Deck Spring Cleaning: Viable

OK. With my usual level of efficiency, I started this whole Deck Spring Cleaning thing in August 2015 and am just now finishing it. That said, I am finishing it, this is the last folder I need to sort. Since I now do all my deckbuilding on RingsDB, it’s unlikely I’ll ever need to do this again, so this may be the end of the series. Or maybe I’ll continue it by taking a look at some of the decks I decided to keep and talking through my thought processes on updating them to work in a modern card pool. This makes something of a milestone either way.
So here I am, looking at my ‘Viable’ deck folder. That is, all the decks which I thought weren’t gimmicky enough to be considered gimmicks, but were finished and in a state I thought was probably usable. In some cases, particularly with some of the older decks, I think I was wrong about that, but I’ll get to those as I go.

AraBalTheo – Aragorn (Lo)/Balin/Theodred. An odd one this, I realised at some point that I had lots of good combat decks and not many questing decks, so I decided to build a questing deck, and it ended up being this. Aragorn + Sword that was Broken gets me a lot of willpower, card draw’s great between Lore and King Under the Mountain, I get the best Spirit cards (Test of Will, Unexpected Courage) as well via Celebrian’s Stone. This is a decent one, and I could probably do with having a few more decks that are just generically good rather than everything I build being based around some weird gimmick or other.
Verdict: Keep.

AraBeoGlor – Aragorn (Ta)/Beorn/Glorfindel (Sp). Can’t remember how I came up with the idea, but I was going for a very aggro sort of thing obviously. Aragorn and Beorn make short work of most combat, and of course handily Aragorn’s -1 defence to engaged enemies still applies even if he quested rather than attacking. Which brings me to the definite weakness of this deck, that being willpower. Played in multiplayer as just a combat deck it’d probably be fine. I did manage to use it to solo Dunland Trap; then tried it against Three Trials, killed the Guardians, but threated out before I could complete the quest. Again, this is good generic.
Verdict: Keep.

AraHalSam – Aragorn (Ta)/Halbarad/Sam Gamgee. I built this deck and tried it out a couple of times before realising I’d inadvertently cribbed the hero lineup from an FFG news article. It makes sense though, so whatever. Essentially when Tactics Aragorn was released I wanted to build decks with him so I went for something akin to my AraBalTheo above, but a bit different. Never worked out quite as well as that one. For all that I made the point about wanting some more decent generic decks, I only need so many. If I really want to revisit this lineup I can rebuild it.
Verdict: Delete.

AraMabMer – Aragorn (Ta)/Mablung/Merry (Ta). A mono-Tactics deck built around Aragorn certainly makes sense as a concept, he can handle a lot of combat. And this hero lineup is a good one. That said, it doesn’t really grab me on re-examination. I think part of the reason I built this deck was because there were some things I wanted to do with Tactagorn which I couldn’t fit into multi-sphere decks, but then I think part of the reason for that is that I may have been throwing in too many things based more on my own fickle tastes than how efficient they are, and there are still some of those in here.
Verdict: Delete.

Beorn – This one made it onto RingsDB and this blog, so obviously I want to keep it. Or rather, I’ll replace it with the RingsDB version (which could probably do with an update at this point).
Verdict: Replace with latest version.

BerEoGlor – Beravor/Eowyn (Sp)/Glorfindel (Sp). This was another good generic deck in its day, certainly, though it again has a bit of that feeling that I may have thrown things in somewhat haphazardly without consideration for making the deck really cohesive. That kind of deckbuilding wouldn’t do so well for me nowadays (well, it might, but I’d be unhappy with it). I could update the deck, but that’d be a fair amount of rebuilding, a lot of the deck would have to just be thrown out and replaced, and it doesn’t grab me enough for me to be bothered with that amount of effort.
Verdict: Delete.

Birds and Trees – This is an old deck which I used to like and use quite a bit but then stopped. As the name suggests, it’s built around Eagles and Ents. Hero lineup is Elrond/Pippin (Lo)/Merry (Ta). The reason I kind of lost interest in this deck I would say was essentially that I lost interest in Eagles while the Ent trait was developed further to the point where it could carry a deck by itself rather than needing to be mixed in with Eagles. The latest version of this only uses cards up to Treason of Saruman, so any attempt to revive it would have a lot more Ents to potentially fit in, leaving me very pushed for deck space. I’m a little tempted to try and do it anyway just for nostalgia’s sake, but I’m not too confident that it’ll work.
Verdict: Consider rebuilding, maybe keep out of nostalgia.

Caldariel – This one also made it onto RingsDB and the blog. I haven’t updated it since the release of Flame of the West, mostly because stacking ally Imrahil on top of Sword-thain pushes Caldara to a level of power at which I’m not sure if I’d still find it fun, but regardless there’s no way I’m getting rid of this deck.
Verdict: Replace with latest version.

Combat Support – This is a deck which I always liked but which never quite worked as I wanted it to. That said, I’ve kept at it, and the latest version may be seen here and here. I had some ideas a while back as to what the next tweak should probably be, so we’ll see if I can make it work.
Verdict: Replace with latest version.

Damage – Thalin/Legolas (Ta)/Beregond (Ta). A direct damage focused deck which happens to also work pretty well as just a generic mono-Tactics combat deck. Certainly there are other things one can do with direct damage at this point, but I’d say this one still holds up reasonably well (I’ve even continued updating it, at least up to Grey Havens). I’m a little surprised I haven’t replaced Legolas with a different hero in order to use ally Legolas, but regardless I think this deck works.
Verdict: Keep.

Defend – Boromir (Ld)/Erkenbrand/Beregond (Ta). I think I may have originally been thinking about Siege questing when I built this deck. That or I was just going for being able to have tons of strong defences. Of course now one could go the whole hog and have Erkenbrand/Beregond/Dori for full defence focus, but in this case hero Dori didn’t exist yet, and so after going for a bunch of defence I needed something else to fill the rest of the deck and the third hero slot, which ended up being a Gondor deck – certainly gets me the attack power to kill the things I’m defending, and some decent willpower once I find Visionary Leadership. This deck is a bit unfocused though, and decidedly out of date, so I think I should probably just ditch it. I doubt I’ll ever be in a situation where I’m playing a game and this is the deck I really want to play so I’ll be sad I got rid of it.
Verdict: Delete.

Distant – Mono-Tactics built around Ranged/Sentinel, with Beregond, Legolas and a choice of either Brand or Bard for third hero. The whole idea of a combat deck which never needs to engage anything itself is an interesting one, but there are better ways of doing it than this.
Verdict: Delete.

Dunelead – Mono-Leadership Dunedain. Halbarad/Aragorn/Balin (This was built before Amarthiul was released, and Balin in addition to being a favourite and giving me King Under the Mountain can cancel shadows, which is pretty handy with the number of enemies a Dunedain deck may want to engage). Honestly, this isn’t a terrible idea, but I definitely shouldn’t have built it when I did, I should’ve waited until later in/the end of the cycle when more/all of the Dunedain goodies were out. I might revisit the concept in future, but it’s not exactly a priority.
Verdict: Delete.

DwarfCancel – You may be getting the hang of the very straightforward way I tend to name my decks when I’m not showing them off in public, and be able to figure out that this one revolves around Dwarves and cancellation. Balin/Nori/Oin, Balin cancels shadows, Test of Will cancels treacheries (mostly) and Feint cancels attacks. Not exactly blisteringly powerful unless someone else at the table is running Dain (in which case there may be argument over the placement of King Under the Mountain and Steward of Gondor), but a nice little support deck using some underappreciated heroes.
Verdict: Keep.

DwarfLead – Mono-Leadership Dwarves, Dain/Thorin/Balin. Of course thanks to Narvi’s Belt it can still use some Dwarf allies from other spheres. This one is pretty impressive if it gets going. I could probably build it better now though. If I can be bothered.
Verdict: Keep.

Eidregond – Eowyn (Sp)/Idraen/Beregond (Ta). Just a fairly generic deck which never worked as well as I would’ve liked it to.
Verdict: Delete.

Elfstones – As the name suggests, the basic idea revolved around using Elf-stones to bring in powerful allies, and then recycling those Elf-stones with Erebor Hammersmiths and Second Breakfast. Of course, in order to have an alternative option in the event I didn’t have an Elf-stone handy for a powerful out of sphere ally, I also put in Elrond. And so I also put in Vilya, and then it was really just more of a Vilya deck. Interesting concept, maybe I’ll try it again some time.
Verdict: Delete.

Engage – The first deck I built around Mablung, thus focused on engaging a bunch of enemies. Mablung/Boromir (Ta)/Beregond (Ta). The theory was that by engaging a bunch of enemies through various effects Mablung would accrue a big stack of resources which he could then use to power Gondorian Fire and kill them all (while Beregond and Boromir would cover defence). Not a bad idea, but honestly a lot of the time I’d be better off just using Mablung’s extra resources to play cards as I do in most decks where I use him.
Verdict: Delete.

Eorl – As in the house of. Theoden (Sp)/Eowyn (Sp)/Eomer. Rohan decks never really worked for me the way I wanted them to until I built one in tri-sphere, which this is not.
Verdict: Delete.

Fighting Gondor – Faramir (Lo)/Boromir (Ta)/Beregond (Ta). Built on some similar principles to my tri-sphere House of Stewards deck, in retrospect, but less good. Was a passable combat deck when I built it but it doesn’t look so good to me now.
Verdict: Delete.

GalTreeBer – Galadriel/Treebeard/Beravor. I’m really not sure why this deck wasn’t in the Gimmick folder since I built it primarily to be good at passing Burgle tests on The Lonely Mountain, hence Galadriel and Beravor. Treebeard also fits that quest since Smaug the Golden encourages questing with a lower number of higher willpower characters and Treebeard can boost his willpower as needed. Galadriel+Nenya is also good for that. That being said, I don’t think the deck is that well constructed otherwise, in hindsight, so I don’t know if this is even worth keeping as a gimmick deck.
Verdict: Delete.

Gandalf – My first Gandalf deck. Unlike most decks I build with Gandalf, this one is actually focused around the wizard instead of simply using his ability to facilitate and support something else. Gandalf/Frodo Baggins/Bifur; since obviously I wanted Spirit for Unexpected Courage and ally Bilbo, and I wanted Lore for Expert Treasure-hunter (and Bifur of course can just take Gandalf’s resources when I don’t have a use for them). Honestly, I don’t feel particularly compelled to keep this one. The possibility of building a Gandalf-focused deck which just turns the wizard into a superhero is something which could work, but if I want to do it I think I’ll just rebuild from scratch.
Verdict: Delete.

Gandalf-Dwarf – I was playing the Hobbit saga quests and wanted something thematic, so Gandalf plus dwarves. An interesting idea, but not that great a deck.
Verdict: Delete.

Gloin – Gloin is of course a hero who decidedly benefits from building a deck that’s really focused around him, but this was me attempting to do so when I was still pretty new to the game and I didn’t do it very well. If I want a good Gloin focused deck at this point I’ll build a new one or download one of the various good ones which can be found on RingsDB.
Verdict: Delete.

GondorLead – Mono-Leadership Gondor with Boromir/Prince Imrahil/Theodred. Certainly good, but I prefer my more recent Denethor/Boromir/Faramir build, so I don’t think I need to keep this one.
Verdict: Delete.

GondorQuest – Aragorn (Ld)/Eowyn (Sp)/Eleanor. Stacks willpower boosts from Sword that was Broken, Visionary Leadership and ally Faramir to get some ridiculous numbers. There’s decent scope for holding onto this one, but I suspect if I want a Spirit/Leadership Gondor blend like this I’m more likely to just pull out this one. That said… OK, I’ll keep this one, though I don’t know how much I’ll actually use it.
Verdict: Keep.

Grey Company – Halbarad/Elrohir/Elladan. Pairing up Halbarad with Elrond’s sons made a lot of sense thematically since they turn up together in Return of the King, and the deck works pretty well. The version with Amarthiul arguably works better, but I’d say there’s room in my deck folders for both.
Verdict: Keep.

Harbour Mining/Harbourhero – My attempts to pull off shenanigans with the Harbour Master. They never really worked, and to be honest these decks probably should’ve been in the Fix or Gimmick folder.
Verdict: Delete both.

Hobbit Rangers – Faramir (Lo)/Pippin (Lo)/Merry (Ta). Built around the idea of giving Faramir a Great Yew Bow. Definitely not a top-tier deck, but a fun enough idea.
Verdict: Move to Gimmick folder.

Locate 1/Locate 2 – Two decks wherein I was trying to fit in basically every location control effect that existed at the time. Wasn’t such a great idea in retrospect, nor was it necessarily conducive to actual efficient decks. I’ve built better location control decks since and never really touched these ones since I built them.
Verdict: Delete.

Location Control – This, for example, is a better location control deck. Glorfindel (Sp)/Idraen/Aragorn (Lo). Has issues with the balance of resources between spheres but plays pretty well. As nice as the decks I cam up with for my Archetype Analysis were, I should really do a more up to date version of this more generic Spirit/Lore location control deck as well.
Verdict: Keep/update/rebuild.

Lorien – Basic generic Silvan deck, Celeborn/Galadriel/Haldir. Decent deck but I was never totally happy with it. I’ve been meaning since Drowned Ruins was released to do Archetype Analysis: Silvan, so I should come up with something or things to replace this with when I get to that.
Verdict: Delete, will replace.

Merry of the Mark/Pippin of the Citadel – These were built more for thematic reasons than practical ones, sticking Pippin in a Gondor(ish) deck with Denethor/Beregond, and Merry in a Rohan(ish) deck with Eowyn and Eomer. Interesting ideas, and the Merry one certainly I think could work reasonably, but I don’t think I can be bothered to put that much effort into sorting them out.
Verdict: Delete both.

OffSphereGondor/OffSphereRohan – I observed that most Gondor stuff seemed to be Leadership/Lore while most Rohan stuff was Spirit/Tactics and therefore decided to build a Spirit/Tactics Gondor deck and a Leadership/Lore Rohan deck to see how they turned out. Mablung/Beregond (Ta)/Eleanor for Gondor, was never that great. Theodred/Erkenbrand/Grima for Rohan worked out better. Wasn’t very Rohan of course, but a decent deck, so I’m inclined to hold onto it, especially since I don’t actually have many decks with Grima.
Verdict: Delete Gondor, Keep Rohan.

Outlands – I had to build an Outlands deck to see first-hand how ridiculous it was and justify my irrational hatred of the trait. Having done so, I left it here to languish unplayed.
Verdict: Keep, but never actually use.

Quest Support – Aragorn (Lo)/Beravor/Frodo Baggins. Questing and support like the name suggests. Worked fine as I recall but not particularly interesting.
Verdict: Delete.

ReadyEnt – Made it onto the blog and RingsDB.
Verdict: Replace with latest version.

Reincarnate – Name came about because of Landroval’s ability, and Gwaihir’s. Basically just an Eagle deck, Boromir (Ta)/Eomer/Beorn. I might take a closer look at this one before ditching it, though realistically, if I want an Eagle deck it’s going to end up with a different hero lineup than this.
Verdict: Consider keeping to tweak or rebuild a different Eagle deck.

Revive/Revive 2/Revive 3 – Earlier attempts at Caldara decks prior to the release of Galadriel. Never really got them to work properly and of course now they’re hilariously out of date.
Verdict: Delete them all.

Ring-bearers – Elrond/Galadriel/Gandalf, the bearers of the Three Elven-rings. Of course, I built this right when Galadriel came out, so the deck only contains two of the rings themselves. That alone is enough reason for me to figure I’ll just ditch this and rebuild it later if I want. Though I may not bother. Plenty of people have built Three Rings decks, I don’t have to add another.
Verdict: Delete.

RohanQuest – Mono-Spirit questing deck with a bunch of Rohan allies. Of course I built it before there was much in the way of Rohan synergy other than Astonishing Speed. Hero lineup was mono-Spirit Eowyn/Glorfindel/Frodo Baggins. Nothing too interesting, no need to hold on to this.
Verdict: Delete.

Sacrifice – Prince Imrahil (Ld)/Eomer/Brand son of Bain. Imrahil/Eomer is a classic pairing for their mutual synergy with leaves play stuff and this was my take on it. Though given that my various chumps aren’t Sentinels Brand is a dubious choice despite how much I like him. I think there’s still definite value to be puled out of this sort of approach so I think I’ll hold on to it (though I may well switch out the third hero).
Verdict: Keep.

Silvan Archers/Silvan Archers 2 – Two decks built on the same principle. Legolas/Haldir, kill everything at Ranged. The first one had Denethor as the third hero and wasn’t so good. The second used Beregond to have Sentinel as well and worked better. At some point I stopped updating this because most of my games are played with my brother and Qwaz, and Qwaz has a deck very much like this.
Verdict: Delete.

Stewards – Denethor and sons. Of course this is an old deck so it’s Leadership Boromir and Lore for the other two. The couple of times I’ve done this more recently I probably prefer to this one, but that doesn’t mean this one isn’t worthwhile. I’ll think about it.
Verdict: Keep.

SuperDwarfs – Not actually that super. I was still relatively new to the game, I’d heard Dwarves were really powerful, so I built a Dwarf deck. For a while I used it consistently the first time I played each new quest blind. I rapidly get bored of Dwarves though, and this isn’t even that good a Dwarf deck.
Verdict: Delete.

Tactics Dwarfs – Pseudo-mono-Tactics Dwarf deck, Gimli/Thalin/Oin. Was never that good, I can just redo it if I really want something along these lines.
Verdict: Delete.

Traps – Mono-Lore traps. Decent, but I’ve built better trap decks since, such as for example this one.
Verdict: Delete.

TreeGloin/TreeGloin2 – Built around the combo of Gloin+Song of Mocking+Treebeard. It’s a potent combo if you can get it to work, but I suspect I might do better just focusing on Gloin in a more general sense. Or, I don’t know, maybe focusing on this combo specifically could work but I could do it much better now than I did back then between an expanded card pool and more experience of deckbuilding.
Verdict: Delete.

Tri-Rohan – Made it onto RingsDB.
Verdict: Replace with the latest version.

And there we have it. I’ve finally made it through all my old deck folders. Now I can delete all those decks that aren’t of use and are clogging up the folders, work on updating the ones that are worth updating and start actually picking decks from those folders instead of checking RingsDB every time. Like I said at the top of the post, I may well make follow-up posts detailing the process of updating some of those decks, since that’s not something a lot of people write about – lots of posts about building decks in the first place, not that many about updating them into new forms to accommodate new cards and adjust the functionality, so look out for those. In the meantime, I hope at least some of you have found some interest in these long lists of deck ideas I’ve gone through and either kept or rejected.

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2 Responses to Deck Spring Cleaning: Viable

  1. Qwaz says:

    Thanks for the shout out. It is one of my fave decks so i do trot it out when i can 🙂 Talking of updates though, it’s been tweaked 14 odd times since publication so could probably do with an update itself!

    Like

  2. Pingback: Deck Spring Cleaning – Actions | Warden of Arnor

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