Rosetta: A Wishlist for Flesh and Blood’s Upcoming Return to Aria

Heartbeat of Candlehold

With Part the Mistveil out and in the wild, it’s about time for us to look toward the future of Flesh and Blood, as the next upcoming set, Rosetta has been announced and teased with a handful of new cards. Rosetta returns us to the Land of Aria and marks the expansion of the Elemental talent with new Lightning and Earth cards and four brand new heroes, a Runeblade and a Wizard each for both of the returning elements!

With that, let us first take a look back at the legacy that Tales of Aria left for the game before indulging in every trading card game player’s most favored pastime: rampant speculation and wishful thinking!

The Legacy of Tales of Aria

Many seasoned players will already have guessed where this article is going based on the premise of looking back at Tales before formulating a wishlist for Rosetta. To put it bluntly, Tales has been one of FABs more divisive sets for one reason and one reason only: power level. Many of its cards have been banned, and all of its heroes eventually dominated the competitive scene in one way or another.

First out of the gate, appropriately enough, was Briar, Warden of Thorns, who players took to almost immediately upon release of the set. Her hero ability, combined with the aggressively slanted pool of Lightning and Elemental cards, made for an incredible amount of offensive output that was hard for other decks to keep up with.

Eventually, one of the linchpin cards of the deck, Ball Lightning, was banned and Briar’s original hero ability had to be hit with an errata. Even then, the Warden of Thorns returned with a deck more dedicated towards Earth cards and relying on Channel Mount Heroic for a more combo-focused approach that saw the hero hit Living Legend status earlier this year.

Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity was another competitive mainstay alongside Briar, although with an entirely opposite approach. The introduction of the Elemental Ice talent in Tales of Aria was the point where fatigue-style, hard control decks really came into their own. While control had been a facet of the game since Welcome to Rathe, with the now infamous turtle-style Katsu, the Wanderer decks, they weren’t quite disruptive, just more efficient.

Tales of Aria was the point where the games suite of disruptive cards really exploded, and it’s no coincidence that the Ice talent is not returning in Rosetta. While Uprising and Iyslander, Stormbind contributed in players’ frustration with the hindering powers of the Ice card pool definitely contributing, it’s hardly controversial to say that Oldhim was the worse offender.

From his hero ability and his signature weapon Winters Wail, to the grindy value engine of Rampart of the Ram’s head and Crown of Seeds, Oldhim had the tools to deal with just about anything the more aggressive decks could throw at him, while staying efficient and occasionally retaliating with brutally powerful attacks of his own.

Lexi, Livewire was the outlier for much of the game’s history. Unlike her Tales of Aria peers, the Elemental Ranger languished as a sleeper pick for dedicated fans of the hero (some would argue due to the banning of Ball Lightning after Briar’s success with the card).

It wasn’t until Outsiders reinvigorated the Ranger card pool with power cards like Codex of Frailty and Infecting that a deck for Lexi came together, but when it did, there was hardly anybody left to challenge her domination of the competitive scene until she reached Living Legend status.

While the Ranger cards in Outsiders weren’t squarely aimed at her, it was her signature weapon Voltaire, Strike Twice and the ability to function on multiple axes that made her the premier Ranger pick over Azalea, Ace in the Hole and Riptide, Lurker of the Deep.

The Rosetta Wishlist

One of the first things that made me excited for Rosetta was the fact that Legend Story Studios has chosen to focus on only two of the elements, Lightning and Earth. Ice cards have been a staple of the competitive scene for a good while, and maybe it’s due to personal bias, but I’m very glad that the other two elements get a chance to shine in Rosetta. My first wish, then, is mainly that LSS doesn’t squander that chance and gives us some more creative options for new Lightning and Earth playstyles rather than making the cards a tax for a single, efficient engine.

For much of the history of the game, the Earth cards that saw play were played more for their talent than any of the cards themselves. They turned on Channel Mount Heroic and Oldhims hero ability or occasionally fused an Oaken Old, but most Earth cards outside of Crown of Seeds weren’t really doing their own thing, they just made other cards work.

With Florian as a dedicated Earth-only Runeblade, Terra as an Earth-only Guardian and Verdance as the game’s first Earth Wizard, I’m most excited to finally see more Earth cards that focus on the slow-and-steady, resilient approach that the talent has always hinted at – not powering out a wombo-combo turn with Channel Mount Heroic to overrun your opponent.

I’m especially excited to see how Verdance makes use of her talent – if her specialization Heartbeat of Candlehold and Florian’s own Germinate are any indication, Earth will lean more into life gain with a possible payoff for gaining lots of life at once (for Florian) or many times in a turn (Verdance).

Conversely, Lightning has me a little worried. So far, we’ve seen the hero ability for our new Lightning Runeblade, Aurora, and the Channel Lightning card of the set, Channel Lightning Valley, and while they both seem like great cards, they are a little boring. They go fast – Aurora gives you action points and Channel Lightning Valley gives you extra cards to go wide with – but they don’t seem creative in the way the Earth cards are hinting at.

Maybe those cards just aren’t for me, but I would really wish for new Lightning cards that inspire different playstyles in Rosetta. And I have my hopes set on Oscilio. Maybe that’s just because he looks incredibly cool. A giant magitech robot? That might actually get me to play Wizard for the first time – but only if his hero ability isn’t just a way to gain card advantage off of dealing damage. Maybe a way for him to gain extra action points to filter into non-attack actions that need them, like Tome of Fyendal? That still seems a little predictable, but I count on LSS to pull it off.

My second wish is pretty much a given from what we’ve seen, granted, but it’s for the land of Aria to keep its whimsical, fantastical, and almost storybook-like aesthetic. Since Uprising, a lot of the game has seen a lot of that whimsy neglected in favor of either a brooding, edgy tone (in Outsiders, the shadow-half of Dusk Till Dawn, and some of the more run-down areas of Metrix in Bright Lights) or subdued and grounded (the scrappy pit fights of Heavy Hitters). Like every area of Rathe, Aria has a very unique aesthetic and vibe, and I hope that LSS continues that trajectory and gives us cards that don’t look like anything but Aria.

My final wish is the obvious one: a more moderate power level. The shadow that Tales of Aria and much of the talented cards in general have cast over the game has been vast. Part of that is just in the nature of having access to a larger card pool. But if recent sets are any indication, LSS seem well aware of the fact that talents have ruled FAB for far too long, and they are deliberately reintroducing them slowly to the Constructed card pool with safer cards and heroes in Dusk Till DawnPart the Mistveil, and the upcoming Rosetta.

If I only have one wish granted, it’s this one. I’d hate a repeat of Tales of Aria where many of the cool cards of Rosetta are overshadowed by single, powerful cards that outshine everything else. And from the way that recent sets have managed to strike a more appropriately distributed range of power across many cards, I’m pretty optimistic and ultimately excited for Rosetta. How about you?

Further Reading:

Choosing the Right Flesh and Blood Deck in a Wide Metagame

A History of Wizards in Flesh and Blood

How to Improve Your Flesh and Blood Decision Making

Raised on a steady diet of fantasy storys and video games, Jonah discovered trading card games at the impressionable age of 12 and has since spent over half his life and about the same percentage of each monthly salary on card games. If he's not brewing new decks or catching up on the latest FaB news, he's probably dead - or painting a new Warhammer mini.