METW-only Challenge Decks - for beginners

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sarma72
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 4:03 pm
Location: Belfast, Norther Ireland

METW-only Challenge Decks - for beginners

Post by sarma72 » Mon Nov 05, 2007 5:45 pm

Dear all,

For the purpose of introducing this wonderful game to new players I have constructed five, relative simple decks, using only cards from the first set, namely The Wizards.

Each deck gives a different flavour of the many resource and hazard strategies in this game, while avoiding complicated combinations. I have also limited the number of rare cards (40 out of more than 300 cards), so that anyone with a decent set of METW cards could build these deck. Also, only in two cases I have used multiple copies of a given rare card, and only three promotional cards are needed.

In order to help the novice learning their decks, I am not only providing an lengthy description for each of them, but I have also kept to a minimum the actual number of different cards. Indeed, memorizing the text in each card in your deck is the most time-consuming aspect of your first game, with any collectible card game. Furthermore, each deck has a decent chance to beat the other decks, so that initially you will not have to use any sideboard or know about any card errata. Character drafting will also not be necessary, as each deck has a different starting company. Finally, the decks includes only a limited number of sites where the new players could go, since navigating through Middle-Earth is yet another feature of METW that takes time to master.

I am attaching here the PDF files for these decks and their description.
Comments are welcome, in particular on how to simplify these even further or reduce the number or rares!

Radagast - Dodging Hobbits And NastyAnimals
Pallando  - Return Of The King And Of The Undead
Gandalf   - Fetching Magic Rings With Orcs Trolls
Alatar      - We Are Sailing You Are Staying
Saruman - To The East Away From Thiefs
Last edited by sarma72 on Thu Nov 15, 2007 10:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

sarma72
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 4:03 pm
Location: Belfast, Norther Ireland

Post by sarma72 » Wed Nov 07, 2007 10:05 am

Radagast - Dodging Hobbits and Nasty Animals

Starting Company

Bilbo
Frodo (Star Glass
Sam (Elven Cloak)
Fatty Bolger

Characters

Radagast x2
Balin
Gloin
Oin
Kili

Resources

Gates of Morning x2
Book of Mazarbul
Durin's Axe
Orcrist
Torque of Hues
Ents of Fangorn
Blue Mountain Dwarves
Bill the Pony
Gollum
Sting
Halfling Stealth x3
Halfling Strength x3
Concealment x3
Stealth x2
Dark Quarrels x2
Thorough Search

Hazards

Doors of Night x2
Wake of War x3
Dwar of Waw
Giant Spiders x3
Wargs x3
Watcher in the Water x3
Dragon's Desolation x3
Cave-Drake x3
Smaug
Slayer x3

Sites

Rivendell x2
Lorien
Grey Havens
Bag End
Barrow-Downs
Goblin-Gate
Mount Gram
Wellinghall
Moria
Mount Gundabad
Blue Mountain Dwarf-Hold
Himring

Overview

Hobbits are not meant to fight, and this deck is all about stealth. Here four Hobbits will move together in a single
small company, dodging whatever is thrown at them while trying to gather factions, allies and items. Some of the latter, namely Durins Axe and the Book of Marzabul, belong the Dwarves that will join the Hobbits later on in their quest, and will be worth many more marshalling points (MPs) if returned to the Dwarves.

Although your Hobbits will be generally safe you will not gather MPs very quickly, which is why you will rely on a
particularly nasty and versitile hazard side to slow down your opponent. With animals, dragons and slayers you will be able to consistently hit your opponents companies everywhere they go and, in many cases, where it hurts them most.

Resource Strategy

Your resource strategy is fairly easy. Keep your Hobbits together and move them each turn wherever you can play resources. With an hazard limit of only of two, your opponent can only play two cards against your Hobbits, and with plenty of cards to avoid fighting they should reach their destination safe and sound most of the times.

These cards include short-event such as Concealment and Dark Quarrel, which allow you to cancel attacks alto-
gether, Halfling Stealth, which lets one of your Hobbits dodge a strike, and Stealth, which will prevent any creature from attacking your Hobbits in first place at the cheap price of tapping one of your Hobbits before you move. Your Hobbits will also start with an Elven Cloak, which allows Sam Gamgee to dogde a strike against him that is keyed to Wilderness, and a Star Glass that Frodo can use to cancel Undead automatic-attacks, such as those at the Barrow- Downs. To dodge attacks even further, they will get the Torque of Hues and Gollum along the way. Finally, Fatty Bolger's ability to tap and cancel a strike against one of his companion is perhaps the best of all.

Should your opponent manage to catch your Hobbits, do not despair. Halflings are pretty resilient creatures which
should be able to survive the attack thanks to their high body value. You will also be able to heal them quickly with Halfling Strength, which is useful also to untap your Hobbits. For instance, you could play Halfling Strength to use Fatty's ability twice.

Balin, Gloin and the other dwarves in your deck are supposed to form a second company together with Radagast, and gather some more MPs while moving through multiple Wilderness and draw as many card as possible for you. Keep in mind Radagast and Kili are also scouts that can use Concealment. Just make sure your Hobbits give back Durin's Axe to a Dwarf if they got hold of it before any of them comes in play.

Concerning your items, allies and factions, you can gather them in any order you like, except for the Book of
Marzabul and the Blue Mountain Dwarves. If one of your Dwarves manage to muster this faction before you have
stored the book, just make sure that whoever did that does not move on afterwards, since this will discard the Blue Mountain Dwarf-hold site and prevent you from returning there later and store the book...

Finally, one word about Thorough Search. This card allows your Hobbits to play additional items at any site, but you will need at least three untapped Hobbits for this to work efficiently (to play the first item normally, Thorough Search and the additional item). Hence, make sure you have sufficient protection or an Halfling Strength to untap your Hobbits before going to thoroughly search places like Moria.

Hazard Strategy

Your hazard strategy relies entirely on nasty and versatile creatures, namely animals, slayers and dragons.
Starting from your favourite pets, Giant Spiders, Watcher in the Water and Wargs, these can be played in a
fairly wide range of region types including Wilderness, Border Lands, Shadow lands and Costal Seas. This should let you attack your opponent every turn with them. You can also make these attacks stronger with Wake of War, in particular for your Wargs once you play Door of Night. Dwar of Wav is there to be used as a permanent-event and further incourage your pets, unless your opponent’s companies venture south in Ithilien can Harondor where this Nazgul could attack them.

As regard your Slayer and your dragons, their main advantage is that they choose their victims, which will let you target characters that are key to your opponent’s strategy. Your Slayer will cover Border Lands and Holds, whereas with Cave Drake you can hit your opponent’s companies at Ruins & Lairs, beside deep Wilderness. You can make your Cave Drake even nastier with Dragon’s Desolation, although the most spectacular effect of this card is to let your Smaug attack your opponent’s defenseless companies at almost every Ruins & Lairs in Middle Earth. When that happens, sit back and enjoy!
Last edited by sarma72 on Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:35 am, edited 7 times in total.

sarma72
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 4:03 pm
Location: Belfast, Norther Ireland

Post by sarma72 » Wed Nov 07, 2007 10:07 am

Pallando - Return of the King and of the Undead

Starting Company

Aragorn II (Athelas)
- Annalena
Boromir II (Horn of Anor)
Elladan

Characters

Pallando x2
Theoden
Beretar
Erkenbrand
Eomer

Resources

Sapling of the White Tree x3
Torque of Hues
Red Arrow
Narsil
Healing Herbs
Goldberry
Rangers of the North
Riders of Rohan
Knights of Dol Amroth
Army of the Dead
Path of the Dead
Return of the King
The White Tree
Lucky Strike x3
Block
Concealment x3
A Friend or Three x3

Hazards

Doors of Night x3
Chocking Shadows x3
Plague of Wights x3
Ghouls x3
Ghosts x3
Barrow-wight x2
Lure of the Senses x2
Lure of Nature x2
Lure of Expedience x2
Ren the Unclean
Mouth of Sauron

Sites

Rivendell x2
Lorien
Edhellond
Bree
Barrow-downs
Old Forest
Ruined Signal Tower
Isengard
Glittering Caves
Edoras
Minas Tirith
Dunharrow
Vale of Erech
Dol Amroth
The Stones

Overview

This deck focuses on the Gondor and Rohan geographic area where Aragorn is going to muster the Knights of Dol Amroth and the Riders of Rohan, retrieve Narsil and return in Minas Tirith to plant The White Tree and claim his kingdom by playing Return of the King. He and his company can also dare the Path of the Dead and summon the Army of the Dead, or collect other useful items such as Torque of Hues and the Red Arrow. Finally, closer to Rivendell you can also play the Ranger of the North in Bree and get your only ally, Goldberry, at the Old Forest.

On the hazard side, you will try to corrupt your opponents characters and attack them with undead creature, most of which will also trigger a corruption check. With Door of Night on the table, Plague of the Wight and Chocking Shadows will make your undead stronger and easier to play against your opponent companies.

Resource Strategy

Ideally you want to head south quickly with Aragorn and his initial company, passing through the Gap of Isen and collecting one or two major items on your way, for instance at the Barrow Down, Isengard or the Glittering Caves. Unless you initially draw them, forget about Goldberry and the Rangers of the North as you will be able to play them later when your wizard and your other characters come in play in Rivendell. In fact Beretar could simply appear in Bree and muster the Rangers by himself.

Once down under, collect items and muster factions until you have harvested a Sapling of the White Tree and have drawn either Return of the King or The White Tree. At this point head for Minas Tirith where on the next turn you will store the sapling and play either or both of the previous permanent-events. As playing these events does not tap Minas Tirith, you can always come back later there to play whichever event you have missed the first time. If you happen to draw both Path of the Dead and Army of the Dead all the better, head for Dunarrow and cash 6 marshalling points (MPs) once you make it to Vale of Erech. However, do not hold either of these cards forever while waiting for the other, since you have so many other ways to make MPs.

Concerning the other resources in your deck, the Block and Lucky Strike short-events are there to help Boromir and Elladan fight whereas Concealment is meant to be used by Annalena to cancel attacks altogether. Aragorn can use both cards if it comes down to it. A Friend or Three is there to help you in influencing factions and in dealing with corruption checks. The Torque of Hues will further help you dodging nasty attacks, whereas the Red Arrow will help you influencing the Riders of Rohan.

Finally a word on your Wizard and the other characters in your deck. Pallando allows you to hold more cards in your hand, which could help if you draw The White Tree before you could play any of its saplings. Beside Beretar, your reinforcements consist entirely of Rohan characters, which have a wide range of skills, can help you mustering the Riders of Rohan and fit perfectly in the Rohan-Gondor theme of this deck..

Hazard Strategy

Your hazards strategy is quite straightforward. You should be able to play one corruption card (Lure of Nature, Lure of Expedience, Lure of Senses, every turn, and once Door of Night is on the table you will be able to use Chocking Shadows to play your undead creatures everywhere except border lands and free domains. This may mean wait for the right opportunity to hit your opponent hard, in particular once Plague of the Wight is in play. Pallando will also help you in this respect.

Keep in mind that Chocking Shadows can also serve to enhance the automatic attack on ruins & lairs, which can be useful. The Mouth of Sauron is there mostly to retrieve the Plague of the Wight or the Chocking Shadows events. As regard Ren the Unclean, unless your opponents moves to Ithilien, Dagorlad or the Horse Plains when you have him in your hand, just play it as a permanent-event and use it to force every character in the game to make a corruption check. Be careful to use him when your own character are not loaded with items or when you have a Friend or Three ready in your hand.

Finally, try to consistently target the most important characters in your opponent's companies with your corruption cards, which at least will force them to tap and try to remove these cards.
Last edited by sarma72 on Wed Nov 18, 2020 9:20 am, edited 11 times in total.

sarma72
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 4:03 pm
Location: Belfast, Norther Ireland

Post by sarma72 » Wed Nov 07, 2007 10:09 am

Gandalf - Fetching Magic Rings with Orcs and Trolls

Starting Company

Glorfindel II
Thorin II (Elf Stone)
- Gildor Inglorion (Healing Herbs)

Characters

Gandalf x2
Balin
Oin
Haldir
Voteli

Resources

Beautiful Gold Ring x2
Precious Gold Ring x2
Fair Gold Ring x2
Lesser Ring
Magic Ring of Courage
Magic Ring of Nature
Dwarven Ring of Dwalin's Tribe
Dwarven Ring of Durin's Tribe
Gwaihir
Scroll of Isildur
Durin's Axe
Blue Mountain Dwarves
Ringlore x2
Wizard's Test x2
Test of Form x2
Risky Blow x2
Dark Quarrels x2

Hazards

Door of Night x3
Twilight
Minions Stir x3
Siege x2
The Will of Sauron
Orc-Raiders x3
Orc-Warriors x2
Orc-Lieutenant x3
Orc-Warband x2
"Tom" (Tuma)
"Bert" (Burat)
"William" (Wuluag)
Uvatha the Horseman
Mouth of Sauron

Sites

Rivendell x2
Lorien
Edhellond
Ost-In-Edhil
Weathertop
Goblin-Gate
Mount Gram
Carn Dum
Dimrill Dale
Moria
Eagles' Eyrie
Gladden Field
Bandit Lair
Blue Mountain Dwarf-Hold
The Lonely Mountain

Overview

This deck focuses on the regions on either sides of the misty mountains, where your will search the land for long forgotten magic rings. With a bit of luck this deck can win you the game very quickly, as long as you resist the dangers of corruption. Rings of power are better stored than wielded...

On the hazard side, you will try to butcher your opponents companies with Orcs and Trolls. You will have to be patient, however, and hit your opponent when both Door of Night and Minions Stir are on the table and you have enough Orcs to swarm his or her companies.

Resource Strategy

Your main objective is to collect gold rings as quickly as possible, testing them with Glorfindel and Gandalf (or later on with Balin or Voteli) and taking care to store the most powerful rings before setting out again to retrieve more rings. Storing your most powerful rings is particularly important in the beginning of game when you have only a few characters to carry them or if your opponents hazard strategy is to corrupt you. You can have Glorfindel carrying around a Ring of Courage, but it would not be wise to load him with any more magic rings for too long.

Fetching and testing your rings should not be a problem, since with two copies of each Precious, Beautiful and Fair Gold Ring, six cards to test them and five unique magic rings you should always have some option. On the other hand, unless you use Ringlore to play your ring of choice, you will need to pay attention to your odds of testing them successfully, in particular with Test of Form. For this it helps to fetch a Precious or Beautiful Gold Ring if you happen to have only a dwarven or magic ring in your hand, respectively. Of course, it also helps if you can test more than one gold ring at the time or if you hold on testing until you have more than one kind of magic rings. The latter option will clog your hand, however, so do not wait forever. You can afford to discard one or two gold rings.

Ideally you want to start by sending Thorin and Gildor one way and Glorfindel riding another, unless your only initial option is to recover the Scroll of Isildur at Moria or Carn Dum, in which case it will be better to keep your company together. As a sage and the strongest character in middle-earth, Glorfindel is perfectly capable of fetching and testing gold rings by himself. Except for Moria and the Lonely Mountain, he will have no trouble in facing the automatic attacks at all gold-ring item sites, and the same applies to the Dimrill Dale or Weathertop where he could use Ringlore. On the other hand, Thorin and Gildor will need to wait for Gandalf or the other sages in your deck to test their rings, which is why in the meantime they could retrieve Durin's Axe or bring the Blue Mountain Dwarves and Gwaihir on your side. Gwaihir could be quite handy to move them quickly around Middle Earth, although this must be worth more than 2 marshalling points (MPs) since the eagle will leave after dropping the company. To help your companies in their mission, you have a couple of Risky Blow and Dark Quarrels, the latter being particularly useful to cancel the Orc automatic-attacks that yourself will have enhanced. For the same reason, half of your characters in the deck have fighting bonuses against Orcs.

Finally a word on your Wizard and your other characters. Gandalf gives you an additional way to test your gold rings while being able to appear in Lorien as well as in Rivendell, which makes it more easy for him to join your companies on whichever side of the Misty Montains they are. Balin and Voteli are your extra sages, whereas Oin and Haldir are both cheap and decent warrior. Balin could also bear a dwarven ring whereas Oin is a useful backup ranger.

Hazard Strategy

Your hazards strategy is much simpler. Build the right environment for your Orcs with Door of Night and Minions Stir and then swarm your opponent's companies as soon as you have enough Orcs in your hand, sending in first your Orc-Raiders and Orc-Warriors followed by the emboldened Orc-Warband or Orc-Lieutenant. Your trolls, Tom, Bert and William, do not need much boosting and can support your Orcs as well.

Although you are going to concede some kill MPs with this strategy, the large number of strikes of your Orc attacks will eventually hit your opponent's characters hard. Indeed, even if these are pretty strong sooner or later they will eventually run out of luck with the die. The only mistake you should avoid is to use your Orcs when they are not in sufficient numbers or unsupported, as you will end up by only conceding MPs. Of course, this does not apply when hunting Hobbits!

Your Orcs and Trolls also cover a wide range of region and site types that allows you to hit your opponent's companies almost everywhere, and for those companies that stick to free domains you have Siege to hold them in their safe keep. Both Uvatha the Horseman and the Mouth of Sauron are there to recycle your hazard cards, whereas Twilight and The Will of Sauron are there to protect Doors of Night and keep Minions Stir in play, respectively, thus preserving the best fighting conditions for your Orcs and Trolls.
Last edited by sarma72 on Wed Nov 18, 2020 9:26 am, edited 9 times in total.

sarma72
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 4:03 pm
Location: Belfast, Norther Ireland

Post by sarma72 » Wed Nov 07, 2007 10:11 am

Alatar - We Are Sailing, You Are Staying

Starting Company

Cirdan (Elf Stone)
- Elrohir
Imrahil
- Anborn (Dagger of Westernesse)

Characters

Alatar x2
Celeborn
Arinmir
Adrazar
Halbarad

Resources

Palantir of Orthanc
Palantir of Annuminas
Palantir of Amon Sul
Align Palantir x3
Sword of Gondolin x2
Elves of Lindon
Knights of Dol Amroth
Men of Lebennin
Men of Anfalas
Goldberry
Star Glass
Concealment x2
Dark Quarrels x2
Praise to Elbereth x3
New Friendship x2
A Friend or Three x2

Hazards

Doors of Night x3
Twilight x2
River x3
Long Winter x3
Foul Fumes
Call of Home x2
Cave Drake x3
Slayer x2
Ambusher x2
Abductor x2
Assassin
Adunaphel

Sites

Rivendell
Lorien
Grey Havens
Edhellond x2
Old Forest
Isengard
Himring
Isles of the Dead that Live
The Stones
Lond Galen
Dol Amroth
Pelargir
Tolfalas

Overview

This deck has the potential to really annoy your opponent. Not only will he or she find it hard to harm your companies while they sail near the south-eastern shores of Middle-Earth to retrieve ancient blades, muster friendly sea-folk and search for lost seeing stones, but he or she will also struggle to travel anywhere in inland Middle-Earth while a long winter and raging rivers hamper your opponent's companies. Only skilled rangers will be able to guide them, which is why you will systematically hunt them down or call them home.

Resource Strategy

You main ob jective is to retrieve, align and store the three Palantiri in your deck, while mustering most of the Gondor factions south of the White Mountains. You will find the Palantir of Annuminas or Amon Sul in the same geographic area, at The Stones and in Tolfalas, whereas you will sail west to the Eriadorian Coast and the Elven Shore to reinforce your companies with some Swords of Gondolin or summon the Elves of Lindon.

Unless you draw the Elves or Goldberry in your first turn, or you are ready to collect the Palantir of Orthanc in Isengard, head straight south stopping either at the Isles of the Dead that Live or the The Stones. From there on Cirdan and his company should be relatively safe while they stay at sea and move through free-domains. They, or any other company that may form, will only need to venture through wilderness and border-lands when falling back to Edhellond in Anfalas, visit The Stones in Andrast, or move to Isengard in the Gap of Isen. Even then, your companies should be ready to take this risk, in particular thanks to their Praise to Elbereth. This is a great short-event that adds +1 to the strength of all your characters until the end of the turn while Doors of Night is in play, which you will make sure is the case. The nice thing about Praise to Elbereth is that it can be duplicated and that it helps your characters fighting also during the site phase, when facing automatic-attacks. To avoid the toughest fights, you also have a couple of Concealment and Dark Quarrels, the latter being particularly suited to dodge any Assassin or Ambusher that may roam the cities of Gondor.

As regards the Palantiri, once you find one of them you should return to Edhellond where one of your sages, initially Cirdan, could use Align Palantir to set up the stone before it is safely stored the next turn. Because Align Palantir adds 2 Marshalling Points (MPs) to the value of your Palantir, your trip back to Edhellond will not be a waste of time, in particular if storing the Palantir of Amon Sul as this gives you another 2 MPs. Looking into the seeing stones before putting them away can corrupt your characters, and you should risk it only if you get the Palantir of Orthanc early on in the game. In this case, give it to Halbarad who should use it while sitting safely in Edhellond to bring back in your deck useful resource or hazard cards from your discard pile.

Imrahil is your key diplomat to influence the coastal factions of Gondor, although other dunedain in your deck will be able to do his job, in particular with the help of A Friend or Three or a New Friendship. These short-events will also help your character with corruption checks, if need be.

To conclude, a word on your wizard, the other characters in your deck and Goldberry. As you do not plan to use your Palantiri the ability of Saruman to use them does not offset the inconvenience of having to bring down all the way down from Rivendell or Isengard in order to help your companies. On the other hand, Alatar is best suited for this deck since he can appear in Edhellond where he can use his special ability to quickly jump in support of your companies, or simple set out with a second company to rally the people of Gondor. As regard your other characters, Halbarad is best kept waiting in Edhellond for a Palantir, whereas Adrazar is a free-lance diplomat that you can send out alone, in particular since he can use Concealment and has a special bonus against all factions. Arinmir can be useful both as a sage or as an extra diplomat, whereas Celeborn also brings some muscles that could be controlled by Cirdan. Finally, Goldberry is in your deck because you want to prevent your opponent from using her special ability that would counter your hazard strategy, either by playing her first or by influencing her away from your opponent.

Hazard Strategy

Your hazard strategy consists in delaying your opponent's companies, so that in the end you will acquire MPs quicker than he or she does.

You have two means to achieve this goal. The first consists in returning your opponent's companies back home every time they set out to reach a site with two wilderness by using Long Winter or with one shadow- or dark-land with Foul Fumes, or even tapping these sites altogether is Doors of Night is in play. You have three copies of Doors of Night to make sure this happens quickly and two Twilight to protect Doors of Night against your opponent Gates of Morning or Twilight.

The second way to stop your opponent's companies is to eliminate or tap his or her ranger before playing River on the site the company is moving, in order to prevent the company from doing anything useful there. Cave Drake, Slayer, Ambusher and Assassin will allow you to single out your opponent's ranger almost anywhere they go, whereas with Call of Home and Ambusher you will try to discard them. To use Ambusher, you will need to make sure that the ranger will face his only strike, by attacking first the rest of the company with your other creatures. Eliminating rangers is also key to use Long Winter and Foul Fumes when Doors of Night is not on the table.

As regard Adunaphel, her permanent-event ability to tap anyone you choose gives you yet another opportunity to play River efficiently.
Last edited by sarma72 on Wed Dec 30, 2020 12:15 am, edited 10 times in total.

sarma72
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 4:03 pm
Location: Belfast, Norther Ireland

Post by sarma72 » Wed Nov 07, 2007 10:12 am

Saruman - To the East Away from Thiefs

Starting Company

Beorn (Black Arrow)
- Bard Bowman (Black Arrow)
Dain II
- Peath

Characters

Saruman x2
Gimli
Legolas
Beregond
Oin

Resources

Gates of Morning x3
Sun x3
The Cock Crows x2
Lordly Presence x3
Vanishment x2
Wizard's Flame x2
Glamdring
Durin's Axe
The Arkenstone
Roac the Raven
Quickbeam
Beornings
Wood-Elves
Men of Dorwinion
Iron Hill Dwarves
Easterlings

Hazards

Twilight x2
Call of Home x3
Muster Disperses x3
Weariness of the Heart x3
Ambusher x3
Brigands x3
Pick Pocket x3
Thief x3
Indur Dawndeath
Hoarmurath of Dir

Sites

Rivendell
Lorien x2
Grey Havens
Edhellond
Isengard
Beorn's House
The Lonely Mountain
Thraunduil's Halls
Shrel-Kain
Iron Hill Dwarf-hold
Lake Town
Wellinghall
The Wind Throne

Overview

This deck focuses on the regions to the east of the misty mountains where most of Bilbo's adventures took place. There Beorn and Dain II will team up to muster not only their own people but also the Wood-Elves, the Men of Dorwinion and even the tough Easterlings with the help of Raoc the Raven. Assisted by Saruman's spells and by the light of the Sun, they will also retrieve some precious artifact of old, such as Durins Axe, Glamdring and the much coveted Arkenstone...

On the hazard side, you will try to systematically rip off your opponent's companies by using an army of thugs comprising Thiefs, Brigands , and Pick-pocketers. Muster Disperses and Call of Home should then help keeping in check your opponent's faction and character MPs.

For this deck you may want to consider the optional rule whereby Sun also boosts your men hazards men. Rank upon Rank from the Dark Minion would fit naturally in this deck, but this would defeat the purpose of having only a METW only deck here.

Resource Strategy

The resource strategy of this deck is pretty straightforward. Head quickly to your sites beyond the misty mountain and try to collect items, factions and allies as fast as possible, while keeping your Gates of Morning in play at all costs so that your both your men and dunedain can benefit from the strength bonus given by Sun.

The only important point to keep in mind about this deck is that it does not contain any short-events to help you fighting or avoid your opponents creatures, so that it is important that Saruman joins your companies pretty soon to help them out with his Vanishment and Wizards Flame spells, which he can conveniently recycle. Hence, should you not draw Saruman in your opening hand, move to Isengard on your first turn to maximise your chances of meeting him. In fact, in Isengard you may also find Durin's Axe or Glamdring, which will considerably boost your characters. Once you have Saruman and one or two spells either in your hand or discard pile (do not hold them until Saruman appears), he and Dain II should be able to manage on their own. If everything fails and Saruman decides to remain behind the scenes for a while, do not despair. Just keep your starting company together and use your Black Arrows mercilessly. Seeking for strength in numbers will be also essential if attempting to retrieve The Arkenstone at The Lonely Mountain without Saruman's help. On the other hand, even if Saruman joins you at the beginning of the game it could easily happen that you have no items, factions or allies that can be played at sites that you can reach from Rivendell in your first turn. In this case, the best gamble is to move to The Wind Throne where you can play your two major items and from where you could reach all your other sites. If you feel lucky and have a spell or two in your opening hand, send also Saruman and Dain II to Lorien, where they could be joined by some of your other characters the following turn.

Beside these initial precautions, the only combination that you should try to build in your hand is the Roac the Raven-Easterlings punch, whereby during the site phase you discard the raven to bring in play the Easterlings using the Lordly Presence card. Since you can always play the raven at any time while you wait for the Easterlings, and given that you dispose of three Lordly Presence, in practice you will need to hold in your hand only the Easterlings until you draw Roac the Raven. Note that this is the only way in this deck to bring the Easterlings in play, as the Easterling Camp was left out of this deck on purpose to limit the number of rare cards in it.

Of course, Lordly Presence is there to help you mustering all your factions, not only the Easterlings, and suits well a deck rich in diplomats such as this. As regards The Cock Crows, this is an awesome card when Gates of Morning is in play, as it allows you discard all sort of hazard permanent events, including Nazguls and corruption cards!

Coming to your extra characters, Legolas and Gimli are not just great thematically but can also be very helpful to muster the Wood-Elves and the Iron Hill Dwarves, respectively. They are also tough fighters and handy diplomats. As in many other decks, Oin is here as a useful backup ranger, whereas Beregond is a cheap but tough dunedain fighter that will particularly benefit from having Sun in play. In this respect, it is worth noticing that insisting to keep Sun in play may not be the best idea if you face an opponent with a deck heavy in dunedain, as these will have the upper hand on your hazard man creatures.

Hazard Strategy

Your hazard strategy is to steal your opponent's items using creatures such as Brigands, Pick-Pocket and Thief, typically following a first attack with your Ambusher. Preparing the right ground for your thugs is especially important before sending in your Brigands as these are quite weak and cannot choose the defending characters, as opposed to your Thief who is huge and Pick-Pocket who picks his victims.

In this respect it helps to attack companies that are quite compact, which is why you will keep your opponent constantly aware of the importance of not using all his or her general influence through the repetitive use of your Call of Home and Muster Disperses. These hazards will also let you hit your opponent's companies when they will ventures regions or sites outside the reach of your creatures, and could significantly help you in the race for marshalling point (MPs) and in particular for faction MPs.

As regards Weariness of the Heart, this short-event could not only help your creatures fighting but may also contribute to remouve your opponent's characters and items from play with a well-timed corruption check. For instance, this could work well after a successful Call of Home and the transfer of an additional item to the target of Weariness of the Heart.

Finally to your two Nazguls, which are meant to be used as permanent-events. Indur Dawndeath makes it even harder for your opponent's characters to hold on to their items once they are wounded, which is something that you could inflict with your Ambusher. Still, it is Hoarmurath of Dir who will have more often the largest impact in the game, when you will tap him to add one more strike to your Pick Pocket or Thief.

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