Missionary Impossible ~ Asahara’s Anti-Missionary Guide~

Summary: Undoubtly this is one of the hottest topic right now in Japan as well as in this blog based on the number of comments in the blog entries. So in timely fasion, the EOJ’s official site strategy/tactics writer Asahara has just written an article about Missionary Deck. So here comes Akira Asahara’s Anti-Missionary Strategy Guide.

For those of you who do not know what Missionary Deck is or like to know what we came up with for the solution to the Missionary Deck prior to Asahara’s post in this blog, check Missionary Impossible and Missionary Impossible ~ Mission Complete ~.

Since Japan is currently having the first official online EOJ tournament ” Dengeki War I “, which limits the cards to commons and uncommons only, many people anticipate the winner of this tournament will be someone using Missionary deck.

Despite this blog site being extremely small sample population of the actual Japanese EOJ community, simply based on the comments from this blog, we can already see Missionary deck is very controversial topic. Some says it’s overrated; whereas, others say it is extremely powerful deck, and some goes to as extreme as Missionary Deck is breaking the game balance.

Today, Asahara has posted new article on EOJ Connection to specifically address how to play against Missionary Deck. Despite himself being long time Professional Magic Player, he admitted that at first he also believed that Missionary deck is too overpowered. However, he soon realized it just require more tactics to play against with.

Afterall, I think this is what most advanced players want. We need skill based game rather than who has better cards. We like to win a game by thinking hard, right? So here comes Akira Cruise’s Strategy Guide against Missionary Decks:

Know the Summoning Order!

Fire → Earth → Water → Wood → Fire

This is the sequence that each missionary gains Summoning Reduction advantage. If each Missionary costs 4 to summon, all the sudden Missionary deck becomes extremely mana inefficent and very slow deck, which is not too hard to beat.

Knowing the order of summoning, what you can do is to prevent from allowing the second Missionary to gain field bonus. With field bonus, the missionary creature will have 5 total health, which is difficult to destroy in 1 turn, so at least make sure that the second Missionary does not gain the field bonus.

* This is where my original hypothesis was incorrect according to Asahara’s strategy guide. Asahara prefers not to waste resources inefficiently to kill the first missionary; whereas, I said by any means try to kill the first Missionary.

Know the Abilities!

Each Missionary has unique ability based on how many specific type of other allied Missionaries on board. This ability makes them powerful combo creatures. After the first Missionary, not only you know which Missionary would be casted next, but at the same time you know what ability would be activated upon summoning the second Missionary. As we have discussed in the previous Missionary Impossible article, two abilities that we should try to prevent are Wood Missionary (Discard) and Earth Missionary (Mana drain). So if you have to choose which ones to destroy first, choose these Missionaries.

Avoid Summoning Creatures with 2 or less HP!

At most, Missionary can damage by 2 and each missionary has Exit mana steal ability, which is independent of other allied missionaries on the board. So avoid casting creatures with 2 or less HP; otherwise, you are at risk of not only getting your creatures destroyed but also giving extra mana to your opponent i.e. equivalent of your opponent casting a Missionary 4 – 1 = 3 mana with destroying your creature AND 1 mana damage to you.

Know how to destroy Missionaries efficiently!

Simply by preventing missionaries to be on their corresponding field, you are doing excellent job. Asahara suggested to take even one step ahead and suggest to try kill missionaries efficiently. Efficiency is not only against Missionaries, but its the general rule of thumb in this game. By not wasting your mana and killing opponent Missionaries efficiently, you are preparing yourself the best for next missionary.

Two creatures that he highlighted for this purpose as examples are followings:

1. Biolith Bomber. (Well done. Rufus Omega) For more detail see Missionary Impossible ~ Mission Complete ~.


2. Biolith War Chariot
When Biolith War Chariot attacks a creature whose Summoning Cost is 4 or more, it adds 2 to its Attack.


Asahara additionaly mentioned creatures like Spider Ninja and Wolf Ninja. Both have the ability to swap the place with target creature. These creatures will allow you to take away the field bonus of Missionaries. Although you could try moving the target to the opposite element, alternative would be to use their own creature to block the second Missionary gaining the field bonus.

For example, if your opponent casted Earth Missionary on F9 (earth field). You know the next step would be casting Water Missionary on F6 (water field). So you can summon Earth Ninja on F6 and attack Earth Missionary on F9 so your opponent has to summon Water Missionary without its field bonus.


As we have already discussed in the previous two articles, there is no magic card to destroy Missionary deck. Although at the time of writing this article, I still have no access to Set.2 card, I would admit that Missionary deck is very competitive deck, with careful strategy and well thoughtout tactics, it is just another EOJ deck i.e. you can win certain times but you lose at other times.

I believe Missionary deck has introduced as well as reminded us, in particular new to CCG, a great concept of strategy game that is its not about cards but it’s about how you use and how you think. Playing against Missionary deck appears to require much more involved tactical planning than playing against any other Set.1 decks.

Source: EOJ Connection EOJ Detailed Analysis #12 p3 (in Japanese)


10 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Spazzfish on April 8, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    war chariot? What is all that about? The cards summoning cost goes down to 2 or less so the chariot will only do 2 damage.
    The damage in this deck is the earth zealot and the water zealot forget the fire at the start of the chain its totally unnecessary.
    A good zealot deck works like this:
    Turn one – earth cubic
    Turn two – exchange cubic for earth zealot, cast water zealot
    Turn three – cast water zealot
    Turn 4 do what ever you want your going to probably win now.

    If the cubic gets killed in turn one then it slows you down a turn.
    So turn 2 cast earth zealot for 4 mana
    turn three cast water zealot.
    turn four cast water zealot.

    Remember the chance of getting the right cards in your hand to win with a zealot deck is very easy. All the deck has is zealots in it.
    To beat a zealot deck your going to have to build a deck specifically to counter it and even then you will loose a lot more then you win.
    If you have to build a deck to specifically counter another then that in itself shows zealots are imbalanced.
    The joy of this game was you could build any deck type you wanted and it always had a fair chance of beating any other deck it came across. With set 2 this balance has been lost and unfortunately to the detriment of the game.


  2. @Spazzfish

    “With set 2 this balance has been lost and unfortunately to the detriment of the game.”

    Wtf type of n00b statement was that?! Omg, dude, seriously? SERIOUSLY?

    I currently ONLY lose to zealot decks due to bad draws since the discard ability of their amount of wood zealots sux hard @$$! Dude, I just won 9 games out of 10 alone JUST YESTERDAY facing 70% of decks made of set 1 & 2 cards. It brought my record up from rank 900-something to a little over rank 200 in the WORLD.

    Give me a break! All I do is use speed/pressure and destroy the zealots as soon as I see them go down. If you can’t beat a zealot deck then it’s YOUR fault, not your capability of NOT being able to use set 2.

    Set 2 is not broken as of yet and balanced pressure decks as well as biolith decks are STILL > than zealot decks.

    Mr. Goodbar X85


  3. Posted by Spazzfish on April 9, 2008 at 4:01 am

    @ Goodbar

    Sorry disagree totally. I’ve won my last 15 games without losing, against all players using set 2 cards so what?
    I’ve beaten zealot deck users so what?
    If you don’t understand why zealot decks are broken then you don’t understand the mechanics or maths involved in the game.
    Don’t worry though I won’t call you a noob for not understanding i’ll just prefer to say my opinion differs greatly from yours.

    SERIOUSLY :rollseyes:


  4. Posted by Rufus Omega on April 9, 2008 at 11:36 am

    I have to agree with spazzfish here, not just about the strength of zealot decks but also about there being no need to get offensive and call people noobs because their opinion differs from yours. That’s the type of comment I normally expect to see from 12 year old xbox players.

    The zealot/cubic combo deck is extremely powerful. 12 zealots, 8 cubics and 3 mesmer’s eraands; the rest is just gravy. With those cards in a deck the chances of getting the right ones in your hand are very high, almost guaranteed in fact. There’s no way to stop the zealots coming out, you can slow them down a turn or two, but they will hit the board. Just slowing them down is going to take a good chunk of a deck’s better spells.

    There are ways to beat a zealot/cubic deck, but luck is always going to be a big part of it. Biolith is effective, and so are fast, hardhitting decks like green bandits, but they’re still not really a counter to a good zealot deck, just the best decks to give you a fighting chance.

    Really, zealots should be restricted, 4 to a deck or something. That would make them fair. What makes them so powerful is not just the ridiculously strong abilities they have, but also the fact that they are church of parmus and gain even more abilities when used with other parmus creatures like Alujah Inquisitrix for dodge, Flame Archmage to further reduce summoning costs and Bioilth Temple to give them extra attack stength. It’s all just too much to handle.


  5. Posted by Real Gambler on April 9, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    I’m with Spazz and Rufus as well.

    I can beat zealot decks as well, but I had to modify my best deck to deal with them. I also mulligan expressively for cards that will help me against zealots. And I pray that I will start first, otherwise, even with the best cards, the step is huge.

    End result: Yes I can now beat zealots deck, particularly if they are in the hand of an unexperience player. BUT, I now loose more games against the other decks because I’ve tailored my deck for the zealots alone!!!! It’s sad when you have to make you deck so you can beat one specific type of creature, and by doing so, you end up having problems with ALL the other decks.


  6. Posted by ImDoneItsOver on April 10, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    It happens but I cant really complain as long as you know the order of there summoning . With my help my wife beat a VERY solid CoP deck with her set 1 dodge/protection hybrid we just tighted played them and it fell apart to my surprise. So it CAN be done with out teching your deck. It was a beautiful thing.


  7. Posted by houshasen on April 11, 2008 at 11:13 am

    I finally got a chance, so I watched top 6 (rank not honor) or so game replay yesterday. Although pretty much in every match there was at least one player using Missionary Deck, they were not necessary the winner majority of time. In fact, at the time I checked, it was only half or less time that Missionary Deck user won.

    It was just a snapshot of the game ranking at one instant and may well not reflect overall trend; nonetheless, I have noticed a few things from these replays.

    1) Players who had lost against Missionary deck did not play correctly i.e. not followed Asahara Strategy Guideline.

    For instance, the one match I remember is followings:

    Player 1: Skip
    P2: Summon 1 mana creature on F6
    P1: Summon Wood Missionary on F3.
    P2: Summon Novogus Catapalt on F9
    P1: Summon Fire Missionary on F2
    P2: Reactivated Catapalt & End Turn

    At the end essentially, 3 or 4 missionary were on the board and it became very obvious P2 will not win the game in very early stage of the game.

    The obvious mistake I see here is Summoning Novogus Catapalt. The player should have summoned something on the F2.

    As Asahara’s Strategy Guide suggested, know the order and don’t give more than 1 missionary its field bonus.

    Even attacking only by 1 to the Wood Missionary instead of 2 with Catapalt, overall you are getting more damage by blocking field bonus. 2 for blocking field bonus + 1 damage to Wood missionary equals, overall 3 damage.

    2) Bad Missionary Deck users still lose games

    Yes. They were really bad. But still it was obvious the player used Missionary Deck since his first draw had 3 missionaries out of 5 cards. Yet, the player lost the game.

    3) Never seen Set.2 Concept Based Deck going against Missionary

    This may be due to the fact they are not as good as I think, but I did not see any concept based Set.2 card deck going against Missionary Decks. Concept deck include ones like Lizard Deck, Dwarf Deck, Elf Deck, Revamped Discard Deck, Water Deck i.e. any deck using Set.2 cards with some concept built into it rather than random Set.2 cards.

    Missionary Deck is one of new concept deck since set.2, so it would be only fair to compare it against other decks using well constructed Set.2 cards rather than comparing against Set.1 cards alone or poorly constructed Set.2 deck.

    Until I see Missionary Deck can easily overtake other types of Set.2 card included concept decks, it’s hard to convince myself that Missionary Deck is ruining balance…

    At this point, I feel like we are seeing Set.2 cards are changing balance of the game, and Missionary is just one example of it since it is one of the easiest deck to construct using Set.2 cards.

    4) Summoning Cost Goes down even with subsequent Missionary.

    I observed that Water Missionary’s Summoning Cost, who was already on the board, went down from 4 to 2 upon the alied Earth Missionary Summoning.

    This makes Biolith Bomber even more useful.


    As for WarChariot, I see it as the way to kill two birds with one stone. You can attack by 4 if one of two target is 4 summoning cost. So if Bomber is to target subsequently summoned Missionaries, Warchariot is for originally summoned Missionary or to clear the last remaining missionary on the board. (I assume when other missionary is destroyed, with the opposite reasoning to (4) his summoning cost goes back up)


  8. Posted by Rufus Omega on April 11, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    I had a game against a missionary deck earlier and spanked it silly. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever won so early in the game. I was, of course, using my biolith deck. I’ve been tuning it for the last week or so and it’s pretty efficient. What my opponent did wrong was let me get my Sciondar Gateway on the board. After that it was pretty much all over as every time he summoned a zealot I drew a card and played it if it was biolith. So the more missionaries he added to his combo, the more creatures I had on the board. And as all zealots only do up to 2 damage they couldn’t kill the creatures I summoned. The added bonus in this strategy is that you can save mana in your own turn, but spend it and be left with none at the end of the opponent’s turn so the earth zealot can’t make you lose it.

    I vote Sciondar Gateway the new missionary killer, if you have a decent deck to put it in.


  9. Does anybody know how to contact the people at hasbro/wizards/sony to alert them that this growing contoversy exists. IF so perhaps they could do some information gathering and survey the players. Certainly I think they could lose a lot of money as I have noticed more and more people saying they are quitting eoj and prices seem to be dropping on ebay with less bids for raes and phantoms. I play a missionary deck when I want to win and even I would like to play some other deck now that I’m bored but just when you go with your lizard deck or undead deck some scum gives you your own medicine with a zealot deck. Let’s face it any 6 yr old noob can win with zealots- hhmm let me see yellow cubic to F9 then blue zealot to F6 hey I have 10 health in my creatures and my opponent is stuck on 3 mana! Wow next I get discard with my green and then I subtract attack with my red. Speed wow yeah sure I only spent 1 for the cubic and 2 for each zealot cause they were so healthy nobody killed em. Wow I must be the most sophisticated strategist in the world. Dam I’m good at this game but wait wasn’t there supposed to be more to this game? Sugar I just spent time and money buying all these silly cards and thats it. Well I guess some speed decks can race you to check first but you only need to kill one of them along the way to check yourself. Sure things can go wrong with this simplistic plan and very experinced players might fluke a win or two against this childly simplistic strategy but in the end you look at the replays from all the top players and 80% are missionary. No variety. Plumeting value of rares and phantoms. Dragons and gods even more unplayable as mana in even more short supply, not to mention that 80% of all spells are unplayable. The blue\green miss are minny spell shields anyway. Sadly I don’t think any authority will listen or any rules will change the best we can hope for is to just play missionary or shelve eoj until the 3rd set and hope we can take more good ritual spells like absolver sacrament. Maybe the pope had a say in this game because he was morally offended with people who would not adopt the missionary position.

    A bit bored now
    Miss player.


  10. Posted by bikertazza on May 5, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    I have to totally agree with dodos, Spazz and Rufus – Zealots have destroyed the enjoyment of this game for me – the balance is far too much in their favour. I have some very pertinent questions to pose to those who think it’s easy to beat a Zealot-playing opponent.

    Point one is this: your opponent passes their first turn. Do you play a card or not? If you don’t, and they play their first Zealot, at least you can block their next required field. If you do play a card, then unfortunately it becomes easier for them to have a choice of TWO fields to play into on their next turn. For example, I play a farmer/lycanthrope into F3 wood field. They play a Wood Zealot into F8. I can’t block both fire fields now – game over.

    Point Two: the Biolith Bomber is supposed to help you to beat these bloody Zealot cards – BUT – I have just lost yet again to another unimaginative Zealot user with TWO bombers in my hand. Even though I had first turn, I had to pass to save enough mana to play it. The opponent, predictably, passed their first turn. Next turn I can only play into the middle space, so can’t play it yet – I’ve nothing to shoot at to get the most effect. I pass again. Then comes the first Zealot, but it’s in one of the corners. I can’t play the Bomber as the fields are locked – I can STILL only play into the middle. True, I can blow the next one to bits, but if he plays Earth/Water combo, I start to lose the precious mana I’ve saved up. Worse still, if he plays the first one into, say, F4 (Earth), I can play the Bomber but it does just 1 damage. If he then gets to play the second one into the Water field (F1), I can’t get at it as there are only two fields open, and I still can’t play the Bomber away from the middle field.

    Point three: how the hell do you build up enough mana to play all these cards? You have to let them get at least three turns ahead to get maybe 6 or 8 mana, then you can play one or two. But surely by then you’re (un)happily shedding cards or mana or both? Yes, I have a Goghlie Altar, but it may not come out in time for it to be of any use. And what if they’ve got a Summoner Mesmer’s Lapse too? Game over in turn 3. It’s all very well using a totally Biolith/Neutral deck, but they’re all LOCKED. Hello, am I missing something here?

    My final point is this: Please someone explain to me why Sony/Wizards/Hasbro have allowed these ‘cheap’ but powerful cards to dominate and totally imbalance the game? I AM an experienced player, and I don’t mind losing to someone who has good strategy skills with combinations of cards which I can only wish I’d thought of. But these cards require no skill, and can be used by any 12 year old. What’s more, these same muppets (who think they’re really clever by the way) can play with 12 of them in their hand. This fantastic game has now become monotonous in the extreme, because apart from being predictable in their usage, Zealots can rarely be beaten regardless of your deck content or strategic skill.

    I enjoy every game I play – regardless of the outcome – if it’s been due to skill. But I do object to playing a handful of Zealots. Boooooring. I did try to make a point of jumping out of a game when the first Zealot was played but I lost TWENTY POINTS!! More inequalities. You can’t even make a protest here since the new scoring system at the launch of Set 2 was introduced.

    Also a bit bored now……

    Mrs Player


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