The First of Many Webcam Games

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In my first post, I mentioned how I first started collecting Flesh and Blood around Black Friday 2020. Around this time, the Canadian FAB Discord was hovering just under 50 ish members and had events running infrequently. Canada was experiencing the beginning of its second wave of a covid outbreak. With provinces essentially tightening in person restrictions again, Discord events were the only way to play games.

I won’t deny it; I was pretty intimidated to start playing the game against other players. Channel Fireball was kind enough to grant my request for the Ira starter decks, so when my order arrived (I believe within a week shipping across the border!), I placed everything out and played against myself. I had prepped myself by watching the rules video on the official Flesh and Blood Youtube video and read over the rules guideline they provided on their website. After playing a couple of test run games against myself using two Ira decks, I felt like I was missing something. Honestly, my first impression of the game was not positive. The game itself felt overly simplistic, and I did not feel a special vibe from it. It did not grip me like some of the other first impressions of card games I had played before, such as Legends of Runeterra or Netrunner. I did not want to immediately jump to feeling regret, so I packed everything up and put it aside to delve into it another day.

For most of November, December, and the beginning of 2021, I did not play any games. I simply continued to build up my collection by selling, buying, and trading to complete my collection. Crucible of War was exploding in value and the game itself was gaining traction across the world. November was around the time Saint Hung (a wealthy financial individual living in downtown Manhattan) had purchased a huge first edition stock of WTR and ARC from Channel Fireball, which in turn started the spike of WTR/ARC 1st edition boxes. I am sure this contributed to the game receiving a ton of attention, which in turn makes me quite happy that I was able to get some actual product at a reasonable price before the game spiked. Hindsight is indeed 20/20 if you look at some of my actions and thoughts at the time: thinking Shiyana was too expensive to purchase at a couple hundred dollars, opening a spare cold foil Courage of Bladehold and selling it for 95$ to a fellow Discord member. These missed opportunities are sure to haunt me, but in the end, I should be pretty happy that I was able to complete 99% of my collection and breaking even on everything I purchased through everything I sold. I still have some pretty rare foil majestics from CRU, a good haul of cold foil equipment and weapons from CRU, an extended art Twinning Blade, and a pretty decent collection of promos from Armory events and buy-a-box promos. All in all, I think FAB does it right with rewarding those who collect the game, as I can appreciate what I have managed to hoard so far.

Okay, enough about the collection. This article is supposed to be about my experiences playing the game. What you should know about me is that I have a decent history of playing card games. I was never a competitive player. Back in high school and university, we would go to the odd Pro Tour Qualifier, Grand Prix Qualifier, and at the time, there was something called the Junior Super Series for younger individuals who wanted to go pro in Magic. It’s not like my friends and I ever top 8’d any of these events, but they were a place where we could hang out on weekends and just sling some cards. We did go to a lot of prerelease events for Magic though, and those were a blast. When I mention all of the random LCGs I played, those were at most just played with my friends a handful of times before I ended up shelving the game due to a lack of interest. I managed to win one Star Wars Destiny tournament since a store managed to receive an OP kit from FFG. That was when the game was first out and it was a 16 person tournament I believe. Star Wars Destiny ended up losing its popularity, but I managed to at least sell everything in my collection to a LGS before the game went extinct. I spent most of the last few years just playing online card games like Gwent, Hearthstone, Legends of Runeterra, but I never tiered high on the leaderboards nor play in any online tournaments. Essentially, I am just reiterating that I like playing card games, but I would not classify myself as a good player in any of them. Decent at best would be the proper adjective to describe me as a card player. What I do have from playing all these card games is just an aptitude for game mechanics, but even then, it took me a while to learn a very common mistake new players make (more on this in a future post). Here is a snapshot of the dates of my first few tournaments:

January 15, 2021 – New Faces Pauper Tournament (2-2)
January 23, 2021 – WTR Sealed (3-1)
February 20, 2021 – Blitz (2-3)

The new faces pauper tournament was something an individual named Dimos hosted for the Canadian Discord. If you do not know Dimos, I am sure you will if you play in any Canadian event. Super friendly dude and is Dante’s main testing partner (Dante is #1 ranked on leaderboards in Canada and a top player overall in the world). Dimos likewise, is a great player and likes to play off meta decks. The event was to help get new players to play the game. A free event that he was giving away free 1st edition WTR cards. The pauper, for those who don’t know, means basically making a deck with low rarity cards. In this case, it was only commons/rares allowed in a Classic Constructed deck. Honestly, I had no idea what to do and just decided to go with a generic Guardian deck. If you know me personally, you will know how weird this is because I have a bias towards playing female characters. If I play an open-world MMO, I’ll opt to make a female character. RPG, I’ll play female team comps only. Play any board game, I’ll pick the female character if there is a choice (shout-out to LSS for making their game have female representation). Anyway, I just went Guardian at the time since I was a super big noob who had no idea how to play the game (recall that the only time I played a game was a test game of Ira vs Ira with me playing both decks). Recall me mentioning Dante is the number 1 player in Canada? Well, my very first real match of FAB was against Dante. At this point of time, I did know who he was because I had looked at the FAB leaderboards, and he was often mentioned in the Discord. It is going to sound silly, but I was feeling the nerves. Even though the game was over webcam, my heart was racing, and I could barely shuffle properly. On the other side of the computer, I was facing a well experienced player. If you are wondering why an experienced player was playing in a new player tournament, it was because he was gunning for the first to 1000 XP in Canada. LSS gives the first player in each country to hit 1000 XP lifetime points a random gold cold foil. Needless to say, I lost this game, but I did get Dante down to 1 life. Not like it matters much since I know he was already going easy on me. This was the first game that I learned to not go down to 1 life against a warrior, as he Steelblade Shunt me for the win. Regardless of the outcome, I was thankful to play against an experienced player for my first game, and I was already picking up on some of the misplays I made (I’ll save this for another article). I ended up coming out of this tournament 2-2 and overall, it was a great way to get started into the game. I even won a pink Rout card for my first alpha card. 🙂

Next up was a sealed tournament. Running a sealed tournament over webcam is indeed odd as you cannot ensure what people opened is what they are playing. They can easily take cards from their collection and put it in their deck. Either way, you just have to trust the people you are playing. Sealed is not a foreign format for me thanks to all the prereleases I played for Magic – the difficulty was just knowing how much pitch I needed to build a sealed deck. I ended up playing Bravo again due to not having anything for any other classes. I did manage to open an Enlightened Strike, which definitely carried me in all the games I won. One of the matches, I was up against Eric. He goes by Potato in the Discords I frequent, and he is basically my partner in crime, but he doesn’t know that. The two of us were basically the only BC players playing frequently in tournaments at the time. If you look at the top 10 leaderboards for Canada, he’s right there. Over time, I have really gotten to know Eric, and I am very happy that he is in BC and helping to grow the community. He works very closely with the owner of Infinity Cards and Collectibles to run the events for locals. My relationship with him has come a long way from finding him to be a salty player about his loss to me thanks to the E-strike. Eric, if you are reading this, I joke. Only got love for you. Oh, if you ever catch him offering box breaks, you should definitely get in on them. If he is opening boxes for anyone other than himself, he opens the BOMB. Ended this sealed tournament 3-1 with no cut top 4 (ended up 4th), but managed to snag my first Armory prize, which was a cold foil Kayo! My lesson from this tournament is to never go to 1 life against a Ninja player since those Kodachis are annoying AF.

The last tournament I will mention here, which was my 3rd tournament, was my first time playing Blitz. For this one, I managed to go 2-2 with Dorinthea in swiss and snuck into top 4, and lost my first round in a rematch against Mike. Oh yeah, if you don’t know Mike, go look at the FABTCG leaderboards, and you’ll see him there in top 10 of Canada as well. You’re starting to see a trend here that the best players in this game consistently land in the top of standings. This tournament was a bit rough for me. I remember very well how hard it is to play against a Dorinthea (which was what Mike was playing). Blocking incorrectly is incredibly punishing. I even had a gigantic misplay where I played Glint, triggered the reprise, but I mistook the reprise for Singing Steelblade. I started going through my deck, looking for an attack reaction, and this is where I heard Mike from the other end “what are you doing” in like a very “wtf you think you doing buddy” kind of tone. I realized what I did wrong and could only think “oh sh*t.” Luckily, the dude was pretty understanding that I was a new player and just warned me about plays like that. In my defense, he beat me twice this tournament, so I think I paid my dues to him in return. I think I managed to come out of this with a few full art foil promos or something for ending in 4th.

3 tournaments to start off my real-life play across 3 pretty different formats. All of them had high-quality opponents, and I learned something different with every game. This is where I began to really appreciate the depth of Flesh and Blood. It was a simple game to learn, but a much different beast to master. My advice to new players is that you just have to take the first step into the game. You might feel intimidated or scared, but once you get those first few rough games out of the way, you will be fine. If I can do it, I know you can as well. I will have a couple more of these game reports because of the Skirmish season, and then I will move on different topics.

If you haven’t already, make sure to sign up for Monarch prerelease events! BC has 6 of them which you can find here (Friday, April 30, 2021 to Sunday, May 2, 2021):

Map of prerelease events
Prerelease events by date and FAQ

*Header image: Arknight Ascendancy by Alexander Mokhov

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