Preparing for Flesh and Blood Tournaments

Flesh and Blood Tournaments are the most exciting aspect of Flesh and Blood for many players. It’s satisfying to battle it out with other contenders for the trophy and ultimately be the one whose crowned winner. Winning a tournament not only gives you massive bragging rights, but you also get to take home the spoils of war.

With COVID vaccines rolling out, the world is slowly opening to the potential of in-person play. We’re lucky in New Zealand to be able to play freely and have seen tremendous expansion of competitive play. The last Calling event saw over 150 players compete while the Calling in June has seen that number jump to 250 tickets sold – a massive jump in only a few months. When it comes to testing, I’ve covered my general tips in the previous article on playtesting efficiently.

With the hours you put in before your big day, it’s very important to plan the day not only for your mind, but for your body as well.


Header - Test Under Pressure

Flesh and Blood tournaments bring with them an aura of seriousness. Playing in this setting means there are no take-backs, strict time rules and the more you win, the tougher your opponents. My advice to anyone unfamiliar with a tournament setting is to simulate the same environment. When testing with friends, make sure you time your games. In Flesh and Blood, a draw counts as a loss, so it’s imperative you play in a timely manner. Dedicate some of the games to testing with tournament enforced rules. If you make a mistake, you need to play on. If you find yourself misplaying in a particular matchup, set some time to practice that matchup to familiarize yourself with the lines of play and card interactions.


Ira, Crimson HazeKanoDorinthea

Length of the tournament should also influence your deck choice. An example of this is The Calling in January 2021. The Blitz event was a staggering 11 rounds, then cut to a double-elimination Top 8. After nine rounds, we had a diverse eight top seeded decks with three Kanos, a Kassai, a Dash and three Iras. By the end of 11 rounds, the Top 8 consisted of six Iras, a Kano and a Dorinthea. The skill-intensive Kanos picked up some losses in the last few rounds, while the Iras managed to pick up a lot more wins and ultimately a few more spots in the Top 8.


Header - Know the Schedule

Knowing the format and the schedule of the event is just as crucial as bringing your hyper-tuned deck. Things like total number of rounds and timing of these events are critical. Does the tournament cut to Top 8? Are there any breaks in between rounds? How do breakers work? What is the minimum result you need to Top 8? There are many calculators online that can help you figure out the breakers. Simply Google “tournament calculator” and fill out the numbers for the tournament. Knowing these can help you strategize for the event, give your mind time to focus on gameplay and you’ll know which rounds are crucial for you to win to progress in the day.

In one of my first-ever tournaments, I was doing really well, starting the day off on three wins and losing my Round 4. After another round, I won and I was pretty certain I was locked for the Top 8. Round 6 came along and I felt the relief of not having to play my hardest, with a locked spot for Top 8. Unfortunately, I didn’t really run the numbers and it worked out not all 4-2’s made it. I ended up losing a close game in the final round, and coming in ninth on breakers. It does pay to play your hardest at all times, but it also pays to know your odds of making the top cut before each round.


Header - Plan Your Meals

As important as having your mind ready for the big day, your body should be of equal or even greater importance. Keeping hydrated and well fed should be imperative. You need to have a large water bottle and snacks. Plan your meals, if you have time for those, or prepare some sandwiches if you can’t. Keeping your body fueled has a huge impact on your results, so make sure to know where to get some food when presented with the opportunity. 

An example of how food made a difference is The Classic Constructed Calling of 2020. My friend Kieran made it to the Top 8 playing Katsu and I noticed he didn’t have much time to eat dinner before the Top 8 games started. I made sure his water bottle was full and pretty much force fed him some of my spare croissants. He swiftly won his first two games of Top 8, making it to the finals. Until this day, we joke about how the croissants helped him make it to the final table of the tournament. 



There are many factors that play a role in your success in Flesh and Blood tournaments. Gameplay preparation is definitely crucial, but making sure your mind, body and tournament admin are up to scratch can really make a difference. Always make sure you have a big bag of mixed nuts and some water to stay focused and center all your attention on what matters most – winning some games. 

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