With the introduction of Celeborn in The Dunland Trap, the Ring Maker cycle kicked off what was to become my favorite archetype in Lord of the Rings The Card Game- the Silvan elves! The Silvan cards typically feature low cost allies with relatively weak stats who benefit from both entering and leaving play. Thematically, this feels like the hit and run tactics utilized by the defenders of the wood - striking in force and then fading back into the trees. Most important to me - it's actually fun to play! You're constantly picking up cards, searching the top cards of your deck, and generally being tricksy.
When it comes to building a Silvan deck, you're faced with some choices. Because the archetype is comprehensive, it spans all four spheres. While it might be possible to cover a 4-sphere silvan deck, it would definitely be a delicate balance and so I've zeroed in on two different builds. One features Celeborn, Haldir, and Galadriel while the third swaps Galadriel with Legolas. The first is best played in multiplayer, as it can struggle to deal damage, while with Legolas and tactics cards, the second becomes a "murder elf" deck (to quote Parker). In this article, I will focus on the Galadriel version, but I may visit the murder elf version down the road!
Celeborn is an obvious choice for any Silvan deck. He has a solid stat-line that benefits from some action advantage, but his ability to give all Silvan allies +1 to all 3 stats is fantastic! In fact, I'd say he's the cornerstone of the Silvan deck. Get the allies into play, then get them into your hand so you can bring them back again!
Galadriel's abilities are simply amazing. While Nenya gives her the ability to help quest (pro tip - wait until after staging to decide if you need her 4 Willpower!), reducing threat and drawing a card is a HUGE advantage! Allowing your allies to quest without exhausting the turn they arrive combined with Celeborn's boost to willpower usually means this deck is no slouch in the quest phase. It also means you've got plenty of chump blockers or attackers when combat rolls around!
Speaking of Combat, Haldir is, unfortunately, a bit neutered in this version of the deck. His ability is very cool- allowing you to snipe enemies in the staging area or who have been engaged by other players, but without some tactics attachments (I'm looking at you Rivendell Blade and Bow of the Galadhrim!), he doesn't have much bite. As I said, this deck is best played in multiplayer - see if you can talk one of your comrades into hooking Haldir up! They'll probably thank you for it.
|This is my favorite non-Magali art in the game.|
The allies for this deck are pretty straightforward. If they are in-sphere and silvan, include them! I've included 3 copies of Galadhrim Minstrel, Naith Guide, and Galadriel's Handmaiden. These are the ones who will be doing the heavy lifting in the deck- constantly bouncing into and out of play. I also include 3 Defenders of the Naith. While not the strongest card, it's still a fairly reliable defender in a deck with brittle characters.
Rounding out those 12 allies, I include 2 copies of Hennamarth Riversong, 2 copies of Orophin, 2 copies of Silvan Tracker, and 2 copies of Silvan Refugee. Hennamarth is great (Ed: he isn't the official mascot of the WWPD Fellowship for nothing!). With Hennamarth and Wingfoot, you net +1 willpower (by using Hennamarth to look at the encounter deck and questing with Haldir) AND gain some scrying ability. Orophin is fantastic for bringing back discarded allies, and also boasts a solid stat-line. Silvan Tracker is a core set card that's really come into his own with the new silvan archetype! Bring on the archery damage!
I don't think this list is perfect. The Silvan Refugee is a very tough one. Because it HAS to leave if anyone else leaves, you're tempted to use it to fuel some of your events... but that's short-sighted because other allies have better "enters play" effects. Thus, I usually use the refugee as a one-turn quester/chump-blocker. I've swapped them with Lorien Guide and while I like that combo, in practice I rarely have the 2 spirit resources (assuming the use of "O Lorien" - see below) to drop on the guide. Experiment with it and let me know!
This is an event-heavy deck! More so than most of my decks. Much like the allies, there are 3 event cards that are absolutely "3 ofs". Feigned Voices (AKA Invisible Sandwich), The Tree People, and Island Amid Perils. Those three events let you get allies back into your hand which lets you both trigger the event's ability AND re-trigger the allies ability.
The other events I chose to round them out are: A Test of Will to crush treacheries; Tighten Our Belts just to help get some extra resources; Daeron's Runes to burn through the deck a bit faster; and A Very Good Tale to keep the allies coming! I love using Defender of the Naith for the tale, and then using another event to make a Silvan leave play to ready the Defender again.
Runner up: Children of the Sea. I had this in the deck and it's nice to use on the Silvan Refugee, but I found it was often just overkill.
The only "3 of" I've included here is O Lorien!. Reducing the cost of a Silvan ally each turn is pivotal to the success of this deck. Nenya is nice to have, particularly because it gives Galadriel a Lore resource. Wingfoot combined with Hennamarth assures that Haldir's 2 willpower won't go to waste. You can't go wrong with Unexpected Courage! Action advantage for the win. That being said, I'd swap this with two copies of Light of Valinor if I was sure my partners were not bringing Glorfindel. I do, however, primarily play this alongside my friend's deck which includes Legolas, Elrond, and Glorfindel. Finally, I have the Cloak of Lorien. On Celeborn it gives us a solid defender, and if the extra copy comes into play you can stick it on one of the Defenders of the Naith.
1x Galadriel (Celebrimbor's Secret)
1x Haldir of Lorien (Trouble in Tharbad)
1x Celeborn (The Dunland Trap)
3x Defender of the Naith (Trouble in Tharbad)
3x Galadhrim Minstrel (Trouble in Tharbad)
3x Galadriel's Handmaiden (Celebrimbor's Secret)
2x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
3x Naith Guide (The Dunland Trap)
2x Orophin (Celebrimbor's Secret)
2x Silvan Refugee (The DrÃºadan Forest)
2x Silvan Tracker (The Dead Marshes)
2x Nenya (Celebrimbor's Secret)
3x O Lorien! (Trouble in Tharbad)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
2x Wingfoot (The Nin-in-Eilph)
2x Cloak of Lorien (Celebrimbor's Secret)
3x Feigned Voices (The Three Trials)
3x Island Amid Perils (The Nin-in-Eilph)
3x The Tree People (The Dunland Trap)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
2x Tighten Our Belts (The Nin-in-Eilph)
2x A Very Good Tale (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Daeron's Runes (Foundations of Stone)
That about sums it up! The deck has been very reliable alongside my friend's Elrond, Glorfindel, Legolas deck. Once Haldir has a blade/bow combo, he kills lots of things before we need to deal with it, and this deck can bring the questing power as well! In all, I'm a big fan- the deck is so fun to play!
Thanks for reading, stay tuned for part 2: The Murder Elves!
Thanks for reading, stay tuned for part 2: The Murder Elves!
Do you run a Silvan deck? What would you change? Please sound off in the comments below, or let us know on our forum!