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March 03, 2014, 06:23:21 AM
Reply #30

sgtdraino

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Re: The Ultimate Madril
« Reply #30 on: March 03, 2014, 06:23:21 AM »
Here's the latest Madril iteration, Madril Mk 24:

Starting Fellowship:
Ring-bearer: Frodo, Resolute Hobbit
Ring: The One Ring, The Great Ring
1x Faramir, Captain of Ithilien
1x Ranger of the White Tree
1x Madril, Defender of Osgiliath
1x Pippin, Wearer of Black and Silver
1x Smeagol, Always Helps

Adventure deck:
The Bridge of Khazad-dum
Cavern Entrance
Steward's Tomb
Neekerbreekers' Bog
Mithlond
Dammed Gate-stream
Mount Doom
The Prancing Pony
Sirannon Ruins

Free Peoples Draw Deck:
3x Gandalf, Wise Guide
1x Grimbeorn, Beorning Chieftain
1x Radagast, The Brown
1x Aragorn, Thorongil
1x Albert Dreary, Entertainer From Bree
1x Barliman Butterbur, Prancing Pony Proprietor
1x Beorning Axe
1x Shadowfax, Greatest of the Mearas
1x Aragorn's Bow, Ranger's Longbow
2x Ithilien Blade
2x Ranger's Cloak
3x Throne of Minas Tirith
4x A Wizard Is Never Late
1x Citadel to Gate
2x Deep in Thought
2x Traveled Leader
1x One Good Turn Deserves Another
4x Something Slimy
4x What Are They?
1x Don't Look at Them
1x Gladden Homestead
1x Houses of Healing
1x Soldier's Cache
1x Stewards' Legacy
1x Storied Homestead
1x The Faithful Stone
1x Pallando, Far-travelling One
4x Deagol, Fateful Finder
1x Robin Smallburrow, Shirriff Cock-Robin

Shadow Draw Deck:
1x Gollum, Old Villain
1x Gollum, Plotting Deceiver
1x Shelob, Her Ladyship
1x Dunlending Ravager
1x Grima, Servant of Another Master
2x Grima, Wormtongue
2x Mumak Commander, Giant Among the Swertings
2x The Mouth of Sauron, Messenger of Mordor
2x The Balrog, Demon of Might
3x Gothmog, Morgul Leader
2x Sauron, The Lord of the Rings
1x Mauhur, Relentless Hunter
1x Bill Ferny, Swarthy Sneering Fellow
3x Morgul Squealer
1x The Witch-king, Morgul King
1x Úlairë Cantëa, Faster Than Winds
2x Úlairë Enquëa, Lieutenant of Morgul
1x Úlairë Enquëa, Sixth of the Nine Riders
1x Úlairë Nelya, Third of the Nine Riders
2x Úlairë Nertëa, Dark Horseman
1x Web
3x Ships of Great Draught
4x Captured by the Ring
2x Led Astray
3x Sudden Strike
4x Saruman's Power
3x Evil-smelling Fens
2x Rapid Reload
1x Saruman, Servant of Sauron

Changes to this version:
-Removed Follow Smeagol. Realized I wasn't using it, and couldn't really depend on it anyway.
-Added Soldier's Cache. This has been a great edition. Good token machine, good safeguard against Shotgun Enquea, and (in theory) would work well to kill off down to 6 guys vs a TNMBF deck.
-Took out one Deep in Thought to add Pallando, Far-travelling One. This can make Gandalf strong enough to beat Dark Horseman, and seems to be more effective condition removal vs. Nazgul, who tend not to leave enough twilight for Deep in Thought. Or, in a pinch, Pallando and Shirriff can work together to give me enough twilight for DiT.
-Added Dunlending Ravager. Really wanted all cultures in my Shadow, and Ravager is a good choice to take out key Allies.
-Removed Saruman, Black Traitor. Initially he was in there to guarantee some condition removal vs. Wise Guide decks, but I don't see those very often, and too often I run into a situation where Saruman, Servant of Sauron is already in play.
-Removed one The Mouth of Sauron, Messenger of Mordor. Two seems to be plenty.
-Added Mauhur, Relentless Hunter. Now my deck has all Shadow cultures, and Mauhur is able to assassinate or tie up key companions.

The win percentage is currently only 72.7% out of 22 games, but I feel like I've been facing a greater proportion of really tough decks lately. I still feel like this is tactically an improvement on Mk 20. Time will tell!

Need to find awesome counters so I can make a nice FP with my nazguls to explictly play against you. ;)

Forest Nazgul are indeed still consistently the biggest challenge for this deck. I feel like there is a procedure out there which should give me a better fighting chance, but I don't think I've found it yet. Maybe some of you guys can help me out with some suggestions? Here's my current procedure:

1. Use Dammed Gate-stream at earliest opportunity to pull One Good Turn Deserves Another, to get some mastery over the sites.
2. Survive as best as possible to Site 3.
3. Play Mount Doom in Region 2, to stop the Nelya Condition hate for a while.
4. Keep the threats up high, as most Nazgul decks can easily remove 2 or 3 in Shadow.
5. Play Storied Homestead in Region 2 and get some tokens on it, to prevent Nelya site manipulation in Region 3.

The problem is, none of this seems to be enough. I get hit with Sixth of the Nine Riders repeatedly, worn down, can't use Deep in Thought because there's never enough twilight, and eventually guys start dying. It seems like these decks can consistently play out 4-6 pretty strong Fierce Nazgul for relatively little twilight. So, what's to be done? At this point, I'm tempted to just go ahead and kill off down to 5 companions early, concentrate on keeping those guys alive, and just focus on killing the the opponent with my Shadow. But I don't know if that would really be any more effective, and it's tough to limit this fellowship to 5. I guess I'd probably have to forget the roaming, and go with Frodo, Faramir, Aragorn, Smeagol, and Gandalf, and maybe play Grimbeorn if/when one of those guys bites it. Thoughts? Ideas?

ETA: I'm also thinking about adding Flaming Brand back in, but I'm not sure what I'd remove to fit it in. Suggestions?
« Last Edit: March 04, 2014, 01:43:58 PM by sgtdraino »
"I would have followed you, my brother... my captain... my king." - Boromir

October 27, 2014, 09:24:46 AM
Reply #31

sgtdraino

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Re: The Ultimate Madril
« Reply #31 on: October 27, 2014, 09:24:46 AM »
I suppose it's high time I update this thread!

There have been a number of changes to this deck since I last posted it. At this point I've even gone beyond version numbers. Here's the latest iteration:

Starting cards:
Ring-bearer: Frodo, Resolute Hobbit
Ring: The One Ring, The Great Ring
1x Faramir, Captain of Ithilien
1x Ranger of the White Tree
1x Madril, Defender of Osgiliath
1x Pippin, Wearer of Black and Silver
1x Smeagol, Always Helps

Adventure deck:
The Bridge of Khazad-dum
Steward's Tomb
Cavern Entrance
Neekerbreekers' Bog
Mithlond
Dammed Gate-stream
The Prancing Pony
Mount Doom
Sirannon Ruins

Free Peoples Draw Deck:
3x Gandalf, Wise Guide
1x Radagast, The Brown
1x Aragorn, Thorongil
1x Boromir, Defender of Minas Tirith
1x Albert Dreary, Entertainer From Bree
1x Barliman Butterbur, Prancing Pony Proprietor
2x Shadowfax, Greatest of the Mearas
1x Flaming Brand
2x Ithilien Blade
1x Ranger's Cloak
3x Throne of Minas Tirith
1x A New Light
4x A Wizard Is Never Late
1x Citadel to Gate
1x Deep in Thought
1x Saved From the Fire
1x Traveled Leader
1x One Good Turn Deserves Another
4x Something Slimy
3x What Are They?
2x Long-stemmed Pipe
1x Don't Look at Them
1x Gladden Homestead
1x Houses of Healing
1x Soldier's Cache
1x Stewards' Legacy
1x Storied Homestead
1x The Faithful Stone
2x Pallando, Far-travelling One
4x Deagol, Fateful Finder

Shadow Draw Deck:
1x Gollum, Her Sneak
1x Gollum, Old Villain
1x Shelob, Her Ladyship
1x Dunlending Ravager
1x Grima, Servant of Another Master
2x Grima, Wormtongue
2x Mumak Commander, Giant Among the Swertings
1x The Mouth of Sauron, Messenger of Mordor
2x The Balrog, Demon of Might
3x Gothmog, Morgul Leader
1x Sauron, The Lord of the Rings
1x Mauhur, Relentless Hunter
1x Bill Ferny, Swarthy Sneering Fellow
3x Morgul Squealer
1x The Witch-king, Morgul King
1x Úlairë Cantëa, Faster Than Winds
2x Úlairë Enquëa, Lieutenant of Morgul
1x Úlairë Enquëa, Sixth of the Nine Riders
1x Úlairë Nelya, Third of the Nine Riders
2x Úlairë Nertëa, Dark Horseman
2x Úlairë Toldëa, Black Shadow
1x Web
2x Ships of Great Draught
4x Captured by the Ring
2x Led Astray
3x Sudden Strike
3x Saruman's Power
3x Too Great and Terrible
3x Evil-smelling Fens
1x Rapid Reload
1x Saruman, Servant of Sauron

Some radical changes to this version:
-Removed Grimbeorn, Beorning Chieftain and Beorning Axe. I found I was rarely getting the axe on Grimbeorn in time for it to be much use, or else I'd end up with the axe in my hand, and waiting forever for Grimbeorn to show up. I also found I was mostly using Beorning Axe to retrieve Shadowfax... but most of the time if I've lost Shadowfax it means I'm up against Corsairs, and neither the Axe nor a retrieved Shadowfax are going to be around for long.
-Added Boromir, Defender of Minas Tirith. I was sad way back when I first took Boromir out of this deck, since the original objective was to have a deck where Boromir plays a key role. Now I'm very pleased to have him back, and even more pleased that he now works really well in it! He can absorb hits and heal much like Grimbeorn could, he can work in conjunction with Soldier's Cache to pile tokens up on a choice condition, and he works in conjunction with Stewards' Legacy to exert minions. Boromir with Stewards' Legacy and an Ithilien Blade can single-handedly disable Final Strike by exhausting Gollum. Plus, of course, he can guarantee me at least one Ithilien Blade swing per turn.
-Removed Aragorn's Bow, Ranger's Longbow. Originally this was my backup if Ships of Great Draught came out and/or Madril was killed, but these days I have so many ways to protect Madril, as well as a strong chance of getting rid of Ships quickly, that the bow isn't really necessary. Plus it's a possession that only Aragorn can bear, and there's no guarantee I will get Aragorn early enough to use it... or like the Beorning Axe, the bow ends up in my hand with no Aragorn out, and I hate to get rid of it.
-Added another Shadowfax, Greatest of the Mearas, for a total of two. GOTM seems to be the only thing that really hurts if I lose it and can't get it back, so rather than try to find a way to retrieve cards, I finally just put in another one! Now I get it more quickly, and if I lose it, there's another one.
-Added Flaming Brand. As discussed above, certain Nazgul builds seem to be the toughest thing for this deck to fight. Adding Flaming Brand really helps even the score. More guys can actually beat Nazgul, kill them quickly, to either fight another one in Fierce or move again.
-Added another Ranger's Cloak, for a total of two. This deck is at its most vulnerable at the early sites, it's vitally important to protect Madril from things like Shotgun Enquea until it can get established. Ranger's Cloak on Madril means Shotgun Enquea can't get him. At later sites, Ranger's Cloak on another Ranger may enable him to take a hit from The Balrog, Demon of Might and survive. Ranger's Cloak is also another way to add threats if I need them, and can also be used in conjunction with Pippin to take out minions even if Madril didn't make them roaming. Boromir with Ranger's Cloak and Stewards' Legacy can enable Pippin to kill a minion with 4 vitality, even if Madril is dead! Ranger's Cloak also boosts resistance so Faramir can heal guys, or Storied Homestead gets more tokens on it.
-Added A New Light. Being able to see what your opponent is going to hit you with when you move, and change that a little bit, is huge. Especially when you really rack up the twilight like this deck does. A New Light is particularly handy for getting that Mountain-troll out of their hand after they've already discarded most of their minions, or ditching that Ulaire Nelya, Third of the Nine Riders that's going to totally #$&*@! you around with the sites.
-Removed one Deep in Thought and one Traveled Leader (now have only one of each). For reasons that will become clearer, one of each of these is now all I need. ;)
-Added Saved From the Fire. I wish I can remember who suggested this to me, because it has been awesome. A real game-changer. I find myself using it almost every game. For reasons which will become clear, I can get it pretty much whenever I need it, and sacrifice a guy to pull precisely what I need to counter whatever strategy I'm playing against. If I need Gondor stuff, Ranger of the White Tree takes the hit. If I need Gandalf stuff, Radagast, you're my man. Then of course I still get the triple-move, but with no downside. I can spread the threat wounds out, take off burdens and add threats back with GOTM, then move to Mithlond or Neekerbreekers' Bog and heal everyone. Corsairs? Here comes Throne of Minas Tirith. The Number Must Be Few? Watch me kill off down to 6. Demoralized and Goblin Hordes? I'll grab Deep in Thought, Traveled Leader, and Pallando. Great stuff.
-Removed one What Are They? (now have 3). It's a little astonishing to think that this Madril deck only has 3x What Are They? and 2x Ithilien Blade. But truly, that's all it needs!
-Added 2x Long-stemmed Pipe. This came from the same guy who suggested Saved From the Fire (thanks again!). Again, this was a game-changing addition. I can grab Long-stemmed Pipe with Something Slimy and use it to pull out any [Gandalf] card. Most of the time that card is going to be Saved From the Fire, which Barliman will then put in my hand for me to use. But sometimes it might be something like Traveled Leader, Deep in Thought, Citadel to Gate, whatever I need. Or if I already have everything I need, I'll just rid my deck of a duplicate copy of something I don't need! And to top it off, once I have both of these out, I can use them to get rid of a condition in Regroup. Fantastic.
-Added another Pallando, Far-traveling One (for a total of 2). Having re-usable condition removal that makes a guy stronger has been great, so getting it out more quickly is also great. With Pallando and Shadowfax on Gandalf or Radagast, it doesn't matter what that racist, Ulaire Nertea, Dark Horseman does, either way he's going to lose. Or if I really need to get rid of a condition, I'll just put Pallando on Smeagol and murder a guy guaranteed.
-Removed Robin Smallburrow, Shirriff Cock-Robin. I like the Shirriff, but as a single card I have to draw naturally, I just wasn't getting him often enough to justify his presence.
-Removed Gollum, Plotting Deceiver and replaced him with Gollum, Her Sneak. Almost a no-brainer. I can't count on having initiative, but with 4x Deagol in my deck, I'm now practically guaranteed to be able to throw out a Gollum whenever I need one, thanks to Her Sneak. Vital in a deck that relies on Evil-smelling Fens and Sudden Strike.
-Removed one The Mouth of Sauron, Messenger of Mordor (now have only one). I realized I only really need him once, to get out my single copy of Rapid Reload. After that, if I want to use Rapid Reload, I can just go with Mumak Commander, Giant Among the Swertings, or pull Mouth back out of my discard. Speaking of which...
-Removed one Rapid Reload (now only have one). I find I'm usually not using Rapid Reload much, there's only a few deck strategies against which it really comes in handy. As such, I've found that one copy is sufficient.
-Removed one Sauron, The Lord of the Rings (now have only one). Sauron is so expensive it's rare there's an opportunity to play him. And if there is such an opportunity, I'll grab him with Sudden Strike or Evil-smelling Fens.
-Removed one Ships of Great Draught (now have two). Thanks to Sudden Strike, if I need Ships quickly to counter another Madril deck, I find I can get it pretty fast by using Sudden Strike to pull Gollum or Shelob. And often I can tech sufficiently to kill a Madril deck without even having Ships out!
-Removed one Saruman's Power (now have three). Three seems to do the job sufficiently. I used to really pack in the condition hate for Hobbit Hospital, but these days I find if I play carefully, often times I can take them out with or without their conditions.
-Added 2x Ulaire Toldea, Black Shadow and 3x Too Great and Terrible. During the recent Expanded League, we saw a strong upsurge of Gandalf decks, particularly Powerful Guide. Those decks did very well, taking the top places in the League, and handily defeated my deck multiple times. As such, clearly this Gandalf guy is dangerous, and steps must be taken! These are those steps. Thanks to these additions, my deck is now MUCH stronger against any deck that relies on Gandalf.

That's it! Currently this deck has played 135 games, with a win percentage of 86.7%, putting it on track to become the most successful version of this deck. The current champ is Madril Mk 20, with 158 games and 84.8%, so it will take another 23 games before we know for sure. So far so good, though!
« Last Edit: October 27, 2014, 09:35:57 AM by sgtdraino »
"I would have followed you, my brother... my captain... my king." - Boromir

November 03, 2014, 11:38:38 AM
Reply #32

sgtdraino

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Re: The Ultimate Madril
« Reply #32 on: November 03, 2014, 11:38:38 AM »
Currently this deck has played 135 games, with a win percentage of 86.7%, putting it on track to become the most successful version of this deck. The current champ is Madril Mk 20, with 158 games and 84.8%, so it will take another 23 games before we know for sure. So far so good, though!

It's official! I've just played my 158th game with this current version:

http://www.gempukku.com/gemp-lotr/game.html?replayId=sgtdraino$ggtwhkrna09ed07l

...and the win percentage is holding precisely where it was before: 86.7% (137 wins, 21 losses). So, this is the best of the various versions listed in this thread. Only one version has had more games played with it (Madril Mk 4, with 194 games), but it only has a win percentage of 67.0%. We're now at around Mk 37 (I gave up with the numbering system a few versions ago). So, in 33 versions, we've increased the win percentage by almost 20%. Doesn't seem like much when you phrase it like that!

I've now updated Post #1 of this thread, where I'm starting to track statistics for this deck, to see what it tends to be strong against, and what it tends to be weak against. I'm also starting a list of players who have beaten this deck, so good luck making it to the leader board! From this point forward, each time someone beats me, I'll give them 1 gold here on the forum (assuming I can find a post they've made). So, come at me! ;)
"I would have followed you, my brother... my captain... my king." - Boromir

November 15, 2014, 06:13:25 PM
Reply #33

sgtdraino

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Re: The Ultimate Madril
« Reply #33 on: November 15, 2014, 06:13:25 PM »
-Added Saved From the Fire. I wish I can remember who suggested this to me, because it has been awesome. A real game-changer. I find myself using it almost every game. For reasons which will become clear, I can get it pretty much whenever I need it, and sacrifice a guy to pull precisely what I need to counter whatever strategy I'm playing against. If I need Gondor stuff, Ranger of the White Tree takes the hit. If I need Gandalf stuff, Radagast, you're my man. Then of course I still get the triple-move, but with no downside. I can spread the threat wounds out, take off burdens and add threats back with GOTM, then move to Mithlond or Neekerbreekers' Bog and heal everyone. Corsairs? Here comes Throne of Minas Tirith. The Number Must Be Few? Watch me kill off down to 6. Demoralized and Goblin Hordes? I'll grab Deep in Thought, Traveled Leader, and Pallando. Great stuff.
-Added 2x Long-stemmed Pipe. This came from the same guy who suggested Saved From the Fire (thanks again!). Again, this was a game-changing addition. I can grab Long-stemmed Pipe with Something Slimy and use it to pull out any [Gandalf] card. Most of the time that card is going to be Saved From the Fire, which Barliman will then put in my hand for me to use. But sometimes it might be something like Traveled Leader, Deep in Thought, Citadel to Gate, whatever I need. Or if I already have everything I need, I'll just rid my deck of a duplicate copy of something I don't need! And to top it off, once I have both of these out, I can use them to get rid of a condition in Regroup. Fantastic.

Credit where credit is due:

On another note: you could run a single copy of SFTF in your Madril deck and trash it with Something Slimy into Long-Stemmed Pipe and scavange it with Barliman, that 3rd gondor dude who is only there for spotting requirements looks expendable to me. Been thinking about that tech for a while but never found a list for it, maybe it could fit into yours.

This deck is going like gangbusters! We're now up to 188 games, 167 wins, still 21 losses. That's right, at least a 30-game winning streak. 88.8% win percentage!

Free People/Shadow: 54/54
Total Cards: 108
Total Wins: 167
Total Losses: 21
Total Games: 188
Win Percentage: 88.8%

ETA: Final stats on this version are:

Total Wins: 189
Total Losses: 32
Total Games: 221
Win Percentage: 85.5%
« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 10:41:02 AM by sgtdraino »
"I would have followed you, my brother... my captain... my king." - Boromir

March 20, 2015, 10:33:45 AM
Reply #34

sgtdraino

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Re: The Ultimate Madril
« Reply #34 on: March 20, 2015, 10:33:45 AM »
Time to update this again!

Only a couple of major changes, the rest is just tweeking and fine tuning:

The Ultimate Madril Mk... 38?

Starting Cards:
Ring-bearer: Frodo, Resolute Hobbit
Ring: The One Ring, The Great Ring
1x Faramir, Captain of Ithilien
1x Ranger of the White Tree
1x Madril, Defender of Osgiliath
1x Smeagol, Always Helps
1x Pippin, Wearer of Black and Silver

Adventure deck:
The Bridge of Khazad-dum
Steward's Tomb
Cavern Entrance
Neekerbreekers' Bog
Mithlond
Dammed Gate-stream
The Prancing Pony
Mount Doom
Sirannon Ruins

Free Peoples Draw Deck:
3x Gandalf, Wise Guide
1x Radagast, The Brown
1x Aragorn, Thorongil
1x Boromir, Defender of Minas Tirith
1x Albert Dreary, Entertainer From Bree
1x Barliman Butterbur, Prancing Pony Proprietor
1x Hugin, Emissary from Laketown
2x Shadowfax, Greatest of the Mearas
1x Flaming Brand
2x Ithilien Blade
1x Ranger's Cloak
3x Throne of Minas Tirith
1x A New Light
4x A Wizard Is Never Late
1x Citadel to Gate
1x Deep in Thought
1x Saved From the Fire
1x Traveled Leader
1x One Good Turn Deserves Another
4x Something Slimy
3x What Are They?
2x Long-stemmed Pipe
1x Don't Look at Them
1x Gladden Homestead
1x Houses of Healing
1x Soldier's Cache
1x Stewards' Legacy
1x Storied Homestead
1x The Faithful Stone
2x Pallando, Far-travelling One
3x Deagol, Fateful Finder

Shadow Draw Deck:
1x Gollum, Her Sneak
1x Gollum, Old Villain
1x Shelob, Her Ladyship
1x Dunlending Ravager
2x Grima, Servant of Another Master
2x Grima, Wormtongue
1x Mumak Commander, Giant Among the Swertings
1x The Balrog, Demon of Might
1x Gothmog, Morgul Leader
3x Southron Leader
1x Sauron, The Lord of the Rings
1x Mauhur, Relentless Hunter
1x Bill Ferny, Swarthy Sneering Fellow
3x Morgul Squealer
1x The Witch-king, Morgul King
1x Úlairë Cantëa, Faster Than Winds
2x Úlairë Enquëa, Lieutenant of Morgul
1x Úlairë Enquëa, Sixth of the Nine Riders
1x Úlairë Lemenya, Eternally Threatening
1x Úlairë Nelya, Third of the Nine Riders
2x Úlairë Nertëa, Dark Horseman
1x Úlairë Toldëa, Black Shadow
1x Web
1x Ships of Great Draught
4x Captured by the Ring
2x Led Astray
4x Sudden Strike
4x Saruman's Power
3x Too Great and Terrible
4x Evil-smelling Fens
1x Saruman, Servant of Sauron

Changes to this version:
-Added 1x Hugin, Emissary from Laketown. I found that, with recycling Mithlond around, Hugin can be pretty effective at getting back something I really need. If that something is a condition I lost, sometimes I can then use Something Slimy to get it right back out again! Hugin was one of those cards it was hard for me to ever think of a use for until now... but in this deck he's great!
-Took out 1x Deagol, Fateful Finder (now have only 3x) Hated to do it, but had to make room for Hugin, and everything else seemed too vital.
-Added 1x Grima, Servant of Another Master and 1x Saruman's Power back in, so I'm back to a total of 4x Grimas and 4x Saruman's Power. I was finding 3x and 3x just weren't cutting it.
-Took out The Mouth of Sauron, Messenger of Mordor and Rapid Reload. These have been dwindling for a while, and now they're finally out altogether. I just wasn't using them. Their main purpose was versus Horn decks, but I've got something much better for that now...
-Added 3x Southron Leader. This is the guy that can utterly destroy fellowships if you can spot 4 or more cultures. I added him in after several defeats against a couple of clever Horn deck builds by Shelobplayer (aka B0r0m1r), and it has been well worth it.
-Added 1x Úlairë Lemenya, Eternally Threatening. Mostly fuel for Southron Leader to use, but it can be good to have another cheap Nazgul for other reasons too.
-Took out 1x Mumak Commander, Giant Among the Swertings, 1x The Balrog, Demon of Might, 1x Úlairë Toldëa, Black Shadow, 1x Ships of Great Draught, and 2x Gothmog, Morgul Leader. Now have just one copy of each. Had to make room!
-Added 1x Sudden Strike and 1x Evil-smelling Fens, for a total of 4x of each. With now only one copy of most of my "magic bullet" minions, it is extra important that I'm able to grab and recycle the right minion at the right time. This helps make that happen.

And that's it! The current stats are not quite as impressive as the previous version, which at last count had an 85.5% win percentage out of 221 games, but they are still pretty good: 83.0% win percentage out of 159 games. I personally believe it is superior to the previous version, though I don't yet have the numbers to prove it. :)

Free People/Shadow: 54/54
Total Cards: 108
Total Wins: 132
Total Losses: 27
Total Games: 159
Win Percentage: 83.0%

Wins by Free People Victory:
>///////7
Wins by Shadow Kill:
>//////////10
Losses to Opponent Free People Victory:
<//2
Losses to Opponent Shadow Kill:
<0

Wins/Losses (>/<) by Deck Strategy:

GANDALF
Powerful Guide
>0
</1
Bearer of Obligation
>0
<0
SFTF Tanks
>//2
<0
Snuffler Support
>0
<0
Ent Horde
>0
<0

ELF
Telepathy
>0
<0
Archery
>0
<0
Gil-galad Looping
>/1
<0
The Twins
>0
<0
Elf Discard
>0
<0

GONDOR
Token Tanks
>0
<0
Madril
>0
<0
Three Hunters
>0
<0
Wraiths
>/1
<0
Knights
>/1
<0
Last Ruling Steward
>/1
<0
Driven by Need
>0
<0
Gondor Choke
>0
<0
Anarion
>0
<0

ROHAN
Merry Men
>0
<0
Horn Filter
>//2
<0
Rohan Hunters
>0
<0
Rohan Archery
>0
<0

DWARF
Dwarf Choke
>0
<0
Dwarf Discard
>/1
</1
Condition Dwarfs
>/1
<0
Counter of Foes
>/1
<0
Lively Combatant
>0
<0
Dwarf Tanks
>/1
<0

SHIRE
Hobbit Hospital
>///3
<0
Brave Decoy
>0
<0
Hobbit Alliance
>0
<0
Shadowplay
>0
<0
No Visitors
>0
<0
Pipeweed
>0
<0
Bilbo Choke
>0
<0

GOLLUM (Free Peoples)
Bearer of Great Secrets
>0
<0
Smeagol Choke
>/1
<0
Smeagol Ents
>0
<0

GOLLUM (Shadow)
Condition Ninja Gollum
>//2
<0
Event Ninja Gollum
>/1
<0
Sudden Strike
>0
<0
Little Snuffler
>0
<0

DUNLAND
Freca Site Control
>0
<0
Constantly Threatening
>0
<0

NAZGUL
Forest Nazgul
>0
<0
Enduring Nazgul
>0
<0
Twilight Nazgul
>0
<0
Fierce Nazgul
>0
<0
Assignment Nazgul
>/1
<0
Morcs
>0
<0

MORIA
Goblin Armory
>0
<0
Fool of a Took!
>0
<0
Tentacles
>0
<0
Lost to the Goblins
>0
<0
The Balrog
>0
</1

ORC
Demoralized Bomb
>0
<0
Warg Super Swarm
>/1
<0
Troll Swarm
>0
<0
Bound to Its Fate
>/1
<0
Orc Direct Wounding
>0
<0
Goblin Hordes
>0
<0
Demoralized Rapid Reload
>0
<0

RAIDER
Corsairs
>/1
<0
Southron Direct Wounding
>0
<0
Beasterlings
>0
<0
Easterling Corsairs
>0
<0

EVIL MEN
Skull Men Super Archery
>//2
<0
Lurker Men
>0
<0
Hard Core Site Control
>0
<0
Stacking Men
>0
<0

ISENGARD
Wizard Conditions
>0
<0
Uruk Site Control
>0
<0
Uruk Swarm
>0
<0
Isengard Wargs
>0
<0

URUK
Uruk Hunters
>0
<0
Assignment Uruks
>0
<0
Uruk Tanks
>0
<0

SAURON
Besiegers
>/1
<0
Tracker Orcs
>0
<0
Sauron Discard
>/1
<0
Orc Bowmen Direct Wounding
>/1
<0
Sauron Tank Maneuver Wounding
>0
<0

Wins/Losses (>/<) by Culture:

 [Gandalf]
>/1
</1
 [Elven]
>0
<0
 [Gondor]
>////4
<0
 [Rohan]
>//2
<0
 [Dwarven]
>////4
</1
 [Shire]
>///3
<0
 [Gollum](Free Peoples)
>/1
<0
 [Gollum](Shadow)
>///3
<0
 [Dunland]
>0
<0
 [Wraith]
>/1
<0
 [Moria]
>0
</1
 [Orc]
>/1
<0
 [Raider]
>/1
<0
 [Men]
>//2
<0
 [Isengard]
>0
<0
 [Uruk]
>0
<0
 [Sauron]
>///3
<0

Defeats by Opponents (S = Shadow Kill, F = FP Victory, > = Times Defeated by Me Since I was Defeated by Them):

elgordis
F/1
szeryf
F/1

Last Updated: 11/15/2014
« Last Edit: June 19, 2015, 05:32:27 AM by sgtdraino »
"I would have followed you, my brother... my captain... my king." - Boromir

June 18, 2015, 02:47:45 PM
Reply #35

sgtdraino

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Re: The Ultimate Madril
« Reply #35 on: June 18, 2015, 02:47:45 PM »
Nowhereman had some very kind words:

I was thinking about the Madril deck and this is what I've concluded. There are several manipulations in the game, even starting in Fellowship block. There is twilight manipulation. Any time you can increase (goblin armories, etc) or decrease (No strangers, bill the pony, etc) the twilight pool to your advantage, you get the upper hand. There is card number manipulation, like dwarves and mordor taking out opponent's decks. There is site manipulation (which is seen most in Expanded). And I'm sure there are others, but here's what I find so fascinating about the Ultimate Madril. It strives (very well) at manipulating card probability. Normally, when building a deck, one applies multiple copies of a single card in order to have more probability of GETTING THAT card in any given game. To manipulate card probability is to scrap the fundamental probability logic and just pull out what you need. Pulling. The Ultimate Madril deck is all about pulling. Minions (whichever suits best), possessions, conditions, characters, etc. I find probability manipulation to be one of the most effective and also one of the most confusing ideas in the game. Because one card triggers another and that one triggers another. On the surface, the Ultimate Madril looks like a complete and total mess, like a child got onto your account and just decided to pick cards he thought were pretty. But, it is intricately designed with (I would imagine) dozens of different combos and counters for a huge variety of decks. Its a completely different ball game-its almost a completely different card game when compared to the simplicity of, say, a dwarf deck. Durin, Damage and De-deck. I am not even sure that Decipher really knew of the range and complexity of its cards when they made them. If you don't mind, I'd like your permission to attempt to play the Ultimate Madril. I'd like to get a better grasp on pulling and finding just the right combos to oppose other decks. 

I have made one single modification to the Ultimate Madril deck, not yet updated in post #1. I never thought I'd do this, but I finally did!

...I took out Aragorn, Thorongil.

I ended up replacing him with a second Ranger's Cloak. For the longest time, ever since I replaced Grimbeorn with Boromir, Defender of Minas Tirith, I'd get out The Prancing Pony, and have to decide what Ranger I was going to pull. More and more often, that Ranger turned out to be Boromir. he's just AMAZING with Stewards' Legacy. So then, since Aragorn is the 10th companion, I have to decide at some point whether to discard Pippin, Wearer of Black and Silver in order to get Aragorn out. And more and more often, the answer turned out to be: Don't. Pippin is generally more useful. And with Aragorn gone, there is no more debate about it, no more hemming and hawing about whether to keep him in my hand if I draw him, or discard him. Pippin is there to stay, and Aragorn is officially benched!

But truly, I can't say enough about the awesomeness that is Boromir, Defender of Minas Tirith. When I first embarked on this journey with Madril, my original goal was to make a deck in which Boromir kicks #$&*@!, because he's my favorite character. It's so gratifying that the ultimate, natural evolution of this deck ended up doing just that: Boromir is one of the biggest #$&*@! kickers on the team! Armed with Ithilien Blade and Ranger's Cloak, with Stewards' Legacy out, and a little help from his buddy Pippin and his bro Faramir, Captain of Ithilien, Boromir can defeat many of the counters that ordinarily cause problems for the Madril strategy:

The Balrog, Demon of Might
-Balrog attacking you underground? Normally a problem for Madril, but not with Boromir on the case! Just assign The Balrog to a Gondor guy (Boromir if you want!), exert Boromir 3x with Ranger's Cloak, activate Stewards' Legacy, exert Balrog 3x, and finish with Pippin. Boom.

Final Strike
-Gollum messing with your Ithilien Blades with Final Strike? Again, no problem! Just have Boromir swing first! Gollum will be able to cancel Boromir's swing, but after that Gollum will be exhausted (Stewards' Legacy), and the rest of your actions can't be stopped.

Ships of Great Draught
-The primary counter for Madril, still the best. Makes Madril useless, for as long as it stays on the table. But here again, Boromir and Pippin become your Batman and Robin, capable of taking out any single minion the opponent throws at you. All you gotta do is keep your Stewards' Legacy out, and have bro Faramir protect you from Enquea.

Hate
-Hate can be a tricky one, since normally your Rangers all have three vitality. After one swing, there's a chance a Hate could finish one of them. Of course, Gandalf, Wise Guide helps defend against these surprises... but so does Boromir! You gotta exert a minion to play Hate. Boromir swings, discards one minion, and (hopefully) exhausts the others with Stewards' Legacy. And assuming he's got his Ranger's Cloak on, even if the opponent can still pull off a Hate after that, Boromir can stand another hit.

Minion special abilities
-A wide variety, too many to even list. You name it! There's lots of minion special abilities that can hurt you, but the minions often have to exert to use them. With Boromir and Stewards' Legacy, that ain't happening!
"I would have followed you, my brother... my captain... my king." - Boromir

June 19, 2015, 09:26:30 AM
Reply #36

sgtdraino

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Re: The Ultimate Madril
« Reply #36 on: June 19, 2015, 09:26:30 AM »
I've added an updated comprehensive tutorial to post #1, that explains how to effectively play with this deck. For convenience, here it is again:

Bid 0. You're going to be adding a lot of burdens yourself, you're going to need all the resistance you can get. If given the option, choose to go second. If forced to go first, start Dammed Gate-stream. If going second, you'll play Dammed Gate-stream as Site 2. Basically you want Dammed Gate-stream out ASAP so you can use it to pull One Good Turn Deserves Another.

You'll start your companions in this order: Frodo, Resolute Hobbit, Faramir, Captain of Ithilien, Ranger of the White Tree, Madril, Defender of Osgiliath, Smeagol, Always Helps, Pippin, Wearer of Black and Silver. Ideally you'll draw some means of protecting Madril from Ulaire Enquea at Site 2. There's 15 cards that can do this: 3x Ithilien Blade, 2x Ranger's Cloak, 1x Saved From the Fire (if you get Gandalf out), 4x Something Slimy (to pull Stewards' Legacy), 2x What Are They?, 1x Soldier's Cache, 1x Stewards' Legacy, 1x Storied Homestead. If you don't draw any of those, you might want to mulligan. EXCEPTION: Shadowfax, Greatest of the Mearas is pretty high priority, if you get him in your starting hand, you might choose to risk not mulliganing. But it's a gamble either way.

You are most vulnerable when your Fellowship moves to Site 2. That's the point in the game when you'll be least prepared, have the least knowledge of what strategy your opponent is using, and the greatest chance of potentially losing Madril to a Shotgun Enquea that you're not ready for. Protecting Madril at Site 2 is your 2nd-highest priority. Worst-case scenario, if you don't draw anything to protect him, try to keep his Resistance at 5 or more when you move to Site 2, so that Faramir can protect him. That is the trickiest part of being forced to go first; You'll need to use Dammed Gate-stream to pull One Good Turn Deserves Another to play Site 2, and add a burden to keep it in your hand. Keeping that event is the HIGHEST priority, which means you'll potentially be moving to Site 2 with 2 burdens and Madril at Resistance 4, a prime target for Shotgun Enquea if you don't have other cards to protect him.

If you ARE going first, Site 2 is almost always going to be The Prancing Pony. You'll be using The Prancing Pony to pull Boromir, Defender of Minas Tirith.

Site 3 is often going to be Steward's Tomb, unless your guys are really, really hurting. Assuming your deck is rolling properly, ideally you'll be playing Steward's Tomb at both Site 3 and Site 6, preventing your opponent from healing at any sanctuaries. This is much easier if you're going second, and can be particularly effective if your opponent doubles from 1-3. Then you can stick him with the Tomb at 3 while you stop at Site 2 (Dammed Gate-Stream), stop him healing, but then swap the Tomb out again for The Prancing Pony with One Good Turn Deserves Another before you move to the sanctuary yourself. Otherwise, in order to play the Tomb again at Site 6, you'll need a bit of luck, and have to draw a Led Astray to swap it off Site 3. EXCEPTION: There may be games in which your opponent's fellowship is just not wounded very much at Site 3. In that case, don't waste the Tomb there, just hold it for Site 6! Common sense, really.

So, let's say you're sitting at Site 3, it's Steward's Tomb, and it's time for you to move to Site 4. Most of the time, Site 4 is going to be Mithlond. This is particularly effective (again) if you're going second and your opponent is in front, since you can play some other site for him, but then switch it to Mithlond when it's your turn to move there. But even if you're in front, most of the time you'll still play Mithlond at 4 to get some healing, and start "resetting" some of your allies (which you hopefully have out by now). EXCEPTION: If you are playing against Nazgul, your biggest threat is Ulaire Nelya, Third of the Nine Riders. He'll want to switch sites all around to his advantage. IMO the most decisive actions of the game take place in Region 2, Sites 4-6. So if he's playing Nazgul with Nelya, you play Mount Doom at Site 4, and make all his Nelyas useless until you move to Site 7, at which point (hopefully) you'll have countermeasures in place.

The rest of effectively using this deck is highly situational, it depends on what strategy your opponent is using, what you have an opportunity to do, as well as effectively timing things to your advantage. I'll cover a number of strategies and address the usefulness of specific cards:

Madril, Defender of Osgiliath/ Ithilien Blade
-Would you believe I almost forgot to mention this? I guess it's just so obvious. Yes, the most basic strategy of a Madril deck is to make minions roaming with Madril, and use Ithilien Blade to discard them.

Stewards' Legacy
-Stewards' Legacy may be the most important card in your FP side. Keeping it out greatly increases your effectiveness, in conjunction with Boromir, Faramir, Ithilien Blade, Ranger's Cloak, Soldier's Cache, Pippin, Don't Look at Them, etc. It transforms Boromir into a death machine, and Faramir into the ultimate strategy-denier. Most of the time, Stewards' Legacy is the condition you want to get out first.

Something Slimy/ Long-stemmed Pipe/ Saved From the Fire/ Barliman Butterbur, Prancing Pony Proprietor
-This combo pulls you a Saved From the Fire extraordinarily quickly, for a deck this size. The first victim burned will probably be Ranger of the White Tree, and the cards you get will probably be Throne of Minas Tirith (the only way to pull it, otherwise you gotta draw it naturally), Ithilien Blade, and one other high-priority thing, which depends on what strategy you're facing. Second target to burn (often later in the game) would be Radagast, The Brown, and the cards you get will probably be Pallando, Far-travelling One (only way to pull it), Shadowfax, Greatest of the Mearas (if you don't already have it), and Traveled Leader (if you don't already have it in discard). Again, what you pull with it may greatly depend on what strategy you are trying to counter. If you really need mass condition-discard, Deep in Thought. If you really need burdens off, Citadel to Gate. If you really need to get a key minion out of his hand, A New Light. You get the idea.

Allies/ Mithlond/ Traveled Leader/ One Good Turn Deserves Another cycling
-A big part of this deck's effectiveness, is the ability to play Mithlond over and over, and use it to heal your allies: Albert Dreary, Entertainer From Bree, Barliman Butterbur, Prancing Pony Proprietor, Hugin, Emissary from Laketown. Of course, healing all of your companions is super-helpful too. If you have Traveled Leader in your hand or discard pile, you can conceivably play Mithlond every turn, retrieving Traveled Leader with Barliman each time, or switch the site with Led Astray or Ulaire Nelya, Third of the Nine Riders. Because of that ability to cycle Mithlond, when you draw A Wizard is Never Late, generally you'll use it to get Barliman out, go ahead and exert Barliman to get AWINL back, and use AWINL again to grab Gandalf or another guy. Then you can just heal Barliman (and everyone else) with Mithlond. Albert Dreary is primarily there as a quick dependable counter to Greed, which can otherwise completely decimate you. Of course he's also good versus Moria, but that's about it. If you're confident your opponent isn't using Greed or Moria, you don't need Albert Dreary. Hugin is much like Barliman, except he has the ability to get back anything you want. That might be a high-priority possession like Shadowfax, but often it's retrieving high-priority conditions like Stewards' Legacy or Storied Homestead, or just cycling Something Slimy back into your deck. Note that, if you have a Something Slimy in hand, Hugin will enable you to get a discarded condition right back out on the table!

Gandalf, Wise Guide/ Shadowfax, Greatest of the Mearas
-Gandalf's ability to cancel events is massive, in terms of denying your opponent's strategy. Particularly once he's riding Shadowfax, Greatest of the Mearas. Among other things, Gandalf protects your conditions from Saruman's Power, protects your guys from being killed by Hate, as well as all manner of other extremely powerful event cards. Shadowfax is the best way to add threats for this strategy, simultaneously taking burdens off. In an emergency, you can kill off a companion, spread the wounds out, take burdens off, move to Mithlond, and heal everybody!

Faramir, Captain of Ithilien
-Besides canceling special abilities with Stewards' Legacy, Faramir is a force multiplier. His ability to heal other guys means you can use things like Ithilien Blade more than once... or distribute wounds more evenly, then double to Mithlond and completely heal.

Boromir, Defender of Minas Tirith/ Stewards' Legacy/ Ithilien Blade/ Ranger's Cloak/ Pippin Wearer of Black and Silver
-As previously mentioned, Stewards' Legacy turns Boromir into a death machine. With a Ranger's Cloak, he and Pippin can kill almost any minion played, with or without Madril. With Ithilien Blade he's handing out exertions left and right, again denying your opponent of various strategies, or just making minions easier to finish off... and then he just heals up again next turn! This combo is an effective counter to both The Balrog, Demon of Might, and Final Strike, which are popular Madril counters.

Storied Homestead
-Storied Homestead is first and foremost there as a counter to Ulaire Nelya, Third of the Nine Riders, though it has obvious applications against other strategies too. Ideally (of course) you don't want to play this condition until your resistance is high enough to get some tokens on it, which means you'll probably need Shadowfax in play. Ranger's Cloak can also help for getting your Rangers' resistance up a little higher. You also probably don't want to play it until Site 4 or later, since you're probably up against Nazgul, and you want to wait and play it at a time when you know you'll be safe from Nelya for a while (Mount Doom in Region 2). Once you play it, you'll want to build tokens up on it with Throne of Minas Tirith and/or Soldier's Cache. In a perfect world you'd have 5 tokens on it by the time you get to Site 7 (so it's sustainable for the rest of the game), but realistically that probably won't happen often. At a minimum, hopefully it should at least protect you for a site or two, and/or force your Nazgul opponent to leave their favorite site behind. The Nazgul site in question is Buckland Homestead, which Nelya will use repeatedly to wreck your conditions if you don't stop him.

Soldier's Cache/ Boromir, Defender of Minas Tirith/ Mithlond
-This is a token-generating machine. At the end of each turn, if you've got some exerts left on Boromir, you may as well use Soldier's Cache to add tokens to whatever conditions you need the most. If you're preparing to double to Mithlond, then you can exert each one of your Gondor guys to add tokens with Soldier's Cache, then move and completely heal everyone.

Throne of Minas Tirith
-Throne was originally added as a counter to Corsairs and Ships of Great Draught, the most effective counter to Madril. It's another great token generator, and offers a great advantage against any Shadow that relies on possessions (such as Warg Riders). It's also vital against Grond, Hammer of the Underworld.

Don't Look at Them
-Don't Look at Them is useful against Nazgul, but here again was primarily added for countering Raider strategies, particularly Corsairs. Raiders will likely be running heavy Ships of Great Draught, and you may simply not be able to get rid of them fast enough. Madril will be useless for most of the game. Don't Look at Them enables you to kill his most powerful minion with Smeagol. That's particularly effective with Corsairs, who don't have very many powerful minions. Raiders also don't have very effective condition discard, they're better at discarding possessions than they are conditions, particularly if you have Gandalf in play to protect things. As such, Don't Look at Them is a pretty dependable Raider counter that keeps your deck cycling.

Pallando, Far-travelling One
-Besides being re-usable condition discard, Pallando does a couple of other nice things: If you've got Stewards' Legacy out, but don't yet have Ithilien Blade, you can put Pallando on Boromir to immediately exert two minions (or one minion twice), or you can put Pallando on Faramir to cancel the special abilities of two minions at the same time. This can be particularly handy versus Nazgul, who often play two minions at once who both have extremely dangerous maneuver special abilities (e.g. Shotgun Enquea and Úlaire Cantea, Faster Than Winds). Pallando and Shadowfax also enable Gandalf or Radagast to get up to 10 strength, enough to win against Ulaire Nertea, Dark Horseman.

And now for the Shadow side! It's pretty routine for opponents to look at this Shadow and describe it as a "total mess," or to say things like, "I don't understand your Shadow," or "Your Shadow makes no sense." You have no idea how much this pleases me. :) This Shadow incorporates every single Shadow culture in the game, and the strategy has been dubbed "Sudden Strike," because it is focused on pulling whatever is needed from either the draw deck or the discard pile, in order to counter whatever Free People's strategy your opponent is using. The means of doing this is mostly based around Gollum, and to a lesser-degree cards like Morgul Squealer. How you actually play this Shadow is completely dependent upon what strategy your opponent is using. Identify your opponent's strategy, identify the weakness in that strategy, and then exploit it using whatever cards you need. The Sudden Strike Shadow is all about attacking your opponent's strategy at its key points, and then watch as the whole thing comes tumbling down. Here again, I'll address key strategy points and individual cards:

Sudden Strike
-The card this Shadow takes its name from. It's easier to play minions from your discard pile than from your draw deck, so this card is key for both getting a vital minion into play, as well as getting that vital minion into your discard pile, to be re-used later. All you gotta do is spot Gollum or Smeagol, and if you're using Sudden Strike to play Gollum or Shelob, you get to play a possession or condition as well! Most of the time that extra card is going to be Web, so you can continue to play Gollum and Shelob over and over for the rest of the game. BUT if you are playing against another Madril deck, you may well choose to pull out Ships of Great Draught instead, to counter Madril.

Evil-smelling Fens
-The only Shadow condition in the whole deck. Pretty obvious application: Replay whatever awesome minion your opponent really doesn't want to see again.

Gollum, Her Sneak/ Deagol, Fateful Finder
-This combo enables you to keep your hand cycling, but allow you to play Gollum from your discard pile pretty much whenever you need to.

Shelob, Her Ladyship/ Gollum (any)/ Web/ Gothmog, Morgul Leader
-Shelob is of course great for eliminating a key companion from helping out for a turn. If you can get Gothmog out at the same time though, look out! Opponent takes 3 archery, and Shelob gets really strong. If you are going up against a major Free Peoples archery deck, you'll want to get Shelob and Web out ASAP. Gollum, Old Villain is mostly there to help declog your hand, and potentially beat up a ring-bound guy running a twilight denial strategy.

Saruman's Power/ Grima, Wormtongue/ Grima, Servant of Another Master
-A lot of Free Peoples strategies rely on conditions, and Saruman's Power is the most effective condition removal in the game. This deck packs four of 'em, because sometimes you really do need 4x of them in order to take out a pesky Hobbit Hospital with multiple Scouring of the Shire in play. If conditions are the vital component of your opponent's strategy then this is how you attack it. As for Grimas, Wormtongue is most often used against Dwarf strategies. They looooooove to pile up their cheap artifacts and possessions on their guys! Grima, Servant of Another Master can be incredibly useful for disabling a key companion special ability. For example, we talked about how Gandalf, Wise Guide can protect your conditions from Saruman's Power. Well, Grima, Servant of Another Master counters that counter! He can disable Gandalf, and then blast away with Saruman's Power.

Southron Leader
-This minion is the answer to multi-cultural decks. It is particularly handy against the much-hated Horn decks that play out all those Followers. With three of these guys, ways to add threats, and ways to recycle them, if your opponent is using 4 Free Peoples cultures, he's almost certain to lose.

Ulaire Nertea, Dark Horseman/ Bill Ferny, Swarthy Sneering Fellow
-These are primarily the answer to mono-culture decks, especially Dwarfs. The weakest point of a mono-culture Dwarf deck, is to make Gimli fight over and over until he finally goes corrupt. Also useful against other alternate ring-bearers, and Nertea is particularly useful against any 2-culture deck that uses Frodo and The One Ring, The Great Ring. Just throw down Nertea at Cavern Entrance and he's probably done.

Ulaire Toldea, Black Shadow/ Too Great and Terrible
-At least a couple of the top-tier Expanded decks are Gandalf decks, and a number of other strategies still rely on Gandalf playing a key role. These give you an excellent shot of taking Gandalf out, or at least forcing your opponent to discard cards that he needed.

Morgul Squealer/ The Witch-king, Morgul King
-These are primarily there to pull important Nazgul (or Bill) out of your draw deck and/or replay important minions from your discard pile.

Ulaire Enquea, Sixth of the Nine Riders
-This guy can be amazing against really large fellowships (Ent builds, for example), for dealing out a massive number of wounds at once, especially if used in conjunction with Neekerbreekers' Bog. Time it right, and suddenly his entire fellowship is exhausted!

Other Nazgul
-I think the rest of the Nazgul are pretty self-explanatory. Ulaire Cantea, Faster Than Winds adds threats, and can get rid of important possessions, such as Beorning Axe on Grimbeorn. Ulaire Enquea, Lieutenant of Morgul is the classic for eliminating key companions. Ulaire Lemenya, Eternally Threatening is another threat adder, a cheap fierce Nazgul, fuel for Southron Leader. Ulaire Nelya, Third of the Nine Riders can switch a site to either recycle something you wanted to reuse, stick the opponent with a deadly site, or give you a helpful site for your next Turn.

Site Manipulation
-Yep, it's annoying! But it's part of the meta, an integral part of Expanded strategy. You can't ignore it, and the only way to really counter opponent site manipulation, is with site manipulation of your own. Most of this deck manipulates on the Free Peoples side, using One Good Turn Deserves Another and Traveled Leader to switch sites around. There is a bit on the Shadow side though, with Led Astray and Ulaire Nelya, Third of the Nine Riders. The goal is pretty straightforward; play (and replay) sites that help you, but hurt your opponent. On the Shadow side of things, that might mean Neekerbreekers' Bog to exert all his guys, Steward's Tomb to stop him from healing or taking off burdens, The Bridge of Khazad-dum to hit him with a cheap Balrog, Cavern Entrance to cancel his skirmish special abilities, or Sirannon Ruins to get enough twilight to do something effective against those twilight denial decks.

Other Minions/ Saruman, Servant of Sauron
Rounding out the strategy are a smattering other other minions that help win the day, depending on what strategy your opponent is using. Dunlending Ravager is great for taking out troublesome allies, like Barliman Butterbur, Prancing Pony Proprietor, or popular Hobbit allies. Mumak Commander, Giant Among the Swertings can knock a big companion down enough for Shotgun Enquea to finish the job, or disable companions like Legolas, Greenleaf or Eowyn, Lady of Ithilien. The Balrog, Demon of Might is a great Madril counter, and also great at taking out more powerful companions. Sauron, The Lord of the Rings is also good for (probably) a couple of companion kills, if you have the twilight for him. Mauhur, Relentless Hunter can be useful for eliminating key weaker companions that your opponent doesn't want skirmishing. Saruman, Servant of Sauron is just more icing on the cake. Ah, it's a glorious day when you can get Saruman riding around on Sauron's back, like Master Blaster from Mad Max!

And I think that's about everything!

Thoughts? Questions? Additions?

ETA: Actually just made another minor modification to the deck; took out 1x What Are They?, added 1x Ithilien Blade. More copies of What Are They? were originally in the deck because (at the time) it was the only guaranteed way to stop Ninja Gollum with Final Strike out. But thanks to the one-man wrecking crew that is Boromir, Defender of Minas Tirith/ Stewards' Legacy, Final Strike is no longer as much of an issue. So now it makes more sense to swap a What Are They? out for the more permanent and reusable Ithilien Blade.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2015, 02:28:41 PM by sgtdraino »
"I would have followed you, my brother... my captain... my king." - Boromir

June 19, 2015, 12:06:02 PM
Reply #37

dmaz

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Re: The Ultimate Madril
« Reply #37 on: June 19, 2015, 12:06:02 PM »
Kind of alongside with what Nowhereman was getting at: what I like about the shadow is the various options for "hand-extension". Basically any card that allows you to either get something from the deck or back from the discard pile, or allows you to play the card from deck or discard pile is so clutch in this format.

Observing your hand-extension here is what spurred me to swap one of my Gollums for Plotting Deceiver in my Movie deck (Her Sneak is a little more reliable since initiative isn't guaranteed, but since it's only Movie block its the best we got there :) )

I think the 3 TGAT are justifiable. Most of the decks I've seen in expanded that can really just clobber you into submission rely on Gandalf global control. If there's any way you can remove him, the decks are just limping along with Grimbeorn as a tank and a bunch of semi-useless events.

June 19, 2015, 02:37:07 PM
Reply #38

sgtdraino

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Re: The Ultimate Madril
« Reply #38 on: June 19, 2015, 02:37:07 PM »
Heh heh, I miss being able to add gold to posts! :)
"I would have followed you, my brother... my captain... my king." - Boromir

March 30, 2016, 06:55:24 PM
Reply #39

Xanth

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Re: The Ultimate Madril
« Reply #39 on: March 30, 2016, 06:55:24 PM »
Hey man, I just wanna say thanks so much for writing up the explanations. I'm newly returning to this game and being able to read through all the explanations is really helping me to get a better grasp of what is capable now. I look forward to building a deck inspired by some of your really cool ideas and combos.
Want to play LOTR with me?

April 03, 2016, 06:10:40 PM
Reply #40

sgtdraino

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Re: The Ultimate Madril
« Reply #40 on: April 03, 2016, 06:10:40 PM »
Thanks, so kind of you to say. I look forward to seeing you on gemp!

I'd also recommend you check out the Expanded Meta thread:

http://lotrtcgwiki.com/forums/index.php/topic,8835.0.html
"I would have followed you, my brother... my captain... my king." - Boromir

April 06, 2016, 01:34:21 PM
Reply #41

Xanth

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Re: The Ultimate Madril
« Reply #41 on: April 06, 2016, 01:34:21 PM »
Thanks for the link! I have no experience with Gemp- actually plan on playing in person! Getting back into the game with a friend in Springfield, VA and we're hoping to get some others back into it as well!
Want to play LOTR with me?

April 12, 2016, 02:29:47 PM
Reply #42

sgtdraino

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Re: The Ultimate Madril
« Reply #42 on: April 12, 2016, 02:29:47 PM »
You should definitely still try Gemp though. The way it keeps track of all the math, tokens, and rules makes it soooooo convenient, not to mention lots more opportunities to play games. You can play against your friends on gemp too! I've done that, simply for the convenience of not having to keep track of all the tokens!
"I would have followed you, my brother... my captain... my king." - Boromir

April 12, 2016, 07:45:52 PM
Reply #43

DeWolf

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Re: The Ultimate Madril
« Reply #43 on: April 12, 2016, 07:45:52 PM »
Are you guys going to be playing in springfield? I'm in Gaithersburg so I'm reasonably close by. I'd be interested in playing with you all sometime if you'll have me.

August 02, 2022, 12:24:46 AM
Reply #44

LukasSchor

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Re: The Ultimate Madril
« Reply #44 on: August 02, 2022, 12:24:46 AM »
Hey Sgt.!

First of all hats off for what you have done here. This analysis is amazing! I think about your deck a lot lately, so I`d be interested in your opinion on my thoughts.

I`ve noticed two things  - this deck gives a lot of twilight and is kind of dependent on your conditions especially Steward`s legacy. I'm picturing in my head match up against Forrest Guls, how do you cope with them?

Your opponent can repeatedly destroy your conditions with Buckland Homestead and I don`t think you could retrieve them that quickly. Also when trio Ulaire Enquea, Sixth of the Nine Riders, Ulaire Cantea, Faster Than Winds and Ulaire Otsea, Duplicitous Specter repeatedly come into play it has to get you so bad - in corporation with site changing Nelya.

I would be very interested to see match up like this. How do you deal with that  :)

Naturally I can imagine several scenarios when you easily make it against them in case your opponent does not draw good and you do. But im thinking in general, if both sides draw equally good.

Let me know your view, I`d appreciate it :)