Fai is the new Flesh and Blood hero introduced in the Uprising set. He’s a Draconic Ninja, known for his aggressive playstyle and exceptionally long combat chains. The best thing about the new Ninja is that you can build a competitive Fai deck on a tight budget. The list I present in this article is a great way to dip your toes with Fai’s playstyle, using mostly new cards from Uprising and a few key pieces from the older sets. The list I’m outlining is a strict 60-card Classic Constructed build with the key equipment pieces for the primary game plan. As the metagame is different everywhere, I will leave the exploration of preboard options to you.
Class: Ninja Hero: Fai, Rising Rebellion Weapons: Searing Emberblade Equipment: Mask of the Pouncing Lynx, Snapdragon Scalers, Stubby Hammerers, Tide Flippers, Vest of the First Fist (3) Blaze Headlong (red) (3) Brand with Cinderclaw (red) (3) Double Strike (red) (3) Flamecall Awakening (red) (3) Inflame (red) (3) Lava Burst (red) (3) Lava Vein Loyalty (red) (3) Mounting Anger (red) (3) Phoenix Flame (red) (3) Phoenix Form (red) (1) Rapid Reflex (red) (3) Red Hot (red) (3) Rising Resentment (red) (3) Ronin Renegade (red) (3) Spreading Flames (red) (3) Thaw (red) (3) Brand with Cinderclaw (yellow) (3) Salt the Wound (yellow) (3) Brand with Cinderclaw (blue) (3) Cinderskin Devotion (blue) (3) Energy Potion (blue) (3) Lava Vein Loyalty (blue) (3) Rising Resentment (blue)
When it comes to the strategy of playing Fai, the main goal is straightforward – attack the opponent as much as possible and try to output more damage than they can. As any aggressive strategy goes, attacking and maximizing damage from these attacks is what will get you ahead in the game.
Th best way to maximize damage is to leverage cards like Spreading Flames, Inflame and Flamecall Awakening to create enormous combat chains, push through damage and force our opponent to defend. The key to chipping away at our opponents is to attack with low to the ground attacks, such as Inflame and our trusty Phoenix Flame, making defense awkward. Cards like Blaze Headlong and Mounting Anger offer nice breakpoints that hopefully will push through damage. The deck is constructed in a way that makes the turns play out smoothly and offer consistent pressure, while maximizing on the Draconic chain links to give us a “free” Phoenix Flame activation each turn. This becomes crucial in the later stages of the game, once our opponent gets low on life. Once they’re in the single digits range, each Phoenix Flame attack brings them closer to zero.
Our equipment setup is optimized to create one big, blowout turn. All four of these are ideally popped all on the same turn in order to push through as much damage as possible. Stubby Hammerers is a natural pairing with Fai’s low to the ground multitude of attacks. Cards like Spreading Flames, Flamecall Awakening, Inflame and Double Strike are all extra powerful on a big Stubby Hammerers turn, often allowing you to get 6 or more damage from the arms equipment.
Vest of the First Fist helps you to pay for your weapon attack, virtually making the Draconic chain link free and opens up your hand to spit out an extra attack that you would have had pitched to the weapon. Since your game plan is to finish games as fast as possible, more expensive options like Fyendal’s Spring Tunic are actually not as impactful. The burst of resources from the Vest could also help pay for attacks like Mounting Anger and Spreading Flames on a turn you don’t draw a blue pitch card.
The final piece of our blowout combo puzzle is Mask of the Pouncing Lynx. The awesome thing about this card and the Vest of the First Fist is that each one of your attacks on every single turn threatens your combo. The main targets to get with the Mask of the Pouncing Lynx are Salt the Wound, Lava Burst, Double Strike and Inflame. Lava Burst is great if your opponent is defending your attacks, while Salt the Wound is amazing if your opponent isn’t defending your attacks. Inflame is great if you have a Spreading Flames on the combat chain and a spare Phoenix Flame in the Arsenal.
Snapdragon Scalers are a nice get-out-of-jail-free card for those awkward turns where you draw too many attacks without a natural go again. Things like Blaze Headlongs and Lava Vein Loyalties can get a bit clunky in multiples. Also, the leg equipment can extend your big combo. For example, if you have a Salt the Wound in the Arsenal and are popping off on a big turn, you can use the Mask of the Pouncing Lynx to search for a Lava Burst, give it go again and then finish off with a Salt the Wound. These big combo turns can threaten up to 35 damage and can blow your opponents out.
There are ways to structure your Fai turns in a way that maximizes the damage. A simple example is when playing Spreading Flames. Playing it out first is great if you have cards like Inflame or Flamecall Awakening to follow it up with. Inflame is a great pairing for Spreading Flames because the attack itself will gain +1 power, the following Phoenix Flame will gain +1 power and then your Searing Emberblade will gain +1 power, leaving all your following attacks with the power bonus. For this reason, both of these cards are great Arsenal options. Breakpoints are another thing to keep in mind, as those are the ways you can push damage through when your opponent is consistently defending. This is why it’s easier to push through damage with an attack for 4, 4 then 1 and 1 rather than four attacks for three.
Another sequencing tip involves voluntarily breaking the combat chain. Cards like Inflame, Blaze Headlong and Flamecall Awakening gain extra effects when you have played a red card this turn. Note – this does not specify the combat chain. This means that with cards like Inflame, you can play out three Draconic chain links, get your Phoenix Flame back using your hero ability, play it then close the chain, place all the cards in graveyard and then play out the Inflame, getting the same Phoenix Flame back to hand. Do note, this could affect your rupture count, but is a good way to maximize use of your cards.
Fai is a blast to play. The simple strategy is extremely rewarding, especially when the powerful interactions line up. Despite the simplicity of playstyle, Fai has a depth of the play patterns and requires a mastery of sequencing plays to get damage through. I hope this guide and deck list give you a taste of what Fai can do. There are a number of ways you can upgrade this budget Fai deck, but honestly the only real upgrade the list needs is a playset of Art of Wars and you’re off to the races.