The Tree & Beard

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The Antlered Crown - 1 Player - 2022-01-08
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Ring Maker 47

Upon receiving my copy of The Voice of Isengard I knew two things:

  1. I wanted to build a deck that featured Grima and a host of the doomed cards that came in the Ring Maker cycle, and
  2. to include Treebeard because I've always wanted to see him in action and he fits into the lore surrounding Isengard.

What I didn't expect was this deck has turned out to be the strongest deck I've built to date. It handles every aspect of the game surprisingly well. It has great card draw (Gléowine, Deep Knowledge, Ancient Mathom, and Daeron's Runes) and the resource acceleration (Gríma and Keys of Orthanc) to capitalize on it. It provides treachery (A Test of Will) and shadow cancellation (Hasty Stroke) along with threat reduction (Elrond's Counsel) and the means to recur these events with Dwarven Tomb. It has very strong questing power with most questing characters committing at least two willpower to the quest and several other characters that have the potential to add three or more willpower (Treebeard, Glorfindel, Ethir Swordsman, Isengard Messenger). It also has the capability to take down some of the toughest enemies thanks to the combined attack strength of Glorfindel, Quickbeam, and Treebeard himself which can be boosted when the need arises. The deck also has excellent healing in both Warden of Healing and Lembas. It turns out Treebeard is very fond of Lembas! He can't get enough of this stuff which is why I included three copies of Erebor Hammersmith. Finally, the deck is very action efficient thanks to the attachments Lembas, Light of Valinor, and Unexpected Courage with Master of the Forge working tirelessly to fashion these key cards for you.

Before I go, I would like to say a few words about the ideal opening hand which should look something like this:

With this starting hand you can use Glorfindal's resource to pay for the Keys of Orthanc and attach to it to Gríma. Next play Isengard Messenger, then play Light of Valinor reducing it's cost using Gríma and exhaust the keys to give Gríma an extra resource. Now the messenger is questing for two this round. Finally, use the extra resource to attach Lembas to Treebeard. That's effectively five resources worth of cards that you've played turn one. You're now in a position to quest for a total of nine willpower if you were so inclined safe in the knowledge that you can always ready Treebeard by discarding the Lembas. I've had similar opening hands with Unexpected Courage where instead of using Glorfindal's resource to pay for the keys, I used Grima's resource instead to attach the keys to the elf, then play Light of Valinor for free, getting an extra spirit resource from the keys which I then used to attach Unexpected Courage to Treebeard. I could go on with these examples, but you get the picture.

Please, if you enjoyed the write-up of this deck give it a "like" and test it out in your own games. I would love to hear how it performs for you as you battle the forces of darkness across the lands of Middle Earth. Bye for now!

5 comments

Jan 09, 2022 AutumnRose 167

Seems really powerful! I find it kind of ironic how good Grima tends to be with Ents.

Jan 10, 2022 stone_of_eric 23

Great deck idea! One question though, what role do the Anfalas Herdsmen play? I get having the Ethir Swordsman is great for WP boosts, but it seems like you could just take out the Herdsman and include more copies of Unexpected Courage, Self Preservation, another Warden of healing, or some other allies.

Jan 10, 2022 Ring Maker 47

Good question. Most importantly the Anfalas Herdsman protect the Ethir Swordsman from treacheries like the Necromancer's Reach, and they can quest for a respectable 2 once two swordsmen are in play. They can also serve as a chump blocker in a pinch, and if two herdsmen are on the table then chumping with them isn't risky since you're not vulnerable to shadow effects that deal a damage to the defender. Finally, they add some additional hp to soak up damage from archery and similar effects.

Jan 11, 2022 cowZarific 52

Just used this deck to beat NM Hunt for Gollum and crushed it. Perfect opening hand too! Really powerful and fun deck. Cheers to you!

Jan 11, 2022 Ring Maker 47

@cowZarific Glad to hear it! Thanks for giving it a shot!