Deck: Isildur’s Heir

Aragorn (movie)

Every since I first saw the Ring of Barahir, I have been convinced there is the potential for a new deck archetype designed around Aragorn and his powerful Artifacts. In my Flight to the Ford deck, I experimented with the Lore (“Strider”) version of Aragorn, coupled with cards that thematically fit that particular passage in the Fellowship of the Rings. With this deck I will take a different approach, using the Leadership Aragorn from the Core Set, and surrounding him with heroes and allies from Gondor.

Ring of BarahirUnfortunately, since support for the Gondor trait in the Against the Shadow cycle is still in a half-finished state, this deck starts a bit slowly. Aside from Steward of Gondor, the most important card in the early game is Celebrian’s Stone. That is why it is included in triplicate. For those with only a single Core Set, I recommend using Favor of the Lady as a proxy.

If the stone does not come up in our opening hand we can use Valiant Sacrifice with a chump blocker or Daeron’s Runes to help us go find it. The card drawing capabilities here are obviously less than optimal, but there is very little card draw currently available that stays true to the theme of this deck.

Not only will Celebrian’s Stone double the willpower of our primary quester, but it also allows Aragorn to pay for Ring of Barahir and Unexpected Courage. Being an Artifact, it even grants the son of Arathorn another hit point. This deck is already brimming with attachments, so there is no room for songs. Thus Celebrian’s Stone represents the only way for Aragorn to access the Spirit sphere. Rivendell Minstrel, ordinarily a natural choice to fetch songs, doesn’t fit thematically with this deck so we must rely on the Artifacts.

Celebrian's StoneInterestingly, the allies play more of a minor role in this deck. They can help with questing in the early to mid-game, particularly once Aragorn wields the shards of Narsil (the Sword that was Broken). They can also serve as chump blockers to fuel Valiant Sacrifice and Horn of Gondor. Speaking of which, the horn can either be attached to Denethor for resource smoothing, Aragorn if he doesn’t need a shield, or it’s rightful owner, Boromir, to help pay for weapon and armor attachments. Once Aragorn is equipped with the full array of his artifacts, along with supplemental attachments like A Burning Brand and Unexpected Courage, he becomes a one man army.

After Aragorn is made Steward of Gondor (a title that Denethor will only cede begrudgingly), Aragorn can typically afford to ready after questing. Unfortunately, there are no good weapons for men at this point, so he will be limited to his three attack, but he can easily be made into a super-defender with A Burning Brand and Gondorian Shield (remember that it grants him +2 defense because Steward gives him the Gondor trait). As for the counter-attack, Boromir can help with that, along with a bevy of 1 attack strength allies that can be used as an army in a pinch.

gondorian-shieldThe resource acceleration provided by Steward and Horn of Gondor will help pay for allies and all of the expensive attachments. Errand-Riders and Envoys help with resource smoothing, coupled with the aforementioned, but sadly limited, card draw. With a high starting threat, Gandalf will often need to be used to lower our threat, especially if we make use of Boromir’s readying ability to keep ourselves alive in the early game. If we can manage to have the Istari along with a Sneak Attack in our hand early, it will often make sense to use him the first time for card draw, just to help us find the Artifact cards that are so central to this deck’s design.

Aside from low starting willpower, this deck has some obviously weaknesses. Chief among the deficiencies is no treachery cancellation or threat-reduction. Thus, it may be best suited to multiplayer games where it can be paired with a Spirit deck. All things considered, this deck is not yet as strong as I would like it to be, but I am hopeful that future cards in the Against the Shadow cycle will provide much-needed improvement to the Gondor trait. Who knows, we may even get another Artifact or two which further supplement Aragorn’s arsenal.

Aragorn (Core)Boromir (TDM)Denethor

Aragorn (Core)
Boromir (The Dead Marshes)

Allies: 21
Errand-Rider x2
Envoy of Pelargir x3
Gondorian Spearman x3
Warden of Healing x2
Ithilien Tracker x2
Guard of the Citadel x2
Citadel Custodian x2
Faramir x2
Gandalf (Core) x3

Attachments: 20
Steward of Gondor x3
Celebrian’s Stone x3 (Use proxies if necessary)
Sword that was Broken x2
Ring of Barahir x2
Horn of Gondor x2
Spear of the Citadel x2
Gondorian Shield x2
A Burning Brand x2
Unexpected Courage x2

Events: 9
Daeron’s Runes x3
Sneak Attack x3
Valiant Sacrifice x3

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3 Responses to Deck: Isildur’s Heir

  1. Carlos Matos says:

    Nice deck… I will definately give it a try one of these days…

    Seems to me that Aragorn can benefict his attack from one card: Rivendell Bow.

    Although not an artifact to increase his ring power but a good attachment to him… but could get him another artifact (Black Arrow) and help in multi-player…

    If you want to push Ring ability even further you have both Thror’s Key and Map.

    I know that i’m getting away from theme…

    There are two events that could get into the theme: Behind Strong Walls and For Gondor! – what do you think?

    PS: Ithilien Ranger (the TMaO objective) or Ithilien Tracker (lore ally)?

  2. Beorn says:

    Unfortunately the Bow would not increase his attack, as he does not have the printed Ranged keyword. I hope that at some point we will see a weapon attachment that boosts attack for men. That’s a great idea though, using the bow to allow for attaching Black Arrow. Also, you are absolutely right about Thror’s artifacts, I just left them out because it didn’t make sense for Aragorn to be carrying them. A more powerful version of this deck would definitely want to include them both. I like both events for this deck, but I suspect only Behind Strong Walls would really fit, because I would have to remove allies to make space for “For Gondor!” which is counter-productive when the deck already has few allies. Thanks for catching the typo on Ithilien Tracker, I have now fixed that.

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

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