Deck: Look to the Skies

eagle in flight

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.

Mablung-smallWhile 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.

Son of ArnorInstead, 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).

Westfold Horse-BreakerAside 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.

Steed-of-the-MarkStill, 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.

Mablung-smallEowynTheodred

Heroes:
Mablung (NiE)
Théodred (Core)
Éowyn (Core)

Allies: 23
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

Attachments: 17
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

Events: 10
The Eagles Are Coming! (THfG) x3
Sneak Attack (Core) x3
Feint (Core) x2
A Test of Will (Core) x2

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10 Responses to Deck: Look to the Skies

  1. lleimmoen says:

    I know it is strange to advertise a different deck under this section, but since it has a similar idea, using the new hero Mablung with Eagles, and especially since it runs Beorn, I feel like I have to.
    I put Beorn with Mablung and Háma into a mono-Tactics with Eagles and the Knights of Minas Tirith, for instance. It is a very fun deck but unlike yours, I do not think it can win solo. I exclusively play coop so there is the difference. Still, Háma gets Eagles with The Eagles are Coming!, Mablung helps pay for them, Beorn does all the action till the deck is ready. Trained for War can take care of questing, but as I said, it is probably not reliable enough to count on it in solo play. As a support deck, it is among the most reliable ones, especially in a combat heavy nature — Feint and Thicket of Spears help even more; and this is the first deck where I successfully used The Hammer-stroke.

    • Beorn says:

      Talking about your deck is not strange at all, this is a place for people to share. That deck sounds like a lot of fun to play. As a bear and giant troll-killer, I endorse any deck that includes my likeness. Knight of Minas Tirith and Mablung is a particularly fun combination. I am a big fan of The Hammer-stroke – that card is so much fun to play in a Tactics-heavy deck. Having Thicket of Spears to protect you from all of those attacks makes it that much more effective. In on epic quest, Boromir killed 7 enemies after blowing his horn and bringing them all to him.

  2. Tonskillitis says:

    What? No place for Henneth Annun Guard, Mr. Beorn? I’m also quite enjoying the Mablung decks and agree that he’s great for tri-sphere approach. I’m intrigued by this new ally but not sure about the tactics doomed thing with it being a high threat sphere already. I guess he would have to be in a dedicated Doomed deck to be worth it, but that three cost just seems so high! Do you find that Mablung ends up getting a meaty boost out of the Gondor fire in Tri-sphere or do those resources tend to go on Eagle allies?

    • Beorn says:

      I definitely considered the Guard for this deck, but the 3 cost is a bit high – this deck would much rather play an Eagles of the Misty Mountains for 1 more resource. While Sentinel is very useful in multi-player, doomed can wreck other players’ engagement strategies, so that is a bit risky as well.

      Gondorian Fire might end up being overkill in this deck, but I threw it in for a bit more flavor. If for some reason you draw Steward early but don’t find your expensive Eagle cards (doubtful with the card-drawing here), the fire might come in handy. Still, I can easily see it coming out for something else, especially a “sideboard” card that helps with the particular quest you are playing.

  3. Pengolodh says:

    I have enjoyed playing the Henneth Annûn Guard with doomed. Since it only has a one point of threat increase, I find it much more reasonable than, say, the Grey Flood Wanderer for the same cost but with a two point threat increase. The Gondorian Spearman definitely benefits. Anyway, superb deck, as always, and I hope to try it out soon.

    • Beorn says:

      Yes, I can see Henneth Annûn Guard being solid in the right deck. One of these days I need to make a Strider/Gríma deck so that I can try this out.

  4. Steve says:

    Just beat CS with this deck, and it ruled. A bit of a tense quest with some decent combos from the encounter deck, but Mablung was a star, getting 8 defense with Support of Eagles, then 6 attach with Gondorian Fire, and for good measure some extra attack with another copy of Support of the Eagles. He rules when played in the right deck.

  5. Traekos77 says:

    Mablung does pair beautifully with Eagles. I built a deck on that same rationale but it worked somewhat differently. I started with Mablung and then added Merry and Lore Pippin.

    Mablung and Pippin both would benefit from engaging enemies, while the deck had lots of readying via Wingfoot, Fast Hitch and Merry’s ability (which allowed for a reasonable amount of Willpower to be generated). Mablung would get the first Support of the Eagles and become a super defender while Merry plus a powered-up Eagles of the Misty Mountain could kill anything easily (plus a second enemy after Merry readies the Eagle).

    Getting Eagles into play was easy! Mablung + Merry supplying Tactics resources while Pippin had 3 copies of Elf-stone to pay for the 4/5 cost eagles helped a ton!

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