Under The Wizard's Gaze

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Authraw 2387

This is a thematic deck built for an ongoing series on my blog, Darkling Door.

Theme: Saruman pulling Rohan's strings

Played Against: Nightmare The Dunland Trap

"He was not always evil. Once I do not doubt that he was the friend of Rohan; and even when his heart grew colder, he found you useful still. But for long now he has plotted your ruin, wearing the mask of Friendship, until he was ready."

Gandalf, The King of the Golden Hall, The Two Towers


This is a twist on the classic Staging Area attack deck, tailored for The Dunland Trap.

At the core of the deck is the standard fare: The goal is to keep my threat low enough that I can leave Enemies in the Staging Area and use Dúnhere's ability to kill them there without having to engage them. But Dúnhere tops out at 3 on his own—not really enough to kill anything. So in my opening hand, I'm looking to find one of the deck's Weapons, or at least a copy of Open the Armory to go fetch me one.

When a low-threat Enemy slips through, that's where Fastred comes in. Most of the time those Enemies have pretty low values, so his 3 is really all that's needed. The best part is that as soon as I cross that threshold and start engaging Enemies, Fastred lowers my threat and keeps me hovering around that number. Later in the game it's nice if I can get a Raiment of War on him to make him a little hardier.

Éowyn is my dedicated quester, aided by most of the Allies in the deck. Her boss-killer ability can come in handy in the early game if I end up engaged with something with too many hit points before Dúnhere is geared up to tackle it.

The twist is that in addition to the normal progression through the quest, I have to be able to handle the "reset". For that reason, I generally stack my Unexpected Courages on Fastred, prepping him to defend against as many attacks as possible. It's also the reason I have so many different defensive solutions in a deck that otherwise wants to avoid engaging Enemies: cards like Feint and emergency defenders like Elfhelm are mostly useful only in the last few rounds of the game, but they're absolutely vital for me to be able to weather the final onslaught. All of my Allies become chump blockers at that point, too.

The deck works well, despite needing to operate in essentially two different modes throughout the course of the game. I'm not sure I'd want to take it as-is against other quests, since its lack of card-draw and over-emphasis on defense probably wouldn't benefit it so much elsewhere.

Even so, it's a fun deck to play, so I'll probably revisit it one day and adapt it into something a little more general-purpose.

► For more analysis, check out my blog post on this deck.


Mar 28, 2018 The BGamerJoe 1449

Nice deck. I've never beat Nightmare Dunland Trap before but I beat it with this!

Mar 28, 2018 Authraw 2387

@The BGamerJoe I'm glad to hear that it worked for you too!