To complete his very thorough overview of all the brigades in Redemption (pre-PoC), Zac C. overviews gray, black, and orange defenses.
Gray has seen much use in the past, but hasn’t seen top tables in the last few years. It is mostly known for being one of the fastest defenses out there and has 4 main themes, but can also be used as a splash defense to great effect. First, we have the Pharisees. Pharisees have great initiative with the three 1/3 generic Pharisees, The Entrapping Pharisees, and Proud Pharisee, and drawing/searching in The Chief Priests. The Plotting Pharisees can also hit powerful good card in your opponent’s hand. Useful enhancements include Pretension, Just a Hireling, Tenants Kill the Son, Self-Righteous Prayer, Stoning of Stephen, and Seize Him!. This defense used to revolve around lost soul control, using Just a Hireling, the 2/3-liner, and Hormah, but with all the lost soul generation out there and the the 2/3-liner ban, this defense doesn’t have the power it used to.
Next, we have the Romans, who are mostly known for hand control, and therefore pair well with a similar offense. Top characters include Emperor Nero, Emperor Galba, Emperor Otho, The Terrifying Beast, Emperor Vitellius, Emperor Tiberius, Emperor Caius Caligula, Antonius Felix, Drusilla, Emperor Claudius, Roman Spearmen, and Emperor Domitian. There are lots of options, but none are super powerful and most have horrible initiative. Enhancements include Expelling the Jews, Heavy Taxes, Romans Destroy Jerusalem, and Stormy Seas, with support cards in Rome and Denarius. You won’t see straight Romans used often, but you will see a few of them in a Gray splash defense.
Syrians is the next Gray defense. This defense focuses a lot on capture, specifically with King Rezin, The Strong Force, and Naaman. Other top characters include Syrian Archer, King Cushan-Rishathaim, Syrian Mercenaries, The Syrian Reinforcements, and Soldiers of Zobah. There are no real theme-specific enhancements, but you will want to use lots of capture enhancements and weapons. Support cards include Raiders Camp, Damascus, and House of Rimmon. Hopefully with the new King Rezin coming out we will see this defense make a comeback, but as of now you don’t see it so much, as it is very reliant on Naaman holding Naaman’s Chariots and Horses to get anything done.
The final theme in Gray is Moabites. This is the newest theme to Gray, so it lacks some depth, but it makes up for it with some powerful characters in Moab and King Balak. Other cards include Balaam, Emim, King Eglon, Orpah, David’s Servants, King Mesha, Moabite Army, Moabite Marauders and Chemosh Worship. With their powerful search abilities, you mostly see them in Type 2 however, and they pair well with a Ruth offense, as they share a few enhancements. With some more development and depth this defense has the potential to be top tier someday.
For a splash defense, you will be picking the fastest and most powerful elements from the above themes, such as The Entrapping Pharisees, Naaman, Emperor Vitellius, and Emperor Domitian, and mixing them with some combination of Sabbath Breaker (keeping in mind you can run 2 of him using the legacy rare version as well), Balaam’s Disobedience, Namaan’s Chariot and Horses, Gold Shield, Scattered, Sorrow of Mary, Balaam’s Teaching, False Peace, Gamaliel’s Speech, and Plot to Kill. Other good Gray cards include Bearing Bad News, Rain Becomes Dust, Unsuccessful, Night Raid, Hypocrite’s Proselyte, Coliseum Lion, Roman Whip, Arrest in Jerusalem, Paying Taxes, The Frog Demons, Birthing Pains, and Death of Family.
Black, despite getting a decent amount of support in the last few sets, hasn’t seen a lot of play. Each theme that sees support sees some play the year it’s support came out, but it has never been top tier. First, we have the Philistines. This revolves around using Philistine Armor Bearer and Philistine Outpost to get out your powerful characters, such as Goliath and King Achish. Other notable characters include Delilah, Saph, Philistine Garrison, and Rapha of Gath. You also have Hebron and Ashkelon for drawing, along with Philistine Chariot and Horses, Bringing Fear and Foreign Sword. Philistine’s lack of powerful characters and fear of Red brigade/Caleb have kept them from being top tier however.
Next is Canaanites, which tend to be more of a Type 2 deck, using Gibeonite Delegates, The Woman of Thebez, Lot’s Wife, Lot’s Daughters, Gibeonite Trickery, and Stone of Thebez. There is now also the 3 Sons of Anak and Og King of Bashan, giving some synergy with the Philistine Giants as well. Enhancements include Gibeonite Curse, Gibeonite Trickery, Foreign Sword, Fortify Site, Sisera’s Oppression, Pillar of Salt, Idol Worship and Baal Worship, and support cards in Canaan, Tower of Thebez, Jericho, Sodom and Gomorrah, Hebron, and Idols of Canaan. As you can see there are a lot of options for Canaanites. They pair well with offenses that use choose the blocker abilities, like red and gold, as they tend to give your opponent your evil characters.
Next, we have Sadducees, who have great initiative characters in the four 1/3 banding Sadducees and Temple Guard, as well as lots of drawing/searching in High Priest Caiaphas, Alexander, and The Chief Priests. Other notable characters include High Priest Ananias, Scribe, Disbelieving Sadducees, and The Sanhedrin. Powerful enhancements include High Priest’s Plot, Just a Hireling, Tenants Kill the Son, Questioning Christ, Stoning of Stephen, and Seize Him!. Support cards include High Priest’s Palace/Unholy Writ and Prison. Sadducees mix very well with Pharisees and have a good amount of speed and searching, but still have never made it to many top tables.
Finally, we have Greeks. Greeks are almost always used with a NT Gold/Watchful Servant offense and many of its cards force your opponent to draw cards, which then allows you to discard cards from their territory when you have with Priests of Zeus and Abomination of Desolation up. Other notable characters include Antiochus IV Epiphanes, The Winged Leopard, The Goat with Horn, Hellenistic Jews, Epicurean Philosophers, Stoic Philosophers, and Demetrius the Silversmith. Greek-specific enhancements include Adjourn, Seized by Rioters, and Worldly Wisdom, and support cards include Shrine to Artemis and Areopagus. Since Shrine to Artemis can hold an idol, you will usually also run a few extra idols in a deck like this, along with things to stop your opponent from searching, such and Hezekiah’s Signet Ring. This defense takes a while to set up, and the offense used with it takes a long time to work, so you will usually end up running Burial Shroud to help buy some time. This defense is the least viable, but with Alexander the Great coming in Phase 2 of Prophecies of Christ, you may just see it again.
Black has tons of powerful non-theme specific cards as well, such as Joseph in Prison, Wrath of Satan, Hunger, Foolish Advice, Pride of Simon, Simon the Magician, Wickedness of Delilah, Abandonment, Paying Taxes, Outsiders, Plot to Kill, Gibeonite Treaty, Prisoner at Gaza, Envy, Darkness, and The Wages of Sin. Black has the tools in multiple themes to make a comeback, so hopefully we will see it on more top tables in the near future.
Orange is all about Demons, and boy does it have some powerful ones, especially as Demons are harder to target than most other evil characters and can’t be converted. The only theme you will see in Orange, other than being able to get cards off the bottom of your deck, is the Revelation theme. There isn’t a ton of depth for this, so just keep in mind if the card is orange and has a Revelations reference, there are a few cards that can search it out. Orange has a lot of power, but lacks a lot of the speed and searching needed to run mono, so you will usually see it splashed with something else, such as pale green or brown. Top characters include Red Dragon, Abaddon the Destroyer and Locust from the Pit, King of Tyrus, The Serpent, Babylon/The Harlot, Damsel with Spirit of Divination, Wandering Spirit, Seven Sons of Sceva, Trembling Demon, The god of this World, Messenger of Satan, and Spirit of Fear. You will also see The Deceiver is almost every deck, but probably not as much in mono-Orange and it only targets humans. Since you don’t usually see mono-Orange defense, in Type 1 at least, you won’t usually see many orange enhancements, but when you do, you will most likely see The Wages of Sin, Suicidal Swine Stampede, Mark of the Beast, War in Heaven, Dragon’s Wrath, Nicolaitans’ Teaching, and Blasphemies. And don’t forget Gates of Hell, one of the main reasons for running more than just a splash of Orange. Orange can be used with most anything, except maybe decks with Michael, the Archangel, as Red Dragon doesn’t like him, and pairs well with Tabernacle/Temple decks that use The Bronze Laver.
Thank you for making it through all of this, I hope it was helpful. I plan to update this with new cards as they come out. Post below what your favorite themes are, what I missed, and what you would like to see make a comeback. Thanks, and Godbless