Devlin Longbow and Plutarch Eastgate's expansions are released and available for download and PnP!
I'm happy to say that the second two Project Phoenix expansions are available for print and play (PnP)!
Devlin Longbow: The Scoundrels of the Sea
Plutarch Eastgate: The Mad Doctor
The ZIP files above provide 300 dpi images, suitable for printing at 63x88mm (the size of the Ashes cards) or 2.5"x3.5" (slightly larger than an Ashes card, but still supported by the images above). The card sheets are provided for easier printing on standard printer paper if you wish to layer the cards above existing cards in opaque sleeves or similar.
I do not have MakePlayingCards-compatible files for these images this time around. I hope to create them (because I really like the MPC printing process), but it's an insane amount of work to create full bleed versions of the cards and I don't have the bandwidth right now, unfortunately.
I hope you enjoy Devlin and Plutarch! Voting for the final three Time expansions will open in the near future, and once those are released we will figure out where Project Phoenix will go from there!
Devlin might lead the mightiest man-o-war in the ocean, but it takes a tight crew to run a tight ship. Welcome back to the last set of previews for Devlin and Plutarch, and we're gonna hit the ground sprinting with an especially strong shipmate that has mastered the art of hit and run:
Shipside Assassin joins the pantheon of incredibly strong 3-cost allies with an identical statline to Hammer Knight, and an ability that makes it an absolute pain to answer. Shipside Assassin is a tricky unit to answer, and can surprise you in terrible ways. You can freely attack weaker/exhausted units with SA without having to worry about repercussions, and once exhausted she's only immune to your opponent's effects, meaning you can still target her with spells and abilities. Shipside Assassin uniquely attracts a few unique strategies to her as well; she's one of the only units for which you may be encouraged to attach alterations AFTER attacking, and when combined with Devlin's Trial by Fire it's easy to force enormously harsh trades without losing much.
Pearl Conch Venom might be one of the deadliest alterations ever made. Battle Advantage and Deathstrike combined enable any unit to successfully kill basically any other unit in the game. What's incredible about this alteration is that it tends be effective both on small units, allowing even a Mist Spirit to defeat a Sleeping Bear, and on select large units, enabling Seaside Assassin to attack large units without suffering any damage (or forcing the opponent to take a whopping 4). However, Pearl Conch Venom really hits its apex when attached to units with the Stalk or Bypass ability. Nothing kills your star players like a venomous Winged Lioness or Reaper Mount, or even adding some extra possibilities for Hypnotize. This could also produce some interesting combinations with Relic Broker, perhaps even with Chimera Smasher if you're feeling particularly spicy.
Of course, being a Natural/Time deck, two of the biggest colors for alteration spells, it'd be strange if we only had one to show off. This second one, however, won't be like any alteration you've seen before.
Shriveling marks the first alteration in the game that attaches to a Phoenixborn (well, other than Dark Transformation, but that's kind of a special case). This is a bizarre spell, causing your opponent to lose life just for removing exhaustion from their Phoenixborn, and also forcing them to exhaust leftover dice at the end of the round, potentially discarding much wanted Power dice. I say sir, you're looking a bit tired, do you want a lie down?
Now, obviously your opponent can simply play around this effect by simply not using their Phoenixborn ability, but when your opponent decides not to use one of their best tools, that usually just means you're winning. I mean, wow, you didn't just stop your opponent from using their abilities, you managed to convince them that it was their idea as well. But what if you end up with an opponent that doesn't mind taking a little damage? Well, good news: Shriveling stacks. The number of wounds you place is 1 PER Shriveling on the opponent, so if you can stack these early it could easily force a very harsh game, especially against certain PB's that heavily rely on their abilities.
That being said, this card might have some consistency issues; you never can tell just how effective it will be in any given match (especially when playing against a PB with no exhaustible abilities like Odette Diamondcrest or Jessa Na Ni), but the value cannot be understated and there might be a few tricks to make it work a little harder (Flashback, and Namine Hymntide might work). And, in the off chance you toss it while meditating or making Sirens, Devlin's got you covered:
Not to be confused as a budget Relic Broker, Bone Sea Privateer offers a few unique advantages, starting with its color. There are numerous useful alterations to be found in [[Time:power]] magic, but [[Natural:power]] has always been loaded with powerful tools of war like Massive Growth, Crystal Shield, Spiked Armor and the brand new Pearl Conch Venom. The other big difference is that the alterations fetched go into your hand rather than attached to the unit itself, meaning you have the freedom to attach your findings to other targets instead.
Bone Sea Privateer also comes equipped with Inheritance 1, which not only helps provide coverage and resources for many of Devlin's other cards, but also adds some extra fire to fetch options like Explosive Growth and Mark of the Red Flower.
Alright, we have our crew, we have our tools, but we can't forget the most powerful force available to our sailors: the ocean itself!
Whirlpool is a vicious and often cruel card, completely taking control of the battlefield at a low cost. What's most devastating about this spell is that it not only stacks multiplicatively with each Focus, but it can be triggered on either player's turn AFTER all blockers have been declared. This is the spell that will put fear into your opponents, especially if either of you likes to swing often.
While this card cannot be used to lower attack before a Trial by Fire, being able to dictate the flow of the round just by having a Whirlpool at the ready is incredibly invaluable. You can even use multiple copies against the same target; with two Whirlpools, you can lower Elephant Rider's attack value from 6 to 2! If you really want to make listed attack values meaningless, try combining this with Empower to just completely dictate every fight for the rest of the game. With all these amazing options of flexibility and dominance of combat, Devlin proves why he's the only one keeping the flags flying out on the high seas.
And that's all we got for previews cause...well, that's all we got for cards. Thank you so much for all your support, and Project Phoenix will see you all next time...with 3 decks instead of 2. But that's still a ways off.
If this article didn't make it out on time, it's because I'm working Black Friday at a retail job, which means right now maybe death doesn't seem quite so bad. Well, our science buddy Plutarch might have just the panacea you need for this terrible disease we call living.
Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, after all. Mounts were a concept originally introduced in The Ghost Guardian and The King of Titans, and it comes back now as powerful as ever. Everyone that's played with the vicious Winged Lioness or the equally vicious Hunters Mark knows just how powerful ignoring guards can be, and the jump from 2 attack to 3 with Reaper Mounts suddenly makes this concept even deadlier. The majority of units in the game have 3 or fewer health, meaning Reaper Mounts can drop almost anything. Not to mention, if the target does somehow have 4 Life, you can always use Plutarch's ability to slap on Imbued Vigor for that one-shot kill. This is one of the more important units in Plutarch's deck, giving you the ability to activate Dark Procurement and Extend Animation, and with pinpoint accuracy. And, as is often the case with most mounts, it's incredibly cost efficient later in the game. In a lot of ways, Reaper Mount is fairly comparable to Cerasaurus Mount, with the Overwhelm replaced with Stalk (depending on the goals of your deck, one may be better than the other).
Now, obviously the big trick with mounts is that they need riders. So far, we've seen the Nihilist and the Alchemist, and those are both decent riders, but I think we can do better:
Every mount has at least one top notch rider. Summon Ghostly Mount has toolbox cards like Battle Seer and Hollow, Summon Cerasaurus Mount has the eminent Sun Sister, and for Summon Reaper Mount we have the Soul Augur. In most cases, a good rider is categorized as a unit that has at least 2 Life and some kind of "leaves play" effect, and not only does Soul Augur fill that criteria but she does so with aplomb. She makes for an excellent defensive unit as the opponent really doesn't want to empower you with a free Open Memories for allies, and she'll even give you a chance to figure out what sort of ally would best suit the opponent you're playing against. Maybe a wide board demands a Crimson Bomber or Raptor Herder, while an especially large threat might do better with a Grave Knight or even a Sleeping Bear. And of course, you can always opt to go for broke with Elephant Rider. Soul Augur is also quite powerful with Summon Necromantic Abomination, as the allies you feed to it can be either from under your PB OR in your hand.
Now, within Plutarch's deck, there are many good options for Soul Augur to fetch. Alchemist helps you fix dice better, Nihilist is great for triggering your Dark Procurements, and if you need something extra difficult than maybe fetch one of these:
If you really don't want your opponent to swing at you again, bring out the Plague Doctor, aka discount Gobi Sunshield. Unlike the Nightshade Swallow (aka the last unit with Deathstrike), Plague Doctor is more likely to survive an attack, and because of the Alert ability he won't even get exhausted for doing it. This unit presents quite a conundrum for attackers; he can kill small units without exhausting, but he can also kill big units regardless of life value. Now, on the one hand, there are a few ways to skirt around the Doctor, but there's also ample solutions to cover those contingencies. Because of his 1 attack power, you can declare multiple attackers and he'll only be able to kill one at a time, but if he gains any attack boost at all (say, from a Bloodstained Dagger), that option starts looking a lot worse. Alright, well you can always opt to attack units that aren't the Plague Doctor since he only attacks for 1 anyways, but that can get really tough if you're opponent is running around with Hastened Response. Finally, since Deathstrike only triggers on attacks and counters, you can always kill it through direct damage through Devlin's Trial by Fire or big damage sources like Earthquake or Phoenix Barrage, but that 4 Life can be difficult to chunk through. No matter the circumstances, Plague Doctor always seems to have the tools to be effective.
Alright, we've talked about the many effective ways in which Plutarch can just kill all your units, but he also has a few techniques that stop you from killing his units as well...because he's gonna get to it first.
Alright, let me break this one down for you. Basically, if your opponent tries to do anything to your unit, you can use Reaper's Rescue to just kill the unit instead. What a bargain!
In all seriousness though, this card can be a surprising turn around against a host of unusual effects. Opponent tries to Phoenix Barrage your unit for 4 and also deal 2 damage to you? Just kill the unit, which in turn cancels the rest of the spell and effectively saves you 2 damage. Harold tries to Mark Prey targeting your unit and setup a Harvest Soul? Just kill it, and since your opponent didn't kill the unit they don't get to harvest either. Opponent attempts to Blood Chains you down for about 4 exhaustion? You know what to do. As icing on the cake, Reaper's Rescue also covers nasty alterations, providing "protection" from such nasty effects as Regress, Deep Freeze, and the dreaded Mark of the Goddess. Best of all, because Reaper's Rescue kills the unit, it can also trigger death effects from cards like Dark Procurement and Chant of Revenge.
To finish off our previews, if Reaper's Rescue is the card you use to manipulate death, this is the card you use to prevent it...but only in a literal sense:
Cheat Death is a bit bizarre because it can actually stop a whole variety of different acts from taking place. We've already mentioned Chant of Revenge, but Cheat Death can also prevent things like Chant of Sacrifice and Brennen Blackcloud's main ability. Using Cheat Death on a unit can also make it an invalid target for Harvest Soul. Similar to Reaper's Rescue, using Cheat Death doesn't slow you down too much as the card replaces itself, either with the ally you just saved or by simply drawing a card in the case of a conjuration. Between this and Reaper's Rescue, there's a bunch of new counterplay application that opens up for dealing with many staple deck constructions, but in the case of Cheat Death I think it may also help open deckbuilding for an often underlooked PB: Sembali Grimtongue. Being able to return allies back to your hand even when they die makes it even easier to trigger Ban Manifestation and Chained Creations, and the fact that it fills your hand in the process makes her awkward costs a little more palatable. Maybe give her a try with Cheat Death, you might be surprised.
That's all we have for Plutarch, but come back tomorrow for the rest of Devlin. Now I'm going to sleep, I have another long shift tomorrow :(
Welcome to the second day of previews. In case you missed yesterday's previews with Plutarch, here's a link.
Yesterday we focused on the twisted machinations of Mr. Eastgate, but today's focus will be on the terror of Argaia's waters, one Captain Devlin Longbow:
The Bone Sea is a vast and unforgiving pool of some of nature's most vicious creatures, though none are more dangerous than the captain of The Eternity himself. Any who enter his turf should be ready to face a Trial by Fire, a crucible by which only the strongest survive. And of course, to the victors go the spoils.
Devlin Longbow is our Time and Natural deck ([[Time:power]] and [[natural:power]]) and you'll have to be careful playing your weaker units against him, as Trial by Fire is basically Seeds of Aggression as a Phoenixborn ability. When playing against Devlin, probably best to assume he'll break out a few larger units. One of our favorites was Majestic Titan, but I think the status gain also has some room to be explored with Master Vampire. The ability can also be used to clear your board of dead weight, like units affected by Regress. That being said, Trial by Fire can be avoided up to a point, as both units involved must be unexhausted, so if you have a way to use your units early (Anchornaut and Flash Archer come to mind) you might be able to avoid it for a while.
Of course, you're probably thinking, what's the point of building up random status tokens? Well, obviously there's a few units that like having them, but wearing the pirate's mark means you've gained the captain's trust, which might stop you from getting swept away:
Even if you avoid the Trial by Fire, you might find yourself in the clutches of The Perfect Storm. Worst case, this is effectively a Meteor for 2 [[basic]], but with a some clever setup and Trials, this card gains razor precision. Dealing 2 damage to all of your opponent's creatures, while sparing your most crucial ones, can be absolutely devastating. Devlin's ability and special card in tandem create this really interesting puzzle for players to solve. How best will you master the battlefield? Maybe you'll bring all your units already immune to TPS, using things like Summon Mirror Spirit and Iron Worker, or maybe you'll play around the Inheritance ability of things like Jungle Warrior and Gilder. Or just ignore it, knowing that your creatures are big enough to win fights and earn status with Trial by Fire. Heck, if you don't care about your units surviving, you can also just play a Summon Fallen deck. The sea remains full of undiscovered mystery, after all.
Well, there are a few things we do know about. Among them is the brutal hammerhead shark:
So, there's a bit to unpack here. Yes, this spell costs a whopping 5 dice to cast, a significantly heavy price to be sure, but then it lets you make a shark every turn for free? This is definitely bizarre by Ashes standards, but Time Magic is full of unusual twists and turns. Setting this thing up will absolutely sunder your first round, but the returns are pretty insane. After all, a 3/4 for 5 dice is terrible, but two 3/4's for 5 dice is actually good, and once you hit three the value is just absurd. Devlin doesn't mind playing the long game, after all.
Sharks come with the Consume ability, something we haven't seen since Silver Snake, but unlike the Snakes these units don't scale with status quite as well. Instead, what they lose in scaling, they gain in proliferation, becoming harder to get rid of through effects like Chained Creations or Harvest Soul, which is pretty important since the conjuration limit is only 2! It does take a whopping 3 status to get to that point, but even a single Trial by Fire will already get you up to two status.
Sharks aren't the only unit that can take advantage of your status gains, and they certainly aren't the only unit with a bizarre cost:
Ladies and gentlemen, here comes a free cost that will torture you every time. Riptide Siren is extremely efficient, giving you a 2/2 for only 1 die, but each summon requires you to grind out your own deck a little more. If you aren't able to focus the spell, you might just deck yourself out on accident. Of course, the Siren does have the ability to help refill your deck if you can give it status tokens, but earning them through Trial by Fire is going to be a little harder since it's not that big.
All that being said, Riptide Siren is amazingly versatile as units go. She can play fast, but isn't that bad going slow. She can recycle your deck with some help, or even remove problematic cards from your opponent's discard pile to hinder Nightsong Cricket or Namine Hymntide. Aggressively, she can fill your discard up with allies for reanimation strategies. And with a conjuration limit of 4, she's fairly reliable.
Now, maybe you're not in the mood to spend status on these effects, so here's one more alternative for you:
Loot the Future doesn't quite have the sheer power potential of Heal, or the efficiency of Mass Heal, but it does make up for it with flexibility. When playing with Sharks it's pretty easy to end up with an excess of status tokens, and playing with Devlin means your units will often end up a little battered. For one die, you could potentially full heal your entire battlefield, and the fact that it's a heal outside of [[divine:power]] gives it some inherent value as an alternate option. It might also have application with cards in future sets...
Finally, to finish off our previews for today, there's only one thing better than fighting with Devlin, and that's fighting twice:
This demands an equal exchange from each player, but things are rarely equal when fighting Devlin. Chances are, you're units are hitting harder, and Trial by Fire is likely a stronger ability than whatever you're opponent is running around with. This card has tons of potential, especially when combined with PB's with hyper efficient abilities like Rin Northfell, Victoria Glassfire and Orrick Gilstream, or PB's with abilities that apply tons of pressure like Aradel Summergaard and Harold Westraven. This spell holds an ocean of creative application; as an example, you can use it in a deck full of 3 power units to forcibly set your opponent to a health value divisible by 3. We can't wait to see what you do with it.
That's all for today. Happy Thanksgiving, and we'll hopefully see you tomorrow with the rest of Plutarch's deck.
It's the most wonderful time of the year, and you know what that means.
Yup, it's time for the next set of previews from Project Phoenix.
These previews will be a little different from the normal ones: instead of 3 cards, we'll be showing off 5 cards AND the Phoenixborn today. Plus, we'll be doing previews EVERY DAY this week, all ramping up to the release date on 11/30.
And what better way to celebrate Thanksgiving week with a Phoenixborn that would've made way more sense on Halloween.
They say that Dredgemeadow is a no casket village. If you die, your remains either get buried deep where no one knows, or they end up in the scientist's lab. Plutarch is Project Phoenix's Time and Ceremonial deck ([[time:power]] & [[ceremonial:power]]), and is centered heavily around the cycle of death and rebirth, whether natural or otherwise. His ability, Gather Specimens, is where the majority of his interaction comes from, allowing him to tuck ally cards from any player's discard pile underneath him facedown. He can then spend those cards to place Imbued Vigor on his units, creating exceptionally awkward turns for his opponents. The Dauntless keyword enables you to perform attacks that are almost always bad for your opponent, or hold one turn of defense that no one wants to deal with.
The facedown mechanic isn't new to Plutarch, having first been explored by Jericho Kill, and because of that he can benefit from a few of the same cards as she, including Prepare. Being able to tuck ally cards from your discard and Prepare them back to your hand can be quite difficult to deal with. Plus, there's other ways to tuck allies underneath Plutarch, like Dark Procurement.
If Prepare let's you tuck cards from your draw pile, Dark Procurement let's you do the same straight from the battlefield, allowing you to store cards under your PB lightning fast. Since Plutarch's Extract Essence doesn't exhaust him, every ally card you tuck is yet another weapon to further your goal. Additionally, Dark Procurement has the added bonus of being able to snag allies your opponents own, potentially cutting off supplies to other discard-based strategies like Summon Fallen, Bound Soul, Sun Sister, and even the [[Ceremonial:power]] dice power itself.
Of course, if your opponents are more keen to using conjurations over allies, you can always trigger DP on your own allies. You can always use Anchornaut to hit itself, but if you're looking for something more substantial, we've got you covered:
In the tradition of most Ceremonial precons, Plutarch's deck has a whopping four. Nihilist may not seem like the most impressive unit on the surface, and its Entombed ability makes it a little more difficult to interact with since it can't be revived with the [[Ceremonial:power]] dice power, but don't be fooled. This ally is a value machine. 2 Life for 1 die is already pretty thick, but more impressive is that it places 2 wound tokens for just one die, and can even target the opponent's PB directly, all without triggering damage effects. It's also going to be one of your most tucked allies; after all, nothing is wasted on Plutarch.
At this point, it's pretty clear that Plutarch's deck has many ways to stuff the underside of your PB with a plump supply of allies, but how does that help you win? Well, with a little dark science, we can use those allies to create the ultimate force of nature:
It's alive! What has science done!?
Well, in this case, science gave us arguably one of the strongest conjurations in all of Argaia. Necromantic Abomination is a pitiful 1/1/0 for 2 different colored dice, but even adding just a few choice body parts can ratchet this mutation into a truly threatening beast. With 3 allies, it's a 4/4/0 for 2 dice that can effectively reduce any instance of damage it takes down to 1. To take down the abomination, it's going to take lots of small hits, not big ones, but even small units will have a hard time dealing with its Terrifying 1 ability.
The Necromantic Abomination takes a lot of setup though, and doesn't really take off until you're able to stuff at least a few allies under your PB. Also, if the conjuration dies, all the allies go back to their discard piles, meaning you need to start all over again. To help mitigate these issues, and to really bring this unit to abominable heights, you really want to focus the summon spell. At Focus 1, it becomes easier to accelerate the growth, but at Focus 2 you can start recycling the allies you've invested and create a dangerous death loop.
Since the SNA ready spells are crucial to winning with this precon, you may be a little hesitant to meditate often. Luckily, with this ally, you might not have to:
Alchemist is a stout little ally that gives you the ability to convert your basic symbols into class symbols. Since a majority of Plutarch's deck can function only on class symbols, Alchemist is hugely important for keeping your draw pile intact without having to slow down. Effectively, having an Alchemist around lets you perform "soft meditates" without spending any resources. He might be able to help open up decks that use larger color pools that have a harder time with dice fixing as well, like 4-color Orrick Gilstream decks. Watch out though, if this unit is destroyed while dice are still attached to him, the dice will fall into your exhausted pool.
To finish off our previews today, we're going to show you Plutarch's special card, which you may find especially diabolical:
In Dredgemeadow, death is not guided by the reaper's hand but by Plutarch's allowance. This is a devilishly powerful spell, not only allowing you to bestow a second life onto a unit but even enabling you to reanimate an opponent's unit onto your side! With Extend Animation on the other side of the table, the fates of your Hammer Knights and Flying Monkeys gets a lot less certain, possibly even dangerous for you. That being said, Plutarch's methods aren't perfect, and the subject ends up in an Unnatural state, losing all their abilities and heavily stifling any chance of recovery. Still, sometimes a big body is just a big body, like with Iron Rhino.
If you manage to get up to Focus 2, Plutarch will have perfected the process and may start bringing back units without being Unnatural. Not only will this improve some revived units significantly like Majestic Titan or Leech Warrior, but it can also open some new avenues of play with things like Nihilist or Crimson Bomber.
That's all we have for today, but come back tomorrow for the start of Devlin and his dangerous crew.
bbroughm#44&h published a deck!
GoldenPhoenix#10+h published a deck!