There’s been plenty of hype about Chane in Blitz and Classic Constructed and for good reason – drawing extra cards and gaining extra action points are probably the best things you can do in Flesh and Blood. Unfortunately for Brute fans out there, Levia, Shadowborn Abomination hasn’t had quite the same hype or reception in either format since release.
In today’s article, I’ll be breaking down the cards and strategies available to the hero to help determine viable strategies that might be able to compete with some of the more popular heroes in the Classic Constructed format.
At their core, Brute heroes have always been risk and reward based classes, with dice and luck based effects and references strewn throughout the class. Levia is no different but approaches things a bit differently from what we have previously seen.
While there are plenty of discard effects in other sets, banishing three cards from you graveyard with a requirement that they have six or more attack is something we haven’t seen before. Additionally, unlike the Shadow Runeblade cards, Shadow Brute cards typically have a very strong effect and the blood debt mechanic, but most often can’t be played from the banish zone. Building Levia around these types of cards puts you on a pretty strict clock, often requiring you to trigger her hero ability just to prevent you from outright losing the game.
The mechanic introduced is similar to previous brute cards but with another pretty major drawback.
At first read, these cards are pretty powerful, allowing you to effectively draw a card when you trigger the ability (by banishing a blood debt card that can be played) – the only issue is that none of them block! This is a pretty big restriction and requires careful consideration if you’re looking to build your deck around these cards. On top of that, you draw before you discard, meaning you cant ever guarantee you will even get the effect.
So with all of these unique effects, how do we go about building a deck? You could focus on triggering your hero ability every turn by playing a bunch of cards that banish three from your graveyard. Maybe instead, you completely ignore these effects and try to extract value from Shadow of Blasmophet? Do you run generic Brute cards which aren’t very efficient or Shadow Brute cards that have a great rate but come with a draw back? There are so many different options with Levia which is my favorite thing about the class. I wont be able to go into everything here in this article, but generally speaking, I believe you can define the deck by how many of a particular card (or type of card) the deck is running:
Dread Screamer is up there with the best cards Levia can play for the sole reason that it has go again. This means you don’t need to rely on Scabskin Leathers or one-off effects to get an extra action point. Since it banishes three cards, ideally you want to banish a card with six attack along with something like a Ghostly Visit to allow you to play a second card on your turn effectively for free from your banish zone. Because you want to get value from banishing and still banish a card with six attack, balancing your graveyard (and essentially your deck) is a pretty important aspect for any Levia player, so how many of each card should we run?
To help understand how good these effects are and how many of each card we should run, I often find it useful to look at the odds for different situations and compare them to known effects. In this case, the best example we have is Scabskin Leathers.
Odds of Gaining an Action Point with Scabskin Leathers
|Chance of 0 AP||Chance of +1 AP|
In general, I’ve found during my time playing Flesh and Blood that in many situations, it’s often not worth rolling the dice without Gamblers Gloves, but often is if you have them. This gives us a good starting point with which to compare these new effects. Is playing Dread Screamer better than rolling the dice? If its not, you probably should just roll the dice. So at what point does rolling the dice become better than playing dread screamer? Here are a couple of break points to consider when you make a decision.
Odds of Getting Go Again From Dread Screamer – 10 Cards in Graveyard
|Graveyard Density||Chance of 0 AP||Chance of +1 AP|
|30% six attacks||29.17%||70.83%|
|40% six attacks||16.67%||83.33%|
|50% six attacks||8.33%||91.67%|
|60% six attacks||3.33%||96.67%|
With 40 percent of your graveyard consisting of cards with 6-attack, the odds of not getting go again are the same as rolling a one with Scabskin leathers. Having said that, you’ll still be dealing six damage rather than zero, so the expected damage output is probably better in most cases. The numbers above assume you have a small graveyard (<10 cards), things are a bit different as you increase card quantity
Odds of Getting Go Again From Dread Screamer – >30 Cards in Graveyard
|Graveyard Density||Chance of 0 AP||Chance of +1 AP|
|30% six attacks||33.85%||66.15%|
|40% six attacks||21.16%||78.84%|
|50% six attacks||11.86%||88.14%|
|60% six attacks||6.11%||93.89%|
As you increase the number of cards in your graveyard, the odds you hit a 6-attack get lower for the same ratio. This suggests that if you’re building around these type of effects, you’re better off trying to banish a card every turn rather than holding back and trying to set up something big. Taking it to the extreme, you’ll have a 100 percent chance to hit a six attack with 33 percent graveyard density and three cards in the graveyard so even with a relatively low number of 6-attack cards you can still make the deck functional.
What about Shadow of Blasmophet? The odds are quite different depending on how many cards with six attack are in your deck and how many are in your hand. Here are a couple of different situations that are useful to consider…
One Card in Hand – Odds of Discarding a 6-Attack with Shadow of Blasmophet
|Deck Density||0 Six in hand||1 Six in hand|
|30% six attacks||15.00%||65.00%|
|40% six attacks||20.00%||70.00%|
|50% six attacks||25.00%||75.00%|
|60% six attacks||30.00%||80.00%|
Two Cards in Hand – Odds of Discarding a 6-Attack with Shadow of Blasmophet
|Deck Density||0 Six in hand||1 Six in hand||2 Six in hand|
|30% six attacks||10.00%||43.33%||76.67%|
|40% six attacks||13.33%||46.67%||80.00%|
|50% six attacks||16.67%||50.00%||83.33%|
|60% six attacks||20.00%||53.33%||86.67%|
Three Cards in Hand – Odds of Discarding a 6-Attack with Shadow of Blasmophet
|0 Six in hand||1 Six in hand||2 Six in hand||3 Six in hand|
|30% six attacks||7.50%||32.50%||57.50%||92.50%|
|40% six attacks||10.00%||35.00%||60.00%||90.00%|
|50% six attacks||12.50%||37.50%||62.50%||87.50%|
|60% six attacks||15.00%||40.00%||65.00%||85.00%|
While the distributions are similar for both types of effects, it’s worth noting that draw/discard random is much more dependent on the cards in hand rather than deck density, whereas graveyard density is critical for banish three random cards. This effectively means waiting for the right turn is a much better strategy for draw/discard and you can get away with much fewer 6-attack cards in your deck.
With that in mind, here are a couple of deck lists to ponder over.
Levia Banish Three
Class: Shadow Hero: Levia, Shadowborn Abomination Weapons: Ravenous Meataxe Equipment: Carrion Husk, Ebon Fold, Gambler's Gloves, Scabskin Leathers (3) Boneyard Marauder (red) (3) Dread Screamer (red) (3) Endless Maw (red) (1) Ghostly Visit (red) (3) Howl from Beyond (red) (3) Pulping (red) (3) Shadow of Blasmophet (red) (1) Tome of Torment (red) (3) Unworldly Bellow (red) (1) Void Wraith (red) (3) Writhing Beast Hulk (red) (3) Art of War (yellow) (3) Beast Within (yellow) (3) Bloodrush Bellow (yellow) (1) Deep Rooted Evil (yellow) (3) Dread Screamer (yellow) (3) Hungering Slaughterbeast (yellow) (3) Mark of the Beast (yellow) (3) Deadwood Rumbler (blue) (1) Doomsday (blue) (3) Dread Screamer (blue) (3) Endless Maw (blue) (1) Soul Harvest (blue) (3) Wrecker Romp (blue)
Class: Shadow Hero: Levia, Shadowborn Abomination Weapons: Romping Club Equipment: Arcanite Skullcap, Fyendal's Spring Tunic, Gambler's Gloves, Scabskin Leathers (3) Deadwood Rumbler (red) (1) Ghostly Visit (red) (1) Guardian of the Shadowrealm (red) (3) Howl from Beyond (red) (3) Pulping (red) (3) Savage Feast (red) (3) Shadow of Blasmophet (red) (3) Shadow Puppetry (red) (1) Tome of Torment (red) (1) Void Wraith (red) (3) Art of War (yellow) (3) Beast Within (yellow) (3) Bloodrush Bellow (yellow) (3) Deadwood Rumbler (yellow) (3) Riled Up (yellow) (3) Smash Instinct (yellow) (3) Awakening Bellow (blue) (3) Barraging Beatdown (blue) (3) Deadwood Rumbler (blue) (1) Eye of Ophidia (blue) (3) Pack Hunt (blue) (3) Savage Feast (blue) (1) Soul Harvest (blue) (3) Wrecker Romp (blue) See the full deck at: https://fabdb.net/decks/WLkQzerD/
While I wouldn’t recommend taking these to a tournament any time soon, they illustrate the two different ways you can approach Levia, one focusing on draw/discard the other, banish three random cards. The beauty of the Classic Constructed format is that you get to play a sideboard meaning you could actually look to combine both of these concepts together and play a different game plan in different matchups. As to what that deck might look like, I’ll leave that for another day.