At the battle of Pelennor Fields, the Rohirrim charged to the rescue of Gondor. Éomer lead the riders of the Westfold against the main host assaulting Minas Tirith. Éowyn (aka Dernhelm) defeated the Witch-king of Angmar, with the help of her friend Merry the Hobbit. Prince Imrahil was among the hosts of Gondor, bravely defending the city until the Rohirrim could ride to its rescue.
This deck has two main goals. On the one hand, the aim is to capture just some of the excitement from that epic battle, Rohan rushing to rescue its old ally Gondor from the onslaught of Mordor. At the same, the metagame is changing and there is a new archetype forming around the Rohan trait, mounts, and allies leaving play. This deck presents one example of this new archetype, while trying as much as possible to remain thematically appropriate to the story of the ride of the Rohirrim.
As far as strategically appropriate heroes are concerned, Éomer is everything that Théoden is not. Where his uncle boosts Tactics heroes but lacks any specific synergy with Rohan archetypes, Éomer works perfectly with existing Rohan allies. In fact, a majority of the existing Rohan allies have abilities that involve them being discarded, or otherwise leaving play. Indeed, Éomer’s father Éomund allows all Rohan characters to ready when he leaves play. Éomer would then ready, and receive his +2 attack boost. It is a total design win that father and son have perfect synergy in this way.
Knowing that we want allies to be leaving play in order to take advantage of this ability, it makes sense to include other cards with responses to this same trigger. Prince Imrahil is a natural, and thematically perfect compliment to this strategy. His two willpower makes him a solid support to Éowyn for questing. Then, after an ally leaves play, he can either serve as a defender, with help from Gondorian shield, or use his 3 attack to help Éomer defeat a tougher enemy. This last point is vital, as one of the other important cards in the archetype depends upon killing enemies, not just damaging them.
Between Steed of the Mark, from The Morgul Vale, and the new Rohan Warhorse, the Mount trait is now a part of the Rohan archetype. The Warhorse in particular works well with Éomer. With the help of this trusty steed, the lord of the Westfold can often fell two enemies in the same round. The Voice of Isengard even includes a way to find these horses, in the form of Westfold Horse-breeder.
Being able to search the top 10 cards of your deck for a Mount, and have a cheap ally for questing and chump blocking is a perfect addition to this deck. One cost allies are particularly effective in this deck, since Horn of Gondor essentially makes them free. Being about to recoup the cost of an ally, and trigger all of our “leaves play” responses is the ideal situation for this deck.
As far as chump blockers are concerned, Squire of the Citadel is the perfect choice. If you have Horn of Gondor in play, and possibly even Valiant Sacrifice in hand, you can actually net resources and recoup lost cards from the exchange. This is of course in addition to all of the benefits your heroes receive.
One of the other advantages of chump blocking is that we are not worried about most shadow effects. Cards like Blocking Wargs, which deal damage directly to the defender, can still be an issue. However in most scenarios you will not be concerned about a shadow effect boosting the attack of an enemy, because the lowly squire or scout was going to die either way. This is called “taking one for the team”.
One thing that astute readers will notice is the lack of weapons in this deck list. This is intentional. When your strategy involves intentionally killing off your allies to fuel hero and attachment card effects, you need a lot of allies at your disposal. While it may be tempting to fill the deck with weapons like Dagger of Westernesse and Spear of the Mark, to turn Éomer into a one man killing machine, this works contrary to his response effect. In order to maximize the advantages of Imrahil and Éomer, we need allies leaving play. Sneak Attack helps some, but ultimately, some of our cheap allies are going to chump blocker heaven. This means the deck list needs to include enough fuel for our bonfire of sacrificial lambs.
While a three sphere deck might at first seem too risky, this list includes a plethora of resource acceleration and resource smoothing. Each of our heroes has the Noble trait, which means that Envoy of Pelargir costs 1 resource and allows us to move resources around to different heroes. Likewise, Errand-rider and Pelargir Ship Captain allow resources to be moved. More importantly, Steward of Gondor and Horn of Gondor provide resource generation. With all of the allies leaving play, the Horn can be very important to this deck, for those with multiple core sets (or who don’t mind proxies), a third copy is definitely an option.
Sneak Attack and Gandalf of course fit perfectly into this strategy. In any deck, using Sneak Attack to get Gandalf into play during the quest phase is a solid play. In this deck it is outright amazing. Not only do you get the wizard’s unparalleled versatility and a +4 willpower boost to the quest, but at the end of the phase you get to trigger all of your responses. In these situations you are combining massive action advantage with the tactical superiority of Éomer and the Prince of Dol Amroth. When played correctly, this kind of strategic leverage is not only an excellent path to victory, but it is a heck of a lot of fun as well.
Snowbourn Scout x2
Squire of the Citadel x3
Westfold Horse-breeder x3
Envoy of Pelargir x3
Pelargir Ship Captain x2
Westfold Outrider x3
Westfold Horse-breaker x2
Gandalf (Core) x3