With the recent official rules release for Commoner by LSS, the format has gained a lot of support on the center stage in the community. Various creators are throwing out deck lists for the format as well as outing their love for a format which has found its own niche in the community for quite some while.
For new players who have never heard about Commoner before though, it can be a bit a bit confusing as to why you should invest time into a non-competitive format in Flesh and Blood. For players with established collections, setting aside your favorite majestics and legendaries may simply be unappealing and take some of the wow factor from your favorite decks away. However, I’m here to tell you today that many of Commoner’s perceived weakness are in fact its strengths, and the format might just be exactly what the community needs to push it forward.
For those who don’t know, Commoner parallels Blitz as a format in many ways. The decks can consist of up to 40 cards, with 11 inventory slots for equipment, alongside one hero card. All your cards and equipment must be common, except for up to two rares allowed within your equipment slots only. As per Blitz, decks can include only two copies of any unique card. If you’re looking for more information, the official rules on Commoner can be found here.
The big difference between Commoner and Blitz is that there are currently no inclusions to the ban list. That means that people who were/are fans of banned cards might have a newfound love for the format already. I can tell you, getting to play Seeds of Agony again was one of my favorite aspects of Commoner.
Commoner gets a lot of innate balance from its card pool restriction. Since most commons are lower on the potential power curve and have more straightforward effects, the combo potential of the format is much lower in general. This leads to Commoner retaining a lot more of Flesh and Blood’s classic “back and forth” feeling, where chipping away at your opponent and value-blocking over the course of a game is front and center.
Midrange decks so far have been center stage in the format, which is where I personally feel FAB is at it’s best. In addition to this, the balancing of equipment in Commoner is much more interesting. Since most common equipment includes either a block value or an ability, choosing between the two is a great way to make sure those who want extra pop in their game plan must pay for it in their total blocking ability. For the few classes that have access to both block and effect-based equipment, they are generally one or two-offs in the whole equipment inventory and feel less overpowering than certain big block legendaries and majestics do in Blitz.
It would be foolish to talk about Commoner without talking about one of its best attributes: price. Simply having to play with commons reduces the entry price point of Flesh and Blood to a negligible level. For newer players, it’s undoubtedly the best way to get their feet wet without having to fork up big amounts of money for equipment pieces and such. Buying into a TCG at your pace and financial ability is a huge part of finding enjoyment in the game. Commoner is a great way to play FAB casually and competitively with your friends, while slowly upgrading your deck on your own time and budget. Since most common cards are 25 cents or less, commoner decks can easily be built and bought for under $15!
Outside of the financial aspect however, Commoner remains a great entry point simply due to the lower ceiling of power of cards. For beginners, facing down powerhouse cards like Revel in Runeblood, Sonata Arcanix and more, without the context as to how these cards are adequately balanced, can be frustrating and a huge turn off. Putting everybody on a lower power ceiling means newer players will probably still lose to more experienced ones but will have more time to focus on the superior play patterns and sequencing abilities of older players instead. This represents a much better first introduction to FAB and gives newer players time then to understand how high ceiling majestics are balanced over time rather than simply be left with a sour taste in their mouths as experienced players blow games out with them.
Lastly, Commoner has an extremely large hero pool. This means the format usually never stale, as well as being a great place for new players to learn just how differently each hero in Flesh and Blood plays. For those who have been playing for a long time, it can be easy to forget how long it takes to learn all the different heroes and card pools in FAB. Doing so in a format with a limited card pool helps ease this transition while letting a new player find the hero that’s right for them.
Older players shouldn’t just put Commoner aside as a place for new players however, as the format has a lot to offer to them as well. Most experienced FAB players know the importance of deckbuilding on gameplay, and Commoner is a great place to stir up your creativity outside of your Constructed decks. Nothing stirs up creative juices better than a few limitations, and Commoner is a great place to showcase your abilities to deck build due to this. Since combo potential is much less, Commoner taxes each card’s ability to produce value much more, and hence puts the pressure on when deckbuilding to deliberate heavily on each card.
In addition to this, older players can sometimes feel restricted by the competitive nature of Blitz and CC. In a format where competition is so key, the ability of more janky decks to have fun and set up is rare. However, Commoner allows this due to its slower format and simply more casual scene. Janky decks are encouraged and interesting combinations with rarely used cards are the highlight of day. At the end of the day, the refresh on deckbuilding also comes with a refresh on culture, something which can be exactly what players need when exhausted by the constant competition in CC and Blitz.
For those who haven’t hopped into the bandwagon, I hope this article convinces you to do so. More and more creators are pumping out Commoner decks for good reason. The format has legs and is here to stay as a critical part of the casual scene and culture for years to come. Who knows? Maybe at the next Calling you’ll be playing official Commoner games as side events? If you are, I’ll see you there!