We Ride Ready

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GrandSpleen 940

The intention of this deck is to provide a significant chunk of willpower, as well as to be able to handle its fair share of combat. It does this by using allies who can quest and then participate in combat on the same turn. It can function in solo or multiplayer, but would fare much better in a multiplayer environment.

Ceorl, Gimli, Glorfindel, Knight of Dale, North Realm Lookout, and Wiglaf all have some means of self-readying or preventing exhaustion while questing, and give more than 1 willpower when questing (except Ceorl, who is 1 willpower). The North Realm Lookout needs an Item attachment to achieve this. He likes Mariner's Compass very much, although he is also a good target for Spare Hood and Cloak in order to provide some flexibility.

Brand son of Bain further boosts the willpower of some of the Dale allies, and provides some card draw (not significant levels, since the draw is combo-dependent, but some). He also allows you to play King of Dale.

Faramir can ready one of the allies who can't ready himself (Guardian of Esgaroth) or allows you to ready one without paying the cost to do so.

Arwen Undómiel is probably the best target for Steward of Gondor. This allows you to get Glorfindel into play more easily, at which point you can discard Elven-light several times per round and use Arwen's extra resources to draw. Without Glorfindel, you can only do one Elven-light per round.

Guardian of Esgaroth is a neat combo with Wild Stallion. On its own, the mount is underwhelming. Attached to the Guardian, the Guardian will get benefits from its own effects and Wild Stallion -- and from Brand. It will have 4 willpower, 3 attack, 3 defense, and 3 HP with one Stallion attached.

Item attachments go on various Dale allies preferably, to improve your draw and because the Dale allies interact well with them.

Alternate version: If you really want to lean into the willpower side of things, swap Faramir for core Aragorn. Add 2x Sword that was Broken and 2x Faramir. You'll remove the 1x Ceorl and 1x Gimli, as well as 1x Spare Hood and Cloak and 1x Hauberk of Mail (or Squire's Helm). Then we call the deck "Ride Ready with Aragorn" and watch the willpower soar. In that version, I give Aragorn the Steward of Gondor to help pay for his own readying (and there are plenty of expensive leadership cards anyway). Arwen can add a resource to Aragorn if needed as well, but typically she will give that to herself. You lose the ally readying of Faramir in trade for a ton of willpower potential by using his ally version and by using core Aragorn with his Sword. You also gain the readying of Aragorn himself, so that's a fair trade. Definitely this version of the deck has more raw power potential (I just like the flavor of the published decklist better).

Alternate version 2: I originally designed this as a side quest deck. For that, take the deck list published here, swap Rhovanion Outrider for Rider of Rohan (you could make a different choice there, if you prefer to keep the location control). The Rider fits right in at this party. Swap Campfire Tales for Dúnedain Message. Remove 1x Spare Hood and Cloak and 1x Hauberk of Mail (or Squire's Helm) and add two side quests. Gather Information and Send for Aid are the best choices, while you could choose either Rally the West or Double Back depending on what you think you will need, or your table will need. You could add all 4 of them and remove a couple of other cards to keep the decklist to 50 cards. I tried that but didn't like it; the deck can struggle to draw cards early on, and you want to keep it trim and functional. Removing certain attachments means removing draw potential due to Brand's presence, and all of the events are already draw events (except A Test of Will), while removing allies lowers your willpower potential. So, 2 side quests is a good compromise.

I did not at all intend for this to be a Dale deck when I started making it. There were so many good Dale allies which slotted well into this deck that it just ended up that way, and then Brand himself filled a very valuable position by supplying both willpower and draw. So, Dale it is! You might also consider running 3x King of Dale instead of the 2x I have here, especially if you're going to give Arwen the Steward of Gondor.