The Winners and Losers of Dynasty

by Kevin Brayer 11th November 2022 11 : 52

Happy Dynasty release day!

Battle Hardened Philadelphia will be the first chance for any of the new cards to be showcased in a real event, and while we're sure to see some Dynasty cards make their competitive debut for nearly every class, some classes got quite a bit more help than others.

Biggest Winners

Stamp Dash

I think the biggest winner from Dynasty is Mechanologist, getting the trifecta of a few standalone powerful cards, buffs for existing strategies, and a new twist on the playstyle with Construct Nitro Mechanoid (which is probably the sweetest new thing to do in Flesh and Blood).

Nitro Mechanoid is just the coolest thing in the set. The lack of "Once per turn" on it's Attack ability means it has some pseudo-OTK potential in conjunction with High Octane. Even when you're not making it look outrageously powerful with extra action points, it's still a 6-power attack (Galvanic Bender gives it +1) for no resource cost that you can use up to 8 times before you've drained all its power.

It's not all upside though, as playing Construct Nitro Mechanoid means that you need to play all the Mechanologist equipment available, which means you're stuck with Viziertronic Model i and Galvanic Bender in any matchup you want to consider constructing in. Guardians can spoil the Construct gameplan with cards like Mangle to destroy used equipment. It's probably never safe to construct against Brutes due to Argh... Smash! And anyone with ready access to dominate/overpower effects can use Smashing Good Time to keep you off the 3 Hyper Drivers necessary to construct the mech suit.

If building a Gundam isn't for you, there are plenty of other strategic avenues open to Mechanologists with this set. Hanabi Blaster is a powerful new weapon, giving boost-focused decks the option to pivot away from Pistol packages. In exchange for only being usable every other turn, you can finish a long string of attacks with a 5-power attack for zero resources. Bios Update also plays into the boost gameplan nicely, adding damage to a turn without costing extra cards from deck and providing massive value if you're able to banish an item via boost.

More dedicated control builds also gained a new tool in Plasma Mainline. While its effect on a game will be more subtle than starting with an Induction Chamber or Teklo Pounder, the ability to keep cards like Dissolution Sphere and Signal Jammer in play for extra turns can swing games against Runeblades and Wizards.

Harpoon Pulsewave is just a better Consuming Volition. It's a great tool for stripping key cards from opponents in aggressive matchups, and it even has boost so you can play two of them back to back! Scramble Pulse can mess up an opponent's plan for a pivot turn if they were planning to absorb some damage with their equipment. Since it works the whole combat chain, starting with a Scramble Pulse effectively shuts off things like Phantasmal Footsteps and Rampart of the Ram's Head for that chain. Crankshaft is a subtle upgrade- but if you want to know how good Crankshaft is, just ask Brute fans how excited they are for Skull Crack. Crankshaft probably becomes a staple at least in blue, and it has the potential to impress enough to warrant more.

As you can see, Mechanologists come out of this set with robust support for at least 3 archetypes, including one entirely new to this set. Dash begins to find a true game design identity, and even Data Doll is beginning to look viable. (Editor's note: watch for an article on her next week!)

Stamp Azalea

Ranger also received some much deserved love in this set- and it just might be enough to carve out a place for Azalea in the meta. (Probably not a big place, but a comfortable, shadowy nook is more Azalea's speed anyway.)

Sandscour Greatbow adds some pseudo-opting for the Azalea ability and the chance to dig for an arrow when those Ranger hands just won't cooperate. Greatbow's passive ability also works wonderfully with Azalea's hero ability and elevates Dead Eye to the most powerful arrow buff. Seek and Destroy is great, but its on-hit effect is just not on the same level as Dead Eye; there are going to be times when you're staring down a dominated Dead Eyed arrow for 8, and it's going to feel about as painful as a dominated Crippling Crush or fused Oaken Old.

If we're using the Greatbow and its Aim counters, we gain a lot of new arrows with brutal effects. Drill Shot is a fantastic arrow with a powerful on hit effect, and it doesn't even strictly require the Aim Counter to be good, so Rangers can feel just fine running it with Voltaire or Death Dealer. Drill Shot hitting in certain matchups will be game changing- a -1 counter on Phantasmal Footsteps or Rampart of the Ram's Head renders them virtually useless on defense, which helps two of the historically tougher matchups for Rangers.

Hemorrhage Bore is a bit more Azalea-centric, as does require the Aim Counter for full effect. Heroes like Iyslander and Oldhim often don't care about their arsenal being threatened, but it's still a good effect for Rangers to have available to them. Drill Shot is almost certainly the better of the two arrows, but I think both will become staples in the Rangers quiver and render arrows like Head Shot, Ridge Rider Shot, and Searing Shot obsolete.

Then there's Immobilizing Shot, the 'We have Red in the Ledger at home' of Lexi players the world over. Still, a soft version of the best card in Ranger's card pool is solid redundancy.

The Ranger kit from Dynasty is exciting for the class loyal, and maybe even enough to draw some eyes from outside.

Stamp Katsu

Like Mechanologist, the Ninja class gained an entirely new archetype in the form of Crouching Tigers- and it's given Katsu renewed relevancy after a rough season competing with the Draconic Fai.

Crouching Tigers are effectively like token attacks. They are generated by other cards and exist either in your hand or banished zone. The chain of attacks you can generate off these can be well utilized by the Ninja class.

In addition, there are also a bunch of support cards that support an entire Crouching Tiger archetype in Katsu or Benji. Tiger Swipe is a great payoff card for playing a bunch of Crouching Tigers, and Roar of the Tiger is like Art of War specifically for Crouching Tigers. With its convenient base power of 2, Mask of the Pouncing Lynx can let you chain together a pair of Tiger Swipes in a single turn, which in turn can translate to some outrageous amounts of damage.

Crouching Tiger might just refresh Benji too. Even with Mask of the Pouncing banned, Benji can use Spring Tidings to keep the Tigers coming. The Crouching Tiger archetype might end up being too fragile to do it consistently, but I have seen goldfish hands capable of doing *hundreds* of damage in a single turn. Don't sleep on the Crouching Tigers or you're going to fall victim to a hidden dragon.

Welcome Additions

Stamp Boltyn

The Warrior class picked up a few nice cards, but Boltyn needs Dynasty a lot more than Dorinthea does. The new card pool adds a little something to every archetype, but lacks a coherent thrust to truly redefine any of them.

With an existing equipment suite that's widely regarded as one of the best around, Dynasty focused on new weapon options for Warriors instead. Jubeel, Spellbane is a cool way to let Warriors try to stymie their opponents' arcane offensive. A Quicksilver Dagger could make a cool addition alongside a single Cintari Saber as a way to provide Warrior with its own version of Harmonized Kodachi. Merciless Battleaxe looks cool as hell, but the existing support is probably not going to be enough for the archetype. I assume that a 2H Axe-focused Warrior is an inevitability at this point, so pick up those marvels while they're cheap!)

Cleave really feels like LSS throwing a bone to Hatchets Dori fans, giving them a way to keep Dromai's board state under control without sacrificing whole turns to do so. But even when it's not letting a hatchet score a double kill on some dragons, 1 resource for 4 damage is pretty on-rate for weapon buffs.

The jury is still out on Ironsong Pride, but the ceiling is definitely there as effects that add counters to Dawnblade can be game winning.

I think Blessing of Steel is the second best of the Blessing cycle. People will often not block the first Dawnblade attack, and juking your opponent by sandbagging 3 damage for next turn's Dawnblade attack instead of attacking again can leave opponents with awkward hands while setting you up for a massive Dawnblade attack.

Shout out to all the dedicated Boltyn players who have stuck with the Light Warrior. Your dedication rivals Azalea fans, and you deserve nice things like this. Spirit of Eirina takes Boltyn's best card and just makes it even better. Getting value out of a charge card is excellent to see, since it's normally just card disadvantage, and hopefully we see some more effects like this in the future. Like the Great Library of Solana, Spirit of Eirina can be searched for with Beacon of Victory. Lumina Ascension turns with Spirit of Eirina in play will end up resembling what Runeblade can do with Spellbound Creepers. I'm excited to see what Boltyn can accomplish in a world where his specializations can actually work in tandem!

Stamp Rhinar

You'd be forgiven if you thought the only Brute card in this set was Rok. It's the meme dream of the set, but Rhinar picked up a few other utility cards that could easily fly under the radar"

Rok is the most efficient weapon in the game. The real questions is, how frequently do we need to be able to attack with it to make it worth jumping through the hoops? How many off turns are acceptable between Rok attacks? My guess is the minimum is probably around 2 out of every 3 turns; but more importantly, you don't want to be forced to play sub-optimal cards just to enable it. Energy Potion is great, but I don't want to run that in every matchup just to allow me to attack with my weapon a little more often. Rok will probably have its day in the sun, but I am guessing that will be at some point in the future.

Beaten Trackers is a nice upgrade for aggressive Rhinar and Kayo decks in Blitz (Levia already has Hooves of the Shadowbeast). In so many games you're tempted to roll Scabskin Leathers to try and get an extra action point, but it's often too risky to do so. I was even running Snapdragon Scalers in my Rhinar Blitz deck for Worlds (watch for that deck profile later this year), but with these new boots you get to split the difference! It's slightly worse on defense, but now you can effectively give go again to any of your big attacks and follow up with your weapon.

Skull Crack will is an instant staple in Brute decks. Any time you can gain some incremental value from doing things you already want to do (discard 6-power cards), that's a big gain. I'm not sure why this card is a Majestic, as it seems like it could have been a pretty reasonable rare cycle (especially when thinking about Crankshaft in Mech), but Brute fans will take what they can get. Reincarnate will be a nice role player as well; it's probably an upgrade over the Pack Call/Riled Up slot.

Stamp Kano

With Iyslander on everyone's mind, it's Kano's turn to pick up support, and Dynasty heavily favors his playstyle of damage modification and multiplication.

Mind Warp is one of the coolest cards in the set. When it was spoiled, my first though was "thank goodness it's not blue", as no one wants Iyslander to toss this out in the middle of their turn. Mind Warp is a sweet defensive measure that will get along splendidly with Stir the Aetherwinds, Snapback, and Chain Lightning. Coming soon to a Wizard deck near you!

Blessing of Aether, much like Blessing of Steel, is a powerful way for Wizards to force through future arcane damage. Kano can play it off the top of his deck, but sometimes will just be fine playing it out on his own turn too. Blessing of Aether plus Stir the Aetherwind will make for some nasty Forked Lightnings.

Red Aether Quickening is like a Wizard leg tap. Not the most exciting get, but can enable some action point shenanigans on Kano's own turns.

Royal Kano is an interesting option that my local Kano aficionado turned me onto. Kano will run just about any card that says "Draw 2" on it, so starting with an enabled Cash In would make for a very strong addition. Kano is also the one hero with a chance to abuse his special action economy to possibly make real use of the Imperial cards.

Losing Ground

Let's be real and think about the metagame for the past year and tell me it's not perfectly reasonable that these three classes are in this category.

Stamp Viserai

Cryptic Crossing is my pick for best Runeblade card in the set. The fail state of a 6 power attack for 3 is great, and an attack that can simultaneously threaten the Snatch and Pummel on-hit effects should not be underestimated.

Looming Doom is a nice new blue 3-block card, and it has some serious potential with Spellbound Creepers to dish out a lot of damage in a grindy game. Deadly Duet has an incredibly high ceiling but an abysmally low floor.

Come back next week to check out my "Runeblade Review", where I'll go in depth on every card in the set for Runeblades.

Stamp Dromai

Like Boltyn, Dromai got some special sauce this set. The new 'special' Ash cards can be played like any other action, and most importantly they don't impose Phantasm on their specified dragons. I think Dust of the Red Desert will be the most impactful, as Vynserakai is both the best offensive weapon while also being the most fragile.

When the inevitable Living Legend format is rolled out, Prism is going to have some new juice as she tries to hang with likely trio of Starvo, Chane, and Briar. Phantasmal Symbiosis will be an automatic 3-of, as it can be used for things like giving go again to a subsequent Command and Conquer as well as naming likely poppers in the opponents deck to prevent them from being usable as poppers (reminder that Phantasm attacks cannot be destroyed by Illusionist attacks).

Suraya is about as cool as Nitro Mechanoid, and is honestly far easier to play. She represents a chunk of life swing that requires an immediate answer or otherwise threatens to run away with the game, as her attacks will generally have go again via Luminaris and don't have Phantasm.

Stamp Oldhim

Buckle is the one real gain for Guardians in the set. It's not as good as Tear Asunder, as the on-hit isn't effective against all heroes, but there is plenty of room for Buckle to exist between "as good as Tear Asunder " and "unplayable".

Never Yield reads like it belongs in the Nerves of Steel/Forged for War/Stonewall Confidence deck, which is really cool, except for the fact that such a deck doesn't currently exist.

Steelbraid Buckler is a great addition at Rare. Guardians now have a real off-hand option that isn't Rotten Old Buckler in Commoner and a fine option for 1H Bravo in Blitz (now if only they'd print a good 1H Hammer…). Seasoned Savior reminds me a lot of Rok in the sense that if you could take advantage of it with any real consistency it would be incredible. Reinforce Steel is quite poor on rate, so I don't think Seasoned Savior will be making waves in the near future, but I think it's a good pickup for the long term.

Biggest Loser

Stamp Emperor

...too soon?

Conclusion

If there is one takeaway from this set, I think it's that LSS wants people to block more.  This set is full of on-hit and surge effects that all punish you for trying to play the game by ignoring what your opponent is doing. Buckle, Tiger Swipe, Cleave, Pulsewave Harpoon, Urgent Delivery, Dead Eye, Drill Shot, Cryptic Crossing, Mind Warp, Swell Tidings, Aether Quickening, and the entire Assassin class. The on-hit effects are bountiful, and it seems like LSS is determined to keep the best strategy from being the deck that solitaires the best, which is great news for players hoping for formats to end up in the "midrange" promised land. Dynasty looks absolutely awesome and is giving some real help to a lot of classes that have sorely needed it. I'm excited to see what makes he first splash at Battle Hardened Philly this weekend.

Kevin Brayer

Kevin Brayer is an author for the Rathe Times and has been playing Flesh and Blood since the release of Crucible of War. He is a competitive player with a background in MTG, and spends his time honing his Runeblade skills. He enjoys giving back to the community by sharing his insight, humor, and love of all things Demonastery.

Discussion (2)

Jonathan
READER
2 weeks ago

Really nice article!

One thing I'm not sure of is the kano combo mentioned: blessing, stir, forked

I think the stir may actually prevent blessing from affecting forked as it gets played first

Kevin Brayer
CONTRIBUTOR
2 weeks ago

Yup you're right! I missed the "if" and was thinking it would wait and apply the buff to the first instance of arcane damage from a card, but yeah Blessing+Stir+Forked does not work because Stir would waste the buff. Still a good card, just a little less good than I thought :)

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