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The Power of Permanents in Flesh and Blood

Before becoming a living legend, Prism was a prime example of why permanents are so powerful in Flesh and Blood. Amassing spectra auras often meant victory for the Light Illusionist against a wide range of opponents. While she might be gone, we are now seeing a rise of other heroes utilizing permanents in their game play. Let’s have a look at some strategies from the Nationals season to see how different heroes used permanents for their game plan.

 

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Dash and Iyslander 

Both Dash and Iyslander rely on their permanents to win certain matchups. The most prevalent one being Oldhim. Oldhim has strong defensive tools and can more often than not shut down many aggressive strategies. We’re seeing players like Matt Rogers, Nick Butcher and Tariq Patel innovate with aggressive Oldhim builds that can defend well when needed, but on the flip side pack a punch as well. 

Induction Chamber (Regular)Plasma Purifier (Regular)

Dash uses items like Induction Chamber and Plasma Purifier to generate a board presence strong enough to overcome Oldhim’s defensive capabilities. With three Plasma Purifiers and three Induction Chambers, Dash is able to shoot the pistol four times for five damage each. Even a Rampart of the Ram’s Head struggles to prevent this kind of damage output. 

Energy Potion (Regular)Amulet of Ice (Regular)Frost Hex (Regular)Ice Eternal (Regular)

In a similar vein, Iyslander’s game plan against Oldhim also revolves around permanents. Frost Hex, Insidious Chill and Ice Eternal synergize to punish even the most defensive of decks. By having this combination of cards, Frost Hexes, can multiply the damage output of Ice Eternal enough to often one-turn kill the opposing hero. It takes a lot of time to set up and the strategy is prone to disruption and aggression, but the important aspect of it is the inevitability. 

Inevitability – “Assembling the Voltron”

Dash with items and Iyslander with auras slowly amass permanents to eventually win in the late game. Inevitability means your opponents are one a strict clock before they get overwhelmed and lose. The onus is on them to try and get you down to zero before this happens. Inevitability, colloquially known as “summoning Exodia” or “assembling the Voltron”, revolve around using using separate pieces that, when assembled, win the game.

Exodia the Forbidden One

In Flesh and Blood, this inevitability forces the slow, control opponents into aggression. We have seen this in the evolution of Oldhim lists playing more Zealous Beltings, Rouse the Ancients and Enlightened Strikes.

Zealous Belting (Red) (Regular)Rouse the Ancients (Regular)Enlightened Strike (Regular)

We’ve also seen bigger hitters like Pulverize, red Thunder Quakes and red Glacial Footsteps as well. While the defensive game plan is effective against aggressive decks, it doesn’t work as well against these permanent, combo decks. 

These days, Iyslander and Dash aren’t the only heroes relying on permanents to help their game plan. Almost all heroes have access to permanents that can help against the more oppressive matchups.

Aggression with a Set Up

Bartosz Ziemba showcased the power of Amulet of Earth in the Briar vs Oldhim matchup. By slowly yet consistently dropping down Amulets of Earth onto the battlefield, Bartosz was able to leverage those as an on-board combat tricks , making Oldhims second guess their blocks, but most importantly, he used them to push those final points of damage against his Oldhim foes. Three of these effectively create a Channel Mount Heroic effect at instant speed. They also work great with Bramble Sparks and Force of Nature and can even pitch to Channel Mount Heroic.

Amulet of Earth (Regular)Bramble Spark (Red) (Regular)Force of Nature (Regular)

Daniel Rutkowski leveraged the power of two Energy Potions in his 13-1 steamroll of USA national Swiss rounds. In the Finals, he used the potions as a safety valve, protecting himself against Iyslander’s Blizzards, Aether Iceveins and Channel Lake Frigids. Other than the Iyslander matchup, Energy Potion worked well as a chain ender after a long combat chain to guarantee resources needed to continue the onslaught on following turns. Throughout the Swiss rounds, we saw Daniel utilize Energy Potions to smooth out turns against defensive decks. Extra resources can mean an extra attack on a big Art of War turn, it can enable a crucial Searing Emberblade swing or start the turn off by paying for a Belittle

Energy Potion (Regular)Art of War (Regular)Belittle (Red) (Regular)

Azalea Combo

One of the most exciting use case of permanents this Nationals season was during the first game of the Top 8 of Polish Nationals. The match was Azalea against Oldhim. At first, the game seemed one sided. Oldhim kept hitting the Azalea, while they just defended and pitched cards to the bottom of their deck. After a while, the Azalea player started dropping Energy Potions into play. They also kept pitching Endless Arrows, Rain Razors and Tri-shots to the bottom of their deck. 

Endless Arrow (Regular)Energy Potion (Regular)Rain Razors (Regular)Tri-shot (Regular)Perch Grapplers (Regular)Death Dealer // Viserai, Rune Blood (Regular)

By stacking all these to the bottom, the Azalea was able to initiate a highly ambitious combo – Perch Grapplers give Endless Arrows go again. Endless Arrows go back to hand when they connect. Rain Razors buffs all arrows by two power. Death Dealer draws a card each activation, while Tri-shot allows for continuation of loading and card drawing of Death Dealer. All this hinges on the six resources amassed by Energy Potions. The Azalea player managed a 9-2 record in swiss, showcasing the power of the combo, but unfortunately couldn’t get the win against a defensive Oldhim. A Tear Asundered Oaken Old meant Azalea’s hand was two cards shorter – he had seven cards in hand from a Three of a Kind on the previous turn. However, this shows that even the least likely contender for a big combo finish can have the tools to punish the goliath of the metagame that is Oldhim. 

Creating these inevitable board states, where control players cannot fully defend all the damage is the key to stopping the defensive oppression of heroes such as Oldhim. Dromai has Dragons, Dash has Pistols and Iyslander has Frost Hexes, but this isn’t all that can be done to go over the top of defensive decks. Potions, Talismans and trinkets can all be accessed by every hero in the game. It’s about finding the right fit for your deck to find a way to find that crack in the armor of even the most defensive strategy.  

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