Deck: Wisdom, Bravery and Folly

war-of-the-ringThe doomed player cards were first spoiled in August of last year. Ever since then I have been thinking about how best to build a deck around these powerful effects. As powerful as they can be, these cards bring an obvious risk. Still, the right deck should be able to take advantage of their strengths and mitigate the risks as much as possible.

With the announcement of the valour effects of the Angmar Awakens cycle, the doomed effects are suddenly cast in an entirely new light. Using the doomed player cards to quickly get to 40 threat might not seem so foolish, assuming we can avoid elimination. The key to making these high-risk decks function is going to be balancing our threat on that razor’s edge between danger and death. This is not only exciting as a new archetype, but also thematically representative of the dangers faced by the fellowship in the Lord of the Rings.

Galadriel-SmallAs many on the forums were quick to point out, the Lore version of Aragorn is the most obvious choice to serve as a foundation upon which to build a doomed deck. While I would love to say that I’ve been able to find an alternative to this strategy, of all the doomed decks I’ve tried, Aragorn really is the best choice. Some players might argue that Galadriel, with her repeatable threat-reduction ability, is the best choice for a doomed deck. Certainly, once the valour cards are released, I can see the value in having the lady of Lórien guide us on a safe path to victory. In particular I am intrigued about designing 4 decks specifically for multi-player: two with heavy Spirit and threat reduction and two featuring Leadership and Tactics that are designed to stay at 40 threat for most of the game.

In the mean time, however, the doomed effects we are utilizing here will be raising our threat far more rapidly than the bearer of Nenya could ever hope to withstand. Besides, we don’t yet know which valour cards will ultimately best fit with this archetype. For the time being, we will content ourselves with building a doomed deck around Aragorn’s once per game ability to reset our threat. In the future, we can look forward to making modifications to this deck to take advantage of the new cards in The Lost Realm and subsequent Angmar Awakened cycle.

In keeping with my recent interest in Aggro decks, the starting threat of this deck will be relatively high. While this can decision can spell disaster in certain scenarios, with the right early game, this deck can survive to establish itself. The idea is to quickly build up an army to surround our heroes, so that our threat is no longer an issue. As with any aggressive deck, it should be abundantly clear that this is a risky strategy. There is a bit of an adrenaline rush tempting fate in this way, and this deck can be quite entertaining to play.

Legacy-of-NúmenorGríma Wormtongue, disgraced and oft-maligned though he may be, is a natural compliment to this aggressive strategy as he provides us a built-in means for mustering cards quickly. We are planning on resetting our threat a few rounds into the game – once our army is in place – so any early threat raising as a result of Gríma’s ability is essentially free. Between his cost-reduction and the resource acceleration garnered from Keys of Orthanc, Steward of Gondor and Legacy of Númenor this deck should have little problem fielding an impressive army of allies. Possessing the Gondor trait, these allies will not only benefit from Boromir’s ability, but global effects of cards like Visionary Leadership and For Gondor!.

GleowinePairing card drawing effects with resource acceleration is generally a solid plan, otherwise we risk having extra resources to spare but an empty hand. Gléowine, the minstrel of Rohan, headlines an impressive array of card drawing effects. For those players who only ever include three copies of each card in your deck, this is the advantage of card draw. Because this deck includes so many ways to draw extra cards, we can get away with only two copies of many cards and still have a very good chance of drawing what we need. The sideboard includes Protector of Lórien to maximize the deck’s efficiency if you find yourself drawing a lot of duplicates of unique cards.

We will, of course have to contend with enemies engaging us, often much more quickly than we would like. This is where traps come into play. Ranger Spikes and Forest Snare can both be played from the first round, thanks to Gríma’s ability. In the mid-game, if we need to reuse either of these traps we can even recycle them thanks to Anborn’s ability. For quests with troublesome shadow effects, A Burning Brand is included in the sideboard. Warden of Healing also allows us to keep our heroes alive as we are busy fielding our army.

For those who want a less aggressive version of this deck, you can swap out Boromir for Théodred and go with a more traditional starting threat. You might also consider replaced the two copies of Visionary Leadership with Heir of Mardil as the first card would only be playable when paired with Steward of Gondor. That version of the deck would lack somewhat in attack strength but feature an impressive level of resource acceleration. In any case, the core engine of this deck is consistent enough to provide some freedom of choice for the Leadership hero.

With the closing of the Ring-maker cycle, the doomed archetype felt powerful, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was yet to reach its full potential. It is encouraging to see the designers include an effect in the next cycle which integrates so well with this archetype in specific, and the burgeoning Aggro style in general. There is very real risk having a threat at or above 40, so having more options when we face these dangers will only make Aggro decks more interesting to play.

Aragorn (TWitW)Boromir (HoN)grima-small

Aragorn (TWitW)
Boromir (HoN)
Gríma (VoI)

Allies: 25
Errand-rider (HoN) x3
Gléowine (Core) x3
Ithilien Tracker (HoN) x2
Herald of Anórien (TiT) x2
Warden of Healing (TLD) x3
Envoy of Pelargir (HoN) x2
Ithilien Lookout (TDT) x2
Faramir (Core) x3
Anborn (TBoG) x2
Gandalf (Core) x3

Attachments: 13
Keys of Orthanc (VoI) x2
Steward of Gondor (Core) x3
Visionary Leadership (TMV) x2
Ranger Spikes (HoN) x2
Sword that was Broken (TWitW) x2
Forest Snare (Core) x2

Events: 12
Legacy of Númenor (VoI) x2
Daeron’s Runes (FoS) x3
Deep Knowledge (VoI) x3
Sneak Attack (Core) x2
For Gondor! (Core) x2

Sideboard: 15
Wandering Ent (CS) x2
Elrond (TRD) x3
Elf-stone (TBR) x2
Protector of Lórien (Core) x2
A Burning Brand (TWitW) x2
A Very Good Tale (TH:OHaUH) x2
Secret Paths (Core) x2

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8 Responses to Deck: Wisdom, Bravery and Folly

  1. MPK says:

    My problem with the Doomed key word is that is raises all players threat, making the cards essentially unplayable in multiplayer – unless the decks are coordinated. The powerful global effects introduced early I don’t mind, as all players stand to benefit, but many of the other doomed cards have never seen the light of day in my games.

    Grima, for instance, is an intriguing hero and this deck seems quite fun. But raising the threat of everyone at the table nearly every turn – particularly in the crucial early game – so that my cards are cheaper is simply a non starter. How can I expect everyone to bring a spirit heavy deck with strong threat reduction?

    I wish that doomed cards only raised the threat of the player playing them, or perhaps players that partake in the effect.

    As for the Valour cards, I think Galadriel actually will be a better fit than Aragorn. The idea would be to quickly reach 40 threat, and then avoid any other threat increases, and Galadriel can certainly keep threat stable absent encounter cards. Aragorn would be a nice safety valve, but his use would stop you from using the Valour effects.

    • Beorn says:

      I agree that Doomed is problematic in multiplayer. The only multi-player game that I’ve ever played with Grima was Trouble in Tharbad, where the quest was lowering our threat for us. That said, I think that this deck could pair well with a mono-Spirit deck which features Galadriel and powerful threat-reduction effects like The Galadhrim’s Greeting. While Galadriel is the obvious choice for keeping a Valour deck right at 40 threat, I still see value in Aragorn’s ability. Scenarios with Doomed encounter card effects and other treacheries that raise threat can easily push a Valour deck to the high 40s in threat. Being able to use Aragorn to reset can be a safety valve because Galadriel is only lowering your threat by 1 in a given round. This reset also would allow you to use more Doomed player cards to get yourself back up to 40.

      This is all hypothetical at this point, but I look forward to designing two decks around these heroes. With a lower starting threat (Spirit Glorfindel pushes his way into the conversation, once again) and a multitude of threat control options, I think the mono-Spirit deck could easily handle the threat gain from the Doomed deck. And let’s not diminish what those doomed cards are doing for Spirit. Both Legacy of Numenor and Deep Knowledge are providing effects which Spirit cannot consistently provide for itself, at least not at that scale. In any case, I agree with your misgivings about doomed in a multi-player, but I am interested in building unique decks and I think that a pair of Doomed/Valour decks with threat control could be a real powerhouse. We will have to wait for the Valour cards to see how viable this strategy is. Thanks for your feedback!

      • MPK says:

        I do agree that the possibilities for clever deck building are exciting – but they aren’t decks that you could just grab and play with anyone, as they will require careful planning and matching. I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

        Hopefully some of the Valour effects are really worthwhile, and we see a couple more globally boosting doomed cards (rather than “give this card doomed to do X” that we saw later in the cycle).

        Such a shame about spirit Glorfindel.

  2. lordofchance says:

    Hi Beorn. I usually build multiplayer deck sets, but testing this doom deck is interesting. If I have a go at it, which Quest do you recommend for it? On another point, I’m currently building a 4 player deck set for the Massing at Osgiliath with 2 spirit decks supported by leadership and tactics decks. Looks very promising. That quest’s magor dangers are targeting treathing you out. The upcoming valor cards could be very interesting addition as the players race across Pelennor Fields in stage 3. Looking forward to the next boxes for sure.

    • Beorn says:

      This deck might do well against The Three Trials, where the chief enemies engage you regardless of your threat. It does need a few rounds to build up, so that quest might end up being to fast. The Ring-maker cycle can be unforgiving against decks that are slow to setup. Whichever quest you try, let me know how you fare. I too have been thinking a lot about four player deck building lately. I see a lot of potential for it when there is one or two support decks there to protect the valour decks from elimination. I’m looking forward to cycle starting so we can see what valour effects are a available.

      • lordofchance says:

        I will report back on my playthrough. Thanks. The 3 and 4 player experience is suer fun. But I don’t try it with add-hoc deck sets anymore. The encounter deck will always make you feel like you’re sure ti lose. I don’t think the decks need to contribute to that feeling. 🙂

  3. lordofchance says:

    Hi Beorn. Just finished three playthroughs with the Wisdom, Bravery and Folly deck on the three trials. Well let me tell you..I lost the three times…badly. That said, I did use the sideboard to to replace Anborn and the traps as they can’t affix to the single spirit enemy in this quest. It helped, but I think the bottom line is this quest is more tailored toward multiplayer play. At the last stage, the one time I reached it, the three guardians overpowered my ally army. As for the contribution of doom in this deck, it produced between 6 and 12 ressources during the initial run up to the high 40s treath. It’s always nice to have extra ressources, but in terms of gameplay fun, it fell short, especially with Steward of Gondor also in the deck. Thanks Beorn for giving me a chance to experiment with a doom deck. I now know that it’s not my play style. Cheers.

    • Beorn says:

      Thanks for reporting back, sir. I’m sorry that it didn’t work out well – I totally forgot about the Spirit’s being impervious to traps. The doomed archetype is not necessarily my style either, to be honest, I have just been experimenting with different deck types lately, to get myself out of my comfort zone a bit.

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