Deck: The Bear’s Revenge

bear's revenge

For obvious reasons, Beorn is my absolute favorite hero. Unfortunately the metagame seems to have moved away from him of late. Whereas older quests had more 2 and 3-attack enemies, it has become all too common to see 3, 4 and even 5 attack enemies as the “front-line” troops of the encounter deck. While it was fine to have enemies of this power as “boss” enemies, it puts a much greater burden on a defender with only 1 defense to see these enemies throughout an entire scenario.

What’s worse, shadow effects seem to have become more and more dangerous. The game has added quite a few powerful attachments to combat these bigger enemies and nastier shadow cards – but to no avail. As a bear, my giant paws are better suited for mauling Orcs than donning armor. Besides, a shield would be a silly thing to cary when you are endowed with tough hide and monstrous size. Not to mention that the other skin-changers would cast aspersions on my character if they heard that I needed man-tools to protect myself.

Honour-GuardFortunately, there are some new cards to help keep a bear in fighting shape. Honour Guard in particular is very popular with giant bears. Since his ability targets the damage being dealt and not the character being damaged, he can be used with Beorn. With so much direct damage running out in current quests, the ability to prevent damage is invaluable, even if Beorn is done with defending duty. Damage preventing, combined with healing effects makes a Tactics/Lore deck particularly good at survival. It also means that this deck excels as a support deck in multi-player games.

Horn's-CryOn the other side of combat, there are two new cards which can reduce the attack strength of enemies. This is welcome news to my fury ears, as it allows me to more easily defend against multiple enemies and take advantage of my built-in action advantage. For the larger enemies – the ones that hit like a Misty Mountain avalanche – we always have Feint and chump blocking in an emergency. Derndingle Warrior with an Ent Draught can help serve as a backup defender.

Horn’s Cry is the best of these new events, as it reduces the attack strength of all enemies in play. If you happen to be a 40 threat or more (giant bears do tend to attract the enemies attention), you can reduce your engaged enemies attack by 3 for the rest of the phase. When you have a hearty who can block multiple attackers, reducing the attack strength of each of your enemies is an incredibly powerful effect.

In-the-ShadowsA slightly more limited option, but one that supplements Horn’s Cry well, is In the Shadows. Unfortunately, the effect only targets engaged enemies with an engagement cost higher than our threat, but it can still be quite useful in the early game. Pippin’s passive ability does help with this a bit, and the sideboard includes Take No Notice if we want to pursue this strategy further. As long as a scenario does not include too many low-engagement enemies, this can be a very effective strategy.

With one Hobbit and one Ranger hero, we are only paying 1 for In the Shadows, and its limitations seem less onerous at that discount. As an added bonus, it also reduces the defense of the affected enemies, making it easier to finish them off on the counter-attack. The ideal goal of this deck is to create one epic turn where we use Horn’s Cry and Shadows give way to effectively nullify the enemies’ attack. With Beorn not exhausting to defend, and surrounded by an army of angry Ents, we want to overrun our foes.

Ent-DraughtBy including Ents, we get access to an underrated attachment Ent Draught. While we unfortunately cannot attach this card to the bear himself (I’ll stick with mead, thank you very much), Dori is a great substitute. With healing and the extra hit points, it should be possible to keep our primary defender alive for the entire game. In the rare cases where the encounter deck overwhelms us, we have Landroval to bring Beorn back from hibernation.

DoriIf all else fails, we can resort to the tried and true tactic for dealing with troublesome enemies and attach Song of Wisdom and A Burning Brand to Mablung. Along with a Shield, this makes him a great support defender for those situations where we don’t want to needlessly risk ursine lives. Regardless of the Burning Brand we will want to get the Song attached to Mablung as quickly as possible. His built-in resource acceleration is a great fit for a deck without much else beyond Ally Treebeard to help in that regards. The deck is skewed a bit heavier to Lore cards than it should be with two Tactics heroes, so this will help tremendously with resource smoothing.

Surprisingly, Horn of Gondor is not a good fit for this deck.  With such hearty characters, and multiple cards dedicated to keeping those characters alive – we hopefully won’t have anyone leaving play. It just doesn’t make sense to pay for an Ent, wait a turn to be able to use them, and then chump block with them just to blow some silly horn. The horn-blowing in this deck will be limited to our amazing new event card. This deck is my attempt to bring my favorite bear back into relevance in the modern metagame, so I hope you like it and I look forward to your feedback in the comments.

BeornMablung-smallPippin (TBR)

Heroes
Beorn (TH:OHaUH)
Mablung (NiE)
Pippin (TBR)

Allies: 23
Derndingle Warrior (EfMG) x3
Honour Guard (TWoE) x3
Galadhrim Minstrel (TiT) x1
Quickbeam (ToS) x2
Warden of Healing (TLD) x2
Beechbone (TBoCD) x2
Bofur (TH:OHaUH) x1
Dori (TH:OHaUH) x2
Rivendell Minstrel (THfG) x1
Wellinghall Preserver (AtE) x2
Treebeard (TAC) x3
Landroval (AJtR) x1

Attachment: 12
Song of Wisdom (CatC) x2
Gondorian Shield (TSF) x3
Elf-stone (TRD) x2
Ent Draught (ToS) x3
A Burning Brand (CatC) x2

Events: 14
Daeron’s Runes (FoS) x3
Entmoot (ToS) x3
Feint (Core) x3
Horn’s Cry (TToR) x3
In The Shadows (TLoS) x2

Side Quests: 1
Gather Information (TLR) x1

Sideboard: 15
Elrond (TRD) x2
Rivendell Minstrel (THfG) x2
Song of Battle (TDM) x2
Secret Vigil (TLR) x3
Book of Eldacar (EaAD) x2
Thicket of Spears (Core) x2
Take No Notice (TBR) x2

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24 Responses to Deck: The Bear’s Revenge

  1. Thaddeus says:

    Beorn is a fun hero to play and one I always consider for a deck with Tactics. Unfortunately, he’s a hero that you really need to build around so he doesn’t end up in as many of my decks as I would like.

    • scwont says:

      I’ve grown to appreciate hero Beorn more and more as time goes on, and for essentially the opposite reason – because of his restrictions, you don’t need to build around him at all. Just take him as he is, and the rest of your deck (and the other 2 hero slots) are freed up to do whatever else you actually want to build around. My favourite multiplayer deck recently uses Beorn, Legolas and Haldir – obviously designed to deal with a lot of combat duties, and few or no cards required to support Beorn means more room for toys and tricks for the elves.

      I like to just use him as a damage sink for the first couple of turns. I’ve found this works very well in multiplayer in particular. It buys everyone valuable time while they get set up. Once he’s taken a few blows, switch him to attack mode – by that time you (and the others) should be ready to deal with enemy attacks by other means.

      Having said that, I really enjoyed this article and it’s opened my eyes to some of the new ways to make the most of Beorn and keep his defensive skills working for much longer. Honour Guard I already had in mind, but I hadn’t thought about using cards like Horn’s Cry and In the Shadows. (The latter I had forgotten even existed…stupid delayed Land of Shadow release.) Recent expansions have been kind to the old bear!

  2. Ainah says:

    Nice to see Beorn! I really like him as well. I have used Beorn, Spirifindel and Beravor. With Honor Guard and Fortune or Fate together with Treebeard ally and ents it’s quite good. When Derndingle Warrior is on the table Beorn gets some nice help defending. A good harvest + Steward on Glorfindel combined with songs and you can afford most cards Beravor and Gléowine draw for you. Arwen, Silvan Refugee, and eventually ents help with questing, Council of Elrond and Gandalf lower threat, plus the usual cancellation cards.

  3. Steven A says:

    I never thought of using In The Shadows with Beorn, though Horn’s Cry went in my Beorn deck as soon as it came out. Of course, since I have a different hero lineup to you, I would have to pay the full cost of 3 for In The Shadows if I didn’t want to change my lineup.
    I think I’ll probably post my own version of the Beorn deck on Warden of Arnor soon, because it’s a deck I’m very fond of – I originally built it a while back with just Dori and Landroval as the main components, but it’s really gotten a lot stronger with Honour Guard, and presumably Horn’s Cry and Derndingle Warriors, but I haven’t actually tried out the latest version of the deck with those additions as yet.

    • Beorn says:

      Nice! I look forward to seeing your Beorn deck so I can give it a try. He really is an under appreciated hero, particularly in the early rounds when it is so critical to focus on survival.

  4. Lumos says:

    Isn’t Close Call another valid option for Beorn since this event specifically targets damage ?

    • Beorn says:

      Yes, Close Call works with Beorn. An earlier version of the sideboard included this card, but I have found that Honour Guard and Dori are often sufficient.

  5. JanB says:

    Hi Beorn,
    love your deck and tried it against seventh level wirh a companion who plays a silvan themed deck.
    Dori, Honour Guards and Derndingle Warrior do an amaizing job when defending against “harder” enemies. One round we were overran by a golbin horde and one cave troll .. no problem for this lineup 🙂
    I tweaked your deck a litte bit http://deckbauer.telfador.net/playerdeck.html&id=19053&share=c9f57ee4 and give some cards a try:
    – Erebor Record Keeper: to optionally ready Dori after he takes damage for Beorn
    – Wingfoot: to make Mablung ready for defending after he commits to the quest
    – Ring Mail: another possibility to make Dori harder
    – Self Preservation: for Dori
    – Boots from Erebor: for Dori

    Thanks for this deckidea.

  6. JanB says:

    For which case is Bofur in this deck? You have no weapons to draw…

    • Beorn says:

      Bofur is included because he is a Tactics Dwarf with excellent stats. I wanted a bit more willpower, and when he isn’t questing he can also help with combat.

      • JanB says:

        I think Beorn + Ents are enough combat strength 🙂
        Instead of Bofur, who costs to much, you can fokus on Pippin with Fast Hitch, some Dagger of Westernesse and Halfling Determination.
        In our run through the seventh level, Pippin got Watchful Eyes attached so he makes nothing besides being there for costreduction, engagement cost raising and perhaps drawing a card. Very sad.

  7. Kjeld says:

    I wanted to make an Ent and Eagle deck using Merry (T) and Pippin (Lo) to allow for more time to set up by keeping the starting threat low. I’d originally thought of using Mablung or Boromir as the 3rd hero, but found that neither could quite get me through the first couple of rounds with the consistency that I wanted. Plus, hard to find extra space for the associated toys. After reading this article, I was reminded that Beorn is of course the obvious solution (and more thematic as well). Deck is running much more smoothly now, and it’s always a blast to bring the bear to bear!

  8. I find it interesting that you have a Valour card and a pseudo-secrecy card in there. How often have you been able to get the Valour action or In The Shadows to work?

    • Beorn says:

      In the Shadows has come out of the deck for most scenarios. It does work well in scenarios with multiple high engagement enemies. Horn’s Cry is amazing, on the other hand and works like a charm with the big bear.

  9. Pingback: Deck: Dwarves and Eagles and Bears, Oh My! | Warden of Arnor

  10. Gojoseon says:

    What could I replace Mablung with? I don’t have HoN or the APs in the Against the Shadow cycle, so I guess the Shield and Book are also things I’d like suggested replacements for. I really want to try out the deck, as I’ve struggled making reasonably successful Ent decks. Cheers!

    • Beorn says:

      That’s a tough question as the resource acceleration that Mablung brings is pretty important to this deck. This decks is designed around engaging an enemy to gain a resource, using Mablung with a Shield to block (or Beorn for weaker enemies), then having Beorn and ents on the counter-attack. The book is not a requirement, but the shield and Mablung are both important pieces. Another card that I might suggest instead of the shield is Defender of Rammas, but that is also from HoN.

      Do you have Winged Guardian from The Hunt for Gollum AP? With a limited card pool, that is the best replacement of Gondorian Shield that I can devise for this deck. As for Mablung, I guess you could go with Tactics Boromir (from The Dead Marshes AP), but this deck lacks threat reduction so you are going to want to minimize the number of times that you ready him. Also, I would include an extra copy of Rivendell Minstrel along with 2 or 3 copies of Song of Battle. This will help a bit with resource smoothing. You might also consider dropping In The Shadows and going with Bifur as your Lore hero instead of Pippin. You lose a bit of card draw, but the resource smoothing will help to lessen the sting of not having Mablung’s resource acceleration. Good luck!

  11. Pingback: Deck: Counsels of the Wise | Hall of Beorn

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