Ruth offenses have been a thing ever since the I/J starter deck was released. But they’ve never had the tools to compete at a high level, until now! Today we’ll will take a look at what makes a Ruth offense work in a Type 1 format that includes LoC.
What Makes it Tick?
The strength of the Ruth offense is in the characters, the ability to get them quickly and having access multiple battle extending abilities. There are very few offenses that can get their key characters as quickly as a Ruth offense!
Land of Moab is the latest addition to Ruth’s set up components. With all the extra cards you’ll be getting the +1 it gives to your hand size is helpful too. Ruth Meets Boaz from the J starter is another great set up card that isn’t limited to characters but can grab an Enhancement or Threshing Floor too. Using it to set up does cost you some potential recursion later but Ruth has plenty of that. Boaz’ Sandal will also get you the Hero you need at the cost of missing out on an add to battle ability later in the game. A fourth tool to help get things started right is Boaz’ Offspring but you’ll be missing out on using the battle winning component later.
The first Hero you’re looking for with the Ruth offense is Elimelech. If things work out right he will get you a draw 3, any Ruth Hero and keep the battle going with the Hero of your choosing. He’s a one time use thanks to his self-banish ability but I’ll go on record saying he’s “better than AUtO”.
David, Heart After God is another of my favorite Heroes to open with since he grabs whatever piece of the offense I’m missing. If you have Preparing to Return you can bounce and reuse him as often as you want.
Obed, the Servant is another powerful Hero to go to with Elimelech. If you’re able to set up enough meek Heroes early he provides an additional draw 3 plus an amazing territory class negate ability that is bound to give your opponent some issues.
Kinsmen Redeemer is also among the essential characters for this offense. Mid to late game he is an excellent choice as an initiative character who will limit your opponent’s options via his restrict ability.
Boaz Foremen usually just hangs out in my territory granting his “Moses-Parents-like” protection. But he does have an excellent band ability for those times you need to work around a Christian Martyr or Falling Away (CoW).
What Ruth offense would be complete without Boaz and Ruth? Which Boaz and Ruth you use is a matter of preference. The starter Boaz offers smaller numbers, a broader band ability and a draw 1. Boaz, the Redeemer still bands, but only to Ruth. However he can also help with setup by grabbing any good Ruth card from deck plus he’s CBN and offers a meek side. Starter Ruth offers better stats for initiative and she negates all Evil Characters which can be really helpful! But you’ll be missing out on CBN Ruth Enhancements and protection from banish, discard and withdraw abilities offered by Ruth, the Redeemed. Whichever direction you choose to go with Boaz and Ruth they will make a great addition to your deck.
Rounding Out the Heroes
Unlike in year’s past, the Ruth offense has a lot of depth available to round out the Heroes you choose for your offense.
For starters, if you’re using Death of Family (which I highly recommend) you’ll want to supplement Ruth with at least one other female Hero. Naomi from the J deck is basic but powerful thanks to her band ability. Rahab offers more bounce, a negate and a meek side.
Elders of the City offers some very strong recursion which can also be complimented by Boaz’ Reapers recursion and Reserve access.
Amminadab, the Generous provides soul generation and a strong bounce ability in addition to having a meek side.
Jesse, the Ephrathite offers a marginally useful band ability and a territory class ability reminiscent of the “Distressed” Lost Soul. Plus he can be meek too.
Nahshon, the Blacksmith can either clear opposing Artifacts or pull off some neat tricks by activating your own if you don’t choose to use his meek side.
Ram, the Exalter has a versatile ability that can be used as random deck destruction, a clever way to get a card topdecked by a star ability or be used as a meek Hero.
Salmon, the Cloaked has Reserve access and a pretty strong band ability. He too can take on a meek identity.
Even though the core to most Ruth offenses will look the same there should be some nice variety with how players choose to build out the remaining characters and even how many additional Heroes they choose to use.
Ruth Enhancements and Beyond
There are a number of great Ruth Enhancements to get you started. But I think you’ll find that compared to other top tier offenses the Enhancements that Ruth has to offer leave it wanting. That’s probably OK because it helps to balance the blazing fast setup!
We’ve already mentioned cards like Boaz’ Offspring, Ruth Meets Boaz, Death of Family and Preparing to Return. I consider all of those to be pretty essential.
Keeping with a Ruth reference your battle winning options are Orpah Departs, Boaz’ Resolve, When Judges Governed, Loyalty of Ruth and Devotion of Ruth. Those are all withdraw abilities though so there isn’t a lot of variety and they leave the characters to defend again next turn.
Those can be supplemented by pretty powerful negate abilities such as Your God Will Be My God, Naomi’s Blessing/Heartbroken, Family Bond and Kinsmen’s Agreement.
Ruth’s Vow can sometimes be leveraged into a battle winning ability when paired with some of the excellent banding options the offense has to offer. Marriage Covenant is probably a staple for any Ruth offense thanks to the versatility the Covenant offers.
In addition to the utility Enhancements we’ve already discussed you might want to take advantage of the soul generation offered by Harvest Season, or the additional drawing provided by Kindness of Boaz, or the recursion available via Gleaning the Fields.
If you find that the good Ruth Enhancements just don’t pack the punch you’re looking for white has plenty of other good options to help you win souls. Light in the Darkness and Word of Their Testimony are both excellent, versatile battle winners. David’s Proclamation and Royal Parade are powerful new additions from LoC. Hate Wickedness is another solid choice that can add some variety to your battle winning abilities.
In addition to all of the usual support options the Ruth offense can enjoy some cards that are uniquely tailored for its benefit. Boaz Sandal isn’t just a setup card but extends battles for you. Threshing Floor protects all of those valuable Heroes in your territory and provides additional acceleration when attacking with a lone Hero. Bethlehem (LoC) as a Site provides a counter to many of the game’s common character negates like Covenant with Death, “Distressed” Lost Soul and Three Woes. The Fortress side is amazing too if your opponent’s deck is built in a way that lets you take advantage of it.
There’s not a specific defense that is essential to pair with the Ruth offense but there are a couple options that have natural synergy.
Gray is going to benefit from cards you’re probably already using like Land of Moab, Death of Family, Orpah Departs and Naomi’s Blessing/Heartbroken. Some of those you’re usually going to want to use on offense though so they might not offer that much versatility for a gray defense.
Brown is another defensive pairing that can share cards with the offense. Kinsmen’s Agreement is probably the strongest option. If you enjoy and understand the power of side battles Brother’s Conflict adds synergy to white/brown. Warning Against Rebellion, “Today”, Daughter’s Grief and Honor Thy Enemy are all additional reasons to consider this pairing.
Whether the defense is gray, brown or something else all together I expect to Ruth offenses to be prominent in the post LoC Type 1 meta. Today’s article should give you plenty of good ideas to get you started! How will you build yours?
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