Going to Ground: Building Oldhim for Blitz

by Drew Cordell, Mark Chamberlain 13th January 2022 4 : 33
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As I’ve learned more and more about Oldhim, I’ve found that he's likely a hero that will become a mainstay in the Blitz format. With Heart of Ice, he has an extremely favorable matchup against Ira and Kano, two of the top contenders in the last Blitz Skirmish season. While the match against Dori is much grindier and evenly matched, I do believe Oldhim has the power to influence the Blitz meta thanks to the lack of a ‘bad’ matchup.

Oldhim's ability to disrupt opponents, create staggering defense on-demand, and generate impressive and resource-efficient attacks makes him a great choice for both midrange and control players alike depending on your variant.

Today, I'll present two variants for Blitz. It’s worth noting that I’ve spent much more time testing, building, and developing the ice variant. While I believe the earth variant is worth exploring, especially for players on a budget, I don’t have the same amount of data or testing to back it up.

If Oldhim’s worst enemy is the round timer, then the faster format of Blitz puts him in a bad position from the start. You need to be mindful of time. Sometimes that means politely prodding your opponent throughout the game if their pace is too slow. You also need to be pitching your resources with closing in mind.

Earth Oldhim

Fortunately, the aggressive earth variant of Oldhim won’t have issues with the round timer in most cases. This build looks to disrupt and pummel opponents with some massive attacks. There are enough 3+ cost cards in this list to get good value out of Anothos on the turns where you aren't throwing powerful attack actions. This build can easily make do without either Crown of Seeds or Heart of Ice; swap them out for Nullrune Robe and Helm of Isen’s Peak.

Goliath Gauntlet is the arm equip of choice here, unless you really feel you need the additional armor density from Crater Fist. The ability to swing tempo in your favor with an on-demand Thump can be crucial to many matches where you want to outpace your opponent’s damage potential.

Because this deck is so aggressive, you want to aim to go second in most matchups. This variant gets aggressive with Tectonic Plating to boost efficiency, alongside buffs like Earthlore Surge to increase the impact of your attacks. You can play Earthlore Surge with an attack like Spinal Crush for two blue pitches if you have a Seismic Surge token available.

The single copy of Lunging Press will help you sneak on-hit and crush effects past your opponent when they block exactly what they need to. People won’t expect this card when you are ‘tapped out’, making it quite annoying and frustrating to play against.

As you get more familiar with Oldhim, you’ll learn that his defense reaction hero ability is used more sparingly than you might expect. I’ll find that I typically activate Oldhim’s ability no more than 2-3 times in most games. Another interesting statistic: In almost half of my 100+ games of Oldhim in both Blitz and CC since launch, I didn’t activate Oldhim’s ability at all. If you expect they will pump their attack in an increment of three, consider blocking one point over your opponent's attack and holding a blue earth card.

Back to Ice

I took my Ice Control list to a first place, 4-0 finish in a Tabletop TCG Blitz event, racing as much against the clock as the decks I played against. This deck is dependent on pitching for the endgame- but don't be afraid to disrupt the order of the deck to swing the tempo with Awakening!

Pitching for the end game means pitching Tear Asunder and Oaken Old early and often. You want to pitch both earth and ice alongside Oaken Old, so they are tucked away and ready to fuse in the late game when you hit your second cycle; that may require you to spend a few turns blocking out if you're forced to pitch Oaken Old early and don't have the Ice and Earth in hand to go with it.

Tear Asunder also gains exponential value toward the late game when your opponent doesn’t have the armor density to defend your attacks. Chaining two back-to-back late game Oaken Old can be difficult, but is absolutely game ending in most situations. If you know you are approaching the Oaken Old you pitched early, try to tuck the second copy in your arsenal ahead of time for a better chance of chaining them back to back.

The video coverage of Jacob’s Oldhim VS Karol’s Lexi on the official FaB Youtube Channel is a great example of how to pitch for the late game with Oldhim.

Again, don’t be afraid to use your Awakenings even if you have pitched for the late game and have set up an Oaken Old combo. Blocking out and playing a Spinal Crush or fused Endless Winter for free is a great way to reclaim tempo or flip the pressure on your opponent if you have fallen behind. It’s a risk no doubt, but one that feels more calculated than, say, rolling Scabskin Leathers.

Having two copies of Awakening allows you to fall back on a different plan if the game is not going as expected and you feel less confident in pulling off Oaken Old in the late game because your life/armor totals are depleted too early into the match.

Lean into Rampart of the Ram’s Head and Crown of Seeds to prevent damage, keep your card count high, and dig deeper in your deck to approach your fused Oaken Olds.

Oldhim is a deck that rewards tons of practice. There is a complexity to this playstyle that absolutely requires game sense and knowledge of the fundamentals. You’ll want to have a great understanding of your opponent’s class and what their deck is trying to accomplish so you know how to play against it.

Playing efficiently with this brand of control is of the utmost importance. You need to efficiently work through your blocks and your own turns so you can streamline your actions and race the clock in grindier matches. Oldhim is extremely powerful and durable in this format, but that does come at the cost of having to worry about time.

Drew Cordell

Drew Cordell has been casually competing at high levels of Magic: the Gathering for over a decade before discovering Flesh and Blood and playing obsessively. While he specializes in Guardian, Drew also writes about a wide range of Flesh and Blood concepts and classes across all skill levels. You can get full access to ALL of Drew’s decks, one-to-one mentoring designed to take your play to the next level, and much more at: https://www.patreon.com/DrewJCordell

Mark Chamberlain

Our narrator, Mark Chamberlain, is a long-time card game player-- but they're all sitting on the shelf while he practices Guardian in Flesh and Blood. Mark is based out of Colorado Springs, USA.