It was rumored that Ashes 1.5 will diminish or even completely remove the concept of dice recursion, and thus I wanted to take this opportunity to discuss what makes dice recursion so powerful, in my opinion, and how the different card designs affected the imbalance of mechanic.
This post is based on my assumptions and predictions, and I apologize in advance if some of these are wrong/inaccurate. My intention is to analyze and incentivize a discussion, and not point fingers at anyone.
WHY IS DICE RECURSION SO GOOD?
Dice recursion could be considered very similar to Mana Cheating, a concept that could be found in other cost-per-card-based card games, such as Magic or Hearthstone. Even though Mana Cheating is not a prominent mechanic, the fact that players can mentally "reduce" the cost only for certain cards makes it more manageable. For example, if a card says, "your <BLUE> cards costs 2 less", it is both easy to track without changing anything physically in the game and it is restrictive, in the sense that only <BLUE> cards (whatever that may be) benefit from this effect.
This is NOT the case, in Ashes, however. Since the "Mana" in this game is represented by actual physical dice, it is almost impossible to track down a die for a specific use. In fact, only one card in Ashes 1.0 takes this approach of tracking down recurred dice (or, cheated mana), Gates Thrown Open.
Since you are unable to track down the dice, you are gaining "Mana" that is available to all cards and effects, and this could be utilized in unintended ways. Specifically, I think what makes this effect so dangerous is the Summon X Spells in your Spellboard.
THE PROBLEM WITH SUMMON SPELLS
Summon Spells are a core identity of Ashes 1.0 (and I hope Ashes 1.5, too). These stay-in-play Spells allow to keep summoning and re-summoning your Conjurations without end as long as you have the dice to do so.
Aha! So we can immediately see the problem that rises with dice recursion. You can keep paying the cost for your Summon Spells, and do so effectively more times than you would be normally allowed. Other Ready Spells can be also exploited, but the Summon Spells provide the means to actually fight for the Battlefield and win the game, which makes them more dangerous from that perspective.
Moreover, while later designs increased the cost of Conjuration and incorporated requirements other than dice to call upon the powers of these creatures, early designs only required you to spend dice and a Main Action (or, rarely, a Side Action) to summon some of the fiercest creatures in Ashes 1.0, like Frostback Bear or Emperor Lion. Two extra Nature dice or three extra Divine dice meant another one of these creatures was available for you. It it less of an issue during the first round, but as you begin to Focus your Summoning Spells, those extra dice become really impactful, since you would have more Summoning effects to utilize in those rounds using the extra dice.
IS THERE A HEALTHY DICE RECURSION EFFECT?
Now THAT is a good question, because everybody loves "extra" stuff! I think that dice recursion effects may still have a negative impact if combined with cheap-costed, highly-impactful Conjurations (and we already know Ashes 1.5 will try to mitigate dice recursion effects, if not remove them completely), but I think some dice recursion effects are still valid.
Specifically, dice recursion is very interesting to me as an identity for a Phoenixborn. Having a Phoenixborn ability or unique card being able to recur dice is fine, as long as the effect itself is balanced. Let's take Victoria Glassfire as an example. Victoria's ability, combined with Illusionary Cycle, only nets you 2 dice in a round. The issues start when you consider that: (1) Illusionary Cycle shuffles itself into the deck, so the extra 2 dice are actually granted more than 3 times per game (2) the original Illusion dice ability (which you are using if you use Victoria) is so suppressive that you sometimes do not need the follow-up cards to capitalize on those extra dice.
Other than identity-related cards, I think the other "dice recursion" cards really suffered from the existence of Hidden Power in the Core Set. Not only does this card gives you access to the Illusion dice ability, but it recurs dice for basically free. Most other cards either had to limit the dice to certain types or sides (like, Lucky Rabbit), or had to shut-down your Spellboard (Law of Assurance or Expand Energy), just to make sure these effects do not go out-of-hand.
I think the design for Law of Assurance is actually the best when it comes to dice recursion, because the Bound mechanic limits the potential to "over-Book" (exploiting extra dice for multiple Book Summons). It is worth noting that Bound does not completely solve the problem, because Books can still be focused for catastrophecial results.
WHAT DO I HOPE TO SEE FOR ASHES 1.5?
A closer look at certain cards in Ashes 1.0 shows some of them had "dice recursion" for no reason. Body Inversion or Resonance come to mind. I can only guess why these cards were designed that way, but I hope that this sort of "dice recursion" is either replaced by a lower cost for the cost or a more powerful effect for the original cost.
In addition, I do hope some dice recursion is kept to serve as an identity of a Phoenixborn. I would prefer seeing more Law of Assurance-like dice recursion, and less Hidden Power-like. I truly believe the mechanic, while potentially quite powerful due to Ashes's design, has some valid space in the metagame, without being too oppressive.
Thanks for reading this analysis, I would to hear your opinion and thoughts about this topic.