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"It’s a bird!... It’s a plane!... It’s... Wait... Yes, it is a bird..." Dinodas Brandybuck - upon seeing ealges flying over the Brandywine
When I published my take on an eagle deck a few weeks ago, I said I like trying to build "thematic" decks. This IS a thematic deck, we know eagles have a soft spot for hobbits ;) And there are also records showing that hobbits are fond of eagles. Quoting Bilbo explicitly when he was asked his opinion about the eagles:
“I don't know half of them half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of them half as well as they deserve."
But hey! Jokes apart, Hobbits and Eagles! What could possibly go wrong!?
I made this deck after discussing briefly with Wehehe over an old deck of him. The idea behind this deck is to use the many events we have to bounce Eagles and Istaris (or is it Istaries on Eagles?) back and forth to rain death on enemies and control locations. In the mean time a similar deck has been posted by Kelfox (which I will discuss on the sideboard).
You see, the idea of the deck is straight forward. It is a standard eagle deck with the small fun twist of putting Gandalf (or Descendant of Thorondor) in play many times through Sneak Attack and Gwaihir's Debt. Use it to smite down the servants of Sauron! The rather low initial threat allows you to keep enemies in the staging area long enough to bombard them at will. Radagast with A Burning brand is here to help defending. Given him a couple of Crams for panic moments when you cannot chump block or use your Winged Guardians. Merry and a Fast Hitch, assisted by the Eagles will allow you to finish those enemies who are brave (or fool) enough to engage you.
The Flight of the Eagles and Meneldor's Flight are here to get extra uses of Meneldor or Descendant of Thorondor. All this bouncing in an out, or the occasional Valiant Sacrifice of a chump blocker will be rewarded with card drawing and a fatter Eagles of the Misty Mountains.
Although it is not its best use, you can use Meneldor's Flight or Flight of the Eagles to save a Vassal of the Windlord (or a Winged Guardian) from being discarded on this action window you have before the combat is resolved. I have found it useful in early stages of the game, where the only eagle I have been able to put in play is a cheap Vassal of the Windlord, to get rid of low engagement cost enemies, and put the Vassal in play next round again.
Sam is here for the questing, for giving access to leadership resources, but mainly to bring Bill the Pony for free. His ability is not super great in this deck, but it comes in handy some times when you engage an enemy to provide extra 2.
In case of incompatibility, changing Merry for Eowyn and /or Sam for Gildor Inglorion, gives you a similar starting threat but a more powerful deck. Just change the Fast Hitch for another Cram, and Bill the Pony for another A Burning Brand, or Warden of Healing or about anything you like and you are set. The boss killing button of Eowyn is really strong, specially in multiplayer if you pair it with Crams. Also the, card drawing ability of Gildor is typically a better ability for this deck than that of Sam. In this configuration, basically you have the deck posted by Kelfox.
I prefer the version with the hobbits :)
I have to admit that after playing more with the deck, with the Hobbits line up it is better to have 3 Messenger Raven. Otherwise it happens often that one accumulates resources on Sam. It may be better to remove the Valiant Sacrifice to add the ravens and another pipe or cram.
It is a surprisingly good and fun deck in multiplayer.
I confess I have not tried A Shadow of the Past, but it is potentially a good card for this deck to rescue those Eagles of the North discarded as shadow cards.
I hope you enjoy.