Bear Arms

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The BEARST Deck - Radagast BEST-ish One Deck 36 28 14 1.0
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Mythik 141

I was intrigued by Imrahil13's Bearst deck, where the focus of Radagast was supporting Giant Bears rather than Eagles, and thought it looked like fun. Two Bears didn't seem enough though, so this is where I landed.

The general idea is once a bear is in play, it handle combat on its own as they can ready from Radagast's Staff, and then if necessary can ready using its own ability and be shuffled back in the deck. Rinse and repeat. The Messenger Raven is a fantastic card with Radagast as the ability to bounce in and out of play ensures he is able to quest unexhausted consistently, as well as provide card draw to find the bears and/or supporting cards.

For this deck I went with Gandalf and Éowyn to support the Bear/Raven combo, providing several elements that help it work.

  • All heroes can contribute to paying for the bears, if you can get one on top of your deck by drawing or Wizard Pipe. If it's not on top of the deck but you do manage to draw Radagast's Staff or have Word of Command to find it, it can still be played turn 2 with Gandalf paying for the Staff and Eowyn/Radagast paying for the bear.

  • Gandalf's ability ensures the Raven's card selection will never fail, ensuring that one resource every turn is equivalent to a card and a ready. This effect combined with Steward on Radagast means you can churn through your deck quite quickly.

  • Gandalf enables use of his Staff to protect from shadow effects when defending using the Bears.

  • Gandalf enables use of Narya to get even more uses out of Bears in play.

  • Eowyns ability allows killing a big enemy turn 1 before the Bears are out, potentially freeing up an action to use Word of Command on either of the heroes.

  • Eowyn can Thorongil into Éowyn to make use of the duplicate uniques and provide resources to help pay for the few Spirit cards in the deck.

  • Eowyn's high willpower and low threat provide some early game breathing room while you find the pieces you need to set up.

The four main pieces of the deck are a Giant Bear, Radagast's Staff, Gandalf's Staff, and Messenger Raven, so that's what you're looking for in your starting hand. Word of Command can go find one of the pieces you're missing, and don't be afraid to underquest in the first couple of rounds if it means you can ensure the Bears get out sooner rather than later.

It's not the most competitive deck - the focus on Bears means there's not a lot of additional willpower hitting the table later on, so depending on the quest it can stall - but it is a hell of a lot of fun and I have very much enjoyed playing it.


Oct 14, 2021 Imrahil13 1069

I love it! It's hard to argue with MOAR BEARS!

The synergy between Gandalf and the Ravens is exceptionally nice, and I wonder if something like Hail of Stones splashed in as a one-off might be good emergency tech that makes addtional good use out of the Ravens.

Oct 14, 2021 kjeld 462

Expert Treasure-hunter would be a good addition here, especially considering you want to cycle back to your bears as quickly as possible.

Oct 14, 2021 Mythik 141

@kjeld I did have 2 copies of Treasure-hunter in there initially. I found I wasn't questing successfully often enough before I had Bears on the table that I wasn't getting the draw when I needed it, so they were replaced by Protector and Haleth to shore up willpower, with Haleth still providing some draw.

It did work really well after I was able to commit Gandalf to the quest consistently, but just found the early game didn't work as I'd hoped.

Oct 14, 2021 Mythik 141

@Imrahil13 thanks!

I hadn't considered Hail, but that's not a bad idea to get some additional value after they ready but before they leave play. Probably to replace Legacy or Sneak Attack as they require more luck to play early.

Oct 15, 2021 Beorn 12219

Two paws, way up.