First Living Legends in Classic Constructed
On the 24th of June we had the first big rotation in the Classic Constructed format caused by the Living Legend system. We have already seen the impact of the system on Blitz, with Viserai leaving the metagame, but this is a first for the 80 card format. Bravo, Star of the Show and Chane, Bound by Shadow are the two big pillars of the old Classic Constructed metagame. These two leaving and 3 new heroes entering, makes this shift arguably the biggest rift in what the game will look like to date. In this article I will explore the current impact of the Living Legend system and what we can expect in the future.
If you haven’t checked out my previous article on the Living Legend system, check it out here.
The First Living Legends
Since the inception of the game over 2 years ago, the Living Legend system has seen transformations to best reflect the performance of heroes in the game. However, it hasn’t been until last year that the ramp up in events had any real impact on the leaderboard. In early 2022, we have seen the biggest increase in Living Legends points to date, as can be seen in the case of Bravo, Star of the Show. This hero has amassed 1582 points between February and June. Chane on the other hand, has been slowly climbing up the Living Legend ladder over a year or so, ending on 1102 points. These two heroes illustrate two very different paths a hero can take to the Living Legend status. Some heroes might take years before they can slowly amass enough points to tick over that 1000 point threshold, while others can sprint to the finish line in a short amount of time. The interesting thing to note is a well performing hero like Bravo, Star of the Show can rake up many excess LL points. The hero took out 582 potential points that could have ended up with other heroes. In a hypothetical scenario, if Bravo, Star of the Show has reached the Living Legend status before the first Pro Tour – New Jersey, we would not only have a different metagame, but those 582 points could have had a huge impact on the other heroes, potentially pushing heroes like Prism to the Living Legend status. She is currently at 848 Living legend points at the time of writing.
Impact on the Metagame
Up until this date, each new set release relied on the new cards and new heroes to create shifts in the metagame. While some sets proved to have a greater impact than the others, ultimately the power level within the game has been going up and up, as there were more cards and heroes to choose from. Heroes that were powerful before new sets, tended to still perform well, leaving the metagame largely intact. The Living Legend system can arguably have a more drastic impact on the metagame than a new set, because it removes the most powerful and well performing heroes. There is a reason Bravo, Star of the Show and Chane reached the Living Legend status – they were both exceptionally powerful decks that dictated the metagame.
Because they were so popular, most players had to heavily adapt their strategies based on the presence of these decks. Removal of these two heroes significantly opens up the potential for other heroes and strategies. The interesting thing is, if, in fact, the Living Legend status has more of an impact on the metagame than new sets, we might get big changes in the metagame in between sets, as the banned and suspended announcements often happen between the release of sets as well. Let’s say with the release of Uprising, Prism remains a strong contender. If she manages to rake up those extra 152 points before the next announcement, we could see drastic changes in the metagame, without a new set at all. I expect this to have a dynamic and refreshing effect on the Classic Constructed format in between the releases of new sets as well as making new sets more impactful because of this.
Rest of 2022 Predictions
There are multiple factors that affect the outcome of the second half of the year. If we simply look at the 2000+ Living Legend points given out in the first half of the year, Prism sitting at 848 and Briar sitting at 558 seem to be next in line to rotate out. However, things are never that simple. Firstly, we do not yet know the impact of the three new Uprising heroes on the metagame – Fai, Dromai and Iyslander, Stormbind // Iyslander (Regular) all bring a whole new dynamic to the existing pool of heroes.
Older heroes all received a few goodies in the new set, with heroes like Katsu, Prism and Kano getting some extra class cards as well. Secondly, while the first half of the year was packed with Battle Hardened, Pro Quests, Callings and the Pro Tour all pushing out loads of Classing Constructed Living Legend points, we are about to enter a season filled with limited only tournaments. This means the overall amount of Living Legend points given out might be greatly reduced from the first half of the year. Thirdly, James White himself has said during the Instant Speed podcast that the amount of Living Legend points is under constant review and could change at any point. The most likely outcome is that Prism and potentially another hero might reach the Living Legend status this year, but with another supplementary set on the horizon, this could lead to yet another massive shift to the Classic Constructed format.
The Living Legend system is in full swing and its impact is significant. By constantly pushing out the most powerful heroes out of contention, we can expect a greater room for new heroes and old favourites to grab the reins and see some play. Also, if you have been playing Bravo, Star of the Show or Chane, Bound by Shadow, don’t worry, these people’s favourites will be returning to play in the Living Legend format. That is another thing that has been discussed by James White during the Instant Speed podcast. There have been hints that this format will see the light of day as soon as 4 heroes enter the Living Legend status. All in all, we are entering a new, yet exciting time in the world of Flesh and Blood, the formats are ever evolving and we see innovation and change week to week. Let’s hope the Living Legend rotations keep the Classic Constructed format as exciting as this very first one.