Play or Draw? Guidance for the First Turn of the Game

So you’ve managed to win the dice roll, what do you do now? In most card games there is often always a preferred option but in Flesh and Blood often it depends on what you are playing, what the opponent is playing, and sometimes its not clear at all! Why is that? Well the main reason is that at the end of the first turn, each player draws back up to four cards, not just the player whose turn it is. This is quite a big difference as it means the player who goes second can block with impunity on the first turn knowing they will draw back up to four cards and can attack back while the player going first has to choose whether or not to block on the second turn of the game.

So what advantages do you get going first? As I mentioned in my article last month, a great way to gain an advantage on a subsequent turn in Flesh and Blood is to play cards or effects that store value for a subsequent turn. These also happen to be great ways of taking advantage of the first turn of the game as your opponent can’t exactly block an Energy Potion. On top of that, you also get access to the Arsenal first again allowing you to store cards for future use. Heroes like Viserai, Dash, and Bravo can get a lot of value out of the first turn by generating Runechant tokens, playing powerful items like Induction Chamber or setting up Auras like Towering Titan for a subsequent turn.

RunechantInduction ChamberTowering Titan (Red)

Other heroes can take advantage of the first turn by reducing the advantage your opponent gets from blocking. Bravo and Rhinar have dominate and intimidate effects built in, reducing the number of cards they can defend with while heroes like Benji can stop them from blocking at all! When your opponent is without Nullrune Generic Equipment, Kano can take advantage by pushing through damage that can really put your opponent on the back foot – they will be unable to block efficiently – this is particularly effective against aggressive decks without many blue cards.

Bravo, ShowstopperRhinar, Reckless RampageBenji, the Piercing WindKano, Dracai of Aether

Conversely, when your class can not take advantage of the first turn, sometimes it is more important to go second to ensure your opponent is the first player to block. This is particularly important in the aggressive matchups where both players are looking to attack and defend as little as possible. In general, the player who gets ahead will often stay ahead and end up winning the game because of it. Cards that can be played at instant speed like Sigil of Solace are also excellent when going second as they give you a way to gain some extra value for no real cost. Similarly, Kano’s hero power is a great way to use excess cards on the first turn. Now, be careful as your opponent will have an opportunity to attack you again after you’ve played your cards.

On top of all that, the decision is even dependent on which format you are playing. For instance, Blitz is typically a much faster format than Classic Constructed. As a result, you will often play out less turns in Blitz making each turn more important overall, in some cases, classes can even kill you on turn one! Preventing your opponent from getting what they want can often be more beneficial than the small advantage you might get from choosing your preferred option. To help make things easier I’ve created a table outlining my thoughts on when you should look to go first or to go second broken down by class and format.

Rhinar: Generally you want to go first if possible. Intimidate is great to push damage on the first turn of the game. In slower formats you will probably need to respect the aggressive decks and go second to prevent as much damage as possible.

Bravo: Similar to Rhinar, you generally want to go first to Dominate an attack or setup the next turn against slower decks.

Dash: Getting items out on the first turn and being able to pitch away excess cards to dig for what you need is a great way to spend turn one.

Katsu: Doesn’t gain much from turn one unless you have an item, often you will choose to go first or second based on what your opponent wants to do. Against aggressive decks go second.

Azalea: Very similar to Katsu, although getting an Arsenal card is relevant to your hero power and legendary helmet.

Viserai: I can’t think of any times you don’t want to go first with Viserai. Even against aggressive decks it is important to get a Runechant token to turn on Reduce to Runechant.

Dorinthea: You want to set up against slower decks and keep pressure up against aggressive decks.

Kano: Aggressive decks often won’t have many blue cards or arcane barrier so going first against them is good. When your opponent can block your actions, going second helps you get through their defenses.

Benji: It is near impossible to block most of Benji’s cards on turn one without armor so going first forces your opponent to wear themselves out early or potentially take a significant amount of damage.

Ira: Typically plays a controlling game plan, take whichever option hinders the opposing player the most or go second to pressure your opponent and force them to block when they don’t want to.

Kayo: I think you want to roll the dice with your hero ability as much as possible to push damage so going first should always be the number one choice to take advantage of this.

Kassai: Plays much the same as Dorinthea, you either want to set up or apply pressure against other aggressive decks.

Shiyana: Often plays lots of setup cards, similar play style to Bravo.

Data Doll: Always go first where you can, you want as many items on the field as early as possible.

Kavdaen: Not much support currently, the most successful versions have played a fatigue game plan making good use of his hero ability. Similarly to Ira, take the option that your opponent wants.

Wrap Up

These are just my thoughts based on how I would play each of the decks above, you might play them completely differently and come up with alternative strategies but that’s what makes Flesh and Blood such a great game! In general there are three questions you should ask yourself when deciding what to do:

  1. Can I take advantage of the first turn?
  2. Do I need to pressure my opponent on the second turn?
  3. Do I need to disrupt my opponents game plan?

If you can answer these correctly, you are well on the way to winning the early game. Feel free to comment below, it would be great to hear everyone’s thoughts on this as most of the people I have talked to have different opinion than mine and I gladly welcome yours!

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