Deck: Bard Goes Hunting

The latest saga expansion, The Hobbit: On The Doorstep, has given us Bard the Bowmen and his legendary Great Yew Bow. Because the effect on the bow is a combat action, it is not the easiest thing to put it to effective use. Included in a heavy tactics deck with high starting threat, Bard will not have a chance to show off his archery skills, as most of the enemies will be engaging immediately.

This deck is designed to highlight the strength of Bard the Bowman. With 12 cards that lower your threat and a relatively low starting threat of 25, it should be possible to snipe most enemies in the staging area long before you ever have to face them. Another important aspect of Bard is that all of his stats are good. Thanks to the action advantage of Unexpected Courage and Westfold Horse-Breaker, we will be taking advantage of these good stats by having Bard Take multiple actions each round. Because Great Yew Bow is not unique, but only restricted, we will even have the opportunity to attach two of them to Bard. With two bows and an unexpected courage, Bard will often be able to kill multiple enemies in a round.

In order to ensure that we can draw the cards necessary to transform Bard into an uber-hunter, we will be taking advantage of Imladris Stargazer. Foe-Hammer provides card draw, along with Bofur who is great for finding our weapons. Zigil Miner makes an appearance as a way to get rid of extra cards and help pay for the few expensive cards. Duplicate weapons in our hand can always be ditched to help Eowyn quest harder. Between Eowyn and Glorfindel, we will be committing at least 7 willpower to the quest, from the start of the game. If for some reason we aren’t able to find one of the three copies of Great Yew Bow, Hands Upon the Bow can be used as a single-use alternative. Worst case scenario, we can always engage an enemy and throw a chump blocker at it. The deck has enough attack strength that with a concerted effort, it should be possible to kill most enemies in a single attack.

Northern Tracker will help clear any locations that we don’t want to travel to. The overall strategy will be to power through the quest and let Bard kill any revealed enemies before they engage. In more enemy-heavy quests Arwen can give Bard or Gandalf an extra defense then everyone can help out on the counter-attack. The Northern Trackers also make stout defenders when there are no locations for them to scout. Even Zigil Miner can help out on the attack, when he is not busy digging through our deck.

Bard the BowmanGreat Yew BowThe Galadhrim's Greeting

Bard the Bowman
Glorfindel (FoS)

Allies: 20
Arwen Undomiel x3
Zigil Miner x3
Imladris Stargazer x3
Northern Tracker x3
Gandalf x3
Bofur (THOHaUH) x2
Westfold Horse-Breaker x3

Attachments: 15
Black Arrow x1
Great Yew Bow x3
Blade of Gondolin x3
Light of Valinor x3
Unexpected Courage x3
Miruvor x2

Events: 15
Foe-Hammer x3
Elrond’s Counsel x3
The Galadhrim’s Greeting x3
A Test of Will x3
Hands Upon the Bow x3

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24 Responses to Deck: Bard Goes Hunting

  1. Glaurung says:

    Cool deck. I liked. But in my opinion Legolas is better fit this idea. Cose he cost less and he can put 2 tokens without blade of Gondolin and He just need Rivendel Blade and here you go. Same story but he cost you 2 threat less.

    • Beorn says:

      You are right, Legolas has two less starting threat, but there are two important reasons why I chose to build this deck around Bard. First of all, as Shipprekk points out, his defense-lowering is built in, so he will be able to easily kill enemies without needing a second weapon. This also frees me up to attach two copies of Great Yew Bow to him so that I can use it against multiple enemies (once I get Unexpected Courage on him). In this case, the Blade of Gondolin goes on Glorfindel and is only used to power Foe-Hammer.

      The other advantage that Bard has over Legolas is his superior defense. The weaker enemies will often have threat thresholds of less than 20, which means that they will engage right away. With 2 defense, Bard can easily defend against these weaker enemies without taking more than 1 damage. Then he and/or Glorfindel can finish them off on the counterattack. Since I don’t have any healing in this deck, and the other two heroes have only 1 defense, I felt that it was important to have a character with a decent defense to deal with this common situation. Once Arwen is questing, Bard can have 3 defense which will allow him to deal with most enemies that will engage.

      • Glaurung says:

        yes agree with you……anyway you always have a good points about this game…….

        play this deck couple of times………really cool! love the idea!

  2. shipprekk says:

    Great deck!

    This deck already hinges on specific card draw, so it’s nice to have the -2 ability from the start, without another attachment. Legolas would work nicely, though.

  3. wlk says:

    Just for the record, Hands Upon The Bow is not really effective here, because it does not grant a ranged attack, so Bards’ passive effect will not apply.

    • Beorn says:

      You are absolutely correct, wlk! Hands Upon the Bow is included as a way to remove enemies from the staging area before quest resolution, or as a stop-gap if we haven’t drawn our Great Yew Bow Yet. In either case, Bard does not get his bonus, but hopefully the +1 attack provided by Hands Upon the Bow will be enough to finish off the enemy.

  4. Hastur360 says:

    Very cool deck. I have not got around to putting Bard into a deck yet or playing with the GY Bow. Keep up the great articles.

  5. Glaurung says:

    Ha ha ha.Sounds like FFG come almost with the same idea with a last Update…….

  6. wehehe says:

    Great deck, I tested it yesterday with Journey along the anduin, and it worked surprisingly. I’ve thought in a deck which “abuse” from Bard, and I didn’t thought it could work so well.

    Have you tried adding a leadership hero? I think it could be interesting to use Dunedain Mark and Fresh tracks in this deck, and even sneak attack for multiple gandalfs, but I’m not sure if it worths sacrificing Glorfindel or Eowyn. Maybe adding song of kings…?

    • Beorn says:

      Yes, an earlier incarnation of this deck did include Leadership for Fresh Tracks and Sneak Attack. Those cards are undeniably powerful, but questing was so important to this deck that I feel the two spirit heroes were essential to continue making progress, as well as pay for expensive cards like Northern Tracker. I could splash Song of Kings, but I’ve found myself moving away from that more and more lately, unless I have Lore to go fetch them. I notice that decks that rely on a Song for critical aspects of their strategy can be very inconsistent, and can also be severely hindered in scenarios with attachment discard effects. This deck is a bit extreme, to be sure, but I wanted to show that it is possible to design decks that win in non-traditional ways.

  7. Pat says:

    What about Quick Strike instead of Hands Upon the Bow?

    • Beorn says:

      Quick Strike is also a good option for this deck. The reason I went with Hands Upon the Bow is that I am trying, as much as possible, to kill everything while it is in the staging area, so that I don’t have to actually engage it. Quick Strike still allows you to kill an enemy, after it engages but before it attacks, but some of the engagement effects on enemies (e.g. the Brigands in Peril in Pelargir) are just really nasty. That said, I could see Quick Strike working really well in this deck, particularly if I made room for Rivendell Blade. Then Glorfindel could join in on the fun.

  8. Landroval says:

    If using Unexpected Courage and 2x Great Yew Bow on a ranged hero, is it possible to attacke the same enemy in the staging area twice in one phase? I am unsure whether the restrictin on attacking one enemy each turn would apply in phases other than combat? Thanks

    • Beorn says:

      Yes, the limit of one attack against the same enemy does not include attacks made via card effects. It actually does not matter the phase in which an attack occurs, but only that the attack was granted by a card effect (outside of the game’s normal attack step). Because Great Yew Bow and Hands Upon the Bow are card effects that specifically grant attacks outside of this normal step, you can use them (assuming readying effects on a hero) to attack the same enemy multiple times. From section 1.11 from the latest FAQ:

      “Characters are not limited as to how many times they
      can participate in attacks against the same enemy,
      provided each attack can be legally declared, and the
      character is ready and eligible to be declared as an


  9. Pingback: Poll Results: Favorite Deck Archetype | Hall of Beorn

  10. raynor2013 says:

    A little late to the party here but I really like this deck idea. I did something similar last night with Defense with Beregond in a spirit deck. Same principal in reverse with Spirit questing and giving Unexpected courage to my round the table defender.

    I’ve been a fan of Bard ever since he came out but haven’t ever managed a deck where his particular skill set has worked. The fact that I had a great deck with Brand and still hadn’t managed one with Bard was irking me.

    This is some great food for thought. Thanks Beorn!

    • Beorn says:

      I’m glad that you like it, raynor2013! Beregond is another one of my favorite tactics heroes. Being able to attach Gondorian Shield and Spear of the Citadel for no cost is a huge boost to a sphere without much resource acceleration.

  11. Ray Boshell says:

    “a relatively low starting threat of 25,” I may be missing something but with this deck ising the Starting threat 32? I get 11 for Bard, 9 for Eowyn and 12 for Glorfindel

    • Beorn says:

      Greetings Ray, and welcome to the Hall of Beorn. My apologies for any confusion. This deck uses the Spirit version of Glorfindel, from the Foundations of Stone Adventure Pack, not the Lore version of Glorfindel from the core set. As you can see here (, the Spirit version of Glorfindel has a threat cost of 5 instead of the threat cost of 12 for the version from the Core Set.

      • Ray Boshell says:

        My Bad, Thank you very much for the speedy response – love the deck by the way but I was playing it with the wrong Glorfindel bet it will play even Better now. Please keep up the articles. Fantastic work and Thank you again

  12. Why not include Straight Shot? It would allow you to either kill weak enemies in the staging area without exhausting Bard, or to finish off tougher enemies once Bard lowers their defense to 0.

    Only downside is you that since you want Bard to get the Yew Bows, you might want to make room for a couple more weapons to shove on the other heroes so Bard can still attack the staging. Otherwise it will only be useful when you have 1 enemy engaged and another in the staging.

    • Beorn says:

      My feelings about Straight Shot are mixed. While it is cool to discard a zero-defense enemy for free, this card has serious limitations. For one thing, since it discards instead of kills, you can’t trigger Blade of Gondolin or Foe-Hammer. Granted, Bard’s ability will mean that you can discard enemies with 2 or less defense, you still need a weapon to be able to trigger Straight Shot. The problem here is that Great Yew Bow exhausts to make the attack to begin with.

      The only weapon that Straight Shot works well with in this deck is Blade of Gondolin. This limitation means that there is a good chance that this card will be dead in your hand. Ultimately, I see Straight Shot as more of a sideboard card – one that will work especially well in certain scenarios and be less useful in others.

  13. Freddy says:

    Very nice deck! When I play with it, I usually include also 3 copies of “Rohan Warhorse” to make multiple attacks with Bard. Do you think that this deck could be usefull in combination with a Hobbit deck to face the 3 scenarios of The Black Riders’ saga?

  14. Beorn says:

    Yes, this deck could potentially be a good fit for those scenarios. I’m sure that there are cards which have been released since I designed this deck that would improve its strategy; at some point I need to look at designing a second version. Let me know how this deck works for you. Good luck!

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