Dude, Where's My Cloak?

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Starter for Dale (Single Core + Wilds of Rhovanion) 103 80 15 1.0
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Mr. Underhill 3033

This is a variation of my Starter for Dale deck that shows how Dale can be used as a dedicated 'questing' deck while still covering other important aspects of the game. One of the interesting things about Dale is that, thanks to Brand son of Bain's passive ability, you can think of any attachment as generating 1 in addition to whatever effect the attachment gives you from its ability. This means that Dale can already hit some very solid questing numbers just by spreading those attachments out across the board.

The idea that takes this up a notch is to engage in some mild abuse of the Spare Hood and Cloak. This card is a natural fit for Dale since it is an Item and, with the release of The Withered Heath, we now have some Dale allies who are actually worth readying with it.

In this deck, I try to put the cloak on the North Realm Lookout so that he can quest for 3 without exhausting. (I also give him a Map of Rhovanion or Bow of Yew so that he can remain at 3 after passing the cloak.) Another good holder of the cloak is the Knight of Dale, who can quest for 3, ready up and then exhaust again to pass the cloak to someone else.

The two main uses for the cloak:

  • First, it can be passed to Faramir so that he can use his ability several times per round. (This follows Seastan's 100 willpower idea.) Multiple uses of Faramir allows you to hit some very high willpower numbers (i.e. 80+) by the end of the game. I think this is more than enough to absolutely smash the final stage of most quests you're likely to face.

  • Second, the new Guardian of Esgaroth gains additional stats for each different player attachment he has. Once he has 3 attachments he can quest for 5 thanks to Brand son of Bain. This means that a good way to use him is to give him a Hauberk of Mail and a Squire's Helm so that he is 4/3/4/5 going into the quest phase. You can then pass him a Spare Hood and Cloak to make him a whopping 5/4/5/6, AND have him readied up for the combat phase!

The thing I like best about this deck is that you can have 3 of these souped-up guardians out without disrupting the overall flow of what the deck is trying to do. These guardians allow you to quest for a load and still have a couple of very strong allies ready to defend and attack whatever enemies you're forced to engage. Dale just keeps getting crazier!


The deck plays similarly to most Dale builds in that you want to play allies for cheap with King of Dale and spread attachments around relatively evenly. As a questing deck, this build is a little more focused around willpower generation and includes A Test of Will x 3 to cancel the very worst treacheries.

The main challenge for this deck lies in managing the placement of your Spare Hood and Cloak, particularly in getting it back onto the North Realm Lookout. For this purpose we have the Long Lake Trader to move it around the board. The ideal sequence is:

  • Quest with lookout
  • Pass cloak from lookout to ready another ally
  • Use that ally's ability / combat stats
  • Move cloak back to the lookout with the trader at the end of the combat phase.

Another way to get the Cloak where you need it is to use Bartering, though this not sustainable in the long run.

One difficulty I have sometimes faced is in getting out Faramir since he costs 4 and cannot be played with King of Dale. This means you might need to plan carefully and hold back a few resources on Brand son of Bain. Traffic from Dale helps a lot here, but you can also use Bartering to move Steward of Gondor from Bard to Brand so that he can gain a couple of resources and get Faramir out for a final questing push.



I've only played a few games with this deck but I'm satisfied with what I have seen so far. The current record is:

  • Passage Through Mirkwood - Win round 6. Final turn = 75.
  • Into Fangorn - Win round 4. Final = 43.
  • Race Across Harad - Win round 7. Final = 84. (First time I've beaten this quest solo! I played it three times more and lost twice, but pulled 120 willpower on the final run. Ridiculous)
  • Escape from Umbar - Win round 6.

2 Players (both games with a variant of Beorn to be Wild).

  • Nightmare Intruders in Chetwood, Win round 7. Final = 49
  • The Crossings of Poros, Win round 7. Final = 84.

I hope this gives you some idea of what the deck can do. Cheers.


Aug 27, 2018 Aurion 400

If you are having problems paying for Faramir, have you thought about using Elf-stone (an item)? Another way would be to sneak attack him in and move a spare hood and cloak onto him to get multiple uses out of him. When he subsequently leaves play, the cloak returns to your hand to play on another ally next round.

Aug 28, 2018 Mr. Underhill 3033

@Aurion Yes Elf-stone could do some work here, considering it's at least a 1 resource saving for an ally in the deck. I think when I was writing about Faramir, I meant more that you need to plan ahead in anticipation of his arrival. I only have trouble getting him down if I've had to spend Brand's resources on something else and Traffic from Dale doesn't show up.

Apr 14, 2020 TantZor 117

Thank you for your deck. I built a very similar thanks to you and I had fun playing with it. And I understand just now the reference "Dude..." :)