Rangers! Traps! Janky ranger events! Is such a deck viable? In the past I would have said “no”, but it would appear that a few recent cards have taken this archetype to a new level.
Join us today, as CoTR shines a spotlight on…
1x Anborn (The Blood of Gondor)
3x Erebor Hammersmith (Core Set)
3x Guardian of Ithilien (The City of Corsairs)
2x Ithilien Archer (Encounter at Amon Dîn)
3x Ithilien Tracker (Heirs of Númenor)
1x Mablung (The Land of Shadow)
2x Master of the Forge (Shadow and Flame)
2x Mirkwood Explorer (The Thing in the Depths)
2x Ambush (The Land of Shadow)
3x Entangling Nets (Temple of the Deceived)
2x Guarded Ceaselessly (The Thing in the Depths)
2x Ithilien Pit (Encounter at Amon Dîn)
1x Poisoned Stakes (The Blood of Gondor)
3x Protector of Lórien (Core Set)
2x Ranger Bow (Assault on Osgiliath)
3x Ranger Spear (The City of Corsairs)
3x Ranger Spikes (Heirs of Númenor)
1x Scroll of Isildur (The Morgul Vale)
1x Wingfoot (The Nîn-in-Eilph)
1x Advance Warning (The Drúadan Forest)
2x Distant Stars (Escape from Mount Gram)
3x Forest Patrol (Assault on Osgiliath)
2x Interrogation (The Drowned Ruins)
3x Mithrandir’s Advice (The Steward’s Fear)
I stumbled upon Ranger Trap is Back in my search for a modern mono-lore deck that I was asked to bring to a pick-up game. It had been a while since I played with traps, but was happily surprised with how much fun it was to pilot. All of those cool events that I never quite got to work before suddenly all came together in this deck.
True to form for mono-Lore decks, this packs plenty of card draw. Here, that’s really important, because you need three things in hand: Lots of cards to pitch to Protector of Lorien for defense, traps with which to snare enemeies, and events that key off traps to make wonderful things happen. In practice, you won’t have any troubles getting set-up …because mono-Lore. It also helps that Anborn and the Erebor Hammersmiths were included for recycling traps, as it ensures that you have choices available in-hand. Now the fun begins!
I didn’t realize it at first, but Guardian of Ithilien really makes this archetype come together. Being able to selectively push enemies into traps adds a strategic element that was previously absent: Now, you can manipulate which enemies you Interrogate, and which ones you snipe with a Forest Patrol. Even better, he allows you to snare two enemies per turn; a prospect that gets Damrod positively giddy. At worst, the Guardian of Ithilien a one-cost target for a Ranger Bow, Distant Stars, or even Guarded Ceaselessly. This latter card got panned pretty badly upon release; however, I found that I tend to build up locations in recent quests because of their terrible travel effects. With the Guardian being so inexpensive, and otherwise useless once he hits the board, suddenly Guarded Ceaselessly becomes a viable tool.
Faramir is a good hero choice. While one could make a good case for replacing him with Haldir, Faramir can get surprisingly beefy now that we have Ranger Spear available. I’ve also found Faramir’s five hit point pool to be a game-saver. That alone has put him over the top for me.