When Cards Fall Out of Favor in an Emerging Meta

Flesh and Blood’s formats are non-rotating. This means that in general, the available card pool of your heroes will always be expanding. New strategies will emerge from thin air, while classical, tried and true strategies will fall by the wayside and collect literal and metaphorical dust in a sea of cardboard. It’s perhaps saddening to look through a collection or card binders at old favorites that have been orphaned or disrupted by an emerging meta and the rise of new, shinier strategies. It can be disheartening at times as a competitive player when you can no longer justify to yourself or others playing some of your favorite “pet” cards – the fun and thematic cards that simply bring you joy to play in your games of Flesh and Blood.



Header - What Happens in a Fall from Favor?

As someone who loves the theorycrafting and deckbuilding side of Flesh and Blood, I’m always looking for new ways to explore potential interactions between old and new cards. New sets,  metas and strategies present the opportunity to work on new and exciting creations. Who knows? Perhaps you’ll stumble upon the next deck to beat.

If you’re part of a testing team, the benefits of experimenting and testing a variety of heroes and strategies are compounded by the efforts of the group. You not only gain experience piloting your own creation, but also gain fresh perspectives against playing against other heroes, and perhaps some lesser-known interactions that may show up in your own games. Either way, joining and participating in a dedicated testing team is a wonderful way to boost your skill as a player and deckbuilder, and gain the toolset needed to adapt to the metas emerging around you.

When a new set is released, I look just as much at older cards as I do at the new cards being spoiled, as does the FAB community as a whole. Many times, the community as a whole will discover and discuss new and powerful interactions, hopes and aspirations, and their predictions for the next “overpowered” strategy. After all, many minds working together at one collective task will outperform the individual a majority of the time. The more analysis you can do on new and old cards alike, to try to piece together the many interactions and synergies they can create, the better you will understand cards.

Evaluating the true power of cards is something that is difficult to do in a vacuum. Until all the spoilers are revealed for the new set, you don’t have all the information. Think of all the hundreds of thousands of collective hours spent by the community spent testing, analyzing and solving heroes, formats and entire metas. It’s not a quick process, and the answer is not always obvious. With Tales of Aria, during early spoiler season especially, the community did not suspect that Briar would be as strong as she turned out to be – though we quickly learned of her perceived power ahead of pre-release and when the internet was lit up with reports of the top tables being absolutely jam-packed with Briar.

I should note, this is not an article about the financial aspect of Flesh and Blood – though some of its concepts relate to the area of deckbuilding and theorycrafting. If you are trying to evaluate the power of cards for potential financial gain, you need to determine if you truly know something the broader community doesn’t. Do you really have information that the collective market hasn’t already priced into singles? Nine (or more) times out of 10, you don’t. Typically, most prices in a set for singles will start high and gradually decline over time as more inventory is introduced with a few notable exceptions or “spikes” as new decks emerge within the meta’s popularity. Do your own due diligence if you plan to theorycraft or deckbuild for financial gain rather than the joy of building beautiful new strategies and decks. If you do plan to speculate on new releases, never invest more than you can afford to lose in its entirety. This is not financial advice, and I am not responsible for any potential gains or losses. This article is for entertainment purposes only.

Evaluation is difficult in that you need to understand how cards truly work together, and what happens when you need to play them when you’re facing the immense pressure and weight of everything your opponent is trying to throw your way. It’s easy to look at a card and envision its incredible power when backed by a four or five-card hand, but what happens if you need to play the card with only two or three cards in your hand? How consistently will you be able to pull off this cool combo you envision at low life totals when you’re running out of gas and are trading blows and blocking with your opponent turn after turn?

It’s a bit of a catch-22 situation, especially for newer deckbuilders who are eager to jump in and start learning the nuances of constructing powerful decks. As more sets are released and introduced into Flesh and Blood, the intricacies and complexities of deckbuilding and the knowledge & skill needed continue to rise. Don’t let this scare you away. Lean on the community’s collective greatness as a launchpad for your own understanding and knowledge. You don’t have to start from square one, and there are a variety of channels in the Official Flesh & Blood Discord where you can connect with players of your favorite classes and get feedback on cards, strategies, or decks. Even as an experienced and high-level player, this can be an incredible resource for learning. Afterall, there is so much to learn in Flesh and Blood where the floor is low and the ceiling is sky-high. 

It’s an incredibly satisfying feeling when a deck you built either individually or as a team performs well in an event. All of the time and effort put forward pays off. Shoutout to Mark Chamberlain who piloted my Bravo CC list in a 2021 Road to Nationals to a first place finish.

Perhaps the new set will force some of your favorite cards out of your deck. Sometimes it’s hard not to take it personally. You can either adapt to the meta, keep the card in your list after testing despite knowing it’s not the best choice in slot anymore or look to explore new strategies or ways of building your deck with your favorite cards. Sometimes, new set releases will breathe new life into some of your old favorites that have fallen by the wayside. It’s exhilarating to get to play cards like this again after feeling pressured to trim them from deck lists and put them on the shelf for so long.

Pursuit of Knowledge (Regular)Lunging Press (Regular)Exude Confidence (Regular)

If you’re a competitive player and deckbuilder like me, I would encourage you to revisit your favorite cards that have been trimmed from your list from time to time, especially when new releases hit. Unless the card is obviously bad and will almost never have a place outside of the Limited formats of Flesh and Blood, there’s very little opportunity cost to at least testing some of your favorites at least once – the potential gain, if it does work out in your favor, is incredible. For me personally, I’m excited to explore new strategies with some of my favorites that have fallen out of favor in Guardian: Pursuit of Knowledge, Lunging Press, Exude Confidence, among others. Perhaps Everfest will breathe new life into at least one of my old favorites that I haven’t been able to justify running in my Guardian lists for quite some time.

It’s an inevitability when some cards we love fall out of favor as time goes on. Accept it, find new favorite cards with new set releases, and embrace all there is to love about exploring and learning new metas time and time again. Chances are, you will be able to play your dusty old favorites again someday.

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