Most of my decks are either about questing or combat, with combat being the more prevalent. This time around I wanted to take a more supportive approach and focus on location control. This deck, titled The Travelers, focuses on managing locations and benefiting from that management through the use of some older staples and some newer ones with a little help from Arwen, February’s Hero of the Month.
So yes, of course, Arwen Undomiel is featured in this list. Her low threat will keep enemies off of our back and her ability provides some easy resource smoothing/acceleration in a Dual-Sphere deck that doesn’t contain any access to Leadership. Her traits are certainly nice but don’t come into play too much in this type of deck. Fellow Noldor and newest member of the Hero roster is the Lore Hero Galdor of the Havens. Like Arwen his low threat is nice to have and his ability really helps get the deck going, albeit in a different way. His two abilities allow us to get the cards we need, when we need them, as well as fuel our more powerful Noldor cards before the game even begins. Lastly there is Idraen, a nice, well-rounded Spirit Dunedain Hero from last year’s Ringmaker Cycler. Her traits, Dunedain, Ranger, and Scout all come into play in this deck. Her ability will keep her ready more often than not thanks to the various ways this deck can handle locations. Her stats are also quite solid and so she will serve as this deck’s primary defender if it comes to it.
The Spirit sphere is well represented on the ally front. All twelve of the allies in this list have the Spirit resource icon. Eight of the twelve (across four different cards) assist in managing locations. Greyflood Wanderer and Northern Tracker provide a sweeping effect of placing progress tokens on several locations. Where the Greyflood Wanderer has a one time, yet still powerful, effect on locations the Northern Tracker’s effect persists as long as he is able to commit to the quest. Outside of their effects they both have impressive stats.
Riddermark’s Finest, though not really great at questing, is a nice little two-costed ally that can pop a location at the right time. As the card pool grows there may be better alternatives to this card but having an ally with two health can assist soaking some direct damage. West Road Traveller is included to provide a way out of location lock when the active location is too much to handle or when a nasty location in the staging area has an awful travel cost. Once we take advantage of the Traveller’s effect her two willpower will be a solid contribution to future quest phases.
To further assist with questing is the Sailor of Lune. Also costing two Spirit resources, the Sailor is a fine participant in the quest with the caveat that an event is at the top of the discard pile to get the extra boost in willpower, which shouldn’t be an issue in this deck. Lindir is included to bring the deck back up to speed when our hand is empty and is a decent quester too, or even a defender in a pinch. Lastly, Hama is in the list for the more combat heavy quests.
Coming at thirteen cards there are a good bit of attachments to assist with action advantage, location control, and card draw. Light of Valinor, which will most likely go on Arwen, and Wingfoot, which will go on Idraen, keep our Heroes ready for the combat phase even after committing to the quest.
Steed of Imladris, Thror’s Key, and Warden of Arnor are the tools at our disposal for locations. The Steed helps push through locations while the Warden attachment, which is meant for Idraen, pings away at locations as the enter play leaving them at the mercy of our Northern Trackers and Greyflood Wanderers. Some locations are just too much to handle, whether they’re in the staging area or the active location. Thror’s Key helps to mitigate their nasty effects leaving us with just a problem of numbers and nothing more.
With a lot of locations hopefully being explored it’s worth it to take advantage of the situation. Two copies of Ancient Mathom can provide a nice little bit of card draw for ourselves or whatever lucky player is first player at the time. Of course we’d love for ourselves to be the recipient of the Mathom’s effect but in a multiplayer game there may be others who are more in need, despite our wanting. Costing only one resource it’s a no brainer to include a couple copies of this Spirit attachment.
On to the events! There are a staggering twenty-four events in this list. Making sure our Sailor of Lune is being used to his full potential will hardly be a concern. Among the twenty-four there are eight cards (across three different events) to assist with locations. The bright, shiny, and new one of the bunch is The Evening Star, a two-cost Lore event from the recently released Grey Havens Deluxe expansion. This event compliments the Noldor strategy of discarding cards. By itself The Evening Star merely places two progress tokens on any location. Being able to target any location is not exactly a bad thing, but it’s not making any waves either. However, for every copy of Evening Star in our discard pile we will get to trigger the effect again. With one copy that means four progress for two resources and with two copies that means six progress for the same cost. With at least one copy in the discard pile I’d say this pulls a little more wait than the aforementioned Riddermark’s Finest.
Strength of Will, a card from the Core Set, is here solely because of Idraen. I got the idea from Sean of COTR, who has posted a similar location oriented deck in his dropbox filled with LoTR decks! Not many locations have simply two quest points printed on their card these days but in the rare event that we come across one (or if it already has some tokens placed on it from our other card effects) then we can exhaust Idraen, explore a location the minute we travel to it, and ready her back up for combat. It’s a very specific scenario and so there are only two copies in the list. Providing a similar effect is a more recent event, Expert Trackers. Costing 0 resources, this Lore event allows us to exhaust a Scout or Ranger character (Idraen fits both of these requirements) to place progress on a location in play after engaging an enemy. The progress placed is based off of the threat of the engaged enemy. Doing a quick search on Hall of Beorn showed me that most of the enemies in the Grey Havens quests have at least two threat cost, with some having three or even four. This card has the potential to be weaker than Strength of Will but on the same hand can be much more powerful, especially if we engage a boss or unique enemy which tend to have higher threat values.
As with most decks, we are nothing without a little bit of card draw. Thankfully, representing both the Noldor trait and the Lore Sphere we are given some options. Representing Noldor/Spirit is the very awesome one-cost event, Elven-Light. I’ve already gone into this card a few times (and so have many others) but it basically changes cards to resources and resources to cards. In this deck in particular it can also help ensure that we have an event that we are more consistently able to keep on top of our discard pile, and therefore keeping our Sailor of Lune at full throttle. For Lore we get the practically auto-include, Daeron’s Runes at three copies as well as two copies of Deep Knowledge. Both thankfully cost no resources, but Daeron’s Runes would almost always be the preferred card to play. Daeron’s Runes allows us to draw two cards with the cost of discarding a card from our hand. This drawback is hardly one at all and in a deck such as this it can even help push us along. If we are still stuck with an Elven-Light or The Evening Star in our hand then Daeron’s Runes allows us to place them in our discard pile where they belong. Deep Knowledge isn’t as grand, as it does cause every player to increase their threat by two, but it lets all players draw two cards which in some situations can be better if we want to complete a quest that may be getting out of our grasp.
Elrond’s Counsel is on the list to provide some willpower boosting, doubting we’ll need it, but more importantly a quick and easy way to reduce our threat and keep enemies off our backs and of course, keeping an event on top of the discard pile. Then there is Will of the West to recycle the deck once we deplete cards such as Daeron’s Runes, Thror’s Keys, or better yet, The Evening Star. Without a Hero like Erestor we won’t be drawing our deck as quickly as other Noldor builds, so I’ve decided to only include two copies as opposed to three.
Finally I found a use in one of my Arwen decks for Tale of Tinuviel. Assuming we can attach Light of Valinor to Arwen we can quest with her without exhausting. After that we can pull some location shenanigans with Idraen and some of our location controlling events. Once we engage an enemy however we can exhaust Idraen to defend before playing Tale of Tinuviel. We can then exhaust Arwen, ready Idraen and have her defense stat of two become five. On top of that she is now a ready defender and can therefore take another attack or better yet, attack back for six!
It’s showing up in a lot of my decks now. I’m speaking of course of Gather Information. Certain quests may warrant a more laser focused location control while others are completely fine with all of their locations getting swept with progress tokens. With so many options to choose from, Gather Information helps ensure that we get the card we need at the right moment. In a multiplayer game, I feel like a broken record with this card, we get to improve hopefully every player’s current state which greatly increases the chances of winning in this Took’s humble opinion.
This deck was a bit of a departure for me in terms of what I’m used to doing when I build decks. Not much is required in the opening hand of this deck except for Light of Valinor and perhaps Elven-Light. Since we have Galdor as a Hero, any discard pile oriented card, again like Elven-Light or The Evening Star, is perfect to have in our opening hand. Simply use Galdor’s effect, discard them away so they’re in their rightful spot and draw up a new hand of cards.
I’m looking forward to piloting this deck and running it through the motions. Looking at some of the more current quests this deck may find some bad match ups but just the same it can find some good ones! This deck isn’t one for combat and doesn’t do the best in questing as far as raw willpower goes. Hopefully it’s removal of locations will serve a similar focus but it would be best to pair this up with a deck that can handle multiple enemies. If we were to throw in a third deck then one that provides more general support (healing, treachery cancellation, etc) would also be a welcomed sight!
Let me know what you think in the comment section below! As always, thanks for reading 🙂
-The Secondhand Took
Deck: The Travelers
Total Cards: 50
Heroes (starting threat: 29)
Arwen Undómiel (The Dread Realm)
Galdor of the Havens (The Grey Havens)
Idraen (The Three Trials)
2x Greyflood Wanderer (The Three Trials)
1x Háma (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Lindir (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
2x Northern Tracker (Core Set)
2x Sailor of Lune (The Grey Havens)
2x The Riddermark’s Finest (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
2x West Road Traveller (Return to Mirkwood)
2x Ancient Mathom (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
3x Light of Valinor (Foundations of Stone)
2x Steed of Imladris (Across the Ettenmoors)
2x Thrór’s Key (On the Doorstep)
2x Warden of Arnor (The Three Trials)
2x Wingfoot (The Nin-in-Eilph)
3x Elrond’s Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Elven-light (The Dread Realm)
2x Strength of Will (Core Set)
3x Tale of Tinúviel (The Dread Realm)
2x Will of the West (Core Set)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
2x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Expert Trackers (The Lost Realm)
3x The Evening Star (The Grey Havens)
1x Gather Information (The Lost Realm)