The Windlord (Radagast ally redeemed)

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The Wilds of Rhovanion & Ered Mithrin Cycle
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banania 808

Disclaimer: Radagast ally is still not an amazing card. But he's fun to play here!

With Land of Sorrow out I immediately wanted to build a Gwaihir Grey Wanderer deck. I generally use the Grey Wanderer's Action quite agressively in the early game (as I explained in my Fair Ithilien deck) because you obviously need the resources, and that a 1 threat for 2 resources trade-off is totally fine in my book. Most of the time, I would miss on a second effect (because most Heroes are ready during the Planning Phase, and undamaged if they're not your main defender): this would not be the case with Gwaihir, helping you ready him if you somehow did not managed to play an Eagle ally (which is highly unlikely at some point, which is the moment you'd rather heal the poor creature).

Of course, once you've reached a certain point of comfort in the game, you can use the Grey Wanderer's readying in a more useful situation, usually during the Combat Phase, as Gwaihir's Response is capped to 1 per phase. That limit was actually a bit frightening, and an earlier version of my deck used Unexpected Courage as a means to counter that, but I found it unnecessary for most quests. Readying was just fine.

I must say that overall it's a very fun deck to play with lots of micro-decisions about:

This deck never plays twice the same.

Back to deck construction. This is a standard mix of the Eagle decks of old and a Grey Wanderer deck:

Ally Radagast is turned from a quite bad card into a very very decent card in that deck.

  • The 5 resources are still hefty and overcosted, I know, but you can cheat him in play with Timely Aid. Heck, even at a non-Secrecy full cost you're still gaining 1 resource! If timely aid does not come to you, it's highly probable you have a couple of Resourceful to get you there. Grey Wanderer decks are turtle decks, you have time.
  • You get access to his staff, so he could be netting you 3 resources a turn, with you investing only 3 resources if everything goes alright. Ok that's still a two/three-cards combo... but card draw is not an issue here.
  • Once he's in play Gwaihir's Debt is legit.
  • I've never used so much his staff's second ability. Having the possibility to defend twice with an Eagle of the Misty Mountains on steroids is clutch.
  • Alongside the contract itself, he covers a bit of healing (an ability I never used so much also), and healing in a pinch can save the day, saving one of your ally (or your hero) from a bad shadow effect or treachery.
  • He's totally legit to pay for Wilyador's maintenance cost.
  • He's bringing 2 to the questing, and still able to ready a Creature ally with his staff later.

A couple notes on some timing effects, very important because it makes the Vassal of the Windlord, normally the only Eagle that is discarded without you having a choice, actually savable:

  • Technically Action window after step 6.8.2. can also be used to play Born Aloft, Meneldor's Flight (which I don't use in my deck but your are free to do so) or Flight of the Eagles to prevent a Vassal of the Windlord to be discarded. This is due to the nature of the sequencing of resolving attack. In step 6.8.2. you determine STR. Then you have an Action window. At this point, your total is set in stone, and bumping the Vassal back into your hand won't change it. This is the moment to play those 3 effects I mentioned. Then step 6.8.3. you determine combat damage (using the same strength as if the Vassal was still in play). In step 6.8.4. the player attack ends, and normally, the Vassal would be discarded through its Forced effect, which is not the case, now that the card is in your hand.
  • It doesn't work with the Winged Guardian during a defense sequence. However, using Meneldor's Flight during the action window between 3.4 and 3.5 cannot save and Eagle Emissary (Land of Sorrow upcoming expansion). Using the Action window after 6.4.2. (reveal and resolve shadow card) would make the attack undefended, and the Action window after 6.4.3. (determine combat damage) opens up after the Forced effect of the Winged Guardian triggers.
  • This is the same for the Eagle Emissary during the quest phase. If you use the Action window after step 3.3. (staging), you lose your 2 for quest resolution which seems counter-productive (unless you're alright with that choise of course!). The Action window after 3.4. (quest resolution) happens only after the Forced effect of the Eagle Emissary triggers.

Just try it! His overcost is still daunting, but once he's hit the table, you're really glad he's there. Very useful. If he doesn't you're still probably fine (but he showed up in all my games, so I wouldn't know).

I actually tested the deck a bit on solitaire but it's not designed as such and functions better with a questing deck alongside. I will come to that later with a full Fellowship!

17 comments

Aug 17, 2020 TritonWreck 157

This looks like lots of fun and very thematic with eagles flying in and out constantly. I wonder if you can sneak Sneak Attack into the deck. Could be tough finding space for it though.

Aug 17, 2020 banania 808

You can, but remember you're only allowed to play out of sphere non- cards during the Planning Phase, so you would basically play Sneak Attack + Gandalf for his effect (which is something I've done in decks that include both cards, but not something I would include cards for).

Aug 17, 2020 TritonWreck 157

Hm. I thought out of sphere cards could be the first card you played during the round. I never noticed that it also had to be in the planning phase only. Looks like i played another card incorrectly.

I was mainly thinking of using Sneak Attack for the eagles that have effects when they enter and leave play. Don’t think it will be as good now since it won’t be able to also ready Gwahir if it’s in the planning phase.

Aug 17, 2020 Imrahil13 59

Cool deck. I'm sort of a broken record on this point, but I feel like every non-Leadership Gray Wanderer benefits greatly from Song of Kings as its starting attachment, since it gives access to:

  • Steward of Gondor (hugely important for Wanderers, in my experience)
  • As many Timely Aids as you can play a round
  • Sneak Attack, which is incredibly good with Eagles/Gandalf and especially so for Gwaihir hero

I've been doing this in my Gwaihir Gray Wanderer deck (and all of my Gray Wanderer decks). Chirp that sweet Song of Kings, noble Wind-Lord!

Aug 17, 2020 banania 808

Nah you're absolutely right. Actually @TritonWreck comments about Sneak Attack made me realise I might try Song of Kings as a starting attachment in multiplayer, if the other deck is quite quest-able, especially to include Sneak Attack. I don't think Steward of Gondor is really necessary here. Also, sadly, in an Eagle deck, Sneak Attack loses its secondary nicest target (after Gandalf): ally Gwaihir. Can still be used with Descendant of Thorondor and that is always something, especially since it's basically readying Gwaihir and dealing 4 damage to an enemy in the staging area in the process!

Aug 17, 2020 banania 808

As a even-more-multiplayer adaptation, you could go:

The deck would be effectively 53 cards, but with 3 Daeron's Runes that's still ever 50 cards, and the deck would have a lot more card draw. I'd keep a copy of Strider just to slap some easy readying on Gwaihir.

Aug 17, 2020 Imrahil13 59

In multiplayer, i'd bump up to 3x Meneldor. My primary deck is Eagles-based, and I've played through three cycles and the LotR Saga quests in a 3-Player group using it.

Meneldor is easily the MVP card of the Eagles archetype, especially in multiplayer where more locations mean more opportunities to drop progress tokens. I've had Meneldor place over 16 Progress in one quest, and it's not unreasonable to have him place 4-8 progress in one round, especially with the Sneak Attack trick (for which he is an amazing target).

Aug 18, 2020 Yepesnopes 1036

Radagast reads "These resources can be used to pay for Creature cards played from your hand." Therefore he cannot pay the maintenance for Wilyador.

Aug 18, 2020 banania 808

Caleb said otherwise.

Aug 18, 2020 banania 808

Full quote from the designer: "Yes, you can. Wilyador’s effect does not specify a type of resource or that it must be from a hero, so you could spend a resource from Radagast or Treebeard.

Cheers, Caleb"

Aug 19, 2020 banania 808

I have added a few comments on actions windows and boucing eagles timing.

Aug 19, 2020 Xikitins 61

@bananiayou were right. Out of sphere only can be played during planning phase. It is in the card text box, side B. So, sneak attack is not that good for your deck.

Aug 21, 2020 wkufan89 126

Really great deck and a ton of fun to play. This deck is superbly positioned to take on siege and battle quests.

Aug 23, 2020 banania 808

My gf and I are playing the Ered Mithrin cycle these days, and she's playing that deck. With practical experience, probably those 4 cards could be cut out:

Maybe Meneldor's Flight? And increase the number of Meneldor in there as mentioned earlier?

What would be your suggestions?

Aug 24, 2020 Blithe Schlemihl 51

I would always recommend bringing a second one cost attachment in Grey Wanderer decks. That way if you draw Strider in your hand, you can still gain the benefit from the contract and then play Strider round one. Either Dunedain Mark or Warning are easy picks as well as Song of Kings as it was suggested. I can't wait to play this deck!

Aug 26, 2020 TheChad 5591

www.youtube.com Here is a video of this deck in action (and inaction...stupid Sacked!)