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How to Pick Your Deck Size in Flesh and Blood

Between side boarding, game plans, opposing heroes and more, there can be a ton to think about before every Flesh and Blood match. However, it seems that one of the most critical steps of pre-game play, your deck size, is simply forgotten or not even considered by many.

For most intermediate players, they bring a set deck size into every match (usually 60 cards). This gives them a solid idea of the ratios they need to build around and a consistent feel to the deck’s gameplay. In addition, a non-variable deck size makes sideboarding infinitely easier, as it allows a simple construct within which you must add or remove cards from. Although this is a good base, there is further strategy here than simply rinsing and repeating 60 cards into every matchup

Just like your opponents, Deck sizes aren’t something to be so set in stone, and rather should be one of the most important considerations you make before every match. Why am I running this many cards? What’s my role in the match? Do I need extra cards going into a game? Let’s answer these questions and more in the context of each of the prominent deck sizes we see presented today. 

 

 

Header - 60 Cards

The minimum number of cards you must present in a Classic Constructed build in any FAB deck is also the most frequent deck size used in the game. Aside from the simplicity of going with the minimum, the 60-card benchmark presents many other benefits to FAB players as well, the biggest of which being the ability to play “your best 60” in any given match. 

This concept is key to understanding the philosophy behind why so many people only ever present 60 cards and keep the rest aside. In any card game, drawing out your power cards before your opponent does and increasing the chances you draw all them every game is important. Since each unique card in FAB can only show up thrice in your deck, you drastically reduce your chance of drawing all three power cards in a game when you dilute your deck by presenting 70+ cards at the start of the game. 

To expand upon the above point even further, it’s important to note what your role is against an opponent. If you’re going to be trying for a combo involving a few cards, then running 60 cards is the fastest way to reach that combination. Equally, heroes who are the aggressors in matchups will likely want to be running 60 cards so they can consistently keep pressure up with their best cards turn after turn. Similarly, if you’re counting on certain sideboard silver bullet cards, like timely defense reactions or possible item and aura destruction like Smashing Good Time or Scour, it’s important to run 60 cards purely because these drawing these cards shifts the game in your favor. It’s important to have that crucial defense reaction of permanent removal in Arsenal for when you need it, and not stuck somewhere in your deck. Keeping deck size low once again helps this goal. 

 

Header - 70+ Cards

When you’re in the 70+ card range, you’re essentially throwing everything and the kitchen sink out at the opponent. However, if you have good reason to, this isn’t necessarily the worst idea. The most common reason to go this route is against fatigue-based heroes who want to run you out of threats entirely. In this case, it’s likely that the extra 10+ cards going into your deck will allow it to gain just enough offensive momentum to last through the match. Although the fatigue game plan is always going to be to run you out of cards, there’s equally only so much defense an opponent’s deck can put out as well. Having five to 10 extra attack actions or buffs can easily be the key to getting that last bit of offensive push through. 

If you do use 70 cards though, it’s important you’re not throwing chaff into your deck either. Making sure the cards you put in won’t disrupt your existing offensive gameplay against a defensive opponent is an important consideration when going all in this way.

 

Header - 61-70 Cards

This is where it gets it tricky. You’re not using the optimal 60-card value, and you don’t need to throw the kitchen sink at a control opponent. When playing a deck size somewhere in the middle, you need to have a darn good reason to do so. 

One of the main reasons I would ever consider playing a deck size like this is that I simply don’t know what my opponent will be bringing out. When sideboarding reactively, it might be important to impose your game plan, but possibly have some of those silver bullet cards in the lineup just in case things go south. This is where the deck size can reach above the 60 card threshold as you’re including a few backup cards if the situation isn’t what you expected it to be. 

Another prevalent reason to use above 60 cards is simply if it evens out your ratios and deck list better. You might need a few more non-attack actions, six attack cards or big payoffs. Although I’m a big supporter of running the leanest 60 cards whenever possible, sometimes it’s simply better to just come out with more if the deck runs better and more evenly from hand to hand. Remember, the guideline is just to use 60, but if you’re winning more with 61 or 65, then don’t be silly and follow the masses for no reason. 

 

There’s no shortage to complexity around the topic of deck sizes. Although the one-size-fits-all approach may work for some, but there’s going to be a point where you’re going to want to consider what deck size best actually accommodates the goals and structure of your deck in the first place. Whether that’s a neat and tidy 60 cards, up above 70 or somewhere in the middle, make sure your choices are calculated as they heavily affect the playstyle and feel your deck is going to have come game time. If you want to know more about deck size choices, or simply the want to discuss deck size for your deck in particular, feel free to reach out to me on twitter @a_dedanwala.

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