Seastan here. Beorn has graciously invited me to write a guest article for his excellent blog. With, I might add, almost no proof of my blog-writing ability. I hope he is ready for the writing quality on his blog to take a sharp dive. [Bear’s Note: Your writing is just fine, sir!] Now, let’s begin.
I want to write about the latest and greatest craze in the Lord of the Rings LCG. No, not Noldor. As much as I love them at their current state, I think we will have to wait until a couple more expansions to come out before we can see them at their full potential.
I am talking about Dúnedain! The trait that was introduced to us in the long-forgotten days of the Core Set, patiently awaiting the developers’ attention. Well, now at last, with the Angmar Awakened cycle winding down, we can see how far they’ve come. Spoiler alert – they’ve come far.
We see that the theme surrounding the Dúnedain trait has been focused on engaging and remaining engaged with many enemies. It’s an interesting idea, but at first glance it seems counter-intuitive. To make the most out of all these Dúnedain cards, you need to have 3+ enemies constantly engaged with you! And if you kill them all, you lose important benefits, like the extra resource from Amarthiúl each turn.
The new ally, Guardian of Arnor, certainly helps deal with the flood of enemies you’ll be facing. Even if you just try to keep 2 enemies around, he boasts a solid 3 defense and 3 hit points, and even sentinel if you need to help out your friend.
While Guardian of Arnor is a key player, he’s not quite enough to get the deck rolling. We want at least 4+ enemies engaged with us. Why? Well, that means our guardians will be at 5 defense, able to hold off the stronger enemies that the encounter deck has to offer. More important, however, is that it will enable us to use Heir of Valandil to play our allies for free!
So, how can we keep 4+ enemies engaged with us without breaking a sweat? Two words: Forest Snare. Forest Snare lets us lock up an enemy permanently, providing us with juicy Dúnedain benefits but no danger. The only issue now is that Forest Snare is so expensive.
Enter Damrod. I don’t think it is too far fetched to think that Damrod would help out the Dúnedain on their quest. They are all rangers after all. Damrod reduces the cost to play all traps by 1, and provides a nice card draw bonus whenever a trap attaches to an enemy.
Now we just need a second lore hero to ensure that we can play a Forest Snare every turn if need be. Between Aragorn and Beravor, I have to pick Aragorn without hesitation. My starting threat is very high, and I know my third hero is going to be Amarthiúl, so I am not going to have much reliable access to other forms of threat reduction. Aragorn also enables access to Sword that was Broken and Celebrían’s Stone, allowing his resources to be used for Leadership and Spirit cards.
Last comes Amarthiúl, with his bonus resource and very useful Tactics icon which will allow us to play Feint on the big enemies before we snare them. As for filling out the rest of the deck, my main goal was to focus on getting out the Forest Snares as soon as possible. This means lots of card draw through Daeron’s Runes and Deep Knowledge, and attachment fetching cards like Galadriel and Master of the Forge. There are also Ranger Spikes in the deck so you can hold off enemies in the staging area to buy time to find your snares.
The remaining spots are filled with the Dúnedain cards. So we have most of the decent allies, which you shouldn’t have too much of a problem paying for with the help of Heir of Valandil. Dúnedain Watcher is there if you have an urgent need to cancel a shadow effect.
A typical start will look like this:
- Draw your staring hand, and take a mulligan if you don’t find a Forest Snare or Master of the Forge.
- On the first turn, play your Master if you have him.
- Quest with Damrod and Aragorn, then use Amarthiúl to defend an attack.
- Dig for Forest Snare using your Master.
- On your second turn, use your Master again. By now, after looking through so many cards, you hopefully have a Forest Snare. You play it on the enemy and draw a card.
- Repeat the same process, continuing to get out Forest Snares as often as possible.
In a couple turns you should also acquire a Steward of Gondor, which goes on Amarthiúl, along with a Gondorian Shield to bump up his defense. He is now getting 4 resources a turn and you can start calling for Galadriel’s aid, and she will hopefully provide you with nice toys like The Sword that was Broken and Heir of Valandil, or perhaps she’ll be really nice and set up a Forest Snare on an enemy you are engaged with. Remember that if you are desperate for a snare, use your Master before Galadriel. This will allow you to look at more cards in your deck, because the Master shuffles after looking, and Galadriel does not.
This deck is not really meant to kill enemies very often, just tie them all up. In many quests, however, there is a big bad guy that you must destroy. That’s why I have Gondorian Fire in the deck (for Amarthiúl), but feel free to omit it for another card if you prefer. Often times playing Descendants of Kings on the last turn will provide you with enough attack.
There’s also a Tactics ally that was just released in The Dread Realm expansion. Feel free to experiment with him as well, although as I mentioned, the deck is not built around needing consistent heavy hitters. In fact, you may often find yourself regretting destroying that enemy on the previous turn!
I’ve recorded a video on my Youtube channel in which use this deck to beat Into Ithilien Nightmare. Hopefully it gives a good example of the deck in action. I thoroughly enjoyed the archetype and I plan on taking it against many more scenarios!
Thanks for reading, and happy questing!
Total Cards: 50
Dúnedain Watcher x2 (The Dead Marshes)
Galadriel x3 (The Road Darkens)
Guardian of Arnor x3 (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
Dúnedain Hunter x2 (The Lost Realm)
Northern Tracker x3 (Core Set)
Warden of Annúminas x2 (The Lost Realm)
Master of the Forge x3 (Shadow and Flame)
Sarn Ford Sentry x2 (The Lost Realm)
Celebrían’s Stone x2 (Core Set)
Heir of Valandil x2 (The Lost Realm)
Steward of Gondor x3 (Core Set)
Sword that was Broken x2 (The Watcher in the Water)
Gondorian Fire x1 (Assault on Osgiliath)
Gondorian Shield x2 (The Steward’s Fear)
Forest Snare x3 (Core Set)
Ranger Spikes x2 (Heirs of Númenor)
Descendants of Kings x2 (Escape from Mount Gram)
Tighten Our Belts x2 (The Nin-in-Eilph)
Feint x3 (Core Set)
Daeron’s Runes x3 (Foundations of Stone)
Deep Knowledge x3 (The Voice of Isengard)