The House of Eorl is a mighty lineage, full of Heroes, brave deeds, and valorous warriors. This deck is probably more of a “story deck” than it is a competitive one, though I would love to give this deck some more testing before making a final verdict. Even so, Rohan is one of my favorite parts about the Lord of the Rings and therefore it’s always a joy to build a deck themed around the Lords of the Riddermark.
Each Hero has clearly defined roles and purposes. May’s Hero of the Month, Eomer, is designed to be the deck’s primary attacking force and with some help from certain events, a pseudo defender as well. Theoden(Spirit) is the deck’s quester, though this isn’t a questing deck by any sense. More importantly he will be the deck’s defender when needed and provides some much needed resource smoothing and “acceleration” in this tri-sphere Rohan build. On a similar front is Theodred, the son of Theoden. He will always be questing yet as most people know it’s for the sole purpose of spreading resources where they are needed most. These resources will primarily go to Eomer to help pay for events in the other phases of the round, but they can go to Theoden as well if need be.
Having attachment heavy decks is quickly becoming a preference of mine, especially with most quests punishing ally intensive builds these days. 21 attachments are included in the list, with most of them going to Eomer or Theoden. For Eomer we have the oh so lovely Firefoot as well as the option to use any of the following in addition: Rohan Warhorse or Spear of the Mark. Outside of the restricted attachments other targets for Eomer include Arod for some sense of location control, Dunedain Mark for some extra attack, and Steward of Gondor to keep us all but guaranteed on our ability to play tactics cards. In addition to that, Steward frees up Theodred’s ability for other targets. Captain of Gondor is also another worthwhile option but I have found I’d rather have it on Theoden for the extra defense.
Aside from Captain of Gondor, which can go to a couple targets, Theoden has 3 main attachments just for him! Probably the most essential is Snowmane. Not only will this deck need to contribute some willpower to the quest but things will quickly fall apart on the Eomer front if we don’t have a reliable defender in the early turns. Once we are up and running and have some allies to chump block or events to allow us to strike first then Theoden can switch gears and become quite the formidable warrior. This is accomplished with Celebrian’s Stone, which at the very least improves our questing power, and Herugrim. Though this combo is on the pricy side, Theodred can thankfully help with this, once these are loaded onto Theoden we have a reliable 4 willpower quester and an attacker who can swing back for 7 damage easily!
This deck is remarkably short on allies, with only 11 out of the 50 cards representing the Nation of Rohan (and one certain wandering pilgrim). Westfold Outrider, probably my favorite Rohan ally, is one of the more crucial allies in the deck. During staging, the Outrider can act as another source of “willpower” by removing a high threat enemy from the staging area. Once his effect goes off then Eomer will trigger, allowing us the opportunity to slay quite a few enemies with ease. Ideally the outrider will be used after an enemy attacks another player, sparing us the need for too many defenders. Snowbourn Scout is included as a cheap ally to trigger Eomer’s ability while also chipping away at a location or two. With the scout being one cost he is essentially free with Theoden in play.
Often times some of our mounts will be in play, but not all of them. Whether Eomer needs a Firefoot or Theoden a Snowmane, the Westfold Horse-breeder can hopefully pull whatever mount we need, thin our deck for more crucial cards later down the line, and can add just a teeny bit of willpower to the quest. If there was another defending character in the deck outside of Theoden then it would most likely be Eomund. Once Eomund triggers almost every character in our deck that would be in play will ready. Whether it provides us the chance to defend with Theoden an extra time or gives us another attack with Eomer, Eomund’s effect will always be a boon to us in the combat phase.
Lastly there is the Grey Pilgrim, Gandalf, in particular his core set iteration. In a deck without Lore and with its Spirit resources behind tied up with attachments and allies, Gandalf will be used to either draw us cards or lower our threat. If there is a threatening enemy then it’s possible he’d be used for his direct damage but this deck should be able to hold its own on that front.
There are 18 events in the deck, meeting somewhere in the middle between the number of attachments versus allies. This is perhaps where the deck could use the most work as some of the included events in this list felt dead in my hand, more on that later.
Just how Gandalf is a source of card draw, so is the ever reliable Foe-Hammer. Though Rohan heroes don’t typically use too many weapons, with the inclusion of Spear of the Mark and Herugrim we should have at least one weapon in play to meet the card’s requirement. Similarly, A Valiant Sacrifice can be used when our Snowbourn Scouts or Outriders leave play as an alternative method to drawing cards. The one leadership resource isn’t too much of a hinderance since most of the cards in this list are either for tactics or spirit. Sneak Attack is of course meant for Gandalf but would do just fine with any of our other allies, except perhaps the horse breeder. Most often it will probably be used for Gandalf as another source of card draw.
A Good Harvest is quickly becoming a fun and useful card to include and can help play cards during games without an early Steward of Gondor.
Lastly there is Quick Strike, this deck’s Third and preferred “defender.” With a beefed up Eomer Quick Strike can slay a foe before they attack and,if our attack is high enough, the excess damage can be spilled over to another enemy engaged with us without ever needing to defend.
Now on the “meh” side of things are two events: Forth Eorlingas and Charge of the Rohirrim. Each of these events provide fun, if not powerful effects, but fall flat in a build that is quite taxing on resources as it is. These cards will more than likely be cut, and I will soon suggest some replacements, but they may be best used with a partner deck that takes advantage of staging area/Rohan shenanigans a little more directly.
The opening hand for this build is a little fickle, and it will just as much depend on the quest you are playing as it will the players around your table. If you find that there are not many questing decks around you then Celebrian’s Stone is almost a necessity unless you want enemies coming down in haste as your threat rises from failed quests. Otherwise, if you are certain you are going to be the deck’s primary attacker then mulligan for a Firefoot and A Good Harvest/Steward of Gondor. Steward will pay out in the long run but Good Harvest will allow for a turn one Firefoot with ease or, if you are extremely lucky, a turn one Steward should you find both in hand.
This is a fun deck to play and I found that I rarely had to concern myself with enemies. With a couple sentinel defenders and timely Quick Strikes I was able to mow down enemies before they could even lay a finger on me.
The major downside to this deck, aside from its lack of defenders and its questing power (the latter of which isn’t necessarily a goal of the deck) is that it is extremely Hero dependent and there is a lack of Action Advantage. In a recent quest I was playing I was required to exhaust a character I controlled to either travel to a location, engage an enemy, or otherwise. Being a deck made primarily of Rohan characters I would often be short on, if not entirely lacking in, Rohan allies. This meant sometimes that Eomer, my would-be attacker with a Quick Strike at the ready, would have to wait another turn for glorious battle. In even more grave situations this meant an attack would have to go undefended and a Hero would be soon lost.
This deck is far from perfect but thankfully there is room to grow. The above mentioned cards in the event section, Forth Eorlingas and Charge of The Rohirrim, can easily be swapped out for not only less expensive cards but out of sphere cards as well (out of tactics, that is). Feint is an easy card to swap in, for instance. It does cost tactics resources but is half the cost of either of the two previous events it could be replacing. If we want to take advantage of our hardly used Leadership resources then Heir of Mardil could be a worthwhile option. If a Snowmane isn’t in our opening hand or starting turns then Heir of Mardil can be combined with Theoden and Theodred as a substitute. Alternatively, Heir of Mardil can be given to Eomer once Steward of Gondor is attached as well. With Firefoot hopefully already with Eomer he can attack once, spill over some excess damage to an enemy, then ready up and attack again most likely finishing off the foe.
Let me know what you think of this build, and if you’ve had any luck (or otherwise) with similar lists. A big thank you to dragonwarriorfan and his deck: Marshals of the Mark which served as a key inspiration when thinking up this list/Hero Lineup.
-The Secondhand Took
The House of Eorl
1x Arod (The Treason of Saruman)
2x Captain of Gondor (The Antlered Crown)
2x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
2x Dúnedain Mark (The Hunt for Gollum)
3x Firefoot (The Dunland Trap)
2x Herugrim (The Treason of Saruman)
2x Rohan Warhorse (The Voice of Isengard)
2x Snowmane (The Land of Shadow)
3x Spear of the Mark (The Morgul Vale)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
3x A Good Harvest (The Steward’s Fear)
2x Charge of the Rohirrim (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
3x Foe-hammer (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Forth Eorlingas! (The Morgul Vale)
2x Quick Strike (Core Set)
3x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
3x Valiant Sacrifice (Core Set)
3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Land of Shadow
Decklist built and published on RingsDB.