Deck Tech: The Third Knife

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chrsjxn 3491

Hey all! Welcome to week 34 of Deck Tech! Last week I kicked off my Sands of Harad gameplay with a starter deck using the new heroes and just a single core set. And at the end, I had a bunch of tips about how to improve that deck.

And this week, I've ignored nearly all of them! I told you Théodred or Arwen Undómiel would be a great add here, since they help boost up the cards and resources of a deck that really needs them. But I decided to go in a different direction.

Legolas and Gimli are all about questing and action advantage, specifically action advantage for combat. So I picked another hero known for his questing, his action advantage, and his potent combat stats. And you all probably hate him a little bit, but who better to wield the third Mirkwood Long-knife than Glorfindel?

So that's what we're doing. We've got action advantage, card draw, more consistent resource acceleration and a couple of copies of Elf-friend just so Glorfindel can carry a knife. We quest with everyone, and then they all stand back up and fight!

I'll also just note here that I played through all three scenarios in The Sands of Harad with this deck, so there might be some minor spoilers from here on out.

Quest 1: Escape from Umbar

Elrond's Counsel, Good Harvest, and Dwarven Shield puts is in a great spot to start out, and I've got a spare four cost ally I can discard, since we're not going to play him any time soon. (Thanks, Faramir!) That lets us make five quick progress, ensuring we're pretty safe from the instant loss effect.

I don't actually travel to the Narrow Alleyway this time, because I'd rather just kill the Umbar Sentry engaged with me, which Legolas definitely does, after Gimli readies him.

An Arwen Undómiel in the next round means we're more or less set on defense for a while, and we should make some very good progress. But no enemy to fight actually makes for a bit of a boring round with a deck like this.

In the next round, I set up an Errand-rider, who will let us always shift a resource to Gimli if we need to ready Legolas. Or shift one away from Gimli if we want to pay for more expensive spirit cards later.

We're honestly pretty done at this point. Having gotten down to no enemies and no locations in play means this deck is more than capable of dealing with one encounter card every round. And on the second stage, I drew a lot of locations. So even though the quest forces an enemy to spawn, it wasn't a harsh penalty.

I did lose the Dwarven Shield a few times to shadow effects, but once I had two Dúnedain Remedy and Arwen on the table, it also wasn't a huge deal.

Though I did never see Elven-light, Light of Valinor, or Unlikely Friendship. Any one of which would have just made this quest go even smoother.

Final score: 125. 8 full rounds, 36 threat, 9 damage on heroes, 0 vp.

Quest 2: Desert Crossing

This time we have a totally different awesome start. Unlikely Friendship gives Gimli his second resource, allowing me to start with a Steward of Gondor on round one. And Legolas gets a Mirkwood Long-knife.

Round one treachery makes a Parched Wadi the active location, spawning a Were-worm. I clear the Parched Wadi and travel to the Burnt Sands. And I've got enough damage to leave the Worm at 1hp. Of course.

Next round I play Dwarven Shield, Errand-rider, and Arwen Undómiel. Those guys come in with a damage, because I'd like to be able to use them immediately. And then the Errand-rider immediately succumbs to heat exhaustion, so I can have my heroes fight.

Gandalf appears next round, and he's hugely helpful because he can absorb a lot of damage that will go away at the end of the round. Plus he draws cards!

And Legolas continues to be just one damage short of killing the enemies here. Not having Light of Valinor will do that. And I don't find one of those until round eight, at which point I advance to stage 3 and also desperately need to Find Water.

I quest as hard as I can for three rounds, desperately hoping to Find Water and clear the final stage before I threat out or the temperature gets too high. Which I do, but only barely. Treebeard dies to an attack and I'm forced to Sneak Attack in a Northern Tracker to help me make progress in the final round.

Final score: 129. 10 full rounds, 4 damage on heroes, 20 vp, 45 threat. Temperature at 50.

Quest 3: The Long Arm of Mordor:

I'm going to go ahead and suggest you play this quest with a more ally centered build. But I wanted to finish the box with these heroes, so let's do it.

I choose Kahliel as my objective hero, and am definitely rewarded for that. Four resources in play round one allows me to play Faramir and quest enough to rescue Glorfindel on the first round. And my threat is low enough that Sauron's Enforcers are going to leave me alone for a bit.

I've also got Light of Valinor in my opening hand, marking the first time that's happened for this deck yet! Which is good, because I can quest with him next round and also defend against Sauron's Enforcers. I'd like to rescue my second hero as soon as possible.

No luck immediately, but still being on stage two allows me to Sneak Attack Gandalf in to help fight against some Orcs with my limited hero pool. And then I play him again the following round to draw more cards.

On stage three, Legolas is guarded by a Warg-riders. Those Warg-riders do a huge amount of damage to Faramir as he gives his life to the cause again. But we smite back and finally free our last hero. And on stage 4, the Uruk Chieftain is the only enemy that has to engage me, which is much better than it could be. So we absolutely destroy him before any of his Orc friends can get in the way.

After that, one of my favorite staging steps ever happens. Overgrown is revealed, and there aren't any locations in play so it can't attach to anything. And it surges into Mordor Warg, which wants to attach to an enemy, but it also can't. Nice try, encounter deck!

Once we got the Uruk Chieftain by himself in a round, that was basically it here. It's way easier to clean up after that than if you have to engage a bunch of enemies at once.

Final score: 126. 10 full rounds, 26 threat, 0 damage on heroes, 0 vp.

Play Tips:

  1. Asfaloth and Unexpected Courage might be huge MVPs in other decks, but here they're honestly mostly just okay. In solo, being able to quest and fight with your heroes every round is enough for most quests.
  2. Like before, all the extra resources go on Gimli whenever possible. He needs them to ready Legolas and pay for the leadership cards much more so than the deck needs spirit resources.
  3. Treebeard is amazing, and probably takes priority over most other cards in the deck. He has huge stats and built in action advantage, which works really well with these heroes.
  4. Don't forget Glorfindel needs to be an Elf-friend before he can wield a Mirkwood Long-knife.
  5. Dwarven Shield gives you resources when Gimli takes an undefended attack. Use that to your advantage when you need to. It lets you take two attacks with Gimli and generate a resource to ready Legolas.

Next week: No idea! But maybe we'll go for Théoden, since Christmas is happening soon. (Oh god, I still need gifts for so many family members...)

Blog: Look for a community spotlight most Thursdays on the blog, and it has an RSS feed if that's your thing.

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Contest: I'll be announcing the winner of the contest on twitter today, and DMing them to get details for shipping. Keep an eye out!


Dec 15, 2016 WingfootRanger 2305

I've never really played the type of deck that runs light on allies, but this deck makes me want to try it!

Dec 15, 2016 chrsjxn 3491

@WingfootRanger Thanks! I'm usually an ally-heavy kind of player, myself, so I know what you mean. This one's a lot of fun, though!