Gimli is ready to take on the quest, and maybe a few axe swings as well! Along for the journey is his old pal, Legolas, and an unlikely third Hero in Sam Gamgee. Is this an alternative fan-fiction of “The Three Hunters” or something else. I’d like to know myself. Read on for this month’s Hero of the Month Deck, “The Three Questers”
The first thing I thought of when Gimli and Legolas were revealed was that a secrecy deck build was in order. I had never tried one and it seemed this dynamic duo was the perfect reason to give it a shot. Then I heard some lukewarm responses about the success of such a deck and set my sights elsewhere. When I looked around I saw very few decks, and those that were published were either including Beravor or, in order to make a Three Hunters Deck, some version of Aragorn. Perhaps it’s me being a bit stubborn, or foolish, or hipster, or some combination, but I wanted to build something… different, as tempting as some of the Three Hunter Decks were. That has left me with the following build.
Naturally the two Heroes that started it all for this deck were the aforementioned Gimli and Legolas, recently added to the card pool with the release of The Sands of Harad Deluxe Expansion. Each Hero provides their own readying effect, Legolas when he commits to a quest, and Gimli when he defends an attack. Where Legolas requires a discard to trigger his ability, Gimli needs resources. Both Heroes belong to spheres that are more than ready for the task, with Leadership having access to resource acceleration and Spirit having Elven-Light. While they are able to ready any Hero with their abilities, their effects provide a boost when used on each other, so they practically have to be partnered, unless there is good reason not to.
The third Hero was a puzzle to me, and I’m still figuring it out if I’m being honest. I tried Lore, thinking about Heroes like Pippin or Bifur (I think I even considered Haldir of Lorien at one point). Nothing seemed to stick. I always enjoyed the idea that the Noldor discard mechanic and the Dwarf mining archetype coincidentally work well together and I had hoped that this was the chance to try out the partnership. So Dain was a consideration and that deck is still very unfinished. I decided I wanted the deck to do two things, quest and defend (going off of Legolas and Gimli’s effects). Taking a step back I ultimately landed on Sam Gamgee who is still one of my favorite Heroes in the game. Sam provides 3 willpower out the gate and his low starting threat keeps my deck under the radar for more combat-focused decks. If an enemy does come my way Sam is more than likely going to ready, lending some assistance in defending in his own way. If I wasn’t already trying to make things hard, my next several choices made things even more so.
There are only 8 allies in the entire deck. Split between Galadriel, Gandalf, and the (also new) Greenwood Archer, each ally performs has its own particular use. A secondary focus of the deck was action-advantage, and so the archer was included to provide extra readying (in case Gimli or Legolas needed to participate in combat one more time than their abilities would allow). Gandalf is included to do Gandalf things, and solve one problem this deck greatly suffered in my first few tests – card draw. Last but not least, Galadriel not only adds 3 willpower to the quest but can fetch one of the 26 attachments that are part of the build. She doesn’t just grant card advantage but a sort of resource smoothing as well.
Many of the attachments are meant for Gimli, such as Dunedain Warning or King Under the Mountain. Steward of Gondor and Rune-master ensure Gimli always has resources to use his ability (and to pay for the 3o leadership cards in the deck) and, in the case of Steward, bestows Gimli with the Gondor trait. Taking advantage of his defensive uses, Blood of Numenor can then be used to good effect. Then there is Heir of Mardil which is bound to get a couple triggers off and ready Gimli a few more times throughout the course of a game.
For Sam and Legolas the attachments are a little less bountiful, but in a way a bit simpler to achieve their desired effect and still provide power. Since this deck is light on allies, I decided to take advantage of the 1-cost, neutral attachment Strider. While its first effect will almost never (hopefully) be used, it does give a Hero, in this case Legolas, 2 extra willpower for 1 neutral resource and that cannot be ignored. Next up is Celebrian’s Stone which although it’s resource to willpower ratio isn’t as good as Strider’s it does mean that Legolas can now quest for 5 willpower when both are attached. Mirkwood Long-Knife can take things one step further and bring Legolas’s willpower up to 6 while also bringing his attack to 4 (5 if you include Gimli’s effect). With Legolas’s willpower being rather high, I included 2 copies of Fair and Perilous to make sure Legolas can more than easily take out an enemy when the situation requires. Lastly, Sam Gamgee gets the very short end of the stick with just 2 copies of Hobbit Cloak. While I’d rather not have Sam to a lot of defending, the deck’s heavy reliance on Leadership cards and Gimli’s defending means that Gimli may just not have enough resources to ready. The Hobbit Cloak at least makes Sam a half-decent defender.
I’ve already mentioned Fair and Perilous, Elven-Light, and their uses. Other than those there are only a few more events, bringing the total count to 16. Unlikely Friendship seems like a no-brainer in this deck since it’s pre-req’s are already met at the start and it single handedly fuels both Legolas and Gimli’s effects. Well-Equipped is included to be a pseudo Galadriel that costs nothing and requires no resource match but at the cost of looking at less cards, discarding them instead of just searching, and only being able to grant Gimli with an attachment. Sneak Attack is practically meant for Gandalf, but the introduction of the Greenwood Archer to the card pool does add another interesting option that I’m glad to take full advantage of. And, finally, 2 copies of Hidden Cache are in the deck. While ideally they would trigger off Well-Equipped or King Under the Mountain, I don’t mind spending 1 resource for a card, especially since Legolas is bound to have a few extra resources lying around.
For the opening hand though it may be cliche, Steward of Gondor is a card worth a mulligan. Galadriel is another great card to see, assuming you can pay with her in which case you’ll also want an Unlikely Friendship. If you can manage to get her out quickly she can hopefully make up for any key attachments you don’t find. Elven-Light is probably the other key card to look for early on, as it will allow Legolas’s ability to trigger consistently and the deck to spit out cards all the more quickly.
So how have my experiences been with the deck? Well when it works, it works. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the deck is “good.” With a decent enough opening hand there is the potential to quest for 12 with just a few attachments and our 3 Heroes. The composition of the deck is also my favorite strength but also a weakness that I dread to see exploited. For quests that hate on allies or require action advantage, this deck can hold it’s own. But without it’s Heroes the deck is literally nothing, and so a quest like the third in the Sands of Harad Box, The Long Arm of Mordor will completely stomp this deck. And though there are multiple copies of many key attachments, care must be made to make sure we don’t lose a vital attachment to a shadow card (which seems to be cropping up more and more these days).
Despite the flaws of the deck, it’s a list I am happy with and am eager to tinker with as the card pool grows, much like my Eleanor Deck or Elrond/Outlands deck.
But I’m certainly open to suggestions. Check out the final list below and let me know what you think in the comments section. Of course I’m also interested to hear about how well Gimli and Legolas play together, and if they’re either a force to be reckoned with or a gimmick that will fade eventually.
As always, thanks for reading!
-The Secondhand Took
The Three Questers
2x Armored Destrier (Temple of the Deceived)
2x Blood of Númenor (Heirs of Númenor)
2x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
2x Dúnedain Remedy (The Drowned Ruins)
2x Dúnedain Warning (Conflict at the Carrock)
2x Heir of Mardil (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
2x Hobbit Cloak (The Black Riders)
3x King Under the Mountain (On the Doorstep)
2x Mirkwood Long-knife (The Sands of Harad)
1x Rune-master (A Storm on Cobas Haven)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
3x Strider (The Drowned Ruins)
3x Elven-light (The Dread Realm)
2x Fair and Perilous (Across the Ettenmoors)
2x Hidden Cache (The Morgul Vale)
3x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
3x Unlikely Friendship (The Sands of Harad)
3x Well-Equipped (The Blood of Gondor)
Deck built on RingsDB.