Nobles in Disguise

Inspiration
As soon as Tactics Eowyn was spoiled, I knew I wanted to build a secrecy deck around her. While Flame of the West was on the boat, I kept constructing this deck in my head, first pairing her with Hobbits, then with Hirluin the Fair. However, the release of Leadership Denethor changed my thinking. His setup ability of +2 resources allows a secrecy deck to get out Resourceful quickly, while still playing cheap allies and attachments on the first turn. After sleeving Flame of the West last week, I built this deck and took it against the Fords of Isen, Dunland Trap, and Three Trials quests. It did admirably in solo play.

noblesindisguise

Secret Nobles
Total Cards: 52
Starting Threat: 19

Heroes (3)
Denethor (Flight of the Stormcaller)
Éowyn (The Flame of the West)
Glorfindel (Foundations of Stone)

Allies (20)
2x Azain Silverbeard (Flight of the Stormcaller)
2x Bofur (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Derndingle Warrior (Escape from Mount Gram)
3x Envoy of Pelargir (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Galadriel’s Handmaiden (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
2x Grimbold (The Flame of the West)
2x Legolas (The Treason of Saruman)
3x Westfold Horse-breeder (The Voice of Isengard)

Attachments (24)
2x Armored Destrier (Temple of the Deceived)
3x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
2x Heir of Mardil (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
2x Herugrim (The Treason of Saruman)
2x Light of Valinor (Foundations of Stone)
3x Resourceful (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Rivendell Blade (Road to Rivendell)
2x Rod of the Steward (Flight of the Stormcaller)
2x Snowmane (The Land of Shadow)
1x Steed of Imladris (Across the Ettenmoors)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)

Events (8)
2x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Elrond’s Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Foe-hammer (Over Hill and Under Hill)

SIDEBOARD

Attachments (4)

2x Dúnedain Cache (The Dead Marshes)
2x In Service of the Steward (Flight of the Stormcaller)

Events (2)
2x Captain’s Wisdom (The Thing in the Depths)

Deck built on RingsDB.
Cards up to The Flame of the West

Strategy
In this deck, a good starting hand consists of either Steward of Gondor or Resourceful to jumpstart resource generation. The first copy of either needs to go on Eowyn, since this deck leans toward expensive Tactics cards.  Any other resource generation should be played on Glorfindel, to pay for Herugrim and questing allies. If you can find either Steward of Gondor or Resourceful in that starting hand, everything else should fall into place rather quickly. An early Light of Valinor or Snowmane will get you action advantage, while Herugrim, Rivendell Blade, Armored Destrier, or Gondorian Shield will get combat well in hand.

Eowyn quickly becomes the powerhouse of this deck. Charge her up with Snowmane, Herugrim, Steward of Gondor, and Heir of Mardil, and she’s nigh unstoppable. Quest successfully with her for four, ready her up with Snowmane’s response, swing with Herugrim for 5 attack, and then trigger Steward and Heir for a second attack. Combine her with Legolas ally plus Rivendell blade, and you’ll be killing and drawing whatever you need.

Denethor clearly takes a back seat in this deck. He is really only there for a quick first turn start, after which I usually play Rod of the Steward on him and let him help with card draw. Once Eowyn has the Gondor trait through Steward of Gondor, you can also spin extra resources to her, though she will rarely need them.

Regarding allies, a few thoughts: In an original iteration of this deck, I had 3x Errand-riders, but I found that resource-smoothing could be accomplished by playing off of the Noble trait, which all three heroes share. Bofur and Grimbold might seem like slightly odd choices, but since Eowyn will have plenty of Tactics resources through Steward of Gondor and/or Resourceful, they become beefy Willpower allies and give you built in weapon-tutoring and attack cancellation if needed. Azain Silverbeard was thrown in just for fun–with him dealing direct damage and Legolas and Glorfindel wielding Rivendell blades, you can take down many, many enemies.

While this deck was built for solo play, with a few tweaks, it can be adapted to multiplayer use. Consider cutting Steward if some other deck needs it more, substituting Captain’s Wisdom and In Service of the Steward; this allows you to exhaust Denethor to pick up resources and then transfer them to Eowyn when needed. Also, consider packing Dunedain Cache to give Glorfindel and Eowyn ranged without sacrificing a restricted slot.

The Reward
In the end, this deck provides an interesting mix of powered-up and utility heroes. It’s unlikely you’ll end the game with a large army of allies, but rather a mix of allies and attachments that gives more of that “fellowship” feel. The payoff comes when you have Eowyn and Glorfindel questing for seven and still dishing out massive damage to tough allies. I hope you enjoy playing the deck as much as I enjoyed putting it together. Until next time, mára mesta: good journeys!

The North Rides to War

Inspiration
After the Armored Destrier came out in the Temple of the Deceived AP, I finally saw what the solo Dúnedain deck had been needing for so long: a way to make one of fabled northern Rangers a steady defender to keep the hordes of Mordor in check. Last week I promised a solo deck using the Destrier and Amarthiúl, and today I’m ready to deliver! After testing it against several quests old and new (everything from Journey Along the Anduin to The Thing in the Depths), it’s time to reveal the power of two Dúnedain and one Noldor lord and his ring.

passing_of_the_grey_company_by_jeiwo

The North Rides to War
Total Cards: 50
Starting Threat: 34

Heroes (3)
Amarthiúl (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
Aragorn (The Lost Realm)
Círdan the Shipwright (The Grey Havens)

Allies (20)
2x Arwen Undómiel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Dúnedain Hunter (The Lost Realm)
2x Fornost Bowman (The Dread Realm)
2x Gandalf (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Ranger of Cardolan (The Wastes of Eriador)
2x Silvan Refugee (The Drúadan Forest)
3x Weather Hills Watchman (The Lost Realm)
3x Westfold Horse-breeder (The Voice of Isengard)

Attachment (21)
2x Armored Destrier (Temple of the Deceived)
2x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
3x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
3x Dúnedain Warning (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Light of Valinor (Foundations of Stone)
3x Narya (The Grey Havens)
2x Rohan Warhorse (The Voice of Isengard)
1x Steed of Imladris (Across the Ettenmoors)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event (9)
3x A Good Harvest (The Steward’s Fear)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Elrond’s Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)

Deck built on RingsDB.

Strategy
In this deck, a good starting hand consists of either the Armored Destrier or the Westfold Horse-breeder to go fetch it, and, depending on the quest you’re playing, a few cheap allies to spit out early on. Cirdan is standing by to provide early questing support and access to cheap willpower like Arwen and Silvan Refugee. Engaging one weak enemy early is preferred, since Amarthiúl will need access to Tactics early. Time A Good Harvest so that you can drop out a lot of allies and attachments from either Leadership or Spirit. Contrary to what’s printed on the card, I ignore Aragorn as a target for Celebrian’s Stone and use it instead to boost Cirdan’s willpower to a mighty six.

In the mid-game, getting Gandalf 2.0 out will get you four more questing, plus beefy defense and attack if you ready him with Narya.

Above all, getting that Armored Destrier is key, since with it Amarthiúl can block and discard shadow cards with ease, all while gaining his engagement buffs.

The Reward
This deck is rather straightforward in its approach, but the reward is in finally being able to get good use out of Amarthiúl’s two engagement buffs consistently without being overwhelmed by enemies. Laugh with grim delight as the forces of the North ride roughshod over the forces of the Dark Lord. Until next time, mára mesta: good journeys!

Deck-Craft: Fangorn and Friends

I originally planned to get out a video this week, but I’ve been waylaid by a monster cold (as have all four of my children! No!), so while the technical issues of recording have been largely ironed out, my voice is shot. In fact, just before writing this, I downed a hot toddy and tried to tough it out, but I still sounded like Kermit the Frog after a hard night of drinking…so Deck-Craft it is!

Inspiration
There’s no doubt about it; Ents are the new power on the LOTR:LCG scene. We’ve had a glut of them recently, and they just begged to be played. As I first started constructing Ent decks, however, two major problems popped out. First, true to their nature, they are not very hasty, entering play exhausted. Second, the two spheres from which they hail (Tactics and Lore) are not great at resource acceleration. What’s a poor player to do? My answer, which is just one of many to this two-pronged problem: a three-sphere deck featuring Leadership Theodred to send resources wherever they need to go, paired with two resource generating/smoothing heroes: Mablung and Bifur. Bonus: low threat to get those Ents ready! To that end…I give you Fangorn and Friends!

ents

“We’re slow.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Cards: 50

Heroes: 3
1x Mablung (The Nin-in-Eilph)
1x Theodred (Core Set)
1x Bifur (Khazad-dum)

Allies: 21
3x Treebeard (The Antlered Crown)
2x Wandering Ent (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
2x Gleowine (Core Set)
3x Booming Ent (The Antlered Crown)
2x Skinbark (The Land of Shadow)
2x Wellinghall Preserver (Across the Ettenmoors)
2x Quickbeam (The Treason of Saruman)
3x Derndingle Warrior (Escape from Mount Gram)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)

Attachments: 11
3x Wingfoot (The Nin-in-Eilph)
2x King Under the Mountain (On the Doorstep)
2x Celebrian’s Stone (Core Set)
1x Protector of Lorien (Core Set)
3x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)

Events: 17
2x We Are Not Idle (Shadow and Flame)
2x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
3x Tighten Our Belts (The Nin-in-Eilph)
3x Ever Vigilant (Core Set)
2x Durin’s Song (Khazad-dum)
2x Tireless Hunters (The Lost Realm)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)

Side Quest: 1
1x Send for Aid (The Treachery of Rhudaur)

Strategy
There’s really not a bad starting hand with this deck, but some key cards to look for are either Gondorian Shield or Durin’s Song (to offer you early defense while you set the Ents up), King Under the Mountain (for early card draw), or Wingfoot (for action advantage). All three heroes are somewhat lackluster in stats, but with Theodred’s ability, just take a look at your hand, and quest with Theodred and the hero of whatever sphere you need resources in.

Meanwhile, the quest will largely determine whether you need defending, questing, or attacking Ents out first. I usually lead with a good defender, like Derndingle Warrior, just to offer my heroes some breathing space. If you find yourself swarmed by enemies, a well-timed Ever Vigilant can ready and Ent to defend or smash the forces of Sauron. Good times!

Reward
For me, the real reward of this deck is that you can be all things to all people. Since your Ents heal up with Wellinghall Preserver, you’re not taking the healing at the table. You are self-sufficient in terms of resource generation and card draw, and everyone loves to see the Ents trounce enemies. Playing this multiplayer, I have been pleasantly surprised at how I can offer willpower, attack, and defense as needed. And there’s nothing more fun than pulling a friend out of a jam with Tireless Hunters.

A very short post this week (again, I’m trying to heal!), but take heart, faithful readers: videos are coming! Until next time, mára mesta: good journeys!