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How to Best Prepare for Tales of Aria Limited

With Tales of Aria right around the corner and an exciting spoiler season, there is no better time to prepare for Limited and gear up for your local pre-release – or perhaps even the main event at The Calling DFW. Limited in Flesh and Blood is a skill-intensive format. Your fundamental game skills and knowledge will be put to the test in a format that is much harder to win by accident. With practice, honed game sense and an understanding of the inner workings of the format, you’ll put yourself in the position to maximize your chance of doing well and excelling at your event. Let’s jump into some great tips to prepare for Tales of Aria Limited and to ensure success from the start – without requiring you to draft or open a bunch of legendary and majestic cards in your Limited pool.

 

 

Header - Practice, Practice, Practice

If you use Tabletop Simulator (TTS) on Steam, you can create simulated booster packs from sets. Typically, functionality for the newest set will be released on the free Flesh and Blood OSC mod before the set’s official release. This can be a fantastic tool to practice with friends (or even random members of the community on the community Discord server). Nothing quite beats the feel of physical Flesh and Blood cards or the thrill of opening booster packs, but TTS can serve as a great supplement to get more practice in. Just be sure to time yourself like you would at a real event, maybe adding a few extra minutes to account for the somewhat clumsy controls to sort and filter through your limited pool to make a deck.

If you will be purchasing or opening product after the pre-release weekend, don’t waste the opportunity to hone your Limited skills. Instead of just ripping through the booster packs, draft or play sealed with them. No friends to play with locally? No problem – I’ve played sealed webcam games on the Discord server in the past. You’ll have the excitement of opening some cool new cards as well as the opportunity to get to play with them and experience this rich and rewarding format.

Regardless of how you choose to practice, don’t neglect the opportunity if you want to improve your limited game.

 

Header - Review the Spoilers

You should have a good understanding of what cards are in the set before going to your first Limited event. The less time you have to spend reading and learning new card effects, the better. That extra time can be used to fine tune your deck and improve your overall understanding of its strategy and how it tries to win. You will also understand some preliminary synergies between different cards in the set and how they can be used to your advantage. Understanding some powerful combos and interactions between cards in the set ahead of time will mean you will have an automatic leg up on any opponent at the event who has not put in the same time to prepare.

Usually, each class of a set will have a theme or two that can serve as the archetypes you may want to mold your deck to fit. Understanding these archetypes will be key to focus on the cards and strategic choices required to execute on the chosen strategy of your deck. Archetypes can provide a roadmap and guide rails for building a class deck. Don’t neglect them without good reason.

 

Header - Focus on Commons and Rares

In a 30-card stack of cards, a single card represents 3.33 percent of your total deck. Because of the nature of Flesh and Blood and how the game systems work, you’ll be drawing through most of your deck in any given game. The overall quality of your deck as a whole matters much more than any one individual card in it. 

Legend Story Studios has designed Flesh and Blood with the intent of making commons and rares just as important to your strategy as majestics and legendaries – they are the backbone of any Limited deck. You’ll have the most consistent access to common and rare cards, and they should not be overlooked. Focus on the strength and utility these cards offer, and how they can play into the archetype of the deck you are trying to create. In this format, you can beat out players with majestics and legendaries with a deck consisting only of commons and rares if you build your deck right and pilot it well.

In draft, don’t be afraid to start by drafting rare or higher rarity in cards, but look to lock in your class of choice by pick three of pack two and prioritize picking up the cards you need for your archetypes and deck building needs. Pay attention to what your opponents are passing you. If you’re noticing a strange lack of a certain class in everything player X is passing to you, chances are they’re drafting that specific class. Halfway through the second pack, you should have a decent understanding of what the table is drafting.

 

Header - Start at the Drawing Board

As I mentioned in the intro, it’s hard to win games of Limited by accident. You need to be precise in how you’re going to win any given match and that starts before you sleeve up a single card.

When evaluating a sealed pool, it’s essential to have a plan from the start. There are many questions to ask yourself when designing a deck. What cards will I use to win? How will I pay for the resource costs of my deck? What is my strategy going into match X? When do I want to spend my life as a resource for my pivot turn? When do I want to sit back and block, and when do I want to press the attack?

Having some power cards or defined win conditions is essential to creating a well-rounded deck. Knowing those win conditions and when you want to play them can make all the difference in the world in how your day goes at your event. Red commons can absolutely be power cards in a Limited deck, and they can and will win games.

When evaluating a sealed pool, look to the class cards you have, any majestics and legendaries and the supporting generics that slot well into the various class archetypes. Usually, it’s easy enough to eliminate one or more classes from consideration if you opened considerably less cards for that class than the others. From there, look to evaluate by perceived power level and your knowledge of the set. Look for card synergies and combos within your card pool, and make sure you have the proper resources to pay for cards and execute on your strategy. 

Don’t be afraid to sideboard after you learn who you’ll be playing against. Changing certain cards ahead of a matchup can improve your results. For example, in matchups where you want to get more aggressive, perhaps sub in some higher-value attacks that only block for two instead of three, making a small trade off to shift the aggression of your deck.

Finally, your fundamentals and game knowledge will come into the limelight in Flesh and Blood’s limited format. Nothing could be more true of that than the importance of pitching. In limited, with only a 30-card deck, you will more than likely draw through the majority of your deck in a game. When your draw hits the first card you pitched in the game, this begins the cycle in which you draw everything you have pitched since the start of the game. This is a powerful opportunity to craft your draws for the late game and set up that one perfect turn. Make sure that you are pitching cards in a way that you will be able to get value (while potentially still having a threat or two tucked away).

 

Let’s say you opted to play the new Elemental Guardian hero, Oldhim in Limited. During your turn one, you pitch Mulch (Blue) and Glacial Footsteps (Red) to pay the four-resource cost of your best attack action card, Endless Winter, using your final ice card to fuse the attack.

Next turn, you pitch two reds and a blue to pay another resource cost. Later in the game, by pitching this way, you have created a scenario in which you will draw three red cards in a row. For a resource-intensive class like Guardian, you’re responsible for creating an unplayable hand of cards that could very well cost you the game. By being careful and spacing out the red pitches (or even trying to play a couple earlier on and pitching a red surrounded by blues later instead, you can create a pitch scenario that will benefit you instead of harm you.

Simply being carefully with what you pitch in Limited and the why behind it will cause you to win games against players who do not understand or properly implement this into their Limited play. As you develop this skill for your own play, start to look at what your opponent is pitching and how they are choosing to spend their life as a resource to understand when they’re trying to set up for a pivot turn of their own.

 

Header - Wrapping Up

All of these skills take time and practice to develop, but they will come along. Good luck in there as you prepare for Tales of Aria. For those new to the limited format, I wish you all the best and hope your experience learning draft and sealed in Flesh and Blood was as fun as mine. 

What tips and tricks do you have for new players to improve at the limited format? Have any questions you would like to ask? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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