Pickaxes and Pipes (Dwarven Miners)

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Mr. Underhill 3590

The dwarves were recognised as some of the greatest miners in Middle Earth. This is my attempt at bringing their burgeoning "deck mining" subtheme to life. The result is a gang of greedy dwarves who will discard your deck, smoke pipes and have a good time doing it.

In all seriousness, I've found this deck to be really fun to play. It feels thematic but is also surprisingly powerful. I've taken it through the Dwarrowdelf and Ring-Maker cycles (skipping the Dunland Trap) and had some really awesome games. It's intended as a solo deck but can also contribute meaningfully in a multiplayer setting.


I set out with the goal of making a good mining deck, and I wanted to use the Dwarf Pipe somewhere, since it seems to have been designed with this theme in mind.

To this end, I based the deck on Seastan's "Everything Costs 2*" concept by:

  1. Using Zigil Miner, a thematically appropriate card, as the main resource engine.
  2. Using a lot of similarly-costed cards to maximise the hit rate of Zigil Miner. In this case, 34 cards in the deck cost 2, with a further 6 (Hidden Cache and Ered Luin Miner) giving benefits from being discarded by his ability.

This means that we want to play a Zigil Miner as quickly as possible and then use him to generate resources and play lots of cool stuff. The Dwarf Pipe allows us to selectively recycle the cards that he discards, and Will of the West is there once the deck runs dry. King Under the Mountain also gives the ability to discard cards if we see something coming up that we don't need, and can be employed for profit if we spot a shiny Hidden Cache on top of the deck.

Lastly, Gandalf supports our greedy miners (albeit with a grumble) by giving us knowledge of the top card of our deck, allowing us to always name the first number correctly. He also supports the manipulation of cards with his Wizard Pipe. Got a spare Narvi's Belt in hand? Don't feel like paying 3 for that Ered Luin Miner you just drew? No problem, exchange it with the top of your deck and discard it away for gain! These tricks make the deck really fun to pilot, and it's especially satisfying when you find a Hidden Cache as the second card from your Zigil Miner. Hidden indeed!


Early game you want Zigil Miner, Gandalf's Staff and/or Wizard Pipe. With the staff in your opening hand, you can play the Zigil Miner by giving Nori a resource. With the pipe, you can put the Miner on top of your deck and play it with Gandalf and Nori. Getting a Zigil Miner in your opening hand will make the game easier, but it isn't essential. I've had plenty of games where I didn't get one and yet still won (though the deck will struggle against harder scenarios without resource acceleration).

Mid game, you want to set up Dain Ironfoot as your main defender, so give him Narvi's Belt, A Burning Brand (by making him lore), Unexpected Courage and Arwen Undómiel's defence boost. His starting stats of 3 and 5 allow him to take one or two early hits, and he becomes practically invulnerable once he is hiding behind two Dwarven Shields and A Burning Brand.

Questing is handled by the many 2 cost dwarf allies along with Nori, Gandalf, Arwen and Bilbo Baggins. Bilbo is there to grab whichever pipe you need. He can also chump block if necessary since we have three copies. For attacking we have the Erebor Battle Master, who can crush enemies by exceeding 10 if you are able to keep your dwarf allies on the table. Play him from the top of your deck with Gandalf, or by giving Dain a Tactics resource icon using Narvi's Belt.

Speaking of Gandalf, don't forget that a card played from the top of the deck is considered to be "as if it was in your hand". This means that you can trigger Nori's response when playing a dwarf in this way. The deck's starting threat of 34 looks daunting but Nori allows you to keep treading water. In multiplayer I've often started with the highest threat and ended with the lowest, all thanks to his ability.

As I mentioned above, Will of the West should be used once your deck is empty, but if you happen to discard your one copy for any reason, Ered Nimrais Prospector can shuffle it back into the deck for you.

The sideboard has some cards that can be subbed in depending on your needs. Miner of the Iron Hills can handle condition attachments while also being appropriately thematic. Smoke Rings can be used if you need additional threat reduction (e.g. Watcher in the Water) and represents another thematic win. Finally, Untroubled by Darkness is great in quests like Ruins of Belegost, and can be used to hit some ridiculous questing numbers. Did I mention it's also very thematic?

Here's a playthrough if you'd like to see it in action:


Have fun!


Oct 06, 2017 The BGamerJoe 4204

This deck is wicked fast! Lots of choices and very fun to play!

Oct 06, 2017 WingfootRanger 2507

Overall, it looks like a very good shell for a Dwarf mining deck. I will give this a try. Do you recommend solo or multiplayer or have you done both with this deck?

Oct 06, 2017 WingfootRanger 2507

Actually nevermind my question, I realized you answered it in the introduction.

Oct 10, 2017 Durins_Father 2609

Nice deck, really enjoy the Dwarven mining theme. To bump it up to the next level, you could also opt for Erebor Guard and/or Well-Equipped for additional benefits when discarding. Well-Equipped won't work for your Gandlaf attachments, but with three copies of the pipe and the staff you should be able to come across those quite fast. You can also use the Erebor Hammersmith to draw them back from the discardpile

Oct 10, 2017 Mr. Underhill 3590

Those definitely fit with the idea, but I decided not to go with them for a couple of reasons. Erebor Guard was in the first draft but his printed 4 cost hurts the consistency of resource generation, and I found that he's not needed anyway with Dain as a primary defender and Gandalf as backup. As for Well-Equipped, I feel that card works better when you're running more expensive attachments like Citadel Plate. You could add them if you want to increase the theme though.

Dec 22, 2017 The BGamerJoe 4204

Great deck. Exciting and powerful. Tested over on and reviewed on lotrdecktest.wordpress.com