The Flesh and Blood US Nationals Meta – What Do We Know?


All Eyes on US Nationals

We are on the eve of quite the season of Flesh and Blood. Nationals has historically been where a new set meets an action packed season of events. In 2021, Tales of Aria had only been out for one month before US Nationals in Orlando. In 2022, Uprising was only out for two months before Charlotte, and for 2023, Dusk till Dawn was only out for one month before Las Vegas.

The uncertainty over the new heroes’ place in the meta and the six rounds of draft causes a certain tension in the air that makes these events my favorites of the year. US Nationals in Minneapolis will be the first of the National events this season, and we have very few results from the Part the Mistveil to color our understanding of the metagame.

Let’s review what we do know about both the limited and constructed formats.

Calling Tokyo MST Limited

Part the Mistveil kicked off with a World Premiere in Tokyo with 559 participants. This was the first time players got to try their hand at both sealed in day one and draft in day two, and it uncovered some interesting patterns in this three-hero set.

Out of 559 players, 229 repped Nuu, 220 repped Zen, and only 100 repped Enigma. This gets more interesting as we look at the conversion rates in the 72-person day two cut: 20 Nuu (9%), 36 Zen (16%), and 16 Enigma (16%). With Nuu being the early standout, she lost momentum all weekend long. When it came to the top cut draft, all three Nuus were eliminated in the quarter finals, leaving Oh Oh on Zen to win the whole event.

More than being a conclusive event, however, Calling: Tokyo fueled the narrative of the novel complexities of the 30-card limit and deck-building ability to break the supposed triangle matchup spread. As pre-release unfolded the weekend after, sure enough, Zen was not particularly dominant.

ProQuest+ UK Games Expo Classic Constructed

At the UK Games Expo, we got our first foray into the new Classic Constructed metagame. All the cards had been known for weeks, so the theory-crafters had been deep in the tank trying to crack the new heroes. There was talk about Enigma, Ledger of Ancestry‘s oppressiveness with her ability to block for her powerful auras like 10,000 Year Reunion. There were those who claimed Nuu, Alluring Desire could tech to beat anything. And finally, there were those who believed Zen, Tamer of Purpose was the new best aggro deck. Sure enough, the Zen believers were right. Out of around 100 players, Jake Warburton on Zen took down the event. 

While details are scarce for this event, the success of aggro in an early format makes a lot of sense. Zen can force consistency regardless of hit effects due to his hero ability and his equipment like Traverse the Universe and Stride of Reprisal. In a field of experimental decks, consistency and aggression is a deadly combo, like we saw with Cheerio Briar in the 2021 Nationals metagame. But is Zen, Tamer of Purpose truly stronger than Kayo, Armed and Dangerous? It feels like a similar tension between Chane and Briar from that same 2021 event!

ProQuest+ Dreamhack Dallas Classic Constructed

Back on this side of the pond, a double header weekend was unfolding at Dreamhack Dallas. In the first PQ+ of the weekend, 13 players came to a similar conclusion as the previous events… Zen took down the event in the hands of Matt McInnis. While, yes, it was a small event, the field was stacked with names like Elly Bird on Zen, Tamer of Purpose, Chris Iaali on Levia, Shadowborn Abomination, and Brodie Spurlock on Azalea, Ace in the Hole

The second PQ+, however, really turned some heads. While many community members had once again put Levia at the top of tier lists, there’s always this doubt about Levia putting up the results that match the undoubtable power of her cards like Shadowrealm Horror. And yet, in an 18-person field, Chris Iaali on Levia took down the event versus Brodie Spurlock on Azalea in the finals. With such an early result, this legitimized Levia’s power in the developing metagame. 

In Classic Constructed, now we have two Zen wins and one Levia win. Basically three fresh results to learn from compared to the Heavy Hitters season, but there’s still a little more to go.

Battle Hardened Montreal MST Limited

Back to limited, we saw 170 players play eight rounds of Sealed into top cut Draft. Interestingly, five Enigma made Top 8, and three of them opened Manifestation of Miragai. Two Nuu and one Zen rounded out the sealed decks.

As the Draft unfolded, we ended up with three Enigma, three Nuu, and two Zen. But unlike at Calling: Tokyo, both Zens lost in the quarterfinals and all Nuus moved on! The one remaining Enigma, piloted by Noah Clark, ended up taking down the event with a build focused around Vengeful Apparition.

This is the last limited event we have to look at before drafting Part the Mistveil at US Nationals, and it leaves one deck still unproven: Nuu. It’s clear she has powerful cards like Venomous Bite and Hiss, but an entire draft can come down to how many Pick to Pieces she has to counter Enigma

ProQuest+ Montreal Classic Constructed

Finally, this event had 108 players show up to play Classic Constructed. The meta breakdown saw a new hero at the most represented… Nuu, Alluring Desire! While not having the results she wanted in limited, players clearly believed in her strength in CC, and, sure enough, she ended up with two showings in Top 8. In fact, the entire Top 8 was quite exciting with a Prism, Awakener of Sol, Enigma, Ledger of Ancestry, Kano, Dracai of Aether, Victor Goldmane, High and Mighty, two Katsu, the Wanderer, and two Nuu, Alluring Desire. The most intriguing part, for me at least, is that Kastu clearly outperformed Zen, Tamer of Purpose.

From what we saw on camera, the Katsu decks weren’t relying on new cards from Part the Mistveil, but rather taking advantage of the Zen matchup to prey on another aggro mirror. When a deck can’t block out Katsu’s important hits, then their turns are even more consistent than Zen. Was this enough for people to believe in Ninja as the best aggro deck, or is there hope for Kayo, Armed and Dangerous? With no Kayos in the Top 8, it’s hard to say where he lines up versus the new heroes.

Similarly uncertain, though, is where Katsu lines up against the other Mysteria heroes. In the Top 8, a Katsu lost to Nuu. Then, in the Finals, Thomas Zimmer on Katsu faced Noah Clark on Enigma. Normally, Ninja should have a favorable matchup into Illusionist, but Noah’s deck with tech cards like This Round’s on Me and Dense Blue Mist proved too much to bear. 

Katsu hype aside, this means Enigma rounds out the list of CC wins in the new metagame. Zen, Tamer of Purpose, Levia, Shadowborn Abomination, and Enigma, Ledger of Ancestry… Now that’s a meta shift! Will this small taste of the Part the Mistveil meta be representative of US Nationals? We are mere days away from finding out! 

Further Reading:

Pro Flesh and Blood Players Tank, and You Should Too!

Enigma – Fun or Competitive?

Setting Goals for Flesh and Blood

Ethan ‘Man Sant’ Van Sant is known for his commitment to Levia and his coverage of FaB events as Savage Feats. He has a light background with Yugioh and Pokemon, but Flesh and Blood is the first TCG that has fully consumed him… As willed by Blasmophet.