Covert Ops in Umbar (City of the Corsairs - solo)

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MDuckworth83 1745

I built this deck because as I was playing through the Dreamchaser cycle, I just kept getting all of my best decks absolutely crushed by City of the Corsairs. It's one of those scenarios that unless you specifically built for it, you are probably going to have a pretty bad time.

Looking online, it seemed like there were 2 basic deck ideas that the community had used to beat it; one was to build to kill the Stormcaller on turn 1 and the other was to build to produce a massive amount of willpower on turn 1 and bypass the Stormcaller without having to engage it. I didn't feel very satisfied with either so I thought I'd try a third way, secrecy....and it worked!, even somewhat consistently.

The basic idea is the exact opposite of the other two decktypes, and to stay in stage 1 (the sailing phase) as long as possible. You then stay below 20 threat the entire time and never engage the Stormcaller while simultaneously leveraging a low ally cost curve, the Narelenya ship objective-ally, and the secrecy mechanic to literally vomit low cost allies into play. You will need them too, as it takes 4-5 allies committed to sailing tests a turn just to consistently stay on course. I remember one turn where I committed 6 and didn't see a single sailing icon! Once you've built up an army of low cost, mostly high allies, you simply power quest past all the staging threat trying to engage as few enemies as possible (I never engaged a single ship).

The important cards that you want to see in your mulligan are firstly Resourcefuls, as one of these offsets your 2 hero resource disadvantage, and 2 basically function like a neutral Steward of Gondor. The next most important thing to look for is card draw because you are going to play your entire hand very rapidly, in just a few turns. The third most important is one or two allies who can be played for 1 cost or for free....and then you are ready to roll. You will eventually want to see some Elrond's Counsels to manage the threat but with Aragorn's ability, they aren't necessary until about mid game.

MVP cards for this deck/scenario:

  1. Peace, and Thought really supplied the huge boost in card draw that kept the cheap ally engine going. My early iterations of the deck suffered for card draw and it was the most important changes I had to make. This card works great because you can usually count on either Glorfindel getting Light of Valinor, Aragorn getting Strider, or both. This excellent action advantage combined with lots of allies makes it surprisingly easy to use this card.

  2. Celduin Traveler and Ithilien Lookout were absolutely amazing. Between secrecy and Narelenya, you can potentially play them for free. Both allowed you to scry the encounter deck which several times revealed a sailing icon on a card, and I was able to successfully commit one ally to a sailing test with perfect knowledge it would succeed.

  3. Ioreth is excellent as a 0 drop body that can be committed to sailing quests when she is not healing. Between the low cost curve and Resourcefuls, I had no problems triggering her formidable healing ability, which enabled Aragorn and Glorfindel to effectively tank a lot of attacks undefended. She may be my new favorite healing option.

  4. Ranger of Cardolan is always an MVP in my decks, and are probably the game's best "clutch defenders". They can almost function like a neutral feint that shuffles back into your deck (healing in the process!)

Well, that's it. This deck turned a really miserable scenario into a really enjoyable one to play, and I think it might have been the way the designers intended this one to be beat. Now that I have discovered that secrecy is finally viable, I will definitely be exploring more 2 hero decks!

5 comments

May 22, 2018 sappidus 565

I just want to make sure about one detail: you do know that even with Light of Valinor/Strider, exhausted heroes (say, via Peace, and Thought) cannot quest, right? This is admittedly a rather vague point, even with the new Rules Reference, but Caleb explicitly ruled it as such a while back:

If a card allows you to quest / attack / defend without exhausting, it is still necessary for the character to be ready in order to perform any of those actions. [boardgamegeek.com

(One way to remember this is that hero Galadriel + Ents would be ridiculously powerful if this principle were not in place.)

I just wasn't sure by your description whether you were using Peace and Thought simply to find those cards quickly (sure), or you thought you could mitigate its exhaust cost immediately with these don't-exhaust-to-quest attachments (nope).

May 22, 2018 MDuckworth83 1745

@sappidus Yeah.....every time I used it, I quested without exhausting first and then used Peace and Thought after the quest phase (often tried to do it in Encounter or combat phase when no enemies were engaged.)

Pretty easy to do with this deck due to your low threat...you can engage enemies at will, or not engage them and use your standing heroes for Peace, and Thought.

If anything, I've been greatly underestimating how awesome Peace, and Thought is for a long time now, as this is the first deck I have ever included it in.

May 22, 2018 MDuckworth83 1745

Ha...just realized for the first time that it is a refresh action! So, I did use it incorrectly in the Encounter/Combat phase.

Luckily, it wouldn't have made any difference in any of the times I used it, because both heroes (thanks to not exhausting to quest) both entered the refresh phase standing.

May 22, 2018 sappidus 565

Well, it makes a difference for the following round, as Refresh actions occur after cards ready, so the heroes are exhausted the next round.

May 23, 2018 MDuckworth83 1745

Yeah I see that. So one round I should have had 5 less willpower. The next round was a YOLO round anyway where I didn't quest at all, let my threat spike, than activated Loragorn. I typically did that when I knew I would be above 20 threat so I didn't engage Stormcaller. Usually happened once every game in the first phase.