Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Deck Tech: Traps in the Forest

Hey all, welcome to week 42 of Deck Tech! Last week, I went back to my roots and put together a Leadership secrecy deck headed by Sam Gamgee and Denethor. Their combined low threat and huge resource potential really helped me crank out the allies and speed my way to victory.
This week, we've got a new expansion! The Mumakil is out, and I have the cards, and so I'm going to share a deck for it with you.
DamrodKahlielThéodred
Ally (19)
2x  Faramir (Core)
2x  Firyal
3x  Gandalf (Core)
2x  Gimli (ToS)
2x  Jubayr
2x  Treebeard (TAC)
2x  Yazan
This time, more so than most others, I wanted to go for a thematic deck. We're playing all of the Harad characters from the last quest in the deluxe expansion, and since we're in the woods trapping Mumakil, I wanted to pack a bunch of extra traps for whatever else we could find there.
I know, I know, you can't actually use any of these player card traps on these big enemies, but there are plenty of other animals in the jungle you can trap!
Quest 1: The Mumakil
I've got Steward of Gondor and Rod of the Steward for Kahliel in my opening hand, so there's basically zero chance of a mulligan this time. Damrod also sets up some Entangling Nets in the staging area.
And, amazingly, my opening draw was an Heir of Mardil for Kahliel to ready after questing. Just about the best possible opening for this deck, since it has all the key attachments and a way to mitigate early enemies.
And I get one of those right away, in the form of a Territorial Ape. Caught in a net and with no active location, it's not a very threatening enemy.
Round two sees a Kahliel's Headdress and Yazan join the party, thanks to Daeron's Runes.
And then a little bit of annoyance thanks to a Strangling Python coming off the top of the encounter deck. I choose to let the python hit Damrod, because I don't really need his actions for the rest of the quest. Though it would be nice to find Miner of the Iron Hills and clear that problem up.
Deep Knowledge in the following round gets me two extra copies of Steward of Gondor. And I quest right into the Harad Tiger, which I'm not going to be able to deal with right away. And I've managed to discard all my traps, so there won't be any sneaky plays here.
I get out a Warden of HealingTreebeard, and Firyal over the next few rounds. And I still have to let the tiger eat Yazan before I can kill it in round six.
Then I make a dangerous mistake. Firyal reveals The Savage South, and I figure it will be safe to allow because I've seen so many of my duplicates. Unfortunately, it kills my Warden of Healing, and that's all the healing my deck can bring to bear.
After this, I quest into a Terrible Fever on Theodred, and I dig as hard as I can for a Miner of the Iron Hills to heal him. Well, I can't actually remove the damage he's already built up, but I can stop the fever from hurting him more.
Eventually I do find it, just before Theodred would die.
Round thirteen, I finally allow the Mumak to come off the top of the encounter deck, and my objective is the Poisoned Spear. The next couple of rounds are pretty straightforward, soaking up attacks and putting a bit of damage on the Mumak. I do find another Terrible Fever for Kahliel, but I've been holding on to my second Miner of the Iron Hills just in case.
And in round fifteen, I play Gandalf to drop my threat, feeling hopeful. The Mumak still has three hit points, but I think I can end the quest this round with decent odds. And I do flip a 3 threat location off the top of the encounter deck, so this Mumak is mine!
Final score: 171. 14 full rounds, 28 threat, 6 damage on heroes, 3 vp.
Quest 2: The Foundations of Stone
We're off to a similar start this time. I've got Steward of GondorSneak Attack, and Ranger Spikes in my opening hand. And my first draw is Gandalf!
I need to use Sneak Attack on Gandalf immediately to help deal with a Goblin Swordsman from setup. Amusingly enough, its shadow is a second Goblin Swordsman that gets stuck in my trap!
Next round I play out another Ranger Spikes and catch a Goblin Scout. I wouldn't have been able to engage with it anyway, but reduced threat in the encounter deck and free draws are appreciated. Treebeard and Heir of Mardil also set us up for more combat in the future when the traps run dry.
Captain's Wisdom in round three makes for an incredibly explosive turn, allowing me to play Gimli and Firyal in one round.
Yeah, with two trapped goblins in the staging area, and that kind of ally muscle out on the table, we advance pretty fast. Round six sees me all the way through to stage 4, and I haven't encountered any Nameless Things yet.
I've managed to keep my threat relatively low, so when I do find an Elder Nameless Thing, Gandalf comes in to destroy it without having to engage it. And the first regular Nameless Thing I have to engage only finds an Entangling Nets and a Rod of the Steward, making it very little threat.
(I did have a funny thought about the Nameless Things getting caught in traps from your deck, but I'm 90% sure that's not how that actually works.)
And another appearance from Gandalf and the help of Faramir allows us to not really have too much trouble with stage 5's questing restriction. I escape from Moria much faster than normal.
Final score: 109. 8 full rounds, 33 threat, 0 damage on heroes, 4 vp.
Play Tips:
  1. The Trap cards are really useful early to help make your combats smoother before you can find the Harad allies (or Treebeard).
  2. All your resources go on Kahliel, because that's how you power out the allies. Heir of Mardil also goes on him, so Steward of Gondor plus Théodred is four resources and free questing every round.
  3. Heir of Mardil and Captain's Wisdom are a great combo. Just remember you have to play Captain's Wisdom during the resource phase, so you might need to wait a round.
  4. Protect your Warden of Healing. I kept the healing very light, so if anything happens to the Warden, you could be in trouble.
  5. Firyal is the most useful of the Harad allies, by far, in a solo deck. So if you have to pick, play her first.
Next week: TBD. I know I still need to get Grappling Hook to work out, eventually, but now might not be the time.
Blog: I'm still planning on doing a visual revamp of the blog, (and it has an RSS feed if that's your thing). Once that's done, I'll start sharing other players' decks again with the occasional spotlight.
Twitter: Follow @LOTRDeckTech to get notifications whenever I post a new deck, new blog post, or something random on the twitter feed!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Deck Tech: Sam and ɯɐS

Hey all, welcome to week 41 of Deck Tech! Last week I built a low threat Leadership Lore deck meant to take advantage of Unlikely Friendship with some resource fixing from Bifur and Théodred. I had some problems actually drawing Unlikely Friendship, though, which is kind of a problem.
DenethorSam Gamgee
Ally (26)
1x  Anborn (LoS)
1x  Beorn (Core)
1x  Éothain
2x  Erestor (TLD)
2x  Faramir (Core)
3x  Gandalf (OHaUH)
2x  Gimli (ToS)
1x  Glorfindel (FotS)
1x  Halbarad (FotW)
1x  Orophin
1x  Saruman
2x  Treebeard (TAC)

This week, I went back to my roots and built a Leadership Secrecy deck around Sam and ɯɐS. I'm half doing this because I just found out I can use upside down text on ringsdb, and half doing this because I enjoy the fact that Denethor's stats are such a great mirror of Sam's. And his absurd resource boosting starts.
We've got basically every extra resource card that doesn't require anything extra. Steward of Gondor for Denethor, Captain's WisdomGaining Strength, and even A Very Good Tale to just cheat out allies even more.
And yeah, I know there are more of these effects available, but I think this deck hits a really good number.
Draw comes primarily from Erestor and Rod of the Steward. It's a little light, especially without Gandalf, but the average power level (and cost...) of these cards is so high it's not a crippling problem.
Quest 1: Intruders in Chetwood
Off to a very strong start in this quest. I play a Gaining Strength to give Denethor 4 resources right off the bat. Then Timely Aid gets me an Erestor. I discard Glorfindel immediately and draw Resourceful for Denethor.
And I've got a Rod of the Steward and Dúnedain Wanderer in my hand, so let's play them, too. I quest in round one, and tie progress. Nothing really exciting has to happen right away when your threat is this low.
My draw in round two is a second Dúnedain Wanderer, so now I can play the A Very Good Tale I've been sitting on. Those two Dunedain find me Beorn and Saruman. I'm not entirely thrilled about Saruman, but he does distract the Orc War Party for a full round. And I use those two to kill another orc enemy, but Iarion has been captured.
Round three gets me Steward of Gondor, and round 4 gets me Gandalf. These things let me spam out a number of other allies and brute force my way to rescuing Iarion in round five, just before he was lost for good.
Eothain, Treebeard, and Faramir come out over the next two rounds, and Faramir lets me make 20 progress to finish up the stage, and then Beorn's battle rage helps me crush the Orc War Party.
Final score: 86. 6 full rounds, 36 threat, 0 damage on heroes, 10 vp.
Quest 2: Wastes of Eriador
This was a crazy setup. I revealed three different treacheries, which had the cumulative effect of Doomed 2, making it Night, and starting us off with the Make Camp sidequest in play. Great.
But my opening hand has a ton of resources. Even more than last time. I start with Resourceful for Denethor, Captain's Wisdom and Gaining Strength. So let's play all of those, and find Gimli and Bill the Pony wandering the wastes.
We basically get one big ally every round from here on out. Faramir in round two. Orophin in round three (plus a Timely Aid for... Rivendell Scout. Disappointing).
Because I played that Timely Aid, I can't play Anborn in round four, but I do draw Steward of Gondor to really get over the top. And in the next round, I pick Gandalf as my ally of choice, instead of the Anborn.
I'm basically topdecking the entire time, but I clear out stage 1 in round eight. And then stage 2 in round ten. I almost pushed all the way through stage 2 in one round, but I remembered how that went the first time I tried it.
(Spoiler alert: It doesn't go well, unless you're set up to probably take multiple undefended attacks.)
And in the following round, I make enough progress to make the Pack Leader vulnerable and utterly destroy it.
Final score: 129. 10 full rounds, 5 damage on heroes, 47 threat, 23 vp.
Play Tips:
  1. All the resources go on Denethor, mostly for theme reasons. If you put attachments on Sam, you need to find Steward of Gondor before you can really effectively use the rod. But if you put the attachments on Denethor, you're locked out of Sam's resource for using the rod.
  2. Treebeard is basically your best ally. Gandalf is just a little bit shy of that mark, because of how his ability interacts with threat. If you can, play one of those well before anything else.
  3. Bill the Pony is the best chump blocker, because you can always play a second copy for free. (And if you lost Sam already, you're probably not going to do very well.)
  4. Timely Aid is worth paying 4 resources for, because you're probably pulling in an ally that costs at least that much. And shrinking your deck a bit.
  5. Ranger of Cardolan is a great substitute for most of the deck's mix of unique characters, if you want to play nice with others. Faramir and Erestor are very hard to do without, though.
Next week: Okay, haven't done side quests yet, but I just got the Mumakil, so next week's deck is going to be a Kahliel deck.
Blog: I'm still planning on doing a visual revamp of the blog, (and it has an RSS feed if that's your thing). Once that's done, I'll start sharing other players' decks again with the occasional spotlight.
Twitter: Follow @LOTRDeckTech to get notifications whenever I post a new deck, new blog post, or something random on the twitter feed!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Deck Tech: Even More Unlikely Friendship

Hey all, welcome to week 40 of Deck Tech! Last week, the Steward of Gondor funded a new knife shop for Na'asiyah, and she absolutely slaughtered some enemies with them. Must be something to do with her secret Gondorian heritage.
This week we're building a nice, low threat swarm. Lots of dwarves, lots of ents, and a few other miscellaneous great allies.
BifurMirlondeThéodred
Ally (35)
2x  Erestor (TLD)
2x  Faramir (Core)
3x  Gandalf (Core)
2x  Gimli (ToS)
2x  Quickbeam
2x  Treebeard (TAC)

Unfortunately, I have my doubts about Leadership and Lore's ability to reduce threat, or I'd have made this a secrecy deck.
The goal here is to pass all the resources to Bifur and use Narvi's Belt to help us play whatever allies are actually best each round.
Quest 1: Journey Along the Anduin
Any time I make a low threat deck, I want to take it to this quest. It's just so satisfying to build up and then completely crush a troll.
My start for this one is, of course, a Goblin Sniper and the Hill Troll. Fortunately, I've got a Sneak Attack and Gandalf in my opening hand, which I can use to clear it out and make enough progress to clear stage 1. Just have to kill the troll now.
I build up some decent allies over the next few rounds. A Wellinghall PreserverTreebeard, and a Wandering Ent. And, I stumble upon my second troll.
And in round six, I play a Gandalf for draw power, allowing me to defend and destroy the first of two trolls. Then in round 7, I use Heed the Dream to get both of my remaining copies of Sneak Attack. So Gandalf can come back in the combat phase to damage the second troll and defend against its attack.
And then comes a series of just slightly sad rounds. I hold back some allies from questing and fall two progress short of clearing stage 2 in one round. And I wouldn't have faced any enemies in the ambush, either.
I do move on in round nine, revealing the second Goblin Sniper, a Wargs, and an Eastern Crows on the shore. I snipe out the Sniper with a Gandalf, hoping to avoid another round. But Wargs doesn't have a shadow effect, so I can't kill him yet.
Next round I just give up and destroy the Wargs with Gandalf during planning.
Final Score: 110. 9 full rounds, 31 threat, 0 damage on heroes, 11 vp.
Quest N: Others
I played a few more quests with this deck, and they all went pretty well.
Here's the weird part, though. I didn't play Unlikely Friendship once during all of these quests. I know they're in here, because I saw them with Heed the Dream. (Of course, spending a card and potentially multiple resources to draw a card and gain a resource is probably not worth it.)
Play Tips:
  1. All of the ents are great in combat. Even Wellinghall Preserver has a respectable 2 attack to bring to bear. Use them when you need them.
  2. Generally, I give Théodred's resource to himself and shuffle it to Bifur when I need more Lore resources. But once I have Narvi's Belt out, I just hand them directly to Bifur.
  3. The only crucial ally is Treebeard, because his stats and readying are incredibly useful. Everybody else can be killed or discarded to Daeron's Runes without too much trouble.
  4. Don't forget you can Sneak Attack a Faramir for a big questing boost if you need it.
Next week: Time to try out some of the side quest based cards from the Sands of Harad. Maybe I'll like them!
Blog: I'm still planning on doing a visual revamp of the  blog, (and it has an RSS feed if that's your thing). Once that's done, I'll start sharing other players' decks again with the occasional spotlight.
Twitter: Follow @LOTRDeckTech to get notifications whenever I post a new deck, new blog post, or something random on the twitter feed!