Ashes and Dust, Outcast Enforcer
"Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust ; in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life." -Anglican Book of Common Prayer

Overview

A Swift, heavy-hitting melee beatstick with a startling regeneration cycle. When killed or sacrificed, Ashes and Dust spawns two other models, the Ashen Core and Dust Storm, which can then reform into Ashes and Dust again when united. Because of the way this cycle operates, Ashes and Dust tends to cling to the side edges of the board where it can reform more safely.


Mobility

Ashes and Dust is, arguably, one of the fastest models in the game. With Wk 5 and Cg 8 it already has decent movement stats. Ashes and Dust also possesses the coveted Swift Ability giving A&D 3AP instead of the usual two. This means Ashes and Dust has a comparable move to most masters in the game.

A&D also possesses up to a 10" push for a (0) action Whirlwind of Scrap that requires a 7 of any suit and a scrap marker to push into base to base with.


Offense

Melee

Ashes and Dust has a very strong melee action in its Entropy Claws: (Ml 7/ Rst: Df/ Rg: 2) Target suffers 3/4/6. Ml 7 is a high stat for melee; combined with a 2" melee range and a 50mm base creates an enormous threat. Most enemy models cannot afford to ignore A&D for too long and can do little to escape his onslaught once in range.

Ashes and Dust can summon Abominations when killing a model with its Desolate Warping trigger. This can provide speedbump models, debuffers, and can provide an excellent source of card flow during later turns.

Ranged

A&D has only one ranged action that causes damage: Industrial Age causes a 6" pulse that forces all enemy models to take a Df 11 duel or immediately suffer 2 damage.


Resilience

Ashes and Dust's resilience is problematic. Depending on your view it is either the most resilient model in the game or the biggest liability.
At 9 wounds Ashes and Dust has more than average wounds, but not for 13ss.
However, its resilience does not revolve around wounds the way other models do.

Melee

High stats of 6 in both Df an Wp mean Ashes and Dust will often win the lucky flip and if necessary its controller can treat the odd severe to keep it alive...if they want (more on that later).

Ranged

A&D has no innate defenses against Ranged attacks.

Amalgamation

A&D also has an interesting Ability called Amalgamation, which makes it immune to all conditions.
Let it be said again: A&D is immune to ALL conditions, both good and bad. This can be a huge boon against enemies like Kirai (who relies on Adversary) or Lynch (who relies on Brilliance).

Choking Wind

Choking Wind prevents Ashes and Dust from being the target of a Charge action. All models have to move into distance before attacking it.
This makes it even less attractive to attack with melee models, but in no way impacts ranged attackers.

Desolate Core

This is the lynch pin in A&D's survivability.

When Ashes and Dust is killed or sacrificed, its controller may summon a friendly Ashen Core into base contact, attach up to 1 upgrade to said Core, and summon a friendly Dust Storm in base to base with a table edge at least 6" away from the enemy deployment zone.

Once this happens Ashes and Dust is removed and drops no markers.

The Dust Storm has a (0) action called Initiate Reformation that sacrifices itself, gives the Core Armor +1, and summons a brand new Ashes and Dust in base contact with it at the end of the turn.

The Dust Storm also benefits from Amalgamation, meaning it is immune to Slow; therefore it may move twice (max 10") when it is summoned, and still (0) action to begin re-summoning the A&D.

Ashes and Dust is meant to die. It has decent stats and fair to moderate wound count.

But its real power comes in its ability to put itself in harm's way and then re-summon turn after turn, tying up models and eating up activations.

However, each time it is summoned, it is technically a new model. Therefore schemes like Bodyguard/Murder Protegee are A&D's worst nightmares.


Upgrades

Scramble

Scramble is your best bet with Ashes and Dust.
It turns A&D's already impressive mobility into ludicrous speed.

Oath Keeper

Oath Keeper is pointless on A&D.
If you were to design an upgrade that is completely undesirable for one specific model it would be this combination. A&D dies often and therefore gaining the Ability Finish the Job: when this model dies it drops a scheme marker would be insanely useful, except for the wording on Amalgamation, which also states that A&D drops no markers when it dies.
Oath Keeper can also be discarded for the Fast condition, which A&D is...wait for it...immune to.

Take Scramble.


Tactics and Tips

Often, it's a good idea to split Ashes and Dust later in the Turn, so that the Dust Storm and Ashen Core can reunite without worrying about enemy targeting.

Ashes and Dust really refers to stay on the edge of the board, where it can reunite more quickly. When the Ashen Core and Dust Storm get separated, they are more vulnerable. If either of them dies, you won't get Ashes and Dust back again, so keep them safe and reunite them quickly.

A handy scrap marker combined with Scramble that increases Wk/Cg by 1 and suddenly A&D has a potential 28" move or a 27" threat range with two, count them, two attacks (e.g. Whirlwind of Scrap up to +10", moves (1) Action +6", charge (2) action +9", and melee range +2"=27")!

Ashes and Dust are an excellent target for Abominations to damage for extra cards, since this lets you kill and recycle A&D, which you should be happy to do anyway

Leveticus:

Ashes and Dust has very strong synergy with Leveticus. It's often a really good crew choice for Leveticus. Except when Murder Protege is on the table.

Use Levi's (0) action Rebirth on Ashes and Dust to either move Levi 10" into base to base with A&D or draw two cards.
Normally this would be a huge drain on resources, but.......(see Desolate Core) instead it becomes a useful way for positioning/cultivating a hand, and gives you the benefit of activation control, turning a single activation into three!
Run a Hollow Waif up the side of the board in the enemy's deployment zone, kill A&D turn 5 to drop Dust Storm next to the waif and unbury Levi in the enemy's deployment for 3VPs for Entourage.

Run Rusty Alyce to the center line and drop a scrap marker with (0) action Fragments (see From the Aether), Whirlwind of Scrap Ashes and Dust to the center line to start dropping scheme markers, (0) action Rebirth Levi to the center of the board to also drop scheme markers. First turn Line in the Sand.


Playing Against Ashes and Dust

Keep in mind Ashes and Dust wants to be within 10" of a table edge so it can reform; it only possesses a 2" melee attack to tie up models; and that it can resummon after death.

Bearing that in mind, it's good to figure out if A&D is being played offensively or defensively, marker or kill-y, etc.

A cagey A&D player will play it close to a table edge, in which case don't engage. Don't waste AP engaging A&D where it feels safest, force it into the open.
If you have Ranged shooters or casters, all the better to shoot it with my dear.
A&D cannot be targeted with the charge action, so it is better to have it come to you with melee persons.

The real problem is not with killing A&D; it's making sure it stays dead.
However, both pieces (Dust Storm/Ashen Core) are necessary for A&D's resurrection, taking out either will usually ensure its eternal demise.

Don't bother with killing the Dust Storm; it auto-sacrifices to resummon A&D.
However, tying it up with a model or two will not go amiss as it cannot afford to ignore models and will prevent A&D from reforming at end of turn.
Beware its melee attack is just as strong as A&D, but without a charge range, it's a pretty poor copy.

Killing Ashen Core may be harder, but well worth it in the long run.
Its defenses are considerable with Hard to Wound 2 and Armor +2/+3, but with Df 1, you will hit it.
Come at it with something that ignores Armor or Hard to Wound (preferably both) and you'll eat through its 6 wounds readily enough.

When playing against Ashes and Dust, it is important to remember its rebirth cycle and, much like Levi, the important time to strike is not after it activates, but before.
If you can easily kill it then do, however, it is far more likely the other player will kill it for their own purposes, and that is the time to attack.

Ownership
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