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Jessa: The Red Queen

Jessa Na Ni, Phoenixborn of the Bloodwoods Clan, Part 1

Jessa: Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn “Sorry, precious. Your life has better uses.” – Jessa Na Ni

Ashes: Jessa 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.

It has arrived. It’s finally Jessa’s week here at Plaid Hat! The Bloodwoods Queen deck is the epitome of synergy found among the pre-built decks for Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn. Noah’s deck, The Shadow of Viros, certainly has combos and The Cloudsea Siren, Saria Guideman's deck, has cards that all work together towards a single goal, but it’s different with The Bloodwoods Queen. Every card plays upon the last, and each ability works perfectly with the next. There are links to the other Phoenixborn at the end of the article. Feel free to have a look; I’m ready to talk about Jessa, so here we go!

Jessa Na Ni

What You Need To Know About Jessa

The Stats:

Jessa Na Ni has a unique statline, different from all other Phoenixborn in the base game. The stats seen below, combined with her special ability, will guide you in your choices while deck building and in your strategies while playing with this terrifying Phoenixborn!

Life Value 18: Jessa’s Life value is average among the Phoenixborn found in the Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn. With a life value of 18, she can guard her units early on or when it’s important to keep those units around, but she has to be more careful with her life than some of the other Phoenixborn.

Battlefield Value 5: A battlefield value of 5 is also average among Phoenixborn in Ashes. Jessa can often maintain just as many units as your opponents can.

Spellboard Value 4: Building your strategy is easy with a spellboard value of 4. This stat is also average among Phoenixborn found in the base game, so you can form a plan of attack as well as build in a few back-up plans in case you need them.

Ability: Screams of the Departed

All of Jessa’s stats are average when when compared to other Phoenixborn. Other Phoenixborn excel at one thing or another. That must mean Jessa’s special ability is… well… special. And it is! Screams of the Departed allows you to spend 1Basic to deal 1 damage to your opponent's Phoenixborn whenever a unit they control leaves play. WHENEVER! On your turn when you attack, on your opponents' turns when they attack, or on no one's turn when effects that end at the end of the round cause a unit to die because they lose a buff that was keeping them alive. Really… whenever!

And this ability does not exhaust, so as long as you have magic dice remaining, you can deal damage to the opposing Phoenixborn when a unit they control goes away. It’s like you are getting rewarded for doing something you wanted to do anyway.

Suffice it to say, it’s hard for Jessa to lose when the battlefield is deadlocked, because she can still do damage to the opposing Phoenixborn, even if her units can’t get through!

Fear Itself


I would be scared too if I ran into Jessa in a dark glade, crouched in a feral stance, looking all ready to rip my throat out! But mechanically this card is fearsome as well. Against a conjuration this pretty much reads “Destroy target conjuration.” Against an ally the opponent still has to pay the magic to play it again. Sometimes they won’t have the magic left over to play it this round, in which case you have effectively denied them a card the next round. (Because in ashes you don’t draw a set amount of cards, you draw cards until you have 5 in-hand at the beginning of each round.)

In addition, this card causes a unit your opponent controls to leave play, triggering Screams of the Departed, Jessa’s reaaaally special ability! Remove a unit, allow Jessa to deal damage directly to your opponents Phoenixborn, give your opponent less cards to play with during the game. Seems pretty sweet, huh?

And it only costs… nah, that can’t be right. Just a main action? No magic? That’s crazy! How’d this get through playtesting!

The Strategy of The Bloodwoods Queen

As stated above, The Bloodwoods Queen utilizes synergy better than any other pre-built deck found in Ashes. Sometimes cards are more powerful because they have a drawback, but in The Bloodwoods Queen, even those drawbacks are turned into advantages. Punish your opponent for every action they don’t take. Punish them for every action they do take. Build an unassailable position. This is how Jessa grinds the opponent to meat and gristle!

Join me tomorrow to see the currency with which Jessa trades! It’s not pretty.

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

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