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|[PLT] Budget Dúnedain||5||3||0||1.0|
This is a deck built from just Core Set + The Lost Realm cards for Path Less Traveled, an ongoing series on my blog, Darkling Door.
Played Against: The Weather Hills
Maneuvering the deck
This is a Dúnedain deck that trades some early game power for an impressive bevy of Allies by the late game.
The key card is Heir of Valandil, which is what I mulligan for. Importantly, though, I don't usually end up playing it until much later in the game. I hold it until I have at least 2 engaged Enemies, and I only play it if I can use it to get a discount on a Dúnedain Ally that turn as well. The cards in the deck are expensive, so I can't afford to spend my early game resources on things I can't immediately use.
Another excellent card in this deck is Sneak Attack. Many of the Allies are too expensive to play until I've spent a few turns building up resources, but with Sneak Attack I can get that emergency defender or extra attack power to help me out in a pinch. It's worth even more if I combine it with an Ally like Son of Arnor to engage an Enemy during the Quest phase (useful for Dúnedain bonuses as well as just getting its threat out of the Staging Area) or Sarn Ford Sentry to help me draw extra cards.
Despite all of the effects that give me bonuses based on the number of Enemies I have engaged, it's usually not a good idea to try to keep them around forever. It's easy to get overwhelmed by a bad round from the encounter deck, so I generally still try to whittle down Enemies with more than 2 . It's okay if I can't kill them in one round, but I want to be ready to finish them off if things get too hot.
The cards in the deck tend to be a little more expensive than the other spheres, so Steward of Gondor (appropriately) goes on Denethor. That being said, the deck is all about adapting to the changing board state, so if I've got some expensive Allies in hand that I could use right now, I won't hesitate to grant the title to Éowyn instead.
Differences from last time
The major changes were swapping out Halbarad for Aragorn (to get a little more power and an extra hit point) as well as adding in some extra healing. In this version of the deck, it's a little less dangerous to take undefended attacks with the knowledge that I can heal them off later. This lets me hold back more characters to help with a counterattack when I find myself engaged with too many Enemies at once.
► For more analysis, check out my blog post on this quest.