Hello, all!! Rob, here, with the second post of my first multi-player deck building mini-series in which I demonstrate the fellowship deck building concept I call Divide and Conquer. This is where one deck is made up of predominantly sentinel defenders, the second is comprised of mostly ranged characters, the next deck is really good at questing, and the 4th deck is specialized for the needs of the quest. In this post, we will pick our hero lineup for each of the 4 decks and talk about the pros and cons of using each combination of heroes.
To date, there are 70 released, regular heroes. As discussed in the previous post, we’ve already laid some basic groundwork as to which spheres we will be using for each build, which, in turn, falls in line with the strengths of each sphere. This, of course, helps us to narrow down our hero selection quite a bit. For my sentinels, I will use two leadership heroes(as there are only two leadership sentinels anyway) and one tactics hero. For the ranged deck, there are a good amount of ranged tactics characters and some great ranged tactics heroes, so mono-tactics it is. Of course, what’s a questing deck that’s not got some spirit in it. This deck will have a lot of spirit, as it will be mono-sphere, also. For the final deck, I chose to flesh out our fellowship with a full lore hero line-up, but as you will see, this will not be a purely lore deck.
The Front Lines
Deck 1 – The Sentinels
As I mentioned, I plan to use Leadership and Tactics, as both spheres have a good source of helpful cards that will work quite well in a sentinel deck, including a plethora of sentinel allies in each sphere. The question is, which of the two spheres to give preference to; that is, should I use two Leadership or two lore?! Well, I would like Leadership Aragorn for his ability to quest each round and his 5 hit points, and while there are several solid tactics sentinels to choose from, Beregond stands out to me as the quintessential sentinel defender. That means my remaining sentinel defender will either be Erkenbrand or Dori. Honestly, I like Erkenbrand’s ability better. So there you have it, we have our hero lineup. Now this is a pretty high starting threat cost lineup. However, when combined with the dedicated spirit deck, there should be enough threat reduction available to mitigate the high starting threat for this deck. Also, for those of you worried about taking on the likes of a Hill Troll too soon, the wealth of combat-ready heroes in this fellowship should ease any qualms about being ready for a fight straight out of the gate.
Bringing up the Rear
Deck 2 – The Ranged
Similar to the Sentinel deck, we have essentially 6 heroes to choose from, if you don’t include Hirluin the Fair whose is pretty useless in a non-outlands deck. I like going mono-tactics, which chooses are three heroes for us, gives us a lot of good events and attachments. That means having Bard and Brand together in the same deck. Now, I know what some of you are saying: putting the bowman and his grandson side by side breaks some law of purity. However, I enjoy putting these two together for a couple of reasons. One is that the just pair together nicely, as, together, they can essentially attack for 8 and ready another attacking character. The other is that despite any timeline discrepancies, it just feels right bringing the family together. Of course, if we are sticking with ranged tactics heroes, Legolas is our remaining choice. So that was easy. Now, if we weren’t doing all ranged characters, Haldir would go nicely with these two. However, there are only 2 ranged Lore allies, and one of them is also Haldir, so that won’t work. However, Legolas and his trusty steed are more than ready to help kill some stuff and help put some progress on the active location.
And The Most Spirit Award Goes To….
Now this was a hard one. There are simply too many good spirit choices these days!!! However, when I thought about what I wanted from the deck, which is as getting as much questing power as possible, the choice became easier: Eowyn, Galadriel , and Cirdan the Shipwright! But then, why did I ultimately choose Galadriel’s granddaughter instead when it’s possible to quest for 16 right out the gate, if everybody pitches a card to Eowyn?!! Basically, I didn’t want to risk not getting the attachment that I needed to make Galadriel work and only being able to have a base questing of 8 for a good part of the game. So, we deal with one less questing point. Big deal. Now, the card draw, threat reduction, and ally-questing- without-exhausting abilities of Galadriel are no joke, so by all means, use her instead. I just chose not to. Instead, we get some resource generation and the ability to quest for 11 round 1. I’ll take it. Now for some games, Eleanor is going to be the essential 3rd hero instead. There are just so many awful treacheries that are almost guaranteed to pop up at some point in a 4 player game, so feel free to trade out Arwen for the Gondorian as you see fit. I will be including her in the Sideboard for this deck for sure.
Deck 4 – Support
For this deck, we want a very well rounded deck that can participate in questing, and bring some hurt in combat. We want to be able to support the other decks with card draw, and provide some much needed healing. Finally, we want to be able to take advantage of some of that card draw and actually be able to play those cards. Sound impossible?! Well have no fear. I have a plan. We include Bifur to collect handouts from the other players, Beravor to pay tit-for-tat with some card draw, and then include Elrond for healing, access to free cards, and all the around Bad-Assedness he brings with his incredible stats. As for the rest of the requirements for this deck, that will have to be taken up when we do the build. Now remember, this deck is the wild card. It can, and should, be tweaked, altered, or even completely traded out for another deck as dictated by the needs of the quest. Don’t feel restricted, as this is just one suggestion as to what would bring out the best qualities in each of the other decks, while adding some flavor of it’s own.
Whew!! That was tough, but fun. I’d say that all in all, we’ve got a pretty good lineup; we’ve got all of our combat needs covered regardless of the deck doing the engaging, there is strong questing all the way across the table, and each sphere is well represented. We’ve also got repeatable card draw and some across-the-table resource smoothing. And don’t forget, if cancelation is a concern, feel free to trade out Arwen for Eleanor!
Let the Deck Building Begin!!
Well, I’d say we are well on our way to having a solid set of decks to work with. However, our fellowship is far from complete!! Still so many choices to come, as we flesh out the build for each of these decks in a separate article, with a follow-up post summarizing a play-test and a review of how the decks worked and some suggestions on how they might be improved. Be on the look out for the next post in this series on the Fellowship #1: Divide and Conquer page in which I will be developing the sentinel deck! Until then, happy questing!!!