The State of the Meta - August 2022
Written by Kugane
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Dash won the Calling!
The Calling in Singapore has concluded, and Dash is victorious! Claiming an impressive and deserved win for the well-loved Mechanologist hero.
Image: Jason Zhang, winner of the Singapore Calling.
But the question is, what does this mean for the future of FAB and upcoming tournaments?
Whenever an off-meta hero wins a big event, there are always going to be people that instantly copy the deck as if it’s the latest truth in what is good and isn’t so that we will see a spike in the number of Dash players going forward but does that mean Dash is a top tier hero? That much isn’t certain. Previous data has shown time and time again that Dash is underperforming in the current metagame. The deck isn’t all bad, though, and can still win almost 50% of its meta-relevant match-ups, but there are decks that, on average, perform even better.
Which deck will we see the most in the top?
Looking closely at the top 8 in Singapore, we can see 4 Briars, an Iyslander, Fai, and Viserai alongside Dash. Despite Dash’s speedrun to the top, I think Briar is still the best hero in the CC format. So don’t go on trading your Grasp of the Arknight for a Teklo Foundry Heart just yet!
Briar art by Othin Nikolaidis
Not only that, but the Battle Hardened in Singapore also had several Briars making it up there. Some could argue that Briar is a heavily represented hero, and this is true to some extend; however, several top heroes have similar popularity, but their winrate being slightly worse than Briar’s has a significant impact on events with more than six rounds. Decks like Fai, Bravo, etc., are slightly more likely to lose a match on their way to the top 8.
Because of this, I expect Briars to continue to be well represented in the top 32s of big events, especially in the Pro Tour Lille.
Will we see Dash make another appearance in the top 8? It is likely. Like when Fai topped a few events, getting first place at a Calling is a HUGE achievement. People will want to play the very deck to get a feel of what it is like to navigate the deck, especially with something outlandish as Talishar as the primary weapon! Representation alone will likely cause one or two Dashes to spike an event here and there, but I don’t think it is likely we are going to see another top finish. Of course, anything can happen!
Arknight Ascendancy by Alexander Mokhov.
What else to play?
What else is good at the moment, though? Viserai is still an excellent meta pick and likely the second-best pick after Briar if not actual best pick. Viserai’s winrate is similar to Briar’s, in my data set Viserai’s winrate is even slightly higher! However, despite 17.2% playing Viserai at the Calling Singapore only one made it into the top 8. On the other hand, Briar with 11.1% representation made it four times. It is a close call between the two. The Viserai deck does have a larger RNG factor built into it; while Briar is okay going with the Aggro plan even when she does not high roll the best cards in her deck (Channel Mount Heroic, etc.), Viserai seems to be entirely dependent on getting the right cards at the right time. This may be partially why Viserai has performed slightly poorer at big events. From practice in my coaching sessions and facing off against Viserai at events, it seems the deck relies on a solid Mordred Tides turn to close out the game and take over the tempo. I see a similar pattern for top decks like Fai, where when in a very high competitive setting, it boils down to “Art of War or bust.”
RNG (random number generation, a slang word for random draws) is the nature of many card games out there, though! Flesh and Blood is no exception to that rule. Luckily to win events, it’s a combination of luck and skill, and the more extended events go on, the more likely we see high-skilled players like CYKLionel making it to the very top. All in all the Calling Singapore was a blast!
Iyslander Stormbind, art by Alexander Mokhov.
One hero I would love to see more of in CC is Iyslander. There was one at the top of the Calling and Battle Hardened Baltimore! In fact, at the BH, it even took the 1st place spot, beautifully navigated by Chanon Puttaree! The deck seems particularly difficult to navigate for newer players, though. This alone will likely shy people away from navigating the deck. We’ve seen the same for Kano; despite its solid performance in the right hands in the current metagame, we hardly see the deck anywhere.
The second-place finisher at the Battle Hardened, Oldhim is another excellent pick. Last I checked, I had him sitting around a 55% winrate; it is in a great place right now and has some solid meta match-ups. Oldhim has a favorable match-up against most of the meta but does lose hard to decks like Prism. Fortunately, it seems that Prism’s popularity has gone down a lot, likely because people are afraid of it suddenly hitting Living Legend before a big event. Perhaps it is time for Oldhim to make a comeback and show the FAB meta what Guardian prowess is all about.
Regardless, the meta is open and varied! I am excited to see what the Pro Tour Lille will bring. What will I be running? I’ll play either Briar, Dorinthea, or Fai myself. I’m a Ninja main, so I might forfeit the statistical advantage of playing Briar in favor of a deck I like. Is it best to bring something like Fai to a Pro Tour? Probably not. However, not everything is about winning.
Regardless, if you want to try out one of my many decks, I have them all available on my Patreon, https://patreon.com/KuganeGaming, I play a plethora of things in both CC and Blitz! I post regular deck updates, so I’m sure you’ll find a deck that suits your playstyle. If not, eventually, my best decks make their way to Youtube, so you can always follow me over at https://youtube.com/KuganeGaming.