Friday, June 19, 2009

Card Tech: Liquidation & Ashur Tablets

Lately the combination of Liquidation and Ashur Tablets has become popular in a couple of VtES decks. The best example for deck that that uses this combo is one named "Ashur Celerity that won the Hungarian ECQ 2009 earlier this year.

Liquidation lets you gain 3 pool while moving 7 cards from the top of your library to your ashheap. On the other hand, Ashur Tablets lets you gain 3 pool and retrieve up to 13 cards from your ashheap to your library (and one to your hand), if you manage to put a set of three Ashur Tablets into play under your control. This is a decent pool gain combined with the ability to control the contents of your library in the mid- and endgame. The combo is somewhat similar to the Liquidation / Sudario Refraction that the Speed Shamblers deck uses in perfection.

The basic package consists of one Liquidation and three Ashur Tablets, which lead to following numbers:
  • Pool gain: 6 = 1.5 pool/card
  • Card flow: 13 cards retrieved - 7 cards discarded = 5 card retrieved from ash heap + 1 card to your hand
So the combo is somewhat better than the Ascendance "benchmark" (regarding pool gain). But what it makes playable is, that in addition you have some form of control of the cards in your library, and can retrieve cards from your ashheap later in the game.

I added a package of 2 Liquidations and 6 Ashurs Tablets to my Antonio d'Erlette Nephandus deck, and this improved the deck's performance significantly. The pool gain is necessary since the Nephandi and equipment I am running in this deck are quite expensive. Also later in the game I can retrieve the cards that I am going to need for a particular situation, e.g. Conditioning for ousting, Nephandus for putting them into play after they have been burned, etc.

Multiple of the basic package (i.e. two Liquidations and six Ashur Tablets or three and nine) are advisable, because with only three Ashur Tablets the risk is just too high "losing" one of Ashur Tablets by a Liquidation into the ashheap.

The main problem with the combo is the high number of master phase actions (and card slot) it costs. So from point of view the tech is only suitable when you have multiple master phase actions (Anson, Nana, Parthenon, etc.) or your master card count is somewhat low.

Currently the race for putting Ashur Tablets into play comes up only very occassionally. So it's usually save to assume, that you can complete your set of three Ashur Tablets without any disturbance, though this may change in the future.

Another, yet small disadvantage is the fact that you do not replace Liquidation until your next discard phase. This can be very annoying if there are other cards/effects that also reduce your handsize effectively, e.g. the do-not-replace clause on Mirror Walk or the handsize reduction caused by Dragonbound.

While not the swiss army knife for VtES the combo Liquidation and Ashur Tablets is an interesting card tech for those decks which want/need to combine decent pool gain with card retrieval from the ash heap. It's not suitable for all deck types

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

it says 13, not 14 - and one of those 13 is going to your hand.