Calling: Liverpool – Flesh and Blood Tournament Recap

Calling: Liverpool

Greetings and salutations once again my fabulous FAB folks! I’m some random #fabdad, also known as Donnie K. or Dracohominis87 depending on where you find me. You’ve clicked on another installment in our coverage review series here on FABREC! Today we’ll be looking at Calling: Liverpool and more Heavy Hitters Limited!

Let’s dive right in!

A Smashing Good Time in Liverpool!

Following right on the heels of Calling: Hartford, our siblings across the pond celebrated Heavy Hitters release with another Limited format Calling. The event was hosted by Living Realms and the stream was produced by Tabletop 24. It was cast and covered by the crew from Push the Point and the illustrious Baz the Bard, (aka Barrie Wardle,) was on point once again filling in wherever he was needed and running interviews with the feature match winners and others between rounds.

Dad jokes aside, Tabletop 24 seems to be the go-to source for event coverage in the UK, and I’m here for it. After producing the coverage for Calling: Birmingham last year, the 2023 World Championships, and probably more that I’m forgetting, I was already a fan of their work. But this was another beautifully ran stream from them. Due to the nature of Limited, there was a good bit of downtime that was filled in with a sealed deck build and plenty of interviews with some of the best talent in the room. Is Tabletop 24 the UK’s version of Savage Feats? Someone on that side of the ocean, find a way to let me know, because I’ll believe you.

Simon Denning, Dan Tripp, and Hamish Chisholm Brown, all of Push the Point fame, returned to the casting booth once again for the event. These guys have already come a long way since the first time I wrote about them back when they cast Calling: Birmingham. All weekend, the casting was on point and entertaining and they provided some solid insights into the limited metagame. Well done, gents!

The Numbers We Really Care About

Props to Legend Story Studios for their commitment to coverage and, particularly, to whoever writes and maintains the live blog for these events. I would have a much harder time writing this series without their hard work.

At the start of Round One, there were 323 heroes registered. Of those, Kayo was once again the most represented young hero, with Kassai right on his heels. Kayo had 121 pilots, Kassai had 101, and Betsy was third most registered with 49 total. Then, Olympia followed with 33, Victor Goldmane with 15 and, finally, only four people were brave enough to register Rhinar for their Sealed deck.

It looks like we collectively have a clear favorite hero for Heavy Hitters Limited. I wasn’t able to find the breakdown on the heroes that converted to Day Two this time, but after eight rounds of Swiss on Day One, the top 64 players advanced to the Draft portion. Kayo was the most popular hero drafted in both drafts on Day Two. It’s a Brute world, and we’re just living in it folks. Like I said last week people, Kayo is GOOD…

Day One Breakdown

Like last week, this was a Limited format Calling, so I won’t be covering every round like I traditionally do for Constructed events. We’ll hit some highlights from each day, then breakdown the three featured games from the Top 8. If you want to study the format or just can’t get enough Limited action, go check out the stream. It’s a great watch.

Round One – Craig Johnson (Kassai) vs Pablo Pintor (Betsy)

For the first round of Calling: Liverpool, we got to see Craig Johnson on Kassai up against Flesh and Blood‘s first Pro Tour Champ, Pablo Pintor, on Betsy. Pablo started things off on the very first turn with a tasteful, “hammer for four” to the delight of the casters. (It’s a bit, and I think it’s awesome.) Craig/Kassai came in a little more aggressively after blocking, and Pablo opted to take four damage to send back a Wage Vigor for 10 on his turn. It hit and Pablo got his tokens set up to keep rolling.

Pablo took a little more damage after that, going to nine over the course of the next few turns, but Craig quickly found himself on his last life point. Betsy’s attacks for seven kept taking three cards from Craig and eventually Kassai drew her last hand. Pablo let one more swing hit, but then ended things with an overpowered wager attack.

Round Three – Scott Mines (Kayo) vs Sebastian Grondal (Olympia)

Scott “Howling” Mines on Kayo faced off against Calling: Birmingham Top 8 competitor Sebastian Grondal on Olympia. This game looked like it was going to be over quickly in Kayo’s favor, but Sebastian managed to stabilize and grind Scott down to life parity (both heroes on their last life point). Blocking with three cards to live on sword swings and dreams, Sebastian looked good to make the storybook comeback. But FAB’s newest Brute is relentless and the value of Vigor tokens can’t be understated.

A final Agile Windup into a Wage Might from Kayo finally put the nail in Olympia’s coffin and the players exchanged fist bumps over a game well played.

Round Eight – Rhyan Bromell (Kassai) vs Yorgos Samaras (Victor Goldmane)

In the last round of Day One, Rhyan Bromell on Kassai met Yorgos Samaras on Victor Goldmane in the 5-2 bracket. Both players were playing for their tournament lives, looking to secure one more win in order to make it to Day Two’s Draft portion of Calling Liverpool.

Rhyan’s first turn reminded everyone how scary the Warrior class can be when they’ve got a weapon on the combat chain. Fatal Engagement vaulted the Cintari Saber over Victor’s attempt to block and Yorgos lost a quarter of his life total in one swing. Yorgos answered back with a Big Bop, then leaked a few more points of damage to send a buffed Over the Top back at Kassai. The game ground down to both players on two life, but Rhyan/Kassai managed to close it out with one last weapon buff to get exact lethal.

Day Two Breakdown

Rounds 9 – 11

The Day Two stream started out with two Kayo vs Olympia rounds, followed by a Kayo mirror match to close out the first pod, all of which featured Francesco Giorgio with the one-armed Brute. At the start of the next draft pod, we got to watch Francesco draft the deck that he played through these three rounds of Swiss.

Round Eleven – Bruno Cracco (Kayo) vs Francesco Giorgio (Kayo)

This was one of the quickest games we saw over the weekend. Both Bruno Cracco and Francesco Giorgio wanted to just throw everything their mirrored one-armed Brute heroes could palm at each other. Tokens flowed in both directions, but Francesco took four points of damage right away and had to play from behind. Big numbers do big damage and Francesco went to ‘Claw-dachi’ lock first at two life and had to give up more cards. Bruno didn’t let up the pressure and eventually moved on with the win.

Rounds 12 – 14

The second draft pod that was featured followed Naib Mobassir who ended up drafting Olympia for the last segment of the Swiss. Unfortunately for Naib, the extra attention from the camera didn’t provide him any type of power boost, and he lost two out of the three rounds in the pod. After all the games were played, we got to watch Naib’s draft process card by card as well. The losses didn’t hurt either player much though, since their records at the end of Swiss was good enough to make the cut to Top 8 anyway.

I really hope they keep doing this kind of storyline in future events. I loved following the featured players and then seeing their process play out during card selection. It was a great addition to the broadcast.

Round 12 – Pablo Pintor (Betsy) vs Naib Mobassir (Olympia)

I almost think Pablo wanted to force draft Betsy all weekend. Every time we saw him on stream, he was rockin’ the gambling queen. Betsy started things off with a Wage of Vigor, not a Wage of Might, and this hero found a righteous fight…. (I might have listened to that song one too many times.) It doesn’t help that Naib started off with his Goblet of Bloodrun Wine a’flowin’. That’s what Heavy Hittin’s all about though. (Ok, I’m done.)

And there were definitely some heavy hits thrown around in this game. Naib’s life total evaporated quickly and he found himself at three looking at Pablo on 16. He clung to life for a few more turns, but Pablo/Betsy stayed disciplined, eventually going to two to Naib’s one before going tall over Olympia one last time for the win.

Cut to Top 8

The top cut had several familiar names from the featured match area throughout the event, and the last three matches we saw at Calling: Liverpool were dominated by Betsy and Kassai, culminating in a mirror match finals.

After Swiss, here were the standings and what the players drafted for the Top 8:

1st– Liam Holden (Kassai)

2nd– Pablo Pintor (Betsy)

3rd– Naib Mobassir (Rhinar)

4th– Mark Henderson (Rhinar)

5th– Julian Felix (Victor Goldmane)

6th– Francesco Giorgio (Kassai)

7th– Valentin Mackl (Kayo)

8th– Yassine Echafai (Betsy)

(Two Kassai, two Betsy, two Rhinar, one Kayo, and one Victor Goldmane)

Quarterfinals – Yassine Echafai (Betsy) vs Liam Holden (Kassai)

Liam/Kassai started things off strong with a Lead with Heart, setting up tempo with the first five-card hand of the game. Yassine/Betsy had a Big Bop in response, looking to go big and then go home next turn. The Bop was Big, but the Sabers that Kassai wields are no joke either – especially backed up by plenty of attack reactions. Betsy met her end this round when Yassine blocked with all four cards from hand and still took damage from Agile Engagement pushing the sword over. Liam moved on to face Mark Henderson off-camera in the semifinals.

Semifinals – Pablo Pintor (Betsy) vs Francesco Giorgio (Kassai)

Pablo and Betsy appeared again in the semifinals, up against Francesco Giorgo on Kassai. As nice as Pablo seems, it must be intimidating to sit across from him as the opponent in the elimination rounds of a major event. Anyone who follows competitive Flesh and Blood should know Pablo as one of the top players on the planet, with a resumé to put him in contention for the title of THE Best Player in FAB. Francesco has a solid resumé of his own though, with a team Calling win and two BH trophies on his shelf; so he may be used to this kind of situation.

Pablo went first and quickly filled his arsenal after passing priority. Francesco/Kassai started the game with an Edge Ahead into Rising Energy for nine. Pablo decided to leak six life and then cracked back bringing Francesco down to 13. Down But Not Out was the returned shot and things snowballed against the Pro Tour champ from there as Francesco held control all the way to the finals.

Finals – Liam Holden (Kassai) vs Francesco Giorgio (Kassai)

With all of the cash and glory on the line, Liam and Francesco both brought Kassai to the table, looking to walk away with the trophy that loomed over the playmat during the game. Everything seemed to align for Francesco again as he was consistently able to present slightly better cards in each turn cycle than Liam was. Swords, tokens, and “Warrior Wine” flowed freely, but Francesco Giorgio was able to coolly handle it all to claim victory.

Final Thoughts

As much fun as Heavy Hitters Limited is to play, I’m ready to see some Constructed game play back on screen. All weekend, through both limited Callings, people in chat were asking about the results of the Classic Constructed Battle Hardened attached to the event. The Calling did look like a fun event, and as I said about Hartford last week, the FOMO for these events is real. I’m looking forward to the next one I get to attend, whenever/wherever that may be!

For now, thanks to everyone on the casting and production team again for a great event and, of course, to James White and Legend Story Studios for bringing us this amazing game. Oh, and one more thing…

A Personal Note

I’d like to call special attention to Baz’s interview with a player named Ian Porter that was played at 7:16:56 on Day One. Living on this side of the world, I’ve never heard of Ian, but apparently he’s well known in the UK. Ian has a disability and deals with mobility issues but travels a lot to events over there and is known as a deeply invested, and talented, player. I LOVED hearing his story and the good things he had to say about the way people and organizers treat his needs when he travels to play Flesh and Blood.

The FAB community is the best community, and we are here for everyone. I’m married to a lovely woman with medical/mobility issues (for 16 years, Oct. 2024), and this interview really touched me. Thanks Baz. And thank you, Ian.

What was your favorite moment from Calling: Liverpool? Are you excited that there was a Warrior mirror in the finals? Are you prepared for the Brute Constructed meta we’re entering now? If you want to chat about the event (or any of my articles really), hit me up on Twitter/X or Discord as @Dracohominis87. If you want to listen to me and a couple of my favorite Siblings in Cardboard chat about all things Flesh and Blood, check out our channel here! Take care!

Further Reading:

Mind Games And Variability In Heavy Hitters

Legends, Stories, and Immersive Gameplay in Flesh and Blood

How to Improve Your Flesh and Blood Decision Making

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.