Hello again Ashes fans! It's time for a preview of the final three cards from Jill’s deck.
The first card up for today is Loyal Hound. This gives Jill a second summon conjuration book, alongside the Flying Monkeys. Loyal Hound costs 3 basic dice to bring each unit into play. While this is on the expensive side (same cost as Turtle Guard), the Loyal Hound provides a versatile mix of stats and abilities. It enters play with 4 life and 0 attack, but for each wound token placed on the hound its attack increases by 2 (Rage 2). So, if a hound has 2 wound tokens, it would a 4-attack unit with 2 life remaining.
So far, this may just sound like a modified version of the Dread Wraith. However, the Loyal Hound’s other ability – Fetch – is what really distinguishes it. Fetch is an exhaustible ability that triggers whenever a hound does damage to an opposing Phoenixborn. When triggered it does two things. First, it lets the controlling player remove a card from the opponent’s discard pile. This could be used to prevent units from being recurred / converted into Fallen soldiers or it could be used to reduce the benefit that an opponent could get from other forms of card recursion (e.g. Essence Druid, Nightsong Cricket, Encore, Hand Tricks, etc.). Probably more valuable, Fetch also lets the controlling player shuffle a card from her own discard pile back into the deck. So, powerful cards like Hidden Power or even unique cards like Fear can be recycled back into play. The trick is finding a way to ensure that a Loyal Hound can damage the opponent Phoenixborn. Cards like Hypnotize and Time Stop provide one option via the Bypass ability. I look forward to seeing other ways that players make use of Fetch.
The second card on the slate for today is Missing Page. This is a reaction spell that costs a time class die and can be played when any unit (yours or your opponents) is destroyed. The effect of Missing Page is to place an exhaustion token on a summon conjuration ready spell that can summon the unit that was destroyed. This is not as powerful as Seal because Missing Page only places an exhaustion token on a single book rather than on every copy. But missing page can be a nice way to shut down Summon Fallen for a round, and it only requires a single dice type. In this respect, Noah’s Shadow Target ability may be a better comparison than Seal.
The final card in Jill’s deck is Hastened Response. This is a ready spell that costs a single time class die to play and gives Unit Guard to one of your units till the end of the turn. You can wait till after your opponent declares attackers before deciding which unit gets the unit guard ability, but you can only use the ability once per round because it requires you to place an exhaustion token on the spell. Devoting a spellboard slot to Hastened Response is probably its biggest weakness. But depending on a deck’s dice type or tempo it may be difficult to include one of the small number of summon unit guard conjurations. Also, Hastened Response can be a nice way to get full value out of some defensive units. For example, Clockwork Frog, Celestial Knight, Majestic Titan, Essence Druid, Indiglow Creepers and even Leech Warriors could all greatly benefit from having access to the unit guard ability.
As noted previously, the images above are placeholders until we can replace them with original artwork. We hope you enjoy the new cards. If you have any questions please post below.