|Card draw simulator|
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|Fellowships using this decklist|
|Three Hunters + Two Rings|
|None. Self-made deck here.|
|Rings of Power V2||1||0||0||2.0|
This is the latest version of my Noldor Discard/Vilya Spirit and Lore Deck that is played two-handed alongside the following deck: http://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/8844/sword-axe-and-bow-v2-1.0
This deck builds up a strong questing army in order to make up for the lack of willpower in the combat deck. It also handles various support roles for both decks such as healing, readying and threat reduction. In most games it is not unusual to have an abundance of and a fantastic board state by mid game so long as this deck runs like it should. Against tougher quests this is not as common as they usually have answers or a counter to the players having far more than necessary like recurring effects that force you to discard allies or remove characters from the quest for example.
There are two core 'engines' if you will that run this deck. The first of which is the famous Vilya+Stargazer combination which allows you to play any card from the top 5 cards of your deck for free each and every round. With readying attachments like Unexpected Courage, Light of Valinor and Armoured Destrier Elrond can both use Vilya every round and contribute his amazing stats to questing and/or defence as well.
The second engine is Arwen+Elven Light which provides repeatable card draw and resource acceleration/smoothing. If you get a copy of Silver Harp in play Arwen can use her ability every turn without needing to discard a card at all, this is essentially a free resource every turn! You can then focus on discarding cards to other effects instead like Healing via Imladris Caregiver or readying Glorfindel ally. Her ability is used predominantly on Elrond as he can pay for allies of either sphere and even has the Spirit resource icon if he has Vilya attached but her ability is also fantastic on Aragorn providing that last tactics resource you need to play a high cost ally like Rumil or Boromir or even just providing that one resource you need to play Feint that round. Also worth mentioning is that Galadriel helps with this second engine as she provides card draw as well and you don't need to spend resources or have Elven Light in your discard pile or hand for her to do so. She can provide both card draw and threat reduction to either deck.
Now the two engines actually combo with each other as well. Imladris Stargazer is constantly letting you choose the order of the top 5 cards of your deck each round, this means you can essentially choose what to play for free with Vilya and then what you want to draw that same round with Elven Light and/or Galadriel's as well. Now because Galadriel and Elven Light can be used during planning you can play any cards you draw with either effect that same planning phase! This means you can constantly dig out whatever you need most from the top 5 cards of your deck each and every turn while also playing one of those cards for free with Vilya. Getting this double engine set up to begin with can be a little tricky but the great thing about this is that it is still very beneficial even when only partway set up or even when only one engine gets set up properly. Vilya+Stargazer is definitely more important than Elven Light+Arwen as there are plenty of alternative ways to draw cards whereas Vilya's effect is unique and extremely powerful.
Worth mentioning before we move on is that Galadriel's other less useful ability is actually really fantastic in this deck. There are quite a few allies that have great stats in more than one area and the turn that any of them enter play they can quest without exhausting thanks to Galadriel allowing them to then attack or defend that same turn. This even protects allies against direct damage at times as they are not exhausted during the quest phase and do not take damage from infamous "deal 1 damage to all exhausted characters" effects.
As far as events are concerned the majority are fairly straight forward. Test of Will guards against must cancel treacheries, Elrond's Counsel provides threat reduction and a small willpower boost and Galadhrim's Greeting provides threat reduction for either or both decks. Daeron's Runes helps you get through the deck even faster with little drawback (Elven Light and Glorfindel want to be discarded and you can return any spirit card back to hand with Dwarven Tomb anyway) and is the reason the deck sits at 53 cards instead of 51.
Elven Light and Dwarven Tomb are the two events that are a little more complex and require more thought. When you have Elven Light sitting in your discard pile you often want to trigger it right away to draw a card and to get it back in your hand ready for another discard. That spirit resource may be far better used to play a powerful ally or attachment instead especially if you can draw cards in another way or have Vilya and Stargazer set up and can play a card for free instead of simply drawing it. You may however find yourself in situations where you really need to return Elven Light to hand so you have something expendable to discard in order to give a resource to a specific hero or so that you can heal a gravely injured character with Imladris Caregiver. When to actually use Elven Light and when to leave it in your discard pile for a later use very much depends on the exact situation you are in and what you will hopefully benefit from most.
Dwarven Tomb similarly can present a difficult choice; do you simply return Test of Will to hand to protect against future When Revealed effects or do you return that super useful spirit ally or attachment that was not actually meant to end up in your discard pile back to your hand? Sometimes the encounter deck itself will force you to discard a bunch of cards from your hand or deck or sometimes you desperately need to heal or use Arwen's ability but don't have anything you really want to discard. Dwarven Tomb can help in these situations returning that copy of say Silver Harp, UC or Galadriel's Handmaiden that you discarded back to your hand. It can also be used in emergencies if you desperately need threat reduction or condition removal as it can fetch Galadhrim's Greeting or Power of Orthanc so long as a copy is in your discard pile. These sort of situations only happen occasionally though and for the majority of games I will admit that Dwarven Tomb is simply used as a fourth and fifth copy/use of Test of Will. The potential to cancel that many treacheries within a single game is pretty nuts especially if you are able to do this consistently or multiple turns in a row as this can really mess with the encounter deck's tempo and slow it right down.
Lets go over the attachments next. I'm not going to talk about Vilya as I have already gone over its role and importance however there is another Ring of Power that is also key to this deck which is Nenya! So Nenya essentially allows you to actually utilise Galadriel's whopping 4 and so long as you can get a copy of Unexpected Courage on Galadriel as well you can both use her ability and use her every round. Now because Galadriel actually boosts another characters by 4 and does not actually quest herself her willpower usually cannot be reduced by encounter effects and she does not suffer any ill effects dealt to all questing characters. Until you get her set up with both her Ring and UC it can often be a hard choice what to use her for each round but I find myself needing her 4 much more than her ability when I have to make a choice between the two. This really just depends on how much you can generate without her though. Nenya also gives her the lore resource icon which means she can help pay for high cost lore allies like Firyal , Gildor and Galdor.
The various readying attachments are also key to the decks as they allow you to get additional uses out of your strong built-up heroes. Unexpected Courage is king in this regard as it can go on any hero whatsoever and is great on every single one of them except Arwen. The key targets for UC are Elrond, Galadriel and Gimli while Aragorn and Legolas are less important targets that occasionally receive a copy during certain quests where offensive power may be more important than questing or defense.
- Elrond with both LoV and UC is a beast that can use Vilya, quest and defend all in the same round.
- Not having to choose between Galadriel's or ability and being able to use both every round thanks to UC is extremely beneficial.
- Gimli with UC can also help quest or attack on top of his defensive duties or can simply defend another attack each round which is very flexible indeed.
- Finally Aragorn or Legolas can attack multiple times in one round with UC which with either can be bananas as they are not only fantastic offensive heroes but you also have the potential to trigger either of their abilities not once but twice within a single round. Aragorn is a decent defender in a pinch and also has a decent two willpower so he is a better target than Legolas in most situations.
The next 'readying' attachment is Light of Valinor. It goes on Elrond and no one else ever and the second copy is simply discard fodder! Simples!
Miruvor and Lembas are the last two readying attachments. Lembas provides healing as well as a readying effect so is used on Elrond or Gimli the vast majority of the time so that they can heal up and defend an additional attack, it is also great as an emergency heal on any hero however as it heals a crazy 4 points of damage thanks to Elrond's healing boost. I also use it as a sort of pseudo boost at times by attaching it to an already damaged Gimli and then questing with him so that I can heal and ready him in time for the combat phase. One single resource for 4 potential points of healing and a readying effect is crazy good and honestly even when all it does is ready a character which is not very often it is still well worth the single resource as it could be the difference between a hero falling in battle or staying alive. Depending on the quest and my board state I will sometimes use Lembas early on Gimli on Elrond so I've always got an emergency heal and/or readying effect on them if I need it and other times I will keep it in hand until I actually need to specifically heal damage off a hero.
Miruvor is easily one of the most flexible attachments in the entire player card pool! It can ready heroes, it can help with resource smoothing or it can boost and it can even be used multiple times if need be. Now admittedly I NEVER return it to the top of a deck and it is always single use in my decks. This is because you only get one real effect out of Miruvor if you return it to the top of a deck and you also cannot re-use it if you return it to the top of the combat deck as the combat deck cannot generate resources. Nine times out of ten I use Miruvor specifically to give Elrond or Gimli a resource as well as ready them, rarely will I use it on another hero or for another purpose but it does have some other great uses. For example placing it on Legolas or Aragorn can allow them to make an additional attack (or action in general for Aragorn) and then provide the final tactics resource you need to play a specific card the following round that you would not have otherwise been able to play. The willpower boost is not used often but on occasion does help with an important quest phase or push.
Now we come to the last few attachments that do not provide readying and instead fill other roles in the deck. First off is Burning Brand. This attachment will sometimes do nothing for a little while as Elrond may not have readying set up just yet which means he won't be able to both quest and defend in the same round. Although it can be somewhat useless for a little while once it does have an effect on your game state it is incredibly powerful especially if Elrond has Sentinel or is able to defend multiple attacks each turn. Shadow cards as we all know are often the toughest part of a quest both because of their unpredictability as well as the fact that shadow effects themselves are incredibly varied these days and do not just give attack boosts like they once did in the early days. Being able to consistently cancel shadow effects each turn is just ridiculously helpful and can often be the difference between victory and loss. Burning Brand also works well when attached to Gildor Inglorion and to a lesser degree Haldir and either of these allies can be the recipient of the second copy of Elven Mail if it appears. This gives the second copies of both Burning Brand and Elven Mail a purpose if they appear.
Last but certainly not least we have Silver Harp. This attachment is ridiculously good in any Noldor discard deck. You can generate a resource with Arwen's ability, provide some healing via Imladris Caregiver or ready Glorfindel WITHOUT having to discard a card anymore. Now you may WANT to discard a card (Elven Light or Glorfindel) but Silver Harp is optional and what's more by mid to late game you should have at least one Caregiver in play and hopefully have Glorfindel out as well so you will have multiple ways to discard cards anyway. Here is a great example of just how fantastic Silver Harp can be; lets say you have an Imladris Caregiver and both Silver Harps in play and a copy of Elven Light in your hand. You can discard that single copy of Elven Light to generate a resource via Arwen and heal two characters with Imladris Caregiver. So long as you return that copy of Elven Light to hand you can just keep doing this every turn. Silver Harp doesn't just boost the discard engine of this deck as it can also protect against encounter cards that force you to discard cards! Anytime Silver Harp appears I try to get it in play as fast as possible because it is going to provide its benefit pretty much every single turn it is in play even if it is just allowing you to use Arwen's ability every round without having to discard a card.
The single player side quest included in this deck is Gather Information. Gather Information is just such a fantastic fetch card, the ultimate fetch card if you will! Yes you must delay yourself from placing any progress on the main quest for a turn but so long as you can afford to do so the reward far outweighs the cost. Both decks getting to search for any one card is invaluable and can be used to either find a key card that has not yet appeared (Steward, Vilya, Nenya, UC, Gondorian Shield, Gandalf and Treebeard are core examples) or whatever card will help most with your current predicament or situation.
Lastly we get to the allies. To make things simple I am going to break down the role each ally has within the deck:
-Elladan and Elrohir admittedly remain in the decks mainly for thematic and sentimental reasons as they are not exactly powerhouse allies and don't have the best cost to stats ratio when they are unable to perform double duty by readying via engaging Orc enemies. There are plenty of quests that do not feature Orcs or have very few which drastically reduces the usefulness of the twins. Their hero counterparts were a part of my line-up for years so I will always have a soft spot for them as them remain some of my favorite heroes in the game both art and mechanic wise. I simply had to include them in a deck that features their sister and father! All of that being said they can sometimes shine and be a great addition to your forces under the right conditions. First off it is not as hard to get both in play as you may think as there is a ton of card draw and deck manipulation included in this deck as well as side quests that can fetch cards like Gather Information or Send for Aid in the combat deck. If you do get both in play they become very useful for combat having either 3(Elladan) or 3 and 3 (Elrohir). Due to the fact they have 2 as well they are more often than not predominantly questers even when both are in play however if you are playing a quest with Orcs they can potentially quest and participate in combat and become highly efficient and valuable allies. Even without Orcs they can be kept back for combat if you know you will need them and they provide some nice firepower this deck is somewhat lacking in otherwise.
-Firyal is nuts. Think Henamarth Riversong on steroids. She is one of the best allies in the game with her ridiculous effect and 3. She is one of very few thematic concessions I am willing to make in the decks due to her sheer power and usefulness. Getting to look at and discard the top encounter card if you want can protect you against all manner of awful encounter cards or give you some great insight into what is coming your way. If you see some awful treachery, creature or even location that will be especially troublesome or damaging to your current situation you can just.. discard it and skip having to deal with it!!! Even if you don't discard the card you know exactly what is coming and can somewhat prepare, yes there is going to be a second card that is a surprise but you have essentially cut your chances of seeing something awful in half. Getting Firyal out early with Vilya is insanely good as it gives you another level of protection so to speak while you keep building your board state up.
-Galadhrim Healer is such a useful healing ally. She can heal up to a whopping 6 damage thanks to Elrond's universal boost to healing. She heals the full 6 damage more often than you would think as the combat deck often soaks up a ton of archery or direct damage specifically on heroes and Gimli is damaged from defensive duty anyway in preparation for a Healer to clear this damage the following turn. As I am playing two-handed and can see both decks hands at all times strategies like this are easy to pull off. If a copy of Galadhrim Healer winds up in the discard pile you can return it to hand with Orophin and get a second use out of the healing ability! Similarly if the Healer enters play via Vilya or Send for Aid her ability still triggers. While in play the Healer is a decent quester providing 1 or 2 if Faramir is in play boosting her.
-Galadriel's Handmaiden is such an awesome questing ally; 2 cost for 2 and a little threat reduction, yes please! The only downside of this ally is her single point of . These allies often fall to encounter effects that damage all exhausted characters but otherwise they stay in play to the end constantly contributing their . The threat reduction can be used on either deck which is nice and can even help keep a deck just under a specific enemies engagement level if need be especially if used in conjunction with Galadriel's threat reduction. Orophin can also retrive a copy of Galadriel's Handmaiden from the discard pile allowing you to use the threat reduction a second time and giving you another 2 ally.
-Galdor of the Havens boosts the discard mechanic of the deck hugely. Each and every round you discard a card, so more or less every round with this deck especially mid to late game, you get to draw a card. An extra card every single turn is ridiculous and let you draw through your deck very quickly especially when combined with other card draw like Galadriel or Elven Light. The extra card draw alongside Vilya and hopefully Stargazer working away lets you play and draw a ton of cards very quickly. Now ability aside Galdor also has a very nice 2 and 2 which means the turn he enters play he can not only quest but also contribute to taking a foe out thanks to Galadriel. He can be kept back for combat if need be late game or in situations where his is not needed but his main role is as a quester.
-Gildor Inglorion is another great unique ally however his ability is not as useful because you need to exhaust him in order to use it and you want to be using his 3 every turn if possible. His ability is used in rare occasions when I have an expensive card in my hand that I could play for free with Vilya to great effect. When done with an ally that has 3 like Glorfindel or Firyal this makes up for the 3 you lose no longer being able to commit Gildor to the quest. You can also use his ability as well as questing the turn he enters play again thanks to Galadriel! I more or less covered Gildor's potential to be a great defender when discussing various attachments so will not go over this again. He does have 2 as well but honestly between his ability, questing potential and defensive potential he is never really used offensively.
-Glorfindel is an extremely useful ally to the discard/card draw engine. He is a pseudo extra one shot copy of Elven Light as you can freely discard him to Arwen or Imladris Caregiver without consequence as he can be played from the discard pile. He is expensive at 5 resources but all three heroes can pay for him and he can also be played with Vilya for free so he sees play in most games that he appears. Often I will discard him early game to Arwen and then won't play him until late game when I have plenty of resources. At this point I often have plenty of cards and/or card draw going on so can also afford to ready him most rounds if need be for double duty. He has a fantastic 3 and 3 and although he only has 1 he has 4 so he can even defend in a pinch and usually survive. Another somewhat overlooked aspect of Glorfindel is that even if he is destroyed defending an attack or is somehow destroyed or discarded from play in another way he can simply be played again from the discard pile once you have enough resources... sort of puts his cost in perspective, yes he is expensive but he can keep coming back any time he dies! Very thematic given the history of the character! https://i.imgur.com/jEbkOn3.mp4
-Haldir of Lorien is a jack of all trades ally filling a somewhat similar role to Boromir in the other deck. He has lower combat stats than Boromir all round so doesn't hit quite as hard or defend quite so safely but he does make up for this with both the Ranged and Sentinel keywords. Considering the Combat deck engages the vast majority of enemies (except for Shenanigans like Elladan/Elrohir and Bow of the Galadhrim) when possible this is very handy as Haldir can help attack or defend if the combat deck gets overwhelmed. As mentioned earlier Elven Mail and Burning Brand can be played on Haldir making him a much more dependable defender.
-Imladris Caregiver is absolutely key to this decks discard/draw mechanic or 'engine' as well as a main source of healing for both decks. He is also the only source of healing that can affect allies. For these reasons and his decent stats for his cost he is one of only two allies that there are 3 copies of in the deck. The Caregiver provides another outlet for Elven Light if you have both copies in play and want to start recycling both and is a fantastic healer allowing targeted healing on any character. He doesn't need to exhaust to provide healing either so you can quest with him every turn as well and his 2 means he won't die to those nasty 1 damage to all questing/exhausted characters effects prominent in various quests. The only situation in which this ally proves average are the few games where combo pieces do not come together fast enough and I do not have any copies of Elven Light or enough card draw to discard cards in order to provide healing that I desperately need. Even in these situations Galadhrim Healer and Lembas can both still at least heal heroes without any need for discarding cards to do so.
-Imladris Stargazer funnily enough is the key ally to the other core combo or 'engine' of the deck. The Stargazer allows you to stack the top 5 cards of your deck in any order each turn allowing you to play Vilya far more efficiently choosing your targets based on what you need as well as cost (high cost allies are always numero uno when it comes to Vilya targets). The Stargazer can stack any players deck so I will often her to stack the Combat deck a few times per game just to ensure cards drawn from both decks continue to be useful to my game state. If you get both copies out you can stack both decks every turn which is incredibly useful. The main weakness of this ally is her unfortunate 1 but so long as you are careful when playing quests that damage exhausted characters and make sure you exhaust her after the quest phase you are usually safe.
-Master of the Forge is the newest addition to the decks and oh man has he been proving his worth. Master of the Forge is the core card I decided to include in my decks after examining Seastan's 'One Deck' and I am very glad to have done so. In opening hands that you do not see Vilya and/or Nenya a copy of Master of the Forge has a very high likelihood to fetch you at least one or the other on the first turn. You can then play it that same turn thanks to Arwen's resource boost. Even outside of his extremely useful first turn potential he continues to be amazing throughout an entire game. He continually fetches key attachments like UC, Silver Harp, Lembas and Burning Brand and considering with most of these attachments multiple copies are even better (especially UC!) there is very rarely a point that you will ever not want to use his ability except for very late game in quests that drag out forever where you may have drawn the majority or even entirety of the deck (this does happen from time to time) and have all the attachments you need. Like Stargazer Master of the Forge can easily fall to direct damage to exhausted characters due to his single point of . Once he has the first few key attachments out though you can use him more safely after the quest phase.
-Northern Tracker is the one location control card in the decks which honestly I will admit is one of the few clear weaknesses this Fellowship has. The Trackers are so good when utilized early and efficiently that they somewhat overcome this weakness so long as you actually see one when you need him... Vilya and all the card draw helps with this though. The fact that the decks certainly grow in questing power exponentially as the game progresses means that location lock is only ever a threat during a few key turns that I am building up and past that point even without location control I can usually brute force my way through with alone. Late game when you are generating 30+ a handful of locations are not a major threat. So long as they are not those awful 'x where x is the number of characters/allies controlled by the first player' that is , these locations can be troublesome but still very possible to overcome. The tracker has very decent combat stats so can contribute during the combat phase if his progress ability is unnecessary. This also makes him useful in games where location lock or locations in general are not a real threat. To be completely honest if not for the fact that the Northern Trackers are the only form of location control in the decks I would likely swap them out for something else. They serve a purpose however so remain for the meantime until something better comes along. Rhovanion Outrider has been a replacement for this ally at various points in the decks history but for now I have ultimately decided to stick with the Trackers.
-Orophin is the final ally and card included in this deck! He is an odd inclusion considering he is from the leadership sphere but b Elrond can pay for allies from any sphere and because Elrond is also the core target for Arwen's resource boost he can be played fairly easily. His ability to return an ally from the discard pile back to your hand is extremely useful for two reasons; firstly he not only gets an ally back for you but he allows you to get another use out of the enter play abilities of either the Galadrim Healer or Galadriel's Handmaiden, secondly if you have him in your hand and don't really have cards you can afford to discard to Arwen or a Caregiver you can discard a Silvan ally knowing that you can still get it back once you play Orophin. His 2 and 2 with Ranged allows him to help out with combat or questing and once again thanks to Galadriel he can do both on the turn he enters play.
I hope that this extensive breakdown of the cards included and the purpose they serve clearly outlines the way the deck is played and the various combos and strategies it employs to provide an exponentially growing army of questing allies and high amounts of . I also hope this long wall of text was not overly boring for anyone who slogged it all the way through! The deck very much fills the questing and support role for both decks and heavily relies on the other to fill the core combat role for both decks. I will admit that this deck seems somewhat more powerful than the other and would clearly be the better of the two when playing solo, not that either are designed for that purpose at all as they are specifically designed to be played as two decks in tandem. When playing quests that separate the decks into different staging areas the combat deck sometimes struggles to quest relying on gimmicks like Gandalf or Faramir to do so whereas this deck does just fine as it has plenty of allies that are combat capable if need be while also generating a ton of .
These are decks that have evolved and changed over the years based on new releases and constant refinement. Again I must acknowledge that the recent inclusion of two cards in the decks (Treebeard and Master of the Forge) were thanks to inspiration drawn from Seastan's new 'One Deck'. He is a master deck builder and his new deck does the same thing that mine attempt; take on any and every quest without having to include a sideboard or having to rebuild or change the deck/s. Feedback and constructive criticism are very welcome.