In recent years “Throne” offenses have dominated the Type 1 scene. With the ban of the lynchpin Hero Samuel those decks took a rather large hit. But LoC gave royalty a lot of new tools! What will royalty offenses look like in 2020? Will they still be top tier?
The Throne Conundrum
It’s safe to say that every royalty offense should play a version of Throne of David. I don’t think that there’s an obvious best choice between the two. The play and draw ability of the old Throne is amazing! With modern defenses focusing more on 1-2 brigades the draw doesn’t provide the boost it did in a splash defense meta. LoC also introduced some strong new evil weapons which will drastically limit the old Throne‘s usefulness while they’re in play.
The new Throne offers a star ability with a unique bonus most star abilities don’t give – it adds a card directly to your hand. While that’s great at any time, it can give you a distinct advantage at the start of the game. Throne (LoC) also offers card advantage in a way that gets around all of the draw and search counters introduced in PoC. Digging deeper into your deck for that one specific card you need can be crucial.
I keep going back and forth between the two Thrones in my royalty offense. When I use the LoC Throne I find myself missing the play first of the RoA Throne. When I use the RoA Throne I find myself missing the acceleration of the LoC Throne.
Selecting a David
The choice of which David you use is probably going to vary depending on which version of Throne you use and how you flesh out the rest of your offense. I tend to like David, the Shepherd when I’m using RoA Throne because he plays it right away to ensure you can take advantage of the play first ability during his rescue.
David, Outcast’s Refuge seems to work better for me when I’m using the LoC Throne since he can be used to add to the number good kings I have by banding to one from Reserve and he can benefit from the good kings I get with Throne if they are played as meek to increase his draw.
The Main Players
Whatever version of Throne and David you decide upon I don’t think you can go wrong with these characters as the core to your offense.
Abigail – It’s easier than ever to get purple warriors into your royalty offense so she will regularly draw 3, protect Lost Souls and band to your choice of David.
Hezekiah, the Devout – He grabs Throne, Gates of Jerusalem or another crucial setup card while adding to your meek Hero count. Depending on your choice of David he might start in the main deck or the Reserve.
Jotham, the Mighty – He offers top notch Reserve access and adds to your meek Hero count while swapping out his crushing stats for something that will often get you initiative.
Bathsheba (LoC) – Her “1-time-use” choose the blocker ability can be leveraged to your advantage so many different ways. Include bounce abilities like Solomon, Jehoshaphat and Book of the Law (LoC) to use her multiple times.
Solomon, the Wise – He provides you a free “Urim and Thummin” effect every upkeep. If that isn’t enough his bounce effect is a battle winner off of Faith of David. Plus he pairs great with his mother, Bathsheba.
Counsel of Abigail and Valley of Salt will be essential in royalty offenses as long as they’re legal to play. The ability to interrupt and then remove a blocker with a bonus of CBx is simply too strong to pass up.
Faith of David is another card that will probably remain a staple in royalty offenses for a long time to come. Being able to add to battle at will allows for some very nice tricks. Plus, it seems Solomon, the Wise was designed for this.
Bravery of David might be red but it’s never been easier to play your red battle winners in a royalty offense thanks to all of the purple/red kings in LOC.
The Supporting Cast
How you flesh out the rest of your offense is going to depend greatly on which direction you decide to take it. Will you take advantage of the new meek associated cards? Will you focus on abusing the strong new weapons from LoC? Will you mix in traditional red elements used in past Throne offenses?
Meek: If you include at least 3 Heroes that you can play as meek then you should be able to make good use of the strong add to battle ability on Gates of Jerusalem (LoC). That might also mean including Josiah, the Restorer, Asa, the Upright and Jehoshaphat, the Seeker. If you’re using Josiah and Throne (RoA) it’s hard to go wrong with Josiah’s Covenant (LoC). David’s Descendant is a great set up card in any royalty deck but it’s strongest when paired with meek Heroes. If you’re using a decent amount of meek Heroes The Lord’s Charge and Solomon’s Dream are both good choices too. It would be silly not to consider Matthew’s Begats, although that might be overkill since you already have Faith of David and Gates of Jerusalem to add to the battle.
Weapons: LoC has introduced several strong weapons that royalty can utilize. One of the best is Temple Spears and Shields because it protects royal Heroes from harm. Azariah, the Strong, Abijah, the Conqueror and King Azarih (Uzziah) all work well with these new weapons. You’ll have to choose between Azariah, the Strong and King Azariah (Kings) since they are the same unique character. The classic Azariah makes Sling Stones, Spears, Helmet, Shields and Body Armor all CBN! King’s Signet Ring should find a place in this build too. Hananiah is another strong consideration for this build although now we’re starting to spill over into the next category.
Red: Even going with a classic red mix probably brings some new twists. For starters you now have Joshua, the Conquerer who probably makes the cut in any build that isn’t trying to take advantage of Zion. Ahimelek the Hittie is still amazing when banded into battle off Not Alone or via a King Jehu exchange after Faith of David. It’s pretty easy to justify some additional banding characters like Caleb and Asahel when you go this direction.
Other Stuff: There are plenty of strong options to consider that don’t necessarily fall into the groups above but when combined with the core cards from the start of the article will make for a great offense.
King Saul isn’t the “must have” he used to be before Samuel’s departure but he’s still a solid character. He gets even better if you’re taking advantage of the vast dual alignment pairing of purple/brown to build your defense. Manasseh, the Humbled and Joash, Child King should be considered in that build too.
Amaziah, the Just is usually going to be better than his previous versions thanks to the changes to choose the blocker rules. Since Valley of Salt is CBN on him you might often find that he makes the cut.
Zion can be amazing as both a Site and a Fortress depending on when it’s drawn. It can provide your offense the Reserve access you need in order to omit Storehouse from your deck. With the number of “anti-Storehouse” type cards in LoC that needs to be taken into consideration.
Captive Princes provide some much needed soul generation (as does Josiah mentioned above in the meek build). Melchizedek (CoW) does too but that means you aren’t using the PoC version which makes for a tough choice.
Esther is an extremely strong royal Hero that deserves consideration in any purple offense even if she doesn’t have amazing synergy with some of these cards.
The star ability on David, Outcast’s Refuge has won me a Lost Soul when my opponent only had a generic warrior available to block and I got lucky enough to draw David that turn. Unfortunately you can’t guarantee that kind of thing when you need it. Or can you? Prince Jonathan (PoC) is not only a great setup card for whichever David you choose, but he will allow you to activate David‘s star ability too!
Covenant with David is another amazing setup card for a royalty offense. Feast of Booths, David’s Proclamation, Royal Parade, The Lord Goes Before You and Lost Anointing are all strong contenders to fill out your good Enhancements too.
My goal is to get you started with a core to the royalty deck and provided some different directions you can take it from there. Even though I’ve listed several options this isn’t even close to a comprehensive look at what’s available to a modern royalty offense. The difference between a great deck and an amazing deck might be in finding and exploiting something not even mentioned above! Happy deck building!
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