Updated: Apr 27, 2020
Original post used with permission.
Written by Dominik at 'Can't Touch Dis'
Translated from Polish by Carl Woodwiss and Carmelo Massimo Tidona
Edited and reviewed by Kate Dunstone
There are several cards which you want to see when you open an Age of Ascension deck.
So, you’re standing in front of the KeyForge shelf in your local game store, trying to decide between buying a deck from Worlds Collide or the Call of the Archons? Let me add another set to your dilemma - Age of Ascension! Despite having cards that seem interesting at first glance, the blue expansion is yet to receive the love it deserves. Today I decided to check this expansion’s decks and find card combinations that will please even the biggest malcontents.
1. Timetraveller + Backup Copy
Timetraveller is a card which first appeared in Call of the Archons and quickly won the hearts of the player base. Together with Library Access, it was argued to be the strongest card in Logos. Not only does it give you Aember and card advantage, it also comes with Help from Future Self, which allows you to add Timetraveller to your hand from your deck or discard pile. When playing a Timetraveller with a Backup Copy, you can place him on top of your deck ready to play; using Wild Wormhole after this allows you to reap the benefits of potentially playing Timetraveller twice in one turn.
2. Drummernaut + Ganger Chieftain
If at first you don’t see the murderous machine in these two cards, I’m here to help! To take full advantage of this combo, your opponent’s board needs to be clear. Drummernaut enters the game – then Ganger Chieftain appears next to him, who readies him and… can’t force Drummernaut to fight, because he has no targets. Our ready Drummernaut can now reap, returning to hand a Giant through his ability... you can figure out what happens next. This combo, generally referred to as Gangernaut, can create 6 Aember every turn, which is only limited by the Rule of Six. While it only works while the opponent’s board is clear, bear in mind that to play Drummernaut you have to call Brobnar, which has a lot of other methods to wipe the opponent's board beforehand.
3. Martian Generosity + Key Abduction
We’ve reached the first acronym today describing an archetype in KeyForge: the GenKA deck (Martian Generosity + Key Abduction). The way this works is very simple. With at least 4 Aember, you play Martian Generosity to draw 10 cards, and then forge a key for free thanks to Key Abduction. Add in Nepenthe Seed and you can forge 2 free keys in one turn. It’s not surprising that the prices of GenKA decks can reach several hundred Euros.
4. Binate Rupture + Interdimentional Graft
Next we’re dealing with a combo that’s not as exciting and efficient as GenKA, called BRIG (Binate Rupture + Interdimensional Graft). The first card is an 'Alpha', which doubles the Aember in your own and your opponent's pool, while the second allows you to cleverly transfer your opponent’s surplus Aember to your pool when they forge a key at the start of their next turn. Unfortunately, this will only work in the early and mid-game, but if used correctly it allows you to gain an incredible Aember advantage.
5. Heart of the Forest + Any Key Cheat
Some love it, others hate it. Heart of the Forest is a card that raises a lot of controversy among players. A good deck with this artifact must be efficient in stalling or archiving, and be able to manufacture one powerful turn in which you forge a key from scratch. The tactic here is to stall your opponent with Heart of the Forest until you assemble all the parts needed to win the game. Unfortunately, any artifact control or destruction of any part of your combo practically prevents you from winning, but it’s a deck that can surprise many a veteran in a tournament.
6. Bouncing Deathquark + Archimedes
In the early days of AoA, Archimedes had very contentious rules. After a rulebook update, one copy of Archimedes was no longer able to archive all allied creatures during a board wipe. However, his unique skills are still useful in control decks. The best combo is with Bouncing Deathquark, which, when properly played, will archive your part of the board, and send the opponent’s creatures for a well-deserved holiday in their discard pile.
Who didn’t want to open a deck with Horsemen in the early days of KeyForge? Shards were to be for Age of Ascension what the Four Horsemen were for Call of the Archons. Were they successful? Well, reviews are divided. The mechanics of the Shards were intended to present the distinctive features of each house, but it’s clear that the Shards are unequal. Drawing cards from the Shard of Knowledge is a much stronger effect than the "+1" counters from the Shard of Strength. In my opinion, the strongest combination is the Shards of Knowledge, Greed and Hope, although as always, everything depends on the other cards in the deck. Thankfully, the strength of each Shard increases with the number of them on the table, and the deck-building algorithm is gracious and ensures that they always occur at least in pairs.
8. Bordan the Redeemed + Heist Night
Heist Night is a rather bad card. It requires a round of preparation before it becomes useful. In addition, it requires us to play two turns in a row with Shadows - the first to play creatures with the THIEF trait, the second to perform the 'title' attack on the opponent's Aember. What if a thief went to the side of the light but still remembered their old tricks? Here, Bordan the Redeemed comes to our aid: the only card from outside Shadows that has the required THIEF trait. This allows us to play Heist Night on an unsuspecting opponent after only Sanctum cards have appeared on the table. Surprise guaranteed!
9. Grump Buggy + High Powered Creatures
Grump Buggy, together with a good crew on board, can slow down even the fastest decks. Brobnar, in which the card occurs, usually has powerful creatures that easily cross the 5 strength threshold to trigger the effect. Add in Sanctum knights like "Lion" Bautrem, or cards which strengthen creatures like Haedroth's Wall, and suddenly the enemy’s key costs reach sky-high values. Remember, though, that once Grumpy Buggy’s on the board, you’re along for the sky-high key cost ride too if the opponent also has a board full of big 'uns.
10. Eureka! + Z.Y.X Researcher
Eureka! is a powerful opener, especially if you’re the starting player. It provides enough Aember for half a key, and the random archiving is great at creating free space for more cards from the deck. If you're lucky, the archiving won't touch the house you wanted to play in the next turn. The best follow-up to Eureka! is Z.Y.X Researcher, who will gladly archive it from the top of the discard pile. A second Eureka! in the game? Yes please!
AoA is okay...
... is how we describe it. What I’ve shown you above is just the tip of the iceberg, which are excellent cards that create interesting combinations. Did I miss something? Of course! Do you have any favorite Age of Ascension Cards? Let me know in the comments!