One of the best things about a new release of The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is discovering the best ways to use the new hero. With so many different well-establishing archetypes, many new heroes fit directly into an existing deck. On the other hand, some heroes are so unique that they define entirely new archetypes. Galadriel are Celeborn are both excellent examples of this second kind of hero.
While Silvan cards are receiving much of the attention in this cycle, and rightfully so, the Ring-maker cycle has included other cards that are as intriguing to me as a deck-builder. One such card is Mablung. He may not be the archetype-defining hero like Celeborn or Galadriel, but resource-acceleration in Tactics is not something to be ignored. With some of the most powerful cards when it comes to combat, the two things that Tactics has traditionally struggled with are resources and card draw.
In a multi-player game, Horn of Gondor can solve the first problem. This is especially true now that people are running Éomer in Rohan “leaves play” decks, and the aforementioned elves with their Silvan shenanigans. As for card draw effects, Foe-hammer is effective for decks that include multiple weapons, but this leaves many factions (including Gondor) without much help. You could, of course, include general-purpose weapons like Blade of Gondolin, or Dagger of Westernesse, but this is less than ideal – both from a strategic and a thematic standpoint.
Instead, what I have done here is to pair some of the best elements of Gondor (and just a splash of Dúnedain) with some of the best elements of Rohan. The first time I laid eyes on Mablung, I immediately thought about what a great combo he made with Westfold Outrider. Likewise, Son of Arnor is included in this deck specifically to take advantage of Mablung’s ability. It is nice to have a deck with a viable option for Sneak Attack other than just Gandalf (though many will still save that event for the wizard).
Aside from the awesome questing of Éowyn and her cousin Théodred, this deck brings combat support from the skies above Middle-earth. I can think of no better way to spend the riches that Mablung will be collecting than by calling for aid for the Eagles of the Misty Mountains and their cohorts. In case enemies stay away in the early game, Mablung can always be made Steward of Gondor, to help you through any resource shortage. The always useful Gondorian Shield makes him a solid defender, and Gondorian Fire can use all of those extra resources to transform Mablung into a fearsome attacker as well.
Still, it is Support of the Eagles that truly allows the ranger of Henneth Annûn to come into his own. With readying thanks to Westfold Horse-breaker, Unexpected Courage, and Steed of the Mark, Mablung can make take multiple actions. In the event that he is able to commit to a quest, Théodred can help him with even more resources. This is important to remember, as Eagles are an expensive strategy to get fully running and modern quests allow very little time for setup.
I had originally considered Horn of Gondor for this deck, as Mablung has an extra restricted slot to spare after the shield, but ultimately I feel like there is enough resource acceleration as it is. For those interested in playing this deck in multi-player, or who like amassing an absurd pile of unused resources, feel free to swap out a few of the other cards for the horn. Regardless of the specifics, this deck is whole lot of fun to play.
From what we’ve seen spoiled already of the next deluxe expansion, engaging enemies as a mechanic is going to continue to receive attention. In this regard, Mablung is only going to get stronger as a hero. Regardless of what future cards bring, he is already a very useful hero, with solid well-rounded stats and a pair of useful traits. I encourage anyone who is skeptical of Faramir’s second in command to give this deck a try – you might be surprised at just how versatile of a hero he can be.
Westfold Horse-breeder (VoI) x3
Vassal of the Windlord (TDM) x3
Westfold Outrider (VoI) x3
Winged Guardian (THfG) x3
Westfold Horse-breaker (THfG) x3
Son of Arnor (Core) x2
Eagles of the Misty Mountains (RtM) x3
Gandalf (Core) x3
Gondorian Fire (AoO) x2
Steed of the Mark (TMV) x2
Gondorian Shield (TSF) x3
Ancient Mathom (AJtR) x2
Steward of Gondor (Core) x3
Unexpected Courage (Core) x2
Support of the Eagles (RtM) x3
The Eagles Are Coming! (THfG) x3
Sneak Attack (Core) x3
Feint (Core) x2
A Test of Will (Core) x2