MoD #6 - Dain Reinforces

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Some Sort 2742

This is Deck #6 in my "Musings on Dáin" series. See the first deck for more details about the project.


Our first deck was just a basic, bog-standard Dáin deck. Our second deck took that formula and stripped it down to the bare minimum. Our third deck took that formula and cranked it up to its maximum.

Deck 4 aimed to show that Dain was powerful even when you were doing something else that wasn't dwarf-related. Deck 5 demonstrated that Dain was powerful even when you were doing nothing else in particular.

By Deck 6 I'm really starting to get bored with everything being all about Dain, so as a change of pace I decided to just dump Dain into an old deck engine that I enjoyed playing. In this case, Reinforcements Recursion.

The basic idea of Reinforcements Recursion is that Sneak Attack + Gandalf is one of the most fun plays in the entire card pool, and Reinforcements lets you do that, except you can put Gandalf into play under ANYONE's control, meaning you can give 3 cards or drop 5 threat for anyone at the table at any time. It's so good.

And then while you're at it you can also bring in another ally from anyone's hand onto anyone's board. Reinforcements is perhaps my favorite card in the entire pool because it's easily the most collaborative card in the entire pool. The amount of possibilities with each play is mind-boggling. And then you get to the recursion part and start playing it round after round after round after round.

Arguably no card gives you so many different distinct decision points when you play it. And since at the end of the day it's all just the OG "Sneak Attack + Gandalf" combo, it's still really powerful.

There's an infinite loop in here, but for the most part you can ignore it. As you zoom through your deck you already have 3x Sneak Attack + 3x Reinforcements + 3x Tome of Atanatar to recur them (potentially twice each) + 3x Erebor Hammersmith to recur the Tome. You can get a ton of plays without resorting to any shenanigans.

If you want to know the shenanigans, this decklist goes into them in great detail.


After I dropped Dain into my Reinforcements deck, something interesting happened. To this point I'd spent so much time thinking of Dain strictly as a bundle of traits and mechanics and so little time thinking of Dain as a distinct character in the Tolkien universe. The only time we see Dain directly in the books is... when he shows up at the Battle of Five Armies to reinforce his cousin, Thorin Oakenshield. And here I happen to have found myself entirely by accident playing a Dain Reinforcements deck across the table from Thorin's Company.

What started as a mechanically interesting deckbuild quickly morphed into a thematically interesting deckbuild as I attempted to recreate Dain's lone appearance in the books. When Thorin's Company is besieged, Dáin and his dwarven army arrives along with Thranduil and the Silvans, the men of Dale, the eagles, Beorn, and of course Gandalf.

(Also apparently Elrond was there along with some random Gondorians, presumably with the direct blessing of Denethor. If you didn't know that maybe read the appendices sometime.)

(No, seriously, if the theme-immersion there bugs you, swap them out for some more thematically-appropriate allies from the sideboard, they're only there to boost the Reinforcement Recursion shenanigans.)

(Also, if you really want to go full nails-on-chalkboard for the book purists, make sure at least once during the game you use Reinforcements to bring in Beorn and Meneldor, then trigger Beorn's action to turn him into Bear Mode to recreate the single most significant scene of the entire battle.)

(That's probably enough parenthetical asides.)

The most interesting part of this deckbuild was how much the mechanics lent themselves to the theme, and then-- without even meaning to-- how much the theme reinforced the mechanics. Because Thranduil + The Elvenking is actually really good with Reinforcement shenanigans.

He lets you recur the Galadhrim Weavers without having to burn one of your Reinforcement slots on them, and he also gives you a lot more flexibility on your Silvan allies (you can bounce them back to hand when you want to Reinforce them and then pay them back into play when you want them to stick around).

Because of the serendipity, I can say without qualification that this was the most fun deck to build in the entire series. There were just so many fun interactions to be discovered entirely by accident. If the entire Musings on Dain series resulted in nothing interesting except for this, I would still consider it worthwhile.

6 comments

Dec 21, 2020 kjeld 43

Love the thematic discovery -- super cool reminder of why this is such a great game!

Dec 22, 2020 ira212 160

Cool deck idea! In search of this fabled Musings on Dain first deck, I also looked at Konami Code, which was fun too. But I don’t know where to find the musings on Dain, and I’d enjoy reading what you wrote and/or made! :)

Dec 22, 2020 Some Sort 2742

@ira212 I’m marking all of my Musings on Dain decks with “MoD”. They should all be at the top of my deck list, viewable here.

Dec 22, 2020 ira212 160

Awesome, thanks! :) Now I'm just trying to come up with a deck for The End Comes, to accept your level 9 jank challenge... :)

Dec 22, 2020 doomguard 651

i think its worth to say, that dain was only half as good if he has no bifur at his side, that makes 2poit-allies so much easier to play.

massive defense with dain and thranduil. its again really intheme to the battleof 5 armies that they do best questing siege (at the start)

1 point is a thorn in the side of every theme-player... it needs the steward to burn hot. afar from that, very nice deck and describtion

Dec 22, 2020 Some Sort 2742

@doomguard Yeah, with Steward of Gondor and the Errand-riders you can play Reinforcements twice per round (which requires six resources, but additionally requires that they be spread evenly among all three heroes). And Elrond isn't thematic, but he's such a good target for Reinforcements (massive healing or condition removal if you need it, card draw for the whole table if you don't).

But the deck is totally playable even without those concessions. Miner of the Iron Hills can provide thematic condition removal if you need it, Galadhrim Healer handles the healing, Gandalf of course has the draw. You just lose out on the second Reinforcements every round. But since you can use Thranduil + Elvenking + Galadhrim Weaver to loop cards once your deck is empty (rather than relying on Reinforcements to bring the Weaver in), you could just downgrade from Reinforcements to Sneak Attacks near the end and the deck is still totally playable.