In Part 1 of this article we looked at Dominants, Lost Souls and Sites from a T2 perspective. (If you haven’t already, check out Part 1 here.) In Part 2 we will now focus on Artifacts, character/enhancement ratios and a quick word on Fortresses.
Let’s begin with Artifacts. I am a firm believer that the selection of Artifacts is extremely important in T2 decks for a couple of reasons. First, they give you an opportunity to be unpredictable. When I’m playing a T2 game and the first cards I see my opponent use are The Angel Under the Oak to search for Samuel who searches out David it’s fairly easy to see that he’s using a Judges offense. I can then begin to make game decisions based on my experiences of facing various Judges decks. With Artifacts, however, I can never really be sure what might show up in the opponent’s Artifact pile. That being said, the same is true of my opponent so I also have the opportunity to catch him off guard with an Artifact he perhaps was not expecting.
Personally I do not think there are any Artifacts that are a “must use” for every T2 deck and I think that’s the way it should be. Here are some questions I ask myself when selecting Artifacts to put in my T2 decks.
- What potential weaknesses might my offense or defense have, and is there an Artifact that can help alleviate that weakness?
- A good example of this is using Household Idols when I know my defense might struggle against large banding attacks.
- Does my overall deck strategy require the use of an Artifact that ideally I leave active whenever I have it?
- In decks where I’ve used a hand control strategy, I usually wanted Rain Becomes Dust active whenever possible so that the advantage I gained by keeping my opponent’s hand small would not be undone by him drawing. I thus found myself using very few other Artifacts because I simply wasn’t going to use them anyway.
- Do I have ways of activating multiple Artifacts or activating Artifacts in locations other than my Artifact pile?
- Having something like a Temple on which to use Temple Artifacts or some Magicians on which to use Magic Charms can be very useful but I never want to “force” myself to use multiple Artifacts just for the sake of having multiple ones active.
- What Artifacts might I use that are limited use and can have a major impact even if only activated a couple times?
- What strategies are my opponents likely to use and what Artifacts can I use to counter them without interfering with my own strategies?
- One of my favorite Artifacts to use in T2 MP is Hezekiah’s Signet Ring because it not only stops searching but it targets all of my opponents and not me.
- Do I have an Artifact that is my “go to” Artifact when none of the other ones are helpful at a particular point in the game?
When building your deck, don’t be afraid to have a lot of Artifacts in your original decklist. However, by the time you arrive at your final decklist you want to have a very streamlined set of Artifacts. The temptation is to use an Artifact for every possible scenario you might face or strategy you come up against but that’s simply not going to be reliable. You will have games where you end up with “dead” Artifacts and your overall deck performance is going to be negatively affected and you will have games where even if you do have the right Artifact for the strategy you’re facing you don’t end up drawing it.
Next let’s take a look at Character and Enhancement ratios. The first thing to consider is whether the deck is going to be primarily for T2 2-player or T2 multi-player. Obviously any legal T2 deck can be used for either category but I am a firm believer that multi-player decks and 2-player decks should look very different (most of the time). One of the biggest differences should be in the number of characters used.
Because of the nature of multi-player you always want to have a Hero. One of the worst feelings I get in a game of Redemption is playing multi-player and not drawing a Hero in my opening hand. Even if I draw the weakest Hero in my deck, I am just fine with that. With that in mind, I tend to build T2 multi decks with a minimum of 18 Heroes (for a deck between 100 and 105 in total size). Often I end up using 20 Heroes because I simply do not want to lose an opportunity to pick up a free soul from a player who wants to give me one to avoid someone else getting it (which is part of the nature of multi-player) because I do not have a Hero available to make a rescue attempt.
With 18-20 Heroes, 6-7 Dominants, and 1-2 Fortresses this leaves me around 13 to 15 slots for good enhancements if my total offense is in the 40-42 range, which is fairly typical. In the end, I usually want my ratio to be somewhere between 4:3 and 3:2 Heroes to good enhancements for multi-player decks. For defense it again depends a lot on the strategy I am using (some defenses require more characters and fewer enhancements to be effective), but in general I’ll usually use a ratio that’s a bit closer to 1:1 for evil. In my most cases I want to be able to block with one Evil Character and have one enhancement to play on it that will stop the rescue.
Now in T2 2-player the ratios can again vary greatly depending on the strategy, but the major difference here is that I can usually afford to be a little more patient since my opponent only has me to go after. As long as I’m drawing adequate defense I don’t mind waiting a couple turns for my stronger Heroes and enhancements to show up so I can use them together. I also don’t have to worry about my Heroes being taken out in situations where I am not involved like I do in multi-player so I can afford to use a couple less in a 2-player deck giving me more room for support enhancements that might not make the cut in a multi-player deck. For 2-player decks my ratio for both good and evil tends to be close to 1:1.
Another thing to consider is the ratios within your enhancement selection. I tend to use three copies of my strong good enhancements instead of four so that I am able to have a more “flexible” offense. For example, if I have 15 good enhancements I might have a breakdown of 4-3-3-3-2 or when I have just 13 good enhancements it might be 3-3-3-2-2. I have found that simply using four copies of what you perceive to be the strongest enhancements available for your strategy can sometimes lead to being shut out.
Having 3 copies of Authority of Christ promo in your hand doesn’t do much good when your opponent has Judas Iscariot sitting in his territory. If only you had used a couple copies of the less powerful, but in some cases more effective, Authority of Peter! While the same principle applies to defense I have found that there are certain evil cards that are effective in almost all cases so I use four copies of them. (In a Pale Green defense, for example, I will always use four copies of Forgotten History.)
Lastly, we will touch briefly on Fortresses in T2. Some strategies absolutely need Fortresses for them to be effective. Gates of Hell for a demon defense, Areopagus for a Greek defense, and Gates of Jerusalem for a Kings of Judah defense are three that immediately come to mind. However, much like Sites, not every strategy or deck will need Fortresses.
Sometimes a theme will have a Fortress to go with it and you might think you have to use it, but many times that is simply not the case. I believe Fishing Boat is a good example of a Fortress that, while obviously helping the Disciples theme, carries some risk in losing multiple Heroes to a Darius’ Decree or Shipwreck and also works against one of the strongest Disciple Heroes: Thaddeus. For these reasons I have rarely used Fishing Boat when building a T2 Disciples defense. In nearly all my T2 decks I use at most 2 good Fortresses and 2 evil Fortresses.
Similar to Hezekiah’s Signet Ring for Artifacts, Wall of Protection is a great Fortress to use in any deck and unless I am already running 2 other good Fortresses I will nearly always include it. Likewise for defense, if I am not already running an Evil Fortress, Kingdoms of the World is a nice one to have as it offers protection for a couple Evil Characters and stops your opponent from making you block with Evil Characters you do not own.
That’s all I’ve got for now. Please be sure to check back often for more T2 deck-building articles as well as all the other great content here in the Land of Redemption!
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