Re-Constructed Decks - Namine

Mixtape on Repeat

Welcome back, Ashes players, to another installment of Re-Constructed. Best sit down and get comfy, ‘cause this remix is gonna blow your socks off.

By this point, you should already know the deck building restrictions we’re working with, though on the front of expansions we need to make an amendment. Every one of the future decks with divine or sympathy magic will assume you have the corresponding deluxe expansion deck; The Law of Lions for divine magic, and The Song of Soaksend for sympathy magic. It’s a bit more of an ask for sure, but we’re 12 decks in at this point and this one is so good we’re doing it twice. Talk about an encore!

The Song of Soaksend ~Hard Scratch Mix~ (Re-Namine 1)

Re-Constructed by Andrew DiLullo

10 Sympathy // Needed Sets: The Ghost Guardian, The Demons of Darmas, The Roaring Rose

2x Summon Salamander Monk

2x Guilt Link

2x Memorialize

1x Augury

3x Encore

1x Call Upon the Realms

1x Dispel

1x Shared Sorrows

1x Anchornaut

1x Beast Mage

1x Flute Mage

2x Hollow

3x River Skald

2x String Mage

3x Crescendo

1x Shatter Pulse

3x Strange Copy

Before getting crunchy with remixes, let’s examine the basic track. Namine is the premier showcase for sympathy magic, the one I keep mispronouncing as ‘symphony’ magic, but to be fair the dice have music notes and all of Namine’s allies are clearly in a band together. The focus is largely on relationships, bonds and interconnectedness. Expect a lot of cards that draw other cards, feature some kind of duality theme, or reference other variables in the game. In the pre-con, you can see this everywhere. Salamander Monk is two units in one, Squall Stallion lets you translate cards directly into power, Guilt Link binds two units together in a vicious death cycle, and Magic Syphon lets you adjust one die from up to two different players (or two from one player). Crescendo deals damage to both your unit and an opposing one, Shatter Pulse destroys any unit but only when your unit dies, and each of your allies move and manipulate resources often around other units. Heck, even Namine’s special card, Encore, literally does nothing on its own but becomes one of the best cards in the game when combined with other cards. To this degree, it’s probably not that unusual for many cards in the sympathy cycle to be a little more control oriented since they’re all about interaction.

This re-con is one that lets us mingle with the flow of interactions and with a little cleverness actually creates a repeatable loop. We’re still running Salamander Monks as our premiere summon and Guilt Link as our primary board control tool, but we’ve introduced two replacements with Augury and...Memorialize? Let’s save that little bottle of lightning for later. Most of the other cards in the deck are making returns here, cutting a couple Shatter Pulses due to its high cost, and Flute Mages because they don’t often have a strong reverb target in this mix.

Now for the new stuff: Anchornaut is going to help with a little bit of board control and to help set up Memorialize later, Beast Mage is incredibly strong for breaking through boards of low-power fodder, and Hollows give us a cheap option for populating the board while pressuring our opponent’s dice spread. 

One of the coolest additions is Strange Copy, which allows us to actually use our Salamander Monk Spirits as a defensive unit: SMS cannot be directly attacked (transparent), but when you copy it into another unit, it gains the ability to block. Speaking of cool synergy, now’s a good time to crack open that bottle and ride the lightning.

Let’s talk about this deck’s primary Encore loop, or as I like to call it, the ‘Record Scratch Combo’. After an ally dies, they charge up Memorialize. Use Encore to get an ally from your discard pile back to the top of your deck and draw it. Then, use Memorialize to place the Encore from your discard pile on the bottom of your deck. Finally, use Augury while it’s at 0 status to fetch Encore from the bottom of your deck. Play your ally again, rinse, and repeat. Normally this sort of engine would take about four rounds to finally get going (or splashing in some time dice for the new dice power), but Dispel is our fast-forward button, skipping ahead two entire rounds on Augury. Using this combo, we almost treat allies like conjurations because we never seem to run out, and even if our opponents aren’t killing our allies directly, we can always pop them with Guilt Link if we need to. Once you hit two copies of Memorialize, this combo can potentially start refilling your deck, making it much harder for exhaustion decks to wear you down.

First Five:

We’re looking at a spellboard-intense first five, packing salamanders, Guilt Link, and Augury every time, as well as Dispel to accelerate our record scratch combo. The fifth card has some rules attached, but we’ll talk about those in a sec. Against swarms, String Mage, and River Skald and even Anchornaut can help keep the aggression down, while against bulkier units you might consider Strange Copy or possibly Shatter Pulse (though, Guilt Link will already be doing a lot of work in those cases). Against hand exhaustion like Three-eyed Owl, you might need to rely on Namine’s ability to draw a throwaway card, or you can try packing Encore to get back whatever you’re asked to toss. Finally, if you happen to not be the first player, Beast Mage starts looking really strong. Of course, you won’t know if you’re the first player until after picking first five, so let’s talk about how the fifth card works here:

If the fifth card you want to start with has an EVEN cost (0 or 2), simply start with that card as normal. However, if the card you want to start with has an ODD cost (1 or 3), your fifth card will be Memorialize. The idea is to use Augury to get our fifth card, using it before Dispel to get a 3 cost, or after to get a 1 cost. If you started with an even cost card and didn’t start with Memorialize, you’ll be using Dispel first and using Augury to fetch the Memorialize instead. Despite only having one flex slot in this first five, it’s surprisingly versatile.

Out of Tune

Alright, I won’t lie, asking you to invest in the mono-charm expansion just for the one copy of Dispel is kind of a bad look. I suppose I’m also making the same ask of the Demons of Darmas with its single copy of Beast Mage, but at least with that expansion there’s a lot of cool swaps you could make like Transmute Magic, Beast Warrior, possibly Adrenaline Rush, or even just more Beast Mages. You never want more than 1 Dispel in this deck since it’s only here to accelerate our combo by 2 rounds. So, tell you what, if you’re not feeling Dispel, let’s flip over to the B-side track:

 

 

The Song of Soaksend ~Chillwave Mix~ (Re-Namine 2)

Re-Constructed by Andrew DiLullo

10 Sympathy // Needed Sets: The Ghost Guardian, The Demons of Darmas

2x Summon Squall Stallion

2x Magic Syphon

1x Augury

2x Memorialize

1x Call Upon the Realms

3x Encore

1x Shared Sorrows

1x Anchornaut

1x Beast Mage

2x Hollow

1x Iron Worker

2x Flute Mage

3x River Skald

2x String Mage

3x Crescendo

1x Shatter Pulse

2x Sympathy Pain

This combo deck is so fun, we’re doing an encore. No need to go over the whole deck again, but removing Dispel did lead to a few other changes and some new direction. Without Dispel, it’s going to take us a lot longer to get our combo rolling, and now we need to start thinking more about our other Augury fetches. Salamander Monks are out for Squall Stallions this time, which also means Strange Copy is out for Sympathy Pain, and to maximize horsepower we’ll also be packing a couple Iron Workers. In a deck with bigger overall threats, Flute Mage starts looking a little better so we’ve added a second copy. While we don’t have the meme status of ‘Strange Salamander Spirits’, we are packing a heck of a lot of dice manipulation this time around with our multiple Magic Syphons and newly added Hollows (plus Shatter Pulse). Our opponents will need to meditate far more often than expected, which when combined with our heavy recycling via Memorialize, makes it more likely that we can just grind people out.

 

First Five Remix:

Without Dispel, Augury loses a lot of flexibility in the first five, but Augury is still essential to our combo and is flexible in other ways. Beast Mage is pretty much always going to be our 3-cost fetch, but whether we play it depends on who has the first player token. If we’re the first player, it’s usually not worth playing (outside of bird exhaustion decks), in which case we will likely use River Skald to toss it for 3 damage. Otherwise, just play it for that sweet 4/4/2 statline and maybe skip the Skald this turn.

Finally, don’t feel overly pressured to trigger Memorialize every round. This is not a straight up ceremonial sacrifice deck like Brennen or Jessa, it’s a reactive engine building deck. It’s okay to not use it one round; there will even be a couple rare cases where it’s correct NOT to use it, especially if you have Shared Sorrow in hand. Like playing songs with a band, it’s good to have fun and let loose a little, but you still have to follow the sheet music.

Taking it further:

Just within sympathy, there are a few solid swaps you could make. Instead of stallions or salamanders, Ancestor Spirits are actually pretty legit and work really well with a combo deck like this where it’s important to find the right pieces. Seeds of Aggression can be useful for forcing more intricate trades against your opponent while getting death triggers for Memorialize. In the ally camp, Raptor Herder is probably the best ally that we aren’t running, and I think I’d take it over Anchornaut in a lot of cases. While I’m not as hot about it, Jungle Warrior can be pretty decent if you’re planning to just go all in on stallions, but I think there are better decks to showcase that idea (we’ll be talking about one of those decks in the near future).

If you want to splash into another dice type, the record scratch combo really benefits from Ceremonial and its many allies. Crimson Bomber and Psychic Vampire are fantastic in a deck like this, and you can put a surprising amount of pressure on your opponents with a well placed Master Vampire. Ceremonial also provides you with some over the top damage through cards like Fire Archer and Final Cry, both cards that like being played repeatedly via Encore. If you’re playing the Chillmix version of the deck, time magic is also a decent splash since the dice power works as a substitute for Dispel, while cards like Reflections in the Water and Flash Strike can add some surprising tools to your arsenal. Wait, we haven’t talked about Flash Strike yet? Shoot, my bad.

 

That’s all we’ve got for this article. Come back next time as we close out the last of the Rise of the Phoenixborn set with Coal Roarkwin and some fairly spicy discard shenanigans.

 

Andrew DiLullo is an animator, a game designer, and luckily also a writer. Having first discovered Ashes at the tail end of the first round of expansions in 2016, he’s been playing ever since and currently heads the Bay Area Ashes group in California. He was especially active in several community projects after Ashes was canceled the first time, and now puts his attention to Reborn as the game starts anew. He’s currently designing a board game in his spare time, and occasionally writes on his online journal: The Lighthouse Library.

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The Song of Soaksend deck, Featuring new Phoenixborn Namine Hymntide, is a full, ready-to-play Ashes expansion deck, including 10 sympathy dice AND a premium dedkbox to hold sleeved cards, 10 dice and tokens.
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