Thoughts & Baubles: February 2022
My name is Alex Truell. I'm the editor for the Rathe Times. I'm a casually competitive player overseeing the growth of a Flesh and Blood scene in Ripon, WI.
Strategically, I try not to follow trends, instead fixating on cards and tactics just outside the mainstream. I view this game through the lens of a player who cares about the competitive environment, but doesn't have to live in it; an optimist who loves the game, but can take a step back to critique it; and a deckbuilder who revels in novelty.
Thoughts and Baubles is an editorial space for the Rathe Times, where I discuss the game and respond to the community.
James White recently appeared on Instant Speed's YouTube channel, and during that conversation he revealed that 2022 would break FaB convention (though I caution you against believing that there are any firm conventions in this game) by releasing 2 supplemental sets sandwiching a single base set release. For those of you who may not be familiar with the terminology, this means that only 1 of the 3 releases in 2022 will be a draft-able set, with a focus on a small group of heroes and their associated classes.
If that second set is anything like Everfest, we're in for a wild ride.
If Monarch took everything we knew about FaB's game mechanics and structure and turned it on its head (chiefly through the introduction of Talents, but also for the re-focus on classes already represented, expanding roles for Legendary cards, and even adding a new zone- soul- to the playmat), Everfest took the game and gave it a good spin. Let me count the ways that Everfest has defied norms:
- Bravo, Star of the Show gave us our first instance of character growth.
- Alongside Bravo, Iyslander showed us that not all Elemental heroes will use the dual-essence model.
- Blitz-only heroes received specializations. (I almost said this was the first after-the-fact specializations, but then recalled Arknight Shard.)
- And on that note, for the first time, the card pool for classes was influenced more by young heroes than adult ones.
- The Illusionist class began to truly show us its flavor after debuting with heavy Light influences back in Monarch.
- Cash Out led a second wave of coin-related card effects with the truly mind-blowing effect of selling your gear mid-game.
But as I'm listing these things, ultimately they amount to little more than trivia. The true shake-up of Everfest is much harder to quantify. It's a 'time and place' sort of impact, arriving in the wake of Runeblade dominance and the stagnation of half the classes in FaB. It's an infusion of new cards and alternate strategies for every single class in the game. That's 9 classes, 26 heroes, across 2 major formats.
These were my deck-building notes at Everfest's release. The red names were decks I expected complete down-to-the-foundations rebuilds for. The green names were adjustments. Black names were decks I thought would see only a small handful of new cards. As it turned out, I wasn't always correct on my color coding- and none of them were less complex than I'd anticipated!
If you're following the conversation around ProQuest results, you've been inundated with the message that Bravo, Star of the Show *is* the meta. But if you follow that line back to my whiteboard, I don't see how anyone can make that call already. The Bravatar (I detest the name "Starvo", but I've lost that argument to the tide of popular opinion) is simply the first to arrive on the scene, with a relatively straightforward strategy and a prescribed deck building plan. We're only a few weeks in, and even now Prism is making a play for Bravo's starring role. Which hero will get their act together next? And which new Everfest cards are waiting to be solved?
Bravo, Star of the Show is simply the first to arrive on the scene, with a relatively straightforward strategy and a prescribed deck building plan.
The full impact of Everfest is still rippling across the game. As players get comfortable with their Bollywood Bravo builds, or give up on them in the face of Prism, they'll turn their attention to the next deck- the deck that beats Prism. The other classes will be refined to answer the call. And the cycle of metagaming will continue.
That's why I'm excited for a second supplemental set in the fall. At this point in the game, we are all committed to particular classes and heroes. We have our strong decks, our pet decks, and our jank. And while a new core set gives us brand new decks for our collection, a new supplemental set lets us revisit the ones we already have, turning them over to find new angles. Supplemental sets reward our loyalty in a way that core sets can't.
But most importantly, a supplemental set shakes up the entire meta, calling into question everything we thought we knew about what's competitive and what counters it.
If you're looking at the ProQuest results thinking, "Bravo is clearly the star of this show," I'd encourage you to keep exploring. It's okay to be late to the party if you show up fashionable. And there is so much Everfest left to explore.
Alex Truell is the editor for the Rathe Times. Alex is a casually competitive player overseeing the growth of a Flesh and Blood scene in Ripon, WI. Alex is a player who cares about the competitive environment, but doesn't have to live in it; an optimist who loves the game, but can take a step back to critique it; and a deckbuilder who revels in novelty.
Couldn't agree more with your assessment of Bravatar. I said as much in numerous threads - his time is just about over in the meta.
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