First Adventure | Dueling Decks From The Ashes Reborn Master Set
It’s no secret that in all my writing about Ashes, I’ve been a pretty vocal critic of the Preconstructed decks. They’re not completely without merit, but what makes me the most sad about them is that I don’t think they really represent how it feels to play a great game of Ashes.
Frequently, newer players jump into their shiny, freshly freed from shrinkwrap Ashes Master Set and come out with a less than stellar game. That game is often overly long, brutally one sided, or feels lacking in direction. Sometimes it’s all three.
This article, and the decks I created for it below, are my attempt to rectify that. My hope is that these decks would provide an Ashes experience that really shows off what the game is like at it’s best. I’m not the first to try to wrangle the best cards in the Master set into something resembling a cohesive decks, but I’ve really tried to get this experience as focused as possible. My testing has shown that these decks have a lot of play and counterplay against each other, and being able to dance around your opponent and try to use your tools to gain advantage over them is one of the defining feelings of a great Ashes game.
I hope these decks give you just that. Here they are!
Suggested First Five: Summon Blue Jaguar, Summon False Demon, Summon Gilder, Summon Mist Spirit, Water Blast (Aradel’s Phoenixborn Ability) Fade Away
Advanced First Five: Summon Blue Jaguar, Summon False Demon, Summon Gilder, Summon Mist Spirit, Anchornaut, Ceremony Power Die (to recur Anchornaut), Water Blast (Aradel’s Phoenixborn Ability)
How You Win: This Aradel deck has access to 4 solid units every round with her books. She aims to win by dominating the battlefield, sneaking in big swings with Blue Jaguar’s Gaze ability, and carefully applying her burn spells when there’s time.
Things To Remember:
- The Suggested First Five uses all 10 dice, prevents a key unit from hitting the second round with Fade Away, and is overall a very stable way to start. Use the Advanced First Five to counter Owl- you’ll need to discard Anchornaut and then recur it back. In this Advanced First Five, you usually choose to only summon one Mist Spirit when you activate the book, so that you can still use Water Blast.
- What you target with Water Blast will define each round of the game. The best target is usually Seaside Raven, because it costs Saria 3 dice, so removing it for just 1 die is amazing. But often, the pressure of Three Eyed Owl’s discard effect will make a Water Blast against it very alluring.
- Hitting Saria with a Massive Growth affected unit is often the difference between winning and losing. Blue Jaguar is usually key to this, so consider making the Jaguar itself your Massive target.
- Similarly, the damage from Molten Gold is often essential to closing out the game. You have to time it carefully, as you only have 3 Nature dice. Protecting these against Three Eyed Owl is important.
- Don’t swing too early with a bunch of units at once, especially Mist Spirit. It is usually better to use them to pick on enemy units, getting damage in the right places and pressuring your opponent’s Phoenixborn guard.
- Timing is key to most of your biggest moves, and none more than Summon Sleeping Widows. Your opponent can easily kill them, so try to summon them at a clever time and swing with them fast.
Suggested First Five: Summon Three Eyed Owl, Summon Seaside Raven, Summon Butterfly Monk, Abundance, Heart’s Pull (Saria Phoenixborn Ability), Hammer Knight
Advanced First Five: Summon Three Eyed Owl, Summon Seaside Raven, Summon Butterfly Monk, Abundance, Heart’s Pull (Saria Phoenixborn Ability), Enchanted Violinist
How You Win: This Saria deck has a ton of ways to counter enemy plays efficiently and convert her strong defensive wall into a win. She aims to win by controlling her opponent, steadily draining their deck of cards, and making use of Abundance to close out the game.
Things To Remember:
- This particular flavor of Saria really has to mill their opponent to effectively close the game. Be fairly aggressive with using your Three Eyed Owls, Enchanted Violinists, and Heart’s Pull. It will add up over the course of the game!
- You’ll need to occasionally play defensively to make sure you get to the end of the game with enough life to finish strong. Try to time Mist Typhoon for maximum efficiency, don’t summon Seaside Raven unless there’s a juicy target for it to kill, and let Hammer Knight’s Alert ability force your opponent to slow down by making direct attacking awkward.
- You have a lot of allies and 20 life, which means using Ceremony power to recur an ally is often a viable move. This is especially true for Enchanted Violinist, which does so much for you. Playing EV as many times as possible is rarely bad.
- Seaside Raven is an amazing unit, and it’s up to you to play around Aradel’s Water Blast so you can use it to it’s full potential. Golden Veil helps with this immensely. When you don’t have it, always be looking to put yourself in situations where your opponent feels compelled to use Water Blast early, so that you can stick a Raven and swing with it.
- Sympathy Pain is important to close the damage gap. Try to use it as a burn spell against the PB, but in a tight spot it works fine as removal against a unit attacking as part of a group.
Where To Go From Here
The wide world of Ashes is at your fingertips! There’s so many amazing community resources available, and they’re all curated nicely over at Ashteki.com/learntoplay, which also happens to be the premier place to play Ashes online. If you’re newer, just be sure to mention that in the pregame chat and people are very accommodating, almost without exception.
Feel free to comment here or message ImpossibleGerman on the Ashes Discord if you have any questions. Happy games!