Chill, You’re Probably Wrong
I take the stairs a lot in my apartment building. This isn’t a self-righteous thing, or even part of some strictly adhered-to exercise regimen. Instead, it is an improvement by avoidance tactic that I’ve employed to avoid some of the most egregiously annoying conversations I get stuck being a part of when the elevator stops short and scoops up another tenant who cannot wait to unload their empty opinion on me. What I’m trying to avoid by taking the stairs is the hollow noise that manifests in phrases like “this weather is certainly something, ain’t it?”, or “hot/cold enough for you?”. The theme is pretty similar to browsing Twitter discourse around Flesh and Blood. Short clips and phrases of nonsense evaluations that are inspired by a common thread of dissatisfaction.
The conversation has made panicked leaps from hot button topic to  topic trying to find an angle to wedge an edgy opinion in. Frostbite has  ruined the game. Kano is the epitome of bad gameplay. Prism will kill Flesh and Blood. Limited will be the end of competitive FAB. And most recently... Scabskins is bad for the game. Wait, what? Since when? Oh right! Since last week’s topic ran out of gas, and the engine is fueled by hot takes and outrage. I feel compelled to drop a little heat on this direction of the narrative because the fact is this: things are really, really good. Is everything perfect? Absolutely not. But the titanic proportions a lot of the discourse has led to is approaching a critical level of absurdity, and I think it’s worth taking a step back to reevaluate our collective perception of things.
The game is growing, about to touch down in the second largest TCG market in the world by having a World Premiere and World Championships in Japan. Heavy Hitters was a success commercially and from a playability perspective. Hero meta is in constant flux, with diverse Top 8s emerging all over the world. The game’s annual prize pool is increasing, formats are developing, products are diversifying, and more people than ever are playing the game. So why the hell is the discourse so bloody negative? While entitlement to your own unique opinion is totally justified, the aroma of righteousness that often accompanies some brave takes on social media are often fueling some pretty toxic discourse. I want to remind everyone that it is okay to disagree, but the execution has been damn ugly. It no longer is a platform for debate and collaborative learning, it is a soapbox to declare your view, and curse those who feel differently. I hate to tell you, but you’re quite often wrong.
This isn’t meant to throw shade across a massive contingent of people, but rather the general climate that has heated up overall. There seems to be this lost connection to reality, where every topic du jour has to be dialed up to eleven, and we treat it like the Doomsday Clock just hit two minutes to midnight. We need to chill, folks. Not everything is the silver bullet looking to kill the game. The doomsaying is so common and overblown that more and more people are choosing to just ignore and mute the noise rather than engage in it. Prominent people who were champions of transparency and connection to Flesh and Blood development have decided to step away from the conversation because it is simply not worth it.
I know where you may be coming from. People are quick to remind us all about how they were there drafting Alpha, or opened more 1st EditionArcane Rising than anyone else. They’ve been around the block, and have played more Flesh and Blood than anyone they know. That’s fine. I tend to agree that WTR, ARC and CRU are brilliant sets and set a high bar for the game. But guess what, you weren’t there when it was created. You weren’t there for ARC, or when CRU was designed. You weren’t in the room for MON or ELE. You weren’t there, and you’re not there now. The game is being designed by the same person who built the game back then, and did so without reading why Frostbite tokens are the devil incarnate. Why do you now think that everything is a lit fuse to a catastrophic end? I love debate and conversation on topics I’m passionate about. I’ll sit here and staunchly defend the fact that Rogue One is the best Star Wars movie of all time. Listening and understanding is what helps me grow and learn, and understanding why people feel a certain way is an investment into being a better citizen within this community. I absolutely want to know why you think Limited has no place in competitive FAB, but the method in which these takes are defended is embarrassing at times. The extremes in which consequences are stretched, or the depths people reach to find fault is comical. We literally went from an outcry for Brute help, to people saying freaking Scabskin Leathers needs to go? I haven’t seen reach like that since Victor Wembanyama got drafted.
There is so much great stuff happening in Flesh and Blood right now, and yet the discourse has been excavating skeletons to put on blast. I’ll reiterate this important tidbit: It is fine to disagree, but stop being so vile and aggressive upon discussing your views. Be open minded to the same level that you feel strong about your viewpoint. The worst that can happen is you feel better about your stance. The best thing that can happen is that you sober up and realize that Scabskins didn’t kill the game in 2019, and it won’t kill it today.
Be kind.

 

About the Author: Matt 'Flake' Di Marco is the host of the Instant Speed Podcast, and a mainstay of Flesh and Blood broadcasts. From various National Championships, Pro Tours and World Championships, Flake has exclusive access and a unique perspective on all aspects of Flesh and Blood culture. With over 25 years of TCG experience, Flake has had a hand in dozens of games, and a fierce passion for the industry.