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 to another installment of Advanced Ashes! This week, we're looking at (among other things) alterations that won't last long.
- +4 Attack! That's good on anybody, but I'd like to highlight one unit in particular: Frost Fang. Frost Fang's Battle Advantage with +4 attack means that not very many units can touch her in a fight.
- +4 Life! You already know what extra life means for units like Leech Warrior or Living Doll. Since the extra life is lost at the end of the round, units with high recover like Gobi Sunshield or Silver Snakes will also like this alteration.
- Spell Guard! It only protects you from opponents' spells. More on that later.
- Attack of 2 or less. You can't do much about this, but the game would be broken without it. Still, there are currently something like 25 units that can use this, so it still has a pretty deep card pool to work with. 11 of those units are Natural friendly to boot!
- Fleeting. Use it or loose it. You can turn this to your advantage in some cases. If you are facing Maeoni Viper, your units that die due to the Massive Growth leaving play will not feed her Silver Snakes. You could also sneak in an early round of Chant of Revenge damage since exhaustion tokens on Ready Spells are removed prior to the removal of Massive Growth. And since we are talking unit destruction anyway, why not throw down a Blood Chains? Now that exhausted, Massive Growthed, Fire Archer with one wound that your opponent had written off will yield 4 exhaustion tokens for you.
The status token removal is a nice use of this card (especially when used against Chant of Protection or Protect), but it isn't something you can count on using, since it relies on your opponent bringing a status token dependent card.
The temporary removal of an alteration is generally the better use for Dispel. There is only one alteration spell that costs less than one basic die (Ice Buff), so you come out ahead economically. If the alteration was providing a life boost, then Dispel is almost like a direct damage spell. A Root Armoured Leech warrior with 3 wounds can be Dispeled into a dead Leech Warrior. Sure, Root Armour goes back into your opponent's deck, but you've really slowed down their tempo. You can also Dispel alterations defensibly to stall the effects of Fade Away or Poison.
Spell Guard doesn't prevent you from affecting Massive Growth with your own spells, so why not Dispel it before the end of the round? Then you can bring it back later for another massive swing.
My "Massive Fangs" deck is designed to get the most out of Massive Growth through exhaustion token manipulation and Dispel. Frost Fangs are the primary target for Massive Growth, and Dimona lets you attack multiple times with the 5 attack unit with Battle Advantage! You can also unexhaust a Fang with Change Psyche or by Transfering exhaustion tokens to your already exhausted Rayward Knight. Transfer and Change Psyche can also be used to exhaust the opponent's field while Frost Bite and Gilders help kill off any chump blockers. If your opponent has some good targets for Dispel, great! If not, you'll always be able to use Dispel on your own Massive Growths to bring them out again. Three-Eyed Owls are mostly used to block, but feel free to Memory Drain them if you have the battlefield advantage.
I hope this article provides some inspiration for your own Ashes decks.
Next week: ...
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
Week 7: Jessa and Chant of Revenge
Week 8: Amplify and Blood Archer
Week 9: Dread Wraith and Three-Eyed Owl
Week 10: Iron Worker and Coal Roarkwin
Week 11: Seal and Reflections in the Water
Week 12: Blood Puppet and Root Armor
Written by Jon Robert Merkle
Jon Robert Merkle is an Ashes playtester.