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|Fellowships using this decklist|
|None. Self-made deck here.|
Please note: Warden of Annúminas is a proxy for the new Prince Imrahil ally from Flame of the West.
This deck is inspired by an epic game that I had recently against The Passing of the Grey Company. I was playing a modified version of Ian's "I Will Survive" Caldara deck (to which I had added, among other things, Prince Imrahil). It is not an exaggeration to say that my first two turns with that deck were the best I've had in this game.
The setup for that quest allows you to raise your threat by 3 in order to gain an additional resource on each of your heroes. Whether or not you decide to take these extra resources, you have to discard your hand at the end of the first planning phase. Both of these changes to the normal setup proved to be instrumental in a wonderful turn of events.
I played Emery for free, and got lucky when she discarded Glorfindel, Damrod and Prince Imrahil. With six resources, I then played Sword-thain on Emery and paid for an Imladris Stargazer (in retrospect, I should have played the Stargazer first and used her to setup Emery - but it worked out anyway). Next, I discarded Caldara to put Glorfindel, Damrod and Prince Imrahil into play (Emery being a hero allowed me to put 3 allies into play). I discarded Elven-light to give a resource to Arwen. At the end of that planning, I had to discard A Test of Will, Ethir Swordsman and two copies of Pelargir Shipwright.
On my second turn, with no cards in my hand, Prince Imrahil showed just how powerful he is with Caldara. Thanks to Elven-light and the Stargazer, I was able to draw into Fortune or Fate and a Northern Tracker. I discarded the Northern Tracker to Arwen, then played Fortune or Fate to return Caldara to play. She was not long for play however. I immediately discarded her again, which turned Prince Imrahil back into a hero and put me at 4 Spirit heroes (thanks to Emery). This allowed me to put Northern Tracker, Ethir Swordsman and two copies of Pelargir Shipwright into play on my second turn. For essentially the entire game I had ~25 willpower to commit to the quest.
This hero lineup differs from what I played last night (Cirdan replaces Eowyn), but is is built with the express intent of coming out of the gate at full speed. With a high starting threat, this deck is capable of failures every bit as large as its successes. When it works, it is one of the most fun decks to play. Like any deck built heavily around a combo, it benefits from multiplayer, being paired with decks that give it some breathing room in the crucial early rounds. From my play report above, it is clear that Caldara decks are now among the most powerful in the game. She has come a long way from Gen Con a few years ago, when we all sat around scratching our heads about how to take advantage of her unique ability.
A few cards to note here. The Ered Luin Miners and Hidden Cache work great when they are discarded from the top of your deck, so feel free to use Imladris Stargazer with Emery and Zigil Miner to make that happen. Cirdan and Arwen should be putting powerful allies into your discard pile as quickly as possible, to setup Caldara. Even if you don't see Sword-thain early, don't hesitate to sacrifice Caldara - especially when one of these allies is Prince Imrahil. Cirdan's ring allows you to get multiple actions from your powerful allies, leaving the heroes to focus on questing and setting up the ally engine. This deck is designed first and foremost as an aggro ally swarm, not for Spirit's typical role of support. This is why cards like A Test of Will and Hasty Stroke have been relegated to the sideboard.
If you want a more balanced deck for multi-player, feel free to swap out some of the tricks for these more traditional events. There is no guarantee that this deck will always have epic first turns, but when it does it is one of the most entertaining decks I've ever played. Good luck!