Dunedain Flash Mob

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Ecthelion III 189

Something's wrong with your OCTGN, the Dwarf swarm shouldn't have Dúnedain images... -sappidus

This deck is designed to flood the board with Dunedain (and the occasional Beorning) as quickly as possible. It is strictly a combat deck, and while it can field some degree of willpower in the late game from various allies, it is designed primarily to handle combat in a multiplayer game.

Testing Results

I’m not very eloquent so here’s some flashy data.

Across seven trials, the mean and median of total number of allies [n] and cumulative cost [S] of allies on the table at the end of the combat phase for each turn (up to 6 turns) are reported. One outlier (a lucky game of Foundations of Stone where 9 allies entered play on the first turn due to several A Very Good Tales) skews the mean somewhat, so the median is likely a more reliable measure.

  1. mean n = 2.4 median n = 1.0 mean S = 7.7 median S = 3.0
  2. mean n = 5.6 median n = 5.0 mean S = 15.9 median S = 15.0
  3. mean n = 9.9 median n = 9.0 mean S = 27.9 median S = 24.0
  4. mean n = 14.0 median n = 13.0 mean S = 43.6 median S = 46.0
  5. mean n = 16.0 median n = 16.0 mean S = 50.0 median S = 52.0
  6. mean n = 17.0 median n = 16.0 mean S = 54.0 median S = 55.0

Playing the Deck

Look for Steward of Gondor in your opening hand, but consider keeping a hand without it if it contains one or more A Very Good Tales and allies you can quickly get into play (Ranger of Cardolan is ideal for this). Son of Arnor is particularly good because if there’s an enemy in the staging area during setup, he can grant Amarthiúl a icon for turn 1. Events like Captain's Wisdom and Heed the Dream are also good to see here. Avoid opening hands with too many allies, especially expensive ones.

As a general rule, try to keep somewhere between 2 and 4 enemies engaged with you. Amarthiúl will be collecting 5 resources per round (1 naturally, 1 from his ability, 1 from Denethor, 2 from Steward of Gondor), and between these and Heir of Valandil, you should be able to play 2 to 3 allies per round.

The Cards

Amarthiúl is your key hero; he generates the resources that keep the Dunedain coming. Steward of Gondor should be attached to him, and he should receive Denethor’s resource every round.

Denethor is here for the early-game resources, and he is the only hero who can use Captain's Wisdom. He can also defend in a pinch. If you want to make the deck more thematic, Halbarad is a suitable substitute; while the reduction in resource generation is a handicap, the additional engagement he grants can come in handy.

Beravor is here to draw you cards. She’s not flashy, but she’s powerful; try to use her ability every round. The earliest build of the deck used Erestor instead; Beravor was chosen because she does not require you to discard your hand each round, in exchange for 1 fewer card and the loss of a hero action. Ultimately, in testing, keeping the opening hand proved vital for this deck’s success.

A Very Good Tale is your key engine card and the main element that supercharges the ally swarm. It not only works as pseudo-resource acceleration because allies are being played for free, but also counts as pseudo-card draw as well since it works from the top of your deck rather than requiring you to draw the allies first. With more than half of the deck being allies, it’s very unlikely that this will miss. You want as many copies as possible, as soon as possible.

Tome of Atanatar is to get more uses out of A Very Good Tale. It’s a fantastic event even when you’re paying 2 for it.

Steward of Gondor nets you 2 additional resources per turn, and on Amarthiúl, these can either be or . Look for this in the opening hand.

Heir of Valandil enables a free or almost-free Dunedain ally every turn. You’ll have no problem drawing into allies to play with this, between Beravor and the next card—

Sarn Ford Sentry’s card draw can get into the realm of ridiculous when you have several enemies engaged. Keep in mind that her ability triggers even if she enters play via A Very Good Tale, etc. If you’re playing her from hand, you’ll usually want to use Heir of Valandil since you’re only getting 1 resource per turn, as opposed to 5 / once Amarthiúl is kitted out.

Halbarad is nice because he’s free. Not much else to say here. The second ability doesn’t come into play with this particular deck.

Guardian of Arnor and Fornost Bowman are your key combat allies. They’re absolute value when you have several enemies engaged. Make sure to leave some (at least 2, ideally, perhaps more) engaged with you at the end of each combat phase and don’t kill them all with your bowmen.

Dúnedain Hunter helps you get enemies engaged and can help reduce the cost of the next ally you play if you have Heir of Valandil, making him ideal for the midgame. He can also be a solid first-turn play if you begin with an engaged enemy or have a Son of Arnor to grant , though make sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew. This isn’t usually a problem, however, and having another enemy engaged usually only improves your board state provided it’s not a boss-level enemy. Plus, he lets you remove surging enemies and annoying snipers from the deck.

Ranger of Cardolan is amazing in this deck because if you use his ability to cheat him in for a single resource, he can participate in combat and then exhaust for A Very Good Tale in the refresh phase with his substantial cost of 4. As the game progresses, he’s a good target to play outright with your resources.

Beorning Skin-changer is the third main reason this deck can churn expensive allies out quickly (in addition to A Very Good Tale and the insane resource generation on Amarthiúl and his attachment stack). Beornings will quickly end up in the discard pile from A Very Good Tale and/or Daeron's Runes, and these cheap characters can recur them. They can also quest, soak up archery damage, contribute to A Very Good Tale, or even defend weaker enemies before they transform, so use this to your advantage.

Giant Bear is here to be cheated into play for free. So is Beorn. Note that there are 4 expensive bears and only 3 Beorning Skin-changer, so you’ll probably be paying for 1 at full cost unless you get one into play via A Very Good Tale. Once they’re on the table, you might want to use them for A Very Good Tale because of their high cost. Also note that when you’ve run through your deck (which usually happens around turn 5 or 6), you can use their abilities to shuffle them back in, then draw them and pay them. Since Amarthiúl will be generating 5 resources a turn and won’t have much to spend them on once your deck is gone, you can take advantage of this frequently for pseudo-healing and repeated 8- attacks.

Captain's Wisdom is a solid glue card. Bear in mind that Denethor is the only one who can use this, and that it is a Resource Action, so be sure to use Beravor’s draw during the resource phase.

Daeron's Runes is also a general glue card that can discard duplicate unique attachments and extra Beornings if you have them (since the Beorning Skin-changer can fish them out of discard).

Andrath Guardsman seems to be the weakest card in the deck and should probably be sideboarded depending on the needs of the quest. Other good options include Dúnedain Watcher (for bad shadow effects), The Hammer-stroke (for larger games), Warden of Healing (self-explanatory), Faramir (for general questing help to the other players), or Descendants of Kings (general purpose). In quests where you are forced to engage large enemies, the Andrath Guardsman is nice because you can dodge its attack for a turn while you engage more enemies to boost up your Guardian of Arnors to suitable levels. Do note that his ability does not trigger when entering play from A Very Good Tale.

Weaknesses

Like any aggro deck, growth stops relatively quickly (about turn 6). No encounter deck control is present, so in quests with punishing encounter and shadow cards, be sure to run this deck alongside a deck with cancellation. Likewise, no healing is included since it is generally more efficient to simply play more allies with more hit points to soak up damage, but in longer quests,

Ioreth or Warden of Healing may be strong choices. Finally, as this is a combat deck, it will not be contributing a significant amount of willpower to the quest, even (especially?) on the first turn, so ensure the other decks on the table can handle questing. Once again, I reiterate that this is a multiplayer deck and is not designed for solo play. Instead, play this deck with a friend or two and handle swarms of enemies with ease!

Happy questing!

Ecthelion

2 comments

Jun 07, 2019 Onidsen 842

Glad to see that you've finally got a final version up and published! I'll be looking forward to facing The Black Gate with you running this deck soon. Is this the Black Gate optimized version?

Jun 07, 2019 Ecthelion III 189

@OnidsenAlmost. The Black Gate one will have Faramir, maybe Sword that was Broken, maybe a copy of Doom Hangs Still, and maybe a Distant Stars or two to dig for a Beleaguered Hills.