Even as Pippin gazed in wonder the walls passed from looming grey to white, blushing faintly in the dawn; and suddenly the sun climbed over the eastern shadow and sent forth a shaft that smote the face of the City. Then Pippin cried aloud, for the Tower of Ecthelion, standing high within the topmost wall, shone out against the sky, glimmering like a spike of pearl and silver, tall and fair and shapely, and it pinnacle glittered as if it were wrought of crystals; and white banners broke and fluttered from the battlements in the morning breeze, and high and far he heard a clear ringing as of silver trumpets.
These word instantly captivated my imagination as a young man. Visions of battlements, trumpets, and banners gleaming in the sun fueled a life-long appreciation for mythology and tales of legendary feats. Tolkien’s world-building is renowned to such an extent that it spawned an entire genre. Of his Third Age legendarium, Gondor has long held a specific fascination for me.
It is no surprise then, that I continue my quest to build a powerful and thematic Gondor deck. As with all of my recent decks, I’ve created alternate art cards to accompany this list. Magali Villeneuve’s illustrations, in no small part, help sets the art for this game above most other card games. In particular, her pieces of Boromir, Denethor, and Faramir are among my favorites. Ever card in this deck uses art by Magali, and I hope you enjoy the beautiful work featured here. You can find the deck list on RingsDB.
A Marxist would summarize the strategy of this deck as follows: “seize the means of production”. In other words: play Steward of Gondor… then profit. I jest, but Gondor as an archetype is not exactly known for its complexity. In the Leadership sphere effects like Boromir, Faramir, Visionary Leadership, and For Gondor! all provide global boosts. We will use resource acceleration to field an army of (mostly) generic soldiers which we then strengthen using global effects.
With the exception of a few powerful unique allies like Faramir, most of the Gondorian army consists of ordinary soldiers. Many of the low-cost allies like Errand-rider, Square of the Citadel, and Envoy of Pelargir, have resource-smoothing abilities. Even the more expensive allies like Veteran of Osgiliath and Knight of the White Tower tend to be lacking in distinguishing abilities. Still, if you find Steward of Gondor early enough, and survive the early game until your army is established, Gondor can be relatively powerful in the late game.
With a high starting threat, and no healing or treachery cancellation, this deck can struggle mightily against some quests. It also quests poorly in the critical early rounds, until you get a few allies in play and Visionary Leadership attached. Accordingly, this deck would do well paired with high willpower decks like Noldor and Rohan, decks which can cover for many of its weaknesses.
It’s all well and good to talk weaknesses, but this deck has strengths as well. With Sneak Attack and Reinforcements in a mono-sphere deck, mustering allies quickly should be no problem. Gandalf in particular, is a balm which cures many early game ills. Prince Imrahil thrives with all of these allies jumping into and out of play. Also, do not hesitate to allow your Squire of the Citadel test their mettle against the nearest Troll or Giant, just be careful that the Valar (or the encounter deck) to not punish your heartlessness.
Ancestral Armor is fast becoming one of my favorite attachments for its sheer power. With his suite of armor and a mount (Armored Destrier) Denethor becomes a formidable defender. His ability gives you an early game cash infusion, and also ensures that Boromir can always boost your army’s strength. Visionary Leadership and Faramir are both critical for quest power, and this deck can become one of the better questing decks in the late game. With relatively well-balanced ally stats, this deck should also perform capably in Battle quests, which feels thematically appropriate.
Knight of the White Tower is a revelation for this archetype, as his base stats are among the best for any generic ally in the game. Boost these with your various passive effects and events, and you can must multiple allies with hero-level stats. Man the Walls helps to reduce the burden of having to pay for the Knight from a single hero’s resource pool. I’ve included it here because I mostly play multi-player games and it is an amazing effect with four players. Obviously, if you plan on playing this deck solo you will want to replace it with Wealth of Gondor.
I hope that the wealth and grandeur of this still-proud Kingdom inspire you the way they did me as a young lad. Also, enjoy the gorgeous art of Magali Villeneuve. As always, contact the hall if you would like a printable copy of this deck, and happy adventuring in Middle-earth!