Phoenix Rising | A New Player Guide To Ashes: Reborn
Oh, hello! Glad you found us. Welcome to Ashes: Reborn, a truly unique offering in the world of competitive card games.
Let’s brag on the game a bit before we start. I’m assuming you’re here for one or many of the following reasons that Ashes is such a great game:
1. The art and setting is incredible.
2. The game is the very definition of “easy to learn, hard to master”.
3. Gameplay is balanced, tight, and tactical.
4. The game is affordable to get into and has a bright future.
Those reasons are all true, and they’re a huge part of why Ashes players love their game so much. But you may not have known about some other details…
5. Ashes has a dedicated, welcoming, stellar community.
6. That community produces great tools and content for the game.
7. If you want to know more about getting into Ashes, you’re in the right place right now.
This article is meant to be a one-stop shop, a bird’s-eye overview of the things, people, and places that the Ashes community consistently recommends when new players are first exploring the game. I’ve categorized them broadly as What To Buy, Tools and Apps, How To Play, Deckbuilding, Who To Watch, and Community.
Let’s get to it.
WHAT TO BUY
Here’s an overview of purchases you’ll want to make if you’re getting into Ashes Reborn.
The link above gives a great overview. One of the best things about Ashes is that each Phoenixborn deck is a standalone product, which means at a certain point you just get to buy what you’re interested in! The generally recommended purchase order is as follows:
- The Ashes: Reborn Master Set
- Deluxe Expansions (Law of Lions, Song of Soaksend, Breaker of Fate)
- The four mono-colored Phoenixborn- Rin, Brennen, Leo, Victoria.
- Everything else in whatever order you please based on the types of dice you like.
If you like Ashes, I recommend you subscribe to TC’s subscription as soon as you can! As mentioned in the buying guide, these subscriptions are the thing that keeps Ashes being made, and Team Covenant is masterful at managing subscribers and shipping promptly.
TOOLS AND APPS
Despite being spread out across the globe, Ashes players regularly play and build together. Here’s how we do it.
Ashes’ deckbuilding application is a community-run labor of love. Make an account, check out what kinds of decks other players are building, and start building your own!
Import decks from Ashes.live and play Ashes right in your browser.
Much of the community (and the large tournaments) are using TTS for online play, and this is the premier mod to do so. Our own ChaosTheory also made a great Ashes TTS Tutorial to help for those who aren’t as familiar with the program.
HOW TO PLAY
There’s really only one reasonable first stop here…
Why send you anywhere else? YouTube’s best boardgame teacher and Canada’s native son Rodney Smith teaches Ashes. As an aside- Rodney loves Ashes and has said many times that he’s stoked about the game’s revival.
Beloved community member Skaak’s deep dive into strategic play in Ashes Reborn. Heads up- this article is intense, and you may want to get some starter games under your belt before diving into thinking about the game in this way, but it’s also an invaluable first look into the deeper layers of Ashes’ gameplay.
Like most card games, there are things that are considered common courtesy during play, especially when playing online with another community member. Ashes veteran Shannon F-T put together this great document on some good things to observe to be the best community member you can be during play.
Deckbuilding in Ashes is more open than in many other card games, with many Phoenixborn being only nominally attached to specific magic types and very few restrictions on what you can include in your deck. Everyone builds decks differently- the following bits of content are just little windows into a wide world.
This stupendous video by ChaosTheory is thorough while still being new-player friendly. This contains on overview of deck archetypes in Ashes, and beyond just putting a decklist together, Chaos also explores how to keep improving your deck and evaluate potential areas of improvement. Like all things Ashes, there’s a lot going on in this video, but the final result is very much worth it.
My own deckbuilding primer starts is the baby version of ChaosTheory’s video. One thing it does include is an overview of the different magic types in Ashes and some key cards within them. I start with choosing a Phoenixborn for the sake of simplicity, but many players do things differently, sometimes starting a deck concept with their Ready Spells or a particular First Five. The ultimate purpose of this article is to convey one simple message- that deckbuilding is fun and that you should give it a go!
Watch 11 great Ashes players (and then also me) draft their way through the entire cardpool, building their decks one card at a time for the Ashes Draft Tournament Season 2. There’s so much to learn by watching this process- a hefty read, but I think there’s a ton of insights on display here, and I tried to make it as entertaining as possible. That was made much easier midway through the writing process when I started slowly losing my mind, so even if you don’t learn much about cards you can enjoy watching me come unhinged across 48 hours of draft analysis.
WHO TO WATCH
Sometimes half the fun is seeing how others do it!
The Shufflebus Twitch channel usually streams Ashes multiple times a week, with great commentary by prolific hosts Jesse and Neil. It’s the premier place to watch Ashes tournament play.
Chaos produces varied content of fantastic quality, and is oriented towards new and casual players. Don’t let that fool you, though- he’s a great player and a cunning deckbuilder. There’s lots of great entertainment and things to learn on his channel.
Like Shufflebus, Yote’s plays several games. Their webcam Ashes plays are really fun and worth a watch.
TC usually streams Ashes on Wednesdays, and their backlog of Ashes videos is extensive.
Truly the best part of the game.
The big kahuna- Ashes has the benefit of a top notch community that loves to help new players. Literally everyone responsible for the links on this article is active over at the Discord, along with a wealth of friendly, knowledgable players.
The Ashes Discord is also home to one of my favorite corners of the Ashes Community- First Five Fridays.
This casual play night has been an enormous success, with dozens of games each Friday. We’ve seen it all- world champions, content creators, even the game’s designer throwing down right alongside new players. It’s a blast, and it’s for everyone, especially the player who’s never played Ashes with someone else before. We would love to see you there. Just check out the #First-Five-Fridays channel.
Team Covenant’s subscription service plays a huge role in Ashes: Reborn’s existence, so naturally their Ashes community is robust. This is also just a great server for any tabletop gamer.
GROW YOUR POWER
In the lore of Ashes, the same power of the Phoenix that awakened within the Phoenixborn to save the world of Argaia now seeks to reunify with itself, driving the Phoenixborn to seek each other out in their lust for power. It’s a great game, one that has given me much joy throughout the years. I’m so happy it’s been revitalized, and I’m also happy you’re looking to get more involved. I’m ImpossibleGerman over on Discord, and you can feel free to reach out with any questions or potential updates to this article.
Or just ask me to play a round of Ashes with you. It’s one of the most engaging things I’ve ever done on a tabletop, and I’ll always be excited to explore the wide world of Ashes more deeply.