Age of Ascension Set Review: Mars CotA Reprints 4 of 7

Age of Ascension Set Review: Mars CotA Reprints 4 of 7

SPOILER ALERT!!!

Here is the last Knowledge is Power for the week. Today’s review is on house Mars which wasn’t particularly powerful in CotA. Do the cards coming back lead to a better Mars in AoA or are they still gonna be near the bottom of the pile. Hate them or love them, they are back! For those that haven’t seen the first three houses check my previous articles to catch up. I use a 0 to 5 scale for both Sealed and Archon, it doesn’t mean much but it’s been fun to give you an idea of a card’s power level. Your opinions could be way different and it doesn’t make them wrong, but these are mine. Lets get started!

Commons

Mindwarper – One of the best Mars creatures from CotA. Sure, John Smyth got a lot of love but this creature really could warp the game. Its elusive nature makes it hard to fight and its action forces an opponent’s creature to capture one from it’s own side. Although, it’s only two power so it dies easily to direct damage spells. Sealed 4, Archon 4

Mothergun – Solid Artifact. It won’t win games by itself but it will help control the board in the right Mars build. The ability to deal damage to a creature for each Mars card in your hand can make an impact. Although, I’m not super big on having multiples because it doesn’t create aember, which is how you forge keys and ultimately win the game. On the other hand, I’m all for having one to help control the board. Sealed 2.5, Archon 2

Vezyma Thinkdrone – Almost always this is a vanilla three power creature and I’m kind of disappointed to see it back. Hopefully we get some new creatures that are worth archiving regularly but until then, I’m really low on this card. Sealed 1, Archon .5

Yxilx Dominator – At nine power and one armor, it is one of the best board control creatures in the game. Neither Squawker or Soft Landing are being reprinted, but Mars First should be a solid replacement to make sure your Yxilx Dominator doesn’t stay stunned long. Since it has Taunt it can effect a board right away. It’s quite efficient at protecting your static effect creatures like Succubus, Hunting Witch, and Teliga to name a few from CotA. Sealed 3.5, Archon 3

Uncommons

Combat Pheromones – This card can be the glue that keeps a deck together. It’s never a dead card and can facilitate a large turn when you get to use 2 Mars creatures out of house. I like the flavor and flexibility Omni spells give you. The bonus aember for playing it just makes it all the sweeter. Sealed 4, Archon 4

Key Abduction – Solid at making keys outta turn, I prefer to have it paired with Logos. Logos makes it the most consistent because you can Archive cards and pick them up later. I’m not positive we will still be able to OTK with it because Battle Fleet is leaving, but I would keep my eye out for Key Abduction. It needs a lot of support but in the right decks it can be very warping. Sealed 2, Archon 2-4.5

Mothership Support – I play this card just for aember way to often. If it didn’t require ready creatures it would be quite a bit better. Unfortunately as is it’s just meh. I much prefer the next card to this one because it also deals 2 damage to creatures but it’s based on cards in hand opposed to ready creatures on the board. Sealed 2, Archon 1

Orbital Bombardment – Now this is a quality Mars removal spell and I love seeing multiples of this card. You can wipe your opponent’s board and drop all the Mars creatures you had so they can reap freely next turn. This card is definitly top tier. Sealed 4, Archon 4

Red Planet Ray Gun – It gives you an aember when you play it. That’s the best thing this upgrade does. Seriously, the majority of upgrades are very underwhelming and I find myself passing on decks just because they have one to three upgrades in them. This is one upgrade that forces me to auto pass on decks. It requires a target, forcing you to damage your own creatures after you reap if your opponent’s board is clear. I would trade this card for Orbital Bombardment every single time. Sealed 2, Archon .5

Sample Collection – A complete blank early in the game. It doesn’t even net you an aember. Cards like this and Red Planet Ray Gun are what held Mars back in CotA. Fairly disappointed to see this card back. By the time it becomes relevant, the game is probably decided and one or two creatures won’t swing you back into it which occurs often. Sealed 1, Archon .5

Uxlyx the Zookeeper – Less Sample Collections and more 2 power creatures like this is what Mars needs. I will say, I personally don’t like that my cards go into my opponent’s archives. I have already heard stories of people walking off with their opponents creatures and not realizing till after the opponent was gone. In a game where the deck is unique and you can never replace a card this is a bad situation. If your opponent plays this card against you, don’t forget your creatures and count your cards after a match. That’s literally the worst part about this card. Otherwise it’s one of the best Mars cards printed. Sealed 5, Archon 4.5

Zorg – Very powerful board presence but not quite as good as Yxilx Dominator. Before fighting, Zorg stuns the creature it is fighting and both of that creatures neighbors. If it had taunt it would definitely be better. Either way, I don’t mind having it in my Mars decks. Sealed 3, Archon 2.5

Rares

Brain Stem Antenna – In decks with seven plus Mars creatures this card really shines. It can lead to super powerful and game swinging turns. In decks with only three to six Mars creatures it can end up being dead quite often. So this card varies quite a bit. Sealed 2-5, Archon 1-4

Custom Virus – Another one of the Mars cards that’s just blank way to often. Having to purge one of your own just to get one of theirs isn’t the best trade. If you’re lucky you can get more. Custom Virus is way to situational to me. Sealed .5 Archon 0

Grommid – This is becoming a theme but another Mars card that is worthless way too often. I have beaten a few opponents who, instead of discarding this card, committed to it on the board way too early. Then I just slowly beat them by casting actions and artifacts while discarding my creatures. This basically locks my opponent out as they have no way to get Grommid off the table and play the creatures from the other houses in their hand. Sealed .5 Archon .5

Hypnotic Command – Too many situational Mars cards like this. Again the friendly ready creature clause shows itself and really hurts this card quite a bit. If you can pull it off it forces your opponent’s creatures to capture one from their own side for each of your ready friendly Mars creatures. However, having to wait a turn and hope your board survives is a tough ask. Sealed 3, Archon 2

Incubation Chamber – One of the more underrated Mars cards from my view. Since it allows you to archive a Mars creature from your hand, it can go along ways in setting up a combo such as Key Abduction. Like some of the other archiving abilities this can reach critical mass and lead to huge game swinging turns. Sealed 3.5, Archon 3

Invasion Portal – This is one of those ratio cards to me. If you have a lot of Mars creatures you can use it to extend your Mars board. It’s not as good as Brain Stem Antenna but it’s close. In addition, if you have very few Mars creatures you can also use this card to cycle through your deck faster and facilitate graveyard based strategies like Routine Job. Sealed 2-3, archon 1-3

Martian Hounds – Really wish this card netted an aember when you played it. Instead, it allows you to give a creature two +1 counters for each damaged creature. Way to situational to get much praise from me as are a lot of the CotA Mars cards. I’m disappointed to see this one back. Sealed 1, Archon .5

Qyxxlyx Plague Master – Humans are a relevant sub-type because they make up a good portion of Sanctum ranks in addition to some other houses. However, because Sanctum has lots of armor their creatures can be difficult to remove so Qyxxlyx’s ability to reap and deal 3 damage bypassing said armor is great. Because of Sanctum, humans are going to stick around in AoA and I expect this card to get a lot of work in. Sealed 3.5, Archon 3

Shatter Storm – Solid aember control. With Grabber Jammer not staying around, Mars will need some ways to control opponent’s aember and this reprint is one of them. Hopefully Mars gets more +key cost abilities and aember control at the common and uncommon levels. Otherwise they could find themselves near the bottom of the power rankings again. Sealed 3.5 Archon 3.5

Sniffer – Do I even need to discuss how bad this card is? Like it’s an irrelevant ability 95% of the time. Might as well be a blank card that nets you an aember because all it does is remove elusive for the turn. Cards like this are exactly why Mars can’t hang with Shadows, Logos, Untamed, and Dis from CotA. Sealed 0, Archon 0

Total Recall – Yet another situational card. Where even the top end isn’t great. Sure you can make a few aember in the same turn but it sets you back so far on board that if that aember doesn’t win you the game you’re going to fall behind. Picking up out of house creatures isn’t ideal since you won’t be able to play them back out that turn. Sealed .5, Archon 0

I’m unimpressed by the cards house Mars has coming back. Though, the Martians are one of if not my favorite houses for art, flavor, and story line. They fall short on the battlefield. I’m not a huge fan of most of these rares coming back. They are just too situational and even when you do pull them off they don’t get you back into games. I hope someday house Mars can become a dominate house on the crucible but if these reprints are any indications of what is to come they will probably be relegated to a support house once again. I’ll be taking the weekend off, but will be back Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday next week to finish off the reprints for AoA. Thanks for visiting and REAPOUT!

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