve. What in essence do you want this deck to do? Are you trying to win your games in a certain way by setting up big turns with a combination of cards such as multiple Barraging Beatdown and Alpha Rampage? Perhaps you are sick of losing to your mate who is undefeated on their Dorinthea Ironsong deck and your sole purpose with this new build is to beat them! It could even be as simple as you have your favorite pet cards and you want to build around them, Mordred Tide anyone?!

By having a clear philosophy or driving idea behind your deck before even starting your build it is going to set you up with always having something to come back to. A question to ask yourself to ensure you aren’t filling your deck with cards that don’t benefit the cause or synergize with your overall game plan. Having this idea firmly planted in your mind is also going to help with the next steps in deckbuilding. In general I would also suggest you pick a hero at this point to compliment your game idea or philosophy. Of course, if you are building around class specific cards or hero specializations your choice is mostly already made. If you are eager to stick to a set of heroes or perhaps one in particular, then certainly do so. In the case that your core idea has nothing to do with a specific hero or class, realistically you don’t need to select your hero until you are a bit deeper into deck construction and you are choosing cards to play.

  1. Have a Playstyle or Archetype in Mind for the Deck

 Now you know what you want to achieve, but how are you going to accomplish it? Before you even start with the 60-plus cards you want to sleeve up, or which weapon and equipment load out you need, you should answer the following:

How am I going to play out my games with this deck?

For simplicity sake I would boil this down to being the aggressor, being the control, or perhaps a bit of both as mid-range. These aren’t hard and fast archetypes you should stick to, but by identifying with one it will help guide the card selection for your deck and give you a general playstyle to build around and adhere to. The aggressor is going to look to be trying to take the tempo early game and be presenting threatening turns to try and put the opposing hero on the back foot. Meanwhile the control player takes a more defensive approach. You may want to go long, control the game defensively and rebuff the attempts of your opponent to get you to zero before taking over with a lethal combination of cards late. The control player may even bleed the opponent dry over the course of the game with chip damage. You could fall between these two archetypes and be focused on a strategy or playstyle where you stem the bleeding early and focus on going for the throat in the mid game with a flurry of powerful turns. Mid-range decks will often move between being on the aggressive side to the defensive side not only from game to game, but even from turn to turn depending on how you configure your deck with offensive and defensive cards.

Mordred TideRunechantArknight Ascendancy

As an example of an archetype focus, let’s say initially I have come up with a philosophy for my new Flesh and Blood Constructed deck that is all about using my new favorite card Mordered Tide. I have therefore opted to play Viserai, Rune Blood. This doesn’t lean me any one way necessarily into a play style or traditional archetype, but I am really excited about trying to get as many additional Runechant tokens off of Mordred Tide whenever I play it. I am therefore leaning toward a defensive, setup-based playstyle. I want to get my Mordred Tide or other key cards such as Arknight Ascendancy into my arsenal before unleashing a big turn of Runechant tokens. Therefore I decide I am going to be better suited trying to control the game and not lose too much life while getting my big turns together.

  1. Construct a Core Deck

So you have an idea, you have a strategy for how you will play, now it is time to put some cards together and construct a deck! You have 80 cards to work with in total including weapons and equipment. Unlike in games such as Magic the Gathering where you have a 60-card main deck and set 15-card sideboard, Flesh and Blood is a best-of-one match and you don’t have a designated sideboard and a main deck. However it is important that you construct a core to the deck, almost like a main deck that is going to help you realize your plan and be responsible for ensuring you execute your strategy. I like to refer to this as the engine of your deck.

When I build my main deck, or more appropriately my core engine I am making sure I am constructing about 45-55 cards that I know will have the primary job of fulfilling my game plan and stick to my philosophy. These cards I play in every match are a combination of my resource cards (primarily blues) and my cards that will execute my game plan. For example in my controlling, big turn focused Mordred Tide deck my core might be made up of cards that allow me to have those big turns I desire such as Mordred Tide, Dread Triptych and Become the Arknight. Because I want to control the tempo and be defensive on most turns, I will also have in my core defense reactions like red Unmovable and red Sink Below. Even with my resource cards I will ask the question, “Do these help me execute my game plan, do they fit my philosophy?” I don’t want to have cards in my core that don’t fit and could potentially be a liability. A good example in my deck could be blue Pummel, as it only defends 2 therefore isn’t great on defense and isn’t a non-attack action to interact with Modred Tide.

Bloodrush BellowWrecker Romp (Blue)Beast WithinBreakneck Battery (Red)

The core of your deck is the engine, it is 100% responsible for ensuring you can execute on your core game plan. If you want to be the aggressor and always play out attacking four or five-card hands, defense reactions or cards like Sigil of Solace aren’t going to help you execute that plan. These cards might fit well in your deck for specific matchups, but they should form part of your secondary set of cards for specific matchups only, allowing you to tweak your core plan…

  1. Construct a Secondary Set of Cards, or a “Toolbox”

Your core is going to be responsible for being the engine of your deck in every game, but for certain matchups you are going to want cards that can combat the opposing heroes plans, or cards that can adjust your strategy slightly to get around what your opponent’s plan might be. Sometimes for certain hero matchups you might have cards that do nothing and just need to come out. I refer to these remaining 35 to 25 cards (minus your weapons and equipment load out) as the secondary set of cards, the toolbox cards, or the sideboard/side deck. Call it what you will, but these cards are going to be supplementary to your core deck and you will be moving some of these cards in and out of the deck for each match. Which of these cards get played depending on the matchup should hinge almost entirely on for what purpose they are in your secondary card pool.

SnagEirina's Prayer (Red)Remembrance

For example in my Mordred Tide / Viserai, Rune Blood deck, my secondary set of cards might include some specifically targeted cards for the Ninja matchup like Snag or additional zero cost defense reactions like Springboard Somersault. Perhaps I have a Remembrance or two for games I think will go long and I might need to get back Mordred Tide to have an increased number of big turns. Aggressive decks might play a suite of defense reactions to bring in vs. decks that threaten better, more explosive four or five card hands than they do such as Warrior with all of their on-hit effects. Another example could be a Ranger player with both red Come to Fight and red Increase the Tension in their secondary cards ready to be played to supplement their core game plan depending on the matchup. If the Ranger player is more concerned about defense reactions, then Increase the Tension comes in. Whereas Come to Fight is there for when they might want to block with the card in a matchup.

The secondary set of cards can range from focused, specific matchup cards to more of the same effects already in your core for redundancy, to cards that can be played to adapt your game plan to your opponent’s plans. A good example of the latter I feel is Wizard players using Cindering Foresight against opponents with a lot of arcane barrier defense, this allows the Wizard player to play on the opponent’s turns when they drop their hands to attack and can’t prevent the arcane damage.

Gearing Up for the Fight!

Ironrot GauntletMask of MomentumDawnbladeNebula Blade

These four steps I have broken down are, as I see it the key phases in deckbuilding for Classic Constructed. It is also important that you select a weapon and equipment load out to fit with your strategy, philosophy, and the cards in your deck. I would suggest keeping your weapon and equipment load out in mind as you go through steps three and four. Start laying out options and what you might need/want to play. For certain classes and strategies pieces of equipment or even weapons will be key to the core game plan. Dawnblade for example in a go tall aggressive warrior build or Mask of Momentum in most Ninja builds. Where your decisions, plans and strategies are going to be a bit more difficult are when deciding between equipment like Ironrot Gauntlet for the extra defense in a Viserai control deck, versus Goliath Gauntlet for the big turns to push extra damage. You might even consider playing both for different matchups. Having more than four pieces of equipment and one weapon (two if one handed) is not a bad thing at all, in fact it can often be the correct decision. However, each card must have a purpose and a reason that in keeps with your philosophy, game plan or have a matchup reason for being in your 80. Each spot is so precious in the final 80 cards, make sure no spot is wasted!

I want to leave you with one last piece of wisdom in this introduction to deckbuilding for Classic Constructed, once you’ve built your deck don’t stop there! Continue to tweak it, play against different heroes and decks, work out which cards don’t work or where your weaknesses are. You might identify some cards in your core that don’t do what they should or cards in your secondary set that don’t help much or are barely played. This is where you will really have some fun and learn to tune your deckbuilding skills, you might also find spots where you may want to go back to the drawing board.

I hope this has been helpful for all you Flesh and Blood players out there, experienced, and new alike. If you are about to build your first Classic Constructed deck or perhaps it’s time for yet another build, I wish you all the best.

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