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What is the history of competitive Flash Duel?

Stuff like top characters, strong strategies, tournaments, etc. Also, was there any competitive 2v2 stuff?

I ask because I really love Flash Duel. It’s my most-played game of all of Sirlin Games’ offerings. Honestly, I even find that the Simple Mode is really fun if you’re playing with someone that has an aversion to the character abilities for some reason.


Think Flash Duel is a great game also. Played it a lot with random strangers or friends over the years, and it was almost universally well received no matter the edition. Unfortunately each edition has had some pretty serious balance problems.

1st Edition - Deck runs out quickly and it is hard to actually kill someone; gameplay usually begins with playing footsies to get hints on what your opponent’s hand is like and positioning yourself to get first Dashing Strike (and being able to continue the pressure) or blocking the first dashing strike. The winning strategy is to set yourself up so you have control over the last move (or checkmate your opponent so that they have no good last moves) so you will win by last hits or distance.

Setsuki is the best character in First Edition, and was toned down for Second Edition.

2nd Edition - Strategy is the same as First Edition, but there are new characters and balance changes.

Quince and Setsuki are the most powerful characters in Second Edition. IMO Quince was really fun to use though.

2nd Edition Revised - System changes to make more cards in the deck and make the deck less predictable for more bluffing and risk taking etc. There are no more last hits, but it is still hard for most characters to kill the other without cornering them so the main strategy is to set up good enough offense to corner the opponent or just win by distance. So the strategy is similar to 1st and 2nd Edition, but the longer round means there is more time for the player with initiative to run out of steam and the player with his back to the wall to find a weak spot and make a comeback which makes the rounds more exciting.

As a result of the system changes, best character in 2ER is Argagarg, who has a completely dominant matchup against the vast majority of the cast – because winning at timeout is still so important but last hits no longer pose a threat, his Pacifism will automatically win a lot of rounds or force opponent into making bad or risky moves to try and actually kill him, especially when you factor in his defensive abilities. Some characters can kill him but most simply can’t really without abilities tuned for the task.

From a gameplay and overall balance standpoint, I think each edition got significantly better, though I think Argagarg in 2ER is unfortunate since I’m guessing it will be the last iteration of the game.

2v2 in 2E was very fun, but the endgame situations were way too complicated which reduced its playability to me. 2v2 in the Revised 2nd edition is probably a lot better though! Didn’t get the chance to try it much.


I’m a little confused on bubble shield and stun lock. It is stated on the card, “…skip a turn… Don’t need to recover after that”.
If you skipped a turn, your technically recovering right?

No. When you recover, you still draw up to 5 cards at the end of your turn (and I think certain characters have abilities they can activate while recovering.
Skipping the turn means you don’t draw and can’t activate abilities.


Im confused on ‘don’t need to recover after that’. Does it mean I can choose to recover?

No. Normally you must recover after you retreat. If your turn was skipped, you would still need to recover on your next turn if it didn’t explicitly stated you don’t need to.


Tnx @Bomber678.
On perse’s dominance ability, as I understand it, is it the same as having the opponent end their turn after they move with dominance?

I had to get out my set and check for this one.
Almost yes. It has them end their turn after they move, but also they can’t do anything before they move. As it states, they cannot play abilities.

Is there somewhere that details the 2ed changes. I own the set when Quince ruled the world.

Has anyone proposed house rules to balance Argagarg?

I think I won about half the FD tournaments held on

The second edition was dominated by deck out. Abilities that let you manipulate the deck and win last hits were extremely strong. For example, Grave’s martial mastery is one of the strongest abilities in the game. Setsuki’s SOTF was most commonly used to move twice. Of course, being the first to dashing strike often let you control the tempo. But the final kill was usually based on deck out. If you retreated from a dashing strike and didn’t have a deck control ability it was usually very hard to recover. The two best (imo) characters without deck control both had resistance to dashing strikes (Oni and Rook).

Eventually, Quince was nerfed online in second edition. There were several tournaments in v2 that only allowed ‘nerfsuki’. Nerfsuki was the same as normal setsuki except you were not allowed to use Speed of the Fox to move twice.

The competitive tiers for 2nd edition were something like:

Quince Tier:
Original Quince

S Tier: (all winning mus with lower-tiered characters)


Quince (Nerfed)
Onimaru (sadly no deck manip)

I might be forgetting some other B tier characters.

There was all sort of unintended wackiness. For example, a common strategy was to repeatedly move right in front of the opponent if you held two ones. This was extremely hard to break out of. The most common use of Zane’s crashbomb was to prevent people from doing this to him.

I never played with the revised second edition ruleset.

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