Killer Solo Leadership

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The Caves of Nibin-Dûm - 1 Player - 2020-03-25
The Caves of Nibin-Dûm - 1 Player - 2020-03-25
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The BGamerJoe 2579

Mono Leadership has long been my least favorite when considering Mono Sphere decks but with the recent release of new cards like Gildor, Ancestral Armor and Hauberk of Mail, I've basically reversed my opinion! I've been playing this deck for a good 3 months and having a ton of fun with it and I've racked up a large quantity of successes including some pretty nasty quests.

Heroes

Gildor is amazing for Leadership. He's kind of boring, but he's amazing. His ability can be compared to playing Valiant Sacrifice every turn (without having to lose a character). His ability is twice as efficient as Rod of the Steward (although Gildor is limited) and it starts in play! His 9 starting threat isn't bad for the solid 3 willpower he contributes. Ideally I like to equip Gildor with Celebrían's Stone, Steward of Gondor and Heir of Mardil so he can eventually quest for 5-6, then ready and contribute his 2 during the combat phase.

I don't use Leadership Aragorn that often, but here the chance to use Sword that was Broken alone makes him worth it. His 5hp give you room for an undefended attack and his action advantage can be useful in select circumstances. I use Aragorn as my primary attacker and give him the Sword of Númenor, Sword that was Broken and possibly a Armored Destrier to make him a backup defender if needed. Once you have a healthy cashflow going, you can easily quest with him and use his ability to stay ready for the combat phase.

Erkenbrand is my man! I've always loved him as a defender and both the Hauberk of Mail and Ancestral Armor have made him even better, especially in a Mono Leadership setting. I like to set up Erkenbrand with a Hauberk of Mail, Armored Destrier, Ancestral Armor and The Day's Rising so he can defend twice for 6 and 7 with shadow protection and make a little money on the side.

Opening Hand

I pretty much mulligan any hand that doesn't have either Galadriel or Steward of Gondor in it. If you can play Galadriel on turn 1, get a sweet attachment like Sword that was Broken or Steward of Gondor into play for free and set up your next 2-3 turns worth of cards entering your hand, you're in a great spot. Seeing some sort defense buff or steed for Erkenbrand along with a lower cost ally is nice as well.

Gandalf

This deck can play Gandalf a lot! Sneak Attack, Tome of Atanatar and Second Breakfast combine to produce storm of Istari wrath. I use him for damage and early card draw, then switch to threat reduction later in the game. This deck hangs out in the 40's most of the time but Gandalf is always just around the corner ready to keep you safe. You can even use Second Breakfast to keep that Gandalf train going with Tome of Atanatar.

Allies

There's a lot of expensive allies here, but they have staying power which is important with no access to spirit cancelation or Lore healing. Gimli, Knight of the White Tower, Redwater Sentry and the Ranger of Cardolan help out with the combat as needed while the cheaper allies tend to quest while boosted by Sword that was Broken and Faramir. Rosie Cotton and Ceorl or both good value for low cost which is welcome in Leadership. After moving a couple Sneak Attacks to the bottom of your deck with Tome of Atanatar, you can play Ranger of Cardolan using his response to shuffle your deck and bring those valuable events further up into your deck again. Once you have a good group of allies on the table, Strength of Arms becomes a very valuable event, giving your a strong quest phase and combat phase with your well rounded allies.

At it's peak this deck can produce 7 resources and draw 3 cards per turn. Most of the cards are fairly "high impact" so you'll build up a hand of cards by the midgame, even with Steward of Gondor pumping out those resources. With Gandalf hitting the table over and over, you're flexible and can play a long game and keep your threat level under control.

Testing

I've played through the entire Harad cycle with this deck. The hard quests were pretty difficult and took a couple attempts, but I beat every quest in the cycle with this deck. This deck can go crazy fairly quickly with a good opening draw. I've also beat the Wilds of Rhovanion Box, The Withered Heath, Roam Across Rhovanion, Mount Gundabad and a bunch of other quests including Siege of Annuminas.

Leadership is on the rise! Give it a try and enjoy!

10 comments

May 17, 2019 Goggen 106

Nice

I'd be interested to hear your toughts regarding Greenwood Archer. They allways seem to find their way into my mono-leadership decks of this kind. As you say finding a couple of good value low cost, allies can be very usefull in leadership, since so much of the rest is high cost high impact. Also they have a very lovely synergy with Sneak Attack if Gandalf hasn't appeared yet.

I'm also a bit surprized you didn't put the Steward of Gondor + Heir of Mardil + Celebrían's Stone on Aragorn. I can see some advantages with your way (it would force you to quest with Aragorn and tie up resources... or loose the benefit from the Celebrían's Stone), but I think I would still prefer to have access to Aragorns 3 (4) twice, than Gildors 2 once. Getting access to the ability on Ceorl would also be a nice perk. Toughts?

May 17, 2019 The BGamerJoe 2579

Thanks @Goggen. I did consider the Greenwood Archer. He's actually just good value for 2 attack. I could replace Ceorl with the Archer but the 1hp makes him a little worse. The ability to Sneak Attack him is worth something but he eventually just got cut. He's a good option though!

I also like putting a couple copies of Knight of Dale into the deck. It spends a lot of time in the 40's so that free readying is nice.

May 18, 2019 Rimogard 182

Awesome deck! I haven’t had the chance to play with Erkenbrand yet, but this deck will give me the chance to do so. I also agree that mono leadership decks are actually pretty viable solo. There are very powerful hero lineups so it’s not only due to the Sneak Attack & Gandalf combo.

May 19, 2019 Seastan 22514

With Tome of Atanatar, Sword that was Broken, and Strength of Arms you are already ripe for an ally swarm. I think shifting some of the attachments over to allies and throwing in 3 copies of A Very Good Tale could be worth considering.

May 19, 2019 The BGamerJoe 2579

Yeah, that could work really well, but I didn't really want a real "swarm deck" here. I'll do some experimenting and see if these heroes can support a swarm. Between Steward, STWB, Remedy and Defense buffs for Erkenbrand, there's not a lot of attachments I'd be thrilled cutting with these 3 heroes. I can cut it down to 16 attachments fairly easily.

May 20, 2019 TheChad 4697

Strength of Arms!! Great card!

May 20, 2019 Seastan 22514

@The BGamerJoeWith Herald of Anórien and Warden of Healing you may be able to just drop the remedies.

May 20, 2019 The BGamerJoe 2579

That’s a good call! I did tweak it into a swarm deck over the weekend and I only tested it once but it filled the board really quickly. ringsdb.com

Burnt through almost the entire deck in 7 turns.

Oct 02, 2019 Mythdracon 1

Why is Rosie Cotton in here without a hobbit hero? Is she good enough without a hobbit hero?

Oct 03, 2019 The BGamerJoe 2579

2 Willpower for 2 cost makes her worth it even without Hobbit heroes. Just a quester!