Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Musings on Building a Two-Sphere Deck: Thorongil Deck

I've been playing around with deck building and am trying to build a good solo deck using the standard deck building rules - 50 cards and no more than 3 copies of a single card in the deck. The biggest problem I've encountered is resources. It's just too hard to build two-sphere decks right now (especially with just one copy of the core set) as when I'm deck building, I want to just use 29 cards (+ a third copy of Gandalf) from the sphere with two heroes and 20 cards from the sphere with only one hero. When I'm deciding on which 20 cards to include from the sphere with just one hero, I auto-dump the cards that cost more than 2 and go from there. I figure I never really want to wait more than two turns to be able to play a card in my hand (making the five or six cost cards from the sphere with two heroes questionable includes as well, but I need more cards to get to 50!). I assume as we get more low-cost sphere cards and new neutral cards deck building across spheres will get much easier. However, given the nature of neutral cards to be so easy to get out, I don't think we're going to see a bunch of those released.

So that brings me to what I've seen as my most successful multi-sphere deck in my limited time building decks over the past two weeks. To solve the problem of being too poor to play cards, I've turned to the Leadership Sphere. With cards like Steward of Gondor and Theordred able to generate extra resources for heroes, a power exceedingly rare and pretty much found all in Leadership, I decided to take Gloin out of my three heroes and switch out Eowyn - the best quester in the game. This made me look to Spirit to which Eowyn belongs. Spirit is the best deck for clearing out locations quickly, and with Leadership's modest combat powers, I thought it would be a good combination. So my heroes are Theodred (Leadership), Aragorn (Leadership), and Eowyn (Spirit). I named this team the "Thorongil Deck" because this is the name Aragorn used while adventuring in Gondor and Rohan before the Lord of the Rings and his teammates are both from Rohan. Also I am a massive rings nerd, so I apologize for that. Coincidentally I really want to play a Rings RPG in this time period and have my players interact with Aragorn hidden as Thorongil and never tell them who they dealt with until afterwards, but that's for a different post.

The strategy behind the deck is to have as much flexibility in where you put your resource-building powers. I've got two copies of Steward of Gondor and so hope desperately to get one out and throw it on Eowyn early on to start generating Spirit resources. I also have some fun ways to get around resources with Sneak Attack and Stand and Fight which lets me play allies from across spheres, and each give me additional uses of Gandalf as well (always a good thing!). I particularly like how Theodred now actively plays two roles in how he deals out his extra resource. He can give it to Aragorn to allow him to stand immediately and be used during combat, or he can give his extra resource to Eowyn, who will always be questing to enhance my Spirit resource pool. I'm also a fan of how well Unexpected Courage can be thrown out on Aragorn and make him usable three times a turn very easily now really taking advantage of his strong 2/3/2 stat line allowing him to quest, defend, and attack in one turn. I'm going to keep playing around with deck and would love to hear what others think of this team/deck concept.

On a sidenote, I just want to reiterate how useful the Card Game DB deck builder site is for quick looking up card names and especially for having scanned all the cards into high-quality images which I continue to borrow from for my LotR-themed posts. Please make sure to check them out and support their efforts in continuing to support the new game!


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