Ashes June Update
OP Rules and FAQs
Nature has its rules, and all who live abide by those rules whether they would like to or no. The same can be said of the Phoenixborn, though we mortals who witness the contests of those legends might struggle to comprehend such framework. Our eyes tell us the Phoenixborn defy all convention, yet those who study the Collection of Ashes will gradually come to see the cadence and measure of those conflicts.
- Darius, Terminal Amurai
Greetings, Ashes players!
Ashes Reborn has been released, more expansions are on the way, and we have several updates on what else is in store for the future! In this article, we’ll be going over the Ashes Reborn FAQ and Organized Play Rules for upcoming Ashes events!
The Ashes FAQ has three aspects to it. The Rules Clarifications section helps to flesh out the core rulebook by providing concrete explanations of the more nuanced situations in Ashes gameplay. The FAQ will also be answering one of the most common questions players have -- recommended First Fives for all commercial, pre-constructed decks! Lastly, individual card Q & As are listed by card name for quick reference. As more expansions come out, the FAQ will be subsequently updated with pre-con First Fives and additional clarifications.
Organized Play Rules
This document can be used right now to help tournament organizers set up and run an Ashes event of any size. Ashes OP has been updated from 1.0 with cleaner tiebreakers, new Sudden Death rules to bring games to their conclusion, and most importantly, the Chained List. The Chained List is the first time Ashes OP has seen any form of gameplay restriction, and is being implemented with the intent to remove the most polarizing and negative experiences in the first round of gameplay. This is not a full ban list. Here’s how it works, straight from the OP rules:
Ashes Organized Play is committed to regulating the Ashes competitive metagame through a system of restrictions on certain cards. TOs are encouraged to enact the following rules to help realize this goal. There exist certain cards and card combinations that violate one or more of the core gameplay philosophies of Ashes when included in a player’s First Five. Thus, each card on this list cannot be included in a player’s First Five or be played during the first round of the game:
Summon Shining Hydra
I’d like to take this opportunity to go into detail on how the Chained List came to be, and why these cards were selected for restriction. Ashes’ First Five mechanic is one of incredible freedom. With dice exhaustion removed from the game, players have full autonomy to select a hand that perfectly utilizes all ten of their dice. This can be pushed to its limit with a certain selection of highly aggressive strategies that can decide the game very fast; sometimes too fast for players to feel satisfied with the game experience. Ashes thrives when there is a gameplay arc from start to finish and when decisions matter throughout the whole game. Games where these hyper-aggressive strategies are utilized have the feeling of the game being decided before gameplay even begins. These restrictions are being put in place to reduce the pressure in the First Five stage of the game and to allow players to experience a full and satisfying experience in every Ashes game. The Chained List as a concept has been thoroughly tested in both playtesting and in community tournaments as preliminary research. Overall, we’ve found that Ashes feels much healthier with this light restriction on the first round of the game. Now, let’s talk specifics:
- The Shining Hydra, used alongside self-damaging effects and large attack buffs from alteration spells, creates exceedingly high amounts of nearly-unblockable damage due to the Terrifying ability of Shining Hydra Heads. This strategy requires opponents to dismantle their own First Five plan too much to prepare an adequate response to the “Hydra rush” strategy.
- Massive Growth is one of the alteration spells used in the Hydra rush strategy above, but also has its own issues. Massive Growth provides too large of a stat buff too quickly to be healthy for the first round of the game, where the ability to reasonably respond is limited. The large temporary life buff, alongside protection effects from Golden Veil, makes Massive Growth set too strong of a tone for round 1.
- River Skald’s ability provides a varying amount of damage based on the texture of a player’s hand. When brought in the First Five, however, it can reliably deal 4 damage by discarding a card like Flash Archer. The reliable access to this high damage combo is too efficient and impactful in the early stages of the game, and comes with minimal downside thanks to River Skald drawing 1 card to reload.
- Exhortation is a card that enables incredible burst damage potential in very specific scenarios. It is possible to use Exhortation to deal well over half of an average Phoenixborn’s life total within the first few turns of the game, which is simply too high and too early of a penalty for the development stage of the game in round 1. Outside of specific combos, Exhortation is difficult to use in round 1, making this Chain pretty minor.
Organized Play Kits
Players can expect more details later this year regarding the release of local Ashes Organized Play kits. These kits will come with plenty of new prize support for hosting your own Ashes league or tournament! In addition, we will soon have downloadable files available for use in Ashes events to collect deck lists and tournament results for easy event management.
Ashes at GenCon 2021
Plaid Hat Games will be attending GenCon this year! We have received confirmation to run a 32-person event at the venue. If you are coming to GenCon and are interested in playing, be sure to sign up when GenCon event registration is live!
We have a special prize planned for this event -- the return of translucent dice!
We are so excited to be back at GenCon this year, and it’ll be great to see some of you at the Ashes tournament!
The next Ashes expansion, The Breaker of Fate, is nearly at our doorstep! Subscribers to Team Covenant’s Ashes Reborn subscription can expect to receive their copies this month. I hope you are all looking forward to getting a taste of the new time magic soon! In addition, the following two expansions are complete and off to the printer. We will provide updates on their scheduled arrival as they draw closer.