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Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Coal vs. Maeoni precons - wtf? rss

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Joe Stude
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I picked up the game when it finally hit retail shelves and have something like 15 games under my belt with the same opponent. Because we're still getting accustomed to the card pool and don't get to play a lot we've been sticking with precon decks using the suggested starting five. Up until now I've been pleasantly surprised at the balance and how tense, competitive, and interesting every matchup has been. However, over the last two sessions we've played four games of precon Coal (me) vs. Maeoni and I'm admittedly mystified on how to approach this matchup. The first two games were played in one sitting, one win a piece, the second two tonight where I lost both. The gist: it feels like Maeoni has so many more useful weapons that coupled with the huge life disparity that Coal's only recourse is to pursue extremely aggressive beatdown using slash and Frog dice and needs to play almost perfectly to stand a chance.

That's exactly what happened with my only win: I focused almost completely on iron rhinos and an occasional iron worker and used everything else in the deck to power Slash to keep his battlefield as free of guilders as possible. The winning attack was made possible by a huge 5 direct damage attack on a snake that would have eaten me alive 1 or 2 turns down the road, powered by 2 frog dice and 3 slashes, all accomplished on the same turn by burning counters off an iron worker. If he had had a Golden Vein in hand that would have failed and I would have lost on the next turn as I only had 2 life remaining with a 2 attack snake and Hypnotize on the board.

The subsequent two games tonight I tried slightly different approaches, neither of which worked and the second of which saw me wiped out without doing a single damage back to Maeoni. Here's some additional random stuff about the matchup based on my experiences:

--Due to lack of utility in the deck, Coal is forced to rely completely on unit removal and attack damage.

--The amount of work and resources required to power Coal's removal engine is almost always higher than it is for Maeoni to replace the removed units. Thus, you are always looking at a material and tempo loss unless your removal attempts will lead directly to a significant chunk of damage to Maeoni. In general, this "uphill battle" feel is the way I feel best describes the entire matchup for Coal.

--Because of Coal's low life value and Hypnotize, this matchup feels like a ticking time bomb for Coal. Once Maeoni and Empower attack pumped snakes are allowed to walk in Coal unmolested the game is virtually over unless Coal has either found a way to inflict a lot of early damage on Maeoni and/or has a ton of potential damage sitting in his battlefield. That ALSO happened in my only win as a I got quick 9 damage on her with single hammer knight/rhino attacks and held on for dear life from there.

--Because of how expensive Coal's heavy hitters are and the card costs of slash I haven't been able to get Protect, Chant of Vengeance, or Strengthen on the board in any of these games despite wanting/trying to.

Card-specific stuff:

--I love Hammer Knights but they feel frustratingly useless without at least a Protect on the board as they can be defended by a single gilder pumped up by Maeoni's special. I ALSO haven't been able to get that to happen in any of our games.

--I've spent a ton of time and resources on Iron Rhinos in this matchup and have found them to be incredibly underwhelming for the cost due to Unit Guard and the consequent difficulty in getting through to Maeoni (unless she lets you in to spare her snakes).

There's more but I'll leave it at that for starters. I know Coal is considered pretty bad and that deckbuilding and/or selecting a custom first five will help, but does anyone have thoughts on this matchup with the precon decks using the preselected first five?
 
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Aaron Rohrer
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one good combo with coal's deck is overusing the anchornauts. you can bring them out for super cheep and use them to exhaust the snakes. when they are killed us the power symbol on the ceremonial die to bring him back to life. since his power is 0 you don't have to take any damage and get him right back into your hand to bring back out at any time. this will overwhelm maeoni if done right because you are consistently exhausting her most powerful unit. if you're going to use the rhino only use it with cheap, underpowered dice. 100 swords is a great card and a guaranteed 1 damage. chant of revenge is great as well. good luck with your battle!
 
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Joe Stude
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hi aaron,

Unfortunately anchornauts do 1 damage to a target unit, not exhaust them and in this matchup i've found it's better not to play them since they usually serve as snake food after being killed by Gilder summon damage or frog dice.
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Aaron Rohrer
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ah sorry...thinking of a different card...don't have it in front of me.
 
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John Choong
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I find that whoever play Coal against Maeoni using the pre-constructed deck is playing a severe handicapped game (but it can be good if you are demoing the game and want the new players to have better chances to win).

Personally, to win against Maeoni, you have to construct your deck. My deck has imported 2x Summon Gilder, 2x Hypnotise, 2x Root Armor, 3x Refresh, 2x Molten Gold and 3x Enchanted Violinist. Dice composition is 3x Charm, 3x Ceremonial, and 4x Natural.

I remove Summon Iron Rhino as I find that using this card always put me in dice disadvantage, hampering my economy, and slowing my momentum. Also, I dislike Spiked Armor due to the higher cost and needing a Main Action to put it into a Target unit. There is always a risk that your target unit will be disposed off before you get the chance to the Spiked Armor on.

Now this may strike you kind of strange, I actually took out 2 copies of Coal's signature cards - One Hundred Blades to make space for the other cards as I find it to be 'meh' for me. This has very much to do with my playstyle as I like to deliver high damage like using Hammerknight and Molten Gold. Anyway, i can always have Aftershock and Slash to deal with low life units.

I like Enchanted Violinist because you do not need to pay any dice to put her into play which help give you dice advantage, allowing you to use the dice for other purpose. You can yourself meditate using a side action, perhaps to get some Frog dice and then deal 1 damage to a target Unit. So you can consider this as a pseudo-slash.

So as per the above suggestion, you can see that i actually use many of Maeoni's cards against her. The idea to play Refresh on Hammerknight provided he gets support from Protect and Root Armor so it can attack twice. Also, both Maeoni and you will be racing to put Hypnotise down. If you have Iron Worker and Strengthen in the board, you can effectively deliver high damage to Maeoni by using 1 side action for Hypnotise on Hammerknight and another side action for Iron Worker.

Since in Coal's pre-constructed deck has no unit with Unit Guard, the Gilder will be useful to protect your non-conjuration unit from being consumed by the Silver Snake. In addition, Gilder synergise with Iron Worker.

Nevertheless, if you are playing with customised decks, you probably has to watch out for Fade Away and Sympathy Pain which appear to be quite common imports in Maeoni's decks.
 
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Nathan Fritz
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The health differential does make it challenging.

Tips (not all of which may be compatible, they're just different things I've tried with Coal):

* Discard the Anchornaut during the prepare phase on the first round. You can recover it with a Ceremonial die with no health penalty and it lets you draw a 6th starting card.

* Resurrect the Anchornaut and use it as a blocker or to discard for slash. Repeat.

* Get that hammer knight out early as a blocker for the snake. It can counter and kill it, placing a damage on any gilder out. That puts the remaining gilder in slash range.

* Kill guilders with strengthened workers -- attack their snake and force them to choose between losing the snake, the gilder or taking 4 damage to their Phoenixborn.

* Kill snakes with hammer knights (Strengthened if necessary to account for Charm dice)

* Get Chants of Revenge out as soon as you draw into it. Trigger it with your anchornauts (either by guarding with them or by having them kill themselves with their own Throw ability.) You can just resurrect them.

* Iron Workers are a viable attacker or defender. And they let you trigger multiple slashes or strenghtens on a turn.

* With a clear Maeoni battlefield, a full hand, and 2 workers with 2 tokens each, you can dump your entire hand into slash for a win if you can get Maeonia within 5 of dead.
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John Choong
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You just have to remember that Maeoni has her ability that can increase her Units' attack value in order to kill off Coal's ally and then later be consumed. So Protection is often an early card you should play on the board.

With regards to Gilder, Maeoni may be happy enough for it to be killed because you are helping her to power up her Snakes. And often the cost of paying to summon Maeoni's conjuration is much lesser than putting into play a Hammerknight or Iron Rhino. Hence this dice differential results in Coal's disadvantage in playing against Maeoni's.

Just sharing here (in case you choose to play customised decks). When playing against customised Maeoni's deck, be wary of the tactic of having Maeoni becoming the target of attack and then later play Sympathy Pain to kill an unexhausted unit to give her Silver Snake a status token and later come in for the kill with a Silver Snake that is plied up with Status Token and plus Maeoni's strike. So if you see that she has 2 Heart dice, get your ready for the above Maeoni's shenanigan.
 
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Joe Stude
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Thanks for the responses guys. This is definitely making me want to go constructed the rest of the way.

Responding to some stuff:

nbfritz wrote:
* Discard the Anchornaut during the prepare phase on the first round. You can recover it with a Ceremonial die with no health penalty and it lets you draw a 6th starting card.

* Resurrect the Anchornaut and use it as a blocker or to discard for slash. Repeat.


I didn't try discarding it outright, but in our last game I did try using anchornauts solely as blockers. The problem was that that game I also decided to just let Maeoni's battlefield stay loaded up (2 Gilders and a Snake) for a few turns while I attempted to establish a numbers advantage in my own battlefield. Since she didn't have to spend dice replacing her own units, Maeoni was able to use her frog dice to ping away the Anchornauts, which had the additional advantage of feeding her snakes. Without playing constructed I really feel it's best not to play Anchornauts at all in this matchup.

nbfritz wrote:
* Get that hammer knight out early as a blocker for the snake. It can counter and kill it, placing a damage on any gilder out. That puts the remaining gilder in slash range.


Did that the last game - it was the first card I played, followed a short time later by a Spiked Armor. It worked pretty well actually, but instead of attacking it or my Phoenixborn directly he just ignored it completely until Hypnotize hit the board and then it was all over. I couldn't afford to go aggressive with it and if I had he could have probably one-shot it using a gilder, Maeoni ability, and two empowers, so it just sat there looking mean all game.

nbfritz wrote:
* Get Chants of Revenge out as soon as you draw into it. Trigger it with your anchornauts (either by guarding with them or by having them kill themselves with their own Throw ability.) You can just resurrect them.


Yeah I really wish I could have done this. I honeestly don't recall drawing one of these in any of our games.

nbfritz wrote:
* Iron Workers are a viable attacker or defender. And they let you trigger multiple slashes or strenghtens on a turn.


Agreed on the former and the latter, but once you start massing enough status tokens on them to actually be a threat they WILL be targeted.

nbfritz wrote:
* With a clear Maeoni battlefield, a full hand, and 2 workers with 2 tokens each, you can dump your entire hand into slash for a win if you can get Maeonia within 5 of dead.


Yup - if you can start a turn with a solid numerical battlefield advantage you can put a ton of damage on Maeoni really quickly... but that not nearly as easy as you'd think. The stars have to align and stuff.

brighknight_216 wrote:
With regards to Gilder, Maeoni may be happy enough for it to be killed because you are helping her to power up her Snakes. And often the cost of paying to summon Maeoni's conjuration is much lesser than putting into play a Hammerknight or Iron Rhino. Hence this dice differential results in Coal's disadvantage in playing against Maeoni's.


Yep, this is exactly what I said in my original post, except for the blurb about Maeoni actually WANTING her Gilders to die (which is true). You can't really afford to take them out because to win this matchup you need to establish some sort of battlefield dominance, but you also can't really afford to take them out because they'll just feed the snakes and be replaced cheaply and immediately for a negative net gain.

I think it's time to put on our big boy pants and deckbuild.
 
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Michael Pittman
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Drawing all of your Anchornauts and all of your Protects helps (as I did the last time I played this match up). Haha.

It's important to remember that Consume, if a Silver Snake is in play, also removes any destroyed allies from the game, so recurring Anchornauts is easier said than done (unless you're using them as Slash fuel).

Protect, however, can make Maeoni's life slightly more difficult. I used it exclusively to keep my Anchornauts alive/not consumed.

I totally agree that Hypnotise puts Coal on a hard clock, so I wouldn't summon an Iron Rhino at all ... you lose too much tempo and will need those dice for other things.

This is definitely a lopsided match-up out of the box. I think Coal would have a much better chance with a customised deck. Small Sacrifice alone would cause Maeoni serious headaches, as she would need Ready or Transfer to get attacks in. Although, I'm not sure if I'd normally run Small Sacrifice out of Coal (although I've got it in a theoretical deck list that adds Illusion dice so that I can also run Summon Mist Spirit to combo with Chant of Revenge, as well as card draw to fuel Slash).
 
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Joe Stude
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DreadFool wrote:
It's important to remember that Consume, if a Silver Snake is in play, also removes any destroyed allies from the game, so recurring Anchornauts is easier said than done (unless you're using them as Slash fuel).


Uhhhhhhhhh no. blush In my defense, Maeoni is the only base deck I haven't played so I wasn't familiar with the card text. I've since given my buddy hell about reading his own damn cards. Otherwise, blah - as if this matchup needed to be made any more difficult.

DreadFool wrote:
I totally agree that Hypnotise puts Coal on a hard clock, so I wouldn't summon an Iron Rhino at all ... you lose too much tempo and will need those dice for other things.


I debated this with my buddy and while I agree they slow you down tremendously (especially if you have no focus), without them what is the deck's win condition? If I skip rhinos entirely because they're too expensive and I skip Anchornauts because they're snakefood that's already half the deck's units, meaning you have to rely on hammer knights and iron workers + slash to do a TON of work.

DreadFool wrote:
This is definitely a lopsided match-up out of the box. I think Coal would have a much better chance with a customised deck. Small Sacrifice alone would cause Maeoni serious headaches, as she would need Ready or Transfer to get attacks in. Although, I'm not sure if I'd normally run Small Sacrifice out of Coal (although I've got it in a theoretical deck list that adds Illusion dice so that I can also run Summon Mist Spirit to combo with Chant of Revenge, as well as card draw to fuel Slash).


I'm probably going to try deckbuilding with him eventually, but right now I'm kinda soured on his tiny life pool and how relatively expensive his ability is. I think I need some more games outside the Maeoni matchup.
 
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John Choong
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Jowjow wrote:


I'm probably going to try deckbuilding with him eventually, but right now I'm kinda soured on his tiny life pool and how relatively expensive his ability is. I think I need some more games outside the Maeoni matchup.



Personally, I find a good match up for Coal will be Noah and Aradel. I always like to start new players with these two match-up. For the Coal vs Aradel, both has low Life value, so there have to be careful. Both can still can potentially clear the board with Coal using Slash, Frog dice, Hammer Knight's Aftershock, and One Hundred Blades. Aradel has her Water Blast, Mist Typhoon and Out of the Mist. So it very much an interesting to- and-fro exchange.

Against Noah, well then it depends on how well a person know how to play him especially on when to Summon the Masked Wolves and have them attack and how you can prepare yourself to get the Sleeping Widows out. Noah may find going against Coal a difficult match-up for him due to the fact that many of his Units have low life. But then Noah has a relatively higher Life Value so he can sustained himself longer.
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Joe Stude
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Good tips - thanks. I actually lost vs. Coal with the Saria precon deck once for that reason: most of her units are either 1 or 2 life with no drawback to remove so it was super easy for him to ping off anything I put out after a while.
 
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Michael Pittman
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Jowjow wrote:
I debated this with my buddy and while I agree they slow you down tremendously (especially if you have no focus), without them what is the deck's win condition? If I skip rhinos entirely because they're too expensive and I skip Anchornauts because they're snakefood that's already half the deck's units, meaning you have to rely on hammer knights and iron workers + slash to do a TON of work.


I'd rather a Hammer Knight than a Rhino (and it's almost impossible to afford both in a round) in this match up. I didn't mean to say never play a Rhino ... but I wouldn't rush to it. Having it focused and maybe one or two Expand Energy in play would make it a lot more viable in terms of cost-effectiveness.

Also, I wouldn't skip using Anchornauts. In fact, I think they are key to your best chance of success, since in numbers they can help destroy Silver Snakes. Just don't play them without having a Protect in your spellboard. That way, Maeoni has to waste resources trying to use up your Protect counters, or leave them alone.

But no matter what, this is a hard match up for Coal. Try Aradel against Maeoni.

Good luck.
 
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Joe Stude
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Played a couple more games tonight, still precons as we didn't have time to deckbuild prior. Saria vs. Aradel was pretty bad for the same reason - Saria has to spend all her dice trying to keep enough of a battlefield to defend herself that she has nothing left for her wincon (milling).

However, based on recommendation in an earlier post we played Coal vs. Aradel and that was, as expected, a hellacious game. I was at 10 damage and Aradel at 11 when my buddy sent a pair of 3 life butterfly monks at me trying to clear out a 2-wound hammer knight and an anchornaut or force me to take 2 more damage, leaving himself undefended thinking that with 3 dice left and no cards in hand there was nothing more I could do. He forgot about Expand Energy, however, which I used to get back a die, summon a Rhino (3 focused spells), and charge him in for the killing blow. I'd play that matchup again for sure.
 
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