Deck: Haldir the Hunter


GenCon is one of those experiences that is so massive, so overwhelming, that it takes a bit of time to recover and adjust to the day-to-day routine of life. Now that I’ve finally had a chance to settle in and take stock of all of the latest Adventure Pack, the first order of business is to build a deck around our newest hero. Haldir of Lórien has long been one of my favorite allies, so it comes as no surprise that his hero card is also fantastic.

Noiseless-Movement-smallOne of the more interesting, and as of yet, under-utilized themes of the latest cycle is the pseudo-secrecy events. First it was Noiseless Movement, then Trouble in Tharbad brought us Courage Awakened. I refer to these as psuedo-secrecy because they can be used for full effect even when we are not within the 20 threat secrecy threshold. Where they really shine of course, if when we are under the cloak of secrecy. In this case, we can repeatably use this powerful cards. In the case of Noiseless Movement, this card is tailor-made for Haldir.

Lembas (TiT)-smallAs anyone who has ever played a Dúnhere deck well knows, the biggest risk to staging area attack decks are enemies with a low engagement cost. In the case of Haldir, his ability is specifically limited to rounds in which we have not engaged an enemy. This means that even if the enemy we want to attack is still in the staging area, a smaller enemy, with lower engagement, can ruin our carefully-laid plans. In this regard, Haldir is actually more limited than Dúnhere. Still, there are many tricks that the Protector of Lórien can use to help defend his people.

The goal of this deck is to stay in Secrecy range for most if not all of the early rounds. Ideally, we will play Resourceful on Glorfindel to help pay for the more expensive Spirit cards. Master of the Forge and Galadhrim Minstrel provide powerful and focused card-drawing effects. Ultimately the goal is the use Expert Treasure-Hunter and Imladris Stargazer to keep our hand full and sustain our efforts to avoid direct conflict. For as long as we are in secrecy range, or have extra copies to spare, we will use Noiseless Movement when necessary.

Dagger of WesternesseHaldir has Rivendell Blade and Dagger of Westernesse to help slay enemies where they idle in the staging area. With an abundance of threat reduction, we should be able to stay under the engagement cost of most enemies, if not within secrecy itself. This deck is decidedly light on allies – they merely serve to support our powerful heroes. In the rare cases where enemies do engage, do not hesitate to sacrifice an ally to spare a hero the trouble.

With some powerful readying effects, and Glorfindel’s ability to quest without exhausting, our heroes should be often be able to work double-duty. In the cases where willpower is less important, Merry can be held back and serves as a potent combination with his Elven friends. Assuming our other heroes are already suitably equipped, a Dagger of Westernesse can always go to the brave little Hobbit.

There is obviously more to this strategy than I have outlined here, but this type of decks take a deft hand, and are not well suited for all scenario. If used too much, they can become boring, but navigating the more interesting scenarios with this strategy can still be quite challenging, and interesting. When they are effective, you can often defeat a scenario without ever having to see your enemies up close. As a bonus here is a screen shot of an earlier version of this deck defeating Trouble in Tharbad.

Haldir the Hunter - Trouble in Tharbad

The strategy of this deck seems quite appropriate, as Haldir served as a scout for the lady Galadriel. In protecting Lórien, many a foul Orc was slain on the border of the woods, before it ever knew of Haldir’s presence. This is just one way to implement a Haldir deck, I am looking forward to a Spirit Silvan hero, so that I can finally build Elf decks without the Secrecy staple (and crutch), Glorfindel.

Haldir-of-Lórien (TiT) - smallmerry-tbr-smallglorfindel

Haldir of Lórien (TiT)
Merry (TBR)
Glorfindel (FoS)

Allies: 15
Silvan Refugee (TDF) x3
Arwen Undómiel (TWitW) x2
Imladris Stargazer (FoS) x3
Galadhrim Minstrel (TiT) x2
Master of the Forge (SaF) x2
Gandalf (Core) x3

Attachments: 22
Expert Treasure-Hunter (TH:OHaUH) x3
Dagger of Westernesse (TBR) x3
Rivendell Blade (RtR) x2
Light of Valinor (FoS) x3
Miruvor (SaF) x2
Lembas (TiT) x2
Protector of Lórien (Core) x2
Asfaloth (FoS) x2
Resourceful (TWitW) x3

Events: 13
Elrond’s Counsel (TWitW) x3
A Test of Will (Core) x2
Courage Awakened (TiT) x2
Noiseless Movement (TTT) x3
The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core) x3

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23 Responses to Deck: Haldir the Hunter

  1. Buz says:

    This is a cool deck. Thanks for sharing!

    Did you consider adding any Ranger Spikes to help with the engagement stuff?

    • Beorn says:

      Thanks, Buz. I did consider Ranger Spikes, but I’ve already created a few Rangers and Traps decks, and I wanted to take this one in a different direction. There is definitely a version of this deck which includes Henamarth Riversong to scry the encounter deck, then drops Ranger Spikes to keep low-engagement enemies in the staging area. You might even consider including Anborn in such a deck, to recycle the Ranger Spikes after Haldir kills the enemy. The real challenge with such a change would be figuring out what to take out, to make room for the trap-related cards.

  2. Jeremy says:

    Looks like a lot of fun. No Hennamarth, figured he was a solo staple? Knowledge is king, lol.

    • Beorn says:

      Earlier versions of this deck had Henamarth, and he definitely fit the theme. The reason that I took him out was to make room for some new cards, which I have not had a chance to use before. I can definitely see the case for swapping out the two copies of Courage Awakened for two copies of Henamarth.

  3. Claude says:

    Hi Beorn,

    Just thanks for the nice blog!

    I have the core set since a few weeks. I loose a lot (only play solo) and find the game very frustating (yes, I read a bunch of articles on how to get started). However, each time I read a new article of yours, I get enough motivation to not give up on the game! … but I still don’t win … 🙂

    • Beorn says:

      Thanks, Claude. I’m glad that you are enjoying the blog. If you need more help getting through the core set scenarios, you should check out Beorn’s Path:

      I build a deck using only the core set, and then play through the core scenarios and the first cycle while making changes to that deck. The articles go into the strategy that I use for each scenario in detail, so you may find that it helps you to find success. Good luck!

  4. Glaurung says:

    Looks like a good deck! And full of new cards which is also good. I get a bit boring with all those Core sets Diamonds, every one use it! Cool! I need to get my Tharbad pack asap to start use Haldir!

    • Beorn says:

      Thanks, Glaurung! Though it probably won’t work against certain scenarios (especially those with a lot of doomed effects, or low-engagement cost enemies), this deck can be a lot of fun to play. I like the new “Secrecy” events – they are more flexible than the events that this archetype had in the past. It will be interesting to see what Elf decks are possible when this cycle is complete.

  5. Gwaihir the Windlord says:

    A very interesting deck, sir! I have been disappointed with the Silvan cards released thus far in the Ring-maker cycle. I believe we have only four Silvan heroes (Mirlonde, Haldir, Celeborn, and Legolas), which means that only one player can run a mono-trait Silvan deck. I believe that my Silvan build will be a Loth-lorien deck consisting of Haldir, Celeborn, and Galadriel (I will record it somewhere publicly when it’s complete; but that won’t be for a few months yet). But all in all, Silvan could use a bit more attention. What do you think, Beorn? Readers? Should Silvan get another hero or two?

    • Beorn says:

      While I agree that the Silvan archetype needs a bit more help, I wouldn’t say that I’m disappointed at the half-way mark of the Ring-maker cycle. Some of the cards are amazing and have immediately gone into my decks, others will be incorporated once the cycle is complete and new archetypes have fully developed. Haldir is an amazing card, even without his ability and excellent traits, 3 attack for 9 threat is invaluable for Lore.

      I would like at least one more Silvan hero, especially in the Spirit sphere, but ultimately I see Silvan decks being a mix of Silvan and Noldor heroes. You can go the Secrecy/low-threat road and use Glorfindel, though he is feeling a bit overused at this point. Alternatively, you can include a ring-bearing Noldor hero like Elrond or Galadriel and incorporate their attachments into your strategy. In any case, Silvan decks will have plenty of options.

      As it stands now, I just don’t see a pure Silvan deck as a top-tier archetype for most scenarios. This makes perfect sense as the Elven communities of Middle-Earth were always a mix of Silvan and Noldor (also: Teleri and Sindarin, which FFG has opted not to include). As much as it might be appealing to try a pure Silvan deck, I think that most of the interesting archetypes to come from this cycle will involve a mix of this trait and other Elven-related cards.

      • Gwaihir the Windlord says:

        Thanks for the thoughts, Beorn. When I wrote “disappointed”, I meant with the amount of cards (I think they could have snuck in a couple more), not their quality, as they are truly awesome.

      • lleimmoen says:

        I really agree with this. I absolutely love Haldir hero version, yet I wanted a Silvan Lore hero to go well with Celeborn and Galadriel. Now we have gotten two and none of them fits: Mirlonde seems totally wasted in a single-Lore-hero deck, and Haldir certainly wants a different type of deck (and lower threat, preferably). I am quite sure we are not getting another Lore Silvan hero this cycle, so I can only hope we get one later but it does not seem very likely. Currently I am running Denethor with the Lord and Lady of the Wood: it runs well but the theme stumbles a little.

  6. lleimmoen says:

    Sorry if others said the same thing in their comments, I would just like to point out that I feel Haldir is much less limited than Dúnhere (though I have enjoyed playing the Rohan Rider since the beginning of the game), but of course in a coop game, which I prefer. There one can avoid a single (or more with 3+ players) low engaging enemy quite easily. I think he is one of the heroes like Bard or Brand or even Beregond that are simply made for coop.

  7. lleimmoen says:

    Also, I feel Haldir (and his type of deck) works great with traps, especially Spikes (to keep enemies in the staging area, obviously) and Pit (to have other characters be able to strike as well, since you do not want to engage).

  8. diedertk says:

    Tried this deck a couple of times on OCTGN and it’s really great! 🙂 Haldir with a Rivendell blade, dunedain mark and blade of westernesse really rocked! Thanks for sharing!

    • Beorn says:

      That’s awesome, I’m glad that it worked out well for you. Did you have a partner deck, to get the Dúnedain Marks on Haldir? I have been thinking about pairing this with a Leadership/Lore deck that includes its own 3 copies of Noiseless Movement, along with encounter deck scrying, traps, and cards like Fresh Tracks and Expecting Mischief.

      • diedertk says:

        Yeah, the teammate runned a Theodred Sam secrecy deck. Lots of good Tales etc. So he could defend against the lowengagement enemies and quest (as I had two Watchfull Eyes, 1 for Glor and 1 for Merry who ended up being slaughtered by a Patrol leader) so I could snipe all enemies and give bonusses with Arwen. The only flaw is that when you get your Resourcefulls running it lacks a bit of draw, but Haldir is really great!

  9. Jodin Dunbar says:

    I had like 90% of the cards needed to make your deck and I tried it out. It went really well. I’m going to pick up some more cards tomorrow at my FLGS and keep playing your deck. The deck is definitely a different play style than I would have created, but that is what makes it fun. 🙂

  10. Reed says:

    Love this deck! So much fun to play! I tried a little variant — I switched out Merry for Pippin (Lore) & included “Song of Battle” so that I could still buy the Tactics attachments. With two Lore heroes, I could afford to include more expensive cards, so I threw in “Rivendell Minstrel” to help get the song out on the table. It is still a little dependent on card draw, but with the Minstrel & “Master of the Forge,” you’ve got pretty good chances.

  11. Pingback: Key Concepts: Grading | Hall of Beorn

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