Combo decks are an integral part of many trading card games. Even in Flesh and Blood, we have seen some powerful decks come out of combining specific card synergies for devastating results. However, compared to aggressive and control decks, combo decks are still waiting to shine in the limelight in a big way. I will go over what a combo deck is, showcase some known examples of this and tell you three reasons why you should give combo decks a try.
A combo deck revolves around a few really powerful card interactions that when combined or should I say, combo-ined, create really devastating results, often game winning results. Most of the time, the sole purpose of a true combo deck is to unleash these game winning interactions and surviving until you do so. The most well-known combo decks currently are the One Turn Kill Viserai deck and Sabers Boltyn.
One Turn Kill Viserai
Viserai’s power comes from Runechants. Runechants are permanents that shoot arcane damage when Viserai makes an attack. These little auras might not seem scary at first, but when done right, you can stack up so many of these, a single hit can wipe your opponent out. Initially that is how One Turn Kill Viserai worked. The game plan revolved around stacking around 55 Runechants and attacking the enemy with one big hit. With the release of Monarch, a key component to the deck was introduced – Sonata Arcanix. When combined with the cost discount from Bloodsheath Skeleta and some Runechants, Sonata becomes a pivotal combo piece, adding upwards of eight cards to your hand.
Let’s say you have 26 Runechants. You can activate Skeleta, reducing your next non-attack action by 26. You play Sonata, making X=13. Now, that 13 plsu the three from Sonata means you get to reveal 16 cards. If the stars align and you get an even 8-8 split between attack and non-attack actions, you get to keep all eight attacks. Say on average you can deal three damage with each attack – that’s eight arcane damage from Sonata, 26 damage from Runechants and 24 damage from attacks. Your opponent would have to be inhuman to survive that kind of onslaught.
Just as the scenario above illustrates, combo decks are inherently fun. They take a whole new approach as to how you play the game. The objective changes from trying to maximize damage to your opponent every turn to find ways to assemble your combo pieces. Sometimes just defending up and playing out a potion is a massive win for a combo player.
This is a huge shift to the dynamics of a game. Also, you have a clear objective on how you win the game – assemble the combo, kill the opponent. The best thing is, more often than not, you get to do it in a seriously spectacular way. Assembling the One Turn Kill correctly is one of the most satisfying ways to win a game. Whether through amassing a ton of Runechants or attacking with Sabers eight times or pitch stacking three Bloodrush Bellows for a huge turn, the result is always spectacular… if you pull it off!
The coolest thing about playing combo in Flesh and Blood is that every single class has access to a big combo plays. Some can kill your opponent in a turn, others simply gain you enough of an advantage to pull away with a win. Setting up three Tomes of Divinity with Prism or multiple Steelblade Supremacy turn with Dorinthea, or even a big Towering Titan turn into Crippling Crush feels amazing and is extremely fun.
Control decks can be very hard to beat because of how well they mitigate opponents’ threats. Running out a bunch of attacks into a solid control deck can feel like you’re hitting your head against a brick wall. Aggro decks into Oldhim, anyone? Well, the good thing about decks that play the control or fatigue game is that they do not pressure you as much on the offense as they set up their defenses. This gives you, the combo player an open window to set up your big move. Whether it’s playing out potions, pitch stacking or finding those combo pieces, it’s much easier against a deck that does not pressure you as much as an aggressive deck.
Picture this: you’re facing an Oldhim player who is adamant about attacking you with chunky, undominated attacks and Winter’s Wail over and over. They have a deck full of defense reactions and element cards to stop any threats. What if you don’t attack? Their game plan is foiled. Say you’re playing Rhinar. You have all the time in the world to simply block up, pitch the best cards to the bottom of your deck to poke some damage or just drop a potion. There is nothing more frustrating for a control player than setting up all these powerful defenses just for the opponent to play a potion and pass.
The unique play pattern of playing a combo deck can teach you a completely new lens on how to approach a game. When you’re playing OTK Viserai, you don’t have to worry how to maximize damage each turn. Instead, you need to start finding windows to make Runechants, paying attention to what you’re pitching for later. start assembling Mordred Tides and Sonata Arcanix in arsenal and time a good window to go off.
You start to see the game as a whole. You need to think of what is going to happen on turn 15 on turn one because of what you are pitching. Part of the reason why combo decks don’t see as much play as other archetypes is they are simply extremely hard to play. Making one small mistake can cost you the game. but going through this hardship can teach you a lot of intricacies you wouldn’t notice playing other archetypes. However, these skills are definitely transferable to other decks and playstyles too.
One of the main things playing combo decks has taught me is that it’s okay to take a turn off. Whether you’re simply dumping your hand and arsenaling a card or swinging with a weapon and pitching a key card, these turns can set you up to win the late game. This can be true even for aggro decks. Sometimes your hand just doesn’t line up. That’s okay. Dump it, arsenal the strong one and pass back. More often than not, your opponent arsenaled a defense reaction, which they can’t utilize anyway.
With Everfest out now, each hero got a bunch of new tools to tinker with and there’s powerful card combinations to find. When you’re building your new decks for the metagame, try to see if you can get some of these, even little combo interactions together and see how they feel. You might find that the combo playstyle is not only a ton of fun, but can win those grindy matchups too!