After teaching new players at Alive this year, I have had many ask me what cards every collection should have. This is a tricky answer for many reasons: I am a very competitive person and tend to only care about things that win. Essentially, I can only have fun if my opponent is miserable! MUAHAHA!

That being said, I have to concede to the point that there are many reasons people play a CCG, and collect cards for their game. Let’s explore these ways before talking about specific cards needed for a core to your collection. After this discussion, hopefully, you may find your “nitch” as you prepare to build a collection.

We are going to throw on a label to each category so we can reference them easier during discussion:

Lions. Lions are apex hunters. A lion’s collection will focus on the best tournament cards. Lions don’t care about every zebra, just the one he’s eating. Therefore, he wouldn’t care if he has every card in existence because the lion only needs cards that help him win (not just a game but a trade). Lions tend to assign emotional value to the cards in their collection for as long as the card is “winning.” Their collections tend to be smaller but have great cards in them.


Squirrels. Squirrels are hoarders. Squirrels scamper around gathering nuts until their cheeks explode, just to forget where they stashed their cache. They put them in boxes and binders – no card left behind! They tend to boast about the size of their collection. The individual cards do not hold as much value as the entirety of their collection. Most squirrels tend not to have a super organized collection because they are too busy scavenging. They understand the value of expensive cards and rares, but tend not to get bogged down with those boring details that just get in the way of a “forest” full of goodies.


Peacocks. Peacocks are showoffs. They walk into the room with their Italian leather binders, organized collection, and ultra-mega-super-rare miss cut promos. The more valuable and shiny the card, the better. They want each feather, err card, to be as big and colorful as possible. They love to puff up and display their collection for the world to see. The most valuable thing in their collection are the “ooohs” and “ahhs” from the spectators surrounding their binders.



Puppies. Puppies are cute, adorable balls of a.d.d. Their collections are all over the place. There’s no rhyme or reason to . . . “SQUIRREL!” They are social pack animals and play the card game because their friends are. They tend to have zero care about the collection itself . . . “BUTTERFLY!” The value of their collection gives puppies an opportunity to play the game with their friends . . . “THROW THE BALL!”

With that being said, let’s dissect some really great cards that any animal on Noah’s ark would like (this is not designed as an exhaustive list, but a starting point).


Lost Souls.

Lost souls have come along way over the years and are arguably the most important stage of deck building these days (back in my day we had to rescue our own lost souls!). Here are a few lost souls that any collection would want and most deck could use:



In addition to the starter deck Dominants, let’s look at others.

New Jerusalem (unless you can afford The Second Coming)
Destruction of Nehushtan
Falling Away (women)
Falling Away (CoW)
Grapes of Wrath
Guardian of your Souls

There are some very powerful, yet expensive cards to start saving up for too. I want you to be aware of these, but know that a starter collection would not have these in them:

Three Woes
The Second Coming


I tried to keep this list as generic as possible. There are so many support cards, and really these should be chosen for the specific strategies you are doing, but these tend to fit in most decks.

Hezekiah’s Signet Ring
Wall of Protection
The Great White Throne
Covenant of Prayer
Eternal Covenant
You will remain
I am Creator
Sword of the Spirit (CoW)
Everyman’s Sword  (CoW)


Like Support cards, this category is so vast. Really this is the core of your deck. I will list a few characters that can be “splashed” in many different decks:

The Deceiver
Red Dragon (RoJ)
Foreign Wives
Fire Foxes
Angel of the Winds
The Woman with Child

We had a bit of fun there, and you may be Japanese anime animal (lion-squirrel I choose you!); this just serves to help you understand that there are many reasons to have cards in your collection. For those who are new to the game, I hope the above cards provide a starting point as you begin your journey into the game of Redemption. I strongly encourage you to find the things that bring enjoyment in building a collection – be you Lion, Squirrel, Peacock, or Puppies!

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

One thought on “Building Your Core

  1. Allen

    Keith very interesting list! There were some cards in there that I never would have even thought of as “staples”.
    Thanks for your article (and funny list of “types” of players. Don’t know where I fit in that list) Maybe…the lion that only occasionally finds a zebra to swallow? Lol

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