Age Of Ascension Set Review: Sanctum

It’s Friday, and that means we are back with another Age of Ascension house article! Sanctum was already my favorite house in Call of the Archons, so I look forward to reviewing all the new Sanctum cards inside of Age of Ascension (Note from future me: these cards did not disappoint!). As always, these are my first impressions and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments down below.

“Lion” Bautrem

From the first moment I saw this creature, I knew it would be one of my favorites in the set. Adding 2 power to give survivability or the option for smaller creatures to destroy bigger opposing creatures gets a nod from me. It’s also great that “Lion” is a decent size meaning there will be times an opponent will have to choose to either destroy him or the real threat next to him on some turns. Plus, deploy gives you quite a bit of freedom to not have to line-up your board perfect every time. Sealed 4 Archon 3

Abond the Armorsmith

Extra protection is always nice. The one armor Abond adds to your creatures can sometimes be the difference between a Poison Wave knocking out half your board to not destroying a single creature. I’m typically in the camp of just reaping with Abond instead of using the action, but there are certain situations where you appreciate the additional armor (Maruck!). Sealed 3 Archon 1.5

Aubade the Grim

Before we get any further, let’s take a moment to realize just how much more powerful Sanctum became in AoA.. ok, great. Let’s see the next card is.. whoa a perfect example! In Cota, Charette was quickly realized as one of the most powerful ways to take an opponent off a key (behind steal of course), the problem was your opponent could then let that aember sit for as long as they wanted and essentially just have you store their Aember until they really needed it again. All of those shenanigans have been fixed with Aubade the Grim. Now, your opponent cannot afford to sit back, because every turn you call Sanctum you can discard one of those beautiful shinys! Sealed 4.5 Archon 4

Bordan the Redeemed

Even Sanctum’s smaller creatures are pretty good! Bordan doesn’t look like much, but don’t let him fool you. He’s got 1 more power than most elusive creatures and an action that can take an opponent off keys. Plus, he just so happens to be in a house with great Taunt creatures and other cards that boost his stats like the first 2 cards of this article. Sealed 2.5 Archon 1.5

Challe the Safeguard

The ability to throw a taunt into any spot in your batteline is pretty powerful. The 4 power and 2 armor means your opponent will need to use at least 6 power (on the same turn) to elimate Challe, so hopefully whatever was protected will still be alive to use on your next turn. Sealed 2.5 Archon 2.5

Golden Aura

This is a card I like seeing in my Brobnar/Sanctum/Any decks. I feel that’s how I get the most out of it. Fully Healing a big Brobnar creature, and fighting with it on a Sanctum turn where it doesn’t take any more damage is a good feeling. Using this card to use an off-house creature’s reap or action is nice as well. Sealed 1.5 Archon 1.5

Hallowed Shield

This is a decent card. Sometimes you have a hard choice of trying to take out an opposing creature at the cost of a Sanctum creature and this card makes it worry free. Sanctum is great at reducing damage, but most of it’s higher power creatures only have 1 armor (otherwise they could survive just about anything!) and this card allows you too keep those higher power creatures around much longer as the annihilate your opponent’s creatures each turn. Sealed 1.5 Archon 1.5

Healing Blast

Fully healing a creature and getting an Aember for your troubles is great in my books. But where this card really shines is when you have big Brobnar creatures as you can plan out getting to 4 or more damage a little easier and getting that sweet, sweet bonus of 2 Aember. Remember, you can also use this on your opponent’s creatures if the heal will get you the bonus Aember. Sealed 3 Archon 2

Maruck the Marked

Another solid support Sanctum creature. Use Maruck as often as possible against smaller targets to slow down an opponent from forging a key. Combines beautifully with Abond the Armorsmith and Protect the Weak. Sealed 3 Archon 2

Sir Marrows

Sir Marrows feels like a card that is a little worse than he initially looks. I’m not saying he’s a bad card, as I like him because he’s a card your opponent has to deal with if they ever want to get Aember from reaping ever again. And he does make it a little more difficult for some houses to get rid of him thanks to the hefty 2 armor attached to a 4 power body. Sealed 2.5 Archon 1

Smite

Smite is a decent effect. The potential to take out 3 creatures is pretty strong, especially if it’s knocking out annoying elusive creatures. Even if your opponent is creature-free you can still use this card to ready a Sanctum creature to get an Aember thanks to reaping with the now readied creature. Sealed 1.5 Archon 2

The Grey Rider

Give a creature all three effects Play/Fight/Reap and it’s bound to be a decent card. Attach those effects to something that readies creatures and its next level. The Grey Rider on it’s own is a reusable ready then fight effect, but if you happen to get 2 next to each other and your opponent is lacking any creatures, sparks begin to fly. Be sure to reap with each one three times and get 6 Aember, but make sure with the last effect you ready a non The Grey Rider creature so you get an additional reap out of that creature as well! My creature of choice is Aubade the Grim so I can discard 2 of my opponents Aember on the same turn. Sealed 4 Archon 3.5

Baron Mengevin

I pretty much view Mengevin as a big Sanctum creature that controls the board. If you are in a pinch, you can discard a Sanctum card to capture an Aember if helps take your opponent off a key. In most scenarios it’s best to use your Sanctum cards, so don’t rely on this ability too often. Sealed 2 Archon 1.5 (Still has value as a 6 power 1 armor creature)

Barrister Joya

Another one of the many cards that affects your opponents reaping, except this one can survive some hits! Put Joya next to taunt creatures or “Lion” Bautrem to make your opponents lose as many reaps as possible. This is a top 3 card that prevents opponents reaping. Sealed 4 Archon 4

Brobnar/Dis/Logos/Mars/Shadows/Untamed Ambassadors

The ability to use a card from another house is very powerful. Not only do you get another card out of your hand to move through your deck more quickly, but you can also pull off some neat tricks that are otherwise not possible. One of my absolute favorite parts of these cards was that they attached it to a fight/reap effect, meaning if you need to, Ambassadors can be used to first break a creature’s elusive ability and still get their incredible effect. Sealed 3.5 Archon 2 (they all take big hits because of their 1 power)

Equalize

A card that rarely comes with much effect, Equalize is best paired with cards like Aubade the Grim when you have other creatures that capture like Bordan the Redeemed. It is a great way to move Aember off your opponent’s Charette (neighboring a taunt) and place it onto a smaller creature to get your Aember back with little effort. Sealed .5 Archon .5

Free Markets

This card rarely gets less than 3 Aember, so it is basically a better Virtous Works since it can get more than 3. I love that they limited the Aember to six should you happen to open one of these as a Maverick and are playing this in multiplayer after new houses have been introduced. Could have got incredibly insane in multiplayer (not that it isn’t already). Sealed 4.5 Archon 4.5

Haedroth’s Wall

I like cards that make creatures more powerful because it messes up the math for your opponents. The condition of only affecting flank creatures is nice, but it means every time you play a new creature, an old one is losing the +2 power. Always be aware of this because its possible you may destroy your own already damaged creature! Sealed 3 Archon 1.5

Prince Derric, Unifier

This card has a pretty nice payoff if you meet the conditions. In my experience, I have noticed that this play effects reliability greatly depends on which set my opponents deck is from. Even though CotA had better board wipes, AoA seems to have more cards that are trying to mess with your opponents board, and AoA decks are more likely to disrupt this play effect, at least early game. Should you draw Derric towards the very end of the game, he typically will provide Aember against decks from both sets. Sealed 2.5 Archon 2.5

Rothais the Fierce

This is hands down my favorite new uncommon in Sanctum. Your opponent can’t afford to run small creatures into Rothais because that hazardous will destroy them before a fight even occurs. Even large creatures like Groggins can’t handle Rothais as even if they are full health, they will suffer 8 damage total. This is a very overpowered Taunt creature for having a lower power compared to most Taunts. Sealed 4 Archon 4

Anahita the Trader

The best use for Anahita is when you can give an opponent an artifact like Library of Babble when the opponent doesn’t have house Logos. They will never be tempted to call Logos, and you got rid of a minor artifact for 2 Aember. Anahita’s biggest flaw is the fact that she is missing Elusive, so if you have a deck that can make use out of her, find ways to increase her power or a taunt to protect her with. Sealed 1.5 Archon 1

Eye of Judgement

I’m a pretty big fan of purge effects, albiet this one is generally weaker than most other purge cards I generally talk about. Eye of Judgement comes with an Aember, which is nice, but where it really shines is against decks that have Exhume, Regrowth, Arise!, and other cards that your opponent can return, in some capacity, creatures back to their deck or hand. But Jean, you can use it to just get rid of creatures anyways against all decks, so when your opponent shuffles their discard back into their deck, they have less creatures the next time around! True, but I have noticed a trend taking place lately, I very rarely get to shuffle my discard in any more in more competitive events. As time goes on, people are not only playing better, but are also choosing quicker decks to try and win the game before an opponent can get set up. I believe there are 2 factors that are causing this.

  1. So many decks have been opened now and traded hands that most players now have access to some of the quickest strategies based on the sheer volume of decks that exist.
  2. After the Bait and Switch nerf, people no longer have the fear of a big swing in Aember, and no longer have to slow-roll their Aember production on some crucial turns of the game.

Both the natural and unnatural causes have made the game much quicker, and in turn have made Eye of Judgement a slightly worse card to play. Sealed 1.5 Archon .5-2 (depending on what your opponent’s strategy is)

Martyr’s End

This is a great way to close out a game, or to use in conjunction with a board wipe like Key to Dis or The Spirit’s Way. There are times where you will play this card and just destroy creatures you control from one particular house because you are at a point in the game where you will likely never call that house for the remainder of the game. Any way you play this card it’s a very cool and powerful effect. Sealed 4 Archon 3.5

Mother Northelle

With all the capture Sanctum has, Mother Northelle is pretty good card. She can easily net you 2 Aember a turn and force your opponent to make a choice to either destroy Mother, or the creature that actually has the captured Aember. Most opponents would choose to get back the captured Aember, and hopefully you can immediately punish their choice with an oh so fresh Aubade the Grim! Sealed 2 Archon 1

Opal Knight

With all the capture Sanctum has, Mother Northelle is pretty good card. She can easily net you 2 Aember a turn and force your opponent to make a choice to either destroy Mother, or the creature that actually has the captured Aember. Most opponents would choose to get back the captured Aember, and hopefully you can immediately punish their choice with an oh so fresh Aubade the Grim! Sealed 2 Archon 1

Proclamation 346E

Any deck that has this card should consider mulliganing to try and get it. Proclamation might very well be the best card in the set. Unlike other great cards in the set, which require combinations of cards to go berserk, this card is powerful throughout the entire game and forces your opponent to play differently. It also punishes opponent’s decks that have a house that only happen to have 3 creatures in it. This card is amazing, and I hope you open a deck that has one. Sealed 5 Archon 5

Seraphic Armor

This doesn’t necessarily feel like a great rare to open, but it gets the job done. It does 3 minor things that all add up to help you within the game. You can attack with a Sanctum creature, kill off an opponent’s creature, then fully heal that creature, give it armor for the future, and pick up one Aember. As I said, all of those things are tiny, but all add up to a decent card. Sealed 2 Archon 1

Shard of Hope

A better Skeleton Key. Even if this is the only Shard you have out, being inside house Sanctum with all of their new tricks, makes it an overall better card. Combine with cards like Mother Northelle, Grim the Aubade, or just a hard to kill creature. Sealed 2.5 Archon 2.5

Well that covers all the new cards in Sanctum! Which one was your favorite? I absolutely love how they took one of my favorite houses from CotA and found new ways to make it better. Well done, FFG!

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