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Mr Underhill 1636
This is a Dúnedain ranger / trap deck that I used to beat The Dread Realm in both normal and Nightmare mode. It's a slow burning deck with a strong control feel to it, but is very enjoyable to play due to the amount of card draw and enemy engagement effects that make the combat phase interesting.
Stage 1 of the Dread Realm is a straightforward questing affair, while Stage 2 involves a big showdown with Daechanar. The final stage requires a questing rush to escape from the catacombs of Carn Dum. The scenario as a whole has a lot of enemies, including at least one reanimated dead enemy (2 , 2) engaged from turn one. This whole setup is perfect for the Dúnedain, who benefit from the large number of enemies while scaling nicely with the progression of the scenario.
When playing the deck, the idea is to build up your board state slowly, trapping the majority of the enemies to control the game. Strong Dúnedain allies then help handle questing and combat. Amarthiúl is the deck's primary defender, with additional support from the Guardian of Arnor. Amarthiúl is better for smaller enemies, and he can discard shadow cards from tougher guys with Armored Destrier to make them safe for the Guardian of Arnor to defend. Attack power comes from Fornost Bowman and Gondorian Fire on Amarthiúl, though we typically want to keep enemies engaged rather than kill them.
Several of the cards were chosen with The Dread Realm in mind: Path of Need is there to be played onto the Altar of Midwinter once it becomes the active location, and Mighty Prowess allows you to deal 1 damage to Daechanar every time you kill an undead enemy, in turn allowing you to remove a sorcery condition attachment from the game thanks to Daechanar's forced effect. These cards can easily be subbed out if you want to try the deck against other quests.
The deck's weakness is the lack of a strong early game quester, which can be a problem if you reveal a high threat location as your first card.
For the Dream Realm, the overall strategy goes like this:
- Grab Gather Information with Thurindir's setup action.
- Mulligan for Master of the Forge so that you can start digging for traps and attachments. Forest Snare is also a good turn 1 card to trap the reanimated dead that you'll be engaged with.
- Complete Gather Information, grabbing whatever card is required based on the board state and your hand. (I usually choose Henamarth Riversong, Master of the Forge, or Forest Snare.)
- Stall at Stage 1 until you have a solid board of defenders, Path of Need in hand, and Mighty Prowess attached to Amarthiúl. The deck can tolerate 5-7 engaged enemies, three of which should hopefully be trapped in Forest Snares.
- When you progress to stage 2, Daechanar enters play with the Altar of Midwinter. Next round, play Path of Need on the Altar and start killing the undead horde that you'll be engaged with using your heroes. Each time you kill an undead enemy, you can deal one damage to Daechanar with Mighty Prowess. The damage will be cancelled by his forced effect, but it will remove a sorcery attachment from the game.
- Kill Daechanar once you've removed all the sorcery attachments, then quest with everyone on stage 3 to escape from Carn Dum!
The deck also works well in multiplayer, especially if you pair it with a questing deck and a second Dúnedain deck. It was amazing to see Aragorn wiping enemies from the table thanks to the Path of Need / Mighty Prowess combo.
Enjoy! Thanks to @Finbarfin for help with deck testing.