A new set release means a dynamic reshaping of how each class stands up against one another in the arena of Flesh and Blood. For many players, this means a new spectrum of cards to solve and slot into decks. In this set, we’ve gotten the expansion of many archetypes of play, as well as some payoff cards for certain archetypes that were missing before. Today, we’ll be breaking down the new card pool additions for my favorite class in the game, Brute.
So far, most testing of Rok has required a significant change in deck content compared to what is traditionally run by Rhinar and Levia. Since Rok doesn’t really need or interact with six-attack cards in any way, Brute decks running this card usually forgo the inefficient six attacks for more powerful two and three-card combinations with Life for a Life, Swing Fist, Think Later, Madcap Charger, etc. These one-cost go-again cards provide the ability to get rid of you hand and float two pitch, allowing Rok to be activated as soon as you can find a third pitch from somewhere on the board.
The third pitch is the biggest issue with Rok. Since you can’t activate with cards left in hand, finding a third pitch from a chest piece, Potion, Item or some other manner is still a niche archetype in Flesh and Blood. Although Rok decks can at times keep up with other midrange decks in the format, I think the weapon still ultimately falls flat on its hard, round face in the heat of an actual competitive battle. Stick it in your Rok collection for now until further card pool expansions.
Beaten Trackers is an extremely healthy piece to add into the Brute equipment pool. Comparing straight abilities one to each other, I think both Scabskins and Beaten Trackers are on the same level. Although Scabskin has more upper echelon power, it really does require Gambler’s Gloves to be used at most efficiency, which Beaten Trackers does not. Trackers also provides a consistent one-time burst of an action point. For decks which natively have a lot of go-again anyway, this might provide more value to them as they can navigate an off turn when they don’t happen to draw a go-again card, but do have a way to discard, such as with Savage Feast or Savage Swing, etc.
Ultimately, I currently think the upper tier power of Scabskins however alongside its two-Battleworn blocking power allows it to be the greater choice of the two. However, in Blitz decks built with Trackers in mind, or even if Brute were to ever get a stronger supporting armpiece in the future, the Trackers could very well roll with the punches with Scabskins all the way through.
I really hate cards with a lot of conditions, and Savage Beatdown not only has one condition to be played, but arguably three. To get full value from it (which you absolutely should be doing if you’re running it), you’ll need to find another way to discard a card with six or more attack in a turn, and also find a way to get go-again on that initial action, as well as discard an additional six attack once Savage Beatdown is played as well (did I mention it costs three too?).
Once it slid into my deck list, I was pleasantly surprised by how effective this card really is. The damage it can deal is worth the conditions imposes, and it can legitimately be a solid replacement for Alpha Rampage in many Rhinar decks. I don’t think Levia runs this card, as it doesn’t slot in well to Claw decks in general. The cost efficiency of Savage Beatdown isn’t so evident when playing out huge hands and using it as a finisher, but rather is more apparent when you can play it off smaller hands.
As a result, I think the natural marriage is in Club Rhinar decks, which can be very steady but struggle with upper end damage outside of Barraging Beatdown turns. Savage Beatdown pairs well with Pulping and Wild Ride, or even after a Savage Feast with multiple action points. It caps off small hands with a big burst and goes in line with the ‘out-value’ philosophy Club decks have. Overall, a solid Majestics that adds a lot of validity to Romping Club Rhinar’s upper end of damage and rounds out that deck very well.
Just solid. Skull Crack reads solid, plays solidly and is solid. A model of consistency in Rhinar and some Levia decks, Skull Crack falls in the same line as Beast Within as a strong support player. However, I don’t think it necessarily makes the cut into every deck either. Since red slots are very heavily contested in Brutes, there’s a lot of strong cards fighting for the same space Skull Crack is taking.
Although some may compare it to Beast Within, I don’t think the two are really on the same power level. Beast Within has the added benefit of being a yellow as well as presenting a much stronger on-discard effect than Skull Crack does. Skull Crack never presents any harm when you add it into a deck – it just makes your deck more consistent and stable, and occasionally opens unique lines with the additional resource it gets. It’s also quite playable since it only costs two and adds another suitable Pummel target to the Brute cardpool. However, if your deck of choice already is quite consistent, you may want to look towards other cards like the Savage Beatdown.
Berserk will likely be the strongest addition to the Brute card pool as time progresses. Currently however, I don’t think the card reaches the heights its name implies. Since the first draw with Berserk only replaces itself, you need minimum of two cards drawn off its effect to really get some value off it, since Berserk costs one to play as well. Add in that the draws are conditionals as well, and you could be playing many games before Berserk nets you any real advantage. Its ability to banish cards makes it a strong choice in Levia to supplement Wild Ride and Pulping, as well as make it so her already-big Bloodrush turns can become even bigger.
However, in decks that want to run Berserk, you’re going to want a high count of sixes anyway, and any Brute player can’t help but think that Berserk could just as easily be a six-attack card in its place and allow deck function just as well. Although I originally thought Savage Beatdown had a lot of conditions to make work, it seems Berserk is the card of the set with the most conditionals before it clicks and lets you really stay true to its namesake.
In decks that do a lot of discarding, I really do like the yellow version of this card. Not only is it a solid support player in the deck list, but heavy draw-discard Rhinar decks can easily fatigue out if they don’t connect on enough damage through the game. Add in that Assassins are now milling you out and Reincarnate (Yellow) becomes an incredibly solid card to avoid premature fatigue and help surround those powerful blues like Reckless Swing and Sand Sketched Plan at the bottom of your deck with six-attack cards. This helps tremendously in closing out games and making sure your second cycle doesn’t miss a beat due to a lack of six attack supports. As for the red and blue versions, I really wouldn’t bother too much with those. The yellow is really where the money is at.
This feels a little out of place for me. Although an aura does make sense for Brute, I would have liked to see it be a bit more “all-in” in terms of its cost and pay off, or simply easier to play out. This aura demands you run less six attacks to make space for it, but then it wants to synergize with them. In addition, there are very few clean ways to set this up currently in Brute. The main way would have to be after a Wild Ride or Pulping off a blue pitch, but otherwise it’s difficult to get this in cleanly without having extra action points by rolling or simply using your whole turn. In both cases, Brutes probably can be doing better things then setting up for a go-tall turn with this card.
A solid piece which enables a lot of interesting lines in both Claws and Club versions of Brutes. I don’t think Levia touches this card, but Rhinar, with his lack of solid go-again cards that block, may care for it. The blue will be picked up by a few Rhinar players, however I think the usability of the red and yellow will really depend on your deck. Obviously, it’s not a six, so it takes away from decks looking for that extra consistency. However, its ability to really synergize will with cards like Savage Beatdown, Rumble Grunting, Rok, etc are where the power of Charger lies. However, I think a few more cards are really required as payoffs for discarding a six or more attack before Madcap Charger ever truly becomes a Brute staple.
The worst of the bunch out of Dynasty, Muscle is really a poor man’s Alpha Rampage. The only benefit here is a blue that could potentially come in for seven damage, but there are much better things to be doing in both Rhinar and Levia in the blue slot.
As a zero-cost +4 buff, Rumble Grunting reads very well. However, being a non-six attack that is conditionally playable makes it one of the best cards at clogging up your hands in the Brute card pool. Realistically, this is a card you want in Arsenal to really swing your weapon of Rok or Club hard at the opponent after a Madcap Charger/Pulping/Wild Ride turns its conditional effect on. The damage buff is powerful, and I think there is a home for this card in some Brute decks out there. The blue is particularly interesting as a solid buff that pitches well.
I think Dynasty opens a lot of new routes for Brutes to comfortably go down. The Majestics in particular act as great pay off cards to help sustain different archetypes going forward. In addition, the rares and common slots have function as great enablers and/or support players within existing decks. Although I don’t think there’s going to be any revolutionary change in the way Brutes have been playing so far with this set, this expansion piece allows them to really round out their edges and perhaps start brainstorming about a future deck with Rok as it’s centerpiece as well.
If you’d like to talk more about the Brute card pool, or simply want to reach out, feel free to contact me on Twitter @a_dedanwala.