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Nike Laos 35
This is the most consistent Harad deck I managed to put together. I started building this deck as early as the first adventure pack of the Haradrim cycle and it since went through different iterations combining Kahliel with a couple of heroes. After a while I setteld on Pippin and Aragorn as company for Kahliel and reasons I am going to explain further down below.
From experience this deck thrives in the later stages of the game as the three unique Harad allies Firyal, Jubayr and Yazan will carry the group through the brunt of the heat the encounter deck will throw at you with their chief Kahliel pulling the strings in the background.
Generally Harad-focused decks tend to rely on quality over quantity which gives them a slow start
Let's examine the three heroes:
Kahliel unsurprisingly constitutes the cornerpiece of every Harad-based deck. His statline is one that has become standard for allrounder heroes. It means he isn't special in any particular way. His ability to ready any Harad character allows him to make use of two of those stats right from the getgo though. As you will be looking to save some resources in the beginning of the game He is essential to take on actions like questing and defending early until you have set up some more characters. Kahliel's unique attachment Kahliel's Headdress is one you want to see early. It allows for a way better performance when it comes to questing. It also gives you the freedom to throw away Harad allies at will in order to use Kahliel's readying ability without loosing access to them. Especially the expensive allies won't be stranded in your hand and can still be put to good use later on when you redraw into them.
Aragorn is here to provide an additional noble hero to trigger Captain's Wisdom. If you are able to use Steward of Gondor you can find yourself flooded with resources in later stages of the game. Aragorn's readying ability acts as a mana sink in that case making sure all resources are spent efficiently. A Steed of the North allows you to use Peace, and Thought and still have another hero ready in the next round if you engage an enemy. Aragorn's hitpoints provide enough to defend in that case or in case of Jubayr being the defender you have another hard hitting character to dispose of the enemy. Lastly the inclusion of a copy of the Sword that was Broken elevates the potential of the deck during the quest phase even further, being a supplement to the aforementioned Kahliel's Headdress. Once the majority of the Harad allies have hit the board the combination of Headdress and Sword make the Southron Refugee into a potent questing character with an amount of three willpower each!
- Pippin's job is to keep the starting threat low as you want to set up for a turn or two. Furthermore he provides access to healers as well as needed carddraw through his ability, Peace, and Thought. The inclusion of a lore hero allows you to make use of Heed the Dream to look for key pieces. Be it a copy of Steward of Gondor, Kahliel's Headdress or one of the unique allies.
Other heroes I've tried in earlier iterations included:
- Denethor: I quickly decided to not include him any longer as he just felt clunky. If you can't find Steward of Gondor or Heed the Dream early he is of no real use as questing somewhat competenty is important early and having Jubayr as your main defender later on makes Denethor somewhat obsolete. Inclusions of Armored Destrier pollute the deck even further with and you'd most likely would want to include at least two copies of that card to warrant his survival.
- Thurindir: He is a favourite of mine. I chose to make use of The Storm Comes in that variant with some success. The sidequests would take the space of the three copies of Heed the Dream since Gather Information could fetch key cards as well. Sometimes I struggled to complete the sidequests in a timely fashion though which made me step away from this hero. The current scenarios tend to put you on a timer as well which makes decks relient on sidequests a liability as well.
- Sam Gamgee: To retain the spheres of influence Sam was my Hobbit hero of choice to accompany Thurindir and Kahliel on their quest. Providing willpower to complete their side-contracts and having a lower threat to once againt not start of in heights in which this rather slow deck gets overwhelmed early.
The attachments: Since i covered almost every single one already I'll just go over the two left.
Haradrim Spear: This thing is really good at taking down big enemies. That said I found myself only using them on Yazan pushing his damage output by quite an amount. If you find yourself in a position of being able to ready him and attack twice, he can take care of a lot of enemies himself and provides good support on ranged attacks. Remember that when using the spear action the passiv +1 remains active since the spear is discarded after the attack, providing a +4 bonus in total and allowing Yazan to smash for up to 12!
- Dúnedain Pipe: The pipe is a sideboard inclusion I am currently unsure about. As you have a lot of unique cards you'll see some useless once sooner or later being stuck in your hand. The pipe has the potential to turn those uniques into carddraw. You can also just chuck away cards you don't want early. They go to the bottom of your deck but the Headdress's action will reshuffle it so the card won't be stuck down there forever. Still testing though.
Envoy of Pelargir are here for fixing resources early, having cheap chumpblockers and solid questing characters later on.
Gandalf provides the strong utility we know and love since day one. I most often choose to reduce threat though since he is my only way of doing that. Later on a good card to sink surplus resources into.
Ranger of Cardolan are the super cheap blockers for early encounters and once again good cards to spent resources on later.
Warden of Healing is the best healing card in the game and needed as I don't use any attachments to bolster my characters' defence.
All the unique Haradrim: When it comes to these three guys and gals they super efficient even compared to some of the heroes in this game. Firyal being my favourite as she acts like A Test of Will in some cases. Jubayr brings A Burning Brand to the table and has the additional benefit of being somewhat disposable as you can just replay a second copy of him and reshuffle the destroyed one. This way he frees up healing for other characters in quests where you find yourself across an encounterdeck that throws archery or direct damage at you. Yazan sure isn't weak by any stretch but has maybe the lowest priority to see play early on. He is a very solid questing character as well and just great combat when needed.
Kahliel’s Tribesman: This might be the "worst" of our southern allies if in play early. He becomes much more useful if he is allowed to join forces with Jubayr and Yazan. Generally i keep these guys in hand as those are the allies I like to throw away to use Kahliel's readying effect. Once the uniques have hit the board play them as pseudo-weapons and armour or for big pushes during questing to close out the game.
- Southron Refugee: Coming from the Game of Thrones LCG I fell in love with these ladies right away when they were first spoiled in the anouncement article for the whole cycle. When they finally dropped and I was able to include them they sure carried (hah) their weight and provided economic support in an extent, that made Steward of Gondor into a sideboard card. Not to say that they are strictly better but they allowed me to not include Steward in favor of being a multiplayer deck. They make for strong questing characters once their primary job is done.
- Captain's Wisdom is here to do the obvious: Provide resources to kickstart the deck early. Generally used on Kahliel you often don't suffer the drawback as you can ready him afterwards.
- Daeron's Runes draws you some cards. Chuck away Harad allies for the discard, you'll be recycling them anyway later on. If you want to use the pipe just sideboard a copy of the runes.
- Heed the Dream gets you key pieces. When stuck with to many resources and an already established board just be a philanthropist and give it to your fellow players.
- Peace, and Thought is the main source of carddraw in the deck. Use Pippin and one of the other heroes to pay the additional costs.
- Sneak Attack's main target should be Gandalf. The flexibility of the card allows you to put in some of the Harad allies as well when needed in a pinch.
- Tighten Our Belts: As you will most likely not be playing anything round one this just gives you an even better turn two. You can put Firyal into play on turn two this way easily. Not used in the later stages of the game in most cases. You can gift this to other players as a conequence.
All in all the deck is really solid when it comes to multiplayer as your weak early turns are somewhat offset by the presence of other players. But it really grows into an allrounder powerhouse later on. I do enjoy the decisions one has to make early on and that the deck can participate throughout all phases of a round which established the Harad-deck as my favourite tribal (hah, again) deck.