Ladies and Gentlemen (#RCO)


RCO - Revised Content Only

This two-handed fellowship was designed to provide a showcase for the Lords and Ladies of Gondor/Rohan to synergize their abilities using the Revised card pool (or you could imagine it as an almost triple-date with poor Faramir delayed at home while his bodyguard gets to tag along with the main group). The result is a fun combination with enough power to successfully complete the Dark of Mirkwood campaign, 8/9 of the Angmar quests (I make no promises regarding Carn Dum), as well as Raid on the Grey Havens (I have not tested it against any sailing quests).

Admittedly, my favorite part of these decks is their (semi-) thematic nature, but they also have the advantage of being relatively simple to pilot and have several ways to complement each other quite nicely:

  • Éomer & Lothíriel are perfect for each other. She provides the questing power and a consistent ally leaving play to enable his attack boost (not much more to say :) ).
  • Beregond and the numerous sentinel allies help keep the questing deck safe. Ideally, this frees up the ladies to contribute their vast amounts of without having to worry about pesky foes. And if anything does slip through, either Aragorn or Westfold Outrider is there to drag it back to the fighters.
  • Ancient Mathom allows the questing deck to toss card draw over to the gentlemen to keep them from stalling out.
  • The combat deck can really only reach its potential when gifted Unexpected Courage from the questers, at which point Beregond can start blocking twice and Aragorn can start drawing multiple enemies down for Éomer to slice through.

Gentlemen of Gondor

"And wherever King Elessar went with war King Éomer went with him" - The Return of the King

Heroes -

-Aragorn - He serves primarily as the leader (essentially giving a +1 buff for each attack you make). He will alternate between committing his 2 to the quest and staying ready to fetch enemies from staging (or away from the questing deck).

-Éomer - The newly-crowned King of Rohan is a one-man attacking machine. His ideal setup is Firefoot and a Rohan Warhorse, allowing him to swing multiple times for 7 each round (boosted by allies leaving play from across the table). The classic combo of Eomer/Firefoot + Quick Strike is a very satisfying way to trample two enemies into the dust before they have the chance to attack(!).

-Beregond - As one of the top defenders in the game (w/sentinel too), he handles the bulk of the defense. Gondorian Shield and Honour Guard help to keep him alive. He will most often take the first (and sometimes the second) copy of Unexpected Courage from across the table for extra actions.

Allies -

Combat is the name of the game, with a heavy dose of stout defenders (including numerous sentinels: Déorwine, Derndingle Warrior, Gondorian Spearman, and Guthlaf). Legolas and Rúmil head up a band of Markswomen of Lórien and Galadhon Archers (we can suppose that he brought them with him to Ithilien as allies of Gondor) capable of launching devastating ranged attacks. Boromir also makes an appearance, more for sentimental reasons than anything else, though he is a solid, multi-purpose ally.

With no access to healing or cancellation, Honour Guards play a critical role in keeping the heroes on their feet, especially when facing the nasty weather treacheries of the Angmar quests. Don't forget that once your hits 40 they can cancel up to 5 points of damage at once (very useful for surviving additional boss attacks).

Westfold Outrider can pseudo-quest by removing threat from staging, but is also handy as a panic button to grab enemies that slip past to engage the questing deck. In the meantime, 2 and 2 is not too shabby on its own. And to top it all off, Eomer gets an attack boost when the Outrider leaves play :).

Gandalf does it all, providing whatever it is you need at a given moment. Typically, that will be threat reduction, with card draw coming in at a close second.

Attachments -

The first priority is to get Gondorian Shield on Beregond and an attack boost on Éomer. Ideally, the King of Rohan will end up with Firefoot and a Rohan Warhorse (imagine this as riding one upgraded horse) so that he can utilize up to 7 twice a round with splash damage. Aragorn can take War Axe and Dagger of Westernesse for added power, but mainly to allow for Foe-hammer to trigger.

Captain of Gondor can be given to either Beregond (if you need stronger defense) or Eomer (if you need added attack). Secret Vigil serves as an additional form of quest removal.

Events -

Feint is self-explanatory, but once Eomer has Firefoot Quick Strike is often the superior card, as it can allow you to take out two enemies before either has the opportunity to attack. Thicket of Spears may not be the most popular card, but it has saved my bacon several times (it is often useful to have in hand when you advance quest stages and anticipate several new enemies coming out at once). Use Foe-hammer for more card draw :).

General Strategy -

You should be looking for Gondorian Shield, a weapon/horse for Eomer (a weapon + Foe-hammer is a nice bonus), and a method to block a first round attack (defensive ally, Feint, or Quick Strike) in your opening hand. From there, your goal is to set up multiple sentinel defenses as quickly as possible so that you can keep all the enemies away from the questing deck, block their attacks, and then feed them to an angry Eomer. Aragorn can quest if needed, but be careful to keep him ready if the other deck gets engaged by an enemy they can't kill so that you can drag that enemy over to you (Westfold Outrider can also help with this). The other priority is getting Honour Guards into play so that your lack of healing doesn't come back to bite you. Engage enemies liberally to keep the questors safe, and watch the hosts of Sauron scatter!

Sideboard -

Azain Silverbeard and Beechbone are helpful additions for quests that require direct damage. Favor of the Valar can be included as tech against quests that ramp up your threat. I started the deck including Hour of Wrath as my splash event, but I ultimately opted for Thicket of Spears instead.

Ladies of Rohan

"In that day Éowyn also won renown, for she fought in that battle, riding in disguise; and was known after in the Mark as the Lady of the Shield-arm." - The Return of the King

Heroes -

-Arwen Undómiel - The Queen of Gondor does what she does best, single-handedly providing questing, resource acceleration, and card draw (w/Elven-light) in a combination that no other hero can match. She also provides a handy way to get Faramir into the discard pile so that he can Stand and Fight. Last, but not least, she enables the usage of Elrond's Counsel.

-Lothíriel - The newly-crowned Queen of Rohan fuels the questing engine of this deck by cycling in a steady stream of questing allies to keep the will-power ramped up. Equipping her with Horn of the Mark is one of the deck's top priorities. And, of course, she synergizes beautifully with her husband when he is on the other side of the table.

-Éowyn - As the best pure questing hero in the game, she serves as the final cog in a machine capable of putting out 11 on round 1 before any contributions from the other deck (or allies!). Her ability can also be used to get more copies of Elven-light into the discard pile.

*Eleanor - The major sideboard piece of this deck is the option to include Eleanor in place of Éowyn when the treacheries of a quest are more threatening than staging area . She was incredibly clutch (don't ignore her!) in my successful playthrough of The Dread Realm in preventing multiple Sorcery attachments from protecting Daechanar. Plus, it's always fun to utilize one of the more under-used (dare I say, under-appreciated?) heroes in the game.

Allies -

Almost every ally shares either the Rohan or Gondor trait with Lothíriel, and almost all quest for at least 2 , allowing you to stay ahead of the encounter deck. Location management is provided by Rhovanion Outrider and West Road Traveller (few things are as satisfying as using Travellers to repeatedly swap locations to maximize beneficial effects and to dodge travel effects!). Envoy of Pelargir is a free resource when put into play by Lothiriel, and Escort from Edoras is an absolute steal at 4 when brought in by the Queen. Curious Brandybuck can serve as an emergency chump blocker, but is also nice tech in quests that mill through your deck, like Deadman's Dike. Westfold Lancer can be dropped in to contribute 2 and 2 damage on the same round.

Westfold Horse-breeder can fetch any of your three mounts, Galadriel's Handmaiden (think of these as Arwen's ladies-in-waiting) can help the combat deck keep its threat in check, and Faramir can Stand and Fight from the discard pile for huge questing pushes.

Attachments -

The first order of business is to get Horn of the Mark attached to Lothiriel so that your army of allies can be sustainable. Unexpected Courage will be thrown across the table to defenders or attackers (as your heroes are full-time questers). Ancient Mathom is a great way to spread card draw around (and to dig for that first copy of Elven-light if you don't have it yet). Steed of Imladris and Windfola can be fetched by the Horse-breeder to thin your deck, and they provide a nice questing boost as well.

Events -

Nothing too fancy here: Elven-light provides repeatable card draw, Elrond's Counsel keeps your threat low, and A Test of Will cancels things :). Hasty Stroke is not always needed, but it can be an absolute life-saver if you have it (and I find shadow-cancellation to be an under-rated part of the game). Stand and Fight is mainly to get Faramir out of the discard pile, but can also recur an Escort from Edoras if you need willpower or an Outrider if you need location control.

General Strategy -

An ideal opening hand will include: Horn of the Mark, Elven-light, and an ally that Lothiriel can immediately put into play. Other cards that are nice to see are Ancient Mathom, A Test of Will, and Unexpected Courage. The cost-curve of this deck is low enough that you should be able to afford to add one permanent ally (paid for with your resources) each round, preferably in addition to one temporary questing ally (via Lothiriel), which will then replace itself via Horn of the Mark. The combat deck should be keeping the enemies off of you, but there are times when it is strategic to leave one ally ready to chump in case of an unexpected attack. Try to save A Test of Will for direct damage treacheries, as low is the Achilles Heel of your heroes and allies.

Sideboard -

Most of these allies are one-ofs that I swapped in as tech against the discard pile hate of Deadman's Dike and The Dread Realm. Miner of the Iron Hills can be added for quests with nasty conditions, and Imladris Caregiver can counter quests heavy on damage (both would be played via Stand and Fight). I ran Gamling in some iterations of the deck, but was rarely able to get him onto the table in time to make good usage of his ability, so I swapped him out for more questing power. Lindir is another ally whose ability rarely came into effect. Northern Tracker can be added in for location-heavy quests.

Concluding Thoughts

As mentioned above, I've had fun imagining the interactions between the Lords and Ladies of the kingdoms of Men with this fellowship and it is in that spirit that I offer them here :). Happy questing!