Book Club: A Light Starting From His Upraised Hand

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stokesbook 1830

"Like thunder they broke upon the enemy on either flank of the retreat; but one rider outran them all, swift as the wind in the grass: Shadowfax bore him, shining, unveiled once more, a light starting from his upraised hand. The Nazg├╗l screeched and swept away, for their Captain was not yet come to challenge the white fire of his foe." - The Return of the King

I've decided to build a series of decks that encapsulate a specific point in the Lord of the Rings books, so they're essentially broad "theme" decks and the cards within are selected primarily for 'thematic fit' than their 'raw power'. As such these decks probably won't work against every quest, and should probably always be played as part of a two-handed/two player setup, so plan accordingly.

This deck represents the harried retreat from Osgiliath by Faramir and the Gondor forces, and the White Rider that rides out to meet them.

Opening Hand:

This deck is mostly your very typical Gandalf deck, with a little Gondor swarm throw in to round it out. As such your absolute best card to see in your opening hand is Wizard Pipe, although seeing Narya early will also be a huge help. We have a few very beefy allies int the form of Knight of the White Tower and Veteran of Osgiliath (especially in Valour) and getting multiple uses out of them in a turn through Narya or Faramir's ability will be a huge help. Getting the Leadership icon on Gandalf should allow you to leave a resource on Faramir for Visionary Leadership

At the Table:

Expert Treasure-hunter and Daeron's Runes make up the bulk of our card draw, though we have some less consistent options with Pippin's ability and Gandalf's Staff. You'll be using A Very Good Tale to help your you regular variety Gondor swarming, Citadel Custodian helping immensely, though any ally can be used in a pinch as you can take the sting out of exhausting them early in the turn to pay for the Tale.

The deck's main combat 'schtick', as mentioned above is getting extra action advantage out of our bigger combat allies like Knight of the White Tower and Veteran of Osgiliath, even questing with them for a respectable 2-3 willpower then readying them with Faramir, then using Gandalf and Narya to ready them again, ideally in the middle of a defense so they can be used to defend again or get involved in the return attack with the boosted combat stats from Narya


There's a few issues with Pippin resources, the Lore cost curve of the deck is very low, so resources are likely to stack up on Pippin if you don't see many of your Lore allies early. As such you could probably switch out Daeron's Runes for Heed the Dream for more targeted draw and to give the Hobbit something else to spend his resources on.

Another option is to make some room for Song of Kings for Pippin, but overall I think subbing in Heed the Dream is a better option.

Flame of Anor was dropped from the list for space, though thematically representing the light Gandalf used to drive back the Nazgul, probably warrants squeezing in at least one copy, especially if you don't mind playing with 51 cards in your deck.