Shard of the Week: Age of Ascension: Success or Failure?
As someone heavily invested into this game, always buying and selling decks, I need to do my best to analyze new product to ensure that my money is always going into the right investments.
This begs the question… Call of the Archons or Age of Ascension… what to buy?
A definite price gap is starting to develop between these two products, although slight. Age of Ascension is typically a little cheaper, but is it worse?
Well, there’s definitely alot to consider, so let’s break this down and see what the comparisons can tell us.
Note that this analysis comes from my own experience in the marketplace, which is the only real metric I can personally attest to.
High end decks:
Call of the Archons has it’s share of interesting decks. Screaming Cave with Control the Weak, Double or Triple Battle Fleet, triple Mother, triple Dust Pixie, double Timetraveller, double Horsemen… noticing a theme here? CotA decks gain the most benefit from a redundancy of high impact cards. These types of decks aren’t easy to find. Especially when you will pull a deck with one perfect house, and two houses that are mediocre. The goal from a typical CotA deck is just lots of æmber and stealing, possibly with artifact hate and board control when you can find it. These statistics weigh the odds against you, but also reward you highly when you find such a deck.
Age of Ascension seems to have better averages amongst houses you open; just less duds. The desired decks are based around combos that are easier to find, too. Especially Binate Rupture / Interdimensional Graft (BRIG). I’ve had luck with that combo. Out of around 40 decks opened so far, I’ve pulled 4 decks that had Binate Rupture and Interdimensional Graft, 1 deck with Grump Buggy and Might Makes Right, and 1 deck with Heart of the Woods and Key Charge. Plus quite a few Dummernaut / Ganger decks. There are alot of other combos, too, which rely on alot of single card copies. Martian Generosity and Key Abduction for example. Soldiers to Flowers with alot of Untamed creatures (potentially Key Charge as well). Exhume feels like it combos with so many cards from Gatekeeper to Pirhana Monkeys… I can’t list them all. Now certainly not every deck with a combo has been a top contender, but they have at least been playable in a semi-competitive way. That’s more than could be said for the majority of my bulk decks opened from CotA.
Combos are what makes Age of Ascension really stand, while making competitive decks slightly easier to find. Although you may still need to buy a few to get a good one.
Allow me to elaborate on the Competitive Levels some more:
From what I’ve personally seen, Age of Ascension is very competitive. Equal to Call of the Archons. However, this competitive side comes from those aforementioned combos. This typically means buying 5 or so decks before you find a deck that really stands out at a moderate competitive level, and 40 or so decks to find one that is high end to Vault Tour competitive. You can typically expect to see 4 out of 5 decks being bulk, with that remaining deck being worth $15-$30. Very few decks seem to fall into a middle ground of value. Occasionally, you will find a deck worth much more, but it’s a rarity. Similar to the high end decks of CotA.
I think one of the biggest problems for value are the various third party rating systems which have a hard time giving accurate results when evaluating the deeper interactions of AoA. It was far easier to have some numbers assigned to a CotA deck, and this definitely raised the value of all those decks. Now, those same stats are being compared to AoA and making the set look weaker overall.
But I can assure you it’s not.
Our team members here at Reapout have been trying the set quite a bit since release… and while it’s still preliminary, I would say AoA is a success on the competitive end- often defying those third party statistics in shocking ways.
So why hasn’t AoA won an Archon Vault Tour?
I would answer that by saying ‘it will, and it will probably be soon’.
It takes time to analyze and test, and players grow accustomed to their favorites. Abandoning their beloved champion for something new can be a hard decision. It’s definitely taken alot of games for me to truly realize the potential of my best AoA Archons.
So here’s what we’re dealing with….
A set that is greatly misjudged and carries a burdensome stigma. On one end you have a generally lower price tag, but on the other side you have very reasonable odds for getting high end decks.
I think this stigma will start to change as players get wise to the truth.
Now I’m not saying AoA is better than CotA. Both sets will either take luck or money to get a Vault Tour level deck from.
But if you see a deep discount on boxes and you are just trying to open a competitive deck, then I would advise a purchase being made.
No guarantees, but at least the odds are favorable for a really awesome find.
Until next time!