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Resource Management in Flesh and Blood

Flesh and Blood heavily rewards you for good tactics and resource management (which is a common thread among games I enjoy). Today, I want to look at some of the different resources you have to balance, and give you some tips on how to maximize them. Whenever I learn a new game, I look at what matters, and what constraints there are, both of which are key to understanding and succeeding at the game. Let’s get started!

 

Header - Action Points

You start each turn with one action point, and just about every card you play or attack you make will use it up. However, many cards/attacks will have go again, which gives you an action point after the action resolves.

 

Soulbead Strike (Red)

 

What Are the Strategic Implications?

 

One action point doesn’t sound like a lot, and it isn’t. This heavily restricts what sorts of actions you can take on your turn, and getting around it can be tricky. Plenty of cards have go again, so most heroes will end up doing multiple things in a turn, but it’s a huge cost to have too many actions that don’t have go again, as you can get stuck with unplayable cards in hand.

When I look at this, my first thoughts are:

  • How can I maximize how many actions I take each turn?
  • What are the advantages of making fewer plays, and not looking to take multiple actions?
  • Are there any heroes that are particularly good at getting around this?

Having just one action point means that you can typically go down one of two paths: you can make multiple small attacks or one big one. Attack reactions (IE, pump spells) don’t use action points, so they help make either strategy successful, and there are a variety of equipment you can use that help as well.

There are pros and cons to each approach. When you’re trying to get around the action point gate by playing cards that give you extra actions, you run the risk of drawing the wrong combination – too many extra action cards and nothing to use them with, or too many slow actions that are restricted to one per turn.

However, the strategy of just playing one action per turn runs the risk of being too easy to defend against, and giving your opponent a lot more information when deciding what plays they’ll make. When a Ninja like Ira opens with an attack, the opponent rightfully suspects they’ll get attacked two or three times, so they can’t just blow their best defensive options right away. On the other hand, if Bravo or Rhinar swings one giant punch, there’s no downside to defending the maximum amount.

 

Harmonized KodachiAlpha Rampage

 

Overall, most decks are built to take multiple actions of one sort or another, but how much their game plan depends on that can vary wildly. The game is pretty generous with go again, so this isn’t the harshest restriction, but it’s one worth planning around. Keep an eye out for cards that make it easy to take multiple powerful actions in a turn, as those tend to be very valuable.

 

Header - Resource Points

This is a big one – these are how you play cards or use your weapons/equipment. You get resource points by pitching cards, as you don’t intrinsically have any, and that leads to the most decision-making in FAB by far. Every card pitches for one, two or three resource points, and balancing pitch values is a huge part of deckbuilding.

 

What Are the Strategic Implications?

 

Since you need to pitch cards to play cards, there’s a pretty low ceiling on how many cards you can play per turn. Some decks get to play a ton of zero-cost cards, but that’s not the norm, and in general you’re looking at playing one to two cards per turn, three if you’ve got a particularly low-curve deck (or resource-generating equipment).

FAB heavily rewards you for using your resources efficiently (and punishes you if you don’t). A given hand of four cards will offer a multitude of ways to play it, and because of the high level of synergy present, it won’t be as easy as “do I play A or B by pitching C and D.” Instead, it’ll be more like “do I play A and B by pitching C and D, or do I play B and C by pitching A and D.” Many cards require others to give you max value, so you can’t just swap them in and out, and once you factor in differing pitch values, all of a sudden some plans just don’t work.

The cards are balanced around this as well. Red cards pitch for one but have better effects, blue cards pitch for three and have worse effects and yellow cards pitch for two with middling effects.

Some of what I’d look at when trying to get an edge with resource points:

  • Many decks will be built with a “mana base” in mind, even if FAB doesn’t have mana in the strictest sense. You’ll be using blue cards to fuel red ones, and ideally are rarely pitching red ones or casting blue ones.
  • Yellow cards are the worst of all worlds. Sometimes you have to play them (as some cards only come in yellow), but in general it’s much stronger to just have red and blue cards. Hedging never did anyone any favors, and as usual, extremes are more rewarding.
  • This game features relatively low resource point numbers. You’re rarely playing cards that cost more than three (some heroes are an exception), which means that efficiency and not wasting resource points are critical. When you pitch for five points and spend four of them, it’s a disaster, and the resource-monger in me always dies a little when I have to do that.
  • When looking at what plays you’re going to make, don’t get tunnel vision on playing a specific card. Sometimes, you’ll profit most by pitching your “best play” in order to have a more efficient turn. 
  • I want to stress this again – your goal should be to avoid wasting resource points if at all possible. It’s one of the most valuable heuristics in Magic, and the same is true here.
  • When choosing which weapon to equip, keep in mind common lines of play and how many resource points you’ll have left over. The cheaper the attack the better, as that makes it that much less likely you’ll ever waste resource points.

Resource points make the world go around, and everything else comes back to them. Mastering the art of using them wisely is the best thing you can do, and that plays out in deckbuilding, item choice and gameplay.

 

Header - Cards

In FAB, you get four cards a turn (with some exceedingly rare exceptions based on your hero) and you redraw to four at the end of each turn. Additionally, you can save a card by putting it in your arsenal, which gives you an effective hand size of five on your next turn.

 

What Are the Strategic Implications?

 

A few jump out at me right away. The first – and you’ll be shocked to hear this – is to heavily prioritize emptying your hand every turn. Anytime you have a card in your hand at the end of turn, you draw one less card, and that’s a tragedy of the highest order. You may think I’m overselling this (and the same deal with resource points), but trust me – I’ve played thousands of hours of card games, and wasting resources is a surefire way to lose. Now, that’s not to say that it’s never right to keep a card in hand, but you should be very sure that’s what you want to do, and most of the time it won’t be right.

Another implication is that your opponent will have at most five cards in hand to defend with. That means you can overload them by building up to a more powerful attack, as they’re capped at those five cards, and some strategies let you trade weaker turns for more powerful ones down the line. Here’s a deck tech on Viserai, who does exactly that:

 

 

Basically, by taking one or two turns off, you can build up a huge attack, and their defense won’t be able to scale in the same manner. The most extreme version of this is OTK Viserai, which Karol Ruszkiewicz describes in this article:

 

 

Since having cards stuck in hand is so disastrous, this is another reason to play a deck with many small actions and lots of go again, because it minimizes the odds you have too many big attacks in hand and can only play one. Likewise, having good weapons as resource sinks can help you utilize any leftover cards because cards are resource points at the very worst.

 

Header - Equipment and Weapons

You get to start each game with a ton of stuff in FAB. You have equipment slots for your head, torso, hands and legs, as well as two weapon slots (with some weapons being tw0-handed). That’s a ton of stuff, and good equipment usage is critical

 

What Are the Strategic Implications?

 

Getting to start with a whopping five cards in play (six if you use two weapons) means a lot. Here are the most important takeaways:

  • Synergistic decks get a big bonus by having the right equipment. You can build combos with confidence, as you know you’ll always have something like Bloodsheath Skeleta to go off with, for example.
  • Equipment offers extra resource, whether it be cards, action points or resource points. Getting to play extra cards is huge – there’s a reason Fyendal’s Spring Tunic is so highly prized. This can help resource-intensive decks make bigger plays, or multi-attack decks get all the attacks they want in.
  • You often get to choose between short-term bursts or long-term gains. Heartened Cross Strap versus Fyendal’s Spring Tunic is a good example. In a long game, the Tunic will add more resources overall, but the Cross Strap gives you a more powerful burst right away (and on the same turn).
  • Equipment can also shore up your defenses. By playing a bunch of defensive equipment, you can give up cool abilities for cold, hard health, and in some metagames, that’s the best call.
  • Your weapon can help you always have something to do. Having a good weapon that fits in your curve is important, as you want to be able to always use spare resource points. Some heroes take it a step further, and use their weapon as their primary attack, which also plays.

Which equipment to play is tricky, and the presence of arcane damage means that you always have to be ready to swap in some Nullrune gear if needs be. In general, good synergy equipment tends to have a higher upside, but if you can build your deck without needing it, it’s great to get that extra defensive value.

 


 

 

At the end of the day, card games are resource management puzzles, and Flesh and Blood is no exception. There’s a ton of unique play to it, of course, but learning how to be efficient, how to not waste resources and how to get the most value are critical to your success. I hope this helped you learn a bit more about it, and I encourage you to dive in – I’ve been having a blast.

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