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.
Hello everyone! This is my first Advanced Ashes article, so hopefully I can keep the standard high!
I’m going to go over a couple of Ceremonial cards today that I ran together a lot in my early Ashes days, but seem to have somewhat fallen out of flavor. However, I still believe both of them have great potential and could be relevant again very soon! The first of these is Small Sacrifice:
At first glance, the main ability of this card seems very lackluster. It sucks up a precious Spellboard slot, and at the cost of a Ceremonial class die, your main action AND a wound on one of your Units, you get 1 wound on an opponent’s Unit. You can get that for a side action and a Nature power die without eating up a spellboard slot, so why would you ever want to use this card?
Well first off, let’s not forget that Focus ability. Suddenly Small Sacrifice changes from a damage card to an exhaustion card. All you need is an unexhausted unit that you can exhaust, and that will allow you to shut off your opponent’s most powerful unit for a round. Trading your Anchornaut for their Hammer Knight this round sounds good, right? Oh and then next round, you can just do it again! Plus knowing the cards coming down the pipe, exhaustion could become much more important.
Secondly, there are times when being able to do 1 damage as a main action is just what you need. You can combo this with the aforementioned Nature power die to do 2 damage in one turn, which is enough to take out that peksy Three-Eyed Owl that’s threatening you, or Aradel’s always-annoying Blue Jaguar, along with a host of other 2 life Units. Aradel or Brennan can use Small Sacrifice + their Phoenixborn ability to take out 3 Life Units such as Bears or Hammer Knights in one turn.
Lastly, the Ceremonial class of magic includes a host of benefits you can reap for damaging your own units. Cards like Final Cry and Chant of Revenge pile on more damage for killing your own guys. A Living Doll can take that damage and put it on the opponent, too! Anchornauts are also frequently in Ceremonial decks since they can be recycled for free, and one of my favorite plays with them is to cast one and exhaust it with the Throw ability for a damage. Next turn, Small Sacrifice to kill the now-exhausted Anchornaut (perhaps triggering Final Cry and/or Chant of Revenge!), do another damage, and then Ceremonial Power Die to get the Anchornaut back to rinse and repeat! And speaking of Ceremonial allies that like to take damage:
There’s one of my favorite allies in Ashes, the Leech Warrior. For 2 Ceremonial Class and 1 Basic, you get the same 2/3 body as a Frostback Bear gives you, but with a whopping 3 Recover! That Recover value is very important for the Leech Warrior. Plus, that 2 Attack Value packs a bit of a punch, but doesn’t hurt too badly to recur with the Ceremonial Dice Power.
Reading their ability shows that every time they take damage, you get to exhaust a die of your choice in your opponent’s active dice pool. Players reading this probably know how powerful Illusion dice are. The Illusion Power Die is probably the best die power in the game, but you can get that same ability with a Leech Warrior! When you pair them with Nature dice, now your Frogs can either be damage on the opponent, or can be used like Illusion Power Dice to exhaust dice from the opponent by pinging your own Leech Warrior. This fantastic ability also makes it very unattractive for the opponent to use their Frog dice or Gilder pings to whittle this guy down, because he exhausts their dice while doing so. Are you scared that Aradel is going to Gilder (or Small Sacrifice!) + Water Blast your 3 life Unit in Round 1? Try out a Leech Warrior and punish her for that! Beware of the nasty Molten Gold though, which can take out a Leech Warrior without triggering his ability.
Leech Warriors also love Alterations. Spells like Massive Growth, Undying Heart or Root Armor are fantastic with them, giving them extra life to exhaust more dice and make use of that excellent 3 Recover. The Nature ones are my favorite – especially Root Armor which can be applied the same turn you put the Leech Warrior down. Also, don’t forget about Protect. That spell is a great way to deal with burst damage like Sympathy Pain. Protect can suck up a couple damage while still letting the Leech take 1 and exhaust a die.
Below is a deck that I really loved using Small Sacrifice and Leech Warrior in together. Using Small Sacrifice to ping the Leech, exhaust an opponent’s die and damage one of their Units is a really nice combo, and Dimona’s 5 spellboard makes it possible to include both Small Sacrifice and Protect to support the Leeches!
2x Small Sacrifice
2x Summon Frostback Bear
1x Expand Energy
3x Summon Butterfly Monk
1x Root Armor
3x Molten Gold
3x Final Cry
2x Massive Growth
3x Hammer Knight
3x Leech Warrior
3x Rayward Knight
This is a deck about controlling the battlefield, using Dimona’s large spellboard to fill up with support spells. Having that Leech out there backed up by Protect and/or Root Armor is daunting to an opponent trying to clear the board. And if they don’t do it for you, do it yourself with Small Sacrifice!
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
Week 13: Massive Growth and Dispel
Week 14: Gilder and Cut the Strings