The One Deck

Questlogs using this decklist
The Temple of Doom - 2 Players - 2019-11-10
The Dunland Trap - Easy - 1 Player - 2020-04-04
Journey Along the Anduin, steadily onward
Win - The Crossings of Poros - 1 Player - 2020-09-26 - Score 145
Journey Up the Anduin - 2 Players - 2021-06-18
Lost in Mirkwood - 2 Players - 2021-06-21
A Knife in the Dark - 1 Player - 2021-08-18
Race Across Harad - 1 Player - 2021-08-29
The Black Serpent - 1 Player - 2021-08-31
The Battle of Carn Dûm - 1 Player - 2021-09-26
Raid on the Grey Havens - Easy - 1 Player - 2021-10-04
The Withered Heath - 1 Player - 2021-10-17
Race Across Harad - 1 Player - 2021-10-23
The Black Serpent - 1 Player - 2021-11-03
The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat - 1 Player - 2021-11-05
The Crossings of Poros - 1 Player - 2021-11-07
Journey Up the Anduin - 1 Player - 2021-11-07
Lost in Mirkwood - 1 Player - 2021-11-07
The King's Quest - 1 Player - 2021-11-08
The Withered Heath - 1 Player - 2021-11-09
Fire in the Night - 1 Player - 2021-11-09
Fire in the Night - 1 Player - 2021-11-09
The Ghost of Framsburg - 1 Player - 2021-11-10
Mount Gundabad - 1 Player - 2021-11-12
The River Running - 1 Player - 2021-11-12
To Catch an Orc - 1 Player - 2021-11-29
Fellowships using this decklist
Derived from
Forrest Gump 102 77 12 1.0
Inspiration for
Who Needs Sphere Restrictions 1 0 0 2.0
One deck to rule them all! 133 104 16 1.0
Let The Tree's Reign! 32 23 12 1.0
2Player - Vilya 1 0 0 1.0
One Deck 1 0 0 1.0
Vilya fellowship for Solo 2 3 0 1.0
The One Deck Singleton 2 1 0 1.0
The One Deck Revised 1 0 1 1.0
The New One Deck 50 30 43 2.0
El Mazo Único de Seastan 1 0 0 1.0
The One Deck slightly altered 1 0 0 1.0
The One Deck i can make 1 0 0 1.0
Noldor (2P) 1 1 0 3.0
Solo / Elrond + Aragorn + Glorfindel / Core + Khazadum 3 2 0 4.0
The Budget One Deck 0 0 2 2.0
The Budget One Deck v2 2 1 8 3.0
The One Deck 0 0 0 1.0
The One Deck 0 0 0 1.0
The One Deck (but with legolas for multiplayer) 0 0 0 1.0
A Circle of Friends 0 0 0 1.0
The One Deck 0 0 0 1.0
The One Deck 0 0 0 1.0
The One Deck 0 0 0 1.0
The One Deck 0 0 0 1.0
My One Deck 0 0 2 1.0
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Seastan 36425


This deck has beaten every single quest in the game (nightmare included). This includes all the cycles, the print-on-demand quests, and the saga campaigns. No cards were swapped in or out of the deck to beat a particular scenario.


  1. Brief Overview
  2. Quest Log
  3. Detailed Strategy
  4. The Cards
  5. Stats
  6. FAQ

1. Brief Overview

This deck warrants a lengthy description and a detailed look at how it beat each quest, but here's a brief overview if that's all you're after:

It's a Vilya deck.

This might not come as much of a shock to people. Vilya decks have always been one of the strongest archetypes in the game. Combined with Imladris Stargazer, you can reliably get out a 4 or 5 cost card for free each turn. Most encounter decks simply cannot keep up with that kind of resource advantage.

This Vilya deck in particular stands out for 5 reasons:

  1. A focus on making Vilya effective very quickly. This means dedicating several card slots (Master of the Forge, Heed the Dream, Gather Information) to ensure Vilya is found fast, and it means having very few cards in the deck that will be duds if Vilya gets used before an Imladris Stargazer is found.

  2. A focus on the powerful new Harad allies Firyal and Jubayr to universally tech against the most problematic encounter and shadow card effects in a given scenario.

  3. A focus on flexibility. Many quests in this game feature a "gimmick" that you need to counter, so this deck uses a tool-box type approach. Rather than filling the deck with the absolute beefiest allies in terms of raw stats, there are some cards here that are meant to counter certain encounter decks. For example, most of the time threating out is not a problem, and turning up a Knight of the White Tower with Vilya would be a lot more useful than The Galadhrim's Greeting. However, in those quests where threat is the main enemy, the Greeting is essential.

  4. Combat ready on turn 1. Many Vilya decks take a turtling approach, hoping to avoid combat for several turns while their board state comes together. This does not work against the more punishing nightmare quests. Thanks to Éowyn, this Vilya deck can have a very aggressive start, and get over whatever initial hurdle the encounter deck has set up to give itself some breathing room to set up. In theory, this deck could handle a 6 and 4 enemy that start the game engaged with you by questing no one, defending with Elrond and Arwen Undómiel, and killing both enemies with Éowyn.

  5. Questing ready on turn 1. If aggressive questing is needed, you can go all-in for 10 . So with just the three heroes this deck can handle quests that start with either aggressive combat or aggressive questing. Not many hero lineups have this kind of initial flexibility.

2. Quest Log

Here is a list of all the quests this deck has beaten, along with the number of attempts it took to beat the quest. I recorded the score for each win along with some notes on how it handled each quest, which can be found here:

Quest Attempts to get a win
Passage Through Mirkwood Nightmare 2
Journey Along the Anduin Nightmare 1
Escape From Dol Guldur Nightmare 54
The Hunt for Gollum Nightmare 1
Conflict at the Carrock Nightmare 1
A Journey to Rhosgobel Nightmare 1
The Hills of Emyn Muil Nightmare 1
The Dead Marshes Nightmare 1
Return to Mirkwood Nightmare 2
Into the Pit Nightmare 1
The Seventh Level Nightmare 1
Flight from Moria Nightmare 1
The Redhorn Gate Nightmare 1
Road to Rivendell Nightmare 1
The Watcher in the Water Nightmare 1
The Long Dark Nightmare 1
Foundations of Stone Nightmare 2
Shadow and Flame Nightmare 1
Peril in Pelargir Nightmare 1
Into Ithilien Nightmare 1
The Siege of Cair Andros Nightmare 1
The Steward's Fear Nightmare 2
The Druadan Forest Nightmare 1
Encounter at Amon Din Nightmare 2
Assault on Osgiliath Nightmare 2
The Blood of Gondor Nightmare 2
The Morgul Vale Nightmare 1
The Fords of Isen Nightmare 1
To Catch an Orc Nightmare 1
Into Fangorn Nightmare 1
The Dunland Trap Nightmare 1
The Three Trials Nightmare 2
Trouble in Tharbad Nightmare 1
The Nin-in-Eilph Nightmare 1
Celebrimbor's Secret Nightmare 1
The Antlered Crown Nightmare 1
Intruders in Chetwood Nightmare 1
The Weather Hills Nightmare 1
Deadmen's Dike Nightmare 1
The Wastes of Eriador Nightmare 1
Escape from Mount Gram Nightmare 2
Across the Ettenmoors Nightmare 1
The Treachery of Rhudaur Nightmare 1
The Battle of Carn Dum Nightmare 1
The Dread Realm Nightmare 1
Voyage Across Belegaer Nightmare 2
The Fate of Numenor Nightmare 1
Raid on the Grey Havens Nightmare 1
Flight of the Stormcaller Nightmare 1
The Thing in the Depths Nightmare 1
Temple of the Deceived Nightmare 1
The Drowned Ruins 1
A Storm on Cobas Haven 1
The City of Corsairs 1
Escape from Umbar 1
Desert Crossing 1
The Long Arm of Mordor 1
The Mumakil 1
Race Across Harad 2
Beneath the Sands 1
The Black Serpent 1
The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat 1
The Crossing of Poros 1
We Must Away, Ere Break of Day Nightmare 2
Over the Misty Mountains Grim Nightmare 2
Dungeons Deep and Caverns Dim Nightmare 1
Flies and Spiders Nightmare 1
The Lonely Mountain Nightmare 1
The Battle of Five Armies Nightmare 4
A Shadow of the Past Nightmare 1
A Knife in the Dark Nightmare 1
Flight to the Ford Nightmare 1
The Ring Goes South Nightmare 1
Journey in the Dark Nightmare 1
Breaking of the Fellowship Nightmare 1
The Uruk-hai Nightmare 1
Helm's Deep Nightmare 1
The Road to Isengard Nightmare 1
The Passage of the Marshes Nightmare 1
Journey to the Cross-roads Nightmare 3
Shelob's Lair Nightmare 1
The Passing of the Grey Company 1
The Siege of Gondor 1
The Battle of the Pelennor Fields 1
The Tower of Cirith Ungol 1
The Black Gate Opens -
Mount Doom 25
The Massing at Osgiliath 1
The Battle of Lake-town 1
The Stone of Erech 1
The Ruins of Belegost 1
The Old Forest 1
Fog on the Barrow-downs 1
Murder at the Prancing Pony 1
The Siege of Annuminas 1
Attack on Dol Guldur 1

In summary:

  • 78 quests were beaten in 1 attempt
  • 13 quests were beaten in 2 attempts
  • 1 quest was beaten in 3 attempts
  • 1 quest was beaten in 4 attempts
  • 1 quest was beaten in 25 attempts
  • 1 quest was beaten in 54 attempts

So only 4 out of the 95 quests took more than 2 attempts to beat.

3. Detailed Strategy

Early Game

Mulligan for Vilya or Master of the Forge. You might consider keeping a hand with Gather Information if it looks like you'll be able to clear it in a turn or two. If you start with the Master, you will get to see Arwen Undómiel really pull her weight, because you can discard a card to give Elrond a resource, then play the Master, exhaust him, hopefully find Vilya, and still have 2 resources leftover to play it. Since the deck has such a high concentration of strong allies, you can start using Vilya on turn 1.

The next priority is to find the Imladris Stargazer. This is often done through Heed the Dream, Gather Information, or simply drawing her.

Occasionally (more often that you might expect), you will start with both Vilya and Stargazer in your opening hand. Again Arwen justifies her inclusion here by allowing you to play both cards and start setting up your Vilya plays from the start.

Another fantastic start is Vilya+Unexpected Courage, because right from turn 1 Vilya will feel like i doesn't even cost anything.

Éowyn can be considered an early-game card as well. Her ability is extremely useful in making up for the tempo hit you take from spending the first couple turn looking for Vilya. The deck really isn't able to kill anything in the first few turns without her, so she is incredibly powerful against those quests (of which there are several) where the main problem is the starting enemy. So while I try to avoid using her if I don't have to, if I can see that after triggering her I'll be able to avoid combat for a couple rounds, it's normally worth it because by then Vilya will have won the game for me.

Mid game

By now you have Vilya and Stargazer up and running, and should be pumping out a 4+ cost ally every turn in addition to the the allies you play with your 4 resources/round from your heroes. If the quest allows you to take your own pace, you can stay in this state for as long as you like. I normally build up my board until the point where I am ready for the final stage of the quest.

Late Game

With an army of huge allies, late game should be relatively simple. If you haven't used Éowyn yet, she can often be useful here to kill the big enemy or enemies that come out at the very end of the game.

4. The Cards

Arwen Undómiel

Arwen is one of the best heroes in the entire game, and overall my most-used hero by a large margin. Her ability to regulate the resource/card balance with Elven-light is incredible, and at the same time she quests well and offers access to the sphere. But in this particular deck she's just phenomenal. Her extra resource enables a turn 1 Master of the Forge->Vilya, allowing you to use Vilya 1 turn ahead of when you might otherwise be able to use it. In a Vilya deck, getting an extra use out of Vilya is often like getting an extra 4 or 5 resources. So imagine Arwen with an extra 4 starting resources, and that's what she often feels like in this deck. She also enables the even more awesome turn 1 Vilya+Stargazer. Getting a turn 1 Vilya+Unexpected Courage is also pretty sweet.


Not just a Vilya machine in the deck. His impressive stats do get used once you find Unexpected Courage, and his 4 hit points also allow you to take undefended attacks, which I did many, many times. Since you can use Jubayr to discard the shadow card on the enemy that will be making the undefended attack, you can do this safely, and with Elrond's healing ability, your Warden of Healing can quickly get rid of the damage. It took me a few games until I discovered how valuable this action advantage can actually be.

The other aspect that makes Elrond a great hero in this deck is of course his ability to pay for allies of any sphere. With Arwen Undómiel discarding and Steward of Gondor, he can play a big ally directly from your hand every turn.


Eowyn's low starting threat helps counteract the threat from Elrond, and her 4 helps offset the loss of Elrond's action early in the game by allowing you to quest for 7 with Arwen while Elrond uses Vilya to get out a defender.

Her ability has won me many games that I would have otherwise lost. The trick is knowing precisely when to use it. It might be tempting to ready her to kill off an annoying enemy, but the next turn you might have to face another enemy that you can no longer deal with. In the early game, Eowyn is your only means of killing enemies, so you need to take care. I often find that its worthwhile to wait until the next turn, hold back Eowyn from the quest, and then use her ability in the combat phase to dispatch two enemies. This is possible because after you exhaust Eowyn to declare her as an attacker, there is an action window before calculating the damage where you can trigger her ability. Thus she will be at 10 for the first attack and the next one.

Here are some particular Eowyn highlights that show how she essentially breaks certain quests:

  • Nightmare Return to Mirkwood: Kills Attercop, Attercop all by herself
  • Nightmare Carn Dum: Clears the starting location causing battle questing
  • Nightmare Battle of the 5 Armies: Allows you to make progress on the battle quest on turn 1
  • Nighmare Raid on the Grey Havens: Kills Sahir's Ravager on turn 1
  • Nightmare Into Ithilien: Clear the active location on turn 1 to avoid engagement
  • Nightmare Rhosgobel: Kills the hunter on turn 1
  • Nightmare Nin-in-Eilph: Enables a Marsh Dweller kill on turn 1
  • Nightmare Shadow in the Past: Kill the Black Rider on turn 1 then lets you ignore hide tests until another rider appears
  • Nightmare Passage of the Marshes: Defeats Gollum on turn 1
  • City of Corsairs: Enables a Stormcaller kill on turn 1


There are number of allies in here that are great to get out with Vilya, but not so essential that it's worth risking having duplicate dead cards in the deck. Beorn is one of those allies. He can survive attacks from the toughest enemies, which I've found to be particularly good in combination with all the healing in the deck. I ended up using his ability to good effect about 5 times or so.

Eagles of the Misty Mountains

These guys ought to be in any self-respecting Vilya deck. You get 10 stats out of a 4-cost ally, with an ability that makes them even better. They're pretty easy to get out even if they end up in your hand, since Eowyn doesn't have much else to pay for.


Before I started on this journey I thought of Elfhelm as the kind of ally you slot in to tech against maybe 2 or 3 quests, but otherwise there's better options. My experience has really grown my appreciation for this guy. I realized just how many threat-raising effects that this game throws at you. So many that I actually made this ally a 2x.

Elfhelm is of course a key card against certain quests that have a repeated threat-raising cards. Like Gollum in Return to Mirkwood. He also cancels out Nalir, which is lovely. My favorite is when Local Trouble gets attached to Elrond while Elfhelm is on the table, because all the exhausts for Vilya and all the times I trigger Elrond's healing ability would have otherwise resulted in 20+ threat.


Another 1x ally. Faramir is in here because whenever he comes out he generally contributes enough willpower that you can free up some questers for combat. He was also essential for my 1 eventual win at Mount Doom.

Faramir's other use was in post-staging willpower control, which can be helpful in quests where you want to stall.


The star ally of the deck. I don't think I'll ever try to make another "rule them all" deck without this ally after my experience with her. She not only saves me from the worst encounter cards in the deck, but she also essentially eliminates the surge keyword in solo play. It's hard to overestimate just how much she helps when she tosses a surging enemy into the discard pile.

Her other use that I discovered was in managing the amount of threat in the staging area, allowing you to discard high or low threat encounter cards depending on whether your goal is to advance or stall.


The major advantage that this deck has over Vilya decks that use the Gandalf hero is the ability to use Vilya to get Core Set Gandalf into play for free. His flexibility is ideal for the kind of deck that seeks to be able to beat a wide variety or quests, because he can act as threat reduction in quests that raise your threat, or as direct damage in quests that have a lot of enemies. I think overall I used him for threat reduction the most.

One trick in this deck regarding Gandalf: You can just keep him on the top of your deck and wait until after staging to see if you're going to need him to kill an enemy that just appeared or for threat reduction to avoid engaging a new enemy. If you don't need him that turn, then you can use Stargazer to swap a permanent ally on top for Vilya, putting Gandalf a couple cards down to do the same thing next turn.

Gildor Inglorion

A no-brainer in this deck. Amazing stats to get for free, and in a pinch he can act as an expensive Stargazer to set up Vilya. Sometimes I've used him to move a Steward of Gondor from my hand to my deck to play it with Vilya, since there's no other way to play that card in this deck.


Another powerful ally that is great to get with Vilya, but is also a great target for Arwen's discard. His ability also gives you more opportunities to get rid of Elven-light so that you can spend all your excess resources on getting new cards.

Imladris Stargazer

The second most important card in the deck. Once you get Vilya you should try to get out a Stargazer ASAP, because until then all your Vilya plays will be done blind.

I normally exhaust the Stargazer as soon as I play her, unless the encounter deck has cards like Necromancer's Reach, in which case I'll wait until after staging. Since she looks at 5 cards, you can normally set up the next 2 rounds of Vilya, which means that even if you used her in the planning phase in the round you played her, you shouldn't have to use her again until the the end of the combat phase in the round after.

My strategy for ordering the top 5 cards is somewhat dependent on the quest and the immediate situation, but generally I arrange for high cost cards to be played with Vilya, and low cost cards like Heed the Dream, Unexpected Courage, or Master of the Forge to be drawn into hand.


Jubayr's awesomeness cannot be overstated. By far the best defending ally in the game.

In solo, it's often the case where you're only defending one enemy per round, then killing it. In that situation, you never have to resolve any shadow effects. Jubayr's main weakness (enemies with more than 3 ) is easily handled because Jubayr can safely defend enemies up to 5 with no fear of a surprise shadow effect killing him, then he can be brought back to full health with a single use of Warden of Healing+Elrond. Enemies with 6 or more attack are often unique, rendering his ability useless for their attacks anyway.

I think his ability to discard shadow cards on other enemies (that he's not defending) is potentially just as important. If often means you can safely take an undefended attack, saving yourself a valuable action.

Marksman of Lórien

Now, these guys are a little strange to see here right? They're good allies, but do they really stand among the best? I think they do. Originally I was using some other attacking allies, like Legolas. But you are essentially paying more for the same amount of attack. The Marksman are much easier to play from hand (Eowyn's resource+Elrond's resource+Arwen's discard resource on Elrond), and I found that there was plenty of card draw in the deck that I would occasionally decide not to draw with Legolas so as to preserve the ordering of the top of my deck.

Then there's the Marksman's enter-play ability. I can't count how many times that extra -2 meant that I'd be able to kill an enemy a round sooner than expected.

One trick for these guys in a Vilya deck: If there are no great targets for the defense reduction, you can wait until after an enemy is revealed in staging to bring them into play with Vilya.

Master of the Forge

Besides Vilya, this is probably the most important card in the deck for the consistency he brings to it. Failing to find Vilya in your opening hand, then dropping this guy down and exhausting him, and seeing Vilya in your top 5 is just marvelous. Then he helps you grab Unexpected Courage, which in this deck amounts to a 2-cost 3/2/3/4 character, or he can thin your deck by grabbing extra copies of Vilya.

He can also be used to shuffle up your deck when your Stargazer reveals that your next 5 cards are all lame. There have been a few times where in late game I am searching hard for a specific card in my deck like Faramir. You can use Master of the Forge to keep shuffling your deck, then checking the top 5 with Imladris Stargazer to see if he's there. If he is, you move him to the top of the deck and draw him with Elven-light. By having multiple Masters and Stargazers out, they become remarkably effective deck searchers.

The final use that this guy offers is as a prime chump target. Since he more than pays for himself in a turn or two by grabbing Vilya, I have no problem tossing this guy in front of a Mumak or discarding him to an ally-hate treachery.

Northern Tracker

Location lock generally isn't an issue in solo. However, some sort of way of placing progress on a location in the staging area can be helpful in some quests. For example, they were critical in my ability to win Journey to Rhosgobel, since they allowed me to clear the location in the staging area that prevents Wilyador from being healed. Clearing it allowed me to heal up Wilyador with my Wardens in Stage 1, which you can't really do in Stage 2.

Other than that, they have pretty decent stats for defending, attacking, taking archery damage, etc.


Given how well Treebeard works in most decks, it shouldn't be a surprise that he shows up here. He's easy to play whenever you draw him thanks to Arwen, even if you used all your resources on the last turn. Some games can last a while, so he often gets to ready himself.

Warden of Healing

The Wardens are a classic staple in any deck with . With Elrond's ability, it basically meant I could fully heal anyone in 1-2 turns. These guys made any quest that depend on direct damage, of which there are quite a few, into a cakewalk.

As I mentioned earlier, these guys also make taking undefended attacks pretty viable, especially when you discard the shadow cards with Jubayr, because they can heal your heroes back to full health so easily.

Finally, they make for pretty cheap chump blockers in a pinch.


Yazan is one of the weaker cards in the deck. He was never too important for any particular quest. He's just an ally that effectively contributes 4 attack, which is better than most other allies that are not already in this deck. I didn't take advantage of his ability to kill an enemy in the staging area through direct damage very often.

You could easily swap Yazan for someone else and still have the ability to beat every quest in the game. One of the downsides to this deck winning so often was that it took me a really long time to identify the weaker cards.

Steward of Gondor

The first version of this deck actually didn't have Steward because I like to build decks without it just to show that you can. But then I decided that this deck wouldn't hold anything back. So I put in 2 copies, not 3 because it actually isn't critical and I want to minimize duplicate uniques in the deck in case I need to blind Vilya. It also has the bonus of being single-core friendly.

Steward obviously goes on Elrond once, and effectively lets you play 2 huge allies every turn - one with Vilya and one with his resources. He can never really have too much, since the spirit icon you get with Vilya allows you to use his resources to draw with Elven-light. The resources can also be use to ready your Warden of Healing after healing.

Unexpected Courage

This card is just amazing in this deck. Since Elrond is going to exhaust every turn for Vilya, Unexpected Courage is basically like a 2-cost 3/2/3/4 character. You can Vilya+quest, Vilya+defend, or even Vilya+attack. Elrond's starts are so nice that even the second copy of Unexpected Courage is worth playing on him, since it lets you Vilya+quest+defend.

This is the one item in the decklist that is not single-core set friendly. But there are some other options that are nearly as good, such as Light of Valinor or Magic Ring.


The card that makes the deck. I talk about it a lot elsewhere, so I won't discuss it more here.

A Test of Will

A classic staple in any deck with access to . It's so good that I had to include it despite it being a dud when turned up by Vilya (which happened a few times).

A Test of Will is particularly useful in a rule-them-all type deck, because there are more than a few quests with game-ending treacheries that you really want to cancel.


Elven-light with Arwen Undómiel just feels like cheating. What I find best about it is the laziness it allows you in balancing your cost curve. Got lots of cards, but not enough resources? Discard cards to Arwen to balance it out. Got lots of resources but not enough cards? Spend those resources on Elven-light to equalize.

In this deck, Elrond often gets Steward of Gondor and a from Vilya, so he can fuel a ton of card draw with Elven-light if he needs to. Especially once Glorfindel hits the table and you can start discarding Elven-light multiple times per round.

The main downside is that this is pretty much the worst possible card to ever turn up with Vilya, since it goes straight to the bottom of your deck. But it's good enough that it's worth the risk I think.

Heed the Dream

Heed the Dream is mainly here to help you set up your Vilya/Stargazer in the early game, but it has a couple other uses. It's useful for shuffling up your top 5 cards when the Stargazer shows you that they're all bad, and it's useful for grabbing some 1-ofs like Faramir for a late-game questing push.

Turning up a Heed the Dream with a blind Vilya is not ideal, but it's not the worst. I often end up being able to grab a Stargazer with it, so in a way I sacrifice one use of Vilya to make all the following uses better.

The Galadhrim's Greeting

The Galadhrims's Greeting is useful for a few quests that really punish your threat, like Return to Mirkwood, or quests that punish you for being over a certain threshold like Journey Along the Anduin. it also comes in handy in other quests, but probably not as much as another beefy ally.

Gather Information

I found this card to be extremely useful for making this sort of 'toolbox' type deck work. With Gather Information, no card in your deck is really a 1x. There is always this card that effectively become any card in your deck.

In addition to finding your 1x cards, if can be perhaps even more useful by acting as a fourth copy of your most important cards. I'll often keep a starting hand without Vilya if it looks like I'll be able to complete Gather Information in 1-2 turns. And it's often the case that you can, since your heroes start with a whopping 10 among them.

5. Stats

I collected some stats based on all my playthoughs with this deck.

Number of completed rounds:



  • The Dead Marshes Nightmare (4)
  • Escape from Mount Gram Nightmare (29)
  • Murder at the Prancing Pony (30)

Final Score:



  • Escape from Mount Gram Nightmare (305)
  • Murder at the Prancing Pony (345)

Final Threat:



  • Trouble in Tharbad Nightmare (7)
  • Shadow and Flame Nightmare (14)
  • Return to Mirkwood Nightmare (49)
  • Mount Doom (96)
  • The Black Gate Opens (99)

6. FAQ:

Q: Can I build this deck with only 1 core set?

A: Almost. Simply swap out 1 copy of Unexpected Courage for either Magic Ring or Light of Valinor and it is single-core friendly.

Q: I want to make a substitution. What did you find were the weakest cards in the deck?

A: Yazan and the Northern Trackers tended to be my go-to discards for Arwen if I hadn't drawn Elven-light yet. So if you want to try to improve on this deck, you could start there. The Northern Trackers were pretty vital in my win against Rhosgobel, but other than that they were basically just stats, and there are some better options in that department, like Prince Imrahil, Ranger of Cardolan, or Knight of the White Tower. If you find that you don't often play against quests that really punish your threat you could also easily give up The Galadhrim's Greeting for more deckspace. Whatever you do, I strongly suggest that any new cards you swap in are cards you would want to see with a blind Vilya in the early game.

@sappidus suggested swapping Yazan for Quickbeam, which I think is a great idea.

Q: How did this deck beat X quest?

A: Check out the quest log here: If it doesn't answer your question, feel free to ask!

Q: What did you do for The Redhorn Gate or Road to Rivendell where you are given control of the Arwen objective ally?

A: Honestly, I played with both copies of Arwen in play. If you take a close look at the section on uniqueness in the core rulebook, there is nothing that says you can't gain control of a unique encounter card after you already have a card of the same name in play.

Now, since I played those quests, a new rules reference was published which does specify what to do in this circumstance. You would be forced to discard your Arwen hero. This is fine. Both quests are beatable with just Elrond/Eowyn.


May 09, 2018 slothgodfather 45

Dude, your dedication, creativity and attention to detail is impressive. Thanks for all the hard work in creating this - both the deck and this write up.

May 09, 2018 TWINNS 1

So impressive. Couldn't agree more with slothgodfather. We're very grateful as a community for the time and effort you put in to all of your work. Cheers.

May 09, 2018 Bayushi Sezaru 1

Wow, man! This is so awesome! How much IRL time did it take to rule them all?

May 09, 2018 sappidus 688

Of note, Daeron's Runes is nowhere to be seen!

May 09, 2018 Seymour FKSTeam 1

Just by looking at it you can tell how good this deck is. Kinda sad it is a Vilya deck tho, since Vilya is a totally broken card, still...kudos.

May 09, 2018 Kakita_Shiro 40

I hope you'll keep us updated as new quests come out.

May 09, 2018 tigormiti 831

Thanks for the hard work. Not to sound ungrateful, but I don’t think the number of tries before a win is a great statistical indicator. An average over several games for each quest would be much more telling. Of course, I understand it would take an enormous amount of time, so don’t take that as a request :)

May 09, 2018 Odsidian22 246

Seastan will be sailing west soon

May 09, 2018 Mortendall 505

This is great, and additionally is a super good write up. I was wrong in declaring your black gate fellowship your masterpiece, I see! I'm also excited to see that this is quite similar to what I used to solo Attack on Dol Guldur - this must clearly mean that my ability for deck building has reached decent levels :-)!

May 09, 2018 thrilliod 1

Truly thou art Manwë

May 09, 2018 Seastan 36425


You're very welcome! I enjoy contributing to this community very much.

@Bayushi Sezaru

I put this deck together on 03/09/2018 and finished all the last quest on 04/25/2018. So 47 days total, or just over 2 quests/day.


One of the very VERY rare cases where I don't put Daeron's Runes in a deck with .


Indeed more playthoughs would give better statistics. But my goal here wasn't a precision measurement of my win percentage for each quest. It was just to beat each quest once.


Indeed, I've seen some of your decks and you've given me some ideas. You've put together some great decks!

May 10, 2018 Darkling Door 5058

Very nice write-up. It's rare that a deck description is this much fun to read!

Feels like you've distilled out the very essence of a Vilya deck, with no extra fluff. I love decklists like this!

May 10, 2018 BrewerBear 1

I cannot add much that hasn't already been said. Great dedication, and a wonderful write up! Well done with this deck sir! Cheers!

May 10, 2018 tigormiti 831

@Seastan Now another cool idea would be for someone else to try to win once with the same deck, and see what statistics they come up with. That would be interesting. Anyone up for the challenge ?

May 10, 2018 tigormiti 831

*win every quest once (of course)

May 10, 2018 Ciredk 1

You ara an amazing deckbuilder. I have not played for about a year now but this deck is an inspiration to continue my journey. I am sure my stats wil be not as great but the fun will be equal :-) Keep up your great work

May 10, 2018 Taurelin 388

Great deck and great write-up. Thanks a lot for sharing.

I'm curious about which ships you chose in the sailing-scenarios, particularly Coba's Haven. A wild guess would be Dreamchaser + Narelenya, which makes it easier to get your big allies on the table.

May 10, 2018 Dolk 1

this is a very perfect deck. thank you for your explanation of this deck, I can understand many cards ability. I waiting for another :)

May 10, 2018 Mortendall 505

@Seastanyou, sir, are flattering me, and it is totally working. Thank you very much.

One thing about this deck that really stays with me, is the pick of Eowyn. That really is a stroke of genius. This is really what sets this deck aside for me. However, I'm still curios whether some of the really brutal enemies were causing you problems - Host of Dol Guldur, Orc Vanguard, Mumak, etc. Especially the Wraith on Wings in saga mode caused me to include Beregond in my decks, so I could slap a Shield of Gondor on him. I saw that you sometimes use MoF as a chump, but was that generally enough? I would assume that nightmare would introduce more of the really high attack enemies. Handling things with Jubayr is also an amazing strategy I discovered from your Caldara deck. My compliments!

May 10, 2018 Durins_Father 2609

Nice to see that 14 out of the 50 cards are Core Set cards. I applaud you effort in making this monster of a deck and testing it against all of these quests. Now that we have 3 new Nightmare packs, you might want to test it against them though.

May 10, 2018 old_toby 49

An excellent achievement my friend! But it's not done yet... you need to beat every quest in 2-player as well (with either a companion deck, or two separate builds).

May 10, 2018 thanatopsis 6

@tigormitiYour proposition will be a great in demonstrating that it's not all about the deck itself. Playing this deck takes a lot skill. There are constantly small choices that need to be made, and when made correctly, they will incrementally increase the chance at winning a quest. We're all applauding @Seastanwith his deck building. But, we should remember that he piloted this deck as well.

May 10, 2018 Mad Morderan 114

What a great deck, and an even greater dedication. You are truly a craftsman, sir. Bravo. You made some ingenious choices I would never have thought of, capitalizing on many of the games strongest strats all at once. What on earth could possibly be next for you?

May 10, 2018 old_toby 49

"One does not simply walk into Mordor..."

"... unless you are Elrond (and friends)"

May 10, 2018 rockete 21

I only want to say thanks to Seastan, not only for this deck but for you work here. I've enjoyed this game a lot playing with your decks or your ideas. I learn how to construct balanced decks and correct mistakes. (Sadly, not to speak english properly :-) )

May 10, 2018 OKTarg 196

I think my favorite thing about this deck is that The One Deck includes a Player Sidequest, but not Daeron's Runes.

Well done! Any chance of a video or three of it in action?

May 10, 2018 StephenMotz 122

Did you fully play Escape from Dol Guldor 54 times, or did you scoop 53 times after Elrond was captured?

May 10, 2018 Mansmo 1

I've just registered in RingsDB to appreciate this beautiful dedication.

May 10, 2018 SirSynx 1

I've been using your one of deck and essentially just been moving cards in and out of the deck. Elrond and Vilya have quickly become my favorite thing in the game. Thank you for extolling the virtues of Vilya :)

May 11, 2018 Seastan 36425

@Authraw``@BrewerBear``@Ciredk``@Dolk``@Durins_Father @old_toby``@Mad Morderan``@rockete``@Mansmo``@SirSynx

I'm honoured! Thank you!


You are right, I chose Dream-chase and Narlenya - except for City of Corsairs I where I chose the ship that gives +1 to heroes so that I could kill the ship on turn 1.


The really huge enemies were normally defended by Treebeard or Beorn, or chumpblocked by a MoF or WoH.


I'd love to make a video of this at some point. Just need to decide on a quest.


The only upcoming nightmare quest I'm really worried about is Nightmare Mount Doom!


My experiences with Escape from Dol Guldur can be found in the quest log linked in the description.

May 11, 2018 knochentrocken 10

Wonderful deck and great writeup. I especially enjoy the detailed quest list! If Arwen died in Massing at Osgiliath, you need to change your final score accordingly, btw.

Cheers and thank you for the work!

May 11, 2018 StephenMotz 122

@SeastanHaha, and I thought I was being funny!

May 11, 2018 GoblinKing 124

With this amazing body of work, Dr. Seastan has now earned a doctorate in LotR LCG studies. Seriously, DUDE! The Professor himself would be impressed with this level of work. Side note: What's the Vegas line on a Vilya Nerf right now? I don't think there's a casino left taking that bet!

May 12, 2018 monty_ratarsed 53

you are en enciclopedy!! the best!!!

a question... How can I do with the scenary, The Redhorne Gate, where there is Arwen undomiel?

May 12, 2018 tigormiti 831

@monty_ratarsed wow that’s a nice question :)

May 13, 2018 monty_ratarsed 53

@Seastan a question... How can I do with the scenary, The Redhorne Gate, where there is Arwen undomiel?

May 13, 2018 Seastan 36425

@monty_ratarsed According to the uniqueness rules in the core rulebook, it isn't actually illegal to have a unique hero in play at the time you gain control of a unique encounter card with the same name from the encounter deck. So I played with both Arwens in play.

Now, the latest rules reference clears up the issue on what to do in this situation (you would have to discard your hero) but I had beaten those quests already by the time the rules references came out

May 13, 2018 monty_ratarsed 53

@Seastando you have eventually a solution for these two quests? I mean another hero that works like Arwen. thanks to your work

May 13, 2018 Seastan 36425

@monty_ratarsedWell, the whole point of this deck is to not swap out any cards for a particular quest, but if you want to replace Arwen with another hero for those quests you could always try Galadriel, Glorfindel, Cirdan, or Frodo.

May 14, 2018 死锁 270

Great deck!a small question,The Redhorn Gate and Road to Rivendell have a NPC Arwen,you just ignore it?

May 14, 2018 Kilkelly 1

Great job. I really enjoy running this throug NM saga myself. Thank you.

One question: What would be the optimal support deck to pair this with in 2-player? A modified version of your "The Deck you want your Friend to Play" perhaps?

May 14, 2018 Seastan 36425


See my above responses.


This deck doesn't really have a major weakness that would make a particular kind of second deck especially useful. Rather I think that this deck itself might be the better "second deck", adapting to shore up whatever weakness your first deck has.

May 16, 2018 Emilius 23

As usual, another great powerful Seastan’s deck! But sorry, just because you can’t use Arwen hero in these 2 quests, technically this deck can’t be defined “The One Deck”, because you need to swap an hero :-P

May 16, 2018 Seastan 36425

@Emilius see my response about those quests above.

May 16, 2018 The BGamerJoe 4204

I couldn't resist playing a ton of games with the deck and blogging about it! Great work. I had fun with it!

May 16, 2018 The BGamerJoe 4204

Posting this comment again because I posted a bad link. Please delete my first comment...

I couldn't resist playing a ton of games with the deck and blogging about it! Great work. I had fun with it!

May 17, 2018 tigormiti 831

@The BGamerJoe Excellent write-up. It answered some of my questions. I had a hard time figuring out how one can win so many quests (Nightmare, to boot) on the first try, and your post illustrates, I think, that it takes as much, if not more, playing skills (and certainly a good amount luck) as a good deck to get through the quests like Seastan did.

May 19, 2018 Tegyrius 119

About the number of attempts. a huge part of beating the game is knowledge of the scenarios. In which should you rush, and when must you turtle? Can I risk a block with a hero, and so on? A lot of experience playing nightmare mode is behind this feat as well. Congrats.

May 25, 2018 LordRorthorn 7

@Seastan excellent looking deck. I'm curious as to why no Henamarth Riversong? I consider it such a must of for solo decks as it makes planning so easy. Is Firyal that much better here ?

May 25, 2018 Seastan 36425

@LordRorthornYes, I'd much rather have Firyal here. Henamarth helps you know if something bad is coming so you can plan out your turn. Firyal doesn't let you do that, but he does let you get rid of those cards rather than just scouting them out.

In a regular solo deck Henamarth is one of my top ally picks for sure. But here we want to make the most out of each Vilya use. Exhausting Elrond and Vilya to get out a 1-cost ally is not ideal, as good as Henamarth is.

Jun 07, 2018 Pigeon 1

Wonderful job, and super fun deck to pilot. I have to ask, regarding Mount Doom. Obviously the scenario is a bit of a hard counter to this deck, but was there something in particular made it difficult to navigate through? I guess what I'm asking is, is the hard counter just that difficult to overcome, or were there other factors (less experience with scenario, bad luck, etc.)?

Jun 07, 2018 Seastan 36425


Those are some of the reasons. Another one is that I came to Mount Doom last, which wasn't very smart. If I had tried to beat Mount Doom early on I might have modified the deck a tiny bit to make it easier.

It took me many attempts to figure out how I should approach the quest, but even after I settled on a method I still needed some luck from the encounter deck. And the method requires you get Faramir and Unexpected Courage out very quickly, so there's a lot of early scooping involved as well.

Jun 07, 2018 Kakita_Shiro 40

Kind of a shame that both versions of The Deck You Want Your Friend To Play use Arwen and Eowyn.

Jun 11, 2018 Colinv 1

I was excited to try out this deck. My next scenario playing progression was Journey to the Crossroads so I gave it a try. I lost 7 times in a row. Most of the time was due to too many enemies under The Black Gate. Once I threated out. Twice I didn’t get either Vilya or Master in my opening hand. Once I lost a hero. I’ll give the deck another try with another scenario but I’m too frustrated to try again with this one.

Jun 11, 2018 Seastan 36425

@ColinvWas it your first time playing Crossroads ever? It comes as a pretty big shock to most people who play the campaign due to its huge spike in difficulty. It took me three attempts to beat it with this deck and I already had a bunch of experience with the quest. For the solo player it's one of the hardest standard mode quests there is, and I expect any non-tailored deck (like this one) to struggle with it.

Jun 11, 2018 Colinv 1

@Seastan Thanks for the response and thanks for posting this deck and the very thorough description. Yes it was my first time playing this quest and it does seem very difficult. I can see how it might require experience to form a correct strategy. I’m going to try it two handed to see if I can get through it.

Jun 12, 2018 Seastan 36425

@ColinvOne of the challenges of doing Cross-roads solo is that if you ever reveal an enemy during the staging step, you may be forced to let an enemy go to the Black Gate simply because you can't optionally engage two enemies - even if your more than capable of dealing with both of them. One way to mitigate this, that took me some time to learn, is to ramp up your threat by not questing the first couple rounds. Two-handed play is also helpful since it gives you two optional engagements each round, and the added pressure of the extra enemy each round is spread across more decks.

Jun 22, 2018 Dor Cuarthol 29

Sorry if this has been covered (I couldn't see it under CTRL-F), but how did you handle Long Arm of Mordor? I can see you beat it first time, which seems quite surprising. I feel like an Elrond deck with no Elrond would struggle...

Jun 22, 2018 Seastan 36425

@Dor CuartholI saved Elrond first and turtled in stage 2 with Vilya. Info on how I beat other quests can be found in the quest log mentioned in the FAQ section of the deck description :)

Jun 22, 2018 Dor Cuarthol 29

Thanks. Sorry, had missed the link.

Jun 22, 2018 Dor Cuarthol 29

Having gone through the list, I've noticed that you've only done the Nightmare quests where Nightmare exists, and standard where they don't. Obviously Nightmare is meant to be harder, so playing the standard versions would hardly be needed as proof of concept, but can you think of any quests where the non-Nightmare version would need a significantly different approach to the Nightmare? (for this deck specifically)

Jun 22, 2018 Seastan 36425

@Dor CuartholGood question. The only quest that comes to mind is Druadan Forest, since the nightmare version really changes that quest in a way that might have actually made it easier for this deck. But I have no doubt at all that this deck can beat the standard mode.

Jun 29, 2018 SamthemanGamgee 462

@Seastan it can i have tried it and beat it first attempt

Sep 06, 2018 Øyvind 1

@SeastanI've been pondering what the ultimate LotR LCG test would be, and this particular creation was honestly something I wouldn't believe was even possible, and yet you did it. I have one challenge I bet would be even more difficult, though, and after looking around for someone smart enough to solve this challenge for years, I'm pretty sure you're the one to do it, if anyone can.

You have to use all published cards, including all the cycles, all POD-quests and all the SAGA expansions. You have to use three full copies of the base game, and the Collector's Edition I know you own (so that you have to use all four of particular heroes, 16 core Gandalfs, etc.) and the challenge is to make legal decks that are able to beat all scenarios. It should be exactly 40 decks in total, if my estimation is correct.

These decks have to be able to handle the scenarios one-handed, two-handed, three-handed or four-handed, but the average is between two and three decks for each scenario, and each deck can only be used for one scenario, meaning that once you've used three Good Meals, you're not able to use one again for another scenario. Just forget about the nightmares. I'm not even sure all normal scenarios are solvable using this method. If they are, you're probably the only person alive who's able to do it. Are you up for the task?

Sep 06, 2018 Øyvind 1

Sorry, that came out wrong. With about a hundred scenarios and 40 total decks, of course it’s the other way around. I meant to say two to three decks per cycle, on average. Not per scenario.

Sep 06, 2018 Seastan 36425

To clarify, your challenge is to build 40 decks with one card pool (so many of the decks will be rather weak) and play through 100 quests, often playing not just solo, but 2, 3 and 4-handed? I'm sorry but what you're asking me to do is spend a year or two of all my free time on your challenge.

Sep 07, 2018 Øyvind 1

Please ignore my request. I sent you a PM to try to explain what I meant, but I don’t want to take up much space here. Thanks for your politeness and your quick response.

Sep 18, 2018 Goggen 106

@Seastan What's your toughts on swapping the Northern Tracker with Mirkwood Explorer ?

Obviously it's not what you want on a blind vilya, but it does seem to preserve some of the reasons you included the tracker in the first place. At the same time it potentially offsetts the weaknesses of the tracker that you mention, with some alternative advantages:

-He's cheaper when played from the hand (which should be easy to take advantage of with the balancing from Elven-light ).

-Has more willpower.

-Has a more focused ability, which to me seems better in single than the trackers.

Sep 18, 2018 Seastan 36425

@GoggenI frequently use the Tracker for combat (both attack and defense), so I'm not too keen on that suggestion.

Sep 20, 2018 Sfrug 329

@Seastan, I'm really curious to learn more details about your play through Escape from Dol Goldur Nightmare. You say on your Quest Log that you "reset the quest 54 times in order to get an ideal start". What was the ideal start you were looking for? Which hero was the prisoner? Which cards did you need in your hand, which cards guarding the objectives? And more generally, how did you manage to beat that scenario with a deck so built around putting out allies, when EfDG only allows you to put out one ally each round for the first 2/3 of the quest? Thanks! And thanks for posting your deck — it was really interesting!

Sep 20, 2018 Seastan 36425


For EfDG, I reset until Eowyn was captured and I got a setup without much threat in the staging area.

EfDG says you can only "play" one ally each round, but that refers to allies played from your hand. It does not limit allies that are "put into play" by Vilya.

Sep 20, 2018 Sfrug 329

@Seastan, thanks for the answer! It's particularly useful to know that I had misunderstood about "play" — I'm reasonably new to the game, and sometimes these precise interpretations elude me. (Does anyone know if this is clarified anywhere? Or simply something that people understand?)

Sep 20, 2018 sappidus 688

@Sfrug, many interactions in this game are only learned through experience, but happily, this particular one is lucidly explained in the Rules Reference entry on Play and Put into Play. (Link is on FFG's official page for the game, if you haven't seen the RR already.)

Sep 20, 2018 Sfrug 329

@sappidus: Thank you!

Sep 26, 2018 pd187540 16

Looks like this deck really isn't the "one to rule them all." I played the Steward's Fear scenario twice on easy mode and it failed both times. One HUGE reason is the fact that Will of the West is not included in this deck, which is a fatal mistake. The side quest card is totally useless. I don't know why that was even included. If you get the plot card in Steward's Fear that adds a resource at the end of every round and then you need to discard cards from your deck equal to the number of resources, you are royally screwed. This is why Will of the West needs to be permanently in this deck. Can't believe how it completely failed twice on easy mode. Such an error.

Sep 26, 2018 Seastan 36425


A well-engineered car will still crash if the driver can't steer.

Sep 26, 2018 pd187540 16

And when the blueprints for that car have a fatal flaw or two, you can expect to have steering problems.

Sep 26, 2018 Seymour FKSTeam 1

Git Gud

Sep 26, 2018 SamthemanGamgee 462

@pd187540 first of all, if you took the time to read the deck description, which seastan put a lot of effort into, he explains this deck is not easy to run and it's very challenging to figure out some decisions. Second, this deck can beat this quest on all three modes, having personally done it, even with the plot you refer to. Third, if you think you are so good to judge someone else's deck why are you playing easy mode? Fourth, if you think you are such a good player and deck builder than build your own deck to beat every quest and tell us how that goes. Fifth, playstyle. Sixth, instead of trying to trash others decks do something productive with your life or maybe try to benefit the community in some way instead of tearing it down. Seventh, the deck was designed to beat every quest by being good at everything. Will of the west is only useful in some quests (ex: stewards fear, the lonely mountain, and the stage riddles in the dark), but all these quest can easily be won without a copy of will of the west. Eighth, the sidequest is amazing for finding vilya or a stargazer or anything you need at the time you complete it. Why waste a slot on a card you might use, will of the west, when you could have a card that can fetch anything you need and will use if you find it. Ninth, chris (seastan) is a very nice and calm guy and he does so much for the game and builds amazing decks that really help those who arent good at deckbuilding but want to play the game. He puts in a lot of effort to help the community and all you do is stir up drama because you feel entitled to your opinion and refuse to accept anyone else's. This sight is for people to share decks and get feedback. Nice and constructive feedback not an attack. Finally tenth, if you have nothing nice to say dont say it because people are fed up with you. Thank you for your cooperation and @Seastan thanks for all you do for this community and game, we love and appreciate you and dont let people like this get to you. (Even though you probably dont let it get to you anyways) Keep up the great work!

Sep 27, 2018 Aurion 775

Wow! That escalated fast! Lol agree with @SamthemanGamgeehere though. What is the point in moaning about somebody else's deck? If it doesn't play well for you, move on and build your own deck. @pd187540 tbf, you didn't directly insult anyone but you just came across a bit agro. You must understand how many hours Seastan has poured into this, so if you go around unduly criticizing somebody else's work you might expect to get a sharp retort. In any case, no one deck is going to find every quest easy. I'm sure even this deck struggles through some of the hardest quests and often it might well be one decision that costs or wins you the game. Sometimes it is just the luck of the draw. The other day I played Escape from Dol Guldur solo and beat it first time with my Three Rings deck but lost to Passage through Mirkwood twice with it the same night.

Sep 27, 2018 tigormiti 831

@Aurion I may be weird, but I find @pd187540's posts to be highly entertaining in the second degree. Not sure if it's unintentional comedy. Also I applaud @Seastan for his restraint and not succumbing to requests to ban @pd187540, as long as the guy doesn't throw insults at people.

Mar 11, 2019 Colinv 1

@SeastanI've been playing this deck through the LOTR Saga series from start to end and have had great success with it. My only complaint is that often I get a hand without either Vilya or Master of the Forge or any way to search or scroll my deck, even after mulligan. In that case I usually resign and try again. One time I had to do this 4 times in a row. Maybe I'm just unlucky or maybe I'm a bad shuffler :) Now I'm on the last quest of the Saga - Mount Doom and I'm faced with a big penalty for allies being on the table. Have you tried it with this scenario? Any suggestions? I'm thinking of swapping out some allies for hero boosting attachments.

Mar 11, 2019 Seastan 36425

@ColinvStatistically speaking, opening hands without Vilya OR Master of the Forge OR Heed the Dream OR Gather Information should be rare. Especially after a mulligan. By my calculation it should be less than 5%. Stargazer can also help you reach down an extra 5 cards so that you draw into one of those cards on turn 2. So there are lots of ways to find Vilya quickly. That's what the whole deck is about.

Even so, with Elrond's ability and Arwen's resource generation you still have a way to play any of the expensive allies the traditional way while you wait to draw into Vilya or a search card.

Regarding Mount Doom, which can be seen as a direct counter to this ally swarming playstyle, you may want to look at the quest log (, in which I describe the strategy I used. It still took me 25 attempts to win, so my advice would be to use a different deck. Something with far less allies and far more willpower and readying attachments/events.

Mar 15, 2019 IsraeliWolf 2

@Seastan I'm still a little confused as to how Firyal works. Example: You're commuting her to a quest. There are no enemies or locations on the staging area threat = 0. You trigger her response and look at the card - it's a threat 2 typical land.

Here's where I get confused. Once you discard do you replace the card?

Or is it basically as if you are questing with one less card being staged?

Mar 15, 2019 SamthemanGamgee 462

@IsraeliWolf she let's you scry the deck. If you like the card on top you keep it there to be revealed if not you discard it and then reveal your card for staging. She just lets you have a little more control over what you reveal but does not affect the number of cards revealed

Apr 04, 2019 Agaronwarrior 1

I'm not good at deck building on my own and I love this deck. I would like to teach my wife how to play and run through all the quests with her. Any chance you were ever thinking of making a two handed deck based off of this deck? Like "The One Decks" lol?

Apr 04, 2019 Seastan 36425

@AgaronwarriorGlad to see you enjoy this deck! I have never considered doing this challenge with two decks because of how long it would take me. But if you plan on just running through the quests on normal difficulty you shouldn't worry too much. This deck is strong enough to cover any weakness the other deck may have. So my recommendation would be to concern yourself less about a second overpowered deck, and more with what playstyle your wife enjoys and what characters she likes. There should be plenty of good options on RingsDB that match her preferences.

Apr 08, 2019 pd187540 16

It's still not too good against some scenarios on "easy" mode, and I still call into question how using this deck can beat some scenarios in only the first playthrough.

Apr 08, 2019 pd187540 16

Actually, scratch my last comment. My frustration with the deck was building as I was forging ahead with Campaign Mode in the LOTR Saga expansions. The accumulated burdens/boons really amped up the difficulty to at least Nightmare status in many cases. As soon as I removed the boons/burdens and treated each scenario as standalones, everything got easier. Now I'm not sure if Seastan himself used campaign mode when he played through the sagas. My estimated guess here is that he didn't. If he did, he would have kept a running log of what boons/burdens he selected. Would be interested to see how this deck stacks up against Campaign Mode.

May 09, 2019 dukepuccini 23

@Seastan do you think that any new card could be added/replaced from more recent packs which have come out since The Mumakil, to make the one deck even stronger?

Jun 02, 2019 AdamP 1

Thanks for the deck list. Probably a stupid question, but how do you pay for Steward or Gondor with no leadership characters?

Jun 02, 2019 dukepuccini 23

You don’t pay for it. You put it into play using Vilya, which applies to any card. Of course you need to set it up or get very lucky, but this deck has the means to set it up

Sep 05, 2019 Dor Cuarthol 29

@Seastan - I know this has been asked before, but are there any major changes you'd make in light of all the cards released since this?

Sep 06, 2019 Sfrug 329

Along similar lines to Dor Cuarthol's question: have you tried it against the Erid MIthrin cycle yet? How about Shadow in the East?

Sep 06, 2019 Seastan 36425

@Dor Cuarthol Not major. I might swap Yazan for Quickbeam and Eagles of the Misty Mountains for Soldier of Erebor, but the improvement to the deck would be barely detectable.

@Sfrug I have not tried it against those quests, but I have played through them with other decks and I haven't seen any mechanics that would give it trouble.

Nov 30, 2019 bdavis96 93

Sorry for resurrecting this, but can I get clarity on how Vilya is used? What seems to be tripping me up is the “if able”. Vilya has an action, so it can be played in any Player Action window, correct? Can I play an Ally or Attachment during any Player Action window using Vilya, or only during the Planning phase? If I blindly used Vilya during a Quest phase action window and drew an Attachment, would I have to put said Attachment at the bottom of the deck because it isn’t playable during the Quest phase? Is that why Imladris Stargazer is important. Set up the 5 cards so that Glorfindel is “next”, and use Vilya during the Planning phase so Glorfindel can be played for free?

Nov 30, 2019 Flrbb 165

You can play whatever is revealed at any time (action window). Only exception is e.g. an unique which is already in play, or an attachment which does not has a target (like attach to an location, but no location in game).

Dec 17, 2019 hugjusten 1

Anyone know what a complimentary deck to this one would be? I have the one deck but my roommate would like to play. I have 1 base, Mirkwood cycle, couple of dwarrowdelf, over hill, heirs of numenor, flame of the West, and all the expansions needed for the one deck.

Dec 17, 2019 ellipticaltable 183

@hugjusten This deck is fairly versatile, so most decks should pair reasonably well. The only issue might be conflicting uniques. However, other than Vilya itself, none of them are particularly crucial. So my suggestion is to pick a deck that your roommate would enjoy playing, and then adjust this deck as needed.

Mar 11, 2020 ErfanRibas 1

@Seastan Has this deck any changes at this time?


Apr 03, 2020 Uzziel 1

Hi there. Firstly @Seastan, great post! Thanks for sharing.

Is there some way to see what this deck was like before Mumakil?

If not, what would you use to replace the 7 cards (3 different ones) from that pack?

Kind regards

Apr 03, 2020 Seastan 36425

@Uzziel If you want to rewind to before The Mumakil pack, just trade out the Harad allies for whatever high cost allies you like best. It should still function pretty well. That said, Firyal and Jubayr are a huge part of what makes this deck successful, as they are some of the best targets for Vilya (there's a reason they are 3x despite being unique). So pick upThe Mumakil when you can!

Apr 03, 2020 Uzziel 1

@Seastan, thanks for the quick response. I'll be sure to note that. I also see that I do not have Eowyn, so that is a big element as well. I'll need to add Flame of the West too.

Let's say I get The Mumakil but not Flame of the West yet, any hero you can think of that will go well with the deck?

After playing casually for quite some time with thematic decks, I think it is time to attempt doing as many of the adventures I have with only one deck. Thanks for the effort you put into this.

Apr 03, 2020 Seastan 36425

@Uzziel Tactics Eowyn is an even bigger piece of the deck (and one of the best heroes in the game) so I'd prioritize Flame of the West over Mumakil. No other tactics hero comes close to her, but you could try substituting Mablung for the time being.

Apr 03, 2020 Uzziel 1

@Seastan, thanks will give it a go!

Apr 17, 2020 RepentOrPerish 1

This may be very stupid... but how to you get Steward of Gondor in play if you don’t hit it with Vilya? Or is that your only way to get it in play? Thanks!

Apr 19, 2020 CT1992 1

Gildor Inglorion can put it back on top of your deck

Apr 19, 2020 RepentOrPerish 1

@CT1992 Good! Thanks for telling me this!

May 02, 2020 askelad 561

@Seastan i've just published a deck inspired by this one, would you mind taking a look at it?

May 04, 2020 isthar 1

Anybody know of something akin to the One Deck, that will generally get through "all quests" (in my case I want to get through the full saga series right now) but without Vilya? I really don't mind most of what's going on, lots of big allies, it is still fun... but Vilya is kinda autopilot...

May 17, 2020 Kettleonsonna 1

@isthar - One deck to rule them all by Sban doesn’t use Vilya.

Aug 29, 2020 kaminoite 1

This kind of decks and dedication makes this game and it's community the best!

Sep 09, 2020 Guccigreek 29

Hey @Seastan was wondering if you would be willing to make a full progression series of decks, using only cards released at the time of said scenario being played. Obvviously this would take a lot of time so you prolly wouldn’t but after this deck I feel like you have already done everything else.

Oct 19, 2020 AJ_800 278

Thank you for all of the work put into this - and detailing it all in a great read!

One item I am confused about is Éowyn's second ability. You mention in the overview that she can attack twice becuase there is an action window after the first attack declaration. I cannot find this action window in the rule book. In fact, the action windows seem to deliberately avoid interfering with combat.

Please can I ask for clarification of the attack and action sequence that allows Éowyn to attack twice with 10 attack?

Further, provided that this works, could she attack the same enemy twice?

Oct 19, 2020 Kakita_Shiro 40

@AJ_8001) Rules Reference Guide pg. 22 Player Attack Resolution flowchart. You'd initiate Éowyn's ability between 6.8.1 and 6.8.2.

2) No, nothing in her ability allows you to attack the same enemy twice in the same phase.

Oct 19, 2020 Kakita_Shiro 40

Actually, 6.8.2 and 6.8.3, but hopefully you get the jist.

Oct 19, 2020 AJ_800 278

@Kakita_ShiroThank you!

I see it now, you're right. Page 26 of the Rules Reference cleartly states that attackers exhaust during declaration in 6.8b and that attack strength is determined in 6.8.2. Page 22 clarifies that there is an action window between 6.8.1. and 6.8.2. (I believe that your first response was correct with regards to the specific step references).

So, if I now understand the key steps correctly:

6.8b - Éowyn declares as an attacker and exhausts.

Action window between 6.8.1. and 6.8.2. - Éowyn triggers her action, becoming ready and adding 9 attack.

6.8.2. - Éowyn contributes 10 attack to the determination of attack value.

6.8.4. - Éowyn is ready, so we can return to 6.8. We remain in the same phase so Éowyn's additional attack is still active.

I think I still have a lot to learn in this game.

Dec 19, 2020 AJ_800 278

@SeastanSorry if this has been asked before.

How would you modify this deck now, with the entire card pool now available?

For example, would you consider recent cards like Haleth, Anborn or Messenger of the King?

Additionally, would you modify it in reflection of any challenges that it faced playing the last cycle?

Dec 19, 2020 GreenWizard 276

Wow. Super nice read. Really nice deck.

@Seastan How many tries did it take you to figure out the heroes and cards for the one deck that beats all scenarios?

Jan 20, 2021 Adanedhel 3

Surprised that the deck that beat the game isn't a dwarf swarm deck

Feb 12, 2021 The Mormegil 2009

Hahaha wait another Mormegil? Seems like I got an online twin ...

Feb 15, 2021 Adanedhel 3

@The Mormegil I changed my name, happy now?

Feb 15, 2021 The Mormegil 2009

That was by no means a criticism mate and not at all necessary, if anything I found it a funny coincidence ... the only person who has a control over that name is the one who invented it and that is Tolkien and not me!

Feb 17, 2021 Adanedhel 3

@The Mormegil I was joking.

Mar 01, 2021 Colinv 1

I've used this deck to beat most scenarios but I'm not having much luck with Fortress of Nurn. Has anyone used this to beat that scenario? Tips?

Apr 17, 2021 Legion5150 1

@Seastan is this deck only use for solo or can I use it for more than 1 player scenarios

Aug 24, 2021 Guil_6 21

Seastan, this is amazing. Great deck, great explanation, great knowledge of the game and great youtube channel. Inspired me to do my own version of it to do all the normal quests solo that I have (Core up tp DD)(more of a humble task, but I like the solo deck that can accomplish any scenario). Congrats man, well done.

Aug 24, 2021 Rocketman176 73

Yes, I absolutely agree thank you so much for this!

Feb 16, 2022 Herald 1

I'm still confused about Vilya putting Steward of Gondor into play. I thought there is a rule that you cannot play any card from sphere from which you don't have a hero. And no card here adds to any of the heroes Leadership sphere. How is it valid to play Steward of Gondor with Vilya, please?

Feb 16, 2022 dukepuccini 23

@Herald Vilya states that you can play or put into play any revealed card for no cost. So in that case the sphere of the card can be anything, since you do not have to spend any resources to put it into play.

Feb 16, 2022 ellipticaltable 183

You are correct that this deck cannot play Steward, since it does not have a matching sphere.

However, Vilya gives you the option to put into play instead. And that does not require a match.

Feb 16, 2022 dukepuccini 23

Which I'm now realizing is not a good explanation, since there are zero cost cards which you cannot play unless they are from one of your hero's sphere (either printed or gained sphere). @Herald your question still stands, it is a very good one.

Feb 16, 2022 ellipticaltable 183

@dukepuccini Be a little careful. A 0-cost card cannot be played without a match, even that you don't have to spend any resources.

For example, Radagast cannot play Winged Guardian if you've used his Radagast's Staff to make it free.

Feb 16, 2022 dukepuccini 23

@ellipticaltable you are correct, I forgot about the distinction between 'play' and 'put into play'

Feb 16, 2022 Herald 1

@dukepuccini, @ellipticaltable Thank you both for a quick answer and clarification. BTW that Radagast example is insane :) I'm sure I would play that wrong, and I'm sure I do play these nuances wrong elsewhere :( I feel there's a bit too much "wording" in this game to follow.

Feb 16, 2022 kjeld 377

@ellipticaltable I do not believe that interpretation is correct, as Radagast can play for Creature allies of any sphere. If he can use 2 resources from his pool to play Winged Guardian, then he can still use 0 resources to pay for it after reducing its cost with his staff. The same would be true for ally Radagast.

Feb 17, 2022 ellipticaltable 183

@kjeld This is very much a "rules as intended" vs "rules as written" topic. In fact, Caleb has confirmed (I can't find the citation at the moment) that they intended for Radagast and his Radagast's Staff to work that way. Perhaps they might even officially fix it via errata.

When paying for a non-0-cost card, the rules state:

In order for a player to play a card from his hand ..., he must pay for it by spending resource tokens from the resource pool of a hero who has a resource icon that matches the card’s sphere of influence. This is called a resource match.

Radagast overrides this via the Golden Rule, by explicitly saying that his resources may be used.

However, 0-cost cards have a separate rule:

Cards with a cost of zero do not require a resource to be spent in order to pay their cost, but they do require at least one hero under that player’s control to have a resource icon that matches the card’s sphere.

Since Radagast doesn't have a matching icon, the card cannot be played. Nothing in his text says otherwise. Compare with Gandalf or Bard.

Sep 26, 2022 Atanatar 1

Hi Seastan, thanks a lot for your ideas and this amazing deck but today, after a few days playng with it i see something thats not right. Steward of Gondor can be played because this herous havent this icon. The ability of elrond doesn´t works because its only for allys. I´m right? THANKS AGAIN FOR YOUR TIME AND THIS AMAZING DECK

Sep 26, 2022 Kakita_Shiro 40


Sep 26, 2022 Flrbb 165

Gildor Inglorion. Also Stargazer to prevent adding Steward to your hand.