Calling: Hartford – Flesh and Blood Tournament Recap

Calling: Hartford Tournament Recap

Greetings and salutations once again my fabulous FAB folks! Welcome to another Armchair Quarterback coverage review here on FABREC! Today we’re looking at the heavy hittin’ action that took place at Calling: Hartford over the weekend. It was the first of two Limited callings scheduled for this month (the upcoming Calling: Liverpool is the second), and what an awesome release weekend for Heavy Hitters it turned out to be!

Welcome to the Arena!

The coverage was provided by the Brutes over at Savage Feats and, once again, the overall quality of the stream was fantastic. The opening round of Day One experienced some slow connection speeds, but those issues were handled quickly.

Due to this being a Limited format event, there were ample amounts of down time while the players were drafting and constructing decks. During those times, we were treated to tips and tricks for Heavy Hitters Limited, hero breakdowns, and on Day Two we were even able to watch the recordings of two players from the top Swiss draft pods card by card! (After their draft pods had finished playing, of course, so there were no concerns about competitive integrity.)

Brodie Spurlock, Michael Feng, and Sam O’Byrne were brought in as casters, and I am continuously impressed by all of them. It seems that there’s nothing that Brodie and Michael can’t do at a professional level, and Sam is one of the best casters in Flesh and Blood right now. Full stop.

In other words, great job all around! (Also, special shout out to Hemal Patel from Hammurabi TCG for loaning the players the Marvel heroes to use while on camera. That was a nice touch and I saw comments in the chat all weekend about how good they looked.)

Let’s Dive Right Into Some Numbers Now, Shall We?

A total of 422 players received a sealed pool at the start of the event to build their best deck for the competition. At the end of the first day, 64 players advanced to the Day Two draft portion. Out of the six heroes available Kayo was far and away the most popular with 169 players choosing to build their pool around him. Kassai was the next most popular with 126, followed by Betsy at 62, Olympia at 39, Victor Goldmane with 16, and finally Rhinar with only 10.

The conversion to Day Two did not favor the players who registered Victor or Rhinar. Not a single pilot of those two heroes survived the eight rounds of Sealed to make the Day One cutoff. Of the 64 players with strong enough records to advance, 33(!) were on Kayo, 18 were Kassai, 8 were playing Betsy, and 5 piloted Olympia.

Day One (Heavy Hitters Sealed)

So! This was a Sealed format event. As such, there was not a lot of diversity amongst the game play due to the limited hero/card pool. Therefore, I’m not going to break down every round like I would for a constructed event, but we will hit a few highlights from each day and then the Top 8. I’m going to try to spread the focus around to each of the different heroes, but there was a lot of Kayo on stream. Spoiler alert: Kayo is GOOD.

Welcome to the Planet of the Apes everybody.

Round One – Tim Seib (Kassai) vs Tariq Patel (Kayo)

This round was almost completely lost due to technical difficulties. It cuts off with Tim/Kassai at 11 life and Tariq/Kayo at 18 on turn three. After the round ended, we found out that Tariq/Kayo got the win, but I’m not certain what the game looked like beyond the first couple of laggy turns. Thankfully the internet issues were resolved before Round Two.

Round Three – Michael Hamilton (Olympia) vs Ben Cook (Kassai)

You would think that the Warrior mirror would primarily involve a lot of weapon swings. And you would be right. But there was also a good number of wagers being made thanks to Michael/Olympia looking for that Gold token payoff. Ben/Kassai played very defensively and pushed back with the Cintari Saber when he could, but Olympia was able to consistently keep the pressure on. Eventually, a Trade In went over Ben’s last blocking card by one point and closed it out in the former World Champ’s favor.

Round Four – Elly Bird (Betsy) vs Randall Sims (Rhinar)

I have to admit to a little bias here. Randall is a local at my LGS (near Atlanta), and a great guy in general, so I was really pulling for a Rhinar win this round. Elly/Betsy had other ideas in mind, though. Elly started the game by popping two pieces of equipment and sandbagging a Primed to Fight for their second turn. Randall took a point of damage from Miller’s Grindstone on turn 0, possibly thinking that he would win the clash, but missed and lost a card from deck.

Elly took some damage on their turn to send what should have been 15 with overpower back, but both players missed a point while calculating the buffs. The one point didn’t make a difference as Betsy kept the bombs running and huge hits were thrown back and forth by both players. Elly/Betsy eventually outslugged FAB’s original Brute and claimed victory with another overpowered attack. Overall, this was a great game to watch and really showcased what the newest set is all about.

Day Two (Heavy Hitters Draft)

Round Nine – Yuanji Li (Kassai) vs Corey F-R. (Kayo)

These two players were the only ones left in the event with an undefeated record going into Day Two. At the start of the next draft (after this pod was finished), we got to see Yuanji’s draft process card by card. Yuanji/Kassai started the game and immediately passed priority. Corey/Kayo opted to discard an Agile Windup before the end step, but because Yuanji still had an action point, he was able to send a Wage Gold across before ending the turn to take the rest of the cards from Corey’s hand. (And out of his deck.)

Both players showed extremely clean gameplay and we got to see both heroes shine in this short exchange. (The game only lasted four turns total!) However, Kayo’s consistent Agility tokens and stream of heavy hits eventually earned Corey the honor of being the only undefeated player left in the tournament.

Round Eleven – Elly Bird (Kayo) vs Michael Hamilton (Olympia)

In Round Eleven, we saw the former World Champ Michael Hamilton on Olympia facing off against Elly Bird on Kayo. These players were competing for the coveted 3-0 in the draft pod. Elly managed to put together a powerful defense package with No Fear and a handful of six-power attacks to stop a Wage Agility red from Michael.

This game went longer than a lot of the others that we saw in the event and proved that good math is still good math. Elly/Kayo eventually managed to close it out against Olympia with their Guardian cosplay and a pumped-up Assault and Battery. Go watch this game if you want a master class on what these heroes can do.

Top 8 Cut (Heavy Hitters Draft)

All six of the available heroes had a representative in the Top 8 Draft. In total, there were two Kassai, two Betsy, and one each of Victor Goldmane, Kayo, Olympia, and Rhinar competing in the elimination rounds.

Quarterfinals – Mark Morrison (Kayo) vs Yuanji Li (Victor Goldmane)

Yuanji Li managed to come back from the loss in Round Nine to finish the Swiss portion of the event in 1st place. This time around though, he found himself in a Guardian seat and drafted Victor Goldmane. He was up against the 8th seed, Mark, who was one of only two Brutes in the pod. Considering how strong Brutes are in the set, Mark had a very powerful deck and Victor couldn’t stave off the constant barrage, despite Yuanji’s best efforts.

Mark Unga’d and he Bunga’d, then he moved on to the next round.

Semifinals – Cody Williams (Kassai) vs Alex Vore (Rhinar)

Alex/Rhinar started the game off with a drink, tossing in a Smashback Alehorn to set up tokens for his first five-card hand. Cody/Kassai found an all-red hand to start things off, only managing to Draw Swords into a swing with Hot Streak for his opening sequence. Alex blocked with his Raw Meat and kept his hand to throw everything and the kitchen sink on his turn. Despite the slow start, Cody managed to push back into the game with consistent weapon pressure and his own Agility tokens. Eventually, he had his own massive turn with a Vigorous Engagement on a Wage Gold to go over blocks and close it out.

Finals – Cody Willams (Kassai) vs Mark Morrison (Kayo)

To quote the famous Jim Ross of WWE fame: “What a slobberknocker of a match!!”

It looked like Cody/Kassai had things well in hand in the beginning stages, but then Mark/Kayo just hit a critical mass of powerful attacks, and the hits just kept on coming. A Bare Fangs for 12 with go again on turn three was the turning point for the one-armed Brute. Cody managed to trade hits with Mark enough to get both players under five life, but Mark was able to block with a non-attack on Cody’s final desperate swing. He kept just enough cards to crack back with yet another buffed Bare Fangs and secured the title of Calling champion with Kayo!

Final Thoughts

I think it’s safe to say that Heavy Hitters is going to go down as one of Flesh and Blood‘s biggest hits as far as the Limited format goes. Every game had a good amount of interaction and almost always came down to both players fighting to get the last hit in. As viewers, it really feels like we’re watching fights in the Deathmatch Arena, complete with all the wild swings you’d expect from gladiatorial combat. Epic win, LSS.

Congratulations to everyone who made it to the Top 8, but especially to the champion of Calling: Hartford, Mark Morrison. Well done and well deserved!

What was your favorite moment from the coverage of Calling: Hartford? Have you had a chance to try out Heavy Hitters limited yet? If not, what are you waiting for?? Also, if you’re interested in hearing me and two of my favorite Siblings in Cardboard gush about everything that went down at the Calling and beyond, check out our podcast. If not, I’m always available for a chat on Discord or Twitter/”X” as Dracohominis87!

Further Reading:

How I Got 28th Place at the Flesh and Blood World Championship

Flesh and Blood’s Living Legend System, and the Power of Storytelling

Don’t Let Break-Even Decisions Break You in Flesh and Blood

Donnie is an enthusiastic nerd and family man who grew up playing TCGs, starting when Pokemon cards were the hottest thing on the playground. After playing Yu-gi-oh and then Magic the Gathering for years, he found Flesh and Blood in December of '22, sold all of his other pretty cardboard rectangles, and dived into FAB head first where he discovered a deep love for go-wide strategies involving the use of Ninja cards. Be Like Water is his current favorite card, because he gets to do a terrible Bruce Lee impression every time it's played. (Much to the annoyance of his brother who hears it a lot.) Donnie has been married to his lovely wife since Halloween 2008 and has two beautiful daughters that he couldn't be more proud of.