A couple of weeks ago I built a deck around the might of the Ents. Today however I am going in a different direction. This doesn’t mean to say I’m ignoring Treebeard’s great strength but also the support he brings to his allies. His wisdom, his unique perspective, and his knowledge of many things has made Treebeard a valuable player in the War of the Ring and I hope that this deck conveys just a bit of that.
Just like last time Treebeard will be using his card ability to quest hard and hit hard. Ideally, since this deck will be playing more of a support role, I would like Treebeard to do a bit of both quite regularly. This means he will be taking quite a lot of damage. To mitigate that I added Elrond as the second hero of the roster. Elrond helps out in many ways. His stats are great, his traits are nice, but his ability to pay for allies of any sphere and to boost all healing effects really lends itself to what I want this deck to do. His high threat was (and still is) a big concern of mine. To hopefully mitigate that I have included the shiny and new Spirit version of Merry. This hobbit is so incredible that he has shown up in both of my Treebeard decks so far, albeit representing two different spheres. Merry’s low threat keeps this support deck from attracting the wrong crowd and his ability can hopefully get us back to safer threat levels early on in the quest.
This deck starts out with 15 allies. I say starts out because I had a really difficult time trimming this down to a 50 card list. That being said, I have a side board of sorts that I will post at the very bottom. I could see it being very useful for a support deck such as this that will need to adapt (and should adapt) to the various scenarios and their differences. Anyway, I digress. Of the fifteen allies included in this list, only two of them come in with three copies each. This honor goes to The Warden of Healing and Imladris Stargazer. The Warden, quite simply, is here because we need healing more and more in these recent quests. Paired up with Elrond he can be a very versatile ally not only healing Treebeard with ease but any characters across the table. The Stargazer is included to help us find the cards we need. Many cards in this list from allies to events have only one or two copies. The stargazer ensures that we draw what we need, when we need. On top of that, if we get a certain attachment on Elrond we can make the Stargazer truly shine and get some of those clutch cards in for free.
Dori shows up with just a single copy in case a hero needs a last ditch rescue. I kept him down to one copy due to his cost of three. Two other singletons include Quickbeam for combat and Galadriel’s Handmaiden for a little questing boost and threat reduction. For the two-ofs we have Ithilien Tracker to help boost questing in his own way, Arwen to give Treebeard or other vital heroes Sentinel and a little defensive boost, and the East Road Ranger to help with our side quests. I had a hard time adding this card to the list but once I saw myself adding a couple of my own side quest cards it just seemed wrong to not include a copy or two.
I’ve been trying not to throw all my eggs in one basket and lean heavily towards attachments. Recent quests have been showing a lot of attachment hate and all too often I see my decks begin to crumble after my beefed up Hero loses an all too important attachment. Though I don’t think I completely saved myself in this regard, I did manage to take a list that typically includes 20 something attachments and bring it down to just 18! These attachments are all over the place and will probably be the section that sees the most change if we use the side board. At three copies each we have Ent Draught, Light of Valinor, and Unexpected Courage. All three attachments cater to the action advantage that is becoming more and more vital as enemies and encounter cards get trickier. Light of Valinor and Unexpected Courage means our Heroes will be doing more work and Ent Draught is here to make sure they don’t collapse under all that pressure, granting them an extra two hit points. After that though, the attachments get a little odd. I won’t go into what cards have how many copies (you can view the list for that) but I will include their name and their purpose.
Forest Snare and Lembas are included for combat support and healing. Thror’s Map shows up for some location control and Hobbit Pony helps Merry use his ability to his fullest. So in a sense the Pony is here to make sure we are either questing efficiently or keeping our threat down. Vilya was added to allow at worst some resource smoothing and at best a shot at some free cards. Lastly, and most strangely, we have a single copy of Song of Earendil. Having dove into MTG first and this game second, I was often reminded of the value of a card that replaces itself. At the very least, the Song of Earendil does that. If it was 0 costed I would almost consider it an auto include in a support deck with Merry. Right now, as it stands, I want to see what a single copy does. I could see it doing a lot of work, helping players who quest unsuccessfully, are victim to a doomed effect, or are raising their own threat a la Boromir. The effect of lowering ones threat isn’t immediately flashy but over the course of a game you could collectively be reducing massive amounts of threat and Merry can reduce that in very nice broad strokes.
I had an easier time with the events. Of the 15 included in the deck, nearly half of them provide some sort of card draw, and not just for the deck itself but for other players. These cards are Daeron’s Runes, Mithrandir’s Advice, and Deep Knowledge. For general support there is the tried and true Hasty Stroke and A Test of Will duo as well as Power of Orthanc and Noiseless Movement. Lastly there are two copies of Elrond’s Counsel to not only keep our threat down but to help out with questing as well.
Yay for side quests! This won’t be too involved as there are only two different quests at one card a piece (thanks to the 1 per deck limitation). Both side quests really lend themselves to this deck wanting to support. The first, Gather Information, helps the players directly, allowing them to grab the card they need and thin their deck. Scout Ahead however, helps the players more indirectly. Not only does it provide a very powerful scry effect (which in itself makes the card worth it I think) but it allows the first player to pull a card from the encounter deck and remove it from the game. This works especially well with not necessarily nasty enemies, but treacheries and shadow effects that are just a bit more stressful and unexpected.
This deck will need tuning I’m sure. Not just because each quest will be different and things such as healing may need to be put on the back burner for things like location control and combat, but because this deck is a very experimental thing for me. As I’ve mentioned previously, Lore is very uncharted territory for me. The only time I see myself using Lore is usually just to play Pippin and even then I’m only using very straightforward cards like Daeron’s Runes, Wandering Ent, or Fast Hitch. Even so, this play style intrigues me, just as much as combat does I think, and I’d like to see a deck like this improve as some of the spoiled Lore Cards from Angmar Awakens begin to make their way to store shelves. Until then, let me know what improvements or changes you have made or would like to see made and put those in the comments below!
-The Secondhand Took
Deck: Support of the Shepard
Total Cards: (50)
1x Treebeard (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Elrond (Shadow and Flame)
1x Merry (The Wastes of Eriador)
1x Dori (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Ithilien Tracker (Heirs of Numenor)
1x Quickbeam (The Treason of Saruman)
3x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)
2x Arwen Undomiel (The Watcher in the Water)
1x Galadriel’s Handmaiden (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
3x Imladris Stargazer (Foundations of Stone)
2x East Road Ranger (The Wastes of Eriador)
3x Ent Draught (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Forest Snare (Core Set)
2x Lembas (Trouble in Tharbad)
1x Thror’s Map (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Light of Valinor (Foundations of Stone)
1x Song of Earendil (Road to Rivendell)
3x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
2x Vilya (Shadow and Flame)
2x Hobbit Pony (The Wastes of Eriador)
2x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
2x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)
2x Mithrandir’s Advice (The Steward’s Fear)
1x Noiseless Movement (The Three Trials)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
2x Elrond’s Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)
1x Power of Orthanc (The Voice of Isengard)
Side Quest: (2)
1x Gather Information (The Lost Realm)
1x Scout Ahead (Wastes of Eriador)
2x Bilbo Baggins (The Road Darkens)
1x Daughter of the Nimrodel (Core Set)
2x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
2x Ithilien Archer (Encounter at Amon Dîn)
2x Quickbeam (The Treason of Saruman)
2x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
1x Forest Snare (Core Set)
1x Self Preservation (Core Set)
2x Cloak of Lórien (Celebrimbor’s Secret)