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Top 5 Defining Ceremonial Cards

Intro

Hi, all. I am going through a series that will go through all the different dice types in an attempt to rank the top 5 most defining cards of that dice type. These are cards that, I think, are the most important to be aware of when playing against someone who has that dice type in their deck. This is not necessarily the most commonly played cards, but rather, the cards that really drive the direction a deck could go.

Note: I am counting only cards with a cost that can be payed with that dice type. Cards with basic costs are excluded; cards that have multiple dice type costs are excluded; phoenixborn and uniques are excluded; cards with parallel costs are included in BOTH dice types sections. All cards are being thought of with respect to their 1.0 state.

Top 5 Defining Ceremonial Cards

#5

Choke

Choke is a very flexible cancel. In most cases, it is saved for preventing a Phoenixborn's ability (Glow Finch, Aradel Summergaard's waterblast, Orrick Gilstream's bounty). However, the card pool continues to grow with units that have stronger abilities, which makes this a more and more important card. It can stop Unit Guard, Terrifying, Overkill, etc. It's strength is really dependent on what the opponent is playing, but it is something that requires the opponent to respect and play around.

#4

Summon Fallen Fallen

The Fallen drive the most unique style of play/deck in the game. A never-exhausting summon spell means that you can spam out a full board of Fallen without really breaking a sweat in round 1. This means that there is a potential Round 2, turn 1 victory. It does have some very hard counters (Seal, Noah Redmoon), so it's definitely not unstoppable, but it also does not have a lot of counters. However, it is something that you want to be able to give yourself a chance against.

#3

Dark Reaping

I would probably say that Dark Reaping is the strongest ceremonial card. I was kind of disappointed when it came out because it gave even more ways to clear out your own board if you were running ceremonial. Given the popularity of ceremonial, there really was never going to be a way to clog up your opponent's board with Blood Puppets and the like. Dice recursion is always something that you need to keep in mind. If you have a unit available to destroy and 2 [[ceremonial:class]], then you can summon or play just about anything. So, dice recursion is always something that you need to keep an eye on. There really is no good counter for this outside of doing your best to wipe your opponents board or stealing the ceremonial dice with a [[illusion:power]].

#2

Blood Chains

Blood Chains has been a staple in most ceremonial decks ever since it came out. It is incredibly flexible and can be used in mill, burn or attacking decks. It is the best card in the game when it comes to locking down your opponent's board. It is also the best counter to itself. When going against ceremonial, you have to know that you can't get away with filling up their board with exhausted or Regressed units. You also need a way to clear out your own units, because otherwise you will be playing the whole game down a battlefield slot. It's weaker against swarm and can't be used if there are no available units to destroy, but for most of the meta that has relied on 2-3 health units, it has always been a defining card.

#1

Chant of Revenge

Finally, at the top spot, I am leaving here the card that drives pretty much every burn deck that has ever been around. This card has always been a perfect match for Brennen Blackcloud's ability. It also just has so much built-in synergy with the rest of the [[ceremonial:power]] cards that destroy units. It is the most efficient way to do damage to an opponent's Phoenixborn and a great way to clear the opponent's board. It has always been the defining card in the dice types most striking strength.

Summary

There are a few honorable mentions that I had that do not make the cut. Fire Archer is a really strong card, but it usually doesn't drive a deck's strategy. It is another very flexible card that works as a blocker, burn, or anti-mill (by recurring with the die power). Regress is a very strong card against decks running big units and absolutely needs to be respected. Blood Puppets, Dread Wraiths and Sleeping Widows are all unique units that require different play styles to counter. However, none of them are really used too frequently to really crack into this list.

Ceremonial has basically always been a good splash in just about any deck. You can go through the list of top decks in any archetype, and ceremonial is usually included and can work in any of them. It has some of the best dice recursion, the best burn and has many ways to slow your opponent's board down. I would go so far as to say that ceremonial has the strongest card pool of all. The biggest downside is that the conjuration options are very limited. So, it is not always the strongest "dominant" (4+) dice type, but it is almost always a solid choice for at least 2-3.


Comments

  • Chant of Revenge i always thought of as slightly too strong.
    Actually all of these are on my list of Cards that limit design space for future cards a little too much.
    I would not be surprised to see all of them getting updates in 1.5, and we do know that Chant will get updated.

    Killing your own Units has turned out to not be a strong downside at all. Whenever the Game would be decided by you lacking Battlefield slots it became an extremly powerfull effect that favors you and not your opponent.
    That alone makes Blood Chains and Dark Reaping good in 30% of use cases. But you also get a strong effect in 100% of the uses.
    If Blood Chains just places 1 Exhaustion Token it is good enough, 2 are great and everything above that is nothing short absurd if they can not get rid of the Unit or the exhaustion.
    And sadly the go to way to get rid of the Unit are Blood Chain and Dark Reaping, so thoses 2 are like cards you should play whenever you can.
    Chant of Revenge is so consistent that you also just want it badly in many decks.

    Summon Fallen makes for some degenerate Decks. I don't like playing against them but maybe they are okay just like red decks in MtG have to exist.

    Choke is good, but at least has some limitations. Of all of these i think it is the most okay Card to exist in the Game. No Idea why it is Ceremonial instead of another Dice Type but sure - a Counter for Phoenixborn and Unit Abilities makes sense in the Game and 1 Class Die is probably what it should cost.

  • Thanks for taking the time to read this. I agree with most of what you are saying. I would say Choke is perfectly fine for the game. In terms of it being Ceremonial, I guess I agree that it doesn't really seem like it needs to be that die type, but I think it's fine. You probably want to spread out cancel spells across all the different magic types anyway.

    It sounds like dice recursion is going away. So, Dark Reaping is going to get a change. As you said, Chant of Revenge is switching its use, though it's not a huge nerf, but I don't think CoR was too limiting. In many ways, it actually helped out games that were stalled out on the board and pushed those games to conclusion.

    I would expect Summon Fallen to get a change. The whole non-exhaustible spellboard and meditating + throwing cards out from your discard definitely felt like a whole different game.

    I wouldn't mind a change to Blood Chains, but I'm not sure it's necessary. I think now with cards like Seeds of Aggression, there is some interesting counterplay, outside of just using other ceremonial sacrifice effects. Also, with the rules changes geared to forcing more unit-to-unit combat, I think that full battlefields that need to be cleared is going to become a much rarer thing.

    Anything on this list you feel like should be added or changed?

  • If you go for singular Cards i would pretty much leave the list as is.

    I would like to add something regarding your honorable mentions, but its a bit more text:
    Final Cry is strong Card in Ceremonial, but noteably i think that card has pretty much exactly the right cost to be on par.
    I say that because it is the card that made me realize that aggro strategies should probably cost more power symbols than control strategies. You meditate them anyway and it gives opportunity for control to outlast you. Also there is some minor counter play in dice manipulation.

    Sadly i dont see ashes really employ this kind of reasoning in many cards.
    Most newer Phoenixborn Abilities cost no specific color, while Aradel needs 1 [[natural:class]] for her Water Blast, which is clearly a control ability.

    Now, look at the Fire Archer and Brennen Blackcloud Combo.
    Individually the Cards might be fine. Together they forge a powerfull action :
    You can deal 3 Damage to any Target, 1 Damage to yourself, for the cost of
    1[[Main]], 1[[Side]], 1[[ceremonial]] , 1[[ceremonial:class]], 1 [[Basic]] and exhausting your Phoenixborn.

    Because it needs 2 Cards to be in your Deck it should be good, but it compares too good to Molten Gold or Sympathy Pain in my opinion.
    So the individual Cards do not make the List, but if you were to List Forged Actions like this it should be on the list 100%.

  • Final Cry is definitely something that I considered, but decided that it usually isn't the card enabling burn strategies (I would say almost always that is Chant of Revenge).

    Nick mentioned that reactions will take more power symbols. I really like reactions that either require a double class or single power, since those give players a chance to read your opponents' dice pool or bluff for cards that you don't have in hand. So, I'm excited for that change.