Yesterday I teased on social media that I have been given some cards to preview for ‘Welcome to Rathe’ (the debut expansion for the new TCG ‘Flesh and Blood’). I asked the public to hazard a guess at what the to-be-spoiled cards would be like based on these two images:
You figured it out! Well, sort-of. Both of these two new cards are definitely potions the other details are open to interpretation. May you stock them on your shelves and take them into the arena, I am happy to introduce Energy Potion and Timesnap Potion!
How exciting! We’ve only seen one other potion (let alone item card) so far in the form of Strength Potion. This might be a good time to recap on how item cards work within a game of ‘Flesh and Blood’ and how the use of each of these potions differ.
With the comprehensive rules unreleased at the moment all we have to go by is the Hero’s Handbook as found here: Rules and Policies.
Items are exceptional in ‘Flesh and Blood’ as they are one of two types of cards that “stay-in-play after they resolve”. The zone in which they belong to is an ambiguous non-specified zone called “the arena”.
In order to play an item you must pay its cost as well as spend an action point. This makes playing a bunch of items in a single turn harder to do. If this type of card could be played cheaply and quickly I don’t think we would see any powerful effects from them. I hope I speak for everyone when I say that we want our items to be cool and exciting and not akin to something like Rubber Duck of Mediocrity.
From what it looks so far a potion is an item that you must destroy (drink) in order to gain its effect. However, even this early into the knowledge of the game not all potions are created equal in this regard!
You might have noticed that both Strength and Timesnap potions have the activated ability type of ‘Action’ (can be seen just prior to their effect), whereas the Energy Potion has the activated ability type of ‘Instant’. The main difference here is that the ‘Action’ activated ability type requires you to spend an action point while an ‘Instant’ does not.
This templating makes a lot of sense for the use of ‘Go again’ and “Gain 2 action points” on the two ‘Action’ activated ability type potions. Both of these potions give you at least one action point after drinking them to continue the flow of your turn. That being said, Potion of Strength does NOT give your next attack this turn ‘Go again’.
Another takeaway here is that you (mainly) gain an action point at the start of your own turn with it expiring at the end of your turn. So, Strength and Timesnap potions can’t feasibly be activated on your opponent’s turn. Energy Potion can be activated any time you have priority regardless if an action point is available to you or not.
It can also be noted that items don’t have a power or defense value associated with them. So having too many in your deck may slow down your rate of interaction within the game. I think that items will most commonly be played after an attack with ‘Go again’ in order to offset any loss of tempo from playing them. Only time will tell how delicate the balance of introducing items to your deck will be. Hopefully there will be some that prove only too tempting not to play.
Yeah. That counts.
Energy Potion - I think that the main use of this card will be to save up resources for a blow out turn or key card with a high cost. Unlike most cards within ‘Flesh and Blood’ it is not variable in its usage. It cannot defend, or attack, or anything else that isn’t tied to providing resources. This card is as close to as linear as I think we will get and despite that I can foresee it being a part of critical decisions in every game it’s played. It is very important to note that in most games “broken” scenarios exist due to being able to convert one resource type into another too easily. This card reads as convert an action point into two resources in that context of thinking.
Timesnap Potion - On that note, this potion doesn’t provide any surplus or resource conversion. You expend two actions points (usually over two turns) to gain two actions points in one turn. This card represents an investment more so than Energy potion even if it doesn’t look as obvious. Being an investment, it would be safe to say that cards might exist in the future to act as risk to making them (outside of the initial risk of loss of tempo from spending an action point). For example, an attack that could destroy an item if it hits could set a precedent to interact with opposing items in case they prove to be game-warping.
Crazy Brew - I can’t get over my excitement for this card! Which of the three Rare potions do you like best? It doesn’t matter, just mix them all up, take a swig and ~everyone~ (one third) will be happy.
Let’s take a closer look at how this potion plays out; you’re investing two action points for an average outcome of one and a third action points, two thirds of a resource, and two thirds of a power for your next attack.
So, after the conversion from your initial investment of two action points for this average result; you’re converting two thirds of an action point into the surplus for resources and power. To make things a little cleaner and simple let’s split that two thirds of an action point investment in half and correlate to both resources and power, ie. one third of an action point for two thirds of a point of resource and another third of an action point for two thirds of a point of power.
Now we need to know how much is two thirds of a power for your next attack worth, and similarly for resources. If we calculate the same conversion for Strength Potion we can understand that one action point is worth two power for your next attack. Therefore, equating to one third of an action point is worth the same amount of two thirds of a power. The Crazy Brew is on par with Strength Potion here. You will also find the same result with the Energy Potion.
With the math out of the way, we can deduce that the average usage of the Crazy Brew will yield the same impact as a watered down (one third as effective) variant of both Energy and Strength potions combined (but also at two thirds of the cost in action points). No surplus is gained from the addition of the Timesnap Potion effect as mentioned before. In short, Crazy Brew is lower net impact but at a better rate (on average).
Crazy Brew Average: -⅔ ap, +⅔ res, +⅔ pow
Energy Average: -1 ap, +2 res
Strength Average: -1 ap, +2 pow
Timesnap Average: +0 ap
ap: Action Point, res: Resources, pow: Power for your next attack
This is all without any context on how valuable it will be to “invest” an action point from one turn into another. The introduction of using “a 6 sided die” is also exciting as it opens up design space to interact with the outcome of die rolls. For example, an arms equipment called “Gambler’s Sleeves” which increases the outcome of each die roll by two. It’s also interesting that this form of variance has been introduced as currently the only other usage of randomness is from Brute cards causing you to discard a card (with the incentive of discarding cards with six power or more) whose impact can be influenced based on deck construction, and the ‘intimidate’ mechanic. It will be fun to see if all forms of randomness like this will have methods to influence them.
Overall - Based on what we’ve seen already, cards with zero cost being used as a means to provide resources to the player sound fitting for the Ninja class based on their weapon of choice in ‘Welcome to Rathe’. Ninja’s also seem to have a good amount of attacks with ‘Go again’ so being able to sneak in your potion after your combat chain sounds very doable and mitigates the real cost of an action point. Drunken Master Ninja archetype incoming!
It has been really exciting and a pleasure to be able to be a part of the first steps of ‘Welcome to Rathe’ & ‘Flesh and Blood’ coming to the world and sharing these cards with you. I aim to be writing at least one article per week on a range of topics and burning questions in relation to ‘Flesh and Blood’. I implore that if you have anything that you would like me to write about or have any questions in general to reach out to me on any of my social media channels (@markovictory).
Finally, if you’re not familiar with anything that has been going on in this article (how did you even get here!?) or are keen to learn more about the game, I recommend checking out the official ‘Flesh and Blood’ website for weekdaily posts and updates.
Also, check out the other cards that have been spoiled to date right here!
‘Welcome to Rathe’ hits shelves on October 11 in the US/AU/NZ. Hope to hear and see you enjoying what is looking to be the new classic trading card game of our time.