Harbors: Mastered

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Some Sort 3071

So this deck isn't entirely optimized, but the basic idea is to get yourself a generic dale deck, except instead of relying on Redwater Sentry to handle your defense, you use a trio of infinite-defense Harbor Masters. Because Infinity is a lot of defense. (And also because they've got a sphere match for A Burning Brand so they're also shadowproof. But mostly it's just that "infinity is a lot of defense" thing.)

What's that? You just checked your Harbor Masters and they don't have infinite defense? Well of course they don't by themselves, silly, obviously you have to use Miruvor.

What's that? You can't attach Miruvor to your Harbor Masters because they're not heroes? Well of course you can't, the Miruvors aren't for the Harbor Masters, they're for Bard son of Brand.

What's that? Attaching a Miruvor to Bard son of Brand doesn't give your Harbor Master infinite defense? Well of course it doesn't, that would be silly. Obviously you need to use Brand son of Bain, too.

What's that? You've got Brand, Bard, and a Miruvor, and your Harbor Masters still don't have infinite defense? Well of course they aren't going to if you're only using one Miruvor at a time.

What's that? You... okay, look. You pay a resource to put a Miruvor on Bard, drawing a card with Brand. Then you blow it up, get your resource back, and put it on top of your deck. Then you put your second Miruvor on Bard, drawing back your first one. Then you blow it up, put it on top of your deck, and get your resource back. Then you play your first Miruvor again. Then you... hopefully you see where I'm going with this by now.

Every time you blow up a Miruvor and get your resource back, your Harbor Master gets +1 defense. You're free to repeat the loop an infinite number of times or, if you get bored, you're free to stop after some arbitrarily large number.

Galdor of the Havens helps us draw into our combo pieces early, he's a viable target for To the Sea, to the Sea! which helps you get your Harbor Masters out quickly, (and you can use it to dump your hand and draw six new cards), Arwen Undómiel is a great way to get Sentinel on one of our Harbor Masters, (or more using the Spare Hoods and Cloaks). And if we're already running the Noldor-light package, we might as well toss in Glorfindel, too and make things official.

Other than the minor Noldor flirtation, the rest of the deck is just standard Dale. You know, if standard Dale was guarded by unkillable elven bureaucrats.


Jul 27, 2018 Melkata 3

Hah! Great combo idea and a fun deck. How long until the nerf, do you think?

Jul 27, 2018 Some Sort 3071

I'm not really familiar with how long these things generally take, but I suspect it's inevitable, and I'm willing to bet of the three possible pieces (Brand, Harbor Master, Miruvor), it's most likely to fall on the Harbor Master, (which is kind of a shame, since he's by far the least-playable of the trio in the first place). Stil, giving him a maximum number of triggers per round fits with how they've handled similar cards, (Isengard Messenger, Lanwyn).

I also wouldn't be surprised to see Brand get his ability limited to once per phase, which would again match what we already see from heroes (most similarly with Hero Mablung, given how Resource Acceleration and Card Draw are the two staples of deckbuilding).

I'd still be a little bit sad to see that, though, as I quite like the heroes who provide card draw when given a very specific trigger, (Damrod, Pippin), because it naturally gets me thinking about how best to make the most of it. It'd seem a little bit sad to me if Brand got limited but the old Merry/Pippin/Aragorn standby could still draw five cards in a single combat phase.

Jul 27, 2018 wehehe 1000

After playing Brand son of Bain for the first time, I said to my play group that he is going to be faq'ed soon. I feel that his ability is too strong. With only the deluxe of the Vale-focused cycle, Vale has already a very powerful deck...

Not only draws you a lot of cards, but it also gives you a Willpower bonus. This deck confirms my suspicions on Brand being overpowered... Enjoy it now, it looks like a future nerfed hero !

Jul 27, 2018 Wandalf the Gizzard 1897

I don’t know, Spirit Glorfindel, Elrond, and Dain were never errat’d.

Jul 27, 2018 Some Sort 3071

If people were to rank the most powerful heroes in the current pool, I wonder where most would have Brand as he currently is.

Jul 27, 2018 dalestephenson 1409

Very clever and nice to see Harbor Master actually be worthwhile. I fear a limit on Brand (once per round?) is the likely outcome.

Jul 27, 2018 GrandSpleen 1310

That's great fun. I agree Brand is the likely target of a nerf. Spirit Glorfindel, Elrond, and Dain have not received errata, but the issue here is an infinite loop, not just "being powerful" in general. Applying an errata to any one of the cards in the loop could break it, but I don't see anything happening to Miruvor. Limiting Harbor Master would work, but Brand's potentially unlimited card draw could easily feed a future loop, or one that exists already but hasn't been discovered yet. So I think he'll get a limit.

Jul 27, 2018 Some Sort 3071

Given that “once per phase” is a common limit among abilities of that type, it wouldn’t shock me, though it’s interesting that the developers knew all of those old lessons already and still let Brand through in his current form.

If the problem is more that an infinite loop can’t be allowed to exist, well... there’s a lot of infinite loops in the card pool at the moment, although this one does deserve special recognition given the relative ease of setting it up, (one hero and two copies of one other one-cost card).

Jul 28, 2018 Melkata 3

Though honestly, there being an infinite loop doesn’t bother me. Maybe you make that deck once just for fun, but then you’re going to move on. I don’t really see how it harms anyone, and playing brand in other decks is a lot of fun.

Jul 29, 2018 pd187540 16

What quests/scenarios would this deck be most helpful? And don't forget that you don't add 1 defense PER resource added. If a card effect adds 2 resources, it's just 1 defense.

Jul 30, 2018 Tegyrius 113

This doesn't draw the deck, nuke the encounter deck or anything like that. You only get defence against attacks. There are more gamebreaking stuff than this.

Jul 31, 2018 Some Sort 3071

@pd187540 there are only like three quests with Siege questing, but any of those. Otherwise, you could always go hold off an attercop, dragon, or balrog.

Jul 31, 2018 Mr. Underhill 3543

I sincerely hope this does not lead to errata of Brand son of Bain. Dale will be significantly worse with a once per phase limit on his draw ability.

Dec 14, 2018 Schrodingers Hat 43

If Brand was limited to once per phase, it’ll be way too restrictive on regular Dale decks. Maybe 3 times per round would be ok, that still allows the Dale decks to function basically as-is. The other option is to give Harbor Master an upper limit, which almost every other similar card has. A maximum of +3 or +4 is likely if they go that route, though it would be annoying to remove the only situation where you might play him.