Ever since they spoiled the new Pippin hero in the upcoming Encounter at Amon Dîn adventure pack, I’ve been thinking about how to make an effective secrecy deck. After they printed all of the secrecy cards in Dwarrowdelf, I dabbled in making a such a deck, but was never satisfied with the results. Starting with less than 3 heroes, and (unless you’re using Spirit Glorfindel) heroes with the lower starts that accompany a lower starting threat, is a seemingly insurmountable obstacle to good deck building.
Coming back to this problem, I have come to the conclusion that secrecy, with the current card pool, is not very viable as a top-tier concept for a solo deck. Seemingly every scenario has some low-threat enemies, which means that even with a starting threat of less than 20, you still have a very good chance of engaging with enemies on the first turn. When you are starting with less than 3 heroes and at least one of them needs to be questing, this can be a deal-breaker in the critical early turns of a scenario.
With this in mind, I have looked at making a secrecy deck that will act as a support deck to be paired with at least one other deck. With a starting threat of 16 this deck is able to take advantage of cards like Resourceful and Timely Aid to offset the loss of 1 resource that comes from only playing 2 heroes. Additionally, using Bifur as one of my heroes means that the other deck can share their resources with me, which is especially useful once they get their Steward/Horn of Gondor going and there are resources to spare. By no means is this strategy perfect, but I think that by focusing on supporting another, more traditional deck, a secrecy deck can be successful in many scenarios.
Secrets of Erebor
Between We Are Not Idle, Daeron’s Runes, Legacy of Durin, and a single copy of Gleowine, there is a tremendous amount of card draw in this deck. We want to draw as much of the deck as we can during the first few rounds in order to take advantage of secrecy cards while our threat is still less than 21. Resourceful is essential to offset the dearth or resources that comes from only running two heroes, and you may even want to mulligan if it is not in the opening hand. Timely Aid works as a great way to get allies cheaply in the early game and Out of the Wild is perfect for removing treacheries or enemies that would cause problems for a deck with fewer characters.
Once you’ve built up a decent base of allies, or if you get early damage on Gloin, you should go ahead and play Resourceful on other player’s heroes. Likewise, Cram, Dunedain Mark and Dunedain Warning do not need to be played on your own heroes if they make more sense elsewhere. With Henemarth Riversong, the Longbeard Elders, and two copies of Needful to Know, we have several ways to peek at the top of the encounter deck. This works really well with Out of the Wild so that you know what you will be getting rid of, and Needful to Know on a high-threat encounter card also allows you to lower your threat in a pinch to get back within secrecy threshold.
Because of the number of dwarf allies in this deck, it probably makes the most sense to pair it with another deck that features Dain Ironfoot. A Tactics/Leadership deck that includes Gimli and Thalin to help deal with enemies would work well, I think. This deck obviously is not designed as a swiss-army deck that can handle any situation, but that style of deck really doesn’t make sense with secrecy.