Welcome to Aria: An Introduction to Flesh and Blood TCG
Written by Connor Archer
Edited by Liam Bosecke
Edited by Liam Bosecke
Lexi by Federico Musetti
With the recent release of Flesh and Bloods newest expansion, Tales of Aria, comes a host of new mechanics many players have yet to learn about. While a few of these interactions have been there all along, I believe that this set is the most complex so far for beginners. Therefore; I wanted to write an article focused on deck building, that new and intermediate players could get something out of even if its just something small that will help them improve their game in the long run.
Building your first deck
In my opinion, the best way to start building a deck if you are brand new to the game, is to pick up one of the Preconstructed decks. they're well priced, decently balanced against each other and will give you the building blocks you can iterate on moving forward. Plus, they come with a rainbow foil hero token and honestly, that's reason enough to pick one up.
As your collection and experience grows you can continue to add to the precon deck and switch things out to your liking, until you have a deck that fully suits your play style and local meta.
Tales of Aria Blitz Decks
The next best way to get into the game is a sealed event, like the all exciting prerelease. These events give new players the opportunity to open packs and potentially pull rare and expensive cards they wouldn't have got from any readily available preconstructed decks. However, this set in particular has a higher difficulty curve than what we have seen in the past. For new players, assessing a pool of cards, deciding which hero to play, and which element to use to create a cohesive strategy may be a bit daunting. Not to mention that draws are counted as a loss for both players potentially creating awkward situations between newer players learning the game at their own pace and more experienced players trying to win prizes.
That being said, these events should be for new players, they are one of the most fun and exciting events in any TCG and the best way to get new people hooked. I would simply suggest having a friend or a store owner teach you the basics beforehand, or having a quick read of a handy article so you aren't overwhelmed.
Tales of Aria prerelease event at The Hobby Matrix in Adelaide
The Elements of Aria
While not the most common elemental Triad, Ice, Earth and Lightning make a fantastic set of opposing and complementing abilities. Ice is about disruption, cards like Polar Blast and Chill to the Bone are meant to slow your opponents turns by causing them to discard or pay extra resources to activate abilities. Earth is about Power and Defense values, they have huge buffs like Earthlore Surge and powerful attacks like Burgeoning to pressure opponents. Lightning wants to go wide with multiple attacks per turn such as Lightning surge utilizing Go Again mixed with attacks like Ball lightening that deal additional damage on hit.
Each of the new Heroes embodies 2 of the 3 elements and can be be built around either of those 2 elements, both of them, or neither of them, for example I could build an Ice Lexi attempting to dominate my arrows fuse them with Ice cards and debilitate my opponent for their next turn, I could also choose to build lightning Lexi and go wide with lots of go again, or I could do a mix of both. the last and least common option would be to disregard the elemental cards all together however I wouldn't recommend it at this point as you'd be closing yourself off to a host of extra cards your deck has access to. the character you choose to play can be based on the playstyle associated with them, their elements or just how badass they look.
Their is a particular rhythm that arises in Aria which rewards you for using your arsenal. Fuse is a new mechanic which allows you to reveal a card with a corresponding element from your hand to give your attacks extra effects. Quite a few of the single element cards such as Lightning surge, Polar Blast, and Burgeoning also gain an extra effect from being played out of Arsenal. To get the most out of your turns you want to know what you're pitching what you're playing and what you will fuse and leave in arsenal for next turn. Ideally you want to figure this out on your opponents turn as anything else you don't need may serve a better purpose blocking and saving you some damage.
Oldhim (Earth and Ice) Elemental Guardian
If it wasn't apparent from his appearance, Oldhim is a tank who wants to play a defensive controly game. His ability is a 3 cost defense reaction which allows you to stop the next 2 damage that would be dealt to you this turn or make your opponent put a card from their hand on top of their deck depending on what element was pitched for the ability. Notably if both elements were pitched specifically for this cost you can trigger both abilities at the same time.
Oldhim can be built a number of different ways and can take advantage of the guardian cards from welcome to Rathe, Crucible of war and Tales of Aria. Most guardian builds rely on a large amount of Blue pitch, your attacks are big but they come with an equally big cost. proper resource management and patience is key. you Ideally want to spend a few turns setting up big attacks by arsenaling key cards blocking incoming damage as effectively as possible and applying pressure with your weapon where you can. Then when an opportunity for a combo presents itself you strike.
Lexi (Ice and Lightning) Elemental Ranger
Lexi is an elemental ranger who packs a quiver of powerful arrows with on hit effects. She is a versatile character leaning either go wide or go tall depending on her chosen element. Her ability allows you to flip over a card from arsenal, if its an ice card she gives your opponent a frostbite token and if its lightning she grants your next attack go again.
Lexi's play style drastically changes depending on the element you favor when deck building. When Lexi harnesses lightning the deck aims to go wide with a flurry of attacks that threaten extra damage on hit. When she uses Ice, the deck aims to buff one big arrow attack and load it with as many on hit effects as possible (this usually includes frostbite tokens). She can run a better ratio of reds and yellows than Oldhim as her ability costs nothing and most of her card pool is 1 or 0 cost. Factor in the cost of loading arrows with her bow when deck building as they can only be played from arsenal.
Briar (Lightning and Earth) Elemental Runeblade
Briar is quite unique in comparison to the other Heroes of Aria in one big way. Her hero ability does not require you to run any elements whatsoever to gain its benefit. She also currently has access to a huge pool of cards in, Lightning, Earth, Elemental, Runeblade, Elemental Runeblade and generic meaning her brewing potential is likely the biggest out of all the new heroes in my opinion. For playing 2 non attack actions in the turn she will create an Embodiment of Lightning granting your next attack go again. Whenever an attack action deals damage she creates an Embodiment of Earth which increases the block value of your non attack actions.
An ideal turn with Briar is 2 low cost non attack actions generating a Lightning token then a low cost attack action, finished off with a weapon attack from Rosetta Thorn. Thankfully she has access to quite a few 0 and 1 cost actions meaning these explosive turns can often be achieved with a single blue pitch. Alternatively she can go wide and attempt to do as much chip damage as possible to create more embodiment tokens. Remember any damage the source deals creates a token so attacks like Vexing Malice and Singeing Steelblade can potentially create 2.
Tales of Aria is yet another interesting and challenging expansion to the Flesh and Blood TCG. I'm extremely excited to see who will fill the power vacuum with the recent banning of Seeds of Agony and restricting of Duskblade. Each of these new three heroes could have what it takes to be the next top dog. It is now in the hands of the players to put the pieces together. Whether you're new to the game or you've been here from the start It is truly an exciting time to be playing Flesh and Blood.
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