Now that we’re hot on the heels of the Age of Ascension, each House is expanding their available arsenal of creatures, actions, and artifacts as they prepare for the next phase in the eternal quest to forge those darned keys. Let’s take a look at some new stand out cards for each of the Houses and how they may shape the future of Keyforge!
It appears the Martians have been amping up their gear. Browsing the card list for Age of Ascension, I’ve noticed that Martians have gotten a variety of more potent cards this time out. Shoutouts to Hypnobeam (Collar of Subordination would like a word with you) and Destroy them All! for amping up Mars’s control game.
I feel like Age of Ascension has embraced the jankiness of Mars (which I feel is exactly the right call), and nothing embodies this more than Mindworm. A one-power creature that is meant to enter the fray seems to be counter-intuitive until you see that it forces the creature it is fighting to slam its neighbors. Suddenly this guy looks a hell of a lot scarier.
Imagine getting a Kelfi Dragon to roast its allies! Ooh, the savagery. Likely Mindworm will die the first time you use it (especially if you want to get your bang for your buck and target something especially nasty) but it’s definitely worth wreaking havoc on your enemies. Bonus points if you manage to saddle Mindworm with skirmish so that it can keep (dare I say it?) worming its way through the enemy lines.
Mars are back and they are pissed. While Mars has always has a decent ability to bombard the battleline with damage relative to their numbers, they haven’t really had much in the way of outright killing creatures. Well now they’re taking the battleline by force and are willing to march up and outright slaughter those weaker than them.
Be careful with this card as it reads: “Destroy a non-Mars creature with lesser power” so that can also mean that they can target your own creatures if you aren’t paying close enough attention.
Dishing out more of Mars’s jank is Entropic Manipulator, a card that has a pretty wide variety of applications when you wrap your head around it. You can either choose your opponent or yourself, and redistribute the damage counters on that player’s creatures as you see fit.
By targeting your opponent you can easily redistribute the damage to any of the squishier creatures (especially those Elusive buggers) and thin out the opponent’s ranks or conversely, stack up a lot of the damage from the rest of the creatures on to some of their tankier creatures.
By targeting yourself you can heal your MVPs by having some of the others share the burden, or even use it to kill off any creatures you have that might have some good Destroyed effects. There’s a lot you can do with this, that’s for sure, and I think your mileage will vary based on how much you experiment with this card.
I am surprised to say that Shadows looks like it’s been somewhat nerfed this time out in Age of Ascension. While I’ve noticed that a lot of the other Houses have acquired tricky new tactics or objectively more powerful cards than their Call of the Archons iterations, I’ve noticed that Shadows feels…weaker this time out?
Not that I mind, I kind of felt like Shadows was a little overpowered in Call of the Archons, but it’s interesting to see the shift. That being said, it looks like Shadows is paying a little more attention to both players’ æmber pools, having a number of cards like Dusk Chronicles, Furtive Investors, Gamgee, and Perplexing Sophistry that have effects based on whether you have more or less æmber than your opponent. It appears Shadows is trying to keep up with the Joneses.
I always do love me a good “use your opponent’s medicine against them” approach. Untamed’s Mimicry was my favorite card in Call of the Archons, and I suspect Murkens here is going to be one of my favourites in Age of Ascension.
There is more randomness at play with Murkens than there is with Mimicry, but you also deprive your opponent of that card (since you played it and not them), so there’s that extra ouch-factor. Leave it to Shadows to swipe up the best laid plans.
It is fitting (and especially cruel) that Shadows has a card that literally blugeons you with a sack of coins. While Shadows has had a few direct-damage cards in Call of the Archons, this one here is probably going to be one of the most potent since it synergies so well with Shadows’ ability to acquire æmber (usually at the expense of the opponent). One good wallop with this sack and even the beefiest of creatures will go down.
Scowly Caper is probably the best example of the risks the developers are willing to make with this game, and a decent indicator of the kinds of crazy shenanigans that future cards and sets in Keyforge might look like.
You give Scowly to your opponent, but though he’s on their side, he’s going to be shanking his way through the opponent’s lines. What is even more insidious is giving Scowly Skirmish, so even though that might be a boon for the opponent, it also means that they can’t just throw Scowly into one of your creatures to get rid of the jerk.
It is hard to tell how effective Scowly Caper is going to be in the upcoming meta, but he is definitely a beacon of pure ingenuity in terms of design, and I’m frankly really excited to see what other crazy ideas will show up in future sets.
Reminiscent of green-mana cards from Magic: The Gathering, Untamed is going the route of buffing creatures in Age of Ascension. Utilizing a few new cards that give creatures power counters (a somewhat underused mechanic from Call of the Archons), we have Grovekeeper and Bumblebird coming out to make the fierce beasts of Untamed even fiercer.
While Untamed lost fan favourite Hunting Witch this time out, they have gained Duskwitch. Duskwitch looks to be scary useful, letting all your creatures come into play Ready, which is bonkers good.
To balance it out she only has one power and has Omega, so you can’t play any cards after her on the turn she is played. This gives the opponent a turn to get rid of her, which is probably what they’ll likely do given that having all your creatures enter Ready is an express ticket to winning the game.
Thankfully she has Elusive (a notable trend that I am seeing on creatures with high-value effects). In all honesty: As cool as Duskwitch is, I feel like she is going to simply end up being a gigantic target for removal. But gods help you if you let her live for more than a turn or so.
I feel somewhat ambivalent about this card. Keyforge has (for the most part) been a pretty fast-paced game, especially when compared to Magic: The Gathering. A card like Heart of the Forest is great strategically but often serves to stall the game, and can also stymie your progress as well since you are basically tethered to your opponent.
There has been an increase in Artifact removal in Age of Ascension so it doesn’t mean that Heart of the Forest will last forever, but I can see a lot of games suffer with the inclusion of this card. Either way it is a great catch-up card if you’re falling behind and it is great to see Untamed have a little more control.
When I first was digging through the card list, I almost missed these guys. And what I shame if I had! Po’s Pixies essentially serve as a ward against Stealing. And even though the opponent will still get æmber for their trouble, it means that they are not as big a target as something that might outright prevent Stealing altogether (like The Vaultkeeper).
I feel like these guys will be a great addition to any deck, though I’m somewhat bummed that they’re rares (I feel like these guys would make for great uncommons).
And that’s it, Keyforgers! With the Age of Ascension upon us, all our favourite Houses are now armed with new tools and creatures to help your Archons take the Vaults. It will be great to see how Age of Ascension decks play up against Call of the Archon decks as the Keyforge meta begins to develop! Good luck forging your keys, friends! Until next time!
Click here if you missed Part 1, where I break down new offerings from Brobnar, Logos, Sanctum, and Dis! And don’t miss out on our explanation of the new keywords in Age of Ascension, as well as an unboxing of the new Age of Ascension 2 Player Starter Set!