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Jessa: Pulling the Strings

Jessa Na Ni, Phoenixborn of the Bloodwoods Clan, Part 3

Jessa: Ashes: Rise of the PhoenixbornAshes: 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.

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!

Jessa has absolute control of the Bloodwoods Clan. She decides who lives, who dies, and who will live again. But these choices are not made on a whim. Each choice works to further her purposes, to claim control of everything, even your opponent. The Bloodwoods Queen not only takes options for attacking away from your opponent, it decides even what magic they can use and what units they control. If your opponent tries to rid themselves of the units you have decided they control, Jessa will punish them for that choice, as you can see in yesterday's article. The final pieces are revealed today!

Cut the Strings

Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen several exciting alteration spells that give units some great advantages. Even Jessa has Undying Heart. Cut The Strings allows you to remove these advantages before your opponent can take advantage of them. Removing these alterations causes Jessa’s units pain, but that only allows her to share it with others through the Living Doll's Pain Link ability.

Summon Blood PuppetBlood Puppet

So why would you want to summon a unit that deals damage to you at the end of the round? Look closely at the text of this spell: “Place a Blood Puppet conjuration onto target player’s battlefield.” You can place a Blood Puppet on your opponent's battlefield! This takes up a slot where they could have placed a useful unit, but instead you placed a unit that will hurt them!

It is true that the opponent can spend magic to deal damage to this unit, but by killing this guy off, a unit they control is leaving play, which triggers Jessa’s ability, Screams of the Departed to deal, 1 damage to their Phoenixborn. And they had to use up their precious magic to do so! Man, Jessa just doesn’t give her opponents any good choices!

It’s also important to note that you can summon a Blood Puppet to your battlefield to block, if you need to.

Leech Warrior

Here's a little tip; this guy is my favorite ally. He has an amazing recovery value... and that ability! I love placing Undying Heart on him so I can use Shadow Drain over and over!

Shadow Drain is one of the few triggered abilities in Ashes that doesn’t require magic to activate. This is phenomenal because each time it triggers you remove magic from your opponents active dice pool. If your opponent wants to attack you when you have a Leech Warrior in play, they reduce the amount of things they can do in a round.

Even better, if the opponent won’t attack you because Jessa excels at making those attacks painful, you can use Cut The Strings and/or Blood Transfer to start choking off their resources anyway!

First Five

The Bloodwoods Queen deck aims to remove all options from your opponent, but it doesn’t start there. We will now go over the recommended first five and talk about how to set up an untenable position for your opponent.

Fear: Each player will choose their first five to set up the strategy of their deck, and in most cases they will try to set up their opening hand to use all of their magic. With Fear, you remove whichever unit works best with their strategy, and the opponent will either have to forego playing something else to put the unit back into play if it’s an ally, or just not have that unit to start.

Blood Transfer: So much of The Bloodwoods Queen deck is based off of wound economy that it’s a no-brainer to include this card in your first five. Being able to choose where the wounds your units receive end up is very powerful, especially in this deck!

Summon Blood Puppet: With Fear removing a unit from play, you will almost always be able to get this guy on your opponent's battlefield. This causes another tough choice for your opponent, “Do I just take the damage from this unit over and over, round after round, or do I restrict what I can play even more?”

Living Doll: Living Doll is a great defensive unit. Most of the time it can kill off whatever is attacking by dealing damage back, and it is one of the best allies in the game to return to your hand with the Ceremonial Power power, since the Living Doll has an attack value of 0. This means to return the Living Doll to your hand from your discard pile deals no damage to your Phoenixborn. Best to start with this unit to make sure you always have one.

Leech Warrior: Starting with this unit will allow you to punish your opponent regardless of their choices. By dealing damage to this guy, you restrict what the opponent can play even further, and it gives you another unit to transfer wounds to.

That’s it for Jessa’s deck The Bloodwoods Queen, I hope you enjoyed it. Tomorrow we get to read another fine story written by Mr. Bistro, and I have a feeling it’s going to be pretty chilling given that it’s all about Jessa! Next week we’ll see why anywhere with mists is the most dangerous place to be in Argaia!

But don’t leave just yet! I have something special for you! In a few weeks we will be giving Dimona Odinstar the Royal treatment. During Dimona week, I will write an article going over Dimona and her unique ally, the Rayward Knights, just like all the other Phoenixborn. But Dimona has no deck for me to present! You needn’t worry, I’ll construct a deck to give everyone a jumping off point, and present the basic strategy I had in mind while constructing it. But I thought why not get all of you involved too!

I would like you to vote to help me decide what kind of deck to build for Dimona. Vote for the number of different types of magic you would like to see included, and what type of magic you would most like to see Dimona utilize on the 2 polls below. You can vote on these polls over the next few weeks until Dimona has her day. Choose wisely!


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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