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Author Topic: Gandalf / Aragorn deck  (Read 3860 times)

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July 10, 2014, 09:57:13 PM
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Prince_of_Ithilien

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Gandalf / Aragorn deck
« on: July 10, 2014, 09:57:13 PM »

I have a fun one that has had great success within my circle (er...square, considering there are 4 of us) of friends who play.  It has managed fairly decently on gemp, too.  I always liked the strength and damage of Gandalf, Mithrandir.  Although I wish like heck that it was "exert" instead of "wound," I still found a fun way of using him as a cornerstone rather than a quick splash.  Methodology is as follows:
-play them out
-deck them out
-rock them out

Site 1: Westfold (going first is critical - exert Aragorn to pull Gandalf)

Starting:
Frodo, Old Bilbo's Heir
The One Ring, The Answer to All Riddles
Aragorn, Ranger of the North

Shadowfax x2 (I find chemistry with Threw Down My Enemy a better deal than extra dmg +1 from Glamdring)
Gandalf's Staff x2 (Moria version - as fun as dmg +3 is with walking stick, it's kinda superfluous - staff is mainly for vitality)
Narya x2
Ranger's Sword, Blade of Aragorn (no dmg +1, but helps the old guy when Uruks come to play)
Aragorn's Bow
Ring of Barahir
The Saga of Elendil
Armor x2
Athelas x3
Gandalf's Cart (so duplicates don't clog my hand)
Barliman Butterbur, Prancing Pony Proprietor (to recycle a SotSF or an opportune pump)
Bounder
Down from the Hills
Intimidate x2
Mysterious Wizard x4
Servant of the Secret Fire x3
Threw Down My Enemy x3
A Hard Choice x2 (in this case, not so hard...)
Behold the White Rider x2
Gandalf's Wisdom x2
Grown Suddenly Tall (in case Frodo has a crisis, or to prevent a def+ Aragorn from being overwhelmed)

At 41 cards, it looks big and is big, but I have always found it to cycle very well.  The key is to use the pumps, as this is key to keeping the deck cycling.  Servant of the Secret Fire and Down from the Hills (very fun in late game if Gandalf has the vitality for it) are the two exceptions.   Don't worry when Aragorn losing skirmishes - he doesn't get the window seat in this bus, that's Gandalf's seniority privilege.

Benefits:
-Choke: Once Gandalf's Wisdom is played, the staff is the only item that isn't free.

-Plenty of pumps: Gandalf rarely ever loses.  Even if he does, having Threw Down My Enemy (especially coupled with Shadowfax) usually makes killing/overwhelming enemies a cinch.  However, be sure not to hold pumps, as this is key to keeping the deck cycling (except perhaps Servant of the Secret Fire and Down from the Hills, very fun in late game when Gandalf has high vitality).
 
-Burden removal: Narya is a big help, and lets Mysterious Wizard keep its potency.

-Crowd Control: Aragorn and his bow protect against swarm, or once Aragorn has armor, sending two moderate uruks his way is usually no problem provided either a) he has his sword b) Servant of the Secret Fire is in hand, or c) Grown Suddenly Tall can help prevent overwhelming in a pinch.

-Ring-bearer protection: Servant of the Secret Fire is always helpful.  If bounder is in play, Frodo keeps him healed turn-to-turn.  Grown Suddenly Tall offers a +2 in a bind.

-Wound management: while the only time Gandalf is free of wounds is at a sanctuary, that's okay.  Keep winning by using pumps to cycle the vitality-boosting artifacts into play.  Keep count of how many wounds he can handle before sanctuaries.  Getting tokens on Behold the White Rider is very easy, so take advantage of the Ring of Barahir.  That being said - there's nothing wrong with ditching the condition to deal with an oddball Vanguard, Assault Band, or Berserker.

Weaknesses:
-losing the opening bid (to have a good start, going first is paramount)
-direct wounding (though Intimidate can be a temporary solution)
-Weary
-Easterlings (without Narya, burdens can stack up - making the captain tough to manage)

As it's a bigger deck, you normally won't cycle every single card, and I'm okay with that.  Doubles of the most important possessions/artifacts makes discard less of an issue.  A good majority of the time, I find this deck offers plenty of ways to survive and thrive.

For shadow, I like pairing it with Uruk Trackers - I think they're fun.

Ugluk, Servant of Saruman x4
Mauhur, Patrol Leader x2
Uruk Chaser x4
Uruk Plains Runner x3
Uruk Runner x2
Uruk Searcher x4
Uruk Seeker x3
Broad-Bladed Sword x4
Kill Them Now x4
Vengeance x4
Many Riddles x3
Weary x4
What Did you Discover?



It's not an ideal in all circumstances - it's a high-risk, higher-reward type of deck (as long as the  "reward" part kicks in before the "risk," which in my experience, it normally does).  While it is big and isn't perfect, I find it uber-fun to win with a Gandalf / Aragorn build.

Enjoy!
I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend...-Faramir

July 11, 2014, 03:42:54 AM
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thetimewarptrio

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Re: Gandalf / Aragorn deck
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2014, 03:42:54 AM »
I'm a big fan of Gandalf, Mithrandir just because the default strength and damage is boss. I also love high risk/reward cards, just because it makes the game way more entertaining. In my.....pentagon of friends, I built a deck very similar to this, except I ran less Gandalf strength buffs and instead dropped in Boromir and a backup Legolas.

I found the trouble with this deck was, that thanks to Mithrandir's ability, I had to run Narya and Walking Stick or else everyone else's fellowship would blow past me, because double moving is rather difficult when you have to keep wounding Gandalf, or burning a wound prevent. Especially when one of my friends came into his own at Great Chasm (we play multipath), with Desert Lord, Ranged Commander, and a handful of Morian archers. It hurt moving to site 5, and I was severely crippled moving on, losing Gandy pretty quick. A slew of minion archers can be trouble!
If we're gonna play games, I'm gonna need a cup of coffee.

July 11, 2014, 01:55:47 PM
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Prince_of_Ithilien

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Re: Gandalf / Aragorn deck
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2014, 01:55:47 PM »
Yeah, archery and direct wounding can be a pain.

I completely agree with the high risk/reward making it more entertaining.  Plus, originality is a fun all it's own!
I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend...-Faramir

July 11, 2014, 02:02:04 PM
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Prince_of_Ithilien

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Re: Gandalf / Aragorn deck
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2014, 02:02:04 PM »
As for staffs (staves?...staphs...yes...), I think Ash Staff is pretty fun, except it's outside of the format.  When we play house rules (Frodo must be Ring-bearer, play cards from any sets, disregard initiative or threats, pre-agreed site block), this staff is a lot of fun.

As it is, I like how the original staff can cancel a skirmish in a pinch (no worse than losing to an uruk), plus I like how the "dis"ability can turn into a reversal with Threw Down My Enemy
« Last Edit: July 11, 2014, 02:04:07 PM by Prince_of_Ithilien »
I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend...-Faramir

July 12, 2014, 03:25:01 AM
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thetimewarptrio

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Re: Gandalf / Aragorn deck
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2014, 03:25:01 AM »
As for staffs (staves?...staphs...yes...), I think Ash Staff is pretty fun, except it's outside of the format.  When we play house rules (Frodo must be Ring-bearer, play cards from any sets, disregard initiative or threats, pre-agreed site block), this staff is a lot of fun.

As it is, I like how the original staff can cancel a skirmish in a pinch (no worse than losing to an uruk), plus I like how the "dis"ability can turn into a reversal with Threw Down My Enemy

Just make sure your deck doesn't get a "staph infection" hahaha.

Ash Staff is sweet. I don't own any cards past set 10 though (and don't plan on it) so it's a bit useless to me.

When using Mithrandir, you do need a variation of Gandalf's Staff. When I use Friend of the Shirefolk (that Gandalf is so sweet), I run a Wizard Staff or two simply because it's not a Gandalf centered deck, so I'll take the extra strength and ability anyday. The biggest problem with Gandalf centered decks is what do you do if you lose Gandalf early? Personally, I think Gandy's cards have some of the best abilities and are the most fun to play, but if for some reason you lose him at site 4, you're SOL.
If we're gonna play games, I'm gonna need a cup of coffee.

July 12, 2014, 06:50:37 AM
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Prince_of_Ithilien

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Re: Gandalf / Aragorn deck
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2014, 06:50:37 AM »
Yes, losing him early is tough if it happens, as with any deck that has a central character - about as bad as losing Aragorn early.  In late sites, Aragorn still has a chance of holding his own (surviving, not winning all skirmishes), and the def+ can save Frodo for a bit - hopefully long enough for my shadow to do its thing.  At the same time, that's part of the thrill of it - having to put a lot on the line in order to get big gains.
I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend...-Faramir