Flesh and Blood

Following my Dominaria United prerelease attendance for Magic the Gathering, I wasn’t quite feeling like MtG was right for me. Star City Games also had Flesh and Blood at the Con in Columbus. So I had the game on my radar, but, to be honest, I was looking at every trading card game in print in the hopes to cure the itch.


After watching a lot of videos, I had ruled out Yugioh and Pokemon from my current interests. I also have more or less ruled out Digimon; only because I can’t keep the cards straight - everything is somethingortheothermon. The new Dragon Ball game seems to be more or less unsupported. I didn’t like Weiss Schwartz’s theming around building a plot. So, at least as far as I can tell, that leaves Flesh and Blood.

Getting started

I watched a decent amount of videos on how to play the game. Eventually I drove around to a bunch of stores looking for cards. I also called several others to ask about organized play events. This past Friday I drove quite a ways to attend my first Armory event.

The gameplay is really quite good! I had a lot of fun playing Commoner (the rough equivalent of Pauper in MtG). I lost both of my matches, but I think I have a good grasp on the gameplay loop. I can foresee what it would be like to go in deep - building a competitive deck and learning how to play it.

Everyone at Loot Box, where I played the Armory Event, was super cool and helpful. I feel bad that I probably won’t be back for another one. After much thought, I’ve decided not to continue. I can see what a future with the game would look like, and I think, for me, Magic the Gathering is still better. That’s even with all the weird missteps Wizards has made with the game recently.

What went wrong

In the end, my biggest issue was familiarity. I enjoy MtG in part because it is something I’ve been involved with since Mirage in 1996. I’ve read the books and become emotionally involved with the characters. I have a baseline intuition about how good a card is when I see it. I know what colors usually have which play styles and abilities without having to think about it.

I do have a huge sunk cost in MtG, but I really believe, in the end, that is not what did it for me. The thing that made Flesh and Blood cool was also what turned me off in the end: it’s just too different.

What now?

I’m going to step back and reevaluate Magic. Dominaria United was a bit of a disappointment for me. The gameplay is solid, but the flavor is really just not there in the way that I expected.

However, the current card previews for The Brother’s War actually do have me quite excited, which helped me make the decision to drop Flesh and Blood.

I also want to change my approach to playing MtG. I’ve always been more of a collector than a player, with only one brief stint attending Friday Night Magic regularly during the Scars of Mirrodin block. I’m going to spend some time thinking about this.