Arcane Rising Unlimited is almost here, and while we all eagerly sit in anticipation of cracking some packs, I’m here to give an overview of Arcane Rising and what the second set from Legend Story Studios is all about. From the four new heroes, to the game-changing mechanics. Here is a brief introduction to this set and what you should expect for both Constructed and Limited play.
The Heroes of Arcane Rising
Azalea, Ace in the Hole
Introducing the Ranger class to Flesh and Blood is Azalea. With the accompanying weapon for Ranger in Arcane Rising, Death Dealer, Azalea is rather unique to every hero we have seen in Welcome to Rathe. Her bow does not use the combat chain and attack like those before it, but instead “loads” in arrows to your Arsenal ready to strike while replenishing your hand with a new card. Arrow cards are Attack Actions that may only be played to the combat chain from Arsenal, so not only do we have a new variation on weapons, but we also get a new way to utilize the arsenal. Azalea’s hero ability also allows for you to make certain attacks difficult to defend against by giving arrows off the top of the deck dominate.
Azalea and the Ranger class is centered around arrow attacks that have on-hit effects to restrict the opponent in some way or to deal additional damage above the base damage inflicted. But be wary, your quiver is not endless and misusing your arrows in any old way could result in you being without that final shot you need.
Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire
The Mechanologist class has some amazing art along with an intriguing steampunk-themed world in the form of Metrix. Our first Mechanologist here, Dash, also brings new items beyond the Potions we saw in Welcome to Rathe. Dash allows you to start with one item in play with cost less than two thanks to its hero ability. There are several Mechanologist items at Dash’s disposal in Arcane Rising. From items that give you additional resources such as Hyper Drive, to Induction Chamber an item that allows Dash to fire off the Teklo Plasma Pistol more than once a turn.
The Mechanologist class values speed above all else in Arcane Rising and can string together some scary turns off the back of class-specific cards and items to power up these turns. Mechanologists use their deck as a resource with the class mechanic boost which is an optional additional cost on many Mechanologist cards. Boosting a card requires you to banish the top card of the deck as an additional cost. If that card is a Mechanologist card the attack gains go again! Going fast is great and all, but if you are reckless in your speed you might run out of gas before you hit the finish line.
Kano, Dracai of the Aether
Along with his Crucible of Aetherweave staff, Kano is the first Wizard we are introduced to in the world of Rathe. Kano like Azalea wields a weapon that does not attack but instead can amplify the damage from the spells he casts. Arcane Rising brings with it a new damage type, arcane damage. No longer do heroes in the world of Rathe just fight on the field with combat damage, now there are those that can command the arcane and unleash powerful attacks that require opposing heroes to be prepared with specific equipment or cards to prevent this damage.
Cards like Eirina’s Prayer, an instant to prevent arcane damage and equipment found in Arcane Rising called Nullrune equipment which come in every slot are necessary to prevent arcane damage. With Nullrune Hood, Nullrune Robe, Nullrune Gloves, and Nullrune Boots. These allow heroes to prevent the arcane damage at the source. The Wizard will still find themselves engaged in combat however, as they look to utilize their cards on defense to ensure they do not perish before they can get off some deadly spells. A Wizard isn’t as strong physically as a Warrior, a Ranger, or a Brute, and that is reflected by starting with 15 life for the young hero and 30 for the adult.
Viserai, Rune Blood
A mixture of combat damage and arcane damage is the hallmark of the Runeblade class and Viserai. Viserai has a hero ability which creates tokens triggered by playing Runeblade cards when a non-Attack Action card has already been played for the turn. Runechant tokens deal arcane damage when Viserai attacks, both with action cards or with the Nebula Blade weapon. Each one of these tokens is a single source of arcane damage and enables the Runeblade class to attack the opponent on two fronts. Nullrune equipment like the Nullrune Hood is needed to prevent arcane damage from Viserai just like with Wizard. However, just one piece of the equipment will do against Viserai as each Runechant token is a single source of damage. If the Runeblade player attacks and causes five tokens to trigger, one item of Nullrune equipment can block all five sources one at a time.
Many of the Runeblade class card Attack Actions will make Runechant tokens, with a number of these and other class Attack Actions having cost reduction effects for the number of Runechant tokens that the Runeblade hero controls. The first-class weapon for Runeblade, Nebula Blade is introduced in Arcane Rising and is powerful weapon that is very in keeping with these themes. Combine your strong class Attack Actions and non-Attack Actions together to line up some big turns consisting of both combat and arcane damage!
New Mechanics in Arcane Rising
Boost – The keyword found on many Mechanologist Attack Actions. As an optional additional cost on cards with boost the player may banish the top card of their deck. If that card is a Mechanologist card the attack gets go again. It is important to note that you don’t need to have banished a Mechanologist card in order for you to have “boosted” this turn, but you won’t gain go again if the boost is unsuccessful. This is relevant for cards like the class equipment legendary, Teklo Foundry Heart.
Arcane Damage – As introduced in the hero overview, arcane damage joins combat damage in being one of the primary ways to get opponents to zero health. Arcane damage can only be prevented by cards that state prevent damage or by cards that specify arcane damage prevention. Examples of the latter being Eirina’s Prayer or Nullrune Gloves, and the former being cards like Bone Head Barrier from Welcome to Rathe, which can prevent any type of damage.
Arcane Barrier – Arcane Barrier can be used once per arcane damage source. Example: Player A plays red Voltic Bolt. Player B pitches a blue Take Aim and uses their Nullrune Gloves and Nullrune Boots to prevent 2 arcane damage, taking the remaining 3.
Take another example with Runechant tokens where each single Runechant token is a single source. Player A has four Runechant tokens and on their turn attacks with Nebula Blade for 1. This attack firstly causes the Runechant tokens one by one to trigger and hit the chain, each one is a single source and resolved one by one. Player B decides to pitch a yellow Zipper Hit and pays one to prevent the 1 damage from the first token with their Achilles Accelerator which has Arcane Barrier 1. Then with the remaining resource they prevent the second token’s damage, again with the Achilles Accelerator. They then pitch a red Zero to Sixty to prevent the 1 damage from the third token, taking the final 1 arcane damage.
Reload – The Ranger keyword that you will find on many class non-Attack Action cards allowing you to put a card from hand face down into your arsenal. This mechanic is vital in the Azalea decks both in Limited and Constructed for attacking with multiple arrows in a turn.
Opt – Opt allows a player to look at the top X cards of their deck and decide to put those cards back in any order, with any number on the top and any number on the bottom of the deck. Opt is great in allowing players to guarantee what is on top of their deck for things like boost and Kano or Azalea’s hero abilities.
Not Just New Heroes, but New Cards!
Arcane Rising brings with it a host of exciting class cards for building new decks, as well as generics that both the new heroes and the heroes from Welcome to Rathe can use to great effect. Just a few of these exciting build-around or high-impact cards for the four new classes are Mordred Tide, Aether Spindle, Rapid Fire, and High Octane. Of course, there are so many others to explore for each class, but these are four of my personal class favorites. These are cards that I think are indicative of the strengths of each of the four new heroes. Mordred Tide and High Octane are clear build-around cards, with Mordred Tide allowing your Runeblade deck to explode with a big turn of Runechant token creation.
High Octane meanwhile demands a high number of Mechanologist cards with boost but rewards you with additional Teklo Plasma Pistol hits for your efforts, or even the ability to play other actions without the extra action points. Aether Spindle is one of the stronger effects in the Wizard class not only dealing 4 damage but also allowing the Wizard player to opt and set up for the Kano hero ability activation or simply their next draw. Rapid Fire meanwhile enables big turns from the Ranger player, not only giving go again but getting a precious arrow into the arsenal with reload.
Arcane Rising also gives us some great generics, and there is something for every class and hero. Command and Conquer is a real headline card of the set and one that many players have found ways to utilize in their decks, an Attack Action that can really punish players for their Defense Reactions. Life for a Life is a rare cycle that shines in aggressive decks looking to go wide, especially the red version. With the conditional go again and an on-hit life gain effect, this card fits well in many class builds.
Come to Fight is one of my personal favorite generics from the set, a card that allows your critical attacks like Arknight Ascendency to go big, but it also defends 3 so it is viable on both sides of the combat chain. The equipment introduced includes a great pair of boots in Mage Master Boots that allow for more setup options with non-Attack Actions out of decks. Think in combination with cards like Tome of Fyendal. Arcanite Skullcap, the generic legendary is a bit of a staple for many decks and an upgrade on basic 1 defense helms such as Ironrot Helm.
How Does Arcane Rising Change Flesh and Blood?
Arcane Rising is, I think, rather interestingly the complimentary other half to Welcome to Rathe. While the set is certainly unique, different, and changes certain aspects of the game, it just clicks – it makes sense playing with all these cards combined from set one and two. Think of it as two unique parts coming together to form a whole. Arcane Rising introduces a new form of damage in arcane damage which is a very significant change to the Flesh and Blood gameplay. Now you have two different avenues of attack to both play and to defend against.
In the Limited format (draft and sealed deck) the game is much faster than you might be accustomed to from Welcome to Rathe. More cards defend for 2 than 3 and with mechanics like boost and with a class like Ranger using their deck as a resource, games certainly move along at a faster pace as players look to find lines to victory before they run out of life or cards. Constructed similarly speeds up in certain ways, from Kano’s lower-starting life, Dash looking to boost through for damage, Azalea pinning down the opponent and dominating key attacks off the hero ability, and with Viserai having the two-pronged attack. All these factors contribute to some diverse sets of games in my experience.
Arcane Rising brings a new dimension to Flesh and Blood and some truly exciting heroes, mechanics, and ways to play the game. With a change-up in the Limited format and doubling the hero pool for constructed, each game of Flesh and Blood just gets more enthralling. For all of you getting your hands on some Unlimited in the next week, enjoy, and let us know which hero is your favorite for Arcane Rising or perhaps the cards you are most excited to play with.