Recap: Battle Hardened Leeds

18th Jan 2023

Guest writer Ryan Dinsdale has returned to share his recap of Battle Hardened: Leeds, kicking off a brand new year of organized play!

Was there a more fitting location to host Flesh and Blood’s first Battle Hardened of 2023 than in Leeds’ Royal Armouries, the UK’s national museum of arms and armour? Players walking its halls between matches could see all manner of traditional weaponry and equipment, where a Dawnblade or Arcanite Skullcap wouldn’t look out of place.

The real treasures were held in the event hall though, where 177 players battled it out for a Legendary Gold Cold Foil, Professional Tournament Invitations, exclusive Battle Hardened playmats, and $2,000 in prize money.

Competition was fierce, with several high calibre Flesh and Blood players taking part including Pro Tour: Lille champion Matthew Foulkes and semi-finalist Shahmir Samee, Calling: Kraków finalist Przemyslaw Staniszewski, Leeds’ 2022 Battle Hardened champion Francesco Giorgio, UK national champion George Rodger, and many more.


Though no one expects the north of England in mid-January to be particularly warm, the emergence of a frosty Top 8 came as a particular surprise at Battle Hardened: Leeds given how diverse the meta actually was. Hosted by Living Realms and streamed by Tabletop24, those watching at home were able to see just how varied the deck selection was with standout matches from several different heroes.

Every Classic Constructed hero was represented at the event, from Arakni to Azalea, Kano to Katsu, and Boltyn to Briar. Dash saw a boost in popularity similar to the Battle Hardened events that closed out 2022 as she continues to enjoy the new toys made available to her in Dynasty, while Fai’s raw firepower also made him a popular choice.

Welcome to Rathe classic Bravo was another well represented hero as players looked to dominate and crush the competition, and his fellow Guardian Oldhim saw similar numbers alongside Iyslander and Lexi.

Meta-Breakdown-BH Leeds.jpg

Players battled it out for eight intense rounds of Classic Constructed ahead of the Top 8 cut, and finally the best performing players had been decided. Matthew Foulkes earned the top seed with the only flawless run of the day, earning an impressive 8-0 record. Sean Knowelden earned the second seed, Jack Raven took third, Maciej Janik fourth, Fred Bird fifth, and Przemyslaw Staniszewski took sixth, all with a 7-1 record. Francesco Giorgio and Liam Holden rounded out the Top 8 in seventh and eighth respectively, both with a 6-2 record.

Top8 (1) bh leeds.jpg

It was therefore Foulkes versus Holden in the premiere match of the quarter finals. Foulkes on Iyslander appeared to be on the backfoot early as he was unable to get more than one Frost Hex into play, a card which pairs particularly well with Ice Eternal in long games like this one against Holden’s Oldhim.

Things swung back however as Foulkes’ disruption managed to slow Holden down, and in classic Flesh and Blood fashion things came down to the wire as both heroes fought the final few turns on just a few health points. But in what eventually became a round one upset, a Pummel from Holden sealed the deal as Foulkes couldn’t fire back enough arcane damage to close the game himself.

Liam Holden therefore moved on to the semifinals alongside Fred Bird, Przemyslaw Staniszewski, and Sean Knowelden. An Oldhim mirror match eventually saw Bird overcome Holden to enter the finals while Staniszewski and Iyslander’s elemental wizard attacks proved too much for Knowelden’s own Oldhim.

Fred Bird and Przemyslaw Staniszewski then sat down for the final, with both players seeking their tenth win of the day to crown them Battle Hardened: Leeds champion. One of the biggest surprises of the match came almost immediately as Bird on Oldhim dropped an Imperial Warhorn on turn one. Though the card was mostly associated with anti-Dash tech thanks to its item smashing ability, Bird was now ready to take down not just a pesky Frost Hex on his side of the board but one of Staniszewski’s Iyslander items too.

With some of those key cards out the way, Bird pushed through Staniszewski’s other disruption and finished the game with an Enlightened Strike into Disable combo. The two attacks proved too much Iyslander’s defences and Fred Bird proved victorious of 2023’s Battle Hardened: Leeds.

BH Leeds Champion Fred Bird.jpg

Top 8

1st: Fred Bird - Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity
2nd: Przemyslaw Staniszewski - Iyslander, Stormbind
3rd-4th: Liam Holden - Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity
3rd-4th: Sean Knowelden - Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity
5th-8th: Maciej Janik - Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity
5th-8th: Francesco Giorgio - Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity
5th-8th: Jack Raven - Iyslander, Stormbind
5th-8th: Matthew Foulkes - Iyslander, Stormbind

Ryan Dinsdale is a Flesh and Blood player, and an author of content relating to Flesh and Blood. The opinions expressed in the above article are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Legend Story Studios.