In LOTR LCG a player may sit down at a table with a support deck, other players may bring specialized decks that focus on one area of the game, there are decks that are jacks-of-all-trades that do a little bit of everything, and myriads of other styles. The deck I choose to review today is a support deck that other players will always welcome at the table.
Join us today as CotR shines a spotlight on:
2x Defender of the Naith (Trouble in Tharbad)
3x Galadhrim Minstrel (Trouble in Tharbad)
2x Galadriel’s Handmaiden (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
1x Gildor Inglorion (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Greenwood Archer (The Sands of Harad)
1x Haldir of Lórien (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
1x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
2x Naith Guide (The Dunland Trap)
2x Orophin (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
3x Woodland Courier (The Drowned Ruins)
1x Dwarven Shield (The Sands of Harad)
3x Lembas (Trouble in Tharbad)
2x Light of Valinor (Foundations of Stone)
2x Mirkwood Long-knife (The Sands of Harad)
2x Narvi’s Belt (Khazad-dûm)
2x O Lórien! (Trouble in Tharbad)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
How many times have you heard “Does anyone have A Test of Will” or “Somebody please cancel this shadow.”?
Well, when someone plops down a deck with Balin and Eleanor the group as a whole breaths a bit easier. These 2 heroes have abilities to cancel the worst surprises of the game, and they should not be ignored. I have played many games of LOTR LCG, and many times if Eleanor is on the table, she emerges as the Most Valuable Card. I also find that Hasty Stroke gets cut from decks causing players to take a gamble with the shadows they face. Balin, however, is always there (assuming he has the resource) to save the day if needed.
So, where does Argalad fit into this line-up? After all, he is the reason I decided to spotlight this deck. The pairing of the other 2 heroes has been done many times, but I have not seen a deck that also includes Argalad. His ability ‘cancels threat’, and with Light of Valinor he can quest and trigger his ability in the same quest phase. A Mirkwood Long-knife or 2 boosts both of those abilities. Slap Unexpected Courage on him to use his ranged attack as well during combat. But is that enough to qualify him to sit beside these other 2 cancelers? Not quite, until you look at the traits.
The Sands of Harad cycle is taking a hard look at traits and unlikely pairings. The deluxe box comes with Legolas and Gimli as a power duo based on the Silvan and Dwarf traits. Another card in this box, Unlikely Friendship, triggers off those traits as well. This leadership card is an auto-include if you have an unique Silvan and an unique Dwarf. When I say auto-include, I mean it in the most AUTOMATIC way possible. Even if you need 50 other cards in a deck, if you have the conditions met, you must add 3 copies as cards 51, 52, and 53. It replaces itself and gives a resource. In the tri-sphere deck being spotlighted this card can really help smooth the resources.
I ultimately choose this deck because I like the pairing of Argalad and Balin to trigger Unlikely Friendship. I think support decks deserve a lot of accolade in this game. When the game is over and you reminisce the key plays of the game it should be no surprise it was the support heroes that shone the brightest. Eleanor prevented that one treachery in the opening round that would have ended the game right there, or Balin canceled that shadow that would have killed the table’s main defender.
Don’t ignore Eleanor (and Balin (and Traits)).