Continuing in my series of alternate art decks, I’d like to present an Aggro Outlands deck which I keep in case of emergency. As listeners of the Grey Company podcast may recall, my view of Outlands was less than favorable when The Steward’s Fear was first released. Oft is time the salve, to the blunt the sting of extreme opinions.
The game has come a long way since the inception of Outlands, and my play style has naturally evolved and changed with the passing of years. During the Against the Shadow cycle, I was much more concerned with designing the cleverest most unique decks – all the more so as Battle and Siege threw the conventional archetypes in disarray.
These days, I typically only have time to play multiplayer games at my Austin LotR meetups, and what deck I play is much less of a priority. My primary concerns in selecting a deck for multiplayer are twofold. Above all, I want to avoid unique characters and attachments which will conflict with another player’s deck. This can be a logistical challenge, as the metagame often means that multiple players want to try out the new unique cards as they are released.
Aside from avoiding conflicting unique cards, my other concern in multiplayer games is to field decks which support the other players. Encounter card effects with text like “Each player does *something bad*” can be devastating in 3 and 4 player games. Not only does this make cancellation like A Test of Will and Eleanor that much more valuable, but it puts added pressure on any deck which does not excel at any facet of the game.
In all but the easiest quests, there will be rounds where there are one too many enemies in play, or the staging area is suddenly flooded with locations, or an ill-timed treachery pushes one players threat dangerously high. This is why a well-rounded deck with versatility is even more important with higher player counts. Solo favors unorthodox decks, where many turns will result in only a single encounter card revealed. Four-player games can be punishing to decks with gaps in their capabilities.
This is where the Aggro Outlands deck enters the discussion. This is probably the most pure aggro deck I’ve ever built, so nothing in the deck list should be too surprising. At its heart, it uses Erestor and Denethor as the engine of an ally swarm. All the way back in my Beorn’s Path articles, I discussed how powerful it can be to pair card draw with resource acceleration in the same deck. Put simply, the goal here is to outrun the encounter deck.
To that end, we have a nice mix of 27 allies and 20 events. The events all either function as additional card draw or resource acceleration. The only attachment in the deck is 3 copies of Steward of Gondor. If another player absolutely needs Steward for their deck, this can easily be replaced with an event like Man the Walls, or Wealth of Gondor. If you include Man the Walls, make sure to play your Ethir Swordsman second during the planning phase (when possible), so that they can still quest.
The number of zero-cost cards in this deck coupled with the 3 extra cards per round granted by Erestor can lead to a sort of feedback loop. In an ideal round, you will drawing into more card draw, with which you can draw into more resource acceleration and allies. The goal is to play at least two allies ever turn. By the time Faramir shows up, you should have an army of allies ready to capitalize on the willpower boost.
Enough about strategy, you can here for the alternate art and the bear does not disappoint. Enjoy the art, and let me know what you think. As always, contact The Hall if you would like printable copies of these cards.