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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Ah, sit back and enjoy the refreshments. Be at ease and enjoy the entertainment provided by our patron, Saria Guideman. Gaze upon the dancers and feel the song of sorrow move you to tears. There is much to see and experience, so don’t be hasty.
Today we look at those Saria chooses to employ. The wise and talented companions and the allies she conjures to fill their most worthy roles. If you haven't already, you can meet our patron, Saria, Belle of the Ball, or, if you dare risk it, you can hear the gossip of Ms. Guidemans machinations in yesterday's article. If you do indulge your curiosity, speak naught of me, for I’ll not be brought low with you. I’ll just enjoy watching those talented friends of Ms. Guideman!
I don’t even know where to start with this gal. There is so much awesome in this card! I guess we’ll start with her cost to play: a main action. No magic, just a main action. She is a 1 attack value 2 life value ally that you can play for no magic at all!
Her ability, Song of Sorrow, is equally great, if you support it in your deck. After you activate Saria’s ability, Heart’s Pull, or the ready spell Purge, you can choose to spend 1 to deal 1 damage to a unit. This allows you to keep your opponents' units in check while you get rid of the rest of your opponents’ draw piles. Just remember that you can’t use this ability while the Enchanted Violinist is exhausted.
This lady will mesmerize you with her talent, and your opponents' units will be distracted as well. Distract can be used to place an exhaustion token on a unit of your choice the very turn you play the Rose Fire Dancer, because it only takes a side action to activate. This is very handy to use right after your opponent plays a big ol’ threatening unit, so that you don’t have to deal with it until later. Distract will exhaust the dancer as well, but if you can manage to keep your opponent from attacking... well, Saria’s deck is designed to win that game!
If your opponent has no units remaining on their battlefield (because of the Enchanted Violinist ability or maybe Sympathy Pain) this talented artist can strike for 3 damage on the attack. Your opponent has to pay attention to this unit at all times!
Oh man, you guys don’t even know how much I love Three-eyed Owls. They are so tricky. After paying 1to put an owl into play, you can later use a main action to force your opponent to discard a card from their hand. Your opponent gets to choose which card to discard, but they still have 1 less card to use for the round, and 1 less card before they start taking damage for not being able to draw.
If you have 2 owls in play, your opponent has 2 fewer cards to use in a round. With enough owls on the battlefield, your opponent won’t have the luxury of playing cards when they will be the most useful for fear of losing those cards. Owls also combo with Abundance. If you wait until your opponent has no magic remaining to activate Abundance, you can use owls to force the opponent to discard those card before they can even use them!
Ok, so Saria does have one more spell, but it works more like a unit than a spell. Strange Copy allows you to get a unit into play that is just as big as your opponent's largest unit. For only 2! This can warn off a big threat from attacking, or just deal huge amounts of damage when your opponent has left themself wide open!
Fleeting does mean that strange copy will go away at the end of the round, but this guy can be huge. Imagine surprising your opponent with a 5 attack value unit when you only had 1 magic left. How you may ask? Use 1to play Hidden Power, bringing back 2 illusion dice, then next turn use those 2 illusion dice to play Strange Copy, choosing an exhausted 5 attack value unit on your opponent's battlefield. 5 damage, out of nowhere!
The Cloudsea Siren is a deck that wants the game to take a while. Most of the cards included in it work towards this goal, though there are a few cars included that can allow for a surprising win out of nowhere. We’ll now take a look at how the suggested first five sets up to win the long game, but allows you to take those opportunities to win quickly if your opponent is vulnerable.
Purge: Purge is the main card used in the main strategy of this deck. You can shave one round of draws off of your opponents deck each round after you get this card focused, use both copies, and use Heart’s Pull, Saria’s ability!
Abundance: This spell will allow you to draw cards when it’s useful to you, but not your opponent. Saria’s first five only costs 8 magic to play in the first round, and Saria’s Heart's Pull and Abundance allows you to play more card than your opponent in the first round, gaining advantage right away.
Summon Three-eyed Owl: Summoning these guys early can be even more devastating than you’d expect. Removing a card from your opponent's first five can often completely throw your opponents strategy off course. If you can get 2 owls out in the first round, you can tear an opponents’ strategy to shreds!
Summon Seaside Raven: These guys stop early attacks, and threaten life totals when your opponent leaves themselves open. Best to get that threat out ASAP.
Rose Fire Dancer: Between the raven and this card, an opponent will have to play to protect their life right away. The Rose Fire Dancer is a very versatile card, attacking well when you need to be aggressive, or exhausting an opponents’ unit when you are trying to make the game go long.
Well that’s all for Saria… Wait, what’s that? You want a story for Saria too? Come back tomorrow and Mr. Bistro's Saria story will be here! Then, come back next week for our next Phoenixborn's previews. But be forewarned, this Phoenixborn is not for the faint of heart!
Before I sign off, I wanted to point out that Bryan Fischer has been posting some interesting overviews on BGG about the pre-built decks included in Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn. Check out his write up of The Cloudsea Siren, to get another player's insight into this fun and exciting deck!
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