The Road to War
Dimona Odinstar, Phoenixborn of Rayward, part 2
Ashes: Dimona Week at PlaidHatGames.com continues! Today, Bob gives a suggested deck for the Dimona promo so you can start playing with her right away! Dimona's card is shown and described in yesterday's preview article.
Ashes is available for pre-order at the PlaidHatGames.com store. Pre-order today from our site and get $15 off the retail price! Order from PlaidHatGames.com and get a free Dimona Odinstar promo Phoenixborn, along with her exclusive Rayward Knight ally!
The polls are in!
At over 45% of the vote, it seems a huge portion of you prefer 2 magic types in your decks, and at almost 35% of the vote, ceremonial was the favorite for the magic type to include in Dimona’s deck. illusion and charm were very close in the race for the second type of magic to include, but charms won out in the end. You have chosen. Was it wisely? I’ll leave that for all of you to decide. Thank you to everyone that participated in the polls!
Before we start looking at the deck you all helped to create, I wanted to take a brief moment to go over the goals I had in mind when constructing this deck.
First of all, the point of the pre-built decks are to provide a fun play experience that you can play right away, straight out of the box. Rayward’s March was constructed to play nicely, so to speak, with the other pre-built decks found in Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn. I’m sure there are more powerful builds out there, even using ceremonial and charms magic, but I’ll leave those for you to find on your own.
Secondly, I wanted to use cards from several pre-built decks to show a small portion of the deck building options available to you in the base game. Most cards can be combined with other cards found in Ashes, creating an entirely different strategy than the strategy used in the decks those cards originally came from. However, The Snakes in Silver and The Mist Guardian haven’t been plundered for their valuables, so that with one copy of the game you can play Rayward’s March against either of those 2 pre-built decks.
But enough of my rambling, let’s get on to Dimona’s pre-built deck, Rayward’s March.
5x Ceremonial, 5x Charm
3x Blood Archer
3x Rayward Knight
3x Blood Transfer
3x Expand Energy
3x Small Sacrifice
3x Summon Three-Eyed Owl
3x Undying Heart
3x Bound Soul
3x Sympathy Pain
5x Three-Eyed Owl
Rayward’s March includes 4 units, 3 of them allies, and one of them a conjuration you can summon from a ready spell. In any ceremonial deck, you’ll most likely want to include a few allies so that you can make use of the ceremonial dice power, and Rayward’s March is no exception. I find that even in a ceremonial deck, you still want a summon ready spell or two to ensure you can produce units every turn, so one has been included in this deck build as well.
Summon Three-Eyed Owl is a cheap body at 1 for a 1 attack value, 2 life value unit. But that’s not all this conjuration provides. With Dimona’s Order ability you can force the opponent to discard 2 cards from their hand during the first round of the game. Reducing your opponent's options by 40% is huge, and during the first round you remove almost half of their starting strategy from their hand. For these reasons Summon Three-Eyed Owl has been included in the suggested first five.
The Anchornaut is a cheap defender that you can get back to defend again at no cost in life to your Phoenixborn with the ceremonial dice power. It’s a nice little bonus that this little guy’s ability synergizes with Dimona’s ability, Order, as well. By spending a side action you can deal 2 damage to a unit in one turn, and still have a main action left to use.
In every deck you need a way to deal damage, so why not include the most damaging unit in the game? Plus it strikes first in battle with its Battle Advantage ability. Other cards in the deck have been included to make this guy tougher and to heal up since he damages himself. With those tools, you can use Blood Oath 2 more than once in a round since Dimona can unexhaust this heavy hitter.
The final unit included in Rayward’s March is Dimona’s very own Rayward Knight. At 3 this guy has everything you want in a starting unit. He’s easy to play, attacks well, and has enough life to require a concentrated effort to get rid of. Best of all, he will recover from all his wounds and exhaustion if he survives the first round! Remember that the charms dice power can add one to this unit's attack value and life value to help you keep him around into the second round. This resilient and versatile unit is a no-brainer to include in Dimona’s first five.
Before we get into the other ready spells included in Rayward’s March, I want to point out that Dimona’s suggested deck only includes 4 ready spells. Remember that a Phoenixborn’s spellboard value limits the number of different ready spell you can have in play at one time. A higher value provides more options, including the option to use less spellboard slots than the Phoenixborn allows. In addition to Summon Three-Eyed Owl, Rayward’s March includes 3 other ready spells.
Blood Transfer allows you to choose where the damage your units receive ends up. With 2 units that can survive 2 damage, being able to move that damage from unit to unit will allow you to keep around whatever unit you most need. The ability to heal damage from Dimona with this ready spell should not be overlooked either. With a life value of 17, Blood Transfer can provide a healing hand at just the right time to pull out the win!
With 2 of your units costing 3 or more magic, you’ll want a spell to increase the magic you have at you’re disposal to allow you to utilize more options in a given round. Expand Energy is perfect for this duty. This is an easy include for your first five.
The final ready spell included in this deck is Small Sacrifice. With healthy life values and ceremonial dice to bring back allies, your battlefield will be more resilient than your opponent's while trading damage one-for-one, and when you focus this spell you can exhaust the units instead. By the way, Dimona will allow you to unexhaust the unit you control that was exhausted by this spell, so… win! The versatility this spell provides when focused means you’ll want it in your first five to get it focused as fast as possible.
The Other Spells
To go along with the backbone of your deck, 3 other cards have been included in Rayward’s March to round out its strategy.
Undying Heart makes your tough units even tougher, increasing their life value and recovery value by 2. This spell goes wonderfully on the Rayward Knight or Blood Archer and is included in your first five to keep that knight coming back for more!
Bound Soul is particularly useful in decks that include allies with a high attack value so that you don’t have to take wounds on your Phoenixborn to bring them back from the discard pile. Rayward’s March includes 2 of those allies, so it’s a smart inclusion in a deck featuring a Phoenixborn with a below average life value.
The final card in Rayward’s March is Sympathy Pain. Taking damage is a natural part of playing Ashes, so you’ll often be able to meet the condition to play this spell. And heck, if you can’t, you’re winning anyway! Three damage, wherever you want, for 2 is hard to beat. You can use it to take out a troublesome unit, or push through the last few damage to your opponent's Phoenixborn to secure the victory!
The Final March
Removing your opponent's strategy, making big units, and using all of your army over and over is Rayward’s March's path to victory! I hope you enjoy playing this deck as much as I enjoyed making it!
If you have any questions about this deck or how to use it, feel free to ask in the comments below. Do you like the deck? Would you have constructed it differently? Ashes is almost here, and I look forward to discussing decks with all of you! Let’s get the discussion started on what all of you are planning to build, and what combos and strategies you plan on employing!
If you’re going to be at GenCon, feel free to stop by the Plaid Hat booth and say hello, I’ll be there giving demos of Ashes and enjoying this wonderful game. Hope to see you there!
Mr. Bistro tells the tale of a rising tempest tomorrow. Come back and read about the beginning of Dimona's rise to greatness!
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