Ascension Strategy: How to Win Solo Games

By Brian Durkin

Snapshot of Today’s Challenge

“The bickering that came in war’s wake must end. A Godslayer must take up arms a second time. The Fallen has returned.” – Ascension: Return of the Fallen Rulebook
Are you ready to fight once again? Are you prepared to do this journey alone? In order to tank a god you will need to know what support cards will allow you to slay the mighty Samael. Before entering the ring with The Fallen, draw upon your experience for guidance.

Arbiter of the Precipice
If It Works Then Don’t Fix It
Minimizing your deck size still pays off during solo play. Samael can acquire points fast, so banishing alone will not make your deck degenerate; however, you still need to see your best cards as often as possible to keep pace with The Fallen. If banishers do not present appear try acquiring constructs or heroes that draw cards. This strategy at least keeps your deck from theoretically growing. Building your deck this way will exploit a powerful hero and allow you to defeat a god.
Find the Achilles Heel
In order to defeat any enemy you must know his weaknesses. In solo play, Samael suffers from his inability to choose which cards to defeat or acquire. Take advantage of his tunnel vision by planning on cards to come back to you on future turns. For example you may need to prioritize acquiring Arbiter of the Precipice in a game with other humans, but Samael cannot take Arbiter until it finds its way to the end of the center row. You might find it difficult to break your normal habits of play at first, but remember that taking on a god requires some new ways of thinking. You need to exploit every advantage, especially anything that involves the center row and what Samael will defeat and acquire.
God Complex
Askara of Fate

If you can manipulate what cards Samael will take at the end of your turns you put yourself in a great position to win the game. Prioritize cards like Seer of the Forked Path and Askara of Fate. Effects that banish cards from the center row allow you to control everything in solo play: what cards Samael acquires, what monsters Samael defeats, how long the game will take to play. Assuming you do not defeat monsters yourself, preventing Samael from defeating monster through banish effects extends how long the game will last. This puts you in a great position to acquire better cards than Samael and ultimately score more honor tokens.
When to Let Samael Tap Out
Combining all the fore mentioned strategies can create degenerate scenarios. If you banish your entire starting deck, acquire only constructs and heroes that draw cards, manipulate the center row so no one defeats monsters, and earn more honor than Samael through acquiring cards you could theoretically continue the punishment forever. Of course eventually the deck or center row will consist of only monsters. You might find yourself in a situation where the last honor tokens must go to someone; however, that does not mean the game will end. Hopefully through your expert control of the board and deck building you assembled a deck that can take infinite turns. Do not know about this combo? Check it out.
Infinite Turn Combo
  • Banish Tablet of Time’s Dawn
  • Hedron Link Device or play Dimension Diver
  • Use Reclamax’s effect
  • Replay Tablet of Time’s Dawn
  • Repeat


You can insure the combo works on a consistent basis with other support cards. Rocket Courier X-99 makes it so you do not need to draw Tablet of Time’s Dawn and replay it because it will start in play again. Any player able to take infinite turns will usually pilot a deck that draws itself every turn as well. Lucky for you the almighty Samael just consumes and does not understand which cards he should take away from you. Punish his ignorance by taking the banish effect cards. With a deck that decreases size over time and controlling the board you will end up in a position where you might score infinite honor tokens. Be the better god and mercy rule Samael. You need to finish up that game somehow so you go tell your friends about it.
Today’s Challenge
You start a solo game. You open with the five Apprentices and the center row contains the following cards in order from their distance from the center row.
  • Arbiter of the Precipice
  • Askara of Fate
  • Wolf Shaman
  • Snap Dragon
  • Hectic Scribe
  • Tablet of Time’s Dawn


What would you acquire first? How do the cards Samael will acquire affect your decisions? What do you acquire on your second turn? Do you play in a way that attempts to prevent Samael from acquiring Tablet of Time’s Dawn?
Let us know what you think.
Additional Information:
For more information about Ascension: Return of the Fallen, check the product page on BoardGameGeek.com.
Interested in purchasing a copy of Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer? Try the following links.
You can purchase Ascension: Return of the Fallen from here:
If you live in the tri-state area, consider stopping by AU to pick up a copy and play with the staff. Almost every staff member knows how to play, and most of the MTG community that hangs out in the store enjoys playing pick up games as well.

Alternate Universes – Ascension

Ascension Strategy: Knowing the Deck

By Brian Durkin

The only monsters with the Fate effect.
In a game of Texas Hold ‘Em you have two hearts and two more hearts come out on the flop. Assuming no one else holds any hearts, what are your chances of making your flush by the river? You must learn the answer to these types of questions in order to improve your poker game. The same concept applies to all card games. Predicting what cards most likely will show up in the center row can give you a big advantage in Ascension, but what cards should you pay attention to?
Monster Mash
If you play with Chronicle of the Godslayer, Return of the Fallen, and the suggested amount of promos (1 Vedah, Sage of Swords, 2 Pathwarden, 2 Deep Drone, 2 Rat King, 1 Kythis, the Gatekeeper) the center deck will equal 125 cards. Fort-eight of that 125 will consist of monsters; monsters make up approximately 38 percent of the deck. A continuous run of monster cards hitting the center row will normally prove rarer than cards you can acquire, but it can happen. Gauge how many tokens will remain after the current onslaught of monsters. This will help you decide when to convert to power and start dashing for honor tokens versus waiting for those key constructs to appear, because the game may never last that long. A large supply of monsters early on will shorten the length of the game and hurt any player gaining the majority of their points from cards in their deck instead of tokens. Besides knowing the distribution of card types, you pay attention to specific card effects.

Destiny Draw

Return of the Fallen adds cards with the new keyword fate. Learn these cards and what each fate effect does. Askara of Fate allowing you to draw an extra card could change what you can acquire or defeat. Be careful not to lay down your entire hand because you could draw a Temple Librarian off of Askara of Fate and now you cannot use it.

The two heroes with Fate and
the two constructs with Fate.

Same goes for Arbiter of Fate. Playing Militia just to play it could cost you the opportunity of banishing it out of your hand. Stone Circle usually will help you decide which card in the center row to banish with an effect, because your opponents could use their Mystic before you with an effect to draw extra cards. Keep in mind that when acquiring constructs you might put one of them into your hand if Reclamax comes out.

All of the fore mentioned heroes and constructs typically promote accelerating the center row. The more cards that come out of the center deck, the better your chances to hit one of these fate effects. Ravenous Gorph’s fate effect helps this strategy; however, be mindful that his appearance could foil your plans on acquiring or defeating a particular card. If you need certain cards to stay in the center row for a while as you build up to acquire or defeat them, try not to accelerate the board too much. Monster effects like Mephit and Mistake of Creation give opponents the opportunity to banish the card they know you want. Another way to block players from the cards they want also involves a monster card: Rat King. The Giant Rat tokens force players to keep some power in their decks. The rats possess the potential to derail a player’s plans to acquire or defeat cards on the board. Try to evaluate how devastating a Rat King will affect your turn and plan accordingly.
How Many Times Will This Stuff Matter?
Including the Rat King as a card with fate, this effect only constitutes about ten percent of the deck. Some people might argue that planning around these cards will hurt you rather than help because the odds of hitting them do not justify expecting to see them. I say you should never expect to hit a ten percent chance event all the time, but you should stay aware of the possibility. Planning for Reclamax might accelerate you so much that you can catch up to your opponents, or put you so far ahead that no one can catch you. Acquiring cards in the right order can prevent the Rat King for disabling your ability to acquire the most important cards for your deck. The lesson: know the odds of certain special events happening, whether or not your want them to happen, and what you will do about it when they happen.
Today’s Challenge
Snapshot of your opening hand and center row
for Today’s Challenge
 
You go first in a two player game opening with two Militia and three Apprentice.
The center row consists of the following cards:


Mechana Initiate
Hectic Scribe
Wolf Shaman
Battery Monk
Arbiter of Fate
Rat King
Would you banish a card out of your hand with Arbiter’s fate effect (you do not know what your opponent decided yet)? What cards would your acquire and which Giant Rat(s) would you defeat? How does your opponent’s potential opening hand affect how you play out your turn? How does the probability of cards remaining in the deck affect your decisions?
Let us know what you think.
Additional Information:
For more information about Ascension: Return of the Fallen, check the product page on BoardGameGeek.com.
Interested in purchasing a copy of Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer? Try the following links.
You can purchase Ascension: Return of the Fallen from here:
If you live in the tri-state area, consider stopping by AU to pick up a copy and play with the staff. Almost every staff member knows how to play, and most of the MTG community that hangs out in the store enjoys playing pick up games as well.

Alternate Universes – Ascension

Ascension Video Coverage: Brian vs. Paul and the Power of Path Warden

by Brian Durkin

Path Warden is a recent Games Day Promo

The following videos cover a game of Ascension between Brian Durkin and Paul Durkin. This game ends up demonstrating the power level of Path Warden, the importance of controlling the center row, and what can happen when you make mistakes banishing the wrong cards. The video below covers the first half of the game. Enjoy.
Video Coverage Part I – Brian Durkin vs. Paul Durkin
Wielding a deck with such high card quality, Paul really pushed ahead of me. Can I redeem myself by acquiring a few big Mechana Constructs? Check out the conclusion in the second part below.


 


Video Coverage Part II – Brian Durkin vs. Paul Durkin
Thanks for tuning in. Did you agree or disagree with the players’ moves? Did you agree or disagree with my comments in the videos? How would you play certain game states that appeared in the video? What did you think of the video coverage?
Let us know what you think.
Additional Information:
For more information about Ascension: Return of the Fallen, check the product page on BoardGameGeek.com.
Interested in purchasing a copy of Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer? Try the following links.
You can preorder Ascension: Return of the Fallen from here:

Gary Games – Ascension: Return of the Fallen Preorder

If you live in the tri-state area, consider stopping by AU to pick up a copy and play with the staff. Almost every staff member knows how to play, and most of the MTG community that hangs out in the store enjoys playing pick up games as well.

Alternate Universes – Ascension

Video Credits:
 Shot, edited, narrated, and produced by Brian Durkin
 Music sampling “Oscar Wilde” by Company of Thieves
You can find more information about that band here: Company of Thieves
Interested in purchasing their music? Try iTunes or the band’s store: Company of Thieves Store