The Bester Deck

Questlogs using this decklist
Escape from Umbar - 1 Player - 2021-10-14
Desert Crossing - 1 Player - 2021-10-14
The Long Arm of Mordor - 1 Player - 2021-10-15
Fellowships using this decklist
None.
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The Best Deck 57 46 88 1.0
Inspiration for
The BEARST Deck - Radagast BEST-ish One Deck 14 10 11 1.0
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Glamcrist 459

This is the new best deck in the game.

Again, that is my own humble opinion but I needed another tagline right? The Bester Deck originally started as an experiment to create a variant of The Best Deck that always played the same hero with the contract because a lot of people believe it invalidates one deck status if you don't. However after playing around a bit and throwing it against the Reduced Quest Gauntlet, I am convinced this deck is even better than The Best Deck.

The Hero Lineup: These heroes are eligible for every stage of every quest. Nary is there even an objective ally to fear! (such as a very unhelpful Gildor Inglorion in The Black Riders).

Old Faces:

Glorfindel: The Best Hybrid Quester/Attacker hero in the game. Best use of Light of Valinor. Best location control in the game through Asfaloth. He is the finger in the dam when it comes to this deck's questing power.

Beregond: The Best Defender hero in the game. Captain Protect Yo Build. And when you need him to be Captain The Threat is too #$%! high!

New Faces:

Beravor: The Best Drawing hero in the game. By turn 6 you'll have half your deck.

Denethor: The Best Resource Accelerator hero and Best Scryer hero in the game. The Bank. First turn Steward. First turn Destrier. First turn Stone. First turn Dream fully Heeded. With Thorongil and Unexpected Courage you can make the Encounter Deck march straight to its own doom like Faramir riding out to Osgilliath.

Only three player cards have changed from the Best Deck.

Ranger Spikes -> Dark Knowledge: Dark Knowledge has been added to help deal with Durin's Bane in Shadow and Flame as I have recently discovered that dirty dawg cannot be Destrier'd.

Spear of the Citadel -> Pippin: The Bester Deck cannot quest as big out of the gate as the Best Deck. Pippin is playable first turn wtih a Denethor Pass to help remedy this.

Blood of Númenor -> Bofur: Bofur has also been added to help with questing. And with scrying or just good old fashioned sub par questing, you'll probably get to keep him!

This deck is even bester for multiplayer without Grima dooming it up as long as your play group doesn't care you took literally all the best uniques in the game haha.

Update - This deck, without changing starting heroes or player cards, can:

  1. Beat every quest in the game in a very reasonable amount of attempts
  2. Easily acquire the treasure in and defeat the Hobbit Saga
  3. BEAT SOLO LOTR CAMPAIGN MODE by getting 8 resources on the Black Gate Opens and blitzing Mount Doom in 8 turns. I am not aware of any other one deck that can achieve this.

Introduction to the Bester Deck: https://youtu.be/1xw-PwlD8GU

Reduced Quest Gauntlet

Dwarrowdelf Cycle

59 comments

Sep 20, 2021 Truck 972

You can't get bester than best, buster!

Sep 20, 2021 Glamcrist 459

Busted.

Sep 20, 2021 FranekWojtek 18

The return of the King

Sep 20, 2021 Truck 972

Indeed

Sep 20, 2021 Imrahil13 429

I've had the pleasure of watching this deck in action against much of the NM Reduced Quest Gauntlet, and I am a believer. This thing is just offensively reliable and versatile, which is a hard balance to strike.

Glamchrist and I have alwyas been quite competitive (in a friendly kind of way), and he tasked me with also coming up with a version of his BEST deck that was better than this BESTer deck, and honestly I couldn't get anything that didn't end up just looking like this. I tried BoF Vilyas, I tried a cheeky BoF with Radagast, I tried BoF with T-Eowyn instead of Big Dog Beregond, and I tinkered with MoTK a bit. Nothing was as--let alone more--reliable than the BESTer deck. And whenever I'd start to tweak a line-up here or there, I'd just start moving to something practically a clone of this BESTer deck version Glam's got.

I was quite skeptical of this line-up at first, but I'm a believer.

While it pains me to say it (I really wanted the Radagast route to pan-out... so unexpected!), this is probably the BEST(er) deck in the game, when looking for a generalist deck that can reliably beat every single quest in the game (NM when applicable).

Behold, the Age of the BEST Deck is over. It must pass into the West. Now is the age of the BESTer Deck.

Sep 20, 2021 Imrahil13 429

Also, one thing the BEST/BESTer decks have revealed to me is that allies don't hold the superior card slot, like I have long assumed. Most of my decks, typically, have the majority of slots as allies, some attachments, and a few events, and I think this is a pretty standard approach. I appreicate seeing such a heavy focus on Attachments over Allies being viable, here.

Also, to that end, I'd have never expected to see Dark-frickin'-Knowledge as one of the best cards in the game, so that's really neat. Just goes to show how good those CORE SET cards really are, heh! (11 different Core Set cards in the BESTer deck in the game, 10 years after release)

Sep 20, 2021 Glamcrist 459

@FranekWojtek @Truck My friends. You bow to no one.

Sep 20, 2021 Sfrug 328

Who’s your target for the Steward of Gondor?

Sep 20, 2021 Emmental 263

Would like to see your Radagast BoF idea @Imrahil13

Sep 20, 2021 Imrahil13 429

@Emmental

Sure, here you go, The BEARST Deck: ringsdb.com

Full Disclaimer: I'd consider it a failed experiment, as it doesn't really keep up with the BESTER Deck. BUT, it's still a pretty good genearlist "One Deck," especially if one were looking for a non-Eagles way to squeeze some good usage out of Radagast, who we all know is the coolest wizard by a wide margin (and the only Istari available for a BoF One Deck).

Sep 21, 2021 Glamcrist 459

@Sfrug Hi! Haven't played it on anyone but Denny yet. He often gets Leaderhsip/Lore with Thorongil. He can also pass to Tactics Beregond who often aquires the Lore sphere with Song of Wisdom. The only really expensive Spirit card is Elfhelm, and the quests you're looking to play him you're probably using Thorongil on Beregond and Denny can pass to him to pay for Elfhelm soon enough. Might be a fringe case where you want to drop it on Fellowship Aragorn for readies.

Sep 21, 2021 doomguard 1008

using helm of secrecy within bond of friendship is ALLWAYS cheating (in solo) ;)

Sep 21, 2021 Truck 972

@doomguard Explain to me why.

Sep 21, 2021 doomguard 1008

sarcasm ;) but with a little hint of truth. this card changes the game and is so flexible and a joker. (get in galadriel and stay on your threadlv, or get in loragorn and reduce, or get in a big fighter,....) you can make the weakness of a deck dissappear with this card.

same with fyrial, its so op in solo, every deck that wants to be an "best" deck these days include her because you can avoid the hardes cards of the encounterdeck safly.

so fyrial and helm of sevrecy is the key, we know... (booring meanwhile ;) )

Sep 21, 2021 Imrahil13 429

@doomguard

I'd love to see your exciting and interesting One Deck that can reliably handle the ENTIRE Quest Guantlet without getting "cheesy" with things like Helm, Firyal, Vilya, BoF, MotK, etc. ...

Hehe.

When you're facing off against the entire quest gauntlet and all of it's most absurdly demanding quests, I think it's only fair to take the gloves off and not tie a hand or two behind your own back. The "Best" deck in the game is gonna, pretty necessarily, include some of the best cards in the game.

But I think if you compare this deck to other popular One Decks, this is far more interesting than the Elrond+Vilya variants which seem to be the only other contenders, especially since this deck is using things like Dark Knowledge and Bofur, of all things.

Just my two cents.

(But if you want really wild (pun intended), check out my BEARST Deck above... though fair warning: I've got Helm of Secrecy in it!)

Sep 21, 2021 doomguard 1008

the firste "one" deck, was that of seastan, if i am correct. that was interesting, because, it was a new idea and no gandalf-elrond. (sporfindel, elrond, t-eowyn if i remember correctly)

then came the new generation with 4 frineds and helm of secrecy +firyal.

nice, but not more. specially if they did not include one of the hardest quests for so called "best" decks (wich is imo long arm of mordor hallofbeorn.com )

i am away from building "best" solodecks. more interested in fellowships. more possibilities. and in multiplayer, helm of secrecy and firyal do not have this much of gamechangingpotential. i am not this big of a fan of "one card to rule them all". get them at time, win else not so good. that is not good deckbuilding in my world.

Sep 21, 2021 kjeld 182

@doomguard Do you know if anyone has made "The One Fellowship"? I'm thinking a set of four decks that can beat every quest in the game in 4-player. I feel like that should be easier than solo -- since far easier to achieve balance and throw in quest-specific tech -- but four player is practically a whole different game in terms of the likelihood that the encounter deck will work with optimum synergy. Also many of the "best" cards lose their edge in multiplayer, as you point out, and the fellowship can only have one of the uniques like Steward of Gondor or Gléowine.

Sep 21, 2021 doomguard 1008

4 player is tricky, and not so easy as many thinks. carn dum alone will be hard but a fellowship with 4 that can carn dum with more than 50% has a good shot against all other. and some cards would be very usable that you rarely use in solo (e.g. Wait no Longer and The Hidden Way are very good cards for 3-4 players) . and i would not be interested in some fellowships with infinitive loops. but perhaps this has nothing to do, with this deck here ;)

Sep 21, 2021 YeuelRulez 21

@Glamcrist curious if you will continue your YouTube series with this deck? You might consider just running through the RQG. All the other quests create interesting and fun stories, but rarely create any tension of a possible loss anyway. I had been enjoying the series, regardless!

Sep 21, 2021 Glamcrist 459

@doomguard Is it less cheesy if you Nori the used Helm and Helm back into your starter? I can make that happen haha

Sep 21, 2021 Glamcrist 459

@YeuelRulez Thanks for your feedback! I will be using the Bester variant from now on in the series. I will quickly revisit the Mirkwood Reduced Quest Gauntlet quests (just finished filming another crazy NM Dol Guldur run) and then continue on.

Sep 22, 2021 Seastan 30994

Nice to see a version with static heroes! I can see that it still has all the usual tech card ingredients to get through the gauntlet.

I took it for a spin against NM Amon Din. After 9 losses I managed to get a win. One thing I noticed during the losses was that the deck struggled a bit with early game attack power. Having Beregond is great, in that you can handle big enemies early, but I found that I'd often be revealing a second or third enemy before I could muster up enough attack to kill the first.

Not sure if there is an easy solution, but a couple small suggestions might be Warrior Sword->Rivendell Blade and Gleowine->Quickbeam (Beravor felt like enough card draw).

Also, I never managed to get Firyal out until round 6 or 7, at which point I questioned her usefulness (I was well enough set up to handle anything by then). To get her out earlier than that it seems like you need a lot of luck, given that she's a 1x and you you need some other card like Steward, Song of Wisdom, or The Storm Comes.

Of course, this is all just based on repeated attempts against the same quest, and there are many other quests to consider.

Sep 22, 2021 Glamcrist 459

@Seastan So cool that you played the deck! You picked a good one. NM Amon Din might be its worst matchup, but I bet with your skill and bit more reps you could probably get that win percentage down from 1 and 9. It's all about clearing that first turn farmhouse is it not? There's a few treacheries and enemies that can sink anyone in setup. There's also a few treacheries that add no threat and a few enemies that can be Gandalf'd first turn which Denny can always pay for, and Mithrandir can even kill two birds with one stone by questing after. Bofur, Strider, Stone, Pippin, and Angbor are all playable first turn for a boost. I usually let the villager die if I think Alcaron's 1 WP might make the difference. After that it's all about making sure you don't get to stage 2 too early, have new locations to shuttle villagers to, and avoid Those Now Sundered, and I haven't found a one deck that's better at pacing or scrying than this one. It's highly dependent on the flops as it always is, but I find it's not always as hopeless as it can appear to be.

Thanks for your suggestions! I did use to have Quickbeam in the Bester Deck for a long time in testing as @Imrahil13 can attest. Then I found out Durin's Bane cannot be destrier'd, and I had to make a choice. Silver Lamp instead of Bofur, or Dark Knowledge instead of Quickbeam? I went with Bofur because he (and Dark Knowledge) are easier to play first turn. Rivendell blade is cool, but my ideal setup is Glorfindel with Stone/Circlet and Valiant Sword, and Angbor with Warrior Sword. I'm questing for 7 unexhausted and attacking for 9+ a turn. Rivendell blade doesn't work on immune enemies, is less effective against low defense enemies, and has less versatility with my character lineup. Warrior Sword even has anti-getting swamped tech, and Beregond getting overrun is the only way combat ever becomes a problem for this deck. I think the conventional wisdom has long been questing and attack power is the way to go, but in my opinion defense, scrying, and draw is the way to pull in the best numbers. Or they might be relatively equal and the latter is just my playstyle. Or I'm wrong haha.

As for Gleowine, I see a one deck as 50 tech cards basically. Some are for type-X quests, some are for type-Y quests. The faster I can get through all my deck and collect all my tech the better. It also helps me set up recursion with Nori for Gandalfs, Favors, Sneaks, Tests, Revealeds, and Hasty's.

I just filmed a revisit to NM Dol Guldur where I get Firyal out turn 2. Thorongil, Song of Wisdom, Denethor pass, Storm Comes, and Steward all help. She won't always be easy to play but she isn't always necessary either. Some combination of the three scrying strategies is hopefully going to be enough.

Sep 22, 2021 Imrahil13 429

Haha, yea I spent quite awhile trying to convince @Glamcristthat Quickbeam should be in the deck, as he's arguably the best-statted ally in the entire game, especially since he shores up both Questing and Fighthing.

... and then I turn around myself and don't even end up finding the room to squeeze Quickbeam into my OWN BEST deck variant, the BEARst deck, lol.

Sep 22, 2021 Seastan 30994

@Glamcrist Yes, good strategy tips for Amon Din. It's one of my most played quests, and all that you described is exactly how I approached it. It's critical to clear that first location early. Gandalf really helped when I managed to draw him turn 1, but there were still some early losses thanks to location lock, an early Those Now Sundered before Test of Will could be found, chaining shadow effects, or multiple enemies piling up before I could kill them.

My sense of the conventional wisdom has typically been Willpower>Defense>Attack, and this lineup follows that well, I just found that the attack power was still a little bit light, and a few losses were because Glorfindel could just not cut through the bigger enemies' defense on his own.

Did you explore much with swapping Beregond for his spirit version, and swapping Glorfindel for tactics Eowyn? You free up some slots for threat reduction, you solve the lack of early attack power, and you can cheese through Shadow and Flame, freeing up the Dark Knowledge slot. You also have a more solid hero for Mount Doom, especially with Thorongil to get out spirit Eowyn. You also free up Light of Valinor and Asfaloth slots. The freed up slots could go toward allies like Quickbeam and Treebeard to make up for Glorfindel's attack, and an Outrider/Nothern Tracker combo to replace Asfaloth (not as good of course, but passable). Denethor would now be able to send resources to your spirit hero, making those allies easy to play.

Sep 22, 2021 Glamcrist 459

@Seastan I did explore Spirit Beregond with Tactics Eowyn. What I noticed was after her big attack, my attack power was anemic being entirely dependent on allies and I had even less tactics resources to pay for them. At least with Glorfindel I always have his 3 attack every turn and he's a great target for one or two swords if necessary because he's always ready. In the Eowyn line up she is also the sole quester like Glorfy and if I wanted her to be ready and useful after her spike damage I had to use Snowmane and Herugrim. Not the biggest house of cards but I also don't quest successfully too often lol. In addition I find Light of Valinor on a boosted Glorfindel vital to Fortitude tests, Hide tests, and Escape tests. I much prefer Asfaloth over the Outrider/Tracker because Asfaloth can do in one round what takes them 4 if you utilize the refresh phase, is cheaper, can be used in stall tactics after staging, can't be killed by ally hate, and can target the active location.

If cheesing through Shadow and Flame with Spirit Beregond was an option I could Thorongil Tactics Beregond. However I have found that not viable because most of the time Durin's Bane plus high threat locations means I can't quest over the staged threat. Basically if there's an enemy in play I'm just resigned to the fact that it will be attacking me regardless of the quest lol. There probably is a possible game scenario where I build, get to around 5 threat, Gandalf, have accumulated enough willpower to quest over staging, and Thorongil Beregond to keep disengaging, but the safer bet is to go for Dark Knowledge. I have gotten a surprising amount of use from that card in other quests as well!

Sep 28, 2021 Rocketman176 65

Glamcrist, I took up the bester deck against The Dread Realm, with the only exception being that I put in Valiant Determination to use on Faramir because I do not have the Silver Circlet. Your deck completely trivialized that scenario. I had complete control over the match almost the entire time. Beregond was completely decked out with A Burning Brand, Song of Wisdom, Raven-winged Helm, Gondorian Shield, Armored Destrier, Hauberk of Mail, Dark Knowledge, and the Golden Belt. Not once did he take any damage. Having Beravor equipped with Unexpected Courage for card draw and then a choice of will power or attack or defense was amazing, along with Gléowine to keep that card draw coming. Then, adding in Dori and Legolas as a pair to attack and destroy the same enemy, procing their abilities was fantastic! I cannot believe how many cards I was able to recycle because of their use. Amazing, just absolutely amazing!

Sep 28, 2021 Glamcrist 459

@Rocketman176 Well done on the Dread Realm! It's such a fun quest with the Reanimated Dead isn't it? Even more fun that after you defeat them necromancing Nori can re-reanimate the dead back on your side lol. Who needs Legolas and Gimli when you have Legolas and Nori right? Haha. I love that team. Valiant Determination is a great choice, Faramier's 3WP actually nets your more WP than the circlet. That Beregond is the stuff of legends. Dark Knowledge might currently be my favorite card in the deck to use it's just so enjoyable. Love the theme of the Bester Deck Beregond taking a deep dive into the libraries of Minas Tirith to study the enemy, learning a Song of Wisdom and filling his head full of Dark Knowledge. Glad you enjoyed the deck and thanks for posting!

Oct 10, 2021 Nystrum 1

Another amazing deck! I’d suggest one consideration for improvement. Maybe Haleth instead of Gléowine? Of course Haleth costs 2 more but I’d argue those are resources well spent, hear me out.

  1. You commented about a lack of Willpower, Haleth provides +2 in every quest phase.
  2. Lore is actually your cheapest sphere.
  3. You already have plenty of accelerated draw from the TOP of your deck via Beravor and Legolas.
  4. Half of your deck is attachments so Haleth provides excellent synergy. In my Friendship deck, I have 17 attachments which gives me about a 80% attachment success rate with her ability (and about 2/5 of those give me the choice of 2+ attachments). A steady stream of attachments means I’m not specifically searching for them.
  5. Haleth has unexpected synergy with Nori (thanks by the way, I stole the idea of using Nori from your Best Deck). Nori puts the cards at the bottom of the deck and Haleth shuffles the deck so the card is retrievable through normal card draw. I’ve had good luck like A Test of Will reappearing twice in the same game this way.
  6. Gleowine is awesome but SO boring (other than his terrifying hair). He is my 9th ranked Lore card while Haleth is at the top (basically tied with Heed the Dream and Asfaloth).

Oct 11, 2021 Glamcrist 459

@Nystrum Wow. Just wow. Thanks for the suggestion. My suspicion is you may well be right Haleth is better Gleowine. And defintely more fun. My only concern is I spend a lot and I mean a lot of critical turns purposefully not questing successfully. Will definitely do some testing with her. Another suspicion is @Seastan and others are right about Quickbeam. May have to do a "Bestest Deck" update to this page with Haleth/Quickbeam/Silver Lamp instead of Gleowine/Dark Knowledge/Bofur. Let the testing begin!

Oct 11, 2021 Glamcrist 459

@Nystrum Mind still reeling. That is such a good point about Nori. Not having to Heed or work through my deck to get those cards back is a game changer. The only card I usually DON'T Nori is Heed because it's not useful as the last card. But if you're shuffling every turn even Heed is a great one to throw back in and see ASAP! Great strategy, Nystrum.

Oct 12, 2021 Glamcrist 459

@Seastan I played NM Encounter at Amon Din 5 times with the Bester Deck and won 3 of them. Only one was a "standard" win. The other two successes were games where I just refused to quit. Once I lost Beravor early but persevered with LoDenethor and Gleowine. Another time I did not clear the farmhouse for awhile and just weathered a few rounds of double staging. I also played the quest five times with MotK Vilya. Granted I'm not the best Vilya player but I also won 3 times. MotK Vilya isn't much better at clearing the farmhouse than the Bester Deck and is worse at dealing with the enemies. Maybe a better Vilya player could have won 4 or even 5 and those decks have a slight advantage in Amon Din. But there are a lot of quests I've never come close to beating with Vilya like NM Dol Guldur, NM Return to Mirkwood, NM Blood of Gondor, Mount Doom, Fortress of Nurn, etc. and best decks make fairly short work of all of them.

Oct 13, 2021 Seastan 30994

Yeah, there's no question about that. MotK has almost no bad matchups, while MotK has a couple that will require a lot of attempts. After seeing The Mormegil's deck I was able to quickly throw together a BoF Vilya deck that had higher win rates against quests like Nurn and Dol Guldur. But I think MotK still has a higher win rate against the majority of quests (those not on the gauntlet), which tend to be easy enough for both deck types to 1-shot so it's hard to notice the difference. My reasoning there is that with the easier quests the only real threat is a super unlucky string of encounter cards in the first 1 or 2 rounds, which MotK Firyal mitigates. After a couple rounds, neither deck can lose against the vast majority of quests.

Oct 13, 2021 Seastan 30994

SOrry, meant to say that BoF has almost no bad Matchups

Oct 13, 2021 doomguard 1008

can recomand to include hallofbeorn.com

and hallofbeorn.com

to the gauntlet, that might give a fresh point of view, both are not this nice to either motk-vilya or bof

Oct 13, 2021 Imrahil13 429

@Seastan I really appreciate this theoretical discussion, as I find all the various facets of "One Deck" discussions to be incredibly interesting elements of this game. I've spent a lot of time over the past year thinking a lot about One Decks and tinkering with the various approaches out there. For what it's worth, I'm pretty skeptical that MotK would actually have a higher win rate against a majority of quests.

For the sorts of losses you're talking about, a chunk of them occur in quest set-up, which neither MotK Firyal nor BoF can do anything to avoid. For other quests, the "bad start" happens for other reasons that Firyal cannot do anything to protect against -- eg the hidden cards in NM Blood of Gondor, or the Shadow Effect of the Balrog in NM Shadow and Flame, say). And for still others, it's the sort of early round staging effect that might result in a sudden hero loss, which may be a scoop for an MotK deck but isn't necessarily a scoop for a BoF BESTish deck, because you can stomach losing a hero and still function pretty well against most quests. And I think this gets to a really important counter-point, which is that a would-be "game-losing" start for an MotK deck isn't necessarily a "game-losing" start for a BoF deck, because the extra hero really raises the tolerance of what a deck can endure and still manage to overcome, especially in the early game. Which I think, to some degree, tips the scales back toward a BoF BESTish deck being able to weather the early game better, overall, than an MotK Firyal deck.

And it's really a pretty narrow window of difference anyways, because any Denethor BoF BESTish deck (which I think the best ones probably all are) has a pretty decent chance of having either Thorongil-Denethor (which is strictly better than Firyal) or Firyal online quickly themselves, and could have the Thorongil option online as early as Turn 1 even, and pretty easily by Turn 2 especially if using search cards (e.g. Heed, Word of Command, Gather Info, etc).

Granted, all we have are our different intuitions about how it would play out in practice. But, chips on the table, if I was forced to grab a One Deck and produce the highest % of first-attempt wins against the entire quest gauntlet, I'm gonna grab a BoF BESTish deck everytime.

We do have Mormegil's data on his MotK One Deck, though I'm a bit skeptical of the numbers. Not to suggest that there was any intentionality behind anything, but the very first quest I had questions about after looking at the deck (NM Mt Gram) appears, from Mormegil's own write-up, to be an accidental astericks win (since Vilya should be one of the captured cards). Either way, though, I seem to recall Mormegil noting that more often than not he started with MotK Bilbo 80-90% of the time (not MotK Firyal), which means that even best case scenario the Ultimate Solo deck's data set wouldn't necessarily align with the theoretical benefit of MotK being Round 1 access to Firyal, since that's not the route Mormegil went in the vast majority of his own games.

Maybe we can pitch the idea to some TV Execs for a "The Great Bestish Decking Show" (akin to the charming Great British Baking Show), where a couple of delightful and charismatic MotK players and BoF Bestish players sit down and run through a randomized series of quests over the course of the series until one archetype is left standing, hehe. I'm sure there'd be dozens of viewers for such riveting television. :)

That said, in the meantime, I guess all we can know for sure is that both archetypes are darn good foundations for One Deck-ing it, and there are reasonable considerations on both sides for giving the edge to either archetype (when it comes to % of quests beatable in 1-attempt, at least, as I think BoF has the decisive edge when it comes to total # of attempts to beat all the quests).

Oct 13, 2021 The Mormegil 1689

A few notes from someone who did the MOTK-One-Deck-thing...

I agree largely with @Seastan on his notes about comparing MotK/BoF. I think that MotK generally does a little better with most quests due to its higher consistency/more flexible deck options, EXCEPT for a select few (Nurn, Escape from DG/MG) where it does significantly worse.

BoF certainly has tough matchups (from the top of my head Escape from DG, I remember @Glamcrist telling me his win percentage was ~20% for his best deck, no idea about his opinions on his Bester deck, Amon Din, Mount Gram, Journey to the Crossroads, Quests with early Battle questing and enemy pressure etc.) but none that I would describe as terrible which is a huge upside.

Without knowing it, I suspect that maybe @Glamcrist will lose one or two more quests than me (5), but will probably record fewer losses overall (I recorded 19). Only time will tell, I could be wrong and I wish him all the best, since I think his deck is an absolute masterclass in metagaming for the quest pool (much more than mine is). On a different note, something I love is that our decks share no heroes, run different contracts and have very little overlap in the 50 cards while still being fairly successful in a One Deck endeavour.

Oct 13, 2021 The Mormegil 1689

I saw @Imrahil13 mentioned me as well, so a reply to you as well :).

You are completely correct in that I do indeed prefer Bilbo to Firyal in my deck, since I value his incredible tempo boost through Wizard Pipe, the Hobbit trait for Drinking Song and his turn one Spirit access very highly. Firyal is also amazing and probably my second favourite option for the deck, but even a terrible encounter combination is most of the time not enough to stop a Vilya deck that is ready to go, which Bilbo enables very reliably.

One thing I have to disagree with you slightly (I have to say ;)) is that MotK may scoop when losing a hero early. I had plenty of games where I had bad luck or even strategically lost/sacrificed Bilbo early to gain the upper hand in momentum and ultimately secure the game. Some games I also finished with only Elrond, although not that many to be fair.

In regards to your skepticism, I have replayed Mount Gram today (only seeing my pretty stupid mistake now after being away from Rings for a few weeks) and luckily managed to win. I cannot assure you that I didn't make any other mistakes (there were 140 games played in total so I would not surprised if something slipped through), however I can assure you that there definitely was no 'intentionality behind anything'. If there remains skepticism on some quests, feel free to comment on my deck or contact me, I would be happy to clear stuff up where I can :).

Oct 13, 2021 Seastan 30994

@everyone

I recommend trying out DragnCards for your One Deck playthroughs. It is relatively trivial to post a link to the replay once you're done so people can see step-by-step how your deck managed to win.

@Glamcrist The quests you mentioned (NM Shadow and Flame, NM Blood of Gondor) are on the RQG and are not the kinds of quests I was referring to. I think BoF definitely gets fewer overall losses when running through the Gauntlet. But I don't think it means that BoF is better by every conceivable metric one might care about.

For example, if you just pick a quest at random, it's likely to be an easier quest that both decks can one-shot. In such cases, I hypothesize that the win rate of the MotK deck will be a bit higher, even if it's just 95% vs 90%. I don't have the data to back this up, but just from my anecdotal experience playing with both kinds of decks, unlucky losses tend to come really early in the game, like the first one or two rounds. After that, either deck can handle just about anything coming from the encounter deck. So while it's true that BoF can get out Lore Denethor or Firyal pretty early, it requires a lot of luck and/or resources to get those 1x cards into play quickly, and by round 3 the quest is already won or lost anyway.

Imagine a theoretical quest where if card A comes out in turn 1 and card B comes out in turn 2, it's an automatic loss. This might be just a 2% chance of happening, but the BoF deck will have something like a 1% loss rate (didn't get Lore Denethor early enough) while the MotK deck will have a 0% loss rate. This is obviously an exaggeration of how things work in practice, but I think it demonstrates the point I'm trying to make.

This is all just a fun academic exercise of course to explore possible areas where MotK is favorable. I fully recognize BoF as the "king" of the reduced quest gauntlet, which you've tuned it well for.

Oct 13, 2021 Nystrum 1

Danger avoidance is what my build is about and yes, Lore Denethor excels in that regard. I’ve seen Attercop 8+ times but thanks to Denethor, I’ve never actually had to fight it.

Oct 13, 2021 Glamcrist 459

@everyone It's an honor to have all these brilliant players posting here. It feels like the White Council of Lotr LCG lol

Oct 13, 2021 Glamcrist 459

But who's Saruman... jk

Oct 13, 2021 Glamcrist 459

@doomguard I agree that a few more quests could probably go on the gauntlet. Dreadnaught is probably one because Hard Mode is so wierd. Cobas Haven is another for the sailing challenge. I can't speak for MotK Vilya but what it's worth Long Arm of Morder gets strictly easier with BoF because you have more heroes to damage in the staging area and can finagle rescuing two heroes in Stage 3. Also nothing takes better advantage of "the first card you play each round does not require a resource match" like BoF. I start with Khaliel and try to get him Steward/Strider. You can even Thorongil him (the card only excludes Fellowship and Baggins not objective heroes lol) to open up Heed.

Oct 13, 2021 Glamcrist 459

@Nystrum Dang. That man had his palantir straight up locked on the Attercup channel. That's far better than my NM Mirkwood Bester Deck game, where I staged 2 Attercops and 2 Hill Trolls by turn 7ish haha.

I did some quick testing with Haleth/Quickbeam/Lamp (8 total resources) instead of Gleowine/Dark Knowledge/Bofur (4 resources) and in my deck at least the cheaper stuff seemed a little bit better or equally good so I'm going to leave it as it is. Haleth is so much more fun and gets way more style points though.

Oct 13, 2021 Nystrum 1

All good, thanks for giving it a go! Just don’t put Dark Knowledge on Denethor or you will have to discard two heroes when tackling stage 3 of Redhorn Gate!

Oct 13, 2021 Glamcrist 459

@Nystrum Redhord Gate = Shield/Destrier/Belt/Celebrian's Stone or Shield/Destrier/Belt/Thorongil/Silver Circlet. No man left behind! Haha.

Oct 13, 2021 Nystrum 1

In respect to Haleth, if the deck shuffling is what you found enticing then Master of the Forge is a same-cost option as Gleowine. All the same positives for Master of the Forge apply as I stated for Haleth except the Willpower.

The third way to reshuffle in this manner is Tactics Bofur which I’ve only found palatable in Dwarf and Dunhere decks (or other decks with 5+ weapons).

Oct 13, 2021 Glamcrist 459

@Seastan I concur with the requests for links! I would love to see Vilya take on some quests that I haven't had any luck beating with it yet. I feel like I might be missing some epic esoteric strategy.

So you're saying you think BoF wins the Reduced Quest Gauntlet but MotK will have the edge in beating a random quest in 1? The Random Quest Gauntlet coined right here haha! For what it's worth, I think a dedicated defender like Beregond is an extremely important piece in preventing a random loss here and there that MotK Vilya does not have. Also pacing is another facet vital to a Random Quest Gauntlet that Denethor is leagues better at than Firyal. And as far as MotK Fiyal preventing the "cancel or lose" cards, I'm not sure how many cancel or lose cards there are with the Bester Deck it has proven pretty resilient. I've eaten so many Exhaustions, Sleeping Sentries. etc. by just seeing them coming and planning around them. This is strictly better than being forced to Firyal into the unknown. I can also scrye shadow effects (the real place you don't want to see cards like Sleeping Sentry).

If I have to take a quest to the Random Quest Gauntlet or the Reduced Quest Gauntlet I'm taking the Bester Deck every time. Please don't think I'm trying to disagree with you on everything this is just my totally honest opinion. We don't have to agree and I very much respect your opinion and enjoy these talks! Thanks for posting!

Also, if it's of any interest the Bester Deck can beat Solo Campaign mode. That's something I always thought was impossible for a one deck until now.

Oct 14, 2021 doomguard 1008

@glam, @long arm of mordor,

a) just my experience, a friend of mine and me we made nearly all quests including nightmare with a gandalf-vilya + beregond-s, arwen, eowyn-t combo. most quests we manage on 1. try. long arm of mordor was the first (and clear) loss in a long time, because your whole deckplan counts for nothing. specially all carddraw mechanics, do not work (and getting ilyawithout elrond as hero is very sad ^^) i think most bof have carddrawmechanics, and perhaps they are not bad against that quest, but you can rarely plan it and it depends more on luck than other quests.

@dreadnough on hard seems to me at least as hard as fortress of nurn (everything is punished from the start and threa can only be reduced by 1 per round the whole game). the silverbullet is firyal, but in solo she is in nearly every quest.... (and booring, i do not use her as ally, seems as cheating to me in solo, and with motk you cannot do bof)

Oct 14, 2021 Glamcrist 459

@The Mormegil You're right about our decks and how little overlap there is. They could literally be a 2 player fellowship! Now THAT could run the gauntlet haha.

Oct 14, 2021 Glamcrist 459

@Nystrum Yea I remember being on the fence about Master of the Forge and Gleowine. I don't like that Master of the Forge has 1 health and dies to treacheries. But that might be old school Mirkwood thinking. And you've opened my eyes to the hidden Nori utility. Plus all the "you can't draw cards with player card effects" quests that it gets around. I may have to revisit that decision.

Oct 14, 2021 Glamcrist 459

@doomguard And the silver-coated silver bullet is Firyal/LoDenethor. I remember not engaging a single boat until the Dreadnaught in my win. Clear sailing from start to finish. I will say the Bester's Deck optimal boat is not the Twilight's Call like it is for the Best Deck. It's probably Pride of Lebinnin. Or the Silent Mist. Or the Ethilient haha. But probably the Pride of Lebinnin.

Oct 14, 2021 Imrahil13 429

@The Mormegil

Thanks for the reply! Glad to hear you were able to still slay Mt Gram's jailors on the fresh attempt! That can be a really tricky quest for a One Deck without the usual tools (eg Strider), and especially so for MotK where you have no hope of rescuing your other hero until the very last Capture Card.

Not to deviate too much from the discussion at hand, but a quick question. I know I'm not a top-tier Vilya player or anything, but i have put in quite a few reps with the archetype, and your Ultimate Solo deck in particular. Your Ultimate Solo Deck is brilliant, and the amount of utility it gets from the 0 Cost events and Gandalf is truly excellent reliability.

I do struggle with the deck a bit, though, anytime I have to come up with early round Combat solutions. When I threw it against NM Return to Mirkwood one evening, I had 2 Wins and 6 Losses (which, to be fair, is still in my opinion a really damn good clear rate for NM RtM). One thing most of the losses had in common was an early enemy or two, as even the low-engagement Ambushing Orcs can present both a defensive and offensive problem, since they take a long time to work down and kill for the lineup. With Bilbo (and occassionally Arwen when Bilbo wasn't an option for MotK -- SN I actually think there's an argument to start Arwen in that quest, since you're wasting an exhaust on the NM Card anyways, and her +1 DEF can be huge for Gandalf or Jubyar to manage the 4, 6, and 8 attack enemies... but nevertheless I always opted to start Bilbo where possible since that was your preferred route) always exhausting to the Nightmare Card, that only leaves Gandalf and Elrond to work with out of the gate, and whenever I staged 1 or 2 enemies (not that uncommon) during Set-Up and/or R1, I had a really hard time managing questing, combat, and getting my board state built-up. I suspect this would be a similar situation for any quests with early mid-to-high grade enemies (which is a fair lot of them). Are there any tricks or meta-strategies you use to try and balance questting/combat/building in such quests?

Thanks!

Oct 20, 2021 Nystrum 1

Just watched your Rhosgobel video. I didn’t realize that Rhosgobel can be completed with Asfaloth so that Quest Card #1 becomes a safe place to turtle indefinitely. That changes things, now I don’t need that second Honour Guard in my deck. Thank you!

Oct 21, 2021 Glamcrist 459

@Nystrum Dr. Asfaloth on the scene.

What are you swapping in for your Honour Guard? I like forward to seeing your deck someday if you plan on publishing.

Oct 21, 2021 Nystrum 1

Usually not just one swap, the Friendship constraints usually lead to changes cascading across multiple cards, which is quite fun actually! I realized that I was overly contorting my deck for Rhosgobel to the detriment of other quests. So four swaps actually ...

Honour Guard #2 -> Tactics Pippin. I've been aiming towards stronger starts by having one cheap 2 Willpower card in every sphere. The others being Arwen Undomiel, Celebrian's Stone, Quickbeam and Strider (the latter is full credit to you, I'd have never given Strider a second glance if it wasn't in your deck).

Yazan -> Warrior Sword. I really liked how you used Warrior Sword on Legolas to get him enough attack to kill the flying creatures (and I guess Wilyador can help too but that is risky). Two ranged allies were too many (again, damn Rhosgobel contortions) and I wanted to reduce the average cost of my Tactics sphere. Pippin can pick up the questing slack, Yazan wasn't suited for that purpose anyway.

Galadhrim's Greeting #2 -> Silver Lamp. I've been trying to reduce the burden on Erkenbrand by having others take the smaller hits and your video cemented for me. I prefer Silver Lamp over Dark Knowledge because it feels like cheating to have ALL the shadow cards visible. Now Unexpected Courage (i.e. I only have one Core Set) doesn't always have to go on Erkenbrand, it can go on Denethor (as you did). In regards to readying, I don't use Armored Destrier, just doesn't feel like the right match for Erkenbrand; regardless, his two restricted slots are already used up (i.e. Gondorian Shield since he gets Steward of Gondor 95% of the time and Ancestral Armor); I don't see the point of Golden Belt since Erkenbrand’s shadow cancellation is the equivalent of a restricted slot (i.e. I don’t need to make room for Burning Brand).

Angbor -> Sneak Attack #2. It feels strange to have Angbor and Pippin in the same deck, although they somewhat balance each other. Angbor is great but I'm not in Valour enough to auto-include him, Pippin is more likely to have the action advantage for the threat ranges I'm usually in (especially at the start where Pippin’s double-duty is especially welcome!). The Sneak Attack replaces the Threat loss of Galadhrim's Greeting (i.e. via Gandalf of course) in a far more versatile way. BTW, I like how you drew cards with reckless abandon, I hope to adopt that threat indifference more often (i.e. use all of Gandalf's options more equally).

I'll eventually publish but that would mean that I'd actually stop making changes, which is supremely difficult! I'm now on version #145 (crazy!) of my We Shall Endure (Eowyn/Glorfindel/Erkenbrand/Denethor) deck. And that was born from my High Achievers deck (i.e. same heroes but no Erkenbrand) which evolved through ~45 versions.

Main differences for my deck to your Best/Bester is a balance between Allies and Attachments (~18 each, depending on what I’ve changed recently) and also including both Leadership Side Quests. Other cards that I use that have no representation in your decks (and not already mentioned) are Captain of Gondor (versatile from an attack/defense and Glorfindel/Erkenbrand perspective), Azain Silverbeard (someone who never quests so has concentrated stats for his cost, can target inaccessible opponents through his ability plus can defend in an emergency), Haleth (I've sung her praises already, she rocks), Magic Ring (a beautiful match for Erkenbrand, the perfect backup card for all his resource/healing/readying needs; finding Magic Ring in my opening hand reduces angst by a ton and the resource boost works like a mini-Grima for starting purposes when Steward of Gondor hasn’t shown up yet), Treebeard (let resources accumulate and he becomes the ultimate surge protector, filling every role ably) and Thalion (four side quests makes him a compelling add, a sometimes 5th hero makes him a good target for quests where you have to choose a hero to sacrifice).

Oct 22, 2021 Imrahil13 429

@Nystrum

Your deck sounds solid, and I love Erkenbrand as such a stout defender. I know when I was tinkering with my own variations of @Glamcrist's BESTER Deck, I really struggled to move away from Leadership Denethor. Whenever I tried, I felt like I was sacrificing too much early game reliability but not being able to play Steward of Gondor until the second round, at the earliest (which also meant not paying for any Leadership cards in the first round, and then always making sure to hold at least 1 to play Steward in case it gets drawn the next round). Do you have any other sphere-smoothing or resource acceleration cards (e.g. Good Harvest) in your lineup, or have you found waiting on Steward to not be that problematic for the deck's resource engine?

PS: I totally agree that BoF's particularly broad deck constraints, and the way one change cascades across several cards, to be the most satisfying aspect of the contract. I LOVE the interesting decisions and trade-offs always invovled in building or changing anything about a BoF deck.

Oct 22, 2021 Nystrum 1

What you lose in one hero, you gain in another way through another hero. I am okay with having 2 cost cards wait until round 2 because I get other benefits (like an ugly shadow card not immediately wrecking me). In general, my round 1s are somewhat quiet (ex. Light of Valinor with 1 Tactics attachment is about normal) with round 2 being when I actively counterpunch. Hauberk of Mail is the only Leadership card I’d play round 1 anyway (and that’s assuming I actually have it in my hand).

If your only goal is to have Steward of Gondor (with 2 copies) in your opening hand, you have about a 43% chance (ignoring all other cards, regardless of how compelling). That means having Steward of Gondor wait until round 2 will happen at MOST in 2 out of 5 games. I’d rather deck build for normal scenarios rather than optimal ones.

But yeah, if Magic Ring is ALSO in my opening hand (my probability skills aren’t up to figuring out the %) then two other heroes can pay it on/for Erkenbrand who can use it to pay for Steward of Gondor in round 1. I don’t have any other method to play Steward of Gondor in round 1.

Oct 22, 2021 Nystrum 1

An interesting wrinkle to consider is that when comparing a Friendship deck and a usual three hero deck is that they both draw 1 card per round but the former gets 1 extra resource. This means over a game, the Friendship deck will need more resources at the start (or a way to move/share them) because only 1 hero per sphere but that will quickly flip into needing more card draw as the resources accumulate. None of my heroes provide card draw or resource acceleration so I feel both parts!