"Fewer cards En(d)-count(er)ing..."

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"Fewer cards En(d)-count(er)ing..." 0 0 0 1.0
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"Fewer cards En(d)-count(er)ing..." 3 2 0 3.0
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HappyHappy 131

HappyHappy has a newer deck inspired by this one: "Fewer cards En(d)-count(er)ing..."

(Please excuse the poor attempt at a punny deck title... ;-) )

The singular goal of this deck is to control the encounter deck through playing two cards over and over (and over) again: Gildor's Counsel and Out of the Wild. These cards are easily two of the most powerful cards in my ever-so-humble opinion, and they are cards that when chained over the course of just a few turns can seriously impact the entire flow of the game.

This deck is designed for 4-player games with my usual LotR gaming team. It is very unbalanced and relies on other decks to provide pretty much everything that isn't deck control: questing, blocking, attacking... You name it, this deck doesn't do it. And it's not designed to, so that's overall A-O-K. Between the extra card draw and extra resources given to the other four players through the use of Deep Knowledge and Legacy of Númenor, and with the encounter deck being significantly more manageable, the team should hopefully be able to ride to victory.

This deck is also designed to only use cards up to and including The Voice of Isengard (plus the Hobbit side saga quests). My group is playing through all of the LotR quests by release date using only the cards available at the time of release (which has overall been quite challenging and enjoyable, I must say). Because of that, there are particular cards that might work very well with this deck (such as Double Back) that I cannot include at this time because they weren't available in the card pool yet.

What Success Looks Like

Turn one is almost always the most critical turn in an LotR game. Success for turn looks like being able to play Gildor's Counsel twice, which should overall be reasonably doable. You either need to have (i) two copies of Gildor's Counsel with six resources or (ii) one copy of Gildor's Counsel and one copy of Scroll of Isildur with seven resources (if you can play it from the top of your deck) or eight resources (if you can't).

Given the amount of card draw in this deck and the ability to readily play 0-cost cards from the top of the deck (which are 22 of the cards in this deck, ignoring Hidden Cache), it is difficult to detail exactly what you want in your starting hand. Having one copy of Word of Command is always strong so you can find exactly what you need. Anying with card draw (Deep Knowledge, or The Seeing-stone to draw Deep Knowledge) is also strong. Wizard Pipe is helpful in the event that you draw something that you can't yet play because of sphere dependencies (such as Legacy of Númenor).

The deck should be reasonably smooth sailing after turn one. You should hopefully have a Zigil Miner in play, which allows you to empty your deck and gain resources in the process. Overall you'd like to empty your deck as quickly as possible because Gandalf's innate ability pairs well with Scroll of Isildur. When in need, play Will of the West to reshuffle.

Card Rationales/Uses

Elrond and Vilya: While this deck certainly won't maximize the raw resource value of Vilya, it's still a good resource generator, and Elrond also enables Elrond's Counsel to be played without including other allies in the deck (without Vilya even if you play it from the top of your deck). The starting threat is somewhat painful, yet overall the extra resources should help make up for it.

Second Breakfast: This card allows you to use Zigil Miner without worrying that a crucial attachment is going to end up in your discard pile. Additionally, Second Breakfast pairs well with Scroll of Isildur for more event cycling without playing Will of the West, and if you use it with Good Meal then you are gaining one net resource.

We Are Not Idle: Early on you want to use Zigil Miner to help empty your deck as quickly as possible. Later on you'll likely want to avoid discarding too many cards, and We Are Not Idle still lets you use them for gaining resources. (Importantly, you want to make sure you don't accidentally discard both copies of Will of the West with your Zigil Miner.)

"Why don't you have __ in your deck?"

Probably because (i) another player in my group already has it or (ii) it wasn't released yet. That said, suggestions are welcome. :-)

Plays Well With...

Threat Control: At the risk of stating the obvious, any group that has a Doomed-heavy deck is going to need all of the players to have some form of threat control. Aragorn is an option for one deck while others will likely rely upon Elrond's Counsel and The Galadhrim's Greeting. As we work through more quests other cards become strong options (Double Back, Secret Vigil) as the card pool increases.

Beravor, Gléowine, Campfire Tales: This deck relies on a strong turn one and does a reasonably good job of turning cards into resources (Gaining Strength, Good Meal, Zigil Miner with Hidden Cache and Wizard Pipe). Anything that strengthens the card draw of this deck is going to be particularly beneficial.

Parting Gifts, Errand-rider, We Are Not Idle: The two core cards of this deck aren't particularly cheap, so having ways of moving resources around to funnel more resources to you is a big win. While your teammates may not like giving you all of their resources, "pre-paying" to deal with fewer encounter cards or to remove particularly painful encounter cards is often a strong move.

A Test of Will, Eleanor, Gildor's Counsel: Combining multiple sources of encounter deck manipulation across all four decks is incredibly strong. Gildor's Counsel has great stacking power with itself, and being able to cancel the effects of cards when you're drawing fewer cards in the first place provides even more stacking power. Overall having another deck focused on Lore and Spirit in the group would almost certainly synergize well with this deck.

Beregond and other sentinels: This deck has absolutely no ability to defend itself from attacks and relies on the abilities of the other decks to keep it safe. Having a strong sentinel or two in the starting line up is key for certain quests.


Narya: This would be an easy replacement for Song of Kings once we come to Grey Havens quests. It pairs incredibly well with Zigil Miner, particularly with We Are Not Idle.