2016 Nationals was my first National tournament. I had wanted to do a write-up on my experiences and results, but I never made the time to do it. Then I took a mental break of sorts from Redemption last fall. Well, tournament season 2017 hasn’t kicked in yet, and spoilers for the new 2017 cards haven’t been released yet, so I figure now is as good a time as any. Even though the community’s knowledge and familiarity with the Cloud of Witnesses expansion is vastly improved since Nationals, I believe that we can find ways to improve (even in small ways) when we review past Redemption games.

Thursday – Booster Draft

I decided to play Booster Draft, T1 2P, and TEAMS. The booster packs for my table were littered with great heroes, especially Red ones, but good battlewinners seemed to be lacking. My offense had Abishai (Kings), David the Shepherd, Men of Judah, Army of Simeonites, King Jehoshaphat (Kings) x2, Simeon (Warriors), Philip (Disciples), Bartholomew (Apostles), Benaiah (Kings), Ira (Warriors), as well as several other solid heroes. Sadly, I didn’t pull a single red battlewinner! I thought I could at least find a Battle Cry, but alas I saw none. I did find some nice blue GEs – Third Heaven, Abraham’s Servant to Ur, and Paying Tribute were in my deck. I also grabbed a Drawn Sword for Benaiah, on the off-chance a Babylonian would be in play.

My defense was small and not that impressive – I had a few sites, a Claudius Lysias (PC) + Four Squads of Four (Apostles) band with Begging for Grain backup, Prince of Persia (Disciples), and a few other orange cards. I did snag some nice defensive artifacts though – I had Confusion of Mind and 3 Unholy Writs!

Game 1: Jonathan Wagenknecht (5), Kayleb Matthews (4), Roberto Villanova (3), me (3)

This game started out poorly for me. Jonathan went first and got a freebie from Kayleb. The only LS for my turn were in Robert’s territory. I attacked with David the Shepherd and searched out Abishai to get some banding going. Robert blocked David with a small Brown EC and played two EEs just for numbers to kill him. Kayleb went third and walked in, as Robert didn’t have anything left on defense.

The game did not get much better from there. Turns 2 and 4 had no LS available for me on my turn. The quick deficit I found myself in couldn’t be overcome. Also, everyone had a hero that could band to my Men of Judah/Army of Simeonites band – either Abishai (Kings) or Caleb (FooF). That band got passed around for quite a few rescues.

Game 2: JD Cunningham (5), Patrick Watertor (4), Dario Villanova (4), me (3)

I can’t remember much about this game. JD’s angels (I think he had Gabriel, Captain, and Michael) were walking over everyone. I don’t think there were many successful blocks this game. Two games in, 0 points so far!

I think this was the game that someone put a Babylonian in play when I had Drawn Sword and Benaiah. I attacked with Benaiah, and he was blocked by Elymas (TEC). I grant initiative, and Elymas plays Two Thousand Horses and Forgotten History. Next turn, I attack with Benaiah again, only to get blocked by Elymas/Two Thousand Horses/Forgotten History again!

Game 3: Me (5), Hannah Adams (4), Allen Collins (3), Ray Coletto (3)

This could have easily been another loss for me. Hannah got off to a strong start and was in the lead pretty much the whole game until I got my 5th. I also had Besieging the City played against me in the battle where I won my 4th LS! It was torturous as I waited to see if I’d get a chance at number 5, or if Hannah would close it out. But it turned out that Hannah was running out of gas on offense – she did have Gabriel (Warriors or Kings, can’t remember) to attack with, but not much to back him up with. I think her last attack would have been successful if she had basically any Silver GE in hand. I did use Prince of Persia to autoblock her Gabriel once as well. I got my Abishai/Men of Judah/Army of Simeonites band up and running and used this to walk in for most of my rescues.

Game 4: Me (5), Stephen Coates (3), Roy Cruz (3), Joseph Schaefer (2)

Spoiler alert – Roy did not actually play this game. I can’t remember the name of the guy who played Roy’s deck on Roy’s behalf. Also, this game was by far the most memorable and most fun. Stephen opened up with Abram (Patriarchs) and won his first rescue, so from the beginning of the game we were treated to one of those awesome “only in Booster draft” moments as we saw a Patriarchs Abraham! I used my first Unholy Writ to capture Abraham on Stephen’s next rescue.

I found a few sites early in this game, and they turned out to be helpful. Roy’s surrogate was to my right and attacked me with Peter (Apostles), as I had the only available LS at the time. A few of my LS were hiding in sites, and I had left (intentionally) my captured Abraham as the only LS not in a site. I blocked with Claudius Lysias, transferred the only available LS (my captured Abraham) to Roy-Cruz-surrogate’s LoB, then promptly let Lysias die to generate another LS in someone else’s LoB.

However, the best part of the game hadn’t arrived yet. The partial soul drought quickly became full-on soul drought as the captured characters got rescued and we stopped drawing LS for a few turns. Joseph was to my left and soon afterwards had the only available LS. The next 3 turns were all attacks directed his way. In a sequence too epic for words, here is what went down: Stephen attacks Joseph. Joseph blocks with Elymas and bombs a hero from each of our territories (Stephen, Roy-Cruz-surrogate, and me). Enhancements are played by Stephen and Joseph. Elymas prevails. Roy-Cruz-surrogate attacks Joseph. Joseph blocks with Elymas, bombs another hero from each of our territories. Enhancements are played by both players. Elymas prevails again. My turn. I just lost two of my best heroes, but fortunately I have so many heroes in this deck that I’ve got no problem sending something at Joseph. Joseph blocks with Elymas, bombs yet another hero from each of our territories! This time I win the battle, as Joseph is out of ammo to back Elymas.

This sequence essentially hands me the game, as my abundance of heroes allows me to keep making rescues. Stephen and Roy-Cruz-surrogate are crippled on offense and go a few turns without having a hero to rescue with; in Booster, that’s a near death sentence. I use Philip banded to someone else’s Bartholomew, as well as my Warriors Simeon banded to Joseph’s Gabriel, to get to 5 with everyone else stuck at 3 or less.

Game 5: Chris Fachman (5), Sam Gilbaugh (4), me (4), David Steckmann (3)

This game is another slow start for me. Sam Gilbaugh plays 2 Pentecost in the first 2 or 3 turns and draws a bunch of cards. He’s quickly in the lead. The timing of LS hitting the table costs me another early rescue.

Later, David plays out Captain of the Host. I borrow Captain with my Simeon for a few rescues. Later, I block Captain with my Claudius Lysias/Four Squads of Four band. In hindsight, I realized that this was a misplay – Sam had Wool Fleece active the whole game, and none of us noticed when I blocked.

Sam gets to 4 Redeemed Souls first but can’t find a 5th. Later, once Chris and I are also at 4, he comes after me with Lazarus. I block with Injuring Demon and decrease Lazarus 2/2. Sam can’t beat me, so Lazarus dies and he makes another rescue against me. Using a not-so-well-known rule that generic characters can enter battle any number of times in the same turn, I once again block with Injuring Demon, as he is essentially an 11/11 character. Sam calls a judge over, who confirms that I can indeed block with Injuring Demon again. Injuring Demon proceeds to make another successful block.

Two turns later, Chris Fachman wins the turn before I would go for #5.

Game 6: Jon Masters (5), me (4), Rebecca Keeney (3), Jonathan Steckmann (2)

For whatever reason, my memory is shaky on this game. Which is sad, because I’m quite sure there were some epic events.

Jonathan’s early Emperor Nero holds the field at bay for nearly half the game. Jon, Rebecca, and I attack each other at every opportunity during that time. But Jonathan has trouble finding heroes or making rescues. I think he gets his first when everyone else has at least 2 or 3.

Rebecca gets out an Ishbibenob/Saph band (both are Kings versions) that holds off my and Jon’s attacks for a few turns. One of us figured out how to get past it, and I can’t recall who or how. Probably one of those epic moments I’m not remembering!

In the end, Jon gets to 5 the turn before I would try for number 5.

So there it is! I finished with 7.5 points and 24 Redeemed Souls which put me solidly in mediocre place. I hung out with friends and played Ironman the rest of the evening, then put together my T1 deck before going to bed at a much-too-late hour. I’ll put together my Friday T1 recap soon!

To buy singles, sealed product, and other gaming supplies mentioned, please visit Three Lions Gaming!

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