In preparation for the State, Regional and National tournament season this summer, we’re going to jump head-first into some deep waters. We’re going far beyond the basics to talk about the subtle differences that separate an average player from an elite player. Understanding and applying these principles will greatly improve your game. If playing competitively is your thing, take a deep breath and jump in with me…
This mini-series is based off a classic strategy article called, “Who’s the Beatdown?” written by Mike Flores for the game MTG. Many of the principles he presented apply to any strategy game. I’m going to take the time to translate them into Redemption terms for the benefit of our community.
Two Types of Decks
In any game of Redemption there are only two types of decks. I’m not talking about Judges or Genesis (arguably two of the top decks in today’s meta). I’m not talking about defense heavy vs. offense heavy vs. balanced decks. In every match there is a momentum deck and a responsive deck.
In the context of every two-player game, whether you realize it and apply it correctly or not, your deck takes on one (or both) of these two roles. They are fluid and can change multiple times throughout the course of a game. Knowing your role at any given time, and playing it correctly, can make the difference between winning and losing. Misunderstanding your role can have disastrous results.
Let’s start with an obvious example. When an offense heavy deck faces a defense heavy deck, the offense heavy deck is the momentum deck and the defense heavy deck is the responsive deck. Those roles probably don’t change much during the course of that game.
But what happens when two offense heavy decks face one another? Are they both the momentum deck? No. One will inevitably be faster than the other. The slower of the two decks had better realize that they are the responsive player and find a way to stabilize the pace of the game or they will be outraced. The same is true when two balanced decks or two defense heavy decks face one another.
The thing about Redemption is that these roles can change rather quickly. If your opponent isn’t drawing Lost Souls and you don’t find some Lost Soul generation, you can quickly go from being the player with momentum to being the responsive player. One player using Son of God and New Jerusalem can also quickly change the role assignment.
A Practical Example
To explore this further I’ll use a fictitious player “Teddy” who likes to play a balanced Genesis/Roman hand control deck. Teddy considers himself a responsive player based on the style of deck he uses.
Today Teddy faces “Kyle” who’s using a balanced “Abom” deck with a gold offense that forces drawing and a Greek defense. Kyle also considers himself to be a responsive player due to the style of deck he plays.
In our example game, Teddy gets some early hand discard elements, greatly reducing Kyle’s options. Situationally, Teddy is the momentum player. He can push the advantage he has to gain a sizable lead and possibly win the game. Kyle needs to get some of his control elements in play to establish his role as the responsive player. If Kyle doesn’t realize this and use his resources accordingly, he may fall behind or lose the game quickly if Teddy pushes the advantage he’s gained.
Kyle gets Abom and Kindness (TEC) in play, surrendering a Lost Soul in the process, but it allowed him to stabilize the game. Kyle is now discarding multiple cards from Teddy’s territory every turn using forced draw from Kindness, Areopagus and a gold Hero. The roles have now changed! Teddy needs to assume the role of the responsive player and make choices appropriate to that role. If he continues to play as though he’s the momentum player he may fall too far behind and have no chance at winning.
Knowing his role, Teddy uses Well Reopened to search out his Caesarea Philippi, which will protect his Evil Characters and N.T. Sites from Abom. Then he draws and plays Abraham’s Descendant to pick up Abom from his territory. Now Kyle has lost his main control element. He may not be able to switch back to the responsive deck role successfully. His best option at this point might be to continue in the momentum role in hopes that he can win before Teddy completely recovers from his losses.
More to Come
Hopefully this back and forth example helps you understand that there are only two types of decks in Redemption – momentum and responsive. Those types can change multiple times throughout the game. Knowing your deck and your opponent’s game plan will help you assess which role you need to assume so you can focus your efforts appropriately.
There’s a lot left to talk about, but that’s all we have time for today. Next time we will expand upon knowing your role and look at how to apply this knowledge to different parts of the game.
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