Tales of Aria Prerelease Guide – Mechanics, Strategy and More!

Tales of Aria spoilers have sent shockwaves of excitement and surprise all over the world. The format is reflective of Flesh and Blood as a whole, simple on the surface, yet complex when we look deeper into the different interactions. In this article, I will address the main points I think you should remember when attending your local Tales of Aria prerelease.



Header - What Cards Go Into Which Hero?


Tales of Aria features the Elemental talent an all of the three Tales of Aria heroes have access to this talent. This means any hero can use generic and non-class specific Elemental cards, such as Deep Blue and Entwine Lightning (note: you can run Entwine Lightning in any hero, but you won’t be able to Fuse it in Oldhim). Then, each hero can use their class-specific cards, both non-talent and Elemental Talent ones. For example, Oldhim can use Thump, which is a Guardian card, and he can use Mulch, which is an Elemental Guardian card. Finally and most importantly, we have the elements – Earth, Ice and Lighting. Each Elemental hero specifies which Elements they can play with their Elemental Essence written on the hero card. Oldhim for example has an Elemental Essence of Ice and Earth, meaning he can run any Ice Element cards and any Earth Element cards, but he cannot include any Lightning Element cards. 

When constructing your deck, it’s important to keep the different card types in mind. If you decide to build Oldhim and you notice a lot of Ice fuse cards in your Elemental Guardian card pile, have a look at your Ice cards. Do you have enough Ice cards to Fuse with? These kinds of questions can help you decide whether the strategy you want to go for is viable.


Header - How Does Fuse Work?


Fuse is the central mechanic of the Tales of Aria set. The mechanic is featured in every single hero you choose to play, which is why it’s important to get it right. The idea is simple: you reveal the corresponding Element for the Elemental card with the fuse you play. You can think of this like Flock of the Feather Walkers or Demolition Crew from Welcome to Rathe. The main thing to remember is that you cannot fuse an Elemental card with another Elemental card. For example, you cannot reveal a Frazzle to a Buzz Bolt; Frazzle is not a Lightning card. Best way to make sure you’re doing it right is to look at the type of card you’re fusing with. If it explicitly says Lightning, Earth or Ice, you’re doing it right!

From a strategy perspective, Fuse brings with it an interesting deckbuilding dilemma. Do you go for a single Element, an even split of both or just a splash of one? The more you tap into a single Element, the easier it will be to fuse, but you will start missing out on the benefits of the other Element and the power it brings. Another thing to consider is what Element cards you want to use. Remember, if you Fuse an attack action card and it’s your last attack for the turn, the card you used to Fuse is most likely going to be the one that ends up in your Arsenal! Planning the turn ahead is key. 


Header - How Do Frostbites Work?


Frostbites play a vital role in the Ice Element. Giving your opponent Frostbites means they will need to pay an extra resource whenever they want to play a card or activate an ability. Do note, triggered abilities and other costs do not get affected. For example, you have two Frostbites and your opponent plays a blue Winter’s Bite against you, forcing you to discard a card unless you pay one resource. This does not count as you playing a card or activating an ability, therefore if you pay the one resource, you will still maintain the two Frostbites. It’s easy to know when you’re playing a card – it’s a card that comes from the hand or Arsenal. For activated abilities, the best way to figure out whether it’s an activated ability or not is to look for the colon symbol. Anything with a colon implies an activation and would be considered an activated ability, such as a bow activation like Shiver or equipment like Deep Blue. 

In terms of strategy, whether you’re playing against a hero that utilizes Frostbites or are using Frostbites yourself, remember that they always pop on a played card or activated ability, it’s not a may. This is why if you’re playing with Frostbites, try to time them in a way that will disrupt your opponent the most.

For example, you have a Coat of Frost and you’re going for a big turn. Your opponent plays a lot of defense reactions, but you want to push through as much damage and you have set up a strong, offensive turn. By popping the Coat of Frost, you can stifle your opponent’s defense reaction – they will have to pitch a card to play it out, meaning it will be easier for you to push through damage.

Here’s another example, this one with your opponent utilizing Frostbites. They’ve popped a Coat of Frost giving you a Frostbite and are coming in with a Blizzard Bolt for 10, Fused. If this deals damage, you will receive another Frostbite. Now, you look at your hand, and most of your cards are red pitch, meaning you probably won’t have a strong turn. If you defend the arrow with four cards, you’re saving yourself up to 10 life and you won’t let the Frostbites affect you, as they pop at the end of your turn. Your opponent hasn’t done damage, but they have lost a piece of equipment. 



Knowing these three points should smooth out your overall Tales of Aria prerelease experience. I do recommend you check out all the spoilers to familiarize yourself with the individual cards and their interactions. Tales of Aria has a strong focus on Limited play, so I hope you have an amazing prerelease experience and good luck on those pulls!

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