Ain't no Ash Mountain High Enough

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electronjon 53

TL;DR Piloting Instructions: Mulligan for Unexpected Courage to put on Beregond, prioritize Willpower over Attack, use Stand and Fight, Reforged, Map of Earnil, and Dwarven Tomb to get cards into play if they are milled out before you get them in hand. Pelargir Shipwright is, for once, more important than Arwen Undómiel. Stay under 30 threat. This deck is tailored to create shenanigans with Under the Ash Mountains in true solo. Use elsewhere at your own risk.

Concerning Decklists

Yes, I have published a deck. Listen, when you're on a podcast with Seastan and Chad, two of the premiere deckbuilders in the community, there is hardly a need for a third host to pump out decks. Especially when that third host is quite happy to spend his limited gaming time netdecking one of Chris or Chad's very good decks in order to maximize time spent playing the game.

Nevertheless, I had a long time to think about this deck before having a chance to play Under the Ash Mountains. And I think it presents a good solution to that challenge.

In that quest, the encounter deck is consistently discarding 2-4 cards per round from your deck, eliminating any player whose deck is empty. As an added complication, you begin the game with a 5 attack enemy in the staging area that limits progress on the main quest, yet will make an immediate attack once it engages you - All while you are progressing through two 25-point quest stages. These elements make for a challenging quest that requires a particular style of deck that can defend and quest at a high level before the cards run out.

You will notice that there is no card draw in this deck. There is not really a resource engine in this deck. The discard mechanic of the quest is your card draw, and no card costs more than 3 resources.

Jon Made a One Ring Deck?!?!

I've made it no secret that I feel the One Ring as realized in this game is ripe for this kind of abuse. It is, in my opinion, a rare thematic lapse. The proliferation of easy threat reduction combined with the high power levels of the Master-traited cards make it very simple to create a situation like this one. While a Tower of Beregond is nothing new, Beregond with Inner Strength and Unexpected Courage can stall almost any enemy attack and mitigate any threat raise from using the Ring.

The additional threat reduction in this deck has frequently led it to end a 10-round game at a lower threat than its starting threat. All while wielding the One Ring on the fences of Mordor. Saruon, it seems, has been caught napping.

I maintain that the One Ring is a fun toy to have in the sandbox, but I do wish the cost were higher to use it.

The Necessary Cards

Unexpected Courage - Mulligan aggressively for this. Beregond will need it to engage and then stall the Torech Gorgor Patrol.

Pelargir Shipwright - 3 cost for 3 WP? Yes, please. One of these early will ease your use of Glorfindel if you are concerned about threat. Primary target for Stand and Fight.

The Surprisingly Useful Cards

Knight of Belfalas - A solid card on its own, the bonus secondary effect of rescuing another Knight or the Pelargir Shipwright from the discard pile and into your hand is spectacular. This saves your SaF and Dwarven Tomb to recall other cards.

Rider of Rohan - Once you have a side quest in the Victory Display, get one of these out. 2 free WP with 2 attack to help clear an enemy, should you need it.

Everything Else

Everything else, even Light of Valinor and a Reforged Gondorian Shield are just tools at your disposal to call if you need them. Yes, even Arwen Undómiel. I know. That's crazy talk. They're all useful cards, and the various ways you can either play them from hand or recall them from the discard pile will give you options to meet the changing needs of the quest.

Piloting The Deck

Once Beregond is set up with Inner Strength and Unexpected Courage, engage the Patrol. Handle the attack in engagement, ready, then take the attack in combat. You can keep this patrol engaged with you all game if you want. Build your WP, and deal with enemies like the spider if you must.

Unless you absolutely have to bring down additional enemies to clear out the Staging Area, you really won't need to kill more than two or three enemies in a 7-9 round game. Keep one engaged to bounce off of Beregond and lower your threat.

Side quests are an annoyance - while the one that limits damage to enemies is trivial to this deck, the "must travel" one is perhaps the worst. Dunedain Pathfinder is there to help you clear that one more quickly, as the only losses I've had have come from waiting for locations to come into play. The others can generally be quested through in a single round without much concern. I'd recommend targeting whatever side quest you have in play on round 1. It not only reduces the number of cards you will be discarding, it lowers the threat of the Patrol and any other X-threat cards, and makes the Rider of Rohan more useful early.

The quest card disallows event cards from putting discarded cards back into your deck, but says nothing about event or ally cards like Map of Earnil or Galadhrim Weaver. The Map is more generally useful because it also allows additional use out of a Reforged or Stand and Fight. Yes, you're paying 1 extra for that attachment or ally in that situation, but it's a solid play when all other plays go out - so to speak.

It also opens up the Map of Earnil and Dwarven Tomb loop to stuff 3 cards back in the bottom of your deck. It's a late game play, if you think you need an extra turn.

Hidden Cache and Ered Luin Miner are there to be discarded. Should they end up in hand, pitch them to Éowyn in questing. Same with Gondorian Shield and any duplicate unique.

I have won with double Patrols early, I have won with 2 side quests in play, I have won with having the Patrol and Nameless Beast engaged, I have won without Gondorian Shield and Light of Valinor, I've even taken Crumbling Passage twice in consecutive rounds and won. While it is possible to lose, this deck has proved to be resilient to most things Ash Mountains throws at it.

If you want a very specific tool to take the legs right out of this quest, this is your deck.

3 comments

Jun 30, 2020 TritonWreck 131

Playing mono spirit seems the way to go with this quest to play so many cards from your discard. I even used a 58 card deck so that I could seed the discard pile before I started the game. And playing Caldara let me put some discarded allies into play right away. Also threw some Dwarven pipes on heroes and allies to put cards back in the deck. Never thought of Knight Of Belefast, he seems really good here.

Jul 02, 2020 electronjon 53

Knight of Belfalas is ludicrous in this quest. He's usually the second ally out after Pelargir Shipwright, because brings a friend back into hand. That secondary ability means that effectively 15 cards in this deck can get things back from discard. Plenty of opportunity to build your board state while Beregond does chest bumps with the bad guys.

Jul 03, 2020 BardLee4 32

1st it's The One Ring, next it's the Noldor deck at Helm's Deep. I thought I knew you.

And yeah, the Knight is great in a deck that will mill or chump some Gondor allies. Love him in Caldara decks