Adventuring Party 2 | Six More Constructed Ashes Decks From One Collection
I was pretty jazzed by all the great responses to the first set of Adventuring Party decks. So many of you told me they helped you have a lot of fun, especially at local events and in the Team Covenant League. I think this is only partially because of the actual decks themselves- it’s mostly just that full constructed Ashes games are amazing and moving on from the Precon and Recon decks is like stepping into a new world. This game is just such a pleasure to play.
So! With Lulu and Orrick finally arriving for subscribers, it turns out that we all have a bunch of new physical cards to play with that we didn’t have access to last time around. And many of those cards are awesome. Seems to me there’s really only one thing to do- make some more decks!
This set is a lot of fun and I have had a blast testing them. Many of them have even gotten convincing wins over good players playing good decks, which was super encouraging! I definitely still make no promises as to the power levels of these decks. I can only test so much and the single-collection restriction means certain decks are absolutely missing cards they would normally run. Let’s make a few notes and then get to it.
- As will soon become obvious, these decks can’t be built at the same time as Adventuring Party 1 with a single collection, so you’ll need to pick one set or the other.
- As before, some of these decks share conjurations, though never copies of their summon books. This really only matters if you’re running both at the same time at the same table, and if you run out of conjurations you can always just flip another conjuration face down to serve as a proxy.
- Orrick is hard. Please forgive me.
So, without further ado, meet your new adventuring companions, ready to acccompany you into the wild depths of the Ashes dungeons…
The Samurai is the master of the battlefield, ready to dance around the enemy and strike them when the time is right.
Recommended First Five: Summon Light Bringer, Summon Salamander Monk, Summon False Demon [FLEX: (Battle Seer, Sonic Swordsman), (Gates Thrown Open, Light Swordsman)]
You know that moment in every Wuxia movie where some guy rushes in screaming and flailing to attack the noble Samurai hero, and the Samurai just calmly sidesteps him so that he careens into a wall or like a pile of pottery or something? That’s this deck. You’re the Samurai.
This deck leverages both of Echo’s powers- Gravity Flux and Chaos Gravity- to find windows for attacks that wouldn’t otherwise be there. Light Bringer is a major piece, used to consistently reduce the amount of unexhausted units at your opponent’s disposal. That plays right into your hands. Once their units are exhausted, False Demon gets to trigger in more advantageous ways. Salamander Monk is here because we’re not running Nature, which makes little greenie essential for dealing with 1 Life units. The Knights (Sonic and Battle Seer) are our major threats, giving us nasty targets for Chaos Gravity.
You have two primary options for your opener, noted above- some matchups want the Gates Thrown Open Swarm start, and some will have a harder time dealing with Double Knight. Pick your poison.
The Bard uses melody and manipulation to drain the opponent’s deck and hit hard when it’s least expected. He’s here to sing songs and kick butts- and he’s all out of butts.
Recommended First Five: Summon Three Eyed Owl, Summon Ruby Cobra, Summon Salamander Monk, Essence Druid, [FLEX: (Amplify),(Rile the Meek)]
Listen. This deck is the coolest themed deck I’ve ever come up with and I’m gonna need you need to nerd out about that with me for a moment. Virtually every music-referencing Ashes card is slotted here, and they actually all work together! We got lutes, flutes, and violins! We’re running all 3 copies of Crescendo! The guy on Rile the Meek is blowing a horn! Even AMPLIFY is a music reference if you believe hard enough. Never let it be said that I don’t work hard for you people.
In all seriousness, this is a Swing/Mill deck that is kind of a Four Book if you count Glow Finch…and you should. The most consistent problem it runs into is actually board clog- opponents occasionally and annoyingly just decide not to kill the Cobras and Owls, which is actually great for you in the long run, but it does means you’ll need to be careful about your sequencing to make sure you can still fire off your battle tricks. You also might need to forego your book summons if your hand is packed with allies. Stay savvy with Crescendo and Blood Chains and you’ll find you have a lot of options. Cobra+Amplify is so, so good, Generosity can be clutch for healing or doubling up on Cobra. You have a lot of flexibility to find your win.
The Dreadlord is the cruelest of Captains, slashing friend and foe alike, only to resurrect them in service of his grim tide.
Recommended First Five: Summon Fallen, Open Memories, Abundance, [FLEX: (Crimson Bomber, Swift Messenger), (Recollect, Fire Archer)]
Summon Fallen is an incredibly potent card that can absolutely take over the board. The Fallen engine needs several pieces to work correctly. It needs a way to get the second Fallen book as soon as possible (we’re using Open Memories). It needs a ton of allies (we’ve got 11). And it needs ways to reliably make sure that those allies actually die- and it turns out Coal has a handy dandy way to do that right on his Phoenixborn card.
Fallen speak for themselves, but there’s more going on here as well. Abundance Coal is kind of it’s own archetype anyway, and it’s a ton of fun. You’ll get lots of opportunities to use those cards to Slash away at everything- even your own men if you have to. What a man of the people this guy is, right? You have a secondary burn plan with Final Cry and One Hundred Blades. You also have a cheeky First Five flex- if you think your opponent might start slow, you can meditate into Recollect for Fallen Book 2 and then use Open Memories to get Book 3, giving you a ton of momentum with which to start churning out zombies.
This is a Fallen deck- it can be hard to pilot and it has be very careful in Round 1. But if you can consistently find ways to leverage Coal’s flexibility, the sky is the limit.
The Scout knows how to get the lay of the land with her friendly conjurations before committing to her attack, and when she swings, she knows just how to hit where it hurts the most.
Recommended First Five: Summon Gilder, Summon Frostback Bear, Summon Mind Fog Owl, Summon Emberroot Lizard, [FLEX: (Ice Trap),(Raptor Herder)(Spark)]
Perhaps the most traditional deck here, Lulu is bringing her best friend (Emberroot Lizard) to a familiar party hosted by the beloved dynamic duo of Frostback Bear and Mind Fog Owl. Lulu’s unique strengths are not exclusively good with Hot Lizard- Spark on either Bear or MFO can get very reliable extra damage through, and we’ve got Sympathy Pain here backing up Phoenix Barrage for some surprising burn potential.
But the real sauce here is Gates Thrown Open. With 6 dice worth of units on the spellboard, it’s obviously not going to work as a full reset. But for FoggyBear decks, having either of the key units removed can feel backbreaking. Gates gives you a backup plan for turns where your opponent goes all out to remove Bear and Owl, ensuring that you can summon them again to maintain the board presence necessary for the hit to eventually connect- and if that hit’s being amplified by Exhortation, your opponent has big problems.
The Shaman is the jungle’s foremost opportunist, fielding tons of units and using them surgically to violently evict invaders from the heart of Koji’s domain.
Recommended First Five: Summon Frostback Bear, Summon Omen Bringer, Summon Time Hopper, Flash Strike, [FLEX: (Swift Messenger), (Generosity),(Gorrenrock Brawler),(Hunt Master)]
The weakest deck in the last Adventuring Party was probably the Jericho, which was built around status tokens. The lastest releases fleshed status tokens out greatly- the biggest addition, for this deck at least, is our humble hawk buddy Omen Bringer. The opener here is built around swinging with a token’d up Omen Bringer in order to summon two Frostback Bears in Round 1.
This plan is somewhat fragile because the hawk has to live. Against decks like Aradel, Odette, and Saria (who might smell what you’re up to and can deal with 2 life units easily), you can flex to Generosity to get the second Bear or even forego Omen Bringer to start Gorrenrock Brawler. Perhaps the most reliable open if you’re not sure what you’re up against is using Hunt Master as your final card, giving you 5 units in Round 1 and a ton of opportunities to make Flash Strike sing.
Getting your second Hopper book can be a huge difference maker- that will get Koji’s battlefield nice and wide like it should be. Sneaking in a beefed up Frostback Bear or a spare Hopper with Explosive Growth is key to winning the damage race. There are tons of amazing potential plays here.
The Monk must work hard to achieve enlightenment, but once he is awakened, your opponent’s nightmares will no longer stay confined to their dreams.
Recommended First Five: Summon Butterfly Monk, Summon Light Bringer, Concentration, Small Sacrifice, Flex (Summon Turtle Guard/Hammer Knight/Chained Creations)
Get ready for a novel- I want to make sure you’re ready for our boy Orrick. By far the biggest testing time sink was finding an Orrick that made sense for this set of decks. Adventuring Party decks, after all, strive to be intuitive, which isn’t a word people often associate with this guy.
Despite wanting to make an Orrick, this deck was actually very different (and using Rin) for a long time. I wasn’t sure that it was possible to engineer something that met my standards for an Adventuring Party deck. Frankly, I’m still not completely sure. You should know before running this deck that Orrick has stumped many very good Ashes players and he can be hard to pilot. Even played well, Orrick games tend to be slow, and when he loses it can sometimes feel like he didn’t do much at all.
However- I did arrive at a point where I felt comfortable including The Monk in Adventuring Party 2. That’s due to a couple of key combos that are fun, intuitive, and really feel like they shine with Orrick.
The first notes to make are that we have 3x copies of both Butterfly Monk and Small Sacrifice- shoutout to ShufflebusNeil, who tested those ready spells a ton and whose Shufflebus 5 Orrick helped me find this deck’s core. Pumping Butterflies onto the field to constantly juice Orrick back up is great, and having so many cheap bodies around makes Small Sacrifice’s Focus 1 a hugely impactful tool for slowing down your opponent’s biggest threats. Try to keep a Ceremony die and a body around so that when your opponent drops that big Knight, you can just take it out of commission for the round.
Chained Creations is Frostback Bear tech- try to set up the Bear with damage on it if you can, but if not, Frog-ping into Creations can be the right move despite being so pricy. Dealing with FBB round over round is really tough given your reliance on Butterfly Monk for bodies, so try to keep them under control.
Regarding Concentration and Insight…
1. This deck absolutely relies on getting to your Awakened State, so make finding Concentration your priority.
2. Every turn that you can, meditate cards one at a time to dig for your ready spells, especially Small Sacrifice and Concentrate.
3. Try NEVER to meditate when you don’t have Insight up if at ALL possible. Losing a Concentrate is devastating.
You’ve got to get that thick spellboard up and running if you want to make it to the endgame, which is where your lunch and dinner are found. Everything until Awakened State is about survival and board control. If you can get there, though, few will triumph over your wrath.
I’m looking so forward to taking my new buddies out into the wild and getting more games in! Shoutouts as always are due to the Ashes Discord and the Team Covenant Discord, communities that have meant so much to me over the last year. More than any other reason, I research and write these articles because those communities are amazing.
I’ll repeat my imperative that I closed the previous Adventuring Party with- once you’ve played some games with these, pull them apart and make something new! The most valuable thing this article and these decks can do is to give you more knowledge about how solid Ashes decks are made and played so that you can feel empowered to make your own. Building and piloting in Ashes can be immensely rewarding, and I want that experience for you.
See you out there, Phoenixborn!