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|The Ring Goes South - Specialist Deck Series|
|None. Self-made deck here.|
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This deck is one of two that form the Fellowship for tackling The Ring Goes South from my Specialist Deck Series. While I would expect the deck to function okay by itself, it may not be quite as effective in a solo environment.
This was the second deck to be designed and in many ways it attempts to fill in the gaps in capability of the trap-based partner deck. The majority of the questing power is provided by this deck, especially thanks to Faramir and Sword that was Broken. It also has more solid defending characters like Jubayr and Treebeard.
Finally, this deck has a light mount theme thanks to Elfhelm, although this is not fundamental to the functioning of the deck. Aragorn can potentially get all three mount bonuses, but the other heroes are limited to one (or none for the heroes in the partner deck).
Arwen Undómiel rounds out our hero selection. She a fantastic hero who can quest and also help to balance our resources and card draw. Also, she felt like a strong thematic inclusion, inspiring Aragorn as he departs with the Fellowship.
The strategy for this deck is not complex. We will aim to get allies on the table and buff up all our characters is various ways. The partner deck will be helping out with questing and attacking power and offering support through traps and also location management effects.
Onto the deck:
Errand-rider - This is a very valuable ally for its cost. It allows us to smooth out our resources, which might be important if we don't see Celebrian's Stone early on. We can also help out the partner deck if needed - we have Steward of Gondor so we should have plenty of resources. It's not a bad way of doing something valuable with the resources either. He's also a totally acceptable chump blocker. Finally, with all our pieces in place he can even quest for 2 .
Ethir Swordsman - A good strong quester. If we manage to play multiple copies they become ridiculously effective for their cost.
Faramir - Another powerhouse in the quest phase, this time by buffing up all our other characters. He also has the flexibility to be used on the partner deck which is great.
Galadriel - She offers a nice boost in for a turn if we need it, but mostly we are excited about the prospect of fishing out one of our many attachments, all of which are eligible. There are enough that we should get good value usually.
Gandalf - His versatility is valuable to us and we could end up using any of his abilities. Given that Gríma is present in the partner deck, the threat reduction may come in handy. Also dont hesitate to use him for card draw at any time if we are hurting for options. We also have sneak attack to really take advantage.
Glorfindel - A strong and versatile ally. He allows us to get extra uses out of Elven-light if we have plenty of resources. Also, can be discarded himself to Arwen's ability essentially for free. As a Noldor, he opens up our options for using Tale of Tinuviel.
Jubayr - One of the best defending allies - neither deck is particularly adept in this area, so his ability and the fact that he has sentinel will be a massive help with combat. The healing and damage prevention effects in the partner deck can help keep him in the fight.
Merry - He's a very efficient little quester. We have a number of unique allies so stand to gain quite a lot from his ability. Even in the worst case he can still pull his own weight.
Ranger of Cardolan - Given that we are playing Aragorn, this is a nice flexible ally and potentially an emergency option if enemies become a problem. As a nice bonus, he works with Tale of Tinuviel as well.
Sam Gamgee - Since we have Frodo Baggins with us, Sam is an incredibly valuable ally for his cost. Just for his stats he is more than worth it, but we even have a handy way to trigger his Response by using Grima's ability. Note that to get the action advantage we would need to use it with an event sometime after committing Sam to the quest.
Treebeard - Such a strong ally for us. He is one of the few characters we have who could defend against the Watcher and survive. His also goes a long way to help us deal with enemies.
Westfold Horse-breeder - This ally is both support for our mount plan and a very cheap quester. With the global boosts, we are happy to have a few allies like this. Even better if we get an extra card out of the deal.
Armored Destrier - The first of our mount attachments. Most likely we would want to play on Aragorn, but a second copy goes just fine on Elfhelm as well. This card offers such a huge boost to our defensive capabilities - readying, defense boost and shadow control all at once. Even better in combination with Aragorn's sentinel.
Celebrían's Stone - A very versatile card in this deck. The resource icon for Aragorn is useful by itself, especially since Arwen can add to his resource pool. On top of that, Elfhelm improves the willpower boost provided that Aragorn has a mount attached. We also don't mind it taking up the restricted slot in this deck.
Light of Valinor - Only playable on Arwen, so not too important given that she is mostly a quester. However, action advantage is always useful and this works particularly well with Tale of Tinuviel, allowing us to give Aragorn a huge boost without having to sacrifice any questing potential.
Roheryn - Another Mount for Aragorn. In this case we get to add the boost from Elfhelm's ability thanks to the icon, on top of the usual boost. This is especially valuable in this quest, since it means that Aragorn can take out a Hound of Sauron before it gets to attack. As a bonus, Roheryn is not a restricted attachment.
Steed of Imladris - The first of our Mounts for Arwen. Helping to get the active location cleared is important as we want to minimise the opportunity for damage to be placed there. We might also consider combining with other location control to clear the location before staging. I've also really come to appreciate this card alongside Elven-light as I often want more ways to get it in the discard.
Steed of the North - A nice cheap mount. If we get it early, it's worth playing on Aragorn to give him the boost. However, if he already has a mount, we might consider instead playing it on Damrod in the partner deck, since the action advantage isn't really necessary here, and we have other priorities for the restricted slot.
Steward of Gondor - Always a great card to see. Early on in the game it will help us to power out our expensive cards and take control of the quest. The deck has a reasonably low cost curve, but after we have played out our hand, we can use the resources with Elven-light to keep drawing cards. Ideally we will have Celebrian's Stone available and play both onto Aragorn. If not, I think Arwen makes the most sensible target, thanks to our expensive allies and the aforementioned Elven-light. It's not the end of the world as we have plenty of other effects to help smooth our resources.
Sword that was Broken - This card really helps push our into high gear. Amazingly strong and we have plenty of questing allies to use with it.
Thrór's Key - This is the deck's main contribution to location control. Attaching this to a location gives us a free pass on any negative effects related to damage, and indeed any other effect. What's nice is that we get to choose if we want to attach the key to a new location. I think it's usually best to just use it straight away, since it is unique and we may want to play another one after.
Windfola - An alternative Mount for Arwen, this one gives her a nice +2 boost, assuming she doesn't already have a mount. Not a high priority attachment, especially since there will be no occasions for triggering the response in this quest.
Elrond's Counsel - A nice threat control card. We have a few pressures in that regard, especially from Grima, so it may come in handy. It could also mean the difference between an untimely engagement or not, which is important in this quest.
Elven-light - Alongside Arwen, this card is the glue that holds the deck together. I would mulligan for this card above all others. Really helps to get things going and keep the pressure on for the whole quest.
Sneak Attack - Usually used for getting extra value out of Gandalf. In the right circumstances can also be great value with some of our other expensive allies for quick boosts in questing or combat.
Tale of Tinúviel - This is something of a thematic inclusion, although there are a few strong use cases. Arwen boosting Aragorn for combat will be the primary use and this is greatly improved if we get Light of Valinor in play. We can e.g. have Aragorn with a Mount take no damage from defending the Watcher and then attack back for 6 or 7 . The card works with any Noldor and Dunedain, so Glorfindel and Ranger of Cardolan also help with its use. Glorfindel has his own action advantage, so he might be the better target if he is in play.