What makes a good first turn? In Flesh and Blood, the first turn is one of the few turns where your opponent can draw up after defending, making tempo quite irrelevant in the form of them defending. In fact, defending for them is many times beneficial, as they can filter their hand by keeping the only card they want to see in the next turn while happily preventing whatever other damage you throw at them with their other cards. As a result, if you think your hand can do significant damage on the first turn, make sure it would at least worth it. However, once your find a way to eliminate your opponent’s cards from first turn gameplay, you open a multitude of wildly powerful first turns that set the stage for the match in your favor. In simple, a good first turn consists of the following aspects, in no order:
- Connecting for damage
- Filtering your hand
- Not allowing your opponent to filter their hand
- Setting up board state (Energy Potion, Runechant, Soul Shackle)
- Setting up your Arsenal
Viserai – Runechant, Damage, Hand Filtering with Grasp
Unless you have a particular reason to go second, letting Viserai go first can be a death sentence should they draw the right hand. Since Viserai can create Runechants without attacking his opponent through cards like Mordred Tide, Grasp of the Arknight, Read the Runes, etc, he fulfils the four pillars of a great first turn.
In a sense, each Runechant created represents one extra damage dealt to your opponent, albeit just saved for another day. In addition, the creation of Runechants through cards like Grasp of the Arknight allows first turn filtering ability to sculpt your hand going into turn two. Runechants also represent an important board state addition, as they reduce costs for a variety of cards in your deck.
First turn combinations that can be particularly devastating can include a Mordred Tide into a Grasp of the Arknight activation, creating two Runechants, and then playing out a Read the Runes (Red) for another six! You’ll still have a card to Arsenal as well going into next turn, alongside eight sources of arcane damage ready to go.
Even in the case in which the Viserai player is playing for more tempo, cards like Rosetta Thorn and his various sources of two arcane damage can be scary for players who want to preserve their life early on. Against tempo, Viserai can easily push through damage on turn one just as well as the best of them.
Rhinar – Massive Damage Intimidate, Potions, Free Roll, Early Arsenal
Rhinar is an extremely scary hero to face down on the first turn. Cards like Barraging Beatdown, Alpha Rampage, Massacre, etc can all mean that he has reliable ways to intimidate three or four cards out of your hand when he has access to a full grip. In most games, Rhinar players achieve this by taking damage, but in the first turn of Flesh and Blood, they essentially get a free swing at it without having to do so. If they draw well, you’ll be down to 30 life before you even blink.
Another great first turn asset for Rhinar is Scabskin Leathers. The major downside of this card is essentially gone on the first turn, since passing over to your opponent can be a benefit should they have a hand they wanted to filter. If you roll for multiple action points however, Rhinar can explode offensively even without his weapons. Even if all of this goes wrong, most Rhinar players also will have some sort of potion in their decks, allowing for them to set up their board state and get a solid card in Arsenal for a future explosion of damage.Since Rhinar’s explosive turns take up so many resources, the board advantage of having an Arsenal and a Potion on the field can be just as impactful as a big damage turn.
All in all, the variety of options Rhinar has on turn are quite large, and chances are they will draw into one of these various play lines on turn one rather than not. This together makes him a fantastic first turn hero.
Bravo – Dominate, Seismic Surge Creation, Auras, Hand Filtering
Bravo is like Rhinar in that he can deal great damage with solid on-crush effects should he have the right draw to support his high-costed attacks. Dominate on turn one can’t be stopped by a defense reaction from Arsenal, and hence Bravo unlocks an easy way to get a life lead early.
Even if these options are not available, the hero has a great repertoire of abilities to filter his hand by creating Seismic Surges with Tectonic Plating or simply playing out various auras which can give him a free board state advantage going into turn two and beyond. In addition to this, Bravo’s new mechanic, Heave, allows him to use his empty Arsenal slot to maximum advantage, setting up a powerful next turn with multiple Seismic Surges on the table ready to pop and allow him to hit like a truck on turn three with his Arsenal card.
Lexi – Dominate, Shock Charmers + Frostbite, Double Arsenal Setup
Playing against first turn Lexi can be very scary. Should they flip up a Shiver as their bow, they automatically have access to first turn dominate, which can be extremely scary paired with her disruptive on-hit effects and Shock Charmers.
Lexi, Livewire is one of the few heroes that can rock stop your turn two should she be able to pull off a dominated arrow and create a multitude of Frostbites with her Shock Charmers builds. On her peak first turns, she has the capability to simply take a damage and tempo lead and not look back until the midgame. However, even without a hand to do so, she can rest easy knowing that if she even draws one arrow, she can load Voltaire and arsenal another card with New Horizon to have a potentially six-card hand going into turn three.
However, as draws can be fickle, sometimes first turns can be quite the dud for the hero, having to shoot off some poor cards or simply get subpar cards in arsenal. This keeps the Elemental Ranger from being a top tier first turn hero. However, the ability to filter with Shock Charmers, a strong floor for her poor first turns and an extremely high ceiling for her best ones means Lexi, Livewire fully deserves her A-tier ranking in this list.
Dash: Item Advantage, Loading the Items, Equipment Blocking
Finally comes Dash. Dash is one of the few heroes who can’t really present much damage on the first turn at all. Compared to the others, she rather focuses on building her board state and possibly hurting the opponents.
Regarding the former, loading out her items and weapon on her first turn is a must, at it allows for her to pivot later more easily due to these invested resources. However, cards like Spark of Genius, or simply other items played from hand, can help extend the board state lead in your favor. Cards like Induction Chamber or Plasma Purifier put down on turn one can easily shift the flow of the match later on, and cause immense pressure on your opponent to attack your board state or life total to win before you gain too much advantage.
In addition, the recent Everfest cards allow her to force equipment blocks from her opponent’s side, which can be extremely frustrating on turn one as they lose the chance to block with these valuable board state pieces later. Although her other aspects on turn one are rather poor, she does these two so well that it allows Dash to climb up into the A-Tier for heroes playing on turn one.