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Ashes Previews – 4 New Phoenixborn!

Ashes Previews - More Pheonixborn Decks

Well well well, it looks like the next few months will be very exciting for fans of Isaac Vega's Ashes Rise of the PhoenixbornThe game's publisher, Plaid Hat Games, has announced no fewer than four brand new decks to be released between August and October. Between them, these decks will offer us at least 12o new cards and fill some important faction pairing gaps. I'll take a look at what we know about each of them so far in this article.

The Demons of Darmas - Harold Westraven

It's about time we saw some more ceremonial magic, right? We haven't had any ceremonial decks since The Children of Blackcloud in 2016, but our two-year wait is nearly over. Enter Harold Westraven. Harold's deck will combine ceremonial magic with sympathy as he leads his army of dark allies into battle. For the first time, we'll see horror mainstays like werewolves and vampires in the world of Ashes.

How will this deck play? The previews give us a pretty good idea. Harold's ability allows him to place an alteration spell on a target unit that makes it much easier to damage and kill. His unique card is even cooler. When a unit dies, you get to place a conjured alteration spell on Harold which lets him re-roll a die, gain a health point and increase his battlefield and spellboard slots by one.

As for the rest of his deck, it looks like his cards are characterised by manipulating attacks and damage, which is something we haven't really seen before. Some of his allies and spells have ways to move wound tokens around and spread out damage, while others have ways to control when you're opponent can guard and counter. Ashes is a game where the defending player normally has a lot of control, but it looks like Harold's cards change that. As a player who likes to go on the offensive, I'm very excited by the prospect!

The theme is also very nice. We've seen shades of horror in Ashes before (anyone else get a little creeped out by Living Doll?) but The Demons of Darmas amps up those popular tropes like werewolves and vampires. The art looks phenomenal (as we've come to expect) and draws out the identity of these beings in such a way that they look graceful and powerful. I, for one, will be seeking out this deck very quickly to add to my collection.

The Spirits of Memoria - Sembali Grimtongue

Being released alongside The Demons of Darmas is our second new Phoenixborn: Sembali Grimtongue. Sembali will appear in a divine and illusion deck, The Spirits of Memoria. As with ceremonial magic, illusion magic is a type that we haven't seen much of, save for the core set and a single expansion. She is said to be able to recall the spirits of lost allies and has a horde of powerful celestial beings at her disposal.

Right from the off, Sembali's ability makes it clear that she's not messing around. When one of your unit dies, she can remove an opponent's conjuration from the field as well. It's pretty clear that she'll be packing some 'graveyard shenanigans.' Her unique card is also powerful. It counters a spell targeting you or Sembali and has the potential to remove an opponent's conjuration. That's not bad at all, if a little situational.

What does the rest of her deck do? Well, there's a lot of stuff about protecting your units. You can bring them back from the discard pile, bring them back to your hand and even drop an ally with unit guard onto the field after your opponent has declared attacks. There's a lot to digest, with cards that will undoubtedly be powerful enough to make a splash in constructed decks.

And if I appreciated Harold Westraven's art, I have to say that I appreciate the art in Sembali's deck even more. The angels and other celestial beings look amazing, but Shadow Guard is without a doubt one of my favourite cards from an art standpoint.

The Ghost Guardian - Rimea Careworn

These next two Phoenixborn will be released a little later than Harold and Sembali - probably around October. That means that we don't have full previews for their decks yet and can only speculate on a lot of what's to come. I'll update this post as and when we find out more.

However, there's still a lot that can be said for Rimea Careworn, the first of this pair. Rimea looks set to have a sympathy and illusion deck, with an emphasis on draw manipulation. Her Phoenixborn ability - the only effect that's been spoiled so far - allows her to reorder the top three cards of her draw pile as much as she wants, or pay a basic to put one on the bottom of her deck.

My guess is that this feeds into a bit of discard pile manipulation as well, in line with her ghostly theme. If you know what's coming you can determine which cards to discard from your draw pile in order to meditate, which means you can load up on cards to potentially bring into your hand in other ways. This ability will add more control to drawing, which is currently one of the most random elements of Ashes. I'm sure that some players will really enjoy this aspect.

As for the rest of her deck, we'll have to wait and see. I suspect that she'll be a little lighter on units than the other three Phoenixborn we're previewing, but I could be wrong.

The King of Titans - Xander Heartsblood

Xander Heartsblood is the Phoenixborn that I am most excited about from this set of four. Why? Because it looks like he summons big things  which is always a lot of fun. Let's face it, an Archasaur and a Hydra are going to be fairly impressive. Will they be able to challenge the dominance of cards like Holy Knight and Elephant Rider? We'll have to wait and see, but Xander's divine and natural combination has the potential to make a big splash in more ways than one.

Xander's abililty is straightforward and shows a theme that we've also seen with Sembali - divine magic interacting with the graveyard. This is an ability that seems to be shared with ceremonial magic. For a side action and a divine die, Xander can bring an ally from the discard pile to your hand. I fully expect this to mean that your big monsters will just keep on coming. The preview text also mentions powerful spells to back them up, which makes me think that Xander's deck could play similarly to Odette's, which boasts impressive units and a couple of powerful removal spells.

It's also worth mentioning that the preview article mentions a mechanic that involves turning allies into 'powerful mounted warriors.' It's possible that we'll see this in Rimea's deck, but I feel like it's going to be a more important part of Xander's deck. I don't know exactly how it'll work, but it sounds awesome. I can't wait.

Look out for new Ashes

While some of these new Ashes decks are still a few months down the line, you'll be able to get all of them from Zatu at fantastic prices. Don't forget to check back in once they've been released!