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|Cirdan's Support Group||11||6||13||1.0|
I made a deck a few months back called Cirdan's Support Group that was designed to recur Reinforcements in multiplayer games for big momentum swings. It was quite powerful but took a few turns to set up, turns that you could often afford with the right partners in that setting. I said I'd try to make a solo version of that deck too but found that solo rarely allows you those turns to set up. After MANY revisions and MUCH playtesting (the entire Heirs of Numenor and Voice of Isengard boxes and cycles) this is what I've wound up with for solo play. It's a much more efficient deck and probably better overall than the last one, but you could never bring this to an unplanned three or four player game with all the uniques it requires. But it's excellent in solo and with the right partner deck it should work well for a two player game.
Each game with this has been fun because the deck has the power to defeat almost anything it faces but often you have to hit upon the right strategy to do so. I rarely play it the same way twice! And thus there isn't any one specific card I'm always looking for in my first hand. Galadriel is usually a good first round buy no matter the situation, so if I see her I'm usually inclined to keep the hand, but I've never actually mulliganed looking for her. King Under the Mountain, Gandalf, and Sneak Attack are other good cards to see right away. Beyond that, it's really up to what you need for that specific quest. You can't manage this deck on autopilot, which is part of what I like about it.
Because of that, it's hard to give out a "how to play" tutorial on the deck. Steward goes on Cirdan and the rest of the attachments are pretty self-explanatory. Arwen Undómiel, Erestor, Gimli, Glorfindel, and Orophin are all there to solidify your board state and are great buys when you can afford them. (Orophin might seem like a funny choice here but his ability to quest and/or attack make him a better option than a cheaper ally who only does one of the two.) I typically have to rely on sneak attacks and reinforcements with Gandalf and/or Beorn to kill anything in the early parts of games, so until that's set up I try not to engage anything I don't need to.
Unlike the multiplayer version this was based on, this deck uses Will of the West to recycle the deck rather than Tome of Atanatar to recur it. In solo games trying to play Reinforcements every round was simply overkill, and surviving the early game was more important than having a big play every round at the end of a game you were likely already in control of since you'd made it that far! If a particular quest calls for recurrence instead the tools for that are in the sideboard, just in case. You can read the other deck's notes for the specifics on how.
It's taken me many versions to arrive at this version of the deck that I actually like. A big thanks to The BGamerJoe for his assistance in working through some previous versions of this deck. You can see his article on that process here. https://lotrdecktest.wordpress.com/2018/04/26/deck-53-cirdans-support-group/ He arrived at a different version of this than I have and it's worth a look. The biggest changes I've made since then were supporting Denethor with attachments, bringing in sturdier allies, and the above-mentioned switching from recurring to recycling. Much of that is thanks to his analysis so go check it out. Thanks, Joe!
I feel very solid about most of this deck now, but if I were to swap anything out the on-the-bubble cards are Orophin, Squire of the Citadel, Captain's Wisdom, and the 3rd copy of Silver Harp. I had Magic Ring in for a long time but found I rarely used it. Legacy of Númenor could be a great card for certain quests but I found the doomed 4 had me engaging rough enemies too early in some cases, so on the sideboard it sits.
I don't play solo very often so it took me a while to feel comfortable with this, but I really like what I've got here. It's challenging, fun, powerful, flexible, and never the same. Good luck and happy questing!