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October 23, 2020, 04:34:37 AM
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JamesCB

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Mithrandir
« on: October 23, 2020, 04:34:37 AM »
I saw Mithrandir the other day, and I thought, "This needs a deck."

Obviously you would need Intimidate, and I decided to throw in King in Exile to get use out of things like Hard Choice, and, of course, KiE's built-in healing. Have Patience, Narya, and Gandalf's Staff also seemed vital (no pun intended), but I decided to go with Wizard Staff for the extra strength.

MITHRANDIR:  (Just the Free Peoples side. No sites, no shadow.)

Ring-bearer: Frodo, Reluctant Adventurer
Ring: The One Ring, Answer To All Riddles

Free Peoples Draw Deck: (34)
3x Gandalf, Mithrandir (Starting)

2x Shadowfax
2x Wizard Staff
2x Narya

3x Sting, Baggins Heirloom
4x Hobbit Intuition
4x Severed His Bonds
3x Swiftly and Softly
2x Bounder

4x Have Patience
4x Intimidate


Most of these are straightforward. We got cards to save Frodo, we got Shadowfax (I was originally going to go with Glamdring, but then I realized that we probably wouldn't be exerting Gandalf that much, so Shadowfax is better), we got Narya for vitality, and we got Wizard Staff for strength and, if we need, perhaps a last minute Frodo save? I went with 4 Mithrandir's (rather than just starting with him) for discard to heal. I went with Reluctant Adventurer because, not only were the other ones not good for this deck, but RA also has a Aragorn Signet, letting Hard Choice benefit anyone.

Right now, we have a strength 13, vitality 5 Mithrandir. That sounds good to me.

I think the problem with this deck is Aragorn surviving. Maybe drop him and replace the Hard Choice's with more Intimidate's or Have Patience's?
« Last Edit: November 06, 2020, 04:27:23 AM by JamesCB »

October 28, 2020, 04:18:25 AM
Reply #1

JamesCB

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Re: Mithrandir
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2020, 04:18:25 AM »
Any thoughts?

October 28, 2020, 03:37:24 PM
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Air Power

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Re: Mithrandir
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2020, 03:37:24 PM »
First, are you tracking that Hobbit Sword/Hobbit Intuition are pumps only and won't be canceling any skirmishes?

With the right hands, you could move quickly and cycle well, which supports your shadow and puts pressure on the opponent to double-move to keep up, but with the wrong hand (no Mithrandir or multiples of your equipment, no Severed His Bonds/Swiftly and Softly) you're facing a clog and can't risk a double-move.
"If the world becomes pagan and perishes, the last man left alive would do well to quote the Iliad and die." -G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man

October 29, 2020, 04:28:55 AM
Reply #3

JamesCB

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Re: Mithrandir
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2020, 04:28:55 AM »
Yeah, I remembered the whole 1-4 is is different than 1T-4T thing.

That's definitely a good point. And, for that reason (and that one I listed above), I might just take out KiE and start with Mithrandir. Would probably keep the 4 copies, though.

October 29, 2020, 03:47:12 PM
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Air Power

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Re: Mithrandir
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2020, 03:47:12 PM »
I'd drop hobbit stealth for more of the other 3.

If you drop KiE, consider switching RA to OBH and adding 2-3x Bounder (using some of the slots from KiE and hard choice).  I like starting Gandalf since he's the centerpiece of the deck. 

Switching the hobbit swords for Sting, BH gives you a little extra utility.
"If the world becomes pagan and perishes, the last man left alive would do well to quote the Iliad and die." -G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man

October 30, 2020, 04:02:11 AM
Reply #5

JamesCB

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Re: Mithrandir
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2020, 04:02:11 AM »
Yeah, that makes sense.
I modified the OP

November 06, 2020, 08:25:53 AM
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ununtrium

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Re: Mithrandir
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2020, 08:25:53 AM »
I really like the Mithrandir deck ideas above, so I thought I contribute a little bit, being myself very interested in coming up with a feasable deck of this theme. This my proposal:

Ring-bearer: Frodo, Reluctant Adventurer
Ring: The One Ring, Answer To All Riddles

Free Peoples Draw Deck: (34)
4x Gandalf, Mithrandir (Starting)

2x Shadowfax
2x Gandalf's Staff, Walking Stick
1x Narya
2x Sting, Baggins Heirloom

2x Hobbit Intuition
4x Severed His Bonds
3x Swiftly and Softly

2x Depart Silently
4x Servant of the Secret Fire
4x Have Patience*
4x Intimidate*

Which Shadow would pair favourably with this Free Peoples side?

Some questions:
1) I also considered Under the Living Earth and Sleep, Caradhras. Worth including? What about Roll of Thunder? Do I need any of these pumps or removal cards?
2) I am also wondering if building a Merry, Impatient Hobbit Gandalf-healing engine might be worth it. Is it?
3) How about adding Keep your forked tongue and switch to Frodo, Tired Traveller (or Mr. Underhill, if you do not care for staying true to TS) for the matching signet, to add some more Gandalf-themed Frodo protection?

Here is the Shadow I would like to pair the deck with: Southron Ambushers

1x 5R70 Army of Haradrim
1x 5R126 Army of Haradrim (AI)
2x 4R219 Desert Lord 
3x 4U249 Southron Commander
2x 4R251 Southron Fighter
2x 6C81 Southron Invaders
3x 5C76 Southron Traveler
2x 4R257 Southron Veterans
3x 1U178 Goblin Runner
2x 4C222 Desert Warrior

4x 5C73 Mumak
3x 4U234 Flanking Attack
1x 4R237 Ithilien Wilderness
4x 4C260 Whirling Strike
1x 4R223 Discovered

Again, a couple of questions:
1) What about adding pumps like On The March or Southron Spear? More effective than focusing on the direct damage special abilities?
2) What about the ambush weenies Southron Soldier and Southron Scout? I believe the Goblin Runner to be more efficient.

In general, I would like the Ambusher build to be as effective as can be. I already get the impression that other Shadows are better in general...

The sitepath:
(1T) 4U323 East Wall of Rohan
(2T) 4U333 Plains of Rohan Camp
(3T) 4U337 Barrows of Edoras
(4T) 4U343 Ered Nimrais
(5T) 4U351 Hornburg Parapet
(6T) 4U354 Hornburg Armory
(7T) 4U356 Hornburg Causeway
(8T) 4U359 Wizard's Vale
(9T) 4U360 Fortress of Orthanc

Many thanks for your input.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2020, 04:11:25 AM by ununtrium »
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November 11, 2020, 08:25:54 PM
Reply #7

Phallen Cassidy

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Re: Mithrandir
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2020, 08:25:54 PM »
Is the goal here to make a Frodo-Mithrandir deck with no other companions? I hate to say, I think I'm about to try and bring a lot of rain down on your parades haha. It's hard to make any two-companion deck work, much less one where a companion is actively trying to commit seppuku. There are things you can do to take the edge off of the weaknesses, but I think most TS matchups will be unfavorable for your FP. Consider that Eomer is base strength 11 and defender +1 with horse and spear -- and that there are plenty of Shadow sides capable of beating Rohan. I do think it's a neat idea as long as you're comfortable preforming around the bottom of second-string decks. The way I'd play such a deck would be to go second and aim for a shadow kill while also trying to goad my opponent into going after my FP. Maybe they'll think they can kill my Fellowship at 7 or 8 and -- if I can hold out -- open the door for my Shadow to instead kill them at 8 or 9.

JamesCB:
It's nice to have Gandalf at base strength 13, but the big issue here is that he caps out at 13 strength too. You'll be losing skirmishes to Nazgul with mounts, Uruk-hai with pumps, Dunlending with Saruman or a site, Southrons with mounts, Eaterlings with 2 burdens, almost any 2 minions skirmishing Gandalf at once... Basically, you're far from guaranteed a free kill every site. Plus, Have Patience and Intimidate are expensive and using them before the Shadow phase puts you in a lot of danger. The Frodo stuff is nice because you'll actually be able to throw the biggest threats onto him and just let him take hits, but you've got to hold these things in your hand which will ruin your Shadow chances even if your FP do everything right. And since decks with few companions are rarely able to double-move gracefully, winning is going to be more up to lucky draws than anything else.

You need something for Gandalf when there are 3 minions on the board unless you want to take 2 wounds (plus 1 on Frodo) every site instead of 1. Servant of the Secret Fire can replace some Hobbit events, probably some combination of Severed His Bonds and Swiftly and Softly. I think Have Patience is just too expensive to justify period for a deck such as this, if you want to remove those instead. Mithrandir and King in Exile go together like Smeagol and Gollum, but if you really don't care for him then with some additional pumps (Threw Down My Enemy is made for this deck: guaranteed -2 from Shadowfax and Gandalf's Text and only getting better from there. Mysterious Wizard is the other good option I think), you can rely on winning skirmishes and Sanctuary healing instead of preventing and healing wounds.

Still, I'd consider a copy of Pippin, Hobbit of Some Intelligence to heal Gandalf and face down a Cave Troll for the old man, as well as going ahead and adding the fourth copy of Mithrandir. Another neat little add-in could be Smeagol, Poor Creature; you start him for almost-free, you get good cycling to get set up sooner, you handle 3 minions much more easily, and you get a timely corpse if a big fellah starts stomping around. Elrond, Herald to Gil-Galad is a free heal every site, but you'd really need 4 copies of him so you can play him before site 3. If you don't mind it, that also opens the door to Secret Sentinels for condition discard since Gandalf's usual toolkit could get you killed. Gandalf's Wisdom is a direction to take this deck that would allow you to swap in Old Bilbo's Heir, remove all 4 Severed His Bonds, and rely on Bounder more; it would also make Shadowfax and Wizard Staff a lot safer.

No matter what, having one unbound companion in this format means Uruk Archery will tear you to bits. Intimidate and all those extra Mithrandir are gonna be your friends, but if you follow my advice and add some Gandalf pumps you might want to reconsider Gandalf's Staff (makes Intimidate a lot more reasonable if you have to use it when moving, too). And of course, splashing Pippin and not immediately sending him off to die will make that matchup a lot easier to bear.


ununtrium:
Most of my thoughts above apply here too. Walking Stick is an interesting pick because it makes Gandalf effectively damage +4 at the cost of twilight reduction you desperately want from Gandalf's Staff. Why do you need this? At 12 base strength you still need 2 Servant of the Secret Fire in hand to beat the 4 and 5 vitality minions you might fear (but I guess that's just as well since you'll probably need them to spot the 2 twilight). If you're sold on Walking Stick, make way for Barliman Butterbar so it's a little more doable. I'm a big fan of Depart Silently over Hobbit Intuition since it'll tide you over in the fierce skirmishes.

Here's my take on your questions. Sleep Caradhras is a lot more palatable with Hard Choice to go with it. Generally the twilight cost is justified by whatever it removes, but with just two companions, both of whom are relying on getting events at the right time, an extra minion could be the end. One copy is always smart in case you run against grind or something, but it's going to be very situational whether you use it or discard it. Roll of Thunder doesn't have that problem and can save you against a good handful of popular possessions on Towers Standard, namely mounts. But with the build you have right now, it seems you'd rather have a pump to just kill whoever is bearing the possession for cheaper anyway.

I don't know that there's ever a time or place for a Merry, Impatient Hobbit engine. I say give it a shot, although I don't think there's a way to make it work haha. In the end I think you'll find it's too much deck space for not much in return.

Old Bilbo's Heir also has the Gandalf signet, if you wanted to swap 4x Severed His Bonds for 2x Bounder. But between Frodo's 6 vitality and 10 resistance, I don't see how preventing a wound or two actually matters. May as well just add Mithril Coat.

Your Southron deck is best for another discussion, but I think you're probably right that other shadows are generally better. You have to rely on items and events for fierce or an extra wound in the skirmish, something other shadows get naturally. Southrons can be more fun though, because you can leave 3 twilight in the pool and dare your opponent to make risky assignments regardless of whether you have an event in hand. It's more of a mind game than the other cultures, where most of the danger is concealed in your hand instead of on the table. Since you might have cards you could play but won't to save twilight, this strategy generally pairs better with a Free Peoples side that can draw extra the turn before or discard the turn after and keep things from getting clogged up. If you really want to keep these two strategies together then consider removing expensive, situational minions (you have a lot of guys costing 5 and more) for cheap cards such as Strength in Numbers or Southron Bowman. Again, it's all about making your opponent unsure of what you might have -- especially when you really have nothing at all.

November 13, 2020, 05:49:57 AM
Reply #8

ununtrium

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Re: Mithrandir
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2020, 05:49:57 AM »
Many thanks for your elaborate and detailed answer, Phallen!

This means "back to the drawing board". KiE definitely has to be re-incorporated into the deck. The Southron shadow is a topic to be discussed separately, indeed! For this FP you need a shadow that goes in for the kill. Will check the options for a suitable shadow side. I will not abandon the Southron shadow. It should be paired with a FP side that is set up for running.

I will post a 2.0 version next week, when I have more time to spare!

Many thanks for your feedback!

Is the goal here to make a Frodo-Mithrandir deck with no other companions? I hate to say, I think I'm about to try and bring a lot of rain down on your parades haha. It's hard to make any two-companion deck work, much less one where a companion is actively trying to commit seppuku. There are things you can do to take the edge off of the weaknesses, but I think most TS matchups will be unfavorable for your FP. Consider that Eomer is base strength 11 and defender +1 with horse and spear -- and that there are plenty of Shadow sides capable of beating Rohan. I do think it's a neat idea as long as you're comfortable preforming around the bottom of second-string decks. The way I'd play such a deck would be to go second and aim for a shadow kill while also trying to goad my opponent into going after my FP. Maybe they'll think they can kill my Fellowship at 7 or 8 and -- if I can hold out -- open the door for my Shadow to instead kill them at 8 or 9.

JamesCB:
It's nice to have Gandalf at base strength 13, but the big issue here is that he caps out at 13 strength too. You'll be losing skirmishes to Nazgul with mounts, Uruk-hai with pumps, Dunlending with Saruman or a site, Southrons with mounts, Eaterlings with 2 burdens, almost any 2 minions skirmishing Gandalf at once... Basically, you're far from guaranteed a free kill every site. Plus, Have Patience and Intimidate are expensive and using them before the Shadow phase puts you in a lot of danger. The Frodo stuff is nice because you'll actually be able to throw the biggest threats onto him and just let him take hits, but you've got to hold these things in your hand which will ruin your Shadow chances even if your FP do everything right. And since decks with few companions are rarely able to double-move gracefully, winning is going to be more up to lucky draws than anything else.

You need something for Gandalf when there are 3 minions on the board unless you want to take 2 wounds (plus 1 on Frodo) every site instead of 1. Servant of the Secret Fire can replace some Hobbit events, probably some combination of Severed His Bonds and Swiftly and Softly. I think Have Patience is just too expensive to justify period for a deck such as this, if you want to remove those instead. Mithrandir and King in Exile go together like Smeagol and Gollum, but if you really don't care for him then with some additional pumps (Threw Down My Enemy is made for this deck: guaranteed -2 from Shadowfax and Gandalf's Text and only getting better from there. Mysterious Wizard is the other good option I think), you can rely on winning skirmishes and Sanctuary healing instead of preventing and healing wounds.

Still, I'd consider a copy of Pippin, Hobbit of Some Intelligence to heal Gandalf and face down a Cave Troll for the old man, as well as going ahead and adding the fourth copy of Mithrandir. Another neat little add-in could be Smeagol, Poor Creature; you start him for almost-free, you get good cycling to get set up sooner, you handle 3 minions much more easily, and you get a timely corpse if a big fellah starts stomping around. Elrond, Herald to Gil-Galad is a free heal every site, but you'd really need 4 copies of him so you can play him before site 3. If you don't mind it, that also opens the door to Secret Sentinels for condition discard since Gandalf's usual toolkit could get you killed. Gandalf's Wisdom is a direction to take this deck that would allow you to swap in Old Bilbo's Heir, remove all 4 Severed His Bonds, and rely on Bounder more; it would also make Shadowfax and Wizard Staff a lot safer.

No matter what, having one unbound companion in this format means Uruk Archery will tear you to bits. Intimidate and all those extra Mithrandir are gonna be your friends, but if you follow my advice and add some Gandalf pumps you might want to reconsider Gandalf's Staff (makes Intimidate a lot more reasonable if you have to use it when moving, too). And of course, splashing Pippin and not immediately sending him off to die will make that matchup a lot easier to bear.


ununtrium:
Most of my thoughts above apply here too. Walking Stick is an interesting pick because it makes Gandalf effectively damage +4 at the cost of twilight reduction you desperately want from Gandalf's Staff. Why do you need this? At 12 base strength you still need 2 Servant of the Secret Fire in hand to beat the 4 and 5 vitality minions you might fear (but I guess that's just as well since you'll probably need them to spot the 2 twilight). If you're sold on Walking Stick, make way for Barliman Butterbar so it's a little more doable. I'm a big fan of Depart Silently over Hobbit Intuition since it'll tide you over in the fierce skirmishes.

Here's my take on your questions. Sleep Caradhras is a lot more palatable with Hard Choice to go with it. Generally the twilight cost is justified by whatever it removes, but with just two companions, both of whom are relying on getting events at the right time, an extra minion could be the end. One copy is always smart in case you run against grind or something, but it's going to be very situational whether you use it or discard it. Roll of Thunder doesn't have that problem and can save you against a good handful of popular possessions on Towers Standard, namely mounts. But with the build you have right now, it seems you'd rather have a pump to just kill whoever is bearing the possession for cheaper anyway.

I don't know that there's ever a time or place for a Merry, Impatient Hobbit engine. I say give it a shot, although I don't think there's a way to make it work haha. In the end I think you'll find it's too much deck space for not much in return.

Old Bilbo's Heir also has the Gandalf signet, if you wanted to swap 4x Severed His Bonds for 2x Bounder. But between Frodo's 6 vitality and 10 resistance, I don't see how preventing a wound or two actually matters. May as well just add Mithril Coat.

Your Southron deck is best for another discussion, but I think you're probably right that other shadows are generally better. You have to rely on items and events for fierce or an extra wound in the skirmish, something other shadows get naturally. Southrons can be more fun though, because you can leave 3 twilight in the pool and dare your opponent to make risky assignments regardless of whether you have an event in hand. It's more of a mind game than the other cultures, where most of the danger is concealed in your hand instead of on the table. Since you might have cards you could play but won't to save twilight, this strategy generally pairs better with a Free Peoples side that can draw extra the turn before or discard the turn after and keep things from getting clogged up. If you really want to keep these two strategies together then consider removing expensive, situational minions (you have a lot of guys costing 5 and more) for cheap cards such as Strength in Numbers or Southron Bowman. Again, it's all about making your opponent unsure of what you might have -- especially when you really have nothing at all.
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November 19, 2020, 10:16:24 AM
Reply #9

JamesCB

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Re: Mithrandir
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2020, 10:16:24 AM »
« Last Edit: November 20, 2020, 01:24:35 PM by JamesCB »

February 07, 2021, 11:25:03 PM
Reply #10

Zelgadiss

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Re: Mithrandir
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2021, 11:25:03 PM »
I have been running a similar version for the past few weeks (less focused on hobbits tho):

Ring-bearer: Frodo, Reluctant Adventurer
Ring: The One Ring, Isildur's Bane

Adventure deck:
Westfold
Plains of Rohan Camp
Barrows of Edoras
Westemnet Hills
Hornburg Courtyard
Hornburg Armory
Hornburg Causeway
Valley of Saruman
Fortress of Orthanc

Free Peoples Draw Deck: (35)

1x Gandalf, Mithrandir
1x Aragorn, King in Exile (Starting)
1x Boromir, Lord of Gondor
1x Faramir, Captain of Gondor
1x Sam, Son of Hamfast
2x Shadowfax
2x Aragorn's Bow
1x Ranger's Sword, Blade of Aragorn
1x Sword of Gondor
1x Sting, Baggins Heirloom
1x Gandalf's Staff, Walking Stick
1x Narya
1x Mithril-coat
1x Grown Suddenly Tall
2x Mysterious Wizard
4x Servant of the Secret Fire
2x Hard Choice
1x Pathfinder
4x Gondor Bowmen
2x The Saga of Elendil
3x Cliffs of Emyn Muil
1x There and Back Again


Since I rely on Gandalf, I have to start, so I bet high (4 burdens) and then I try to get rid of them along the way (cliffs, Sam, Narya).
Hard choice and Saga of Elendil allows me to search for more than one companion on site 1. I use the brothers to benefit from Aragorn's healing in case Gandalf is killed, and to keep the culture count low (yes, I hate Grima, in all of its forms).
Mysterious Wizard is a good card, since it always gives you the staff extra damage, and +4 str is enough to win a LOT of fights.

I'm thinking about getting rid of Gondor Bowman, since I intended to use against dunlendings, but hides is very effective against arrows. If I do change, I might try something like Garrison of Osgiliath + Ring of Barahir, or some other spells.

February 08, 2021, 05:33:36 AM
Reply #11

Phallen Cassidy

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Re: Mithrandir
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2021, 05:33:36 AM »
Gondor Bowmen is a great card all-around, many opponents will play conservatively for much of the game for the mere threat of it. One of those cards where you don't even have to use it for it to work :P Your opponent does have that control over the situation though, and Gollum or Saruman could basically nullify them at a crucial site. Plus you've already got Aragorn's Bow. Against Dundelding you can't do better than Citadel of the Stars and Stone Tower, and I think they'd be a natural fit here with your steady healing. Maybe 2x and 1x, saving you a card slot for somethin' cool? The suggestion I'll throw into the hat is Athelas for Black Breath and Weary.

Personally, I still think that Walking Stick is overkill for this deck (even moreso with the amount of direct wounding you have here) and the saved twilight from Gandalf's Staff could let you double instead. And that Armor is highly underrated in this format since traditional Uruk-hai are still pretty popular, although it's not much of a concern when you win nearly every skirmish haha.

Neat deck. I think it's wise to focus more on King in Exile since Mithrandir is so volatile, here it looks like if the Shadow player ever manages to take down Gandalf they're still not all that much closer to winning. I might steal it sometime ;)

February 08, 2021, 11:13:46 PM
Reply #12

Zelgadiss

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Re: Mithrandir
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2021, 11:13:46 PM »
Gondor Bowmen is a great card all-around, many opponents will play conservatively for much of the game for the mere threat of it. One of those cards where you don't even have to use it for it to work :P Your opponent does have that control over the situation though, and Gollum or Saruman could basically nullify them at a crucial site. Plus you've already got Aragorn's Bow. Against Dundelding you can't do better than Citadel of the Stars and Stone Tower, and I think they'd be a natural fit here with your steady healing. Maybe 2x and 1x, saving you a card slot for somethin' cool? The suggestion I'll throw into the hat is Athelas for Black Breath and Weary.

Personally, I still think that Walking Stick is overkill for this deck (even moreso with the amount of direct wounding you have here) and the saved twilight from Gandalf's Staff could let you double instead. And that Armor is highly underrated in this format since traditional Uruk-hai are still pretty popular, although it's not much of a concern when you win nearly every skirmish haha.

Neat deck. I think it's wise to focus more on King in Exile since Mithrandir is so volatile, here it looks like if the Shadow player ever manages to take down Gandalf they're still not all that much closer to winning. I might steal it sometime ;)


I haven't played many games with the deck (28 total, but I'm always doing small adjustments), but I like the Walking Stick a little bit more for two reasons: It's really usefull in stopping a big fierce minion (Lurtz, Troll, Nazgûl) and because it's very rare for me to do doubles with Mithrandir, since I cannot heal. I usually go from 7-9 and maybe from 1-3. On the shadow side I play with Nazgûl, and either my opponent doesn't double as well, or things go terribly wrong when all of a sudden there's 3 big minions on the board.

I agree that focusing more on Aragorn is the wise move, but to tell the truth my original idea was to make a deck around Mithrandir (which is seldomly played, and I think it's a pretty cool card), I went the KiE route more to enable Gandalf than out of a desire to have Gondor on the deck.  =)