Mono-Tactics from the Shire to Mount Doom

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Box of Hats 389

This is the deck that took me through all of the Lord of the Rings Saga quests.

The crux of the deck is the three heroes questing every round (often with the Fellowship hero, as well). Thanks to the Noble Hero boon and Frodo/Aragorn, it's typically questing for fourteen. Hirgon lets you respond after seeing the staging cards with more blockers if you need them, attackers if you have the opportunity, or the ever valuable Honour Guards.

There's a healthy supply of staging area damage available. Since the deck starts at 27 threat, it can often deal with some enemies without needing to block. Hirgon works especially well here, letting Descendant of Thorondor come down after staging, but before engagement. If the game goes long, I often end up with an abundance of allies that can contribute to Hail of Stones. Sometimes enemies are destroyed by consecutive blocks with Defender of Cair Andros, so even getting a single point of damage from a Galadhon Archer speeds up the process by a full turn.

For the majority of quests, Keep Watch is exceptionally important. Most quests have a turn one set-up in which this deck can clear the side-quest right away. After receiving the Leader of Men boon, you can also play Vigilant Dunadan in the same turn off Hirgon. Otherwise, Defender of Rammas is perfectly fine. Horn's Cry helped in some rough turns when combined with Keep Watch and Vigilant Dunadan. I was originally running two, but I eventually dropped it to one. As nice as it was, I think I would probably drop it entirely and try to find another utility ally.

The deck only runs two copies of Legolas because usually either he or Steward of Orthanc is enough card draw. Additionally, extra copies of unique allies can be very rough to draw at inopportune times. The allies are first and foremost there to block, so there are times in which Legolas is slowly chipping away by himself and killing an enemy every three turns. In these situations a third would be a burden. I've flipped back and forth between two or three Stewards of Orthanc. Since they're neutral, Hirgon can't play them after questing, which removes some of the flexibility of the deck. Also, I often have more than enough questing power. In the end I was happy with two.

Knight of Minas Tirith stands out with Hirgon. Thanks to Hirgon's buffing ability, the Knight can take out the fairly common 1 Defense, 3 Health enemies. Knights coming down after questing, but before staging is also a huge benefit. For the other common 2 Defense, 3 Health enemies, a buffed Knight of Minas Tirith can combine with Defender of Cair Andros to destroy it before blocks are resolved.

For many quests, you can power out questing and throw down blockers, rushing through before your allies get overrun. An opportune activation of Eowyn lets you clear out something overwhelming, but I've often used it against middling enemies just to get a tempo advantage.

Often times you're engaging whatever enemy pops up, anyway, so Wait no Longer buys you some willpower and avoids nasty treacheries for a turn.

The deck can have some issues with enemies that are immune to player card effects. If you're in a position in which you're relying on Feint or Thicket of Spears, it's really rough. Often the best course if chumping (assuming a Defender of Rammas or Defender of Cair Andros isn't big enough to stand in front of it) and then using Eowyn's ability to nuke it.

The sideboard is reflective of what came in for Mount Doom, the only quest in which the entire battle plan broke down. It adds Winged Guardians for extra blocking, Vassal of the Windlord for cheap chumping, extra willpower in Gandalf and Saruman (the former I never drew in nine games, the latter was crucial in breaking out of rough location set-ups), Followed to deal with the huge threat in the staging area, more attack cancellation, and readying effects for Fortitude checks.

This last bit is going to sound crazy, but I think there's a place for Beorning Guardian in this deck. Since it tries to finish quests quickly, it doesn't mind throwing an ally away for a short-term gain. The guardian mixed with Eowyn can destroy some very potent enemies with high threat values.

In the first quests, the deck had more copies of Hail of Stones, Horn's Cry and Descendant of Thorondor. About halfway through I acquired the Encounter at Amon Din expansion, adding Book of Eldacar.

5 comments

Mar 21, 2018 knochentrocken 4

Very cool! Sounds like a deck I would enjoy, too. But why no Elfhelm?

Mar 21, 2018 Box of Hats 389

I would consider trying a one-of Elfhelm, plus extra copies in the sideboard for quests in which Feint doesn't work well. As I discussed with Legolas, getting bricked with extra copies of uniques is unfortunate. Elfhelm would often be used as an emergency blocker, in which case it's kind of like a Feint that can't be recurred with Book of Eldacar and you're hoping the shadow effect isn't something like "attacks again." The upside is that he can block "immune to player card effects" enemies, unlike Feint.

Mar 22, 2018 knochentrocken 4

Ah okay! That does make sense... Thank you for the insight.

Mar 22, 2018 naner 47

Any advice to replace Galadhon Archer and RĂºmil ? This are the only 2 cards that I don't have.

Mar 22, 2018 Box of Hats 389

I think Galadhon Archer could replaced by another 2 cost, 2 power ally without too much difficulty. Westfold Outrider or Riddermark Knight should be fine. I think Riddermark Knight stands out with Hirgon with its potential to attack for five.

Rumil is a one-of. While I think he's done some good work for me in the past, there are games in which I haven't seen him at all and the deck functioned. I think it would be best to replace him with an ally, but I'd test out things that look fun to you. His two willpower has been useful, so something like Eagle of the Misty Mountain or Yazan could be valuable. On the other hand, you could use this slot for to experiment. Something like Fierce Defense could be a good starting point for a different direction.