There has been some talk on the forums lately about the need to include Spirit in every deck. While I agree that quests increasingly are including “must-cancel” treacheries, I do enjoy building decks that defy the trends. This deck does not include any Spirit or Lore, but it can dominate against many different kinds of quests. As much as these treacheries can be devastating, there is an opportunities for alternatives in many quests. Some quests are simply too punishing without cancellation and healing (see: The Weather Hills), but an aggressive deck can often mitigate all but the most niche quests.
The Lost Realm gave a big boost to aggro decks, and the upcoming cycle with its valour keyword should continue that trend. In many ways, this deck is a traditional Eagle deck, but there are some new tricks that have refined the foundational strategy to a razor-edge. In particular, giving Tactics access to threat-reduction with Secret Vigil has provided a huge boost to the action advantage of the original Boromir hero. This card, coupled with the staple combo of Core Set Gandalf and Sneak Attack, should allow us to maximize our ability to ready Boromir.
With Boromir take part in all aspects of combat, we want to load him up with everything possible. In fact, the only attachment in this deck which is not intended for the eldest son of Denethor is King Under the Mountain. The consist card drawing that we can from this card paired with Balin is one of the keys to the consistency of this deck. The Eagles are Coming will help thin our deck of allies, while fetch abilities from Weather Hills Watchman and Galadriel will help us to equip Boromir with his all-important gear.
The watchman is another new card that helps to reinforce what was already a solid core. With only 5 signals in the deck (not counting the sideboard) there will be times that his effect will miss, but he is still worth inclusion. With solid stats, his effect does not need to hit for him to be a worthwhile foot soldier in our deck. Faramir can boost his willpower to 2, he can chump block in the critical early game, and he can even soak archery damage to spare his general from an enemy onslaught. In any case, I look at his ability as a nice bonus when it hits – by no means is deck reliant on this fetch ability in order for it to be effective.
Galadriel serves two important roles in this deck. Until Faramir shows up, this deck can sometimes struggle to quest – especially against the more location-based quests. We are obviously well-prepared for all but the most monstrous enemies, but this deck is decidedly lacking in location control. This is by design. Aggro decks are best when they focus on a single basic strategy, and excelling at the chosen task. This deck is all about unleashing the power of Tactics Boromir, so polluting it with location control cards – which are relatively less prevalent in Tactics and Leadership – doesn’t make much sense. Galadriel adds 3 willpower that can be critical to push through and make quest progress in the early game. As importantly, she helps get our critical attachments into play with appropriate haste.
Two attachments in particular: Steward of Gondor and King Under the Mountain, are absolutely essential to the success of this deck. With two Leadership heroes and a deck of expensive Tactics cards, we need to resource acceleration of Steward on Boromir. Resource acceleration always works best with card draw – lest we find ourselves with an abundance of money with nothing on which to spend it. King Under the Mountain will allow us to play meaningful cards on almost every round. If either of these two cards is not in play, Galadriel will allow us to get them into play, without any additional cost. Because we can stack our deck as part of their ability, she works particularly well with King Under the Mountain and fetch abilities like Weather Hills Watchman and “The Eagles Are Coming!”.
As the centerpiece of the deck, Boromir will be facing an army of enemies. Thanks to all of his defensive attachments, he will often be immune to most enemy attacks, but shadow effects become a concern when one character is defending so often. While shadow effects that boost enemy attacks will seldom concern him, direct damage effects and attachment hate can wear down even the doughty Boromir. To avoid this attrition, Balin allows us to cancel the most troublesome shadow effects. For this reason, it is advisable to always spend Leadership resources from Sam before spending them from Balin. Over the course of the game, Leadership resources can pile up a bit, which the Errand-rider can move over to Boromir for use with Eagle cards. Until Boromir’s brother has joined him, it is often wise to leave one or two Leadership resources on Balin, so that you can play Faramir when you draw him.
It is notable that there are single copies of a few cards in this deck. This is where heavy card draw and multiple search effects allow for more versatile decks. I don’t want to limit my draw with duplicates of non-essential unique cards like Captain of Gondor and Horn of Gondor. While both of these cards are powerful, as well as wonderfully thematic, neither of them is central to the deck’s strategy.
We may on occasion find ourselves in a situation where we need one of these cards, which is why Gather Information is such a useful card. Still, more often than not we will be searching for one of our staple cards like Gandalf, Eagles of the Misty Mountains or Support of the Eagles. The more that I use it, Gather Information is quickly becoming a staple of my new deck designs as it is just so helpful in so many situations. For the most difficult scenarios, particularly with some sideboard tweaks for multi-player, this deck has been a lifesaver. Chime in at the comments below about your favorite aggro decks – I am curious to hear from other players about this rapidly evolving archetype.
Sam Gamgee (TBR)
Errand-rider (HoN) x3
Vassal of the Windlord (TDM) x3
Weather Hills Watchman (TLR) x2
Winged Guardian (THfG) x3
Galadriel (TRD) x2
Faramir (Core) x3
Eagles of the Misty Mountain (THfG) x3
Gandalf (Core) x3
Dúnedain Mark (THfG) x2
Dúnedain Warning (CatC) x3
Captain of Gondor (TAC) x1
Gondorian Shield (TSF) x3
Horn of Gondor (Core) x1
Secret Vigil (TLR) x2
King Under the Mountain (TH:OtD) x3
Steward of Gondor (Core) x3
Support of the Eagles (RtM) x3
The Eagles Are Coming! (THfG) x3
Sneak Attack (Core) x3
Side Quests: 1
Gather Information (TLR) x1
Gimli (ToS) x1
Legolas (ToS) x1
Arod (ToS) x1
Secret Vigil (TLR) x1
Dúnedain Signal (RtM) x2
Dúnedain Cache (TDM) x2
Wealth of Gondor (HoN) x2
Gondorian Discipline (EaAD) x2
Feint (Core) x3