The Trap is Set

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Authraw 1304

This is a thematic deck built for an ongoing series on my blog, Darkling Door.

Theme: The Rangers of Ithilien

Played Against: Nightmare Into Ithilien

"These cursed Southrons come now marching up the ancient roads to swell the hosts of the Dark Tower. Yea, up the very roads that craft of Gondor made. And they go ever more heedlessly, we learn, thinking that the power of their new master is great enough, so that the mere shadow of His hills will protect them. We come to teach them another lesson. Great strength of them was reported to us some days ago, marching north. One of their regiments is due by our reckoning to pass by, some time ere noon—up on the road above, where it passes through the cloven way. The road may pass, but they shall not! Not while Faramir is Captain."

Mablung, Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit, The Two Towers

Strategy

This is a well-rounded Trap deck that is equally capable of Battle, Siege, and standard questing.

Faramir is the star of the show here, so Wingfoot goes on him so I can get double-duty out of his stats. The first Gondorian Shield goes on him, too, since he has the most hit points of all of my Heroes (and therefore is the least likely to die from an unexpected Shadow Effect).

In general, though, I'd rather have Allies like Defender of Rammas (preferably with Raiment of War attached, although I can't be too picky) taking the hits for me—the Heroes are better used during the quest phase if at all possible. Even better is to catch Enemies in some Ranger Spikes so I can avoid dealing with them at all.

Card draw

The primary card draw in the deck comes from Damrod's ability every time a Trap card attaches to an Enemy. I generally try to keep at least one Trap in the Staging Area at all times so I can keep the deck moving, sometimes putting two traps (of different types) out simultaneously, just to get the extra card draw. When Damrod's ability isn't enough, I do have three copies of Heed the Dream—which is especially useful because this deck tries to do a little of everything, so there's generally a solution for whatever problem I'm experiencing at any given time somewhere in the top 5 cards of the deck.

Sideboard

The extremely situational Justice Shall Be Done turned out to be a good fit for this deck while playing against Nightmare Into Ithilien, since once I reach the last round of the quest it usually turns into a sprint to the finish. The fact that the last Stage raises my threat by an extra 2 each round means that I can typically tell when I've reached the last turn—if my threat is sitting at 47 or higher, I'm not going to get another round. Justice Shall Be Done—if I happen to draw it—helps to ensure that my last round is an explosive one.

If I were using this deck against a different quest, I might consider swapping it for another copy of Hands Upon the Bow, which is more generally useful.

► For more analysis, check out my blog post on this deck.

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