We had most of the people from our playgroup gather for the California State Redemption tournament that met on June 25th and 26th and I would like to share my experience during the tournament and the impact the new set had.
Even though we didn’t have a lot of people come for a tournament of this caliber, the competition was very fierce. We had a lot of veterans from the California play group come including Bryon and Kurt Hake. Other players included Ben Hogue, Scott and Andrew Kramer, and Michael Leung (our awesome host).
We had four different events over two days. The events were booster draft, T1-2P, Teams, and T2-2P. I noticed that two of the players who came to the tournament didn’t have any of the new cards including Early and Persecuted Church, so it was my suggestion to the host to do the draft first to get those players some new cards in order to strengthen their decks for the other categories. Everyone agreed so we started with the draft!
We drafted all of the foil packs, Early Church, Persecuted Church, and Cloud of Witnesses and it was amazing.
My first pack only had one hero which was Miriam, so right then and there I focused on a green offense. Prophets gave me Great Image as the rare and I chose to do crimson for defense. The Apostles packs gave me Ananias and Christians Suing Another which was great. I grabbed some more green heroes like Simon the Zealot and a lot of green GE’s including the one that converts Saul (I note this because I was almost in battle against a Saul/Paul with it in my hand but he chose not to block me with him…). The Patriarchs pack was awesome because I got Aaron which could band to my Miriam. I don’t remember anything remarkable about the Kings, Angel Wars, and Priests packs. I think I was bummed out because I didn’t get any cards that really fit with what I took earlier.
Anyway, with the foil packs done with we turned over to the box packs. My Early Church box didn’t really have any good clay stuff but the other cards were great. I pulled Zeke with Drawn Sword and Forest Fire. Most of the players focused on the clay cards so I easily grabbed everything I needed. I don’t really remember much from my persecuted pack other than the fact I got Warrior’s King Saul and that was important because in the Cloud witnesses pack I got Doeg! Another small detail was that I got Broken Covenant but whatever. Overall, I felt that I built a solid Green/Brown and Crimson deck.
Solid deck aside, I ended up tied for second. I got really lucky because in my first draw I got Aaron, Miriam, and Doeg. Nobody could stop my band so I got free souls all game, 4 in all. I lost because of a timely drought on my last turn and the player to my right scored the last soul from a player who built a purely offensive deck with sites.
I partnered up with local player Ben Hogue for the teams’ category. He had a Judges/Throne of David deck with a Babylonian defense and I used a Daniel deck. My Daniel deck won the previous local tournament T1-2P although piloted by my brother. I really like the deck because 80% of the deck is Daniel cards so my Foretelling Angel would pull cards all day. My partner also included Coliseum in his deck which was great because I didn’t have any CBN enhancements and my massive Daniel band could be protected from cards like Scattered if I left out Daniel out of the band.
We had about three different teams so one of the teams got a bye I think? It was confusing to me. In our first game one of our opponents used an Angels and Demons deck and the other used a Genesis deck for both offense and defense. The game started a little slow because neither my partner nor I had a lot of heroes at the beginning but I did get my Foretelling Angel out with Angelic Guidance so I pulled a lot of defense with him. To make a long story short, I ended up getting all of the Daniel guys out for the big band and we won that game 5-2.
Now we played the guys who got the bye which were Michael Leung and Kurt Hake. Michael got The Second Coming the day before so I was a little nervous how this was going to play out in our game. Kurt used a disciples and brown Kings of Judah deck and Michael used a musicians and demons deck. Notable plays in this game included both my partner and I using Nebuchadnezzar’s Pride on consecutive blocks and I also drew my set aside Lost Soul. I had my Darius Decree out so I quickly discarded in to take out about 5 Heroes from our opponents. Very satisfying. With nothing to really counter the massive Daniel band, my teammate and I won that game as well scoring 5-2 again. After teams’ event, it was already late in the day so we decided to push the T1-2P to the next day which originally was going to be exclusively T2 events.
Some of the players didn’t return for the next day but Bryon Hake did come so that was pretty awesome.
We had four players in all for type one because the host ran the T2 Multi at the same time. I decided to use the Daniel deck again but I took some silver territory class cards out for fear of Moses. I added Holy Grail so I could potentially convert some of my defense to add to my Daniel band, Coliseum (enough said), and I traded the Daniel Promo out for the new cloud Daniel which was probably a huge mistake.
My first opponent was Ben Hogue, my previous Teams partner, who had intimate knowledge of what was in this deck. Despite this fact however, I ended up beating him 5-4. Ben told me after the game that Coliseum prevented him from using a lot of CBN enhancements in his hand including Samuel’s Edict and Ehud’s Dagger. His first rescue got a tap on my 2-Liner and that tap stayed there almost the whole game till I Buried it on my last turn. Ben almost won the game because of Birth Foretold but I reminded him of that I had Darius Decree out. Pity. He probably should have won but with my Foretelling Angel I had so much speed that by the time his offense and defense were set I already won.
My last game was against Kurt Hake. Kurt used a Garden Tomb deck with Assyrians. I lost to him 3-5 because of a long soul drought for me. I battle challenged with Gabriel numerous time and got rid of almost all of the EE’s in his deck but I think all it did just made it easier for him to draw SoG, NJ, and Falling Away. Huge bummer.
I got third place out of four players. Yippee! But in all seriousness I was glad I got third because the cloud pack I got as a prize had Eternal Inheritance in it!
This was the cream of the crop for the tournament. We had six players to play which meant three rounds of T2 awesomeness. I was really nervous to play T2 because my first and only T2 deck I built was a flop at the T2 Only and on Lackey. Before the tournament I hastily built a Judges/Clay deck that utilized the “Faith of” enhancements that were Gold/Clay. My offense was pretty much all of the new cloud Judges and I used the Colossae Church for the clay side. I figure that with all my enhancements being gold and clay I wouldn’t get in trouble mixing both. My defense was a Brown Gates of Samaria deck that had all of the new brown cloud cards in it. It’s also worth noting that I added the Eternal Inheritance I just recently won just before the T2 games started as I was already running Eternal Covenant and You Will Remain in the deck.
My first game was against Kurt Hake, the guy who just beat me in T1… great. Kurt was using an Angels and Babylonians deck and I was already thinking that I was gonna lose because I was playing an untested deck against a guy who nearly won T2-2P nationals a couple years back. Despite all of this however, I beat Kurt pretty badly 7-2. The clay and gold offense worked seamlessly together and gave me so much variety when it came to rescue attempts.
My second game was against the tournament host Michael. Michael had just won the T2 Multi with the deck he was using against me. He used a Garden Tomb deck with a Philistines defense. I got one soul early on but then nothing for what seemed liked forever. His Philistine defense was incredible and he managed to remove several key heroes from the game including Samuel, David, and Moses. I spent so many enhancements trying to get rescues to no avail. I returned the favor however and successfully blocked him every single time except once. Eventually he ran out of enhancements and I started getting some rescues. I even got a rescue with Eternal Inheritance because he had The New Covenant turned on! The game ended with a timeout victory for me, 6-1, right before I used Vain Philosophy to underdeck SoG with NJ in his hand.
The third game was almost like the second game all over again. My opponent, Andrew Kramer, also used a Garden Tomb deck with Philistines for defense. This time however I was smart with using my enhancements and won the game 7-2 very quickly. Notable plays included Andrew using Christian Martyr on Jephthah which let me bring Ibzan into battle to underdeck Goliath with Trumpets and Torches and using You Will Remain to bring a hero into battle after Andrew removed everyone in battle with Joseph in Prison.
I thought it funny that I won the only category I thought I would do terrible in and got third in the one category I thought I would do the best in. Oh well, such is life. Overall, it was a really fun time hanging out with everyone to play Redemption. The most interesting thing about the tournament to me was the impression the cloud cards had on the players. About half of the people that showed up didn’t really have any and weren’t really playing Redemption anymore but I could see that the new cards made those players really excited for the game again.
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