Oh no?! “Did he say Outlands?!”
I am very thankful to have come into this game at a certain point in its life. As I’ve often mentioned, Voice of Isengard was just being released. I didn’t know much about Dwarves, hadn’t really set my eyes on anything from Heirs of Numenor (yet) and this thing called Outlands made zero sense to me.
It didn’t take long to get a lot of that cleared up. I purchased the packs from Against the Shadow and saw what this whole Outlands thing was about and I netdecked a Dwarf Deck though I can’t remember from which site. I had the luxury of not feeling overwhelmed and burnt out from these top tier decks that many at the time were then growing tired of playing.
Then it happened. I decided to use Elrond as Hero of the Month for October and next thing I knew, I was taking a crack at Outlands.
As is the perk with the Outlands trait, it isn’t too hard to build. You just slam all the Outlands cards together, pick any number of Heroes, and away you go. It was actually kind of refreshing, and I enjoyed the simplicity of building the deck. What really drove me to build the deck (and I would feel this way even if Outlands was underpowered) was the synergy between Elrond and Hirluin the Fair. With Elrond’s ability to pay for Allies of any sphere and Hirluin’s ability to pay for any Outlands ally of any sphere running a four sphere Outlands deck was easy as pie. This isn’t new by any stretch, in fact deck builds in general containing this pairing was quite common. Nonetheless it was new to me and it was a synergy I was glad to use to my advantage. I was set to play some games with a few friends of mine on an upcoming Saturday, and I knew such a powerful, easy to understand build would work well for a particular friend of mine. So then, when I decided on what Tactics Hero I would choose I felt Beregond filled a similar role. Easy to use and understand, fun to play, and powerful.
In a deck where two of the three Heroes have ally focusing abilities, it would behoove any build to focus on said allies. This deck certainly does that, with nearly half the deck stuffed with allies (twenty-three to be exact). Sixteen of these allies have the Outlands trait and for most of them we have three copies. These would include Hunter of Lamedon, Anfalas Herdsman, Ethir Swordsman, Knights of the Swan, and Warrior of Lossarnach. Except for the Hunter the other allies provide a global boost to all Outlands characters (including themselves) in one of the four stats: Willpower, Attack, Defense, and Hitpoints. There is also a single copy of Forlong in the deck. His ability to ready consistently once all four spheres are represented by Outland allies is quite powerful but still, possibly hard to pull off. Ideally we want to see him later rather than sooner and keeping one copy helps tilt the odds in our favor of finding him later.
I also included three copies of a Lore ally that seems to be an auto include anytime I have a Lore Hero. That would be Warden of Healing. His ability is only made better by having Elrond beside him, boosting his healing abilities. He’s a great early turn ally, keeping our Heroes safe from harm while we wait for the Anfalas Hersman (otherwise healing is pointless on our single hitpoint allies) and other Outlands characters to appear. One place where this deck struggles is card draw and though there may be a better alternative, I’ve included two copies of Gleowine for now. And then of course there’s Faramir who shines in any deck with a large number of characters. Like Forlong, I didn’t want to go three copies deep since we want Faramir a couple turns later.
Where one half of the deck is full of allies the other is very much full of attachments. Twenty one cards in the deck are included to bolster our Heroes by providing stronger defenses, damage cancelation and readying effects while others provide resource generation and even help some of our allies. A good chunk of these belong on Beregond, who’s inherent discount on Weapons and Armor acts as resource smoothing in a sense. The attachments for Beregond are pretty straightforward. Three copies each are included for Gondorian Shield, Spear of the Citadel and the recently released Raven-Winged Helm. These items attached to Beregond means that he will almost never be touched and while he is defending he’ll be chipping away at our enemies, making them all the more easier to kill.
For Elrond/Hirluin we have Steward of Gondor, and Horn of Gondor. These two attachments will help us get to the resources we need when we need them and can help us get allies like Faramir on the table. I would argue that at least one of these should go on Elrond if not both since he can pay for Outlands and the other allies, whereas Hirluin’s ability only works on Outlands.
There are also two attachments, Lembas and Cram, that are included to provide some action advantage and, specific to Lembas, healing as well. Lastly there are two copies of Sword of Morthrond to attach to any of our few non-outland Allies for a little extra boost. This card may not be too necessary in the long run and I might consider cutting it later on down the road.
Where the attachments and allies were plentiful, the events are not so lucky. There are only six events included in the list at two copies each. Daeron’s Runes allows the deck to dig deeper for cards like Anfalas Herdsman, Gondorian Shield or Warden of Healing. Tighten Our Belts gives our Heroes a boost in resources if we have a bad turn. Also, in a multiplayer match this card can be targeted at another player instead, which adds a little more value in my opinion. And finally there is Men of the West. In the event things get dire and we have to lose a good portion of our allies, either to direct damage or treacheries such as Bitter Cold where the game just turns upside down in an instant an event like Men of the West could really dig us out. Like Sword of Morthrond, I’m not sure if the card is really needed and I might trade it in for something else later on down the road, but for now I’ll keep it as is.
So there you have it, my version (albeit not too original) of an Outlands deck. It may be a little overpowered and too easy to build/play but it certainly looks fun. I say looks because I got to watch my friend pilot it on Saturday and it worked wonderfully for him. The mechanics of the cards weren’t over his head and yet there was just enough “bookkeeping” and strategy at his disposal that he was able to make meaningful decisions. To me, this deck isn’t the faceroll deck that people have made it out to be. Maybe it was at some point earlier in the game’s history but now it doesn’t seem like that. In a meta full of ally hate and direct damage the Outlands deck certainly has some problems that it can’t solve very easily, which I think puts it in a nice balance with what it’s capable of. Elrond in such a deck is wonderful. His inclusion turns a useful healing ally like the Warden into a game saver and his resource smoothing ability is still amazing and truly shines alongside a Hero like Hirluin.
Though this deck had Elrond, it’s clearly all about the Outlands. What is your opinion on the trait? How do you feel it holds up now?
Thanks for reading!
-The Secondhand Took
Deck: Elrond: Lord of the Outlands
Total Cards: (50)
1x Elrond (Shadow and Flame)
1x Hirluin the Fair (The Steward’s Fear)
1x Beregond (Heirs of Numenor)
3x Anfalas Herdsman (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Ethir Swordsman (The Steward’s Fear)
1x Forlong (The Drúadan Forest)
3x Hunter of Lamedon (Heirs of Numenor)
3x Knights of the Swan (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Warrior of Lossarnach (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)
2x Gleowine (Core Set)
2x Faramir (Core Set)
3x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
2x Horn of Gondor (Core Set)
3x Raven-winged Helm (The Wastes of Eriador)
3x Spear of the Citadel (Heirs of Numenor)
2x Lembas (Trouble in Tharbad)
3x Cram (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
2x Sword of Morthond (Assault on Osgiliath)
2x Men of the West (Assault on Osgiliath)
2x Tighten Our Belts (The Nin-in-Eilph)
2x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
Side Quest: (0)