Codex: Blood spec


Codex's Blood hero, Drakk Ramhorn is new to the Fantasy Strike universe. Here’s his hero card:


Drakk is a little guy who rides a huge beast. He bangs on his war drums to hype up his allies for battle. The Blood spec is very much about running into battle bloodlusted, no matter what happens. Blood has more trouble than just about any other spec keeping units alive on the battlefield, but the tradeoff is that Blood is generally able to do a lot of damage in the process—damage that’s very hard to avoid.

Blood is one of my personal favorite specs in the entire game. It might appear mindlessly aggressive, but it’s actually more difficult to play than it first appears. The hardest part is deciding when to shift all your attention to damaging your opponent's base (that’s how you win the game), versus when to fight for control on the battlefield. You have to be very careful about when you can go “all in”. If you do it right, you barely win right before you run out of gas and have nothing left.

Let’s look at some of Blood’s “unavoidable damage.” First, Drakk himself sneaks in 1 damage to the enemy’s base whenever he dies. That’s 5% of their life total right there. If you aren’t relying on Drakk to cast spells, it’s sometimes ok for him to die two or three times in a single game, which is 2 or 3 damage out of 20.

If you have any red hero on your team (including Drakk Ramhorn), you can use the red starting deck. That’s the small deck of 10 cards you start the game with. The red starting deck is fantastic at supporting Blood’s plan.


As simple as Mad Man is, he lets you be aggressive right from the start, which is exactly what you want. And look at his art: he is truly a mad man.

Then Bombaster is a way to clear out the opponent’s patrollers so you can do more attacking. When Bombaster actually attacks, he’ll have to attack an opposing Squad Leader if there is one—that’s how the patrol zone works. The opponent puts things there to “block” you and their Squad Leader is like the primary blocker, basically. But when Bombaster sacrifices himself to use his ability, he can hit any patroller, not just the Squad Leader. Also, he can do this immediately when he comes into play, whereas he can’t actually attack right away unless something gives him haste.

“Isn’t it bad to sacrifice your own guys?” you ask. Enter, Bloodburn:


That’s another red starting deck card. It’s tricky to afford a 3 cost card in the early game, but the effect is significant: every time ANY unit dies—even an opponent’s—you basically get to do 0.5 damage. This is an upgrade card, so it stays in play until something destroys it (and not many things can). Also, the art for upgrades and spells are icons, as if these are what you'd click in an RTS video game.

This next guy is an all-star in the Bloodburn plan:


He’s a tech I unit, so you need to build your tech I building before you can play him. You can usually start building your tech I building on turn 2, and have it finish on turn 3, so it's reasonable to play him on turn 3.

Anyway, Crash Bomber is a fantastic deal because you get a regular 2/2 AND you get to do 1 extra damage when he dies. Keep in mind that this is stacking with Bloodburn (by giving it a blood rune) so Crash Bomber really does 1.5 damage when he dies in that case.

At the tech II level, you can turn up the damage even more. You then have access to something that triggers even more damage whenever anything dies: well as things that deal a lot of damage and then die:

That’s some serious hurt right there. If you can keep even one Captured Bugblatter on the field along with Bloodburn, that’s now 1.5 damage anytime any unit dies. Your opponent basically MUST kill the Bugblatter. Meanwhile, your Shoddy Gliders have crazy gold efficiency by costing only 1 gold dealing 3 damage...or make that 4.5 damage if you have Bloodburn + a Captured Bugblatter. Crashbarrow doing a ridiculous 6 damage (+ another 1.5?) is just ridiculous.

But you can see the weakness of the plan right there. Bloodburn itself is an upgrade, not a unit that can protect you. Crash Bomber, Shoddy Glider, and Crashbarrow are all things that will die. Captured Bugblatter is amazing, but he needs other things to protect him to survive. You’ll have to string together some kind of minimal defense here or you’ll lose your heroes and your tech buildings to enemy attacks.

As a quick note about the theme of the red faction, look at those last three cards again. So they've captured a bugblatter, apparently? And they have some guys who use gliders, but only poorly constructed ones that crash immediately. They've also built some kind of battering ram with a lot of spikes, but it it only has 2 HP. Maybe not the best workmanship there. Much of the Blood Anarch's technology is hastily cobbled together and they've recruited (kidnapped?) various hooligans and monsters to fight for them too.

Back to gameplay now. When you find yourself desperate for more cards because all your guys died, try casting Desperation:


Or you could use Kidnapping to steal a guy from your opponent:


Ideally you kidnap a unit, then attack some other unit with that unit, and do it in such a way that both units die. Then you're basically using Kidnapping as a way to kill two things. Sometimes offense is the best defense.

Desperation and Kidnapping are both spells. Specifically, they are Blood spells, so you’ll need your Blood hero (Drakk Ramhorn) in play to cast them. If you level your Blood hero to maximum level, you can really rally your troops with War Drums:


Or if you focus on building up your tech, having a tech III building will let you throw down the pain with Pirate-Gang Commander:


He’s basically a fountain of units, damage, and gold all in one. Plus he’s a 6/6. It’s also very unusual that he allows you to continue playing tech I or tech II units even if you lose your tech buildings, which you probably will because you have so little defense.

If all offense all the time is your thing, then Blood is for you!