As an unapologetic Caldara fan, I was absolutely giddy when the spirit ally version of Prince Imrahil was released. While this has spurred discussion on whether Caldara is overpowered, I think that Prince Imrahil’s release has been healthy for the game, as it has opened up the Caldara metagame to far more deckbuilding options; specifically, the wealth of options we now have frees us from the constraint of having three spirit heroes.
While I think that we are still at the tip of the iceberg in terms of unlocking Caldara’s potential, there have been some notable contributions: Sappidus proved the viability of a two-hero Caldara deck in You can only hope to contain her, and Deck Tech author chrsjxn made a splash with his dual-sphere Caldara deck: Galdara.
Since this spotlight series is dedicated to shining light on otherwise-unnoticed decks and ideas, today we will look at the first (non-suicidal) dual-sphere Caldara deck ever to be published on RingsDB, which contains some interesting ideas that are destined to change the Caldara landscape.
Join us today, as CoTR shines a spotlight on…
3x Elven Jeweler (Escape from Mount Gram)
3x Galdor of the Havens (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
3x Glorfindel (Flight of the Stormcaller)
3x Imladris Caregiver (Flight of the Stormcaller)
3x Lindir (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
3x Prince Imrahil (The Flame of the West)
3x Sam Gamgee (The Thing in the Depths)
3x Westfold Horse-Breaker (The Hunt for Gollum)
3x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Cloak of Lórien (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
3x Elf-stone (The Black Riders)
3x Sword-thain (The Dread Realm)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
3x Bofur (The Redhorn Gate)
3x Elfhelm (The Dead Marshes)
3x Galadriel’s Handmaiden (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
3x Guardian of Rivendell (Flight of the Stormcaller)
3x Imladris Stargazer (Foundations of Stone)
Astute readers will notice the lack of Fortune or Fate, which has been a staple of Caldara decks since her release. Caldara’s Prince tests the assumption that a Caldara deck needs recursion in order to be effective, and in its place asks: “what can we do with the deck space once occupied by these cards?”
In toxiczammy’s rendition, that deck space is used to shore up some key weaknesses in mono-spirit decks: poor defense, and lack of healing. Elrond happily supports both of these roles: With his starting defense of 3, and in-sphere access to Cloak of Lorien and A Burning Brand, he is a welcome addition in any quest that punishes the player for chump-blocking. With his innate healing ability, you will get more mileage out of Imladris Caregiver, which also conveniently fuels the discard pile. Finally, as with virtually every deck out there, card draw is of utmost importance, and the ally version of Galdor of the Havens synergizes greatly with this archetype to keep your hand flush with options.
The drawback, of course, is the lack of recursion. We know that Prince Imrahil will cover the resource gap once Caldara leaves, so she doesn’t need to come back; furthermore, how many allies do you really need to bring back? In some decks, more is better, but with defense covered in this deck, we can afford to be a little more conservative. Besides, we also have three copies of Elf-stone if we need a discount on allies after Caldara has left the party.
While this deck hasn’t reached the super-powered levels of some Caldara decks, it can still pack a punch, particularly if you can get Galdor of the Havens out early. There is no doubt, in my mind, that there is a wealth of Caldara jankiness just waiting to be explored. For a first-stab at dual-sphere Caldara, I think that this deck has done remarkably well, and that is worth a second look.