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Author Topic: Discard's place in Fellowship Block  (Read 934 times)

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April 24, 2022, 10:26:26 AM
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Orophoin

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Discard's place in Fellowship Block
« on: April 24, 2022, 10:26:26 AM »
Before I begin, I know that some people just can't stand playing against discard decks, and I apologise if this post makes them more popular. Personally, I've never minded playing against them: once I worked out how to beat them (the shadow is very weak, so just run), I realised they are just a free win (especially as my decks tend to be pretty big). However, the questions raised last week about whether it does have a place in the game got me thinking: there are two ways to discard cards, and while I think milling off the deck is bad, discarding from hand does have potential.

First off, why milling is bad: if you don't get through the entirety of your opponent's deck, then there was no point: they will still be just as likely to draw that perfect card as they would if you hadn't discarded. Actually, perhaps slightly worse than that: since most decks more easily play cards from the discard pile than decks, you may be helping your opponent (milling through to help them find their one Goblin Scrabbler, or putting Sleep, Charadhras where Barliman can fetch it). And you're not likely to mill through their whole deck if they play well and double a lot (especially if they play a pretty big deck).

However, I have found three reasons to discard from the opponent's hand:

1. This is niche, but I have made a pretty effective deck that uses four Great Works Begun There to recur four What are we Waiting for? every turn when you play a dwarf. The premise is that if your shadow discards the opponent's hand on their FP turns, they would expect to draw 8 shadow cards total out of the 16 they get before the shadow phase (8 to form the hand, plus 8 with WawWf?), so you may be able to safely skip their shadow turn. This can be helped with Halls of my Home getting rid of shadow cards, forcing them to draw FP (the only mill I find effective). This is more effective in movie/expanded with Grayhame and cards like Dunharrow Plateau or Something Slimy to get the Great Works out.

2. Using discard only on one side of your deck to aid the other by discarding their important cards. Moria Swarm is deadly if you don't have the counters to it, most of all condition discard. And in Fellowship Block, that's predominantly Secret Sentinels and Sleep Charadhras (Bilbo, WSG and Song of Durin are less effective). So if you use The White Arrows of Lorien to discard those cards (or pick off something like Aragorn's Bow), then you can move in for the kill.

3. This may appear minor and quite technical, but I believe important. If you run an effective deck that plays all possible cards on its turn, you generally will expect to have 5 or 6 playable cards each Free People's (or Shadow) turn: the 2 or 3 you kept from your previous Shadow (or Free Peoples) turn, plus half of the new cards you drew. If your opponent's fellowship doubled on their previous turn, you're likely to have 6-8 playable cards on your Free People's turn. Not so against the White Arrows: if I discard your hand, you expect only 4 playable cards for your next turn. And if you don't play any minions in order to skip the archery phase, you're further clogged, probably expecting to only have about 3-4 playable cards. And if your opponent isn't playing enough cards, then the swarm will be very pleased indeed.

And so, combining points 2 and 3, I have come up with the following deck. I usually play more games before putting decks up here, but I didn't want to miss the discussion on discard. It's won almost every game so far now I've plugged some holes, each time with the swarm doing its thing. The fellowship is pretty hard to kill, however, especially as you bid to go second, and don't really ever want to double. It helps that many people assume it's a discard deck so run too fast which is virtually never safe against Moria. It's also nice that nothing on the FP side is so sacred that you can't jettison cards for They Are Coming to aid the swarm.

Ring-bearer: Frodo, Old Bilbo's Heir
Ring: The One Ring, Isildur's Bane

Adventure deck:
Westfarthing
Midgewater Moors
Rivendell Valley
Mithril Mine
The Bridge of Khazad-dum
Dimrill Dale
Anduin Confluence
Gates of Argonath
Tol Brandir

Free Peoples Draw Deck:
1x Gimli, Son of Gloin
1x Arwen, Lady Undomiel
1x Haldir, Elf of the Golden Wood
1x Legolas, Greenleaf
3x Lorien Elf
1x Calaglin, Elf of Lorien
1x Celeborn, Lord of Lorien
1x Dinendal, Silent Scout
2x Elrond, Lord of Rivendell
1x Erestor, Chief Advisor to Elrond
1x Galadriel, Lady of Light
1x Galdor, Councilor From the West
1x Golradir, Councilor of Imladris
1x Orophin, Lorien Bowman
1x Rúmil, Elven Protector
1x Saelbeth, Elven Councilor
1x Silinde, Elf of Mirkwood
1x Filibert Bolger, Wily Rascal
1x Dwarven Axe
1x Gimli's Helm
2x Elven Bow
1x Frying Pan
3x Secret Sentinels
3x Hobbit Stealth
2x Far-seeing Eyes
3x Shoulder to Shoulder
3x The White Arrows of Lorien

Shadow Draw Deck:
4x Goblin Runner
4x Goblin Scavengers
1x Goblin Scrabbler
1x Goblin Warrior
1x Guard Commander
4x Moria Scout
1x The Balrog, Flame of Udun
3x Orc Ambusher
2x Tower Assassin
1x Úlairë Enquëa, Lieutenant of Morgul
1x Úlairë Nertëa, Messenger of Dol Guldur
4x Goblin Scimitar
4x Host of Thousands
4x Goblin Armory
2x Goblin Swarms
1x Relics of Moria
2x They Are Coming

April 24, 2022, 12:45:00 PM
Reply #1

Tunadan

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Re: Discard's place in Fellowship Block
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2022, 12:45:00 PM »
I would tend to agree with your points. Full-blown discard is just too weak, but carefully measured discard is another matter. However, the only consistent discard is on the freeps side, as Courteous Halfling is common. Expanded might be a good field to try TWAOL paired with a nasty shadow; maybe an  [Orc] Swarm or a ForestGul deck. However, the issue with expanded is the tutoring from discard or deck is much, much easier.
He who breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.

April 24, 2022, 12:45:37 PM
Reply #2

Tunadan

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Re: Discard's place in Fellowship Block
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2022, 12:45:37 PM »
Apologies if my thoughts were off-topic from FOTR block.
He who breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.

April 24, 2022, 01:03:08 PM
Reply #3

Orophoin

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Re: Discard's place in Fellowship Block
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2022, 01:03:08 PM »
I would tend to agree with your points. Full-blown discard is just too weak, but carefully measured discard is another matter. However, the only consistent discard is on the freeps side, as Courteous Halfling is common. Expanded might be a good field to try TWAOL paired with a nasty shadow; maybe an  [Orc] Swarm or a ForestGul deck. However, the issue with expanded is the tutoring from discard or deck is much, much easier.

All very valid points. Courteous Halfling is possibly the hardest counter of any strategy that exists! He and Little Master are the reason why I have never used Resolute Halfling: for two resistance, I'll take a free win over discard any day (and it's oddly effective against various other surprising cards like Din of Arms).  But, as you say, I was focused on Fellowship block and also setting up shadow kills.

Your point on filter is very important to the arithmetic in my point three above. If they've horn-filtered their deck in expanded, What Are we Waiting For? won't actually help you stop a shadow turn. But, I have actually found discard (and mill) to be very effective against Horn: they only get a couple of turns to kill you before running out of steam-in my opinion justification enough in its own for its place