Fear the Bear v3

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Phoenixborn: Jessa Na Ni
Created by: Marimbist11
Is Deck Public? public
3 comments below.
x4 Ceremonial
x6 Natural
Description/Notes:

September 10th, 2016: TMA TTS SUMMER SLAM JAM
-1st place out of 16
-Wins against 3 Aradel and 2 Victoria
-No losses

Tournament Report: http://www.strangecopy.com/index.php/2016/09/13/hope-for-the-best-prepar...

Link to v4: http://www.plaidhatgames.com/play/ashes/deck/fear-bear-v4

The latest revision of my favorite Ashes deck, Fear the Bear. There are a number of notable changes that really have increased the consistency and focus on your win condition.

Board control is everything. Jessa's greatest strength is her ability to pivot board control into direct damage with Screams of the Departed. Screams can be a costly endeavor, so Fear's cheap cost really sets Jessa up for success in being the queen of board control. Basically, you aim to push out strong threats on the battlefield in Bears and Hammer Knights, who can both clear away units by attacking or deal serious damage when you do have the board cleared. Early in the game, you want to use your damage spells like Chant of Revenge, Final Cry, and even Molten Gold to remove your opponent's battlefield, Screaming in the process. Once you have dealt a solid chunk of damage from Screams and attacking, you'll want to look for lethal amounts of damage when you start a new round. Knowing exactly the round to switch from board control and Screaming to throwing direct damage at their Phoenixborn is key. Chant of Revenge is the the masterpiece that this deck was missing. It is the single most defining card in this late game pivot strategy.

Some FF thoughts: Always Fear and Bear. Hammer Knight if they don't have Illusion, Anchornaut if they do. Butterfly if it looks like they'll have offensive pressure, Chant of Revenge as often as you can. Ice Trap is pretty good against Aradel and Brennen. Choke is good against Leo.

After playing through a gauntlet of Illusion at the TTS SLAM JAM, I learned a lot about playing against Illusion, which is something I've had trouble with for a long time. The main learning points are:
-Don't bring Hammer Knight. You won't have the dice.
-Final Cry is almost impossible to play during your opponent's turn. The best ways are probably to meditate fort a Goat, then attack in with a wounded Bear, threatening Spite damage, or they block and counter, letting you trigger Final Cry.
-Anchornaut is a great FF choice! It keeps you low on the Thunder Number, and it isn't tied to a class of magic so Illusion can't mess with it. You'll probably ping their Shadow Spirit, which an Illusion player is almost certain to play, based on my experience in this tournament.
-Think very carefully about Screaming. Overextending with Screams can leave you behind on board if they use Wolf dice hard.
-It is very difficult to pre-meditate (another reason why Frog pinging and Final Cry are so hard to do). If it is essential that you need a power die next turn for certain, you can meditate for 2 of that die so they can't Wolf both of them.
-Being wary of Vanish is very stressful. Often times it is correct to save your Molten Golds for removing units, so you can trigger Screams. Screams does not target, so it cannot be Vanished.

Unrelated to Illusion, but I wanted to talk about Cut the Strings. It was a tech against both Blood Puppets and Regress, but, as is tradition, nobody plays the last 1st place deck from a big tournament :P

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What were your typical first fives in different matches?

Updated the post with some general FF considerations. I typically don't adhere to a strict FF plan, and make minor tweaks based on a number of variables such as their dice, PB, who my opponent is, and hunches.

Nick Conley

Updated with a tournament report published on Strange Copy: http://www.strangecopy.com/index.php/2016/09/13/hope-for-the-best-prepar...

Nick Conley

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