Nationals record: 3-0 (1 timeout win)

Record in other tournaments: 8-0. Won T2 Only (6-0, 1 timeount) and 1 district (2-0)

Inspiration and Analysis

The inspiration for this deck came about by observing the meta in T2. Many decks that I had seen had at least 3-4 brigades on offense. For example, the ever-popular Judges offenses (including mine!) had Gold, Silver, Green, and often a Teal splash. Disciples always have purple (obviously) and sometimes Red (with Simon the Zealot or perhaps a red Peter and a few centurions) or Green (with Simeon able to band to Peter and John). With the addition of the new set, Clay and Silver made an appearance as well. Then there were Prophets decks with Isaiah, angels and Daniel, and Genesis decks with Captain and Joseph adding colors to the standard blue.

Everywhere I looked, I saw colors aplenty. Which is why when I was looking through my collection, and stumbled upon Broken Cisterns, I thought that it would make a nice counter to the wide-open meta. There is relatively little protection from decrease, and discard by decrease cannot be insteaded in most cases via Herod’s or Solomon’s Temples. The problem was that even with 3-4 colors, Broken Cisterns wouldn’t take out a majority of Heroes, unless there were 2 of them in a territory (and with all of the ways to get rid of evil Enhancements in play, I wasn’t sure if that would work very well or not). What I needed was a way to increase the color count.

First, was the obvious one: Holy Grail. As long as there were convertible Evil Characters (EC) in my opponent’s territory, I could add whichever color I needed to the territory, at the same time getting rid of an EC. This worked well, but even at an optimal conversion (assuming they don’t use Saul/Paul) I only add 2 colors to the count, which still maxes me out at 6, with a more realistic count of 3-4 at a given time.

There are of course other conversion options, such as Meeting the Messiah and A New Creation, but these only increase the count by 1 at most, and none if they already use those colors (the biggest drawback to Meeting the Messiah, since Judges were so popular). What I really wanted was a way to get a rainbow card in their territory, so that the decrease was 0/8 (now 0/9, with the addition of Clay). This would take out a majority of Heroes, and I could use Plagued with Diseases to finish off most of the rest.

My first thought was to find a way to get Paul in their territory. One of my favorite, underrated cards in the game (which will be discussed later), Stalks of Flax, would have been great, except that it only exchanges O.T. Heroes. Capture wouldn’t work, as brigades on captured characters are ruled to be neutral brigades. Aside from that, it is a lot of effort to get Paul going only to give him away, so I abandoned that idea.

That’s when I stumbled on to the original key to the deck: Sower. With Sower, all I had to do was put a rainbow Enhancement on an EC, instantly increasing the count to 8 (now 9), and wipe out a territory full of Heroes. I included several of the most useful rainbow Enhancements, and the deck worked well, winning me a T2 district tournament in 2014, before the release of the new set.

However, it wasn’t quite the powerhouse that I needed it to be to take it to Nationals last year. Sower was nice, but with the rest of the offense focused on Judges, it seemed like I wasn’t able to pull off the combo as reliable as I’d like. So for Nationals, I relied on my old standard, Panic Demons, which ended up being a good decision on my part.

After the new set released, I was trying to think of ways the deck could be improved. I knew it was a solid foundation, but may just need a small push over the edge to greatness. That’s when I fell in love with Love. Love just so happened to be a rainbow Enhancement that I could place on my O.T. Hero permanently, so that I could go back to the idea of using Stalks of Flax. Love is also easily recurrable, so I would almost always have the ability to go back to that play, or have something to use with Sower, so that I could have multiple options to pull off the combo.

I decided that this would be the way to go for the T2 Only, and that worked marvelously, beating out all competition to take 1st. I did have a pretty good scare in round 2, when I was forced to rip 3 of my 4 Haman’s Plots to salvage a victory vs. a very well-built Isaiah deck, but after that game, other than the one game I played vs. an Abom deck which ended up in a timeout win for me, my combo seemed to work well, and my powerhouse Judges offense was able to break through.

Despite the deck’s good showing at the T2 Only, I much prefer playing a variety of decks throughout the tournament season, rather than using other tournaments to fine-tune a particular deck I like. Mostly that’s because I like to play with different cards and in different ways, not necessarily to see what’s the best, but rather what’s the most fun to play. So for the next major tournament I played in, I decided to try out a radically different concept: Deck control with an Egyptian defense (and small Herod Splash) and a Corinthian offense, where I would abuse 4 copies (plus recursion through Apollos!) of Sowing Bountifully. The deck was incredibly fun to play, and I used it to win MN State.

So I now had 2 deck concepts that I could use for Nationals, and all the way up until Friday morning of Nats, I had leaned toward using the “Corinthyptians”. I ended up deciding to throw together “Judge Judah” at the last minute, mostly from memory (which caused me to miss a few cards, though neither seemed to affect the games too much) as a secondary deck. As it turned out, I probably would have been better off staying with Judge Judah all along, as the Corinthyptians were completely stymied in the one round I lost, and Judge Judah fared much better in a fun game vs. the opponent who defeated me.

Deck Modifications

Despite the fact that I didn’t think either card would have played a significant role in any of the games I used the deck, the absences of Judge’s Seat and Solomon’s Temple were certainly not intentional. Hopefully the experience keeps me from waiting until the morning of a tournament to construct the deck I use, but it probably won’t. So I would find room for both of those.

I also failed to realize how inclusion of the “Retribution” Lost Souls would hurt my strategy. I include those in almost every deck I make, because it always makes someone think twice about using an ability that targets my hand (which are some of the most powerful in the game). However, because they provide no option in regard to whether you want your opponent to discard a card, they allowed Justin to dispatch all 3 of my Broken Cisterns by using Urim and Thummim (fortunately most of the damage had been done by then, but it was still a d’oh moment). So I would definitely find alternate Lost Souls in place of those for the future.

As for cards from the new set to add, I’d certainly look to add a No Regard for the Lord or 2, just to finish off any Hero who may be big enough to avoid my other decrease options. Other than that, Christ’s Triumph and a few of the new Lost Souls would almost certainly be added (Christ’s Triumph on Simeon would allow me to still have an effective attack after using Sower).

The Deck

Cards in Deck: 112 (including 4 Haman’s Plots, 2 of which were ripped)

Neutral: 28

Lost Souls: 17

Revealer x2
Female Only x2
Retribution x2
CBP x2
Shame x2
Resurrection x2
Thorns x2
Exchanger x2
Hopper x2

Sites: 1

Dragon Raid (P)

Artifacts: 9
Urim and Thummim
Lampstand of the Sanctuary
The Bronze Laver
Golden Cherubim
Holy Grail
Hezekiah’s Signet Ring
Gifts of the Magi
Stalks of Flax x2

Characters: 1

King Abijam

Good: 42

Dominants: 6

Son of God (J)
Angel of the Lord (J)
New Jerusalem (P)
Grapes of Wrath
Guardian of Your Souls
The Holy Spirit

Fortresses: 0

Covenants: 1
I am Holy

Heroes: 17
Samuel (RA) x2
Aaron (Di)
David (Green, WA)
Jair (RA)
Ehud (RA)
Moses (G)
Jephthah (J)
Eli the Priest (RA)
Gideon (UL)
Sower x2
Simeon (WA)
The Angel Under the Oak x2
Angel with the Secret Name
Captain of the Host

Enhancements: 17
Love (EC)
Sing and Praise (J), Removed after round 2 for torn Plot
Raising Lazarus (I)
Resurrection (Di)
Live Coal (FF)
Wheel within a Wheel (FF)
Eli’s Sound Advice x2
Provisions x2
Samuel’s Edict x3
Taking Egypt’s Wealth x2
Sword Against Sword
Evil: 42

Dominants: 7
Christian Martyr
Vain Philosophy
Falling Away
Destruction of Nehushtan

Fortresses: 3
Gates of Jerusalem
High Places
Haman’s Gallows

Curses: 2
Covenant with Death
Plagued with Diseases

Evil Characters: 17
Foreign Wives
The Amalekite’s Slave
King Manasseh x2
King Rehoboam x2
King Amon x2
King Ahaz
King Zedekiah
Uzzah x2
Foul Spirit
King Saul (Brown, WA)
The Jeering Youths

Enhancements: 13
Haman’s Plot x4
Broken Cisterns x3
Gibeonite Trickery x3
Dungeon of Malchiah x2

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