Recap: Battle Hardened Belgium & ProQuest S3W3

31st Jan 2023 Legend Story Studios

The first season of the year for Organised Play draws to a close with the third season of ProQuest events finishing last weekend. The winners securing their spots to compete at Pro Tour: Baltimore in April to battle it out for their share of $200,000 USD and the title of Pro Tour Champion!

And what a finale of a weekend it was, seeing a sell out Battle Hardened Belgium draw players from all over Europe. The event smashed Belgium's FAB event attendance records and claimed the titles for the largest ProQuest and Armory events ever?

For all the latest information on the metagame, look to Parker Brown's article on Friday, crunching the data to give you some key insights for the months to come and wrapping up this ProQuest season. We're entering an exciting new realm of possibilities for Classic Constructed, with the release of the Outsiders on the horizon and a new banned and restricted update.

The Pro Tour Baltimore is drawing nearer and things are heating up!

BH 2023 Belgium general

Despite the cold winter of eastern Flanders, in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium, there was a warm haven for gamers last weekend. Over three days, and three events, some of the best players in Europe battled it out in Oldhim, Iyslander and Fai's last hurrah (maybe?) before the bans.

The combat began on Friday with 148 players turning up for the Super Armory, breaking the record for the biggest tournament in Belgium. Some of the top heroes at this first event of the weekend were Chane and Prism, proving that even though they left for the "White Shores" of the Living Legend Status in Classic Constructed, they were still a force to be reckoned with in Blitz! In the end, the top three spots of the leader board were occupied by Dash, Iyslander and Dorinthea, respectively.

It was the first ever Battle Hardened to be held in Belgium, but the growing, dedicated player base showed up in full force, proving that there's a lot of competitors in Europe! The main event was on Saturday with once again, a record-breaking turnout. Was it the biggest Battle Hardened in the world? In any case, with 226 players (the maximum number for an 8-round event, played over a single day) and ALL 17 adult heroes represented, it promised to be a diverse experience for everyone.

It was hard to envision who would prevail in this epic, long day of FaB action, but some familiar names and faces were at the venue for those following the competitive scene. Viet Pham, from Germany; Top 2 Elo player in the world, was piloting his Iyslander deck. Belgian National Champion: Glenn Van Roey brought Briar, Warden of Thorns, while his compatriot, the Prism Slayer himself: Joris Verhelst, was ready to battle with his deck of choice being Iyslander, Stormbind, after he sent the Light Illusionist to Living Legend by winning the Calling in Lille last summer.

Fai was the most played deck at the event, with 38 players opting for the draconic Ninja, while 26 chose the Mechanologist from Arcane Rising, Dash. Oldhim, Iyslander and Dromai followed, with 21, 20 and 20 players respectively, but no hero was absent from this grand event. The League of Levia came in strong with 6 players trying to brute force their way into the top of the standings with the Shadow hero, while two valiant champions of Solana came to the event playing Boltyn!

Ultimately, even with a strong showing of fiery ninjas and icy wizards, it was the old man himself who dominated at the top tables. Three Oldhim players qualified for Top 8, along with two Fai decks, two Briars (including Glenn Van Roey), and one Dash completing the final phase of the tournament. Which meant, perhaps as a surprise to many, there were no Iyslander players after the cut!

BH 2023 Top 8

The quarterfinals and semifinals were played extremely fast, leading the judging staff and the coverage team to think the tournament would end much earlier than expected. But Oldhim didn't agree! Kevin Zänker from Germany, and Sébastien Spilliaert from Belgium, decided that it was time to show how to play the Elemental Guardian Mirror. This very grindy matchup can only be won with patience, pitch-stacking, and careful blocking.

Even though their heroes were the same, Kevin and Sébastien chose different strategies coming into the game. The German player picking Sledge of Anvilheim as his weapon, while his Belgian opponent chose a more defensive route with Stalagmite, and Winter's Wail, for one of its last showings before the ban! Ultimately, the Sledge option proved more efficient and after a 90 minute final, Kevin Zänke emerged victorious !

BH Belgium 2023 Winner

Top 8

1st: Kevin Zanker - Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity
2nd: Sebastien Spilliaert - Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity
3rd-4th: Rafaelo Sarmiento - Fai, Rising Rebellion
3rd-4th: Lucas Dutailly - Briar, Warden of Thorns
5th-8th: Paul van Gijssel - Fai, Rising Rebellion
5th-8th: Glenn Van Roey - Briar, Warden of Thorns
5th-8th: Ruben Van Dessel - Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire
5th-8th: Nuno Amaral - Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity

Brood en Spelen Logo

Brood en Spelen - Belgium

Whether or not they were afraid they would get targeted harder because of their hero's win the previous day, Oldhim players were less numerous for the ProQuest on Sunday. 210 players came back, and while Fai decks were still more present than any other, different strategies emerged, with 27 Dash decks, 24 Dromai, 17 Bravo, 17 Iyslander, and only 15 of the Elemental Guardian. Despite having less decks in the tournament, the old warrior of Isenloft refused to stand down, and came back with three players in the Top 8. This time, though, two Iyslanders qualified, including Viet Pham, alongside one each of Briar, Dromai and Fai. Such a strong presence of icy heroes could have spelled trouble for aggro players, but not for Hrvoje Hedžet. The Croatian player piloted his Fai deck to the finals at phoenix flame speed, and dispatched his Oldhim opponent, João Gomes from Portugal, in less than thirty minutes.

The metagame will definitely change in the next few weeks, with Winter's Wail, Belittle, Hypothermia and Amulet of Ice bans forcing players to adapt and adopt new strategies. One thing's for sure, though: after three days of intense and perfectly-run tournaments (shoutouts to the judge team, and Brood en Spelen staff for making sure everything went smoothly), 226 players, some traveling hundreds or thousands of kilometres for the chance to compete at the highest level - Europe is ready for more of these big tournaments!

Battle Hardened and ProQuest recap written by Romain Nicolas

The Venue Plymouth

The Venue: Plymouth - United Kingdom

Our local rivalry of Tobias Lee and Kailam Dale met in the fourth round, both taking each other to 1 life before Tobias took the win.

Commiserations to Jordan Ferguson, the only player to have won two games but still did not get into the top 8.

Nathan Eastwood and Kailam Dale met in the Top 8, the first time they've played since the last Skirmish event with Nathan taking the win again.

Steve Phillmore took on Steve Andrews in the battle for their name, with Steve Andrews taking the win.

Bruno Cracco, Tom Evans, Ed Kennan and Marcus Archer traveled down together, with Tom and Bruno taking first and second place, with Ed and Marcus getting second to last and last, sandwiching the event as a group.

SRG-Logo Final - Smetch Rat Games

Smetch Rat Games - United States

We want to thank everybody who came out to Smetch Rat Games ProQuest Season 3 event. A few players traveled a long distance to be a part of it and we're happy to see so many people support Flesh and Blood and the events that LSS helps us to arrange. It was the largest single event ever hosted by Smetch Rat Games and it has been great to see the community grow over the years.

We also want to thank Joey Senart who acted as our head judge and co-host for our event. Joeys skill in organization and love for the game played a large part in our ability to make it all possible.

The overall community engagement has been uplifting, and exciting to see. Congratulations and good luck to Jeered Balangan who took 1st place at our event, and good luck to everybody else who took a spot at the Pro Tour! We appreciate the support.

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Boutique Awesome - Canada

Boutique Awesome's AWESOME Win-a-Case ProQuest was a huge hit, with 35 AWESOME players participating with 13 different heroes! Plus, everyone enjoyed the free pizza lunch!

Guillaume Couillard triumphed at the end of the event with Oldhim in Winter's Wail's last hurrah, defeating Antoine Bélance on Dromai! The rest of the Top 8 was Daniel Dreisziger (Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire), Mathieu Charron-Lalonde (Fai, Rising Rebellion), Bruno Lapointe (Fai, Rising Rebellion), Phillipe Geoffroy (Dromai, Ash Artist), Nikola Marcoux (Iyslander), and Frank Boothroyd (Kano, Dracai of Aether) ! Thanks to everyone who came to play!

nexus logo - Kolbrún Mist Pálsdóttir.png

Nexus Entertainment - Iceland

This was the first ProQuest in Iceland, after running Armory Events since 28. Feb ´22. There are 2 stores in Iceland, population 375.000, Nexus in the capitol, Reykjavík, and Goblin in Akureyri.

We here in Nexus were proud to have gone from 6 players at the weekly Armory events up to 12 at our weekly events in less then a year, and hosting a Skirmish of 16 players in August, and now being selected to host ProQuest, and gather the 14 best players from around the country. In Iceland we have 30 active Flesh And Blood players (players with XP in the last 90 days).

Being an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, provided a new hurdle for us, since we now needed a non-playing Level 1 judge. And one of our best players being the only Level 1 judge at the time of our selection wanted a chance to compete at the ProTour, so Kolbrún decided to hit the books and study for the Level 1 Judge exam, which she succeeded in and became the Judge and TO for our ProQuest. Now everything was ready for the best players of Iceland to compete.

The event was held at Nexus, our local gaming store in Reykjavík, established in 1992.

At 13:00 on 28th January the event began, and players turned in their deck lists and we were ready to begin. One player at the tournament had visual impairments and asked the judge if it was alright for them to have an assistant, to which the judge promptly replied that that would be no issue as per rule 5.6 in the tournament rules and policy, provided that their assistant would remain neutral, I’m pleased to say that they managed to compete in the tournament without any issue.

Hero’s played where as follows

3x Fai, Rising Rebellion

2x Lexi, Livewire

2x Briar, Warden Of Thorns

1x Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity

1x Viserai, Rune Blood

1x Iyslander, Stormbind

1x Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire

1x Kano, Dracai of Aether

1x Dorinthia Ironsong

1x Dromai, Ash Artist

The 4 rounds of swiss played well, and all players played in a timely fashion, only one match went to time, which was the match of Haukur on Oldhim vs Aron on Dash. Only a few minor judge calls were needed, such as asking for clarification of card abilities and their interactions, providing a translation of cards in German, and one case of a player accidentally shuffling their weapon into their deck, which was then discovered in the 2nd turn of the match.

After the 4 rounds of swiss, the top 4 players where:

  1. Benedikt Andrésson , 4-0
  2. Ragnar Sigurðsson, 3-1
  3. Haukur Þór Búason, 3-1
  4. Birgir Hrafn Búason, 3-1

In the semi-finals, Benedikt on Dorinthia fought against Birgir on Briar, where in a rather short match Dorinthia cracked under the oppressing onslaught of Briar Mount Heroic.

And Haukur on Oldhim fought Ragnar on Fai, which turned into a drudge match where no matter the relentless assault by Fai, Oldhim stood as a bulwark grinding Fai down to exhaustions when Oldhim finally managed to break Fai and take the win.

The final match was between the brothers Búason, in the eternal struggle of brother against brother, Haukur on Oldhim and Birgir on Briar. The match began with them trading blows, Oldhim only taking damage when an opportunity of a big attack with dominate came in his hand. Yet Briar always kept pushing some damage through Oldhim’s defenses. By the end Oldhim was at 2 life and Briar with only 1 life, when Oldhim sacrificed his last piece of armor and a 3 block card against Briar’s Snatch to be able to play a red Thunderquake on his turn, which proved too big of an attack for Briar to defend against, especially without Embodiment of Earth, which gave the older brother, Haukur Þór Búason, the win.

Haukur then opened the Golden Cold Foil Romping Club and was awarded the ProTour invite, which he intends to use, traveling to the US in April for the ProTour in Baltimore.

The Trading Card Shop

The Trading Card Shop - Singapore

Saturday was the 1st day of Jeux-TTCS ProQuest, both stores were honored to be given the opportunity to host ProQuest 3. It was also the 7th day of the new lunar year. & Yes, If you were wondering why there was a lack of FAB action from countries in Asia last week, most of us are celebrating the Chinese New Year (2-7 days of public holidays in various countries, festive period: 15 days).

We were happy to have 60 players joining us on this day. After a long grueling day, Kai Yang (Iyslander), the local brainy deck creator, fired out a blue Emeritus Scolding from his Arsenal after a resolved Aether Wildfire with Storm Striders to emerge champion.

Champion: Kai Yang - Iyslander, Stormbind

Runner-up: Alexander Dobler - Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire

3rd-8th (not in order of merit):

Isaac Teo - Briar, Warden of Thorns

Ivan Teo - Fai, Rising Rebellion

Reeve Chia - Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity

Roy Chiang - Fai, Rising Rebellion

Theodore Tan - Iyslander, Stormbind

wu shirui - Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire

Huge thanks to Legend Story Studios for the opportunity and Jeux Kingdom for the collaboration. Thank you everyone who helped out with the event setup and judging. Thank you Aegis ( for sponsoring the lucky draw prizes.

Last but not least, the warming community that joined us for the event during the festive period.

Side note: 7th day of first lunar month is known as renrì 人日, Pinyin: rén rì), literally Human Day and is considered to be the birthday of mankind. According to the legend, Nüwa created certain animals on different days as she was lonesome and wanted the animals as company. On the seventh day after the creation of the world, Nüwa (女媧) created human beings from yellow clay. With the divine power entrusted to her, Nüwa made the clay figurines to become alive. Family members and friends will come together and celebrate the day with dishes such as Yusheng (raw fish and vegetable salad) & other dishes with symbolic meaning.

Mr Bills Transparent - Travis Merrill.png

Mr. Bill's Collectible World- United States

The Four Winds have converged to bring 67 of the region’s finest Heroes to Mr. Bill’s ProQuest Season 3 by Pit Fight Productions! This International affair brings together some of the stiffest competition the Great Pacific Northwest can muster. Players from the far northern reach of Canada and many traveling from out of state to fight for Mr. Bill’s ProQuest Title. After 7 grueling rounds of fierce Swiss combat, 8 blood soaked Heroes left erect hungering for their place amongst the Professional circuit.

Great game after great game ensued, with epic games drawing their usual crowds. Discussions abound by players of all experience levels, bring together everything we love about the FAB Community. I’m pleased to present your Mr. Bill’s ProQuest Season 3 Top 8:

Champion Philip “Reid” Parker with Iyslander

Runner Up Tristen Farmer with Oldhim

3rd- 4th Archer Taylor (Bravo) & Alex Fraser (Iyslander)

5th- 8th Ian Becker (Dorinthea Ironsong), Kevin Ho (Dorinthea Ironsong), Ryan Biggs (Lexi Livewire) & Nathan Dollman (Rhinar)

Here is the Hero Breakdown for Mr. Bill's Flesh and Blood ProQuest Season 3:

1x Arakni, Huntsman / 7x Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity / 3x Kano, Dracai of Aether / 10x Fai, Rising Rebellion / 5x Dorinthea Ironsong / 7x Dromai, Ash Artist /5x Lexi, Livewire / 6x Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire / 2x Briar, Warden of Thorns / 6x Iyslander, Stormbind / 6x Rhinar, Reckless Rampage / 5x Bravo, Showstopper / 1x Katsu, the Wanderer / 2x Viserai, Rune Blood / 1x Azalea, Ace in the Hole

67 total Heroes

15 different heroes

From everyone at Mr. Bill’s and Pit Fight Productions thank you one and all for another amazing event.

Pro Tour Baltimore