For this instance of Deck Spring Cleaning I’m updating a couple of old decks which I’m linking together by the fact they both use (different versions of) Aragorn and that when I originally built them I couldn’t come up with snappy names for them and therefore just named them with abbreviations of their hero lineups: AraBalTheo and AraBeoGlor. Here’s what I said about each of them back when I was going through my old decks:
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.
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.
For AraBalTheo the obvious source of potential improvement is going to lie in the fact Leadership and Lore have more useful questing allies now than when I built the deck (it currently only has cards up to The Road Darkens), though there may be some other useful utility cards. Actually, glancing at the decklist I feel like it’s not out of the question I might end up ditching the majority of the deck. Here is the old decklist before I make any changes to it:
Longbeard Elder x3
Gandalf (Core) x3
Master of the Forge x2
Warden of Healing x2
Erebor Hammersmith x2
Snowbourn Scout x2
Gildor Inglorion x1
Steward of Gondor x3
Sword that was Broken x3
Unexpected Courage x3
King Under the Mountain x2
Celebrian’s Stone x2
A Burning Brand x2
Sneak Attack x3
Campfire Tales x3
Daeron’s Runes x3
A Test of Will x3
Desperate Alliance x2
Secret Paths x2
Where to start? There are cards in here which don’t really fit the concept, the numbers of copies are questionable in some cases (some attachments could have less copies and depend on Master of the Forge, or more and no Masters, King Under the Mountain in particular), Longbeard Elder is too expensive to be worth it at this point in the card pool, Desperate Alliance should probably be a sideboard card rather than main deck, as great as it is with Loragorn.
On the other hand, what can I add? Well Deep Knowledge should really be here already, there’s all the 2 cost 2 willpower Lore allies. In general I should put some focus on cheaper allies to get more out of the boost from Sword that was Broken. A Very Good Tale could be a decent option to get out more allies quicker, but for whatever reason I tend not to bother with it.
So the full list of potential additions looks like:
Allies: Envoy of Pelargir, Galadhrim Minstrel, Naith Guide, Ceorl, Ghan-buri-Ghan, Henamarth Riversong, Ioreth, Mablung, Quickbeam, Robin Smallburrow, Gimli, Halfling Bounder.
Events: Deep Knowledge, Heed the Dream, Gildor’s Counsel.
Side-quests: Gather Information, Scout Ahead, Send for Aid, Prepare for Battle.
Meanwhile AraBeoGlor goes as far as Wastes of Eriador, but may need less changes. It’s primarily focused on the heroes, who already had good enough toys to work with. I can certainly go in and tweak numbers of copies of cards again, and there will certainly be some newer cards I could sub in, but the core contents of the deck should remain the same in this case, not just the concept. Here’s the decklist before I start tweaking:
Dunedain Hunter x3
Honour Guard x3
Booming Ent x3
Bofur (Ta) x3
Galadriel’s Handmaiden x3
Arwen Undomiel x2
Gandalf (OHaUH) x2
Light of Valinor x3
Unexpected Courage x3
Silver Lamp x2
Captain of Gondor x2
Rivendell Blade x2
Rivendell Bow x2
Rohan Warhorse x2
A Test of Will x3
Elrond’s Counsel x3
A few thoughts come immediately to mind – there’s more attack there than I should really need in a deck with this hero lineup. Some more defensive allies could come in handy on the other hand, for when Beorn starts running out of hit points. Gandalf is a very risky proposition, I should really have a bit more threat reduction if I want that to be a possibility (or possibly just in general actually). Though there could be Valour possibilities for this deck. Rivendell Bow is superfluous in a solo context (except for triggering Foe-hammer), which is not completely out of the question for this deck, though it’s probably better served as a multiplayer combat deck where the Bow is useful.
So possible additions, partly based on those thoughts and partly just throwing in cool new(er) things:
Allies: Azain Silverbeard, Beechbone, Defender of Rammas, Legolas, Marksman of Lorien, Ranger of Cardolan, Soldier of Dol Amroth, Steward of Orthanc.
Attachments: Secret Vigil, Ring of Barahir (+ some Lore cards?).
Events: Proud Hunters, Straight Shot, Wait no Longer, Horn’s Cry.
Some of those ideas are kind of superfluous, in particular attacking allies when I just said I should have enough attack from my heroes. Meanwhile Marksman of Lorien and Straight Shot could be an interesting route to go, but I’m not sure if I actually want to keep the Weapons in the deck. So after consideration I arrive at this:
Testing the two out (against Massing at Osgiliath), AraBalTheo seems fine though it’s definitely better placed as a 2+ player questing deck than as a solo deck, and it takes a little bit of time to get going. The main thing which strikes me is my general feeling that Faramir is just kind of a win-more card. He’s not really needed so I don’t want to put in more copies and focus on him, but at x1 he’s not consistent so I’m probably better off just relying on Sword that was Broken as my willpower boost. AraBeoGlor struggles more with questing as expected but kills things very efficiently. Were it not for the fact they both use Aragorn, these two decks might work quite well together. The draw for AraBeoGlor isn’t as good, though the Stewards of Orthanc certainly help. Horn’s Cry seems a bit of a dud now though because the deck does pretty well at keeping its threat down (which is good as it allows better potential use of Aragorn’s Response). Perhaps I could also ditch the Dunedain Hunters. And as much as I like Silver Lamp, I feel like I might be better served just including Hasty Stroke instead. Oh, and Knife-work is a card I meant to think about but forgot. Oh, and I could maybe sideboard Asfaloth to go with the Ring of Barahir.
Putting those thoughts into action and cutting entirely a bunch of the stuff from the original versions of the decks which I initially just shunted into the sideboard, I now have two updated decklists: