How About Some Cheese To Go With That Gleowine?

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Elves Age Like Fine Gleowine 4 1 0 1.0
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Some Sort 2325

Some Sort has a newer deck inspired by this one: Elves Age Like Fine Gleowine

The new Messenger of the King contract limits the chosen ally from readying more than once per phase. This seems clearly put in place to prevent players from getting silly with Faramir, since way back in the core set days the developers were naive and didn't yet realize the need to put "once per round" or "once per phase" on cards with awesome abilities to prevent us from breaking the game.

But Faramir isn't the only bananas-good core-set ally, and this "restriction" is still totally abusable with (MotK) Gléowine! There are seven phases in a round, which means with enough readying Gleowine can get you seven cards a round. That seems like a lot. Let's do it.

The biggest issue is getting Gleowine six repeatable readies a round. Unexpected Courage obviously gets us halfway there. But that's the only repeatable readying effect in the game without severe restrictions, which is why it's such a staple.

Fast Hitch won't work because Gleowine's not a Hobbit. Similarly, Erebor Record Keeper would be great if Gleowine was a Dwarf. Rohan Warhorse and Armored Destrier both give a ready but require an exhaust, which defeats the purpose. Cram, Lembas, Éomund, and Westfold Horse-Breaker take a ton of effort and deck space to recur.

Heir of Mardil and Steward of Gondor is a possibility, but it requires card combos and forces us into tri-sphere and gets greedy with an in-demand unique and only gets us one ready.

Snowmane is a possibility if we have some way to quest with Gleowine without exhausting (Steed of the Mark or Elf-friend plus Light of Valinor), but now we're getting into some high-level jank, and we're dependent on questing successfully, and we're still only getting one ready out of it.

Leather Boots is a good possibility but it's dependent on the encounter deck actually throwing out a location and still only gets us one more ready.

Magic Ring is a fantastic on-demand repeatable ready, but it's a bit rough on the threat dial and with a limit of one per deck can get a bit inconsistent.

You can use Spare Hood and Cloak to ready Gleowine and then Long Lake Trader to move them back, but now you're burning two ally exhausts (per Cloak!) for one ready. Not to mention having to get all those pieces in the first place. I mean, there's Jank and there's Jank Jank.

So that's pretty much everything, I guess there's not another piece of self-contained unrestricted repeatable readying in the card pool, oh well, guess we gotta go home noI'M JUST KIDDING WE'VE GOT MIRUVOR!!!!

Miruvor is one of my favorite cards ever because it's a little bit underpowered, but what it lacks in power it makes up for in flexibility. Other than Gandalf I'm not sure there's a more flexible card in the pool. At its most basic it's resource-smoothing and action advantage, two of the most desired effects, especially in the early game.

Its Willpower boost is also noteworthy as one of three on-demand WP boosts that lasts for an entire round instead of just one phase (the others: Durin's Song and Lords of the Eldar, both of which are trait-restricted). This is cool if you want to, say, pair a high-WP hero with Herugrim and double-dip on all willpower boosts, or use (MotK) Rosie Cotton in two different phases.

And, of course, its "put on top of the deck" choice is totally unique, rendering it the only card in the pool that can infinitely recur itself. ("Play from your discard" cards are close, but you need a way to get them into your discard in the first place. I suppose Glorfindel can play from your hand as easily as from your discard, so maybe make that two self-recurring cards.)

Normally "put on the top of the deck" is the weakest of the four choices because it secretly costs you your next draw, which is an expensive cost. And if you're burning three Miruvors a round you're losing three draws a round. Which is a lot!

Unless you have Erestor, that is. In which case three draws per round ain't no thing, and cycling Miruvor means never decking yourself.

So here's a Gleowine / Erestor deck that empties itself out and then uses Unexpected Courage and recycled Miruvors to give any partner decks seven extra cards per round. Whee.

The most important cards to get into play as you zoom through your deck are obviously the Miruvors and Unexpected Courages, but also two Songs of Travel so you can afford the Miruvor recycling. If you lose one, that's no big deal, just don't lose two. A pair of Galadhrim Weavers are included as panic buttons if you're forced to discard one of your go-to attachments. Some Reforgeds are in the sideboard for a similar reason.

Resourceful helps pay for your end-game card cycling, but you need to hit an Elrond's Counsel first to get the discount. The Counsel is a fantastic card to see in your opening hand as a result.

Lords of the Eldar and Glorfindel give you things to play other than Miruvors once you've decked yourself. They're good. Lords of the Eldar also ensures that Sailor of Lune is always turned on (and boosts him in the process).

Other than Resourceful, Love of Tales is a top-tier resource-generation engine here with six zero-cost songs to trigger it (The Road Goes Ever On and Drinking Song), as well as those Songs of Travel that you were going to play anyway. They'll probably only get you three or four extra resources, but they play for free and "too many cards to play / not enough resources to play them" is by far the biggest struggle for Erestor decks, so those 3-4 resources are a huge deal.

And of course Arwen Undómiel is the jelly to Erestor's peanut butter, turning cards you couldn't play anyway into resources and giving you a late-game discard mechanism for that Lords of the Eldar.

Drinking Song isn't just free fuel for Love of Tales, it's a phenomenal card to see in your opening hand not just to quickly find you your key pieces, but also to shuffle them back into your deck if you can't afford them yet. Playing it without a unique hobbit means you'll always wind up down a card (a 7-card hand with Drinking Song turns into a 6-card hand without Drinking Song), but this actually is fine because I rarely find myself playing Erestor and sad because I don't have enough cards. (If I do, this is the kind of problem Gleowine can do something about.)

I've also added some sidequests since I was running The Road Goes Ever On anyway; they play for free and you're free to ignore them if you can't afford to stall progress. If you do explore one, Halfling Bounder is like A Test of Will except you don't need to worry about Erestor discarding it before you need it. Also the Legacy Blades in the sideboard play for free and get kind of silly if you're actually completing those sidequests.

There's some other decent allies so you're contributing something other than just draw, but you'll really want a partner deck to help you pull weight. Also the whole point is emptying your deck quickly so if you're playing solo Gleowine's seven actions a round are kind of pointless. Make friends!

As with all Erestor decks, the mulligan is tricky; for the most part you're more worried about getting TOO MANY key cards than you are about getting TOO FEW. Far and away the most welcome sights are Love of Tales and Elrond's Counsel, which play for free and turn on your resource generation engines, and Drinking Song, which lets you dig for more pieces and simulataneously save pieces from discard.

A Good Harvest is another good opening-hand play since you can drop it before a Drinking Song just to make sure you're not overwhelmed with cards and help play anything you do see. Always name "Spirit", since your can't-miss cards are all there.

Otherwise it's pretty straightforward, speed through your deck as quickly as possible, reach a stable end-state, and then help the entire table draw through their entire decks and drop a Lords of the Eldar every round to hulk out any elves that hit the table.

As a fun sideboard option I've added Steward of Gondor (as well as those Reforgeds to help get it into play and also protect against losing your readying effects). With Steward, you can afford to cycle Lords of the Eldar a second time (or even a third time if you bypass the Miruvors), which gets kind of insane. It feels a bit greedy, but it's good.

Oh yeah! And what about Brok Ironfist?! He's... ummm... not actually in the deck. Gleowine counts as one of the cards in the deck for accounting purposes, but RingsDB doesn't include him in the tally, so I added everyone's favorite dwarf to get me up to 50 cards for publishing purposes. Welcome to the show, big fella! Now back in the binder you go.

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