Shard of the Week: My 4 Favorite Strategies from AoA (so far)

Shard of the Week: My 4 Favorite Strategies from AoA (so far)

We’ve all had that moment of running into someone who looks just like us, has the same last name, or likes all the same movies we do. Keyforge decks have a lot of doppelgangers too. Sure, every deck is unique, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see the same overarching strategies time after time. Especially when players buy deck after deck trying to find them!
Open any phone book on Mars and you’ll find at least twenty entries for John Smyth.

I’ve been studying alot of games for today’s article, and have singled out four of my favorite strategies you will likely encounter.
So lets ‘forge’ along now with a quick look into the Age of Ascension…

“Key Heart”
Decks with Heart of the Woods and Key Charge. I immediately sought out decks with these cards upon release. Any card that allows you to forge a key out of sequence will work here, which makes this combo quite easy to find.
The strategy is to forge only one key while Heart of the Woods is in play, while setting up a board of creatures and no more than 5 aember in your pool. As long as you don’t forge your second key, the opponent will be unable to forge their third. When the time is right, you strike. Generate a bunch of amber and get ready to forge. Then in a single glorious turn, you forge your second key, reap, play your key cheat, and win.
In order for this sequence to play out properly, you will likely need 13 aember on the turn you “go for it”. No small task, but as long as your opponent is limited by Heart of the Woods- you will have as much time as you need.
So what beats this? Quite alot actually. Artifact destruction is the obvious one. Other methods would be reducing their creature count to limit the aember towards a key charge turn- which can be risky. Another strategy would be to hold off on forging your own keys and focus on controlling the board state. My favorite answer is Too Much To Protect since they likely won’t gain 7 aember on their Key Charge turn. There is no exact right answer here- it really depends on your own deck. But the positive side is that Heart of the Woods decks tend to play a longer game. This means you won’t find it essential to mulligan towards an “answer” card- just draw the answers naturally over the course of a long game.

Aka Binate Rupture + Interdimensional Graft.
This combo has been discussed heavily amongst the community, and rightly so.
For the uninformed… Play Binate Rupture to double each player’s aember, then follow up with Interdimensional Graft. As the opponent forges their key, you get all the extra aember you just gave them. It’s a crazy aember swing, but not impossible to overcome. As with most combos in Keyforge, assembling them at the right time is the problem. It may be best to ignore the combo in the early game and just go for your keys ASAP. This renders the combo less volatile when they actually pull it off, since you can still rush to your keys first. But in the late game, or when the opponent has multiple copies of this combo… it’s a whole other world. There comes a moment when you just know they have it in hand. For these instances, staying at 3 aember can be a fierce strategy. You’ll be essentially giving them 2 dead cards in hand while you can focus on drawing more and improving your board state. Not letting your opponent know what you know is the hard part. If they see you skip reaping it will be an instant red flag. It could signal them to abandon the BRIG combo, and maybe that’s what you want. Or maybe you want them to hold onto it a little longer so you can draw your answer? Doorstep to Heaven, Gatekeeper, Drumble, or Too Much to Protect can be game winners in this situation.

Martian Generosity + Key Abduction.
At first glance this could look like the most devastating combo to ever grace a deck. Lose a bunch of aember, draw a ton of cards, forge a key.
A mere 7 aember in your pool will allow you to draw 16 cards when you play Generosity. That’s nearly half a deck!! That should mean you will draw like six more Mars cards, right?
Not necessarily.
The unfortunate downside is that you will likely need a good number of Martians reaping to create this situation- meaning you aren’t as likely to have those cards in your deck. There are few Mars cards in AoA with a printed aember bonus, so you will typically rely on a Mars board state instead.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing Martian Generosity. I’m only stating that it plays differently than we might expect. After a reap-heavy Mars turn, the follow up turns are absolutely insane! Nothing quite like a subsequent turn playing nine cards from one house.
There are a few simple ways I see to hamper this “Generous” play. The first would be hand disruption. There’s always the chance to make them discard Generosity. Mulligans into cards like Perplexing Sophistry, Mind Barb, or best of all… Subtle Maul. It can be incredible, but it’s a bit of a gamble. Another solution is to disrupt the combo with Control the Weak, making them play Mars on the wrong turns, with little (if any) benefit. Lastly, controlling their Mars board can often be enough- lets just hope you’re not contending with three Yxilix Dominators.
Martian Generosity is not without it’s flaws, but I’m always a little bit jealous when I see my friends open a deck with it.

“Big Grump”
Grump Buggy. We’ve seen Brobnar do similar things before, Iron Obelisk, Pile of Skulls… but never this oppressively. Just think of how nasty this can be with multiples of Lollop the Titanic, or even cross house synergies with other huge creatures. This is Brobnar’s version of Lash of Broken Dreams, and we all know how good Lash is.
If you also have massive creatures, then Buggy won’t have as much impact. But if you’re like me- you like your creatures small, elusive, and with alot of stealing. So what does this mean for “wimps” like me? It means that I want access to my removal later in the game when I can make the most of it. This removal comes in the form of artifact removal and board wipes. If your deck contains more than one answer to the Buggy, you won’t want it in your opening hand. There’s a good chance it will just be a chain and take up space when you would draw it later anyway. If you only have one board wipe or artifact destroying card… good luck. I’m sure we will see a Grump Buggy “Flex” it’s muscles at a Vault Tour soon. I for one am looking forward to seeing this strategy go “Into the Fray” at my local events.

So that wraps it up for now.
Fun new stuff? Check.
Strategy? Check.
Bad puns? Check.
Yup… all good here.
Until next time- keep forging ahead and glory be to Mars!

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