An Unusually Supportive Deck

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Some Sort 1188

DenePoor and Eleanor are both really interesting, underutilized characters. On the surface, their actions seem very situational, but the beauty is that their stat line is perfectly built to take advantage of that situationality.

Eleanor demands that you hold her back from the quest and see if any treacheries reveal; if none show up, (or none are worth canceling), her stat line suggests she should be used for defense.

DeneNoMore's stat line, (and natural sphere match for A Burning Brand) screams "dedicated defender", but if his defense is unnecessary, his ability is perfectly suited to burn unused actions.

Further, both characters have the key "Gondor" trait, making them fantastic targets for a Gondorian Shield.

What's interesting to me is how infrequently they get paired together. I mean, if we already have the Gondorian Shield for one of them, including the other doesn't increase the deck space requirements. And it's not just the shield- many of the cards that work best with DeneCore are the same ones desired by Eleanor. Unexpected Courage for extra readies, Ally Arwen Undómiel for sentinel and extra defense, maybe a Dúnedain Signal or a Dúnedain Warning or Blood of Númenor.

Heck, Spare Hood and Cloak is amazing with the pair, since it thrives on characters with extra actions and both heroes frequently find their services unnecessary in any given round. And it even sets up some fun Arwen jank- put a hood on Arwen and a hood on anyone else. Exhaust Arwen to quest, exhaust your second hooded character to pass her a hood, re-exhaust Arwen to pass a hood back. Without changing the board state at all (except for exhausting the two hoods), you've gotten a second exhaust out of Arwen, which means you can get sentinel on both of your heroes, or else you can stack an extra defense on one of them for an extra-big attack.

Once our basic support setup is established, we need a way to get access to Tactics for our shields. Beregond might seem like a natural choice, given that we already have the shields and a defensive focus, but he is overkill given our already-strong defensive capabilities. I find Thalin to be a better choice since he's boosting our meager offensive capabilities, and he also supports every other hero at the table.

(Plus, Binder Denethor + Thalin + Expecting Mischief is a really fun combo.)

All that remains is filling out the rest of our ally lineup. With a trisphere deck, it's important to keep our cost curve extremely low. With natural access to Lore, Spirit, and Tactics, we can easily toss in the three best Outlands cards. Envoy of Pelargir provides us cheap stats and much-needed resource smoothing. Dúnedain Hunter gets us cheap attack, and with our dedicated defenders we can easily handle whatever he pulls out with him.

Finally, no DeneLore deck is complete without Henamarth Riversong, who might seem redundant, but who actually synergizes beautifully. You can always use the elf's (much cheaper) actions to peek at the top card first before deciding whether it's worth burying. Or you can scry before shadow cards are dealt to see what's coming, then scry a second time after combat to set up for next round's staging.

While your primary defensive heroes are already plenty beefy, the sideboard includes extra defense for particularly nasty quests. It also includes some extra scrying in the form of Palantir and Needful to Know, (which along with The Galadhrim's Greeting doubles as threat reduction to power the Palantir), and a bit of extra cancellation from Hasty Stroke, Out of the Wild, and The Door is Closed!, which are usually too expensive or situational for general inclusion but which can be lifesavers in quests with particularly nasty cancel-or-lose effects.

Overall, the deck is a little light on Willpower to play solo, and a little light on card draw, but since everything is a 3-of and there are no specific combos that you need to build on, it plays very consistently in a multiplayer setting. Your ideal opening-hand target is Ally Arwen so you can start out defending across the table.

Also, given its multiplayer focus, I've tried to keep potential card conflicts to a minimum. Eleanor and Thalin are both relatively rarely played, and Arwen is the only unique. Obviously there are two big potential conflicts in Hero Arwen and The New Hotness, but unfortunately those can't be helped.

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