Ashes: Aradel 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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The Mist Guardian excels at producing more units than the opponent can deal with, but your opponent will often have larger units than you. Or will they? Today we will take a look at how Aradel makes her many units more formidable than the opponent expects and how she makes her foe's units easier to deal with. You can admire the Blue Jaguar here if you haven’t already (and you’ll want to because it is awesome). Aradel’s other units can be found here. Keep these units in mind as we look through today’s cards.
Many units have powerful abilities that will mess up your plans even when you destroy those units. But Aradel doesn’t like people messing with her stuff. Reflections in the Water allows you to shut down those tough-to-deal-with unit abilities before they can cause harm to your units and/or your plans.
Since this Alteration has respark, even after you have dealt with that problematic unit with a nasty ability, you can bring Reflections in the Water back to your hand, ready to deal with the next annoying unit ability. Many units are summoned for their abilities, and this spell lets you turn off that part of your opponent's strategy before it even gets started.
Wow, Fernanda really outdid herself on this piece of art, didn’t she? This gets my vote for the art to put on some kind of play aid! Now, let’s talk about the card itself.
Steady Gaze will shut down a unit for 2 whole rounds. Whatever unit you find most difficult to destroy, Steady Gaze will deal with, in a manner that is often even better than killing it. When you exhaust a unit, the opponent can’t use that unit to attack or block, and even that unit's ability will go away (unless that ability is inexhaustible). Yet that unit still occupies a battlefield slot!
With an already superior battlefield value, every battlefield slot of your opponent's that you can take away via Steady Gaze is another unit of your own that can get past your opponent's defenders. Steady Gaze, plus the Blue Jaguar's Gaze ability, can fill your opponent's battlefield with unusable units!
On to Aradel’s spiffy Alteration spells. This one is special because it only takes a side action to grant a unit you control +2 life value. This is crazy good because you can summon a unit for your main action, and then make that unit extra tough to deal with by playing Root Armor as a side action.
After a few games playing against a Blue Jaguar, your opponent will almost assuredly stop whatever else they had planned to deal with the blue beast! Root Armor will allow you to survive most of these attempts to destroy your jaguar. This alone makes Root Armor worth its 1 cost to play.
Jeesh, those Mist Spirits aren’t quite so cute when they grow up, are they? Simply put, an alteration that grants +4 to attack value and life value is way under-costed at 2 magic, even if it’s for one round only. That’s why it can only be placed on a unit with an attack value of 2 or less. But Aradel’s units are cheap and plentiful, and every one of them can have this spell attached to it!
Spell Guard means that once you’ve grown your unit, the opponent will have to deal with your newly super-sized buddy instead of just getting rid of the Alteration. Overall, this spell may scare your opponent more than any other spell in your deck! They’ll never know when you’re going to turn your cute little blue friends into monstrous killers!
Now that we’ve covered all of the cards found in The Mist Guardian, we’ll take a look at the suggested First Five. In the horde strategy, where you aim to overwhelm your opponents with a swarm of units, the robust line-up of several conjurations should come as no surprise. Getting off to a fast start is very important, but Aradels First Five only utilizes 7 magic. There is a good reason for this; take a look at the Illusion dice power card and the Natural dice power card.
Each of these powers plays an important role in Aradel’s strategy! The power, combined with Aradel's ability, Water Blast, allows you to kill off opponents' units to help maintain a battlefield advantage.
The power allows you to remove key dice from an opponents’ active dice pool, preventing them from fully implementing their strategy on the first turn. Your First Five only requires 7 dice, so you can begin fast and strong, while using your other dice to choke off your opponents’ strategies from the start.
You could say that Aradel has a First Seven, since she utilizes these 2 cards extensively in her first turn! Now on to the cards you start with:
Shifting Mists: Simply put, this card just makes playing cards much easier. Aradel uses many power symbols in her deck and she likes to use the dice power actions, so having a card that allows her to reliably gain these symbols turn after turn makes a lot of sense.
Summon Mist Spirits: This is the first of 3 Summon cards in Aradel's First Five. This card allows you to pump out the units to gain a battlefield advantage right away! Since it can produce 2 spirits per turn, you should rarely lack units to attack or defend with as the game goes on.
Summon Blue Jaguar: I wasn’t kidding about this unit. It is amazing! This should probably be the first unit you summon, and the last unit you attack with each turn. Also, remember that bit about starting with a magic requirement of only 7? Another part of the “good reasons” for starting with such a low magic requirement for your First Five is so that you can use this unit to turn off all your opponents' first round plays!
Root Armor: Along with that first play of Blue Jaguar, you probably want to armor it up with this spell. Seriously, Blue Jaguars are astoundingly good; best to protect them any way you can!
Summon Butterfly Monk: This unit is very handy for protecting and healing those jaguars. It’s also important to note that this unit's life value goes up as you have more of the summon spells on your spellboard, so you want to focus this spell as fast as you can!
That covers all of The Mist Guardian, Aradel, and, in fact, all of the cards found in Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn. It’s been a fun ride, and I’m glad you’ve come back each week to see what I’ve had to say about this amazing game and followed along as I talked about all the cards found in the initial release. Tomorrow Mr. Bistro will have yet another amazing story covering Aradel. I hope you’ve been enjoying these story bits as much as I have.
I would say farewell and happy gaming, but I’ve got one more article coming in a few weeks about the promo Phoenixborn, Dimona Odinstar, and her unique ally Rayward Knight. If you haven’t voted on the polls yet, I encourage you to do so!
As always, 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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