Deck: A Walk with Fangorn

Treebeard with Merry and Pippin

Lately, we have been seeing quite a few marquee heroes with well-rounded stats. These do-everything characters can form the potent core of a deck’s strategy, but they rely heavily on readying effects. Some heroes have built-in readying effects, but with the exception of Tactics Boromir, those effects tend to have limitations. Having attachments and events for readying your most powerful heroes thus becomes essential.

As good as his ally version was from the last cycle, in my experience the Treebeard hero has been even better. True, his starting threat elevates him to the level of such luminaries as Elrond and (almost) Gandalf – but Treebeard is not to be trifled with. Not being able to have restricted attachments effectively means that you cannot attach weapons or armor to the leader of the Ents. The pedantic reader might also argue that Treebeard cannot have non-martial attachments like Horn of Gondor – but that card is not in any way thematic, nor does it fit the strategy of our deck, so it is no great loss.

Instead, we will be taking advantage of a multitude of powerful Lore and Spirit attachments that should help Treebeard protect his newfound Hobbit friends while they wander through his eponymous forest. I take particular joy when a new card brings older cards out of mothballs, unlocking previously hidden potential. In the case of Treebeard, his stat-boosting is based on repeatedly dealing damage to himself. It is only appropriate then, that Self Preservation would be prominently featured in this deck.

Daughter of NimrodelGranted, an ally like Daughter of the Nimrodel has a similar effect, but these cards are not identical. Scenarios increasingly include ally-hate, which can make a 1 hit point character like the Daughter a liability, especially at a cost of 3 resources. To be fair, this deck does include Warden of Healing (one of the few thematic concessions), but costing 1 less resource is not a trivial difference, especially with only 2 Lore heroes. In any case, the deck should have enough healing for most quests, and the sideboard can bring succor for the most treacherous journeys.

Let us not perpetuate the mistake of underestimating our halfling friends. Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrine Took both play roles which are vital to this undertaking. In the case of Merry, he brings repeatable threat reduction, as well as access to the readying and cancelation effects of the Spirit sphere. Pippin helps us to avoid many of the more troublesome enemies, while supplementing our card-drawing ability and providing a second Lore hero.

MiruvorWith Ents rounding out our list of allies, the deck relies heavily on Lore for its ability to quest and support Treebeard in combat. Fangorn may be slow to anger, but when he does at last decide to fight, Treebeard is a formidable figure. Surrounded by his brethren, even the mighty armies of Saruman do not stand a chance. The relatively low starting threat, along with Pippin’s ability, should buy us time to muster some Ent allies.

As discussed above, readying is critical so that we can make use of his ability during multiple phases of the game. This is where a card like Miruvor is so important to our plans. With mostly Lore cards in the deck (and what Spirit cards there are tending to be less expensive), it can happen that extra resources pile up on Merry. Miruvor gains maximum utility in this case as it not only allows Treebeard to take multiple actions in a round, but it serves as resource smoothing by allowing you to spend one of Merry’s extra resources on an Ent ally or a key attachment.

Power-minded players will note that this deck is by no means top tier. While I find the building of top tier deck to be a fulfilling mental challenge, they can often be boring to play solo, as they tend to completely dominate the quest. On the other hand, I particularly enjoy building decks like this one – which blend strategy and theme so closely. Not only are they a bit more challenging to play, but it feels more rewarding to win with a deck that omits less thematic cards in the name of a bit more thematic purity. In any case, feel free to change the deck list and sideboard as you see fit, but I do believe that you will find a walk through the ancient forest with two brave Hobbits to be a most worthwhile experience. Safe travels!

Treebeard-ToS-smallMerry-TWoEPippin (TBR)

Heroes:
Treebeard (ToS)
Merry (TWoE)
Pippin (TBR)

Allies: 22
Westfold Horse-breeder (VoI) x2
Imladris Stargazer (FoS) x2
Gléowine (Core) x1
Ithilien Tracker (HoN) x1
Master of the Forge (SaF) x1
Wandering Ent (CS) x3
Warden of Healing (TLD) x3
Quickbeam (ToS) x3
Wellinghall Preserver (AtE) x3
Gandalf (Core) x3

Attachments: 17
Hobbit Pony (TWoE) x2
Expert Treasure-hunter (TH:OtD) x2
Miruvor (SaF) x3
Fast Hitch (TDM) x2
Protector of Lórien (Core) x2
Ent Draught (ToS) x2
Unexpected Courage (Core) x2
Self Preservation (Core) x2

Events: 10
Entmoot (ToS) x3
A Test of Will (Core) x3
Hasty Stroke (Core) x2
Peace, and Thought (SaF) x2

Side Quests: 1
Gather Information (TLR) x1

Sideboard: 15
Westfold Horse-breaker (THfG) x3
Ranger Spikes (HoN) x3
Self Preservation (Core) x1
Noiseless Movement (TTT) x3
Secret Paths (Core) x3
Lore of Imladris (Core) x2

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7 Responses to Deck: A Walk with Fangorn

  1. Pengolodh says:

    Great deck! I enjoy seeing older cards brought back with new relevance. Never have used Peace, and Thought myself. Ought to try this deck out and use it. I have yet to use Spirit Merry (hurry up, WoE!), but he seems to be a great hero. Thanks for the great theme deck! By the way, what might the translation of the Wellinghall Custodian be?

  2. Beorn says:

    Thanks, Pengolodh. My Spanish is not perfect, but I believe he translates as follows:

    Cannot have restricted attachments. Wellinghall Custodian enters play exhausted.

    Response: After Wellinghall Custodian readies during the refresh phase, heal 1 damage on an Ent character.

  3. Awesome deck! You actually just slightly beat me to the punch. I just finished a post on a deck that takes out Spirit Merry for Tactics Merry.

    I am in agreement though, Hero Treebeard seems oh so much better and thematic decks are certainly more fun to play than the top tier ones.

    I won’t be able to make it to the listener event (no gen-con for this Took 😦 ) But I hope the draft goes well!

  4. TalesfromtheCards says:

    Nice! Previously, I was pairing Treebeard with Tactics Merry and Pippin when doing the Ent/Hobbit combo, but I like the idea of bringing in Spirit Merry, especially since he gives access to Unexpected Courage. He’s a nice alternative to old Spirit Glorfy in that way.

  5. Pingback: Bear Market: Rethinking Some Staples | Hall of Beorn

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