Adventuring Party 3 | A Further Six Constructed Ashes Decks From One Collection
Welcome to Adventuring Party 3, a set of six Ashes decks made from a single collection. These decks are designed to give players an option to keep their collections built out in such a way that playing pickup games with new players or friends is easy. It’s also intended to help ease folks into constructed Ashes if they haven’t jumped in yet.
This is the third set of Adventuring Party decks, which is wild. I certainly didn’t think this would end up being a series, and it’s pretty funny now to think about how off-the-cuff Adventuring Party 1 was at the time. The incredible feedback on Adventuring Party 1 and Adventuring Party 2 have been so encouraging to hear. I certainly intend to keep making these articles as long as it makes sense.
Speaking of the previous sets, you should go check out Adventuring Party 1. I took the liberty of updating those decks with the latest cards and moving some things around. I’ve learned a lot over three rounds of this and I figured it would be good to smooth out the rough edges of that first set.
Without further adieu, let’s do some acknowledgements and then dive into the new friends in Adventuring Party 3!
1. The Ashes Discord is like my little online family. I love you people. Thanks for being so relentlessly kind to me. And thanks for all the games.
2. As per usual, most invaluable to this article is my friend ChaosTheory, who is second-to-none at helping me brainstorm better and pointing out things I’ve overlooked.
3. Other acknowledgements this time around- Matt Bauers, Carl Diaz, and UnderRugSwept, all of whom made decks that greatly inspired the directions for some of this set. I’m not made of endless deck ideas. Without inspiration from other builders, Adventuring Party wouldn’t be possible. Thank you dudes for sparking the flames.
So, who’s the latest group to enter the unknown dangers of Ashes? Let’s meet some friends…
The Crusader marches forth into enemy territory with only conquest on her mind. With a huge variety of angles to pursue her attack from, she is an instrument of pure force on the field.
Recommended First Five: Summon Fallen, Open Memories, Crimson Bomber, Immortal Commander, Raptor Herder
Dimona is a lot of fun, but she’s been tough for me to figure out. I went back and forth on several builds before paying closer attention to what the community was saying about her. People have talked a lot about running her with Fallen, and it’s easy to see why. One of the primary play lines to counter Fallen is ignoring their allies to deny them the fuel they need to make zombies. Dimona’s ability, Promote, punishes that approach with great efficiency, which majorly opens up this archetype and gives it some additional juice.
The First Five here is somewhat static- obviously Summon Fallen and Open Memories are non-negotiable, and getting those Fallen books out as soon as possible is always an early priority. You can flex a bit with the allies, but I’m quite partial to both Crimson Bomber (who guarantees we get tokens on Summon Fallen) and Immortal Commander (who can both boost our Fallen and be a great, sticky target for Promote).
As with most Fallen builds, surviving the early portions of Round 1 is often the most difficult part. It takes four turns to get double Fallen books and an ally out, and some decks can do a lot of damage in that time. The good news is that you have allies in your hand- be sure to throw them down to block if you get into trouble. The raw efficiency of Fallen will win the long game most of the time. Conserve health where you can, be smart with your attacks, and keep your engine moving with a steady stream of allies.
Wading through the tangled nest of her units only yields a quicker death- with inevitability on her side, The Witch aims to grind you down while never letting her defenses collapse.
Recommended First Five 1 : Summon False Demon, Summon Salamander Monk, Summon Vampire Bat Swarm, Fire Archer, Fear
Recommended First Five 2: Summon False Demon, Summon Salamander Monk, Summon Vampire Bat Swarm, Master Vampire, Fear
The Witch is based on a deck I made in one of the Ashes Discord’s super fun draft tournaments, which performed pretty well and in general worked a lot better than I expected it to. This deck has a lot of ways to lock out opponents, but it requires a more defensive, control oriented playstyle than most Ashes decks. You’re going to attack only when the hit is necessary to keep your wall of units intact, and you’re aiming to win off the back of all this unit density letting you scream a ton. Your small battlefield has lots of ways to clear itself, including the best card in the game- Fear.
The draft version used Turtle Guard, but we’ve replaced it with False Demon here, which comes with the ability to clear your own units in a pinch. This is particularly helpful to get rid of Salamander Spirits. Full suites of Final Cry and Sympathy Pain give this deck a lot of reach, but be careful about meditating, as you really do not want those burn cards in the bin. Try to scream with your basics if it makes sense to do so.
First Five 1 is a very low to the ground open, leaving 4 dice open for resurrecting Vampire Bat and screaming. First Five 2 takes those open dice and uses them instead to get out Master Vampire, which is great for widening the life gap if it goes unanswered. In both FFs, you could conceivably swap out Fear if you don’t think you’ll have a target. Against decks with fast opens, consider Choke if you think it’ll turn off something nasty, like a Spirit Burn or a Duplicate. If you can get set up and get your grind on, you can finish stronger than most.
The Warlock’s enchanted forest is full of innocuous creatures that, left to their devices, rapidly evolve into terrors. Supremely versatile, with many ways to secure victory, the Warlock is a fearsome opponent for any who would challenge them.
Recommended First Five 1: Summon Gilder, Summon Indiglow Creeper, Summon Time Hopper, Summon Wishing Wing, Guilt Link [Duplicate]
Recommended First Five 2: Summon Gilder, Summon Indiglow Creeper, Summon Time Hopper, Summon Wishing Wing, Void Pulse [Duplicate]
A word of warning- my testing indicates that this is the strongest Adventuring Party deck in any of the sets so far, and you should be careful using it against other Adventuring Party decks if you’re expecting a fair fight. This thing can be brutal, primarily because of the Phoenixborn that’s been the talk of Ashes lately: Hope.
Guilt Link is so good here that we tend to favor First Five 1 despite Void Pulse being amazing. With three in the deck you might draw into it in Round 1 anyway. Wishing Wing, especially if you Duplicate it, will feed you a ton of cards and keep the pressure up on your opponent. It might seem like a no-brainer to Duplicate Creeper for a cheap, easy Seedling, but what you’ll come to find is that there are just endless lines of play here, and depending on what openings you get Creeper may end up carrying a lot less weight than you’d think. This particular 5 book set up is packed with synergy, and it has a lot of ways to win.
The sequencing will come to you as you play, but in general, you want to get Guilt Link down early, you want to summon Wishing Wing and then Time Hopper to get Wing to 2 attack right away, and you want to hold off on summoning Creeper until you’ve gotten your cards for the round and seen if you can get it focused. If you get ambitious enough to take this into constructed, make sure to add back in the Nature’s Wraths that I took away from The Warlock because I had to find some way to balance it against the rest of the set. Hopefully losing those brought it back down to earth some, though you’ll need to be proactive about self-clear with Gilder, Guilt Link, and Seeds of Aggression to avoid getting clogged. Hope is crazy strong, and their incredible statline and strength on the attack lends itself very well to builds like this one.
The strength of the Warden is legend. With their powerful units, attack boosts, and ways to punch through even the stoutest defenses, they’re proof that sometimes brute force is all it takes to rise victorious.
Recommended First Five 1: Summon Butterfly Monk, Summon Cloudburst Gryphon, Summon Light Bringer, Grave Knight, Hammer Knight
Recommended First Five 2: Summon Cloudburst Gryphon, Crystal Archer, Grave Knight, Hammer Knight, Call Upon The Realms
Playing Rin well isn’t necessarily simple- Ice Buff is an underrated ability that can make combat math very awkward for your opponent, but you have to time it well. The mistake I see players make most often is using it too early. It shines when you play it in response to your opponent developing a really good attack that Ice Buff then turns into a bad attack. You’ll learn to see those opportunities the more you play Rin.
As for this deck, it’s really very straightforward- you want to dominate the battlefield with big, beefy units, and then use Overkill tech to push through even the toughest enemy wall. Piercing Light and Blessing of Lightning can both enable some amazing swings, but this deck doesn’t require them to win. While you look for the key swings, it’s important that you make careful use of your defensive options to keep key units alive. If you think you’re in a position to really beat down on a more passive opponent, you may choose First Five 2, which is quite a bit more aggressive.
Rin’s 6 Battlefield and all these sticky units can also make clog a problem if you take a big swing. Try to use your units more surgically, especially to make attacks that incentivize your opponent to counter, making room on your battlefield for a fresh fighter. Smart attacks and protecting your heavy hitters will make all the difference. The Warden’s raw power is unmatched- you need only utilize it well.
The Sage’s flexibility is their calling card. Namine’s trademark Encore allows the correct tool for the moment to be called upon, again and again, until her wisdom wins the day.
Recommended First Five 1: Summon Frostback Bear, Summon False Demon, Summon Salamander Monk, Summon Shadow Spirit, Realm Walker
Recommended First Five 2: Summon Frostback Bear, Summon False Demon, Summon Salamander Monk, Summon Fox Spirit, To Shadows, [Calming Melody]
Namine flies under the radar a bit and I think she can be super good when you lean into her strengths. Her stats are very well balanced, Encore is the most flexible PB unique in the game, and in a world where enemy PB abilities are very dangerous, having the ability to turn them off right on your PB is potentially a life-saver. Here, we’re maximizing two of the things that are unique advantages for Namine- her ability to recur action spells, and her ability to run 4 books.
The books are fairly self-explanatory. We’re running some top tier ones here, including Bear and Salamander. False Demon is back, used similarly to how it was for the Witch to enable board cleanup and self-clear in a pinch, and Fox and Shadow Spirit each offer different strengths in the fourth slot. Assuming these units don’t control the game sufficiently on their own (it’s possible), recursion via Encore is our secondary win-condition. This deck can conceivably play up to 6 Molten Golds, and if you’re careful with your dice, you can surprise opponents by cranking off 2 of them late and then prepping to finish them with a 3rd in the following round. You have superb reach, and the trick is in surviving with enough dice to make it happen.
But there’s a reason why this deck is called The Sage- sometimes, Encore should be used for something more matchup-specific than just windmill-slamming Moltens. You have lots of potent options to drag out of the bin, especially Realm Walker, one of the best units in the game. You can do a lot worse than using Encore to keep Walker on the board if your opponent doesn’t have a good answer. You also have a large selection of reactions that can be bounced back to hand to keep opponents in check. This deck requires good knowledge of the game to be utilized to it’s fullest, but it also has such a high floor because your summons every round are going to be solid no matter what. Seeking out that wisdom through experience will earn you the title of Sage.
The learned Scholar has no time for those who would interrupt their solitude- with powerful control options and tools to attack the enemy deck, the Scholar is here to win the long game, whatever it takes.
Recommended First Five 1: Summon Seaside Raven, Summon Ruby Cobra, Summon Orchid Dove, Abundance, Sonic Swordsman [Heart’s Pull]
Recommended First Five 2: Summon Seaside Raven, Summon Ruby Cobra, Summon Orchid Dove, Meteor, Sonic Swordsman
Recommended First Five 3: Summon Seaside Raven, Summon Ruby Cobra, Hollow, Abundance, Essence Druid [Additional activation of Cobra)
Pure control decks can be hard to win with in Ashes, but this one may be what the doctor ordered. Inspired by other consistently strong takes on Saria, this one adds in Abundance and the fantastic new Dreamlock Mage to up the mill pressure while maintaining the ability to pump out a lot of direct attack damage if it needs to.
This deck has several potent openings- First Five 1 is the safest, getting you set up with your most critical books and a Sonic Swordsman to hold the battlefield down. First Five 2 swaps in a Meteor, which is a fantastic failsafe option in case you’re anticipating a heavy board from the opponent. Being able to get set up a bit while clearing the enemy board at the end of the round can be clutch. First Five 3 utilizes the tried and tested Essence Druid trick of meditating off a used book to get it back and use it again- in our case, for double Cobras in Round 1. Each of these FFs can be very strong starts.
There will be games where things don’t pan out- sometimes you just won’t be able to keep your defenses up long enough to get to your strong endgame. But you do have the tools necessary to thread the needle, fighting over the battlefield while applying consistent pressure across all facets of the game. That steady pressure will win you games, allowing Saria to get back to her lighthouse for some much-coveted solitude…right after she throws a dinner party to die for.
THE PHOENIX RETURNS
It was a blast to get these decks together and find new avenues to make this concept work. It’s some of the most fun I have in Ashes, and I can’t thank you enough for supporting it through your readership. I hope these decks let you have great games via webcam, Ashteki, or right at your kitchen table. I hope they let you enjoy Ashes as much as it deserves to be enjoyed.
And as always, I’m compelled to reiterate the thing that I hope this article leads you to- once you’ve played some games with these, pull them apart and make something new! The magic of deckbuilding is what I aim to share with Ashes players of all experience levels.
Happy trails! See you next time…