Pro Tour: Baltimore Live Blog

27th Apr 2023 Kasharn Rao

Pro Tour: Baltimore - $200,000 paid out

1st - $50,000 USD, Pro Tour Champion prize card, Gold Legendary, PTI

2nd - $20,000 USD, Gold Legendary, PTI

3rd-4th - $13,000 USD, Gold Legendary, PTI

5th-8th - $6,000 USD, Gold Legendary, PTI

9th-16th - $3,000 USD, PTI

17th-32nd - $1,500 USD, PTI

33rd-64th - $1,000 USD

TOTAL - $200,000 USD


Final Bracket.png

The Finals

It’s finally over… The ashes have settled.

Undergoing a momentous effort across three days, eight rounds of Classic Constructed, and six rounds of swiss, we were given our heroes to root for - the Top 8 of Pro Tour: Baltimore!

Each deserving of their place in the top cut, we watched as these titans clashed in a series of phenomenal, down to the wire games. But there can only be one winner…

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The quarter-finals saw Michael Feng nearly lose it all to Jake Warburton after a well-timed Drill Shot incapacitated his Rampart of the Ram’s Head. Jake held all the power, slinging arrow after arrow, but in a crucial moment, a blind Azalea activation turned a Nock the Deathwhistle into Jake’s arsenal, forcing him to give up tempo and allowing Michael to claw back the win.

Maximilian Klein peppered Andrew Rothermel in a supergrind of a Lexi mirror, with one turn seeing an Endless Arrow shot four times, until it seemed like curtains for Andrew. But he held on to that single point of life with every ounce of strength he had, until he managed to call a critical bluff from Max and turn the tide to his victory.

Matthew Foulkes started strong, using Codex of Frailty to its full potential, but a game-turning brick forced him on the back foot. He tried using Quiver of Rustling Leaves to bring it home, but this fetched the last card he wanted in his arsenal versus Juha Saarnilampi’s Dromai - a Battering Bolt. Juha swarmed the field with dragons and pushed forth for the win.

Mara Faris had a close call against Brodie Spurlock when she was starved of Ash for the first part of the game. But she came back in full force with a devastating Breaking Point - a card that had done her justice throughout swiss, now forcing Brodie to let cards go and be overwhelmed by the horde of dragons.


In a semi-finals grind to the death that lasted over two hours, Michael Feng and Juha Saarnilampi both exhibited true and complete understanding of their roles in the Oldhim/Dromai matchup. Though long, it played out like a stage show, with Juha utilizing extra action points to play a Passing Mirage before following up with a massive Ghostly Touch, but Michael had prepared his pitch stack carefully and navigated his way through the damage, clearing the spectra and finally cinching the win.

Mara Faris came out in blazing glory against Andrew Rothermel on the first turn with a Nourishing Emptiness, but Andrew swung the game quickly. But a critical missed Endless Arrow trigger robbed him of a primary tool for clearing dragons, and Mara pushed through a wall of four Frostbites to claim her next victory.


The crowd gathered, peering down into the pit as the last two standing sat down to decide who would be going home Pro Tour champion.

Michael Feng on the play opted to immediately pass, seeing if Mara Faris would activate anything to generate Ash, but she didn’t bite, and Michael heaved a Thunder Quake, indicating he was done with the grind games - he was here to race.

Carefully commanding her army of dragons, Mara showed true leadership, knowing who to send into battle and who to keep back on the home front. Miragai, Cromai, and Kyloria came down, which would normally be an incredible start against Oldhim - but not if Michael was planning to throw hands instead of playing clean up duty.

Mara’s life total bled out quickly, as her deck produced several clunky hands. But she held on with fierce determination, actively searching for ways to pivot the game. Michael kept up the onslaught with ruthless efficiency - Enlightened Strike into Endless Winter, hitting where it hurts most - the face.

Unlike the semi-finals, the two competitors moved at lightning fast pace - they had both practiced this matchup a thousand times, and instead of a slowburn we got a speedrun.

Mara sent out a beautifully altered borderless Enlightened Strike, choosing go again and holding a card. Michael responded with his first block from Stalagmite, forcing Mara to pitch the Timesnap Potion she had been saving in hand. Mara wasn’t too upset to see the potion go to the bottom of her deck as it wasn’t doing her any favours, and as far as she was concerned, by forcing a counter on the frosty shield Timesnap Potion had done its job.

With Mara rapidly dropping below 20 and Michael still comfortably in the high 30’s, Mara began to shift in her seat, painfully aware of the widening gap, and having blocked with the Breaking Point that had won her so many games before, she thought hard about what was left in her deck that she could string together to make a comeback.


Michael however, was cool as a cucumber, focused, collected, and not showing even a tinge of worry. He kept up a poker face while he played out the rest of his Enlightened Strikes, which fortunately came up early.

Unable to significantly advance her boardstate or find the tools needed to push back, the big hits started demanding more and more blocks from Mara, as the window for opportunity rapidly diminished. She carefully blocked a Spinal Crush with Flamescale Furnace and a card from hand, but a surprise Pummel took another huge chunk out of her hand and obliterated her following turn.

Even with her life totals close to single digits and still barely a dent on Michael, Mara entered a state of strange calmness, knowing that even if it wasn't her game, she was extremely proud of how far she had come. Although the outcome looked grim, she decided to grit her teeth and keep fighting until the very last breath - the Empress of Volcor doesn’t back down without giving it everything she has. And you know what they say… it’s not over till it’s over.

But the final nail was hammered into Mara’s coffin when Michael took a counter off Fyendal’s Spring Tunic, pitched three blues, and dropped an earth-shattering Pulverize. Mara had no other option but to block with the four block-2’s in her hand, agonizingly letting go of the Ravenous Rabbles and Blaze Headlongs that had finally decided to come to the party.

Big Number Good.


Passing Mirage came down soon after, but it was too late. Despite typically being a premium target for instant removal, Michael ignored the spectra, and again swung for the face. He controlled the narrative, driving Mara back further and further, not giving her a single inch of breathing room.

Rouse the Ancients dropped Mara to 2, followed by a hammer swing into Passing Mirage, showing that Michael hadn’t let his guard down - he always had his eye on the spectra and was just biding his time until an opportune moment to clear it.

After a desperate Kyloria went up in flames, Michael dropped his coup de grâce - the immortal staple Command and Conquer, to which Mara simply said “and this is the end of the game”. Unable to dance around it any longer, she made a hopeful double block, and we heard the classic line - “if you have it, you have it”. Everyone watched with baited breath as Michael casually reached down to his arsenal and tossed the Pummel onto the board. He had it alright.


He might have seemed stone cold in the finals but the moment he was declared the winner, Michael released a burst of excitement that he had strongly been holding in like a full bladder.

Mara was a gracious finalist and congratulated him before retiring to bask in the glory of her legion of fans.

Michael seemed like he was in a state of disbelief, with eyes popping out of his head as he received a giant cheque that was nearly as big as he was. He hadn’t even been sure he would make it to the Pro Tour as he had been overseas until days before, but like many moments during the tournament, things just seemed to line up perfectly. He gave his teammate Brodie Spurlock an ecstatic bear hug, laughing about how Brodie had borrowed his Lexi deck and he had defaulted to playing Oldhim. Michael hadn’t been confident at the start of the Pro Tour, having lost countless games against the Elemental Ranger in testing, but luckily dodged all four of them in the Top 8.

He recounted the scariest moment of the tournament when he made a near-fatal mistimed Crown of Seeds activation against Juha in the semi-finals, but quickly managed to get his head back in the game.

Michael said he didn’t think Oldhim was particularly overpowered, but had a lot of tools and playability into a wide spread of decks, which leaned towards good results over a long tournament. And all it takes is one mistake from the opponent and that’s it - they’ve missed their chance to take him down.

The moment he knew he was about to win Pro Tour: Baltimore came with the show stopping Pulverize, which he knew would be highly effective into Mara’s aggressive deck full of block-2 cards.

With a beaming smile Michael accepted his hard-earned rewards - $50,000 USD, Pro Tour Champion Prize Card, Gold Foil Crown of Seeds, and a PTI, and with a quick shout out to his wife he was off, to live the dream, travel the world, and play the game.


Massive congratulations to Pro Tour champion Michael Feng, Pro Tour finalist Mara Faris, Calling winner Merrick Kemp, Battle Hardened Winner Dyllon and all the rest who topped events this weekend.

Thank you so much to all of you for coming together in the Flesh and Blood, to play some great games and share some good times. See you all at the next one!

Sunday - The Calling and Battle Hardened Top 8

Out of more than 900 registered players in the Calling, 8 brave heroes have stood the test of time. Having overcome the masses, greatness is only three games away. This time Oldhim has stood his ground, overtaking Lexi as the most prominent hero in the top cut.


Calling Baltimore Bracket.png

  1. Taylor Crawford (Lexi, Livewire)
  2. Matt Rogers (Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity)
  3. Matthew W (Lexi, Livewire)
  4. Zach Bunn (Viserai, Rune Blood)
  5. Jacob Kissel (Azalea, Ace in the Hole)
  6. Dave Lin (Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity)
  7. Merrick Kemp (Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire)
  8. Randall Sims (Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity)

And a few blocks over, we had more than 300 swimming into an absolute bloodbath of a Battle Hardened. Giving the Blitz meta one last middle finger before she leaves, Iyslander has left her mark. It's Waning Moon, hallelujah!



  1. Collins Mullen (Iyslander)
  2. Noah Clark (Prism)
  3. Vladimir Del Valle (Iyslander)
  4. Dyllon Dietz (Iyslander)
  5. Francesco Giorgio (Oldhim)
  6. Rose smyth (Iyslander)
  7. Rob Catton (Kano)
  8. Erika Forslöf (Iyslander)

Good luck to all our competitors in their Top 8 games!

Sunday - Battle Hardened Hero Breakdown

343 players have sleeved up for action at the Battle Hardened! Iyslander and Oldhim get their final send-off as a staggeringly broad spread of heroes throw down for a prestigious Gold Foil.


70 Iyslander are whipping up a storm for the last time, before she disappears back into the bleak expanses from whence she came.

39 Rhinar can be heard bellowing from deep within the jungle.

32 Chane are claiming souls for the demonic harvester.

27 Oldhim are pushing their tired muscles one more time before settling into retirement.

27 Prism are committing elder abuse by preying on the Guardians.

26 Kano are peeking at the top card of their deck. Side effects may include being burned to death.

18 Kassai, Cintari Sellsword are living life on the edge, showing that you don’t need an Adult Hero version to cut things down to size.

16 Dash are stepping on the gas, running circles around the arcane tricksters.

13 Briar are drawing their Rosetta Thorns, proving the town is indeed big enough for two Runeblades.

9 Bravo are entering the final act of the weekend. Hopefully his voice doesn’t crack!

7 Ira, Crimson Haze are seeking vengeance on those who wronged them, as well as anyone who stands in their way.

7 Uzuri are enjoying the shade of the cherry blossoms. Beneath the surface a hardened killer is growing.

7 Azalea are out on the prowl, ready to seek and destroy.

6 Lexi are having a blast, performing incredible feats for the crowd.

6 Kayo, Berserker Runt are ready to roll with the punches, or take down fools with a single knockout.

5 Dromai are invoking the leathery wings of Volcor’s pets once again.

5 Dorinthea are glistening in the sunlight, displaying true Ironsong pride.

4 Yoji, Royal Protector have wandered onto the battlefield, but what will happen if he leaves the Emperor alone?

4 Riptide are waiting patiently for the fish to bite. Don’t take the bait!

3 Levia are questioning their life choices. “Why didn’t I play this sooner?”

3 Benji, the Piercing Wind are proving that size doesn’t matter, it’s what you do with it.

3 Arakni, Solitary Confinement are injecting some fun into the meta. Or was it frailty?

2 Katsu are riding the tailwinds to victory.

1 Valda Brightaxe is knocking some rowdy heads together.

1 Fai is just vibing.

Sunday - The Calling Meta Analysis

The sprawling ocean of players who signed up for the Calling yesterday has now dwindled to a murky pond of 110. It’s a huge effort to win at least 6 rounds to even make Day 2, and the hard yards ahead will push them to their limits.

Overall, the Classic Constructed metagame has closely resembled the Pro Tour, partially due to those who didn’t make the Day 2 cut of Pro Tour taking a second chance shot in the Calling, as well as the general competitive player consensus that Ice heroes are indeed very cool.

Lexi, Oldhim, and Dromai continue to form the triangle that the rest of the meta revolves around, but one thing that differs from the Pro Tour is the higher representation of fringe heroes like Uzuri, probably due to the wider spread of matchups and higher number of new faces who joined shortly after Outsiders was released.

Lexi, Livewire
Lexi, Livewire
Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity
Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity
Dromai, Ash Artist
Dromai, Ash Artist

Unfortunately Uzuri has rapidly dropped in numbers today, but other decks with strong tools and even stronger gameplans such as Dash, Briar, and Katsu are still going hard. Each of these heroes has a core aggressive strategy as well as space for sideboard tech to deal with bad matchups, making them quite favourable into a wide spread.

Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire
Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire
Briar, Warden of Thorns
Briar, Warden of Thorns
Katsu, the Wanderer
Katsu, the Wanderer

Close behind we have the decks that either force blocks, disrupt the opponent, or restrict blocking capability. Fai, Bravo, Azalea, and Iyslander are still keeping it real. They might have some awkward matchups, but they do what they do well, with several consistent ways to close out games. As long as their hands don’t fail them, we can likely expect to see one to two of these dark horses make it to the finish line.

Fai, Rising Rebellion
Fai, Rising Rebellion
Bravo, Showstopper
Bravo, Showstopper
Azalea, Ace in the Hole
Azalea, Ace in the Hole
Iyslander, Stormbind
Iyslander, Stormbind

Several other heroes have made Day 2 in scarce numbers, but I wanted to shine a light on a certain sneaky individual who has been creeping around in the shadows and quietly filling out their ledger. Despite still having a bare bones card pool and several unfavoured matchups, 1 Arakni, Huntsman is still alive and flicking knives.

Arakni, Huntsman
Arakni, Huntsman

Sunday - Meet the Pro Tour Top 8

Andrew Rothermel.jpg

Andrew Rothermel - United States


  • Lexi, Livewire (Classic Constructed)
  • Katsu (Draft 1)
  • Katsu (Draft 2)

Favourite card during the Pro Tour:

Bonds of Ancestry
Bonds of Ancestry

"I feel amazing. It's such an incredible experience to top after nearly making it at both prior Pro Tours, but falling just short at 10th and 16th. I'd like to dedicate my success to the memory of my mother, Karen, who recently passed in early April. A desire to put her name in lights is what drove me to these heights. I know that she is watching my games as she always did. Till we meet again."

Michael Feng.jpg

Michael Feng - United States


  • Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity (Classic Constructed)
  • Uzuri (Draft 1)
  • Arakni, Solitary Confinement (Draft 2)

Favourite card during the Pro Tour:

Spider's Bite
Spider's Bite

"I feel so elated."

Juha Saarnilampi.jpg

Juha Saarnilampi - Finland


  • Dromai, Ash Artist (Classic Constructed)
  • Azalea (Draft 1)
  • Uzuri (Draft 2)

Favourite card during the Pro Tour:


"It feels completely unreal, especially after starting 2-2 and then winning 10 in a row."

Brodie Spurlock.jpg

Brodie Spurlock - United States


  • Lexi, Livewire (Classic Constructed)
  • Azalea (Draft 1)
  • Katsu (Draft 2)

Favourite card during the Pro Tour:

Seeker's Leggings
Seeker's Leggings

"I am so happy. I feel so thankful that I was able to keep my focus for 14 rounds (except for one missed tunic counter -whoops!) and that the cards fell my way."

Mara Faris.jpg

Mara Faris - United States


  • Dromai, Ash Artist (Classic Constructed)
  • Uzuri (Draft 1)
  • Uzuri (Draft 2)

Favourite card during the Pro Tour:

Breaking Point
Breaking Point

"It still hasn't quite sunk in yet. It feels like the culmination of so much work, and so many incredible people cheering for me. Thank you to all my fans. You're amazing."

Matthew Foulkes.jpg

Matthew Foulkes - United Kingdom


  • Lexi, Livewire (Classic Constructed)
  • Arakni, Solitary Confinement (Draft 1)
  • Katsu (Draft 2)

Favourite card during the Pro Tour:

Quiver of Rustling Leaves
Quiver of Rustling Leaves

"This is only a step on my path to becoming a two-time Pro Tour champ. I will feel happy when the job is finished. The battle rages on."

Jake Warburton.jpg

Jake Warburton - United Kingdom


  • Azalea, Ace in the Hole (Classic Constructed)
  • Uzuri (Draft 1)
  • Uzuri (Draft 2)

Favourite card during the Pro Tour:

Red in the Ledger
Red in the Ledger

"I can't believe it. This is a dream for me. I couldn't have done it without my family, friends, and team!"

Maximilian Klein.jpg

Maximilian Klein - Germany


  • Lexi, Livewire (Classic Constructed)
  • Uzuri (Draft 1)
  • Benji (Draft 2)

Favourite card during the Pro Tour:

Frailty Trap
Frailty Trap

"I thought I wouldn't make Top 8 because I lost early but then many things happened which helped me make the cut. It is amazing!"

PT Bracket.png

Saturday - Cosplay Contest

Taking a step back from cards and into the wardrobe, we were treated to some real masterpieces. Judged by renowned cosplayers Carolina Alvarado, Matthew Ayers, and Anthony Harden, who not only shared some valuable insights for budding costumers, but also couldn’t resist dressing up for the event as well!

From scattering rose petals, to yeeting socks, to making Flake uncomfortable with brutish growls, the contest showed just how dedicated to the craft our cosplay community is. Cosplaying veterans brought their A-Game, outdoing their previous ‘fits, while some first timers exuded confidence on stage. A notable feature was the portrayal of several characters depicted on cards rather than specific heroes, which just goes to show that Rathe runs deep and even the minor characters are beloved by many.

“Everybody served!” said Carolina. “It was great to see everyone up there. All of you ate and left no crumbs!”


Winner - Rachel Stoddard - Nitro Mechanoid

“I picked this card because I’m known for Dash. I really like Dash - she’s a tech-forward woman, an inventor, and she’s dynamic. It meant I could do some inventing of my own - practical effects, planning, research, it really felt like I was in the lab. I started planning the costume in November, and started building in late January. Winning this makes me feel validated and loved, I’m so happy to be able to share my passion and I’m happy people enjoyed it.”

Towering over 7 feet, made from EVA foam, with custom wiring to integrate effects such as LED lighting, steam puffs, a rotating saw, and flexing power glove, Rachel’s Nitro Mechanoid costume pushed the limits on what’s possible in the cosplay scene, and truly deserving of the first place award and coveted Taylor promo.


2nd Place - Jonathan Vamos - Taipanis, Dracai of Judgement


3rd Place - Ian Siczewicz - Blossom of Spring


4th Place - Dexter Phan - Rhinar, Reckless Rampage

Thank you to all of our wonderful cosplayers, you truly embody the spirit of this game. It’s one thing to see your favourite Flesh and Blood characters on paper, it’s another to see them brought to life by those with the patience, creativity, and passion to do so. It just gets better every year!

Saturday - Pro Tour Day 2 Meta Analysis

The two-day grind of the Pro Tour has finally come to a close, and players will be looking forward to some well earned rest. But the Top 8 will need to keep it together for one more day, because the reward for finishing swiss with such high results is going on to play some of the hardest matches of your life.

At the end of 8 rounds of Classic Constructed, we’ve seen the mainstays of the format hold their ground, while some promising outliers have unfortunately dropped off the radar.

Lexi completely demolished the meta, in both representation and results, and this is reflected in the Top 8, which features FOUR of the Elemental Ranger.

The utility offered by her hero ability, Voltaire, and New Horizons allows her to run circles around almost every other hero. She presents powerful disruption at efficient breakpoints, stretching defenses thin and simply refusing to let the opponent have a proactive turn. This coupled with the extra arsenal and on demand go again lets her relentlessly throw devastating shot after shot, while also peaking with power cards such as Rain Razors, Three of a Kind, and Codex of Frailty.

Voltaire, Strike Twice
Voltaire, Strike Twice
New Horizon
New Horizon
Three of a Kind
Three of a Kind

Despite being high in numbers on Day 2 and making up a substantial portion of the final standings, only 1 Oldhim made it over the line. The Elemental Guardian always manages to muscle in on the Top 8, due to his consistent ability to get results over time. The longer the tournament goes, the more likely you are to prey on the mental fatigue of your opponents and run them into the ground. The controversial Crown of Seeds continues to provide unmatched utility, not just from the damage prevention, but also the ability to cycle through your deck. Defensive tools like Rampart of the Ram's Head and control cards like Channel Lake Frigid are also extremely handy against the main threat Lexi, as evading those breakpoints and the on-hit triggers they bring is crucial.

Crown of Seeds
Crown of Seeds
Rampart of the Ram's Head
Rampart of the Ram's Head
Channel Lake Frigid
Channel Lake Frigid

Despite Lexi decks running specific techs to blow them out, the Dromais have kept up a valiant fight, placing high in the standings and representing double spots in the top 8.

With aggro essentially shoved out by the sheer disruptive power of Ice, Dromai has had a clear path to taking down slower control decks that don’t have consistent sources of go again to clear dragons, and Rangers that don’t have a lot of poppers or the ability to take a turn off and swing a weapon at a scaly. The dragons themselves also provide a lot of value, acting as attack actions with go again and powerful effects, that threaten to be used again and again, while also saving you life when the opponent wastes time attacking them.


Azalea has also sneaked through into the quarter finals, using a multitude of on-hit triggers combined with a dominate ability that rivals Bravo’s, to take massive chunks of life out of the opponent while also ruining any chance of them coming back. The new pumps and arrows from Outsiders was the last piece of the puzzle, as all of the powerful bombs that have been feeding into the Ranger pool for the last couple of years finally come together to create a monster. If you told me a year ago that Azalea would be in the Top 8 of a Pro Tour, I would have laughed in your face.

Less popular than her Elemental counterpart, Azalea was scarce in the final standings, likely due to the overall tendency for Pro Tour players to favour multiple arrows a turn over a single big one.

Infecting Shot
Infecting Shot
Melting Point
Melting Point

Other notable heroes that finished in top 32 were Uzuri, Viserai, Iyslander, Briar, and Rhinar. Each of these heroes has proven that they are capable of spiking huge turns to overwhelm the opponent or playing an effective midrange strategy and adapting to the game as it comes. However, in high tier tournaments such as these, consistency over the course of two days can be an issue, and one bad game can cost you everything.

Your Pro Tour: Baltimore Top 8:

  1. Andrew Rothermel (Lexi, Livewire)
  2. Michael Feng (Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity)
  3. Juha Saarnilampi (Dromai, Ash Artist)
  4. Brodie Spurlock (Lexi, Livewire)
  5. Mara Faris (Dromai, Ash Artist)
  6. Matthew Foulkes (Lexi, Livewire)
  7. Jake Warburton (Azalea, Ace in the Hole)
  8. Maximilian Klein (Lexi, Livewire)

We’ll catch up with these players tomorrow ahead of their games, so don’t change the channel - it’s going to be one heck of a show!

Saturday - Ultimate Pit Fight

James White got Down and Dirty with some Feisty Locals in a bout of Ultimate Pit Fight like no other. He revealed Taipanis with a flourish, expecting gasps all round, but his thunder was stolen by Jon to his right, who slapped down Ruu’di, Gem Keeper (allowed by the floor judge at half life), and with it a towering stack of graded slabs. Joining them were Viney on Yoji, Royal Protector, and Tim on Prism.


After some slight difficulty shuffling, the game was afoot! Word of the Gem Keeper spread quickly, and it wasn’t long before the real Rudy (Alpha Investments) popped up out of nowhere, watching each reveal of the top graded card with a keen eye.

Very quickly Tim amassed seven spectral shields, to which James suggested they pull up a second table to make room for the tokens.

Witty banter and roars of laughter filled the room as Jon tried to justify picking up his pile of slabs each turn to place the pitched card underneath. “Ayyy”s rang out every time a 10 was revealed, and “Awww”s were murmured every time it was a 9.

James bought Tim’s favour with This Round’s on Me, prompting him to send the army of spectral shields towards poor Viney. Tim continued to throw down powerful spectra cards, unchallenged by the slow control decks on either side, and drawing extra cards from Jon’s Silver Palms.

To return the Merchant’s kindness, James gave Jon a special gift - Shitty Xmas Present! Placing a damaged, unsleeved Cracked Bauble on top of the neatly stacked grades, James’ eyes glinted evilly as Jon stared in disbelief.

Taipanis, Dracai of Judgement
Taipanis, Dracai of Judgement
Ruu'di, Gem Keeper
Ruu'di, Gem Keeper
Yoji, Royal Protector
Yoji, Royal Protector

With Genesis, Merciful Retribution, Shimmers of Silver, and Ode to Wrath on the field, the table quickly realized it had a common enemy.

“Kill this man!” James shouted, as he played Sun Kiss and passed turn.

The generous Merchant, unable to throw anything at the Illusionist with two players in the way, started conspiring with James and Viney to take Tim down.

“I feel the general consensus is that I’m the bad guy”, said Tim, placing down a second Merciful Retribution.

Before their devious plan could be enacted, Jon had to dash off to assist a cosplaying friend in need, but luckily his mate Edwin stepped up to flip some mints in his place. Bending the rules a little and peeking at Edwin’s hand and arsenal, James ran him through the plan - attack the 8 life Yoji with Command and Conquer, followed by Pummel.

Desperately they tried to convince Viney not to block, but he remained highly suspicious. They pleaded with Viney to trust them, but Tim argued that they were working to bin Yoji. The discourse turned passionate very quickly, with both sides vying to win over the cagey Viney. Eventually Viney decided to trust the ludicrous plan, and declared no blocks as Edwin activated Pummel.

Before the fatal blow landed, James announced the hero ability of Taipanis, using the divine powers of judgment to declare that it would not be Yoji taking the full brunt, but Prism!

Forced to take 10 damage, discard a card, and lose his arsenal, Tim decided that with death close at hand, he would go out in style.

On Yoji’s next attack, Prism on 1 life with 4 auras in hand, Tim performed some last-minute spectra shenanigans to deal 8 arcane damage back at Yoji, executing the Guardian and fizzling the hammer attack. “I’d like to point out that Ruu’di hasn’t been touched” said Tim, pointing at the Merchant, who promptly killed him with an overload.


With the hard work done, Edwin retired to let Jon return to the table. The two Talishar-sporting heroes, each at almost full life, proceeded to grind each other down with Drones of Brutality.

Over time, Jon’s graveyard got bigger and the deck got smaller, but after nearly an hour, Jon thought he had it with a cheeky Lunging Press on Command and Conquer, but James had Remembrance in arsenal, allowing him to keep fighting.

Jon tried to set up a late game finisher with Last Ditch Effort but in a shocking twist, the Cracked Bauble returned to plague him, having been discreetly tucked between two slabs and causing Jon to miscount his deck.

Eventually it came down to just the Drones, with both players locked into an infinite loop of blocking and drawing up. The judge ruled a stalemate and with that, the game was over. There might not have been any winners, but it was an experience none of them would ever forget.

Saturday - The Calling Hero Breakdown

More than 900 players registered to wage war at the Calling! The sea of competitors is a sight to behold, a huge army to cut through if you have hopes of winning that sweet Gold Foil.


133 Lexi, Livewire are raining razors as far as the eye can see. The chills are multiplying as the deck to beat shows up in full force.

82 Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity are stomping through the crowd, denying heroes access to the top unless they have a plan to take down the giant.

72 Dromai, Ash Artist are bringing the heat with an armada of fire-breathing friends. The hottest anti-meta deck on the block right now, Dromai is placed well to conquer.

57 Azalea, Ace in the Hole are quietly drawing bowstrings. Be careful who you tease in school, Azalea’s glow-up is no joke.

53 Uzuri, Switchblade are trying their hand again after thin ranks in the Pro Tour. This time, the Boss isn’t here to mess around.

48 Bravo, Showstopper are ready for the second act, rehearsing their lines such as “Crippling Crush for 11, good game".

43 Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire have recharged their batteries and are geared up for battle.

43 Briar, Warden of Thorns are ready to bloom, and weed out the competition.

35 Katsu, the Wanderer are honouring their ancestors by laying down a good old fashioned smackdown.

32 Fai, Rising Rebellion are rising from the ashes to try and take down the top dogs. Hopefully they bring a coat and mittens!

31 Rhinar, Reckless Rampage have made it clear that this is their jungle, the rest of you - go home.

30 Dorinthea, Ironsong have polished their blades, and will let loose with some real steel.

26 Iyslander, Stormbind are preparing to break some hearts. Nothing’s worse than running into an Ice Wizard on a cold day.

21 Kano, Dracai of Aether are packing some fireworks. If you see that sly smile, you’re already dead.

15 Viserai, Runeblood have tinted the skies purple. The Arknight is still very much a force to be reckoned with.

14 Riptide, Lurker of the Deep are trawling for a catch. Watch your step…

11 Arakni, Huntsman are crossing out names. Are you on their kill list?

7 Levia, Shadowborn Abomination are hungry for some action and won’t stop till they’ve had their fill.

4 Ser Boltyn, Breaker of Dawn are slicing and dicing through the forces of darkness in the name of all that is right and just.


Saturday - Pro Tour Day 2 Draft Highlights

We’ve come to the end of the second draft, and as players prepare for the final leg - 4 more rounds of Classic Constructed, tensions are high.

Day 2 has showcased some absolutely brutal tactics, as bloodthirsty strategies were taken into the pods. Games were played out with fierce concentration and trembling hands. Making it through one draft is tough, but two? Next level.


Pod #1 consisted of 2 Azalea, 1 Katsu, 1 Benji, 3 Uzuri, and 1 Arakni - displaying the familiar pattern of quarter Ninja, quarter Ranger, half Assassin split.

Unless you’re bringing a competent Azalea deck to the table, games quickly become a war of attrition. Fatigue is the biggest threat in Outsiders draft, and being able to force blocks is always at the front of these players’ minds when they’re carefully selecting cards from each pack.

It’s become clear that in order to dominate with Azalea, you have to force it right from the very start. Soaking up red arrows, pumps, and top-deck lookers is key to signaling that you’re on the Ace and others should look to daggers instead of bows.

A popular trend is to hate-pick Ninja cards, which reduces the chances of a stacked Katsu or Benji cleaning up the pod. Assassin cards are likely going to be squabbled over by the table, so diluting the powers of Mysteria appears to be a pro-level play.

Allen Lau had a goal in mind coming into the draft - force Assassin, and hope to make a 2-1 record in each pod. With such a volatile format as draft, it makes sense to aim for a safer goal that you feel you will be able to pull off, rather than risk it all with one of the other classes. Coming out of draft with a solid record and relying on going undefeated in Classic Constructed is a very viable method of placing at the top. But Allen noticed that after players saw the way he drafted on Day 1, they came looking for blood on Day 2, hate-picking cards they knew he would be looking for.

Lucas Oswald didn’t plan to play Benji both days, but knew exactly what call to make once packs had been torn open. Choosing to pass premium red and blue Ninja cards and instead take a yellow Deadly Duo, Lucas figured that would create a Katsu in the pod and leave him as the only Benji, while passing the Duo would encourage another drafter to go into Benji and weaken both their decks. His call was bang on, as he leaked a mortifying 8 damage through defenses against his opponent on the very first turn.

Painful decisions are becoming a common theme. Tariq Patel reluctantly gave up a stamped foil Plague Hive on Day 1 in order to take a Spike with Bloodrot, not wanting to signal that Assassin was open and be left with a card that doesn’t block and only really shines when it’s pitched for a dagger swing.

Day 2 presented Tariq with another tough choice. After committing to arrows he noticed that crucial pieces like Spire Sniping and Scout the Periphery had completely dried up, so he made the decision to pivot to a much less popular hero - Riptide, but unfortunately with no traps! Planning to play the value game and abuse Riptide’s ability, Tariq was mindful to glean the +1 from aim counters whenever he possibly could and maximize every point of damage in order to strip cards from the opponent. Managing to close out 2/3 games the risk paid off, as he’s still very much in the running.

At the end of Round 10 we have no undefeated players. Looks like you can’t make it through the Pits without some battle scars! Four currently stand at the top with 9-1 records: Lucas Oswald, Andrew Rothermel, Brodie Spurlock, and Noah Beygelman.

The last portion of Classic Constructed is now underway - everything rides on these next four rounds. It’s crunch time!

Saturday - Fresh to FAB

While the Pro Tour players duke it out in draft and Calling players charge into battle - some fresh faces are dipping their toes into the world of Rathe.

Fresh to FAB - a new player exclusive event that ran on the outskirts of Pro Tour: Baltimore, introducing some excited gamers to the vengeful Ninja Ira, as well as the core mechanics of attacking, blocking, go again, and reactions.


Discovering the delightful effect of Whirling Mist Blossom, or the pain of realization that comes with being at 1 life total and facing an Edge of Autumn swing every turn - everyone had an awesome experience playing their first game of Flesh and Blood.

Here’s what players had to say:

“I love the push and pull of the gameplay, and even if you have low life you’re not out of the game, there’s always a chance to come back.”

“Ira’s ability is so simple and seems really powerful. I like how it works with Whirling Mist Blossom. Also Ninjas are so cool!”

“It’s like going to a restaurant and ordering a pizza. Having all these fancy ingredients doesn’t make the pizza good - what matters is the cheese, the sauce, the crust, that’s what makes the pizza good. And Flesh and Blood is a good pizza.”

“I really like Tomeltai. People have all this sacred legendary equipment and stuff, and it’s so satisfying that you can just vomit fire all over it.”

“My favourite card is Smash with Big Tree. It’s a big tree.”

Friday - Pro Tour Day 1 Draft Highlights

The first draft is done and dusted - some strong starters have powered through to Day 2, while others have had their hopes dashed against the rocks.

Draft is the tipping point for every Pro Tour player, and it’s clear that each of them came prepared. Exceptional mastery of drafting techniques has been shown here today, with players knowing exactly what they need to be looking for in packs and adapting to signals in the blink of an eye. The resulting decks are beyond anything we've seen before - terrifyingly consistent and monstrously high-impact, built with purpose, style, and forward planning - this really is the big time, folks!


A prominent strategy we’ve seen is to jump straight into a class like Ranger or Ninja, and start collecting the best cards of that class right off the bat. Not only does this drive others in the pod away from picking your class, it ensures that you end up with the best pool for that hero.

Due to the number of hybrid cards and generics, Assassin seems like more of a fallback plan and can support a higher number of players - making it a very capable option if you’re looking to stay open until you can read the table a little better. Red arrows, red attack reactions, and red pumps are a premium pick among the top tables, as blues and yellows tend to be easy to scoop up later.

Pod #1, consisting of the Pro Tour’s most stacked competitors, was split efficiently between 2 Azalea, 2 Benji, 1 Arakni, and 3 Uzuri.

Previously undefeated Taotao Chu was bodying opponents left and right with gargantuan dominated arrows backed by Toxicity - often ripping chunks of up to 16 damage out of their life total. But in the last round it all came down to a fatal miscalculation in the final 4 cards of his deck, when he used Azalea’s ability, only to find a Scout the Periphery on top instead of a game-winning arrow. Taotao took it in good stride, holding up a sign to the camera that said “Don’t pitch stack like me.” Taotao’s run isn’t over yet, as he’s locked to bring his Uzuri, Switchblade deck to the Classic Constructed portion of Day 2.

Nova Chan looked like he was on the backfoot when he could only swing in with two Spider’s Bites and a underwhelming Sneak Attack, and his opponent thought he was safe with a single block. But Nova caught him off guard with a truly cunning play - activating Fleet Foot Sandals and targeting his Spider’s Bite on the chain link, which activated Sneak Attack’s power increase and delivered lethal damage.

Liam Bennett patiently held a Razor’s Edge in arsenal for several turns - his opponent guessed that it was there but that didn’t make it any easier, as he was forced to overblock turn after turn to avoid death, until eventually his deck was exhausted and Liam claimed the win.

Day 1 is in the books, and we have three undefeated players heading into Day 2 - Allen Lau, Liam Bennett, and Lucas Oswald. Catch you all tomorrow!

Friday - World Guide Commoner Event

Sometimes you have to break the bank in order to fuel a crippling addiction to cardboard - we’ve all been there. For some, playing on a budget is an attractive alternative. But it’s not just the low cost of Commoner that has caused this casual format to blow up - it’s also extremely fun. Just like regular FAB, games can be over in an instant or they can grind to the very last point of life, with both heroes desperately pushing to get that smidge of an upper hand.


Despite previously having a somewhat linear meta, the Commoner tables at the World Guide event were stacked with a wide spread of budget brawlers. Bravo, Iyslander, Dash, Chane, Kassai, and Ira were the most popular, known for doing one specific thing and doing it well.

Unlike the furrowed brows and gritted teeth of the Pro Tour competitors, the Commoner event sported beaming smiles, bellows of laughter, and a true sense of merriment. Some players were completely new to the game, bringing a hero they liked the look of most and winning their first game with a flush of excitement. Others were more seasoned, happy to take a break from the competitive scene and enjoy chucking a Pummel on top of a Crush the Weak, or finishing off a wide chain of boost attacks with a massive Overblast.

The event is expected to run for many more hours, but the players don’t mind - they’re in their happy place. The coveted World Guide book glimmers in the distance, patiently waiting for an owner to turn the page of a new adventure.

Friday - Pro Tour Day 1 Meta Analysis

The first leg is done, and players have soared into the more dangerous part of the Pro Tour - Draft.

At the end of 4 rounds of Classic Constructed, one hero has utterly outshone every other contender - the electrifying, yet always cool, Lexi, Livewire.

Lexi has been riding the aurora trails straight to the front of the pack, taking the majority of undefeated standings so far. Already equipped with efficient Ice disruption, on demand go again, and a barrage of arrows with devastating on-hits, Outsiders really tipped Lexi over the edge by rounding out her card pool with some shockingly good support.

Tools like Codex of Frailty, Withering Shot, and Down and Dirty for the Dromai matchup have replaced some of the more awkward filler that Lexi used to run, and the deck now runs smoother than a pickup line overheard in Blackjack’s Tavern.

Lexi, Livewire
Lexi, Livewire
Codex of Frailty
Codex of Frailty
Down and Dirty
Down and Dirty

While she only has a morsel of undefeated standings compared to Lexi, Dromai is performing as a solid meta counter. Dragons can be difficult to remove, and Dromai has a whole toolbox of them. The deck takes a lot of time and commitment to learn, but can be so rewarding when piloted into a promising field.

Dromai, Ash Artist
Dromai, Ash Artist

Katsu, Dash, Oldhim, Bravo, Uzuri, Azalea, Briar, Iyslander, and Levia all have a player who is currently undefeated as of round 4, proving that although there’s clearly one deck to beat, there are several viable heroes in this format.

Despite being the second-most represented deck, Oldhim seems to be stumbling a little. New tools in Outsiders coupled with specific sideboard tech allows heroes to occasionally steal a game from him. But we know he’s here for a long time, not a good time, and his winrate could improve on Day 2.

Katsu has undergone a revolution, with many Team Poland players repping him due to the revitalized combo lines and impactful playstyle.

There has also been less Azalea than expected, with many Ranger mains favouring the Elemental flavour for top level competition.

Draft will make or break many records today, so we’ll catch up with these heroes again in Day 2.

Friday - Pro Tour Day 1 Hero Breakdown

A storm of elemental fury is brewing as 391 players rocked up to the Pro Tour. Let’s take a look at what heroes they’re repping!


91 Lexi, Livewire have stolen the limelight, chilling their enemies to a frosty halt before cutting them down with lightning-fast arrows. Ranger’s day in the sun has finally arrived!

72 Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity are guarding the path with unwavering endurance. Other heroes will need to prepare for the long haul if they hope to make it past the white-bearded menace.

43 Dromai, Ash Artist have risen from the red sands of Volcor to challenge the cold wave, bringing dragons galore to burn their dreams to cinders.

26 Bravo, Showstopper have returned for an encore, much to the audience’s delight. The big guy is on form today, as he puts on the show of a lifetime.

24 Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire are boosting their way to victory, bringing a packed suitcase of gadgets and gizmos to help them navigate the various threats.

24 Katsu, the Wanderer have traveled a long way from Mysteria to bring the pain, utilizing brand new combos to dumpster their enemies.

20 Briar, Warden of Thorns are making the ground tremble as they bring the full force of Mount Heroic upon the field.

20 Azalea, Ace in the Hole are aiming true, looking to make a quick silver by taking some names with some new Ranger toys.

15 Iyslander, Stormbind are looming in the distance, threatening to trap unwary travelers in a freezing avalanche.

13 Fai, Rising Rebellion are braving the cold, hoping to get hot and heavy with some wild combat chains. Go the Phoenix!

10 Rhinar, Reckless Rampage are mauling through the competition, but will they become the apex predator?

9 Kano, Dracai of Aether have been punishing anyone who decided to skimp on the nullrune, proving that it always pays to use protection.

8 Dorinthea, Ironsong are darting through the battlefield, taking a stab at the title.

8 Viserai, Rune Blood are mustering their arcane strength to unleash hell upon the weak.

5 Uzuri, Switchblade are signing off games in blood, letting players know not to mess with the Boss.

2 Ser Boltyn, Breaker of Dawn are charging into the fray headfirst, lighting the way for Solana.

1 Levia, Shadowborn Abomination is surviving and thriving in the midst of the icy onslaught. The lone Shadow Brute is hungry, and only time will tell if she makes a meal of the other heroes, or if her own soul will be consumed.

metagame (2).png

Friday - Venue Snapshot

The Pro Tour is officially in full swing, with an electric atmosphere of early tournament hopefulness. Some dreams will come true, while others will be snuffed out in an instant. We’ll dive into what everyone’s playing later today, but for the time being, come with us for a quick tour throughout the venue.

This season is all about the treacherous Pits, where lost souls scrabble to survive. It’s the perfect setting for a Pro Tour, as the best of the best grapple for their right to be called Champion. It takes a lot of guts, endurance, and quick thinking to climb to the top of the pile, and what better way to feature the hardcore games than a literal pit?


Flesh and Blood stands out for pure dedication to craftsmanship. Breathtaking masterpieces are showcased throughout the building - whether it’s mystical landscapes, heroic banners, or thrilling giant cards, the place is a visual feast.

The first thing that catches your eye when you walk in is three marvel codices in the dead center of the prize wall, proving that among the blood and dirt of the underworld, true beauty can be found.


No matter where you’re from, there’s one thing that unites us all, and it’s fantastic to see people bringing little slices of home with them to share with everyone at Baltimore.

Meeting your favourite content creator, seeing heroes brought to life in cosplay form, or picking up small mementos - so much to do, so much to see, so what’s wrong with taking the back streets?


Thursday - Players Reception Recap

There was no mucking around - the player reception kicked off with an almighty bang.

James White launched directly into his keynote presentation with a first look at the upcoming set Dusk Till Dawn, after the crowd literally roared their urge to catch a glimpse. A gasp rolled through the audience, followed by whoops of sheer joy as the fan-favourite Light Illusionist appeared in a stunning new form - Prism, Advent of Thrones!

A mysterious new Shadow Runeblade also emerged - Vynnset!

Hype for the 10th Flesh and Blood set is spreading like wildfire, as another juicy tidbit was unveiled: 10x Prism, Sculptor of Arc Light, and 10x Chane, Bound by Shadow - Cold Foil, Serialized, Hand Drawn, Artist Sketch cards can be found in Dusk Till Dawn (limited to North America, Europe, and Brazil).

As Dusk Till Dawn is an expansion set, it will be celebrated with the War of the Monarchs weekend in July - a return to the exceptional format of Monarch Draft.

Nationals will also feature Monarch Draft! Since the set was released in early 2021 during the covid pandemic, New Zealand and Taiwan were the only countries who really got to experience this limited format - now the rest of the world gets a chance to step foot into the power struggle between the forces of Light and Shadow.

And with a grand flourish, James whipped back the black sheet that was covering a highly anticipated treasure - the Prism statuette, produced in partnership with Weta Workshop. Almost instantly there was a surge to get a closer look at the sparking angelic bookworm in all her glory, along with the PCG 10 Cold Foil Prism, Sculptor of Arc Light that rested next to her.

There’s no doubt about it - Dusk Till Dawn, the second chapter of the War of the Monarchs trilogy, is shaping up to be a breathtaking marvel like no other!


The QnA was an absolute smackdown, bursting with cheeky wrestling references by moderator Flake, as people lined up to ask those burning questions.

James confirmed that the controversial spectra keyword would not be returning in Dusk Till Dawn, but kept everyone on the edge of their seats about what classes and talents might show up next. But he couldn’t help but tease the crowd, confirming that Dorinthea will be getting a new Specialization card in the upcoming set.

Card design and balance was a hot topic, with Codex of Frailty working just as intended - an extremely powerful tool for Rangers to finally “give them some love”. Rhinar won’t be getting the same love, as another blue 6-power is unlikely to ever surface any time soon. James emphasized the importance of having a wide spectrum of strategies, from fatigue, to aggro, to midrange, to board state-based strategies like Dromai and Pistol Dash.

Exciting stuff is on the horizon for Premiere Play, with Team Limited Callings on the way, and even a Calling in Canada sometime next year.

When asked about expanding Flesh and Blood digitally, James mentioned that while the world of Rathe has a lot potential to be explored in other forms of media, the goal is first and foremost to focus on continuing to deliver the best TCG experience possible. However, we can expect an interactive Learn to Play app in the very near future.

Lastly, an official Living Legend format isn’t far off, once at least 4 heroes have joined the roll of honour there will be an opportunity to play them at full power, everything on the table, no holds barred.

Like children waiting to open their Christmas presents everyone is desperate to sink their teeth into the Pro Tour!

Swathed in the beautiful landscapes of Rathe, the venue has an air of whimsy and authenticity - players have gathered from all corners of the globe to immerse themselves in the world of Flesh and Blood. Endless rows of chairs and tables wait to be filled by competitors who will fight tooth and nail to come out on top of the pile. Blood will be shed, bonds will be forged, and memories will be made that will be cherished for years to come.

It’s time to delve into the deep!

Welcome to the Pro Tour: Baltimore Live Blog!

The underbelly of Rathe... the home of the Lost... the Misfits... the Outsiders.

We'll be posting highlights, recaps, and deep dives here every few hours - so stay tuned as we embark on this exciting journey!