I am now on the Thurindir bandwagon, and this is the Fellowship that did it. Yes, I know I featured a deck by this author in the last spotlight, but I couldn’t resist this one. It’s got one of those ideas that was so off my radar that my mind exploded when I saw it.
I think that a lot of players; and, until recently, myself included; hold a simplistic view of Thurindir: Side quests provide global boosts to the players, and Thurindir facilitates this mechanic, which in turn boosts his own stats. Throw in a Legacy Bladed or two, and you get bigger stat boosts. That’s cool and all, but what if we shift our mindset away from “side-quest deck” and more towards “mechanic-that-side-quests-facilitate deck”. With a guaranteed, player-chosen side quest in hand, what becomes possible? For starters, we can get Keeping Count to work.
Join us today, as CoTR shines a spotlight on…
3x Envoy of Pelargir (Heirs of Númenor)
1x Ghân-buri-Ghân (The Flame of the West)
1x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
1x Mablung (The Land of Shadow)
1x Quickbeam (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Robin Smallburrow (The Drowned Ruins)
1x Skinbark (The Land of Shadow)
1x Treebeard (The Antlered Crown)
3x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)
3x Wellinghall Preserver (Across the Ettenmoors)
3x Westfold Outrider (The Voice of Isengard)
2x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
2x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
1x Keeping Count (The Redhorn Gate)
3x Protector of Lórien (Core Set)
2x Rivendell Blade (Road to Rivendell)
2x Rohan Warhorse (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Coney in a Trap (The Mûmakil)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
2x Feint (Core Set)
3x Hands Upon the Bow (Shadow and Flame)
2x Radagast’s Cunning (Core Set)
2x Secret Paths (Core Set)
3x Arwen Undómiel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Defender of Rammas (Heirs of Númenor)
2x Escort from Edoras (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
3x Ethir Swordsman (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Galadriel’s Handmaiden (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
3x Imladris Stargazer (Foundations of Stone)
3x Silvan Refugee (The Drúadan Forest)
3x Zigil Miner (Khazad-dûm)
Keeping Count with Thurindir is all about consistency in getting out those two copies of Keeping Count. That’s right, there are only two copies of Keeping Count in the entire Fellowship; how’s that for deck efficiency? Choose Gather Information as your free side quest, complete it as soon as possible, and then each player can tutor their deck for Keeping Count. Now you’re off to the races.
In terms of strategy, I prefer to play one copy of Keeping Count on Gimli immediately, and then hold the second one back. Once Gimli kills a couple of enemies in his usual blood-rage, slap the second copy on Legolas and wreck havoc. Having tried it a couple of times, I must say that it is deeply satisfying to snipe a seven-hitpoint enemy out of the staging area with Hands Upon the Bow. Apart from that, these decks harken back to strategies popular during the Dwarrowdelf cycle: Zigil Miner+Stargazer, Gimli+Citadel Plate, Rivendell Blade+Hands Upon the Bow, etc. Some newer cards have been splashed in, including a couple of Ents, but this is really all about setting up Keeping Count.
Where this gets especially interesting is considering where we go from here. If Thurindir can all-but-guarantee that you can tutor a specific card on the second turn (yes, I know there are caveats here; stay with me) then this opens up a lot of doors that we thought closed. I don’t mean streamlining existing decks, I mean enabling strategies that are just as difficult to set up as Keeping Count: How about a deck that abuses Path of Need? How about one that uses Fall of Gil-Galad to drop into secrecy mode? That’s only the stuff that’s possible if you choose Gather Information as your starter. What can the other side quests facilitate, should you choose them? A second-turn Scout Ahead could kickstart Rossiel and make The Door is Closed more reliable. A second turn Keep Watch could allow the Dunedain player to start tanking early and accelerate their board state.
Yesterday, I was a seasoned veteran; today, I am a child in a universe of possibility. I encourage you to give this Fellowship a try, and see what Thurindir Thurindir can do. If this inspires in you any creative uses for side quests, share your thoughts below.