Fellowship 1: Divide and Conquer! – Motivation and Concept

Hello all!  I’m chomping at the bit to dig right in to and start building my first fellowship in my new series, Building the Fellowship! As I stated in Expectations, one of the main series of articles on this blog will be centered around building and play-testing decks specifically designed to work together in a multiplayer game. I will do mostly 4-deck builds, but occasionally will do a 3 deck fellowship as theme and other considerations dictate.

A Kindly Reminder

Each fellowship that I put together will be presented in its own mini-series of posts, starting with an initial impetus post describing the motivation behind the decks and the overall strategies that I plan to use in the builds. I will then choose my heroes and describe the rationale behind my decisions. The subsequent set of posts will detail the creation of each of the decks individually along with a rundown of the included card’s purposes within the context of a game using all 4(or 3) decks. There will then be a follow-up article that will be a summary of the play testing of the decks together based on a solo 4-handed run through of some scenario in the game. As a capstone post, I may follow up with a review of how well the decks worked together and suggest some tweaks that may improve upon the fellowship’s implementation of the motivating concepts. Of course, all the decks will be posted on a decks page and on RingsDB for easy reference.

The Beginning of the Beginning

Given that refresher, let’s go into the motivation behind the first set of builds. So, there are many ways to go about designing a fellowship. You can build each deck around a certain trait, a certain mechanic, or even just the sphere. Now, certain scenarios require each deck to be able to do a little bit of everything, and I’ve built many a deck with a dedicated defender, a dedicated attacker, and a dedicated questing hero. However, there’s certainly quite a few scenarios where it’s okay for each deck to just do one of these things really well, and be mediocre at best at the rest of it. Actually, what if one deck was a dedicated questing deck, one deck was chop full of sentinel defenders, and a third deck was comprised entirely of ranged attackers?

Living the Dream

That’s exactly what this first fellowship is all about. Each deck will be specially tailored for a single purpose. This is one of the first ideas that I tried when building my first 4-handed decks and I found that the idea can be applied successfully to many scenarios. The card pool is large enough that one deck can muster an ally swarm of sentinel characters. Imagine the power behind Rumil’s ability in a deck with nothing but ranged allies? And it’s almost impossible to build a mono spirit deck with out bringing a ton of questing power to the table, anyway. With this kind of set up, it doesn’t matter which  player engages an enemy as players will be in a position to work together to tackle each foe as it comes.

If Three is Company, What is Four?

But, then there is the 4th deck. What is it’s role in the fellowship? And I think this is the heart of the matter. The 4th deck should be able to support the other players, while being good at meeting the challenges of a given quest. In a sense, it is the wildcard. It can be whatever you need it to be. For a combat heavy scenario that swarms the table with enemies, it can be a nice Dunedain deck that feeds off of engaging as many enemies as possible. It can be that powerhouse deck that is designed specifically for big boss battles. In questing heavy decks, it can be a second questing/cancellation deck that brings a good amount of location control. The options are truly unlimited.

Decisions, Decisions

For this set of decks, I decided that for my 4th deck I will go with mono-lore support deck that has some umph in it for both combat heavy and quest heavy decks. I want something flexible enough to be good at a little bit of everything, while excelling at healing, and spreading card draw around. This type of deck should hold it’s weight in a variety of quest, while making the other 3 decks in the fellowship function even better. As for the other 3 decks, I’ll just keep it simple; I’ll go mono sphere for the ranged and questing builds, tactics and spirit respectively. Finally, just to round things out, I’ll use two leadership heroes and one tactics hero for the sentinel deck. The main reason for this is that there are only two leadership sentinels in the game, but I still want access to the leadership sphere’s resource generation and attachments. The secondary reason is that tactics has some awesome support cards for a sentinel deck, so having those tactics cards in there will make the deck really work, as we shall see.

There Goes My Hero

So, now we’ve got the general idea down for each of the decks. The next step will be to select a hero line-up. Of course, with 70 available heroes in the game, and counting, this is no easy decision in it’s own right. But we’ve laid down some good groundwork as to what we’re looking for, so the selection process shouldn’t be too bad. However, as it’s getting past my bedtime, that will have to wait for another day. In the meantime, I hope I’ve given enough inspiration for some of you to go off and choose your own hero line-up. If you come up with something, feel free to leave a comment below. Also, please let me know if you have any thoughts about how to best divide this series up, as I’m open to combing things into few posts. Well, until next time. Happy Questing, everybody!!

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