Welcome back to A Journey Through ROOT! Part 2 walked through my ROOT game with JD (kariusvega on the boards). With Part 3, I’ll be reflecting on the game: what worked, what didn’t work, and how I’d change my deck for the future. My goal is to help less-experienced Redemption players use their own game experiences to craft better decks – to know what to change, and to know what to keep the same.
First, a quick discussion on what I was trying to accomplish with my deck. It started out as an experiment where my only two human heroes were Isaiah and Job. After much deliberation, Job and a few of his supporting cards got cut, and it became about Isaiah. I wanted to see what Isaiah could do with all 5 of his angels in support. I added a few other powerful heroes to compliment him: Daniel, Michael, and Gabriel. I also included I Am Holy to abuse Isaiah’s amazing recursion + drawing ability.
On defense I was testing a few things. One was Esau + capturing EEs. There’s not as much capture protection being played these days and pale green already has some great CBI/CBN EEs in Forgotten History, Scattered, and Death of Unrighteous. Esau has fallen from favor but these days I see a lot of potential to what he can add to a defense. Plus, I liked the potential to capture two human heroes with Captured by Assyria played on my Assyrians. (Or even capture my opponent’s defensive humans!)
I was also testing a few new PC cards: The Judean Mediums and Mist. I hadn’t played with these cards yet and wanted to give them a try. I figured TJM was a potential CBN battlewinner when used with King Manasseh, and Mist added to the hand control mini-theme that I Am Holy and Vain Philosophy already had going on. (Not to mention that I have a lot of good evil cards to recur.)
Now, on to the game itself. Since I lost to JD 5-1, I’ll start by discussing what didn’t work!
WHAT DIDN’T WORK: GAMEPLAY
My draw- I’m not saying this an excuse. If you want to critique your deck fairly, you need to develop a good sense of when poor draws happen because of unlikely events versus bad deckbuilding. I had cases of both, in my opinion. My opening hand was terrible considering I had 3 lost souls in play and no evil character to block with. This happens from time to time and falls under “unlikely events” (in other words, don’t scrap a deck idea if it struggles in a few games with bad draws). However, my deck had only 8 evil characters for my 8 evil enhancements (and that’s not counting Razor and Siegeworks as EEs). I normally prefer a ratio closer to 9 ECs for 6 EEs. I’ll look to have 9 or 10 ECs in my deck in the future.
My opponent’s draw- JD’s timely Hypocrisy + Mayhem crippled me, setting me back a large number of cards. However, at the time we were actually tied 1-1. The game was definitely still winnable for me depending on what I drew.
My two misplays- I don’t know how I missed Vain Philosophy in hand when JD attacked on his second turn. That would have let me play Scattered successfully, underdecking Epaphras and Philemon and stopping JD’s drawing engine. I also should not have put Assyrian Survivor in play late in the game. My reasoning for that was to let me activate Assyrian Siege Army’s ability, but I didn’t really need to use ASA’s ability at the time. I was even expecting JD to have Holy Grail in his artifact pile. Not a good decision at all. If I had been able to play Death of Unrighteous successfully and shuffle the tapped 3-Liner LS I could have potentially stalled long enough to win. The Serpent’s paralysis of my converted Assyrian Survivor only had one turn left, and I hadn’t played Angel of the Lord, Son of God, or New Jerusalem yet. (Not to mention Assyrian Survivor wouldn’t have been converted by Holy Grail if I hadn’t put him in play).
WHAT DIDN’T WORK: OFFENSE
Isaiah’s angels- Seraph and Seraph with a Live Coal are basically the only ones I ever plan on attacking with, although Seraphim (band to Green) could be useful to band to Isaiah or Daniel. However, of the 5 angels I put in my deck to increase Isaiah’s draw ability, I figure I only need the two best. I could add 3 other good cards like Simeon, Captain of the Host, The Strong Angel, etc. to beef up my offense. Having Seraphim (band to Blue) as my only hero in my opening hand was painful.
When I didn’t have Isaiah– I used both Isaiah DAEs (Razor and Siegeworks) even though I’ve never been a fan of Siegeworks. It is sure to be negated on defense and no one ever gives Isaiah initiative on offense. I had I Am Holy in mind when Siegeworks was added to my deck. Daniel, Michael, and Gabriel were the only other heroes worth attacking when I didn’t have Isaiah in play and I didn’t have much GE backup for any of them.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK: DEFENSE
Magic Charms– I drew Magic Charms but never had a magician in territory to activate it on. I only had 3 magicians in my deck so I shouldn’t be too surprised that this happened. I figure I should either add a 4th magician (this would give me my 9th EC) or I should drop Magic Charms.
The Judean Mediums– I never used his ability in either game. If Magic Charms goes then The Judean Mediums can definitely go too. TJM probably needs more magicians and demons in a defense to be worth it. I really like Damsel to stay in the deck for her look at hand and draw ability but King Manasseh could honestly go, too. Without TJM or Gates of Jerusalem in deck his numbers and ability are not that great. His ability to hold Two Thousand Horses is nice though.
Mist– Mist was useful in my first game, when I had I Am Holy up and running with Isaiah early. It was near useless in my second game; by the time it was in my hand JD was almost decked out and I didn’t want to give him any more evil cards. Mist would be much more useful in a defense that has multiple cards that can pull an evil card off the bottom of a deck. And frankly, with five EE battle winners (all of which have the potential to be CBI or CBN), Confusion, and Two Thousand Horses, Mist isn’t really necessary.
WHAT DID WORK: GAMEPLAY
Deck size- A 50 card deck led to better hands and draws than otherwise would have happened. It might not have been as noticeable in my game against JD, but I’m convinced this deck works best at 50. It’s hard to quantify, other than testing the exact same deck with 6 cards added, but with 50 cards you get your key cards faster and are more likely to draw dominants. For a 50 card deck with the Hopper LS, every 6th card (excluding LS which are replaced when drawn) is a dominant.
Hand control- This didn’t really happen in my game with JD but it did in my first game. Vain Philosophy, Mist, and I Am Holy don’t need to be in hand control decks to be great; having all 3 synergized into one deck can actually compound their power a bit. I still plan on dropping Mist, though.
WHAT DID WORK: OFFENSE
Isaiah– 4.5 years later, Isaiah is still a force to be reckoned with. Being able to recur a CBN battlewinner or CBN negate every turn while negating evil characters, sites, and lost souls (and having site access) is amazing. Add in a CBN band from Seraph or Seraph with a Live Coal plus hand abuse with I Am Holy and Isaiah is near-unstoppable once he is set up.
Daniel– He’s a force in himself just like Isaiah. Daniel requires fewer support cards but doesn’t do everything that a fully equipped Isaiah does. His ability to negate NT enhancements is huge when a lot of NT defenses are being played.
Angels in general- Their resilience (due to not being targetable by many popular cards, like Unholy Writ and Magic Charms) is awesome. Gabriel + Angelic Guidance can be abused from the beginning of the game.
WHAT DID WORK: DEFENSE
Esau, the Hunter– A 4/5 EC that can play CBN capture enhancements changes how your opponent approaches attacking, if they know about him.
Pale green enhancements- There’s almost no rescue attempt that can’t be blocked by one of the “big three”: Scattered, Forgotten History, and Death of Unrighteous. Add in Confusion to potentially snipe your opponent’s Son of God, two capture cards that are CBN on Esau the Hunter, and a card that turns all of your battlewinners into Interrupt + Draw 2 + battlewinner, and you are well equipped to deal with almost anything.
And now, on to the deck changes I’ve decided on! I’ll skip explanations for the cards I’m removing as they were discussed earlier.
Covenant with Death – Always a great compliment to almost any silver/green offense. And it doesn’t hurt my defense too much. Negating heroes and restricting TC enhancements should be a benefit way more often than not in this deck.
Simeon – Bands to Gabriel, protected from discard, can play Two Bears. Great with CWD as well.
The Strong Angel – Adds to my legion of stand-alone heroes, great with I Am Holy and Chariot of Fire.
Habakkuk – I want a 4th green prophet to play Two Bears on. In the competition with Habakkuk were Nathan (large numbers, counters Abom well, CBN) and Micah (Two Bears abuse, I Am Holy abuse, good for initiative). Habakkuk is CBN, gets decent initiative, and is fantastic with CWD active. He stops some chump blocks like Belshazzar’s Banquet and Uzzah, and can potentially discard ECs from my opponent’s territory.
Two Bears – Interrupt + Win, usable by 4 of my heroes, and almost nothing protects from shuffle. Potential territory destruction as well, but I’ll have to be careful since I have The Serpent, Foreign Wives, Damsel, and CWD in this deck.
The Serpent – Paralyze + restrict from playing good dominants is so powerful. Add in CBP (CWD won’t stop it) and fantastic initiative to play those nasty pale green EEs, and you’ve got yourself a keeper.
Elymas the Sorceror – Simply put, he can protect himself from discard CBI. That actually gives me two characters which have protection from my opponent’s discard abilities (Assyrian Survivor is the other). Although Elymas won’t get initiative easily he might win battles on his own and he can play Death of Unrighteous without discarding himself.
Prince of this World – A true stand-alone evil character even 15+ years after his release. He’s definitely not as reliable as he used to be but I think he makes a great 9th character in this deck. I’ve got great low-numbered ECs and prefer PotW over another Assyrian or magician.
You can find my new deck below. I have to say, I honestly think I improved both the offense and the defense with these changes. My offense should be more consistent and has improved its battlewinners (Two Bears replacing Siegeworks). My defense has 9 characters instead of 8. And while I hate dropping Magic Charms from any defense that has magicians in it I really like the 9 evil characters chosen. I’m actually very excited about this deck. I think it has potential to really do well.
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