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The BGamerJoe 2843
I think the designers have done an outstanding job with the Harad cards! There's enough good cards to make a cohesive and strong deck, but with only 21 "core cards," there's plenty of room for creativity and diversity. While preparing this deck I looked through the top rated decks that contain Kahliel and I was impressed by the wide range of deck styles!
There's the theme slave's Where the Stars are Strange featuring Gandalf and Aragorn, the Mono Leadership The Storm Comes that uses Sword of Morthond for card draw, The Path to Redemption that includes all three heroes of dubious origins, an Outlands/Harad smash up in Help from Distant Lands, Beorn's The Storm Comes that uses Thurindir's starting sidequest to help get allies on the board, a secrecy Harad deck in Go Harad or Go Home, and a fast moving Doomed Harad deck from Mr Underhill and many more! The diversity is impressive!
Since the key to all Harad decks is getting those three heavy-hitting allies out as fast as possible, most Harad decks rely on the much-loved and much-hated Steward of Gondor for resource acceleration. This deck is my attempt at creating a fast Harad deck without Steward of Gondor.
Look for at least one Harad ally and one form of resource acceleration. Tighten Our Belts is the best card you can draw in your opening hand. If you avoid paying any resources on turn 1 you can start turn 2 with 9 resources and can easily play either Firyal or Jubayr with Kahiel's resources smoothing. An ideal hand would contain Tighten Our Belts, Firyal, Light of Valinor and Silver Harp. Feel free to quest with all three heroes on turn one since you can always ready Kahliel to defend if needed (provided you have an ally to discard to him). If the quest allows it I'll try to complete The Storm Comes as soon as possible as its resources smoothing effect really helps get those 5-cost allies out, but its not absolutely necessary.
Cirdan is here to provide high starting willpower, strong readying through Narya, accelerated card draw and threat reduction through Elrond's Counsel. Thurindir gives us that starting sidequest that helps with resources smoothing, but his reasonably low starting threat is nice as well. He could be swapped for another basic Lore hero like Bifur or Pippin/Folco if you don't want to use the sidequest.
The basic idea is to use Kahliel's easy readying to get cards and resources with Captain's Wisdom and Peace, and Thought and get those big allies out ASAP. Don't be afraid to discard a copy or two to Cirdan since you can pull them back into your deck later with Kahliel's Headdress.
The combat phase will be handled by Yazan and Jubayr with the Tribesmen and Narya in support. If it looks like it's going to be an intense combat phase, remember that you can ready a Harad character every phase with Kahliel, so you can discard allies from your hand to ready characters in the Quest, Travel, Encounter, and Combat phase provided you have cards in your hand. Between 3 Mathoms and 3 Peace and Thought, you should have cards in hand most of the time.
Investing in a Silver Harp is hard in the early game, but with Cirdan on the table it basically draws you an extra card every after so it's really worth it. If you have it in play and a Daeron's Runes in hand, feel free to dump a Cirdan card if it's not helpful, then you can play Daeron's Runes and keep both cards!
If things have gone decently well, you should have The Big 3 in play by turn 4 or so, then keep adding pieces like your Healers, Spears and supporting allies. By the late game you should be questing for mid 20's and still dominating the combat phase with the incredible Narya/Jubayr/Yazan combination.
If you're ever forced to chump block or discard an ally, always choose a Harad ally over a Healer or Arwen since you can always recycle the Harad ally back into your deck. That Headdress makes the Harad deck super resilient! It can always come back!
- Willpower: Cirdan, Kahliel's Headdress
- Defense: Jubayr, Tribesmen, Narya, Arwen
- Attack: Yazan, Spears, Tribesman, Jubayr
- Card Draw: Peace and Thought, Ancient Mathom, Cirdan, Silver Harp
- Action Advantage: Light of Valinor, Kahliel, Narya
- Resources: Tighten Our Belts, Captain's Wisdom+Heir of Mardil, Southron Refugee, The Storm Comes (smoothing)
- Cancellation: Firyal, Jubayr
- Healing: Warden of Healing
- Threat Reduction: Elrond's Counsel
While this deck would probably run a little easier with Steward of Gondor, it doesn't need it. I had to devote 8 cards to resource acceleration instead of the lazy 3 with Steward, but it makes for a more interesting deck and it leaves Steward of Gondor in the binder (or for someone else at the table).
I've successfully played solo games with this deck against Journey in the Dark, Escape from Umbar, Into the Pit and the Black Serpent along with a few other quests I can't recall. It's been a fun deck for me and a good exercise in exploring alternate methods for resource acceleration.
I think my Kahliel Joins the White Council deck is stronger, but it starts at a much higher starting threat with Gandalf and Galadriel on the table so its early game is pretty sketchy.
Thanks for looking! Input is appreciated! Let me know how it plays for you!