Loyalties of the North

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WingfootRanger 1165

Here is my attempt at a solo-oriented side quest deck, that has actually attained a level of success. It takes advantage of its low starting threat to turtle for a bit while completing a few side quests, after which it will begin to overtake the encounter deck due to its bonuses and advantages. For this deck I chose to stick primarily to the theme of the friendship between the Dunedain and the Elves of Rivendell in the region of Eriador. It was the Dunedain that protected the common people of Bree without their knowledge, and Lord Elrond of Rivendell had cared for the Dunedain and the line of Kings after Arnor fell. I daresay even Glorfindel was more than acquainted with some of them.

The Heroes

For defense, Amarthiúl is tanking the hits, so he gets Dúnedain Warning and Armored Destrier to become a solid defender. Thurindir adds a side quest of our choosing to our starting hand, and becomes quite the supplier of willpower after some side quests have been completed. He can make use of Steed of the North to ready after the quest phase in order participate in attacks. Glorfindel is here to play his usual part, so with Light of Valinor he can both quest and attack. He is also the main recipient of those Legacy Blades, which can give him a wickedly good attack stat of 6 or 9 if he wields 2 of them.

The Deck

In the opening hand, Light of Valinor is good to see, but Dúnedain Warning or Armored Destrier are also very helpful for getting ready for combat early. It's also best to play any cheap allies we have so we can get a jumpstart on questing. As for side quests, I often start with Prepare for Battle in my opening hand just to get the increased card draw to gain more attrition, but Gather Information is also not a bad choice for guaranteeing a key cad from the deck. Early in the game is also most likely when I will play Ranger Spikes, because it can give some breathing room or prep time when it comes to combat.

Lembas and The Long Defeat are the healing options in this deck, with Lembas being spectacular for Amarthiúl who can ready to defend or attack. A Test of Will and Feint serve their usual purpose in this deck while Dúnedain Message and Heed the Dream open up access to more side quests and other important cards of the deck.

To start off with, the deck focuses first on questing in the early game to complete Prepare for Battle and gets ready to face combat as its threat climbs. After that first side quest is in the victory display, completing the others is often easier as Thurindir's willpower rises. A legacy blade or two on Glorfindel is usually enough to ensure we can finish off enemies, but East Road Ranger and Ranger of Cardolan are flexible allies that can also participate in the attack. Thurindir riding a Steed of the North can also help if needed. If 3-4 side quests have been completed, the deck has usually snowballed to the point that the encounter deck can't do much to stop it as it makes a strong push for victory.

Final Thoughts

Side quest decks aren't optimal for every scenario, but they are fun when you can get away with it. The buildup of board advantage is fun to experience, and it doesn't come from only the allies (unlike in ally-swarm decks), which is a nice change of pace. I can also totally see these heroes undertaking these deeds whilst in Eriador. They stealthily follow the trail, spy the enemy from afar, and prepare to engage them in battle on their terms.

2 comments

Mar 15, 2018 The BGamerJoe 828

Do you start with Prepare for Battle in your opening hand? Looks like it would be a solid choice.

Mar 15, 2018 WingfootRanger 1165

Yes, generally. That card draw sure is beneficial, the deck wouldn't work quite as well without it. There have been times I have started with Gather Information to fetch Light of Valinor or Prepare for Battle though, and that works too.