Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn debuted at Gen Con 2015 and in the months since then we have been given hints and teases from Plaid Hat and Isaac Vega of the way we can expect to see new content come out for the game. From the earliest days it was mentioned that they didn’t want to have anywhere near as aggressive a release as a Fantasy Flight-style LCG and wanted to perhaps have a handful of releases a year. The releases would be split up quarterly, the first of these releases is scheduled for April 2016 with other expansions to come later throughout the year. So without further ado, let’s look at what we have to expect in the coming year.
The first release of the year will be the addition of two new Phoenixborn and the decks to go along with them. Rin Northfell and Brennen Blackcloud will be joining the ranks of the original 6 Phoenixborn(7 with Dimona) and will be bringing with them unique decks that have a style all their own. Rin’s deck, The Frostdale Giants, promises to be full of big creatures that will crush enemies before them, while Rin himself can buff his units up each round as a side action with his Ice Buff ability. The deck is going to fill the Mono-Nature slot and will bring a large collection of Nature Magic oriented cards to play with.
If Rin is about building up your creatures, the second new Phoenixborn Brennen Blackcloud, is his polar opposite. Brennen’s deck, The Children of Blackcloud, is all about making the most of your own units destruction and even pursuing their destruction yourself! Brennen’s ability, Spirit Burn, first destroys your own unit and then deals damage to your opponent’s units or Phoenixborn directly. What seems like a punitive measure however can be an added bonus in the right hands, and Brennen seems ready to make use of a multitude of Reaction Spells. It seems that Summon Sleeping Widows and Final Cry have a new best-friend in the Blackcloud scion. Brennen’s deck is going to be a Mono-Ceremonial deck and will bring many new Ceremonial Magic cards to play with.
Accompanying the new Phoenixborn in April will be the release of the Ashes Organized Play kits. Allowing all of our favourite FLGSs to finally run proper Ashes events. The exact contents of the kits is still a little unclear at the moment with rumored contents ranging from alternate art cards to playmats for winners, but one thing we can all be sure of is the inclusion of the new promo Phoenixborn, Lulu Firststone. Like Dimona before her, Lulu will be a Plaid Hat Exclusive when these expansions first launch in April but will be more available as we move forward. Hopefully more details about the AOP kit contents will be made available shortly.
August 2016 (Gen Con)
Isaac Vega has gone on record saying that he hopes to be able to hit Gen Con every year in order to release a new Ashes product. In 2016 it will be the release of the second pair of expansion decks for Ashes. Following in the footprint of the previous two expansions, the decks at Gen Con will be single die decks, in this case they will be Mono-Illusion and Mono-Charm.
The Phoenixborn for these decks will be named Victoria and Leo and unfortunately no art has yet been released for them, but playtesting was said to be starting in early February so hopefully it won’t be too long before we get a peek at these two, after all Isaac himself gave us our first peek at Rin during playtesting through his official Twitter @.
The final release for the year is meant to be the most impressive. The December release is going to be a “deluxe” expansion of sorts. It will include four new decks, with presumably Phoenixborn for each. More exciting though is that it will include two new die types. Theses new dice will be for Sympathy and Divine magic and the decks that release with them will be built using these new dice.
The decks will be a Mono-Sympathy deck, a Mono-Divine deck, a Dual Sympathy-Divine deck in the style of the core box decks and lastly a deck whose cards are all played with Basic Symbols. It is this final deck that is most exciting, bring a full deck worth of basic only cards to the set is going to be a great addition to the card pool. Simply put, by the end of the year the card pool for Ashes is going to explode and the deck possibilities will be endless, or near enough.
2017 and Beyond…
Beyond December, things get hazy… Who’s to say what the future will bring. But Isaac has been clear about his plans. The intention is a simple enough one, combine the new dice types with the original four types from the core set. So through 2017 we will see decks that are combinations of new and old dice; Nature-Divine, Ceremonial-Sympathy, etc.
This will allow deck building options to grow yet again as it gets easier to incorporate new die types into decks. All-in-all, Ashes has a clear and exciting plan set out for it. It is easy to forget just how young this game is and we are all here on the ground floor of something with a bright future ahead of it…