Ride to the Wilderness
I wanted to make a moderately thematic deck that I could take all he way through the first cycle. As such, the play style of the two decks complement each other, but do not directly interact all that much.
Upon his return from foreign travels, Aragorn has been asked of Gandalf to hunt down Gollum. Knowing that this task would not be an easy one, Aragorn calls on friends and allies from Gondor to lend him their aid, using bonds forged during his time there as Thorongil. At the same time, he scatters several of his Dunedain kinsmen throughout Rhovanian in an effort to pick up any trace of Gollum. The Wood Elves of Lorien and Mirkwood are also aware of the importance of Gollum’s capture and join in the search.
After dispatching Aragorn, Gandalf sent warnings to Theoden King of massing numbers of orcs on Rohan’s northern borders. Calling his son to his side Theoden rode north at the head of his personal Eored, unaware of a disguised shield-maiden riding with them. By steering Rohan’s fury north, Gandalf hoped the Rohirrim would unwittingly help to flush out Gollum and hamper the Enemy’s own efforts at capturing the unfortunate creature. Guided by allied Dunedain rangers, the Eorod set an astonishing speed in their expeditions north, always catching the enemy in outright flight or before they could muster any sufficient resistance.
There are only two real thematic concessions to these decks: the use of ally Gimli and the attaching of Celebrían's Stone on Théodred. I’m afraid that I don’t own Éothain or Warden of Helm's Deep yet, so Gimli really fits into my deck in a unique way, and with Theodred questing every turn, there isn’t a better willpower booster I have yet.
I have played through each scenario of the entire first cycle with these decks (from Passage Through Mirkwood to Return to Mirkwood), doing each one three times, win or lose. I have had a 92% success rate so far, only losing once to Conflict at the Carrock and once to Return to Mirkwood. Carrock beat me by sacking both Legolas and Argalad on the same turn, before eating them both the next turn. This was followed up by two angry Hill Trolls showing up (while the Carrock was the active location), which I just couldn’t beat back as well the four named trolls. I lost to Return when I got Eyes of the Forest and an Attercop on setup, who them munched Theodred. I was able to keep things under control until, during the last quest stage when Rohan got hit with Gollum’s Anguish and threated out, only for the Gollum threat tax to knock out the other deck at the end of the next turn.
All in all, I like the way these two play off each other, and I love it when the game made me imagine the thundering Rohirrim sweeping across the barren hills of Rhovanian, only to come a bit entangled under the eaves of Mirkwood.