Hello again, Ashes players! Last week we got our first look at Harold Westraven from the Demons of Darmas Expansion! If you missed it, check out the link here. Harold has access to all sorts of dark transformation rituals packed into his deck. Today we will be diving into how Harold uses Sympathy magic to augment his allies and magic to gain an advantage in the right situations.
The Beast Warrior is the first card we have seen that uses both a main and side action to put into play. At the cost of 1 class die and your whole turn, a 1/1/0 statline may seem like a weak payoff, but looks can be deceiving! The Beast Warrior has two abilities that will boost its stats if you meet certain conditions. Sympathy magic rewards proper sequencing and thoughtful manipulation of resources, and we see this highlighted by the Transform 1 ability. While you do not have the first player token, this ally will have all of its stats boosted by 1! Suddenly the cost of the Beast Warrior is quite a bargain when played in the proper round! The sympathy dice power has some fun synergy with the Transform ability in that you can use it to put the Beast Warrior on the top of your deck when you have the first player token to make sure you draw it the following round with boosted stats!
The Beast Warrior also comes prepared with the Group Tactics 1 ability. Working together for additional synergy is another staple mechanic of sympathy magic. Meeting the threshold of 3 attackers can be done with ease when using other sympathy units like the Hunt Master and Salamander Monk! With three attacking units and no first player token in your control, your opponent are sure to feel the pressure from this cheap and powerful ally!
The Beast Mage is the bigger and badder version of the Beast Warrior, boasting a monstrous statline when Transform 2 is active! There are very few units in the game that can match up favorably against a 4/4/2 ally, so having a Beast Mage ready for the right round can be a big way to continue applying the pressure or swing back into a favorable position. Of note is the fact that the Beast Mage will be able to utilize its +2 recover value before the first player token passes, making it increasingly likely for your Beast Mage to survive when its Transformation cycle ends.
Perhaps my favorite part of the Beast Mage is the new Terrifying 1 ability! We've all felt the struggle of managing a clogged battlefield during a tense stalemate in a game of Ashes. Neither player feels well equipped to make the first move in battle for fear of not being able to come out on top. Terrifying 1 can change all of that! The Beast Mage is able to bypass a wide variety of units since it cannot be blocked or guarded against by units with 1 or less attack value! This makes weak but stubborn defenders like Turtle Guard, Butterfly Monk, and Gilder lose their greatest strength against this fearsome ally! I hope you all look forward to landing some devastating blows on your opponent's Phoenixborn through the use of this game-changing ability!
Lastly, we have the action spell Transmute Magic. Sympathy magic is one of the strongest dice types for fixing your ‘less than perfect’ dice rolls, and Transmute Magic cranks this skill up to 10! Transmute Magic allows you to spend any other number of dice to recur an equal number of dice. Do you want to quickly change out 2 basic dice for the dice to cast a surprise Molten Gold when your opponent thought you were out of natural magic? Or would you like to simply slam 9 power dice into your active pool and dare your opponent to predict what you have at your disposal? The choice is yours with this absurd spell, giving you ultimate control over your dice pool. It doesn't even stop there though! On top of fixing your active pool to whatever you need for the round, you can change the facing of an additional 2 dice in any player's dice pool! This can be a massive disruption following an opponent's meditate action. Being able to stop the threat of incoming dice powers will certainly come in handy in many games to come.
Thanks for reading today's preview article! I hope you are as excited as I am for these great new additions to the Ashes cardpool. It is my hope that with each new expansion, we are providing Ashes fans with inspiring new designs to change the way Ashes is played in your play groups. Stay tuned for more previews later this week from Sembali's expansion deck, where we will see what happens when allies ascend to the heavens!
Until next time!