Immortal Heroes is a pretty terrible name for this latest expansion to Ascension, the deck building game that has effectively ruined most other deck building games for me. But it’s a title that gets to the main new gameplay mechanic, a deck of cards representing soul gems that sits off to the side of the table. Each card in the soul gem deck is from the previous Ascension sets. So when you draw a soul gem, as many of the new cards allow, you’re basically invoking an immortal hero. Hence, Ascension: Immortal Heroes. It’s a touch of randomness within the randomness. Draw a card that lets you draw a card. I like it. Let’s hurry up and get this puppy onto the iOS version!
There are two more gameplay tweaks in Immortal Heroes. Ongoing trophy monsters are the equivalent of constructs that cannot be destroyed. And placeholder event cards let you control the frequency of the global events that shake up the rules and bring fanatics into play, which are now a fundamental part of Ascension’s combat dynamic.
Immortal Heroes works great as a standalone set of cards, but loses its punch when shuffled into the other decks and your soul gem deck can go untouched for so long. But it demonstrates that the developers at Gary Games haven’t yet run out of good ideas.
After the jump, ten reasons to get Immortal Heroes
Askara of Souls
I don’t know what an askara is, but Ascension is lousy with them. They’re freaky looking enlightened women who do crazy magical things, often to help you manage your deck better. I imagine Master Dhartha has a harem of askaras, or at least a coterie, or maybe a pack. At any rate, this askara just gives you a soul gem. She is simple and aptly named.
So this askara seems like she’s lost. At least that’s the impression I get from the name and the card art. On it’s own, this is a pretty vanilla card, basically duplicating the power of the Elemental Adept from an earlier set. But what makes the Wandering Askara unique is that she becomes incredibly powerful if she meets another Wandering Askara. Now you can banish both of them to take an additional turn. Basically, a pair of Wandering Askaras is a Tablet of Time’s Dawn. But don’t expect this to happen to readily, as there are only three cards in the deck, and they have to appear at the same time. You’re more likely to dual wield an Umbral and Penumbral Blade. Which is just another cool touch you’ll probably lose if you shuffle your Immortal Heroes cards into general population.
Aaron, the Godslayer
This is an awesome card for how it lets you simply defeat any monster, with no power limit on the monster. Any monster. Any one. You pick. No monster is immune. Many monster slayers have their limits. Not Aaron. Gary Games could add a monster with a combat power of 100 and Aaron will still handily smack it down. Also, I believe this card is named after someone who won a contest in the real world. I’m glad the winner was named Aaron, which is the bare minimum for the name of a godslayer. Imagine if the contest had been won by someone named Jeff, Earl, Rupert, or Tom.
Kythis, Rebel Godling
This fella is my favorite ongoing trophy monster. An ongoing trophy monster sits in front of you and gives you a bonus every turn, much like a construct. But unlike a construct, it can’t be destroyed by the usual construct killers. Kythis is a soul gem dispenser. Every turn, he spits out a new soul gem. I’m sure he loves to think of himself as a rebel godling, but I think of him more as a gumball machine. He’s also the cover athlete for Immortal Heroes, appearing on the box. And he’s got a cool name. Kythis is way better than Aaron, Jeff, Earl, Rupert, or Tom.
She’s inexpensive, hugely beneficial if you get her early, a perfect addition to any deck with a few lifebound cards, and sexy in a weird gothy spiderfetish way. Hey, did she trap and dessicate an askara in her web?
I didn’t like this card at first. What a waste!, I thought. Get this card and then banish it for a card you could have gotten when you got the Arha Medium in the first place? What? Why? But like some of my favorite cards in Ascension, I didn’t appreciate how it worked until I saw it in action. The benefit of an Arha Medium is that it can become something meaningful later, when you have more information about what you need. It lets you delay the decision about getting a Mystic or a Heavy Infantry until you know more about which you’d rather have. And if you end up wanting a Mystic, you got it for one rune less! That’s what I call a bargain! The Arha Medium is on my short list of cards I always always always grab, alongside the Nook Hound and Temple Librarian.
This is one of two cards that breaks the interface in Ascension. P.R.I.M.E. is a crazy mechana hero who can jump directly from your discard pile into your hand. Now the new Recyclicrab in Immortal Heroes can do the same thing. To take advantage of these cards, you have to remember the text of the card when it’s not in front of you. What kind of savant can wrap his head around that sort of mindgame? But this makes the Recyclicrab an ideal construct to power cards that destroy constructs.
Moment of Clarity
Immortal Heroes includes new events. This enlightened event makes enlightened cards all the more valuable to buy. And I really like abilities that replace a card in your hand with a more useful card. During Moments of Clarity, apprentices can immediately morph into mystics before your very eyes.
Two points of honor for a three power monster is not a bad exchange. But what makes Growmites unique is that the more you kill, the more you want to kill. Growmites are like a pyramid scheme of monster slaying. There are five Growmite cards in Immortal Heroes. If you don’t water down these new cards with the other decks, you can pretty much bet that at least one more swarm of Growmites is going to show up. The lucky Growmite hunter can rack up quite a few victory points if the cards align. Also, let’s examine what’s going on in that card art. A man overrun by toothed beetles/worms with glowing eyes? How wonderfully horrible!