In Flesh and Blood, there are two main resources at your disposal during a game: your hero’s life total and your deck. If your life total hits zero then the game is over and if you run out of cards in your deck, unless you can pull it out with those final few cards, then it’s going to be over and out. So how should you best manage your two key resources in this game? Today I’m detailing more about the core resources in Flesh and Blood as well as some tips and tricks to make sure you get the most of your life total and your deck in each game.
Your Life Total as a Resource
During each game of Flesh and Blood you’ll be focused on getting your opponent’s life total to zero, and of course that should be your primary goal. However, there’s also your own life total which your opponent is also trying to whittle down. The initial thought will naturally be to preserve your own life total as much as possible while reducing the opponents. In order to knock the opponent down and cut away at their life total you’re inevitably going to have to use your own life total as a resource, giving up some of it in exchange to keep key cards and deal more damage in exchange.
Unlike a lot of other TCG’s that are dominated by trading resources to develop a board position, it isn’t just the last point of life that matters in Flesh and Blood. Every point of life for both you and your opponent represents a resource lost, taken or cashed in for that turn cycle. It’s important you make the most of each of your life points and, in the end, the road to victory means getting more bang for your life than the opposing hero!
So how exactly do we use life as a resource in Flesh and Blood and what does it look like? One of the most common and devastating ways is to take the tempo of the game. Let’s use an example.
In a game of Blitz, player A is on Katsu, having just ended their turn, arsenaling a Plunder Run (Red) and drawing into a hand of Leg Tap (Red), Razor Reflex (Red), Rising Knee Thrust (Yellow) and Head Jab (Blue). Player B on Bravo now starts their turn with three cards in hand and no arsenal. Player B pitches a Crippling Crush and Debilitate (Blue) to play their last card, Buckling Blow (Red). Player A decides to not defend, taking eight damage and having a -1 counter placed on their Mask of Momentum.
Player A has now used eight points of life and the value of one defense later in the game to keep all five cards for next turn to attempt to take the tempo of the game. This forces player B to either commit most, if not all of their four cards to defending or taking a chunk of damage. Player A has made a move of trading life in order to present upwards of 20 damage and attempt to take the tempo of the game. This example describes exactly how it’s possible to use a portion of life as a resource instead of defending with cards in exchange for an opportunity to swing, gain or maintain the tempo of the game in your favor.
Managing the life totals of both you and your opponent isn’t just about trading off life to keep important cards or defending with unimportant cards to preserve life. In Flesh and Blood there are a number of cards that reward players for careful management of both their own life and also their opponent’s life total. The most prominent of these cards are Scar for a Scar, Life for a Life, Wounded Bull and Arcanite Skullcap. These are cards that, to get the most out of them, you may need to set them up by trading some life off. Be careful though: if you give up some life total just to get +1 damage or go again you may have given up more than you’ve gained. Playing these cards effectively is a balancing act but, if you’re playing them, it’s always good to keep in mind the game state and situations where they might come up.
Your Deck as a Resource
Your other main resource in Flesh and Blood is your deck. Once you run out of cards, you don’t immediately lose if you can’t draw cards unlike some other card games. However, if you have no more cards to defend and attack with and your opponent does, you’ll probably find the game will be done in the space of a turn or two. In Flesh and Blood, you draw equal to your Intellect every turn and, with your cards as your resource points, attacks and defense, you’ll likely go through your deck at least once in a game. Sometimes you’ll go through it more than once, and occasionally in longer games get to fatigue, or running out of cards in the deck. For this reason, it’s important to manage your deck as a resource, keeping a close eye on how many cards you have left as the game goes and monitor any risk that you’ll run out of cards before your opponent goes to zero life or run out of cards.
While the total cards in your deck is one aspect of the idea of “your deck is your resource,” the exact combination of cards remaining in your deck is also equally important as the game goes on. Of course, early in the game your deck will be balanced with cards you want to pitch, cards you want to attack with and cards you’re happy to defend with. As the game goes on though and you begin playing cards, defending and pitching to pay for other cards, your deck is going to begin to change.
If you spend the early turns of the game pitching blues to pay for red cards, you’re naturally shifting the balance of the deck towards blue cards and thinning out the reds. You might find yourself in a situation in the late game where your deck is full of cards that provide great resources but lack the power level you need to finish games. In Flesh and Blood, you can very easily run out of damage in your deck. It’s really vital to be aware of the cards you pitch, play and defend with for this reason.
Let’s take an example of this. Player A on Katsu has spent the first half of their game against player B on Bravo pitching their blue cards every turn to provide resources for attacking with their weapons and to play red attack actions. They have also been using red cards to defend with. As the game enters the second cycle through the deck, player A is finding they’re drawing hands with mostly blues and are unable to keep the pressure on and threaten player B’s life total. Opposingly, player B is no longer being forced to defend with their entire hand. Player B spent the first half of the game defending with a mixture of blues and reds and even pitched red attack actions like Crippling Crush and Spinal Crush a couple of times, setting up their deck for the late game. Player B has also now cycled once through their deck and is drawing a combination of blues and reds, now with the opening they need since player A is out of gas, to play out some very strong offensive turns.
Using your deck as a resource really is about both the number and mix of cards. Deck management is very important and the best way to manage your deck well is to plan ahead! If you know you’ll need to have good offensive options later in the game, then look to pitch or tuck (send to the bottom of the deck) cards like Sink Below (Red) and Enlightened Strike to have important red cards as the game goes. If the game will be a straight race and you know it likely won’t come to you cycling through the deck, then you don’t need to focus on this game plan. Understand the damage your deck can output and remember you don’t have an endless supply of powerful cards.
Your life total and your deck are the two key resources that, if you pay attention and manage over the course of the game, will help you get the most out of not just the early game, but also the late game. By thinking about the way you utilize these two resources you’ll find yourself leveling up your game in no time.