This single-hero spirit Pippin deck beat nightmare Carn Dum

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Seastan 21949

After seeing the recently spoiled Grey Wanderer contract, I wanted to see just how far I could push it.


I think this contract is one of the most interesting and powerful contracts we've received thus far. But how powerful is it? Is it broken?

As an experiment, I wanted to see if this card could be used to make a deck focused around a hero that is widely considered to be one of the worst in the game, Pippin, and beat one of the hardest quests in the with it, Carn Dum. Because if it can, well, the sky's the limit.

Important note: This deck is very highly tuned to beat this specific quest. I do think it could also beat many others, but that has not been tested.

Strategy Overview

This deck features a low-threat, high willpower strategy that is pretty effective against Carn Dum. Thaurdir's Captain side gives all enemies +10 engagement cost, and there's no archery in the quest, so as long as you can keep Thaurdir from flipping you can simply leave enemies up in the staging area and build up your willpower to quest past them.

Once your Outlands army is developed, you can advance to stage 2. At this point Thaurdir flips. If you managed to get a good early game then your threat may still be low enough thanks to The Shirefolk to avoid engaging a few enemies, even with -10 engagement cost from Thaurdir's champion side. Regardless, this is where Pippin shines: simply raise your threat by 3 for each enemy that engages you to push it back to the staging area. Even if you have to push your threat way up into the 40s, it doesn't matter. You will only have to do this once, because on the turn you advance to stage 2, you will pile a ton of damage onto Thaurdir with your Outlands allies and the very next quest phase you will do an all-out quest for the win!

Finer details

"So as long as you can keep Thaurdir from flipping" is easier said than done, right? Well, not so much. In my successful attempt, which was an arduous 16 rounds, not a single Sorcery card got revealed. This is thanks to a combination of The Master Ring and Firyal.

The Master Ring cancels the entire effects of a card as if it were never revealed. This means it avoids Thaurdir's forced effect. Starting with a copy of The Master Ring in hand makes avoiding the first Sorcery trivial. After that, you should have control of Firyal thanks to this deck's aggressive means of getting her into play with A Good Harvest/Timely Aid/A Very Good Tale (remember that The Grey Wanderer does not help you play off-sphere uniques). Once she's in play, you only have to worry about back-to-back Sorceries, and once you find another Master Ring you only need to worry about back-to-back-to-back Sorceries, which essentially means you don't need to worry at all.

I'll also use Firyal/Master Ring to ditch those annoying surging Orc Grunts with 8 engagement cost, which can really mess up your early game if you don't gave a defender yet (though Pippin can buy you a turn or two).

The other thing that can flip Thaurdir is the Daechanar's Will treachery. For this, you still have Firyal/Master Ring, but you also have A Test of Will.

The 1x Ancestral Armor is for late game. If early game didn't go well and you need to clear out some enemies from the staging area before flipping Thaurdir, you can do so with a Warrior of Lossarnach+Ancestral Armor for defense and your Outlands allies for offense. He can also be used to take one of Thaurdir's attacks post-flip.

Will of the West serves three purposes. One, it recycles card you've played like The Shirefolk for another use. Two, it brings back key allies may have had to discard due to A Very Good Tale or some treachery card. Three, it protects you from many of the devastating effects in this scenario like Dark Sorcery or Heavy Curse.

Steed of Imladris

When The Grey Wanderer was first spoiled, players were quick to point out how amazing it works with Strider, to the point of asking why you would ever pick anything different. Well, here is one such case. In fact, any Grey Wanderer deck with a spirit or Noldor starting hero should consider the underplayed Steed of Imladris as their one-cost attachment.

The Grey Wanderer gives you the options of resources, readying, and healing. The only thing it's really missing is card draw. And in spirit, your options there are limited. Steed of Imladris gives you access to Elven-light, so you can convert some of the resources that you generate into cards. The two progress it gives you are comparable to the 2 willpower you'd get get from Strider, assuming you can keep traveling to locations, and outperforms Strider's willpower in instances of location lock or when you have more than 5 characters. The "quests without exhausting" is Strider's main selling point, but when you've already got the ability to ready with Grey Wanderer, how many spirit heroes actually benefit from three actions per round? Pippin here doesn't.

But most of all, it's perfect tech against the Battle of Carn Dum, which starts with an active location that makes the current quest gain battle. Without some way to clear that location, the low-threat-high-willpower strategy comes to a screeching halt.


Nov 30, 2019 bdavis96 81

Community (chants): This hero suck! This hero sucks!

Seastan: Hey guys, watch this...

Community: Woahhhhhhh

Community (chants): We're not worthy! We're not worthy!

Dec 01, 2019 Wandalf the Gizzard 1138

Seastan, you glorious madman, you’ve done it again. Props to you, sir!

Haha! Anyway, clever use of the Master RIng. Did you consider Anfalas Herdsman?

Dec 01, 2019 Seastan 21949

@Wandalf the Gizzard haha thanks!

The herdsman was in an earlier version if the deck but I found that he slowed down the early game and didn't really help that much in late game.

Dec 01, 2019 The Mormegil 1022

Well done mate, another great example why Pippin is not a bad hero just extremely niche.

Dec 01, 2019 SamthemanGamgee 376

New card is spoiled:

seastan: breaks the game

Dec 01, 2019 bdavis96 81

Actually that isn’t a bad idea. It is known that FFG recognizes employees like Caleb Grace with Thalion, so I think it would be awesome to see FFG recognize community members like Seastan with a card. Clearly Seastan’s would have to do with bending the game, not necessarily breaking the game.

Dec 01, 2019 Seastan 21949

Haha I'm flattered but I don't think custom cards around community members are likely to happen.

Dec 01, 2019 bdavis96 81

Although true, it can be fun to dream. I think community members that champion a game by basically spending a lot of volunteer hours promoting sites like cardboard or the rings, ringsdb, octgn, and spending a lot of time posting decks and videos should be recognized (and good for you if you were able to monetize any of that time). FFG has you and ringsdb to thank for another customer to buy all deluxe and AP packs and sign up for preorders as they are announced. When I found the game in 2013 I was only going to buy a core set and The Hobbit saga sets (and later The Lord of the Rings saga sets). When I found ringsdb in 2017, I saw all the fun decks and decided I needed to buy all the cards.

Dec 01, 2019 Seastan 21949

@bdavis96 That's incredible. And yes a lot of my efforts have been supported by my patreon patrons to whom I am eternally grateful. Honestly, I don't know if I'd even be able to design a single card for the game given the chance. I just have so many ideas it would be hard to pick just 1. I'll just be happy as long as they don't shut down A Long-extended Party.