Deck: The White Council

White Council Legos

The most recent spoiler of the Ring-maker cycle is for the fifth Adventure Pack: Celebrimbor’s Secret. For those not familiar with the deeper history behind Tolkien’s works, Celebrimbor was a very important Noldor craftsman. It was from Annatar (as Sauron was then known) that Celebrimbor learned the secrets of Ring-making. After creating sixteen rings of power for his Vanya “friend”, Celebrimbor then made three Elven rings in secret. Because they were never touched by the Dark Lord, these rings remained uncorrupted.

In the Second Age, Vilya, Narya and Nenya would allow the Elves to create havens beyond the reach of the Dark Lord. With the help of Nenya, Galadriel founded Lothlórien to the East of the Misty Mountains. Gil-galad, last high king of the Noldor, wielded Vilya and Narya as he ruled Lindon to the North. The tragic deaths of Gil-galad and Elendil at the hands of Sauron, and the subsequent heroism of Isildur to slay the Dark Lord, ushered in the Third Age of Middle-Earth. After the siege of Barad-dûr and the overthrow of Sauron, Vilya was given to Elrond the Half-Elven, founder of Imladris, and Narya was given to Círdan of the Grey Havens.

GandalfSarumanLater in the Third Age, Sauron, then without physical form, exerted his evil influence over Greenwood the Great and turned it into Mirkwood. In one one of their last true interventions, the Valar sent Istari into the East. The wizards were tasked with aiding the free peoples of Middle-Earth in their struggle against the gathering shadows. Together, the Istari and the leaders of the Elves formed The White Council. Círdan immediately recognized wisdom in the newcomer Mithrandir, and the ring Narya passed into the hands of the one who would become Gandalf.

This deck attempts to recreate the White Council, in all of their wisdom and power. This deck has a high starting threat, which makes sense when it comprises all of the most powerful enemies of Sauron. Still, there are plenty of solutions for threat reduction. Galadriel is the spiritual center of the deck, providing consistent card drawing and threat reduction, as well as helping to bolster our allies. Celeborn, in addition to strengthening out Silvan allies specifically, gives us access to Sneak Attack. This already great card has been given new relevance with all of the “comes into play” effects around Silvan cards in this cycle. It also allows us to get multiple uses out of Gandalf, which is always welcome. Lastly, The Galadhrim’s Greeting is another powerful and thematic option for keeping our enemies at bay.

VilyaNenya-CSWith a name like Ring-maker, this cycle promises to highlight the power of the Elves and their rings of power. Appropriately, Vilya and Nenya both feature in this deck. Master of the Forge, Imladris Stargazer and Galadriel herself can all help in retrieving these powerful artifacts. With the rings attached, the Lady of Lórien and the Master of the Last Homely House manifest their true power. Indeed, the rings of power were one of the primary reasons the White Council was able to protect Middle-Earth from Sauron’s influence for as long as they did.

The synergy across these cards is truly awe inspiring. Celeborn gives a stat boost to each Silvan ally the round it enters play. Galadriel allows them to commit to the quest without exhausting – which actually matters with their improved stats. Finally, Elrond allows us to get these allies into play without paying for them. The attention to detail and theme that went into the design of these new Elven archetypes is breathtaking. This is exactly the kind of deep strategy with narrative focus that makes The Lord of the Rings LCG more than just a card game.

Even so, this deck does not take full advantage of Silvan synergies. There are doubtless more Silvan-related cards to come, which will improve this deck even further. As it stands, this list is more focused on The White Council than being a Silvan deck, per se. Just taking the cards that have already been spoiled it is safe to say that the Silvan archetype will be a legitimate deck build alongside other powerhouses like Dwarves and Rohan. These spoilers really bring anticipation for the Ring-maker cycle to a fever pitch. For now, those who don’t mind making proxies can enjoy this deck featuring The White Council – some of the most powerful beings in all of Middle-Earth.

ElrondCeleborn-TDTGaladriel-CS

Heroes:
Elrond (SaF)
Celeborn (TDT)
Galadriel (CS)

Allies: 26
Silvan Refugee (TDF) x2
Naith Guide (TDT) x2
Arwen Undomiel (TWitW) x2
Imladris Stargazer (FoS) x2
Master of the Forge (SaF) x2
Saruman (VoI) x2
Orophin (CS) x2
Silverlode Archer (Core) x2
Daughter of the Nimrodel (Core) x2
Silvan Tracker (TDM) x2
Haldir of Lórien (AJtR) x2
Rúmil (TDT) x2
Gandalf (Core) x2

Attachments: 14
Light of Valinor (FoS) x2
Miruvor (SaF) x3
Elf-stone (TBR) x2
Protector of Lórien (Core) x2
Nenya (CS) x2
Vilya (SaF) x2
Unexpected Courage (Core) x1

Events: 10
Children of the Sea (TBoG) x2
Elrond’s Counsel (SaF) x2
The Tree People (TDT) x2
Sneak Attack (Core) x2
The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core) x2

This entry was posted in Deck Lists, History, Spoilers, Strategy, Theme and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Deck: The White Council

  1. jamesarthurharrison says:

    An excellent deck, and one my house mate and I were talking about the possibility of last night – this spoiler really increases anticipation for the cycle to near fever pitch… It’s excellent to see such a deck can be made in such short order…

    Now i need to stop reading about this game and get some plays in!

    I wonder if when we eventually get Thranduil (pack 6 anyone? Having saved something more impressive than Galadrial to last it is with bated breath I wait to see the final pack) her will complete the spheres and be a Tactics Sylvan Lord…

  2. John says:

    I think you mean the Valar sent the Istari into the East? Otherwise, awesome deck! Will proxy and get this up and running.

  3. I love how many options you have for getting expensive allies into play: Vilya, Elf-Stone, The Tree People.

    I’m seeing an awesome combo in there too: Children of the Sea on Silvan Refugee, then after resolving the quest, use The Tree People to exchange the 1-cost ally for a potentially 4-cost ally. Not to mention, if Silvan Refugee entered play that round, she has +1 willpower from Celeborn and if you use Nenya on her, she’s got another +4. That’s a 1-cost ally questing for 9! She could quest all by herself, assuming she won’t die (or just be removed from questing) from a nasty when revealed effect.

    • I also love the use of Silvan Tracker, now that we have Orophin and Rumil with more than 1 hitpoint. It’s especially nice with Elrond for healing 2 from Celeborn each round, even though I feel like Elrond would be the main defender, so Celeborn shouldn’t get a whole lot of damage on him.

      • Beorn says:

        Yes, I can’t wait to have the three Silvan brothers in the same deck. Silvan Tracker is only going to get better as time goes on.

      • Island Amid Peril would also be a great thematic choice to replace either Elrond’s Counsel or Galadhrim’s Greeting, but obviously, the “white council” theme makes the latter two more appropriate in this deck.

        I’ve been thinking about Island Amid Peril and I think it’s a really well designed card because it has notable pros and cons. It’s not an obvious power card, but it can be very powerful in certain situations. It has zero cost to potentially give you 4 threat reduction (maybe 5+ if more expensive Silvan allies are released). Then again, you lose a 1/2/3/4-cost ally, which you may have to pay for again, but it works well with the Silvan synergy so you could also get other potential benefits from it as well.

        Sorry if this is having less and less to do with this post. I just had this on my mind and needed to write it down somewhere. 🙂

  4. Aaron says:

    Fantastic article, and wow – what a deck! Question: Have you or someone else written a comprehensive article on including 2x vs 3x cards? I was surprised to see almost no 3x in this deck.

    • Beorn says:

      My friend Matthew D, of the Grey Company Podcast and The Progression Video Series, makes the argument that “if a card is worth having in your deck, it is worth having 3.” While I agree with this argument, to an extent, I find it is difficult with the card pool as it grows. There are simply too many good cards that I want to try, limiting myself to 3 of everything in the deck just doesn’t leave room for enough different kinds of cards. For this deck in particular, I wanted to get enough different Silvan allies and thematic attachments that I prioritized variety over consistency.

      Having card drawing effects will help offset the decreased consistency of having 2-of, and Galadriel is an amazing form of consistent card drawing. There is definitely an argument to be made for finding the best cards for your deck and including 3 of each. For the more difficult scenarios, this level of consistency is often vital to improving your chances for success. On the other hand, this game can be fun with more thematic decks, especially against less difficult scenarios that might otherwise be too easy. Ideally, I try to strike a balance between consistency and variety, balancing strategic effectiveness and thematic cohesion.

      Thanks for your feedback, and I’m glad that you like the article.

      • Aaron says:

        Love that response. I think I’ve finally passed the threshold of “I just want to win,” and placing cards in a deck because *I* want them to be there is a great approach. Thanks again for everything.

  5. lleimmoen says:

    I have to say I prefer Beravor to Elrond here. Of course, it is less thematic and for that reason I am eagerly awaiting Haldir but Elrond just brings it a bit too high on threat, I feel. And Silvan are already growing in card pool, so it may be hard to fill them into a deck with all the tools for Elrond, too.

    As a thematic deck, however, this is great. But you are still missing perhaps the most powerful trick of it. Try Sneak Attack Gandalf for quest, then Word of Command for another Sneak Attack (or any other card if need be). I have, it is sheer power.

    • The high threat from Elrond is less of a factor than usual because of Galadriel’s ability, but I still see your point. Even if you never get above 33, you’re still pretty high.

    • Beorn says:

      The one problem with Beravor is that you lose Elrond’s ability to help pay for any ally. I guess this is less of an issue with the various ways to get them into play at no cost, but Elrond’s and Vilya were one of these strategies. Still, Beravor is better strategically but doesn’t fit at all thematically.

      I agree about Word of Power with Gandalf and Galadriel. I had that card in an earlier draft of the deck but it ultimately got cut for more thematic cards. This may be the first archetype that pushes me above 50 cards. With excellent card drawing and fetching like Word of Command, a 60 card deck would probably even be viable.

      • Ungolianth says:

        I played this deck in a solo game against the scenario A Knife in the Dark – not the utmost thematic situation, I know – finishing with 27 threat thanks to the threat reducing possibilities. So no problem at all concerning the high starting threat.

      • Beorn says:

        Nice! I’m glad to hear that it worked out for you. At some point I want to come back to this deck and revise it with new cards from the latest releases.

  6. lleimmoen says:

    ps: also Arwen is actually one ally you do not want with Galadriel…

    • This is only a problem on the first turn she’s out. After that she’s still just as powerful as ever.

    • Beorn says:

      While I agree that Arwen’s ability does not work with Galadriel, I had to include her for thematic reasons (besides her being 2 resources for 2 willpower). After all, she is the daughter of Elrond and the Granddaughter of Galadriel and Celeborn. At some point, hopefully we will get ally versions of Elrohir and Elladan as well.

  7. lleimmoen says:

    pps: is there a way to see the full text of Orophin? Or a good picture of the already spoilt Island Amid Perils?

    • Beorn says:

      Unfortunately, I do not have an unobscured picture of Orophin. Given the theme of the cards that have been spoiled, and the text we can see, I would say that his ability involves returning Silvan allies from play or your discard pile to your hand. In any case, he belongs with his brothers regardless of what his ability ends up being.

  8. lleimmoen says:

    Yeah, as I said before, I totally see the thematic reasoning. I am pretty much the same when it comes to deck-building. They announced there will be a Silvan hero in pack 3, however, and that could round up a nice Galadhrim deck with Galadriel and Celeborn. Who would bet against it being Haldir of Lórien? I know the character has not so much weight in the book but he has become sort of a fan-favourite (even outside the movies, I feel).

    As for Orophin, I think he brings Silvan from the discard pile, as we shall have enough events bringing them back from play…

  9. Pingback: The Temptation of Galadriel | Tales from the Cards

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  11. diedertk says:

    As for the thematic part.. Where’s Radagast?! 😉

    • Beorn says:

      Yes, I wanted to find room for Radagast the Brown, but he just did not fit into this deck at all. If you wanted to make room for him, you could certainly remove a one couple each of a few different Elves and add him. He is expensive, so it’s probably best to use Elrond + Vilya to get him into play.

      • diedertk says:

        True, and I would do so if I am going to play this deck. The White Council is one of my favorite groups of hero’s so I liked this article very much! Nice deck! Also Gil-Galad should be in this deck, as for he was the one who called out the first meeting. And I can continue adding people who need to be in this deck, Círdan for example, but that would not do really much good. Better create my own White Council deck. 😉

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