Now that Sands of Harad has been out for a while, this is a good time to look at an Unlikely Friendship build. Legolas and Gimli make a very powerful team, but also present some deck building challenges: How do you consistently pay for Gimli’s kicker? How do you consistently pay for Legolas’ kicker? Who gets to be the third wheel?
The thematically obvious choice for the latter question is Aragorn, and I highly recommend Beorn’s The Three Hunters Aggro deck if you like Voltron hero builds. Other interesting decks include The Third Knife by chrsjxn and Leglimvor by Seastan. Each of these decks take the unlikely friendship concept in a different direction, but did you spot the similarities? All three utilize Steward of Gondor for Gimli, and Elven-light for Legolas. Their kicker costs are high enough that we are forced to build around them, and these cards make for obvious staples.
Personally, I don’t think Gimli will ever concede his title as the Steward of Gondor, because the card is just that good; however, we do have another option for Legolas’ kicker: Erestor. When I first saw the deck list for this spotlight, I was skeptical. Even the author himself concedes that this deck is far from polished… but then I captured a Mumak with it, so there must be something to it.
Join us today, as CoTR shines a spotlight on…
3x Erebor Hammersmith (Core Set)
2x Galadhrim Minstrel (Trouble in Tharbad)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
1x Gildor Inglorion (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
1x Haldir of Lórien (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
1x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
3x Minas Tirith Lampwright (Encounter at Amon Dîn)
3x Sailor of Lune (The Grey Havens)
3x Snowbourn Scout (Core Set)
3x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)
3x Warden of the Havens (The Grey Havens)
3x Dwarven Shield (The Sands of Harad)
3x Mirkwood Long-knife (The Sands of Harad)
3x Miruvor (Shadow and Flame)
2x Song of Wisdom (Conflict at the Carrock)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
3x Captain’s Wisdom (The Thing in the Depths)
3x Gaining Strength (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Legacy of Númenor (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Unlikely Friendship (The Sands of Harad)
3x Well Warned (The Sands of Harad)
2x Will of the West (Core Set)
The concept is simple: Use Erestor’s mad card-draw skills to fuel Legolas’ ability, and get your duo set up as fast as possible. One thing that’s always bothered me about the Elven-light approach is that you are dependent on drawing it early, which might affect your mulligan. Not so in this deck; in fact, it’s rather freeing not to have to worry about how you’re going to pay that kicker cost turn after turn.
While Erestor has his drawbacks, few can rival the pace with which he sets up your board state. This is the first deck I’ve played where I’ve been reliably able to equip Gimli with two Dwarven Shields; and I have to say, having two shields is amazing. By mid-game, Gimli will have plenty of cash on hand, which can be used either to pay for some of the lore cards, or to repeatedly ready a Warden of Healing.
There are a couple of other build decisions that I like about this deck: The first is the inclusion of the Grey Havens allies. Between your discard for Legolas, the end-of-round discards for Erestor, your event cards, and the option of discarding Miruvor after triggering it, you have plenty of agency in deciding what the top card in your discard pile will be. The second is Miruvor, with the amazing versatility that it provides. In an Erestor deck it’s even better, because you can opt to trigger it’s recursion effect without impeding your card draw in the following round.
Legolas and Gimli with their weird friend is not a perfect deck, but there’s still fun to be had. Before I close, I will take up camacazio’s request for suggestions and offer up a derivative deck: A Weird and Unlikely Friendship, which tones down the ally cost curve and adds in some more options for fueling the Wardens of the Havens. Was this the right approach? Post your comments below!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this take on the unlikely friendship. If you’ve been struggling to find a way to build around the duo, then this may offer some inspiration. Happy hunting!