|Questlogs using this decklist|
|Journey Along the Anduin - 1 Player - 2020-08-15|
|Fellowships using this decklist|
|None. Self-made deck here.|
|My heart has greatly desired this||12||6||3||2.0|
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Some Sort 2740
And now at last it comes. You will give me the Ring freely! In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!
This deck asks what might have happened had Galadriel chosen differently when Frodo offered her the ring of power.
Galadriel is my favorite potential Grey Wanderer target for a number of reasons. While virtually every hero will grab Strider as their starting attachment (with some minor exceptions for, say, Lord of Morthond), Galadriel has little interest in it at all; not exhausting to commit to the quest is of little value when you can't commit to the quest in the first place, and the +2 willpower bonus lasts a small handful of rounds before the board is overwhelmed with allies anyway.
Instead, she's one of the few heroes who has two ideal targets for the contract: in this case, her ring and her mirror. (Actually there's a third phenomenal starting target, but I don't want to spoil it yet!) If you're playing Grey Wanderer the proper way (where if you draw your desired attachment in your opening hand, the contract fizzles), this is a huge advantage.
Grey Wanderer decks are typically starved for actions, but Galadriel's ability ensures that any allies you play can perform double duty in their first round. There's always a tension with Grey Wanderer between triggering the contract early so you can use the resources immediately or saving it for later in the round so you can benefit from the ready as well, but Galadriel is one of the few heroes who can voluntarily exhaust to great effect during the planning phase, rendering the decision moot (use it immediately and still benefit from both the resources and the ready).
Grey Wanderer lets you start deep in secrecy territory, but using it ramps up your threat and quickly takes you back out again; Galadriel can offset the extra threat from Grey Wanderer entirely and also provides access to Elrond's Counsel if you want to keep your threat really, really low for a long, long time.
Grey Wanderer gives you access to multiple spheres, but with a restriction (no out-of-sphere uniques) and a limitation (only one out-of-sphere card per round, and it must be played first). Because she starts with Nenya, Galadriel has natural access to two spheres, which eliminates a lot of the fiddly parts of the contract where you can't play the cards you want because the order doesn't work out. (The only out-of-sphere card in the deck is Timely Aid; needless to say, this should always be the first card you play every round if it's available.)
Single-hero builds are also typically fairly vulnerable; a single undefended attack can wipe out an entire game. But Galadriel makes tremendous use of the best cheap hit point boost in the game: Ring of Barahir. With Nenya, and The One Ring attaching during setup, Ring of Barahir provides three hit points for a single resource. Add in the Mirror and that jumps to four hit points. Throw in the spoiled-but-not-yet-released Well-preserved (proxied here with Strength and Courage) and Galadriel reaches 9 hit points and gains the strongest repeatable healing effect in the game.
(Well-preserved is the Lore master attachment. It costs 1 resource and adds 1 hit point plus the ability to exhaust the One Ring and raise your threat by one during the planning phase to heal all damage off of the attached character.)
With nine hit points and unlimited healing, Galadriel provides an even greater source of action advantage: the ability to take undefended attacks in lieu of declaring defenses. (For fun during testing, I once optionally engaged the Hill Troll on turn 1 and just ate the undefended attacks for a half-dozen rounds before wiping him out.)
Galadriel doesn't just solve a lot of Grey Wanderer's issues, she solves general deckbuilding issues as well. She ensures you see two cards per round and never get stuck in top-decking hell. With the Mirror and a Silver Harp that rises to three cards per round, one of which you get to select from any of the top ten cards of your deck.
And because you're paying for everything with a single hero, curving the deck's spheres becomes easy; no more question of which hero gets Steward of Gondor or the first Resourceful. Everything goes on Galadriel.
Typically the "sideboard" in my decks contains other ideas I'd had for the deck that got cut during the winnowing process, or neat-but-gimmicky interactions. Here it's more of a true sideboard, a suite of cards to help with quests that are particularly difficult. Knights of the Swan and Vassal of the Windlord can solve Battle Questing issues, while Defender of Rammas and Warrior of Lossarnach handle Seige Questing.
Healing and damage cancellation allies can help heal and/or cancel damage. There are attack cancellation events for quests that feature early engagements or extra-nasty shadow cards, plus Drinking Song for quests where you want to ensure that you get one of your key pieces more quickly (to dig for Ring of Barahir against archery, say).
Golden Belt helps solve a problem I hadn't anticipated: what to do when a quest forces you to take on a restricted attachment (such as the Cave Torch in much of the Dwarrowdelf cycle). Golden Belt lets you pick up that attachment and still make room for a Silver Harp.
Then the rest of the sideboard is other attachments you could possibly run if you wanted to get really silly. With Magic Ring, Necklace of Girion, Palantir, Thror's Map, Thrór's Key, and a Mithril Shirt, Ring of Barahir provides a whopping 10 extra hit points. (Plus the not-yet-released Stone of Elostirion will slot in nicely for an additional HP). You could even dual-wield Daggers of Westernesse for two more hp, but now we're just getting silly.
With 15+ hit points, a flat 1-point damage reduction on each attack, and unlimited healing during every planning phase, you could take a whole raft of undefended attacks or soak a battalion's worth of archery damage and emerge none the worse for wear.
Mulligan-wise I'm typically looking for a Timely Aid or a Resourceful, and you really need an ally you can play on turn 1 or else things will turn ugly quickly. (Galadriel can add 4 willpower, but only if there's a viable questing target for her to boost.) Once you have your Mirror and Harp up and running the rest of the quest is largely a formality, in my experience.
Now, no Grey Wanderer deck will ever be a true "One Deck" candidate and there are some issues that no amount of sideboarding will ever resolve. (Lasting past setup in Escape from Dol Guldor comes to mind.) But outside of mechanical issues that plague any one-hero deck and cannot be overcome, Grey Wanderer Galadriel really shines.