Gardeners prune their plants to produce a better crop. Arborists prune trees to promote healthy growth. If you’re part of God’s family, He prunes you to make you more like his Son. Pruning can be uncomfortable, sometimes quite painful, but pruning is part of promoting good health. Redemption is not exempt.

Pruning the “Liners”

After over 20 years, Redemption “pruned” the first and only card (well, technically 2 cards) to date – The “Liner” Lost Souls were banned a year and a half ago. It took me a while to get on board with the decision to ban instead of errata a card. After we tried every possible errata we could think of I saw that was the only good solution to a broken card. It makes sense we’d have to ban a card that was created 20+ years earlier. Who could have the foresight to know what the game would be today?! But I was sure we would never need to ban a card again.

Fast forward to Nationals 2019 where I got to help judge all three days. This gave me a unique opportunity to see what a lot of different people were using and how games played out. After Nationals we compare notes on rules that need to be updated and what decks were successful. There are a couple cards that stood out as problems. We started brainstorming errata to “fix” these cards.

The Mayhem Problem

Let me flash back to 2018. We vetted a lot of different options before we settled on what we believe to a be a healthy errata for Mayhem. We have a trade in program to exchange your old version for one with the new wording. We have a Legacy Rare version of Mayhem too. But of course there are still players who use the original printed version.

Sometimes I’d face a player using the old version. I even use the old version in some of my decks. It took me months to remember how to play Mayhem correctly without needing to look up the new errata. I’m a veteran player and part of the game’s leadership. If I struggled with this for so long I’m sure there are still players out there who do too.

This past week when we revisited the problem cards to discuss errata one of my peers told me “It’s better for the game that players have a small list of cards they cannot use than it is for people to be playing cards that don’t do what is written on them.”

You know what? He’s right.

I had to ask myself, why is it that I’m so hesitant to agree to ban problem cards? Is it because “not banning” is how Redemption has always done things? Is it because of my own pride? Is it because I want every card a player opens to be playable? Is it because I think our team is so smart that we can errata away all of our problems?

It’s all of the above.

The Culprits

One of the problem cards will come as no surprise to most of you. He’s the lynchpin to the speed engine in many decks – Samuel from tin XXIII. He’s usually surrounded by a number of powerful cards, but they don’t function together nearly as well without him. Samuel and his cohorts were found in the winning decks for 6 or 7 categories at Nationals 2019. But his dominance and power have been on display for years.

Another problem card just came out in Prophecies of Christ. I’m still using it in every serious deck I play but it feels dirty to steal a player’s battle phase. Of course I’m talking about Mourn and Weep. And it gets exponentially worse in multi-player formats.

Picture this – time is called so it’s the final round of play at your four player Type 1 table. Player 1 rescues a Lost Soul and gets to 4. You have 3 and just need to use some draw abilities to dig for your Son of God. You have a pretty sure rescue lined up so even if you don’t draw SoG you should at least tie at 4. But then during his discard phase player 1 uses Mourn and Weep. Now you’re limited to your 3 card draw at the start of your turn. No rescue attempt. No using Heroes and Enhancements in battle to try to get to the cards you need. Not quite the ending great stories are made of.

I saw situations like that happen multiple times during multi-player and Teams.

For the health of tournament play we will “prune” Samuel and Mourn and Weep from constructed formats effective December 1st.

The elders are working on a card to replacement Mourn and Weep in the Prophecies of Christ set. Once that’s complete, Cactus Game Design will offer a trade in program for players to send their Mourn and Weep in exchange for the new card. Details will be released when they are available.

Since we have another version of Samuel in Cloud of Witnesses there will be no trade in for him.

If you encounter any of the banned cards in limited play (booster or sealed deck) you may still play them but they should be treated as “meek” (no special ability).

Cleaner, Clearer Rules

We’re working to try to make the rules as clean and clear as possible. One of the games more confusing interactions, even if it’s not all that frequent, is cascade negate – when more than one card is negated because those cards were the result of the ability of the target of a negate.

You’ve asked us to address this and we’ve heard you. We’ve spent time trying to foresee all the implications of this change but it feels larger than we can anticipate. Still, we’re going to move forward and ask for your patience and grace when and if we hit some bumps along the way.

Effective sometime in early 2020 cascade negate will be removed from the rules. If you negate a card, only that specific card will be negated. More details will follow including the exact date this goes into effect. But you’ll want to get all your cascading out of your system in 2019 because in 2020 it will be no more!

6 thoughts on “Pruning to Promote Growth

  1. Isaac Miller

    Rip Sam, it truly is the end of an era. I welcome this change though, his speed was just too ridiculous to be kept around.

  2. slugfencer

    ***Mourning and Weeping***literally……..
    I have mixed feelings like Gabe……..
    I NEVER like seeing cards go out to pasture…..
    But I also can see the rare need for the banhammer if they are either too powerful or too confusing. Neither is good for the game.

  3. Reth

    Wow! Really great news getting the game less (hopefully) unintuitive, making it more easy to get into it by new players! Awesome!
    What a pitty regarding Sam – I was so glad to get my hands on one of them back then and liked playing him. But if it’s improving healthiness of the game I think I will be able to arrange with it. 🙂

    Is the Mourn and Wheep “prune” really necessary even though there are quite some counters out like 3 Woes (if this will work) or Gam’s Speech?

  4. Roger Cox

    Having come late to the party, I don’t know what to do. Can I send these banned cards somewhere and get replacements? Where do I send Samuel, Mourn and Weep, Mayhem and “Liner” lost soul (and which set is that from? (Lost souls with special abilities are hard to find until they started printing the “codename” on them).

  5. Kevin Peters

    I am a firm believer in keeping things simple. Any progression of the game toward’s simplifying things will be an improvement.

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