Jeepers Creepers: How a Rules Clarification Helped Create a Dominant Defense – Part 2
And, I’m back…see? It’s not May yet. If you have no idea what that means, then make sure you read Part 1. Because what’s there is rather important to what I will be writing about here. As most things labeled Part 2 are I suppose.
Anyway, we had just gotten to the point where I discovered that a defense based on Creeping Deceivers could be great due to Thaddeus’ ruling clarification. As I have mentioned in previous issues, I have always been a fan of defense as a starting point when building a deck, but now I had to figure out an offense. The very first iteration of my offense was a Job deck.
I saw this as having a few benefits. First, and most importantly, was the potential for Golgotha recursion. I knew that even with 5 Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing in the deck my Creepers would lose most of the battles they blocked because of their small numbers and Crimson’s lack of CBN/CBI battle winners. So I wanted a way to get Wolves back in my hand and one of the better ways to do that was to put it on Golgotha during your battle then playing Abraham’s Descendant to grab it before it returned to the discard pile.
Other benefits I saw of the Job deck was the inclusion of angels (especially Angel of Warning so that I could fetch my sites) as well as the potential for Christian Suing Another side battles allowing me to have a better chance to use Job’s Faith (opponents will usually work to ensure that Job doesn’t get initiative to use it when he attacks so this was a way to use it without them expecting it). So I built the deck, took it to a tournament, and…didn’t do well at all. The offense was largely ineffective and the defense just didn’t show up like I needed it to (I got souls without Sites, Wolves without Creepers, Creepers without Wolves…it was a mess for the most part). So, as is often the case in the early stages, it was back to the drawing board.
The major takeaway of the deck was that it was too slow. I wasn’t drawing the cards I needed when I needed them which meant that I had to figure out a way to make the offense faster so that I could reliably get my defense set up. At the time (mind you, this was before the introduction of The Angel Under the Oak, Samuel, and the general speediness of Judges) the fastest offense by far was Disciples. So that’s what I tried. The nice thing about Disciples was that I could still use the Abraham’s Descendant trick as long as I included a couple of the old-fashioned Disciples from the Apostles set (namely Thomas and Bartholomew). Claudia, from the Women set, was also a helpful inclusion.
As it turned out, the changes worked very well. Reach of Desperation, Matthew, and Fishing Boat all helped to make the deck faster, and I was able to draw what I needed. The deck performed very well at a few of the smaller tournaments that season and was also able to help me capture the MN State T2 title. However, there were just a few tweaks that I needed to make to take it to the next level.
First, the best counter to the Creeping Deceiver strategy was in fact the one guy who had inspired the defense: Thaddeus. While Creeping Deceiver’s ability could not be negated it could still be protected against and that’s exactly what Thaddeus would do. So I needed to find a way to account for that. The other problem that I encountered was that I was still too often getting Lost Souls available outside of my Sites (especially when I drew cards on my turn during battle, too late to put them in Sites).
As it turned out, the solutions to those problems were related: A small, orange contingent to accompany my Creeping Deceivers. I used a couple of Spirit of Temptation, a couple of Seven Wicked Spirits, a couple Suicidal Swine Stampede, and lastly a couple Destructive Sin. The Suicidal Swine Stampedes allowed me to clear out my Lost Souls that I hadn’t been able to put in Sites, with the potential added bonus of removing an EC (or several) of my opponents by banding them in.
One of my favorite plays was when I was playing against a Pharisees defense: I would band to one of the generic Pharisees who would band to all the rest of my opponent’s ECs ending with Proud Pharisee. I would use his ability to play Suicidal Swine Stampede and wipe out my LSs as well as my opponent’s defense. Finally, Destructive Sin could be placed on Thaddeus which would negate his ability without allowing my opponent to put another copy in play. I also used the little-used card Satan’s Seat as a backup plan.
These tweaks propelled the deck to a NC Regionals T2 victory and I was looking forward to trying it out at Nationals in my home state of MN. At Nationals, after a rough first round wherein I was barely able to pull off a tie, I was able to do very well vs. the rest of the competition until the second to last round vs. Nathan Voigt. He had been using a Disciples/Pharisees deck with a small NT Gold splash most of the year. Up until then his Samaritan Water Jars had been annoying but I had been able to deal with them most of the time. Well, in our game at Nationals, he got two early jars and nabbed 3 of my Creeping Deceivers. At that point he pretty much had the game in hand and cruised to a relatively easy victory. I was able to win the next round to take 2nd.
Despite the loss at Nationals, I was still very happy with the deck’s performance throughout the season. Since then I have tried a variety of Creeping Deceiver decks, though the 4-per-deck limit as well as additional ways to stop them (Iron Pan, Covenant with Death, and Abigail from the 2011 set) have hampered them somewhat. Several new heretic cards from the last few sets have made them even more intriguing, but it is yet to be seen if the Creeping Deceivers defense will ever be as dominant as they were in the 2011 season.
Next issue: The Two Towers – The Most Cards Ever Used in a Game of Redemption
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