Ashes: Saria Week at PlaidHatGames.com 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.
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Battles rage across Argaia, and the world is turned upside down by the ravages of war. But you need not worry, for all is calm in Lighthouse Bay tonight. Tonight is the ball, and Saria will allow nothing to interrupt her little soiree.
All Saria requires for her protection is an appreciation for the arts. Her generosity knows no bounds and she’s willing to share with all, so long as they do as she wishes, EXACTLY as she wishes! Today we take a look at the cards found in The Cloudsea Siren used to ensure Saria gets exactly what she wants, or at least punishes those who resist her will! Yesterdays article showed Saria In all her glory; check her out if you haven’t already. And now, the cards!
After an initial cost of 1, all it takes to activate this card is a main action. Once per round you get to draw 2 card for only a main action. Of course, your opponents get to draw cards as well, if they wish. But if they don’t partake in your generosity, they’re sure to feel your displeasure, in the form of 1 damage to their Phoenixborn for each card they don’t draw.
So why would they choose not to draw cards? Well, sometimes they won’t have cards in their draw pile. Maybe they won’t have magic to use those cards, and Saria has a trick that forces the opponent to discard cards in-hand (we’ll see them tomorrow). Either way, the focus ability allows you to choose to draw cards or not as the situation requires, since it reduces the damage you take for not drawing.
I want to take a moment to point out that, while you take damage for having an empty draw pile during the Prepare phase, you normally don't take damage when you are forced to draw cards and don't have any to draw outside of the Prepare phase. But Abundance breaks this rule!
The most important thing this card does is accelerate the game toward its end, where Saria has a distinct advantage. And Abundance helps accelerate the damage from not drawing cards, but only for your opponent!
Purge’s effect is subtle; the advantage of discarding cards from an opponent's draw pile may not be immediately apparent. But this card's effect does eventually lead to damage from an empty draw pile... just wait a few rounds.
On top of the extra damage applied during the late game (something that Saria excels at getting to), you remove options from your opponent's deck. With only a 30 cards, each card included in a deck serves a purpose, and with the focus mechanic, extra copies often make a given card far more efficient. After all, look at this card: Each copy becomes twice as effective once there are 2 on your spellboard! Discarding cards can reduce that efficiency and completely disrupt your opponent's strategy!
Don’t do that! No, Saria insists! With Seal, a problematic ready spell becomes a problem no more! With Seal, any ready spell that is causing you trouble, and all other copies of that spell, can be turned off for a round. Since exhaustion tokens build up and only one is removed during recovery phase, when you play multiple copies of Seal in a round, you’ll be shutting down that ready spell for multiple rounds!
Another great advantage of this spell is that it extends the game, causing more rounds to be played. This brings your opponent closer and closer to running out of cards to draw. In this way, you don’t have to be the aggressor. You can let your opponent destroy themselves!
Oh no, now your opponents gone and done it! They couldn’t just enjoy the company of Saria, they’ve gone and hurt her, and now, they’ll pay! Sympathy Pain allows you advance your plan on your own turn (you know, removing all options from your opponent) while dealing with your opponent's units on their turn.
When Saria takes damage, you can deal 3 damage to a unit to help prevent future aggression. Or, if the opponent has annoyed Saria enough with their constant warmongering, you can deal that 3 damage to an opponent Phoenixborn instead! When your opponent is struggling to find a way to finish off Saria before they kill themselves by running out of cards, Sympathy Pain can be the final nail in the coffin, finishing them off from out of nowhere!
Being able to change die faces to have the symbols you need is a wonderful effect. You won’t have to risk discarding Purge or Abundance to a meditate action when you play this card. But this card has so much more to offer!
Sometimes your opponent will take actions based on what dice you have available to use, and Hidden power can completely throw this calculation off! Each spell has a specific cost to play, and if you don’t have those dice in your unexhausted dice pool, you can’t play those spells. But with Hidden Power, suddenly options are wide open again!
In addition, Hidden Power gives you an extra magic to use during the round. This is very useful when you’re using Saria’s ability, Hearts Pull, or Abundance to draw extra cards. And it allows you to have more of a given die type in a given round than your deck included (you can use 7 charms dice in a round with this spell even though the suggested deck build only included 5).
This card is POWERFUL!
That was fun! We’ve seen that each spell in Saria’s suggested deck build, The Cloudsea Siren, works towards a common goal, providing incremental advantage, denying options, and surprising your opponent with answers to problems where they thought there were none to be had! Tomorrow we’ll look at the units Saria uses to capitalize on the advantages her deck provides.
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
Click here to pre-order Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn and get a $15 pre-order discount as well as the Dimona Odinstar Promo Pack.
Written by Bob Klotz.
Bob Klotz is the lead playtester for Ashes