Let’s take a look at how playable Hold the Line is and just how much it’s worth today.
1 Champion of the Parish
4 Doomed Traveler
2 Elite Vanguard
4 Gideon’s Lawkeeper
4 Accorder Paladin
1 Elite Inquisitor
4 Fiend Hunter
2 Mirran Crusader
2 Silver-Inlaid Dagger
4 Bonds of Faith
2 Honor of the Pure
2 Butcher’s Cleaver
4 Oblivion Ring
Champion of the Parish, Elite Inquisitor, and a pair of Mirran Crusaders were worth a good chunk of the value in this deck. The Champion gets a +1/+1 counter each time you have a Human enter the battlefield under your control. It’s the best card in the deck. Being that this is an all Human deck, he’s very powerful.
Elite Inquisitor’s value hasn’t held up, but they were about $1.50 at the time because they were efficient 2/2 creatures with first strike and vigilance. They also have protection from Vampires, Zombies, and Werewolves - all important creature types at the time.
Mirran Crusader is the other really good creature in this deck. Not only is he a 2/2 with double strike for three mana, but he has protection from black and green. Most removal couldn’t touch him, and neither could a lot of creatures at the time.
Their support troops are also quite solid, especially a full play set of Fiend Hunter. The Fiend Hunter was great in dealing with problem creatures, and was a staple of a lot of decks at that time. Doomed Traveler is a great value creature, because when he dies, you get a flying 1/1 spirit. Elite Vanguard is a vanilla 2/1, but he’s only one mana.
Gideon’s Lawkeeper helps you tap down opponent’s creatures, which is very handy. Accorder Paladin is a cute 3/1 with battle cry, which gives your other creatures +1/+0 when he attacks. We think of Signal Pest and Hero of Bladehold for this ability, but Accorder Paladin has it, too. Not bad for a 2-mana creature.
Non-Creature Spell Breakdown
Silver-Inlaid Dagger and Butcher’s Cleaver are solid Innistrad equipments. There are two of each in the deck. The Dagger gives +2/+0, but it gives an additional +1/+0 if the equipped creature is a human. It’s only 1 mana to cast and the equip cost is 2, so it’s well-costed. The funny thing is that you’d most likely want to stick this on the flying tokens left over from Doomed Traveler, but it’s pretty effective on a Human.
Butcher’s Cleaver costs 3 to cast and 3 to equip, which is fairly hefty. It does give the equipped creature +3/+0, and if it’s a Human, it also grants lifelink. While that’s pretty good, that’s 6 mana to invest. I’m not really a fan of this equipment in this deck. It’s properly costed, but it’s just a bit too mana-intensive to be worth it most of the time.
Bonds of Faith, on the other hand, is a pretty cool Aura. For 2 mana, it gives the enchanted creature +2/+2 if it’s a Human. If it’s not, then that creature can’t attack or block. Basically, it’s a pump spell that could alternatively be a Pacifism. It’s actually a sweet little card. It saw sideboard play in Naya Humans.
Honor of the Pure is a must in any mono-white deck. Two copies isn’t bad, although adding a third could be helpful. A playset of Oblivion Ring allows you to answer most serious threats that will be posed against this deck. At the time, Titans were quite popular, so you needed an answer for the 6/6 Giants.
Plus, you get 24 Plains. Nothing special there.
3 Nihil Spellbomb
3 Suture Priest
4 Leonin Relic-Warder
4 Celestial Purge
This is a very good sideboard. Every card in here is pretty self-explanatory. Nevermore is still a great card in Eternal formats. Back then, you would name top cards like “Liliana of the Veil” or “Koth of the Hammer” or perhaps even “Birthing Pod.”
Depending on how competitive your local environment was, this was a pretty solid deck that with minor adjustments could perform well at a local tournament, especially a Friday Night Magic event. That’s what these Event Decks were designed to do. This mono-white deck that focuses on swarming the board and deals with threats pretty well. Deathfed’s problem is that it was too focused on filling the graveyard to power up certain creatures. This deck is just a lot more versatile.
To make this a truly playable deck in tournaments, you’d want to get 3 more Champion of the Parish and 2 more Mirran Crusaders. You’d cut the Elite Inquisitor and the Gideon’s Lawkeepers. While Lawkeeper isn’t a bad creature, really, you want to be aggressive, and those guys are a lot more aggressive.
Is it Worth Buying the Hold the Line Event Deck Today?
Like the Deathfed deck, the Hold the Line deck has a lot of cards that still see play even in 2018. However, the value between the two decks is actually pretty similar. Still, you can find this deck for as little as $25. What’s worth something in here?
Champion of the Parish is $5, due to strong Modern playability. Mirran Crusaders are worth $4 a piece, so that’s another $8. Honor of the Pure is a $2+ card, and there’s two in here. But after that, you really only have Nevermore at $1 and a bunch of decent spare parts. This was a better deck as far as resale value back in the day, certainly.
You’d want to get this deck closer to $20 to make your money back. However, the difference with Hold the Line is that this is a more playable deck out of the box. So, for that reason alone, it would be worth picking up for the $25.