It’s always fun to build a deck with a thematic element in mind. Though this usually means that decks contain only certain traits or particular allies, this idea (possibly un-thematic) came instead from the question: “What if Merry picked up the Palantir?” I know that the curious nature that defines Pippin’s Took heritage make him the most likely of the Hobbits to commit the act but I thought it might be fun to play around with the idea that it was Merry instead who gave into the lure of the Palantir.
As much as the deck is about Merry thematically it is also about Faramir mechanically. In this situation Merry has been inducted into the service of the Stewards by Denethor while Faramir has cast aside his ranging responsibilities to become the Soldier of Gondor at his father’s side to turn the tide in the wars to come.
It can be argued that as the list stands it represents a more compassionate Denethor, who will be giving his “unwanted” son resources often to fuel Gondorian Fire. With other attachments such as Sword of Númenor and Dúnedain Warning, Faramir will quickly become a force to be reckoned with.
Things won’t get very far if Faramir is only bashing Orc heads. So cards like Heir of Mardil are included to turn Denethor‘s benevolent effect into a reliable source of readying for Faramir. During questing, a beefed up Faramir can attack via Hands Upon the Bow to eliminate a nasty foe just revealed from the encounter deck. Let’s say there are other enemies on the board, however, and before combat begins Denethor can grant Faramir a much needed resource, trigger Heir of Mardil, and have Faramir ready for an additional attack. Should Merry jump in the fray with the Son of the Steward then Faramir can cause even more chaos, readying for more attacks. If either Merry or Faramir are equipped with the Blade of Gondolin then this deck can make up for one of its key weaknesses: questing.
For Denethor we have a fun little arsenal at our disposal. One of the best in the list, and worthy of a mulligan depending on the quest, is Gondorian Shield. It will take a turn or two to get it on the Steward of Minas Tirith but once it’s on he will be boasting 5 defense with his only shortcoming being his 3 hitpoints. Honour Guard can help alleviate any damage that comes through unforeseen and while our threat is low the Staff of Lebethron can mitigate any shadow card shenanigans.
One of Merry’s tools have already been discussed, the Blade of Gondolin, but another important component is the Dagger of Westernesse. With this Merry, along with Faramir, will be sure to eliminate a foe, get that extra progress, and ready Faramir up for another attack. We can still squeeze a little more awesomeness out of the combat phase and should our Hobbit or Captain of Ithilien defeat a foe then Foe-Hammer may be played to give us more power. And there are certainly some cards we’ll be happy to see. Gandalf will be great as always, lowering our threat, drawing us cards, or keeping the combat phase from getting overwhelming. Galadriel and Bofur can get us any of our 23 attachments (and can also help with questing), and Anborn is a fun card to get late game to keep enemies from coming down to us while chipping away at their defenses.
This deck has yet to be tested at great length, and another deck I am working on building begs to have this deck already take on a different direction. Even so, I wanted to post this version and see what you all thought. Is the combination of Merry and Faramir alongside Denethor a worthy alternative to the story? Or is this trio of Heroes not meant to be. Let me know in the comments below!
As always, thanks for reading.
-The Secondhand Took
2x Anborn (The Land of Shadow)
2x Bofur (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Envoy of Pelargir (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Errand-rider (Heirs of Númenor)
2x Galadriel (The Road Darkens)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
2x Honour Guard (The Wastes of Eriador)
2x Blade of Gondolin (Core Set)
2x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
2x Dúnedain Mark (The Hunt for Gollum)
2x Dúnedain Warning (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Gondorian Fire (Assault on Osgiliath)
3x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Heir of Mardil (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
1x Staff of Lebethron (The Land of Shadow)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
2x Sword of Númenor (The Dread Realm)
Player Side Quest (1)
1x Gather Information (The Lost Realm)
3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to Flight of the Stormcaller
Faramir (Assault on Osgiliath)
1x Staff of Lebethron (The Land of Shadow)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
Deck built on RingsDB.