First and foremost I want to thank Gabe and Jesse for hosting an amazing tournament, everyone who was able to make it this year, and our Lord Jesus Christ for blessing us with the life of His salvation by His grace and mercy to allow us to fellowship in His kingdom where there is Redemption as we are redeemed and saved!!
2015 – Everyone knows a deck without Son of God won. What!!! What a concept. I was super impressed by John Earley and his site lock deck at my first national tournament experience and thought it was surely impossible to win without the best card in the game, but he did it!! Thus Confusion was born and entered the meta, once again.
2016 – The BoM deck! Moses is a super hero, maybe consisting of nearly 5 cards previously printed. Not to mention Joshua who is a boss and empowers an already incredible hero, Captain of the Host. With Confusion, The Serpent and soul manipulation, the 2 Liner is nearly +5 to differential with a Women’s Falling Away. All in all the BoM deck wrecked the meta! Super powerful, built and piloted by one of the greatest Redemption players of all time: Gabe Isbell.
2017 – The meta is sprawling with pharisees and demons. Gabe’s player created card A Covenant of Prayer has relieved us of the Confusion that dominated the meta in the previous season and the new Guardian of Your Souls is keeping lost souls on the table. From the Darkness A Child is Born!! The Children of Light!!
T1-2P Coney Island
1 The Great White Throne (RoJ)
1 Ram’s Horn (Pi)
1 Son of God (I)
1 Angel of the Lord (Greek)
1 Christian Martyr (J)
1 Three Woes (RoJ)
1 Guardian of Your Souls (RoJ)
1 Children of Light (RoJ)
1 Peter (EC)
1 Soldier of God (PC)
(All persecuted church armor of God)
1 Love (EC)
1 Goodness (EC)
1 Gentleness (EC)
1 Joy (EC)
1 Kindness (EC)
1 Peace (EC)
1 Fifth Seal, Justice Seekers (RoJ)
1 The Deceiver (RoJ)
1 Messenger of Satan (EC)
1 Hypocrisy (EC)
1 Patmos (RoJ)
1 High Priest Ananias (RoJ)
1 Emperor Claudius (PC)
1 Covenant of Prayer (RoJ)
1 Burning of Magic Books (EC)
1 Golden Censer (RoJ)
The whole concept of the deck is to feed your children with the fruits of the spirit and empower them with the full armor of God!! What a ministry! I can’t tell you how many signs were pointing me to play this deck. John Earley’s shirt even said feed your children for a ministry and give them Hope which is the card I posted I wanted to create on the boards!! What a dream come true! It sets up super fast, darkness soul, imitate, and lawless get you quickly to the few evil cards in the deck which were extremely efficient at blocking backed by Three Woes. Children of Light typically sets up very quickly in this build and when you can deck out fast, you can start using Shrine to Artemis with Three Woes for very powerful rescues. I tested the deck a ton over a month’s time after playing a few games with KevinTheDude (Joshua Potratz) and being convinced it had a great shot at winning Nationals. Sure enough with a little bit of modification his build became 1st and 2nd place in T1-2P. I do consider our working together very mutually beneficial and a mission accomplished overall on our combined efforts to the success of this deck concept.
Game 1 5-4 Win
He got off to a great start and I couldn’t find a way to Children of Light. He got all the way to 4-0 with a tapped liner and I was using Shrine to simply shuffle away excess placed enhancements I could not place on any other hero but Justice Seekers for the time being. I gained an HSR and used Falling Away on the Liner. Later gaining Eternal Inheritance while waiting for a way to Children. Once I got Children set up it was looking great. I decided to take a risk and turn down HSR for I am Creator to get the 2 soul turn rescue with Eternal Inheritance and Christ’s Triumph. It worked but I also gave up the Liner again to The Second Coming. Overall this game made my day just for getting the Eternal Inheritance Christ’s Triumph combo to work!
Game 2 5-2 Win
I got a turn 1 Soldier of God to search out Children of Light, but he had a Dull soul and sure enough searched for a Proud Pharisee to play first Seize Him! He set aside my Children of Light, but luckily I had Son of God and played it on the Dull soul to kick out Proud Pharisee. I think Soldier wound up being blocked by a cloud Falling Away, but I got away with getting out Children turn 1 and started setting up fast. Once it was rolling Brian had few options to stop it. Woes on Claudius and Christ’s Triumph paid off all day.
Game 3 5-0
Ben was playing a Throne deck and had a really strong start. Luckily I was able to make the most of it and got some early chump blocks along some draw. I got an early game Children of Light and he wound up going to Moses. I had The Deceiver in my hand and went to the reserve for High Priest Ananias and sure enough auto blocked Moses. After this Children started getting fed and walking for souls. Pretty sure I played a Falling Away for the 5-0 win.
Game 4 5-2
Drew is a great player from our East Central Region and loves to play Throne. He plays very fast and aggresively, so I knew I would be on the edge of my seat all game. Sure enough I was and he had a great start. A few chump blocks and clever use of Woes/Shrine allowed me to break through his defense along with enough stall blocks and speed to stay in the game. He used The Serpent on Peter for 6 turns, but I had Love to heal him which allowed me to continue playing Woes and drop the Son of God Second Coming for the win.
Game 5 3-5 Loss
Jay is one of my dear friends online and in our region. We play a lot of Redemption together and both know it is almost a toss up when we sit down to enjoy a game. He took some of my advice which was to definitely play Guardian of Your Souls (may be the first time I have seen him play it competively) and it certainly paid off! He got a turn 1 Woman with Child to Three Woes, knowing what I am playing obviously. In hindsight about 15 minutes before deck check I was looking at Brown/Crimson Outsiders and Image of the Beast as reserve items which I would almost certainly include in more optimal variants of the deck (see KevinTheDude’s build), which could have served well against this due to me having a turn 1 Deceiver. I did get turn 1 Children of Light but he immediately played Three Woes on it, asking me if I had Hypocrisy. Fortunately I did have Hypocrisy and was able to pick up my Children of Light with Foreign Wives then set it back down to start placing Fruits and Armor along with the drawing. I really do attribute this loss to soul drought, as I recall cycling possibly 18 cards with Shoes and not finding a soul to save. I was holding Son of God so even if he did somehow block a fed Child while holding Woes, I could have at least finished 4-5 with the Son of God. I believe him choosing to play Guardian of Your Souls helped him a lot because I could not utilize the Liner with Falling Away for at least an extra turn. Great game and we both played our best! I believe this game was recorded, so I’m definitely looking forward to watching the replay!!
Game 6 5-1 Win
Josiah is an incredible player, a multi time national champion, and was the first person I saw experimenting with the Children of Light fruits/armor concept. He was running Solomon’s Temple with Throne, The Gates of Jerusalem, and The Gates of Hell. He got everything set up and I believe he could have easily defeated Children of Light, but he played a Mayhem while I think forgetting my hand was protected by Self Control after picking up a Christian Martyr off of Lawless. He had Everytribe but I had a Forsaken Soul. After he drew and Exchanger I immediately played my Three Woes on it to prevent him from banding to Children of Light. This turn he came in with Abigail and I blocked with Foreign Wives. He played Not Alone to interrupt my Forsaken Soul and band to his King Saul/King David then to his Everytribe then to my Children of Light. Luckily he did not redraw the Christian Martyr he needed and I was able to seal the deal with my final rescue being Children of Light where he blocked with Rehoboam attempting to make a side battle where Love was protecting all of the characters from it. Strong game and strong finish, but definitely a close call assuming he did get the Martyr.
Game 7 5-1 Win
Jacob and I play on Lackey a lot and I know he is a great player who knows in depth strategies of the game. I got an early Children of Light and started rescuing but he also got a big draw of his own off of Emperor Vittelius. I had gained an HSR thinking he was playing The Second Coming but he actually was running New Jerusalem (clutch play) but couldn’t search it out with his Woman with Child. Ultimately a few chump stall blocks along with Shrine/Woes were paying off big and New Jerusalem was in his bottom few cards. After he played Son of God on the tapped Liner I played Falling Away for a 5-1 victory.
Game 8 5-3 Win
Josh is a great player and almost beat me at Iowa State where our game was 5-4 but he did place over me taking 2nd at that tournament where I placed 3rd. I was anticipating playing him and was sure he was going to try using Claudia as a counter to Children followed up with a Christian Martyr to take them out. So I knew I had to at least run a Forsaken Soul(which paid off the most all the way from the deck building phase in this exact game). We both had great starts this game. He had his Music Leader and I got to an early Children of Light. I believe he had Woes down but didn’t recognize that I had Forsaken Soul. He tried to come in with Claudia saying Band to Children of Light, Martyr Children of Light. I pointed at the Forsaken Soul saying the band was prevented and asked him who he was Martyring since Children was protected. I know he knew this was pretty much the end of the game as his other odds of blocking Children seemed to be right out. I believe this was really his only opportunity to stop Children, but this game was also recorded so we should be able to watch it all play out! Overall it was a really fun game and Shrine/Woes came in handy several turns in a row as I was decked out, along with Faith of Joshua and Christ’s Triumph
Total Differential: +20 lost soul differential with 21 points
Due to Jay winning 2 battles against the Children of Light decks, but losing to the third against Joshua Potratz (KevinTheDude), I wound up taking 1st place overall and winning T1-2P. What an achievement and honor! I have put in so many hours to playing and testing, reading rulings and debating over rules to get to the bottom of them along with understanding, I feel like all of the hard work and time I put in has paid off.
and I think I played against 1 Punisher Lost Soul (Red Wing)
I really don’t think this deck is overpowered or imbalanced. In many cases my opponents who were armed with ways to stop me (Claudia/Every Tribe) simply did not take the appropriate steps necessary to do so.
I encourage you to test out this deck build, maybe optimize it within your play group. It was great to see everyone at this National Redemption Tournament! I Hope to see you next year in Texas!! Blessings and best wishes always, in Christ!