Part of my reasoning for choosing Grima as November’s Hero of the Month, aside from a general interest, was that I really wanted to try my hand at true solo again, something I hadn’t done for quite awhile. Grima has proved a very fun Hero if only to use while musing about deckbuilding. Where Grima seems to truly shine, at least in a solo capacity, is in trait based decks (or “tribal” decks). These decks typically have a key card that provides some sort of reducer for cards that contain the particular trait. And though I’d love to jump to the biggest irony that is using Grima in a Rohan build, I’ve decided at the moment to go in a different direction and pair Grima up with some unlikely partners, the Lady of the Golden Wood and her husband, the Lord of Lothlorien. Given Grima’s questionable methods in achieving his goals, I’ve decided to give this deck a more menacing name, Shadows over Lothlorien.
Being a Silvan Deck first means we get to run Celeborn, an 11 starting threat Leadership Hero that provides a global buff to Silvan allies in their three main stats the round they enter play. Celeborn also gives us access to a valuable leadership attachment that helps us churn out Silvan allies more easily, but more on that later. Galadriel comes in to represent the Spirit Sphere and give us access to not only several useful Silvan allies but a reliable source of card draw and threat reduction. The threat reduction is key, considering we plan on taking advantage of the spotlighted Hero, Grima, as often as we can. Grima can lower the cost of the first card (of any type) we play each round by 1, but at the cost of also raising our threat by 1 in the process. With these three Heroes we should be able to keep the Silvan train running at great speeds and have it start up all the more quickly.
Oh man is this deck all about the allies. There are a whopping twenty-five, about half the deck, and only two of them are non-silvan. The other twenty-three, spreading across the four spheres, will all be receiving Celeborn’s buff as they come in and out of play. Most of the allies (and other card types) in this list have only two copies each. The only ally that has the distinction of three copies is the Naith Guide. I may alter the numbers later but I like having Heroes quest without exhausting, especially if we have a turn lacking in allies, and this quest definitely suffers in terms of action advantage. For the two-copy allies we have Orophin, Galadhon Archer, Galadhrim Weaver, Galadriel’s Handmaiden, Galadhrim Minstrel, Henamarth Riversong, Mirkwood Runner, Silvan Tracker, and the only non-silvan, Errand-Rider. Though each of these allies help out in their own way a few are more vital than others. The Handmaiden helps mitigate Grima’s ability a bit and prevents enemies from engaging us a little longer. The Weaver and Orophin could potentially help us retrieve a lost card to keep us in the game. Henamarth basically determines how we play our turns once he is out and the Silvan Tracker is this deck’s only source of healing. The Errand-Rider is also a card that can be equally vital, giving us the necessary resources in a Tri(psuedo Quad)-Sphere deck. Once our resources are smoothed out he can be a chump blocker or damage fodder when the time comes.
There are also a few allies that only have a single copy each and, getting a little crazy here, some of them hail from the Tactics Sphere (you may have noticed the Galadhon Archer mentioned earlier). These allies are costed a little high but make a big impact when they enter play. Legolas helps with card draw and Rumil can provide some direct damage but also has some decent stats. The same goes for Haldir of Lorien, who is just a well rounded ally that we can thankfully play since his Hero counterpart is replaced by Grima. And finally the Defender of the Naith is a nice little defender that can be ready quite often if our Silvan engine is running smoothly.
To really take advantage of Grima’s ability is the secondary goal of this deck, which works well with the first goal of just playing as many Silvans as possible while bouncing them in and out of play. Thanks to the Leadership Attachment I hinted at earlier this is very much a possibility. Like the Allies, the Attachments in this list mostly come in at two copies each. Among the exceptions is O Lorien! This one-cost Leadership Attachment lets us lower the cost of the next Silvan Ally played in a phase by one. Unfortunately there is a clause that says this is to a minimum of one however, thanks to Grima’s ability (which lacks this clause) we can play any two cost Silvan for free and any three cost Silvan for one! This is an amazing ability and will be our primary method to churn out allies.
Without O Lorien! this deck can’t really get off the ground, and Grima’s ability which at first would be amazing, would slowly attract more and more enemies to our doorstep until it may very well be too late to survive. So what can we do if we don’t have O Lorien! in our starting hand? The answer lies in the infamous Mirror of Galadriel. The Mirror will allow us to, once per turn, dig through the top 10 cards of our library for the exact card we need. Though this comes at a cost of discarding a card randomly from our hand, the Mirror keeps this deck on track and keeps us in the game and so there are three copies included in the deck. To help mitigate our risk of discarding a key card there are two copies of the Silver Harp, a two-cost Spirit Attachment can be exhausted to return a discarded card to our hand. The only issue is that it is a little over costed for a Tri-Sphere deck and isn’t exactly necessary to keep the deck alive, though it certainly pulls its weight. Nevertheless, there are two copies each.
The remainder of the attachments help fill niche roles here and there. Nenya grants Galadriel the ability to quest if we need to and also gives us an extra Lore resource. This may prove useful since a our Lore Allies tend to be the more expensive ones. Two copies of Rivendell Blade give the deck an extra boost in combat and is thankfully applicable to both Allies and Heroes. Now you may have noticed with the Rivendell Blade that I have mentioned four Tactics cards thus far with no Tactics Hero to show for it. Though it isn’t flashy by any means I aim to solve this with two copies of Song of Battle. Three would be too much with so few Tactics cards but two fits a sweet spot. Not only that but we will hopefully find it through using the Mirror. Initially I thought about replacing the Song with A Good Harvest but ultimately decided to go with something a little more permanent. Who knows, this may change at some point.
There are only ten Events in the deck, as opposed to twenty-five allies and fourteen attachments. Eight of them deal with or Silvan allies. Three copies of both Feigned Voices and The Tree People keep our characters alive and at the same time brings in new ones. At one point I had three copies of Pursuing the Enemy as well but opted for two in case I had it in hand without the ability yet to play it. Then there are two copies of Daeron’s Runes. This zero-cost Lore Event helps us dig a little bit more when we are otherwise out of options. Better yet, if we have yet to use Silver Harp then we essentially get a free event card that nets us two card draws without any consequence.
This section will be short, as there is only one Side Quest in the entire list. Gather Information has been my favorite Side Quest so far, and though this deck has a nice and neat list of 50 cards, this particular card is worth breaking the minimum and pushing any list up to 51. Why? Because for a small bit of questing it lets us get any card we need without consequence. No risk of discarding or not finding the card we need, we just get to have it. That alone is quite useful in a deck with so many necessary pieces.
And that is actually one of the potential flaws with this deck. There are so many cards it needs to not only keep running but to start running in the first place. Ideally this deck is meant for Solo play, as that was my intention when building it, but can maybe go to 2-players max. A multiplayer game may prove futile, not because of Grima but because a deck like this may very well get overwhelmed if four or more cards are being revealed each turn, there’s just too much risk that it won’t get off the ground. Then again, I could be worrying for nothing, and if anyone has experienced otherwise please let me know!
That being said, I love this list and can’t wait to begin playing with it and tweaking it further. The Silvan Archetype has been one of my favorites. On the same hand, I started this game playing pure solo. I’m very happy that this list will allow me to cater to both.
What are your thoughts on Grima and the Elves? Is this list better or worse than pairing Grima up with Rohan? Or is it better just to leave Grima out and stick with the lists as they were before? Let me know below and feel free to add any other questions or thoughts you may have. Thanks for reading!
-The Secondhand Took
Deck: Shadows Over Lothlorien
Total Cards: (50)
1x Celeborn (The Dunland Trap)
1x Gríma (The Voice of Isengard)
1x Galadriel (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
1x Defender of the Naith (Trouble in Tharbad)
2x Galadhrim Minstrel (Trouble in Tharbad)
2x Galadhrim Weaver (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
2x Galadriel’s Handmaiden (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
1x Haldir of Lorien (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
2x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
2x Mirkwood Runner (Return to Mirkwood)
3x Naith Guide (The Dunland Trap)
2x Orophin (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
2x Silvan Tracker (The Dead Marshes)
2x Errand-rider (Heirs of Numenor)
1x Legolas (The Treason of Saruman)
2x Galadhon Archer (The Nin-in-Eilph)
1x Rumil (The Three Trials)
3x O Lórien! (Trouble in Tharbad)
3x Mirror of Galadriel (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
2x Silver Harp (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
2x Song of Battle (The Dead Marshes)
2x Rivendell Blade (Road to Rivendell)
2x Nenya (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
3x Feigned Voices (The Three Trials)
3x The Tree People (The Dunland Trap)
2x Pursuing the Enemy (Trouble in Tharbad)
2x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
Side Quest: (1)
1x Gather Information (The Lost Realm)