I came into this game when Voice of Isengard was announced. Upon it’s release (and the release of the subsequent Adventure Packs) the hot new trait was Silvan. The trait had existed before with cards like Mirlonde, Legolas, and a smattering of Silvan Allies, but the developers decided to really expand on it with the Ringmaker Cycle. The Silvan trait played with allies coming in and out of play, with effects triggering during said moments. It wasn’t anything overly complex but it wasn’t something as simple to pilot as Outlands. I quickly became enthralled and though I was spending a lot of my time enjoying older content, I couldn’t help but get hooked on the archetype.
The following deck, Silvan Strength, isn’t too far of a departure from how the deck looked when the Silvan cards began to come out. There is an emphasis on the ranged Keyword, which I will go into later with the allies. This is a Tri-Sphere deck as well with the Tactics, Leadership, and Lore Sphere represented. For Leadership we get Celeborn. He serves as our Silvan “lord” providing a pseudo global buff to Silvan Allies as they enter play. He can also serve as the deck’s Quester/Defender. Haldir of Lorien represents Lore. His role is combat oriented, though we can try and quest with him a bit as well. Lastly is Legolas who, like Haldir, is going to be doing a lot of fighting. He also provides valuable tactics resources which will keep this deck aggressive. With the exception of Celeborn our Heroes have relatively low starting threat which buys us a few turns in the beginning to get to the key cards we need. Once we get going our allies will be picking off enemies as they enter play or are engaged with other players, keeping combat manageable for all.
This deck is chock full of Allies, 23 to be exact. Of the 23, 18 of the allies share the Silvan Trait. This plays very well to Celeborn’s strength, ensuring that our allies are more often than not going to be Silvan and therefore coming in a little stronger than normal. Of the silvan allies, the most vital may very well be the Galadhrim Minstrel. Her ability allows us to dig for crucial events (The Tree People, for instance) and can get the Silvan engine running if it happens to stall out. Though not Silvan, the other key ally in the deck is Errand-Rider. Not trying to make a bold statement but Errand-Rider is an auto-include in almost all tri-sphere decks. If his ability is no longer useful then the Errand-Rider can act as a chump blocker or fodder for direct damage.
This deck also places a special emphasis on ranged. The reason behind this is for the tactics ally Rumil. Though he comes in at a high cost of 4 the resources used on Rumil are typically well spent as he can function as a decent quester and attacker (especially since he’ll come in buffed a la Celeborn). I wouldn’t recommend using him as a defender though since his low defense and hit points means he will most likely not survive the attack. What’s really important about Rumil is his Ranged keyword and his ability. When played from our hand, Rumil deals X damage to an enemy engaged with a player, X being the number of ranged characters we control. 7 of our allies share the ranged Keyword as do 2 of our Heroes, and we have attachments that can grant Ranged to even more characters. Rumil isn’t going to be making huge splashes but he can certainly remove an enemy or two if they are getting out of hand. His only down side (aside from his high cost) is that his ability won’t trigger if you cheat him into play with the usual silvan shenanigans or with cards like Sneak Attack. Thankfully there is an attachment to make his cost a little easier to bear.
With that said let’s go on to the attachments. There are 14 attachments in the deck and though a majority of them are Weapons, each attachment has a unique purpose. Our weapons at our disposal are Bow of the Galadhrim, Rivendell Blade, and Rivendell Bow. These are all very low costed and provide some sort of bonus during combat. The Rivendell Bow is mostly here as a way to give characters the Ranged Keyword. If we are stuck with characters who already have the keyword then we are rewarded with a boost to attack.
Perhaps the most important attachment in the deck is not a weapon however, but a Leadership attachment that helps pay for our expensive allies like Rumil. I speak of O Lorien! a one cost leadership attachment that allows us to reduce the cost of the next silvan ally played this phase by 1. Though it may not come into effect, a big plus for this attachment is that this applies to any Silvan ally, not just the ones we play. So in a scenario where we are out of allies or perhaps can’t pay for them we can at least help out a fellow player if we are in a multiplayer game. The other attachments are varied and come in at one copy a piece. I wanted to give the deck flexibility depending on the need for an extra quester, defender, or healer and so I put in Cloak of Lorien, Lembas, and for Haldir, Wingfoot. Given the particular quest we are on, we may want to switch some of them out and increase the number of copies for the others. We can also remove some of them entirely for more allies or events as needed.
Most of the 13 events in this deck are focused on getting our Silvan allies in and out of play. This helps keep Celeborn’s boosting ability as efficient as possible and lets us trigger our allies’ abilities again and again. I mentioned it earlier but a great combo for me is playing Galdhrim Minstrel, fetching The Tree People, and using said event to return Galdhrim Minstrel for a more powerful (or useful) ally. Then, on our next turn, we can play the Minstrel again and find another key event. Hopefully it will be The Tree People or one of our other Silvan focused events such as Pursuing the Enemy and Feigned Voices. Together these three events (hailing from Lore, Tactics, and Leadership respectively) make up 9 of our 13 events. Each event costs 0, letting us use our resources for more important matters, and they all return a Silvan ally from play. The Tree People, as already mentioned, lets us search the top five of our deck for another Silvan and puts it into play for free. Pursuing the Enemy is similar to Rumil though the damage is capped at one and instead of targeting one enemy we target all engaged with a player. Sometimes it’s better to put a lot of damage on one enemy, and sometimes it would be better to deal a small amount to more enemies. It depends on the situation and I like that this deck can be flexible in that regard. The last event, Feigned Voices, acts as a feint and keeps an enemy from attacking its engaged player for a phase.
I love this deck, and it hasn’t changed too much since I first tried it out. Orophin, the 3 cost leadership ally, came into the game a little later and was a nice new addition but otherwise not much is different. The Silvan trait seems pretty well equipped right now and I don’t see the designers giving it more love for a little while as they focus on the Noldor trait. Nevertheless, I can see room for more and I imagine we’ll see the deck change in the form of new and different allies or different Heroes. What I really want to see is a Tactics Silvan Hero so Legolas can be switched out and his Ally card can be played. His card drawing ability would be vital. I have a few issues with this deck and card draw is one of them. This can be remedies with cards like Daeron’s Runes and other Lore events but the list was tight enough for me as it is. On top of card draw is resources. My concern is that in a pinch Errand-Rider and O Lorien! may not be enough. I have considered using events like Tighten our Belt and so it’s in this deck’s sideboard. It may be more useful in less combat heavy quests and cards like Hands upon the Bow can then come out.
Regardless as I’ve already said I really enjoy this deck. It really shines in a multiplayer game where another player can tank the enemies and this deck can just pick them off. Let me know below what you think of the Silvan Trait and what builds you’ve come created. Do you think the trait is “complete” or would you like to see more?
-The Secondhand Took
Deck: Silvan Strength
Total Cards: (50)
1x Celeborn (The Dunland Trap)
1x Legolas (Core Set)
1x Haldir of Lórien (Trouble in Tharbad)
3x Galadhon Archer (The Nin-in-Eilph)
3x Galadhrim Minstrel (Trouble in Tharbad)
2x Naith Guide (The Dunland Trap)
2x Rúmil (The Three Trials)
2x Silvan Tracker (The Dead Marshes)
2x Defender of the Naith (Trouble in Tharbad)
2x Orophin (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
3x Errand-rider (Heirs of Numenor)
2x Mirkwood Runner (Return to Mirkwood)
2x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)
3x Bow of the Galadhrim (The Nin-in-Eilph)
1x Cloak of Lórien (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
1x Lembas (Trouble in Tharbad)
3x O Lórien! (Trouble in Tharbad)
3x Rivendell Blade (Road to Rivendell)
1x Wingfoot (The Nin-in-Eilph)
2x Rivendell Bow (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Feigned Voices (The Three Trials)
3x Pursuing the Enemy (Trouble in Tharbad)
3x The Tree People (The Dunland Trap)
2x Hands Upon the Bow (Shadow and Flame)
2x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
Side Quest: (0)