Crowning the First World Champion

12th Nov 2022

The world of Rathe mirrors our own - as heroes rise from the embers, looking to claim their place in history, so too do they ascend to the halls of Living Legend, becoming a part of Flesh and Blood’s history as well.

A sense of change has been building in the world of Flesh and Blood. The return of aether saw Runeblades and Wizards emerge in Arcane Rising, Monarch heralded a new chapter in the neverending war between ancient opposing forces, a long-forgotten region had past and present collide in Tales of Aria, and Uprising set the stage for Volcor’s ever-boiling conflict to reach its zenith.

As a change has been coming over Rathe region-by-region, more and more countries have been joining our organised play program, drawing them into battle just as the people of Rathe have been answering the call to arms. As Tales of Aria saw the barriers of the region starting to weaken, our first US Calling series also saw players crossing borders to gather for battle. Where new heroes were forged, we have been joined by an ever-growing number of competitive players, content creators, cosplayers and special guests, becoming a part of Flesh and Blood’s tales as well.

While Dynasty introduced the ruler of the region himself, the reveal of Regicide unveiled a landmark event which threatens an ancient dynasty in Volcor, and pulls the entire region to the precipice of revolution. As Volcor looks to the ashes of their carefully constructed society, seeking someone to wear the crown, players gathered for the World Championship, right as Dynasty is set to release and change the metagame once more.

Every event of the last few years has been monumental to the team and to the game itself, each chapter an ever-building tale that leads to this: the pinnacle of organised play, the grand finale that three years of events have been building towards. Pro Tour, Calling and Battle Hardened Champions have staked their claim in Flesh and Blood history, but there can only be one first Flesh and Blood World Champion.

When we first set out to release Flesh and Blood to the world, we had every intention of hosting a World Championship in the year following its worldwide debut — but like change came to the world of Rathe, we were forced to make room for change as well. But as the community has grown, and players around the world have taken up sword and kodachi, hammer and shield, club and bow, each and every name written on a decklist has added to the momentum of this incredible milestone.

Player's Reception

The player’s reception on Thursday night opened the weekend with a bang, as James White set the scene for the World Championship with two massive announcements.

The first is our official partnership with Weta Workshop, a fellow kiwi company that are perhaps best known for their industry-breaking work on the Lord of the Rings films - weapons, armor and all. They have created a special, limited-edition Prism statue, of which only a hundred exist. Each of these will be packaged with an incredibly unique promo card of the Sculptor of Arc Light herself, a guaranteed 9.5 PCG grade. These will be made available through a limited number of channels, including via the prize wall as part of our 2023 premier organised play programs. We can’t wait to share more details on this in the months to come.

Speaking of libraries, the second announcement featured special guest and community champion The Professor, with James bringing him up on stage to announce that we’ll be releasing a collaborative product with him next year.

With the entire room abuzz, the focus shifted to a Q&A session featuring James White and members of the LSS team, including: Lead Game Developer Chris Gehring, Senior Game Developer Jason Chung, and Game Developer Bryan Gottlieb, who is also a familiar face on our commentary team; Lead Concept Artist MJ Fetesio, and Senior Concept Artist Sam Yang, who is perhaps best known for creating the hero art for Dash and Fai; and last but certainly not least, Rules and Policy Manager Joshua Scott, who was also taking on the mantle of Head Judge at Worlds the following morning.

While we can’t share all of the secrets spilled during the Q&A, we can reveal some highlights. Levia devotee Ethan Van Sant was quick to ask whether the team considered her underpowered, which James passed to dev team member Jason, who admitted that (other than Kano) she was his favourite hero, and said he’d be playing her at the Dev Challenge on Sunday (more on that note later). Bryan said his favourite card to work on in Dynasty was Regicide, and it was in the vein of a message he’d sent to James and Chris — “you come at the king, you best not miss.” MJ said her favourite hero art was Dorinthea, “the first hero art we ever designed”, she and Sam both dodged a question about the oceans of Rathe and what might be hiding in them, and James said that a cold foil Azalea promo card will be available through Skirmish next year.

Early the following morning, 26 players gathered to represent their country on the world stage of Flesh and Blood, bearing their national flags down the hall to place upon a pedestal, which would welcome players through the main doors for the rest of the weekend.

Flag Procession

The crowd clapped for each flagbearer as they walked down the hall, cheering for their home country as players celebrated the official start to the weekend. Some of the loudest applause of the morning was for Pablo Pintor, whose team the Sunflower Samurai hammered on the tables as he waved the Spanish flag overhead. The final flagbearer, Michael Hamilton of the United States finished out the ceremony as the last player to place his flag on the podium and join the rest of the group for a photo.

James opened the first day of the event with a speech thanking everyone for attending, and with that, the first Flesh and Blood World Championship had officially begun!


  • Australia - Nick Butcher
  • Austria - Long Dao
  • Belgium - Dennis Kugane
  • Canada - Tariq Patel
  • Czechia - Zdeněk Matura
  • Denmark - Sebastian Grondel
  • Finland - Mikko Airaksinen
  • France - Pierre Canali
  • Germany - Christopher Bizau
  • Hong Kong - Kaiser Wong
  • Italy - Stefano Cocca
  • Lithuania - Darvydas Čepukaitis
  • Malaysia - Lionel CYK
  • Netherlands - Donovan van Beek
  • New Zealand - Matt Rogers
  • Norway - Oscar Kruse
  • Philippines - Ivan Klaric
  • Poland - Bartosz Ziemba
  • Singapore - Gordon Koh
  • Slovakia - Viliam Kubik
  • Spain - Pablo Pintor
  • Switzerland - Pascal Weiler
  • Taiwan - Lee Ming-Han
  • Thailand - Thanthawat Chujitngamsuwong (Vespa)
  • United Kingdom - George Rodger
  • United States - Michael Hamilton

Kicking off with the first draft rounds of the event, our Worlds competitors began cracking packs and constructing their decks in the final competitive event of the Uprising draft season. On the other side of the LSS booth, the first side event of the weekend saw players starting a simultaneous draft, building their own decks alongside the Worlds competitors.

Chuck Hutchins, a player from the other side of the United States, took out the Commoner event of the day to win a copy of the Welcome to Rathe World Guide, fittingly winning the event with his Ira, Crimson Haze deck.

As Chuck was securing his copy of the World Guide, and the first Welcome to Rathe Alpha Draft qualifier event of the weekend was underway, the World Championship was moving into its Classic Constructed rounds, featuring a diverse metagame.

Worlds Day 1 Metagame.png

Fai and Oldhim took a strong lead in the tournament, with Briar and Iyslander following close behind. Dash also put in a strong showing, with our "other" category consisting of Kano, Rhinar, and Katsu. Levia was, unsurprisingly, represented by New Zealander Iain Kenderdine and American Ethan Van Sant, American Joshua Lau was the sole Boltyn player at the event, and our lone Azalea was Paweł Leszuk from Poland.

The end of Day One saw UK player Rob Catton left standing as the only undefeated player on the field, with twelve players close behind on seven wins.

Worlds - End of Day One Standings

Friday Highlights

Saturday opened on the second set of draft rounds for the World Championship, while on the other side of the hall, over 500 players arrived to compete in the Calling: San Jose event. Like the Classic Constructed rounds of the World Championship, the Calling metagame heavily featured mainstays Fai and Oldhim, with Iyslander and Briar taking up similar positions on the field.

However, Dromai was quick to claim a larger share of the metagame in the Calling, with Bravo, Viserai and Lexi similarly bringing more players to the answer the call. Rhinar jumped from an almost non-existent share of the field, and every other legal hero in the format put at least one player into battle — including Azalea, who saw a total of seven players join the fight.

Calling San Jose Metagame

After three rounds of draft, our Worlds competitors were preparing for the final portion of the event. In the lead-up to the World Championship, the Blitz metagame had been a hot topic for discussion, but Round 14 brought a final answer in the form of a cold front. Between them, Iyslander and Oldhim claimed over half the field, with our other Dynasty and Tales of Aria heroes almost entirely disappearing from the metagame. Chane and Prism both saw a resurgence, with players making the most of their competitive experience with their Living Legend adult counterparts.

Mirroring his presence in the other major event of the day, Rhinar proved that players were ready to Rok and roll their way to the Top 8, while fellow Brutes Levia and Kayo followed with a few players between them. Oscar Kruse was the only player who brought Dorinthea, Quicksilver Prodigy to battle, while our sole Shapeshifter of the event was Joseph Bartram, who took up the mantle of representing Shiyana, Diamond Gemini on a world stage.

World Championship Blitz Metagame

Despite having a larger share of the metagame, Oldhim and Prism started out the Blitz rounds with the same number of players in the top standings, and while several Prism players rose to the top of the field, Oldhim didn't see a single player past the cut. The sole Chane player in the Blitz rounds, Rob Catton, maintained his spot in the standings, while Iyslander players continued to find their footing during rounds 14-16.

World Championship - End of Day 2 Standings

Name Country CC Hero Blitz Hero
1 Viet Pham Germany Iyslander, Stormbind Prism
2 Daniel Rutkowski United States Fai, Rising Rebellion Iyslander
3 Fuad Omar Italy Dromai, Ash Artist Prism
4 Wesley Dong United States Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity Prism
5 Pei-Tung Liao Taiwan Briar, Warden of Thorns Iyslander
6 Christopher Iaali United States Briar, Warden of Thorns Prism
7 Rob Catton United Kingdom Fai, Rising Rebellion Chane
8 Michael Hamilton United States Iyslander, Stormbind Iyslander
9 Allen Lau Hong Kong Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire Iyslander
10 Matt Rogers New Zealand Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity Oldhim
11 Dagan White United States Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity Oldhim
12 Freddy Friedrich Germany Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity Oldhim
13 Łukasz Szczepanowski Poland Fai, Rising Rebellion Iyslander
14 Shing Tsang Hong Kong Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire Iyslander
15 Zachary Wallach United States Dromai, Ash Artist Rhinar
16 Hayden Dale Australia Kano, Dracai of Aether Iyslander
17 Jonas Stoberock Germany Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity Prism
18 Jacob Shaker United States Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity Iyslander
19 Joe Colon United States Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity Oldhim
20 Andrew Rothermel United States Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity Oldhim

Despite a strong showing in the early Blitz rounds, Allen Lau just narrowly missed out on his spot in the Top 8 cut, while several players from the previous day dropped out of the running during the course of the day. Kelvin Law, #1 in the world for Lifetime XP, had maintained a steady presence at the top of the standings, but a rough match in Round 15 saw him drop from the Top 20; Battle Hardened: Dallas winner Brodie Spurlock came close to claiming a spot in the Top 8 during round 15, but a loss in round 16 saw him eliminated from the running; as did Australian National Champion Hayden Dale.

The Top 16 players who didn't make the Top 8 cut for the World Championship — Allen Lau, Matt Rogers, Dagan White, Freddy Friedrich, Łukasz Szczepanowski, Shing Tsang, Zachary Wallach and Hayden Dale — would all compete in the Dev Challenge the following morning, fighting members of the game development team for cash prizes and a Gold Cold Foil.

World Championship - Day Two Standings

Players gathered around the main stage to hear who the Top 8 for the first Flesh and Blood World Championship would be, waiting to see who made the final cut.

The first name called was Viet Pham, from Germany. It's worth noting that while travelling to the World Championship, his decks for the tournament were stolen, along with all of his belongings, and yet in spite of having to build new decks with borrowed cards, he finished the final Swiss rounds at the top of the field. He made Top 8 at the German National Championship earlier this year with Iyslander, Stormbind, and made the Top 16 at Pro Tour: Lille. He's currently 4th on the German Lifetime XP leaderboard, 2nd on the German Constructed Elo leaderboard, and 8th on the German Limited Elo leaderboard.

Daniel Rutkowski was the first American player called for the Top 8. He was a finalist at Battle Hardened Philadelphia and the US National Championship, in the Top 20 at Pro Tour: Lille, and currently sits at 4th on the Global Constructed Elo leaderboard.

Fuad Omar from Italy has been playing since February 2022, with the World Championship marking his 34th Flesh and Blood event, and 2nd major competitive tournament to date. He made the Top 8 at the Italian National Championship earlier this year.

Wesley Dong of the United States has competed in three Callings, two Battle Hardeneds, and both Pro Tour events. This marks his first Top 8 finish in any competitive event.

Pei-Tung Liao from Taiwan was a quarterfinalist at the Calling: Singapore and a semifinalist at the 2022 Taiwan National Championship. He's currently 1st on the Taiwan Lifetime XP leaderboard, 1st on the Taiwan Limited Elo leaderboard, and 5th on the Taiwan Constructed Elo leaderboard.

American player Christopher Iaali was a finalist at Battle Hardened: Lille, and made the Top 64 at both the 2021 and 2022 US National Championships. He's currently 11th on the US Constructed Elo leaderboard.

The only Chane player in the top standings of the event, Rob Catton is a UK player who first started playing with the release of Tales of Aria in September 2021. He was a quarterfinalist at Calling: New Jersey, semifinalist at the European Champion's Battle in Utrecht, and won the Battle Hardened event that ran alongside the 2021 UK National Championship. He's 6th on the UK Constructed Elo leaderboard, 6th on the UK Lifetime XP leaderboard, and 5th on the UK 90-day XP leaderboard.

The final player to be called out for the Top 8 was US National Champion and two-time Calling Champion Michael Hamilton, who also won the Battle Hardened event in Lille. He's currently 1st on the Global and US Constructed Elo leaderboard, 3rd on the Global Limited Elo leaderboard, and 1st on the US Limited Elo leaderboard.

Worlds Top 8 group

While players were congratulating our Top 8 finalists, others were making their way to the the crowd gathering on the other end of the hall, joining the cosplayers preparing for the cosplay contest. Our guest cosplayers for the weekend, Olivia Gobert-Hicks and Morgan McKenyon, soon crowned our Worlds Cosplay winners: Carolina Alvarado took out 1st place with her Chane, Bound by Shadow cosplay, with Megan Washburn (Rise from the Ashes), Rachel Stoddard (Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire), and Elle Madison (Ser Boltyn, Breaker of Dawn) all winning a Taylor prize card each. Anthony Harden (Viserai, Rune Blood) was our final winner of the event, taking home a copy of the Welcome to Rathe World Guide.

Cosplay Contest

Saturday Highlights

Sunday opened on the busiest day of the weekend, with over 1000 players crowding the hall to compete in the Battle Hardened, Calling, and World Championship!

Battle Hardened

336 players gathered to fight in Sunday's Battle Hardened event, with a Top 8 cut that included Piotr Krzempek, quarterfinalist at Calling: Utrecht; Mark Johnson, finalist at Battle Hardened: New Jersey; Luo Sheng-Xun, semifinalist at Battle Hardened: Taiwan; Bun Ar, 2021 Hong Kong Regional Champion; Kelvin Law, #1 on the Global Lifetime XP leaderboard; Emmanuel Onate, whose team made the semifinals at the Team Blitz Calling in Las Vegas; and Lee Ming-Han, 2022 Taiwan National Champion.

Piotr and Mark faced off in a Prism mirror match final, with Piotr taking the lead to claim the title

Top 8:

1st: Piotr Krzempek - Prism - Poland
2nd: Mark Johnson - Prism - United States
3rd-4th: Luo Sheng-Xun - Iyslander - Taiwan
3rd-4th: Bun Ar - Iyslander - Hong Kong
5th-8th: John Zapata - Iyslander - United States
5th-8th: Kelvin Law - Dash - Hong Kong
5th-8th: Emmanuel Onate - Prism - United States
5th-8th: Lee Ming-Han - Iyslander - Taiwan

Battle Hardened San Jose Champion Piotr Krzempek


Day 2 dawned on a field reigned by Fai, Iyslander and Oldhim, with Dash almost entirely dropping out of the running for Calling: San Jose Champion.

Calling San Jose.jpg

Despite having a large share of the field, Oldhim failed to get any players past the Top 8 cut, while just one Iyslander made it into the quarterfinals. Chu Heng Eng from Singapore made the semifinals with Iyslander at the Singapore National Championship earlier this year, and is currently 1st on the Global Limited Elo leaderboard.

Putting in a strong showing with the Ranger Lexi was Eli Brawerman, who previously made the quarterfinals at Battle Hardened: Portland with Bravo, Showstopper. Speaking of Bravo, Patrick Requejo took the Welcome to Rathe hero into the Top 8 in his first competitive event since the Calling: Las Vegas in 2021.

Pro Tour: New Jersey Champion Pablo Pintor was the sole Fai player in the Top 8, bringing the heat in 1st place on both the Limited and Constructed Elo leaderboards in Spain. Matt Kohls is our first Briar player in the Top 8, having previously competed at five Calling events, five Battle Hardeneds, and Pro Tour: New Jersey. Our second Briar is Jonathan Sixto, who, like Patrick, hasn't competed at an event of this level since the Calling: Las Vegas.

Finally, we have not one, but two Rhinar players in the Top 8, in a spotlight that the Brute has rarely enjoyed since the release of Welcome to Rathe. Nathan Dollman made the Top 8 of a competitive event for the first time, previously competing in three Battle Hardened events and three Callings. Chandler To was a finalist at Battle Hardened: Charlotte, representing Rhinar across ProQuest and Skirmish events, and is currently 6th on the US 90-day XP leaderboard.

Calling San Jose Top 8 Breakdown

Chandler To fought his way past the top seeded player and Runeblade player Matt, and into a Welcome to Rathe-era final match against Patrick Requejo's Bravo, Showstopper deck, claiming the title of Calling: San Jose Champion!

Top 8:

1st: Chandler To - Rhinar, Reckless Rampage - United States
2nd: Patrick Requejo - Bravo, Showstopper - United States
3rd-4th: Eli Brawerman - Lexi, Livewire - United States
3rd-4th: Chu Heng Eng - Iyslander, Stormbind - Singapore
5th-8th: Matt Kohls - Briar, Warden of Thorns - United States
5th-8th: Pablo Pintor - Fai, Rising Rebellion - Spain
5th-8th: Nathan Dollman - Rhinar, Reckless Rampage - United States
5th-8th: Jonathan Sixto - Briar, Warden of Thorns - United States

Calling San Jose Champion Chandler To

World Championship

After fighting their way through Draft, Classic Constructed, and Blitz rounds, our Top 8 World Championship finalist set out to prove who was the best in the game, and claim the title of the first Flesh and Blood World Champion. An Iyslander mirror match saw top-seeded player Viet Pham fall to Michael Hamilton, heralding Michael's rise through the ranks. Michael played Iyslander across the event, making the most of his experience with the Elemental Wizard as he struck out Pei-Tung Liao in the semifinals.

Michael Hamilton is one of the most decorated players in Flesh and Blood, making the Top 8 of almost every event he's competed in. He first made Top 8 at the Calling: Cincinnati, where he lost to fellow US National Champion Tariq Patel in the semifinals, going on to win the Calling: Orlando just two weeks later. Almost a year to the day since he became the Calling: Orlando Champion, Michael Hamilton faced off against Pei-Tung Liao's Briar in a match-up he'd spent weeks preparing specifically for.

Michael met Briar player Christopher Iaali in the final; the two previously faced off in the final of Battle Hardened: Lille, where his drafted Dromai deck fell to Michael's Fai. This final showdown for the title of World Champion displayed the best of both players' skills, with both the feature match area and the commentators booth surrounded by a crowd four people deep as players watched to see who would take the crown.

In a stunning display, Michael carefully managed his life total as he maneuvered himself into the final turn, utilising Storm Striders and Metacarpus Node to oust Briar just shy of her reaching Living Legend status.

We are thrilled to congratulate Michael Hamilton on becoming the first Flesh and Blood World Champion!

Michael Hamilton, 2022 Flesh and Blood World Champion

Top 8:

1st: Michael Hamilton - Iyslander, Stormbind - United States
2nd: Christopher Iaali - Briar, Warden of Thorns - United States
3rd-4th: Daniel Rutkowski - Fai, Rising Rebellion - United States
3rd-4th: Pei-Tung Liao - Briar, Warden of Thorns - Taiwan
5th-8th: Wesley Dong - Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity - United States
5th-8th: Fuad Omar - Dromai, Ash Artist - Italy
5th-8th: Viet Pham - Iyslander, Stormbind - Germany
5th-8th: Rob Catton - Fai, Rising Rebellion - United Kingdom

Thank you to everyone who joined us in San Jose over the weekend to celebrate the first Flesh and Blood World Championship. Three years of organised play programs and competitive events have led to this moment, with some of the best players in the world gathering to test their skills, fight for the title, and enjoy great games in the Flesh and Blood.

As we look to a new year of competitive play, with some announcements coming in the final weeks of 2022, we look forward to seeing new players making a name for themselves in professional play, and crowning new Battle Hardened, Calling, and Pro Tour Champions, and seeing who will next seek to take the crown of World Champion.

Sunday Highlights