Ever since Hammer-stroke was released, I’ve been wanting to create a deck that makes use of such a unique and powerful effect. Now that The Voice of Isengard has given us such a majestic mount, we have what we need to start to develop out this archetype. This deck will represent the Ride of the Rohirrim at the Battle of Pelennor Fields. Just us with that history-making battle, our goal will be to leave none of the enemy alive. While a bit less thematic, the obvious choice for a hero to utilize this strategy is Tactics Boromir. Not only does his sacrificial ability deal damage to each enemy engaged with us, but his action advantage should help keep us alive long enough to set up the big combo.
This second point is critical because we want to maximize the effect of Hammer-stroke. It doesn’t make sense to pay 2 resources for that event if we are only engaging one extra enemy. The idea is to survive to the mid-game, when there are multiple enemies in play – either in the staging area or engaged with other players. Then, we wind the Horn of Gondor and let all of the enemies come to us. As should be painfully obvious from the list, this deck is not designed for solo play.
In fact, the nature of The Hammer-stroke is that it gains in power for each enemy in play and thus is more powerful in a 4 player game than a 2 player game. Because of the focus on combat, this deck is obviously not a good fit for scenarios that are light on enemies (e.g. The Hills of Emyn Muil) or those with a single boss enemy which is immune to player card effects (e.g. The Lonely Mountain). What it is good at doing is killing enemies, lots of enemies.
There are several interesting synergies at play in this deck, beyond the obvious “Boromir saves the day” option. One of the more intriguing heroes from The Black Riders, Merry is a power-house in all-Hobbit decks. In this deck, he might seem like a puzzling choice. With a starting attack of 1, any other Tactics hero would be superior to our Hobbit friend, from a brute force standpoint. The power of Merry is not when he acts alone, but when he attacks with other heroes. In particular, Háma and Merry make a perfect pair, especially when they are on horseback.
Each of the attachments in this deck has a specific target. Gondorian Shield obviously belongs on Boromir. Combined with his ability to ready, the son of Gondor makes him a formidable defender. Spear of the Citadel can either go on Boromir, or Gondorian Spearman, if one is available. Again, the idea is to engage all of the enemies and then immediately kill as many of them as possible. Both Háma and Merry will want to ride a Rohan Warhorse while Boromir would prefer to walk. Rivendell Blade goes on a Trollshaw Scout, and can aid greatly in the challenge of killing a tougher enemy. The Daggers will go on Háma and Merry and the Horn can be held by whoever does not already have two restricted attachments.
Thanks to Foe-hammer and Háma, it is possible to end up with a fistful of card in your hand by the time you are ready for The Hammer-Stroke. In this case, Trollshaw Scout is an amazing ally because he can attack each of the enemies you are facing, at the cost of a card for each extra enemy. At first glance, this might seem like a waste, but when you think about what tactics does, trading 1 card in your hand (and no resources) for a dead enemy is exactly the kind of bargain you want to strike. Remember that duplicate cards can be discarded to Háma.
Support of the Eagles is the trump card in this deck. At three resources it is certainly expensive, but it can allow you to turn Boromir into a 6 attack tank that participates in every attack. Ideally, you will have Thicket of Spears on hand to avoid all enemy attacks, but Support of the Eagles and Gondorian Shield can easily give Boromir 8 defense. As a worst case, Boromir can block every single attack.
While this will obviously raise your threat considerably, the intent is to only do this once. After the board has been cleared of enemies, the other players should be able to quest to victory without hindrance. Regardless of which attachments you are able to deploy, it will often not even be necessary to sacrifice Boromir. This deck can muster a truly massive level of combat strength.
The events here include many of the usual suspects, with some omissions. Feint is notably absent from this list, and it is refreshing to make a Tactics deck without that card. Ultimately, one could make the argument for that card to be included, especially with Háma present. However, this deck is designed to scale. Paying 3 resources to avoid 8 enemy attacks is a much better deal than paying 1 resource to avoid a single attack.
The driving goal of this deck is to spend the first few rounds building up, and then spring into action. Once we have enough of our combos in place, and there are enough enemies in play, we bring The Hammer-stroke and kill everything on the board. As strategies go, this is known as a “glass cannon”, but when this deck finds its mark, it can be a quite a sight to behold.
The cards that make up the heart of this deck: The Hammer-stroke, Support of the Eagles and Thicket of Spears are all quite expensive. This is the other reason why this deck is not meant to be played solo. A Leadership deck with resource acceleration and cards like Errand-rider, Wealth of Gondor or Parting Gifts will be a tremendous boon to getting this deck running. Good luck, and don’t stop the charge until you see the whites of their eyes!
Vassal of the Windlord x3
Gondorian Spearman x3
Trollshaw Scout x3
Winged Guardian x3
Bofur (TH:OHaUH) x3
Eagles of the Misty Mountains x3
Dagger of Westernesse x3
Gondorian Shield x2
Horn of Gondor x2
Blade of Gondolin x2
Rohan Warhorse x3
Spear of the Citadel x2
Support of the Eagles x3
The Eagles Are Coming! x3
Rain of Arrows x2
The Hammer-stroke x2
Thicket of Spears x2