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Exploring the Fringes: Tinkering with Dash

We all have that one card. It's not the right fit for your deck, but you put it in anyway. It just speaks to you, and you'd like to give it a shot. But it doesn't make the decklists online for a reason, and soon you've begrudgingly cut it for a more effective card.

But it still calls to you from the binder. And one day, when you're feeling reckless, you start to build around that card, searching for a way to make it playable. You twist and turn and bend your deck to accommodate it, reveling in the novelty. You think, "Maybe I'll be the guy who discovers this card! Maybe they've all been overlooking it!" You shuffle it up at your next game night... and it falls flat on its face.

For some people, the introduction above was a painful read. It's precisely the experience you dread, full of frustration, failure, and the feeling that you've wasted your time. For others, it's all part of the process of enjoying the full range and depth of your card collection. It's the latter group that I dedicate this article to.

This is not a deck guide. It's hardly even a strategy session. There will be no deck lists, and certainly no proven results. Instead, this is kindling, the idea sparker that hopefully gets your mind going. These are the oddball concepts that have settled in the nooks and crannies of my brain; by sharing them with the Flesh and Blood community, maybe together we'll find ways to make them work- or just put them to rest once and for all!

Let's start this series off with a hero who just screams "Customize me!"

Dash, the Mechanologist

Card image of Dash
Card image of Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire

I've always been fascinated with Dash's ability to start any Mechanologist Item in play. Popular opinion has essentially reduced the options to Induction Chamber, Teklo Core, or Hyper Driver. But what other options are still out there, waiting to be discovered? What strategies might they facilitate?

First, let's narrow the field. Aether Sink is a fascinating tool against Wizard, but wildly inefficient against Runeblade and dead weight against any other class. There's no strategy to be innovated there. Dissipation Shield is also less efficient starting in play; as 1st player, it's immediately reduced, and as 2nd player you don't need extra blocking when you're already re-drawing your hand. I shouldn't need to tell you why Absorption Dome is a terrible choice. Essentially, the defensive cards are out.

Looking at what's left, we can start to see a few possible strategies developing:

Card image of Cognition Nodes (Blue)
Card image of Convection Amplifier (Red)
Card image of Optekal Monocle (Blue)
Card image of Plasma Purifier (Red)
  1. Optekal Monocle could create a game where you absolutely know the top card of your deck. This could sustain a minor Boost sub-strategy with less Mechanologist cards, or help you dig through your deck for key cards faster. The downside is it doesn't feel very powerful when compared to other Items, which is also seemingly backed up by its 0 cost. Perhaps in the future we'll see strategies built entirely on quickly drawing key cards, but for now, I can't conceptualize of the Mechanologist build to maximize this.
  2. Cognition Nodes has been on my mind for Blitz builds for a while now. With the smalled deck size and the rapid burning of cards caused by Boost, it felt like a card that could really make a difference. Additionally, it's one of the Mechanologist Items that can benefit generic cards- exactly the sort of freedom that we're looking for when trying to think outside the box! Here the downsides are the need to reload it and the need for the attack to hit to cycle. There may be something here, but it's not inspiring me at the moment.
  3. Convection Amplifier is a card that doesn't get its due. The ability to stick Dominate onto any attack action card is super solid, though this is a case where I wish the steam counters could be reloaded. *(Obvious dream card: "Put X Steam counters on a Mechanologist Item in play, where X is the number of times you Boosted this chain".)* Because of the terminal nature of this one, it's hard to see a deck strategy built around starting with it in play- though I can certainly think of decks that might include it as a 3-of and prioritize pulling it!
  4. Plasma Purifier scales up your Pistol from a 1-cost 2 damage to a 2-cost 3 damage. That step up doesn't feel exceedingly resource-efficient, but here's what entrances me: you can pay for it one turn and use it another. Because this one is used in current Pistol builds, it's at least accepted as a viable card; and starting with this one rather than the Chamber lets you apply a different sort of pressure for your 2 resources. 2 attacks for 2 damage are harder to block, but they do cost 3 resources. And there's no reason you can't include the Induction Chambers too, essentially building the same pistol backwards. Could there be a distinct advantage to the Purifier start?
Card image of Teklo Plasma Pistol

The biggest advantage I see to starting your pistol at 3 damage is that you only need one more Purifier to hit that magic 4. And weapons with 4 attack get talked about. Anathos, Romping Club, and (sometimes) Nebula Blade all swing for 4, and because of that, those classes are able to build strategies revolving around attacking with their weapon. What does Dash have that those classes don't? Extensive Go Again via the Boost mechanic, for one. And the ability to pay for your weapon across multiple turns- essentially 'charging up' your pistol with 'change' from over-pitching. Furthermore, Bravo swings his hammer instead of playing an attack action card. Dash can easily do both.

The fact of the matter is, while both Induction Chamber and Plasma Purifier enhance the same weapon, they can't realistically both be maximized. Charging your Purifiers and your Chambers between turns is just too expensive. That leaves an alternative path open for a Pistol build that focuses on the damage of the shot, rather than the repetition of the shot.

Have you played with this deck concept? Did this inspire you to make a decklist? Maybe you already see the fatal flaw in the premise? Please share any insights you might have! Comment below, or add your thoughts on Facebook.

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