The One Deck

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Seastan 13233

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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.


Contents

  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: https://goo.gl/6Vvrbp

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.

Elrond

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.

Éowyn

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

Beorn

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.

Elfhelm

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.

Faramir

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.

Firyal

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.

Gandalf

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.

Glorfindel

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

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.

Treebeard

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

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.

Vilya

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

Elven-light with Arwen Undómiel just deels 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:

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Outliers:

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

Final Score:

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Outliers:

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

Final Threat:

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Outliers:

  • 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: https://goo.gl/6Vvrbp. 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.

63 comments

May 09, 2018 slothgodfather 3

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 395

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 25

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

May 09, 2018 tigormiti 169

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 217

Seastan will be sailing west soon

May 09, 2018 Mortendall 119

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 13233

@slothgodfather``@TWINNS

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.

@sappidus

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

@tigormiti

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.

@Mortendall

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 Authraw 1857

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 169

@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 169

*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 141

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 119

@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 1246

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 1

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 26

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 1

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

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

May 10, 2018 rockete 1

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 52

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 47

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 13233

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

I'm honoured! Thank you!

@Taurelin

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.

@Mortendall

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

@OKTarg

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

@Durins_Father

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

@StephenMotz

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

May 11, 2018 knochentrocken 4

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 47

@SeastanHaha, and I thought I was being funny!

May 11, 2018 GoblinKing 41

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 16

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 169

@monty_ratarsed wow that’s a nice question :)

May 13, 2018 monty_ratarsed 16

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

May 13, 2018 Seastan 13233

@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 16

@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 13233

@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 57

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 13233

@死锁

See my above responses.

@Kilkelly

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 12

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 13233

@Emilius see my response about those quests above.

May 16, 2018 The BGamerJoe 984

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

May 16, 2018 The BGamerJoe 984

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! lotrdecktest.wordpress.com

May 17, 2018 tigormiti 169

@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 1

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 13233

@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 13233

@PigeonThanks!

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 25

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 13233

@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 13233

@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 15

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 13233

@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 15

Thanks. Sorry, had missed the link.

Jun 22, 2018 Dor Cuarthol 15

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 13233

@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 100

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