Welcome to another article geared toward helping you improve your own understanding of Flesh and Blood fundamentals. Even as a seasoned TCG player, you’ll find it’s always good to reinforce, reexamine and rediscover what it means to master the fundamentals of a game – especially if you’re playing competitively and want to push the limits of what you can accomplish as a player. While I have covered things like the economy of Flesh and Blood combat and Improving your Clerical Upkeep, this will be the first formalized article in a series designed to explore the fundamentals of Flesh and Blood, taking a deep dive into one topic at a time to provide some tips and tricks to boost your own understanding and improve as a player.
There is surprising depth to Flesh and Blood. Whether you’re new to the game or have been playing since it’s earliest days, there’s no doubt that with each new set released that new complexity is introduced to the game. It takes more time to learn new cards, understand what the decks of the formats are trying to do and how they will accomplish the goal. If you want to explore the deckbuilding-side of the game, mastering and continuing to hone the fundamentals of the game is crucial. In my own play, my continued dedication to honing my own understanding and execution of fundamentals has paid dividends in improving as a player.
In today’s article, I’ll be talking about bread and butter. Not the food, but the ordinary or main lines of play in your class or deck that are designed to advance the state of the game and are common to pursue regardless of what class you are playing against. This is an essential skill to learn and recognize in the pursuit of developing mastery of any class and hero.
One of the things that drew me to Flesh and Blood is the massive reduction in variance compared to other competitive card games. With the pitching and resource system of the game, skill is rewarded rather than punished, and players have tools to deal with variance in the middle of the game should they have an “unlucky” or detrimental hand of cards throughout the game. The more you play, the more you will learn how to lean into this fact and use it to your advantage.
Each class and deck will have an overall game plan that it will try to accomplish throughout the game. Play it right and pull it off, and you’ll secure the win. One surefire way to accomplish this goal is to understand the bread and butter lines of play that are going to help you achieve the game state that your deck wants to accomplish more regularly on a match-to-match basis.
Bread and butter in Flesh and Blood are the lines of play you can always fall back on in a pinch. Some core loop, interaction or sequence that you can commit to muscle memory and fall back on when the match isn’t going your way. bread and butter lines are something to ground yourself with when faced with uncertainty, something that more often than not will provide some degree of certainty, predictability or assurance.
- What does my line of play accomplish?
- How does this line of play disrupt my opponent’s strategy and help my own?
- What game state does this line of play allow me to approach?
- Is this a defensive or offensive line of play?
Of course, I will provide some examples of what some of these lines tend to look like across some of Flesh and Blood’s classes. You’ll notice a common theme—that these are all relatively simple in nature and are designed to be able to be played consistently. Usually, these lines of play will appear multiple times in most of your games, and can usually be used to represent an average or typical turn with your class. These aren’t flashy and won’t turn heads, but these lines are dependable and tried and true. This is far from a comprehensive list, and while I pull many examples from many different classes, it will be lacking. Each hero, class, and deck will have multiple of these lines that will occur in various degrees of probability and frequency.
- As Katsu or Ira, pitch a zero cost blue to swing both Harmonized Kodachis followed by an attack action card.
- As Bravo, block with two cards from hand, then create a Seismic Surge token with Tectonic Plating then swing Anothos for six after pitching a second three-or-more cost blue card.
- As Oldhim, use Crown of Seeds and Rampart of the Ram’s Head in conjunction, blocking out as much as possible, and swinging back Winter’s Wail for four with a Frostbite on hit on your turn.
- As Briar, setup a non-attack action, attack with an attack action card that has or can gain go-again, then swing your activated Rosetta Thorn for two arcane damage, two physical damage.
- As Dorinthea, give Dawnblade go again, then use attack reaction cards to empower your swing and chase the inevitability of snowballing once you land your first Dawnblade counter.
- As Lexi, fuse your attacks, then load whatever fuse target was used into your Arsenal to flip up next turn for Lexi’s bonus effect and to scale value.
- As Rhinar, roll for Scabskin Leathers then attack twice if you roll a four to six.
- As Dash, fire your pistol and give the attack go again with Induction Chamber. Power up the attack with Plasma Purifier, and use any remaining resources to load up steam counters on your items for next turn.
- As Levia, attack with a source of go-again, then follow up with another attack, replenishing cards in your graveyard and staving off your blood debt with Levia’s ability.
- As Boltyn, charge your hero’s soul, then look to pressure your opponent with Boltyn’s hero ability, banishing cards from soul to give attacks go again and keep the swings coming.
Especially if you’re newer to a class or deck, one of the best ways to learn for many players is to read articles and watch other people play the deck at high levels. As you watch and observe, look for lines of play that are repeated throughout the game. Look to understand the why behind the play, and what makes it good. The key to being able to understand the power of a line of play is to understand what the deck is trying to do as a whole and how the line of play fits into that vision.
In deck tech articles and videos, many deckbuilders will also walk you through some of the bread and butter lines of play in their content, and even offer up some specific advice to different matches. Of course, there is some degree of variance in Flesh and Blood, and you will discover new lines of play and ways to play your deck in matchups the more you play.
- As you practice and play your deck, actively try to observe the lines of play that come up frequently. Write them down on a piece of paper after the game to look back on.
- Goldfish your deck. Draw a hand of four, then try to find the best line of play you can with four, then three, then two cards. Repeat the process after putting your pitch to the bottom of the deck and look for common occurrences that you can execute with each of these card counts. Goldfishing isn’t as rewarding as playing actual games of Flesh and Blood, but does provide an opportunity to rapidly improvise your way through the deck and better learn how it functions.
- Practice makes perfect! As you play more and more, analyze the first line of play that jumps into your head. Usually some form of intuition led you to consider a line of play from the hand of cards. The more you can understand that and build the muscle memory, the better. It’s something that improves drastically as you practice.
- Look to familiarize yourself with the bread and butter lines of other classes, even if you have no intention of playing them. Building a fundamental understanding of your opponent’s game plan and what their deck is trying to accomplish is essential to adapting your own lines of play to try to better counter it. This comes with practice against the class, playing with the class yourself, and just better familiarizing yourself with the card galleries and the tools and cards available to other classes.
I hope this article on bread and butter lines of play will help you improve as a player as you build mastery with your favorite classes, heroes, and decks. It’s incredible how much practice is rewarded in Flesh and Blood, regardless of where you choose to spend it. Spending mindful practice time honing my bread and butter fundamentals as well as understanding my opponent’s has helped me improve immensely as a player – and I hope it will help you too!
What are some of your favorite Bread and Butter players for your favorite class or deck? Join the conversation and let me know in the comments below!