So I was tinkering with this deck the other day – originally it used Galdor instead of Aragorn as the third hero, going for the ultimate good start, but then I realised there was almost nothing I’d want to ditch in my discard mulligan and there’d never be a good time to have an empty hand and draw 6. So he got swapped out of that deck. But I retained the thought that Denethor + Galdor without Erestor would probably be the best hero pairing for trying to put together a particular combo as fast as possible. But what combo could I put together with it? Well, it just so happens that the 5 resources you start with in a 3 hero deck with Denethor are exactly enough to play Sneak Attack and Sword-thain. That’d be a pretty cool possibility, but it runs into the usual question for Sword-thain – why are you doing it?
Sword-thain isn’t really worth the cost in and of itself, you need a reason why having an additional hero is important, whether that involves putting hero-specific attachments onto a particular ally, making your Records free in mono-sphere, making Caldara even more awesome, or whatever. Since I’m starting from Denethor + Galdor, I can’t be mono-sphere so the Record thing is out. It basically comes down to putting particular attachments onto your Sword-thain. And then an idea occurred to me. It’s actually an idea which has been thrown around by a certain Discord regular named Some Sort for a while but he doesn’t seem to have built his version yet, so I’m getting mine in first.
Ceorl. The first unique ally who can change control without Defender of the West, and thus with Sword-thain the first hero who can cross the table any time he likes (so long as he’s exhausted and you have a Spirit resource, and limit once per round). So from there, the deck is really very simple in concept. You try to make Ceorl a Sword-thain as fast as possible. Use Galdor’s alternate mulligan ability aggressively to find Ceorl and Sword-thain. Failing those, card draw, Master of the Forge or Heed the Dream to find Ceorl and Sword-thain. Steward of Gondor is also a good card to have. Sneak Attack isn’t so necessary since Ceorl only costs 2, but if you want Ceorl-thain on the table round 1 then you can still do it. Or you can play Captain’s Wisdom to get an extra two resources.
Once you have named Ceorl your Sword-thain, all that remains is to make passing him around the table useful. The way we achieve this is by giving him Steward of Gondor and Songs of Wisdom, Travel and Battle. Travel is of course the most important since it lets him pay for his own ability, while the others are simply so he can play cards for whoever you give him to.
This is a total support deck. It exists primarily to give resources to the other players in multiplayer, via Theodred, Errand-riders, Denethor and of course the main trick of passing around Ceorl. Bear in mind that of course you can simply use Denethor, Theodred and Errand-riders to send more resources to Ceorl, who can then move all those resources to whichever deck the group feels is most in need of them at the time. With Gleowine, Heed the Dream, Deep Knowledge, Campfire Tales and Desperate Alliance Galdor, you can also give the other decks a bunch of cards. Do not play this deck in solo. Do not play this deck 2 player. 3 or especially 4 player you should be pretty good, and your fellows should be pretty happy once you get your jank together so long as they don’t mind the Doomed.
I Brought Enough Sword-thain for Everyone
Galdor of the Havens
Gandalf (Core) x2
Master of the Forge x3
Warden of Healing x2
Steward of Gondor x3
Song of Travel x3
Song of Battle x1
Song of Wisdom x1
Protector of Lorien x2
Campfire Tales x3
Daeron’s Runes x3
Deep Knowledge x3
Heed the Dream x3
We Are Not Idle x3
Captain’s Wisdom x2
Sneak Attack x3
Desperate Alliance x3
Desperate Alliance, while it could be used as yet another way of moving resources across the table, is primarily intended to let other players use Galdor’s draw 6 ability when their hands are empty (which can be assisted by attaching Protector of Lorien to Galdor and/or Ceorl). Could easily be swapped out for something else though
In terms of alternative cards to slot into this deck, nothing springs to mind unless you strip it down a decent way and just keep all the fast draw and Sword-thain related stuff if there’s a different unique ally you want to stick Sword-thain onto asap. Put in that ally instead of Ceorl, put in any cards particularly intended to go with the Sword-thain, and it should still work.
As it is though… I should mention that I haven’t tested this deck particularly rigorously. The thing is, I want to post it regardless of whether or not it’s actually useful because it’s just such a crazy interesting idea. I do feel like it should work out alright in multiplayer though, so long as the other decks are willing and able to handle most of the heavy lifting in the game while you just funnel resources to them the whole time. And, when I originally wrote this paragraph I hadn’t properly tested it at all, whereas now I have played it in a 3 player game against Helm’s Deep. Of course things were helped along by the fact that it being outside of campaign mode we took Poisoned Counsels and the free round + ally, but regardless it was very helpful that I was just sending a stack of resources shuttling around the table. Score one for the crazy idea!