It’s been a week since Legend Story Studios (LSS) announced the next set coming to Flesh and Blood (FaB). Bright Lights, coming to FaB on October 16, 2023, is an immediate stand-out from LSS precedent. It’s bringing a new equipment mechanic, Evo, which allows players to upgrade their items with cards from their deck. We’re also getting a new slot in booster packs. AND a new casual sealed format.
Oh. And only one class appears in the new set: mechanologist.
A unique draft experience.
Previous FaB sets have featured heroes from varying classes, with a wide range of actions and gear to support them. The most recent draftable set, Outsiders, focused on Ranger, Assassin and Ninja. Before that, we had Uprising with Illusionist, Ninja and Wizard. With three different classes in the mix, drafting strategy is pretty complex, especially in the beginning. Pack one pick one might have you thinking Azalea, but if two other people in the pod are thinking the same thing you could quickly find yourself stuck with a pile of ninja cards.
Since it only features one class, Bright Lights removes that complication. Just about every card in your pool will be playable, regardless of the hero you finally decide on. Rather than having to focus your attention in the early picks to what class you want to draft around, you can think more broadly about which hero you actually want to play. Remember: in Draft you can use ANY young hero in the set, not just what plops out of the pack. If you really like the idea of playing Teklovossen, you could just start off with pack one looking for certain key cards. (Not what I would recommend, but you could do it.)
New Set, New Format
New with Bright Lights is the Crack, Shuffle, Play! format. Similar to Magic: the Gathering’s Jumpstart format, Crack, Shuffle, Play! (aka 3-pack) is meant for quick, casual games. Simply crack any three booster packs of Bright Lights, remove the tokens and equipment, and shuffle up. Then pick your young hero and weapon and play. Not only is this a neat way to introduce new players to Flesh and Blood, it’s also a good entry point for players looking to get a taste of the FaB sealed/draft experience. The biggest flaw with this format is that it requires the players to already have a set of the Bright Lights young heroes and their corresponding weapons. There’s no guarantee that in six packs your token slots will turn up both the hero and the weapon you’re looking for. Presumably, 3-pack is intended for local game stores to bring in newbies, since your typical new player won’t have the tokens just floating around.
Bright Lights also changes up the FaB sealed format, dropping from 6 boosters to 4. Note: there is no indication that this is a permanent change. Rather, it seems like something unique to Bright Lights.
Booster pack “expansion slot”
Bright Lights brings another update to FaB that’s reminiscent of recent-ish changes in Magic: the expansion slot. Typically, a sixteen card booster pack of Flesh and Blood would have 1 token, 11 commons, 1 rare, 1 rare+, 1 equipment, and 1 foil. One in fifteen packs would have the token slot replaced with a cold foil card. The token slot is always removed before drafting, even if it’s a cold foil. In Bright Lights, each booster pack has two token slots. Those two cards will either be two tokens or one token and an Expansion, Premium Foil, Extended Art or Legendary card. Both token slots (the last two in the pack) are removed before drafting and kept by the player who cracks the pack.
The expansion slot functions much like “the List” in Magic. It is a way for LSS to reprint staples, support classes that aren’t part of the base set, or develop the game’s overall lore. Notably, one of the cards that can turn up in the expansion slot for Bright Lights is Fyendal’s Spring Tunic. Preview season doesn’t start until September 22, so I am going to reserve final judgment until then. Right now, I’m not a fan of the change. Having an extra token slot seems like it will on average drop the potential excitement of cracking a pack. Seriously, who goes “oh goodie, just the token I was looking for”? I suspect the additional token slot was added because of Proto Base gear that appears in the set specifically for Bright Lights sealed and draft environments. The Bright Lights marketing material doesn’t list an equipment slot on the pack contents list, so this seems a likely culprit.
Experimentation and Innovation
The theme of Bright Lights is experimentation and innovation. It’s set in Metrix, a city at the intersection of Steampunk and Cyberpunk. Somehow, the combination of neon and clockwork actually works in the set’s art. LSS is trying a lot of new things all at once in this set. New pack slot, new format, updated sealed rules. A single-class set. Hopefully all of that comes together as well as the artwork does.
Spoilers for Bright Lights start on September 22, 2023. Prerelease weekend is September 29 – October 2. Official release is October 6.