#Mayhem became my rallying cry this year – I was convinced that there was a niche for a deck to use the newly worded Mayhem dominant. I took second place in 2011 when Matt Townsend won playing the old Mayhem first turn 7 times across 10 rounds. I wondered if even with the reduction in unfair card advantage, if there was still an option to go big early. In combination with a speedy Throne of David offense, the opportunity to play Mayhem first turn was there. I started the tournament year with Epicurean and Stoic Philosophers, plus Worldly Wisdom to ensure FTM (First Turn Mayhem) I switched after South Central Regionals and some test games to a few Magicians and Divination which is slightly less consistent, but has more utility in the mid to late game. The Magicians and especially Astrologers are way better than the Philosophers as well. Lost Souls like Lawless, Prosperity and Darkness also provide additional consistency and card advantage.

Combo Throne/Mayhem Combo/#Mayhem/Abom 2 Electric Bugaloo

Cards: 50

Lost Souls: 7








Dominants: 7

Son of God

The Second Coming

Angel of the Lord

Three Woes

Christian Martyr

Falling Away (CoW)


Utility: 8


The Throne of David

The Gates of Hell

I am Creator

Covenant of Prayer

You will Remain

Hezekiah’s Signet Ring

Magic Charms

Heroes: 10

King Jehu (Can be evil in a pinch)

King Saul

David, the Shepherd


King Amaziah

Caleb (FoM)


Ahimilek the Hittite

The Angel Under the Oak


Good Enhancements: 3

Faith of David

Counsel of Abigail

Valley of Salt

Evil Characters: 11

King of Tyrus

Abaddon, the Destroyer

The god of this world

The Deceiver

Messenger of Satan

Damsel with Spirit of Divination



The Priest of Zeus

Fire Foxes

King Jehoash

Evil Enhancements: 4



The Wages of Sin

Invoking Terror

Reserve: 10



Red Dragon

Rain Becomes Dust

Lost Anointing


Treasures of War

Death of Unrighteous


Haman’s Plot

Some key plays in general that the deck looks for:

Astrologers + Wages or Invoking Terror (Divination can also set this up)

Falling Away + Asahel (Supplemented by banding) is a “cheese” rescue

King Amaziah + King Jehoash + Ahimilek (supplemented by banding) is a “cheese” rescue

Faith of David + King Jehu + Ahimilek is a “cheese” rescue

Essentially I look for rescues that limit my opponents opportunity to play defense as much as possible. Because I want to be able to play out my hand there’s very little offense beyond these so called “cheese” rescues. There are literally only two non dominant cards that I can’t empty from my hand before I Mayhem, I was routinely +10-15 cards before my opponent took their first turn, with Mayhem usually serving as 4-6 of those. I believe the max possible is +30 on turn one and the highest I ever opened was +21.

Game 1:

Hannah Gresens 5-0 Win

Opening draw was pretty weird – Only hero in my hand was King Amaziah, but after I picked up a freebie with Amaziah turn 1, Hannah decided to play Mayhem. This was pretty nice for me as it reset my hand. I picked up a few cheesy rescues (a common theme of the deck) and it was over fairly easily.

Game 2:

Brandon Frank 5-3 Win

Mirror match game – Brandon had a Crimson based splash defense, I opened with no combo again – But picked up a freebie with Jehu turn one. Got a draw 3 defensively on his rescue, and used Divination in battle to stack my deck. We had an interesting interaction on my next rescue, where I had a Humble, he had a Punisher and both were active and inactive at various points of the rescue. Because it was a Throne offense mirror I was able to use his Abigail and King Saul early for speed, and he scattered them to get a block, and didn’t really recover from that.

Game 3:

Aidan Spurgetis 4-3 Loss at timeout

Aidan is a really good young player – And he played like a pro’s pro today. His deck was unique at the top tables, and really solid. The biggest take away from this game is that I totally whiffed my Lost Anointing and didn’t clear Job. After that it was just an ugly game where nothing flowed right for me, but I was able to string together a couple blocks and get to the end.

Game 4:

Jonathan Gomez 5-1 Win

Hezekiah’s Signet Ring is such a crucial card against both the Mirror, Flood, and Musical Martyr builds. I had mine super early against Jonathan, he also didn’t draw a hero turn two after I used Christian Martyr turn one against Peter. I had a large card advantage with I am Creator to Oak starting the draw engine turn one.

Game 5:

Josiah Beers 4-4 Timeout Tie

I opened with about as perfect a draw as you can with my deck against Josiah, and then proceeded to flush it all away. I had Ring, Zeus and World all on turn one, plus I comboed out with the Oak-Sam-Saul-Abigail-David Chain. However, in the mirror Josiah was able to keep finding ways to get to his Samuel and steal my offense I eventually cleared his heroes via a ripped plot, and some other stuff, but in the process of ripping the plot I discarded my own Abigail that he was using against me – Which allowed him to block Uzzah on my final rescue. This game more than any today illustrated the strengths of my deck – I had huge card advantage, and then between Astrologers and Messenger I played Invoking Terror and Wages of Sin 6+ times each. I had my entire reserve out this game.

Game 6:

Kye Murphy 5-2 Loss

Kye was playing a Music Leader variant, and just hammered me with Twenty-Four elders over and over. I made one decent sized mistake, he had Punisher Lost Soul, and I burned my Falling Away + Asahel rescue by missing the fact that it was active. I had Son of God in hand I could have played pre-rescue. Just a total mistake on my part. It probably doesn’t change the outcome, but would have changed the differential. I never saw Three Woes or Hezekiah’s Ring, both of which are critical in that matchup.

Swiss results – 3 Wins, 1 Loss, 1 Tie, 1 Time out Loss, 11.5 points and a +7 differential, which was just barely enough to squeak into top cut as the #8 seed.


Josiah Beers 5-3 Win

Finally got the Caleb+Asahel team rolling this game. I hadn’t seen them often during swiss rounds and they came up huge this game. I had a slew of counters again early, which slowed Josiah down significantly. I also played Christian Martyr outside of battle on a I am Creatored Oak, which was probably the biggest play I made correctly all day.


Joshua Potratz 5-2 Win

I didn’t have a hero in my opening hand this game – However I was able to use Divination to grab King Saul, and stacked my deck to draw Prosperity and Abigail on the rescue, which drew me into Angel of the Lord. Pretty sure I got a freebie that turn, and then used the same rescue and Angel on turn two. Josh was playing a Angel/Martyr hybrid, but I didn’t see any of the humans early so I used Falling Away defensively turn one.


Brian Jones 5-3 Win

In the rush of emotion after this game I forgot to boot up my recorder and take notes – Brian is a fantastic player, and it’s really disrespectful that I don’t remember much from this game. I do recall one of my early rescues used King Jehu + Asahel to snipe a Nebuchadnezzar from territory after he blocked me the previous turn. Again, the massive card advantage that my deck can generate between playing the fast offense, and then a slew of counters was critical. I had an early Zeus, and an early Ring.

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7 thoughts on “2018 Redemption Nationals T1-2P 1st Place Tournament Report

  1. Greg

    In regard to your first paragraph – would you have played this deck/do you think it would still be worth playing if they hadn’t removed the FTM restriction?

    1. JohnE

      I think I still play something like this, Throne is just so strong, and being able to play a cohesive defense that counters Throne at the same time makes too much sense to me. I may or may not have still included Mayhem. I frequently played Mayhem from low or empty hands in later rounds. It’s also a valuable soul gen tool for a deck that isn’t playing Ends.

  2. Ironisaac

    Congrats on the win, and congrats to Aidan and kye to be the only two to beat you! Not at all surprised this was the top deck, it’s just so strong.

  3. Justin A.

    This is a very strong deck, and I believe it’s worth noting that similar to last year, players who knew about the deck and practiced against it were able to beat it.

    Last year Jay C. played many games against the CoL deck prior to Nationals and won 2 of his 3 games against people using it at Nationals.

    This year Kye and Aidan practiced a lot against each other (taking turns using John’s deck) and the results speak for themselves.

    Moral of the story: practice, practice, practice 8)

    1. Kye

      For clarification on Justin’s comment, Aidan and I didn’t take turns using John’s deck.

      I rebuilt the deck based on as much as I could remember (I would say it is 90% accurate, mostly not knowing what most of the Reserve cards were). I was convinced after playing against Gabe/John in teams at Regionals that the deck was fairly simple and could be shut down if you knew how.

      I played using a version of John’s deck and tested a few games against Aidan (literally 2 or 3). Aidan was confident in being able to beat it, so I built the Fearless Music deck which Aidan was also having problems with. I liked the Fearless Music deck so much that I used it for T1 2P. Otherwise I wouldn’t have even played in the event (and John might have only lost one game ;))

  4. Derek T.

    Congrats on taking 1st. I was wondering why would you use Ahimelek with no ability to band him in? What am I missing?

  5. John E

    His protection from capture comes in clutch.

    Just kidding! I’m playing a couple of “non-traditional” ways to cheat him into battle. The first is using King Amaziah, then adding him when Jehoash captures Amaziah. The second is using Faith of David to add Jehu to battle, who can then exchange for him.

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