He became the joke of WTR, from poor performance in main FAB events to silly memes. Rhinar had a tough time from the start of our favourite TCG… but now Brute is back with vengeance!
No other class can mess with their opponents’ defences as much as Brute. This quality makes it a threat in a metagame filled with conservative play, defence reactions and surviving till late game. This is achieved thanks to this magnificent card:
Barraging beatdown is an amazing way of disrupting your opponent’s plays. You take away a card at random from their blocking step, then force them to use the remaining two to block the rest of the damage, or get up to 8 damage in. A single barraging beatdown can create a powerful attack with only 1 more card to be pitched to a club swing. The intimidate, plus forcing a double block can really mess with your opponent’s next turn. Pretty good value if you ask me! Jason has shown us the powerhouse that is OTK Brute, but it seems we have forgotten the sheer power of a single Barraging Beatdown attack.
Now, unfortunately the core of Brute cards, despite being quite low pitch cost, have a very hefty cost of discarding a card at random. This, combined with the randomness of Scabskin Leathers’ rolls, has made it a suboptimal choice for competitive play for many players.
BUT to the joy of all the brute players, Arcane Rising gave us a number of exciting new additions that seem like a perfect fit for Brute:
These cards give Brute a perfect toolkit to create the ultimate all round powerhouse. Let me show you how Brute can really pack a punch with these of bombastic interactions:
This sweet combo has been heavily talked about, often called broken. This is card advantage and tempo swing in its purest form. Why is it extra juicy in Brute? MOST of your attacks cost over 2 or more resource points AND you can Pummel your weapon.
Wait.. I draw 2 cards, gain up to 6 life AND go again!? YES you do! And if you’re feeling lucky, you can Timesnap into Scabskin Leathers roll. Worst case scenario, you end up with 1 action point, which is still decent, or you have a 50% chance of having 3-4 action points! This can turn a decent Tome pop into a nightmare for your opponent.
Command and Conquer is amazing at forcing blocks. The more block you force, the easier it is to get a big hit in with a Barraging Beatdown. It’s a lose – lose scenario for your opponent. They either block up your Command and Conquer and leave themselves with two cards in hand, or take a hit and lose their arsenal. Either way, their next turn won’t be too eventful without taking a serious pounding.
Bloodrush Bellow is a powerhouse of a card. It is just so unstable, it used to be hard to pull off before Arcane Rising. Now with the help of Lead the charge, it is much easier to pull off a turn with a Brute attack and a weapon attack and really maximise the +2 damage buff.
Another plus of this class, is access to some amazing defensive cards:
It is very important to note Brute’s natural defensive stats. EVERY Brute action card in this deck has 3 defense. This makes setting up your turns much easier in terms of holding off your opponents’ attacks.
Brute can swing hard, defends hard and can set up some of the most powerful turns in the game. Let’s have a look at the game play versus some of the most common enemies:
Straight Aggro – Ninja, Warrior, Ranger
When you’re versing a very aggressive deck, the power of those decks comes from big blow out turns and keeping the momentum on their side. We have all experienced the Scar for a Scar into Enlightened strike into Snatch turns or a powerful Ninja combo line. Now, while those look really scary, Brute can mitigate the pressure with the outstanding defensive cards mentioned above. You can use up 2-3 cards and block up as much damage, leaving you with 2-3 to counter attack. This is where Barraging Beatdown shines. With a simple Beatdown into a club swing turn, you can force the opposing aggro player into a tricky situation, either sacrifice 2 cards from their next attack, or take a huge hit. This is a massive win – win for you, getting a big hit in, or really slowing down your opponent.
Another incredible way to regain momentum in a tough aggro matchup, is setting up the Command and Conquer and Pummel play. It might cost you a hefty chunk of life, but demolishing your opponent’s hand AND arsenal will make it all worth it.
Try to avoid using Scabskin Leathers in this matchup. Rolling a 1 means you’re going to take a pounding in return. Most of the time, you won’t have more than 2 cards in your hand left after blocking anyways, meaning even if you roll a 6, your turn won’t be as powerful most of the time.
Fatigue Control – Dash, Viserai, Bravo, Ninja
These games can turn into a low and slow grind. Brute loves a low and slow grind. The game play here is to save your life total as much as you can. Block up the attacks and try to maintain a solid life total, while putting pressure with the club. Pitching the right cards is key in this matchup. You want to save Alpha Rampages, Barraging Beatdowns, Bloodrush Bellows and Pack Hunts for late game. Once you set up these cards together, you can blow your opponent out with a stacked intimidate attack, dealing upwards of 20+ damage, while intimidating their whole hand. To pull this off, you also have Tomes and Potions as life gain + set up cards. If things don’t go as planned, you can also hope to fatigue your opponent out with 3 drones!
Another shining star in these matchups is your shiny legendary! Scabskin leathers shines in control matchups, because, unlike aggro, control decks often lack the same pressure with full hands. Meaning, if you end up rolling a 1, it isn’t as detrimental as in a more aggressive matchup. The plus side is, you get more powerful attacks in, which is a very valuable versus a heavily defensive deck. It also means, you’re more likely to get some damage through, or completely delete your opponent’s hand.
Here is the list I played in the 6th April Metrix Daily League:
WEAPONS / EQUIPMENT
Pitch 1 (Red)
Pitch 2 (Yellow)
And here is my overview of the matchups:
Jason – Wizard
My strategy for this matchup was to really cut down on red pitch cards and defense reactions, making it easier for me to block arcane damage with my nullrune equipment. I wanted to put on constant pressure with Barraging Beatdowns and Command and Conquers.
I managed to get a big hit in with a Command and Conquer, which put pressure on Jason. Barraging Beatdown seems extremely powerful versus wizard, because it really blocks their potential to Kano. You either pitch in response and risk losing blocking cards, or allow the intimidate and really weaken your Kano potential.
We ended up going over a few scenarios post-game, which should give you a good idea of the match-up.
MDL Week 2, Quarter Finals: Jason Chung v. Karol Ruszkiewicz
Mani – Ranger
For this game, I wanted to really slow down the play of the game. Barraging Beatdown was a way for me to force Mani to double block, leaving him with a weak attack on his turn. I wanted to focus on blocking damage and send a club swing in response. I had a big life lead, but got impatient, trying to force a big attack. As you can see, this gave Mani a window to really catch up in damage. Also note, I didn’t use Scabskin Leathers once. Rolling a 1 was too much of a risk of letting this very aggressive deck back into the game.
Rommel – Brute
I went into this game trying to fatigue my opponent. I knew Barraging Beatdowns would force Rommel into taking big hits or losing cards, which aids in my overall game plan. What I didn’t expect is for Rommel to put on such intense pressure right from turn 1! The constant pounding has left me clinging on my dear life for the majority of the game. I was hoping to set up a big Tome of Fyendal turn and regain some of my life with the early Timesnap Potion, but didn’t see it till the very end of the game.
I really enjoyed seeing such a different, balls to the wall Brute list. I highly recommend watching the game, it was the closest game of Flesh and Blood I have ever played, and it’s a great way to get insights into the Brute, if you want to play a similar list to mine, or more aggressive list like Rommel’s.
MDL Week 3, Finals: Karol Ruszkiewicz v. Rommel Estalilla
The really exceptional feature of the deck is its versatility. You can go control, you can go aggro and even pull off some deadly combos. The best thing about it is… you can adjust your gameplay halfway through a game! As long as you pay attention to the cards remaining in your deck and pay attention to the game state, you can really surprise your opponents. This surprise factor is what makes Brute really brutal and, I hope, will bring Brute back to the spotlight.
I hope you enjoyed the overview of my Brute list and please let me know your thoughts and ideas.