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.
Let 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.
The 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.
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.
If 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.
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