Jeremy enjoys gaming when not working as a manager at the same college he graduated from.
How to Play Ashes: Reborn
Ashes: Reborn expands on prior game Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn, but you don't need the original to play the update. Using both cards and dice, it plays sort of like a blend of Magic: The Gathering and Marvel Dice Masters. What helps set it apart is its "First Five", meaning you pick whatever you like as your opening hand of five cards; the rest will be gradually be drawn from your deck randomly.
That's a cool way to mitigate luck in your opening moves, and you win when your Phoenixborn's army defeat your opponent's. The cards in your deck definitely matter, but your first question is which character to lead your forces—these are the ten best Phoenixborn in Ashes!
- Life: Your health. You lose when your opponent reduces this to zero, usually by attacking with units.
- Battlefield: The maximum number of different units you can control at once. The higher, the better.
- Spellboard: The maximum number of different non-unit permanents you can control at once.
- Special: A unique ability that usually requires spending a side action and possibly some of your dice.
10. Harold Westraven
Harold offers an aggressive strategy; his life is low but he hopes to win before it'll matter. He's got strong battle and spell limits, letting him play many different cards, and his special minor action lets you attach a Hunter's Mark conjuration to a creature, which makes it take double damage and prevents it from being guarded if attacked.
9. Rimea Careworn
Rimea trades a weaker ability for terrific all-around stats, tying for the highest starting life and spellbook limit on any Phoenixborn. Her special effect spends a minor action to look at the top three cards of your deck. Then, if you also spend a basic die and exhaust Rimea, you can place one of those cards on bottom of deck and rearrange the others as you like.
Not the greatest ability, but a nice bonus to Rimea's formidable attributes.
8. Sembali Grimtongue
Sembali also wields impressive all-around values, plus a powerful albeit costly power. By spending a side action, two basic die, and exhausting Sembali, she removes all exhaustion from an ally and prevents them from being guarded that turn, ensuring your attacks hit their targets.
7. Namine Hymntide
Namine's life isn't great, but her other other stats impress, and I like her Calming Melody power. It exhausts her and spend a minor action and calming die to draw a card, then gives you the option of placing another another exhaustion on Namine to exhaust an enemy Phoenixborn.
You get the draw no matter what, and exhausting Namine can be worth it when you need to shut down an opponent's Phoenixborn power.
6. Jessa Na Ni
Jessa's stats are decent, but her unique ability really defines her; it doesn't expend either your main or side action. Instead, once per turn, she lets you spend a basic die after a unit is defeated (whether yours or an opponent's) to deal one damage to your opponent's Phoenixborn.
Basic dice are easy to pay, making her ability great for decks that want to keep both actions open each round for other plays.
5. Aradel Summergaard
Aradel's one disadvantage is her low 16 life. Beyond that, she's terrific, with a good spellbook max, great battlefield limit, and useful ability. Water Blast exhausts and spends a minor action and natural die to deal two damage to a unit.
This compensates for her fragile life total by making it difficult for opponent to keep their troops on the board.
4. Koji Wolfcub
High-risk high-reward, Koji's life and spellbook values are poor, but he wields the highest troop limit in the game at 10. Additionally, he exhausts and spends your turn's minor action to place a status counter on a card.
The effects of status counters change depending on the card they're placed on, but in general, they reinforce your units, and it's nice that the ability doesn't expend any dice, leaving all resources available for your other cards.
3. Xander Heartsblood
Although his spellbook value is low, Xander enjoys 20 life and up to 6 unique units, making him a powerful beatdown leader. His ability also excels, exhausting while spending your side action and one basic die to recover an ally from your discard pile.
This offers ongoing card advantage, and (unlike some Phoenixborn draw engines) won't deplete your deck.
2. Maeoni Viper
Maeoni's sheer stat totals give her a helpful edge, as does her expensive yet rewarding Command Strike power. Using it requires a side action, two basics, and exhausts Maeoni, but deals damage to a unit equal to the power of one of your unexhausted units. Basically, this lets you deal damage without getting hit back, and it won't exhaust the unit you pick, letting them attack that turn.
1. Saria Guideman
Saria ties for highest stat total at 29, and Heart's Pull offers exceptional card advantage. Exhausting and spending a minor action and charm die lets you draw a card, then you can have a player mill a card, discarding the top card of their deck.
You almost always want to mill your opponent, as winning becomes incredibly difficult once a deck depletes. Unlike games like Magic and Yu-Gi-Oh, drawing from an empty deck isn't an insta-loss. However, a Phoenixborn takes one damage for every card they had to draw but couldn't, quickly edging them towards defeat.
Where to Buy Ashes: Reborn
Whether you're an Ashes veteran or Reborn is your first entry, it offers a unique twist on card games that I definitely recommend trying yourself. The best place to start is the core set, which contains six pre-built decks, as well as rules for drafting for those interested.
Nabbing the base set costs just under $70, not a bad deal considering each expansion (adding a new Phoenixborn) costs another $20. But for now, vote for your favorite commander and I'll see you at our next gaming countdown!
© 2021 Jeremy Gill