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  • angus#5nar commented on the deck Pumped Maeoni Vs. Aradel Vanilla:

    Jun 06, 2020 PDT

    what do you mean by vanilla aradel? im going to assume you mean preconstructed, but please tell me if im wrong.

    some simple changes that can be made to her deck is to use molten gold, angelic rescue (in response to summon gilder) and hidden power.

    cards I would swap out would be mist typhoon, steady gaze and massive growth.

    if you dont mind changing the dice pool a bit, I would suggest adding 2x ceremonial [[ceremonial]] dice, with cards like choke (to stop hypnotize) and blood chains.

    another thing Aradel can do is to use the illusion [[illusion]] dice power. Maeoni is very colour and power hungry, and [[illusion]] can disrupt that a lot.

  • 81fra81#88g8 published a deck!

    Jun 05, 2020 PDT

    Pumped Maeoni Vs. Aradel Vanilla 442

    Maeoni Viper

  • 81fra81#88g8 published a deck!

    Jun 05, 2020 PDT

    Pumped Maeoni Vs. Aradel Vanilla

    Maeoni Viper

  • Elliot Reviews Ashes – Summon Salamander Monk, Flute Mage, Magic Syphon - A Reposting 1

    On the 17/02/2020, the website strangecopy.com will be/was taken down. Many thanks to Brandon Miller for hosting it up until now. However, there are a few articles that i believe are worth keeping a hold of, so i will be creating a series of posts that is literally a copy/paste of the original articles. I didn't write any of them, full credit to all those who put in their time and effort into writing these. In addition to that, I have edited it as little as possible, mostly just formatting.

    this is part 3 of a 4 part article. the other parts can be found here and here

    Elliot Kramer April 27, 2017

    It’s spoiler season! As part of the celebration, I’m going to be posting my own weekly personal thoughts and reviews of all the cards officially previewed throughout the week. Where many people may give a grade system from A-F, or 1.0 – 5.0, I’m instead going to be summing up each review with a prediction of where I think the Ashes 500 costs will eventually land. This gives a meaningful metric for how good I think the card is now, as well as provides a personal retrospective grade down the line to see how close I was to how powerful the card truly was in the meta. You can read more about and see the current 500 prices here.

    Please keep in mind that I am looking at things from a competitive meta perspective.

    Summon Salamander Monk
    Man these guys are cute. Hard to find a place for, but cute. This card is hard to evaluate. Up front, I’m going to say that they are better than Mist Spirits and in some ways comparable, but it’s not clear by how much. In general, they are going to give you “asterisked” 2/2 for 1 dice – which is a great deal. Being able to trade pieces of that for triggers or things like Spirit burn is also nice. However, the asterisk attached to getting full values out of these guys is what is going to give them trouble and why it will be hard to make good use out of them.

    Here are some ways to get good value out of these guys:
    Make a Salamander Monk, attack. If they block and counter, you did 1 damage, exhausted a guy, and made a 1/1 monk spirit for 1 dice. That’s decent value already. If they don’t block…
    - Use Small Sacrifice to convert the monk and deal another damage.
    - Use Spirit Burn to convert the monk and deal 2 damage.
    - Use Redirect to convert the monk and save yourself some life.

    I think all of these (and more) represent an above average value for the 1 dice spent on the original monk.

    Once you have the Salamander Monk Spirit out, it’s something like a Mist Spirit. It’s inability to block is a liability, but it’s inability to be targeted by attacks means that you when you attack with it you have no risk of it being targeted for consequence free attacks. A real drawback of attacking with 1/1s is that they can swing their own 1 attack dudes back into them with no risk. The drawback of not being able to block is definitely a bigger drawback than the gain you get from not being targetable, but it’s not a pure drawback.

    There are three major drawbacks to these guys however that I think are going to make it difficult to find the right place for them. Firstly, it’s not always easy to get good value out of them. Brennen is the best positioned, and if we see them working I expect it to happen with her. Outside of her, I think there will often be awkward decisions or games where you can’t quite make them work.

    Second, the conjuration counts can also put you into awkward situations. Having only 2 of the Monks and 3 of the Spirits means that sometimes your opponent can exploit these counts to force you into winless decisions. It’s not going to be a good feeling having 2 Monks out and knowing you can’t make a monk until you clear one out, and it’s going to be an even worse feeling when a monk dies and you don’t get the spirit because you haven’t managed to cycle your other 3 yet. It’s hard to imagine playing more than 1 book because of how awkward it is to make multiples.

    Finally, these guys kind of want a large battlefield. That is, you either want to reliable clear (e.g. Brennen) or you want to have at least 6 battlefield. You want the opportunity to put out the full threat of the units and I don’t think a deck can easily thrive with these as the only unit – so you want extra room. This limits the places the Salamanders can be seen.

    Ashes 500 Cost Prediction:
    3/0/0

    Flute Mage
    And here we have our fourth variant of Refresh. The first 3, all charm, are Refresh, Change Psyche, and Transfer. Each has little benefits over each other, each is probably fringe playable, none really see play. Flute Mage, I think, is a level above the rest and sure to see at least some play.

    The best way to think of Flute Mage is as an unexhaust effect with a body that has to be answered. If you begin the next round with Flute Mage on the battlefield, unexhausting a unit for no dice cost can be extremely powerful. Swinging at an enemy with your Hammer Knight and immediately having it back at the ready is suddenly very value heavy if you can do it two rounds in a row (for 2 dice total). When the Flute Mage is out, it’s easy to craft situations where your opponent either has to answer the rest of your board, or they have to answer the Flute Mage.

    It is fairly easy to answer the Flute Mage. For 2 dice, there are a few options that trade up against it, and plenty that will trade evenly (dice-wise) with the unit. That being said, unexhausting a unit and exhausting some of those options (e.g. dice and water blast) from your opponents side seems very worth the cost of two dice if you’ve got a good refresh target.

    All in all, the biggest issue with the card will be finding places for it that have targets worth unexhausting. Not every deck has those and the room for Flute in deck and on board. Luckily though, it’s stats aren’t totally unreasonable and the payoff/punishment can be big.

    Predicted Ashes 500 cost:
    9/9/9

    Magic Syphon
    Strictly better is a magic concept that refers to a card that either does the exact same thing as another card for a cheaper price, or something that is purely beneficial over another card for the same price, or both. Moltener Gold, a Molten Gold for one nature [[natural]] power dice is strictly better than Molten Gold. Molten Lead, a card that deals 3 damage for one nature [[natural]] power dice, is not. While the card may be better, the damage vs wounds distinction is meaningful and prevents the card from being strictly better.

    Magic Syphon is also not strictly better than Shifting Mists: the difference in magic type requirements is meaningful. The card is sweet, and once on the board, is unquestionably better than Shifting Mist. It can perform the exact same action as shifting, but also gives you the opportunity to instead meditate one of your opponents dice. But because it’s not strictly better, we will still see some people occasionally opting for Shifting over Super shifting.

    The illusion [[illusion]] dice has two major benefits over sympathy [[sympathy]] for effects like this. Firstly, and most importantly, it has the best dice power in the game. By playing sympathy[[sympathy]]-less illusion [[illusion]], you are giving yourself more opportunities to break apart your opponents game plan with the almighty wolf dice. Secondly, illusion [[illusion]] has already shown itself to have multiple powerful conjurations that act as meditation sinks over the course of the game. Shadow Spirit and Shadow Hound both benefit strongly from free meditations, and are already in the same color as Shifting. By playing Shifting with these cards, you allow yourself to have a more consistent dice pool. The second point may change if we see powerful Sympathy [[sympathy]] conjurations previewed or released in the future, but the first will probably always remain true.

    I wanted to get that out of the way so it’s clear why shifting still has a place in the game. Now on to Super Shifting. The card is clearly very powerful. Shifting was already a card shown to be a great tool of control type decks, giving them inevitability towards the end-game by not making them mill themselves. Super Shifting does exactly that, but also gives you opportunities to force your opponent to meditate by changing their critical dice. We will definitely be seeing Super Shifting on the spellboard. Also, with just a single class dice cost, Super Shifting is easy to splash. Victoria can fairly reliably play just one Sympathy dice, if she wanted, in order to support Magic Syphon instead of Shifting Mists.

    Like Shifting Mist, Magic Syphon is going to be used predominantly in control decks or in decks trying to shore up control matchups. Preventing your own meditation or forcing your opponent to meditate does next to nothing in a game that doesn’t end up with a player milled out (see Papa Pratt’s must-read article on Aggressive Meditation). Super Shifting can force your opponent into awkward turns where they planned on using their dice power and now have to meditate, but those won’t be strong enough to include the card in aggressive decks.

    A note on balance:. Sympathy [[sympathy]] is allowed to have better dice manipulation than illusion [[illusion]] because that’s simply one of it’s strengths. Yes, dice manipulation is also a strength of illusion [[illusion]], but illusion [[illusion]] has some strengths not available to Sympathy [[sympathy]], like dice advantage (Hidden Power) or and an oppressive dice power. In a game with 6+ dice types, there is going to be some overlap in capabilities. Ceremonial [[ceremonial]] can’t be the only type with strong allies, and Nature [[natural]] can’t be the only type with strong conjurations.

    Predicted Ashes 500 cost:
    50/12/12 – with same penalties as Shifting Mist

  • Elliot Reviews Ashes – Summon Emperor Lion, Holy Knight, Power Through - A Reposting 1

    On the 17/02/2020, the website strangecopy.com will be/was taken down. Many thanks to Brandon Miller for hosting it up until now. However, there are a few articles that i believe are worth keeping a hold of, so i will be creating a series of posts that is literally a copy/paste of the original articles. I didn't write any of them, full credit to all those who put in their time and effort into writing these. In addition to that, I have edited it as little as possible, mostly just formatting.

    this is part 3 of a four part article. the other parts can be found here and here

    Elliot Kramer May 1, 2017

    It’s spoiler season! As part of the celebration, I’m going to be posting my own weekly personal thoughts and reviews of all the cards officially previewed throughout the week. Where many people may give a grade system from A-F, or 1.0 – 5.0, I’m instead going to be summing up each review with a prediction of where I think the Ashes 500 costs will eventually land. This gives a meaningful metric for how good I think the card is now, as well as provides a personal retrospective grade down the line to see how close I was to how powerful the card truly was in the meta. You can read more about and see the current 500 prices here.

    Please keep in mind that I am looking at things from a competitive meta perspective.

    Summon Emperor Lion
    The lion joins a motley crew of 3-cost conjurations. Compared to its brethren (Ice Golem, Dread Wraith, and Shadow Hound), the Lion may be the best out of the box. All 3 of the prior have seen successful competitive play (with Ice Golem’s case for viability being the most flimsy), but none have risen to the level of a dominant mainstay — while good, you rarely have to think, “Well, how does this deck handle ~” because their presence in decks/the meta is niche and sparing.

    Emperor Lion maybe will be no different, but its well-balanced stats combined with some very relevant bonus abilities make it a threat to be a card more commonly included. It’s worth pointing out that the first lion has the same cost (cheaper, meditation wise) as the first bear – and it is a unit that is definitely better. Let me repeat that again, the first lion you make is at least as good as one of the best conjurations in the game right now. Damn, I’m getting myself excited about this lion.

    Lions hit a Phoenixborn as hard as a Hammer Knight, are just as hard to kill, have the same dice cost, and you can make them each turn. Healing Aura randomly makes your opponent plays inefficient. If you can turn an aura into a heal at the end of the round, that’s about a dice worth of value for each damage. Combined with cards like Particle Shield it may be very possible to turn this into a gamelong advantage. Because it’s inexhaustible, it means that even if your opponent Steady Gazes it the lion can continue to provide value. The whole package of the Lion is good, they didn’t skimp this time around and I think PHG is really learning what kind of value you can put into 3 dice.

    This all sounds awesome; why wouldn’t this be a a dominant mainstay? A few things make cards like this hard to play or risky moves. Putting 3 dice into a unit gives your opponent a lot of ways to gain a value advantage: Regress, Molten Gold, Sword of Virtue and more are all great deals, dice-wise, for your opponent. When you pump this much into something, your opponent can turn the tempo of such a trade to their advantage.

    Secondly, a double-color cost can make your dice or turns awkward. The Divine dice ability is on the weaker side, and so having heavy Divine dice spreads is a little harder to support. The lion can’t go in every deck and succeed, especially with wolf [[illusion]] dice running around. Though the lion beats the bear in value round 1, bears are easier to summon and present less of a deficit in subsequent rounds when answered. Overall though, when the card works it is definitely going to be worth it.

    Predicted Ashes 500 Cost:
    33/2/2

    Holy Knight
    I’m going to go ahead and start by saying that 3 of any dice type is a lot. It’s very restrictive. There’s barely any playable cards that require 2 of a dice type right now; and they are often early cuts in decks trying to be flexible with their dice pool. Even Molten Gold gets cut because 2 Nature [[natural]] is a lot to throw down. Holy Knight asks for 3 Divine [[divine]] dice for each one you play with. And that’s a lot.

    Consider that if Holy Knight isn’t the best Divine divien card, you probably want other Divine [[divine]] cards. Something to give you a consistent use, like Lioness, is going to push you to four divine dice on the turns you want to play him. Even if youre hoping to also draw into Law of Assurances on the same turn, you really gotta have at least 5 Divine [[divine]] dice to feel semi-comfortable supporting a deck like that. This itself is very restrictive. And even with 5 dice, your placing yourself at risk of some very awkward turns. Such a Divine [[divine]] heavy non-summon card ensures that you will have hands drawn that either can’t be supported by your dice, or leave you with an excess of Divine [[divine]] dice – which does not have a particularly flexible dice power. In order to support Holy Knight, you’re probably going to need dice help: meaning Rin (rins fury), Expand Energy, Victoria, or Orrick. The latter two, however, seem more like less than ideal fits.

    So what do you get for fitting to this restrictive cost? A 5/3/2 unit that is resistant to just about everything. No Fear. No Regress. No Molten Gold. Not even non-spell based tricks. Fire archer + Water Blast? Pffft. Anchornaut + Spirit Burn? Yeah, right! None of it touches the Holy Knight.

    Until it exhausts. Then it’s all free-game. And that’s kind of the problem; you can get a single attack or counter in, but then your opponent gets to use whatever spell they normally would have on your Knight. If your attack is wasted on a Gilder or Butterfly Monk, you didn’t get a lot of value on that attack. Your best case scenario is dropping the Holy Knight in the first five to an unprepared opponent, and getting 5 in because they had no allies to drop and protect. Getting 5 in and then forcing them to remove a 3 toughness unit is pretty good value for 4 dice.

    But the other cases are much less appealing. The thing is, this Knight is just really bad at fighting. It trades with a lot of 3 cost dudes, and once exhausted can easily be extinguished by any multitude of weenies + ping effects. He’s just not great when he has to fight other units. There are ways to unexhaust him before he falls victim to your opponents abilities, but they are either expensive and awkward (Dimona) or in colors that are probably hard to currently support with Holy Knight (Flute Mage). One of the best ways to deal with a Holy Knight is just going to be attacking into it and leaving something up to block.

    I know some good players that are really high on Holy Knight, so you should maybe take my opinion with a grain of salt… but if you can’t tell, I’m low on Holy Knight. And I’m glad I am. Invulnerable effects and similar are incredibly dangerous; if they get too good – they let you do broken things. I don’t think Holy Knight is one of those cards though; it’s just too awkward.

    Predicted Ashes 500 Cost:
    2/2/2

    Power Through
    Offensive alterations are often very tricky to get right. Because they inherently pour your resources into a single unit, they open yourself up to trades that are beneficial for the opponent instead of you. In general, one big threatening unit is harder to make use of then an army of less threatening but still effective units. Many alterations tend to have multiple of the following common problems:
    - No element of surprise. It doubles down on a threat and says “Can you deal with this?”, and then it gives them a chance to deal with it.
    - Easy to avoid or chump. You make one big attack dude, but it’s completely negated by a Butterfly Monk; or one bad-ass blocker that your opponent just doesn’t attack into.
    It opens yourself up to 2-for-1s. You give your dude +3 attack, and when they
    - Fear or Molten Gold it, they just used 1 card to get rid of both your unit and alteration.
    - They have overcosted or no respark cost at all, an ability which can help make up some of these other weaknesses.
    - They are overcosted for their stats.

    Power through shakes off a lot of these weaknesses. It’s side-action cost + offensive ability means that it does have the element of surprise – you can often guarantee at least one hit with it before your opponent can react. Chumping does very little; as the real benefit is the overkill ability punishing their chumping. It does get 2-for-1d, but it’s respark costs no dice at all, making it much easier to play again if that’s what you want to do. Any card in your hand is another Power Through.

    So what about cost? It’s hard to say without getting a lot of play in, but I think Power Through is fairly costed for it’s ability. It’s certainly not vastly overcosted – I can say with some certainty that 1 dice for the effect would be unfairly good. On Lionesses, Power Through is an absolute house. Guaranteed kills overflow into Phoenixborn damage, advancing your win condition and controlling the board. On Shadow Spirits, you threaten 3 damage to the dome or 2 + a likely dead unit. There are a lot of ways to get reasonable use for the cost out of Power Through.

    To me, the key word is reasonable – outside of Lionesses hunting it’s preferred prey (e.g. Owls), many uses are not anything crazy. And they still require 2 dice and 2 “cards”. I really think it’s going to take the meta shaking out to see if this card is worth it. It’s the best offensive alteration we’ve seen yet though, and I have high hopes for it. The fact that it brushes off a lot of traditional downsides for alterations give it a ton of promise.

    Predicted Ashes 500 cost:
    16/16/16

  • useful material, keep going!

  • The next part of the article can be found here

  • Elliot Reviews Ashes – Summon Squall Stallion, River Skald, Crescendo - A Reposting 2

    On the 17/02/2020, the website strangecopy.com will be/was taken down. Many thanks to Brandon Miller for hosting it up until now. However, there are a few articles that i believe are worth keeping a hold of, so I will be creating a series of posts that is literally a copy/paste of the original articles. I didn't write any of them, full credit to all those who put in their time and effort into writing these. In addition to that, I have edited it as little as possible, mostly just formatting.

    this is the second of a 4 piece article. the first piece can be found here

    Elliot Kramer May 4, 2017

    It’s spoiler season! As part of the celebration, I’m going to be posting my own weekly personal thoughts and reviews of all the cards officially previewed throughout the week. Where many people may give a grade system from A-F, or 1.0 – 5.0, I’m instead going to be summing up each review with a prediction of where I think the Ashes 500 costs will eventually land. This gives a meaningful metric for how good I think the card is now, as well as provides a personal retrospective grade down the line to see how close I was to how powerful the card truly was in the meta. You can read more about and see the current 500 prices here.

    Please keep in mind that I am looking at things from a competitive meta perspective.

    Summon Squall Stallion
    The Stallion is an interesting card. It has the potential for some explosive finishes. People will experience games where 3 of them are swinging for a total of 21+ damage all at once. It also has the potential to go games where the Stallions are overpriced duds. At the price of a bear, you get to draw a card and make a ~1/3. It’s definitely more than 1/3, but you really do have to put work into making it more effective than a bear. On defense, especially, it’s going to be hard to make this more than a 1/3 for 2+ dice.

    Empower is the spiciest combo with the stallion. This formerly useless spellboard gets new life with the stallions – in combination the cards actually form a powerful combo. Empower not only gives you a way to turn the stallions into powerful offensive threats, and even eliminates their defensive liability by turning them from 1/3s into 4/3s when activated. With multiple Empower’s on the board, it becomes easy to have single alpha strikes with an army of high attack horses. The trouble with this combo is the dice requirement – double Sympathy and double Nature limits what you can do. With pieces picked apart – e.g. your stallions killed, you are not in a great place. Further, there is a lot of up front cost to getting these pieces out. In a long game, you may be able to have some explosive units, but it takes a lot of setup time and a lot of dice. Secret door is another option for potentially triggering large amounts of times, but even harder to make use of.

    In “fair” decks, making use of the Stallion will generally require spending about 1 dice to draw a card with a side-action. You can use Namine, Saria, or the Sympathy [[sympathy]] dice power – and with an Iron Worker you can do this multiple times in a turn. Activating these once per round should not be a problem in decks designed to. Activating them twice will likely be slightly more awkward, which means you will have to consistently swing with all of your horses at once or take the value hit. If you could consistently count on the ponies having +2 attack, they would be fine. A unit that is only conditionally a 3/3 for the price of a bear, however, isn’t the best deal on its own.

    The card draw attached is a nice bonus; and making use of that is going to be key to making the stallions work. If you can find value out of the draw attached to breeding a stallion, you will have success with them. If you can’t, the Stallions are going to be likely best summarized as a gimmick – occasionally capable of explosive games, but too hard to pull off to be a consistent threat.

    Predicted Ashes 500 Cost:
    3/3/3

    River Skald
    Crescendo has arrived. This little bard will come into the board and threaten to kill opposing enemies of equal size and still leave behind it’s exhausted body. The ability to control things on the board is very real, and a Melody Knight that lasts more than one round can end up being very cost effective in removing targets.
    This card will see play, but I think that there are a few caveats that bring it down in value from where people may initially have it:
    - It costs double Sympathy [[sympathy]]
    Double class costs on allies is historically very hard to get past. Beast Tamer and Crimson Bomber are both very reasonable units that have seen much more limited play than expected due to the dice pool building constraints they impose.
    It costs 3 dice
    - The answers for units like River Skald are all cheaper than 3; and so when answered will often give your opponent a dice advantage.
    The skalds ability to slay the turn it comes down helps limit this. If you kill a Hammer Knight or a Bear, you don’t care how your opponent handles your Skald, you’re probably ahead. But if you face against cheaper costing unit spreads, it may be easier for your opponent to get the upper hand.
    - Triggering it isn’t free in opportunity cost or dice.
    It’s pretty much going to cost you a dice and side action to trigger this. It won’t always be convenient, and doing it in the first round means you’re spending 4 dice. Again, if that’s on a big fatty, you are ahead. If it’s on an owl, not as much.
    - It’s a utility unit weak to the same things combat units are weak too
    In particular, regress shuts it down.

    All in all, the card is very powerful but the above caveats make me reconsider including it as often as I might. It’s strong; I’m just scarred by Beast Tamer and can’t trust Power/Class/Basic 3/3/2s any more. It just brings up too many bad memories.

    Predicted Ashes 500 Cost:
    20/20/20

    Crescendo
    Damn, this card is sweet. 3 damage for 1 dice is incredible value, and though it has other costs associated with it to gain that extra power, trading one resource for another can be a very broken thing.

    For 3 damage, you can clear off some of the most potent threats we’ve seen yet. Hammer Knight, Frostback Bear, and more all die for one class dice. And while we’ve seen this cost for removal in the past, cards like Fade Away and Poison required you to let the offending unit get an attack in before it died. Crescendo gives them no warning; when it is fired off it threatens to remove the unit immediately.

    The tempo gain of such a move is real. You don’t have to take a turn off removing the unit; you can sequence a threatening attack on the same turn that you removed your target. With Phoenixborn like Aradel or Brennen, you can get rid of 5 toughness of blockers on the same turn you attack. This leaves then no opportunity to play defending units to protect themselves in the mean time. That being said, Crescendo does ask that you attack. That means it’s better placed in decks that want to do so; if most of your dudes prefer to stay back and protect your helm, making the Crescendo play is going to be more awkward. You want to benefit from the tempo it provides, not be a victim to the requirement of attacking.

    Overall, the card is easy to cast and splash – at one class dice, it’s easy to reliably play in builds running as few as 2 sympathy [[sympathy]] dice. Discarding a card is less of a cost in the later game; especially if you are aiming to end the game sooner rather than later and don’t mind sacrificing resources to do it. However, it can be awkward if you draw multiples of these. I still think it’s worth playing 3-of, but you may want either card draw or be willing to hold some Crescendos off until later rounds. Finally, the 1 damage is negligible but may be an annoyance at times. Sometimes, it will be easy to put on a regressed or blood chains target, or even clear off an already exhausted Shadow Spirit to give you more board room. With String Mage, the damage is easily turned into a bonus. Rarely, however, your units will be valuable and weakened already, and placing that damage is going to be very difficult.

    Despite the discard and damage requirements, I think Crescendo’s payoff is high enough to make it a staple of whatever else Sympathy [[sympathy]] has to offer.

    Predicted Ashes 500 Cost:
    40/40/40

  • NIUMath#1tss commented on the post Second fan expansions available in deck builder!:

    May 27, 2020 PDT

    They aren't yet. We are working on a time/illusion deck. It has been the toughest one to get right thus far. Balancing cards with the incredibly strong illusion dice power is tough but I think we are onto a path that is interesting.

  • this is the first of a multi part article.

    a continuation of Namine can be found here

    a continuation of Oddette can be found here

  • angus#5nar commented on the deck The Laws of Lions:

    May 26, 2020 PDT

    A useful guide to this deck can be found here

  • angus#5nar commented on the deck The Song of Soaksend:

    May 26, 2020 PDT

    A useful guide to this deck can be found here

  • Elliot Reviews Ashes – Namine and Odette - A Reposting 1

    On the 17/02/2020, the website strangecopy.com will be/was taken down. Many thanks to Brandon Miller for hosting it up until now. However, there are a few articles that i believe are worth keeping a hold of, so i will be creating a series of posts that is literally a copy/paste of the original articles. I didn't write any of them, full credit to all those who put in their time and effort into writing these. In addition to that, I have edited it as little as possible, mostly just formatting.

    Elliot Kramer April 13, 2017

    It’s spoiler season! As part of the celebration, I’m going to be posting my own weekly personal thoughts and reviews of all the cards officially previewed throughout the week. Where many people may give a grade system from A-F, or 1.0 – 5.0, I’m instead going to be summing up each review with a prediction of where I think the Ashes 500 costs will eventually land. This gives a meaningful metric for how good I think the card is now, as well as provides a personal retrospective grade down the line to see how close I was to how powerful the card truly was in the meta. You can read more about and see the current 500 prices here.

    Odette Diamondcrest:
    Let’s start with the stats. Odette, sitting at 5/17/4, is just 1 health below the “average” Phoenixborn. Not much more to say there. She is going to be a hair easier to kill than average, has a spellboard that’s usually sufficient but not overly flexible, and a battlefield that is again usually sufficient, but occasionally will feel clogged.

    Retribution:
    Retribution is a very interesting and nuanced ability. We should note off the bat when exactly it triggers – which is only when you receive damage from guarding with Odette. This means your opponent has to take an attack a unit action, and Odette has to step in to protect the unit. If your opponent never does that and always attacks Odette directly… well, then the ability will never trigger.

    This is going to happen a lot. And people are going to point out that her ability never triggers. They are going to make the mistake of thinking, however, that this means it never does anything. This isn’t really true, though – Retribution’s strength is in the way it makes your opponent change how they attack and the ways you can take advantage of that.

    If your opponent only attacks your Phoenixborn directly, it means that all of your units have a sort of pseudo-unit guard. Knowing this, it’s key to include units that benefit from this. If your deck is Gilders and Butterfly Monks, Retribution will never have a meaningful impact. If, however, your battlefield is Nightshade Swallows and Owls, you now have a unit that shines with unit guard (swallows) and a unit worth protecting (owls) that will make your opponent’s decisions cost them. Be careful not to only include units that benefit from unit guard, however. If you have nothing worth guarding, the impact is again removed.

    Sword of Virtue
    Sword of Virtue is strong, but probably about average when it comes to Phoenixborn uniques. The clear strength of the card comes from the first half – destroying any unit. Wiping a bear, Hammer Knight, or Dread Wraith off the board for 2 dice is a pretty good deal. The flexibility to remove any unit is definitely good, but at 2 dice it’s not insane value. The more big expensive threats that people are playing, the better Sword of Virtue gets.

    There will be matches when the ability to kill a unit is a bad deal, if your opponent is Brennen and only packing Gilders, Butterflies, Anchornauts, and Fire Archers… Well, two dice and a card to remove one of them is a bad trade. There are a lot of decks in the current meta where the sword will never trade up.
    Because of this, you may build your deck to include ways to benefit from the second half of the card. Being able to freshen up a Hammer Knight or let a Dread Wraith soak up a new slew of damage can give a potentially great alternative use of the card. However, in previous metas, Refresh like cards have not been very strong; and adding a heal on top is nice but may not be enough to push it to unique strength. It may be difficult to get an edge out of the Sword in matches that rely on the shaving edge.

    Overall
    Odettes unique and ability combination could create a powerful Phoenixborn in the right meta, but they lean towards the reactive side and are not proactively powerful. She is probably a lower-middle-tier Phoenixborn that can occasionally perform very well but will not be a perennial top-placer due to her meta dependence. Proving me wrong will require finding a way to heavily punish players with the retribution ability in a way that works against a large of different deck archetypes. Ashes remains a game with incredible parity for the most part, and even though I think she is not top tier, I do think she will be winning tournaments. She’s just probably not going to win GenCon.

    Ashes 500 Cost Predictions:
    Odette Diamondcrest- 12
    Sword of Virtue – 25/25/25

    Namine Hymntide
    Namine has Rin stats; which basically means she’s about average, a hair easier to kill but will tend to be resilient to clogged battlefields. In general, I think that extra battlefield slot is a little bit better than the single lost life, and her stats are a hair above average.

    Calming Melody
    This ability is sweet, and in some matchups incredibly powerful. The best comparison is Saria guideman’s Hearts Pull. Hearts Pull’s strength primarily lies in its ability to draw a card, and as an added bonus you marginally push forward a mill win-con (or give yourself a chance to punish focus book strategies common in Phoenixborn like Victoria). Hearts Pull is a decent ability and the best part about it is the draw. Contrary to Saria, the card draw for Namine is the worst part of Calming Melody. In exchange for the option to occasionally mill, you get the option of occasionally shutting off your opponents Phoenixborn every other turn. That's not to say that Hearts Pull is just a worse Calming Melody, simply that Calming Melody has the potential to be devastating in multiple types of matchups, whereas the mill portion of Hearts Pulll thrives mostly in control mirror matchups.

    Some Phoenixborn rely heavily on their abilities to get advantage. If you can shut off Leo, Noah, or Brennen’s ability for 2 out of the first 3 turns, you will likely be able to find a way to turn that into an insurmountable advantage. Some, maybe most, Phoenixborn sacrifice raw deck quality in order to gain advantage with that ability. Rather than just play good stuff, they make synergistic choices that overall function better because of their ability. Brennen plays cheap units to sacrifice and cards that trigger off them. Victoria cheats on dice counts by having lower non-illusion dice knowing she can rely on a Hidden Power each turn. Coal draws extra cards (often at a low rate with cards like Most Typhoon) and relies on being able to not only pitch them with Slash but use that slashing to clear the board. Calming Melody can hamstring these abilities and consistently stop them from being used for 2 out of the first 3 turns. At that point, it’s your deck (designed to play a normal game) versus theirs (designed to play a different game than the one you are now).

    Encore
    Winning the game from that point is partly going to rely on how good your unique is versus them. Luckily for Namine, Encore is pretty darn good. Now you’re going to be tempted to do some silly things like use Open Memories to double focus books out round 1, and I understand that temptation. But stop. It’s not that good. And Encore is great without it.

    Without going for anything gimmicky, Encore is a fantastic tool to get you whatever you need in the moment. At its worst, Encore is as good as the best non-unique in your deck. And there are some good non-uniques: to start with, Hidden Power is more powerful than many unique spells (and pretty much always castable, to boot). You can fairly reliably have Encore be Hidden Power 4-6. And that is it’s floor. It’s ceiling is the copy of summon Shadow Spirit that you accidentally meditated. Or the 4th Molten Gold that you need to win the game. Or copies 2-4 of the singleton Choke that happens to be critical in the matchup despite you only running one. It’s whatever is best.

    The thing is, Encore is sort of like a free Open Memories. In a few ways it’s worse (e.g. it’s not good at focusing books Round 1), but in many ways it’s better. Getting additional copies of cards already used is something OM cannot do. OMing outside of the first round for random cards is rarely seen, but part of that is the Open Memories 2 dice cost. When you can do it for free, tutoring can be very powerful. In a pinch, you can even meditate until you see the card you need and follow it up with a main [[main]] action Encore.

    Overall
    Namine is top-tier, a flexible Phoenixborn that will only get better with time. Her ability will shut down any new powerful Phoenixborn ability, and her unique will only get more targets. When more cards are released and you can run a toolbox of powerful 1-ofs that thrive in certain matchups, Namine is going to shine with the ability to “duplicate” those 1-offs. The only limiting factor to Namine is how good Sympathy [[sympathy]] is right now. Because she wants to play a “fair” game, she needs powerful Sympathy cards to support her generically powerful ability and unique. If she doesn’t get them now, she likely will eventually, and I suspect we will be hearing Namine singing her tune for the long haul.

    Ashes 500 Cost Predictions*:
    Namine Hymntide – 50
    Encore – 33/33/33

    • I think Namine will be a tough nut to crack. Like Victoria in the last meta, people won’t figure out how to play her to her best strengths initially. I predict though that that nut will be cracked before the subsequent expansions come out and she will eventually reach this level.

    Thoughts? Questions? Want to say where you think the cards should be priced? Let me know in the comments, or start a discussion on the Ashes slack chat.

  • Thank you for that detailed info about the progress. I'll be looking forward to what comes next (fingers crossed one of them is a deck with time and illusion dice).

    And I'll also check the updated Devlin's deck. Were the cards updated in this site's database and the print sheets?

  • NIUMath#1tss commented on the post Second fan expansions available in deck builder!:

    May 26, 2020 PDT

    We patched up some things in Devlin's deck. Will be releasing the next two-three relatively soon. In two of the decks there is a couple cards that need to be looked at. The third is going through a redesign.

  • Thank you so much for your hard work on coming up with an effect for the dice that (unfortunatly) never got to be released and making new phoenixborn with combos that go with it!
    When can we expect the next Phoenixborn? I can't wait to see what comes next.

  • Elliot Reviews Ashes – Echo Greystorm (Part 2) - A Reposting 0

    On the 17/02/2020, the website strangecopy.com will be/was taken down. Many thanks to Brandon Miller for hosting it up until now. However, there are a few articles that i believe are worth keeping a hold of, so i will be creating a series of posts that is literally a copy/paste of the original articles. I didn't write any of them, full credit to all those who put in their time and effort into writing these. In addition to that, I have edited it as little as possible, mostly just formatting.

    Elliot Kramer November 20, 2017 0

    It’s spoiler season! As part of the celebration, I’m going to be posting my own personal thoughts and reviews of all the cards officially previewed. Where many people may give a grade system from A-F, or 1.0 – 5.0, I’m instead going to be summing up each review with a prediction of where I think the Ashes 500 costs will eventually land. This gives a meaningful metric for how good I think the card is now, as well as provides a personal retrospective grade down the line to see how close I was to how powerful the card truly was in the meta. You can read more about and see the current 500 prices here.

    Please keep in mind that I am looking at things from a competitive meta perspective

    Light Swordsman
    This is the first non-unique unit of any type that can come out as a side [[side]] action and attack. Unfortunately, two class dice and a side action for a 1-time surprise hit for 1 isn’t super great.

    There are a few ways to make that better; but most of them are mediocre at best because of how clunky they are (e.g. Empower, Secret Door). The most likely to be worth playing, in my view, is Polarity Mage in combination with offensive alterations (like Power Through).

    I have serious doubts, though, about the viability of a 2-class dice ½ battle advantage, despite its ability to grow its attack value. Opportunist 1 means that it will rarely be greater than a ½, and almost always the unit will be exceptionally weak on defense. Requiring other clunky cards to make it useful is never a good thing; which makes me have to think that this card is just bad. The flexibility of a side or main just doesn’t have that much benefit when it’s attached to a base ½.

    Predicted Ashes 500 Cost:
    1/1/1

    Sonic Swordsman
    Now this is what I’m talking about. Three drop allies immediately draw comparison to Hammer Knight; and this is the first one that really can shine in a similar spot. On a raw power level, I think Hammer Knight is the better card; but they are different colors and will fit in different decks. Sonic Swordsman has a very strong case for inclusion in any divine & sympathy deck.

    Compared to the Hammer Knight, the Swordsman is a better unit against armies of X/2s. When attacking with the swordsman, you can always walk-away with at least one killed unit on any attack. Against X/3’s, when combo’d with nature [[natural]] or anchornauts, you can ping pre-combat and force an awkward particle shield less their unit face certain death.

    Sonic is a superior unit when it comes to battlefield control; especially combined with its increased survivability. With Rhythmic Healing, Knuckles is better than a 2-recover unit; it will almost always heal 2 before the beginning of the next round, and in cases where you need to force a heal early you can do so through a variety of means (Hand Tricks, Sympathy [[sympathy]] Dice, Changing Winds, etc.)

    Where Sonic fails in comparison to the Hammer Knight is the Hammer Knights ability to throw raw pressure on the opposing Phoenixborn itself.

    Hammer Knights win games by hitting Phoenixborn; each connect is a massive blow to their total health. With Sonic Swordsman, people can feel much more comfortable taking a hit to the face. That being said, you almost never will be faced with the decision of playing one of these allies over the other. Unless you are playing four or more colors, the two units can’t be in the same deck. If you are doing that, you still might just want to play both. Alas, Hammer Knight’s threat to the life total makes it a first-five drop that people have to worry about. Without that, Sonic Swordsman is a little easier to avoid as a threat.

    Predicted Ashes 500 Cost:
    33/33/33

    Polarity Mage
    I absolutely adore this card; it’s a really cool design fit into about an aggressive cost as you could place on it. This is how I want to see synergistic cards; they require a lot of work to make work, and If you are able to do that it should be viable.

    There are a lot of cool tricks the Polarity Mage can pull off, and I’ve got a lot of pro’s in my list:
    [[side]]She fits in either [[Sympathy]] or [[Divine]] decks; if you are in both then she is extremely flexible to cast.
    [[side]]With Massive Growth, Polarity Mage can not only turn all of your new durdles into deathbringers, but he can save your Massive Growth for subsequent rounds.
    [[side]]With Body Inversion, Polarity Mage can reduce the cost of all your illusion units by 1; even turning one of your basic [[basic]] dice into a wolf [[illusion]] as a result. Free Shadow Spirits? I’ll take 1.
    [[side]]With Power Through, Polarity Mage can slot into an already existing deck and provide a new vector of threat for an already good Power Through.
    [[side]]Versus Regress, Polarity Mage offers another counter besides Dispel that can affordably handle multiple negative alterations.
    [[side]]Polarity Mage can be returned with ceremonial [[ceremonial]] dice for 0 damge.

    1 dice for 2 toughness means that it will never trade evenly for a dice power; your opponent will either need to use a card or exhaust a reasonable unit in order to try to remove the Polarity Mage.

    The only real con I have for the card is that a lot of the effective uses are fragile or require playing with otherwise bad cards (or both, really). I think the Polarity Mage is cheap enough, though, to find a useful spot in decks – and I’ll be very happy if it does.

    Predicted Ashes 500 Cost:
    6/6/6

    Enlightenment
    Removing exhaustion has been a historically overcosted ability – every flexible version of the effect costs 2 dice, has some other uses, and is entirely unplayed. Enlightenment adds a new bonus, but I’m not sure that it’s the best variant we’ve seen yet.

    A lot of people will immediately jump to Enlightenments ability to remove an exhaust off of a Phoenixborn. I don’t think this will ever be good, however – I feel confident that it will never be good being your plan A. All of the best Phoenixborn effects are just not cost-effective to use again for 2 dice and a card. Dealing an additional 2 dice to a unit in Aradel with 3 dice and a card is bad. 2 more to a Phoenixborn in Brennen for 3 dice a card and a unit is worse. It’s just not an effective option. On top of unexhausting units being shown to be a weak effect, this portion of the card just is not really a selling point for me.

    The most likely place where we will see Enlightenment is in it’s ability to remove exhaustion from a spellboard card. However, I don’t think anything exists right now that makes this portion worth it. In particular, Open Memories often seems like a better choice; or spending 2 dice to use again just seems bad. We may in the future, however, see some ready spells that can make this card shine.

    Predicted Ashes 500 Cost:
    1/1/1

    Holy Relics
    The Holy Relics aren’t very exciting. They are the first alteration we’ve seen like this – a straightforward cost for a straightforward bonus; but despite being a first the effect is quite plain.

    Because of that, I don’t have a ton to say about the card. Alterations will lead to you being 2-for-1’d, and ones that don’t have respark will do so even more. As a result, alterations that can only be used once should be quite powerful in order to be worth playing. This one, however, is not. For 2 divine dice, I’d rather just have Power Through.

    Predicted Ashes 500 Cost:
    1/1/1

    Law of Fear
    Law of Fear has so far been a surprisingly untalked about card since its spoiling. It’s effect is very powerful; and it fits into some existing deck archetypes very well. I’ll say it right out of the bat – I think this card pushes Meteor Victoria into outright broken.

    When combined with an effective offensive deck that can strip you of dice, Law of Fear can result in an absurd amount of guaranteed damage. Imagine having out 4 Shadow Spirits and an Orchid Dove after stripping your opponent of dice; regardless of what your opponent has out, when you play Law of Fear you are guaranteeing 10 damage by the end of the round. Attack one at a time, and they take 2 regardless – the only choice they have is if they are going to try to trade a unit while doing so.

    Outside of Victoria, Law of Fear makes a very effective tool for offensive decks. It’s the Orchid Dove of beating face. Like Victoria, I think it will usually find it’s most effective situations in separating your attacks into separate rounds. The card tricks you into wanting to attack with groups due to it’s “enter play” effect, but that is oftentimes the wrong decision. Law of Fear will be a constant threat to worry about in the upcoming meta; and not to be punny but it is a card that should always be feared against divine [[divine]] decks.

    Predicted Ashes 500 Cost:
    25/25/25 (50/50/50 in Victoria)

    That’s all for today, I’ll try to have the wrap-up for Jericho before Thanksgiving (but don’t hold me to that).

  • Dolph#9b=g commented on the deck VickyTest:

    May 22, 2020 PDT

    To be honest it is just a deck I put together that I thought my brother might like.

  • I honestly haven't done that much (note the disclaimer at the top), but I'm glad that you are finding it useful. that is exactly why I have saved all the articles and am getting them back up.

  • Thanks for all what are you doing ... It's really usefull for me