Aran Naur

Questlogs using this decklist
Passage Through Mirkwood - 1 Player - 2021-02-14
Journey Along the Anduin - 1 Player - 2021-02-14
The Hunt for Gollum - 1 Player - 2021-02-19
Conflict at the Carrock - 1 Player - 2021-02-28
Conflict at the Carrock - 1 Player - 2021-02-28
Passage Through Mirkwood - Nightmare - 1 Player - 2021-03-14
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Sammath Naur 3 1 0 1.0
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AJ_800 260

Aran Naur (King of Fire)

  • This deck is designed to be a One Deck - a deck that can beat any quest in the game in true solo, without adding or exchanging any cards.
  • Some of the most powerful cards and card combinations in the game are included in this deck.
  • Using concepts developed by Seastan, I plan to ratify this deck as a One Deck and rate it as a Power Deck.
  • One Deck Status and Power Deck Score will both be assessed using the latest Reduced Quest Gauntlet defined by Seastan.

Reduced Quest Gauntlet (RQG)

  • The RQG is a sample of quests that aims to represent all potential challenges in the game such that, if a deck can beat all quests in the RQG, it should be able to beat any quest in the game.
  • The concept was developed by Seastan, shared on his blog and refined in testing his Dale Force Wins deck.
  • The latest (02/2021) RQG defined by Seastan contains 16 quests:
    1. Nightmare A Journey to Rhosgobel (need at least 1 healing card and 1 location control card in your deck)
    2. Under the Ash Mountains (need to be able to conserve your deck usage)
    3. The Battle of Carn Dum (need good shadow management, turn 1 battle)
    4. The Ruins of Belegost (need good healing)
    5. Nightmare Journey to the Cross-roads (need strong early attack power)
    6. Nightmare The Three Trials (need to withstand early attack pressure)
    7. Nightmare Return to Mirkwood (need good threat reduction)
    8. Nightmare Shadow and Flame (need to handle a huge boss that punished both a big defender and chump blocking)
    9. Nightmare Blood of Gondor (turn 1 siege)
    10. Nightmare The Nin-in-Eilph (need burst willpower, win rate highly dependent on what stage 2s your deck can handle)
    11. Nightmare The Lonely Mountain (need a high willpower cap)
    12. Nightmare The Battle of the Five Armies (need to have both battle and siege ability, while handling enemy swarm)
    13. Nightmare Escape from Mount Gram (need to have a viable hero and deck for the capture mechanic)
    14. Mount Doom (deck needs to be viable with low character count)
    15. The Fortress of Nurn (deck needs to be 50 cards, and needs to be viable once captured)
    16. Nightmare Escape From Dol Guldur (deck needs to be viable with captured hero)

One Deck Status (ODS)

  • One Deck Status can be awarded by recording a win against every quest in the game (the number of attempts does not matter).
  • Alternatively, One Deck Status can be awarded by recording a win against every quest in the Reduced Quest Gauntlet (again, the number of attempts does not matter).
  • A starting Hero must be removed without replacement when playing quests in which that starting Hero’s name has a uniqueness conflict with a Hero, Ally, Objective or Enemy provided by the quest (for example, if Bilbo is one of the deck's starting Heroes, he must be removed without replacement when playing The Lonely Mountain so that there is no uniqueness conflict with the Bilbo Hero provided by that quest).
  • If using the RQG, any non-RQG quests that have a potential uniqueness conflict with one or more of the deck’s starting Heroes must be played in addition to the quests in the RQG, with the affected starting Hero(es) being removed without replacement during those plays (for example, even though The Redhorn Gate and Road to Rivendell are not included in the RQG, if Arwen is one of the deck's starting Heroes, then those quests must be played in addition to those in the RQG with Arwen being removed without replacement while playing those quests).
  • When starting Heroes are removed to avoid a uniqueness conflict for a particular quest, the deck's starting threat for that quest reduces accordingly as though the deck never included that Hero.
  • Allies and Attachments with potential uniqueness conflicts should be left in the deck (they are not removed or exchanged). Such cards will naturally be prevented from coming into play (for example, the player will naturally not be able to bring Ally Wilyador into play while playing A Journey To Rhosgobel, but that card will remain in the player's deck if it is included in the deck list).
  • Saga quests should be played in their individual scenario format, not their campaign format. No Boons, Burdens or Treasures can be added to any deck between quests.
  • While the number of attempts does not strictly matter in achieving One Deck Status, recording the number of attempts taken to beat each quest gives an indication of the consistency of the deck and prevents infinite setup-resets to find the perfect starting hand and initial encounter cards. Games can be conceded and reset during setup but this must be recorded as an attempt. This is why Seastan recorded 54 "attempts" at beating Nightmare Escape from Dol Guldur with his One Deck.

Power Deck Score (PDS)

  • Power Deck Scoring is a system of rating and comparing Power Decks and/or One Decks.
  • A deck’s ranking is the fraction of quests from the Reduced Quest Gauntlet that the deck should be able to beat in 5 attempts or less, 90% of the time (assuming that the player has familiarity with the deck and the quest).
  • This fraction is expressed as a PDS of 0 to 1 (for example, a deck that can beat 8/16 quests in the RQG in 5 attempts or less, 90% of the time, would have a PDS of 0.5).
  • Seastan recorded a PDS of 0.4 for his Dale Force Wins deck.

Hypergeometric Distribution

  • One of the reasons that Seastan created the RQG was to save time, as very few players have enough time to play a One Deck candidate against every single quest.
  • Separately, we have established that games can be conceded and reset during setup provided that this is recorded as a failed attempt.
  • Extrapolating these concepts, for quests against which the deck requires a specific setup to stand a chance, we can manually intervene in that setup process and use probability calculations to determine how many "attempts" must be recorded for each play.
  • Simple probability calculations are insufficient, but we can use hypergeometric distribution, notably the excellent formula available in Microsoft Excel.
  • For any given setup variable in which we wish to intervene, we can use the formula:


    A = Deck Size (cards)
    B = Cards to be drawn from deck
    C = Number of copies of desired card in deck
    D = Minimum number of desired cards required

  • We can apply this formula to the Player Deck, Encounter Deck and some other variables.
  • Worked example - Escape from Dol Guldur

    At least 1 of the 3 copies of Vilya in the deck must be in the player's opening hand

    1-HYPGEOM.DIST((1-1),6,3,50,1) = 32.4%

    Add mulligan = 1-((1-32.4%)*(1-32.4%)) = 54.3%

    Each of the 3 guarded objectives must receive 1 of 19 favourable Encounter Cards from the Encounter Deck of 37 cards

    1-HYPGEOM.DIST((3-1),3,19,37,1) = 12.5%

    The prisoner must be Gandalf

    1-HYPGEOM.DIST((1-1),1,1,2,1) = 50.0%

    The sample size is 2 because Messenger of the King has not yet triggered when the prisoner is selected.

    Of course we can calculate this element as a simple 1/2 instead of using hypergeometric distribution, but it is good to show that the formula works.

    Probability of desirable setup = 54.3% x 12.5% x 50.0% = 3.39%

    Attempts recorded against each game played with this setup = 1/3.39% = 30 attempts

    In order to setup this way:

    The player puts 1 copy of Vilya in to their hand and shuffles the remaining 49 player cards to form the player deck. They will then draw 5 random player cards during setup (totalling 6 in hand) and no mulligan can be taken.

    The player shuffles the 19 favourable Encounter Cards and randomly assigns 1 of those 19 to each of the 3 guarded objectives (total 3 cards assigned). They then shuffle the remaining 16 favourable Encounter Cards back into the Encounter Deck.

    Gandalf is chosen as the prisoner during setup.

    The player attempts the quest, recording 30 attempts for the play.

Elrond and Gandalf

  • With the range of tools available to them, this is one of the most powerful Hero pairings in the game.
  • Notably, with Vilya and Wizard Pipe attached to the respective Heroes, the player can consistently play, and bring into play, a large number (and wide range) of high cost cards while maintaining a large hand of cards (thanks to the pseudo card draw afforded by Gandalf).

Messenger of the King

  • This card is integral enough to the deck to warrant a specific outline.
  • Thanks to the excellent deck building tools available to us here on RingsDB, we tend to think of Messenger of the King as a fixed tool that turns a specific Ally into a Hero in that deck's Hero line-up. In actuality, the card is more flexible than that, which has both positive and negative impacts on the effectiveness and consistency of the deck.
  • Messenger of the King triggers after Step 7 of setup.
    • [Positive] The player's starting hand, as well as any cards revealed from the Encounter Deck during Setup, can be assessed before selecting an Ally to target. The ideal target for the quest can then be selected (Firyal for early questing, Ioreth for early healing and low threat etc.).
    • [Positive] Setup effects that target Heroes do not affect the Messenger of the King target.
    • [Negative] Setup effects that target Heroes cannot be redirected to the Messenger of the King target (for example, in the case of this deck, the prisoner in Escape from Dol Guldur will be Elrond or Gandalf).
    • [Negative] The target must come from cards remaining in the player's deck after Setup, so quests where parts of the deck are removed during setup (for example, Fortress of Nurn) will restrict the player's choices.
  • I have read that many players ignore the timing of Messenger of the King. I have no issue with people playing their game however they wish, but in using the card in this deck (especially since the correct timing has both positive and negative impacts), I feel that I must be consistent with the latest designer rulings.

Other Cards

  • Word of Command is the deck's search tool. It helps to setup the core engine (Vilya and Wizard Pipe) and subsequently tutor cards for specific situations.
  • Flame of Anor provides a strong readying effect and attack swing for Gandalf.
  • Imladris Stargazer sorts the top of the deck to set up Vilya, Flame of Anor and Gandalf's ability. She is a Ally, but resources from Elrond can be used to pay for Allies of any sphere, and resources from Gandalf can be used if she is the top card of the deck.
  • Unexpected Courage increases the usage of Elrond and Gandalf. It is worth putting multiple copies on Gandalf in order to maximise the impact of Flame of Anor and reduce the impact of Word of Command.
  • Elrond's Counsel is the deck’s main threat control but requires the sphere. Vilya will give Elrond the sphere, and Gandalf can play it from the top of the deck. A single copy of The Galadhrim's Greeting provides a larger threat reduction when needed.
  • Beorn serves three major functions: a damage soak (with enough Hit Points to make use of Ioreth's boosted healing); a strong attacker that goes back into the deck and; the primary target to be discarded from the top of the deck to give Gandalf +6 when playing Flame of Anor.
  • Firyal is the other unique Ally with three copies in the deck. This is because her ability to look at and discard the top card of the Encounter Deck is incredibly powerful against some of the more unforgiving quests.
  • Ioreth provides the deck's healing, specifically a focused healing ability that can heal 4 damage when boosted with Elrond. Additionally, Ioreth is a prime candidate for Messenger of the King, as her healing ability will be available immediately and the deck's starting threat will be below 30.
  • Anborn, Elfhelm, Faramir, Gildor Inglorion, Glorfindel, Jubayr, Northern Tracker, Treebeard and Yazan present a range of cost 4-5 Allies to be brought into play with Vilya or discarded from the top of the deck when playing Flame of Anor. Some are stronger than others, but keeping them at one card each avoids uniqueness issues and allows for a customised approach to each quest thanks to Word of Command.
  • A Test of Will is a standard defence card. Some care needs to be taken that Vilya is not wasted by leaving A Test of Will at the top of the deck, but this should not be problematic in this deck.
  • Gandalf's Staff and Narya are toolbox cards that can be kept at one copy thanks to Word of Command. Narya works well with Faramir, allowing him to use his ability twice for a big boost on questing characters.
  • Steward of Gondor is in the deck to provide resource acceleration when the core engine cannot be established immediately or is otherwise hindered.
  • The Great Hunt is very useful in the right situation and can be played for free using Vilya. Alternatively, if the Messenger of the King Hero belongs to the sphere, The Great Hunt can be paid for by playing it from the top of the deck with Gandalf's ability. Played correctly, this card can remove a large enemy such as a Hill Troll in Journey Along the Anduin.
  • Will of the West was originally included to deal with the quests that run through the player deck. However, it is even more useful in this deck. Vilya and Gandalf (due to his pseudo card draw) run through the deck quickly. Will of the West allows for a reset when needed, as well as an additional use for cards with only one copy in the deck.

How to Play

  • Mulligan for Vilya or Word of Command. You may also need to mulligan if your first hand contains all copies of an Ally you wish to subsequently target with Messenger of the King.
  • Based on the setup, your opening hand and your knowledge of the quest, choose a target for Messenger of the King from the unique Allies remaining in your deck.
  • Turn 1 is about finding Vilya and surviving. If you don’t have Vilya, play some combination of Master of the Forge and Word of Command. Quest enough to avoid threat increase. Defend if necessary though don’t be afraid of a small undefended Enemy Attack.
  • Play exhausting effects (Ioreth, Imladris Stargazer etc.) at the end of the Combat Phase unless you need to use them before. This maximises your options during the prior phases and protects those characters from effects that damage exhausted characters, while still allowing them to ready during the Refresh Phase.
  • Once Vilya is in play, start bringing in the high cost Allies and support cards. In general, use Vilya for the high cost Allies while using resources for low cost Allies and support cards.


  • If in doubt, Ioreth is a good target for Messenger of the King. She keeps the starting threat below 30, provides immediate access to healing, and generates a resource (which is useful for Word of Command and Master of the Forge in the early game).
  • Gandalf, Wizard Pipe and Imladris Stargazer do much more than set up Vilya and Flame of Anor. These cards allow the player to play cards from the deck instead of from the hand, thinning the deck and maintaining hand advantage.
  • A single copy of Flame of Anor can be used to allow Gandalf to attack two enemies with both attacks having the Flame of Anor bonus. This is achieved by exhausting Gandalf to attack an Enemy in attack step 6.8b, then playing Flame of Anor in the action window between steps 6.8.1. and 6.8.2. Played this way, Gandalf will be ready in step 6.8.4. so the process loops to step 6.8. to begin another attack. If Gandalf also has Unexpected Courage ready, he could continue to declare attacks against other enemies, all with the Flame of Anor bonus.
  • Flame of Anor has more uses than just as an attack bonus, it is useful in any quest where a single Hero must exhaust a number of times (for example, when playing Flight from Moria, Gandalf (using Flame of Anor and/or Unexpected Courage) can claim the Abandoned Tools Objective, and then use it multiple times in one turn.


  • My aim is to achieve ODS, with a PDS of 0.44 or better, using the latest RQG (02/2021).

Feb 10, 2021 Seastan 34318

Nice deck! The Vilya archetype with the MotK twist is possibly the best candidate for a One Deck. See askelad's variant of The One Deck here for some discussion that you might find very relevant.

I expect you'll do much better than 0.44 PDS. The One Deck only struggles with 3 quests in the Gauntlet (0.81 PDS), and this looks even more flexible.

Feb 10, 2021 Uruk-guy 448

I was not expecting MotK. Birlliant use of it. I cant wait to see how this deck does - its the best I've seen in some time.

Feb 10, 2021 Flrbb 157

I think Gandalf's Staff is a quite powerful toy - especially when it comes to removing a shadow card. Together with Jubayr that equals two attacks which are calculable. If there is only one enemy, the staff grants a 4th resource. Why do you have only one copy in the deck?

Feb 10, 2021 Uruk-guy 448

@Flrbb perhaps due to Word of Command. I'd imagine it saves overall deck space and increases utility otherwise.

Feb 10, 2021 AJ_800 260

@Seastan Thank you for the comments, and also thank you for the guidance and patience over on Wordpress

Feb 10, 2021 AJ_800 260

@Uruk-guy Thank you for the kind words, I'll keep you updated :)

Feb 10, 2021 AJ_800 260

@FlrbbI agree about Gandalf's Staff, it's powerful, and it would be great to have more copies. The problems with multiple copies of cards that are not immediately essential to the core engine of the deck are deck space and uniqueness. Both issues can be resolved by keeping cards like Gandalf's Staff, Narya and Steward of Gondor at a single copy, and including a reliable search function (in this case, Word of Command).

Feb 10, 2021 GreenWizard 261

Awesome! Nice work

Feb 11, 2021 Flrbb 157

For sure, Word of Command is a powerful card - but for me it feels a lot like a "win more" card: Right in the beginning you cannot use it, because you need Gandalfs willpower/defense/attack and later on you are set up enough to have a "spare Gandalf action", but then you do not struggle anymore anyways.

So most the times I play a deck with that card, if it appears early, it blocks a slot in my hand which could be a better, immediate useful card.

Feb 11, 2021 ira212 228

Who made the rules for replacement when the quest includes a unique objective-ally like Arwen? It seems a little strange that the player can’t swap in any other hero and play the quest with 3 heroes. It seems fun to me to try to make a One Deck, but including Arwen would be nice. Is that really how @Seastan ran it when playing those quests?

I definitely like the idea of a reduced gauntlet, and 17 is still lots...

Feb 11, 2021 AJ_800 260


When Seastan ran his original One Deck, the rules did not prevent a starting Hero and an Objective-Ally from sharing a unique name, so he played The Redhorn Gate and Road to Rivendell with both cards in play.

The rules were subsequently updated to prevent this.

Before publishing this deck, I consulted with Seastan about the best rules to apply to a modern One Deck with regard to starting Heroes with uniqueness conflict. He felt that the best way was to require the deck to play that quest with that Hero removed, and I agree.

I would argue that, if One Deck rules allowed a player to switch in starting Heroes whenever there is a uniqueness conflict, it would provide a level of flexibility that is not in the spirit of a One Deck.

All of this being said - these are community rules - and no-one has any authority to tell you how to play your own game. If you develop an alternate way of confirming a One Deck which allows switching in starting Heroes, I would be really interested in reading about it and I would follow your progress. There are good examples in many gaming communities of multiple rule sets developed by different users.

Regarding the number of quests in the RQG, Seastan also mentioned that he wants to reduce it if possible. I will update this deck description if he does.

Feb 11, 2021 AJ_800 260


That's an interesting perspective on Word of Command, but I find it to be more useful than a win-more card.

I certainly agree that it has to be used carefully, but it is usually playable on turn 1 because Elrond and the MotK Hero are available to handle anything else. I am sometimes willing to take a small undefended attack if it means that I can search out the core parts of the deck early in the game.

In mid-game, I find it very useful in finding the ideal card for a given situation, especially when Gandalf has an Unexpected Courage attached.

Feb 11, 2021 ira212 228

@AJ_800 @Seastan I definitely like the idea of not changing the deck, so I understand your perspective (I think). I'm definitely not interested in a splintered One Deck “rule set” with me using some very-slightly-different rules. :)

Here’s my thinking: Since Seastan used Arwen in his original deck, and that one is the most famous, and we’re trying to improve upon it (and compare apples to apples as much as possible), effectively eliminating Arwen from all future One Decks doesn't serve us well, based on the precedent that Seastan already set. If the original One Deck didn't use Arwen, I'd feel different. But because of that precedent, I think we need to find ways to include Arwen in the possible One Deck pool.

I agree that the rules should change (we shouldn’t allow duplicate unique cards), but then let’s change it to something as similar as possible to the original One Deck, which used Arwen! Here’s my proposal:

  • If you make a candidate One Deck that has a hero which will conflict with a unique ally in any quest, you must specify during deck construction what alternate hero you will use. The alternate hero must have the same starting threat and same sphere as the hero that must be replaced.

All that said, maybe I'm being biased because I wanted to make an Arwen One Deck that used Three Hunters. :) So it's a little discouraging to see this "ruling" about One Decks, especially since Seastan got to use Arwen. :P

I don't know all the quests that have ally Arwen. Do they have nightmare modes, and are you assuming they should be played on nightmare down a hero? Is this relevant to any heroes other than Arwen and Bilbo? I don't think I'd care as much if Arwen wasn't included originally (and thus no one could effectively use her) or if I didn't currently have an Arwen deck in mind! :)

Feb 11, 2021 bobbymcbobface 579

Love this! I have a deck I'm working on as a potential One Deck status as well, so your laid out parameters are very helpful! My copy of Escape from Mount Gram is arriving tomorrow, and I already own the nightmare version so I'll knock out the first RQG quest. I've never used a Vilya deck before so it'll be good practice.

Feb 11, 2021 ira212 228

@AJ_800``@SeastanI thought about this more while I was exercising just now, and have a few other ideas:

1) The point of the Power Deck Score (PDS) is to compare decks to each other, apples-to-apples.

2) If we include extra quests just for certain decks (e.g. decks that have a hero that matches an objective-ally in some quests), then we skew the PDS unfairly for those decks, and defeat the purpose of the PDS. It is very unlikely that playing a quest down a hero (which wasn't designed that way) will create an accurate test for the deck. It might be the case that Road to Rivendell and Redhorn Gate are beatable even without Arwen hero. If so, then the PDS is skewed unfairly high, due to the inclusion of those quests, which no other deck gets to include. Alternately, those quests might not be beatable without Arwen hero, in which case the PDS is skewed unfairly low. Either way, it's very unlikely that it reflects an accurate measure of the deck.

3) Seastan solved this problem with his original One Deck by simply allowing two unique copies of Arwen (one hero, one objective-ally). That is reasonable, and it reflects what happens in multiplayer events. If two players bring a deck with a conflicting hero, assuming no one wants to switch decks, most groups wiill just allow the players to use a duplicate unique.

4) Nonetheless, we'd rather avoid this issue. Fortunately, Seastan has already solved it with the Reduced Quest Gauntlet. Arwen objective-ally isn't included. Let's not create problems for ourselves, and instead simply say any candidate One Deck should simply test against the RQG, and no other quests. Then, we can really compare apples-to-apples.

5) In any real-life scenario when you were going to play Redhorn Gate or Road to Rivendell, either you would swap out a hero with Arwen, you'd play the quest with duplicate uniques, or you'd leave Arwen out and play with only two heroes. In any of those cases, the result shouldn't affect the PDS, which would be inaccurately skewed.

6) What about Bilbo and The Lonely Mountain?! I propose that @Seastanreplaces that quest with some other quest that poses similar challenges, or cuts it. We're trying to trim down the RQG anyway, and it would be nice if we had a tool that could actually compare decks apples-to-apples, without predisposing any deckbuilding constraints.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Feb 11, 2021 Seastan 34318

@ira212 I did go back and beat those quests by simply dropping Awren from the lineup without replacement. They are not challenging quests.

That said, we have a lot of conflicts now. If you want to avoid ever running into unique conflicts with a scenario then you have to avoid Arwen, Amarthiul, Faramir, Grima, Saruman, Kahliel, Bilbo, Frodo, Aragorn, Haldan, The One Ring...

Do you want to limit a One Deck from using any of these cards? I'm not sure.

Feb 11, 2021 The Mormegil 1882

Nice deck :). I am also in the process of doing a one deck playthrough (almost finished, yay), the results of which I will post in a few days. I am looking forward to seeing your results and wish you the best of luck! When do you plan to setup MotK? Because that makes a big difference for a few of the key quests in my experience...

Feb 11, 2021 Flrbb 157

I really appreciate and admire the efforts you put into this game! Love and passion of yours to this game as well as hours of work are on a insane level. And this though evil tongues claim that the game is - optimistically spoken - on a hiatus.

I am looking forward to any sort of ranking (got a PDS on that RQG) for all the decks (or even better: archetypes of decks) who are claimed to be a candidate to a One Deck. :)

Anyhow, I am convinced that you guys almost do only play single player, or at least have it in mind, when designing a One Deck. What I really, really want to see would be some sort of rating/ranking for decks (or even combos of decks) with 3 players. Why three decks/players? A one handed game is quite controllable - revealing "The Brown Lands" do become harmful, when everyone does in a single round. I think that 3 players is the turning point, where things like location control (Aran Naur has just a single copy of Northern Tracker and Firyal, to be fair) and other things like archery damage or mass-treacheries can tend to become extreme, so another focus for deckbuilding will do become relevant to be prepared for such things. Some cards loose its worth, e.g. Firyal, Grima, Henamarth Riversong.

Also, not all decks can be an uncompromising top tier deck, because it will not be viable if every deck runs e.g. Steward of Gondor and most obviously not every deck can be a Elrond/Vilya themed deck.

For sure, there have to be some restrictions on deck building, e.g. no suicide decks or decks that cannot run on their own (I'd say).

Anyone of you top hard core players is willing to do such a thing? :D

Feb 11, 2021 ira212 228

@SeastanAh, OK. I hadn't actually investigated those quests very closely. If they are easy enough (because they're old) even without Arwen, then I think we definitely shouldn't include them in the Power Deck Score when using the Reduced Quest Gauntlet. If every other candidate One Deck is averaging the results of 17 quests , but if you include one of the "special" heroes you get to average over 18 or 19 quests, then we're just skewing PDS for little benefit IMO.

I think it would be best if the Reduced Quest Gauntlet avoids any quests with unique objective-allies that can also be heroes. As far as I know, the current RQG does that already, with the sole exception of Lonely Mountain. If you could swap that quest (or just drop it) from the RQG, then this problem is solved for all possible candidate One Decks, and we'll be able to compare apples-to-apples!

Feb 11, 2021 Seastan 34318

@ira212 There are actually 5 quests in the RQG with potential hero conflicts:

  • Return to Mirkwood (Smeagol/Gollum)
  • The Lonely Mountain (Bilbo)
  • The Battle of the Five Armies (Bilbo)
  • Journey to the Cross-roads (Frodo)
  • Mount Doom (Frodo)

Feb 11, 2021 Yepesnopes 1148

Wait, where is it said that "Messenger of the King triggers after Step 7 of setup."? Because according to the RAW "each player may choose one contract to put into play along with his heroes at the beginning of the game", which is Step 2.

Feb 11, 2021 ira212 228

@Seastan OK, good info! Can we try to find a solution so that all decks can fairly participate and be compared as apples-to-apples as possible? Playing a hero down isn’t representative of the deck’s power.

I definitely like the reduced quest gauntlet, which is much more manageable. What do you think about either: A) Omit those quests when calculating your deck’s PDS B) Allow a substitute hero of the same threat and sphere.

I think the One Deck challenge with the RQG is great, and want to see lots of decks involved (especially a Bilbo or Sméagol deck).

Feb 12, 2021 AJ_800 260


Nice! Can you link us to your deck list so that I can follow your progress also?

Feb 12, 2021 AJ_800 260

@The Mormegil @Yepesnopes

Messenger of the King triggers after step 7 of setup. This was a rules change/clarification by Caleb Grace.

This ruling was not without controversy, since Messenger of the King can now only target cards left in your deck after setup, but it has positives and negatives as outlined above.

My policy is always to play by the latest rulings and FAQ, which is why I am adhering to this timing with this deck.

Feb 12, 2021 The Mormegil 1882

Ah ok, yeah I know the ruling but was just interested in how you would approach it. Reading your deck description again I found the relevant passage that rendered my question obsolete so apologies for that :). Playing with this ruling, I wish you all the best luck for defeating Fortress of Nurn ... I am afraid that quest is not friendly for that ruling since you remove most of your deck before grabbing an ally for MotK ... I wish you good luck buddy, I have beaten my head against it myself :I

Feb 12, 2021 Seastan 34318

Alternatively, you could compute the probability of getting a start with both VIlya and Firyal in the 10 cards available in Nurn, then stack it that way deliberately and divide the final number of stacked attempts by the probability to obtain the true number of attempts.

Feb 12, 2021 AJ_800 260


Vilya in first 10 cards

  • 1-HYPGEOM.DIST((1-1),10,3,50,1) = 49.6%

Firyal in first 10 cards

  • 1-HYPGEOM.DIST((1-1),10,3,50,1) = 49.6%


  • 49.6% x 49.6% = 24.6%

Attempts to record per play

  • 1/24.6% = 4

Feb 13, 2021 Yepesnopes 1148

I see. So it is not official as it is not in the FAQs, that is some unofficial ruling rising up from some communication between fans and Caleb.

Even if the ruling comes from Caleb has it been properly play tested?

Moreover, our beloved Caleb also makes mistakes when communicating with the fan base, like recently when he said on facebook that if you sneak attack Beorn he will be shuffled back into your deck no matter the order in which you trigger the Responses of the two cards, because when Beorn is in your hand (after Sneak Attack) his response still triggers. Which is obviously wrong (as the card is out of play) and contradicts the already published FAQs.

Bottom line, I think, when posting decks, it is better to discern between official rules (in the RAW and FAQs) from unofficial rulings, and the rules clearly specify that contracts enter play with the heroes.

Feb 13, 2021 askelad 540

lovely deck! It's nice to see people are still interested in this "archetype". I don't follow seastan's blog, so you have also introduced me to the One Deck standard. I stopped trying to complete the challenge with my own because playing all of the quests was getting tedious, but now i might get back into it with the reduced gauntlet.

I would suggest cutting a Master of the Forge for Haleth and a Wizard Pipe for Bilbo Baggins. The unique conflict is not that big a deal, and the extra cost of 2 for 2 extra is a positive in a Vilya deck, but you also open yourself to the possibility of using them as Messenger of the King if your opening hand lends itself to it.

Soldier of Erebor is great in a Vilya deck, arguably better than second and third Beorn. Boromir is also a good 4-drop that can make a very efficient messenger against certain scenarios (i would have to see if that applies to the RQG), especially if you see a Ioreth in starting hand.

My version was running The One Ring, but even putting aside uniqueness conflicts i do not recommend it, while Inner Strength is excellent at dealing with shadows threat is too big of an issue, even more true for your gandalf version (return to mirkwood should be a priority if you want to know if your threat level is manageable).

you should have at least one copy of Light of Valinor. With Elrond's statline and Vilya he will always have use for an action post-questing, which makes Light of Valinor a 1-cost Unexpected Courage number 4. You could even consider two copies.

I think your weakest cards right now are Anborn, The Great Hunt and Will of the West. Anborn is very situationnal and not very efficient (it only delays the enemy one more round, and makes them contribute to on the next round), The Great Hunt is a combat action so it will not affect enemies that have engaged you, and Will of the West only serves a purpose against some specific scenarios which i think you can beat anyway (and against those scenarios will of the west is just as likely to get discarded anyway).

@Flrbb on rating 3 player fellowships: The last few month i've been building a lot of 4-player fellowships that i tried to optimize as much as possible. Most of those are based on gimmicks which makes them weak to certain scenarios, but i'm pretty sure there are some combos out there you can build that break the game.

Feb 13, 2021 Alonewolf87 1514

@Flrbbif you are interested me and my wife have a 4 players kinda of The One Fellowship we used to play against all the non-nightmare quests of the game, Sagas included, except for Hunt for the Dreadnaught. The vast majority of quests was defeated at the first attempt, a few required us 2 attempts and only a small number required 3 or more attempts to defeat (notably Wastes of Eriador, The Passage of the Marshes and The Road to Isengard). The only two quests we had to modify our decks for were Fortress of Nurn (due to us usually having more than 50 cards in our decks) and Mount Doom (we were too focused on allies). You can find the penultimate version of that Fellowship here ( and we will post the last one when we will get and beat Hunt for the Dreadnaught.

Feb 13, 2021 Alonewolf87 1514

This is the Fortress of Nurn 50 cards version of that Fellowship, which can be seen as a more streamlined and efficient version of the basic Fellowship

Feb 13, 2021 The Mormegil 1882

Well Firyal in the first ten Cards is not a guarantee that she is in your deck so Vilya in the first 10 and Firyal as card 7,8,9 or 10 because her in Hand is not much use ... But I see the point, doing it that way would be very timesaving of course

Feb 13, 2021 AJ_800 260


Thank you for all of the comments and feedback, you raise some really interesting points.

Firstly, to clear up a misunderstanding, Power Deck Score only looks at the quests on the RQG. So the quests beatable in 5 attempts will be divided by 17 with the current RQG. The only decks that will need to drop Heroes while playing the current RQG for the purposes of calculating a PDS are decks including Frodo, Bilbo or Sméagol (which seems reasonable).

It is when the RQG is being used to determine One Deck Status that quests are added for Heroes with potential uniqueness conflicts.

ODS and PDS are separate challenges, both of which use the RQG.

So for your Arwen deck, you will be able to calculate a PDS without dropping her.

I had the same misunderstanding initially

Feb 13, 2021 AJ_800 260


With regards to how to determine One Deck Status for a deck with potential uniqueness conflicts, I completely understand your points. However, this isn’t really a matter of opinion. The key to the One Deck challenge is not adding or exchanging any cards, and the rules of the game would actively prevent some Heroes from being used in some quests. I don’t think this is something we can really get around with community rules. Any work around (such as switching in a Hero) would mean that it was clearly not a One Deck.

The only other option is to completely ban Arwen, Amarthiul, Faramir, Grima, Saruman, Kahliel, Bilbo, Frodo, Aragorn and Haldan from all One Deck candidates, which seems overly restrictive.

Given the fact that you will most likely have no issue with The Redhorn Gate and Road to Rivendell, I suggest trying those quests without Arwen and seeing how it goes.

I completely agree with your last comment – the One Deck challenge using the RQG is great, and I would also love to see lots of decks trying it. I am very grateful to Seastan for creating it, as it provides the deck-building challenge that I enjoy and gives an opportunity to test any deck in a reasonable amount of time.

Thank again for getting involved in the discussion, it is really good to hear your viewpoints.

Please can you send a link to your Arwen deck when it is ready so that I can follow your progress also?

Feb 13, 2021 AJ_800 260


I respect what you are saying. I suppose the difference in our opinions is that I see the designer rulings as official, even if they have not been formalised into an FAQ yet. There are so many designer rulings that are not in the most recent FAQ that we all abide by (just look at how many are listed here).

I do agree that there are sometimes errors in the rulings, and some may not have been fully thought through or play-tested, but they are still the rules as we have them. I do not feel comfortable picking and choosing which rules to follow.

As I mention in my deck description, and as I have said to others, at the end of the day this is a game and you should be allowed to play it however you want, no-one has the authority to tell you otherwise.

For me personally, in taking on this challenge, I do not want any ambiguity - for better or worse I will be following the latest designer rulings (even if the community disagree with some of them).

With regards to this deck, I wouldn't change the deck list if I were setting up Messenger of the King during Step 2 instead of after Step 7, so hopefully it is still of interest to you.

Thanks again for taking a look.

Feb 13, 2021 AJ_800 260


Thank you for taking a look! I really enjoyed reading the write up to your deck.

You have picked up the four most controversial card choices in my deck.

  • Anborn may seem like a strange choice but I have found him incredibly useful in some situations. He can: kill a 1 HP enemy as it is added to the staging area; keep an enemy in the staging area for one more turn to allow you to prepare or; keep an enemy in the staging area until the combat phase so that it can be sniped with The Great Hunt.
  • I do not see many decks running The Great Hunt but it is fantastic in the right situation. Even though it is a Combat Action, you can still discard a non-unique enemy that will become a problem when it engages you or will continue to be a problem if it stays in the staging area (just thinking about the core set examples - Hill Troll, Hummerhorns, Dol Guldur Beastmaster, Dungeon Jailor, Nazgûl of Dol Guldur).
  • In playing previous versions of this deck, there were many games where I really wanted a single copy of Will of the West. While you are right that it may only offer limited protection against some quests, it helps massively against others and gives me a second use of many cards that I only have one copy of (such as The Great Hunt).
  • I find that the 3 copies of Beorn provide a lot of consistency. I almost always want a copy in play as my main damage soak, and he provides my biggest damage boost (either with his attack ability or when discarded from the deck to Flame of Anor).

I agree that Haleth and Bilbo Baggins are tempting inclusions, but I find both just slightly less reliable in the core task that I am using them for. I am definitely going to keep them, as well as Boromir, Soldier of Erebor and Light of Valinor in mind. I may reconsider those cards if I make a 2.0 in the future (depending how this run goes).

How far did you get in your testing for The New One Deck? I don’t see any Questlogs on that page, it would be great to read about how it went.

Thanks again

Feb 13, 2021 AJ_800 260


Thank you for the kind words.

Yes, this deck, and in general the One Deck challenge, are for true solo plays.

Thanks for taking a look, and let us know if you find a good solution for higher player counts.

Feb 14, 2021 bobbymcbobface 579

@AJ_800 sorry for the delay, here's the link!

Feb 15, 2021 askelad 540

@AJ_800 i agree those cards i am "criticising" are still good cards, there are no obvious cuts and it would require a lot of play experience to make the call. Of my suggestions i really feel Bilbo Baggins (and Haleth) are strong as one-offs because of the MOTK option, and Light of Valinor is really good just because of it's raw value-cost ratio.

i suggest you cut one of the pipes for bilbo and run it for a while, i think it will rarely have a downside but will considerably improve the consistency of your starts because now you can start with a pipe whenever the fuck you want.

in my testing i didn't use quest logs, i have a spreadsheet (leaves more room for details). I started with the ones Seastan recommended i try first because compared to his list i was basically replacing Éowyn with MOTK, so quests in which Eowyn played a big role where critical.

Here's a summary:

-passage through mirkwood, jounrey along the anduin, hunt for gollum, conflict at the carrocks, assault on osgiliath, foundations of stone, city of corsairs, nin-in-eilph and three trials were pieces of cake. Rhosgobel i got lucky with gather information grabbing northern tracker to get rid of rhosgobel during the first stage. Peril in pelargir was a close call but round one light of valinor+vilya gave me the advantage i needed. Raid on the grey havens given the amount of 4 attack enemies i used well-preserved to take a few undefended attacks, the action advantage let me quest and build up fast enough to take control.

-encounter at amon din two fails both to a bad call and a "treat attack as undefended" (through Inner Strength!). Carn dum one fail to a terrible start, no vilya and failing to quest out of cursed battlefield. Into ithilien one fail due to missplays and engaging two big enemies that i could not defend. blood of gondor one fail to a poor decision.

-return to mirkwood was a bitch because of the one ring, so much threat increase and nasty treacheries. took me 5 tries, eventually won by hitting enough gandalfs and greetings to keep threat in check.

-escape from dol guldur took 4 attempts while choosing the captured hero (bear in mind i was house ruling MOTK to chose the captured hero after motk, so i let gléowine get captured)

-Mount doom 3 attempts thanks to the faramir+unexpected courage combo making up for the ally penalty.

So on many of the quests a fail or two occured because i am not a very good player, on return to mirkwood the one ring made his influence painful. Beating dol guldur using your rules would require capturing arwen, which would hurt but not be catastrophic. With your gandalf+elrond deck, this one will be even more of a challenge. The flexibility of MOTK still is amazing, and access to (MotK) Faramir keeps mount doom doable.

I think the one ring was a mistake in my list because of threat, having access to jubayr as MOTK is sufficient for shadow control. I've found Boromir to compare really well with beorn, filling not quite the same role but very similar (and having a split means you can sometimes choose to play the best of the two for the situation you are in), and if you take a look at the encounter deck before starting, you can see how well boromir would match against those enemies (based on their threat or attack) and if he matches well against most use him as MOTK (that happened a couple times in my plays and worked very well)

on the same line of reasoning, splitting your two Ioreth into one ioreth + one Warden of Healing would not cost you much (both are good and you can still motk ioreth) but sometimes you have access to both and can play more flexibly.

Feb 16, 2021 AJ_800 260


Thank you for the details of your playthrough and for the suggestions!

Feb 16, 2021 AJ_800 260


Seastan has updated the RQG here.

I have updated the deck description above to match.