As if to his eyes some sudden vision had been given, Gandalf stirred; and he turned, looking back north where the skies were pale and clear. Then he lifted up his hands and cried in a loud voice ringing above the din: The Eagles are coming! The Eagles are coming! The hosts of Mordor looked up and wondered what this sign might mean.
At the field of Cormallen, Aragorn and Gandalf lead the surviving armies of Gondor and Rohan in a last desperate stand against the forces of Mordor. With little chance of survival against such insurmountable odds, their only hope lies in Frodo and Sam and their quest to destroy the One Ring. This deck attempts to represent the epic last stand made by the armies of Gondor and Rohan, and the remnants of the fellowship. As they look upon their own destruction arrayed before them, our heroes also hold the gaze of the lidless eye in an effort to buy time for the hobbits at Mount Doom.
The Drúadan Forest adventure pack includes events that provide support for mono-sphere decks. Trained for War in particular, helps mono-Tactics decks deal with the one aspect of the game at which they typically struggle. By changing regular quests into Battle quests, this event is the perfect solution to the low willpower of tactics characters. Heroes like Gimli and Legolas, along with Vassal of the Windlord and other eagle allies, all become questing masters when we use this event.
Lead by Beregond, Gimli and Legolas, this deck unites men, elves, dwarves and eagles as they resist the onslaught of the Dark Lord. The characters hail from the far reaches of Middle-Earth. Along with the Eagles that come to their rescue, this deck has a fair bit of variety, as mono-tactics decks go. For a more powerful, but less thematic version of this deck, you can swap out Gimli for Hama and use the Rohirrim’s ability to recycle Trained for War. Since the door-warden of Edoras is technically dead at this point of the story, I’m going with a more historically accurate choice of heroes.
The Knights of the Swan from the Outlands are joined by the Vassals of the Windlord and Envoys of Pelargir as our low-cost troops. Winged Guardian is great in Siege quests or as a defender when resources allow. If not, we can always collect a resource with Horn of Gondor when the eagle leaves play. Since we have no other Outlands characters in the deck, there is no need to avoid using the Knights as chump blockers; they are mostly included because of their low cost.
Gondorian Spearman can wield Spear of the Citadel, once we’ve attached one to Beregond. Blade of Gondolin and Rivendell Blade are both a natural fit on Legolas and coupled with Hands Upon the Bow will allow the elf to kill even large enemies in the staging area. Gondorian Spear is for Beregond, on whom it is free to play, and the Citadel Plates can either go on him or Gimli. The only other dwarf, Bofur not only provides great all-around stats, but helps us find all of these weapons. We want to get at least one weapon attached to a hero as quickly as possible, because it is essential for utilizing Foe-Hammer to draw more cards.
Horseback archers provide additional support against bats, and birds and anything else which can only be attacked by ranged characters. In scenarios without these kinds of enemies, feel free to swap out the archers for more envoys, Defender of Rammas, or whatever other ally makes the most sense. Hails of Stones is another card that was included for thematic purposes, which players can feel free to swap out. My somewhat humorous mental image was of eagles dropping rocks on hapless orcs and trolls, but this card can be exchanged for Feint if necessary. Particularly in scenarios with fewer, bigger enemies, whose attacks need to be avoided, Feint will be the superior choice.
Eagles of the Misty Mountains are also very important for this deck. Not only are they equally adept at all kinds of quests, but they benefit from the weaker eagle allies that have a tendency to leave play so frequently. One fun trick is to attach several Vassals and Guardians to an Eagle of the Misty Mountain, after using them in combat, then play Trained for War and use the newly raised attack of our eagle ally as a huge questing bonus. Similarly, and very appropriate to the theme, Support of the Eagles can turn a tactics character into a tremendously power quester during Battles. Gandalf, of course, makes an appearance as it was the white wizard who utters the famous words from the introduction. With a high starting threat of 30, Gandalf will most often be used for threat reduction, though card draw and direct damage are always available in an emergency.
Overall, this deck is relatively straight forward to play, what is notable is how Trained for War makes a mono-tactics deck much more viable in quests that would otherwise be impossible to conquer with such low-willpower characters. Even so, this deck is not limited to solo play as it will pair quite well with another deck with Leadership for resource generation, Spirit for treachery cancellation and threat reduction, or Lore for healing and card draw. I am excited to see FFG provide more support for mono-sphere decks and I hope that this is a strategy that they continue to print cards for in the future.
Knights of the Swan x3
Vassal of the Windlord x3
Gondorian Spearman x3
Envoy of Pelargir x1
Winged Guardian x3
Bofur (OHaUH) x3
Horseback Archer x1
Eagles of the Misty Mountains x2
Gandalf (Core) x3
Spear of the Citadel x3
Blade of Gondolin x2
Rivendell Blade x1
Gondorian Shield x2
Citadel Plate x2
Horn of Gondor x2
Support of the Eagles x2
The Eagles are Coming! x3
Hail of Stones x2
Hands Upon the Bow x3
Trained for War x3