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Author Topic: Gandalf Choke & Sauron/Nazgul Corruption  (Read 274 times)

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October 08, 2022, 12:22:48 PM
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Phallen Cassidy

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Gandalf Choke & Sauron/Nazgul Corruption
« on: October 08, 2022, 12:22:48 PM »
This deck grew out of a silly idea here: https://lotrtcgwiki.com/forums/index.php?topic=11410.0

I toyed with the hybrid grind a few ways and in the end, there's just no reason for it. Orc Bowmen is so much more efficient than any minion could be and is just too natural of a fit with Under the Watching Eye, but you're just not gonna have twilight for a Sauron Orc, a Nazgul, and a Morgul Orc until site 7 and you've got to discard the Morgul Orcs all along the way. In the games I've managed to assign Morgul Spearman myself, I would have already ended the game with Sauron Grind. These minions are better left as support for Morgul Brute and Morgul Destroyer, they're just another way of doing the same thing.

I wound up rebuilding it with non-tracker [Sauron] Orcs and corruption. Desperate Defense of the Ring with fierce Nazgul does a number on a Fellowship. You need fewer Orcs in the deck since they've got higher vitality and a single Orc can play several conditions. Their higher strength means there's rarely an easy out for Thin and Stretched, especially for players using Answer to All Riddles. Morgul Skulker can dampen its effectiveness, but you can definitely tell when you've added 6 important Wraith cards back into your deck -- shadow hands at the end are much stronger.

The deck worked pretty well and had far fewer condition discarding woes since the damage is much harder to undo (particularly for the very popular Elf-Man fellowships). Still, I was left with a dire problem: the deck title no longer fit without the "red rovers." And I was so proud of that title! I looked for some reason -- any reason -- to put a [Sauron] tracker in play for a Nazgul deck. The only Sauron cards to key off tracker specifically are Seeking It Always, UtWE, and Spies of Mordor. Seeking It Always is no good after Fellowship block, UtWE I had already tried, and Spies of Mordor wouldn't actually benefit from the trackers. I'd Make You Squeak is there and Nazgul always love some more twilight, but it and UtWE were too many exertions, plus the Morcs were already plenty capable of putting wounds on Frodo which meant that card was once again better for regular Orcs. There's simply nothing that Trackers can provide to the deck.

Except! And some of you may have realized this already. The set 7 initiative trackers would make discarding cards for DDotR a very unappealing choice. I had already put a few in the corruption deck, so I swapped out the remaining big guys (even Orc Archer Troop, who is probably not a tracker for balance reasons. There's no need for my doing this, I admit :P) and came up with this:

White Wizard, Black Rider, Red Rover
Ring-bearer: Frodo, Reluctant Adventurer
Ring: The One Ring, Such a Weight to Carry

Adventure deck:
Isengard Ruined
King's Tent
Hall of the Kings
Osgiliath Fallen
Pelennor Flat
Minas Tirith Fifth Circle
Ruined Capitol
Slag Mounds

Free Peoples Draw Deck (36):
1x Gandalf, The White Wizard (Starting)
1x Smeagol, Poor Creature (Starting)
1x Pippin, Hobbit of Some Intelligence
1x Sam, Proper Poet
1x Thrarin, Dwarven Smith
2x Barliman Butterbur, Prancing Pony Proprietor
2x Bounder
1x Old Noakes, Purveyor of Wisdoms
2x Glamdring, Lightning Brand
2x Brace of Coneys
2x Sting, Baggins Heirloom
2x Gandalf's Staff, Focus of Power
1x Mithril-coat
2x Deep in Thought
3x Depart Silently
2x Mysterious Wizard
2x Roll of Thunder
3x Servant of the Secret Fire
2x Terrible and Evil
3x Moment of Respite

Shadow Draw Deck (36):
4x Orc Chaser
1x Orc Cutthroat
4x Orc Pursuer(2)
3x Orc Stalker
3x The Witch-king, Morgul King
2x Úlairë Attëa, Keeper of Dol Guldur
1x Úlairë Cantëa, Faster Than Winds
2x Úlairë Cantëa, Lieutenant of Dol Guldur
2x Úlairë Enquëa, Lieutenant of Morgul
1x Úlairë Lemenya, Assailing Minion
3x Úlairë Toldëa, Messenger of Morgul
2x Disposable Servants
1x Fear
2x Dead Marshes
4x Desperate Defense of the Ring
1x Out of Sight and Shot

I had pared it down to 34 at one point before bringing it up to 36, I am using Poor Creature aggressively to find DDotR as soon as possible and have decked myself at site 7 depending on the draws. It might need to go back to 38 but ket was right, when you're looking for 4 specific cards you want the deck as trim as possible. The Free Peoples strategy is still the same even if a few cards are different, I upped the quantity on all the expensive permanents in hopes of getting them out as soon as possible. I'm not bidding anymore, if the opportunity presents itself to pass my opponent I take it but I'm not trying to make that happen most of the time. This version of Glamdring lets me put away minions much more easily, though I'm not sure if it's really better than using Gandalf's Staff, Walking Stick and Shadowfax (or either of the other Glamdrings, for that matter)

The aim is to play all DDotR on the one or two companions who can handle skirmishing a Nazgul, forcing a ton of burdens. Thin and Stretched missed too often with Orc Pursuer and even Orc Chaser, so it had to go. Disposable Servants can fill the need for cycling on the Shadow side and since the opponent's hand is already reduced to the most valuable cards thanks to DDotR it's plenty of threats for WK. I'm going back and forth on whether to try Enduring Evil instead -- it would certainly be a surprise. It's possible that Orc Stalker would do more for me and I could remove the weaker minions add back Thin and Stretched (and probably Orc Patrol Troop). I had Grishnakh but you're always gonna get 3 cards with him and the whole thing costs at least 5 twilight (more often 7-8). Sometimes you draw a better Nazgul than you already had in hand, but more often the effect is the same as reconciling. Gonna try out Cutthroat to kill supporting companions faster.

The neat thing is that Ulaire Toldea, Messenger of Morgul can assign himself to Arwen, Fair Elf Maiden bearing Gwemegil and Asfaloth, lose the skirmish, and then assign himself to her again to die. Why? Well when she's stacked with 2 DDotR, not only have I just added 2-3 burdens but I've also deprived my opponent of a chance to exhaust her with Gwemegil and get her killed by one of the Orcs. Finally, a Nazgul deck using that wants to see her all geared up!

All-in-all, I'm much happier with this version. The Free Peoples are still silly but fun to navigate, and the Shadow side can be downright terrifying when it comes together. Plus I got to keep my title \:D/
« Last Edit: October 09, 2022, 07:56:49 AM by Phallen Cassidy »

October 16, 2022, 08:20:39 PM
Reply #1


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Re: Gandalf Choke & Sauron/Nazgul Corruption
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2022, 08:20:39 PM »
Neat idea! I'd strongly consider multiple copies of Orc Patrol, solely for its ability to snipe Fortress Never Fallen off the table to protect DDotR. In my TS and KS [Sauron] wounding decks, I consider Orc Patrol the be the only [Sauron] minion that really matters, due to its ability to single-handedly turn FNF-reliant Rohan matchups into near-certain victories. I think he helps you more than Orc Cutthroat. Úlairë Lemenya would also seem like a logical candidate to cut. Gate Sentry would also work if the additional twilight cost of Orc Patrol is too burdensome.

Additionally, my inclination would be to replace the two Úlairë Cantëa, LoDG with two additional copies of FtW (who is arguably the preeminent minion of the KS format).

Disposable Servants seems to be one of the weaker cards in the deck even with the synergy with MK and FtW, given that it can get caught in your hand if a Nazgul doesn't survive until the regroup phase. I'd consider cutting altogether to reduce deck size, but I think I'd also prefer Fell Beast if you still need additional cycling.