For the upcoming ProQuest Season, we have invited guest writers to contribute to fabtcg.com over the course of the series. Today we're thrilled to introduce Drew Cordell. We've enjoyed Drew's writing over the past year on Flesh and Blood strategy and tournament play, and we're delighted to be able to bring you his writing throughout this inaugural ProQuest Season!
Hello, and welcome to the first in a series all about the ProQuest season leading up to Pro Tour: New Jersey!
My name is Drew Cordell and I am a competitive Flesh and Blood TCG player and top-contributing content creator for both Channel Fireball and The Rathe Times. I’m well known for my Guardian content but also write about many other classes and areas of focus within Flesh and Blood. In every article I write, I aim to produce engaging, entertaining, and informative content that resonates with players, and provides deep strategic insight and value.
Writing this article series for Legend Story Studios is an opportunity I could only dream of when I wrote about Flesh and Blood for the first time back in April of 2021 shortly after opening my first booster pack of Welcome to Rathe. In fact, this article today is made even more special by the fact that I’m the first non-LSS staff member to publish content on the fabtcg.com website.
As a player, my background is rooted in a strong history of casually competing at high levels in a number of trading card games over the years. I found a true passion for Flesh and Blood and a connection to a game and its community unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life.
Personally, I am spending a lot of time practicing and capturing data with my testing group, home to some of the top Flesh and Blood players in the world. We’re avidly exploring all the fantastic new cards and strategies found within Everfest and using that information to make the best decks we possibly can. It’s looking like I will be playing the brand new Bravo, Star of the Show as my hero of choice for ProQuest season.
I am honored to be the first to welcome you to what’s sure to be an incredible ProQuest season now that the Everfest Carnival is open to the world.
Whether you have been competing in card games your whole life, or this is your first time exploring the competitive space of Flesh and Blood, EVERYONE is welcome at Everfest’s ProQuest.
Without further ado, let’s dive in!
Welcome to ProQuest
From February 19th through March 13th, local game stores all over the world will host ProQuest events. This marks the first time in Flesh and Blood history that players have the opportunity to qualify for the world’s first Pro Tour at events hosted in their local communities. The first Pro Tour will be held in New Jersey on May 13th-15th.
Don’t forget about the ProQuest prizes! What good would a carnival be without plenty of treasure up for grabs? That’s right, folks. Step right up and play your hand for a chance to win some FABulous prizes!
As mentioned in the ProQuest announcement, there are a number of prizes up for grabs in each of these Classic Constructed events including two ProQuest playmats, a Random Gold Cold Foil, Cold Foil Heroes, and of course, an invitation to the Pro Tour. Many stores running these events may even include additional prize support on top of the prize kits provided by LSS!
But don’t expect to grab these prizes without a fight. The competition will be fierce, but I’ll help you prepare for success at your first ProQuest event.
What to Expect at ProQuest
Covid-19 changed the world. For many players, including myself, events such as the Calling last year marked a return to in-person card game events for the first time in years, due to Covid or other circumstances. Despite having played in countless competitive card game events over the years, I felt my nerves flare up at the start of The Calling: Dallas Fort-Worth. Why was I so nervous? Hadn’t I overcome this years ago?
The fact is, large card game events in a competitive environment can be intimidating for new players and seasoned veterans alike. There's tangible electricity in the air. I spent a lot of time preparing for The Calling and wanted to perform my best. But it had been over two years since my last in-person card game tournament. My adrenaline was pumping, and I felt that gnawing sense of self-doubt. But when I sleeved up my sealed deck and drew my first hand in round one, the muscle memory, preparation, and confidence returned. I took a deep breath—game on!
The reality is that it can seem scary and intimidating to play in a card game tournament. But in almost every circumstance, the experience, the fun, and the memories to be gained from participating far outweigh any initial discomfort or nerves before the event kicks off. While players are at the event to be competitive, they are also there to have a good time. Before you know it, you’ll be in your element having a blast at your first ProQuest!
I want to help demystify the overall experience as well as offer a number of helpful tips I wish someone would have told me before my first major leap into competitive play. Events like ProQuest are for everyone—not just players who live and breathe Flesh and Blood 24/7.
Time and time again, I’ve seen players who entered competitive events unprepared and unexpecting to perform well accomplish some amazing things. Some of these players have even gone on to win the entire thing. The experience and fun of events like this is invaluable for your personal journey in Flesh and Blood.
Set a Goal
If you are a newer player thinking, “There’s no way I can win this event!” Ask yourself what smaller goal can you set for the day? How about winning one round? Or maybe just playing the best you can and trying to learn as much as possible. If you meet the goal you set early in the day, don’t stop there. Set another and keep climbing. Facing and overcoming challenges like the ones you will face in ProQuest is extremely rewarding as a player. Don’t be surprised if, along the way, you make memories that you’ll remember fondly for years to come.
If you are an experienced player, maybe your goal is to place in the Top 8 for the event, or maybe it’s to win the whole thing and secure your place at the Pro Tour: New Jersey!
Challenge yourself, set your mind to your goals, and watch what can happen.
Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.
To maximize your chances of success at ProQuest, you should practice and build confidence with your hero and deck of choice. If you’re newer to the game or its competitive environment, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the rules for competitive play to build a baseline understanding before the big day. If you have any questions or uncertainties before the event starts, ask your judge(s). They are there to help before, during, and after each part of the day!
Make a sideboard guide for each class on a small piece of paper. You can reference it at the start of game procedure. Just be sure after you are done sideboarding that you return the sideboard guide to your deckbox and don’t have it out on the table or game space. This can help take the guesswork out of configuring your deck for each matchup. Then, build the plan and execute it. Unsure of where to begin with sideboarding? Ask an experienced player in your community to help you out ahead of your event!
Preparation goes well beyond the game itself. Make sure you bring plenty of water, snacks, and anything else you will need for the day, including dice, pen and paper to keep track of life totals, etc. ProQuest events have multiple rounds, and you’ll want to make sure you have everything you need for a day of fun. Eat a snack between rounds and try to stay hydrated. Opt for water over drinks with tons of caffeine or sugar.
Avoid tilting at all costs. A loss doesn’t necessarily mark you out for the day. Collect yourself, and prepare for the next round. If you make a mistake during a game, try to recover quickly. The fastest way to make another mistake is to get frustrated at yourself for making a mistake in the first place. Take a deep breath, collect yourself, and you can likely salvage the situation.
Stay Focused & Refreshed
You may have heard the term ‘Tournament Fatigue’ in the past. It can be a very real thing. As fun As Flesh and Blood is, it’s also mentally challenging and tiring over time. You think and process a staggering amount of information in each game you play. The first thing you can do to help prevent or even avoid tournament fatigue is to get a good night’s sleep the day before and eat a good breakfast. If you’re a caffeine drinker, have some caffeine but be sure not to drink too much. You don’t want to be jittery to start the day.
Every experienced TCG tournament player has a post-game ritual between rounds. You may notice your friends like to talk with you about what happened in their rounds, win or lose, sometimes in-depth. Personally, I prefer to keep inter-round gameplay chats to a minimum with my friends (to stay focused on what I need to do to perform well in the rest of the tournament) and take the time between rounds to refresh myself. I like to walk around and stand as much as possible between rounds, drink water, use the restroom if I need to, then regroup with my friends for some light conversation. All together, this ritual I perform each round is the equivalent of a short mental detox. Then it’s time to focus up and head into the next round!
Do what works for you to help you stay focused and refreshed. It makes a big difference.
As the series continues, I’ll take a deep dive into strategic considerations, top heroes of the format (and their strengths and weaknesses), how to build and defeat a top-performing deck, and much more! Thank you again for joining me—you can connect with me on Twitter. I wish you the best of luck at ProQuest!
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.