OK, it’s been a while, but let’s continue the Deck Spring-cleaning. Last time I went through my Fix folder, this time I move on to Gimmick – decks which really focus on a particular gimmick, or in some cases a specific quest. Though some of these are still perfectly functional decks in the right context.
(If you need a recap of how I organise my OCTGN deck folders, refer to the previous article)
Now, the Gimmick folder is an interesting one to do spring-cleaning on, as these decks are primarily built for the fun factor of their gimmicks rather than their ability to actually win games (though some of them are pretty effective decks as well). This means that if a deck isn’t working, I don’t necessarily feel I need to get rid of it, because if the gimmick is interesting enough I may well keep the deck around even if I actually can’t get it to work properly.
Preamble done, into the folder we go:
5Pipes – The hero lineup here is Gandalf/Merry (T)/Fatty Bolger, the same as I’ve been running in my solo campaign through the LotR sagas. The idea behind the deck is the crazy gimmick of, as the title implies, trying to get a total of 5 Pipe attachments into play. So that’s 3 Hobbit Pipes on Merry, Fatty and ally Bilbo, and 2 Wizard Pipes on Gandalf and Radagast. Since I have Radagast I’m then also trying to make it an Eagle deck. The thing is, between Eagles for Radagast; threat reduction for Hobbit Pipes and Fatty; plus some staples and more general Hobbit or Gandalf stuff, that’s a lot to fit in and try to make work. That said, Gandalf decks can run pretty fast, and it’s currently at 62 cards, so perhaps a few choice cuts could bring this deck into a more wieldy and playable state.
Verdict: Keep, see if I can pick out the right cuts.
Ally Gandalf/Ally Gandalf 2 – These were both based on an idea borrowed from Tales From the Cards, to make use of Gandalf 2.0, as he is sometimes known (From the first Hobbit box), giving him all the attachments intended for Hero Gandalf. I’m intending to write an article at some point talking about these decks in more detail so I don’t want to say too much now beyond the fact that they’re both mono-sphere, they have two rather different approaches, one of them definitely works and the other one I don’t think I’ve actually tried yet.
Verdict: Keep, test out the second one, write an article at some point.
Arararagorgorgornnn – I already wrote about this one, it’s a ridiculous idea, it stays.
Archery – Bard/Brand/Legolas, putting in just about every ranged thing that was available at the time. A bit of Eagles in there because of Vassal of the Windlord. The problem the deck has is that it’s short on defence, but it might work in a multiplayer context where there are multiple sentinels on the table. For some reason I don’t have Hands Upon the Bow… of course, this was a deck I built fairly early in my exposure to LotR. Looking at it though, I do think it’s possible I could make this work kind of OK? Good enough for a gimmick deck at any rate.
Verdict: Keep, tighten up a bit and possibly include some more recent Ranged stuff.
Cleave – This is another one I’ve been thinking of writing up an article about. It’s actually a deck I devised the idea for on seeing Tactics Aragorn spoiled for the first time designed to combo him up with Merry and pull multiple enemies, but since he wasn’t released yet I built it with Boromir instead (third hero being Eomer) and it worked out so well I haven’t actually bothered to sub in Tactagorn following his release. And if I did sub him in, it’d more likely be for Eomer rather than Boromir. This one’s a favourite and therefore has to stay.
Verdict: Keep, possibly write article.
Doomed Harbour – This was me attempting to get use out of the Harbour Master ally, along with a bunch of Doomed cards. So Theodred/Grima/Bifur, a wide selection of resource generation effects (I’ve even got some Love of Tales in here), the deck is slightly oversized at 55 cards and for some reason I don’t have A Burning Brand to make the Harbour Master a real invincible uberdefender. Not sure how much I ever used this one, and as much as I like the idea of trying to beef up the Harbour Master, I think I can do it better than this.
Verdict: Unless it really wows me on a test play, delete.
Dwarf of Morthond – It was an idea I liked to play around with back when I was fairly new to the game, to try and make Lord of Morthond work in a non-Outlands context. This was one of the more reasonable ideas for it, using Narvi’s Belt to play out-of-sphere Dwarf allies. Potentially one could combine LoM with Legacy of Durin to draw two cards each time you play an out-of-sphere Dwarf. The difficulty was always getting it set up in a timely fashion rather than sitting around with a hand full of off-sphere allies I couldn’t play. Perhaps this one might work better if I focused the deck more tightly on getting the combo set up fast and had less generic Dwarf stuff, but on the other hand maybe I should just abandon the idea if it takes too much effort.
Verdict: Have a look at possibilities to make it work better, but delete if it’s too much work.
Frodo’s Rising – This idea came shortly after the release of The Antlered Crown. Find a way to make Frodo a sentinel, then put The Day’s Rising on him, since Frodo never takes damage while defending. Finished a version of it after a couple more releases so he can have a Raven-Winged Helm as well. It’s a lot of moving parts, I’m not sure how consistently the combo’ll get set up and once it does I’m not sure how useful those extra resources will end up being. But for all that, this is probably a pretty functional and effective deck, because besides the combo it was built for it just contains a bunch of generally useful stuff as I recall.
Gimli Smash/Gimli Support – A pair of decks built around the idea of seeing just how high I could get Gimli’s attack. It has struck me that one of the problems with this setup is that the player cards will only get him more hit points, and I’ll still then need to get damage on him. On the other hand, I’m basically never going to get him to the maximum in any case, which is fair enough because the maximum is about 20 attack, plus possible extra from events, which is overkill for almost anything. In practice, the redundancy means I’m bound to get something each time I play. These decks aren’t top tier, but they’re a lot of fun to play, just having Gimli beat down all-comers.
Verdict: Keep, and I should play with these decks more often.
Gondorian Wealth – Boromir (Ld)/Beregond/Eowyn. The idea was to use Gondorian Fire, Blood of Numenor, and Lay of Nimrodel with a bunch of stacked resources to make my heroes the best at everything. It never really worked though, and it’s not a setup I’m so enthusiastic about at this point.
HobQuad1-4 – Four decks which I built to be somewhat thematic for Battle of Five Armies. So all of Thorin’s company are represented, plus Dain, Bard and Beorn. My original idea was to try running them through all the Hobbit quests, but it proved somewhat problematic given that Dwarves lack location control, which is pretty significant in 4 player. I beat We Must Away in the end by killing the trolls, but couldn’t get the treasures because I’d gotten myself location locked (yes, you read that right, location locked with Dwarves + Dain). They did work pretty well for Battle of Five Armies though as I recall.
Verdict: Might want to keep these as a curiosity, or alternatively I could build some different Dwarf decks with wider applications. It’s not like I play Dwarves much anyway.
Lake – Balin/Legolas/Beregond. I built this deck for a three player run at Battle of Lake-Town. It’s designed primarily to just cover the combat requirements of the scenario, rapidly building up Beregond to the point where he can safely defend Smaug over and over, and leaving questing mostly to the other two decks. It worked very well, rapidly reaching a point where there was very little worth playing, but equally I didn’t need to play anything because I was already set.
Morthond – Once again, playing around with Lord of Morthond, though in this case I did have Hirluin and Outlands in the deck in addition to Balin + Narvi’s Belt and Aragorn + Celebrian’s Stone/Ring of Barahir. To be honest, it would’ve worked better just as an Outlands deck, but I have one of those separate to this. I think I can happily ditch this. I might try and revisit the idea for a completely Outlands-less version though, with Amarthiul as the third hero.
Verdict: Delete, consider revisiting the idea.
Neuter – Intended to try and neuter the encounter deck with Lore trickery. Denethor/Mirlonde/Pippin, threat cancelling from Radagast’s Cunning/Secret Paths/Ithilien Tracker, Burning Brand to ignore shadows, Gildor’s Counsel, Out of the Wild, Ranger Spikes and Ithilien Lookout to avoid a certain amount of stuff from the encounter deck. Plus, the Lookouts combined with Henamarth and Denethor mean some good scrying. This deck could probably use some tweaks with the benefits of the experience I’ve acquired in the game since first building it, and it’s possible it might be more effective in some ways to implement this idea as a Rossiel deck, but this version I think should still work pretty well.
Verdict: Keep, retool a little.
Oin Sphere Spread – Elrond/Oin/Bombur. To be honest, I have very little idea what I had in mind with this deck, and I never got it into a finished state.
Pipes3 – As the name suggests, this deck was my third attempt to make use of Hobbit Pipes. It’s also my attempt to make use of Spirit Pippin. Frodo/Pippin/Fatty. In multiplayer, partnered with a deck that can handle combat, it’s more effective than you might think, because the ability to push enemies away using Pippin or tank their attacks with Frodo (plus potential tricks with Silver Lamp/Small Target) means you can disregard a lot of combat and just focus on getting out all the good Spirit questing allies, plus you can use Fatty to cancel enemy threat and quest even harder, so it’s not too bad if you just want to rush through everything. It’s not a deck I’d feel confident taking against difficult or particularly combat-focused quests, but it can do alright.
Rhosgobel – A deck I built specifically for Journey to Rhosgobel, so it includes Healing Herbs and Lore of Imladris, cards which I otherwise never use. Aragorn (Ld)/Beravor/Denethor. It’s intended for Aragorn to get the Ring of Barahir from another deck, though if played without that, I have Song of Wisdom (and Rivendell Minstrel to fetch it) in this deck, originally included on the principle that another deck could include more healing without Lore heroes, and I could play the Song across for them. Worked well. I also later tried this two handed against Nightmare Rhosgobel and won that as well (though that was partly good luck, I drew a bunch of healing cards and willpower, so I just quested pretty much all out to win the quest fast since there was no way Wilyador could end up with more damage than I could heal).
RiddleLead/RiddleLor/RiddleSpir/RiddleTact – Riddle answering decks, intended to break Dungeons Deep and Caverns Dim, as I wrote about previously.
SaFNonsense – The deck I built to break Shadow and Flame.
Superpower – This was supposed to be a more refined take on the idea from Gondorian wealth, where rather than trying to make my three heroes separately fantastic at Questing/Attacking/Defending with lots of resources on them, I just tried to resource stack one hero to cover everything, specifically Aragorn (Ld), with Theodred to get more resources and Beravor to draw everything faster. In principle this could probably work, but the execution in this particular build is not so good, and I don’t really think it’s an idea I’m sufficiently interested in to try and refine. If you’re interested in the massive power to be had from stacking resources with Gondorian Fire/Blood of Numenor I’d say just look at some of Seastan’s decks with them, they’re pretty crazy good.
Verdict: Delete, if I ever want to revisit the idea I can just rebuild from scratch.
SuperSneak – The Sneak Attack recycling deck I showed in this article.
And there we go. Another folder done. As before, if you’re curious for more details about any of the decks I’ve mentioned (including the ones I’ve said I’m going to delete), just ask. So, readers, do you have any interesting decks that are primarily based on gimmicks rather than entirely trying to be powerful and beat the encounter deck? Have you built anything similar to any of my gimmick decks? And have you found that some things which technically may be considered gimmicky ideas are actually surprisingly powerful?