Advanced Ashes is a weekly series covering advanced Ashes strategies. Each week, a different Ashes player will showcase two cards, exploring their strengths and synergies. Visit the PlaidHatGames.com Ashes store, as well as the online Ashes deckbuilder.
Welcome back to Advanced Ashes. For my first contribution to this series, I want to talk about two of my favorite alteration spells, where I have found them best used, and what match-ups give them pause. Both spells come in Brennen Blackcloud’s deck; one looks super cuddly and the other…well, you might want to get that hand checked out by a professional.
I have always wished the flavor text on Regress was worded differently. My version? “And just like that, your efforts become the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen.” Then I could follow playing it on my opponent's unit with cute baby sounds, and maybe a little tickle under the chin. Even though the card looks innocent, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Strengths of Regress
There are currently 38 combined allies and conjurations: Regress can be attached to 37 of them; rendering those unable to deal damage from attacking another unit or Phoenixborn. Seaside Raven, with its Magic Guard ability, is the only exception. That means no Hammer Knight with Aftershock and no Blood Archer with Blood Oath. Dread Wraith must have 5 wounds on it just to have a 1 attack. Silver Snakes? You better find a way to get a lot of status tokens. Regress is also fantastic against small battlefields, causing units to clog up space that Phoenixborn like Maeoni and Lulu need.
Weaknesses of Regress
The obvious cards to watch out for are Cut The Strings and Dispel. Glow Finch, another candidate for Most Adorable Card, has the ability to simply remove Regress from the game if you attach it to one. A noteworthy downfall to the card is that your opponents’ unit is still out on the battlefield, allowing them to be used as a defender for any strategic attacks you may be potentially planning. It also does not negate any abilities that could be triggered, so you’d still have to deal with Beast Tamer’s Diminish or Crimson Bomber’s Detonate, just to name a couple. Spells like Empower, Strengthen, and Frozen Crown could potentially bring a unit like Iron Rhino back to dealing damage again.
Now for the opposite of adorable, I give you Poison. The festering mentioned is out of control, which is why this particular card features a man expressing a great deal of pain. As grotesque as the artwork may seem, it’s quite apropos considering the feeling your opponent will have dealing damage to their own beloved unit.
Strengths of Poison
In Ashes, taking a main action is the majority of your role as a player. I mean, it’s so relevant, “The Main Action” podcast uses it for its moniker. Attaching Poison to your opponent's heavy hitter or unit that is causing grief can force them to act on a timer. As a result, this can require a player to pass when it’s not advantageous. Also, consider attaching Poison to your own Leech Warrior in a Ceremonial deck. Theoretically, you can exhaust 3 of your opponent's dice first, then follow up by triggering cards like Final Cry, Chant of Revenge, or Chant of the Dead when Leech Warrior is destroyed. Alternatively, in place of Final Cry, consider having two Sleeping Widows appear. Now THAT is evil!
Weaknesses of Poison
Finally, Poison shares many of the same aforementioned weaknesses as Regress, including its unaffectedness against Seaside Raven; therefore I won’t re-list them here. If your opponent is using a comparable style Ceremonial deck like I mentioned in the Strengths section, then Poison may not be as helpful to play on their units. Especially if said deck also includes Living Dolls and Dread Wraiths. The key to successfully utilizing Poison is proactively planning your strategy to ensure the damage it deals each turn doesn't ultimately destroy your future efforts in the game.
In wrapping up my review of Regress and Poison, I hope this article created some new ideas for you to think about, or at the very least want your own baby Frostback Bear like the one on Isaac’s shoulder. I’m truly honored you have taken the time to read this. I would love to hear from you; I'm on Twitter @jwolfe279, Facebook, or on the Plaid Hat forums as proudestmonkeyman.
Time to place an exhaustion token on me for this round.
Next week: Getting the most out of death...