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.
Know Your Role
If you’re a “natural”, like anyone with the last name Alstad, you make correct choices without the need to think about what you should to do. But the rest of us must evaluate our options and choose the correct path.
In order to make strategically correct plays you have to be able to accurately identify your role. Are you the momentum deck or are you the responsive deck?
Roles are dynamic and change based on the game state. But when you know both decks you can determine what your natural role will be based on an average draw by both players. The following checklist is not conclusive, but a tool to help you determine your role:
1. Who has the most potential rescues? Usually the momentum deck.
2. Who has the most potential blocks? Usually the responsive deck.
3. Who has the most acceleration (draw/search)? Usually the momentum deck.
4. Who has the most meta counters? Usually the responsive deck.
5. Who has the most Lost Soul generation? Usually the momentum deck.
Once you know your role you can make choices that attempt to lock your opponent out of playing the correct role. If you can do that correctly you take away the ability to implement the game plan that the opponent needs in order to win.
– Determine a your game plan.
– Make choices consistent with your game plan.
– Throughout the game ask yourself, is your strategy working?
– Adjust as needed.
Play First or Draw First?
There’s not a clear-cut answer to whether or not you should always play first or draw first. There are a number of factors that can help you assess our role so you can correctly decide whether or not you are better off to play or draw first.
If you’ve had a chance to scout your opponent’s deck, what you already know can help you determine your decks natural role in the game. But that’s not a given, so lets look at some more reliable information.
The cards you have in your opening hand can be a huge factor in whether or not you want to play or draw. If you’ve only drawn Evil Characters, but no Heroes, there’s a good chance you will need to assume the responsive role at the start of the game. However, if you have Heroes but nothing that will get you a successful block, then you need to be prepared to assume the role of the momentum deck.
All of this assumes that there are Lost Souls available to both players at the start of the game. The number of Lost Souls available is also something you have to take into consideration. If you have no Lost Souls to defend, it doesn’t matter as much if you haven’t drawn defense. And if there aren’t Lost Souls available for you to rescue it hampers your ability to assume the momentum role.
Greed Vs. Speed
Generally speaking, the sooner you can get to your best cards, the more likely you are to win. That’s why draw and search abilities are found in all competitive Redemption decks. Smart players also like to use each of their cards to maximum effectiveness.
Drawing cards and waiting for the best opportunity to use each card is not always the correct decision. Knowing your role will help you accurately identify the difference between greed and speed.
We’ve all been in a position where we don’t have any Lost Souls available for the opponent to rescue. Drawing cards to get to the missing piece of your SoG/NJ combo can be a good thing. In this situation, are you better to draw 2 with AUTO or to make a rescue without drawing? If you draw a Lost Soul you’ve given your opponent a rescue attempt they otherwise might not have had. Knowing your role helps you make the correct choice in this situation.
Playing your cards at a time that gives you the most benefit from the special ability is often the best choice. But there are times when you need to balance the instant result against the long game implications.
As a practical example, your opponent is making a rescue and you have the Lost Souls (2-Liner or 3-Liner) in your Land of Bondage. You have to decide between blocking with Assyrian Survivor and playing Death of Unrighteous (DoU), sending them back empty handed, or giving him ½ of the Lost Souls card, waiting to play DoU to shuffle it next turn. In a vacuum, the later seems like the obvious choice because you get the most out of your cards.
But if your opponent has 2 Redeemed Souls in a Type 1 game, giving them ½ could mean a loss if they have SoG/NJ. Maybe they don’t rescue next turn. Then you don’t have an opportunity to play DoU. Once again we see that correctly assessing your role will help you make the correct play.
More to Come
I hope this has helped you understand how to correctly assess your role and make decisions based on your role – momentum or responsive. There’s still more to talk about, but that’s all we have time for today. In part 3 we will expand upon knowing your role and look at how to apply this knowledge to more specific parts of the game.
To buy singles, sealed product, and other gaming supplies, please visit Three Lions Gaming!