Welcome back to my Flesh and Blood Fundamentals series, another article geared toward helping you improve your own understanding of the game. This article is intended to hold its own as standalone content, however, it will provide even more value to you as a reader when paired with the other content in the series. Many fundamental concepts in Flesh and Blood tie together to create synergies. Better understanding of one single fundamental concept will aid in your understanding of others – and how they tie together. Ultimately, when you make these fundamentals a mindful part of your play and practice, you will improve as a player. For today’s piece, I’ll be breaking down the concept of the Arsenal, and how to use it to augment or even create central strategies and take the power level of your deck to the next level.
Flesh and Blood Fundamentals Series Articles:
- Flesh and Blood Fundamentals: Bread and Butter
- The Economy of Flesh and Blood Combat
- Improving your Clerical Upkeep
- Learning How to Pitch in Flesh and Blood
- Card Advantage
The Arsenal is perhaps one of the most important zones in the game, though it is difficult for new players to wrap their heads around. It’s a zone that can be used to create or store card advantage, creating virtual five or higher card hands with some restrictions. Though remedial, it’s important to note that cards from Arsenal typically cannot be used to defend (unless they are defense reactions) and cannot be pitched for resources to pay the costs of your actions and cards from your hand.
The Arsenal is your chance to defer power for a future turn and to try to assemble your most powerful combos. Unless you are running a card like Crown of Seeds in your equipment slots and can ship off and replace “bad” cards with ease, then you want to be selective about what kinds of cards you put into your Arsenal. In general, you want to prioritize cards that you actively want to play and cards that will have a lot of utility or merit in a variety of situations you’d likely find yourself facing. Typically powerful red cards, and yellows and blues that offer lots of utility, will be great choices. You often want to avoid putting “low-quality” blues that are mostly in the deck for resource generation into your Arsenal as you would prefer not to play these out until the late game when both decks are running low on threat density.
Patience with your Arsenal pays dividends. Oftentimes, synergies created by cards or the increase in power they provide are additive and multiplicative in nature. In general, your cards will reward you much more when you’re able to string together bigger hands and combos on a single turn, rather than playing out each individual card on different turns.
One of the most common examples of a good opportunity to Arsenal is starting your turn with a two-card hand (one of those being a powerful card you’d really like to play and back by a strong turn). In general, it will be much more efficient to pitch a card to swing your weapon rather than pitching the card to play the power card by itself with no backup from other cards in your deck. By doing this, you take a less powerful turn now, with the hopes of deferring that power and creating a turn with more synergy and power than would have been possible without the Arsenal slot. Bank that power card in Arsenal, and look for the perfect moment to unleash it on your opponent.
Another good opportunity to put something into Arsenal is if you would end a turn with more than one card in hand. This will typically only occur if you are going first, or you have just hit your opponent super hard and forced them to take an off-turn where you’re coming into your current turn with a full hand of cards. In cases like this where you don’t have a super powerful follow-up to a winning turn, you may need to put something in Arsenal just to avoid card disadvantage where you are drawing less cards than your hero’s intellect. This will happen sometimes during Flesh and Blood regardless, and you should almost never put “unplayable” cards into your Arsenal just for the sake of drawing an additional card.
With every turn you take, ask yourself if you are better off playing a card outright or looking to put it into Arsenal to build a (much) more powerful turn in the future. There is some short-term trade off for deferring a card to your Arsenal. Mainly, you don’t hit your opponent as hard in the current turn, meaning they are more likely to keep a three, four or higher card hand going into their turn. Though, if they have the right cards, you may see them try to take a big hit regardless of how much pressure you throw over the table so they can play out their cards and power turn.
Furthermore, storing defense reactions like Sink Below, Fate Foreseen and Unmovable in your Arsenal will allow you to better defend yourself on a turn while protecting your life total and keeping more cards in your hand for a counterattack. This can be one of the most efficient ways to play defense reactions while building powerful, proactive turns to flip the tempo and put pressure on your opponent. But watch out!
Cards like Command and Conquer, Seek and Destroy and Disable will attack your Arsenal, often requiring many cards from hand to block out the attack and protect whatever card you have stored in Arsenal. Part of the power behind these cards is their ability to attack both the player’s life total and the card they have dedicated to Arsenal with hopes of playing later. Especially with the likes of Command and Conquer, it can feel bad to have dedicated a defense reaction to Arsenal the turn before when it can’t be used to defend against the attack that is threatening to destroy your valuable card in Arsenal.
The Ranger class interacts with the Arsenal zone more than any other class in the game. New Horizon even gives Ranger an additional Arsenal Slot to fill with arrows, provided they meet the criteria on the equipment slot. Because Rangers can only fire arrow attack cards from the Arsenal and they don’t have weapons in the traditional sense of the word, this class can be vulnerable to disruption like Command and Conquer and Disable, either forced to defend with cards from hand, or lose the valuable arrows they have dedicated to their Arsenal without having the chance to use them since they also have some of the lowest armor density in the game and typically prefer not to lose their valuable utility equipment.
Use of the Arsenal slot will differ on a class-by-class and strategy-by-strategy basis. Many aggressive strategies may use the Arsenal a lot less than a slower, controlling deck. As you practice with your class and deck of choice, try to pay attention to the cards you choose to put into Arsenal to understand the thought process behind that decision. Cards should never go to Arsenal mindlessly, and we should always have a good idea of the thought process behind dedicating a card to the Arsenal slot.
Learn to use your Arsenal correctly, and you’ll be amazed at the powerful turns you can craft!