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Here is my solo-approved Dunedain trap deck!
I came into the game during the Ringmaker cycle and took a break after that, finding myself grabbing the whole Lost Realm cycle in one go. Ever since then, Dunedain has been one of my favorite deck types due to its fun-to-play nature and theme. I've been grinding this deck against the Rhovanion cycle, and a few people have asked to see it so I thought I'd fling it here on RingsDB for your viewing pleasure. Let's start with a few common questions and move on to some card choices:
1) Is this deck solo-viable?
Yes! I play almost exclusively solo, so if a deck can't be played true solo I don't play it.
2) Does this deck use any of the typical "crutches"?
Sort of. Tactics Eowyn is pretty key for the major weakness of the Dunedain decktype: early willpower. But, I don't use Steward of Gondor or Sneak/Gandalf. If I was going for maximum power, I would add Sneaky Gandalf, and Steward never hurts, but it's curved such that you don't need it.
3) How does this deck cover the game's bases: Defending, Questing, Attacking?
Your defenders are Amarthiul, but only in the early game. You'll rely on Ranger Spikes and Guardians of Arnor in the later game, with Outmatched being an AMAZING card to boost your defense. It's basically double your best defender, and since your best defender is usually a 5+ DEF Guardian, that's pretty sweet.
You often don't need to attack, but if you do, Amarthiul/Fornost Bowman is usually enough. Other allies like Halbarad and the Rangers of Cardolan can chip in, with Damrod's 2 ATT not being awful and of course the Eowyn stand taking care of most emergencies.
Questing is Eowyn/Damrod early and other allies adding later: Emyn Arnen Rangers and Sarn Ford Sentries add a lot, with Rangers and Halbarad usually throwing in their own willpower. Don't discount the value that Followed adds in terms of willpower--2-3 for one tactics resource is GREAT! Pseudo-questing is also added by Wait no Longer and things like Ranger Spikes. It won't top out at 30+ willpower or anything, but you can keep the quest moving.
1) Why do you have only 2 of this particular great card?
Good question. I find that decks with lots of draw can usually benefit from more different cards at 2x than any particular card at 1x. In the most recent CotR podcast, Chad was saying he runs 2 Quickbeams and 1 other lore ally since having both in play beats having a duplicate Quickbeam. Obviously there's not any Quickbeams in here, but if I had a deck with Quickbeam I'd run 1x to make two other deckslots! I want to run 3 of a card if I want to open with it in my hand, 2 if I want to draw it, and 1 if it's a bonus. I'll run 2 if I want to see it early but if the second one is not as helpful. So, with that philosophy in mind:
Emyn Arnen Ranger: A great quester! But you can't reduce it with Heir of Valandil and your Lore resource can get stretched. It's also not great turn one when you don't have anything trapped.
Master of the Forge: Amazing draw! But you can't play him till turn two and the second and third copies are pretty redundant. With other effects like Damrod and Sarn Ford Sentry, you usually have more cards than you have resources to play them. (Steward would help with this) Bear in mind that Damrod draws when any trap is attached, not just the first one each round. That helps keep the deck moving quite a bit.
Forest Snare: Expensive but great! Outmatched does 80-90% of what this does for much cheaper, so you don't really need three of it.
Fornost Bowman: If you need to clear an enemy, you usually can. So by the time you need to attack something, a Bowman has showed up.
2) Why did you include this particular card that I might not have included myself?
Wait no Longer: I really like this for a few aspects. First, fun. This is a fun card. Second, pseudo-questing. Third, it combos amazingly well with Followed and Outmatched. You also don't have a ton of Tactics options so this is usually not that expensive. It can whiff, sure, but oh well.
Ancestral Armor: This is a fantastic card, especially for the Rhovanion cycle. Since that cycle makes you have a big defender, dropping this on your Guardians makes them further impenetrable and putting on Amarthiul makes you feel safe. I highly recommend it. You also usually have enough Leadership resources since you're doubling up on Amarthiul's resource gain each turn. It's way, way better than Marks, I think.
Keep Watch: If you're not attuned to the power of certain sidequests yet, I highly recommend you try this one. Just great.
3) Why did you not include this particular card that I recommend you include after looking at your decklist for 30 seconds?
Armored Destrier: While shadow cancel is good, I found I didn't want to defend with Amarthiul that much and that Ancestral Armor was almost always superior.
Secret Vigil: I don't like this card that much, though the value grows in multiplayer. If I'm facing a quest that needs threat reduction, I'll swap in Sneak/Gandalf for the Descendants of Kings and the Rangers of Cardolan.
Thalion: This likely should go in for 1 of the Rangers of Cardolan. You got me!
ORDER OF PLAY:
Look for a Trap in your opening hand. Keep it if you have either Master of the Forge, with Heir of Valandil being something else you want to see early.
Turn One: Quest with Damrod/Eowyn. Play a trap if you can!
Turn Two: Use the trapped enemy from Turn One to bootstrap your engine! If you don't have an enemy yet, that's great! Don't be afraid to quest with your 1 Will allies like Bowmen and such early. Look to drop a Followed/Outmatched here and hopefully have one other questing ally in play.
Turn Three: If you can hang on to turn three, your engine should catch up with and pass the encounter deck. Once you've got a Guardian of Arnor down with 2 engaged/trapped enemies, it's really hard to beat you. Enjoy!
Let me know if you have any questions!
PS: I've beaten a lot of quests with this, including Road to Isengard NM, Fire in the Night, Mount Gundabad, Stewards Fear Easy Mode, Black Serpent, and many other easier quests. It's very good against enemy-heavy quests and suffers a bit against Threat-Ramp quests or ones with No Attachment enemies (like Shadow of the Past). Have fun!