Continuing in our series of decks from Middle-Earth’s alternate history, we now travel to Greenwood the Great, the forest more commonly known as Mirkwood. Leading up to the Fellowship of the Ring, Gollum was very much a creature of interest. Even before Gandalf had yet realized the nature of the ring which Bilbo brought back from his adventures, the wizard suspected that Gollum knew the truth. At Gandalf’s urging, Aragorn tracked the creature after Gollum was released from Mordor, ultimately catching him. The plan was to take Gollum to Mirkwood where he would be guarded by Thranduil and his people.
This deck represents a hunting parting that Aragorn could have used to help him capture the elusive creature and take him as prisoner to Mirkwood. Strider (Lore Aragorn) is accompanied by another esteemed member of Elrond’s house, Glorfindel. It is hoped that the elf’s healing skills may come in handy if Gollum is injured. Gandalf needs Gollum alive and in one piece in order to question him further about the ring that Mr. Baggins bears. As they approach the Elven-King’s domain, Aragorn and Glorfindel are met by Mirlonde, a member of Thranduil’s household.
In terms of design, this deck is decidedly non-traditional. It wouldn’t make much sense for the ranger Aragorn to be marching across Wilderland with an army of followers. Gollum is far too wary to be caught by such a clumsy attempt.
No, to hunt this creature one must use more subtle means. Aside from a little support from craftsmen (Master of the Forge) and singers (Rivendell Minstrel) at the start of their journey, Aragorn and Glorfindel will only be accompanied by Gildor Inglorion and Gandalf the Grey. What the hunters lack in numbers, they will surely make up for in skill.
With so few allies, the deck will make use of tactical superiority, namely that each of the characters will need to be very good at their particular role or roles. Three copies each of Master of the Forge and Rivendell Minstrel will help fetch attachments, and the rest of the deck essentially consists of card draw to get the necessary cards in hand as quickly as possible. Without a numerical advantage the idea will be to load each of our characters up with attachments to maximize their potential.
Aragorn has his usual assortment of artifacts, including some much-needed willpower boosting in Celebrian’s Stone and Sword that was Broken. Between Ring of Barahir, Protector of Lorien and A Burning Brand, we can turn him into a superb defender as well. Steward of Gondor will also obviously belong to the rightful heir of Isildur and will couple with all of the card draw to help pay for the expensive allies and attachments.
Glorfindel provides questing and the only healing effect in the deck. He rides his trusty mount Asfaloth which helps with location-control. Light of Valinor and Rivendell Blade are both perfect candidates for the elf, once we get the appropriate songs (or Celebrian’s Stone on Aragorn in the case of the latter).
Once we get Steward of Gondor on Aragorn we will want to avoid spending resources from Glorfindel, if at all possible. This allows us to pay for his ability and keep our small band of hunters alive. Because Aragorn will benefit from this resource acceleration, any Songs that we draw will be attached to him.
Mirlonde is used to maximal effect and keeps our starting threat at an acceptable 29. We will certainly be raising this with Gandalf, so it is nice that Aragorn’s reset ability can bring us below the all-important threat threshold of 30.
Mirlonde are Glorfindel are both great choices for attaching Expert Treasure-Hunter. Their high willpower will mean that they are often questing. With 60% of the deck attachments there is not too much risk of guessing incorrectly with Expert Treasure-Hunter, especially if you already have a unique ally or two in hand.
With a few copies of Rivendell Minstrel in play questing should become less of an issue, and we can always hold our heroes back for the counter-attack. Combat is one area where this deck can have problems, at least in the more enemy-heavy quests. The fact that Gandalf does not exhaust to quest means that he will always be able to help out, when the fighting gets fierce.
Gildor is an ally so excellent that he essentially acts like a fourth hero. Not only does his willpower match Glorfindel’s, but with 3 defense and the ability to carry A Burning Brand, he can serve as our best defender. Alternatively, he can wield a Rivendell Blade and help with that aspect of combat, it ultimately depends on the scenario and the circumstances.
His ability should not be overlooked either as it allows us to use Expert Treasure-Hunter without fear of a bad guess. Last but certainly not least, we have Mithrandir. When the wizard is not dispensing his advice, or a timely Word of Command, his is invaluable in combating the forces of Sauron. For indeed, the Dark Lord now wishes to recapture Gollum and return him to the dungeons of Mordor. Can you safely escort this wily creature to the forest realm of the Elven-King?
Master of the Forge x3
Rivendell Minstrel x3
Gildor Inglorion x3
Gandalf (TH:OHaUH) x3
Song of Battle x2
Song of Kings x3
Song of Travel x2
Expert Treasure-Hunter x3
Protector of Lorien x2
A Burning Brand x2
Ranger Spikes x2
Rivendell Blade x2
Celebrian’s Stone x2
Steward of Gondor x3
Sword that was Broken x2
Light of Valinor x2
Ring of Barahir x1
Daeron’s Runes x3
Mithrandir’s Advice x3
Word of Command x2