Green Anaconda: Head

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Green Anaconda
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The Purple Wizard 373

This is deck three of the Green Anaconda fellowship and functions as the head of the fellowship. The head makes essential strategic decisions about how to trap enemies, who to kill first, what to cancel from the encounter deck, and generally has a part to play in everything the anaconda is up to. While fanged and deadly, the head also needs to be protected, as an enemy striking at the head might prove fatal.

To start with, this is clearly a trap deck. Damrod both discounts traps played and keeps your deck moving with plenty of card draw. The traps themselves help with combat, obviously, but are also essential to the fellowship's questing prowess, as all the decks but Scales have three copies of Emyn Arnen Ranger. The higher-threat enemy you can trap the smoother questing will go. As for the traps themselves, you've got three of everything except for Ambush, which proved to be redundant in play-testing. Ranger Spikes and Forest Snare are usually the MVPs, but the others all have their moments too. Traps can be recycled through Anborn and Erebor Hammersmith. Interrogation, usually a mid-to-late play, can both weaken the encounter deck and tell you what trap to play next.

Thurindir gives you certainty that you can get Scout Ahead in play round one. In some quests it's just impossible to side-quest right away, but with this fellowship you pretty much NEED to clear one as soon as you possibly can. The first one you clear will make life MUCH easier: Halfling Bounder is now useful, Legacy Blade starts powering up to help kill enemies, Thurindir quests harder, and assuming Scout Ahead was the side quest you cleared (rather than a possible encounter deck side quest) you can remove a troublesome card from the deck and set up the next seven encounter deck cards any way you please.

Haldir of Lórien is the fellowship's primary dealer of death and destruction. He's basically the fangs of the anaconda. Ideally, he kills an enemy before it can attack every round. To do this, this deck CANNOT engage enemies. Sometimes this is inescapable, and hopefully you'll have a Guardian of Ithilien or an Erebor Hammersmith ready in these cases to defend, but you'll want to do whatever it takes to prevent this so Haldir can do what he does best and snipe away. Guardian of Ithilien can send one you do get stuck with back into the waiting arms of a trap the next round.

There really isn't any one thing you need to find in your opening hand. Traps will keep your deck moving, so make sure you have at least one of them that you can play right away. Ranger Spikes is usually the most helpful trap in round one to help with both questing and combat so keep an eye out for that. Lembas is a great card to play round one (going on Treebeard). With it, Treebeard can quest for 6 or 7 and almost assure you can clear that side-quest right away, while still being ready for combat. A weapon for Haldir is nice to see too.

Magic Ring was a tough choice to include. On one hand, you don't want to engage anything here and keeping your threat low is rather important to this goal. You also don't have much for threat reduction...just Keen as Lances and a possible Favor of the Valar from Elrond's deck. On the other hand, getting an extra attack out of Haldir could make combat MUCH easier. And in playtesting this deck rarely had any extra money, so the extra resource the ring could give could be a difference-maker. (But don't buy it for the resources, as that will take a few rounds to come out in your favor--and the early rounds are the most essential here. Buy it for the combat action.) If a quest is actively stressing your threat, this may not be the card to play, but if your threat is doing ok this may be a life-saver.

Thror's Map is here because it belongs in the fellowship somewhere and this was the deck that had the best chance of finding it. Very powerful card.