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Rin's Elephants

Rin Northfell

  • Battlefield 6
  • Life 17
  • Spellboard 4

Cards 30 / 30

Alteration Spells (3)

Action Spells (8)

Reaction Spells (6)

Conjuration Deck (14)


My local store has been running bi-weekly Ashes tournaments with the most recent OP kits (Jolly Rancher dice! Yum!), and since I need me some of those sweet, sweet alt dice I decided to go with what I know how to win with...Elephant Rider!

This is a very straight forward Elephant deck, using Rin because just about everyone else in my local meta plays Orrick and who wants to conform like that?

First Five:

Thunder Number: 10

I have literally never used any other cards than these for my First Five, but that's partially because no one in my local meta plays Illusion (a couple of decks splash it, but I've only had a die exhausted maybe twice in the three tournaments I've gone to). One player plays mill/discard, but in that case I just ditch the Butterfly Monks because they'll never attack, anyway.

So far I've taken variations of this deck to two out of the four Ashes tournaments we've held (took an abysmally awful Maeoni Snakes + Elephant deck the first tournament, and missed the third one), and it won me dice both times. This last tournament was very close, thanks to literally everyone there running Elephants. However, it pulled through on my one draw by dealing out more damage to their Phoenixborn than I took (thanks Butterfly Monk!).

The deck practically plays itself. Winged Lioness assassinates their low-life utility cards. Butterfly Monk prevents them from ever hitting what they actually want to hit. Elephant Rider stomps all over everything and lures them into taking 6 damage to the face a lot more often than you might expect. Rin Northfell's Ice Buff keeps Elephants alive in mirror matches and makes sure your Winged Lioness survives more than one round otherwise. Crescendo kills their higher-life units, and Molten Gold puts the last few damage on their Phoenixborn when they thought they were safe. Power Through makes Elephants ridiculously threatening or (more often) turns Winged Lioness into the Ultimate Killing Machine. Rin's Fury and Changing Winds both let you do far more work than should really be possible for an Elephant deck.

Meta-specific cards:

  • Ice Trap: this was actually not in the deck at all for my two tournaments I took the deck (I was running 2x Heal and 3x Meteor). However, I played Heal exactly once when I drew it, and I would have won that match even if I hadn't used Heal. Meanwhile everyone and their uncle was playing the Flute Mage + Elephant Rider combo. So in goes Ice Trap! Depending on your meta, Polarity Mage or Heal might make more sense.
  • Magic Syphon: this can offer great utility (no-meditate Molten Gold? Yes, please!), but I've also had games where I discarded both copies for meditation and didn't look back. YMMV.
  • Summon Butterfly Monk: You could probably decrease the number of copies here. Having two copies in play is nice, but three is total overkill and most of the time I can't afford to pay for the second Monk, anyway. There was at least one edge case game where I wouldn't have made it without multiple Monks, though, so I've left it in. Plus who knows, maybe someone in my meta will try a swarm deck and I'll desperately need blockers.
  • Meteor: I'm actually thinking of dropping this completely. (°ロ°)! At least in my local meta everyone else is playing Meteor + Elephants, so it's usually a dead card in hand. Again, YMMV.



  • So do you generally drop that Elephant first thing to try and swing in before your opponent gets a blocker up? Since you have to use Rin's Fury afterward to be able to put down anything else?

  • I'll play the first turn a little differently depending on what I think my opponent is running, and whether I think they know I have Elephants. I almost always choose to go second if I can, because that way I can react more appropriately to them (necessary, since the Thunder Number is so tight). If I don't think they're aware I'm running Elephants and do not expect a crazy rush out of the gate, my perfect start usually looks like this:

    • [[main]]: Changing Winds, [[side]]: activate CW and adjust one of my dice to [[natural]]
    • [[main]]: play Summon Butterfly Monk (these two turns can be swapped if they are doing something that indicates they're in for some sort of rush strategy and I need an early Monk)
    • [[main]]: summon a Butterfly Monk

    At this point, we've hit a branching point: either they decide to tech up before taking any attacks (because they note I have 7 dice left, are unsure what else I might have up my sleeve, and are not willing to waste an attack on a Butterfly Monk) in which case I play Summon Winged Lioness and save my Elephant for a nasty surprise near the end of the round. Or else in our recent meta they've already dropped an Elephant, so I drop mine and attach an Ice Buff to give them a quandary to work out.

    I only drop an Elephant early if they drop a first turn Elephant (nothing else is fast enough to keep it off Rin--as I mentioned I'm usually going second--and it's almost a sure bet that they'll have a Flute Mage in hand if they're taking that approach). I dislike the early Elephant because it telegraphs the deck's actual intentions, and locks me into a specific play order (I absolutely have to play Rin's Fury next if I'm going to get any use out of the rest of my hand).

    Generally, I want to block their biggest attack with the Butterfly Monk, assassinate their nastiest low-cost threat with Winged Lioness, and kill their biggest unit with Elephant Rider. I almost never count on going face with the Elephant, because it inevitably means that Rin is going to soak up some damage and his health is just too low for that to be sustainable. The beauty of this strategy is that they can't afford to ignore any of those three pieces, so plenty of hard decisions on their part and typically easier decisions on my part.

    Our meta currently has very little [[illusion]] usage (it's a splash in a couple of decks, but I can count on one hand the number of times someone has exhausted one of my dice), so this deck's Thunder Number of 10 usually works out just fine. If someone were running heavy [[illusion]], things would go south fast. I'm not too concerned about discard, because I'll just ditch the Summon Butterfly Monk and draw into it later (the discard decks in our meta don't have much in the way of offensive power so far; or at least nothing that I can't handle with an Elephant and Lioness).

  • This is a really sweet deck! Thanks for the massive write-up. It's nice to have more insight into what the player is thinking and how matches have gone down.

  • Interesting...For some reason I got in my head that you would have to drop the elephant at 10 dice so you have three left over for Rins fury. You could play everything and summon a monk and lioness and be down to 5 dice and rins fury THEN drop the elephant. So it's more flexible than I first thought. Thanks for the detailed reply and write up!

  • Yep! As long as you don't drop below 5 dice prior to playing Rin's Fury, you're in the clear. Playing an Elephant first locks you into a specific play order, which is why if I can get away with it I'd rather wait.

    Forgot to mention, but if I'm not facing an Elephant mirror there's about a 90% chance that I'll drop Ice Buff on the Winged Lioness instead of the Elephant (Elephant Rider can take care of himself, but +1 Life on a Lioness can make a massive difference when it comes to surviving the round or not; and going into round 2 as the First Player with a Lioness on the board is practically a win condition, particularly if you happen to draw into Power Through).

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