Hi everyone! The first deck I planned on posting to the blog will be delayed. As some may have already noticed the player card spoilers have been revealed on the FFG forums and have made it to various other sites such as Hall of Beorn. I decided to hold off on the particular deck I was building because the new cards are so close to being in my hand it would only be a matter of days until I tweaked the deck with new cards. For now, we’ll have to settle with some much older Noldor cards but still powerful nonetheless! A quick note, this deck is partially inspired by my friend Mike B, who handed a deck with the same hero combination to a player at a local event the other weekend. Taking that into consideration, and some of the cards I saw throughout the game, I decided to take a crack at my own version.
Titled Children of Elrond, this deck focuses on well… the children of Elrond. Arwen and her two siblings, Elladan and Elrohir, band together to make a very powerful combination of Heroes. Arwen’s ability allows her to grant a resource to any Noldor Hero by discarding a card. Having a tri-sphere deck with built in resource smoothing is powerful in and of itself. To make things even better Arwen’s two brothers have readying effects that only cost a single resource. Where Elladan pays a resource to ready after being declared as an attacker, Elrohir does the same albeit when he is declared as a defender. This deck does include other cards to help bring on even more resources but thanks to Arwen we can start using their abilities sooner rather than later.
One other thing to note is how easily the three Noldor Heroes represent key aspects of the game. Arwen is very clearly the quester of the three, Elrohir the defender, and Elladan the attacker. Not many Hero lineups have three easily defined roles compared to the norm with the Heroes doing one or two of the main functions and having allies or some other combination of cards pick up the slack. It’s a nice trio to have when introducing the game to new players.
This deck is extremely light on the allies, only having 9 cards in total. 2 copies of Errand-Rider do provide an extra bit of resource smoothing on top of Arwen’s effect. Though there are a decent amount of Spirit cards included in the deck there are not many compared to the rest. To that end the Errand-Rider can send some of the unnused Spirit Resources from Arwen to one of her brothers in more pressing situations. There are also two copies of Naith Guide in the list to assist with questing. Action advantage is becoming the most vital “resource” next to actual resources themselves. Though a certain Spirit Attachment can be given to Arwen or one of her brothers for a free round of questing the other two will be left high and dry. Naith Guide serves to mitigate this.
There are also 3 copies of Core Set Gandalf for mostly card draw and threat reduction. In a perfect world he will be cheated in with other cards as opposed to paying for him at full price but this deck should be able to come up with the resources if needed.
Finally there are two singletons. One copy of Honour Guard is included to serve as a form of “healing.” There is also a single copy of Lindir to breathe some life into the deck should it run low on gas. Though there are some other card draw effects in the list, including the previously mentioned Gandalf, Arwen’s discarding ability may prove to put some stress on our hand and Lindir helps pull us out of that. Otherwise he serves as a decent yet slightly over-costed questing ally and a chump blocker or defender in dire situations.
Our Heroes will be doing a lot of heavy lifting, especially the brothers, and so this deck needs a wealth of attachments to keep them running. There are 20 cards included in this list that can be attached to any of our three Heroes to make them more powerful than they already are. Arwen gets the short end of the stick but for her she gets Celebrian’s Stone. There is only a single copy in the list and it allows her to contribute just a bit more to the quest. Light of Valinor is included but it may find a better home with Elrohir. Arwen can take advantage of it and leave herself ready to block an attack, but her 2 defense points and 3 hit points are concerning. Given the recent shadow effects we have been seeing she will perish quicker than most. Elrohir can at least give an extra 2 willpower to the quest while standing at the ready for any incoming attacker.
On the topic of Elrohir there are a plethora of other attachments that we would like to see on him. Dunedain Signal and Dunedain Warning make him a more reliable and more versatile defender. Heir of Mardil, when paired with Arwen’s resource granting ability, can give Elrohir a free defense should the enemies get overwhelming. Cram is also included to provide a cheap (one would say free) readying effect to Elrohir if his resources are getting tight. If his resources are getting tight then Elrohir can take a copy of Steward of Gondor. Since several attachments and a few allies are of the Leadership Sphere, Steward can help Elrohir pay for these cards while at the same time keeping his many chances of defending plentiful. A lone copy of Unexpected Courage makes an appearance to, like Cram, provide a readying effect that doesn’t cost Elrohir resources. Unexpected Courage, however, can just as easily be placed on Elrohir’s brother should taking the offensive seem like a bigger priority.
For Elladan the number of attachments is considerably less (Heir of Mardil, Unexpected Courage, and Cram do just as fine on Elladan but may do marginally better on his brother). Dunedain Mark and Rivendell Blade make an appearance at 3 copies a piece to turn Elladan into a very formidable attacker. Rivendell Bow, on the other hand, has only 1 copy in this list but helps Elrohir clean up enemies in front of other players and also keeps our weapon count high for a particular event. Which reminds me…
There are 20 events in this list, keeping up to par with the attachments. This is where Arwen’s resources will primarily be concerned as 9 of the 20 (spread across 5 different events) are from the Spirit Sphere. 2 copies of Test of Will are included as they are arguably a requirement these days and a single copy of Will of the West is added for the purpose of bringing back seemingly lost cards and giving the deck a breath of life.
To take advantage of the Noldor trait there are three different events. The first, at 3 copies, is the 0-cost event Elrond’s Counsel. I love this card. The willpower boost is fine and dandy and actually saved a Hero of mine in a recently successful attempt at the Stone of Erech, but having the ability to reduce our threat by 3 for free is just plain awesome. Elven-Light and Lords of the Eldar round out our Noldor event cards with 2 copies and 1 copy respectively. Elven-Light is perfect for Arwen’s ability (and may be worth considering a 3rd copy) and Lords of the Eldar can serve as a get out of jail free card. In those later turns of a quest this card is bound to show up in our discard pile and when it does it will boost not only our Heroes across the board but any other Noldor on the field. It is costly and doesn’t really need to be played early on so a single copy should do well for now.
Getting away from the Sphere is a variety of other events. Representing tactics are 3 copies each of Foe-Hammer and Quick-Strike. Foe-Hammer helps us with card draw since despite Arwen’s ability working beautifully with Elven-Light it won’t do us much good if we can’t find it. Quick-Strike will help us manage enemies. Played on Elladan, Quick-Strike can get an attack in before the enemies make their own attacks, potentially acting as a pseudo-defense, and still leave Elladan up for more combat action.
Since there are 3 copies of Gandalf among our allies it comes as no surprise that there are also 3 copies of Sneak Attack. Ideally it will be played on Gandalf, for card draw preferably or even threat reduction. Thankfully some of our other allies wouldn’t mind sneaking in as well. Lindir can also act like Gandalf and provide some card draw and the Naith Guide can act as a very sloppy Light of Valinor (assuming we are low on resources and can’t pay for the Naith Guide regularly). And of course any of our allies can be snuck in for chump blocking, though that defensive strategy is becoming less desirable with the way shadow effects have been going recently.
And finally there are 2 copies of A Good Harvest. Elladan and Elrohir need to conserve their resources while Arwen doesn’t necessarily need to do so. With that in mind, A Good Harvest can be used to play our Tactics/Leadership cards with Arwen’s less needed resources, giving her brothers room to breathe.
This is pretty straightforward but there is a single copy of Gather Information in this list. There is hardly a reason to not put this in most decks and if you intend on playing multiplayer I’d say it’s almost a must. Sometimes players want to scale back their questing power, giving them another round before advancing to the next stage of the quest. This often required players to quest just enough that they wouldn’t advance but at the risk of not matching the incoming threat in the staging area. With Gather Information players can quest without worry. On top of that each player can go fetch a card that fits the situation hopefully, almost exactly. It’s a very powerful card and only requires making 4 progress, which is pretty easy these days.
The Noldor have quite the spread of tools at their disposal. What I find particularly intriguing is that one doesn’t even have to go heavy on the discard mechanic that is prevalent in many of the cards to have a decent amount of power. In this instance, Arwen and two Spirit Events are pretty much the only cards that play with the discard pile. Though they certainly add quite a bit of power to the deck they by no means define it and in doing so leave a lot of room when deckbuilding.
Getting away from the Noldor trait I think this deck is fairly solid. It’s only downside would be the interesting number of copies spread across the cards. With more testing this will drastically change and I can already imagine a few cards simply being removed or sent to a “sideboard” in lieu of adding more copies of cards such as Elven-Light or Dunedain Signal. It does struggle on the questing front though it may do fine in a solo game, thanks in no small part to the action advantage present in the build. In a multiplayer game however, then a more powerful questing deck would have to be included to pick up the questing slack in this deck.
Thanks for reading!
-The Secondhand Took
Total Cards: 50
Heroes (starting threat: 29)
Arwen Undómiel (The Dread Realm)
Elladan (Road to Rivendell)
Elrohir (The Redhorn Gate)
2x Errand-rider (Heirs of Númenor)
2x Naith Guide (The Dunland Trap)
1x Honour Guard (The Wastes of Eriador)
1x Lindir (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
1x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
2x Cram (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Dúnedain Mark (The Hunt for Gollum)
1x Dúnedain Signal (Return to Mirkwood)
3x Dúnedain Warning (Conflict at the Carrock)
1x Heir of Mardil (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
3x Rivendell Blade (Road to Rivendell)
1x Rivendell Bow (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Light of Valinor (Foundations of Stone)
1x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
3x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
3x Foe-hammer (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Quick Strike (Core Set)
2x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Elrond’s Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Elven-light (The Dread Realm)
1x Lords of the Eldar (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
1x Will of the West (Core Set)
2x A Good Harvest (The Steward’s Fear)
1x Gather Information (The Lost Realm)