Deck: Defenders of Rhovanion


Many of the scenarios in the Ring-maker cycle are designed to push the players towards a more aggressive playing-style. As I have discussed before, this is a change from past cycles where cards like Glorfindel and Elrond’s Counsel allowed players to adopt a more passive or “turtling” strategy. I have enjoyed building aggressive-styled decks around some of the new heroes, and this is one such deck.

Beregond-smallWhen the hero from the final adventure pack in the Ring-maker cycle was finally spoiled, some on the forums commented about how Erkenbrand is an unnecessary hero. With Beregond having superior stats and Elrohir possessing built-in readying in the same sphere, this might seem true, at first glance. I have a different view of this, as Erkenbrand’s ability makes him an invaluable defender.

If you’ve ever seen Beregond or Elrohir used as the uber-defender in a multi-player, only to see him slowly beaten down by shadow effects, you’ll understand where I’m coming from. Some players will advocate attaching Song of Wisdom and A Burning Brand to your defender. While this is undeniably an effective solution to shadow cards, I am not a fan of two-card combos where the first card is useless. In this case, Song of Wisdom on either Beregond or Elrohir has no value in an of itself (I don’t typically pair Lore with either these characters). To each his own, but I am looking for something more efficient in my strategies.

BalinBalin, is another option in the Leadership sphere, but this requires a dedication of resources and is limited to cancelling a single shadow effect for each attack. Additionally, thematic-minded players might not want to include a Dwarf among their stating heroes. This is where Erkenbrand enters the picture.

When paired with a Lore deck, it is much easier, and more generally useful, to have the Lore player use Warden of Healing or some other healing effect to keep Erkenbrand in full health. Sure, the same could be said for Beregond of Elrohir, but these heroes require at least one of your heroes to be Tactics (Beregond himself, or Elladan). This deck is a mono-Leadership build, so it allows us to focus on different strategies.

Instead of a martial focus that Tactics would give us, the idea here is to take advantage of global boosting effects. Aragorn gives us access to Sword that was Broken, one of the most powerful global stat boosts in the game. The ally version of Faramir is easy to play in a mono-Leadership deck with resource acceleration, and adds to Sword that was Broken to provide an impressive level of willpower.

Feigned-Voices-smallCeleborn’s ability is limited to Silvan allies, but the boost to each of their stats is powerful. Including the Silvan sub-theme in our deck also gives us access to Feigned Voices, a very powerful effect for Leadership. Celeborn’s stats are also important to this deck. His high willpower helps us to quest successfully in the early rounds, before all of the global boosts are in place.

Mono-Leadership also gives us access to White Tower Watchman, which can be useful for attacks from larger enemies that are too dangerous for Erkenbrand to handle. Steward of Gondor, O Lórien! and The Day’s Rising all provide resource acceleration or cost reduction, which should allow us to muster multiple allies in the same round. Like most Leadership decks, the goal here is to build an army that takes advantage of all of global effects.

Strength of ArmsUnlike many army decks however, we are not solely reliant on chump-blocking for our defensive strategy. Erkenbrand allows us to have a dedicated defender, and lets our allies focus on questing and attacking. For multi-player games, or scenarios that call for heavy questing and combat, we also have access to Strength of Arms. While a Leadership/Tactics deck would still be able to muster an army like this, it would lose access to these sorts of powerful global effects.

Celebrían’s Stone attached to Aragorn gives us access to the Spirit sphere. This, in turn, allows us to use a couple of important sideboard cards: A Test of Will and Power of Orthanc. The ideal configuration of this deck depends on the scenario, but the strategies employed here allow for quite a bit of flexibility. Aggressive decks are not fit for every scenario, particularly those that punish a high starting threat, but it is fun to experiment with different types of decks.


Aragorn (Core)
Celeborn (TDT)
Erkenbrand (TAC)

Allies: 27
Naith Guide (TDT) x3
Galadriel (TBR) x3
Orophin (CS) x3
Silverlode Archer (Core) x3
Son of Arnor (Core) x2
Defender of the Naith (TiT) x3
White Tower Watchman (TDF) x2
Erestor (TLD) x2
Faramir (Core) x3
Gandalf (Core) x3

Attachment: 15
Dúnedain Warning (CatC) x2
O Lórien! (TiT) x3
The Day’s Rising (TAC) x2
Celebrían’s Stone (Core) x2
Steward of Gondor (Core) x3
Sword that was Broken (TWitW) x3

Events: 8
A Very Good Tale (TH:OHaUH) x3
Sneak Attack (Core) x2
Feigned Voices (TTT) x3

Sideboard: 15
Errand-rider (HoN) x3
Warden of Helm’s Deep (TAC) x2
Celebrían’s Stone (Core) x1
Valiant Sacrifice (Core) x2
Strength of Arms (TDF) x3
Power of Orthanc (VoI) x2
A Test of Will (Core) x2

This entry was posted in Deck Lists, Mono-Sphere, Strategy and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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