We’re just about a month from the release of the first expansions for Ashes and along with Rin and Brennen, the release will also be bringing the first Ashes Organized Play (AOP) kits. It seems then that it might be worth going over everything that we will be seeing in those kits come April and you might want to consider getting to your local game store to organize such a tournament.
To start, the AOP kits will be including copies on both of the current PHG exclusive promo cards. That is, Dimona Odinstar and Lulu Firststone along with sets of their respective unique cards, Rayward Knight and Phoenix Barrage. Now everyone who wants a promo just needs to attend a AOP event and they can add these promos to their collections. If you are unfamiliar with these ladies I will give you a quick run down.
Let’s start with Dimona. She has a Battlefield and Spellboard of 5, allowing her a very flexible style of play. No matter what kind of deck you want to build, there isn’t much Dimona is a bad choice for. She pays for those awesome stats by having only 17 life points, which isn’t much. This means that, typically, Dimona decks want to take on more of an aggressive stance. Her ability is called Order. For the cost of a side action and 2 basic dice symbols, Dimona can remove an exhaust token from a unit on her field. This means, she effectively has a battlefield of 6 and using her ability she can make use of a unit she has in play two times in a round. This can be devastating for an opponent who wasn’t expecting to take two big swings from a powerful creature. It also means Dimona can attack and then free a unit for blocking on the opponent’s turn.
Dimona’s unique card is the Rayward Knight. These guys are awesome. They have a value of 3 for their Attack, Life and Recovery and all for the very reasonable, and playable, cost of 3 basic symbols. With Attack 3 the Rayward Knight is a big threat on the board, not a lot of units in Ashes can do that kind of damage without some help from Alterations. With Life 3 they can take some punishment and still be an active threat on the board. It also puts them out of range for the most common forms of removal and with Recovery 3 they can take a hit and still be fully healed in the next round to fight. Their ability Endurance let’s them remove all exhaustion tokens between rounds, meaning they can’t be locked down by the likes of Steady Gaze or Blood Chains. All-in-all, these guys are great.
Next up is Lulu Firststone. Her Battlefield and Spellboard are at 4, which is a little lower than Dimona on both counts. But the upswing to that is that she has 21 massive life points. This girl can take a hit. But like her character text insinuates, she can hit back just as well. Lulu’s ability is Bolster and it’s a nasty one. For the cost of a side action and a single basic die it allows Lulu to at a point of damage to every unit she controls. That’s a possible +4 damage if you have a full battlefield and that is the epitome of good value. Lulu wants you to swing with everything you have, because she can take it and if you ever leave her an opening you probably can’t take what she has for you.
To help her with making that opening Lulu has a very cool unique card. Phoenix Barrage is an action spell that cost 3 basic dice. For that cost you can deal 4 damage to a target unit and 2 to a target Phoenixborn. This is great for taking out a big buffed blocker your opponent has or for removing a threat you want off the board. Maybe most interesting though is that wording on the card in relation to a multiplayer situation. Imagine the look on your opponent’s faces when you kill A’s Hammer Knight and deal 2 damage to B’s Phoenixborn for fun.
But maybe you don’t need these promo cards. Perhaps you’ve got them coming from preordering the expansions. The AOP kits are also coming with some cool stuff that is only available from them. Alternate art cards and a playmat for the winner of the AOP event.
First there are these amazing alternate cards for the two new Phoenixborn Rin and Brennen which are just awesome. These card will obviously function the same way as the original art cards, but why not show off a bit right?
There are also these adorable alternate art Mist Spirit cards which are so cute you almost don’t want to kill them to Summon Sleeping Widows.. almost.
Lastly, for the winner for an event that is run with these AOP kits will be this absolutely stunning Ashes playmat. Playmats are a thing that a LOT of us have been waiting for and this is going to be one that you can actually get your hands on by winning an AOP event!
Plaid Hat are obviously invested in making the AOP experience a really good one, so kudos to them for that. As a fan of Ashes, and board gaming in general, it is very obvious when a company cares and when they do not and PHG has not disappointed yet. If this is the bar set for future AOP kits, Ashes is going to have an exciting competitive scene going forward. I hope any of you that were on the fence about attending an event are now decided and, maybe, I will see you on the other side of the table.