Confession time: After suffering from a horrible case of Dwarf fatigue, I hadn’t picked up a Dwarf deck since I finished On The Doorstep.
That was a long time ago, and we’ve since seen the release of many new, and powerful, archetypes. Last week I sat down and asked myself, “Are Dwarves still as insanely powerful, in the modern cardpool, as they were back in the Dwarrowdelf days?” With that question in mind, I downloaded a Dwarf-swarm deck from RingsDB and loaded up Into Ithilien. Five minutes later, I had my answer: Holy Manwe, they’re even better now!
The idea of the Dwarf swarm deck is almost as old as the game itself. Notable contributions include the Quad Sphere Dwarf Swarm *CotR Deckbox* by AtaruSlash, and the Disgusting Dwarf Swarm A.K.A. “Dwarf Barf” by cooljoe.
“Dwarf Barf” really sums up the strategy of these decks: It all comes down to how fast you are able to reach that magical 5-dwarf threshold and flood the table with Dain-boosted allies. Each of the aforementioned decks have their own strategies, but today I offer a third. This is one that slipped through the cracks a while back, but is absolutely top-tier. Apparently, when you tempt Dwarves with the power of the Dark Lord, the results are astounding.
Join us today, as CoTR shines a spotlight on…
Dain Ironfoot (Return to Mirkwood)
Nori (Over Hill and Under Hill)
Ori (Over Hill and Under Hill)
1x Azain Silverbeard (Flight of the Stormcaller)
1x Bifur (On the Doorstep)
1x Bofur (The Redhorn Gate)
1x Dori (Over Hill and Under Hill)
1x Dwalin (On the Doorstep)
3x Erebor Battle Master (The Long Dark)
3x Erebor Record Keeper (Khazad-dûm)
3x Ered Luin Miner (Temple of the Deceived)
3x Ered Nimrais Prospector (The Morgul Vale)
1x Fili (Over Hill and Under Hill)
1x Gimli (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Glóin (On the Doorstep)
1x Kili (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Miner of the Iron Hills (Core Set)
3x Legacy of Durin (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Narvi’s Belt (Khazad-dûm)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
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 Legacy of Númenor (The Voice of Isengard)
3x We Are Not Idle (Shadow and Flame)
2x Will of the West (Core Set)
Okay, so it’s not as cursed as you might expect from the title: the only Doomed card is Legacy of Numenor, but this card is a key component in a tri-sphere deck that strives to hit that 5-Dwarf threshold without Bombur. A lot of these cards cost three, so what’s a little advice from Sauron, if it sets you up a turn faster? Throw in A Very Good Tale or two, and you’ll have an army by the second turn. That’s right: While the downside of this deck is that it takes a turn to get going, the upshot is that it only takes a turn to get going. Once you’re set up, the benefits compound: A threat decrease from Nori, an extra card per round from Ori, and bonus cards from Legacy of Durin.
Just as interesting as what cards are present, are those that are absent: Despite the presence of milling cards, there are no Hidden Caches; and, despite the presence of We Are Not Idle, there is no Lure of Moria. Even that Dwarven staple, King Under the Mountain, is nowhere to be found. What’s going on?
What you are looking at is a finely tuned machine: Nori balances the threat increase from Legacy of Durin, you’ll find that you have just enough resources to keep up with the pace that you draw cards, and the pace at which the deck plays is fast, but doesn’t go overboard. Cards that drive the strategy are great, but those that push the deck past “great” and into “win-more” territory are extraneous, and ultimately counter-productive. Simply put, those staples are not needed here.
I will also point out that this deck made me do a complete 180 on Ered Luin Miner (and is proof positive that you have to play with a card before you can properly judge it). Between Ered Nimrais Prospector and A Very Good Tale, you have a pretty good chance at popping them out for free. I played three games with this deck, and averaged 2 free miners per game.
If you are looking to smash the enemy into paste, and don’t mind damning yourself to do so, then check out Cursed Dwarfs. It’s worth a second look.