But First, Bravo, Star of the Show
The release of Bravo, Star of the Show has my brain buzzing about the future of talented heroes. The new Bravo feels a little bit about what Bravo’s original conception was—his essence if you will. The Guardian, Elemental, Ice, Lightning, and Earth card pools all seem to have had this hero’s release in mind.
Bravo has three Pulse cards that each combine two of the elements to synchronize with his ability.
Bravo also has access to a card in each of the three elements that draws a card when it’s played from arsenal to proc Earthlore Bounty.
Additionally, the Star of the Show is able to outfit himself in some of the strongest suites of equipment imaginable. Crown of Seeds paired with Winter’s Wail and Rampart of the Ram’s Head has already proved to be a powerful combination for stopping damage with Oldhim. And unlike Titan’s First, Winter’s Wail will always swing for 4. Awakening can assist him if he falls behind in the game by granting him free swings with his strongest attacks. Ice Quake becomes a powerful buff that can boost huge Guardian attacks or even empower Winter’s Wail to threaten more damage and possibly an additional Frost Bite token. Blink brings Tome of Fyendal turns to life in a similar way that Mage Master Boots always have for Bravo. Lastly, Oaken Old becomes a beautiful compliment to Crippling Crush in Bravo’s quest to fully disrupt the opponent’s plans.
Could we have predicted Bravo’s elemental debut? From his lore and his art, particularly Showtime, we certainly could have seen the writing on the wall. Bravo harness the power of the Flow. In Show Time, he’s clearly seen manipulating lightning, so as a Guardian wielding Elements, of course, he should arrive as a fully Elemental Guardian with the essence of earth, ice, and lightning. Which of the other non-talented heroes can we speculate about receiving a talented upgrade?
Everybody’s favorite hero to dump on for being almost good enough has got to be Azaela (or maybe Levia). I have to imagine that most people who would be interested in a game like Flesh and Blood would be interested in a powerful Ranger character. The Ranger is an archetype beloved and embodied by so many great fantasy characters: Aragorn, Drizzt, Hawkeye, Legolas, Robin Hood, Benjen Stark, etc.
Azaela’s initial card pool seemed to indicate some promise. Ranger felt like a softer iteration of the Guardian class. She had far less armor and defense, but she had devastating hit effects instead of Crush effects; she could even go wide and pump her attacks in ways that Guardians struggled to do. However, Azaela players continue to find flaws and inconsistencies in her gameplay.
But what if Azaela’s true form is yet to come in a future Metrix/Pits set? Perhaps she was meant to be Azaela, Mechanologist Ranger. Of course, this is an assumption. Actually, it’s multiple assumptions. It deserves to be said that this involves an old theory that Mechanologist is a talent, not a class. You can read up on this theory in this Rathe Times article by Alex Truell.
Azaela and Mechanologists each benefit from knowing what the top card of their deck is. While this hypothetical new Azaela won’t have the exact same ability as the Ace in the Hole, I imagine that she may be similar. With that assumption in mind, cards like Optekal Monocle would immediately benefit Azaela’s playstyle.
Of course, she would also have access to the Boost mechanic. While she may not always want to be banishing cards off the top of her deck, she may enjoy going wide with ease in an effort to overwhelm her opponent’s defenses.
Similar to Bravo, Star of the Show, this new Azaela would have multiple archetypes from which to find inspiration. She’ll also be getting some exciting new drip. I can only speculate about a Mechanologist Ranger Bow, but if the Tales of Aria bows are any indication, we could see some powerful effects.
Between a new bow, a new arm piece, and access to some versatile items, Mechanologist Rangers will have such an unrivaled toolbox to combat their foes with that I couldn’t help but brew up some ideas.
Something that I know Ranger fans are after is a mechanic that can bypass armor. Calling a mechanic like this Pierce only makes sense. Dominate is a great way to leak damage (create overlap or evasion), but when your opponent has a full suite of armor, they can easily block your hit effects. Rangers are supposed to be expert marksmen, though, right? So it should follow that they be granted a way to avoid the heavy plating of their prey.
One particular Mechanologist Ranger item I would look forward to is a laser sight. In reality, a laser would add to the shooter’s accuracy, but how can that be translated to Flesh and Blood? Perhaps this could grant an attack pierce or dominate, or maybe it’s simply a steam item with a number of charges that could grant an attack boost to an arrow. Whatever it would do, its thematic attribution to the Ranger class would be welcomed.
Let me know your thoughts wherever you find this content. Be sure to support FAB content creators everywhere, and I thank you for reading.