This is an Hour of Wrath deck that is potentially devastating even outside Valour (by devastating, I mean unlimited board-cleaning, including the boards of fellow players). It offers potent targets for Hour of Wrath, including a capable hero lineup (which, curiously, is a first on ringsdb) and unlimited responses to destroying enemies. Depending on the targets of Hour of Wrath, you get :
- The Hasty : This is the get-out-of-jail free card. Éowyn stands and destroys all enemies engaged with you. Not too shabby, but not the best.
- The Unlikely : Starring Merry. In addition to enabling Good Meal to halve the cost of Hour of Wrath, Merry combines with Legolas to kill engaged enemies. Each time an enemy is destroyed, Legolas stands and draws you a card. If Merry has Blade of Gondolin, each destroyed enemy produces progress tokens. This becomes significant quite quickly: 3 enemies killed with 2 Blade of Gondolin will yield 6 progress tokens. decks don’t refuse that.
- The Vacuum Cleaner : Aragorn, buffed up by Support of the Eagles and/or Blade of Gondolin, enters killing spree mode : kill, engage, kill, engage, etc. With just 1 Support of the Eagles and 1 Vassal of the Windlord, Aragorn essentially hits for 7 (taking his defense reducer into account) which is 1 shy of the magic 8 number. The number keeps mounting from the moment Eagles of the Misty Mountains comes into play. My personal record in solo play was against Nightmare Into the Pit when an Aragorn with 2 Support of the Eagles defended and killed 2 Patrol Leaders (4 , 3 , 4 HP) and 4 Patrol Sentries (4 , 3 , 5 HP) in one phase, all by himself. I think that was the first time I saw the encounter deck raise the white flag.
- The Closer : Valour time ! Aragorn and Merry team up to engage and kill all enemies on the table with the help of Legolas. Each time an enemy is destroyed, Merry stands Legolas who draws you a card, and Blade of Gondolin produces progress tokens. Bonus style points if you get into valour by triggering Éowyn, who also gets to join in on the fun.
The strategy is all about setting up the moment when you push the atomic bomb button. Optimally, you start an Aragorn loop with only 1 engaged enemy in order to limit defensive duties. The low starting threat (24 with Éowyn setup ability) helps, but the deck wouldn’t mind some help from a Dúnedain-type engagement deck that can distract enemies, although it can still defend itself pretty well thanks to Defender of Rammas and Winged Guardian. To get the one enemy that gets Aragorn going, you may use Wait no Longer.
Starting hand: Look for card draw, i.e., Foe-hammer and a weapon, or Legolas, then economy (Hope Rekindled, Good Meal, Proud Hunters), then chump allies (try to keep cheap eagles in play to feed Eagles of the Misty Mountains later).
Soloability: The deck gets better with the number of players, but it can also hold its own in solo play. Thanks to Éowyn and a balanced mix of allies, the deck can quest reasonably well, and Wait no Longer can help close out a game by avoiding adding threat to the staging area. To give an idea, I am currently 4 out of 6 against Into the Pit Nightmare (location-locked in both defeats), and 4 out of 4 against 7th Level Nightmare.
Sideboarding: Depending on the scenario, you might want to swap out Support of the Eagles and/or Blade of Gondolin for other weapons. I like Support of the Eagles because it is not restricted and is an easy +3 or +4 .