Ascension Board Game Strategy

Are you looking to master the art of Ascension board game strategy? Whether you are a beginner or an advanced player, understanding the rules, setup, and gameplay can make all the difference in dominating the game.

In this article, we will explore the key aspects of mastering Ascension and developing a winning strategy that will leave your opponents in awe. From card selection and resource management to advanced gameplay and tips for success, we’ve got you covered with everything you need to know about ascending to victory.

Ascension is a deck-building card game designed by Magic: The Gathering Pro Tour Champions Justin Gary, Rob Dougherty, and Brian Kibler. The game combines elements of traditional trading card games with unique mechanics that focus on acquiring powerful cards, recruiting heroes, and defeating monsters. With its ever-changing center row of available cards, each game offers exciting new challenges and strategic opportunities to explore.

As you delve into the world of Ascension, you’ll learn how to navigate through a variety of expansions and variants to enhance your gaming experience. Whether you’re just starting out or looking for ways to take your gameplay to the next level, understanding the fundamental strategies for building your deck and managing resources will be essential for achieving victory.

Join us as we embark on a journey through the realms of Ascension board game strategy and uncover the secrets to mastering this captivating game.

Understanding the Rules and Setup

Ascension is a popular deck-building card game that combines strategy, skill, and luck in an engaging and competitive gameplay experience. To start playing Ascension, it is essential to have a clear understanding of the rules and set up the game properly. Here are the key aspects to consider when learning how to play Ascension:

Rules of Ascension:

  • The game can be played with 2-4 players
  • Each player starts with a small deck of basic cards
  • Players take turns acquiring new cards from the center row or defeating monsters for rewards
  • The game ends when either the honor pool is depleted or all of the available card stacks have been taken from the center row

Setup for Ascension:

  1. Place the game board in the center of the table
  2. Shuffle the two main decks of cards (center deck and mystic/void deck)
  3. Lay out six random cards from the center deck in a row on the board
  4. Each player draws five cards to form their starting hand

By thoroughly understanding these rules and following the proper setup, players can dive into their Ascension gameplay with confidence and clarity.

It is important to understand how to play Ascension before delving into advanced strategies or tactics. This includes knowing what actions are allowed during each turn, how to acquire new cards, defeat monsters, manage resources effectively, and ultimately win by accumulating enough honor points.

With a solid grasp of these basics, players can then begin honing their skills and developing winning strategies as they progress through different rounds of gameplay. Whether you are just starting out or looking to take your skills to the next level, mastering both rules and setup will undoubtedly enhance your overall enjoyment of Ascension.

Building Your Deck

Understanding the Card Types

In Ascension, there are four main types of cards: Heroes, Constructs, Monsters, and Apprentices/Mystics. Each type serves a different purpose in your deck and understanding their roles is crucial for building a winning strategy. Heroes help you defeat monsters and earn honor points, Constructs provide ongoing benefits once played, Monsters must be defeated to prevent negative effects, and Apprentices/Mystics are the basic resource cards that allow you to acquire other cards.

Card Selection Strategy

When selecting cards to add to your deck, it’s important to consider the synergy between different card types. For example, focusing on acquiring a combination of high-power Heroes and Constructs can create a strong engine that generates honor points efficiently.

Additionally, paying attention to the faction of each card can also lead to powerful combinations as some factions work well together. It’s important to have a balanced deck with a mix of different card types to ensure versatility during gameplay.

Deck-Building Strategy

During the game, it’s essential to pay attention to the composition of your deck. Continuously improving it by thinning out weaker cards and adding stronger ones will increase your chances of drawing powerful hands consistently. Removing weaker Apprentice/Mystic cards from your deck as you progress can also prevent clogging and lead to better draws. Having a streamlined and efficient deck will ultimately give you an advantage over your opponents as you strive for victory.

By implementing these card selection and deck-building strategies into your gameplay, you can maximize the potential of your deck and increase your chances of dominating in Ascension.

Managing Resources

In the Ascension board game, managing your resources effectively is essential for developing a winning strategy. The two main resources in the game are Energy and Runes, each serving different purposes and requiring careful planning to maximize their potential.

Fun Strategy Board Games for Two

Energy is primarily used to acquire new cards from the center row, where players can purchase Hero or Construct cards to add to their deck. It is important to balance the use of Energy for acquiring new cards with its potential use for defeating monsters or activating card abilities. Players should aim to build a deck that generates a sufficient amount of Energy while also considering that some cards may allow them to gain bonus Energy.

On the other hand, Runes are used to acquire more powerful cards, such as Mystic or Heavy Infantry cards, which provide better abilities and greater point values. As with Energy, players must strategize on when and how to spend their Runes, considering both immediate needs and long-term goals.

Acquiring high-value cards early in the game can set a player up for future success, but it’s also crucial not to overlook low-cost cards that can provide valuable benefits.

Mastering the management of Energy and Runes in Ascension requires a balance of short-term gains and long-term strategy. Players must adapt their resource allocation based on the available cards in the center row, their opponent’s moves, and their own deck composition. By efficiently managing these resources, players can develop a strong foundation for building a winning strategy in Ascension.

EnergyUsed to acquire hero or construct cards from the center row
RunesAcquire more powerful Mystic or Heavy Infantry cards with better abilities and point values from center row

Developing a Winning Strategy

When it comes to Ascension board game strategy, developing a winning strategy is crucial for success. While luck plays a role in drawing cards, the key to victory lies in making strategic decisions throughout the game. Here are some tips for developing a winning strategy:

1. Focus on Constructing a Balanced Deck: When selecting cards from the center row, aim to build a balanced deck that includes both strong hero cards and powerful construct cards. By having a mix of offensive and defensive capabilities, you can adapt to different situations that arise during gameplay.

2. Prioritize Card Draw and Deck Cycling: Look for cards that allow you to draw more cards or cycle through your deck quickly. This will increase your chances of drawing powerful cards on each turn, giving you an edge over your opponents.

3. Keep an Eye on Your Opponents’ Decks: Pay attention to the types of cards your opponents are acquiring and adjust your strategy accordingly. If they are focusing heavily on energy-generating constructs, consider prioritizing rune-generating cards to outpace them in resource accumulation.

By focusing on constructing a balanced deck, prioritizing card draw and deck cycling, and keeping an eye on your opponents’ decks, you can develop a winning strategy in Ascension board game.

For more advanced players looking to take their strategy to the next level, considering the use of advanced tactics such as creating synergy between specific card combinations or leveraging expansions and variants for additional strategic depth can be beneficial in dominating the game. Understanding these nuances can give experienced players an upper hand against their competition.

Tips and Tricks for Mastering Ascension

Once you have a good grasp of the basic rules and mechanics of the Ascension board game, it’s time to dive into some tips and tricks for mastering the game. One key aspect of a successful strategy in Ascension is to focus on card synergies.

Look for cards that work well together and complement each other to maximize their effectiveness. For example, cards that allow you to draw more cards can work well with those that provide extra resources, allowing you to build a powerful deck quickly.

Another important tip is to pay attention to the center row. Keep an eye out for powerful hero and construct cards that can give you a significant advantage, and try to acquire them before your opponents do. Additionally, don’t underestimate the power of defeating monsters in the center row to gain honor points and thin out your deck.

As you progress in the game, it’s crucial to constantly assess your deck and make adjustments as needed. Don’t be afraid to banish weaker cards from your deck to streamline it and increase the chances of drawing stronger cards. This will help you maintain a lean and efficient deck that can consistently generate powerful combos.

By implementing these tips and tricks for mastering Ascension, you can develop a more strategic approach to the game and increase your chances of emerging victorious. Remember that practice makes perfect, so take the time to experiment with different card combinations and strategies to find what works best for you.

Advanced Gameplay

Ascension, the deck-building board game, offers a wide range of expansions and variants to keep the gameplay fresh and exciting for advanced players. These expansions introduce new cards, mechanics, and strategies that can elevate your gaming experience to a whole new level.

One popular expansion is “Storm of Souls,” which introduces soul gems that allow players to banish defeated monsters for extra points, adding another layer of strategy to the game. Additionally, the “Realms Unraveled” expansion adds multi-faction cards that further diversify the available strategies.

Another way to enhance your Ascension gameplay is by exploring variants such as “Eternal Format” or “Shards of Infinity.” The Eternal Format variant allows players to use any card from previous sets, creating endless possibilities for deck combinations and strategic choices. On the other hand, Shards of Infinity is a standalone deck-building game set in the Ascension universe, offering a different gameplay experience while still retaining the core mechanics that make Ascension so engaging.

Nerdy Strategy Board Games

As you delve into the world of expansions and variants for Ascension, it’s important to consider how these additions can impact your overall strategy. New cards and mechanics can open up innovative strategies that may not have been viable in the base game alone. By exploring these expansions and variants, players can continue to sharpen their skills, adapt their strategies, and discover new ways to dominate the game.

Storm of SoulsIntroduces soul gems for banishing defeated monsters
Realms UnraveledAdds multi-faction cards for diverse strategies
Eternal FormatAllows the use of cards from previous sets in gameplay
Shards of InfinityA standalone deck-building game set in the Ascension universe

Ascension Board Game Strategy for Beginners vs Advanced Players

Understanding Different Levels of Strategy

When it comes to playing Ascension, the strategy required can vary greatly depending on whether you are a beginner or an advanced player. For beginners, the focus is often on understanding the basic rules and gameplay mechanics, while advanced players have already mastered the fundamentals and are now looking to fine-tune their strategies.

Beginners may find it overwhelming at first to understand all the different aspects of the game, while advanced players are constantly seeking ways to outsmart their opponents.

Adapting to Your Opponent

One of the key differences in strategy between beginners and advanced players in Ascension is their ability to adapt to their opponents. Beginner players may focus solely on building their own deck and accumulating resources, while advanced players are more likely to analyze their opponent’s strategies and adjust their gameplay accordingly.

Advanced players often pay attention to which cards their opponents are selecting, what kind of deck they’re building, and how they’re managing their resources. This allows them to anticipate their opponent’s moves and counter them effectively.

Expanding Your Horizon

For beginners, sticking with the basic set of cards provided in the game box may be enough for a few games. However, as players advance in skill level, they may seek out expansions and variants of Ascension to keep the game fresh and challenging. Expansions offer new cards, mechanics, and strategies that can completely change the dynamics of the game. Advanced players often enjoy experimenting with these new elements and incorporating them into their overall strategy.

In summary, while beginners focus on grasping the basic rules and mechanics of Ascension, advanced players delve into deeper levels of strategy by adapting to opponents’ moves and exploring expansions and variants of the game. No matter your skill level, adopting an effective Ascension board game strategy will help you dominate your opponents in this exciting deck-building game.


In conclusion, mastering the Ascension board game requires a deep understanding of the game’s mechanics and a well-thought-out strategy. By focusing on building a powerful deck, effectively managing resources, and planning ahead, players can increase their chances of dominating the game. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced player, implementing the right Ascension board game strategy is essential for success.

One crucial aspect of the game’s strategy is understanding the importance of card selection and how it impacts your overall gameplay. Choosing cards that work well together and complement your chosen strategy is vital for building a strong deck. Additionally, managing your resources efficiently, such as energy and runes, allows you to maximize your turns and make strategic plays that can lead to victory.

As you delve deeper into Ascension gameplay, it’s important to keep in mind that there are various expansions and variants available that can add new layers of complexity to the game. Exploring these advanced gameplay options can provide seasoned players with fresh challenges while allowing beginners to gradually expand their knowledge and skills. By continuously honing your Ascension board game strategy through experience and practice, you can position yourself as a formidable opponent in every match.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Best Expansion for Ascension Deck Building Game?

The best expansion for Ascension Deck Building Game is subjective and depends on personal preferences. Some players enjoy the “Realms Unraveled” expansion for its transforming cards, while others prefer the “Storm of Souls” expansion for its soul gems mechanic.

How Do You Play the Card Game Ascension?

To play the card game Ascension, players start by choosing a center deck to draw from and a starting deck of 8 apprentice and 2 militia cards. On each turn, players use their cards to acquire new ones, defeat monsters, or gain honor points.

The game ends when certain conditions are met, and the player with the most honor points wins.

Who Makes Ascension?

Ascension is made by Stone Blade Entertainment, previously known as Gary Games. It was designed by Justin Gary and Rob Dougherty and first released in 2010. Since then, multiple expansions have been added to enhance gameplay and provide new challenges for players.

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