Flesh and Blood Introduction Guide, Tips and Rulings
Helpful Links
  • fabtcg.com - The official Flesh & Blood website. Here you can view game announcements and articles, find local stores that sell the game, browse decklists from official tournaments, and dig into a bit of the lore and playstyles of each hero.

  • FABDB - One of the primary unofficial search engines used by players and LSS. There is also a robust deckbuilding feature that can export to PDF & Tabletop Simulator, a collection manager, and other online features.

  • The Rathe Times - The Rathe Times is a content portal for all things Flesh & Blood, from deck building guides and play strategy, to fan fiction, editorials and market updates. All in one place!

  • Flesh & Blood Community Discord - The primary Discord community for the game. Discuss strategy, coordinate games on TTS, buy/sell/trade cards; the usual Discord stuff.

Getting Started

What is Flesh & Blood?

First off, welcome to the sub! Flesh and Blood is a trading card game made by Legend Story Studios, a small company in New Zealand. The game puts you in the role of a hero belonging to a specific fantasy class similar to those found in role-playing games. You fight against one or more other opponents, and through strategy, endurance, and timing, find your way to defeat your opponent and emerge victorious.

Why should I play Flesh & Blood?

  • Gameplay: Unlike other card games, where you start with almost nothing and must build up your resources in order to win, Flesh and Blood puts you right in the middle of the action. Players begin the game at full strength, and slowly exhaust their resources as the game continues. Due to how the game mechanics work, there are very few turns - let alone games - where you do not have many decisions available to you that impact the flow and outcome of the game. Everyone has a fighting chance, and games are often close, making good decision-making and piloting even more paramount to success than any other game.

  • Community: Legend Story Studios' major mission statement is to re-center the Local Game Store (LGS) as the backbone of the community. Many of their financial and logistical decisions are made with this in mind; their goal is to have the game flourish in small, local communities with the LGS as the hub. In addition, they have a strong Organized Play system that allows plenty of opportunity for success for competitive Flesh & Blood players.

How do I get started with the game? What is the best way for a new player to jump in?

  • Welcome! One of the best ways for a new player to jump in is to obtain the Ira Welcome Deck, which function as a tutorial of sorts to teach the basic concepts and gameplay flow of the game. You can usually find these for free at your local game store (if they stock it), and some online retailers will offer it for free (just pay shipping).

  • Otherwise, LSS sells official starters in the form of Blitz Decks, which are 40 card decks (plus 4 equipment, a hero, and their weapon(s)) meant to allow players to directly jump into the Blitz format, a faster-paced and casual format. These may be obtained for MSRP at $11.99, and are reprinted regularly. The Monarch Blitz Decks are available now, and a second wave of reprints is due in Mid-June.

  • If, for some reason, you are unable to locate the Welcome Decks or the Blitz Decks, there are several sites that offer preconstructed "starter" decks for an affordable price. The most popular of these sites are Tempest Gaming and FABStarterDecks.com, though there may be other sellers that offer starter decks as well.

  • Alternatively, you can go in with a booster box of one of the three "core" sets - Welcome to Rathe, Arcane Rising, and Monarch. A booster box of the aforementioned sets should provide you with enough cards to create a deck or two of similar power level to the Blitz decks. In addition, you can also play Sealed or Booster Draft with the boxes that you purchase, which is recommended if you have some TCG experience already!

  • If you are currently under lockdown and do not have someone to play with in-person, I would recommend using Tabletop Simulator to find other individuals to play with. Once purchased, you can ask in one of the official Discord channels for a game and people will be happy to oblige. There are several mods for Tabletop Simulator that you can use; the OSC Mod contains full features and the ability to import decklists from FabDB while the KP Mod is more lightweight and runs better on slower computers. People generally ask on the official Discord located here to find individuals to play with.

Where do I learn how to play the game?

  • There are several video tutorials available about the game from various content creators like Tolarian Community College, Team Covenant, and Noxious that introduce the rules and concepts needed to play the game at a basic level. You can view the official one here.

  • Once you have a grasp of the basic concepts, the rules (and a lot of other helpful information!) are located on the Flesh & Blood website. You can go directly to the rules & policy center here.

  • Of course, if you are able to play in-person or on web-cam, the best way to get started with the game is to have someone demo the game. If your LGS has a couple of players around, or if you ask on the Discord channel, you may be able to find a few people willing to demo the game for you.

Why are there three versions of some cards?

  • Most commons and rares have three versions, with minor variations in numbers on the card. These versions can be differentiated by the different amounts of resources each version pitches for (always 1, 2, and 3), as well as the color of the stripe at the top of the card. When deckbuilding, each version of the card counts as a separate card slot, meaning that you can run the maximum copies of all three versions of a card if you desired. Generally, the more resources a card pitches for, the weaker the effect on the card is.

  • These are meant to help provide a density of effects that form the basic building blocks of decks, or offer additional flexibility when deckbuilding. You can see the original article about this concept here.

What are the different formats, and how do I build decks for them?

  • There are three formats officially supported by the game right now: Classic Constructed (CC), Blitz, and Ultimate Pit Fight (UPF). Classic Constructed is the primary "competitive" format and uses the adult hero cards that start at 30 or 40 life. Games in CC tend to take around 30-50 minutes to complete. Blitz is a faster, more aggressive format that uses the young hero cards that start at 20 or less life. Games in Blitz tend to take around 10 to 20 minutes.

  • Classic Constructed decks contain a maximum of 80 cards, including equipment; when you begin the game, your main deck must contain a minimum of 60 cards. For example, if I am building a Ninja deck, and I have two weapons and four equipment, my main deck can be 74 cards at the most (and 60 cards at least). However, if I decide to include fourteen more equipment in the deck to swap out for specific matchups, my main deck can be 60 cards at the most (and at the least). Your hero card does not count towards either your deck or your equipment card slots.

  • Blitz decks contain exactly 40 cards, with up to 11 additional equipment cards, counted separately. For example, if I am building a Ninja deck, and I have two weapons and four equipment, these will not count towards the 40 cards used in my main deck. Your hero card does not count towards either your deck or your equipment card slots.

  • Ultimate Pit Fight is a multiplayer format that uses similar deck construction rules to Classic Constructed, but is recommended to use young hero cards. The main difference between this multiplayer format and other multiplayer formats in existing card games is the existence of targeting rules - you can only attack opponents one seat away from you.

Is there an official way to play this game digitally?

  • Officially, no online client is planned, and there will not be one any time soon. The game's creators, Legend Story Studios, have stated that the goal of the game is to get people playing face-to-face, "in the flesh and blood", so to speak. Their primary focus is on physical tabletop play.

  • There are a few unofficial ways to play the game. Primarily, most of the community plays on Tabletop Simulator, but the game is also available on untap.in and there are several local webcam communities to play. People generally ask on the official discord located at the top of this post to find individuals to play with.

Purchasing-Related Questions

What sets are currently released? What's the deal with 1st Edition/Unlimited versions?

  • There are four sets currently released: Welcome to Rathe (WTR), Arcane Rising (ARC), Crucible of War (CRU), and Monarch (MON). As of this post (May 2021), the "Unlimited" versions of Welcome to Rathe and Arcane Rising are in print and will remain so for a decent period of time in the future, with the newest resupply of boxes for each set arriving this month to LGSs. Crucible of War is currently on its first print run, with its "Unlimited" print run scheduled for June of this year. Monarch will also receive an "Unlimited" print run starting in June as well. The only major difference between 1st Edition and Unlimited prints of a particular set is the presence of a unique foiling process for a small number of cards called Cold Foils. Any card that isn't available in Cold Foil in an Unlimited set is offered as a Rainbow (normal) Foil.

  • Welcome to Rathe, Arcane Rising, and Monarch are "core" sets, meaning that they are designed for limited and focus on four classes. Welcome to Rathe contains the "martial" classes, and is generally regarded as much simpler and straightforward. It contains the Ninja, Warrior, Brute, and Guardian class. Arcane Rising contains the "magical" classes, and ups the complexity significantly. It contains the Mechanologist, Ranger, Runeblade, and Wizard classes. Monarch expands this concept by introducing talents, adding Shadow Brute, Shadow Runeblade, Light Warrior, and Light Illusionist heroes. Any set can be a good starting point for a new player, though Welcome to Rathe is the simplest in terms of card complexity, with Monarch being the most complex. To find more information about the heroes supported in each set, feel free to visit the FABtcg.com website for more information on the heroes.

  • Crucible of War is a "supplemental" set, meaning that it has a smaller pack size and is not intended for limited. The set contains cards for all eight currently released classes, including additional hero and weapon options. The "Unlimited" version of Crucible of War is slated to release in July. Do not purchase this set if you are just starting out. You will not be able to create a complete deck using only Crucible of War cards.

What's the deal with all of these different rarities?

  • There are six rarities: Common, Rare, Super Rare, Majestic, Legendary, and Fabled.

  • In WTR and ARC, you will have at least 10 commons in every pack, and 1-2 rares in every pack. Super Rares are 1 in every 6 packs, Majestics are 1 in every 12 packs, Legendaries are 1 in every 4 boxes, and Fabled are 1 in every 40 boxes.

  • Since Crucible of War is a supplemental set, rarity for the higher rarity cards is changed, which can be read about here. Of note, in Crucible of War, and moving forward, Super Rares and Majestics have been condensed into a single rarity (Majestic), appearing in approximately 1 in every 4 packs.

  • Monarch (MON) follows similar rarity rules as Crucible, and is intended for every set going forward. Majestics have been adjusted to be 1 in every 4 packs, and Super Rare has been officially discontinued as a rarity.

What's the deal with all of these insanely expensive cards/boxes?

  • If you're looking at boxes, note that retailers distinguish between 1st Edition printings of boxes and Unlimited printings of boxes, with the former being exceedingly expensive due to their desirability. Despite this, Unlimited versions of boxes - which do not differ mechanically or compositionally from 1st Edition boxes aside from certain foils - can be found for an affordable price, usually under $100 for a box. Legend Story Studios has made it clear that 1st Edition boxes are intended for collectors and rewards for early adopters, while Unlimited boxes ensure a steady stream of supply of cards so that they are always available.

  • If you're looking at cards, you're probably looking at the Fabled and Legendary cards - most likely the Cold Foil versions as well. Cold Foil cards are generally the most expensive version of a card outside of promo versions, and will remain a collector item for years to come since they are not planned to be reprinted. Their Rainbow Foil equivalents are generally cheaper, though some of those at higher rarities can still be quite expensive.

  • Fabled cards - the most expensive cards in the game - are primarily intended as collector's pieces and are, as of now, not necessary or even good. All Fabled cards are a unique "resource" type, which only serve one function rather than the 2-3 functions that every other card in the game serves. That's not to say you shouldn't play them, and that's not to say that there aren't decks that might utilize their effect well (Eye of Ophidia, for example, is a halfway decent card in several Wizard decks), but they're not necessary to play the game at a competitive level and very few of the top decks utilize them at all. They also all bear the "Legendary" text, meaning that you can only include one copy of them in any deck.

  • Legendary rarity cards are the next step down, and usually command a price of 100-250 dollars for their cheapest version. Several of these cards are integral to their class when played at a high level. The most expensive and sought after of these cards is Fyendal's Spring Tunic, which has already been reprinted once in Crucible of War (and will likely have another price drop once Crucible of War Unlimited releases). Almost all Legendary cards are Equipment cards, which means that a playset of these cards is a single copy (there are a few Legendary cards that are not Equipments; however, a playset of those cards is still a single copy). LSS outlines their reprint policy here and will reprint cards as necessary.

Can I still play the game competitively on a budget?

  • One of the best parts of the design of this game is that many of the "bread and butter" cards that make up the core of any deck are rare or common, and all of them can be found for under a dollar. It is perfectly possible to win local and perhaps regional tournaments with a "budget" deck, though like with many other card games, you will be limited in what kind of classes you can play.

  • Higher rarity (majestic) cards tend to come in three flavors: cards that require a lot of setup, tech or sideboard cards meant to help specific matchups, or flexible cards that increase the options available to a player on a given turn. These will all require a lot of knowledge of the game to utilize effectively, and for play at a local game store, skill and knowledge of a deck and your opponent's deck will provide a bigger advantage to a player than any fully-kitted deck. That being said, at higher levels of play, every advantage counts.

Rules-Related Questions

What's the difference between defense reactions and other cards that I use to defend?

  • Defense reactions are cards that can only be played during the Defense Reaction step, and cannot be used to defend normally. Other cards can be used to defend during the Defend step only.

  • One helpful way to think of the cards is like this: cards can be used in three ways: play, defend, and pitch. With regular actions and attack reactions, they can be "played", "used to defend", and "pitched". With defense reactions, they can only be "played" and "pitched", where playing them is using them during the defense reaction step to defend against an attack.

  • Since you can only "play" cards from the arsenal, you can also use defense reactions from the arsenal.

Can I pitch a card just to float resources?

  • No. You can only pitch a card for resources if you need it to pay a cost.

  • You can, however, "underpitch" - for example, if you play a 3 cost action, you can pitch a red card (one resource) and then a blue card (three resources, leaving one resource left over), or just pitch the blue card alone. This is useful for a variety of reasons, but generally you want to do this if you have a dead card in hand or you want to ensure that you will draw a specific card later in the game where it might be more effective.

How does "go again" work?

  • Everyone begins the turn with one "Action Point". In the rulebook, Go Again is defined as "When this action resolves, gain 1 action point." Multiple instances of Go Again will do nothing, but if an effect specifies that it can provide you with "1 action point" rather than having or granting "Go Again", it will "stack" with go again.

What happens if I run out of cards in my deck?

  • Essentially, nothing. When you draw the last few cards of the deck, what you have in your hand is what you have to work with for the rest of the game. This is generally referred to as being "fatigued", when the only cards you're drawing are the cards that you pitched for resources last turn. If you're playing a class with a weapon that deals damage, that weapon - plus whatever attacks you can muster from your hand - are your only pathways to victory. The game should be over quickly when a player is fatigued, as they will have no cards left to block attacks coming in from the opponent. Many control decks rely on the opponent reaching this state to win.

When can I play an Instant?

  • You can only play an instant if you have priority. Priority is given whenever you have the chance to respond, similar to how Magic: The Gathering's priority system works. In other words, you can cast an instant during any step of a chain link, at the beginning or end of a turn, and as a response to an opponent activating an ability of a hero or equipment.

  • You CANNOT play an instant while an effect is resolving - for example, you can't cast an instant after you find out what your opponent rolled for a Crazy Brew, but before they gain the effect of what they rolled.

  • Feel free to reference /u/MoonlightSolace's Turn Structure Chart, located here, for reference.

How does Dorinthea and Dawnblade work?

  • To attack with Dawnblade a second time, you need three things - resources to pay for the ability, an action point to activate it, and an effect that allows you to use its once per turn ability a second time. Dorinthea's ability removes the "once per turn" clause on Dawnblade and lets you attack with it twice, but does not give you the action point needed to do so. In other words, you will need to find some way to give your weapon attack Go Again in order to actually perform the second attack.

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