Advanced Ashes is a weekly series covering advanced Ashes strategies. Each week, a different Ashes player will showcase two cards, exploring their strengths and synergies. Visit the PlaidHatGames.com Ashes store, as well as the online Ashes deckbuilder.
Bears are annoying. So are Hammer Knights. And Owls, Bombers, anything with Unit Guard…. Okay. Units are annoying. What makes them especially annoying is all that text strewn about the card (I’m looking at you, Finch). Their stats are annoying enough, but start throwing in their abilities and strategies start to unfold. Your opponent wants to discard your cards with Owls, but you like your cards and want to keep them. She keeps triggering aftershock and killing your dancer; you want your dancer alive.
The good news is that there are solutions to these problems, and these solutions are what we are looking at today. We are looking at cards that:
- Make enemy units vanilla and
- Mess with your opponent’s spellboard
We’re going to begin with an underused alteration (although to be fair most alterations are underused), Reflections in the Water.
If you are running Illusion, you need at least 1 copy of this card in your deck (and yes I understand that I didn’t put one in there in the deck I gave you before; I have no excuse or explanation except that I’m a hypocrite) and maybe even in your first five. I guarantee that you will be faced with a unit in your game that has an ability that you absolutely hate! This card takes away that ability. As long as it is inexhaustible, it is just gone.
The bear is no longer spiteful, he can no longer freeze, and he’s just a really old man bear (which I assume is what happens to everything when it receives reflections in the water on it based on the art). The owl that your opponent was banking on using on you no longer steals a card. It is now just a 1/2/0 unit that is taking up space on their board. That hypnotize strategy they’ve been using will suddenly have 1 less target, because bypass is treated as blank, worthless text.
What makes this card so good is that is has Respark. Most of the alterations I love (e.g. Poison and Crystal Shield) don’t have Respark. Once I put it on a unit, I’m never going to get to use that card again. With Reflections, you can get the card back to use on that next unit you hate. Your opponent is running those units because of their abilities; take those away and you are disrupting their plan, which is only good for you. Also, never underestimate the power of getting a card back for the cost of 1 basic. This gives you recourse against a mill deck, which can make a major difference. It also gives Coal some firepower for Slash to use on a unit or Phoenixborn.
Public Service Announcement: Don’t use Reflections in the Water against the Finch. He will eat your card, throw it out of the game, and ask you for another, all while becoming less tired. Seriously, don’t put it on the Finch. PSA over.
Since you are already running Illusion, you are halfway to what you need for our next card: Seal.
I’m not going to lie; this is an expensive card. Any card that requires 2 dice to play is going to give you some pause. If it also requires 2 class symbols, that’s a major investment. The fact that it requires 2 different dice types makes it a pretty niche card. If you are spending 2 dice to shut down something of your opponent, it has to be worth it. I’m going to tell you, though, that this card is worth it. Being able to shut out every copy of a ready spell for an entire round is so good! I dare you to build a deck that can win without using its ready spells (if you do have one, link to it in the comments below, because I’m seriously interested in seeing this work).
Whether it is a deck reliant on summons, chants, or tech cards (e.g. Expand Energy), there will be ready spells that they want to use. Seal keeps them from doing that. You can shut down Chant of Revenge for an entire round. That’s 1-3 damage your opponent isn’t going to be doing, which for 2 dice is a pretty good trade off. You can make Chant of Protection worthless. Timed right, this can mean game over for them.
Some of these aren’t worth 2 dice to impact the round you are in. However, 2 dice in the round before can mean everything. Throw it on a spell at the end of the round to shut down a stack of exhausted cards for the next round. If you are set-up for a major swing, but their Chants are going to keep you from doing what you want to do, take them out and then swing away! The reprieve that Seal gives you can provide just what you need to change the tempo and swing the momentum your way.
Together, these 2 cards can seriously disrupt your opponent’s play. If you have a deck that keeps on having tempo issues or struggles against units that have ridiculously powerful abilities, these cards could be just what you need.
If you’re like me, you might need to see these cards in a deck to see how it might work. Here’s a list that capitalizes on the synergy and disruption you can leverage with these 2 cards to push forward your win condition. In this case, that condition is throwing damage over the top and walling up until your opponent has no cards left and gets milled to the loss:
Sympathy Pain 3x
Reflections in the Water 3x
Rin’s Fury 3x
Summon Shadow Spirit 3x
Beast Tamer 2x
Hidden Power 3x
Sleight of Hand 1x
Summon Orchid Doves 3x
Next week: Lifeblood...
Previous Advanced Ashes Articles
Week 1: Blood Chains and Butterfly Monk
Week 2: Frost Bite and Ice Trap
Week 3: Anchornaut and Summon Sleeping Widows
Week 4: To Shadows and Body Inversion
Week 5: Regress and Poison
Week 6: Abundance and Summon Orchid Dove
Week 7: Jessa and Chant of Revenge
Week 8: Amplify and Blood Archer
Week 9: Dread Wraith and Three-Eyed Owl
Week 10: Iron Worker and Coal Roarkwin