The Modified √2 Beatty Sequence is a spectrum sequence with an irrational base. In the context of Flesh and Blood combat, we focus on the first six values in the chain (1,2,4,5,7,8) and what they mean and represent to your opponent in combat. Each of these numbers carries significant weight in combat and represents something different to your opponent each and every time you present an attack with one of these numbers. This article is geared toward helping you improve your overall game sense and understanding of how the economy of combat within Flesh and Blood functions on a fundamental level. Mastery of this concept will help you improve and become a better player.
It’s important to note that these numbers are not the end-all-be-all of Flesh and Blood. Most decks you will find will have some sort of weapon or attack card with values that fall out of the Beatty Sequence chain I listed above. Of course, finding combos that simply maximize the damage you present to an opponent on any given time can be a great approach to playing the game. The more damage you present, the less they are likely to block from the total sum. I’m also not here to tell you that Command and Conquer (C&C) isn’t a good card because it’s attack value of six is not included within this Beatty Sequence – C&C is a great card and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
These specific numbers play into the concept of Flesh and Blood Breakpoints – the incremental increase in stats that push cards over the edge and create value and pressure that will advance the state of the game.
In general, it’s more efficient to defend than attack in Flesh and Blood. The majority of class cards in the game block for three damage; some generics will also block for three, others will block for two. In general, a hand of four cards represents 12 points of block value, but if you were to spend all of your cards blocking, you would have nothing to do on your turn and would simply have to draw back up and take another hit on your opponent’s next turn. By presenting a turn when you swing in for 12 or more damage, you’re representing that you’re either going to take the majority of cards from your opponent’s hand if they want to block, or you’re going to severely deplete their armor and/or life total.
When we play cards in this modified Beatty Sequence, we present breakpoints to our opponent that make their life more difficult when deciding how to block and interact with the threats we present. Each number in this sequence represents something unique and different to your opponent, and changes the economy of combat. Understanding each value here is crucial to improving your mastery of the economy of combat, and your overall game sense.
Perhaps the most significant value in this sequence, and surely the most annoying to deal with. There’s a reason why Harmonized Kodachi is so good, and that’s because small chip damage like this represents a “death by a thousand cuts” scenario that is frustrating to be on the other side of. Committing life, armor or worst of all a card from hand is annoying and ineffective. Cards are valuable in Flesh and Blood, and no player is happy to commit a card to stop one damage from a Harmonized Kodachi or Spectral Shield token flung from Luminaris.
On the flip side of the coin, this is one of the reasons why cards like Sigil of Solace (Red) are so good. It gives some reprieve and a much more effective solution to prevent increments of one damage than simply blocking with a card from your hand.
Not as significant as one, this still value represents a single-card block from hand. Most opponents will be happy to block attacks of this value with any two-block cards from their hand (it’s an efficient use of that card), but slightly unhappy to defend with a card from hand with three points of defense value. Attacks for two can be numerous and frequent, but are easy enough to defend. They typically correspond with ‘go-again’ strategies and create awkward considerations where the opponent is not sure if they want to defend with a full card from hand, or save up their three-block cards from hand to potentially stop damage more effectively from the next attack. Dash’s Teklo Plasma Pistol, and Ira’s second Kodachi swing are common sources of damage with this value.
Four is another breakpoint, slipping past the common defense value of three present on most class cards. Over time, this value will require your opponent to either inefficiently block with two cards from hand or commit life and armor to prevent the excess damage if they want to keep more cards in hand. Over time, this breakpoint will be a significant force that can grind your opponent down slowly but surely and either lower their life or make it easier for you to defend going into their attack round. On the other side of things, defending four-power attacks with Sink Below (Red) or Fate Foreseen (Red) is a fantastic and efficient use of those defense reactions. Four is a value found on cards like Romping Club, Anothos and Winter’s Wail.
Similar to four, five is another slightly awkward value to block and more closely represents a situation in which your opponent will be forced to block with two cards from hand to consistently prevent all of the damage. If they only commit one card from hand, they will take two damage (10 percent of their life in Blitz and five percent of their life in Classic Constructed.) Overall, five is a less common attack value than many of the others on the list, but it can be found on cards like generic superstar Enlightened Strike and some Ninja staples.
Approaching the tail-end of the spectrum, seven represents the point in which damage will start to bleed past two-card blocks. It’s a weighty hit that will command your opponent’s attention and make them seriously evaluate what they envision for their next turn by either spending a large portion of life, or committing one or two cards to block the attack. This is a breakpoint that will often force your opponent to make tradeoffs and reduce the power of their next turn in order to stay healthier and remain at a healthier life total.
Seven is an attack value found on some of the harder-hitting classes like Brute, Guardian, and Illusionist.
Last but not least, eight attack represents the point just below a three-card block from hand. If your opponent chooses to block with two cards from hand, two damage will bleed through on the hit. Presenting eight damage almost always feels good as it is a hard-hitting and pressuring attack. Just like seven, your opponent will have to choose how they want to block and you can rest easy knowing they can either give you three full cards from hand or a sizable chunk of their life/armor. Eight is an attack value found on some of the harder-hitting classes like Brute, Guardian, and Illusionist.
While not technically in this Beatty Sequence, you can see now that these additional attack values contain a breakpoint of some kind. You’re thinking in increments of three now, and have a better understanding of what each attack value you present represents to your opponent.
By presenting numbers in this sequence to your opponent, you’re creating values that are awkward to defend against and can certainly apply pressure through their corresponding breakpoints. Learn these numbers, commit them to heart and look to implement this understanding in your own gameplay each time you send an attack across the table or are facing an attack from your opponent that puts awkward pressure on you to defend inefficiently.
Note all the small wins when you either force damage through and reduce your opponent’s life total, cause an opponent to block inefficiently or reduce the effectiveness of their next turn by simply presenting too much damage for them to ignore. It’s these small, incremental victories that can pave the way to ultimately winning the match.
Have any questions about the sequence? Get involved in the conversation and let me know in the comments below!