Re-Constructed Decks - Echo

Push and Pull

Welcome back, Ashes players, to another installment of Re-Constructed. Adjust yourselves accordingly, meditation is about to begin.

By this point, you should already know the deck building restrictions we’re working with, and with these divine and sympathy magic decks you’ll also need “The Law of Lions” or “The Song of Soaksend” accordingly. Echo’s precon is even more needy since you need both, but just like with many of Echo’s cards, a little extra effort goes a long way.

The Masters of Chaos (Re-Echo)

Re-Constructed by Andrew DiLullo

6 Divine, 4 Sympathy // Needed Sets: The Goddess of Ishra, The Spirits of Memoria

3x Summon Mirror Spirit

1x Summon Light Bringer

2x Gravity Training

3x Chaos Gravity

2x Call Upon the Realms

2x Chained Creations

2x Enlightenment

1x Meteor

2x Light Swordsman

1x Holy Knight

2x Flute Mage

3x Sonic Swordsman

2x Shepherd of Lost Souls

1x Sun Sister

1x Holy Relics

2x Crescendo

 

Echo pulls together the combined forces of divine and sympathy magic, packing a unique fusion of order and chaos into his cards. Echo’s precon carries a pretty similar strategy to other mid-range decks we’ve covered before, but whereas Rin’s pieces function pretty well independently of each other, Echo’s strengths are all about synergy. This deck gravitates around the manipulation of the battlefield primarily with exhaustion, secondarily with Phoenixborn guards, and tertiarily by having every spell and unit serve multiple roles. Both of your sword allies are great at forcing an early Phoenixborn guard -- Sonic through Aftershock, Light through Quick Strike creating 1-sided exchanges -- and they’re both great at utilizing an exposed guard for the same reasons. Gravity Training can be used to buff your allies or help them recover from heavy exhaustion effects (like Blood Chains), Polarity Mage can either remove harmful alterations or recycle positive ones, Chaos Gravity can either open up extra attackers or close specific blockers later in the round, and Mirror Spirit serves as a powerful way to threaten the board while also wielding a game-ending Focus 1. Speaking of synergy, Echo’s ability is a tightly compressed Swiss Army knife of functionality, adding to literally every one of these cards in some fascinating way. Gravity Flux can force a crack in the opponent’s defense, either by freezing a unit guard or exhausting a unit that you are attacking directly, but it can also be used to amplify a new Mirror Spirit or enable Gravity Training without needing to overcommit.

The rest of the cards are relatively straightforward: Changing Winds helps with dice and hand fixing, Enlightenment opens up a plethora of unique mid-round options, Law of Fear stifles heavy aggression (and usually plays best after your own attack), and Holy Relics amplifies your refresh strategies. It should be noted that not all of these cards are going to make it to the re-con, but in their place we’re bringing something fancier. Nick, deploy the bird.

In a deck that’s all about creating openings, there are few cards that do it better than the new and improved Light Bringer. Echo’s units are already good at forcing early guards, but forcing your opponent to create openings by making bad attacks is a next level power play. You’ll need to be smart about when you drop the perilous peafowl as the goal is to force an attack at an inopportune moment; if they wanted to attack anyway, Light Bringer kind of loses the wind beneath its wings. Still, there are a multitude of uses for this unit. Force a defensive or utility unit to attack for little to no benefit (most birds, unit guards, and living dolls), force bigger units to swing early and leave themselves vulnerable, or heck, you can even force your opponent to not summon for a turn while also developing your own board. One of my favorite synergies in this deck is combining it with Sonic Swordsman, since Alert lets it counter a misguided attack without exhausting, making your opponent feel obliged to attack the bringer instead (which is great since it wastes your opponent’s time and frees up your battlefield slot for better things).

For the rest of the deck, we’ve made more swaps to really push our battlefield tempo. Flute Mage gives us another way to manipulate our exhaustion tokens, and does wonders after you’ve forced the opponent’s PB guard, while Meteor and Crescendo give us flexible ways to handle a variety of board states while also clearing unneeded Light Bringers. Probably the most powerful addition is Chained Creations, a card that doesn’t just kill off weaker conjurations but also reduces the opponent’s options in the following round, all for just two dice. Finally, because we’ve removed Changing Winds (it’s good, but I wanted Light Bringer more), we’ve added a couple Call Upon the Realms to help deal with our lack of dice fixing.

 

First Five:

This deck is actually pretty interesting for opening hands. You definitely want a full spellboard of Mirror Spirits, Light Bringers, and Gravity Training, as well as 1 large ally and 1 cool trick of your choice. Sonic Swordsman is a solid choice, but against removal-heavy decks you can make quite a stir with Holy Knight. As for tricks, there’s a whole bunch of wiggle room depending on matchup and preference. Enlightenment can either refresh Sonic Swordsman or Summon Light Bringer for a surprise extra bird, Chained Creations against smaller conjurations can severely set your opponent back, Sun Sister can deal with lots of small damage very effectively, and Flute Mage can be combined with Holy Knight to make an extra annoying threat (attack with knight and immediately refresh to reactivate Magic Armor).

There’s other options too, but I don’t think they’re quite as good in the opener. Holy Relics is a little too committal of a first five choice and wants to be saved for our Light Swordsman later, Chaos Gravity wants us to have a little stronger of a board (or a massive Mirror Spirit), and while Meteor is good against swarm decks I think Light Bringer already does a fantastic job in that setting. I like running Light Swordsman as a surprise tool for forcing our opponent’s guard options early and unexpectedly, but I prefer Chained Creations in the first five for most of those situations.

This is getting pretty heavy

Getting two normal expansions on top of two deluxe expansions is a heavy burden to be sure. In the case of the Goddess of Ishra, I value Light Bringer here highly enough to warrant that decision, and Sun Sister is pretty solid in a number of matchups (especially when your opponent doesn’t see it coming). Spirits of Memoria is more replaceable, even though Chained Creations is a truly baller piece of removal. You could get away with replacing Chained Creations with another Crescendo and Call Upon the Realms, or possibly River Skalds if you want to switch to a 5/5 dice split. If you’re looking for a more defensively capable setup, you could also replace them with Heals.

Taking it further:

There’s a ton of room to improve this particular deck, but I didn’t have the heart to ask people to buy like five expansions. Black holes belong on the battlefield, not in your wallet. Among the many choices that come to mind, I quite enjoy Mass Heal as an extremely cheap way to keep your units and face healthy, and Rally the Troops is quite the dirty trick when combined with Light Swordsman or Immortal Commander. I don’t value card draw as heavily in this deck, but New Ideas is a super strong draw effect if you’re just trying to find the right answers.

If you’re looking to expand your dimensions, there’s two excellent places to go: Illusion and Time. Illusion gives you access to a few premiere exhaustion tools like Figures in the Fog and Steady Gaze, both of which gain added functionality with Chaos Gravity. Battle Seer serves as a potential replacement or partner for Sonic Swordsman, also going well with the light bringer strategy. That being said, I prefer time magic since it gives us access to Time Hopper and Accelerate. Time Hopper can potentially replace Light Bringer as a guard opener while having better synergy with Mirror Spirit, and Accelerate creates yet more absurd synergy options. Either dice choice gives us Reflections in the Water, which can be used to remove unit guard and create even more openings while also being repeatable with Polarity Mage, and To Shadows, a solid removal option with which we have lots of access thanks to Chaos Gravity.

Actually, let’s talk about Accelerate real quick, I wanna share some spicy combos with you. With Echo specifically, Accelerate + Gravity Flux + To Shadows is a two-dice combo that discards any unit, draws one card, upgrades one of your dice, and still leaves you with a Main action. There’s a lot of upside to removing a unit from the table at Side Action speed; even if your opponent protects the unit with Golden Veil, you still have a Main Action to punish them. You can shake it up too, maybe Accelerate + Gravity Flux, then Attack, then To Shadows if the unit is still alive. The other combo is Accelerate + Meteor. Normally the weakness with Meteor is that you need to fix your dice ahead of time or maybe settle for a less optimal cast, but Accelerate both fixes your dice and leaves you with enough actions to immediately cast this board clear at 1, 2, or 3 damage.

 

That’s all we’ve got for this article. Next time, you might need a backpack, a machete, and a prayer. We’re going into the jungle to see Koji about a creeper infestation.

 

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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