Hey guys, been awhile but I’m back with another player interview. For this interview, I sent ten questions to JD Cunningham—known on the Redemption forum as “kariusvega.” Here’s what he had for us!
• What is your earliest memory of playing Redemption?
Playing Redemption with many no special ability cards in 2000 with Daniel Huisinga! Back in the days of Warriors with Authority of Christ, Wrath of Satan, Captain, TSA, Gabriel! So fun! I also remember passing out tons of fliers at a convention my dad took me to where David Easterling had a Redemption booth setup and kids were playing, so he would buy me Warriors packs! I kept opening packs until I found a Michael, which I still have!
• How did you rediscover Redemption after years of not playing?
I had offloaded my collection to Daniel Huisinga and after finding the remainder of my binder in my old closet at my parent’s house in 2014 I decided I would love to start playing again. Sure enough he still had it in pristine condition! He then told me of Lackey and I immediately downloaded it and started playing!
• What is your current favorite card in the game?
My favorite card currently has got to be.. Son of God! Haha but I do really enjoy Coliseum– made by my long-time friend Daniel Huisinga!! It is such a game changer and such a cool way to balance the game over all. I can tell a lot of people love it and I’m really thankful he was the first non-playtester who has had the opportunity to make a card! So glad I dragged him to Nationals and he went undefeated in Booster Draft!! 😀 What’s so cool about Coliseum is that it exists. You don’t have to play it, but it just being a card makes for players who know of it in the meta shape their decks in a different way. Very cool how it makes CBN stuff not just a sure 1 hit quit battle. It also gives you ways through common blockers such as Foreign Wives with the right tools 🙂
• Do you feel you are stronger as a deck-builder or as a player?
Definitely as a player. I have good deck building strategies simply because I have played the game so much, which exposes me to the community’s great ideas in terms of deck building, but I definitely build to play and win. Typically I am tweaking other people’s deck concepts into potential tournament winning builds I can play. These people include: Daniel Huisinga, Gabe Isbell, Josiah Beers, John Earley, Josh Hartz, Justin Alstad, Jordan Alstad, Kirk Dennison, Jay Chambers, Mitch Stewart, and many other fine Redemption players!
• At this past Nationals, you took 3rd in T1 2P using a Colossae/Crimson deck in a meta dominated by Throne and BoM decks—what ultimately made you decide to use the Colossae/Crimson deck?
I was very set on not playing something I knew everyone else would be. Throne is obviously somewhat of a nightmare in a mirror. I really just wanted there to be a clay deck in top cut considering it’s brand new, it’s great, and few people seem to really get it. I’m pretty sure there was no clay deck in 2015 nationals top cut which made me feel like really pushing for it to place in 2016. I knew the build was strong, it definitely could have been optimized, but after placing 3rd with a clay Corinth offense at the T2 Only I was pretty sure with the new support from Cloud of Witnesses it could hold up. On top of that Colossae/Heretics specifically gave me an anti-meta edge against soul shuffling, which became very popular, plus the anti-meta edge of playing cards people haven’t read much.
• Having played 10 rounds of T1 2P at Nationals, do you recall any common mistakes made by either you or your opponents?
I would say the most common mistakes were related to not knowing what the cards did or how they interacted with the rules. Probably the most common mistake I must have made was drawing with Philemon when I knew I should have cut low (attacking with a small Hero to improve the likelihood of getting initiative) like I did at State and Regionals to go undefeated. I only lost 3 games all season out of 30 or more competitive tournament games, and 2 of these games were against Brian Jones and Gabe Isbell—the only guys who placed above me and both of those games I lost 5 to 0! Cutting low definitely could have made a difference. It’s just hard to tell because the deck I played has 2 drawing cards…Philemon and Mayhem. Brian was drawing up to 16 cards every turn, so keeping up with Throne/having gas against his defense was pretty difficult even while having counters which just got smashed or negated. That was probably my main issue at Nationals with the deck I played, speed. Having speed while not having self defeating counters. I have to be honest, speed was definitely the biggest problem with the deck – keeping up with Judges/Throne/BoM/ basically anything with Auto and more than 2 draw characters since I have 1 total lol. If you look at decks like BoM and Throne we are talking a total of 8+ draw characters not to mention other draw cards, so taking that into consideration it’s pretty obvious why I would want to draw with Philemon rather than cut low when I don’t have a Jair option 2/2 who can net a d4 with Auto. That being said both times I lost the total 2 games against the only guys who placed above me (LOL!!) was when I chose to go with Philemon to draw and it resulted in a game changing Confusion and Liner abuse to follow XD I’m also proud I did not play the Liner! As an extra note of advice for other players- I think that early rescue of a Liner or early Falling Away while playing a Liner can be costly—especially if you are not playing Guardian of Your Souls.
• How did your experience at 2015 Nationals help you prepare for Nationals 2016?
Well being handed first place in Iron Man at my first nationals was definitely inspiring!! Not to mention a ton of fun! I saw the value of certain souls, speed, and power. I played 2 decks at 2015 and decided to play only 1 fine-tuned deck in 2016. I’m very happy I only played one deck. I like that we can check multiple decks, but personally really felt confident in the one.
• What are your overall thoughts on the past few expansion sets and the direction the game is going?
I am so happy with where Redemption is going. I honestly felt like I came back to the game at the perfect time and love what is happening in terms of awesome new abilities and diverse combinations of cards which are all super unique and fun to play. I love Cloud of Witnesses and what it did for so many themes!!
• Besides Redemption, what other hobbies and interests do you have?
I am a music producer, you can check my records on spotify and itunes Karius Vega/LaBaume. I play one other game which is Heroes of Order and Chaos. It has a very toxic community, and I am very good at it. I have some videos on YouTube. I could go pro playing it, typically I’m landing somewhere around 15 for 2 at the end of the game which is similar to my Redemption ratios, and it’s not uncommon for me to win the game for my team in 5v5. I like being able to flex on that game! It’s a mobile moba, more fun to me than League/Dota. It’s the only other game I play besides Redemption. In the past I’ve played Star Wars Galaxies- which was easily the best Star Wars game ever made. I’ve played World of Warcraft, which wasn’t as good as Star Wars Galaxies. Pretty much both of those games I played for the PVP aspect, which is why I play Heroes of Order and Chaos.
• What is something about you that most of the Redemption community probably doesn’t know?
I make great praise and worship videos!! If you’re a Worship leader you can contact me for a legit hook up! I have hooked people up with $1500 worth of awesome videos to lead worship with! It is definitely a huge passion to be able to provide commercial/broadcast quality animation to the church home.
That’s all I’ve got for this time, be sure to check back soon for another Redemption Express Interview and other great stuff on Land of Redemption!
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