The Grey Havens & Dream-chaser Cycle
For our complete run-through, see:
- The Hobbit Saga Saga
- Core Set & Shadow of Mirkwood Cycle
- Khazad-Dûm & Dwarrowdelf Cycle
- Heirs of Númenor & Against the Shadow Cycle
- The Voice of Isengard & Ring-Maker Cycle
- The Lost Realm & Angmar Awakened Cycle
- The Grey Havens & Dream-chaser Cycle
Since this is the story of a Gondorian's dream, Calphon, and his Elven allies from the Grey Havens, I decide a thematic fellowship would include mostly Gondor and Noldor characters. What's amazing in that case, is it allowed us to touch archetype and classic heroes we've not used yet:
- Hero Erestor is the enabler of a lot of swarm archetypes, and most notable of the Outlands deck. I honestly don't like this deck much because (1) Outlands are a bit lame mechanically (2) They make no sense thematically, and probably impeded the development of a real Dol Amroth / Fiefdom sub-faction that's missing in the game (in my opinion). Why Angbor the Fearless should be Gondor and Forlong Outlands still eludes me to this day. Even more, the classical line-up with Denethor is insane, and utterly break the game. So I tuned it down a bit, as you'll see. It still breaks the game, but less so. Can be a bit fiddly at start.
- It happens just so that Caldara has a lot of natural synergy with Noldor since you want to get allies into your discard pile.
This left me with a 10ish hole of cards in the deck I completed as followed:
- +1 Men of the West might come in useful considering the deck will be less sturdy at the beginning
- +3 Protector of Lórien and +2 Imladris Caregiver to give some benefitsfor discard when we'll be setup and Erestor cards are "less useful"
- +2 Lindon Navigator, same as above + theme of the Dreamchaser cycle
- +1 Ioreth in lieu of Warden of Healing, for flavor
- +1 Angbor the Fearless as one of the greates captain of the Gondorian fiefdoms and also a great value/cost ratio, especially since he can wield the Sword of Morthond
- +3x Valiant Sacrifice to enable Calphon's Dream deck draw with all the resources we get out of Steward of Gondor
Obviously, the strategy is very simple. Look in your starting hand for Steward of Gondor and/or A Very Good Tale with a couple allies. You might be able to play some of those. Don't hesitate to use A Very Good Tale even with two 1-cost allies to get you two 1-cost or one 2-cost ally. You're drawing 4 cards a turn. Who cares? Then, just swarm your Outlands, with the following advices (they're good for any Outlands deck):
- The Anfalas Herdsman is evidently your most important ally, building up your two heroes and ally a sizable hit points pool, which you might severely lack.
- As it stands, I rarely defend with my Warrior of Lossarnach. A bad shadow effect and suddenly every one of your allies lose 1 . Defend with your heroes or your Hunter of Lamedon first. Don't forget your Warrior of Lossarnach is as good a quester as your Ethir Swordsman.
- If you don't need too much during the quest phase (and at some point you'll have SO MUCH of that it doesn't matter anyway), quest with the Anfalas Herdsman and Knights of the Swan. After all, the Knights of the Swan are worse attacker than the Ethir Swordsman, Warrior of Lossarnach or Hunter of Lamedon!
- My my, this faction doesn't make any sense.
Also, Angbor the Fearless was a totally thematic inclusion here. He's supposed to be the Sword of Morthond, but since you never reach 40 threat (or nearly never), starting at 24, he never gets to really shine (I've used it in a dedicated Valour deck and that's another story). It happens the Herald of Anórien became a primarly target for Sword of Morthond
This isn't of course as good as modern Caldara deck since I won't be playing Arwen Undómiel to get the 4th resource I need to play Prince Imrahil on turn one. I preferred including Lothíriel because this is such a fun card, and it actually works pretty well!
Your starting hand should not contain Prince Imrahil. If you have a Soldier of Gondor and some early 2-cost ally, you're mainly good to go. In Sailing quests, having a Ride Them Down in hand is going to help you.
Additionally, any Sailing quest, you should hand off the Dreamchaser to the Gondor's Fiefdoms deck and get yourself the Silver Dawn. Your starting threat will be 31, but most ships have a high engagement cost, and now you're drawing 3, discarding 1. Your deck will run fast, trust me.
A few tips and tricks:
- Ride Them Down is the single-one best tech card against this cycle. It killed many a ship and any an enemy during our playthrough.
- I know Emery can whiff easily, due to the neutral and cards included. If she whiffs, well, you've got another Gondor ally in your discard pile. If it doesn't whiff, all the better. Use her nonetheless, you might very well discard Prince Imrahil or Glorfindel.
- Damrod is really good with Lothíriel and our global strategy of "overquesting" everything, especially when you start at 31 threat. Use the action window between step 3.4 and 3.5 to lower your threat and get him in your discard pile.
- Even if you might want to maximize the number of resource-economy out of Caldara's effect, getting a Knight of Belfalas out of your discard pile is certainly a good idea, since you'll be getting another Gondor ally back.
- Discard aggressively Elven-light with Círdan the Shipwright, Steed of Imladris or Glorfindel. The late card draw can really help.
As an example of one of the best move you can do with that deck, during Flight of the Stormcaller, I pulled out this move:
- During the quest phase, send Círdan the Shipwright equipped with Light of Valinor and Narya, alongside Lothíriel, a free Soldier of Gondor that nets you a Knight of Belfalas, which you immediately discard to Steed of Imladris placing two progress on the active location, and finally also questing with Caldara, because why not. Nuke the quest. Shuffle back the Soldier of Gondor.
- At the beginning of the travel phase, discard Caldara to bring back Prince Imrahil, Damrod (that I used the previous turn), and the just discarded Knight of Belfalas that brings Emery back to your hand.
- Trigger Emery's Action (bonus; it didn't even whiff this time).
- Enjoy your combat phase with Narya.
A few comments about the campaign:
- Derufin was not a very good choice in this deck
- Angbor the Fearless neither (see above)
- Hirluin the Fair is Ranged. Yes I know. Ranged.
- Questing is underrated (at least by me). We managed to beat most quests because we had early on insane amount. When questing is no longer a problem, even if you have feeble defense until you build up, it's really ok. Furthermore, it allows you to keep enemies in the staging area. I know it sounds lame, especially since I'm a very experienced player, but my deckbuilding tendencies get me to focus easily on combat. Questing's just not my playstyle really.
- Ride Them Down is ABSOLUTELY INSANE in that cycle (in case you hadn't already notices the emphasis).
- Voyage Across Belegaer (1/1). Without engaging a single enemy. We just quested our way out.
- The Fate of Númenor (1/1)
- Raid on the Grey Havens (1/1). Yes 1st attempt. And I don't think we were even that lucky.
- Flight of the Stormcaller (1/1). We overquested our way out, leaving us puzzled about wether or not we missed anything, but nope. We just quested.
- The Thing in the Depths (1/3). Two early re-starts due to pulling out the treachery that makes each player engage a Corsair enemy, clearly unsustainable for those decks in the early game.
- The Drowned Ruins (1/1). It was long and we lost Cirdan to a bad Forced effect, but even in those circumstances, investing for Prince Imrahil really helps, what a fantastic card!
- A Storm on Cobas Haven (1/1). Ride Them Down was an absolute star here, clearing off the 4 Ships (most notable the Siege Ship) that were carding the objectives (it was played 5 times total, 3 regular + twice through Map of Earnil). In the end we engaged a Corsair Skirmisher that we could take control of without any Boarding (since the active location was the one that reduces Boarding by 1)
- The City of Corsairs (1/1): Then again we used out good old strategy of overquesting the ships. And then mostly overquesting the Corsairs until we could handle them. At that point, they had a lot of resources on them, so it just took an eternity to kill off Sahir!
On a self-congratulation note: no sideboard at all for this cycle. Just used the decks.
On a thematic note, I regret that you're not allowed to have Na'asiyah (Objective-Ally form) under your control for the last two quests. I guess that's because she came out in A Storm on Cobas Haven as a hero, giving you the opportunity to actually play with her, but still. A bit lame. Probably a good idea for The Tale of Years though.