Alright, next challenge I’m taking from my list of suggestions is one from Authraw on the FFG forums, who challenged me to: “Defeat A Shadow of the Past without using any Lore, Leadership or Spirit cards.” A tricky one to be sure. Since he specified the spheres I was not to use rather than saying “with a mono-Tactics deck” I can’t loophole any shenanigans with A Good Harvest or Songs or Gandalf. At least I still have Neutral cards to work with.
So my immediate thought in terms of tackling Shadow of the Past was of course willpower, both for questing and for Hide tests. However an advantage of being predominantly Tactics is that failing Hide tests doesn’t have to be as much of a worry as it might otherwise be because I won’t be as scared of Nazgul as many decks would be. I still definitely do want to load up on what willpower I can get though, because even if I’m fine not hiding I still need to quest. And whatever my setup I’ll probably still want to take a round or two before I start slaying Nazgul, so I want my heroes to be strong questers. Fortunately Tactics/Neutral has decent options in that regard at this point. Tactics Theoden obviously fits in nicely, as does Tactics Eowyn, they’re the natural route for a Tactics deck that wants willpower. The only remaining question is do I then bring a third Tactics hero or Gandalf? With Theoden in the mix I can get the same willpower out of either, while Gandalf is higher threat – but Gandalf also gets me access to effective card draw and Gandalf’s Staff. My ability to take out Nazgul without too much difficulty makes that high threat less of an issue (if I can take a bit more threat I have Eowyn as the nuclear option of course) and I don’t really expect to hit 50.
With that starting willpower, actually my immediate concern may be less getting more willpower than getting more combat power. Both are going to be useful ultimately though, and there are some decent allies available for both. Another advantage of bringing Gandalf is that his suite of toys includes the one bit of generic hero readying available to this sphere setup in Shadowfax – though I may be more likely to use the extra action for Narya than actually doing anything. I have some good allies. The fact that the enemies are just Nazgul and a few crows means I need some strong combat power in both aspects, though it also means I shouldn’t have so much combat to worry about overall. The follow-up to that is of course that I also will be avoiding Dunedain Hunters, tempting as they would generally be, because there’s too big a chance of them missing. I generally avoid cards for which I don’t have OCTGN images in any case, but the short supply of enemies is also a good reason for me to pass on Wait No Longer, which could otherwise be a good choice for a deck like this.
Those are the general principles I’m looking at, here’s the resulting deck:
Envoy of Pelargir x3
Derndingle Warrior x3
Gondorian Spearman x3
Honour Guard x3
Azain Silverbeard x2
Bofur (Ta) x2
Gandalf’s Staff x3
Wizard Pipe x3
Flame of Anor x3
In retrospect I think the ally selection could still be a bit better, but it’ll do. I have some of all the stats. I stand by all of the 3-ofs. In the absence of healing my defensive allies may have some issues, though the Honour Guards can certainly help with that, but it means having spare copies is definitely of potential significance (also improves my chances of finding them of course). In general, this deck should stand a good chances of smashing a few Nazgul and getting Frodo safely out of the Shire.
As usual, I will be attempting this challenge on stream on Sunday, at 8pm BST (if you’re unsure of timezones, that’s 3 days and just under 4 hours from now as I post this) and the VOD will go on youtube afterwards. I’m trying to make 8pm on Sundays my standard streaming time every other week, so if people want to schedule that in in general that’d be cool – I will keep announcing my streams though. Pay attention to my twitter or the Warden of Arnor facebook page for reminders nearer the time, and at some point in the future for announcements of more off-the-cuff streams that don’t require full blog posts to cover them in advance like deckbuilding challenges do. Anyway, this Sunday, come watch!