If I had a gold coin for ever deck list that I’ve read which includes Glorfindel (FoS), or Dain Ironfoot, I would be a very wealthy bear. As much as it is fun to make powerful decks, that include the strongest heroes, I sometimes enjoy taking a different direction with my deck building. This is an idea that I’ve been kicking around for a while, taking three of the least-used heroes in the game, and creating a deck to highlight that they are less terrible than most people assume.
In my recent article about force multiplication, I discussed the importance of action superiority, and how it allows us to maximize the utility of each of our heroes. This is one of the central design concepts for this deck. Each of our heroes has their designated roles, and we will use readying cards, along with Light of Valinor, to get the most use out of their particular abilities. Though these characters have abilities that may not seem the strongest, and starting threat that seems too high, we can use action superiority to turn them into a formidable force.
The largely forgotten version of Glorfindel from the core set plays a central role in this deck. He comes with his usual assortment of toys in Light of Valinor and Asfaloth. Additionally, we take advantage of his healing ability so that we only need to include two copies of Warden of Healing which saves room in the deck for other things. With his fantastic stats, and no threat drawback when committing to the quest, Glorfindel will be our primary quester. Between Gleowine and Master of the Forge, it should not take long to draw Light of Valinor, at which point the elf can help Brand with combat.
Dwalin is another hero that doesn’t get much love in most dwarf decks, but here serves as a great addition in the role of defender. If you happen to be playing a scenario with a lot of orc enemies, then you can also put A Burning Brand and Protector of Lorien on Glorfindel and have the dwarf switch over to orc-slaying mode. Most of the time, however, the goal will be to get Ring Mail on Dwalin and use him as a defender. If you can also get a song of Wisdom and A Burning Brand attached to him, Dwalin should be able to handle most attacking enemies. Dwarrowdelf Axe or Blade of Gondolin are both good weapons for the dwarf, the latter works particularly well against orcs as it makes it that much easier for him to slay the foul creatures and then trigger his threat-reduction ability.
The tactics hero that everyone loves to hate, Brand Son of Bain is our primary attacked. Blade of Gondolin can help put progress on the quest, as well as being a trigger for Foe-Hammer. One often overlooked aspect of Brand is his 2 willpower. In particularly tough scenarios, where there is a lot of threat in the staging area, we can send Brand on the quest as well. For times when we do hold him back, Hands Upon the Bow is a great way to clear an enemy out of the staging area, after it is revealed from the encounter deck, but before the quest is resolved. One nice thing about these strategies is neither committing to the quest, nor attacking enemies puts Brand’s lowly 3 hit points at risk. We want to play to each hero’s strengths as much as possible, so except in emergencies, Brand should not be a defender.
Because we are focusing on action superiority, rather than numerical superiority, this deck includes more attachments than allies. The idea is to make each hero a total powerhouse at their designated role. Three copies of Gleowine mean that we should have card draw fairly early on. Master of the Forge, Bofur and Rivendell Minstrel all serve to ensure that we get the attachments that we need quickly. Remember that Song of Wisdom serves two purposes, not only does it help with resource smoothing, but it allows Dwalin to use A Burning Brand to make him even more effective as our primary defender.
Between Glorfindel and Brand, we have good willpower for committing to the quest, especially once we get Light of Valinor and Unexpected Courage out and can use our heroes again later in the round. Arwen, Bofur and Rivendell Minstrel each have 2 willpower and allow us to power through the quest. Arwen in particular is important to bolster Dwalin’s defense. If we are playing a multiplayer game, the sentinel ability that Arwen grants can be very important, and we might even have a chance to trigger Brand’s response. Protector of Lorien can be attached to Glorfindel to aid questing, or Dwalin can use it to deal with bigger enemies. In either case, Protector of Lorien is a great way to get rid of any duplicate unique cards that we might draw. This ability to discard extra cards to increase our hero’s stats is especially nice if we are not able to pay for the cards that we draw from effects like Foe-Hammer.
It is fairly easy to make modifications to this deck to deal with different scenarios. For orc-heavy quests, we will want to include another copy of Blade of Gondolin, and really emphasize Dwalin’s ability by switching him over to an attacker role. Other quests with more challenging enemies may necessitate swapping out Foe-Hammer for additional copies of Feint and Hands Upon the Bow. Likewise, treachery-heavy scenarios will warrant an additional copy of A Test of Will, and possibly even a copy of Dwarven Tomb. If the relatively high starting threat of this deck becomes a problem, we can always include one or two copies of The Galadhrim’s Greeting.
Song of Travel x1
Song of Wisdom x1
Rivendell Blade x2
Blade of Gondolin x2
Dwarrowdelf Axe x2
Light of Valinor x3
Protector of Lorien x2
A Burning Brand x2
Unexpected Courage x3
Ring Mail x2