Deck: The Might of Rohan

Eowyn and Theoden
An interesting dilemma for any game series that is based on a book is what to do when you run out of source material. Fortunately, the world of Middle-earth is vast and the nature of this game is open-ended, so it will be a long time before we reach that point of this game. Still, when it comes to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, there are only so many named characters to portray as heroes. At a certain point, it becomes inevitable that each of the iconic characters has multiple hero cards. With the release of a third version of Aragorn and the imminent arrival of his Fellowship version, we appear to have reached that point.

Theoden-ToSSome players are annoyed at multiple versions of a hero, as it cramps the metagame a bit to have multiple powerful versions of the same unique card. This can be particularly problematic in multi-player games, when different people want to run different versions of the same hero. Still, I am excited to see new versions of heroes, as it gives us a chance to look at a familiar character from a new perspective. As someone who prefers to play powerful decks that are also thematic, new hero versions can be vital as they provide a sphere that might have been missing from an archetype, or they bolster that archetype’s influence within a sphere.

Such is the case with the new version of Théoden spoiled from the Treason of Saruman. Ever since the Shadows of Mirkwood cycle, many of the best allies in the Spirit sphere have had the Rohan trait. To this day, Escort from Edoras is one of the most efficient means for quickly putting progress on a quest. Though they boast excellent willpower, Spirit Rohan allies are not just about questing as the sphere includes many excellent support allies.

Westfold Horse-breaker provides action advantage that cane be invaluable in an emergency. West Road Traveller and The Riddermark’s Finest both help with location control, which only strengthens the archetype’s already impressive ability to make quest progress without suffering from location-lock. With a wide array of useful mount attachments, Westfold Horse-breeder’s ability ensures that your heroes will have their best horses, ready for battle.

Éomund is a natural fit for any pure Rohan deck, providing the potential for massive action advantage. Up until now, the problem with Éomund was his relatively high resource cost and the fact that most Rohan heroes tend to be focused on a single aspect of the game. Éowyn always commits to the quest, but readying her does not provide much help during combat. On the other hand, you can ready her brother Éomer after sending him questing, but his willpower is not providing much help. With the new Théoden hero, combined with some powerful attachments, we finally have a good reason to take full advantage of Éomund’s response.

Herugrim-ToSWith 2 defense, 4 hit points and sentinel, the king of the Rohirrim can serve as a solid defender against lesser enemies. More often, Théoden will be the aggressor. His 3 attack along his mighty sword Herugrim will allow him to battle even the hardiest of enemies. Éowyn is also an excellent choice to wield the famous sword, assuming you can provide her with readying. A well-timed Ride to Ruin can even discard Éomund during an action window, to provide your characters the opportunity for additional actions.

Between the action advantage provided by their mounts and Éomund’s ability, our heroes will be busy on most rounds. Action advantage is all well and good, but without an army to follow him into battle, Théoden will not realize his true potential. This is where his cost reduction ability is so critical to this archetype. It’s worth noting that unlike previous cards like Master of Lore, his effect is allowed to reduce an ally’s cost to 0, so you can play Westfold Horse-breeder for free. This can definitely be useful on turns when we want to save our resources for events and attachments.

Mustering-the-RohirrimThéoden’s reduction is not limited to Spirit allies, so he can aid us in playing Guthlaf or the excellent Westfold Outrider. The deck is chock full of helpful allies, so it is important to be able to find the right character for a given situation. This is where we get to dust off a seldom used search card from The Shadows of Mirkwood cycle in Mustering the Rohirrim. Ancient mathom helps with some addition card drawing, and the previously mentioned Horse-breeder is probably the single most important search effect in the deck.

Gather-Information-smallObservant readers will notice that the events in this deck are included in only one or two copies. As I mentioned in my most recent Bear Market article about The Lost Realm, I am growing tired of building decks with only 3 copies of each card. Thankfully, the new side quest Gather Information has given players an amazingly powerful search effect. This frees up deck designs to experiment with fewer copies of certain cards, knowing that we can use a multitude of search effects to find what we need in an emergency.

The one obvious downside to Side Quests, aside from all of the negative effects in the latest encounter cards, is that it takes time to actually complete them. This is where Rohan decks excel. With access to global effects like Astonishing Speed, this deck has the potential to generate a tremendous amount of quest progress, even with a staging area filled with location. This questing strength does much to mitigate the potential dangers of taking detours to complete a side quest. More importantly, it allows us to provide a wider variety of interesting effects to provide versatility and make this deck enjoyable to play.

Theoden-ToSEowynEomer-small

Heroes:
Théoden (ToS)
Éowyn (Core)
Éomer (VoI)

Allies: 23
Westfold Horse-breeder (VoI) x3
Escort from Edoras (AJtR) x3
The Riddermark’s Finest (THoEM) x3
West Road Traveller (RtM) x3
Westfold Outrider (VoI) x3
Westfold Horse-breaker (THfG) x3
Guthlaf (TBoG) x1
Éomund (CatC) x3
Elfhelm (TDM) x1

Attachments: 14
Rohan Warhorse (VoI) x3
Ancient Mathom (AJtR) x2
Steed of the Mark (TMV) x3
Firefoot (TDT) x3
Herugrim (ToS) x3

Events: 12
Feint (Core) x2
Quick Strike (Core) x2
A Test of Will (Core) x2
Mustering the Rohirrim (THfG) x2
Ride to Ruin (THoEM) x2
Charge of the Rohirrim (CS) x1
Ride Them Down (TAC) x1

Side Quests: 1
Gather Information (TLR) x1

Sideboard: 15
Horseback Archer (Core) x2
Rider of the Mark (RtR) x2
Elfhelm (TDM) x1
Secret Vigil (TLR) x3
Hasty Stroke (Core) x2
Ride to Ruin (THoEM) x1
Charge of the Rohirrim (CS) x1
Ride Them Down (TAC) x1
Astonishing Speed (RtM) x2

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22 Responses to Deck: The Might of Rohan

  1. Antony says:

    I’ve always enjoyed rohan themed decks, so I’m very excited for the new cards. I was disappointed that the first Theoden didn’t synergize at all, but this new one, and the sword, look awesome.

  2. Courchevel says:

    Very interesting thematic deck, though I prefer Herugrim to help the previous version of Theoden (giving +3 instead of +2 attack). Mathom are important here as you might empty your hand quickly, may be you can as well consider Foe-hammer for additional drawing effects (with just 3 weapon, it might be situational, it could be just one in the deck as you play gather information).

    The weakness, if any, might be in handling threat level. Even playing spirit, you have no card (except Elfhelm) to reduce your threat and the starting level is at 31. This can become tricky in some specific quests. May be, one or two Free to choose could be a good side addition.

    Anyway, thank you for this article and deck, this will surely inspired my future deck building as always 🙂

    • Beorn says:

      I agree that threat can be an issue for this deck, which is why I included three copies of Secret Vigil in the sideboard. For quests with a lot of threat raising effects I can see adding a second copy of Elf-helm and a couple of copies of Free to Choose as well. As for card draw, if I was going to use For-hammer, I would need to find a way to include at least 2 copies of Spear of the Mark, to ensure that I could find a weapon. I wish that there was a squire character that fetched a weapon out of your deck when it comes into play – that would make Foe-hammer much more reliable. In any case, thanks for your feedback.

      • mtpereira says:

        Well, the closest card to that that I can think of is Bofur: http://hallofbeorn.com/Cards/Details/Bofur-THOHaUH. I’ve been using him on a similar deck recently. It’s not on theme but it’s quiet helpful. 🙂

      • Beorn says:

        You are absolutely right, Bofur works well with any deck that uses multiple weapons. I am still hoping for a human squire for thematic reasons. It always feels weird brining a Dwarf along, just to carry the weapons. 🙂

      • Dremora says:

        High initial thread is specially a hard concern if you are dealing with adventures like Journey along the Anduin or Conflict at the Carrock. For example, in the first case you would have to engage the Troll in the first round, what could be an early disaster. How´d you face these scenarios? Did you do it xD?

    • Beorn says:

      @Dremora, you are correct that a high starting threat is very dangerous in certain scenarios. For those scenarios, I use less aggressive decks with a lower starting threat. “The right tool for the right job” applies to LotR LCG just like other challenges. Many of the more recent scenarios allow for more aggressive decks with these types of strategies. It is for those scenarios that this deck is designed. Thanks for your feedback!

  3. Spurries says:

    Love it

  4. Gwaihir the Windlord says:

    Great deck! I like the new Théoden, and his ability; however, my problem with Rohan was always that it lacked the card draw it needed to pull out the cards necessary for spectacular combos. I suppose Gather Information could help with this, and I plan on including it in all of my non-support Rohan decks from now on.

  5. diedertk says:

    Nice deck! I was hoping for a Dunedain deck, but this one was cool too! I really like the new Théoden! I also like his art. 😉 Rohan is getting better and better, it will be interesting to see how they will be when ‘fully’ developed!

  6. This looks very similar to a deck that I built using Theoden as well. I’m pretty sure it only differs by a few cards 🙂 Regardless, I like the differences I see and may have to make some adjustments.

  7. I find it interesting that you include 3 copies of each of the mounts, but not of the events. Events are more useful to have more than one of drawn per game, and you can’t really use all of those mounts, especially all 3 copies of Firefoot.

    • Beorn says:

      I really want the mounts in play as quickly as possible, and any duplicates can be discarded to Éowyn. For the events in this deck, I wanted to go with versatility over consistency. For a specific quest, you can always remove unneeded events to make room for a third copy of what you need. Also, for the Core Set events, I have been trying to limit myself to 1 Core Set worth of cards, to make it easier for new players to build my decks.

  8. wehehe says:

    Nice deck, as always. I’ve been working in a deck using the new Théoden and Eown, but I’m trying to pair it with Erkenbrand, which grants me access to sneak attack (used with Gandalf most times, it solves card draw and/or the threat reducing issues).

    The spirit part of my deck is almost the same as yours, and in the Leadership part I use Steward of Gondor, valiant sacrifice, Warden of Helm’s Deep, and the most noble and powerful card of the core set… Snowbourn Scout (they should be the #42.322 and following…)

    The main problem with that build, is the lacking of a consistent attacker if Herugrim doesn’t show up.

  9. fouilloux says:

    You did prefer using steed of the mark rather than unexpected courage. Is it just thematic or there is another reason?

    • Beorn says:

      The preference of Steed of the Mark over Unexpected Courage is mostly thematic, but there are two advantages to the Steed. As a Mount, it can easily be fetched by Westfold Horse-breeder whereas Unexpected Courage is harder to draw, especially in a deck with limited card drawing options. Also, Charge of the Rohirrim gives +3 attack to each Rohan character with a mount, which has no synergy with Unexpected Courage. Unexpected Courage remains the most powerful readying effect in the game, but Steed of the Mark definitely has its place in a dedicated Rohan deck like this one.

      • fouilloux says:

        Okay, I never tried to put in a deck, (well, I do not have the card yet) but as I only have one core set, it could be a good thing to try, because it will be easier to fetch it. Thanks!

  10. Secret Vigil is great, I was able to use it 4 times (recycled with the Erebor Hammersmith) for a total, in a two player game, of 18 threat reduction, which really helps as the Lost Realm quests have a lot of doomed effects.

  11. Dr. Biddix says:

    I’ve had a lot of fun with this deck, but can’t seem to get past 7th level. The goblins come in way to fast and the deck (probably how I’m playing) seems to have a hard time handling the onslaught. So, I’m going to sub in the sideboard a bit. I expect Helm! Helm! will be a big help – probably add another feint and/or quick strike for cave-troll. I also haven’t seen Ride to Ruin come off the deck in my games, which might be the equalizer.

    Also, can you clarify Éomund’s ability? Are you able to discard him at will and trigger the effect? I can’t seem to figure out what makes him so valuable, if you still have to come up with a way to have him leave play?

    • Beorn says:

      Yes, I can see how this deck would require sideboarding for 7th Level – that quest can be a bit tricky. Éomund is not suicidal, so you need to find other ways to get him to leave play. Ride to Ruin and Helm! Helm! are two such methods, but you can always just chump block with him. The reason why he is so good in this deck is because you have characters like Théoden, Éomer and Elfhelm, with well-rounded stats. By precisely timing when Éomund leaves play, you can ensure that these versatile characters can all take multiple actions in a round. Even lesser allies like The Riddermark’s Finest and Guthlaf can help out in different ways. Global action advantage is pretty much always a good option to have, especially on turns when you want to commit most of your characters to the quest.

  12. Freddy says:

    Hello Beorn! I like very much this deck, I will try it but with some other allies, I think Hama and Gamling are the best with Eomund ability. What do you think about?

    • Beorn says:

      Yes, Hama and Gamling are both excellent fits for this deck. At some point I will go back and update this deck (or something similar) with new cards which have been released since it was first built.

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