One deck to engage them all!

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jban 51

Origin of the deck

I made this deck when the Dúnedain trait was just getting explored extensively but no real archetype was there yet to be found. Since those days many Dúnedain decks have been build, but I have seen none that ressembles this one. So therefore this (little) article.

The starting card we started this entire build was the Warden of Annúminas. For him to be worth including he should be able to reach to 4 on a consistent base. To accomplish that, it means we are left with the task to have 4 enemies engaged through most part of the game (and thus also need to be able to survive combat on those 4 enemies).

Defending is a nasty business because of the shadow cards, so I prefer to do as little defending as possible. I came up with 2 solutions to minimize the defending:

  1. Desperate Alliance + Hobbit-sense, which is a great combo because it only costs us 2 cards and 2 resources.
  2. Out of Sight (+Good Meal), which is a less effective combo in terms of costs (2 cards, 3 resources) but it allows us to attack our enemies (which we prefer not to do), but sometimes you need to kill some enemy to reach a win-condition.

All other cards are basically either support or powerful Dúnedain allies (Northern Tracker) that fit within our sphere pallet.

How to play this deck?

First of all, make sure you have a 3/4 player crew around. You need to have sufficient amount of cards revealed to get the snowball moving. Next, look for an opening hand with Peace, and Thought (and Tighten Our Belts).

Round 1:

Usually no cards are played in the first planning phase, this is done because tighten our belt will result in a higher added value than playing the Steward of Gondor. During the quest phase we commit Pippin to the quest and in the engagement phase we want to engage 2 enemies that allow us to draw by Pippin. Halbarad defends the weakest enemy, Frodo Baggins defends the strongest enemy. Because we are playing Dúnedains, we do not want our enemies to be killed. If you reach this stage unharmed you are in a very good shape. During the refresh phase, play Tighten Our Belts and Peace, and Thought, exhausting the 2 Hobbits.

Round 2-...:

From now on things become fairly straight-forward. You attach all attachments to the proper hero (Heir of Valandil on Halbarad, Steward of Gondor and Good Meal to Frodo), you play a power ally using Heir of Valandil and you make sure you have the proper resources left for the combat phase and draw (Never underestimate the power of draw). During the engagement phase, you take on 2 to 3 extra enemies and you defend by using either Hobbit-sense or Out of Sight. When the game progresses the Warden of Annúminas and Northern Tracker increase in power and the quest stages should be finished easily. the Warden of Annúminas can easily reach a of 10+. In case you run out of defense (so you don't have any defense event anymore in your deck/hand), it is time to reshuffle your deck. Having a Sarn Ford Sentry in hand, will make you draw half your deck again straight away, though there are sufficient amount of draw possibilities.

To conclude, this deck is in my opinion a very strong deck that will guide you through any quests (normal and nightmare). Though it being very good in keeping the enemies engaged, it is not fit for every quest. In case enemies have annnoying "while engaged effects" or there are some nasty events that make each enemy return to the staging area or will make each engaged enemy attack, it is probably better to not select this deck.

I played this deck numerous amount o times (30+) and it is a well-oiled machine. I guess multiple plays are required to understand the ins and outs of the deck but it will be worth the investment. I guarantee!!

Have fun with it!

Just some extra information on the heroes.

I left it out of the story because you might feel you had to read sufficient already:

  • Halbarad: To have this deck run quickly, we need to engage as many enemies as possiblle. Since Halbarad is the only hero that allows this, he is the obvious choice. The extra benefits of Halbarad is that he enables the Heir of Valandil and gives us access to Steward of Gondor and Sneak Attack.
  • Pippin: This deck is depending on a lot of events and attachments to run smoothly. Therefor a solid drawing engine is required, because of the low threat and halbarad Pippin is the perfect fit. He also gives us access to Peace, and Thought and Sarn Ford Sentry to maximize our drawing potential.
  • Frodo Baggins: Frodo is the missing piece to the puzzle. Him being able to always defend (or undef) by his ability and him being a spirit Hobbit solves all the problems we faced. He can ofcourse be replace by Merry and Fatty Bolger but they are not even close to the toughness of Frodo.

Sorry for the extensive text, but this being one of my most creative ideas and best creations I could not let it get published with just a mere description.

8 comments

Jun 15, 2017 Uncertain _Sage 1

Hobbit-sense only works if all heros are Hobbits

Why We Are Not Idle? No dwarfs in deck

Jun 15, 2017 Uncertain _Sage 1

Jun 16, 2017 Rouxxor 407

Ah you say this is a very original Dunedain build. Congratulations! I'm used to fight deck who can also block and/or kill enemy on our allies side but be able to take all enemies and block them forever can be useful too. As you choose who you engage there is only a few chance that enemies have annoying effects. Unless this is a tree-folk scenario or may be some boat scenario.

You deserve a like because I just think "ok I think this card must be played" like 5 times and each time when I look back to the deck you are, in fact, playing the card8s I think about.

I think I will prefer playing legacy of numenor over tighten our bells because other player will likes additional resources and because this allow me to play immediately a steward of gondor. But this may be an error because of Pippin effect who need a low threat. Or may be a good solution is to mix because of the "one per round" effect of tighten bells and the doomed that you don't want to do too many time. I probably will include 1 double-back to manage the draw back of the doomed effects. And 1 warden of healing at least. Warden of Arnor can be a way to help ally. I'm not a big fan of a good harvest and northern tracke0r. Yes I know he is dunedain but I'm thinking about playing warden of arnor over some and as you know heir of valendil can be used only once per turn. I just find that 8 high cost Dunedain is enough in my version (where steward is supposed to be given to friends so we never be able to pay them). May be switch one nothern tracker to one warden of arnor? So i will be interested by knowing what you're thiking of doing something like: -1/2 tighten bells +1/2 legacy of numenor -2 a good harvest +1 warden of healing +1 double-back -1 northern tracker +1 warden of arnor

@Uncertain _Sage We are not iddle is here to be instantly be played for drawing a card without making any resource. It make your deck more consistent. You can now consider you just play 47 cards. As you also play Daeron's rune you can go deep in your deck very fast and get all the cards needed. It is optimization as I like it <3

Jun 16, 2017 jban 51

@Rouxxor I think the debate for Tighten Our Belts and Legacy of Númenor is a valid one. I always liked the Tighten Our Belts card, but I the Legacy is a superior version of it. Whether it fits better within this deck is unclear to me, because you need the early on draw by Pippin a lot. Doomed 4 + Frodo defending, will reduce his effectiveness a lot. I like a Good harvest a lot, because it allows you to play both your leadership attachments in R2 and because your leadership resources are becoming useless over time, only sneak attack is there to play (for cards early game, for threat late game, for damage to fulfill a quest condition).

Eliminating the trackers feels risky to me, you usually play one of the 4-costs by Valandil (for free), so it goes pretty quick. The big motivation for trackers have to do with encounter deck management. This deck drains enemies from the encounter deck. Because you are in a 4-player game, locations will stack in the staging area. So in case the staging area is not cleared, you will be mainly revealing treacheries which might be hard to manage. So therefore I really like them, R2 usually plays a tracker, R3 depends whether an additional tracker would explore clean the staging area. 2 trackers usually suffice, so Annuminas from now on.

On the other cards I do not think they really do improve on the idea. Those few enemies that escape from you are usually easily killed by another player (Halbarad has contributed regularly to this), as is healing something another can take care of, you have a 4 player crew after all and you really need to get all your cards in. So minimize your distractions ;-)

I also read you do not always have the Steward available, I think this deck does really need it so playing this without might be tough. I have been thinking on the idea to include some side quests (they did not exist back then), Gather Information and Double Back are those that come to mind, but I did not miss them so far so therefore dit not make the change.

A long reply once again :-(

Jun 16, 2017 jban 51

@Rouxxor I think the debate for Tighten Our Belts and Legacy of Númenor is a valid one. I always liked the Tighten Our Belts card, but I the Legacy is a superior version of it. Whether it fits better within this deck is unclear to me, because you need the early on draw by Pippin a lot. Doomed 4 + Frodo defending, will reduce his effectiveness a lot. I like a Good harvest a lot, because it allows you to play both your leadership attachments in R2 and because your leadership resources are becoming useless over time, only sneak attack is there to play (for cards early game, for threat late game, for damage to fulfill a quest condition).

Eliminating the trackers feels risky to me, you usually play one of the 4-costs by Valandil (for free), so it goes pretty quick. The big motivation for trackers have to do with encounter deck management. This deck drains enemies from the encounter deck. Because you are in a 4-player game, locations will stack in the staging area. So in case the staging area is not cleared, you will be mainly revealing treacheries which might be hard to manage. So therefore I really like them, R2 usually plays a tracker, R3 depends whether an additional tracker would explore clean the staging area. 2 trackers usually suffice, so Annuminas from now on.

On the other cards I do not think they really do improve on the idea. Those few enemies that escape from you are usually easily killed by another player (Halbarad has contributed regularly to this), as is healing something another can take care of, you have a 4 player crew after all and you really need to get all your cards in. So minimize your distractions ;-)

I also read you do not always have the Steward available, I think this deck does really need it (You spend 2 / or 3 resources each round to defend), so without it. You are only left with at most 1 resource if you manage the spheres) so playing this without might be tough. I have been thinking on the idea to include some side quests (they did not exist back then), Gather Information and Double Back are those that come to mind, but I did not miss them so far so therefore dit not make the change.

A way too long reply once again :-( , but it was a long question where many were things involved ;-)

Jun 16, 2017 Rouxxor 407

I'm happy with this long reply because I love to discuss about those question and I have time to do it. If you want to comment one of my deck I will be my best to reply to you the same way because this would probably be very interesting ;).

Your argumentation around use of A Good Harvest is a little bit confused. For the R2 leadership set-up it is only when you have those two attachements, no tighten bells on turn one, a good harvest in hand and need of the effect of the 2 cards in the turn. When this happen it is a very powerful 0-cost effect. But this seem to happen between 1% and 5% of the game, so it is not enough to justify this card over some others. Be able to play more energy cards, as they are the most important in your deck seem way more useful. But with tighten bells, steward and good meal do you really need this often? It is a real question since I never play the deck ;). You still be able to use your leadership resources with Gandalf hardcasted.

About the whole 4-player game it feel like we don't play at the same game ^^. I have only a few experience of this because I don't want to play at 4 players anymore since a long time.found that the games doesn't have rhythm at all when you play at 4 players. The fact that you need to play the northern tracker before Warden impress me. Do we shuffle so often the encounter deck in a 4-players quest? Don't you need the questing points? I play enough Caldara deck to know how powerful they can be to erase location but location are what I fear the less in LOTR since mostly of the time you can forget them by sending will into the quest. I'm more concerned about enemies because I see many cases where many of them coming. May be it is because I mainly play against nightmare scenarios.

I alway want to play warden of healing but if you plan to feint every enemies that come out it is in fact pretty useless. You got a point ^^. The need of Warden of anor depends of your allies. It could be a solution against boss scenario, where your warden can block it when he is engaged with a buddy who can kill it. They are very useful in my own version of Dunedain so I'm very surprised that you don't want them here.

The whole steward point was not for this deck. I just say that MY dunedain deck give steward to another player. Of course your deck need at this :).

About the side quest you mention the two that are far above the other side quest. Double back in particular is a very precious weapon in my full of doomed environment ^^. Gather information is too often useless since it resolve too late.

Since I mention it many time here is my Dunedain deck if you want to take a look: ringsdb.com

Does this deck exist before will of the west errata? Because the 1 dwarven tomb + 1 test of will was a way to play all our deck over and over at this time.

Jun 18, 2017 jban 51

@Rouxxor Well we have a lot of cards drawn before we complete our R2 planning (7 start + 2 Pippin R1 + 1 R2 + 5 P&T), so that are 15 card's to start with. In addition to this we did not take our Daeron's Runes and We Are Not Idle into account. So drawing 20 before we start planning in R2 is not uncommon at all. Drawing a single copy of Heir of Valandil and Steward of Gondor, having the proper requisites in hand happens pretty often.

The Sidequests do not have a real importance in this deck, because you draw that much with this deck. So if you cannot start with it, it will just reamin in your hand.... Gather Information is just handy because it increases the potential of good starting hands (If you know R1 Quest will be won).

I suppose you mean Son of Arnor, but I do not really see the added value for that enemy. It will allow you to help the remaining players with their engaged enemies, but it effects seems a mere addition to what this deck already does. By engaging 2, the enemies do not go to other players very often.

The encounter deck amangement is a big thing I guess, but it also hard to manage really or clarify easy. But suppose you have a 45-card encounter deck, 15 enemies, 15 location and 15 treacheries.

Each round we reveal 8 cards (by surge etc), let's say 3 enemies, 3 locations, 2 treacheries. So each round we get 2 additional locations in the staging area (we travel+explore the third) and 3 additional enemies. the number of locations within the encounter deck decreases vastly, and the number of enemies even quicker. Because we have 8+ enemies engaged, 8 shadow cards are dealt each round. And you notice that the encounter deck is basically reshuffled each round, from round 4 and on due to the enormous amount of shadow cards that need to be dealt. This is where the importance of Northern Tracker becomes clear, in case all enemies are engaged and no locations are explored in the staging area, the encounter deck only consists out of treacheries and because they are reshuffled each round the game becomes very hard. So i think exploring the staging area at a high rate is considered to be of high importance.

Greetings Jban

Jun 18, 2017 Rouxxor 407

If you got so many cards you will also draw very regularly a tighten your bells. We can do the maths but you also see when it is nor not useful so I trust you.

The more we draw the best side quests become. They cost 0 so you can play them in addition of what you play with your resource (who are missing when you draw so much). Double back is useful even when you draw all your deck.

I was speaking about Guardian of Arnor who can handle ennemy in friend zone. Fornost Bowman may be even more useful but you don't play tactic. But yes as you can even take 3 enemies on turn 1 and start playing event to prevent from attacking it is probably not that great.

Thanks for your explanation. I'm not sure if I would build it but if I do I will make serious test about it, as I always do with my deck, and I will come back to make you a report :).