Hello again, Ashes players! I hope you’ve been enjoying the latest previews of the Boy Among Wolves and the Goddess of Ishra expansion decks! Check out some of the previous previews here and here. Today, we are back to see what new exhaustion token manipulation effects Astrea has to support her control-style gameplay. Let’s go ahead and introduce the big one right away!
What an absolute powerhouse of a card! Kneel can singlehandedly determine the fate of an entire round of combat when used at the right time. Aggressive decks looking to summon many units and attack all at once can have their whole plan for the round dismantled from this single spell. Kneel is especially powerful when fighting from behind on board and when going first for the round. Having the initiative to exhaust your opponents board of many units versus just a couple of your own units is sure to buy you the time needed to stabilize, especially when played before they get the chance to attack this round! Look out for this card moving forward, as it is sure to dynamically change the way players play the battlefield game from here on out.
Of course, alongside Kneel we have Devotion as a way to mitigate the downside of exhausting your own units! Devotion can also share the burden of other exhaustion effects like Steady Gaze and Blood Chains. A respectable life boost of +2 and recover boost of +1 can make your Devoted unit incredibly resilient to both exhaustion and damaging effects! Devotion can essentially make a single unit ‘Meteor-proof’ by giving them the life and exhaustion prevention to stop Meteor from taking them out, with the added recovery hopefully giving them the sustain to do it all again next round. With both Meteor and Kneel existing as two powerful symmetrical board effects, Devotion can be included alongside these spells, or as defense against your opponent’s spells to make sure you gain the upper hand in these exchanges!
Summon Steadfast Guardian
Lastly, we have a new dual-cost conjuration; the Steadfast Guardian! This is one of the most unique summon spells to date in that it has a conditional activation. This is both a blessing and a curse; although you can’t simply summon the Steadfast Guardian whenever you choose, you gain the unique upside to pop out some conjurations at a moment’s notice. After Kneel comes down, you can immediately recover with summoning Steadfast Guardians, and you aren’t limited to just one! Each copy of Summon Steadfast Guardian can be activated off of the same exhaustion effect, allowing you to develop a significant board presence in the heat of the moment. It doesn’t stop here though! When a Steadfast Guardian comes into play, you can pay 1 to have it place all exhaustion tokens from one unit onto itself! Having the ability to disrupt an opposing exhaustion effect can be a true blessing, allowing you to keep your battlefield in a more desirable state for yourself. Lastly, the Summon Steadfast Guardian spell has a Focus 1 effect that we saw introduced alongside the Weeping Spirit. With even more chances to remove cards from a player’s discard pile, players will have to act with foresight when it comes to recurring allies and cards like Hand Tricks from their discard piles.
This concludes yet another exciting Ashes preview week! I hope you have been enjoying the new interesting an powerful ideas being explored in these decks. Next week we will wrap up the final cards of Koji and Astrea’s decks. Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion to the Boy Among Wolves on Tuesday!
Until next time!
Art by Fernanda Suarez