Well folks… we’ve made it! A few days into February, but I’ve finally covered all three versions of Aragorn (excluding the Fellowship one). This last deck list will cover the Tactics version of the Chieftain of the Dunedaín and he will be joined by two very stalwart members of the fellowship. Let’s get to it!
Titled Rules of Engagement, this deck contains Aragorn (of course). It may be my favorite version of Aragorn though it may not be the best. Other representations of the character give access to spheres with a more well rounded tool set, but the tactics version to me is the most fun. He encourages a combat heavy playstyle but he takes it up a notch by really messing with the enemy placement on the board. Given the right timing, his engaging ability can help with questing, defending, and just overall putting the enemies right where you want them. To assist in all of this combat is good ol’ Merry. I’ve spent a lot of time playing with the Spirit Version of this Hobbit. Though that card is certainly powerful I have a lot of fun playing Tactics Merry. This feisty Hobbit not only keeps our threat nice and low but he helps take Aragorn’s effect to new heights, allowing him to engage multiple enemies during the combat phase. Lastly there is Pippin (Lore). His presence serves two big purposes: to boost Merry’s attack and to give us access to a certain Lore attachment that is in almost every Hobbit deck, but more on that later. For now, we go to the allies.
This deck is light on allies, so despite it’s combat heavy approach it may struggle in the early rounds of a scenario that is a little more aggressive than normal. There are only 15 allies in this build. Boromir makes an appearance, taking advantage of the usually Hobbit oriented “enemy with a higher engagement cost” effect. He is expensive, so there’s only a single copy in the list, but when he’s out he can help ensure our two tactics Heroes are ready to lay waste to many a foe and aren’t worried about defending. To help keep our Heroes alive, albeit in a different fashion, there is the Honour Guard, Dori, and 3 copies of The Warden of Healing. All three allies, though they won’t be doing any defending (hopefully), will be providing healing to our Heroes in some form or another. A nice interaction, however, is the Warden with Boromir, which allows us to keep Boromir around a little longer and ready to defend more often.
The other allies aren’t so easily grouped. The 2 copies of Westfold Outrider for instance are included to help push Aragorn’s ability along should it fail to take off. It’s possible that an enemy may engage another player due to a forced effect. Thankfully with the Outrider we can pull that enemy to us which opens up the opportunity for Aragorn’s and Merry’s abilities to start triggering (assuming Aragorn and Merry can finish off said enemy). The 1 copy of Master of the Forge is included to pull out our much needed attachments of which there are a couple. There were originally more copies of Master of the Forge in this list but feeling like I needed a good early defender I brought in 2 copies of Defender of Rammas instead. And lastly there is Quickbeam. Honestly Quickbeam is in here just because he’s awesome. In a multiplayer game it allows this deck to contribute slightly in the questing phase while also giving us an easy chump blocker should we need it. Quickbeam’s attack is nothing to laugh at either and he can help push Aragorn’s and Merry’s attacks over the tipping point, slaying the enemy that they otherwise couldn’t take down, and triggering a chain of more triggers.
There are 12 attachments in this list. 5 of those 12 are weapons. Those weapons are 2 copies of Blade of Gondolin and 3 copies of Dagger of Westernesse. I would still like to see more weapons in this game, and I feel like most of the weapon love has been going to Silvan. Nevertheless these two weapons are still quite strong, allowing our Heroes to get some impressive attack power while granting them the ability to contribute to the quest in their own unique way. Though not a weapon Captain of Gondor, of which there are 2 copies, helps to boost Aragorn’s stats in a similar fashion. In a tight spot it can also give Aragorn the opportunity to defend a little better. Not an ideal scenario, but one that we are at least able to accomplish thanks to this card.
The 5 remaining cards all serve to keep Aragorn and Merry attacking again and again. There are 3 copies of Fast Hitch that make this so much easier. This 1 cost Lore attachment (the reason why I included Pippin as a Hero) has no restriction slot and can ready Merry without any other requirement. In a perfect world with all three hitches on Merry, he and Aragorn can attack four times together with Aragorn able to attack a fifth time on his own. But, if any of the 2 copies of Rohan Warhorse are attached to either Hero then they have the opportunity to go even further. It’s not as good as Fast Hitch, and it takes up a restricted slow. It is however only 1 cost and if we don’t have a weapon out yet then it’s worth attaching to Merry so that they can start picking off enemies before it’s too late.
There are a whopping 23 events to choose from in this deck. It wasn’t too long ago that I mentioned wanting to build a deck with a majority of event cards and I think I may have accidentally done so. Feint, In the Shadows, and Take No Notice all help to keep enemies off of our back in one way or another. Feint is pretty straightforward, and can be our early game defense if we play against any fast and aggressive scenarios. It’s probably worth mulliganing for this card in those quests. In the Shadows takes our enemies down a notch on the strength scale and has the added bonus of being free thanks to our Hero lineup. It does require the enemies to have a higher engagement cost unfortunately and so like other cards in this deck that depend on that state it may falter as the quest drags on and our threat begins to climb. Take No Notice helps defend our Heroes by keeping the enemies in the staging area or by triggering engagement cost effects that may have otherwise been nullified at a certain point in the game. It essentially reduces our threat by 5 for those effects for an entire round and can get us out of a tough situation because of it. And, like In the Shadows, it costs nothing.
Now, I only said that Pippin was here for two big reasons. Though that is definitely true for why I put him in the list, it can’t be argued that he is vital to keeping the deck flowing. Not only does the sphere he represent have a wealth of card draw options but his very ability goes hand in hand with Aragorn’s and as we continue to dispatch our foes we will continue to find more tools to use as we draw through our deck. To help that along, however, there are 3 copies of Daeron’s Runes (a practically auto-include in decks that run Lore) and 1 copy of Deep Knowledge. Deep Knowledge may be counter-intuitive given that we want to keep our threat low but in a pinch I think the deck can deal with a small increase to threat. Last in the card draw category, and strangely not of Lore, is the 0-cost tactics event, Foe-Hammer. If our deck is doing its job and is destroying enemies, then Foe-Hammer can help us continue our work by drawing us a total of 3 cards! If the attack also triggers an engagement and triggers Pippin’s ability in response then we are getting 4 cards in our hand just off of one attack. Not too shabby in a tactics heavy build.
To round things out there are 3 copies of Halfling Determination. This card is incredibly powerful and I have been glad to see it in my hand every time. If I don’t have enemies in front of me then I know I can give Pippin a nice willpower boost. If things are getting rough and I’m forced to defend with a character like Pippin then Halfling Determination can be used to save his bacon. Or maybe my math gets messed up and a shadow card or treachery causes an enemy to gain extra defense. No problem. Halfling Determination gives Merry the boost he needs to finish off the foe and start the engagement shenanigans. Being able to boost the stat of two of our Heroes by 2 for 1 cost is awesome! And we aren’t limited to a particular phase which makes this very versatile.
Then I had to go and get a little whacky. Just a tiny bit. I threw in a single copy of Hour of Wrath. Now I may be wrong, because it almost seems to good to be true. But if this 4-cost tactics event is played on Merry then he and Aragorn should be able to attack an infinite number of times, assuming they can kill each enemy they attack. With such a potential powerful effect we don’t even need to concern ourselves with the Valour effect on this card. If I’m wrong, and something about the interaction isn’t possible, please let me know.
This deck is very similar to a list I posted awhile back called Boil ‘Em, Mash ‘Em, Stick ‘Em in a Stew. The only difference is that the other quest has a little more capability on its own by swapping out Pippin with Sam. If any deck could hold it’s own between the two it would be the previous one. That being said it doesn’t mean that this particular list is no less powerful. When paired with the right deck (Spirit/Tactics could work well) this deck can contribute quite a bit if given the space to work.
Let me know what you think below and as always thank you for reading!
-The Secondhand Took
Total Cards: 50
Heroes (starting threat: 24)
Aragorn (The Lost Realm)
Merry (The Black Riders)
Pippin (The Black Riders)
1x Boromir (The Road Darkens)
2x Defender of Rammas (Heirs of Numenor)
2x Honour Guard (The Wastes of Eriador)
2x Westfold Outrider (The Voice of Isengard)
2x Dori (Over Hill and Under Hill)
1x Master of the Forge (Shadow and Flame)
2x Quickbeam (The Treason of Saruman)
3x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)
2x Blade of Gondolin (Core Set)
2x Captain of Gondor (The Antlered Crown)
3x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
2x Rohan Warhorse (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Fast Hitch (The Dead Marshes)
3x Feint (Core Set)
3x Foe-hammer (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Halfling Determination (The Black Riders)
1x Hour of Wrath (The Dread Realm)
3x Quick Strike (Core Set)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
1x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)
3x In the Shadows (The Land of Shadow)
3x Take No Notice (The Black Riders)