Deckbuilding Challenge: The Middle Earth Hero Auction

Seastan started a thread on the FFG forums a little while back entitled The Middle Earth Hero Auction, bidding threat to pay for a hero selection. Of course I always like to look out for potentially interesting odd things to do in this game, so I signed up. I’ve gone back and forth over whether to class this as a deckbuilding challenge or just a miscellaneous thing – eventually settled on challenge, because while I don’t expect the actual gameplay to be too difficult (hopefully I don’t have to eat those words), and the actual building of the deck wasn’t too difficult either since I wound up with a sizeable threat discount, but going through the bidding process to ensure I could build a viable deck was enough of a challenge for me to decide it qualifies. Theoretically if there’d been more of a bidding war on some of the heroes then the deckbuilding might have ended up more challenging as well, but it didn’t turn out that way.

My bidding strategy for the hero auction was to pick some heroes people seemed less keen on, bid low and get some Secrecy power out of the resultant discount. I didn’t completely stick to that since I also had to bow to the requirements of building a viable solo deck, like it has to have some decent willpower – I quite possibly could’ve gotten an even bigger discount if I’d been building a multiplayer deck with more of a combat focus, but a bunch of the heroes people weren’t initially bidding on were low willpower so I would’ve been screwed with regard to questing. On the other hand, as someone who’s happy to play with basically any heroes in the game, in some ways I was perfectly suited to this since I could just bid on any hero and be confident enough I’d find a way to make use of them, making it easier to get everyone cheap.
To start with I noted no-one had bid for Na’asiyah at all, so I put in the minimum bid for her of 4 threat, figuring that Na’asiyah with enough of a threat discount to hit Secrecy would be great – just stick a Resourceful on her and reap the benefits with her ability. Otherwise, as noted, I figured I needed some willpower, I wanted Lore for access to decent card draw, and Spirit for cancellation and potentially threat reduction. To some extent I also appreciated that by spreading bids around I was at least forcing people to pay a bit more threat for the heroes they wanted than they otherwise might have done – even though in every case I was bidding only 1 more than the preceding bid. Initially I went for Lanwyn in Spirit and Lore Glorfindel; on being outbid for them I switched to Grima and overbid slightly on Spirit Glorfindel (but being under-threated is his thing, so he’s still totally worth it for 6 threat – I was surprised I didn’t get outbid on him). Someone else went for Grima, so I switched onto Lore Pippin, and then onto Beravor (a fairly logical choice since card draw was what I really wanted from the Lore sphere). Had anyone outbid me on Beravor my next stop probably would have been the late addition of Lore Aragorn, since the threat reset can be useful to a Secrecy strategy. As it turned out though, I got Beravor and Glorfindel along with Na’asiyah for a total of 17 threat (Na’asiyah 4, Glorfindel 6, Beravor 7), a discount of 6 on what they’d usually be. Not the biggest discount anyone got by any means, though I do have the honour of having achieved the lowest starting threat of anyone, and with potentially 4 rounds of Secrecy before I need threat reduction (which I have in Elrond’s Counsel) I think I’m as low as I really need to be.

So as noted, the main reason I wanted Secrecy was so I could get a Resourceful onto Na’asiyah, but between my low starting threat and reduction from Elrond’s Counsel and Galadriel’s Handmaidens (a staple Spirit ally for me), I may well be able to maintain Secrecy and get more use out of it. I still haven’t gone too nuts with it, but I’ve included a few other favourites in Celduin Travellers, Ithilien Lookouts and Out of the Wild. Beyond that most of the deck is fairly standard, Light of Valinor and Asfaloth for Glorfindel, Unexpected Courage, Arwen, Envoys, Wardens of Healing, Daeron’s Runes, cancellation events and my only Tactics cards are Grappling Hooks, Feints and Unseen Strike, so saving Na’asiyah’s resources shouldn’t be too difficult. There’s really very little to explain about the deck – the only unusual thing I had to do to make this Na’asiyah Secrecy idea work was get into Secrecy in the first place. The deck:

The Budget Corsair

Heroes:
Na’asiyah
Glorfindel (Sp)
Beravor

Allies (15):
Galadriel’s Handmaiden x3
Celduin Traveller x3
Ithilien Lookout x3
Arwen Undomiel x2
Envoy of Pelargir x2
Warden of Healing x2

Attachments (14):
Resourceful x3
Light of Valinor x3
Unexpected Courage x3
Grappling Hook x3
Asfaloth x2

Events (21):
A Test of Will x3
Hasty Stroke x3
Elrond’s Counsel x3
Daeron’s Runes x3
Out of the Wild x3
Feint x3
Unseen Strike x3

Sideboard:
A Good Harvest
Power of Orthanc

It’s a little while now since Seastan revealed the quests we’ll be playing, so I’m good to go at any time, but I intend to do this as a livestream. So this Sunday, at 8pm BST I’ll be firing up the stream.

VODs now available on youtube: Part 1 Part 2

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