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Author Topic: Elvents / Uruk Berserkers  (Read 4909 times)

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September 25, 2019, 01:59:30 PM
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Phallen Cassidy

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Elvents / Uruk Berserkers
« on: September 25, 2019, 01:59:30 PM »
Pretty simple KS deck I play from time to time. It cycles well, but could probably use some trimming.

Ring-bearer: Frodo, Courteous Halfling
Ring: The One Ring, Such a Weight to Carry

Adventure deck:
Rohirrim Road
King's Tent
Hall of the Kings
Anduin Banks
Pelennor Flat
Minas Tirith Seventh Circle
Pelennor Grassland
Northern Ithilien
Haunted Pass

Free Peoples Draw Deck: (44)
1x Arwen, Fair Elf Maiden (Starting)
1x Legolas, Elven Comrade (Starting)
3x Elrond, Elven Lord
1x Naith Warband
2x Pengedhel, Naith Warrior
1x Taurnil, Sharp-eyed Bowman
1x Sam, Son of Hamfast

1x Asfaloth
3x Banner of Elbereth
3x Bow of the Galadhrim, Gift of Galadriel
2x Gwemegil
1x Lembas
2x Naith Longbow
1x Sting, Baggins Heirloom

1x Ancient Enmity
3x Company of Archers
2x Defiance
1x Feathered
2x Still Needed
3x Supporting Fire
3x Sword-wall
1x That Is No Orc Horn
1x Valor

2x Hope Comes
1x Hosts of the Last Alliance
1x Shadow Between

Shadow Draw Deck: (44)
4x Berserk Butcher
3x Berserk Rager
3x Berserk Savage
3x Berserk Slayer
2x Lurtz, Servant of Isengard
1x Saruman, Servant of the Eye
1x Troop of Uruk-hai
1x Uruk Guard
2x Uruk-hai Berserker

3x Abandoning Reason for Madness
1x Beyond the Height of Men
2x Bred for Battle
3x Hunt Them Down!
2x Lurtz's Battle Cry

1x Greed
4x Saruman's Ambition
3x Scaling Ladder
3x Siege Engine
1x Spies of Saruman
1x Uruk-hai Rampage

For the Free Peoples, the goal is to get Bow of the Galadhrim on Legolas and turn a bad fighter to a fairly good fighter. Exert him to make the minion he's skirmishing -1, play an event to buff him and heal him, then repeat. Doing Legolas' skirmish last means you can also use his ability for other companions' skirmishes. Basically every other companion is still better suited to win skirmishes, but it's the thought that counts. This means that some of those companions are redundant and could be swapped out for utility, but I wouldn't know what. Balglin looks kind of cool? Taurnil is just there to slow Easterling Captain's roll. Lembas hopefully makes double moves possible, and there are about a dozen skirmish events to play. There are plenty of places to make cuts, but it also draws pretty well. First impressions?

The Shadow side is still trying out some things (I don't think I've played a game with Uruk-hai Rampage or Beyond the Height of Men yet), but it's pretty simple: make some big strong fellas fierce and whack the good guys. Saruman's Ambition is a skirmish pump of absolute last resort since Hunt Them Down! is hard to afford otherwise. Usually I can only play one or two minions so the distribution is extremely lopsided, less than half of the cards are minions. This gives plenty of opportunity for bad draws, but too many minions and there's hand clog. Again, there are some easy cards to remove here but I'm interested to see if anyone has any thoughts.

September 25, 2019, 02:13:24 PM
Reply #1


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Re: Elvents / Uruk Berserkers
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2019, 02:13:24 PM »
Not sure why you'd focus in on Legolas as the main fighter without a copy of Long-Knives of Legolas. Also, why three Gwemegil when you could stack up your other companions with Elven Swords?

Is Sword-Wall your best way of putting away minions? There isn't a lot of archery support and Elves have little in terms of damage bonuses...I feel like this would not be so far from the Naith decks of Towers block which struggle to double move. Particularly since Sword-Wall costs (2).

I'll have to think about this one some more...I can't say that I've played against it, have I?

September 25, 2019, 08:56:57 PM
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Phallen Cassidy

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Re: Elvents / Uruk Berserkers
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2019, 08:56:57 PM »
I think you had, in some form or another. The current hand weapon of choice is Banner of Elbereth for mad card drawing, but that may be misplaced. Gwemegil allows me to discard Shadow cards which won't be immediately helpful and help curb bad hands a bit. I think Sword-Wall and That Is No Orc Horn makes me Besieger-proof... I can only imagine that was an issue for me when I made the deck, haha. Doubling is definitely not what this deck wants to do: you'd need to get to the regroup phase with at most 2-3 minions (depending on how many card the opponent draws) on the table and enough events in hand to survive the next site. Possible, but it's best for a 7-9 thing... Or 5-7 with the favorable site 6. I think the deck started as a way to prove that Naith fighters are worthwhile, but the pivot to Legolas and Elvents blurs that a bit. Perhaps Erethon should replace John Travolta -- I've always discounted him because he only gets +1 strength. Or I may want to break them out to two separate decks down the line. We'll see.

After playing a couple of games, the card drawing seems to help set up good hands for the Shadow. And between the discarding and drawing effects, getting through the deck can be pretty trivial if you are a veteran card-miller such as myself. The Shadow side discourages doubles when there's anything to play, but if the hand is dry maybe the threat of playing big minions can do some work, too? Just lean into the bluff. Otherwise, the minions are hard to get rid of fighting and there's plenty of support to help with direct wounding.

I'm gonna give it a few more games as-is, but I'm starting to think maybe the deck shouldn't be cut down after all. Just refine it a bit, swap out some decent cards for good cards, and it could be a real powerhouse. I say all of this, but if the Free Peoples becomes too strong I'm just going to be bitter at how Decipher gave so much stuff to Elves.

January 26, 2021, 01:56:56 PM
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Phallen Cassidy

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Re: Elvents / Uruk Berserkers
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2021, 01:56:56 PM »
Alright, so I did end up splitting this deck and I'm a lot happier with both of the new FP for doing so. For this Shadow side I kept the Naith elves and leaned hard into cycling. I'm still starting Legolas just because of how common Nazgul are, but I'm considering one of the [2] Naith elves instead (Pengedhel, mainly). While it's still got plenty of [Elven] events, Naith / Berserkers is much more accurate now. Here are the changes:

Free Peoples Draw Deck (45):
- 1x Legolas, Elven Comrade
- 1x Pengedhel, Naith Warrior
- 1x Elrond, Elven Lord
- 3x Bow of the Galadhrim, Gift of Galadriel
- 1x Ancient Enmity
- 1x Feathered
- 2x Still Needed
- 2x Sword-wall
- 1x Valor
- 1x Hosts of the Last Alliance

1x Legolas, Prince of Mirkwood (Starting)
1x Erethon, Naith Lieutenant
1x Thonnas, Naith Captain
1x Naith Troop
2x Elven Sword
1x Lembas
2x Naith Longbow
3x Alliance Reforged
1x Defiance
1x Supporting Fire
1x Shadow Between

Shadow Draw Deck:
+ 1x Uruk-hai Rampage

Turns out without Gift of Galadriel and the temptation to juggle Still Needed, there's room for more cycling! The deck runs faster as a result, even though I added a card to each side. The Free Peoples basically play the same as Ents but better -- just remember to move the gear off of a guy before you kill him off he is tragically vanquished. Alliance Reforged hits the Rule of 4 immediately, then from there you can discard and draw with Elven Sword / Banner of Elbereth to craft your Shadow hand into what you want. I'm pretty aggressive and try to discard anything I don't think I'll play next site. The only FP cards I try to keep are the companions and possessions, and even those I'll sack with Abandoning Reason for Madness. Lately I've been bidding 1-2 to go first just to force a double on my opponent. The Elves definitely have the potential to win, but I'm going for Shadow kills.

There are a total of 11 unique companions here, which is why discarding some companions isn't a concern -- you're gonna have to do it anyway. Most of them are interchangeable, but I tend to save a slot for Sam if he ends up at the bottom of the deck. Everyone is expendable which will annoy many of the popular decks to no end since they're expecting to kill one or two key companions and be able to spring a win from there. There's nothing quite like doubling through 6 and healing more than 5 wounds, but do be cautious of what site 7 might be. Hosts of the Last Alliance was there to protect from Enquea, but him killing a companion really doesn't matter (doubly so if your opponent isn't playing Nazgul and you'll only see him once or twice). Greed's about the only reason you should be afraid of having 6+ companions.

The Shadow side strategy hasn't changed, but I'll go into a bit more detail. There are only 19 minions here (eek!), and I anticipate playing ~12 every game. Unless I'm expecting my opponent to drop some serious twilight next turn, I basically whittle my hand into a choice between two or three minions (there are very few instances in which having any more is a good idea, the main exception being you've already discarded enough minions this game and are in danger of running out) and then whatever events or conditions. Uruk-hai Rampage has been a great help, hence the second copy. Hunt Them Down! with Saruman's Ambition is preferable, obviously, but it's such a good fallback. The minions and pumps are tough enough to overpower (and overwhelm, in the right circumstances) skirmish-oriented decks, you've got Scaling Ladder healing for Rohan and skirmish wounding (especially Ranger's Bow), and very few people even put Armor in the deck thanks to Wormtongue. Just use your Free Peoples to cycle into what you need and then play it.

If you felt so inclined you could easily rework this to be more Machine-oriented; I already have a few of those decks so I'm hesitant to add smaller Uruks for tokens, but there's that. I'm thinking about upping the number of pumps, although I'm at a very dangerous balance between minions and supporting gear as it is. If the cycling from the Elves falls apart, the Shadow side will too... Luckily your opponent probably won't realize it, since all you really play is one big minion at a time and the risk of facing 2-3 in a double is a hard bargain. It's pretty easy to bluff unless your opponent gives you hundreds of twilight and you have nothing in return.

The main weaknesses for the FP are burdens, [Wraith] RB hate, and Dunlenders. Against Easterlings you're definitely aiming to survive instead of thrive against them since the only way to handle Easterling Captain is with skirmish events. I'm using SaWtC because it lets Frodo be bold at the start before the Elves swarm in, though it might be better to swap for AtAR to soak wounds from Morgul Brute and Morgul Destroyer. The added vitality for Baggins Heirloom to cripple Gollum is also good. For Dunland there's not a lot of great options. Keep Legolas alive if you can so he can poke at 'em, but it's just a matter of time before a War Club wipes through your stuff. While you should retain enough control to not outright lose to Dunland, it'll definitely slow you enough to allow the opponent to reach 9 first.

For the Shadow, direct wounding is about the only problem I have. Berserk Butcher does a lot of good work, but there's only 4 of him and PATHS generally hits before I can use Scaling Ladder. Perhaps Broad-bladed Sword should go in at 2 or 3 copies, or another Spies of Saruman is in order?

I probably need to pare this down from 90 cards to 80, and I'll post another update if I do. Gotta give this version some more games to see how it holds up against different strategies. Generally pretty pleased though!

February 13, 2021, 12:17:23 PM
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Re: Elvents / Uruk Berserkers
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2021, 12:17:23 PM »
Neat idea! I've used a similar Free Peoples to some success in TS, but the emergence of Threatguls and Easterlings in KS results in a drastically different metagame. 

Letting the Shadow player kick you the teeth and simply playing more companions is surprisingly effective strategy, but it never hurts to have as many means of dealing with minions as possible. Elf/Man is the premier Free Peoples in KS for a reason: a Cantea-proof Aragorn with Anduril and TLAoEaM, direct wounding with Greenleaf/Stone Tower/Citadel of the Stars, and a slew a redshirts ready to jump in front of anything the first two can't handle. Even in this deck, I'd prefer Greenleaf over any other Legolas; the direct wounding is consistently useful and his mere presence forces the Shadow player to plan around him. 

Similarly, have you considered adding Smeagol + Don't Look at Them? It would require a relatively small card commitment (especially as Smeagol plays in your starting fellowship), would play well with the rest of the hand extension capabilities, give you capacity to help clear the board for a key double-move, and make use of Sting, BH in a pinch. Greenleaf and Smeagol could effectively play a two-man direct wounding game while the rest of your elves heroically sacrifice themselves for the greater good. It doesn't hurt that DLaT is particularly effective against the most popular Shadow in the format (Threatguls) and can help eliminate the threat of any Easterling Captain without a polearm. 

Playing Naith Warband and Naith Troop always made me nervous due to the steep spotting requirement. I played a single copy of Naith Warband in my TS deck, and I always debated cutting it in favor or something that wouldn't leave me with a dead card when I needed it most. 

February 14, 2021, 09:03:38 PM
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Phallen Cassidy

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Re: Elvents / Uruk Berserkers
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2021, 09:03:38 PM »
The trouble with Aragorn and his gear is I'm cycling through most of my FP stuff when I get Abandoning Reason for Madness and even when I reconcile most Shadow turns. If I draw it after the Fellowship phase with Banner of Elbereth or Hope Comes, too. The advantage to this setup is there are no "key" cards to save between turns so the FP generally aren't much worse off and the Shadow side runs even more efficiently than a smaller, more disciplined deck. I could just add duplicates but if I end up trimming the numbers much at all the card commitment for Aragorn+ would grow too heavy I think. I might give Greenleaf a try though. My hope is that Prince of Mirkwood provides cover for Fair Elf Maiden when I dump more twilight than I should against Nazgul in the first sites, which I'm estimating will be more common than Dunland or Besiegers or whatever other problems Greenleaf solves.

I like the thought of Smeagol since Poor Creature is spectacular early on and Don't Look at Them plus Greenleaf would let me take out an untimely Witch-king. Of course I can just opt to not use it if it puts my Shadow side in danger, but then I wonder if it and its copies would be better served by stuff for the Elves which are always helpful and never a liability. And the companion slot is nothing for most decks but could come back to bite me here. I dunno. It's definitely an appealing thought.

Then again, my Elves do win plenty of skirmishes and I'm aiming to maximize cards drawn from Banner of Elbereth and Hope Comes. It's hard to measure how much leaning on anything else might hurt the goal, which is to create impossibly good Shadow hands each turn. My thinking is that I only need to win once so it's better to have one side overperforming and the other underperforming than have two evenly-powered sides. If the other player has to sacrifice Shadow resources to prevent their Free Peoples from getting hammered then hey, I'm prepared to make that trade from the start whereas my opponent isn't. Maybe I'll clone the deck and try these as a chance to test that theory :P
« Last Edit: February 14, 2021, 09:06:14 PM by Phallen Cassidy »

February 16, 2021, 09:57:35 PM
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Re: Elvents / Uruk Berserkers
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2021, 09:57:35 PM »
It wasn't my intention to suggest including Aragorn (I was only using him as an example as to why the most popular Free Peoples in the KS format works). At that point, you may as well just play Elf/Man, which I assume wasn't your goal here. 

I don't disagree with your concern of wanting to avoid diluting your primary strategy; the only reason I think Smeagol would work is due to the minimal investment required. One copy of Smeagol which plays in your starting fellowship and two or three copies of DLaT seems to be a relatively low cost for the added dimension it provides (particularly in tandem with Greenleaf). One or both could still be killed off early in the game at little consequence to you.

Plus I'm partial to Poor Creature, as he seems to find a way into most of my decks.