Deck Spring Cleaning – Actions

As I mentioned in the last Deck Spring Cleaning post, I’m going to continue the series by going through the process of updating some of those old decks which I’ve decided to keep but which are decidedly not up to date with the modern card pool. The first one I’m going to tackle is a Leadership/Spirit deck themed around action advantage which I judged thusly:
Actions – This one is actually a decent (and finished) deck although it could possibly use some refining and an update with some more modern cards. Built around just getting lots of extra actions. Aragorn (Ld)/Theodred/Galadriel. So the classic Aragorn/Theodred combo gets Aragorn an extra action, Galadriel gets extra actions out of the allies, then Naith Guides, Unexpected Courage, Heir of Mardil, Spare Hood and Cloak, Grim Resolve, and Desperate Alliance/Strength of Arms. A bit gimmicky but this is one I’d like to keep.

The decklist as it stands is this:

Aragorn (Ld)

Allies (21):
Gandalf (Core) x3
Galadriel’s Handmaiden x3
Naith Guide x3
Snowbourn Scout x3
Northern Tracker x2
Arwen Undomiel x2
Faramir x2
Gimli x1
Fili x1
Kili x1

Attachments (15):
Steward of Gondor x3
Sword that was Broken x3
Celebrian’s Stone x3
Unexpected Courage x3
Spare Hood and Cloak x2
Heir of Mardil x1

Events (14):
A Test of Will x3
Sneak Attack x3
Strength of Arms x3
Desperate Alliance x2
Hasty Stroke x2
Grim Resolve x1

Side-quests (2):
Gather Information x1
Send for Aid x1

So as you can see, despite me updating it as recently as Treachery of Rhudaur (which as far as OCTGN image packs go is only one cycle back), there are some respects in which it’s just a mess. While it’s reasonable to have a few cards which don’t directly feed into the point of the deck (in particular, Test of Will is always hard to leave out of course), there are limits, and as much as they used to be a staple of my Leadership decks, Snowbourn Scouts don’t make that much sense in this context. Northern Trackers are also a less obvious case, though at least they have decent stats. Galadriel’s Handmaidens are always good, but they don’t fit the theme either. Besides that, having 2x Desperate Alliance and 3x Strength of Arms makes no sense. The only way that could work would be if I played SoA twice in the same phase since I can only play it when I’ve used Desperate Alliance to pass Galadriel across the table. If one of them is going to have more copies it should be Desperate Alliance since that at least could have other applications, however unlikely that may be.

So if I want to update this deck, how do I go about it? Well, the first step is to consider what it is the deck is trying to do. I’ve said action advantage, but that could easily be divided into focusing on action advantage for heroes and for allies separately. So one approach to ‘updating’ this deck might be to trash the original list and replace it with two new decks, one for hero actions and one for ally actions (though there would still be some overlap). I think I may well do that in an upcoming post, but I would quite like to additionally figure out an updated version of this odd hybrid.
Next point then is to apply the principles of the deck to figuring out what makes sense to cut or to leave in. With the state of the card pool at this point I can be very focused, I don’t need filler cards (though as noted some things are hard to justify omitting). What may be important to realise though is there can be other sides to a deck concept – in this case, obviously I have a focus on cards which provide action advantage, but I can also clearly justify including allies who will definitely benefit from that action advantage and indeed cards which will allow me to get more use out of the extra actions I’m granting (so things which require exhaustion or which improve stats to make the actions more valuable).

Alright, that gives me some criteria for judging cards in the deck and to potentially add to the deck. Let’s divide these up (omitting the heroes):

Cards which grant action advantage
Naith Guide, Gimli, Unexpected Courage, Spare Hood and Cloak, Heir of Mardil (if I can trigger it), Strength of Arms(/Desperate Alliance), Grim Resolve.

Cards which give extra value to the additional actions
Celebrian’s Stone and Sword that was Broken I guess? And Arwen.

Allies who benefit from action advantage
Gandalf, Faramir, Arwen (if I have another way to exhaust her), Gimli, Northern Tracker, maybe Fili/Kili but they’re still not the best.

Cards which do not relate to the theme of the deck at all
Galadriel’s Handmaiden, Snowbourn Scout, Hasty Stroke.
Northern Tracker and Fili/Kili kind of fit the theme but may not be the best choices.
Steward of Gondor, Sneak Attack, Test of Will and the side-quests don’t fit the theme but are so good they’re hard to omit.

So that immediately gives me a few things which I can cut out to try and focus more on the actual idea behind the deck. So let’s immediately remove/sideboard a bunch of that stuff to make some space. Go up to 3x Spare Hood and Cloak, and 3x Desperate Alliance. Throw in a Snowmane and a Path of Need. Sideboard Light of Valinor for if I’m in multiplayer and there’s a target. I can consider A Very Good Tale. What I really want here though is some decent allies, since I’m obviously going to get some definite benefit from my allies with Sword that was Broken in the mix. So let’s see. Ceorl, Glorfindel and Treebeard all have self-readying abilities so let’s have them. Errand-rider has a useful exhaust ability, Leadership Anborn has a good exhaust ability and useful stats. Then I just start looking into allies with good stats so they’ll benefit from the extra actions. Saruman can be pretty great with Galadriel, Dwarven Sellsword seems a decent choice too, maybe Ranger of Cardolan?
Just adding one of each of those allies I just mentioned as taken me back up to 50 cards in the main deck. Let’s not bother with Errand-riders, hopefully I can find ways to spend the resources, and also remove Heir of Mardil since Errand-rider would be the best way of triggering it. Remove Snowmane since readying Theodred isn’t that important. Go down to 1x for Arwen and Faramir, 3x Ranger of Cardolan, 2x Saruman, 2x AVGT, 2x Grim Resolve.

That looks like a workable deck, though I’m now considering the fact that I didn’t actually really update the deck with the modern card pool that much – Ceorl, Sellsword and Glorfindel are the only cards I added which were released since I last updated the deck, I put more emphasis on just making the deck more focused. Just to be sure, let’s go through all the cards released since Lost Realm (since that’s about when I originally made the deck and I don’t necessarily trust the quality of my previous updates), up to Drowned Ruins/Flame of the West (I’m holding off on anything where I don’t have OCTGN images yet). Obviously I’m only considering Leadership, Spirit and Neutral cards.
Wastes of Eriador: Cardolan is in, Ingold/Brandybucks not enough stats, nothing else of interest.
Escape from Mount Gram: Veteran of Osgiliath could be decent, but I’m unlikely to end up at high threat with Galadriel. Nothing else of interest as I’m not going Dunedain, Noldor or victory display.
Across the Ettenmoors: No allies, nothing relating to readying.
Treachery of Rhudaur: Weaver has no use for extra actions, Send for Aid is sideboarded, nothing else.
Battle of Carn Dum: I’m not Dunedain, Noldor or Valour, so nothing of interest here.
The Dread Realm: Mostly uninteresting, Eothain would fit but he’s Rohan-specific. Tale of Tinuviel I should really have at least in the sideboard if not the actual deck, since I have Aragorn/Galadriel.
Land of Shadow: Anborn is in, I considered Snowmane, nothing else is really relevant.
The Grey Havens: The two events are less use to me because I’m pretty short on ways to discard them, though they would fit, since Elwing’s Flight is readying, and Anchor Watch is effectively action advantage by letting you defend with an exhausted character. Mariner’s Compass could give some benefits from the extra actions but it’s not that big a deal.
Flight of the Stormcaller: Glorfindel is in, nothing else relevant.
Thing in the Depths: Sam fits the theme but he’s too expensive and I don’t have any player card threat raises.
Temple of the Deceived: Destrier is good and would fit but Aragorn isn’t necessarily the best defender for it.
The Drowned Ruins: Sellsword I already considered for the great stats. Dunedain Remedy is good enough I might sideboard it even though it doesn’t fit the theme. Nothing else relevant.
Flame of the West: Halbarad and Imrahil both have decent stats, but I prefer Gimli for those stats. Desperate Defence could be decent but I don’t have an obvious defender in my deck.

So, OK, looks like I missed Tale of Tinuviel and that’s it. It’s still worth sometimes doing checks like that, especially since if I wasn’t taking the time to write it all up that would have taken a couple of minutes at most. I’m not sure how I missed Tale of Tinuviel initially, since a big part of my deck updating process was just searching for cards of different types which contain the words “exhaust” or “ready” in their text and Tale of Tinuviel has both. It happens though, sometimes you miss things. Let’s stick it in the sideboard for the moment.
Well, I hope at least some of that served as useful insight for people, I’ve gone on for quite a while – but it’s important to note again that if I hadn’t been writing this up as a blog post it would’ve taken much less time. Like, probably about 15 minutes at most and then I’d jump into testing. Speaking of which I should test this now, so here’s the new decklist:

Aragorn (Ld)

Allies (18):
Naith Guide x3
Range of Cardolan x3
Gandalf (Core) x3
Saruman x2
Gimli x1
Faramir x1
Anborn x1
Ceorl x1
Arwen Undomiel x1
Glorfindel x1
Treebeard x1

Attachments (16):
Steward of Gondor x3
Celebrian’s Stone x3
Sword that was Broken x3
Unexpected Courage x3
Spare Hood and Cloak x3
Path of Need x1

Events (16):
A Test of Will x3
Desperate Alliance x3
Strength of Arms x3
Sneak Attack x3
A Very Good Tale x2
Grim Resolve x2

Northern Tracker
Light of Valinor
Hasty Stroke
Tale of Tinuviel
Gather Information
Send for Aid

This deck definitely isn’t at its best in solo, though I still tried it out against Nin-in-Eilph and won. It’s short on defence is the biggest issue, so it depends on whether the quest you’re playing has a bunch of high attack enemies or not. Subbing in Tale of Tinuviel would potentially help with that. For a proper test though, I paired it up with this deck and went up against The Dread Realm:

So, arguable quest-breaking aside, the deck seems to work. I should maybe sub in Tale of Tinuviel on a more permanent basis, and Desperate Alliance/Strength of Arms is kind of inconsistent, but I like it. Decklist:

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One Response to Deck Spring Cleaning – Actions

  1. Pingback: Decks: Heroes/Allies Stand Ready | Warden of Arnor

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