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Never Stop Boosting: Chasing Flesh and Blood’s Bright Lights

When Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon came out, it was also the first day of the 2023 Philippine Nationals of Flesh and Blood. That’s why my AC6 review was late: I was busy doing coverage for a different passion.

Now it’s early October, and the newest FAB expansion set is out: Bright Lights, a set dedicated to mechanologists—my favorite class. Gearheads and hackers, industrialists and revolutionaries, steampunk and AI. So much to love, so much to do, so little time.

Thankfully, if there’s one thing we mechanologists can do well, it’s work fast. Really, really fast.

Zero to Sixty

Some context, for newbies: Flesh and Blood is primarily—we’ll come back to this qualifier in another article—a 1v1 tabletop card game. Y’know, like Magic: The Gathering, but not three decades old. You and your opponent control heroes that duke it out with their distinctive gear and abilities, like a 2D fighting game with cards. It’s clever, accessible, and very pretty. It’s also experiencing a bit of a boom this year, both locally and internationally. No worries if you haven’t heard of it, because now you have.

Before Bright Lights, most of the other FAB hero classes got more development across multiple sets. Dash, the signature hero of the mechanologist class, was very accessible and performed competently, but she would always struggle against the continually evolving strategies and powers of the other classes. Data Doll, the next mechanologist hero to come out, had great flavor and novelty but she didn’t really pack enough of a reliable punch to break into competitive standings.

Dive Through Data

We mechanologist mains did our best to work with what we had, but it wasn’t until Bright Lights was announced that we had any real hope of exploring the highest meta tiers.

Prerelease sealed tourneys were held across the world in the weekend prior to the Bright Lights release, and I wholeheartedly jumped into them. It was a chance to really get into the nitty-gritty of the set, given that sealed tourneys allow you to only use the cards you draw from the packs given to you. Everyone had to play a mechanologist, and it was nerve-wracking fun to race against each other’s damage-dealing, equipment-swapping shenanigans.

Pedal to the Metal

And now we are stuck no longer! With the new crank, scrap, galvanize, and evo upgrade card abilities—which didn’t exist before Bright Lights—and more new boost cards than we could have dreamed possible, we can do so much more now than just go fast: we can hit with the force of a truck. Reliably, repeatedly, and with a lot of flair.

The sheer variety of fresh mechanologist content means that, along with the innovations of the new heroes, we have access to new toys and tricks for the classic heroes too. With time, and as people test out new strategies, we might finally see if classic Dash can make it to Living Legend status, and if Data Doll can be more than just a janky, unpredictable trickster.

From three separate prerelease tourneys, I managed to collect promo rainbow foil cards of the three new heroes and I even won a set-themed playmat from a raffle! I had middling match performance overall, but that’s fine: I was stoked just to be able to play, and to see so many people who would otherwise not bother with mechanologists giving the class a try.

Maximum Velocity

Should you get into Bright Lights? If you’re a newbie, yes, because with Bright Lights comes new limited tourney formats that make it very easy to play: get three boosters, slam them together, and go. It’s an excellent jump start for getting into FAB. Even if you’re not actually at a tourney, the basic principle still applies: any packs you get work together immediately, unlike packs from any other prior FAB set since they all have a mix of class cards.

If you’re an existing FAB player and maybe not a mechanologist main, the answer is still yes. Bright Lights has “Expansion Slots,” meaning there’s a chance for special—and usually valuable—non-mechanologist cards in some packs. You remove those in limited play but otherwise they’re potentially very useful for other classes. There’s a reprint of the universally powerful Fyendal’s Spring Tunic, for example, and there’s also the staggeringly powerful Tome of Imperial Flame for Draconic heroes!

And finally, if you’re already a mechanologist main: you’ve probably already gotten a booster box or three. Why are you still reading this? There are decks to build, matches to play, and attacks to boost! Go, go, go!