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Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 3:08 pm
Joined: 12 Jan 2007 Posts: 4594 Location: Beltsville, MD, USA
Uncle Dáin has truly lost it now.

For a long time, I’ve been trying to concoct a Faramir BoQ/Aragorn WTG fellowship, with mixed (but mostly encouraging) results. It centers around Faramir’s ability to turn any minion into a roaming one...then using one of my all-time favorite Gondor conditions, Invigorated, into a way to heal him right back up and heal Aragorn at the same time. It also uses those roamers, of course, with events like War and Valor for a nice boost. And it doesn’t shy away from Faramir skirmishing, using several copies of Hearts Raised to try and peel threats off Faramir wherever possible and using some Gondor artifacts with Scroll of Isildur to make Faramir hard to corrupt should the burdens start piling up.

I toyed with the idea of also tossing in Pippin WoBaS for mucho wounding and mass burden removal via Home and Hearth, but it has never worked as well as I hoped, nerfing Aragorn’s two best traits (defender bonus and archer) and often leading to Pippin being assigned when I don’t want him to be anyway.

But there ARE ways to have other characters in there without them being companions, right? Twisted Evil

FREE PEOPLES (41 cards):

Faramir, Bearer of Quality w/ The One Ring, The Ring of Rings
Aragorn, Well-Traveled Guide (starting)

Allies (5 cards):

Tom Bombadil, The Master x2
Elrond, Herald to Gil-galad x2
Thrarin, Dwarven Smith

Artifacts & Possessions (9 cards):

Anduril, Sword That Was Broken
Scroll of Isildur
Faramir’s Sword
Faramir’s Bow
Flaming Brand
Coat of Mail x2
Ranger’s Cloak x2

Conditions (15 cards):

The Saga of Elendil
Boromir, My Brother
No Stranger to the Shadows
Invigorated x4
Tireless x2
Hearts Raised x2
Gondor Bowmen x2
The Faithful Stone x2

Events (11 cards):

One Whom Men Would Follow x4
Support of the Last Homely House
Swordarm of the White Tower x3
War and Valor x3

Oh dear...Uncle Dáin has REALLY gone off the deep end. Shocked

The basic elements of the BoQ/WTG partnership I described above are still there. Faramir still makes minions roaming when necessary, then uses that to heal with Invigorated and pump with War and Valor. He’s still not all that afraid of skirmishing when the time calls for it with decent threat removal and a respectable 11 resistance with everything out. But if all goes well, he’ll never have to skirmish at all, and if all goes REALLY well, Aragorn will get a few breaks, too.

First is archery. Moving into Expanded, we get to use Faramir’s original bow, giving us 2 archery every site. Not bad at all. Toss in our Gondor Bowmen, and you can throw out 6 archery at once if you need it...and of course, the option of healing the required exertions for the Bowmen with our ever-useful Invigorated. Nifty.

But that’s not the real beauty of this deck, or else I’d have as many Bowmen as I could stuff in. No, the real trick is to use and abuse an unlikely combo: Tom Bombadil and One Whom Men Would Follow.

You see, when powerful allies like Mr. Bombadil and Treebeard entered the game, Decipher began to fear allies a bit. They had this certain Horn of Boromir sitting around, a free possession that let Boromir turn a simple exertion into a strength +3 fighting friend. That wasn’t so much a problem with the weak allies featured in the Fellowship and most of the Towers block, but with the 12-strength Treebeard and 14-strength Bombadil--both with high vitality to boot--Big D got scared and banned the Horn.

However, they didn’t quite finish the job. There are still Expanded-legal events that let allies skirmish. The majority are limited to Elves, including the Support of the Last Homely House I have paired with Elrond up above. But the one that really slipped under their nose was the only event that gets four copies here: One Whom Men Would Follow.

This card essentially does for Aragorn what the Horn did for Boromir: though not QUITE as effectively. The ally is only +2, the event ain’t free, and...well, it’s an EVENT, not an already-in-play possession. That means more hand clog.

However, when paired with the beastly Tom Bombadil, I think it’s worth it. Playing OWMWF means that for 1 twilight (not much), one exertion (which, as I’ve repeated over and over, is easy to peel off in this deck), and a little patience, you get a 16/9 monster to fight for you. With those ridiculous stats, even Sauron has to pump up a lot to overwhelm him, meaning he’ll more than likely just take wounds...of which he can absorb a LOT. That also makes him a fantastic archery pin cushion, as OWMWF lets Tom participate in archery, too.

The downside, however, is not just hand clog: Tom is pretty expensive. 5 is not the kind of twilight you want to be throwing out in what should primarily be a choking deck.

Tom’s buddy Elrond ain’t cheap either, and certainly isn’t nearly as powerful. But combine the two (and add the fact that Elrond can exert himself with SotLHH for the same effect), and the fact that he can also heal in a pinch, and he’s not a bad consolation prize.

There’s one more ally here: Thrarin. He doesn’t require any events at all, though his low strength means he’s little more than a speed bump. Still, he’s cheap and doesn’t require any help to skirmish, so that can go a LONG way here.

There’s more help, though. The Faithful Stone is also rather pricey, but can further help ensure your Gondorians don’t take too much heat. As minions are played (and hopefully assigned to allies), they add tokens to your Stone, and for every three you get to take a minion out of the fight completely. Not a bad trade-off for 3, and between that and the allies, hopefully enough to more than be worth it.

Unless things line up perfectly, though, eventually Aragorn (and perhaps Faramir) are going to have to skirmish. There’s help for that, too. In many cases, Tireless will provide a +3 pump for either of them without further clogging your hand. The other Gondor events--Swordarm of the White Tower and War and Valor--WILL clog your hand a bit, but they pay off in droves with +3 or even +4 pumps of their own. Oh, and they’re both free. Very Happy Aragorn and Faramir also get possessions and conditions to help them out: each gets their own sword for a +2 boost, Aragorn gets the Brand, the Coats of Mail help ensure overwhelming isn’t a big problem, the Cloaks give them more vitality to absorb wounds, and the two vitality +1 conditions (Saga of Elendil for Aragorn and Boromir, My Brother for Faramir) give them strength pumps when you need it, too.

One of the keys with all this will be the sitepath. With the extra twilight you’re investing in allies and The Faithful Stone, you don’t want a lot of expensive sites. You also want, if at all possible, a good number of forests and battlegrounds to work with Faramir’s Sword, Tireless and the Ranger Cloaks. And most importantly, you don’t want anti-ally sites like Anduin Confluence and Westemnet Village popping up and wrecking an important part of your strategy. You need some pretty good sitepath manipulation.

Gondor actually has pretty good sitepath control. There are two companions that can do it, but they’re no good to use here. That leaves the events Pathfinder and, aptly, Well-Traveled, either of which WOULD work here. Anduril, Flame of the West wouldn’t be bad either (and I’ve considered it), but would require scrapping the Flaming Brand. However, notice that I haven’t included ANY of these on the FP side. So that means two things:

1.) You want to make sure the other player goes first. Bid 2 or even 3 to ensure it, and don’t worry too much about the burdens...Tom can remove 2 when you play him. (One other major benefit of him I didn’t mention yet. Mr. Green)

2.) You want to play a Shadow side that’s good at controlling the path...AND features cheap forest (and maybe even a few battleground) sites. Oh, and with such a large deck, some cycling would be nice, too...Hearts Raised and Boromir, My Brother cannot alone compensate for such a massive deck.

Fortunately, my favorite Shadow side does all of that and more. Enter Expanded Forestguls. Twisted Evil

SHADOW (41 cards):

Minions (26 cards):

The Witch-king, Captain of the Nine Riders x3
The Witch-king, Lord of Angmar
Ulaire Nelya, Third of the Nine Riders x4
Ulaire Toldea, Eighth of the Nine Riders x2
Ulaire Toldea, Black Shadow x2
Ulaire Nertea, Ninth of the Nine Riders x2
Ulaire Enquea, Duplicitous Lieutenant x2
Ulaire Enquea, Sixth of the Nine Riders
Ulaire Enquea, Lieutenant of Morgul
Ulaire Lemenya, Fifth of the Nine Riders x2
Ulaire Cantea, Duplicitous Assassin
Ulaire Cantea, Fourth of the Nine Riders
Ulaire Otsea, Duplicitous Spectre x2
Ulaire Otsea, Seventh of the Nine Riders
Ulaire Attea, Keeper of Dol Guldur

Conditions (11 cards):

Lost In The Woods x4
In Twilight x4
Moving This Way
Shapes Slowly Advancing x2

Events (4 cards):

Dark Approach x4

Much of my Standard Forestgul stuff is in here, which certain players like AP and NK have grown to loathe. My Forestguls use Otsea, In Twilight, and Moving This Way to help make this deck cycle surprisingly well. It also doesn’t hurt that I should routinely be able to be play 3+ Nazgul once we’ve gotten about halfway down the sitepath, and those cycling cards help me pull more into hand on my Shadow turns. Other than Shapes Slowly Advancing--which gives the FP player something else to worry about--the rest is pretty much just tossing in some of my rotated Nazzie favorites (Wikkie LoA, Attea KoDG, and the famous Enquea LoM) with my regular Forestgul stuff and going to town. Twisted Evil

Oh, and as for those sites that Nelya and Toldea will help play for you:

0 The Angle
0 Buckland Homestead
0 East Road
0 Fangorn Glade
0 Woody-End
1 Hill of Sight
2 Caras Galadhon
3 Trollshaw Forest
3 Imladris

All but 2 are forests, so your Forestguls should be running very smoothly from early on in the game. The two NON-forests either greatly benefit your Nazzies (Buckland Homestead) or your FP side (Imladris, which can remove burdens if they begin to pile on). Hopefully you can avoid having to play the latter, though, meaning you have only one 3-cost site...and with judicious use of Nelya, you can hammer your opponent with that and then scoop it up before your fellowship hits it. But it can be big at the right time even if you DO have your fellowship there. Caras Galadhon is slightly risky, since it’s expensive and eliminates Aragorn’s defender benefit, but it’s a good one to use early on (like as Site 2). Hill of Sight is brutal if you’re able to pair it with Lemenya (though he works just as well with Cantea FotNR in a pinch), and the requirements mean it isn’t likely to ever hurt you. The rest are here mainly because they’re forests and they’re cheap, but The Angle and Woody-End are also Forestgul staples, East Road will NEVER hurt you (and can hurt your opponent worse than usual if Shapes Slowly Advancing works out right), and Fangorn Glade, while a minor risk, is usually more helpful than hurtful.

And that’s about it. Whew...I may as well have written this in the article section! Razz

Now go ahead and rip me (and this deck) to pieces. I’m sure it’s very, very flawed, but I’m also really anxious to see how it would do in a game. Very Happy
Best regards, Dáin, Vice Aftokrator of the Chosen Ones

Check out Lasting Alliances, The Road Ahead, and Ages of Middle-earth, three of my five dream card sets that make up Wars of the Ring. Oh, and I have a trade list now!

Also, if you're into DCs or RPGs (or even if you're not!), check out Realms of Middle-earth, the sequel to CG's "DC Adventure", Realms of the North!
Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 3:36 pm
Joined: 28 Dec 2006 Posts: 5468 Location: I don't know...
Holy cow Dain. 41 cards? Usually its bad, but now you’re running it with a WTG choke? Holy cow.

WTG chokes need to be about 30-31 cards, definitely. It is that crucial to set up fast.

Also, I found that Forestguls aren’t good paired with chokes. They are designed to stop, not kill. The only Forestgul deck I’ve ever gotten to work is paired with a crazy shooting/running deck. And I seldom win on the Nazzie side. Unless I’m able to completely filter my deck with Moving This Way and crazy card drawing, leaving only shadow cards in the deck, but trust me, with 41 cards, that ain’t gonna happen often, except MAYBE in a 27 site game. Razz

I like the use of Mr. T. That’s awesome. But neither of the others. How often are they going to get to fight? Answer: Next to never. How much a heaping chunk-a twilight are they gonna throw out? Leave it at a lot.

Now, let’s go through step by step.

Drop Bombadil and Elrond completely. Leave Thrarin, he’s good as is. Drop Anduril, Sword that was Broken for a Gondorian Blade. Yes, a Gondorian Blade. 3 is too much unless you can cheat it into play outside the skirmish.

Cut Saga of Elendil, its a condition, it won’t last, and the vitality bonus is irrelevant, since you’re not going to use the extra vitality, since the risk of it getting discarded is too great. Cut Boromir, My Brother for the same reason. I’d drop all the Invigorated for Citadel of Minas Tirith, its much better healing, and you shouldn’t be fighting with Faramir.

No Stranger to Shadows is awesome. You might consider adding 2x more The Faithful Stone, seeing as how its not unique, and getting 4 of these out means no fighting period. Add I will go, you’ll need the defender a lot.

Cut Tireless. If you’re fighting, something’s wrong. Add 2 more Gondor Bowmen, this will save your life. Possibly add some Citadel of Minas Tirith.

Cut One Whom Men Would Follow and Support of the Last Homely House.

Drop Swordarm of the White Tower and War and Valor for A Ranger’s Versatility. You’re running forestguls WITHOUT this card? Add in Defend it and Hope and/or No Traveller’s In This Land. Awesome for comboing with a Ranger’s Versatility.

I suggest adding Hardy Garrison. With the events you’re running, it could mean an auto-kill with A Ranger’s Versatility. Oh, and Aragorn’s Bow is awesome for exert to wound stuff.

If you are going to pair with Nazzies, you must run a couple An Able Guide for the double.

Okay, now the shadow. 4x Captain of the Nine Riders. Toldea, Black Shadow all the way, but only 3x. Drop Nertea, he stinks. 1x Enquea, Duplicitous Lieutenant, 1x Sixth of the Nine Riders, 1x Black Threat. You must go Lemenya, Assailing Minion, 2 of him. I like Cantea, Black Assassin, but most people don’t, I like his ability to keep the companion count down, making the ability to overrun the fellowship with nazzies better. But just 1 of him. Otsea is great, best when followed up from an Anduin Banks, but drop the Seventh of the Nine. Also drop Attea.

Cut In Twilight and Moving This Way. And you can only have 3 sites of a given shadow number.
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Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 3:50 pm
Joined: 12 Jan 2007 Posts: 4594 Location: Beltsville, MD, USA
All pretty good ideas, NB, many of which I’ve used or considered before, but a few I hadn’t. I like and will construct another deck using some of those thoughts.

However, this was intended to be something DIFFERENT than your standard ranger wounding, or even standard...well, anything! Razz I’m not seeking to prove Faramir and Aragorn could work without allies, because as many of your ideas hinted at, I think it could (and still want to prove it in a game! Smile). The intention of this specific deck was to try and exploit Tom with OWMWF.

I suppose I can shave some cards off on each side, like Elrond and some Nazzie stuff. If I drop the Elven cards that brings it down to a more easily-manageable 38, and I could easily snip 3 Wraith cards somewhere....

I’ll work on it and see what I come up with, maybe even squeezing in some of your suggestions. But I’d prefer to keep the allies and all...that’s the whole point of this particular deck! Mr. Green

Blast it all! I always forget the 3 sites of each number rule, too. Back to the drawing board for that.... Sad
Best regards, Dáin, Vice Aftokrator of the Chosen Ones

Check out Lasting Alliances, The Road Ahead, and Ages of Middle-earth, three of my five dream card sets that make up Wars of the Ring. Oh, and I have a trade list now!

Also, if you're into DCs or RPGs (or even if you're not!), check out Realms of Middle-earth, the sequel to CG's "DC Adventure", Realms of the North!
Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 5:18 pm
Joined: 28 Dec 2006 Posts: 5468 Location: I don't know...
That’s fine. If you’re keeping the deck, then use Morannon Plains. Great combo with Nelya.

If you’re trying to do a WTG ally deck, then I suggest running 4x each of the allies. As is, a well-played Anduin Confluence, which should be run by anyone who doesn’t explicitly need the site path for other stuff, should completely hose the deck.

And I’d take it to open format with a Boromir RB. It frankly doesn’t stand a chance as is, open format gives you Horn of Boromir.

Actually, I’d go Boromir anyways, because his self-wounding text gives you an easy out from burdens.
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