Learning to Love Limited

If you’ve played TCG’s long enough, you’ll know of players who only play and live by one format. For some, it might be simply sticking to the main competitive format in the game, which for Flesh and Blood, is Classic Constructed. The same can be said of players who only stick to Limited play. For one reason or another, these players swear by their format and try incredibly hard not to venture out of their scope.

Partially, I think every player goes through a phase like this at some point or another. For myself, it was the Limited format which I heavily stayed away from. To be fair, I almost considered it a different game from Constructed itself. For me, Constructed was a safer zone where I knew my decks inside and out and could focus on extreme levels of optimization whenever possible.

Over the last many months however, I’ve rediscovered the Limited format as a deep and complex development on my favorite game, and although many of my preconceived notions have held true about the format, I’ve found they are boons rather than curses for the format. As a little bit of a love letter to Limited, I’d like to break down all the previous notions and how Limited has help make me fall in love with FAB all over again

Changing the Scope of Deckbuilding

In many ways, Constructed is a “safe” format. You spend hundreds of hours crafting a perfect deck for competition, one that you know the ins and outs of, so much so that getting pushed away from it in Limited can feel uncomfortable and difficult. The new, unoptimized deck list can feel severely clunky compared to any constructed decklist, and the task to make a deck list within a set amount of time from a restricted pool of cards can feel “limiting” to Constructed players. As a result, many may immediately differ to saying Limited has more variance in it due the unknown and changing card pool at draft tables.

However, the truth is far from this. Sure, I’ll give it to you that the first time you ever play draft or sealed may very well feel like this. But give the format a chance. One of the beautiful parts of Limited in Flesh and Blood I quickly realized is it truly opens the card pool of FAB to new boundaries. In Constructed, you almost immediately cut out such a large portion of cards simply due to them not being good enough for your builds. In a sense, Flesh and Blood becomes a much narrower game relegated to only 50 percent of its cardpool.

Limited changes the scope of this entirely. You start to re-discover cards you previously knew. Boring cards for Constructed suddenly become key pieces to your new deck, and cards which have three block and above are premium value cards in a format where offense isn't always in the spotlight. It’s an incredible rediscovery of the game and feels like a breath of fresh air to the tight noose around variance of Constructed.

This also helps your Constructed game immensely. Understanding card valuation at the extent which Limited requires helps you analyse deckbuilding in new ways outside of the synergy-focused format in Constructed. For those that are poor at making midrange builds, learning to evaluate cards which help you gain value turn by turn is a key skill which Limited helps quickly develop, and one which will suit you well in Constructed deckbuilding in the future.

Going on an Adventure

Remember the first FAB pack you ever cracked? That sense of discovery and adventure which lingered in the air as you delved into this unknown game, unsure what joys it will bring? Limited reinvigorates those feelings every time you sit down to play. There’s a giddiness in the air as you open up the first pack, not sure which direction it will lead you down and which hero is going to be the one you join forces within battle. Sometimes the path opens naturally for you, with your first packs showcasing great cards or maybe even some power Majestics leaning into one hero or another. Other times the fog is thick, and you have to forge the path to certain heroes. Either way, there’s a sense of excitement and insecurity in choosing a certain hero and then seeing how each battle unfolds post draft.

Speaking of battle, this might just be one of the most exciting parts of Limited itself. Games are tight and tense, with tempo swinging multiple times even within the low life thresholds of the young heroes. Even so, since you play with lesser life totals, there’s a very tangible sense to taking a bunch of damage to throw your power turn out. You probably only get to do this once per match - is this really the turn you want to bet it all on? These sort of questions are incredibly tantalizing and can only come game after game in this format. In CC, the questions are more so around preparation and execution, as you already know what cards will win you a game and what your outs are. In Limited you’re figuring out your deck list as you not only build it, but also as you play, and you find what works and what doesn’t along the way.

It’s never the same

Although I love to jam games of Constructed, competitive Classic is a game of patience and mastery. Knowing your deck list inside and out is part of the fun, but it can become quite repetitive during the process of doing so. Limited is a great way to break up the monotony since everything about it is fresh. The combination of the people you play with, the unique box you open and the seating arrangements of the players around you all culminate to a unique draft/sealed experience with each setting.

Even within gameplay, the lack of Majestics floating around the table means when one does find play, it’s always memorable and feels powerful in a vacuum. They don’t necessarily win games on their own but sealing that last bit of tempo or surprising your opponent with a power Majestic is always enchanting and exciting in Limited in a way that it simply can’t be in Constructed. The unique moments created by this are what make Limited a particularly special format.

Skill Shines

Constructed is the highlighted format of many games, but there is a reason Limited makes it consistently as a format into all the top FAB events. On the spot deckbuilding, card valuation, synergies, ratios evaluation, win conditions and understanding of tempo and defense are just some of the pieces set on the stage in Limited. In a sense, it tests players deeper than any other format in the game, making sure you are proficient and as well-rounded as can be. Although I used to stray away from it due to the thought that the on-the spot deckbuilding takes away from the skill, I have now realized that to be false. Draft brings all the skill and elements of poker while drafting, and the skill to control and read the table is just another part of the game testing the players in the pod.

Wrapping Up

There’s a substantial number of players out there who haven’t played their first Limited game. For those that are scared to get to their first pod or simply haven’t had the chance, I highly recommend you do so. Between the unique memories, incredible gameplay and fresh card pools, Limited has pushed my skill as a player higher than I could have ever imagined. Although this concludes my little love letter to the format, it just motivates me to go right out to the draft tables and create new memories to tell you about in the future!

Autor: Abbas Dedanwala

Abbas is a lover of strategy, board, and card games. He avidly enjoys strategic planning and designing for many TCG's; with a strong emphasis on Flesh and Blood.