There are two kinds of cards in Ascension: non-monsters that you buy to put into your deck, and monsters. When you beat a monster, it’s banished from the game and you earn some victory points. In the basic Ascension cards, the most powerful monster was a fellow called Avatar of the Fallen. I have no idea who the Fallen is or why he’s sent an avatar in his stead, but I know card was as bad-ass as enemies got. I had a friend maintain that if you could beat the Avatar of the Fallen, you were going to win the game.
After the jump, Sam he is!
Just as the Return of the Fallen add-on for Ascension means Oziah is no longer peerless, it also means the Avatar of the Fallen isn’t top dog anymore. The new most powerful monster is a fellow named Samael the Fallen. Ah, so that’s who the Fallen is! I still have no idea who he is, what he did, or why he sent an avatar in the first set of cards. But I do know that when he shows up, the rules in Ascension threaten to shift a little.
As I mentioned, killed monsters are banished from the game and the guy who beat the monsters gets some victory points. Most monsters also give you a little extra bonus. Samael fits this basic pattern, but he gives you more victory points than any single monster. And the “little extra bonus” for whomever defeats Samael is that now he’s playing by different rules. From now on, when Samael’s victor defeat a monster, it goes into his deck and fights for him. In addition to the military power earned from Heavy Infantry, weapons like Shadow Stars and Void Thirsters, Black Watch cards, the odd angry Lycanthrope, and — if you’re really lucky — a fully armed and operational Hedron Cannon, powered by a Hedron Link Device, every defeated monster turns its power against other monsters. Now monsters cards will cycle through your hand to help you beat more monsters more easily for more victory points.
This isn’t an automatic win, of course, because you can still be a victim of the cards. If no more monsters show up on the “auction block” — only a quarter of the cards in the deck are monsters — all the military power you amassed to beat Samael and all the fierce monsters fighting on your behalf are nearly useless. There’s nothing quite so sad as a hand blazing with military might and nowhere to focus it. In those instances, Ascension gives you the option to fight piddly little cultists for a minimal victory point reward. And what a pathetic display to turn your Sea Tyrants and Doom Weepers and maybe even the Avatar of the Fallen itself against mere cultists! Given the cultist’s unkempt look, we call this “smacking the hobo”, a phrase I blatantly stole from a video review that I’d link if I remembered where I saw it.