Radagast... the wind beneath my wings

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MDuckworth83 1749

This started off as an attempt to build a deck around Radagast that actually makes him good (which it succeeded at), but turned into something very different than what I envisioned along the way. After lots of play and tweaking, I think I am finally happy with it.

So the basic idea here is to address the root problem that Radagast and his eagle allies share....prohibitive cost. Once you have managed the cost curve, you get atleast one Eagles of the Misty Mountains out and let the eagles start working their magic. It's a fun and dynamic deck managing the in/out of play effects of Descendant of Thorondor and Meneldor while slowly powering the Eagles of the Misty Mountains allies into juggernaut status.

ENGINE

The engine is powered by Doomed effects. Gríma and Keys of Orthanc work in unison with Hirgon to put expensive eagles into play early. Elf-stone's primary target is a dirt cheap Radagast who "can" function as a resource accelerator, but is typically more useful as a healer. More on that later. Card draw is handled by Steward of Orthanc and Gléowine, but don't underestimate the powerful search effect of The Eagles Are Coming!. The trick to using this card is to play it when you have gone several turns without seeing an eagle trait...thus increasing the odds of multiple hits. If you only play it when you really need eagles, it rarely whiffs. If you play it with a hand full of eagles, than it likely will be a dud.

A note on the Doomed effects.... this is a Doomed "lite" deck, not Doomed "heavy". Because it lacks reliable threat reduction, it's not designed to abuse the Doomed mechanic. The idea is to gain a resource/board advantage early and then switch to only using it to draw cards with the steward. I've found that it plays best when you use Doomed only when necessary for a "nudge" in power curve.

QUESTING

Éowyn and various 2 willpower allies typically do the heavy lifting while eagles manage staging threat (through damaging enemies/location control) as well as engaging enemies out of staging. This deck is more focused on diminishing threat than mass producing willpower. Hirgon tends to quest early to trigger his response and then fight later when the board is set up.

COMBAT

Eagles don't usually have many problems handling combat against most scenarios. The only thing to note is you really want to play Eagles of the Misty Mountains early because you don't want eagles flying to the discard pile when they could be triggering the "flocking" effect of this ally. You lead with "Misty" and then can use your Vassal of the Windlord and Winged Guardians at will. Eowyn's trigger is there if you need it, but I try not to use it in this deck because the lower threat is typically more valuable than one nuclear strike.

MULLIGAN

There are really two cards that are essential to the early game of getting the board up and running fast. One is "Misty", and the other is Keys of Orthanc. Misty is essential to "not" waste eagle discards and Keys are essential to make sure that you are getting the most value out of the high cost of triggering doomed. Keys are probably the most essential because they really get you out ahead of the resource curve. Misty can always be fetched by event later when threat is high enough that you actually have to worry about combat.

KEY CARDS/COMBOS

  1. Descendant of Thorondor and Meneldor: Triggering these allies is a large component of this deck and the part that makes it really interesting. There are a lot of enter/leave play triggers built into the deck that will allow you to nuke locations and soften up enemies almost at will. You will be surprised at how many times you can trigger one of these responses in one clutch round by creative use of cards and action windows, and it makes the deck explosive in powerful bursts. This is also where most of the skill curve lies and takes time and experience to really master. Ideally, you want these cards to eventually end up buffing Misty....but only after you've managed to derive the most value out of their responses.

  2. Gwaihir: He is kind of a bonus card, but he's very effective if you know how to use him. Generally what you are trying to do is get 1 copy of Meneldor in the discard pile (typically from chump blocking), and then fishing him out with Gwaihir. This is basically a way to get 3 free triggers out of Meneldor (1.chump death 2.play from discard 3.return to hand at end of round). In case you are terrible at math like me, that is 6 progress on any location for 0 extra cost as an added bonus to playing a powerful ally. Can be used with Descendant also but typically in the late game Meneldor's effect is more valuable.

  3. Radagast: And of course the man who started it all. As it turns out, he really is another bonus card.... but a very potent one. The ideal is to "cheat" him into play with a stone. Even if you are forced to rely on Grima to get him out at 4 cost (and of course hopefully refund 1 resource with keys), he is still worth it. His main job is to actually heal the Mistys as they tank enemies and absorb archery, and once he gets a few resources on him, he practically makes these allies invincible. An extremely undervalued card that has actually gotten better as scenarios have tended to get longer (therefore more turns to "pay back" his initial cost.)

  4. Favor of the Valar: This card is the final tweak I made and it has paid off as a very good move. It's very common for this deck to be getting tight on threat towards the end game, and can be very tense as you race to finish before you threat out. Although I rarely actually trigger the effect on this card, I never regret seeing it on my threat dial and it gives me piece of mind to play more and push the doomed mechanic a little harder with less risk.

Until we see some more eagle tech, this is my reigning take on eagle mechanics. Enjoy!

11 comments

Jan 17, 2019 Raiderjakk 32

Neat idea using Doomed to get over the resource hump. Going to try this out soon!

Jan 17, 2019 Levache 5

What a fantastic write up. This is the Radagast deck I've been waiting for. Can't wait to give it a spin.

Jan 17, 2019 MDuckworth83 1749

@RaiderjakkIt's a lot of fun!

So here is a fun fact. If you manage to see Keys of Orthanc on the first turn, you can actually outperform a Steward of Gondor for a couple of turns in resource acceleration! Turn one - reduce cost of tactics ally by two, doomed 1, gain back resource that paid for keys. Turn 2, do the same thing for a 3 resource advantage. You can keep this going as long as you have tactics allies, can quest successfully, and handle the threat!

@Levache thank you! This is one ally that I have wanted to unlock the potential of for a long time. Recent tech making eagles decks better combined with longer running scenarios have made him much better. He is not the centerpiece because this game constantly teaches me that you can't rely on a single combo, but he is a definite value add....especially when there is a lot of direct damage for eagles to soak up.

Jan 17, 2019 Goggen 93

Both Radagast and in the same deck, and still no Word of Command ?

Jan 17, 2019 MDuckworth83 1749

Sadly no :(.

I didn't really try though either. Finding the right cards usually isn't a large problem when you use The Eagles are Coming! correctly combined with the card draw built into this deck.

I suppose I could be talked into swapping out two Daeron's Ruins for 2x WoC and give it a try. I might play with that, thanks for the idea.

Amazing the cards you forget exist

Jan 17, 2019 JanB 32

@MDuckworth83 Not with Grima, but with Elrond... www.ringsdb.com

Jan 18, 2019 Raiderjakk 32

Fun deck. Played Assault at Osgiliath and threated out on a bad draw. Played very smoothly and resources we're falling out of the sky. Great job!

Jan 18, 2019 Marcelf 595

Great deck. But how do you play Radagast at 3 cost with Keys? Keys must be activated after you play a Doomed card, so you cant play Radagast with a resource that you have not already gained.

Jan 18, 2019 MDuckworth83 1749

@JanBVilya is definitely one of the best engines in the game for this type of thing. I just don't like the high threat that comes with Elrond. I almost always try to build decks under 30 threat to give myself breathing room, hence very rarely ever play Elrond.

Jan 18, 2019 MDuckworth83 1749

@RaiderjakkGlad to hear it!

@MarcelfI see how that statement is a bit misleading...maybe enough so that I should edit it.

What I meant by that is that you play Radagast for 4 resources and 1 threat, but then immediately AFTER play get 1 resource refunded thus making it like playing 3 after the fact. Sloppy wording on my part, I'll change it.

Jan 18, 2019 Marcelf 595

Ok thanks for the clarification :D