I am not a society person. The societies to which I have been exposed seemed to me largely machines for the suppression of women. Society is very important in Mexico. Where women do not even have the vote.
– All the Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy
One of the most obnoxious tropes in modern fantasy writing is the demure female characters which rely on their male counterparts – sometimes to the point of outright dependence. This makes characters like Éowyn all the more important. She provides a vital contrast to the lazy and even misogynistic portrayals which followed Tolkien. While she might seem like a relatively minor character in the context of the story, what she represents exists at the core of the themes in The Lord of the Rings.
The power of the individual to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles, and affect world-altering changes is a recurring theme of Tolkien’s legendarium. Perhaps no character personifies this more than Éowyn. Told to stay behind and wait while the warriors of her people fought an existential conflict against a terrible enemy, she was unwilling to be a prisoner of her circumstances. Instead, she took control of her destiny and, along with the Hobbit Merry, helped to change the tide of the war.
By defeating the Witch-king of Angmar – an enemy who most thought invincible – she introduced a powerful weapon for the armies of the West: fear. Up to that point, the armies of Mordor were filled with hubris. While they knew nothing of the Rings of Power, his armies were sure of the indomitable strength of their master. They entered battle with Gondor with a certainty of victory. Seeing their general, and the mightiest among them, slain at the hands of their enemies, the seeds of doubt crept into their minds.
Mrs. Beorn is from the not-so-far-away land of Mexico, so the Hall is always filled with more languages than just my native tongue. I learned Spanish in my formative years, but it wasn’t until meeting my wife that I had the joy of learning the richly idiosyncratic treasures which every language hides, like so much buried treasure. One of my favorite words from Spanish inspired the name of this deck.
The challenge with idiomatic expressions is that, as much as you might try, there is no perfect translation. Often, subtle but important differences in cultural context mean that a direct mapping for a concept simply does not exist. The word chingona is a slang term which roughly translates as “badass woman”, but this casual rendering fails to do it justice. A fierce spirit, unwilling to be cowed by her circumstances and the expectations of others, the word contains volumes of meaning.
I made this deck as a homage to all of the chingonas in my life; women whose perseverance and determination make them exemplars for all who meet them. The world is changed by those with the audacity to believe that it can be changed. This mentality, and willingness to take risks in service of your beliefs is what embodies a hero. We can all take inspiration from their example.
This deck is filled with all sorts of fun interactions. It might not seem like much at first glance, but it can end up being quite powerful. With a good draw and few rounds to setup it can handle all aspects of the game with ease. While this may seem odd to say about a deck which starts at 23 threat, but the key is to get into secrecy as quickly as possible.
The ideal opening hand will have Elrond’s Counsel and Resourceful. You can drop your threat to 20 during the first round and then attach Resourceful to Na’asiyah. Obviously you won’t be able to rely on the ideal opening hand every game, but we have many options to help us get setup. Galadriel‘s ability not only helps you draw into the cards you are looking for, but it keeps your threat low in the mean time.
Beyond this, The Galadhrim’s Greeting and Island Amid Perils can help you drop your threat low enough to play Resourceful. I particularly enjoy using Island Amid Perils to return a copy of Galadriel’s Handmaiden or Galadhrim Minstrel to my hand. A nice side effect of all of the threat reduction is that we should have time to setup without having to worry about most enemies. Nenya along with Éowyn‘s 4 willpower means that this deck is excellent at questing, even before allies enter the picture.
Thanks to Galadriel’s passive effect, allies are ready to help with combat the round they enter play. Other than Dúnedain Hunter, the allies don’t have any relevant combat stats but that doesn’t stop them from being used for chump blocking. Silvan Refugee is an especially good choice for this unfortunate role.
The allies are just here for support, the real strength of this deck is in the three strong female heroes. Éowyn gets Herugrim and Snowmane (or Magic Ring/Unexpected Courage) and serves as our primary quester. Once she has the sword and readying she can use Battle-fury and Quick Strike, and her once-per-game ability to kill an engaged enemy. Just one example of a fun combo in this deck is to use Dúnedain Hunter to engage an enemy during the planning phase. Then, during the quest phase you can exhaust Galadriel and Nenya to give +4 willpower to Éowyn. Finally, you can play Battle-fury (and pay the kicker) to attack the engaged enemy for 9 and then commit 8 willpower to the quest. This is clearly a complex combination, but the various pieces can still be useful on their own.
As for defense, Na’asiyah with resourceful is a great starting point. Raiment of War of war is the perfect supplement to her already solid combat stats. Likewise, Captain of Gondor is excellent once Na’asiyah has readying. Most of the Tactics cards in this deck only cost 1 resource, so you should typically be able avoid spending resources from Na’asish’s pool on Attachments and Events. Our only Tactics ally doesn’t actually have a cost, this deck is not hindered by her passive effect, in any case.
It’s a quirky deck, but one that highlights the power of these unique women in many interesting ways. I hope that readers enjoy playing the deck as much as I enjoyed building it. If you have a chance, thank a chingona who inspires you. We all owe much to those who have made sacrifices in our names.
2x Arwen Undómiel (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Dúnedain Hunter (The Lost Realm)
2x Galadhrim Minstrel (Trouble in Tharbad)
2x Galadhrim Weaver (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
3x Galadriel’s Handmaiden (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
1x Master of the Forge (Shadow and Flame)
2x Silvan Refugee (The Drúadan Forest)
1x Captain of Gondor (The Antlered Crown)
2x Herugrim (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Magic Ring (The Crossings of Poros)
1x Mirror of Galadriel (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
3x Nenya (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
1x Raiment of War (The Thing in the Depths)
3x Resourceful (The Watcher in the Water)
1x Snowmane (The Land of Shadow)
2x Song of Travel (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
3x A Good Harvest (The Steward’s Fear)
2x A Test of Will (Core Set)
2x Battle-fury (The Drowned Ruins)
3x Elrond’s Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Feint (Core Set)
2x Island Amid Perils (The Nîn-in-Eilph)
2x Quick Strike (Core Set)
2x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
Player Side Quest (1)
1x Double Back (Escape from Mount Gram)
3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Crossings of Poros
Decklist built and published on RingsDB.