Meanwhile, In the Deserts of Volcor...
The young heroes introduced in supplemental sets have often take a back seat in favor of core heroes. A contributing factor in this unspoken favoritism is due to the fact that Classic Constructed is viewed as the premier Flesh and Blood experience. While most of the competitive spotlight focuses on Classic Constructed, the Blitz format patiently waits for the focus to shift. And with Skirmish season just about to start up once more, it's time to change lenses.
Blitz has always been a favorite format for me, and so I'm reveling in the excuse to put on my deckbuilding cap for these less popular heroes. One young hero that continuously tugs at my heart is Kassai, Cintari Sellsword. Beautiful on the outside with a thirst for revenge boiling just beneath the surface, Kassai is skilled in the ability to strike first with deadly precision. The lore states that she was raised to become the heir of her father’s efforts as General. In Volcor the Generals fought for fame, glory and territory- and she embodies these goals on the Blitz battlefield better than most.
If you'd like to learn the core strategies of a Kassai build and see where she was at before Everfest's release, you can jump back to last summer with an article by Kieran here.
Weapons for Hire
Before Everfest, there was only one real way to capitalize on the Copper earned and that came in the form of Cash In. And while Cash In still has fantastic utility in Kassai, Everfest gave her a second use for her savings: a specialization card that serves as an explosive finisher.
Kassai’s natural ability to generate Copper is often entirely sufficient on its own, but we're also fortunate enough to have Spoils of War to ensure our financial security. Not only does this give your first weapon attack +2 and go again- essential tools for Kassai's dual-wielding Saber strategy- it also nets you 2 Coppers each time a weapon hits this turn.
Everfest presents us with even more Copper generation in the form of a pseudo-specialization called Outland Skirmish. With artwork featuring our dark-haired mercenary, this 0-cost buff allows you to create a single Copper the next time a weapon attack hits. With this miniature Spoils, all you need is a source of go again for your weapon.
Everfest was incredibly kind to Kassai. Her goal- aside from the obvious 'slicing her opponent into shreds'- is to generate some coin to fuel her late-game combos. But the play pattern to get you there requires a few things from your deck building. Kassai is built to efficiently swing two weapons in a turn, but like all Warriors, you need to give your weapon go again to continue your turn. Before Everfest, you pretty much always had to telegraph your ability to swing twice with a leading non-attack action. That made Kassai easy to predict, her threat for the turn easy to assess, and therefore easy to counter.
Everfest solved this issue by giving us a new Kassai staple: Blade Runner. Coming in for a single resource, it gives your weapon go again during the reaction phase and buffs your next weapon by +1/+2/+3, depending on the cycle. This quickly eliminates the need for costly cards like Driving Blade, while still presenting equal damage throughout the turn. Though Blade Runner is sure to see play in dual-wielding versions of Dorinthea, its impact on Kassai can't be overstated, based purely on her desire to push through raw damage paired with go again for maximum Copper generation.
Another card many Kassai players have their eye on is Slice and Dice. Likely one of the most versatile buffs in the deck, it can be applied to either your first or second swing. The red pitch version rewards you heavily for utilizing it on your second weapon attack, presenting 5 damage for 0-cost; but even the blue pitch can assist in hitting a critical breakpoint, where a block with an attack action card will still see the Cintari Saber climb over the top. While I expect to see this card adopted by Axes Boltyn, it comes at a cost to his soul; once again, Everfest precisely benefits Kassai more than her compatriots.
Speaking of cards that benefit Kassai more than other Warriors, let's look at the Blitz-exclusive Mentor cardtype. Historically, the cost of filling your arsenal for multiple turns has been considered too high for Mentors to see any play. But we spoke before about how even a +1 on a Cintari Saber drastically improves its threat due to the critical 3-4 breakpoint. Minerva Themis also tutors your most important card: Blood on Her Hands.
Blood on Her Hands
At some point mid- to late-game, you’ll have earned enough Copper tokens to invest in something. It’s at this point you need to be on the lookout for Kassai’s specialization. It takes 6 copper to fully unlock its potential: a +1 buff for each Saber, built-in go again for the turn, and an extra swing with each.
It’s easy to get that jittery sense of excitement when you see this haymaker in hand, but if it’s not paired with a blue pitch, you may find yourself starved for resources. This may not always be necessary- and I outline a turn below where you only use 1 resource the whole turn- but do the math first. You may need to hang onto it for a turn or two while the right hand forms up around it, but its maximum potential is a one-turn kill, so you can probably afford to, so long as you keep some sort of pressure on in the meantime.
Let me paint you a picture:
Minerva Themis is in your arsenal with 2 counters on her. In hand, you have Blood on Her Hands, Slice and Dice (red), Outland Skirmish (red), and Ironsong Determination. You have 7 Copper earned from the game thus far.
- Break Courage of Bladehold, making your sword swings free this turn.
- Play Blood on Her Hands, destroying 6 Copper and choosing all 3 options to be applied to each Cintari Saber.
- Play Ironsong Determination, choosing for right Saber to gain +1 and dominate this turn.
- Swing left Saber for 4 with go again (+1 Minerva, +1 Blood).
- Play Outland Skirmish.
- Swing right Saber for 8 with dominate (+1 Minerva, +1 Blood, +3 Outland, +1 Determination).
- Since the last swing was sure to hit, generate Copper from Outland Skirmish, then place a token on Minerva and banish her to grab the other copy of Blood on Her Hands, tucking it into your arsenal.
- Play Blood on Her Hands from arsenal, giving each Saber +1 damage (they both can swing twice and both have go again this turn, so no other options have value).
- Swing left Saber for 4 (+1 Blood, +1 Blood). (Note: if your opponent blocked it with an attack action earlier in the turn, it will still have its +1 from climbing- that bonus lasts the whole turn!)
- Pitch Slice and Dice, paying 1 resource to trigger Braveforge Bracers.
- Swing right Saber for 6 with dominate (+1 Blood, +1 Blood, +1 Determination, +1 Bracers- and an additional +1 if they blocked it with an attack action last time!)
What I’ve just detailed for you is an incredibly reliable and consistent finishing combo for Kassai that represents a total of 22 damage unblocked, thus making her a viable OTK hero. Even if you subtract a few key pieces from that example, the typical Blood on Her Hands turn is going to present 12+ damage.
Closing the Deal
To get to that point, Kassai needs to survive. The Warrior class has arguably the most effective and efficient equipment in the game. From head to toe, the sheer amount of blocking power at a Warrior’s disposal is only rivaled by the inherent abilities built into the armor itself. Let’s take a closer look at the staple equipment that Kassai wears into battle.
Arcanite Skullcap: When used properly, this incredible head piece will keep Kassai alive long enough to execute her deadly plan. Play into this armor by allowing a small amount of damage to resolve, triggering its +1 buff for next turn. You'll want to execute this tactic- and block with Skullcap- early, because you likely won’t be below your opponent’s health for long.
Courage of Bladehold: Quite possibly the most effective piece of equipment in the whole suite, Courage can turn a resource-hungry hand into a life-threatening one. Like most equipment from Crucible of War, Temper will break this armor after the second use, so tread carefully. The true value of this piece comes from using it with Blood on Her Hands.
Braveforge Bracers: These arms are a true Warrior staple that can turn your second attack into a lethal one, if the resources permit. It blocks for three over the course of the game and offers a “Once Per Turn” utility that buffs your weapon attacks only after one has previously hit. These offer a great way to use leftover resources.
Valiant Dynamo: We've saved the secret key to Kassai's survivability for last. Your goal in this deck is to swing your weapons more than once per turn, so let's maximize the reward for successfully doing what we want to do already. Breakpoint attacks with threatening on-hit triggers typically call for you to block with 2 cards from hand; but with Valiant Dynamo, you can consistently block 4s with a single card + equipment, refreshing it each time you swing twice in a turn.
An Honest Day's Work?
Since last Skirmish season, Kassai has grown into a young hero that demands respect. Legend Story Studios has done a fantastic job at revisiting and revitalizing existing heroes to make sure we don’t forget them. Though Kassai has thus far played a small role in writing the history of Rathe, she’s sure to be a keynote figure in the Blitz meta.
One last parting piece of advice for those who oppose Kassai: if she’s sitting on a pile of Copper and hesitant to block, she’s sure to have your blood on her hands next turn.
Parker Brown has been both casually and competitively playing Flesh and Blood since early 2021. A self proclaimed collector-turned-player, Parker was drawn into Flesh and Blood by its unique and darker themed art style. Parker is a Viserai player at heart, but has been known to study the mechanics of every hero in the world of Rathe. He enjoys writing on topics such as metagame strategy, deck building, and more.
Here's a build I've been having a lot of fun with, hope you enjoy! https://fabdb.net/decks/NoRWWkLK
I run her with a pair of Enlightened Strikes for unexpected plays between the 2 Saber swings.
If I read the card correctly, Slice and Dice is better than you think: If you play it before the first attack, it will buff both the first AND the second swing for a total value of +4.
Max, you're correct, and I didn't catch it editing- though I've played it that way. Great card.
Very true! The “this turn” verbiage does mean Slice and Dice is always checking for places to apply the buff. Good catch!
Excellent "tutorial" on how to use Kassai's strength, only missing a few more attacking lines, like a reference to ow powerful Twinning Blade is, especially n a dominate attack after an Ironsong Determination or a Push Forward, but that could be a whole new article material.
Hey Sigma! I 100% agree with you on that. This article was intended to showcase the broad stokes and intentions of Kassai while leaving creative freedom in the deck building process. I’m glad you enjoyed it!
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