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.
Today we are going to take a look at some of the best ways to utilize the destruction of units, both your opponent’s units and your own.
Jessa Na Ni is a well rounded Phoenixborn with average life, battlefield, and spellboard values. What really makes Jessa an extrodinary Phonixborn is her ability, Screams of the Departed. One of the most appealing aspects of Jessa is that she has a built-in win condition with Screams, as well as a super-efficient exclusive card, Fear, that supports this ability. Jessa can come out on top of even the most evenly matched battles by slowly pushing the opponent towards the brink of death every time they lose a unit.
Jessa graciously rewards you for prioritizing board control, letting you use Screams every time you use efficient removal cards like Fear and Ice Trap. It is also a valuable option to use your direct damage spells like Chant of Revenge, Final Cry, and even Molten Gold to clear the board and trigger Screams instead of using them on your opponent’s Phoenixborn. Putting a heavy emphasis on efficient unit removal and using Screams lets you advance your win condition in two different ways by both applying direct damage from Screams, as well as attack damage from big threats on board like Frostback Bear and Hammer Knight! Once you have chipped away at your opponent with Screams and gotten in a few big hits with your units, you can then start pointing your damage spells directly at the opponent’s Phoenixborn to land the final blow!
Jessa sure does seem powerful with her ability to always find a path to victory, but she is not without weaknesses. Using Screams of the Departed can use up plenty of dice which might make it difficult to choose between it and your summons and spells. Illusion players have a habit of restricting the amount of times you can trigger Screams by heavily exhausting your dice pool. Another tactic that give Jessa trouble is when she is gifted lots of Blood Puppets. Blood Puppets are a huge dice sink for Jessa and restrict her average battlefield of 5. Similar to Illusion, the threat of Blood Puppets can reduce the amount of times Jessa can afford to use Screams, severely slowing down her win condition.
It is quite clear that Jessa's ability is one of the best ways to take advantage of destroying your opponent’s units, but what about when they start destroying yours? Ceremonial players are no stranger to this reality, and welcome the death of their own units almost as much as their opponent’s!
Chant of Revenge is one of the most efficient cards in the game when it comes to the amount of damage it deals for its cost. You already know you are going to be losing some units every round, so why not get some extra value out of them while you can? Chant of Revenge fits nicely onto Jessa’s spellboard of 4, and gives her another efficient way to destroy units and trigger Screams of the Departed.
It is not just the raw value of Chant of Revenge that makes it so appealing; it is the timing of its activation. Using units with the Unit Guard ability can help you to cause a death at just the right time when your opponent makes an attack.The ability to deal upwards of three damage to a unit in the middle of a big attack can really help shape the battle in your favor by destroying other units before they get a chance to complete their attack!
It doesn’t stop there either! Your opponent is eventually going to be quite low on life from having Jessa chip away at them throughout the game. When the time is right, you can pivot from using Chant of Revenge to destroy units into using it to finish off your opponent’s Phoenixborn. There aren’t a whole lot of efficient answers to Chant of Revenge dealing up to three instances of one damage to a Phoenixborn. Vanish and Redirect will only stop one damage for the turn, so you’ll still be getting them closer to their demise. Do be careful against a potential Sympathy Pain, as Chant of Revenge can trigger a Sympathy Pain, which could potentially destroy your Phoenixborn before theirs if the game is getting down to the wire!
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to take advantage of the inevitable death of both your opponent’s units and your own. Using cards like Jessa and Chant of Revenge can be a great way to take advantage of this hard truth and allow you to chip away at your opponent faster than they can do to you.
Thanks for reading,
Next week: Turning up the volume...
Previous Advanced Ashes Articles
Week 1: Blood Chains and Butterfly Monk
Week 2: Frost Bite and Ice Trap
Week 3: Anchornaut and Summon Sleeping Widows
Week 4: To Shadows and Body Inversion
Week 5: Regress and Poison
Week 6: Abundance and Summon Orchid Dove
Written by Nick Conley
Nick Conley is an Ashes playtester and co-host of The Ashtray Podcast.