It's very possible to play Flesh and Blood on a budget- even an extremely strict one! But decklists and strategy discussions for budget lists can be hard to find. At the Rathe Times, we'll be bringing you quick decklists with budget building in mind. Today's build comes from Wesley Lingard.
- Helm of Isen’s Peak
- Heartened Cross Strap
- Goliath Gauntlet
- Ironrot Legs
- Nullrune Hood
- Nullrune Robe
- Nullrune Gloves
- Nullrune Boots
- Barraging Brawnhide x3
- Pummel x2
- Buckling Blow x3
- Cartilage Crush x3
- Crush Confidence x3
- Debilitate x3
- Crush the Weak x3
- Chokeslam x3
- Stonewall Confidence x3
- Raging Onslaught x3
- Wounded Bull x3
- Pummel x3
- Unmovable x3
- Sloggism x3
- Brutal Assault x3
- Whisper of the Oracle x3
- Buckling Blow red x3
- Cartilage Crush red x3
- Crush Confidence red x3
- Debilitate red x3
- Crush the Weak x3
- Chokeslam red x3
- Sink Below red x3
- Unmovable x3
The general playstyle of this deck is to slowly push through damage, while applying constant pressure and maintaining a strong defence. On most of your opponent's turns, you will have three options to think through:
Option 1 – Heavy Defense:
If your opponent is threatening to end the game on their turn, attempting to deal a very large amount of damage, or trigger a powerful on hit effect (such as Crippling Crush, Red in the Ledger or Dawnblade’s second hit for the turn), then heavy defence is your best option. Use all cards in your hand to block if necessary, but do your best to conserve one blue card. That one blue card is exactly what is needed to pitch for your counterattack with Anothos on your turn. Even though it is just an attack for 4 damage, the small amount of pressure is necessary to slowly whittle down your opponent or force cards out of their hand.
Option 2 – Light Defense:
When your opponent attacks with less than 10 damage on their turn, then unless absolutely necessary, attempt to only use two cards to block. The two cards you will need to keep must both be of cost 3 or higher and combine to provide at least 3 resources. These two cards will be used on your turn to attack your opponent with Anothos, for 6 damage instead of 4. To do this successfully, your first card must be pitched to activate Bravo’s hero ability (although you are not using the effect on this turn), then the second card will be pitched to pay for Anothos. If you have a red pitch and a blue pitch card in hand, pitch the red card first before the blue card and overpay for Anathos. In some cases, the two cards you keep can be a blue pitch card and a red pitch attack with cost three. In this scenario, just make an attack with the red pitch attack, pitching the blue card.
Option 3 – Offensive:
Given an opportunity where you have more than two cards in hand, try to make the most aggressive play possible. This will often mean using Bravo’s ability to gain Dominate and attacking with the strongest attack in your hand. When battling against Mechanologist and Brute, this will often be the best choice of action. Their attacks rarely have on hit effects, so blocking is less important.
One mistake a lot of players make is to use up their equipment very early in the game. Aside from using Helm of Isen’s Peak to block, Ironrot Legs, Goliath Gauntlet, and Heartened Cross Strap should be used as late game advantages to secure your win.
When picking which equipment to run against your opponent, it is straight forward. Against Wizard, use full Nullrune equipment so that you have maximum blocking potential. Against Runeblade, swap your Ironrot Legs for Nullrune Boots. Against all other classes, leave your equipment as is.
Picking the correct side cards to include is very important. As a note, I recommend only siding in cards until you have the minimum 60 card deck size, until you have had time to develop your own side boarding strategies. For the Guardian attacks, you need to pay careful attention to the Crush effects. For example, Crush Confidence’s effect removes your opponent’s hero abilities, which is completely useless against Dash. Go through each attack and include in your deck only the abilities that you think will benefit you the most.
As far as defense reactions, I recommend including them when you are against a deck with powerful 'on hit' effects. Dorinthea, Azalea, Bravo, and Katsu are good examples of heroes with powerful 'on hit' effects.
Strong Natural Defence:
Part of Guardian’s strength and the focus of this deck is to have a powerful natural defense. 3/4 of the deck consist of cards that block for at least 3 defense, and over half of the deck is blue, giving it defensive options against Wizards and Runeblades. Most blue cards in the deck are not intended to be played but are instead used for either pitching or blocking. Cards such as Raging Onslaught, Whisper of the Oracle, and Brutal Assault were included for their blue pitch and 3 defense, rather than their damage or effects.
If you choose to expand upon this deck as rarer cards become more available to you, I highly recommend swapping in cards that can do the exact same things, but with more benefits. For example, the Brutal Assaults are being used for their blue pitch and their 3 defense, so cards like Stamp Authority, Show Time, Towering Titan (blue), and Blessing of Deliverance (blue) would fill the same niche with additional usefulness. As you collect big attacks like Crippling Crush, Spinal Crush, Righteous Cleaning, and Mangle, you can begin to trade them in for the red pitch attacks that you find yourself using the least.
If you are lucky enough to come into possession of equipment pieces like Tectonic Plating and Crater Fist, swap them in for your equipment pieces- but be aware that cards like Goliath Gauntlet can sometimes have advantages in certain matchups.
Don’t forget to keep your eye out for new cards coming out in future sets to improve your deck!
Wesley Lingard has been playing Flesh and Blood nonstop since the release of Arcane Rising, and has had lots of time to study the game. Wesley lives in Australia, which is where he plans to climb to the top of the competitive scene. His favourite deck to play is Ranger, because of its mechanical complexity and because it isn't such a meta deck.
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