The Secret Doom of 2-Hero Valour

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Some Sort 1204

Over the life of the game, we've seen the developers dabble with new concepts like secrecy, doom, valour, and in the current cycle, 2-hero decks. The problem is that these concepts each get maybe a dozen cards dedicated, leaving many to complain that rather than a fully-fleshed archetype, they're still a little bit... undercooked. Half-baked, if you will.

What happens if you take four half-baked concepts and smash them all together into a single deck? Say, a two-hero deck that starts in secrecy and then dumps a bunch of doomed to reach Valour within a couple of rounds?

You get a twice-baked deck, of course!

That may make this sound like a joke or gimmick deck, but it's not. I would argue that the key components of any powerful modern build are consistency, draw, and resource acceleration, (with the latter two contributing greatly to the former). And this deck has... rather a lot of all of that. In one game, I saw 33 cards in my first planning phase and ended the round at 36 threat with Galdor of the Havens, Faramir, Gildor Inglorion, Gléowine, two Veterans of Osgiliath, and a Resourceful on the table. Which obviously is something of a best-case scenario but... totally within the realm of possibility.

With Beravor, Daeron's Runes, The Seeing-stone, and Deep Knowledge, you're going to see a lot of cards in your first planning phase. Not to mention the old stand-by Sneak Attack / Gandalf pairing.

How do you play all those cards? Denethor certainly kickstarts your economy, as does Legacy of Númenor. Starting in secrecy grants you steep discounts on several cards provided you haven't played too much doomed yet, and Vanish from Sight lets you regain those discounts no matter how much doomed you play.

Gléowine and Galadhrim Minstrel let you see even more cards; typically it'd be difficult to play a 2-cost Lore Ally in turn one with just one Lore hero, but even without Legacy of Numenor, this deck comes prepared-- Herald of Anórien lets you use two of Denethor's resources to get one of your Lore allies into play.

With your secrecy discounts, Timely Aid can be used to cheaply muster some of the best and most expensive allies in the game, and A Very Good Tale can then take advantage of their expensiveness to pull even more. After your first turn, those expensive allies are easy to pay for thanks to long-term economy boosts from Resourceful and Steward of Gondor. You've effectively got a swarm deck, except you're swarming with some of the best allies in the current card pool.

All of that doom will likely push you up near Valour range very early, which will turn on your Veterans of Osgiliath to deal with the impending engagements. Valour largely serves as icing in the current iteration, though, rather than a core competency. It's a nice bonus for all the threat you're swallowing rather than a foundational concept.

If you'd rather make it more of a core competency, copies of Doom Hangs Still and Hope Rekindled reside in the sideboard. Doom Hangs Still is an amazing card, but while you have a lot of doom, you don't have quite enough to turn on Valour all the time. Playing all of the doomed cards only gets you to 35, with each Herald getting you another two. If you want to rely on Doom Hangs Still, add in a couple Palantirs to get yourself some quick threat without killing off all your tablemates.

You'll spend most of the game living near the edge thanks to your high threat and the paucity of reduction-- your only option to reduce threat yourself is Gandalf, (hopefully paired with Sneak Attack). To that end, the sideboard also contains Favor of the Valar, which is especially useful in quests that will try to raise your threat, too.

Keys of Orthanc might seem like a natural fit with all of the doomed cards in play, but you'll be playing most of them in your opening round, and few after that. As a result, it might only net two or three resources over the course of the entire game, which lags well behind Resourceful and Steward. You can always include it and hand it across the table to ease the sting of all the doomed you're playing.

Speaking of playing across the table-- this deck plays just fine solo, but if you're going to pair with someone else, make sure they have low starting threat and/or plenty of threat reduction, because you're going to be raising theirs a lot. Don't feel too bad for them, because they'll get plenty out of it in the bargain, though-- Deep Knowledge and Legacy of Numenor make for explosive openings for your partners just as much as for you.

1 comments

Jun 21, 2016 Beorn 3687

Nice deck. It is always good to see one copy of Steward (as opposed to the usual 3) in a deck list.