The Road to Isengard - Gimli Deck - Specialist Deck Series

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The Road to Isengard - Specialist Deck Series
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This deck is one of two that make up the Fellowship designed to beat The Road to Isengard for my Specialist Deck Series. Being the deck, this is slightly more focused on combat, but both decks will need to pull their weight in each phase of the game, especially since there is no Ranged and only limited Sentinel available.

In order to operate most effectively, the assumption is that the deck will play opposite a deck featuring Dáin Ironfoot. Without that the deck would lose a lot of its strength. I don't know if it would totally lose viability, but I'm not interested in testing that.

The first name of the game for this Fellowship is high heroes. As it turns out, there are only 3 heroes in and that compete for the top spot, so all 3 make it into the deck. I think Óin and Nori would have made the cut anyway thanks to their abilities. Óin is particularly nice here thanks to his bonus icon, although the deck is primarily based anyway.

There aren't that many choices for Dwarf heroes - in a generalised deck I might consider Thorin Stonehelm instead, but Gimli is a fine inclusion, especially since he has the higher .

The deck is built to have as many Dwarf allies as can reasonably be included in order to maximise the benefit of having Dáin in play. Otherwise there are a few of the usual suspects in terms of supporting cards but nothing too exceptional.

We do have some side quests to potentially give us a boost since we won't need to place any progress on the main quest until Stage 3. One last quest specific inclusion is Thrór's Key, since helps with those annoying Wizardry effects.

A note about the contents of the deck - since we are aiming for a Dwarf swarm, as is the Partner deck, it should go without saying that any Dwarf ally is in consideration if it is cheap and/or efficient. Similarly, there will be an assumption that Dáin's boost will be active. The boost is a little more conditional.

Now to explain the cards:

Azain Silverbeard - Azain is a nice and potent attacker. Don't expect to get much use out of his ability this time round though.

Blue Mountain Trader - This guy will most likey just be a quester, which is fine. His ability can also come in useful occasionally, since the deck will be generating more resources, and he will quest just as well controlled by either player.

Bofur - Bofur can be a fantastic questing ally. We likely don't have the spare resources to pay his full cost very often, but we should always be on the lookout for an opportunity to get him at a discount. There is some threat reduction among the two decks, so we can afford to underquest a little.

Dwalin - Another ally we'll be looking to pay for at a discount. This time it's a little easier to achieve. For a cost of 1 his stats are excellent, and having Sentinel is a nice bonus, especially since we have relatively few ways of helping out the Partner deck in combat.

Erebor Battle Master - Even after two erratas this guy is still an attacking powerhouse. The enemies in this quest aren't too tough, so he can handle attacking with very little help. He's also a great way to ensure we don't see more of Saruman than we have to.

Erebor Guard - Yet another Dwarf we can get at a reliable discount. We should never be paying his full cost, it's not worth it. However, he makes a very attractive Sentinel defender for 2 cost.

Erebor Toymaker - We're going to buck the trend here a little - this time the discount is for an attachment instead! Both decks have cards we can get benefit from. If we save 1 resource we've got a decent deal. Getting the 2 resource discount turns this guy into a total bargain.

Fili/Kili - We have to group these guys together and they represent insane value for their cost. We have no way of playing Fili by himself, we need to find Kili first. We're running the 2/3 split of copies to all but ensure that by the time we play Kili, there is still a copy if Fili in the deck.

Veteran Axehand - Nothing special about this guy, he's just an effective attacker. Also has surprisingly good stats for a Core Set card.

Zigil Miner - Our final ally. Mostly intended for using his stats. There is always the option to use his ability, but we have not got any way to improve our odds and the deck has not been built to abuse it. Still, he offers a nice potential reward for very little risk, so we can use whenever seems appropriate.

Ancient Mathom - Our only real card draw option, although the Partner deck can help us out as well. We will be exploring locations, so there'll be no shortage of targets.

Secret Vigil - Despite not being particularly difficult on our threat, I did manage to threat out in one of my play tests which is why this card is here. Mostly I have Gríma to thank for that. The main benefit of this card is that it works for both decks. Nori means this deck should have no issue with threat.

Thrór's Key - I've come to be very fond of this card, especially since there are so many effects on locations that you can't otherwise avoid. In this quest, we're using it to good effect since all the locations have some negative abiilty when they're in the staging area. Then if we do explore it, the Wizardry effect is gone too.

Unexpected Courage - We have a few good hero choices to receive this attachment. Gimli can do good work thanks to his versatile stats, but we can also consider Dáin or Thorin Oakenshield in the Partner deck too.

A Test of Will - As is often the case, there are a couple of effects we'd really rather avoid in this quest. Poisoned Vapour and Saruman's Orders can be particularly troublesome.

Feint - Dwarves aren't the best defenders so it's nice to be able to avoid the odd attack. We definitely want to use this one on Gríma if we can to stop his shenanigans.

Hasty Stroke - Another card for combat, and another that is included with Gríma in mind. He boasts a really awful shadow effect which we'll likely want to cancel. The others are generally more manageable.

Khazâd! Khazâd! - We are most likely to be able to get use out of this card early in the game, where having it can easily mean the difference between an enemy being destroyed or living for another turn. However, depending on the board in the late game, it could also save us by putting the last few points of damage on Saruman. Not bad for a free event.

Player Side Quests - Nothing particularly special or synergystic about the side quests, but they do offer great value since we won't be giving up anything to complete them.