Blood in the Isen 3 - Council of the Wise

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Blood, Sweat & Tears in the Isen
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This deck was designed to tackle the ALeP quest Blood in the Isen. There is more information in the description for the Blood, Sweat & Tears in the Isen Fellowship, which covers general approaches to this quest and how this series of decks was conceived.

This deck leans heavily into using events as a card type that doesn’t get punished by the Fords objective. Since the plan is events, the Council of the Wise contract is a fitting inclusion. The threat reduction provided by the contract works perfectly with this quest as well.

My first choice for hero was Gandalf. As is thematically appropriate, he works really well with the contract and with an event heavy deck in general. His excellent stats are are also very welcome. Gandalf's inclusion also allows you to use Word of Command, which is helpful in a singleton Council of the Wise deck, and Flame of Anor which is a great example of the deck leaning into an event based strategy.

Beregond came next as he provides a defensive solution for the Fellowship and at the same time allows both decks to benefit from regular threat reduction in combination with the contract. Finally, Thurindir rounds out the hero line up, providing decent questing at a low threat cost while allowing the deck to start with Gather Information to ensure the right cards are available early. There are also side quests in the encounter deck and in the partner deck so questing for 4+ is very feasible.

In terms of strategy, the star of the show is Council of the Wise. Planning turns to make best use of the contract ability is a big part of playing the deck. I also wanted to make sure that at least half of the deck was made up of events. Previously when playing this contract I have prioritised the card draw as this helps to fuel the contract’s ability. However, Gandalf and plenty of card draw events make that less of an issue and I found the deck was mostly hurting for resources, so this tended to be the first choice in testing.

The other mode you would ideally use every round is the threat reduction one. If that doesn’t work out, you can still use Beregond to reduce your threat. This means that the partner deck won't be able to benefit, but the deck which was tested alongside this one had a nice low threat, so missing a few turns of threat reduction was not a big deal.

Aside from the events, the deck is largely made up of cheap and efficient cards to build a board state. Some notable examples:

Bilbo Baggins can fetch Wizard Pipe, which makes Gandalf’s ability even more effective. If you already have Wizard Pipe he can grab Spare Pipe instead, which is almost guaranteed to find something useful.

Guardian of Rivendell and Wilyador both have a low printed cost for their stats, meaning in terms of the Fords objective they are a great deal.

Expert Treasure-hunter is a classic hero Gandalf attachment that you want to keep the events flowing, although Thurindir is the likely target in this deck. Zero cost is the cherry on top.

Legacy Blade is another free attachment. Something has gone terribly wrong if this is not providing at least 1 , and ideally you would be looking at 2+.

There are a couple of weaknesses in the deck. Generally, Council of the Wise decks can be unreliable due to the singleton card requirement, and while events are generally well suited for this quest, the underlying issue remains.

There can also be issues in dealing with enemies, particularly in terms of attack power. If the right cards don’t show up it can be difficult to get rid of enemies, which is why the partner deck was built to offer some Ranged support.

Finally, the deck has a fairly high starting threat of 32. This is above the engagement cost of a large number of enemies and also puts some extra pressure on thanks to the threat raising mechanics of the quest. As it is, the threat reduction options in the deck are more necessary than they would otherwise be.

The deck was tested and defeated the quest using this configuration. The side board presented here shows some other cards that were tested or considered for testing.