|Card draw simulator|
Odds: 0% – 0% – 0% more
|Fellowships using this decklist|
|Any Ally, Any Time|
|None. Self-made deck here.|
Some Sort 1133
Traditionally when playing Lord of the Rings, your "economy" consists of two main items: the cards in your hand and the resources on your heroes. So-called "top tier" decks prioritize drawing as many cards as they can while still generating enough resources to play them all. (One could also consider actions and threat as resources, but that's a bit beyond the scope of this point.)
Part of what makes the Noldor Discard mechanic so fresh and fun is that it subverts the entire idea that the cards in your hand represent the options you have at your disposal. Now, every card represents not just that card, but also potential fuel for a discard mechanic. And likewise, any card in your discard pile could potentially serve as an extension of your hand.
This, more than anything, is why Elven-light is perhaps the best card in the game. Yes, paying one resource to draw one card in an endlessly recurrable manner is a powerful enough effect by itself. But Elven-light isn't just netting you one card; by returning itself to your hand, it's netting you two cards, one of which serves as perfect fuel for a future discard effect.
This subversive idea that your discard can possibly be an extension of your hand is not new to the Noldor, however; Caldara has been making a living, (or, one could say, a dying), recycling Spirit allies since she was first released. Going back even further, one of the very first cards we ever got our hands on back in the core set was Stand and Fight.
Stand and Fight is unique among recursive effects, however, in that it explicitly does not limit you solely to your own discard pile. Indeed, in much the same way that Caldara and Elven-light allow you to view your discard pile as an extension of your hand, Stand and Fight allows you to potentially view other people's discard piles as an extension of your deck. (It also is the ultimate in resource-smoothing, turning allies of every color-- but not of no color-- a cool and comfortable shade of blue.) Which opens up some really, really interesting design possibilities.
What do I mean by that? Well, LotR rules dictate that decks be at least 50 cards to be "tournament legal", whatever that means in the context of a co-op game like this. While they can be as large as we want, competitive card gamers know that in order to maximize something called "consistency"-- or how similarly a deck plays from one game to the next-- you need to keep the deck as small and focused as possible. A very well-designed "consistent" deck will post higher winning percentages just because its driver has a much better idea of what to expect.
This creates a natural limit of around 50 cards for deckbuilding. And within that 50-card limit we have to try to cram... everything, really. We need a ton of allies to give us enough willpower, attack, and defense to handle questing and combat. We need attachments to support our allies and heroes and events to protect against the encounter deck. This gives us the engine of what our deck does. And that engine needs to be small and sleek enough that we can fit it inside a big enough framework of card draw and resource acceleration to get the cards payed and played.
It's tough! Avid deckbuilders know that cutting favorite cards can get downright bloody as they transition from a rough draft to a final draft of a decklist. 50 cards is just not a lot of space in which to cram everything we need.
But that's what's so interesting about Stand and Fight. It essentially allows us to outsource our deckbuilding, to simply replace the entire "allies" section of our deck with three events and three to six pieces of event recursion. And that leaves us a lot more room for the rest of the stuff we want to take with us.
That's the idea behind this deck. It includes four allies because they're cheap, have good willpower, and either thin our deck (Bilbo Baggins) or provide a very useful ability (Arwen Undómiel). And that's it. For the rest of our ally needs, we will plunder the tombs of our partners' decks, commanding lost allies to rise from their graves (and rescue our daughter).
And Stand and Fight doesn't just replace paying for allies the "old-fashioned way", it completely supercedes it. As an event, Stand and Fight breaks out beyond the borders of the planning phase, giving us on-demand action advantage. You can block with an ally, let him be destroyed, then immediately stand him back up and have him counterattack. You can bring in characters with "enters play" effects exactly when you want them. If you find yourself a few points of attack short of a big kill, you can solicit around the table for anyone who has an ally with that exact attack value.
After our 4 allies, 3 Stand and Fights, 3 Maps of Earnil, and 3 Dwarven Tombs, we have 37 spots left to devote to... whatever we want, really. So let's stuff our deck as full of card draw and resource acceleration as we can, while still leaving plenty of room for cornerstones like cancellation and action advantage.
Smoothing / Acceleration: Nenya, Good Meal, Resourceful (as well as Elrond's Counsel which, paired with Galadriel and Merry has no problem getting us into Secrecy territory), and Sword-thain, (which makes our Maps cheaper as well as netting another resource a round).
Miscellaneous Powerful Effects: Fast Hitch, Silver Harp, Unexpected Courage, A Test of Will. And, of course, Éowyn so that our partners can keep us fed with a steady stream of allies on demand and we can crush the quest phase.
It winds up being something of a symbiotic relationship; we're borrowing our friends' discard piles to increase our deck space, but they're also using us as resource acceleration, enabling them to get allies into play who they otherwise couldn't afford. And with Arwen around, those resurrected allies can even block for their owners, still.
The sideboard includes extra Willpower if you find you need to quest a bit harder. The Celduin Travelers in particular are phenomenal if you're frequently able to get yourself back down into secrecy. The Galadriel's Handmaidens are helpful if you aren't. Henamarth Riversong can be great if you're struggling to get Spirit Merry working properly, and he can be played without Stand and Fight shenanigans thanks to Nenya.
If you're really shy on resources, A Good Harvest and Steward of Gondor will square you away nicely, though I typically like to leave it out; this is a deck designed to play nicely with others, so you might as well let someone else have it.
If you'd rather play solo, try something more like this instead.