One of the highlights from the most recent AP, The Wastes of Eriador, is a new ally that helps out one of my favorite heroes, Beorn. The new ally, Honour Guard, is one of the few player cards (possibly the only one) that can directly aid Beorn in his thunderous efforts to remove every servant of evil from Middle Earth.
Thus I set 3 goals for a new deck:
1. Include Hero Beorn;
2. Be able to handle a wide variety of quests, in both multiplayer and solo mode; and
3. Include a hero lineup that other players are unlikely to utilize, preventing hero conflicts
Behold his noble visage!
Beorn is a very strong hero, but he struggles to find a niche in many decks. While his ability to defend without exhausting is strong, his low defense means that he can't take every hit that comes his way, especially against modern, tougher enemies. However, his massive hit point pool means that he can reliably help out against weenie enemies, and he can also soak up archery damage like nobody's business. Honour Guard helps in both scenarios, and can keep Beorn alive to murder-stomp enemies all day.
But now who to include to support this ursine friend? I love the Lore sphere, but after including Beorn and his high 12 threat I was wondering who I could include that had low threat, a powerful ability, and didn't see the table that often in my group...
I "wondered" for about two seconds before choosing Grima. His ability is amazing, and can jump-start the first couple turns of any game.
So now we're raising our threat periodically to get ahead, so my third hero would have to be on the lower end of the threat spectrum, and would also have to be Spirit to give me access to threat reduction cards, as well as treachery cancellation (which I almost always take now against recent quests). Spirit Merry is a good option, but my buddy Brandon from Cardboard of the Rings recently announced that he was claiming him. So I decided to pick up what he dropped:
Yes, to complete the ridiculous level of un-thematic choices with this deck, I have chosen the lady Galadriel to be my third hero. Her inclusion has also been made possible by fellow author Steve's recent transition from Silvan deck to Dunedain and Secrecy decks. Of course, no Galadriel deck would be complete without her handmaidens, who also help with threat control, for myself and for other player who may suffer under Grima's blessings.
Here is the deck in full:
Defender of Rammas x 3
Galadriel's Handmaiden x 3
Erebor Hammersmith x 2
Booming Ent x 2
Honour Guard x 3
Ethir Swordsman x 3
Arwen Undomiel x 2
Warden of Healing x 2
Envoy of Pelargir x 3
Vassal of the Windlord x 2
Keys of Orthanc x 3
Unexpected Courage x 3
Nenya x 3
Daeron's Runes x 3
Elrond's Counsel x 3
Feint x 3
Strength of Will x 3
A Test of Will x 3
Gather Information x 1
Hasty Stroke (if playing the HoN cycle especially)
So how has it been doing? So far it's demolished every non-Battle/Siege quest I've encountered. The entire Mirkwood cycle (minus Escape from Dol Guldur), most of the KD cycle, Nightmare: Amon Din, and 5 of 9 quests from the Ring-Maker cycle have fallen beneath the might of these three heroes.
The deck is a ton of fun to play. Every attachment is meant for Galadriel to unleash her full power. I've found that I really only use Grima's ability a few times throughout the game, which is more than compensated for by Galadriel, her Handmaidens, and Elrond's Counsel. If you draw additional copies of Unexpected Courage then be sure to pass them around to other players in multiplayer games, as a way of thanking them for Grima's shenanigans.
I hope this article encourages you to shake up some of your normal deck-building procedures. This game can get repetitive after a while, so making crazy but effective decks can help reinvigorate your play experience.
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