At times, the meta-game can seem as fickle as a springtime thundershower. Just as one archetype disappears, two new ones appear in a bolt of lightning. Other archetypes change drastically, thanks to new cards which bring new-found strategies. It’s finally time to close our poll on favorite archetypes as of 2015.
It will be a surprise to few that Noldor decks are the most popular according to voters. A bevy of powerful new cards have been released in the last year which has bolstered some already impressive roster of heroes. Galadriel and her ring facilitate ally-heavy decks, but her powers are not specifically suited to Noldor decks. It was later heroes that truly rounded the archetype into form. Erestor brings an unprecedented level of card draw for a hero, as well as fueling the new strategy of using cards from this discard pile.
The hero version of Arwen Undomiel also utilizes a discard-based strategy, along with providing an impressive level of resource smoothing. While she can fit into other archetypes- particularly ones based on Aragorn – the daughter of Elrond plays a very important role for the Noldor archetype. Noldor decks have numerous ways of taking advantage of cards – both in hand and in a player’s discard pile – but it sorely needs resource acceleration.
Many of the most powerful unique allies in the game are Noldor. While effects like To The Sea, To The Sea can help reduce the cost of these allies, resource acceleration for attachments and events remains a vital part of any consistent deck. Building a deck around heroes with different spheres and still being able to afford 2-cost cards from the opening hand gives Arwen almost unmatched versatility.
Elves, it seems, are what is popular these days. The second most-voted archetype from this poll was Silvan. It has been a while since we saw any new cards to support these decks, but the Dream-chaser cycle promises to add further options. With low-cost allies and powerful “comes into play” effects, Silvans have the makings of the ultimate utility faction.
The Lost Realm and Angmar Awakened cycle brought the Dúnedain archetype into prominence. One of the more unique strategies in the game, Dúnedain decks thrive on keeping enemies engaged, rather than defeating them like other archetypes. Their ability to handle large swarms of enemies make these decks particularly well-suited to multi-player games where an unlucky draw from the encounter deck can leave a staging area filled with enemies.
The new Tactics version of Aragorn is most certainly the highlight of this exciting style. His multiple abilities are tailor-made for such an aggressive strategy. High-impact allies already feature prominently in Dúnedain decks, and the Dream-chaser cycle looks to add to this roster.
At least one such ally, Eldahir, has been spoiled from the second AP: The Thing in the Depths. With an off-sphere splash, he provides additional support for controlling shadow effects, something much-welcomed in an archetype that consistently faces multiple attacks each round. In games with multiple players, someone else can even power his shadow-cancelling ability. It will be intriguing to see how and whether these “any player pays” effects fair in actual fact. For now, this unique ally shows at least theoretical promise.
One of the difficult choices facing a would-be Dúnedain deck-builder is which spheres to include. Tactics brings Aragorn and numerous combat options, but many of the best supplemental heroes belong to the Leadership sphere. On the other hand, Lore brings powerful card draw from both heroes and allies. Likewise, traps need to at least be considered, as they make a multiple enemy engagement strategy much less risky. Spirit brings multiple forms of cancellation effects, along with some of the most powerful location control in the game.
Rounding out the top five most popular archetypes, we have Ents and Dwarves. It is perhaps surprising to some people, seeing the sons of Durin remain among the popular archetypes. Decks built around Dain remain among the most powerful in the game, despite other newer factions stealing much of the spotlight. Voting was close for those that missed the top five, as Hobbits, Rohan and Gandalf decks all appear to be quite popular. How did your favorite archetype fair? Are you surprised by any of the results? Feel free to leave your opinions in the comments as I am curious to hear others’ reactions to these results. Lastly, don’t forget to take part in the latest poll and thanks again to everyone who voted!