Date: July 26, 2011, 04:14:41 AM
Foreign Sword - Enemies in Your Family, Allies from Afar
Friends and enemies can come from unlikely places. Some of David's worst enemies were from his own country - even from his own family! Thankfully, he had friends and allies from home and abroad.
King Saul had been David's employer, his father-in-law, and was the father of his best friend. One of the tallest men in Israel, Saul had achieved victories in battles with his army at his side. But in spite of his height and success, Saul was jealous of David. Saul wanted David dead.
King Saul had flaws, troubles, and sins, but he was still the Lord's anointed, and David would not harm him. So David did the only thing an honorable man could do in that situation. He ran.
While David was on the run from Saul, he gathered a group of skilled soldiers around him, including a few of his nephews. One day, they were hungry and came to the home of a rich man named Nabal, whose shepherds had been treated kindly by David and his men. David requested some food for his men, but Nabal refused. David felt insulted and became angry, and planned to attack Nabal. But while he was on his way, David was met by Nabal's wife, Abigail. She provided some food for David and his men, and gave wise and calming counsel concerning her husband. Abigail's counsel kept David from killing Nabal. When Abigail told Nabal what had happened, Nabal's heart couldn't take the shock. "About ten days later, the Lord struck Nabal and he died." (I Samuel 25:38)
Besides having an ally in Abigail (who later became his wife), David also had some non-Israelite allies. At least three of David's warriors were Canaanites:
1. Ahimelech the Hittite (I Samuel 26:6), a who was with David while he was on the run from King Saul.
2. Ishmaiah the Gibeonite (I Chronicles 12:4), who also joined David during his run from Saul
3. Uriah the Hittite (II Samuel 11:16), who was among David's "thirty mighty men."
The story of David, Bathsheba, and Uriah is found in II Samuel 11. In that story, David commits adultery with Bathsheba, and, to cover it up, he has Uriah sent to the front lines where he is likely to be killed by the enemy. In chapter 12, the prophet Nathan scolds David and warns him that his sin would bring calamity from within his own family. The consequences of David's sins continue from chapter 12 through chapter 18. In summary, David's own son, Absalom, rebels again him and seeks the throne for himself. David is forced to flee Jerusalem, and once again is on the run from a relative.
During this run, he once again gains the aid of a foreign soldier. This time it is a Philistine named Ittai. Ittai had both the right and the opportunity to stay in Jerusalem and serve under Absalom, but he was loyal to David, and traveled with him. David was glad to have Ittai's friendship and help. It is from their encounter that we selected the reference for Foreign Sword.
Physical swords are amoral. The effect of a sword for good or evil usually depends on the person wielding it. We had that in mind as we designed this card. Red Canaanite heroes, such as the three Canaanite heroes above, can use this for full effect. When a red version of Ittai is printed, he'll be able to use it, too. But an evil Canaanite or evil Philistine could also use a Foreign Sword. So, we made it usable by either a hero or an evil character.
Note: All good/evil enhancements are both good and evil, and can be targeted as either in a hand, deck, or discard pile. For example, Gabriel (Kings) can search a deck for Foreign Sword and discard it, since it is evil. Also, you can use A Soldier's Prayer to search your discard pile for it, since it is a red enhancement.
Sometimes, God uses evil people or evil nations for His own purposes. The Bible gives us several examples of this:
In Genesis, God used the Egyptians (with the help of Joseph) to save Jacob and his sons and their families from starvation.
God used King Jehu to exact his punishment on the household of King Ahab.
God used Assyria to punish the wicked northern kingdom of Israel. In the book of Isaiah, God called the king of Assyria His "razor" which he would use to shave and even consume nations.
Later, God used Babylon to punish the southern kingdom of Judah. In the book of Ezekiel, God said that Babylon was his "drawn sword" with which he would cut down both the righteous and the wicked.
Five of the tins released this year will have an enhancement or two that have both a good brigade and an evil brigade. While they will be most versatile in decks that contain both brigades, they can still be useful in decks that only contain one brigade or the other.
Dissecting the Card
"Negate an opponent's evil ..."
Negating any evil card is a versatile ability. You can negate an evil character, an evil fortress, an evil enhancement, or a curse.
You will often want to hold this in your hand and play it in battle. If your opponent blocks with an evil character with an important ability (immune, capture, discard all cards in battle, etc.), play Foreign Sword to negate it. If he blocks with initiative and plays a battle winner, play Foreign Sword to negate the enhancement.
There will also be times when you want this sword active as it enters battle. If you have not already figured out some of those possibilities, keep reading.
"or neutral card."
Being able to negate a neutral card is very helpful for red. As your Foreign Sword-wielding hero enters battle, you can negate an artifact such as Unholy Writ. You can negate a lost soul that red sometimes has trouble rescuing, such as the "female hero" lost soul. You can negate a site such as Hormah, Herod's Dungeon, or Caesarea Philippi.
"If used by a Canaanite or Philistine,"
For the full benefit of the card, you will want to use it on a warrior class character that is either a Canaanite or a Philistine. There are three red brigade warrior class Canaanites (all in Tin XXV), a couple black brigade warrior class Canaanites (including a new one in Tin XXIII), and plenty of black brigade warrior class Philistines. You may want to build a red/black deck to make the most use of this card. You could include a Holy Grail to convert your own evil Canaanite or Philistine to a red hero for extra flexibility.
To gain a one-time benefit from this card, you could play it on a red Canaanite that is not warrior class. There is a female hero that meets this requirement. Hint: Check your old never-used cards for a red female hero with a Joshua reference.
"you may return that card to the top of its owner's deck."
This is a lot more amazing than it appears at first glance.
First, there are very few cards that can protect against a "topdeck" ability.
Second, if you topdeck an evil character, your opponent can't block with it.
Third, you can topdeck the Lost Souls card when you are going to attempt your final rescue.
Fourth, you can topdeck a site so you will have access. Or topdeck a site in battle while blocking so your opponent doesn't have access.
Fifth, this works nicely with Stronghold in the Desert. If you topdeck the only card that your opponent has of a certain evil brigade, and then your opponent blocks with an evil character of that brigade from hand, he then has to discard the top card of his deck. Guess what's on the top of his deck.
Sixth, all of the above points also apply while blocking (or side-battling), not just while rescuing.
Seventh, the third sentence of Ishmaiah the Gibeonite's special ability is "May band to a red O.T. hero." If Ishmaiah the Gibeonite has Foreign Sword, and topdecks an evil or neutral card, then bands to an O.T. red hero that has Warrior's Spear, well, when my son Kurt figured out that combo in a playtest game, my defense (including my protect fortress), artifacts, and sites (including access sites) were obliterated over the course of a few turns.
"Reference: Old Testament"
The fact that this enhancement is Old Testament allows you to retrieve it from your discard pile with card like Book of Gad the Seer, King Amon (Kings), and Scribe. Of course there are even simpler ways to get it back, like with A Soldier's Prayer and Pride of Simon. With so many ways to recur it, keeping your foreign troops armed will be relatively simple.
Canaanites will be fun to use, but will they be reliable enough for top decks yet? Philistines are already pretty strong, so will this card make much of a difference for them? Can a deck of red warriors make the top tier this year? [Hint: Yes, but mainly when combined with teal priests. Another hint: Hold on to your David cards. David will be a lot more popular this year.]
Will the usefulness of good/evil enhancements be enough to make people consider building decks with good/evil brigade combinations like red/black, green/pale green, green/crimson, blue/gold, or purple/brown?
A New Testament application
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on Earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Matthew 10:34-37
Jesus commands us to put Him first in our lives - even ahead of members of our own families. We are not promised a life free from conflict within our family. In fact, Jesus tells us that some of us will have divided families. That is, some family members may believe in Him while others do not. Like David, your father-in-law or even your own son may disagree with you - and even try to discredit you for your faith. Granted, they probably won't chase you out into the wilderness to kill you, but the lack of real peace in the family may cause you genuine grief.
But if you lose a relationship with a family member because of your faith in Christ, do not despair. As a Christian, you have brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world. They may speak foreign languages, sing foreign songs, eat foreign food, and wear foreign clothes, but the Sword of the Spirit they wield is the same as yours. The Word of God transcends nations and unites believers under one Lord and one Father. That's quite a Sword!
Rating: by 16 members.