This series will be devoted to one of my favorite parts of Redemption: Deck building. Each article will describe a deck concept that I have used in the past, and how that deck concept developed over time to be successful (or in some cases, not so much).

A prevailing psychological (or biological…or psycho-biological…whatever) theory states that the human brain is divided into 2 hemispheres, commonly known as the left brain and the right brain. Simplistically, the theory proposes that a person’s right brain is where their creative and artistic abilities come from, and the left brain is where the logical, reasoning and computational skills originate. Contemporary, in-depth studies investigating this theory reveal that it’s not quite as simple as that, however, it does provide a useful way to categorize people into whether they are left-brain dominant (left-brained) or right-brain dominant (right-brained).

Similar to handedness, being one or the other does not mean the other side/hand is useless; it’s just that using it is not your primary choice for accomplishing most tasks. People who excel at creative pursuits would typically be labeled “right-brained” (though most of them probably would prefer not to be labeled at all…you know who you are). And people who excel at important things…er, I mean other important things, like logic and reasoning, would be categorized as left-brained. Most left-brained people love being known as left-brained people, because logic and reason suggest that an orderly world where everything fits into a neat little box is the best kind of world there is.

It usually isn’t hard for someone who gets to know me to peg me as a left-brained individual. I have a creative side, sure, but it is clearly not dominant. Put me in front of a classic painting, and I can appreciate the effort and skill that went into painting it. Put me in front of a blank canvas with a paintbrush, and you’ll probably later see a lot of stick figures and birds that look like flattened “m”s. I much prefer pursuits such as logic puzzles, math problems and trivia. And every “what character/breed of dog/flavor of ice cream” quiz that I’ve taken on Facebook (more than I’m proud to admit) casts me as the logical, reasoned, orderly choice (which means I’m a poodle somehow…I guess).

Now you’ve been reading this for awhile (at least I hope you still are) and you may be wondering how this applies to Redemption. Well, before I get to that, I have one final thought related to all this. As a left-brained individual, I chose engineering as a career choice. I am not an inventor. I think many people confuse those two somewhat, and part of that I suppose is because some engineers have invented things, and some inventors have engineered things, though typically those people are the exceptions. In my simplified view, an inventor sees a problem in the world, and decides they are going to come up with something completely new to solve that problem. They have to be creative to come up with something that no one has thought of before.

An engineer takes a different approach: they see a problem with the way something works, and make that thing better, using their logical, scientific and mathematical background, instead of the new, out-of-the-blue ideas that an inventor may have. One of the most cited examples of engineering a better solution to a problem is the title of this series: Building a better mousetrap. The first person to invent the mousetrap just needed something to kill mice. Since then, engineers have created newer and more effective ways to do just that (or in some cases, trapping them alive so that they can be fed to pet snakes…but I won’t get too far into that).

And here’s where we come to Redemption, and more specifically, how it applies to me. The decks that I build are rarely new ideas. I’m not the type of person to come up with a new, radical idea out of the blue and think, “hey, maybe this will work.” No, the way that I usually build decks is to take an existing idea, and make it better, using my background of knowing most cards in the game very well and the way they interact with other cards. So if I see an idea, whether it be a deck that another player used at a tournament, a deck concept posted on the forums, or a brief mention of someone saying “I think it would be cool to see someone make Panic Demons useful”, my first thought is, how can I take that idea and make it better?

Each article I write will go over how one of my decks developed from an initial idea (not usually my own idea, as I’ve stated) into a deck that has seen a relative amount of success. Once in awhile I might throw in a failed experiment or two, or explain how some of those decks have become better or worse as the game itself has changed. But the focus is always to be on deck building, and how an in-depth background in knowing all of the cards in the game is a key ingredient to my style of deck building. My hope is that you will enjoy reading these articles, and that they will help you to become a better deck builder.

Next issue: The Heroless of the North: From 2007 to today.

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2 thoughts on “Building a Better Mousetrap

  1. Bill Voigt

    Can’t wait for Jordan’s article on Heroless of the North. One f the toughest decks ever to defeat back in its day. I wish he could have played it at Nationals that year.

  2. Josh Snyder

    Jordan, you and I have very similar styles. In all of my TCG days, I have never been a creative deck builder. My focus has always been on fine-tuning the top tier decks or expanding on an idea I feel has a real shot at the top tier. Look forward to this series of articles!

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