Recap: The Calling Auckland

1st Mar 2023 Alex Norvill

The Calling returned to the birth place of Flesh and Blood last weekend in Auckland. The stage was set (literally) for an epic showdown of talented players from around the world. The Civic Theatre filled up with some of Oceania's best along with international players from the United States and beyond who had made the voyage to Aotearoa "the land of the long white cloud".

Calling Akl Stage Shot

The weekend started with side events and a Super Armory on Friday. The first event being Welcome to Rathe Sealed. James put himself in the midst of the action and packed a foil Enlightened Strike! Not to be outdone by the Heart of Fyendal a lucky competitor managed to snag! James and the LSS developers in attendance faced some stiff competition, handing out packs of Dynasty to whoever could beat them. Friday had a great atmosphere of casual fun where players got the opportunity to relax before the main event on Saturday.

James E-Strike 2 edit

Artists MJ Fetesio, Sam Yang and Joseph Qiu were in attendance signing cards and sketching artist proofs, and more Outsiders cards were revealed at the vendor booths. There was plenty to see and do with side events running all weekend the action was non-stop!

LSS Artists AKL Calling

The Calling

The field was once again diverse with healthy representation of many heroes. Fai and Briar taking the top spots as the most played heroes. The resurgence of Briar was evident as it was at Calling Indianapolis, following the banned and restricted announcement.

New Zealand being the home to some great Oldhim players, it was no surprise to see the Grandfather of Eternity represented more in Auckland than the previous Callings. It was thus no surprise to see Oldhim as the most represented hero in day two, with the fatigue strategy proving tough to beat.

Notable mentions include Daniel Rusling, who made a hot run with Kano which took the Dracai of Aether to day two, ranked in third! Patrick Watt also ended day 1 in top 16 on Rhinar, Reckless Rampage.

Cayle McCreath started his tournament 1-2. Then went on a tear reminiscent of Pablo Pintors first Pro Tour run, as he dominated his next 8 wins in a row to make top 8 on Bravo, Showstopper.

Digil Dixon had an impressive showing and made the finals running an innovative Lexi list with Shock Charmers and a big emphasis on pitch stacking to break through the fatigue Oldhim lists. He even managed to pull off a Three of a Kind, triple Rain Razor turn!

Dash made a comeback to the top tier with 2 Dash players in top 4, Dave Lin having only been playing Flesh and Blood for 2 months. They demonstrated the flexibility of the hero. Into aggressive decks they were able to run the traditional Teklo Pounder aggressive build, and into Fatigue lists managed to utilize the old school, full rig, triple Induction Chamber and Triple Plasma Purifier to grind down their opponent in the late game.

And for the first time in a long time, there were no Iyslanders in the top 8.

Half of the top 8 was made up of Oldhims, however they didn't covert to top 4 as might have been expected. This was helped by the Oldhim mirror match in the quarter finals that saw a showdown between 2 of the top Oldhim players in the world, Dennis Zhang and Shuo Feng, a red Pummel closing out the match.

Day One Metagame

Calling AKl Meta Breakdown

Day Two Metagame

Calling Akl Meta Day 2

Top 8

1st: Sam Sutherland - Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire

2nd: Digl Dixon - Lexi, Livewire

3rd-4th: Dave Lin - Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire

3rd-4th: Dennis Zhang - Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity

5th-8th: Cayle McCreath - Bravo, Showstopper

5th-8th: Shuo Feng - Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity

5th-8th: Matt Rogers - Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity

5th-8th: Thomas Baily Galbraith - Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity

Calling Auckland Top 8 Bracket

Top8 heroes2

Last year Sam Sutherland made top 4 of the Australian nationals on Dash where he lost to Nick Butcher on Oldhim. He came to Auckland with a vengeance going up against two of the top Oldhim players in the world in his quarter and semi finals matches. The games were tight and grindy but despite the mountain in between him and the Calling trophy, Sam maintained his cool and put the old man to bed to the tune of steam counters.

The final was a good old trans Tasman brawl, New Zealand v Australia, a well known rivalry. But this is Flesh and Blood not rugby after all, and the Aussie came out on top.

Going through those grueling match ups seemed to have seasoned Sam, and after a long semi final he got back to work, dispatching Digil Dixon's dangerous Lexi, and taking the title of The Calling Auckland 2023 Champion!

Sam Sutherland AKL Calling

Calling Auckland Sam Winner

Battle Hardened

The Battle Hardened Event was a great event with a competitive field. Brodie Spurlock the wonder kid who's taken out Battle Hardened events all over the United States was amongst the top 4 on Oldhim.

However Kano is proving to be the Blitz hero to beat. After seeing Kano take out the Indianapolis Battle Hardened we saw a Kano mirror between Kieran Carnegie and Gavin Wu for the final of the Auckland Battle Hardened.

Kieran is a long time Kano fan and well known New Zealand player, having made Top 8 in NZ Nationals 2021, and the last Auckland Calling. He managed to take the win and added Battle Hardened Auckland 2023 Champion to his belt.

Battle Hardened Top 8

Call Akl BH Top 8

Kieran Carnegie Akl BH winner


The Cosplay competition on Saturday was a hit, with a great showing from the New Zealand community. Even Gene himself took part playing... himself as Genis Wotchuneed!

There was a lot of talent on display with exceptional work from all the participants, the judges had a difficult task ahead of them. In the end the decider was showmanship, with Mani Gardwell's performance as Arakni, Huntsman giving him the win.

Overall the event was a great success and very enjoyable experience. What was potentially a nightmare in a flooded venue, turned into a highlight with the back up venue being as scenic as one can get for a fantasy theme!

And as a great way to cap everything off, LSS has donated $10,000 to the Hawke's Bay Disaster Relief Fund and with the help of the Flesh and Blood community were able to donate an additional $16,000 through the sale of the limited edition Hanabi Blaster and Arcanite Skullcap playmats and an auction of a highly sought-after Enlightened Strike playmat.

Thank you to everyone who helped with this fundraiser and the event, from the staff at Cerberus Games and Fayble Events, the judge team and everyone in attendance. Your efforts are greatly appreciated!

playmats fundraiser.jpg