Decision-Making in Team Blitz

by Sean Knowelden 21st June 2022 0 : 00

After some average results from Pro Tour: New Jersey and way too much thinking about Belittle, my friends and I turned our attention towards The Calling: Madrid.

Team Blitz

To those of you who haven't had the opportunity to enjoy a team event in Flesh and Blood, here's how they work.

You sit as a group of three against another team, with your individual matchups determined by wristband colors denoting your seating. Player A for your team will always face Player A on any other team.

Victory is determined as a team, so a 2-1 record is no different than a 3-0; all that matters is that your team comes out on top. This means that, even if you get paired into a rough matchup or variance doesn’t go your way, your team can still advance, carrying you along. As @Drood said on Twitter:

Team Blitz Tweet

During the game, you can talk to your teammates for advice- but honestly I’d really recommend keeping that communication to a minimum. It’s easy to get dragged in mid-game and think you've got all the answers. If you’re going to ask a teammate for advice, try to make it a single, easy decision that you can immediately provide context for where necessary.

The Blitz Meta of the Moment

The Blitz metagame was shook up with the retirement of Viserai. In times of instability, Oldhim's gatekeeper role often puts him in a temporary position of power, a point of powerful stability that can control unrefined upstarts; and in the other corner, the force of chaos that is Rhinar was in his element, both a solid counter to Oldhim and a powerful deck in his own right.

We expected both to show up as part of most team rosters. There are two distinct flavors of Oldhim you need to prepare for: the more aggressive builds like teammate Francesco Giorgio used to win the Battle Hardened in Leeds, or a much more defensive build aiming to run the opponent out of cards like we saw win the Battle Hardened in New Jersey.

Occam's Saber

I’ve always loved team events, and I was fortunate enough to be playing with the Oldhim expert Francesco Giorgio and Rhinar Master David Calf. Francesco had not touched another blitz deck, and we saw no reason for him to do so. David's Rhinar was there to beat any other Oldhims we'd inevitably face, and to crush any Kanos who dared stand in his way.

So that was two decks decided. But we needed one more.

Of course, we empirically examined every single Blitz hero, spending 18 hours a day in the lab gathering statistics-

We didn't do that.

In between work, time with friends and family, and a week recovering from the NJ jet lag, there just wasn't time to test as much as I had previously. And honestly, even if there had been, I don't think that I'd have taken it. Burnout is an excellent way to turn your hobby into a job, and after countless evenings refining and testing my beloved Chane, I was looking forward to playing a fun tournament with my friends.

You can spend hours examining all the options, coming at the meta from different angles in an attempt to find something that no one's prepared for. But sometimes, the right answer is simply to apply Occam's razor to the situation- or in my case, Occam's saber. The simplest answer is often the best one. It's obvious for a reason.

In this case, that meant following in the footsteps of my teammates and running with something I was already familiar with. Something that had a proven track record and a reputation as being reliable and consistent.

You Can't Win 'Em All

I'd played Kassai previously and been impressed with the deck at the time. It featured powerful, consistent turns, possibly one of the best equipment ever printed in Valiant Dynamo, and of course, a hell of a finisher in Blood on Her Hands.

But the defensive Oldhim matchup felt very tough to beat, and I wasn't sure if it was something I could figure out.

Ultimately, even if every single team in the room had a slow & tedious Oldhim in their composition, I still had a 66% chance of sitting down against one of their other heroes. It’s important to remember there is really only so much you can warp your entire deck to try to beat one deck- and with a team to carry me through a loss, this is doubly true of Team Blitz!

Ultimately, we made it to the semifinals and lost a nail-biter to the Sunflower Samurais- but we were incredibly happy with the results. The FAB community is very lucky to have someone as great as Pablo Pintor as the first Pro Tour Champion. His whole team was lovely, and I thoroughly enjoyed their genuine love for the game.

Team events are literally the best way to play any card game, and if you get the opportunity to play a Team Blitz event, take it.

Sean Knowelden

After ten years of playing magic, Sean made the switch to fab around the start of monarch and after being impressed at every turn hasn't looked back since! After a top 8 at UK nationals (in spite of playing control Katsu) Sean's remained a familiar face in the UK scene, and can usually be found arguing about Belittle.

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