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Three Must-Know Tales of Aria Interactions

Whether it’s for Draft, Sealed or Constructed play, knowing these Tales of Aria interactions can make a huge difference to common scenarios in the new metagame. Knowing the rulings on these interactions are crucial if you’re planning to go to Nationals, or just want to improve your games in the Tales of Aria metagame. The things I will cover affect Oldhim, Briar and Lexi. The specific interactions I will outline today involve cards like Sow Tomorrow, Oldhim’s hero ability and damage amplifying effects like Ball Lightning and Frazzle.

 

 

 

You cannot play Sow Tomorrow without a legal target in your graveyard. This is a pretty straightforward one, but really important as not knowing this can mean you lose your Arsenal for multiple turns. Especially the blue pitch Sow Tomorrow is the important one here, because having a legal target needs to cost two or greater, which sometimes can be hard to achieve.

If you’re very early in the game, or don’t have many good targets for Sow Tomorrow, do not arsenal this card. Pitch it, defend with it, but if you don’t feel comfortable being able to play it any time soon, it’s best not to place it in the Arsenal. In a similar vein, Tome of Harvests cannot be played from Arsenal because you need to put a card from Arsenal on the bottom of the deck. This doesn’t make Tome of Harvests a great card to arsenal unless you have something like Crown of Seeds or Breaking Ground to get it out of there. 

 

Header - Pitch Effects

 

This mainly concerns Oldhim, as both his hero ability and Winter’s Wail have this wording. The key thing to understand here is that the added bonus only refers to the card actively pitched to either Oldhim’s hero ability to Winter’s Wail; it does not take into account any leftover resource points from before.

For example, If I pitched an Ice card to activate my Rampart of the Ram’s Head to defend with and then pitched a red Earth card to activate Oldhim’s hero ability, even though I did use the Ice resource points from the earlier pitch, only the Earth pitch affects Oldhim’s ability, granting me only the Earth side of the ability. This is particularly important when sequencing your pitches and deckbuilding. Unless you have a Frostbite, you cannot pitch two blues to activate Oldhim’s hero ability and gain both effects. This is why including red and yellow pitch Ice and Earth cards could be a strategy to get both of these effects online at the same time.

 

Header - Damage Amplifiers and Shields

 

This one is definitely the most complex interaction from the Tales of Aria format. Cards like Ball Lightning and Frazzle have replacement-like effects to damage. If a source of damage would deal damage, it deals that much damage plus one. This has an interesting interaction with prevention “shield” effects – such as Oldhim’s hero ability, Crown of Seeds and Runaways. All of these damage prevention effects also count as replacement effects. This means, the attacking player, because they are the active player, can choose the order of which player’s replacement effects happen first and which happen second. 

Let’s use an example to illustrate a common play pattern with this interaction. Player A attacks player B with a Ball Lightning (Yellow). Then, Player B does not declare any defense and instead uses Oldhim’s hero ability and creates two prevention “shields.” Because Ball Lightning has not been defended, the damage replacement effect still happens, meaning Player A can layer the two any way they see fit. Player A decides to layer their replacement effects then Player B’s replacement effects. What happens now is that Ball Lightning deals two damage plus one and comes in for three. Player B’s “shields” kick in, preventing two of that damage. Player B still ends up taking one point of damage. 

This is really important to understand because it might not be intuitive at first. At first glance, it seems that the prevention shields would stop the damage and Ball Lightning never gets the plus one because it wouldn’t deal damage. This is extremely important to know when defending cards like Ball Lightning and using cards like Runaways and Crown is Seeds. Knowing this can help you push through damage as the attacking player, or help you defend optimally as the defending player. 

 


 

All three of these interactions are must-knows for anyone attending their Nationals events, as Tales of Aria Draft is a huge portion of the events. Knowing these can help you assess card picks during the draft, as well as avoid awkward situations, such as arsenaling a Tome of Harvests. Understanding how Ball Lightning and Frazzle interact with damage prevention “shields” could make them more appealing as card picks in draft, but also can help you defend against these cards correctly. I hope outlining these interactions has cleared some things up for you and made you more confident in playing with the new Tales of Aria set.

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