Cair Andros Will Not Fall!

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Watcher in the Water 14

About a month ago I started playing through the Heirs of Numenor box solo, fully aware of what I was getting myself into, and I was pleasantly surprised by the first two quests. Meaningful choices, tough decisions, but overall not demoralizing. Then I came to the last quest, The Siege of Cair Andros and the deck that had so valiantly defeated the first two failed me utterly... multiple times. In frustration, I pulled out the strongest deck I have (an Elrond/Vilya deck) and proceeded to beat the quest twice, but I wasn't quite satisfied with that result. I wanted to beat the quest without resorting to just playing an overpowered deck. I watched both Seastan and Mr. Underhill's amazing solo playthroughs of the quest, and that gave me the ideas I needed to produce this: a deck specifically designed to defend Cair Andros no matter how mean the encounter deck tries to be.

Let's start with the problems we have to overcome. Siege of Cair Andros is clearly meant to be beaten with a mono tactics deck. The Master's Malice (deal 3 to anything that isn't the sphere you choose) and Orc Vanguard (you can't spend anything besides tactics resources while in the staging area, yes, you read that right) along with the numerous massive enemies make that very clear. However, if you try to beat this with a mono-tactics deck you will almost invariably run into the issue of The Banks. If you lose The Banks then you will be forced to willpower quest which, in your siege focused mono-tactics deck, will almost certainly equal a game loss. Even with an amazing mono-tactics deck you can still lose The Banks to an unlucky encounter draw so you will never have an incredible winrate. That is what this deck tries and I think succeeds to solve.

The shell is pretty much what you expect. Defender of Cair Andros, Defender of Rammas, and Winged Guardian are your siege questers, we pack Coney in a Trap, Feint, Ranger Spikes, and Fierce Defense to have ways of stopping enemies with the last one being our only way to deal with the Mumak if it shows up (sidenote: boy does it feel good to discard a Mumak with that card, definitely try that if you get a chance). Daeron's Runes is there for obvious reasons, Warden of Healing is if you get a bad archery draw, but he could be replaced if you want, Henamarth Riversong gives you information, Beravor is your draw, Beorn your attack and early defense, and Beregond early questing and late defense. If you manage to save The Banks then the deck should be fairly straight forward to play, with the one little note being that you want to lose The Citadel in order to stay in siege for the last quest stage so take an undefended attack or two at the end of the first stage.

If you don't save The Banks then you have to change your plan slightly. You still want to eventually lose The Citadel, but you also want to stay at stage one for as long as you possibly can drawing cards with Beravor as often as possible. Your goal is to get 2 Protector of Lórien on Beregond, Gandalf, Ithilien Tracker/Radagast's Cunning, and a whole lot of cards in hand. Only progress to stage 2 with a clear staging area. Now, throw everything you have into passing the stage in one turn. Discard 6 cards to the protectors, play Gandalf (to drop threat most likely), use the tracker, and quest with everyone that has even a single point of willpower. This might result in a dead hero from not having enough defense but that should be okay so long as you pass the stage. If given the choice, I will usually lose Beravor since by that point I should have a good boardstate and little need to draw cards. From there, just continue to siege quest until you win! I will fully admit that this quest and deck take some practice to do well with. My record is 7/12 total, but this includes first turn losses to Power of Mordor, and, more importantly, all the games lost trying to build a consistent version of the deck. The heroes stayed the same, but the cards did not. Perhaps a better representation of the deck's strength is that in the last four games which were the ones with the final version of the deck, I didn't lose a single time. And of those four games, I lost The Banks twice and still pulled through both times. I hope you enjoy this little project of mine, and please feel free to ask any questions about the deck or the quest in general as I feel like I know both pretty well by now. May Cair Andros Never Fall!

2 comments

Jan 12, 2020 doomguard 118

my strategy was to save the banks with the help of legolas. with some luck (blade of gondolin or 2 attacks) it worked in the 1. round, but solo it is a good chance to do it in the 2. defender of ramas and winged guardians are essential.

your deck is a nice possibility to give beorn a reason (boromir might be better, but i am sure your version works)

Jan 12, 2020 Watcher in the Water 14

@doomguardBoromir is definitely a good alternative but I've found that Beorn having 5 attack, 10 hits and not exhausting to defend is just a bit more efficient. Perhaps if the deck was instead filled with surging small enemies instead of single big ones, Boromir might get the edge, but being able to defend a battering ram for example on turn 1 has saved me multiple games. The idea of using Legolas is super cool! That never occurred to me. The deck could still probably destroy The Banks with a bad draw, but that definitely lessens the chance.