Although Flesh and Blood is still in its infancy, it still has deep strategic and tactical elements that both new and veteran players enjoy. Interactions between cards within classes and generics that support and complement them are already vast and will continue to grow with the upcoming release of Monarch.
Nevertheless, certain gameplay interactions will always emerge as stronger than others, and for certain classes, some combos can be incredibly threatening to see unfold from the other side of the table. Watching any high-level gameplay in the community will reveal this clearly.
Hence, with the game at the point where it is now, and with the competitive community of players exponentially growing, it’s as good a time as any to start looking at what solid gameplay patterns you can apply to your own decks at home. For most of the combos here, I’ve tried to keep it to one-two punches, as most times you won’t be having a full hand on you unless you’ve paid the price in life for it.
It’s possible that Runeblade may not be the best place to start for a miniseries like this, with many of the class’s key cards being Majestics, but the lack of Runeblade’s competitive success in the meta compels me to try to give Viserai a helping boost at game nights around the globe.
A mini-preface that I sort of hinted to above – Runeblade does require some rarer cards in most builds, and I’ve used the optimal lines here in this article, but you can surely switch the Majestics out for other strong generics or Runeblade actions which are easier on the wallet. Nevertheless, if you want the cream of the crop for Viserai, then you’ll want the following:
- Mordred Tide – By and far the strongest card in almost all Runeblade decks. Plop a Mordred Tide down as your first action and you’ve set the grounds for a strong turn ahead.
- Bloodsheath Skeleta – Staple equipment that allows for massive turns to occur where they would otherwise seem impossible.
- Arknight Ascendancy – Defining attack for the class, and one of the few that can dish out pain while still help keep momentum strong in subsequent turns.
- Oath of the Arknight (Red) – Strong support card for most attack actions in the class along with either of Viserai’s swords. Built in Runechant generation helps separate it from the pack for its versatility and ability to set up damage heavy turns.
- Mauvrion Skies (Red) – Zero cost, giving your next card go again and a conditional on hit effect of generating three Runechants turns your next Runeblade attack action not only into a must block, but also gives you the flexibility to add on other cards onto the chain if you desire.
Okay, Arknight Ascendancy is just great, no matter how you cut it. The thing is though, it can be way better with the right support lifting it up. Along with its Dominate effect pushing through damage, any Runeblade player will know the real value of the card lies in the Runechant generation it creates on hit, generating Runechants equal to the damage dealt by the attack. In this case Arknight Ascendancy’s 5 attack is solid but it can be dealt with by either equipment or almost fully blocked by 4 value defense reactions. This leaves you with little momentum to supplement the classes big hitting cards such as more Arknight Ascendancies or Ninth Blade of the Blood Oath. When you truly start looking into it, you realize how much value Oath of the Arknight (Red) starts to bring to this duo. With Viserai, Oath does three things:
- Activates Viserai’s hero ability.
- Creates a Runechant (reducing cost of Arknight Ascendancy if you’re not at six Runechants already)
- Gives Arknight Ascendancy a boost of +3 attack.
Assuming you’ve already been building Runechants, Oath of the Arknight (Red) allows you to further reduce to the cost of Arknight Ascendancy and tack on an extra one damage for your opponent to deal with when they defend. The boosting of Arknight Ascendancy to eight also greatly changes how your opponent can block this card. Eight with Dominate requires almost perfect conditions to block up completely, and even then, it’ll most likely draw out multiple equipment if played early in the game (a net positive for your later attacks). Even if all goes poorly, the activated ability of Viserai with this combo allows for one Runechant to remain on the table, and hence keep Reduce to Runechant free.
For maximum effect, Arsenal one of the cards to set up the combo (ideally Arknight Ascendancy as it can help swing momentum) and keep in hand your extra card you need to pitch for Oath of the Arknight and possibly Arknight Ascendancy. If paired with Mordred Tide or if you can add a Pummel (Red) on top of the Arknight Ascendancy, you’ll be set to keep the pain going for another while.
OTK Viserai players should recognize this one. After building up a horrifying number of Runechants (usually above 20), OTK players will block up one last attack from their opponent before using Bloodsheath Skeleta’s instant effect to play Sloggism (Red) into Ninth Blade of the Blood Oath for 15 damage on the physical side and over 20 arcane damage to wipe their opponent clean off the battlefield in one blow.
Although simple in theory, this is difficult combo to execute without a skilled pilot at the helm. You must be patient, and ideally have one of these cards in coming out of Arsenal when its time to pull the trigger. Building up Runechants throughout the match will be crucial for this to work correctly and Read the Runes should become your best friend if this combo is the one you choose. I would speak of what momentum comes after this combo, but ideally there is no “after” here – you should be sweeping your opponent clean off the table once it lands!
Okay, so this one isn’t exactly something you’ll be entirely doing during your turn, but this setup turn for Viserai is probably one of the most common you’ll see between all variations of his decks.
Almost all heavy Runeblade attacks require at least three Runechants to be on the table (ideally more) tov viably put any real pressure on your opponent and for you to even pay their costs. Hence, there will be many turns where this play of trying to soak up every ounce of damage your opponent dishes out and then generating Runechants on your turn will be your best play to set up for the strong mid or late game that Viserai naturally trends towards. In terms of efficiency as well, Read the Runes having a zero cost makes it by and far the most efficient Runechant generation tool in your kit aside from possibly Mordred Tide.
This is most likely the hardest to pull off, but for me it’s up there with almost any Arknight Ascendancy combo in here. Dread Triptych is an undervalued card for what it brings to most Runeblade decks in both Blitz and Classic, especially the latter.
After your Arknight Ascendancies run out, there are very few cards that put strong pressure on your opponent from both angles like Dread Triptych. Even though Ninth Blade of the Blood Oath can hurt your opponent, it’s much too expensive to be viable over and over. Every Runeblade player knows you can stick Mordred Tide in front of basically any chain and it’ll be a fantastic turn, but to really squeeze the value out of this card, you need a card like Dread Triptych that generate multiple Runechants individually.
Dread Triptych alone creates a Runechant if you’ve dealt arcane damage this turn, if you’ve played a non-attack action card this turn and if the attack hits. Pair this along with Mordred Tide activating Viserai’s ability and you have an automatic four Runechants ready to go after the attack (two from Dread Triptych, two from Viserai). Your opponent now has to decide if they want this to catapult to eight or not by blocking the tricky four attack on Dread Triptych, and ideally four or more Runechants that you’re also attacking with (this will force at least two cards out to pay to block it all).
For maximum effect, pair this combo with an Oath of the Arknight (Red) in the middle to really lay down the hurt with extra Runechants from Viserai and the Oath of the Arknight being originally generated. Then, Dread Triptych can hit with even more Runechants and a tricky attack value of seven.
This combo is my ideal setup to get things going again for Viserai when the arcane energy is seemingly running low at zero to one Runechants. Like many of the great Runeblade non-attack actions, Mauvrion Skies (Red) does three things:
- Activates Viserai’s hero ability.
- Gives your next Runeblade attack action go again.
- Gives your next Runeblade attack action an on-hit effect of generating three Runechants.
In this case, Spellblade Assault (Red) now becomes a must-block due to the danger of three free Runechants being generated, and with four attack, you’ll more times than not draw either two cards or an equipment into the mix. Add the free two Runechants that Spellblade Assault gives you with Viserai’s free ability and you find your self at a respectable threshold of three Runechants now along with an extra action point from the go again. This you can use however you wish, depending on your hand and game situation.
If you have the pitch, Nebula Blade for four along with another conditional Runeblade generation or simply Reaping Blade for three are both great options. Read the Runes plopped at the back of this or another similar Runechant generation card (such as Sutcliffe’s Research Notes or Runeblood Barrier) is also a great way to stack on the pain for an upcoming big turn.
Viserai and his ability can be formidable when piloted by the right player, and I hope this gives some newer and maybe even veteran players a different look at him. Even with the above combo chains though, remember that these are just outlines and setups that you can, and many times should, look for during a game.
The combo lines help with deck building and choosing the right cards to deal out the most damage efficiently, but most of the time you’ll be improvising the general gist of these chains with other cards in your deck. Runeblade, being one of the four newer classes, still has tons of depth left to be explored as new combinations and players helm the class to victory and is full of wonderful, thematic cards and art.