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Top 5 Defining Charm Cards


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.

I am also moving these articles over to the "General" section, rather than "Strategy."

Previous Installments

Top 5 Defining Charm Cards


Imperial Ninja

The Imperial Ninja was a card that became one of the biggest threats to your opponent's first five. Given that experienced players could make pretty confident guesses as to what would be in an opponent's first five, it was terrifying to play against. Even later on, it was a unit that you would be scared to block with a Phoenixborn because they could call out any cards that could counter or mess with what they were doing. The Imperial Ninja played a big role in bringing charm back briefly into the meta.


Sympathy Pain

As always, ironically, Sympathy Pain has consistently been a strong charm reaction. Charm had a few reactions that triggered with similar timing windows, but this was a brutal closer. It was also something that could be triggered by yourself through recurring allies, taking damage from abundance, etc. It was instrumental in charm burn decks as well as being a secondary finisher in many mill decks.



As mentioned before, charm has several strong reactions with similar timing windows. Here is the other one in this list. Redirect was always easier to use since it only needed a single charm die. However, you did need a unit to stick around. I think Redirect was usually a more important card to play around. Redirect always needed to be on your mind when choosing the order of resolving Phoenixborn attacks. Redirect always needed to be considered when trying to close out the game (whether with burn or attacks). While it wasn't necessarily a card to build a strategy around, it was a card that you had to be aware of when playing against.


Open Memories

Coming in at the #2 spot is a card that opened up such a huge realm of possibilities. For the majority of the game's 1.0 cycle, it was the only way to really guarantee getting a focus or focus-like effect from your spellboard (not counting the meditate for a book + Encore option). This card was obviously great with Summon Indiglow Creeper which needs to be focused. It was good with Summon Silver Snake. It provided options with double-downing on a single die summon like Three Eyed Owls, Butterfly Monks, or Shadow Spirits. Beyond that, it had occasional uses just for its flexibility. If you drew into it, you could use it to find a Hypnotize or Meteor or some other card that would help you close or stall out the game.


Summon Three Eyed Owl Three Eyed Owl

In the top spot, I had to go with the one charm card/unit that is a win condition all by itself. This was a staple in just about any deck that included a lot of charm dice. It was a threat that needed an answer from your First Five. It was an excellent unit at the end of the game to actually force discards from hand to get your opponent to take damage from being decked. And it was always just a value body and blocker that could be thrown into any deck. Three Eyed Owls were not just cards included in charm-mill decks, but were featured in Orrick Gilstream's Gilder, Bear, Owl decks. They were included in some Brennen Blackcloud burn decks. As the game progressed, there become more and more answers for the Three Eyed Owls, so they fell off, but for much of the game, they were a linchpin in every charm deck.


Honorable mentions this time are pretty varied. Cognitive Dissonance was a solid mill card that entered the game late. I think it was likely going to be a necessary mill card, but I'm not sure that that archetype was fully explored. Orchid Doves were a solid summon and actually locked opponents units down when paired with [[illusion:power]]. But, it usually wasn't a card that was built around. I think that Mind Probe could have had a greater and greater impact as a way to seek out hard counters or just know what cards were coming next. Finally, we have the [[charm:power]] theme of refreshing and buffing units. Most of these cards were underpowered, but every once in a while, some of them would become relevant. The top ones would be Call to Action, Hypnotize and Refresh. Specifically Hypnotize was always a fun card to build around, but it was too rarely used by the top decks, so I left it out of the top 5.

After mentioning last week that Ceremonial has probably the strongest card pool, I would say that Charm probably has the weakest cards. A lot of the strong cards are reactions, which usually give your opponents ways to play around. The lack of dice recursion made playing mill an uphill battle as you were giving up resources to play charm and giving up board presence to mill from deck. I also think that charm dice were needed to heavily early in the game, but became much less useful late since there were no strong charm action spells. However, Summon Gilder, Summon Orchid Dove and Open Memories tried to push you to having lots of early charm. It has always been a tricky magic type to splash, but it has had solid uses as a main dice type (4+ dice).


  • I think Open Memories, while fun to use, is not really that great of a Card.
    Not because the effect is bad because you have to pay 2 Dice for it.
    If it were to Cost only 1 Dice and had maybe a bad Sideeffect it would be absurdly better, but with it costing 2 Dice you can never really say you cheated the system.

    And for a competetively good Card that is usually something you should have going.
    In Ashes cheating costs was never a big thing, like MTG where you can revive Creatures onto the Battlefield, but slight overefficiency is present. Like in Hammer Knight (1.0).

    Notably Seeds of Aggression and Majestic Titan are individually just good cards.
    Seeds of Aggression because it ignores Exhaustion and Majestic Titan often effectively attacks twice and can take a lot of hits.

    As far as i am aware the timing Rule on who wins first if both players were to die to Sympathy Pain was used quite often in Tournaments, meaning that it often was a deciding factor to have that card in your deck in order to win.
    That is a Property of a Tier 1 Card. I would have put into the first slot of this List.
    I know its a boring choice but dealing 3 damage outside of your turn is that good in this game. Especially given the Fact that you can not play around it entirely because PB damage is the main Metric of the Game.

    Owls had the same Property a long time but with Overkill on some Cards and Meteor they are not as reliable anymore and i think that they should be second place.

  • Thanks for reading and the responses!

    I disagree on Open Memories. Just running it with Butterfly Monk or Shadow Spirits sets you up to be in a really strong spot on the board. In the first round, it might put you a tiny bit behind (4 dice for 4 life), but every round after that you can spam two 2 health units for a single die. Beyond that, it lets you double down on whatever your best conjuration is for that matchup. It's also something that you only get to do in Charm, so it gets points for being unique. If you're saying that Redirect and Sympathy Pain are stronger, I probably don't really disagree with that.

    I would probably rate Seeds of Aggression in the top 5 of charm cards in terms of strength, but I tried to choose cards that drive the direction that a deck is going. I don't think seeds does that as much, though it is pretty solid.

    Majestic Titan is a good suggestion that I overlooked. I don't remember seeing it in any top decks (though to be fair, [[charm:power]] dice were almost never in top decks), but I can see it as being a very strong conjuration. My leaving it off probably has more to do with the fact that I did not play enough with the last couple expansions to see it in full effect.

    I think Sympathy Pain was able to be avoided by attacking charm dice with [[illusion:power]]. Now, obviously, if you are running Sympathy Pain, you should include ways to trigger it yourself, but I think the fact that it required 2 charm made it significantly harder to use versus Redirect. But, I can definitely see the argument that Sympathy Pain could just win you the game outside of your turn, so I don't disagree too strongly. I just think it was hard to pull off effectively.

    I agree that owls are knocked down a tier by all those cards. But, they are still a strong First Five threat and I view them as enabling just about every charm-heavy deck. I don't think I've seen a deck run 4+ charm that doesn't run owls with the exception of Holy Knight + Amplify + Hypnotize stuff. And even that deck is helped by the threat of owls potentially being in the First Five.

  • I would probably rate Seeds of Aggression in the top 5 of charm cards in terms of strength, but I tried to choose cards that drive the direction that a deck is going. I don't think seeds does that as much, though it is pretty solid.

    I mean there are Decks that are driven by mostly Unit stats and only very little by text. They are boring but they are not bad enough to be ignored.
    I think you ingored that archetyp of decks somewhat in your analysis.

  • You might be right on that. It definitely suffers from coming out and not being fully explored once the game ended. I'm remembering now that it was one of the cards I was most excited about.