Age of Ascension Set Review: Mars

It’s Friday, so you know what that means, a new house review! Today we are looking at all the new cards in Mars from Age of Ascension. In Call of the Archons, Mars was known as the worst house in the set. In Age of Ascension though, Mars got some big upgrades and even has the most sought after combo in the set, Martian Generosity/Key Abduction (MGKA for short). Now let’s get to the cards!

Agent Hoo-man

I’ve been a fan of stuns for a while now and Hoo-man, while not great, is still serviceable. It’s important to realize that you can choose a different non-mars creature for your opponent each time you use him, and can target the same non-mars creature you control so you never have to have more than one stunned creature of your own from Agent Hoo-man. Sealed 1.5 Archon .5

Carpet Phloxem

This is a fun card. No matter what you can cycle it for an Aember ( which will be most of the time). This card’s design is a great way to introduce a powerful effect to help you catch up to an opponent who is starting to run away with the game while not being completely overpowered. I look forward to more cards like this in the future. Sealed 2.5 Archon 2

Collector Worm

Anytime I open an AoA deck and see Mars, I’m secretly hoping for this stud of a card. Collector Worm is REALLY hard to kill and it’s presence on an opponent’s side of the board is something you should always be aware of. The problem is, even if you understand you need to remove it fast, it’s Armor can sometimes prevent you from coming up with a strategy quick enough before it starts to wreck your board. I may have done an opponent dirty once in sealed by putting a Blood of Titans onto my Worm once.. Sealed 4 Archon 3.5

Glyxl Proliferator

Proliferator’s value is extremely dependent on the rest of your Mars house. Luckily, Mars has some pretty huge cards it wouldn’t mind bring back, especially sitting safe inside your archives waiting for the right opportunity. Cards like Key Abduction, Mars Needs Aember, Hypnotic Command, and Shatter Storm are great examples of cards that I love getting back with Glyxl Proliferator. Even getting back annoying creatures like Collector Worm and Yxilx Dominator is fine, but look for cards that set up big plays to bring back first. Sealed 3.5 Archon 3

Ixxyxli Fixfinger

This card is great! A small creature that survives against piles of damaging actions and effects thanks to the 2 armor is solid. An important note on “Each other Martian creature gets +1 armor”, your opponent’s Martians will also benefit from this effect. Sealed 3.5 Archon 2

Mars First

Mix up Anger from Brobnar and Inspiration from Sanctum and what do you get? Oddly enough it’s Mar’s First, even down to the color considering the 2nd most dominate color with Mars cards is purple (Red + Blue = Purple). It’s always great to use this in combination with any Mars creature that enters play the same turn, because Mars has some pretty big effects attached to it’s creatures that you want to get in before they inevitably get knocked off the board. Mars First will be an excellent support card in any AoA deck that has it, and will be ranked a tiny bit higher thanks to its versatility. Sealed 4 Archon 4

Mars Needs Aember

This card can take a little bit of set up on its own, but there are so many times it’s worth it. Anytime you open this beauty first check your other 2 houses. Did you get cards like They’re Everywhere! or Whistling Darts? You did? Great. Use this card to wreck your opponent on a turn they are about to forge a key. If you don’t have cards that spread out damage freely, just use it for an Aember and when your opponent has a single damaged creature, don’t hold onto it for great lengths unless you can ensure a huge effect. Sealed 3 Archon 1.5

Mindworm

Anyone familiar with my videos will know that I am not too fond of this card. It’s fight effect can have a big impact, don’t get me wrong, but at 1 power, there are entirely too many answers to the Mindworm problem. Mindworm’s optimal scenario involves attacking an opponents elusive creature, so Mindworm can stay on the table to threaten more chaos in the future. Sealed 1 Archon .5

Skybooster Squadron

What a neat effect. Use Skybooster to take out a 1-3 power creature then next turn, reap and replay, it’s like the damage never happened. Goes great with several cards inside Mars like Mothergun, Orbital Bombardment, and can even return itself to turn on both Phloxems. Sealed 2 Archon 1

Tyxl Beambuckler

This play effect is incredible in this set. 2 damage will kill a lot of problematic creatures your opponent may play, and the power to move a creature that cares about it’s position in the battleline is pretty big in this set. I love pairing this guy with Key Abduction so I can use the play ability twice in the same turn. Sealed 3.5 Archon 3

Xanthyx Harvester

Ouch. That is a pretty severe condition to get to use a creature that is arguably at the same level as Dew Faerie. Best case scenario I see for Xanthyx is on the flank, protected by a Yxilx Dominator. Otherwise, it will be very hard to get much use out of it. I would have loved to see the first line instead say, “Xanthyx Harvester cannot reap while it has a non-Mars neighbor. Sealed .5 Archon .5 (.5 is the lowest score for cards, no zeros here).

Zysysyx Shockworm

One of the better creatures that messes with your opponents reaping, thanks to a larger power than most with the same effect. That 1 armor comes in handy too and pairing this guy up with taunts or Ixxyxli Fixfingers makes for a huge annoyance for most opponents. Sealed 3 Archon 2.5

Aember Conduction Unit

Getting this card down early is just disgusting. Anytime you play it in the first turn or two of a game be sure to tell you opponent, “This card should really affect the both of us, I feel so bad.” As fun as it is to play early in the game, late game it typically won’t affect too much as both players will be racing for their last Aember and can potentially call multiple houses to get the Aember they need. I’m glad they didn’t give this card an Aember pip. Sealed 3.5 Archon 2

Containment Field

I’m not the biggest fan of removal that takes time to use and still allows our opponent to get another use out of whatever target we are trying to remove. Containment Field feels like it could have had an Aember bonus and still not been an above average card. Any deck lacking good removal will still be happy to at least see one of these because most decks need something to deal with larger creatures. Sealed 1 Archon .5

Destroy Them All

I love this card! One of the few cards that can straight up destroy an upgrade, it hits every single problem card your opponent may have. Be careful when you play this card if you are the only player that has an upgrade or artifact as you will have to destroy your own cards. Sealed 3 Archon 4.5

Exterminate! Exterminate!

This card looks like it should have a big impact on the board, but in my experience, it is usually either discarded or only destroys one creature. Mars creatures are overall smaller creatures, and this card can only destroy creatures that are smaller than they are! This card gets better the more Yxilx Dominators you have (this seems to be true about most Mars cards in this set, is Dominators the best Mars card in the set!?) and you need to be cautious because this card can potentially destroy your own non-Mars creatures. Sealed 1 Archon .5

Hypnobeam

This card is excellent (cue crazy air guitar movements with a peculiar high pitched sound accompanying it). This card could have been a rare like Collar of Subordination and no one would have questioned it, because this card is strictly better than Collar. The fact that its an uncommon means it is more likely to appear in multiples, which is kinda insane. Cards that take control of an opponents creature is the best form of removal in the game because not only did you remove their creature.. you now make your opponent have to deal with it. Sealed 5 Archon 5

Nyzyk Resonator

I personally think Nyzyk Resonator is a big upgrade from Grabber Jammer. If your opponent had a huge Aember turn, Nyzyk has great odds of preventing your opponent from forging a key because 10 is a pretty large number. Even if your opponent does get to forge a key, you made them pay an additional two thirds of a key! The 1 armor helps protect Nyzyk from most damage based removal your opponent will throw your way putting this card on another tier. Sealed 4 Archon 4

Phloxem Spike

A lot of the same things I said about Carpet Phloxem can be said about Phloxem Spike. The main difference here is that against smaller creature decks Spike is worse because your opponent will be left with one to two creatures (one if they only had one in play). On the flip side, if your opponent is running Sanctum and Brobnar you will be pleased your deck contains this card for more reasons other than the fact that it can destroy more than Carpet would. A decent amount of Brobnar decks get bonuses from fighting so your opponent will likely try to help you accomplish the “no friendly creatures” clause. Sealed 2.5 Archon 2

Storm Crawler

Its interesting that already here in the second set we have creatures that essentially have different attack and health. Storm Crawler has more resilience than most of the creatures that stall your opponent’s reaps thanks to a higher health and armor. The drawback is that the 1 “attack” will likely have zero impact on the game. Still a fine card no matter how you slice it. Sealed 2.5 Archon 1.5

Destructive Analysis

Imagine if Brad Andres came out tomorrow and said that purging a card doesn’t cause a card to leave an area, because it removes it from the game, therefore it isn’t leaving any zone, it simply doesn’t exist within the game any more. This cards value with Collector Worm would skyrocket! As much as it feels like the flavor of this card should work this way, it doesn’t within the context of our current rules. Instead to do some additional damage, you have to give your opponent their creatures back.. UGH. Purging cards from your archives could work if you have an insane logos house that is all about the archives and you can essentially filter you deck down to certain houses or cards within in each house (should the deck be able to cycle fast enough). Worst case, this card is a 2 damage action that nets you and aember so the card is fine no matter how you play it. Sealed 2.5 Archon 2.5

Entropic Manipulator

This is an interesting way to spread out damage among all your opponent’s creatures for cards like Mars Needs Aember or Misery exploit. It can also be used to take damage off of bigger creatures your opponent has to knock off some smaller creatures protected by taunts. And of course you have the option to spread the damage on your own creatures however you see fit. This is a great unique effect, and fits the rare slot perfectly. Sealed 1.5 Archon 2

Extinction

Awesome. This is my first time seeing this card and now I NEED a deck with one in it. I’m impressed that this targeted sort of mass removal was blessed with only 1 chain as I would gladly pay 2 chains for this effect. Yes, it can destroy your own creatures, but ultimately, you are the one in control of this effect and get to decide what is the best call at any given point in time. Sealed 4 Archon 4.5

Killzord Mk. 9001

This card is so much better than most give it credit for. People see the word fight and assume you put it on a creature that you want to fight with. Sure, that’s a fine strategy, but I prefer to put it onto a smaller creature with a huge effect to make the creature more likely to survive. Cards like Nyzyk Resonator, Bulleteye, Tezmal, and Aemberspine Mongrel are all fine targets for this card. And yes, cards with great fight effects like Groke and Umbra will appreciate this card too, as the chain each fight is worth the extra staying power these cards will suddenly have. Sealed 3.5 Archon 3.5

Martian Generosity

This card, most likely in multiples, will one day win a Vault Tour. Sitting at 5 Aember and feeling bad that this card would’ve put you into check after playing it? You won’t care, because 12 more cards in your hand is BONKERS. Play out the rest of your Mars cards you drew, and if your opponent finds a way to deal with those, enjoy a huge turn with one of your other 2 houses the following turn. I’d imagine that most people who come to this website already know about the combo of this and Key Abduction, and for those that don’t, go ahead and read both cards and try and come back to finish this article after your head explodes. Sealed 4 Archon 5

Shard of Hate

I know most people don’t get as excited as I do when it comes to stun effects so they probably think this cards is awful. Shards powers are completely dependant on how many you have out a given point in time, but even just a single stun each time you call Mars can have a big impact on the game, and when you have 3 shards out, a Tremor every turn that doesn’t have to hit neighbors will likely dominate a game. Sealed 3 Archon 3

Yxlyx Stimrager

1 more armor than Tyxl Beambuckler with the same effect but attached to a fight effect instead of play effect. I appreciate that it’s reusable over several turns to take out annoying creatures, but I place it around the same power level as Beambuckler because the ability to immediately impact a board the moment you play a card is huge in Keyforge. Sealed 3.5 Archon 3

Yzphyz Knowdrone

I like to use this card as a way to filter my deck. Every deck has some less than useful cards and after you determine which cards are worse in any given matchup, turn that/those card(s) into a stun! Combine with Key Abduction to filter out even more cards. Sealed 2.5 Archon 1.5

Mars definitely got some new and exciting cards inside of AoA, which is your favorite? Also, be sure to come back next Friday when we talk about the new Sanctum cards!

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