For the ProQuest Season, we invited guest writers to contribute to fabtcg.com over the course of the series. Drew Cordell is a content creator and writer known for writing strategy and analysis content for community hubs around the internet. We'd like to thank him for his work creating this article series over the course of the season.
Drew Cordell here. Welcome back to my fifth and final article for ProQuest season! I'm sure we can all agree, Everfest has disrupted the meta and led to some big changes in Flesh & Blood TCG. I'm thrilled to cap off the ProQuest season with some commentary on the current environment heading into The Calling: Indianapolis this weekend. I'll also share some tips and tricks to help you transition to larger events such as this if you're new, or if it's been a while since you experienced the competitive scene in a trading card game.
I'd like to extend an extra-special thank you to the team at Legend Story Studios. It's been a phenomenal experience getting to work directly with them to shape and contribute official seasonal content to fabtcg.com over the past five weeks. I'm honored to have been chosen for the opportunity.
I look forward to all that may come both with my content creation and the future of Flesh & Blood!
Now, let's dive into the content!
ProQuest Season Wrap-Up and the Impact of Everfest
Players have a lot to get excited for in organized play as we approach Classic Battles: Rhinar vs Dorinthea and June’s full new set release. The Calling: Indianapolis, numerous Battle Hardened events, Skirmish Season Four, and The Calling/Pro Tour New Jersey are right around the corner! Having spent plenty of time playing both Blitz and Classic Constructed, I can confidently say Everfest has brought massive changes to both formats. For one, Flesh & Blood is speeding up. The power level of decks is increasing, and every class in the game can craft some truly explosive turns that lead to exciting, action-packed gameplay on both sides of the table.
In Classic Constructed, players need to have a plan to deal with Prism, Viserai, and Bravo, Star of the Show when building and piloting a powerful deck. Davis broke down the metagame in his most recent post, giving us access to valuable statistics and data surrounding the format.
Skirmish Season Four for Blitz is right around the corner, beginning next weekend on Saturday, March 26th. In my early testing, I’ve found that Oldhim, Kassai, Viserai, and Kano are some of the main contenders to look out for. With much of the community being so laser-focused on Classic Constructed over the ProQuest season, I will not be surprised to see wide, sweeping changes to the Blitz meta once more players begin their preparations for the season before The Calling and Pro Tour New Jersey.
Moving On From ProQuest
If ProQuest was your first dive into competitive play, I’m sure you had a blast, but you’re probably wondering what’s next and how to transition to a much larger event like a Calling.
In my first article with fabtcg.com, I outlined exactly what to expect at ProQuest, and how to set yourself up for success at a larger-scale event. ProQuest was unique in that it gave players a taste of the competitive experience at local game stores all over the world. The good news is that all the advice will carry over, with some minor revisions. If you haven’t read that article yet, go do that now.
Everyone can and should participate in events like the Calling; if you had fun at your ProQuest, you’re bound to have fun at the Calling. Even if you don’t do as well as you may hope in the main event, there are always plenty of side events and things to do around the convention hall. There’s truly something for everyone at large events like this!
Prepare Out of Game
First, if you will be traveling a significant distance and staying in a hotel or with friends and family, the equipment you pack will be a bigger concern. Make sure you have everything you need in and out of the game for a pleasant trip. You want to be prepared, but don’t want to overpack to the degree you’ll be uncomfortable lugging your equipment around all day at the event.
Make sure you square away all of your travel and transportation arrangements ahead of time. If you’re staying in a hotel, get there early enough so you can get checked in and ensure you have everything you’ll need for your event in your bag for the day. If your event requires a registered decklist, it’s always helpful to complete that ahead of time and not the day of (unless you’ll be making last-minute changes to your decklist). I find it’s a lot less stressful to complete the decklist registration ahead of your travel date, so it’s one less thing to worry about.
I’m not a big breakfast guy. My usual breakfast when I’m at home is three cups of black coffee then an early lunch. But I’ll always eat breakfast before an event like the Calling. It helps give energy ahead of lunch and sets the stage for the day. I’ve almost always done better in events where I’ve had a good breakfast versus skipping it in favor of coffee.
Water is essential at an event like the Calling. At The Calling: Dallas Fort-Worth, I clocked in a massive 20,000+ steps during the day according to my device just by walking to the venue and around the convention hall, going to the restroom, shopping with vendors, etc. You’ll want to make sure you stay hydrated and have everything you need. While perhaps not as physically intense, an event like the Calling is somewhat comparable to the kind of physical exertion you’d expect from a day at the amusement park. You’ll be sitting a lot but you'll also be walking a ton. Prepare accordingly!
Prepare well out of the game, and you’ll help set yourself up for success in the game.
Tournament fatigue is just as much — or more — of a potential issue for players at events like the Calling, as fun as these events are! Do what you need to between rounds to stay refreshed and focused. If you’re playing a slower deck like control, make sure you’re comfortable with the lines of play and can do them efficiently, so you have to worry less about the round timer and any potential draw. Try to stay sharp, and stay mindful of playing as tight as possible and watch it pay dividends.
Select the deck that’s best for you. If you can, work to understand the meta. One of the phenomenal things about Flesh & Blood is how much data we have access to from Legend Story Studios after events, including winning decklists. Davis Kingsley’s articles breaking down the ProQuest meta and detailed performance and stats of each hero is also a great starting place when you look at selecting what deck you will pilot at your event coming out of ProQuest season.
Unless there is some spicy new deck waiting to be unveiled, you can expect the competitive field at constructed events like the Calling to closely align with the most recent week of ProQuest events (the aggregate field), with some likely shifts heading into the event. Connect with the community and try to get a pulse on what heroes, cards, and strategies players are talking about. You’ll be surprised at how much you can pick up from the general sentiment of other players and the various communities.
I’ve had many of my readers come to me for advice before events like the Calling when deciding what deck to play. I almost always advise these players to play the deck they are most comfortable with, even if it’s not the perceived ‘best’ deck. 9/10 times, those players will do better on a deck they are extremely comfortable with and have the reps on than the ‘better’ deck they’ve barely played. For players who have time to practice and put in the reps ahead of the event, they could consider piloting the ‘best’ deck if it’s something they are interested in pursuing.
Of course, one of the most important aspects of preparations for an event like the Calling is practicing, especially if you are highly competitive and want to excel in the event. Try to play as many events with your deck of choice ahead of the big day as you can. The more you can practice at your local game store, and on the community Discord server over webcam, the better! Even if you’re like me and don’t live especially close to a local game store, it’s super easy to find a game on Discord at almost any time of day. All you need is a microphone, your deck, and something to film your gameplay for your opponent! There are also plenty of remote, webcam discord events hosted by local game stores all over the world. Your next chance to practice for your big event is never far away.
It may seem like a simple/silly exercise, but I also recommend goldfishing from time to time. Shuffle up, draw four cards, and try to calculate out the best line of play in ten seconds or less. Set aside that hand facedown in its own stack and repeat the process multiple times. Then, go back through each individual hand and see if you would change your line of play with thirty seconds instead of ten. This exercise does a couple of things. First, it helps you form familiarity with the cards in your deck, and second, it helps you understand how they interact and form different combos and interactions you may have not considered or seen in previous games.
The math behind the probability of combinations and permutations for a game like Flesh & Blood is almost incalculable. Every time you shuffle up a deck of 60-classic constructed cards (treating each card as an individual), there are 60! (factorial) potential ways that the deck could be arranged after you finish shuffling. That’s 8.32e+81, a number SO massive it wouldn’t be prudent to expand it within the article. It’s so massive that every time you finish shuffling, you’re all but CERTAIN to configure your deck in a specific way that has never been done before by another player in the game since its creation.
Simply put, by goldfishing like this, you will run into some potential interactions between your cards you hadn’t considered before. I find in my actual games that I’m still learning new lines of play for decks that I have countless hours of experience on. There’s that much depth to the game, and that’s part of what lends to the almost endless replayability. When I finish a game of Flesh & Blood, I’m always ready to shuffle up and play my next.
Practice, learn your deck, learn the field, and understand the data, and you’ll set yourself up for success in-game!
Thank you again for joining me during my ProQuest series, I truly hope you had a wonderful experience at your events and enjoyed my content! Until next time, connect with me and check out all the Flesh & Blood content I am creating around the web.
- Drew Cordell
Drew Cordell is a competitive Flesh and Blood player and author of content relating to gameplay and strategy. The opinions expressed in the above article are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Legend Story Studios.