I’m a fan of fast starts. I’m generally of the opinion that the first planning phase is pretty much the only point all game where you’re free to do what you want without any interference from the encounter deck, (barring a particularly disastrous setup). So when I build a deck, I usually want to make the most of that opportunity.
A Three Hour Tour
3x Elven Jeweler (Escape from Mount Gram)
1x Erestor (The Long Dark)
1x Galadriel (The Road Darkens)
3x Gandalf (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Gildor Inglorion (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Glorfindel (Flight of the Stormcaller)
3x Guardian of Rivendell (Flight of the Stormcaller)
2x Imladris Caregiver (Flight of the Stormcaller)
1x Lindir (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
2x Lindon Navigator (The Grey Havens)
1x Quickbeam (The Treason of Saruman)
3x Treebeard (The Antlered Crown)
3x To the Sea, to the Sea! (The Grey Havens)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x A Very Good Tale (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Elrond’s Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Elven-light (The Dread Realm)
3x Elwing’s Flight (The Grey Havens)
3x The Evening Star (The Grey Havens)
Huge planning phases require lots of cards and the resources to play them. Because of that, there are a few heroes who lend themselves exceptionally well to this mindset. Arwen Undómiel and Leadership Denethor are the patron saints of early, on-demand resource acceleration. Erestor is the king of first-turn cards, and Galdor of the Havens is essentially the Erestor of combo decks.
While all of these heroes receive the praise that they rightfully deserve, they’re usually sprinkled in among other hero lineups to speed up existing archetypes. You don’t often see them all together in the same place in a deck that just says “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”
In fact, of the 2443 decks currently on RingsDB, only three feature Denethor/Arwen/Erestor or Denethor/Arwen/Galdor- and one of those three has received the attention it deserves, reaching the Hall of Fame.
In Denison’s take on the lineup, the goal is to get out as many high-value allies as possible as quickly as possible. Gildor Inglorion and the ally versions of Erestor, Glorfindel, Treebeard, and Over Hill, Under Hill Gandalf are as good or better than any heroes. In addition to the speed offered by Denethor and Arwen, Denison uses To the Sea, To the Sea! for a huge cost reduction on any Noldor allies he might have.
Moreover, To the Sea! serves as another deck accelerator. Once per game, he can dump his entire hand at once and trigger Galdor’s ability to draw six new cards. He can also dump his entire hand to play Lindir for free and draw three new cards. Once a few of those high-cost Noldor are in play at a steep discount, they can tell A Very Good Tale to bring out some more of their peers.
Elven-light is around to take advantage of all that discarding, and cards like Elwing’s Flight and The Evening Star aren’t generally worth their cost until they have a few copies in the discard pile, anyway.
So if, like me, you’re addicted to life in the fast lane, I’d recommend slowing things down for a bit and joining me on a short leisure cruise- just three hours or so- with a speedy Noldor deck that is certainly worth a second look.