Scheduled Banned & Suspended Announcement

3rd Oct 2022 James White

Classic Constructed

The following changes to Classic Constructed are effective from October 7, 2022:

  • Pulse of Isenloft is banned

Classic Constructed Changes

We have just concluded what most considered a compelling and enjoyable National Championship season, widely celebrated for its diverse metagame where many heroes were viable. This was mostly true, with 10 of the 16 heroes legal for Classic Constructed winning at least 1 National Championship, shown in the table below.

National Championship season 2022 winning heroes by country
Oldhim Briar Iyslander Viserai Fai Lexi Dash Bravo Rhinar Dromai
Australia Austria Finland Spain United Kingdom Taiwan Czechia Bulgaria Malaysia Norway
France Hungary Greece Indonesia Thailand
Lithuania Italy Switzerland Ireland
Slovenia Belgium United States of America Slovakia
Croatia Hong Kong Germany
Portugal Poland
Canada Sweden
New Zealand

Although we consider the National Champs metagame to generally be quite healthy, the win-rate data we have from the across the season, including the Calling Charlotte and Battle Hardened Minneapolis, indicates that Oldhim has slightly too many favorable match-ups, and importantly, that his win-rate improved as the season progressed and deck lists and player knowledge optimized.

Banning Pulse of Isenloft after it's been a tournament staple for over a year isn't about trying to fundamentally reshape the format. It's about nudging it slightly to curb a couple of percentage points off Oldhim's win-rates, to narrow the small but consistent advantage Oldhim appears to have against most combat based decks.

Pulse of Isenloft may not be the most iconic card in Oldhim decks, and its status as a singleton legendary card assures it does not show up as often as other cards. However, Oldhim's highest output offensive turns often involve Pulse of Isenloft powering up Oaken Old, and Oldhim's ability to play through multiple cycles of the deck allows Pulse to be pitched to his hero ability several times throughout a game. The effective 2-for-1 Pulse provides in conjunction with Oldhim's hero ability is often outcome defining, even if that outcome takes many turns after Pulse has been pitched to manifest.

Philosophy of Using the Banned and Restricted List for Classic Constructed

Our philosophy towards using the banned and suspended lists is three-fold. Sometimes we need to use it to address card interactions that are degenerate or create negative play experiences. Sometimes it's because we messed up. Sometimes it's to actively manage the format.

Banning Pulse of Isenloft is about actively managing the Classic Constructed format.

Flesh and Blood has a moderate frequency of product releases, typically with 3 new major booster sets releasing each year. Giving players time to explore and enjoy each format is something that we think is important, however, it does mean that metagames can reach a state of optimization well before the next product release is on the horizon. This is a significant reason why active format management is important for Flesh and Blood, and particularly when an event of the magnitude of the World Championship sits between where we are at and the next product release.

As always, our primary goal with any banned or suspended decision is to provide our player base with the most enjoyable version of Flesh and Blood possible, in all aspects of the game. We are always listening to feedback and welcome your input regarding this approach to banned and suspended decisions.


The following changes are effective as of October 7, 2022:

  • Bloodsheath Skeleta is banned
  • Mask of the Pouncing Lynx is banned
  • Storm Striders is suspended until the next banned and suspended announcement
  • Sonata Arcanix moves from suspended to legal

Blitz Changes

The Blitz format with its low life-total young heroes, is much more sensitive than Classic Constructed to cards that start the game in play and create easy to access bursts of virtual or actual card advantage. The output generated by these types of start in play cards is often the root cause of games ending faster than we believe makes for good game experiences. The most common cards that fall in this category are equipment that are free to activate, and generate the equivalent of a card or more worth of value. Heartened Cross Strap is an example of such a card that is already banned for this reason.

Bloodsheath Skeleta

Bloodsheath Skeleta is a card which too freely generates the equivalent of 4 resources in combination with Vexing Quillhand. And that's the floor. Combined with other efficient Runechant creators that exist, and are yet to come, the ceiling on Bloodsheath Skeleta is too easy to reach. Skeleta being legal has forced Sonata Arcanix to remain suspended for the past 6 months. By removing Skeleta from Blitz, we are happy to welcome Sonata Arcanix back to the format.

Mask of the Pouncing Lynx

While equipment that gain resources or increase power are virtual card advantage, Mask of the Pouncing Lynx simply provides easy to access literal card advantage. When Pouncing Lynx triggers, it typically converts into 5 damage, or ~25% of your opponents life total. That is too much damage, for too little cost, from a card that starts in play.

Storm Striders

While there has been little public play outside of Armory Events for the Blitz format since our last Banned and Suspended update, existing internal data and data from Skirmish season 5 has begun to point towards an increasing gulf in performance between the Wizard class and the rest of the Blitz heroes. Storm Striders' activated ability goes even further than the virtual card advantage of the other equipment discussed in this article—it often provides Wizards the equivalent of an entire extra turn, by way of deploying an entire turn cycle's worth of cards from hand, to end the game. There is no opportunity cost to having no cards left in hand to defend yourself when Storm Striders killed the opponent at instant speed.

Despite this fact, Storm Striders is an iconic part of the Wizard toolkit, and one that we don’t necessarily want to say goodbye to forever. Internal testing leads us to believe that both Iyslander and Kano remain viable and strong heroes in the absence of Storm Striders, and we’d like the opportunity to see what our best and brightest play testers—our players—do with a Blitz format without Storm Striders. For this reason, we are suspending Storm Striders until at least the next banned and suspended announcement.

Philosophy of Using the Banned and Restricted List for Blitz

As we stated in the FAB 2.0 announcement earlier this year, our philosophy is to use the banned and suspended list liberally for the Blitz format, to flux cards in and out of play. This is critical due to the more explosive nature of the format, and to ensure we have the design space necessary to explore ideas in the Classic Constructed format that simply may not translate well to Blitz.

In addition, as developers and designers we continue to learn more about how to create the best play experiences within the Blitz format. This leads us to constantly revaluate all cards—even those which may be regarded as format staples—and ask the question “is the presence of this card actually making for a better game?” Much like in Classic Constructed, our primary focus for our Banned and Suspended decisions in Blitz is always on creating the most enjoyable version of Flesh and Blood for as many players as possible, and we welcome feedback on our efforts to achieve this goal.

Ultimate Pit Fight

The following changes are effective as of October 7, 2022:

  • Yorick, Weaver of Tales is banned (in official events only)

UPF Changes

The intention of Yorick is to embody the spirit of people coming together over the shared love of playing great games, and it’s been wonderful to see many photos on social media of rainbow colored towers of cards in the center of the table surrounded by happy laughing faces.

Those occasions are happening organically, and typically in private settings, where the social contract of group consensus makes Yorick work just the way it's supposed to. However, we have received feedback from the Judge community that Yorick has been problematic at official UPF events, such as those that run alongside the Pro Tour, Worlds, and some Callings, where it can be difficult to moderate whether Yorick is welcome or not, and “sitting this one out” isn’t an option when you need to brawl your way through your pod to claim a seat at the final table.

For this reason, Yorick, Weaver of Tales is banned from official UPF events, but we encourage play groups to continue to enjoy Yorick for social play.

Card Legality Policy Update - Young Heroes

The Card Legality Policy has been updated to align with how the Living Legend system is intended to support Classic Constructed and Blitz, by being explicit that Classic Constructed is the format for adult heroes, and Blitz is the format for young heroes.

Previously, although significantly disadvantaged, young heroes were technically legal to play in Classic Constructed. On at least one occasion, this has resulted in a young hero earning Living Legend points from a Classic Constructed tournament, and therefore becoming closer to attaining LL status and no longer being legal in the Blitz format.

This update also future proofs the possibility of obscure heroes like Shiyana, that aren't designed or developed with Classic Constructed in mind, from unexpectedly becoming problematic in Classic Constructed.

In summary:

  • Classic Constructed - Adult heroes only
  • Blitz - Young heroes only

Next Scheduled Banned and Suspended Announcement

The next scheduled banned and suspended announcement is November 9, 2022 (EST).