Wizard is famous for being the trickiest class to yet be released in Flesh and Blood, using arcane damage to make traditional defense useless and having by far the most freedom of any class. Freedom, however, comes at a cost. Not only does the Wizard hero Kano start the game with 10 less life than other heroes, but his ability to break the rules of time breeds deep and rich complexity. Wizard is not for the faint of heart.
Introduction to the Arcane
Welcome to the first step, I commend you for not being faint of heart. Wizards are one of two classes in the game able to deal arcane damage, a special type of direct, burn damage that cannot be blocked by conventional means. Instead, to block against a wizard, you need to forfeit your valuable equipment slots in favour of cards with the Arcane Barrier keyword, which allows a player to pitch cards in order to negate arcane damage.
Each arcane barrier can only be used against each arcane spell ONCE, which means to block a lot of damage, your opponent is forced to play multiple pieces of arcane barrier equipment, instead of their usual, powerful pieces. This means if you have a spell that deals more damage than your opponent has arcane barrier, it is impossible for them to block all the damage with their equipment.
Strategy Tip: Because your opponent pitches cards to block, they go to the bottom of the deck instead of the graveyard. This makes it incredibly difficult for a wizard player to fatigue their opponent, so they have to develop unique late game strategies.
The Dracai of Aether
Now that we know how attacking and blocking with arcane damage works, let’s take a look at the star of the show, your hero. As of the release of Crucible of War, Kano, Dracai of Aether is the only Wizard hero in the game.
The first thing you may notice is the word Instant. If you have a background of playing Magic: The Gathering then this concept is not going to be too scary for you. However, for a player with less prior experience in TCGs before Flesh and Blood (such as myself), this can be a very difficult system to master. We will go over it in more detail in a future article, but in short, whenever any card is played, both players (starting with the turn player) have a chance to play an Instant, which resolves first.
Kano’s ability reads:
Instant (Pitch 3): Look at the top card of your deck. If it’s a ‘non-attack’ action card, you may banish it. If you do, you may play it this turn as though it were an instant.
In simple terms, this means you can pay 3 resources to look at the top card of your deck at just about any time, including during your opponents turn, and play the card you find. This has phenomenal utility as a damage option, combo enabler or killing blow. Being able to play damaging cards at the end of your opponent's turn when they cannot block gives Wizard the single most effective way of dealing damage in the game, and is why Kano is constrained to 30 health in constructed while other heroes run wild with 40.
Kano’s signature weapon, the Crucible of Aetherweave, is considerably simpler. While it still has the “Instant” action type, its ability just gives a neat +1 damage to your next source of arcane damage, which can often be extremely potent when paired with the right cards.
Fun Fact: Wizard and Warrior are the only two classes in the game that do not have any attack action cards in their class card list.
Which Wizard cards are must-haves? What do they all do? Well, ye of many questions, have faith. Most Wizard cards fall into one of three categories: damage, activators, and combo. Each of these serves a unique purpose over the course of your Wizard game, and across different matchups.
These spells are your bread and butter, the quintessential Wizard midgame. They deal enough damage to push something over the top of most arcane barrier equipment sets. You'll note that many of them cost 2; this allows you to play one from Arsenal with a buff from Crucible of Aetherweave with a one-card hand, which is essential against fast decks that force you to block. They also do quite well against slower decks that can defend more, as you can still chip some damage over the top of their maximum arcane barrier.
Voltic Bolt is great, efficient damage, Aether Spindle threatens to let you Opt for 4 or 5 to craft your next hand, and Sonic Boom threatens to continue throwing more arcane damage at your opponent. Great to play on your turn and great to hit off the top from your hero ability, these spells are excellent inclusions in every matchup.
Activator spells are cards that let you do something else with a follow-up that can potentially blow your opponent out of the game. In the above examples, Reverberate allows you to play another card as an instant, Aether Flare stacks bonus damage onto your next spell, and Lesson in Lava lets you set up the perfect card to use with your hero power for any situation.
The usefulness of these cards is two-fold. Against aggressive decks with very little arcane barrier, these cards can turn Kano into a speed demon, burning your opponent’s health total faster than any other hero can. Against midrange decks, activator cards frequently force your opponent to block, usually with 2 cards if you buff with your weapon. Where these cards fall off is in slower or control matchups, where high blue counts and high arcane barrier are prevalent.
Kano has made a name for himself as a master of combos and OTKs (One-Turn-Kills), which are built around the many ways he can deal multiplicative damage. The card Forked Lightning is the centerpiece of many combos due to its unique ability to double any buff that’s applied to it. Pair that with the strongest buff card in your arsenal, Stir the Aetherwinds, and you have a 12 damage match made in Volcor.
Where Kano’s combo potential really shines, however, is with his specialization Blazing Aether, which deals damage equal to the damage already dealt. All of these together gives you a 24 damage explosion that can happily be done during your opponent’s turn! However, the downside it that the setup process is long and arduous. Playing potions throughout the game and pitching your combo pieces to find them in the late game usually isn’t viable against aggressive decks, but is often a potential win condition against midrange or control decks.
Some spells don’t neatly fall into any of the above categories, including the generic non-attack actions such as Potions that still work wonders in Wizard decks. Cards like Tome of Aetherwind and Gaze the Ages are amazingly useful cards to refresh your resources or extend your turn, and are staples in almost every matchup. Tome of Fyendal is similar, but it can also let you gain much-needed health, and because you can play at instant speed you rarely need to generate extra action points to make use of it. These cards can be dangerous to use, however, as many of them block for 2 or not at all, so they are poor choices in some aggressive matchups like Ninja or Warrior.
Preparing for Battle
Never leave home without your boots. To the dismay of budget players around the world, the Wizard legendary equipment piece is extremely important, as it is often how you finish a game. Being able to unconditionally play a Voltic Bolt in hand or activate the Stir the Aetherwinds in your Arsenal is key to finding a game-ending play. Kano’s hero ability can definitely do it without the need of his boots, but they certainly make things more consistent.
Metacarpus Node is my personal favourite addition. For one resource per card played, you can buff all of your spells by 1 damage, hitting major breakpoints and paying for itself through Kano’s multiplicative damage sources like Aether Flare, Forked Lightning, and Blazing Aether. There is no better armpiece if you are playing the Pure Kano archetype, which is both the most common and what I recommend to try and feel your way around the mechanics.
The best chest piece is Tunic, to nobody’s surprise; however, it is only for lack of better options. It is not necessary to pick up if you want to play Wizard, but being able to gain 1 resource at instant speed while playing on your opponent's turn can sometimes come in clutch. Robe of Rapture does a great job of generating resources in a pinch, especially if you have a Timesnap Potion.
Similarly, in the headpiece department, the other generic legendary, Arcanite Skullcap, can be pretty happily replaced by Talismanic Lens. While Skullcap helps a lot with survivability, that doesn’t matter when Lens helps you go for the kill.
Go Forth, Young Apprentice
You now have all the basic information- plus some extra tips- to play the Wizard class in the Classic Constructed format of Flesh and Blood. I highly recommend you experiment, try out the mechanics, and learn the very delicate balance of blocking versus playing on your opponent's turn.
Tip for Novice Wizards: Be prepared to lose! Wizard is a very difficult class to master, but once you do the game will never feel the same again.
Here is a decklist for Pure Kano that you can draw inspiration from, or export to Tabletop Simulator to practice with. Use this as a starting point, find out what your favourite cards are, play with other Wizard and generic cards that you enjoy, and start the journey of mastery over Aether.
Pure Kano (view on FABDB)
Hero: Kano, Dracai of Aether
Weapons: Crucible of Aetherweave
Equipment: Arcanite Skullcap, Fyendal's Spring Tunic, Metacarpus Node, Storm Striders
Robe of Rapture, Talismanic Lens
(3) Aether Flare (red)
(3) Aether Spindle (red)
(3) Blazing Aether (red)
(3) Cindering Foresight (red)
(3) Fate Foreseen (red)
(3) Forked Lightning (red)
(3) Reverberate (red)
(3) Scalding Rain (red)
(3) Snapback (red)
(3) Stir the Aetherwinds (red)
(3) Tome of Aetherwind (red)
(3) Voltic Bolt (red)
(3) Lesson in Lava (yellow)
(3) Sonic Boom (yellow)
(1) Tome of Fyendal (yellow)
(3) Aether Flare (blue)
(3) Aether Spindle (blue)
(3) Energy Potion (blue)
(3) Foreboding Bolt (blue)
(3) Gaze the Ages (blue)
(3) Reverberate (blue)
(3) Scalding Rain (blue)
(3) Timesnap Potion (blue)
(3) Voltic Bolt (blue)
(3) Whisper of the Oracle (blue)
When you're ready, continue to FAB201: Advanced Arcane.
Steven Young (@WizardofAlf) has been playing Flesh and Blood from November of 2019, and has been casually growing his collection ever since. He is an avid Wizard main, having played the class since before the release of Crucible of War, and is an advocate for its viability in the Classic Constructed format. He loves picking people's brains for opinions and new ways to think about the game, and is an active community member on both the community Discord and Facebook pages.
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