Real Self-Starters

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WanderingTook 1114

Synopsis

A mono-tactics event deck, with splashes of damage cancellation, direct damage, and shadow mitigation.

This deck is fun, and I mean really fun.

Design

Wow, the sphere has a lot of really cool events, doesn't it? The problem is, they inevitably get culled in order to make room for those cards that are required to get the most out of your heroes. That makes sense: Legolas likes his swords, and Legolas likes his knives, and Glóin likes as much armor, liquor, titles, songs, and bad-assery as he can fit beneath that well-kept beard..... but those events still look cool. What if we just shoved all of the coolest events together? That would give you a lot of fun toys to play with, but could a deck like that even be viable?

Actually, yes, it can. The trick is that you need a lineup of heroes that don't depend on heaps of deck real-estate in order to show their quality; You need some real self-starters.

Strategy

This deck is about options. You aren't so much building a board state as reacting to one. Have you seen the hero lineup? Seriously, all you need is a weapon. Once you have that, you can react to whatever the encounter deck tries to throw at you.

The heroes:

  • Beorn is a fantastic attacker, and his beefy pool of hit points can help soak up archery damage; however, his real strength is his ability to defend, with sentinel, without exhausting. Thanks to the latest in damage-reduction cards, he'll be able to keep it up for a good chunk of the game.
  • Éowyn lets this deck pull its weight during the quest phase, especially once you get Strider on her. It's not much, but it should offset the threat of whatever you pull off the encounter deck. Of course, her God-slayer mode can come in handy when you're facing off against a boss enemy. I usually give her a Dagger of Westernesse, if only for triggering Goblin-cleaver.
  • Na'asiyah was hired for her versatility. Need a really strong defender? Done. Does Beorn need a little help separating a Troll from his body? Done. What's that, she can't pay for allies? Well, boo-hoo, we only have three. Strategies may vary, depending on what you have in-hand, but she usually gets a Raiment of War. That way, she can trigger Sterner than Steel or Foe-hammer, and the combat boosts that the Raiment provides can help ration her precious resources.

General tips:

  • Mulligan for a weapon. That's it; the rest will fall in line, but you need to make sure that you have a weapon so that you can trigger all of the events.
  • Horn's Cry and Honour Guard combo very nicely with Beorn, allowing him to tank multiple enemies without taking much, if any, damage.
  • Goblin-cleaver, Swift Strike, and Quick Strike: Sometimes, the best defense is a good offense. A Quick Strike with Na'asiyah can be particularly potent.
  • Feint and Thicket of Spears are oldies but goodies, great for dealing with powerful foes, or bailing the spirit player out of trouble, because he got ambushed after his army went yolo-questing.
  • Sterner than Steel and Tireless Hunters each offer their own brand of shadow cancellation. Tireless Hunters can also help protect the lore player who exhausted his defenders to pay for Peace, and Thought.
  • Blade Mastery is wonderfully versatile, and pulls a lot of weight in this deck. Seriously, it does. Use it to boost a hero that is battle or siege questing, or play it on the leadership player who just needs one more attack point to kill off that enemy that he thought he could take by himself.
  • Wait no Longer is amazing. You think this deck cares about enemies? Beorn SMASH!
  • Foe-hammer and Book of Eldacar ensure that you always have options to play with.

Sideboard

You may or may not want to slot these in, depending on what scenario you are playing, or who you are playing with:

  • Close Call, to give Beorn some extra security.
  • Trained for War can get pretty crazy in this deck, especially if you trigger Eowyn's beast-mode. (Do note that Na'asiyah's action can only be used while she is attacking or defending, so your questing power can't get that ridiculous).
10 comments

Feb 01, 2017 bigfomlof 485

I have had the great pleasure of playing this deck a number of times. It's is absolutely the most fun deck I've piloted in a long while. The versatility of the deck is what's most impressive to me--there's no one way to play it. I've put 2 daggers of Na'asiyah and turned her into a Quick Strike fiend--she hits for 6 on some monsters before you even spend her resources. Eowyn is a beast with Strider, and she makes this deck viable in solo as well.

I hope a 1000 folks try this deck. It's unique and innovative, plays very differently from most other decks, and I admire the creativity behind its build.

Feb 03, 2017 Seastan 29517

I love to see decks with Na'asiyah, because I haven't figured her out yet.

But with this deck, if I mulligan for a weapon, what if there aren't any Foe-hammers in the next 6-8 cards? Am I doomed to spend the whole game topdecking?

Feb 03, 2017 WanderingTook 1114

@Seastan Admittedly, yes, though "doomed" is a strong word. The pacing of this deck is such that, even if you never see a Foe-hammer, you should still have enough options available to you. In fact, that situation just happened to me last night: I had a Raiment of War in my opening hand, but did not draw a single event that keyed off of a weapon. Still, I found that I had plenty of meaningful choices to make, and we managed to pull off a win against Escape from Umbar (this was paired with bigfomlof's Scouting Party + Long-Knives deck).

The worst scenario that you can find yourself in is a hand full of Foe-hammers, Sterner than Steels, and Goblin-cleavers, but no weapon in site. Weapons are essential to making sure that you can play whatever you draw; hence, the mulligan suggestion.

Feb 03, 2017 Seastan 29517

@WanderingTookI gave it a try, and you are indeed right about it being fun! I had a turn where I was going to lose a hero, but the shadow card revealed raised my threat above the 40 threshold, so I was able to play the Valour action on Horn's cry and prevent the hero from dying.

But by the end of the game I had about 15 resources because I didn't have anything to play. I might consider dropping the Strider and putting in a couple allies that could help with this, like Legolas and Bofur, although it spoils the "event only" aspect a little.

Feb 04, 2017 WanderingTook 1114

Glad to hear it! Yeah, if you have someone to back you up in the willpower department, then either of those allies would be good. I'd probably opt for Bofur, simply because Legolas is more likely to be played by a partner deck.

Feb 04, 2017 D4rkWolf10 430

What is the Scouting Party deck @bigfomlof has made? I'm a big fan of that card and I've tried more than one way to make it work and never was satisfied with what I ended up with. Cool deck as well here, I'm not a huge Tactics player but my brother is and I'll definitely be sending this list his way.

Feb 05, 2017 bigfomlof 485

@D4rkWolf10: here's a link to the most recent Scouting Party deck I use.

www.ringsdb.com

Enjoy. It's pretty cool.. I think...

Feb 06, 2017 Watcher in the Water 14

Just an idea, since you are running so many events, it seems like the deck would be improved by adding Háma. You could recycle feint, thicket of spears, and foe-hammer. I'm not sure which hero you would cut, but it seems like it might work instead of having to rely on Book of Eldacar.

Feb 06, 2017 WanderingTook 1114

I purposely didn't use Háma because I wasn't aiming to recycle a specific card (no Hama-lock strategy). Since you have to discard a card to fuel his ability, Háma doesn't increase the number of options in your hand. Sure, you could focus on recycling Foe-hammer and include Legolas to get your draw engine going.... but that's a different deck. He would also, as you allude to, hurt the deck because he would have to replace one of the awesome heroes in the line-up. In short, this deck is about self-starters that you don't have to build around, and he isn't one.

May 05, 2017 thrilliod 1

Played this tonight in the NYC group and had a super time with it! Never did see Raiment but got Strider down Turn 1 and used Wait No Longer multiple times on some annoying Undead enemies. Also Thicket of Spears was part of a board clearing turn that had us all high fiving. So fun to use those old Core cards. Thanks for building such a clever and fun deck!