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Coal: That Which Doesn't Kill You

Coal Roarkwin, Phoenixborn of Rustwatch, Part 3

Ashes: Rise of the PhoenixbornAshes: Coal Week at continues! Each week, all week long, we’ll take a look at a different Phoenixborn and their suggested deck build. The goal of these articles is to introduce you to the cards found in the base game, and to give you a basic understanding of the strategy of each of the pre-built decks.

Ashes is available for pre-order at the store. Pre-order today from our site and get $15 off the retail price! Order from and get a free Dimona Odinstar promo Phoenixborn, along with her exclusive Rayward Knight ally!

The Iron Men are fearless in battle, always eager to jump to the front lines, trusty hammers to hand. Of course, Coal chooses the best of the best, but their courage does not derive solely from their doubtless skill. To see those stout warriors you can check out yesterday's article here or to gaze upon the Lord of Iron himself check out Tuesday's article here.

Today we see why these brave souls feel no fear! You might call this preview Coal's Guide to Inspiring Loyalty.

Chant of Revenge

Coal's remaining ready spells all share a theme. And that theme is NO MAGIC TO ACTIVATE! Chant of Revenge only costs 1Ceremonial Class to place on your spellboard, and once placed, whenever a unit you control is destroyed, you can deal 1 damage to a unit or Phoenixborn. That’s right, if kill your unit, you can make their Phoenixborn pay!

Coal's Guide to Inspiring Loyalty Lesson 1: Make sure your units’ sacrifices are not in vain. Never forget them, and avenge the fallen!


Yes sir, Coal sure does like his side actions. With this ready spell you can make your already dominant units stronger, by using a side action to add 2 to a unit's attack value for the turn (or 3 when you have all three copies of this spell on your spellboard). What’s even better? It costs NO MAGIC TO ACTIVATE!

Coal's Guide to Inspiring Loyalty Lesson 2: Give your units the strength they need to carry out the tasks you give them.


So far, all of Coal's spells and abilities have focused on attacking, or dealing damage, but it’s awful hard to finish the deal unless you have units to deliver the killing blow. That’s where Protect comes in. You can prevent up to three damage to your units with this ready spell. You can pick and choose how much damage to prevent, so if you only need to prevent 1 damage, you can keep the other status token around for later use.

You know what I like best about this spell? Your opponent can’t trick you with a small damage effect, and then finish off your unit later, because it doesn’t exhaust to activate. And also, Protect takes NO MAGIC TO ACTIVATE!

Coal's Guide to Inspiring Loyalty Lesson 3: Your units are an extension of yourself. Protect them, and they will serve you well.

Spiked Armor

Ok, so this spell does two things. The first effect is that it increases the life value of the unit it’s attached to, making a Hammer Knight a robust 5 life value, or an Iron Rhino a tough to deal with 6 life value. You can even attach it to an Anchornaut to allow him to utilize his recover value of 1.

The second effect is far flashier than the simple, but effective bonus to the attached units’ life value. Spiked Skin 2 says to deal 2 damage to any unit that deals damage to the unit Spiked Armor is attached to. That's awesome; the opponent will have to pay dearly to deal with whatever unit you really want to keep around.

It’s worth noting that since the ability being granted to the unit is inexhaustible, even when this unit is exhausted, it strikes back with the 2 damage from Spiked Armor 2!

Coal's Guide to Inspiring Loyalty Lesson 4: Give your units shiny armor. Make sure it has spiky bits… because who doesn’t love spiky bits!

First Five

We’ve looked at all the cards included in Coal's pre-built deck The Iron Men, and we’ve discussed the synergy between a few of the cards. Now it’s time to take a look at the recommended first five, and bring them all together into a cohesive strategy.

Expand Energy: This card gives an edge on magic every round after the round you play it. Starting with this card will give you more resources to use in the future. Coal's deck can require heavy magic use at times, so getting that magical edge at the start can be very important.

Summon Iron Rhino: This spell offers you a huge unit to put into play every round. It’s expensive at the beginning of the game, but starting with it allows you to get it focused earlier, making playing multiple rhinos in a future turn much more likely.

Anchornaut: Having this guy in your hand gives you many options. You can play him to defend Coal, or you can add another point of damage to a unit to finish it off before it can have too large of an impact on the game. It’s also a great card to discard when you want to use Coal's ability, Slash. You see, Coal uses ceremonial dice and the ceremonial dice power symbol ability allows you to return an ally from your discard pile to your hand. This does require another side action to use…

Iron Worker: …which the Iron Worker is only too happy to provide you with. Plus getting him out early will give you those extra side actions for more turns in the future.

Hammer Knight: If this card is included in a deck but isn’t included in that deck's first five, I would be amazed! It is a powerful attacker, and since it’s an ally, it comes out faster than conjurations. This makes Hammer Knight the perfect card to apply early pressure to your opponents' Phoenixborn.

Well, that’s it for me this week. I hope you’ve enjoyed Coal week. I know I have! But Plaid Hat isn’t done with Coal yet! That’s right, another story from Mr. Bistro, this time featuring Coal Roarkwin! Next week is gonna be a blast, since we’re taking a peek at the High Society of Argaia (the world that is the backdrop for Ashes). We’ll sample the feasts and attend the balls, and best of all, we’ll see the woman who refuses to allow the arts to be unappreciated or underestimated!

Thanks for reading!


Game Overview Previews: Phases of Play, Attacking/Defending, Placement, Card Types, Dice Powers, Multiplayer and Drafting
Maeoni Previews
: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
Coal Previews: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
Saria Previews: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
Noah Previews: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
Jessa Previews: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
Aradel Previews: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

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