It has been two and half years since Flesh and Blood released. Over that time, passionate fans and hardworking local game stores across more than 30 countries have joined us in delivering on our mission:
To bring people together in the flesh and blood through the common language of playing great games.
The journey from the first pack sold to where we are today has required Legend Story Studios to continually evolve in order to support our scale up into a truly global game, a game that will stand the test of time, and most importantly, to stay true to our mission.
Before I dive into the details of today’s announcement, I would like to thank the fans, retailers, distributors, content creators, artists, OP partners, judges, service providers and the LSS team for their belief, hard work, and support that has seen Flesh and Blood become a loved and respected game across the world, built upon the foundation of a community that I am proud to be part of.
What is FAB 2.0
FAB 2.0 is a collection of changes we are making to better support the delivery of our mission over the coming years. The bulk of this article centers around changes to the way we make Flesh and Blood, that better align with our mission and better support local game stores who serve as the community hubs where people come together to play great games. It also heralds the expansion of Flesh and Blood into new non-English markets, a key passage to becoming a truly global game. These topics are covered in part 1.
FAB 2.0 is also about investing more into areas that better support social and casual play, in addition to our ongoing major commitment to competitive play. This is covered in part 2.
Part 3 covers some adjustments to how Elo ratings will be used, signature weapons, and getting rid of the unused restricted list.
FAB 2.0 is NOT about changing the game system itself. The existing and well-documented Comprehensive Rules are the definitive rules for the game of Flesh and Blood, and this announcement makes no changes to this.
Part 1 - Retiring 1st Edition
Our primary mission is to bring people together in the flesh and blood through the common language of playing great games.
The point I want to focus on here is “playing”, and I think by the extent of the organized play programs we offer fans around the world, from weekly in-store Armory Events, seasonal Skirmish, ProQuest, and Road to Nationals, right up to the $1M Pro Play series of premier events that includes Battle Hardened, Calling, National Champs, Pro Tour, and the World Championship, that we have demonstrated an industry leading commitment to the mission of playing great games.
Because our mission centers around playing the game, it therefore goes without saying that we need fans to be able to obtain cards on release day to play the game. Alongside our commitment to playing great games, is our love of collecting, which we see as an important and beautiful element of all trading card games. I have personally been an avid collector of cards since childhood, and my love for collecting, shared by many of the core LSS team, is an important part of the DNA of how we make Flesh and Blood, and is why we originally designed Flesh and Blood to have 1st Edition.
When Flesh and Blood released in 2019 and throughout most of 2020, the player base was small and the 1st Edition print runs were sized accordingly, with a view that as the game grew, we would produce larger Unlimited edition print runs to support player growth. This approach worked well when the ratio of 1st Edition to Unlimited was heavily tilted towards Unlimited.
Today, the Flesh and Blood player base is large and growing strongly all around the world, with organized play engagement numbers regularly setting new records on a weekly basis. A very large volume of boosters (relative to 2020) is needed on release day for fans to simply play the game. This however, has upset the balance of First Edition and Unlimited, to the point where 1st Edition is no longer the special thing it was intended to be.
It is my view that if 1st Edition isn’t legitimately special, there is no point differentiating 1st Edition at all.
Why not release 1st Edition and Unlimited on the same day?
Some publishers like to release multiple versions of the same product on release day, differentiated by price point, with only the most expensive versions of the product having the most desirable versions cards.
We could have gone down this route, making cold foils only available in a premium collector’s product, but that simply does not align with the vision I have for Flesh and Blood and the community. Call me old-fashioned, but I want every fan who cracks a Flesh and Blood booster to have a chance of that moment of joy when you open a cold foil legendary or fabled. That moment of joy is priceless, and is something I want to preserve as being possible for ALL Flesh and Blood fans. The photos that have been sent to us over the years, capturing those “moments of joy”, really mean a lot to us.
What is the plan?
Starting with Uprising, releasing June 24, there is no differentiation between 1st Edition and Unlimited. There is simply Uprising.
Uprising includes both cold foil and rainbow foil equipment, fabled, and alternate versions of cards, which I can confidently say, are the most impressive alts we have done yet! You’re in for a big surprise!
Legendary and Fabled cold foils in Uprising are around 3 times rarer than they have historically been, offset by rainbow foil versions that are slightly more frequent than the past. It’s our intention that this change better supports card accessibility to fans who simply want to play the game, while making the hunt exciting for collectors who covet beautiful and rare trophies, and also we hope, seeing the return of “moments of joy” when cracking booster packs!
There is a small change to the booster pack configuration in Uprising, with cold foils now appearing in the token slot. The reason for this change is when booster drafting, cards that appear in the token slot are removed from the booster pack before drafting any cards, as you normally do with hero, weapon, and cracked bauble cards etc. This means that if you open a cold foil, you remove it from your booster and keep it before drafting from that pack. The intention behind this is to avoid “value drafting” that damages the integrity of booster drafts. Please note, that this means cold foils are not considered part of the cards you have drafted and therefore should not be included in your deck and/or equipment. This is only applicable to booster draft. Cold foils can be included in your deck and/or equipment when playing Uprising sealed deck.
You will also see a new rarity symbol appear in Uprising, a purple triangle (or I like to think of it as a half diamond, in reference to the fabled symbol). We refer to this rarity of cards as “marvels” and it will be used on high tier alt versions of cards going forward. The frequency of each marvel card varies. Some of them are equivalent to past alts such as Earthlore Bounty, and some are harder to find, like Herald of Erudition or Aether Wildfire. All cards with the marvel rarity symbol are much rarer than a normal foil version of their base rarity would be.
The average* pull rates for Uprising are:
- Fabled Cold Foil – ???
- Fabled Rainbow Foil – ???
- Legendary Cold Foil – 1 per 220 packs
- Legendary Rainbow Foil – 1 per 80 packs
- Majestic 1 per 4 packs
- Rare 1.75 per pack
- Common 11 per pack
- Token 47 per 24 packs
- Cold Foil 1 per 24 packs
- Rainbow Foil 1 per pack
- 16 total cards per pack
*Please note that pull rates are not guaranteed to exist in any pack, display, or case. They are an indicative average over the entire production run.
Cold foil reprint policy
The cold foil reprint policy remains in place, and will continue to protect all 1st Edition cold foils. Additionally, the policy will be expanded to include cold foils in all future standalone booster sets and expansion booster sets (formerly called supplementary boosters), starting from Uprising. For example, cold foils that appear in Uprising, will only ever appear in Uprising (with the exception of organized play cold foil prize cards, as normal).
Past, Present, and Future
The Flesh and Blood player base and local game store network is growing very quickly across the world, including well-established markets like the USA, as well as many countries patiently waiting for an official launch and/or their localized language to become available.
Those who join the FAB community over the coming months and years, need access to the original cards in order to play the primary non-rotating formats that are the official game of Flesh and Blood. Up until now, Unlimited edition had served this role.
This is where History Pack will play an important role, as the gateway to card accessibility for the growing player base, while respecting collectability of the original printing of cards.
History Pack is a booster set that includes reprints of cards from Flesh and Blood’s past, in white border, with no foils. History Pack 1 includes cards from Welcome to Rathe, Arcane Rising, and Crucible of War.
We are very proud to finally be launching Flesh and Blood in four localized European languages. As a thank you to fans who have patiently waited for over two years for a localized version of Flesh and Blood, we are releasing a short print run, one time only, Black Label edition of French, German, Italian, and Spanish History Pack 1.
History Pack 1 - Black Label is black border and includes something special that has not yet been done for a small subset of cards from the original sets that History Pack 1 draws from. Once the Black Label short print run is gone, any further print runs for these languages will be the same as English; white border with no foils.
History Pack 1 - English (EN)
The first wave of History Pack 1 English will release May 6, 2022. (Product sheet below.)
History Pack 1 - Black Label (DE / ES / FR / IT)
History Pack 1 Black Label will release in French, German, Italian, and Spanish on July 1, 2022. (Product sheet will be available in the coming weeks.)
The future of History Pack
The intention at this point in time, is to release a new History Pack biennially in established markets. New markets however, will have access to their localized version of History Packs more quickly. For example, History Pack 2 will follow soon after History Pack 1 in French, German, Italian, and Spanish, whereas the English version of History Pack 2 is planned to release in 2024.
Part 2 - Playing the game is about more than competitive play
An important part of FAB 2.0, is putting more emphasis on making Flesh and Blood a game that people want to play in ways that are enjoyable to them.
Up until now our focus and limited resources have been directed mostly towards competitive play. We know that why people love TCG’s is much broader than this, and there are many people in the world who are already FAB fans, and soon to become FAB fans, who are looking for a TCG experience that is about having fun and being social.
There are four key areas that we are putting more resources into better supporting social and casual play.
1) More storytelling, world building, character development, and integration of lore into the play experience.
- Investing into the characters we have come to know and love. The first example of this is Bravo returning in Everfest, and Dorinthea and Rhinar returning in Classic Battles. These heroes have depth, and stories to tell, and we intend to take you on a journey with them over the coming years.
- Publishing more lore, including books. Publishing quality books is a big undertaking that is quite removed from the core operations of producing a trading card game. This has made a follow-up to the Welcome to Rathe World Guide: Vol. 1 difficult to execute as our focus has been on supporting the growth of the player communities around the world amidst the challenges of a global pandemic. However, we are building towards a position where the stories of Rathe, the “Tales of Aria”, the scriptures of Light and tomes of Shadows will materialize in the hands of fans around the world, in interesting ways.
- Products that offer play experiences that bring fans into the adventures, conflicts, and story arcs that are happening within the world of Rathe.
2) Products tailor-made for first play and social play experiences
- Classic Battles: Rhinar vs Dorinthea is the first example of a product that has been specifically designed for the first play experience, which together with the lore booklet* included, we hope will inspire new players to discover more about the featured heroes, and relive their classic battle again and again on the kitchen table with friends and family. Classic Battles is planned to be an ongoing product type, showcasing some of the famous encounters between heroes within the lore of Rathe.
Fans have often told us that they wished there was an out-of-the-box product they could use to introduce friends and family to what Flesh and Blood is. (The accompanying feedback is often that Blitz Decks are too complex.) We hope to see Classic Battles become the go-to for sharing your love of FAB with your besties.
- Player vs Environment (PvE) will be our flagship social play product. It will see players band together in campaign settings that can be as long or as short as your party wants. It's not about winning or losing, but having an epic adventure with friends and fellow gamers, where swords, shields, pizza, and beers collide. We are putting a lot into PvE and our expectation, along with that of many eagerly awaiting fans, is very high. PvE is currently under development, and we are working hard to make it as good as possible. More information will be announced in the future.
3) Reformatting casual play formats
When we published the suggested rule set for Ultimate Pit Fight (UPF), the Blitz format was yet to be announced. Since then, Blitz has become by far and away, the primary casual play format. The original UPF suggested rules set, sits in this weird place of recommending use of young heroes, but having decks more akin to Classic Constructed.
Based on overwhelming community feedback, we are updating the UPF suggested rules set to align with Blitz. In summary, the suggested UPF rules are:
- Young heroes only.
- 11 card inventory (weapons and equipment).
- 40 card deck.
- Up to 2 copies of each unique card.
- Every official Flesh and Blood card is legal, including cards like Go Bananas and Taylor.
We encourage playgroups to shape the UPF rules to their own liking (“No Yorick this week, thank you!”)
We have seen community interest growing towards a commoner format, with many requests for us to publish an official commoner rules set for fans to rally behind. We are pleased to do that now. In summary, the official Commoner rules are:
- 40 card deck - common cards only
- 11 inventory slots (weapons and equipment) - can include up to 2 rares and all other cards must be common (token weapons are common)
- 1 young hero card - can be rare or common (token heroes are common)
- Up to 2 copies of each unique card allowed
- An independent banned and suspended list for the Commoner format
- 30 minutes per round, best of 1
4) Reviewing rules enforcement for casual events
We are looking into developing a 3rd type of rules enforcement level (REL) to help differentiate the environment and player expectations of casual events such as Armory, Pre-release and Skirmish, and more competitive events such as ProQuest and Road to Nationals. The aim is to better support an enjoyable play experience at the casual organized play level, while maintaining a high standard of rules and policy compliance at the competitive level.
Part 3 - Hello Elo and recognizing excellence
Now that Flesh and Blood organized play programs are well-defined and well-established around the world, the time is right to extend the range of events that Elo ratings apply to, in order to make Elo accessible in all regions of the world.
To date, the only event types that have run which have awarded Elo are Calling and National Championship tournaments. Going forward Elo ratings will apply to:
|Road to Nationals||8k|
The intention is to make Elo accessible to players in all regions of the world, where points are put on the line with some level of frequency, making the Elo ratings a more accurate measure of who the top players are in the community. This will then enable Elo ratings to be used as a pathway to the Pro Tour and World Championship. In support of this, we are considering implementation of an activity requirement to remain on the Elo leaderboard.
Banning the restricted list
The Blitz format has a restricted list that is empty and has never been used. We have been hesitant to use it, even though there are merits to doing so, because it’s simply cleaner for player and tournament official comprehension and officiating, if a card is simply legal or not legal, not halfway in between. Therefore, we are retiring the concept of a restricted list, and replacing it with a suspended card list, which will be introduced to Classic Constructed and Blitz.
A card that has been suspended is not legal for tournament play. At the time it is suspended, a timeframe of suspension will be indicated. Examples of time frame could be;
- Until the next scheduled banned and suspended announcement.
- Until June 30, 2022.
- Until [HERO NAME] becomes a Living Legend.
No cards are currently suspended.
It is our intention to use the suspended list liberally for the Blitz format, to flux cards in and out of the format. While we do consider and allocate some amount of development resources towards the Blitz format, the focus of our development is on Classic Constructed. The consequence of this prioritization is that some cards that are appropriate in Classic Constructed are not so in Blitz.
While the Blitz format in general is in reasonably good shape in terms of hero diversity, we want to experiment with a fairly liberal suspension model towards the Blitz format to see if it will further enhance a positive play experience.
What’s a hero without their trusty… and other matters of becoming a Legend
Over the past months, as we deepened our investment into storytelling, we came to realize that there is an iconic element of our heroes that hadn't been given enough credit when we originally designed the Living Legend framework; Their signature weapon.
It is important to us that the heroes of Rathe are bound to their signature weapons and this is reflected through the game system to honor and strengthen the crossover between the game and the world of Rathe. Therefore we are updating the Living Legend system so that when a hero becomes a living legend, they take their signature weapon with them too.
|Bravo, Showstopper / Bravo||Anothos|
|Katsu, the Wanderer / Katsu||Harmonized Kodachi|
|Rhinar, Reckless Rampage / Rhinar||Romping Club|
|Dorinthea Ironsong / Dorinthea||Dawnblade|
|Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire / Dash||Teklo Plasma Pistol|
|Azalea, Ace in the Hole / Azalea||Death Dealer|
|Viserai, Rune Blood / Viserai||Nebula Blade|
|Kano, Dracai of Aether / Kano||Crucible of Aetherweave|
|Kayo, Berserker Runt||Mandible Claws|
|Data Doll MKII||none|
|Kavdaen, Trader of Skins||none|
|Benji, the Piercing Wind||Zephyr Needle|
|Ira, Crimson Haze||Edge of Autumn|
|Shiyana, Diamond Gemini||none|
|Kassai, Cintari Sellsword||Cintari Saber|
|Prism, Sculptor of Arc Light / Prism||Luminaris|
|Ser Boltyn, Breaker of Dawn / Boltyn||Raydn, Duskbane|
|Levia, Shadowborn Abomination / Levia||Hexagore, the Death Hydra|
|Chane, Bound by Shadow / Chane||Galaxxi Black|
|Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity / Oldhim||Winter’s Wail|
|Lexi, Livewire / Lexi||Voltaire, Strike Twice|
|Briar, Warden of Thorns, Briar||Rosetta Thorn|
|Bravo, Star of the Show||none|
Legendary and beyond
It won’t be long before we begin farewelling heroes from Classic Constructed and Blitz and welcoming them into the Living Legend hall of fame.
It has always been our vision that Living Legend would eventually be an official format in its own right, a format featuring only the best of all time.
Obviously a critical mass of heroes need to actually become Living Legend before launching this format makes sense, but I wanted to let you know that this is the plan, and you will have occasion again in the future to play legendary heroes, wield iconic weapons, and do the most powerful things possible.
When we announced in July 2021 that Living Legend points were being expanded to include a wider range of organized play programs, we provided a table of indicative points by event type, which thereafter was available on the Card Legality Policy page. Because it has been quite some time since that original article was published, and many new players have joined the FAB community since, I want to take this opportunity to remind the community that as the number of events increases for seasonal programs like Skirmish, ProQuest, and Road to Nationals (because FAB continues to grow strongly around the world), the Living Legend points per event will likely decrease.
The intention for seasonal programs is that seasons of the same program type add a somewhat stable number of Living Legend points to the leaderboards, and not that the total number of Living Legend points per season increases as the number of events running around the world increases. Before each new season begins, we will review the Living Legend Points by Event Type table and adjust if needed, relative to the total number of events scheduled for that upcoming season.
Standing out from the crowd
Living Legend leaderboards and information now has a page of its own found under the Hero menu and also linked via the Rules and Policy Center.
Thank you again to everyone whose support took Flesh and Blood from zero to one. I hope you enjoy the next phase of our adventure together, that is FAB 2.0.
Founder and CEO
Legend Story Studios