Last week we checked in with the victorious Blitz heroes of Monarch, Prism, Chane, Levia and Boltyn and caught a glimpse of their impact on Skirmish Season 2. Today we catch up with the rest of the field and look at some builds, lists and strategies from the heroes of Welcome to Rathe, Arcane Rising and Crucible of War.
Bravo is back! Picking up more than a handful of first place finishes around the globe this Skirmish season, the Guardian made a resurgence of sorts and a habit of stopping the show. Bravo is the definition of slow and steady, showcasing many of the biggest hits in Flesh and Blood via a gameplan that revolves around defending and crushing.
A typical Bravo Blitz deck falls somewhere in the realm between midrange beatdown and a setup style control deck with a plethora of defense reactions, lifegain in the form of Sigil of Solace, Blessing of Deliverance and even the Tome of Fyendal-Mage Master Boots combination. The strategy generally revolves around defending carefully and chipping away with Anothos while setting up for a crushing turn where you force through Rouse the Ancients, Spinal Crush or Bravo’s magnum opus, Crippling Crush.
Pitching well is key for this deck, as your endgame tends to rely on you setting up your deck with a card like Crippling Crush surrounded by blue cards on either side. This gives you the resources to pull off one of those turns of urban legend status; Towering Titan into Goliath Gauntlet into a Crippling Crush for 21 with Dominate from Bravo's hero ability. It's also important to manage the small turns carefully, like how and when to play (or bluff!) a Pummel, and where to prioritize your defense reactions.
Consistency, balance and brutality make Guardian the timeless powerhouse it is. Bravo is back, better than ever and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Dorinthea is a weapon oriented aggressive hero that becomes more dangerous the more the opponent engages with her in combat. Through her keyword Reprise, Dorinthea aims to go over and above the opponent’s defense with well-timed Attack Reactions and then, to Go Again.
This warrior deck can “go tall” or “go wide”. When going tall, Dorinthea wants to stack up Attack Reactions like Ironsong Response, Out for Blood and the notorious Rout. This strategy is a nightmare scenario for a defending opponent as they are forced into awkward positions where both defending for too much and not enough can result in headaches... and a lot of damage.
Going wide sees Dorinthea attack multiple times a turn, often with the less frequently seen attack action card type. Cards like Scar for a Scar, Command and Conquer and Enlightened Strike keep your opponent guessing and are enabled by the many Go Again granting cards found in the deck such as Spoils of War, Warrior’s Valor and the incredibly versatile Glint the Quicksilver.
The release of Monarch gave Dorinthea a few new tools to brandish; Nourishing Emptiness could have been custom designed for a Tall Dorinthea deck. Dorinthea picked up many first place finishes this season and the future looks bright for the Warrior of Solana. If you like to attack and put your opponent off balance, whether you go tall, wide or anywhere in between, Dorinthea is the heroine for you.
Kano has been a terrifying force to be reckoned with ever since he burst onto the Blitz scene in Arcane Rising. The pyromaniacal arcane damage specialist is the only hero who starts on 15 life and while this was at one time quite the head scratcher to many, it is now apparent to most as to why. Kano and his cards are crazy good.
A Kano deck typically plays zero attack actions and aims to aim fire at faces whether it be in his own turn or the opponent’s. Kano decks run a lot of blue line cards in order to maximize his hero ability and execute the delicate and intricate lines of play required to drop an opponent from safe to dead at instant speed. This deck will send a lot of red line burn actions to the opponent’s face in your own turn over the duration of the game, gradually burning down their life total. Then in spectacular fashion, often when staring a lethal attack directly in the face, deal massive amounts of burn damage at instant speed to steal a carefully calculated victory from the jaws of defeat.
Having the right amount of damage, with the right cards at the right time isn’t easy but it doesn’t happen by accident. Deck manipulation is essential in any Kano build. Knowing what’s coming next to get the best “flips” off of Kano’s hero ability or to ensure the fire remains hot after connecting with a Sonic Boom, is one of the core principles of successfully burning your opponent to a crisp. Cards key to this strategy include Gaze the Ages, Aether Spindle and Lesson in Lava. Brendan Patrick wrote a great guide on Kano over on ChannelFireball a couple of months back, and the theory of the deck is still as relevant now as it was then.
Wizard didn't get a lot of support from Monarch but, like with Dorinthea, Nourishing Emptiness is a perfect and popular fit, and can throw the opponent off by moving out of arcane damage and into physical for the turn. It's especially punishing if your opponent has sideboard in lots of Nullrune equipment, hitting with dominate and then giving you a fully stocked hand to threaten unreasonably massive amounts of damage at instant speed.
If playing Flesh and Blood by your own set of rules, “stir-forked-ing” your opponent for lethal damage at instant speed and punishing the unprepared sounds like you, Kano is the hero for you. Kano requires a lot of skill and patience to see him reach his full potential but practice makes pyro-perfection.
Versatility, flexibility and adaptability. These words are definitive when evaluating the impact of Dash, Katsu and Viserai this past Skirmish Blitz season.
All three of these heroes can attack the opponent from many angles often with extreme polarity in the way they’re built. Often with very few attacks at all.
Dash and Katsu have had turns at picking up huge victories in the Classic Constructed scene with very deliberate, control style defensive builds aiming to slowly bleed out the opponent while maintaining high life totals throughout the game. Viserai has seen popularity and success with a similarly slow build, ending with the raining down of Runechants, aiming for a “One Turn Kill”. Sonata Arcanix is an incredibly welcome addition to this strategy, slightly changing the way the deck is built, synergizing brilliantly with Bloodsheath Skeleta. These three heroes have translated this success to Blitz well, each picking up Skirmish wins around the world with various builds of Mechanologist, Ninja and Runeblade.
If you gotta go fast, fret not! Viserai, Katsu and Dash excel in doing exactly that. All three of these heroes reward aggressive strategies and are at their best when hitting hard, early and multiple times a turn. Viserai with his vicious combination of arcane and physical attacks applies constant pressure to the enemy with efficiently costed attack actions like Spellblade Assault, Rune Flash and Amplify the Arknight, ensuring an endless assault on the enemy.
Katsu’s combo lines are relentless and often much more dangerous in Blitz than in Classic Constructed due to defense reactions being much less prevalent. Punch, kick and cut your opponent to ribbons with the young wandering ninja.
Despite the 40 card deck size in Blitz, Dash has no doubts about using this as fuel, boosting to victory with mega sized attack actions such as Zero to Sixty, Throttle and Zipper Hit. Her items allow Dash to generate many free resources, often allowing her to skip pitching to pay the cost for her Boost attacks altogether, maximizing damage and overwhelming the opponent on the way to victory.
Ira, Crimson Haze.
The ninja has accumulated an enormous number of victories from the kitchen table to The Calling. With the consistency, power and pressure she provides from start to finish of each and every game, she has proven to be the deck to beat over the last two Skirmish seasons.
Ira’s ability to defend efficiently then come back at the opponent again and again with as few as two cards- often a blue line and a one or less cost attack action (looking at you Torrent of Tempo, Pounding Gale and Soulbead Strike) - is a large part of what makes her such a global threat to flat surfaces everywhere. The incredible efficacy of Flic Flak and its ability to play multiple roles at once adds depth and destruction to the deck. Combine Ira’s subtle yet sickeningly powerful hero ability with a deck jammed full of cards that defend, attack and pitch well and you have the undisputed reigning, defending, Queen of Blitz, Ira, Crimson Haze.
Monarch has added Exude Confidence to the mix. The deck often hits one or two "off turns" each game, where it hits a heavy blue / yellow hand, but Exude Confidence can transform those extra resource into tough to stop damage, and is also a decent sized threat on its own accord.
So many unforgettable memories were made across Skirmish Season 2 Blitz. New strategies discovered, new champions crowned and new friends made. Season 3 will be bigger and better than ever. The battle has only just begun.