Throwback Thursday is a common theme on sites and blogs where you hearken back to something interesting or random from the past. On Land of Redemption, our current Throwback Thursday trend is re-posts of preview articles from years and sets past.
We now complete the Thesaurus ex Preteritus preview articles. Enjoy!
Before reading this article, I recommend you read Revelation 19:11-21. It describes the stunning victory of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords over all who oppose him. Once you have read the passage, you will understand why Grapes of Wrath was designed to be the powerful card that it is.
I thought Rob was done introducing powerful new dominants to Redemption. I thought this set would quietly reflect on years past, with just a gradual build on recent themes. I figured that a couple new themes and the new territory-class enhancements would be enough “new” to add to the game this year.
I was wrong.
Rob likes fun surprises.
Rob thought that the game could use a bit of a shakeup, so, early in the development of this set, he created some cards that are guaranteed to change the way you think about the game from turn to turn. Things that used to be reliable are now less so. A big hand containing just the cards you need might not stay that way. Your powerful heroes might leave you for a couple rounds and go on a mission for another player.
And then there’s Grapes of Wrath. When your opponent has already used Angel of the Lord and you think your evil characters are safe, think again. When your huge chain of banded heroes is intimidating your opponent’s defenses and your band seems invincible, think again. When your opponent can’t block your hero and victory looks sure, think again.
Grapes of Wrath does not make the hero win the battle. But it can make you win the game. It is is a versatile card. It can help on offense by discarding an evil character that is difficult to beat, possibly giving you another chance at a rescue. It can help on defense by acting as a battle-clearing stopper, though it may give your opponent another chance to rescue that turn.
And there are some juicy grapes on this card’s vine that might not be noticeable at first glance.
First grape: You have to discard an evil card in battle. It does not have to be an evil character. If you have previously placed an evil card on an opponent’s hero, and that hero is in battle, you can just discard that placed evil enhancement to shuffle all the characters in battle back into their owners’ decks.
Think of the uses. Can’t stop your opponent’s The Garden Tomb banding chain? Place an evil enhancement on Mary the Mother of James. When the four banded female heroes enter battle, don’t even bother blocking. Just play Grapes of Wrath and discard the placed enhancement. All four heroes get shuffled, buying you some time to rescue some Lost Souls while your opponent waits to redraw those heroes. Does Jacob make you tear your clothes in frustration? Does Ethiopian Treasurer keep rocking the boat? Do Zebulun and Widow make you feel like you are not even in the room? Place an evil enhancement on whoever is giving you fits. The next time that hero enters battle, discard that evil enhancement with Grapes of Wrath, and shuffle that problem hero away for a while.
Second grape: This card can remove placed evil cards from your heroes. (Some of the placed evil enhancements in Thesaurus ex Preteritus are particularly troublesome to entire strategies) . Make a rescue attempt with a hero that has an evil card placed on it. When your opponent blocks, play Grapes of Wrath. Discard the evil character. Shuffle your hero back into your deck. Since the hero is shuffled, the placed evil enhancement is discarded by game rule. If your opponent is using Judas Iscariot, who is protected from discard, you can discard the placed enhancement instead, and shuffle Judas Iscariot. If you are not winning, then you can try another rescue attempt with another hero.
Third grape: Multi-player. Justin is about to win the game. If he begins a rescue attempt with a 7-hero band topped by Captain of the Host, there are not enough Christian Martyrs at the table to stop him. However, if you have Grapes of Wrath, then all your opponent needs is an evil character in battle (and if it appears he can’t block, put Doubt into his territory). One little block followed by a quick Grapes of Wrath sends all his heroes shuffling off the battle field. If Justin was winning, then that ends his battle phase for that turn.
Fourth grape: Side battles. Both kinds. That’s kind of two grapes in one. I’ll let you consider those possibilities, as discovering uses for cards is a tremendously fun part of this game, and I don’t want to deprive you of all that fun.
Sixth grape: Poor Panic Demons. Massive evil banding decks already have to fear Authority of Christ, and demons have the additional fear of A Child is Born. Now they have to fear Grapes of Wrath, too. Thankfully for players who use Orange, there are a couple of cards in Thesaurus ex Preteritus that make the massive discarders not nearly as disruptive. In fact, with the newly reprinted Wandering Spirit in battle, possibly banded to a generic demon (or a string of generic demons), and a certain new evil fortress in your territory, Authority of Christ and A Child is Born are not the threats they’ve been in the past. Players may be very glad that the Grapes of Wrath exists to disrupt those bands. Orange will become quite popular this year. Maybe even in Minnesota.
Seventh grape: Before making a rescue attempt, activate and discard Stalks of Flax (another of Rob’s game-altering creations), and exchange two of your O.T. human heroes with two of your opponent’s heroes. Make a rescue attempt with your opponent’s hero. When your opponent blocks, play Grapes of Wrath. This discards one of your opponent’s evil characters and shuffles one of his heroes. Then, assuming you are not winning, you can begin another battle.
Eighth grape: The art of war. Send in a commando (Jael, Asahel, or Ehud) to choose the powerful enemy combatant to block. Perhaps play an enhancement or two to soften up the enemy territory. Grapes of Wrath handles the battlefield. If you are not winning, try again with another hero.
Speaking of long, this article is getting that way. I’ll leave the rest of the grapes to your discovery.
If this card make you nervous, that is good. It makes me nervous, too. In Revelation, the Grapes of God’s Wrath were trampled, and their wine poured out on the battlefield, with frightening results. In Redemption, Grapes of Wrath can have a devastating effect on a battlefield, as well. Such a powerful, versatile card in the hands of creative, resourceful Redemption players makes no battlefield safe.
But safety is not the goal of the game. Rescuing souls is. Being able to use the same deck you used last year in the same way and with the same success is not the purpose of an expansion set. Redemption is expanding. Its vine has dozens of new grapes – grapes that are shiny on the surface, yet full of rich possibilities. Will you pluck a few grapes from the vine and hope for the best? Little changes might not be enough anymore. Perhaps there are old cards that can be used in new ways or at new times and combined with new cards for better results. How many grapes will you crush in your quest for the best deck? I expect the most success will come by trampling out the vintage.
To buy singles, sealed product, and other gaming supplies mentioned, please visit Three Lions Gaming!