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Gigantic, Massive, and a little Exotic

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Hello Ashes Players! Today we have another preview of some of the cards from Tolliver's Charm/Time deck. Previously, we've seen Tolliver's Renewal ability and the Forever in the Moment unique spell, which give him unique control over the flow of the game. Now, we will see some of the spells he uses to take advantage of that control.

Like all other Laws, Law of Courtesy creates a persistent effect that lasts until the spell is discarded at the end of the round. The effect is much the same as the effect given by an Orchid Dove. Unlike an Orchid Dove, though, this spell can't be destroyed by damage, making it a bit harder for your opponent to avoid paying the "attack tax". However, also unlike Orchid Doves, the effect also works on you, so if you're not careful you may end up finding LoC gets in the way of your own attacks.

The play effect is a powerful one by itself, giving you a refresh-type effect for the cost of only 1 die. It can't be used on big hitters like Nightmares or Elephants (or the Gorillas below), but it can be used to refresh key utility units like Owls, as well as some more dangerous units like Frostback Bears, Majestic Titans, and Sonic Swordsman.

The Exotic Gorilla is the big hitter of Tolliver's deck, without a doubt, and what a beast it is. With a stat-line of 3 attack and 4 life, and a cost (after the initial time power play cost) of only 2 dice to summon (a time class and [[basic]]), the Exotic Gorilla trades favorably with nearly every other big unit in the game. Of course, most opponents would prefer to block the Gorilla with a smaller unit, but like Xander's mighty Archasaurus Mount, Gigantic 2 prevents inexpensive smaller units from blocking or guarding against a Gorilla's attack.

Balancing out these advantages are two big disadvantages. First, the Gorilla's low conjuration count of 2 means it is vulnerable to remove from game effects as well as being marginalized by Regress or exhaustion. Secondly, the Exotic Gorilla introduces a new mechanic, with its inexhaustible negative ability Massive 2. Occupying two slots on the battlefield is a significant restriction, limiting you in one of the more important resources in the game.

You may have noticed how the Gorilla doesn't seem to work well with the previously mentioned Law of Courtesy, since the Gorilla likes to attack and Law of Courtesy makes you pay a die to do so. However, the Focus ability of the Summon Exotic Gorilla effect neatly solves this problem. You can play Law of Courtesy early in a round to buy yourself some time, then later in the round summon an Exotic Gorilla, then use the focus ability to clear out your Law, while also drawing a card and milling your opponent's deck! The focus ability further reinforces Tolliver's ability to force his opponent to play the game on Tolliver's terms. In addition to the interaction with Law of Courtesy, the focus effect can also be used to clear out other Laws, or a copy of Gates Thrown Open that no longer holds any dice.

Tolliver would often prefer to swing those Gorillas directly at the PB for 3 damage. To this end, it's good to have a way to avoid getting blocked by strong defensive units like Turtle Guards or Pale Steed Mounts. Flicker provides Tolliver with just that - a devilish little negative alteration that grants Transparent (previously seen on the Salamander Monk Spirit) to a unit, preventing it from working as a blocker. Because this spell can be played as a side action, you can play the spell to temporarily sideline a big unit, then swing in before your opponent has a chance to react! If your opponent wishes to clear the Flicker alteration from their unit, they can use the Disenchant ability at the cost of a discarded card from hand. However, the card's owner can respark it with a charm die, allowing you to deploy flicker again when the time to strike is right.