Deck: The Wind Beneath My Wings


As a giant shapeshifting bear, I appreciate absurdity. Like any traumatic experience, it has taken time to process that atrocity that was The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. But time truly does heal all wounds. After leaving the theater, my inevitable rampage was a sight to behold. Years hence, scholars will marvel at the carnage left in my wake. After the fires were finally extinguished and the wounded were treated, a tense series of negotiations ensued – wizards even testified on my behalf.

Laugh if you dare, but a skin-changer cannot be blamed for his reaction to the most egregious mockery of a cultural icon since the Choco Taco. The conditions of my release include a minimum of 200 hours of community service and this deck is the first of many mandated sanctions. Any complaints should be directed to the Texas department of Corrections at (936) 295-6371.

Peter_JacksonLet this serve as public notice, that I do hereby irrevocably foreswear any future privilege to make violent reactions to the dropping of bears, wolves, foxes or other skin-changing creatures from the backs of eagles. My attempt to kidnap Mr. Jackson and drop him from the top of The Carrock was an unwarranted and wholly immoral act. My subsequent attempts to subject his unctuous gaggle of lickspittles (apologists of Mr. Jackson’s crimes, let it be known) and subject them to death by bee-sting was equally abhorrent. For these and other crimes – of which we shall not speak among such genteel company – I am, and shall forever remain, deeply apologetic.

With the obligatory legal disclaimers out of the way, it’s time to get to the heart of the matter. In order to illustrate that I do not in fact want to savagely maul anyone who implies that bears and other noble creatures can be unceremoniously used as Eagle cargo, I have designed a deck which serves as a public declaration of my newfound open-mindedness. This deck goes one step further and includes Ents among the ranks of decent inhabitants of Arda which might be used as ballast by an avian carrier.

Does the thought of Treebeard being callously hurled earthward from the back of a servant of Manwë strike you as flatly ridiculous? Well, let me disabuse you of such an anachronistic and close-minded belief. If Peter Jackson taught us anything – which he didn’t – it is that no creature under Eru Ilúvatar is safe from being carried and then dropped by an eagle. Eagle-dropping is an inevitability.

Today we are going to teach Ents how to fly. Take a second to let the sheer enormity of this concept sink in. Recovered? Good. Now we can begin the task of designing the optimal aerial Ent delivery system. Once we have subverted our natural revulsion to the concept and embraced the radical concept of airborne tree-herders, we might as well go all-in with our strategy. This deck aims to air-drop Treebeard – eldest of the Ents and their unquestioned leader – from as many eagles as we can find. Fortunately, the Treason of Saruman has provided us with a Treebeard hero with which to practice our bombardments.

Wellinghall CustodianThe designers of this game clearly have access to some deeper knowledge that escapes Mr. Jackson, and they have wisely prevented hero Beorn from being used and discarded like some child’s toy. With his immunity to player card effects, the Beorn hero card cannot be normally be chosen as a target for Support of the Eagles (aka “The Eagle Drop Express”). However, with more quests blanking the text of hero cards (I’m looking at you, Weather Hills), it will sometimes be possible to do the unthinkable and recreate Mr. Jackson’s rage-inducing fever dream of dropping a giant bear from the heavens. In any case, as part of the aforementioned legal agreement, I am obligated to include the Beorn hero card in the proceedings of this farce. For those unsure as to my intentions, allow me to reiterate: under no circumstances should you ever drop a bear from the back of an eagle. IF YOU DO, I WILL FIND WHERE YOU LIVE AND K■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■ [REDACTED BY THE TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS].

Moving right along… this deck requires a third victim, or if you prefer, hero. This poor soul will serve as witness to the crimes, both canonical and logical, which we are about to commit. May Eru have mercy on our souls for the transgressions which will soon transpire. In all of my dealing with the Sons of Durin, Bifur has seemed to me the least troublesome. Granted, this might be damning him with slight praise, but I will nonetheless bring him along to pass on a warning to the mortal races of Middle-earth. With our party chosen, it is now time to select the allies which will embody our air superiority.

cone of shame
The most obvious choice is to include as many Eagles and Ents as we can, and here we have done just that. We have however excluded the more noble Eagles, Landroval and his brother Gwaihir, so that they may be spared the indignity of this entire sad affair. The only other allies that we require are some elves to help us sing a lament, and some craftsmen to help fashion a cone of shame which we will be obligated to wear in perpetuity. With our allies out of the way, we are left with the attachments and events that comprise the rest of the deck.

Now that I have met my minimum word requirements, I promise that I will never criticize Charles Dickens again for as long as I live. My parole officer, to whom this article is dedicated, is a real stickler for spelling, grammar, and word count. I am now going to dispense with the unwarranted verbosity and summarize the remaining cards in this deck in brief.

Song-of-BattleIf a player was to attach Song of Battle to Treebeard, it might naturally follow that they would also attach Support of the Eagles to him as well. It would also make a fair amount of sense to attach Ent Draught to Treebeard, as his ability is best used when he has a large pool of hit points. Likewise, Self Preservation would be a logical accompaniment, to allow the mighty Fangorn to heal his wounds. All of these cards work together to create a formidable force, on both offense and defense. The allies in this deck can then focus on questing.

Now all of these suggestions might seem tactically sound – reasonable even. But you must under no circumstances ever use them. I may have been legally obligated to write this article, but you dear readers are under no such strictures. Please, I beseech you upon pain of death by tragic gardening accident, do not lower yourself to this facile stratagem. Ents are a noble race, one which has sadly been diminished in numbers by time and the silent tyranny of apathy. A wayward Istari reads one too many Ayn Rand books and suddenly their home is chopped to ruins and they are in danger of extinction. Do not, I pray, compound this ignominy by dropping these fair tree-herders from the backs of eagles! In fact, please pretend that you never read this article and promptly forget the deck list which I am legally obligated to provide below.


Beorn (TH:OHaUH)
Treebeard (ToS)
Bifur (KD)

Allies: 27
Vassal of the Windlord (TDM) x3
Booming Ent (TAC) x3
Winged Guardian (THfG) x3
Master of the Forge (SaF) x3
Wandering Ent (CS) x3
Quickbeam (ToS) x3
Rivendell Minstrel (THfG) x3
Wellinghall Custodian (AtE) x3
Eagles of the Misty Mountains (RtM) x3

Attachments: 14
Expert Treasure-hunter (TH:OtD) x2
Ent Draught (ToS) x3
Song of Battle (TDM) x3
Support of the Eagles (RtM) x3
Self Preservation (Core) x3

Events: 9
The Eagles Are Coming! (THfG) x3
Daeron’s Runes (FoS) x3
Entmoot (ToS) x3

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27 Responses to Deck: The Wind Beneath My Wings

  1. Aaron Youngren says:

    This is so absolutely great. Thank you.

  2. Courchevel says:

    So much fun reading your article.
    There are so many “strange” things that we can do with Treebeard now. He can rule Gondor as a steward, he can even hold a burning brand. Through his adventures he came up wearing, uhh no, holding durin’s helm somewhere in the branches. Somepeople told me they once saw Treebeard riding that poor Arod … Could you ilagine that ?

  3. It’s taken a few months, but I’m glad you’ve finally come to grips with your self after the Eagle debacle. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  4. lleimmoen says:

    Have just made the deck this past weekend, right after the spoilers flew in. It isn’t working for me that well. How has it been for you?

    Just a little suggestion. Would it not be worth it to include Landroval (or even Gwaihir)? Because he can effectively heal Beorn. I also think Mirlonde and Lembas are better fit than Bifur.

    • Beorn says:

      I did consider Mirlonde and Lembas as the deck lacks a consistent means for readying Treebeard and Lembas fits that role perfectly. With this deck my hope was that the allies could provide the questing, leaving Beorn and Treebeard to focus on defense and attack. I can see including Landroval to help Beorn and I definitely wish that there was more readying, but I feel that the allies in this deck are so efficient for their cost that it should perform well against most quests. I’ll be trying it out at my local Austin group this week, so we’ll see whether it works as planned.

  5. lleimmoen says:

    ps: and Elf-stone?

    • Beorn says:

      Yes, another version of this deck had Mirlonde with Lembas and Elf-Stone to help muster the more expensive allies – Eagles of the Misty Mountain in particular are key to this strategy. That is still a perfectly viable direction to take this deck, all the more so in solo play. My intent is to play this deck in four-player, so Bifur’s ability will serve as resource acceleration when another player (probably playing Leadership) can share a resource or two. That puts less of a load on this deck to pay for the more expensive cards, especially if we can draw a second Song of Battle and attach it to Bifur. In the case of multi-player, Elf-stone is less reliable unless I am willing to wait several rounds to get the timing just right. Still, these suggestions are good ones, and earlier versions of the deck did include them.

  6. Gwaihir the Windlord says:

    Let it be known that the Eagles (me, specifically, the greatest of all the Eagles of Manwë save Thorondor) do not undertake this dropping of creatures willingly; it all began when Gandalf sent that little moth beseeching me for aid, and how could I refuse a moth? Alas, it was the first of many sorrows, and I, too, am legally obligated to post this comment, due to a recent . . . um . . . accident. (Middle-earth lawsuits are so unfair: how was I to know that the skin-changer couldn’t turn into an eagle? It wasn’t that long of a drop, anyway).

  7. Finally had a chance to read this! Great read, sir. I really enjoyed all the humor in this post 🙂

  8. RAVE says:

    Great post, thanks a lot!
    I even want to spend some time to translate it and post to our russian boardames-related blog, if you don’t mind!

  9. Kai says:

    This write-up makes me disappointed that you missed out on the latter part of the Grey Co. Hobbit special episode. I’m 100% sure you’d have had some… interesting comments.

    • Beorn says:

      Quite right. The other members of The Grey Company have already heard my thoughts on those movies – more than once, so I’m not sure that they would have been as excited to hear me rant. Who knows, maybe we’ll have a chance to talk about it in the future.

  10. Brunscheon says:

    Aaaaand the number is actually to the Texas Corrections office….fantastic

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