Collision Response: TC Stream 3/29/22

As I do every Tuesday (and sometimes into Wednesday), I’ve slowly been digesting Team Covenant’s Flesh and Blood (Fabulous) Tuesday stream on YouTube. I’ll skip the tea that Zach spilled at the beginning of the cast to highlight a few moments of genius from two of my favorite people to follow in the tabletop world.

The TC topics will be:

  1. Warrior’s Viability in the Current Meta
  2. Brute’s Viability in the Current Meta
  3. Blitz vs. Commoner vs. Speed Constructed

Before diving into the Team Covenant stream, I’d like to discuss the forthcoming Classic Battles product. We’ve only seen a few spoilers so far, but we’ve seen enough for me to begin speculating about the potential upside of this kind of product.

Classic Battles

The upcoming Classic Battles box is an exciting new product from Legend Story Studios. Several creators have already given their reactions, and I have been stewing on a few ideas that I would also like to share.

This product could represent LCG-like targeted injections to the expanding card pool of Flesh and Blood. Several LCGs had monthly releases—some of them themed around a certain faction of the game. The first Classic Battles box will feature redesigned versions of two heroes from Welcome to Rathe—Dorinthea and Rhinar.

The above cards are the three spoilers that we’ve had the privilege of seeing so far. We can gleam several others that will surely be in this duel-decks package. With a new version of Young Dorinthea, we can assume a new version of Young Rhinar. This Dorinthea’s hero ability also focuses on a new weapon (so far unseen)—Dawnblade, Resplendent.

Seasoned Dori players will notice that her new ability will make it easier to swing her weapon a second time on a turn. The original Dorinthea required Dawnblade to hit for it to be used again. Dawnblade, Resplendent only requires the weapon to have received go again from any source.

The Warrior class has always been defined around its weapon(s) of choice. The Quicksilver Prodigy will be no exception.

The addition of a new specialization will also help Dorinthea burst back into the top tiers of the meta. Notably, the new specialization is also compatible with the original Dawnblade. The same will, surely, be able to be said about Rhinar as well. A new ability, a new weapon, a new specialization, a new mentor, and hopefully, new class cards as well.

These classic heroes served as the introduction to the game for several players. Both are popular and relevant in today’s Blitz meta, and thanks to Classic Battles, they’ll be reinforced to compete in Classic Constructed as well.

This model bodes well for the future of FAB. Bolstering heroes from several sets ago without bogging down a full booster-box-set will help keep the meta diverse and healthy. The designers at LSS can be crafting cards for all of the original heroes and plan their Classic Battle releases around Skirmish or Pro-Quest seasons when they anticipate the meta needing a shakeup.

1. Warrior’s Viability in the Current Meta

On a stream from a few weeks ago, Zach was testing an unrefined Starvo list after Charles Dunn proved the Everfest hero’s viability by winning the SCG Battle Hardened event in Philadelphia in mid-February. While Steven and Zach discussed the newfound consistency of Starvo’s hero ability, I remember Steven asking if the deck could even outrace Dawnblade Dorinthea. Zach immediately was sure that it could. Whether or not he was right, on the March 29th, 2022 stream, the TC duo brought the Warrior of Solana back to the battlefield to contend against the current Classic Constructed “Triangle of Doom,” starting with Viserai.

Viserai and his Runeblade counterparts often represent the definitive aggro deck in the meta. An excellent way to test a new deck is against the meta’s perceived top aggro deck.

The match was thrilling. Dawnblade and Slice and Dice were keeping Viserai on his heels. Dori put on an impressive performance. With a couple of new tools and the right pilot, she can certainly be involved in the meta for years to come.

With Classic Battles releasing shortly, several players will be sifting through the new cards to equip Ms. Ironsong for battle. Of course, that’s not the only class receiving a boost from the box.

2. Brute’s Viability in the Current Meta

Like Warrior, Brute is a popular class with a subculture following all its own. Brutes like to swing big attacks, gain action points, and keep their opponent off-balance. In a meta primarily comprised of Starvo, Prism, and Viserai, the Brute heroes have a had a hard time reaching consistency with their results. Rhinar’s Intimidate gimmick doesn’t affect Starvos, who don’t really want to block with cards from their hand anyways, and Levia’s expanded card pool is handicapped by her constraining hero ability. So what’s a Brute to do? Maybe, just roll Scabskin Leathers every turn and try to run hot for several rounds.

As Steven and Zach noted in the stream, sometimes you just need to put yourself in the best position to make luck happen. Sometimes you just need to make the tough decisions along the way to give your build the chance to go off and run hot. To keep up with Starvo’s damage, manage Prism’s auras, or race Viserai’s death clock, you may just need to roll Scabskin Leathers early and often and let the dice fall as they may.

They noted that Levia may even be a little better-suited at this assignment than Rhinar. With her access to Shadow cards and additional Shadow Brute attacks, she may be able to curate the correct lines of play to compete at a high level.

As best I know, Steven will be brewing up a Levia list for the April 5th, 2022 stream, and I am looking forward to seeing what he has come up with.

Of course, Brute will also receive some gifts from the Classic Battles box. While the mentor will be of no use to either hero in Classic Constructed, a new weapon (perhaps with just a single resource cost to activate) could bring the Brute lines up to the current power curve. Either way, these Brutes are sure to continue to see play in other formats like Blitz and Commoner.

3. Blitz vs. Commoner vs. Speed Constructed

One of the most interesting things that Steven and Zach brought up during the stream was their thoughts about Blitz as a format in and of itself. They had some ideas to reimagine these modes of play that are worth discussing.

They spoke about changing Blitz to be the commoner format. A more casual, shorter game that utilizes a broader card pool than the current constructed decks. In its very nature, Commoner would also create less of a barrier to entry since players will not need Legendaries and Majestics to fill out their deck. Newer players could easily upgrade their Blitz pre-constructed decks with cheap singles or pack-fillers to compete in Blitz events at their LGS.

To provide a separate alternative to Classic Constructed, LSS could also have a “Speed Constructed” format which would be standard CC rules but with all heroes starting at half health. Part of this format would be contingent on releasing all current Young-only Heroes as standard Heroes as well. I don’t see too much appeal to this kind of format, but I know plenty of people prefer the current Blitz format, so maybe this is for them.

These various modes of play and the limited modes of sealed and draft could make for Skirmish seasons that would be a delightful change up to the fatiguing grind of Classic Constructed seasons.

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