Hello! A quick disclaimer – as a recent twitter post may have indicated – I went a little crazy. The following list, though I’m sure it has it’s benefits and uses, was built on the fly and overall was a joy to make. I plan on testing it out and toning it down a notch if need be, as I’d like to see it become something more. Okay, with that out of the way here we go!
The following deck, titled Leader of Men, is the first of three decks I plan on building for January’s Hero of the Month: Aragorn! This deck in particular focuses on the Lore iteration of Aragorn and primarily his usefulness as a defender. Being of the Lore Sphere he offers access to a certain attachment that makes handling attacks much easier than normal.
As already stated, this deck uses Lore Aragorn, or LorAgorn. Many of the cards in this list are meant for him or affected by him. One in particular would be the shiny new Arwen Hero. Representing the Spirit Sphere she will give Aragorn access to an extra resource thanks to her inherent ability as well as some attachments and other shenanigans only found in Spirit. Lastly there is Theodred, giving the deck it’s third sphere being in Leadership. Theodred himself isn’t doing much other than questing, giving Aragorn his extra resource, and giving us access to a couple key Leadership allies and attachments.
This deck is first and foremost all about Aragorn. Because of this, a lot of the attachments are meant for or play off of Aragorn as well. There are 26 attachments in the deck, represented by mostly two copies per card, and hilariously only 3 of the cards don’t go on Aragorn. The big ones are the artifacts, and mostly all of them give added perks when attached to Aragorn. Celebrian’s Stone and Sword that was Broken grant the Spirit and Leadership icon respectively and they both contribute to overall questing. The stone focuses just on Aragorn while the Sword can grow exponentially while we gather more allies on the table. Next on the list is the Ring of Barahir. This one cost Spirit Attachment unfortunately grants the Lore Sphere, which we already have, but it does give Aragorn +1 hitpoint for every artifact attached to him. With the three main attachments on Aragorn he will be looking at 4 willpower, and 8 hitpoints which is certainly nothing to scoff at. Lastly there’s the oddball Thror’s Map. It’s a one cost Lore attachment that can actually be very useful in location management and bypassing nasty travel effects. It’s main goal, however, is to easily tip the scale a bit further and bring Aragorn to 9 hitpoints!
Moving away from the artifacts, but still stuck on Aragorn love, we have the attachments geared for combat. Blood of Numenor and Gondorian Fire grant bonuses to Aragorn’s defense and attack based off the number of resources he has. Since we’ll have Arwen and Theodred giving Aragorn two resources a turn, this can get out of hand quickly. To take it a step further there is the (in)famous Steward of Gondor. This 2 cost Leadership Attachment will take the number of resources on Aragorn to new heights, taking full advantage of the previous two attachments. For readying and shadow cancellation there are copies of Unexpected Courage and A Burning Brand. Courage allows Aragorn to contribute two defenses, two attacks or one of each. Burning Brand, on the other hand (hehe.. rhymes), makes sure that any nasty shadow effect is good and gone before they can affect our good ol’ Aragorn. There are also two copies of Cram in the deck. I love this card. It’s 0 cost and does it’s job well. I particularly like it in the early game as it saves our resources while we build up our board presence.
Lastly there are just a few more odds and ends. Song of Battle is included solely for the purpose of giving Aragorn the chance to use Gondorian Fire. With our hopefully decent card draw, this shouldn’t be hard to get our hands on when we need it. Visionary Leadership takes advantage of Aragorn’s resources but in a different way, though it is contingent on him having Steward of Gondor equipped. Where Blood and Fire were dependent upon the number of resources to be truly useful, Visionary Leadership only needs an easy 1 resource to function. Sometimes it’s not about the quantity! With most of our allies being of the Gondor trait this can add to some impressive questing, especially when Aragorn has The Sword that was Broken attached to him as well. And finally there are 3 copies of Light of Valinor. This is meant for Arwen, obviously, provides some nice action advantage if we need it, and works well with an event card I’ll discuss later.
If there is one area this deck needs the most improvement it might be here. The ally count is a little lighter than I would like, coming in at 16, but I found myself tight for space when building this.
Of the 16 allies, there are 14 that share the Gondor trait (among 7 different allies). The one non-gondorian, Master of the Forge, is no less vital. At two cost, this somewhat cheap Noldor ally allows us to dig through our top 5 cards and pull an attachment into our hand. Given the amount of attachments in this deck that will more than likely always hit something. Better yet, he allows us to shuffle away extra copies of attachments we don’t need. If we find that those extra copies make it into our hand they can either serve as replacements should a shadow effect make us discard one, or they can be used to fuel Arwen’s effect.
Though a lot of the Gondor allies in this deck are here simply because they have the right trait, they have other uses as well. To help with resource generation/smoothing, there are two copies each of Pelargir Ship Captain and Envoy of Pelargir as well as 3 copies of Errand-Rider. When they’re not assisting with resources they will be committing to questing, with hopefully a +2 willpower buff thanks to Aragorn’s attachments.
Speaking of questing, Ingold makes an appearance in this list. He’s a tad on the expensive side, costing 3 resources, but if he is fully buffed then he will be contributing 5 willpower to the quest, which is very good for a 3-cost ally! In a pinch, his hit points and meager defense stat can help in combat as well. He could be a chump or take a couple direct damage hits throughout the game. There are also a couple of copies of Faramir. Though he is far more expensive than Ingold, costing 4 instead of 3, his contribution to the quest can be far greater and thus justified his cost thanks to his ability! I also included a single copy of Veteran of Osgiliath as well. He may not stay in the list for long but in the late game he can prove very useful and we can take full advantage of our threat level, walking that razor’s edge until we have to use Aragorn’s ability and bringing us back down to our starting threat of 29.
Lastly we have Mablung. The only thing I don’t like this is card is the potential it has to clash with the Hero being in play. Otherwise I like his effect at 2 cost. He has the Gondor trait, will be helping with questing rather well, and can keep enemies in the staging area away from us or other players. If Aragorn is good and ready then Mablung can bring them down instead, helping with questing even more so.
One day, I’d like to try and experiment with a deck that has a larger than average amount of event cards. Not today though. This deck only has four different events across 8 cards.
There is, of course, A Test of Will which does what it does best. We have shadows taken care of thanks to a Burning Brand, but one wrong treachery during staging and we’re done for! Elven-Light, of which there are 2 copies, is the best card we want to see for Arwen’s effect. There are 3 copies of Tale of Tinuviel to act as a stat boost/ or readying effect. This couples well with Arwen while she is equipped with Light of Valinor. She can quest unexhausted and then be used for Tale to add her 3 willpower to all of Aragorn’s stats as well as readying him. This card has a lot of potential in other builds, as I feel like this combination only scratches the surface! As a last ditch effort the Master of the Forge can also be exhausted to simply ready Aragorn, lending little to no willpower. And finally there is a single copy of Will of the West in the deck. I actually may consider cutting this in the long run along with a few others. In a Noldor heavy deck this card may prove more useful. But in a couple of quick tests I found I had very few cards in my discard pile. Even so, it’s card I often regret not having more often than not. Only time will tell.
Other Cards to Consider
When I was building this deck a couple cards kept coming to mind that I kept having trouble putting them in the list, often due to space. An easy one to consider is the Warden of Healing. He is an outstanding Healer, and if Aragorn takes too much damage, 8 hitpoints or otherwise, then there’s nothing we can do when he’s gone. He has the Gondor trait too so he can quest a fair bit when damage is light. In a more ally heavy build, A Very Good Tale, would help establish our board even quicker. This would also allow the deck to go down a more Noldor/Discard Pile focused play-style. Another is Daeron’s Runes, and I’m still not comfortable that it’s not in this list. If some cards get cut, this will be the first to come in. It makes Elven-Light even better and is hard to not use when you have access to the Lore sphere, no matter what style of deck you’re building.
This deck is a bit crazy, weird, and could use some tweaking. However, like I said in the beginning it was fun to build and I’d like to see it become more. Though the amount of power that can be given to Aragorn is fairly immense, having all of our eggs in one basket can prove detrimental and if Aragorn or a key attachment is lost, then the whole deck suddenly moves along at a puttering pace. But, I committed to building a deck with Lore Aragorn, and I couldn’t help but use Arwen and a host of Aragorn specific attachments. There’s something here, I’m sure, but it’s just not there yet. Of course if you have any thoughts and suggestions please let me know!
As always thanks for reading! In the next few days I’ll be posting a list using the Leadership Version of Aragorn!
-The Secondhand Took
*Featured Art Image from Jusaaa at PixIv/ZeroChan
Deck: Leader of Men
Total Cards: (50)
1x Theodred (Core Set)
1x Arwen Undómiel (The Dread Realm)
1x Aragorn (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Errand-rider (Heirs of Numenor)
2x Faramir (Core Set)
2x Ingold (The Wastes of Eriador)
2x Pelargir Ship Captain (The Morgul Vale)
1x Veteran of Osgiliath (Escape from Mount Gram)
2x Mablung (The Land of Shadow)
2x Master of the Forge (Shadow and Flame)
2x Envoy of Pelargir (Heirs of Numenor)
2x Celebrian’s Stone (Core Set)
2x Cram (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
2x Sword that was Broken (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Visionary Leadership (The Morgul Vale)
2x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
1x Thror’s Map (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Blood of Numenor (Heirs of Numenor)
3x Light of Valinor (Foundations of Stone)
2x Ring of Barahir (The Steward’s Fear)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
2x Song of Battle (The Dead Marshes)
2x Gondorian Fire (Assault on Osgiliath)
2x A Test of Will (Core Set)
2x Elven-light (The Dread Realm)
3x Tale of Tinúviel (The Dread Realm)
1x Will of the West (Core Set)
Side Quest: (0)