Articles for May 2016

Cloud of Witnesses Musings – Combos: Part 1

Hello everyone and welcome to the next installment of Cloud of Witnesses Musings!  Today I will be commenting on some combos I’ve noticed with the new CoW cards.  When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. But when life gives you 129 new Redemption cards 3 months before Nationals, you make combos!

Just Sit Right Back and I’ll Tell a Tale

Maybe you know the reference being made in the title of this article or maybe you don’t. Maybe I am really telling my age by the fact that I even made the reference. One thing we can all agree on though is this…a Noah’s Ark card has been way overdue; no maybes about it. Noah has been in the game since Patriarchs along with a small representation of his family with Noah’s Sons. Those cards, although fun if you pull them together in Booster Draft, have really seen no play since their release. The “Flood Theme” has seen a huge boost within the Cloud of Witnesses set with the new Noah and the addition of cards for Shem, Ham, and Japheth along with Noah’s Wife and a fun card that hinted that Noah’s Ark was coming, Pitch and Gopher Wood. Without further ado, let me introduce you to the 2016 National Promo card, Noah’s Ark.

Game Update – REG Version (3.1.0)

The Elders have completed a minor version update to the REG that is effective immediately. The primary changes were updating and adding information for Cloud of Witnesses cards but there are some other interesting changes as well.

Winner Card Insight – The Coliseum

Win Booster draft, create a card. This was the deal. This was the opportunity. This was the challenge on the floor of the coliseum. Win or die. No tricks, nothing outside of the very authority of God himself to save you from the brawl. Every move has a counter. Every feint a dodge. Three opponents at a time, each vying for the same goal: victory.

An attack! Do you defend now or later? Is the enemy of your enemy going to give you the succor of his unholy documents? Who was it that drafted Mayhem again? The Enhancements, negotiations and time fly, but when the dust settles? There can be only one. One game-winning rescue, and Emperor Anderson is descending from his dais to grant you a reward incomparable to the feeling of battles well fought and honor well earned.

Winner Card Insight – Confusion (101 Ways)

When I won Nationals in 2015 (read about it here) I got a super cool prize, the ability to create a card! Now you may be thinking “But John, aren’t you a playtester, don’t you already create cards?” Yes, and no. A lot of the set-building happens before I come in. I do contribute from time to time on the creation side, but my focus is more on ability tweaking. Also, we tend to have strong themes in our sets – The Nationals Prize was outside of these lines.

Winner Card Insight – Word of Their Testimony

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony;  they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. (Revelation 12:11)

From the time it was announced that the winners of T1 2P, T2 2P, and Booster Draft would be able to create their own cards as part of the new set, I knew that if I won that this would be the verse for my card. My favorite verse as a child was Philippians 4:13 (which is a verse I still love) but over the past seven or eight years this verse from Revelation has been my favorite as the idea of a testimony became an integral part of my life.

Cloud of Witnesses Musings – Ultra Rares: Part 1

Hello everyone!  Now that the Cloud of Witnesses expansion has been spoiled in whole, it’s time to consider what this means for Redemption.  If you are like me, you are extremely excited yet feeling somewhat overwhelmed right now!  Cloud of Witnesses is giving us 129 new cards that we need to incorporate into our thought process as we build our tournament decks.  Nationals is less than 3 months away!  So where do we start?  What do we focus on?  What are the implications and considerations needing to be addressed when an expansion is released 2 months before Nationals?  That’s what I’ll be discussing in what I plan on being a multi-part “blog-like” series of articles.  I’ll just be talking about whatever comes to mind and we’ll see where it leads!

Falling Away

Falling Away has been a staple Dominant since it was introduced in Redemption’s 3rd set – Women. It was introduced to balance the newly printed New Jerusalem promo card. One let you rescue an extra Lost Soul, the other let you take a Redeemed Soul away.

From the beginning, Falling Away has been a staple card in almost every competitive deck. But it’s also one of the most theologically controversial cards in the game. There have been players who have refused to use it. I knew a guy who just called it “the theologically incorrect card”.

The Cloud of Witnesses Story

The Letter to the Hebrews is an incredible book, even called a masterpiece by secular scholars.  The arguments and positions it lays out are strong, unshakable, and help us set the foundation of our faith.  It was written to the Jews who converted, and the author recounts both their history and future with Christ.  Really, Hebrews can tell the whole story of the Bible…

Cloud of Witnesses Primer

A couple weeks ago I recorded this podcast while traveling to visit Gabe. I cover topics like power creep, the state of the game, and where we tried to push things with this set. I also touch on what decks I think will do well after Cloud of Witnesses becomes legal for play. As you gear up for tournament season, I think this can be a valuable resource to help you hit the ground running!

Guess Who’s Back? (**SPOILERS***)

Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life perfectly pleasing to God, offered himself as the sacrificial lamb to pay for the sins of mankind leading to his death on the cross, rose to life on the third day, was seen by hundreds of people and then ascended to heaven to sit at the right hand of God constantly interceding for the saints. That’s an extremely impressive resume! But that’s not all. The scriptures also promise us that he’s coming back!

Nats Winner Creations (**SPOILERS**)

At 2015 Nationals, Rob offered an amazing prize for whomever won T1-2P, T2-2P, and Booster Draft: the ability to design a Redemption card that would be printed in an official set. While the usual balancing and playtesting would, of course, be done with the cards, they would be kept as close to the intent of the creator as possible.

Money Money Money (**SPOILERS**)

As Gordon Gecko once said: greed is good. And that’s why all of today’s cards deal with MONEY!

We added these three cards onto the list in the middle of the playtesting process. We were told we had nine more slots to work with and we came up with these as part of that set.

To Seek and To Save (**SPOILERS**)

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10) Jesus spoke these powerful words after Zaccheus, the infamous tax collector, showed Repentance and Restitution for all the times he had cheated his fellow people. The goal of Redemption follows the example of Jesus: to save and redeem Lost Souls. Redemption does not portray specific people as Lost Souls because in a sense, we are all Lost Souls before we come to know Jesus. Even when we come to know Jesus, there may be times in our lives when we drift away or feel that we have lost our connection to Him. The amazing truth is that even when we make mistakes, He will never leave us nor forsake us, and that He always welcomes us back with open arms when we return to Him.

An Alternative to Alternate Win Conditions (**SPOILERS**)

There has been a lot of conversation about “alternate win conditions” in the game of Redemption. If you are not familiar with the concept, it is based on the idea that there could be another way to win besides the standard condition; which in Redemption is rescuing a certain amount of Lost Souls. So perhaps instead of rescuing souls, you would be able to have four specific cards all in play at the same time which would mean you win regardless of the Lost Soul score at the time.

Someone to Watch Over Me (**SPOILERS**)

It’s Sunday morning. You might be a church-goer, you might not. If you are, it’s likely that at some point someone at your church (a pastor, a Mentor or maybe a Best Friend) has been there for you during a tough time. I believe that God puts specific people in our lives to come alongside us, to guide us, to give us Words of Encouragement, to let us know that we are Not Alone and to keep us from Falling Away from the faith. The book of Hebrews talks of such people. We are introducing two new Heroes to represent them.

The “Other” Gray Defense (**SPOILERS**)

In the last couple of years, gray has seen extensive use as a defensive brigade and the results have been impressive. In 2013, a Roman-based hand control deck won T1 2P at Nationals. That same year, a pair of decks using Pharisee-based defenses (along with a couple Romans) won TEAMS at Nationals. The following year at Nationals, the top three decks for T1 2P used gray defenses (first place being mostly Pharisees while second and third used a Pharisee/Roman mix). A deck with a Pharisee defense also won T2 MP in 2014 proving that it’s not just a T1 defense. Last year saw gray take a bit of a step back as the top gray deck “only” got third place in T1 2P, but it’s pretty clear that a gray defense—in some combination of Pharisees and Romans—is one of the dominant defenses right now.

Looking Back to Egypt (**SPOILERS**)

As part of God’s divine plan, Egypt played a pretty big role in the early books of the Bible. Egyptians, as a defense, have also played a pretty big role in Redemption in years past. But more recently, due to lack of new cards and support, they’ve been less popular.

That can actually be said of a few themes. So when we sat down to flesh out the defenses in Cloud of Witnesses we knew that there were some long neglected civilizations that we wanted to show some love this year. Three of them in particular.

The Fall of Saul: Part 2 (**SPOILERS**)

So when we left off in Part 1, King Saul was chasing David throughout Israel and the surrounding nations in a desperate attempt to keep the kingship of Israel in his family line. However, time and again David was one step ahead of Saul. Before word of King Saul’s mission had spread very far, David went to the city of Nob. While there, he lied to Ahimelech the priest about why he was there in order to get food and supplies.

Antediluvians: Part 1 (**SPOILERS**)

Redemption’s newest theme is going to be referred to by many people as “that word I can’t pronounce”. Just give it your best shot. What’s more important is what it means for game play. Who does it include? Why does it matter?

Antediluvian is a term used to describe any character who lived before the world wide flood of Genesis 7.

The Fall of Saul: Part 1 (**SPOILERS**)

It was a tenuous time in Israel. Samuel the prophet was getting old and his time for leading Israel was coming to an end. Unfortunately, Samuel’s sons, Joel and Abijah did not walk in the ways of their father and instead used their position for dishonest gain. The elders of Israel made a decision—they wanted a king like the other nations around them. Samuel was not pleased about this and sought after God about the people’s request.

The Three Lions of Cloud of Witnesses (**SPOILERS**)

Crimson has been the home to a few animals, most recently “The Serpent”. With the addition of Esau, the Hunter, it appears that animals are here to stay as a theme.

Now joining their wild counterparts are two more Evil Characters and a Curse with an ability that relies on animals being used. Let’s meet these cards and see how they will add a wrinkle to the emerging animal theme of Cloud of Witnesses.

Fox on Fire (**SPOILERS**)

Here at Land of Redemption we do not condone animal cruelty. I do not believe that God does either. Yet, in the Bible we have a story about a Hero who did some questionable things to animals in an effort to get revenge on his enemies. The result gives us a card like we’ve never seen before!