Deck: Sons of Númenor

Numenor-map

Variety is the spice of life, as the saying goes, and it is no different for a Living Card Game. After a couple of cycles worth of experimenting with low threat decks that try to avoid direct confrontation at all costs, a change of pace was most welcome. When I’m not experimenting with the new Secrecy cards, I have really been enjoying taking my decks in the opposite direction in this latest cycle and playing aggressive decks with high starting threat.

This strategy is not new, but it is no longer as risky as it was at the game’s beginning. What a difference a few cycles makes. Where a high-threat deck would struggle to survive the early onslaught of enemies like the Hill Troll, the expanded card pool has provided solutions to many of this scenarios. Among these solutions, Strength of Arms has always been an intriguing option. With the already strong mustering events in Leadership, this card seemed poised to usher in a new top-tier archetype of ally armies.

Herald-of-Anórien-smallSadly, Against the Shadow never quite delivered on the promise of mono-Sphere, and Strength of Arms has remained a tantalizing curiosity. This deck is an attempt to finally take advantage of the sheer efficiency of this event. As with any deck that utilizes numerical superiority, the key here is not the size of the allies we bring to the fight, but the number that we can get in play within the crucial first few rounds.

In this case, the ally mustering has been taken to almost absurd lengths. The new Herald of Anórien is put to great use, allowing us to drop two Gondor allies for the price of one – including useful characters like Minas Tirith Lampwright and Warden of Healing that are not even in the Leadership sphere. Having multiple means of mustering non-Leadership allies is a secret weapon for this deck. The threat raise that comes with triggering the Herald’s ability does not have to be downside as our 34 starting threat means that we want to engage enemies immediately.

Such a high threat will put us in immediate danger, particularly in scenarios like Journey Along the Anduin. Still, if you can survive long enough for the resource acceleration and mustering to take hold, this deck can be amazingly powerful. It also pairs well in multi-player – so long as other decks include ranged characters and can handle some combat on their own. With so many global willpower boosting effects, so long as we can keep a decent number of allies in play, it can be quite easy for this deck to quest for 30+ willpower.

Like any army, the generals can be just as important as the front-line troops. With two consistent forms of readying, we should have sufficient combat strength to defeat most enemies immediately. Once we have at least one form of willpower boosting in play, it should be safe to hold back Boromir for combat. For larger enemies, this deck is not designed to use its heroes for defense. Chump blocking comes with multiple benefits, resources from the Squire, card draw from Valiant Sacrifice and readying for Prince Imrahil.

Tome-of-AtanatarBoromir’s ability can turn our otherwise ineffective foot soldiers into a decent fighting force, but this deck’s real strength will always be the quest phase. Still, with Strength of Arms, the true potential of this strategy is realized. After questing all-out, and even using Faramir’s ability a second time, we can have all of our allies ready for combat. With Tome of Atanatar, it becomes possible to use this power event multiple times in a row, which should be enough to finish off all but the most challenging scenarios.

An aggressive deck like this brings with it many risks – not the least of which is losing to threat if for some reason we fail to quickly muster our army. However, with a potent mix of resource acceleration, mustering and global effects in this deck, it should be possible to completely dominate many scenarios. Like any extreme strategy, this approach works best when it is paired with a counter-balance which covers its weaknesses.

For example, an elf deck featuring threat reduction, cancellation and ranged characters will pair quite well with this deck. Alternatively, hobbits and traps, to keep enemies in the staging area, is a solid strategy given the sheer questing power at our disposal. Even if the particular strategy embodied in this deck does not appeal to you, I encourage everyone to try an aggressive deck, especially if you have traditionally played low-threat control decks. A change of pace can bring a welcome change, even to familiar scenarios.

Aragorn (Core)Boromir (HoN)Prince-Imrahil-small

Heroes:
Aragorn (Core)
Boromir (HoN)
Prince Imrahil (AJtR)

Allies: 26
Errand-rider (HoN) x3
Squire of the Citadel (TBoG) x3
Minas Tirith Lampwright (EaAD) x2
Envoy of Pelargir (HoN) x2
Herald of Anórien (TiT) x3
Defender of Rammas (HoN) x2
Warden of Healing (TLD) x3
White Tower Watchman (TDF) x2
Faramir (Core) x3
Gandalf (Core) x3

Attachments: 12
Steward of Gondor (Core) x3
Visionary Leadership (TMV) x3
Sword that Was Broken (TWitW) x3
Tome of Atanatar (TBoG) x3

Events: 12
A Very Good Tale (TH:OHaUH) x3
Sneak Attack (Core) x3
Valiant Sacrifice (Core) x3
Strength of Arms (TDF) x3

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10 Responses to Deck: Sons of Númenor

  1. Ian says:

    Ahhh mono with a twist, my favorite. I love the theme, make the weenies really powerful. I really tend to never ever use anythng with doomed, but this deck may have changed my idea on that. I never thought to use it to bring other spheres into play in a mono. I will certiantly be making this deck I believe to give it a try.

    Off the top of your head Mr Bear, what migh be a agressive set up/theme for the other 3 spheres thats mono?(Atleast all same spheres heroes)

  2. John says:

    Great deck! I esp. like how this is an exploration of recent comments on the Grey Company about threat being less of an issue these days. “Aggro” decks like this are appealing to me because they either get a great jump in the early turns or collapse like a wobbly Jenga tower, and both outcomes are satisfying!

    Herald of Anorien is an interesting counterpart to Rivendell Scout–sort of a doomed version of that free Secrecy ally. But both are helping us in “getting there the firstest with the mostest.” Little in this game can compare to the confidence boost of a turn 1 or 2 play of “A Very Good Tale” using allies like these (oh, and Bill the Pony!).

  3. lleimmoen says:

    I really like this type of deck, the one that is not shy to go against the odds. And this was the first line-up I ever had, then I switched to Théodred instead of Aragorn but never liked it as much. Recently, Éomer took place of Théodred and it has been a great fun. It loses some of the tricks of the mono-Leadership but gains those of the Tactics sphere, which Gondor is now quite famous for. That deck is capable of destroying many enemies in a single round, and if you haven’t tried it, Beorn, then you might want to. It goes well with Beregond, Eleanor, Éowyn for instance — more play leaving allies and a stout defender. These two decks had me, for the very first time, try The Hammer-stroke, getting all the enemies engaged with the Boromir’s side.
    Sorry for the rant. Great post, again!

    • Beorn says:

      I have an Éomer, Éowyn, Prince Imrahil deck that I use which sounds very similar to what you are talking about. The horse-breeder helps me to get Firefoot and a Rohan Warhorse onto Éomer and then he just tramples over everything. It is a lot of fun to play, but it also plays a bit differently than this. The reason I stayed with mono-Leadership for this deck is because I wanted to take advantage of as many global boosting effects as I could (an earlier version even had For Gondor!, but I found that it was often just over-kill).

      In any case, I agree that Éomer and Prince Imrahil are an amazing combination, but this deck has a different goal in mind. I’m glad that you enjoyed this deck and thanks for the feedback!

  4. Great decks – I’ve just breezed though Peril in Pelargir and Into Ithilien first go with this deck. In one game I had 2 Heralds in my opening hand, so played one to bring in the other, play the tale and bingo, 2 more allies, so 4 allies in the first turn, not bad. This deck seems ideally suited to battle and seige type quests, and when you’ve got Faramir out, combined with Visionary Leadership, and TSTWB pretty amazing questing machine too!

    • Beorn says:

      That’s awesome, thanks for sharing your experiences with this deck. I tested it against Trouble in Tharbad and had no problem winning, but that is a decidedly less challenging scenario. I am pleasantly surprised to hear that this deck defeated Into Ithilien. Herald of Anórien is a fantastic card, and I can’t wait to find ever more uses for it.

  5. Pingback: Deck: Daughters of Númenor (and Valinor) | Hall of Beorn

  6. Love this deck. A lot of times I have ideas for decks like these but still don’t quite have that instinctual knowledge of the card pool to bring it all together. Playing solo I took down Nightmare Passage through Mirkwood and standard Watcher in the Water (although I lost to Watcher once). It’s a ton of fun and thematic to field a mighty battle host of Gondor, and yet not rely on those allies jumping in and out of play. For Rohan that’s fine (and fun) because it represent hit-and-run cavalry tactics, but Gondorian armies are much more hammer-and-anvil type forces, and this decks nails it perfectly. Good work!

  7. Mike D (Pharmboys2013) says:

    Put the deck together and took it against the dunland trap (which i consider a difficult scenario) and was able to pull out a victory although a very hard fought one at that. Both Boromir and Aragorn had 4 damage on them and the last attack wave from stage 3 killed all my allies. Had a lot of fun with it but sadly didnt get to pull of a Herald of Anorien/off sphere ally combo. The two Herald allies i got in play died via effect from stage 2

  8. Pingback: Metagame: Part 5 – FAQs and an Evolving Metagame | Hall of Beorn

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