Not Your Father's Support Deck

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emorlecallor 624

When you think of a support deck (and no, I don't mean those questing "support" decks that just pack a ton of willpower), you probably think of a Galadriel/Beravor/Théodred lineup that throws tons of cards and resources around the board like candy. While this deck can do that, that is not its main focus. This deck is made to provide benefits that no other deck could in a four player game.

The Heroes

I've frequently heard Elfhelm described as "the hero I wish someone else had in their deck." Well, your wish has come true. Though this deck packs a few Mounts, Elfhelm is mainly in to provide the other three players a little more incentive to move that Rohan Warhorse or Steed of Imladris out of the sideboard. He also allows a Rohan deck to take advantage of all of its Mounts AND Théodred, while having 2 Spirit heroes.

Pippin may seem an odd choice at first, as one additional point of engagement cost doesn't seem worth taking up a hero slot for. But in reality, that one engagement cost can prove invaluable. Ask anyone who's played Journey Along the Anduin, and they will tell you that having one extra turn before taking on that Hill Troll can mean the difference between victory and defeat. This situation can apply to other quests, allowing the group to keep an unwanted enemy in the staging area for one more turn and be more prepared for it when it finally does descend.

The final hero is Eleanor. I am frankly shocked that this hero does not see play more often, as it is the only form of repeatable cancellation in the game! Yes, you must exhaust her, and yes, the card is replaced, but if I'm looking at a Watcher in the Wood that will threat me out I don't really care if it's replaced by a Mumak. Even if the Mumak will kill me in the long run.

The Allies

While the heroes in this deck don't reflect the traditional support deck type, the allies do.

Errand-rider can be deceptive. You may think that this is meant to give resources to other players; in reality, the rider is in the deck to smooth over your resources, allowing you to play the 2-cost cards in the deck that would be hard to get out otherwise. Afterwards, when you are only picking up one card a turn or so, you can start sending resources over to other players.

Arwen Undómiel is in for willpower and an extra point of defense on anyone that needs it. Not much to say here.

Elrond can provide a small willpower injection and either healing or universal card draw.

Erebor Hammersmith is meant to dig Cram out of your discard pile. He could also get any attachment your friends need for them as well.

Galadriel's Handmaiden is simply a devoted quester and can give a bit of threat reduction to anyone.

The two healers in the deck are Ioreth and the Warden of Healing. Ioreth is useful when there is one character with a lot of damage, while the Warden is better when the damage is spread among multiple characters.

Gléowine and the Imladris Stargazer are great for giving card draw or deck scrying to any players that need it. These are generally best used on other players unless you really need that Errand-rider.

The Attachments

Armored Destrier goes on Elfhelm, making him into a strong defender that can cancel shadows and defend twice.

Windfola gives a +2 bonus to any Spirit hero in play and can re-commit them to the quest in case they are removed by an effect such as Lost Companion.

Ancient Mathom, Elf-stone, and Ranger Provisions all provide benefits to the first player when locations are cleared, giving cards, resources, and free allies. Elf-stone is the most useful of these, saving resources on the ally it puts into play but also getting an extra body in for combat.

I am frankly shocked that most modern decks do not include Ranger Spikes. While it is expensive and Lore does have little resource acceleration, it is an incredibly powerful effect, essentially locking down one enemy for the entire game.

Cram and Unexpected Courage can provide readying to any player, whether continuous or temporary. Cram goes well on Eleanor, allowing her to defend and use her ability, while Unexpected Courage is best played cross-table.

The Long Defeat and Dúnedain Warning are both included at one copy as nice effects that are not essential. The Warning can make any defender a little bit stronger, while Long Defeat can help all players get healing or card draw once the current quest is cleared, which is often one of the best times to recieve such a benefit.

The Events

Both Campfire Tales and Deep Knowledge provide universal card draw, at the cost of either resources or threat. While it may seem strange to put a Doomed card in a support deck, most players are fine with the threat gain as long as they get the cards as well. This is why Grima is the most hated Doomed card- he gives the threat raise to each player but not the benefit.

Heed the Dream allows any player to find his key card. This is useful for Elfhelm, as it lets him do something with his resources, since they tend to stack up. This can also be used on yourself if you are very desperate to find your Errand-rider.

Legacy of Númenor gives every hero a resource and every player four threat. So long as you check with everyone before using it, this card usually doesn't cause problems.

A Watchful Peace is the odd event in the deck. While not many people use it, this event can be used to help set up a harmless shadow effect or, if there is no combat the round it is played, it can be used to set up a relatively harmless encounter reveal the next round.

A few additional notes:

-Mulligan for Errand-rider. Without him, there is no way to pay for all of the two-cost cards on a consistent basis.

-The sideboard is introduced into the deck if someone is playing Spirit Glorfindel. This gives that player an extra chance of seeing Light of Valinor and Asfaloth early on in the game.

-If you become bored of using the deck as a support deck, then you have another option. One hidden feature of the deck is that it doubles as a grief deck! Here are a few examples of what you can do:

•Your friend's Henamarth Riversong has spotted the second Goblin Sniper in the deck. Quickly play down a copy of Ranger Spikes the next planning phase to trap the Sniper in the staging area.

•Begin to hog all of the card draw, resource acceleration, and threat reduction to yourself.

•As you draw your Doomed cards, slip them quietly into your shoe. When one player hits a threat level high enough that your Doomed cards will threat him out, play down all of your Doomed cards, killing him.

•Use A Watchful Peace to put the newly explored Gladden Marshlands back on top of the deck.

Enjoy the deck-however you use it!

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