Back when Fire in the Night was originally announced, I had this (among other things) to say about The Elvenking:
“It also potentially fits in nicely with decks that just rely on powerful heroes since it provides action advantage and allows such a deck to recycle Naith Guides or Greenwood Archers for more action advantage – this doesn’t have to be a dedicated Silvan deck so no real need for Celeborn but Thranduil would be right at home. Leadership Imrahil and Tactics Eomer will also love this idea.”
It has taken quite a while, but I finally got round to building the deck. This is it.
So first off, the hero lineup was pretty obvious – Eomer, Imrahil, Thranduil. Thranduil doesn’t benefit from characters leaving play like the other two, but he enables Elvenking, he’s a defender to complement the two attackers, and the ability to play the allies in the Combat phase can help out this deck a lot.
Of course for Eomer and Imrahil the traits of the allies don’t matter, so initially I considered some Rohan allies as well, but I ended up narrowing down to just the Silvans and Gandalf, to keep the basic engine of Elvenking/Silvans more consistent.
Other concerns going into building this were as follows:
1. Since there are multiple important combo pieces, I want good card draw.
2. Since I still can’t necessarily rely on drawing everything in a timely fashion, some redundancy is a good idea.
3. Thranduil means I have no concerns about sphere balance with regard to allies, but ideally I want to be light on non-ally Tactics cards as I don’t see myself getting extra Tactics resources from anywhere.
4. To Steward or not to Steward? That is the question. In this case, Steward serves as redundancy for O Lorien!, powers up Gondorian Shield to make Thranduil a better defender, and makes it more plausible for me to play more than one ally per round sometimes, which given the allies will often get returned to my hand is kind of significant if I want my board state to actually expand.
Prince Imrahil (Ld)
Naith Guide x3
Greenwood Archer x3
Marksman of Lorien x3
Galadhrim Minstrel x3
Gandalf (Core) x3
The Elvenking x3
O Lorien! x3
Steward of Gondor x3
Dunedain Mark x3
Gondorian Shield x3
Sneak Attack x3
Feigned Voices x3
We Are Not Idle x3
Valiant Sacrifice x3
Dagger of Westernesse
Pursuing the Enemy
Prepare for Battle
Send for Aid
So, looking at the sideboard, of course we have some more Silvan ally options, plus Tactics Elfhelm, who could be a reasonable choice since he can be put into play for just one resource when needed – the big strike against him is that it would have to be Eomer’s resource, putting more strain on my ability to play Tactics cards which aren’t allies. The two Mounts are probably not needed given the amount of action advantage already available from Elvenking and Greenwood Archers, but they’re a possibility. Ranged and Sentinel obviously could be relevant. Dagger is a bit more attack but costs a Tactics resource again (which is why I opted for the Leadership Dunedain Marks instead in the main deck), whereas Round Shield is a cheaper but less reliable defensive option. Additional Silvan events obviously could be useful but ideally I should get Elvenking and that should be enough. Tireless Hunters could potentially solve the problem of lacking Ranged/Sentinel. And the side-quests obviously could be useful but are not essential and may be quest-specific inclusions.
If looking to sub in cards from the sideboard, the Dunedain Marks could be a prime candidate to be swapped out, as potentially could Firefoot – as useful as the attack boosts are, often 8 attack from a boosted Eomer and Imrahil will be enough, before even considering adding in allies. Worth looking at how tough the enemies are in whatever quest you’re playing, but definitely a valid consideration. You can also tweak the ally selection to suit other decks, the quest you’re playing, and just your own preferences – in particular Naith Guide is not guaranteed to have a good target.
As to the main deck the main thing you look for in the opening hand is Elvenking, but I’d say it’s worth at least considering O Lorien!, Steward or Legolas. The draw should be decent with Legolas, Gandalf, Minstrels, Valiant Sacrifice and We Are Not Idle so hopefully you can get set up in reasonable time. In the absence of The Elvenking obviously Feigned Voices still works and in a pinch of course you can just chump-block with your allies to trigger Eomer and Imrahil.
Steward and the first Gondorian Shield are intended for Thranduil to set him up as the primary defender. A second Shield can go on Imrahil. All attack boosts go onto Eomer – if you find yourself with multiple enemies then it’s possible you may want to defend one with Imrahil and then hopefully Eomer can get multiple kills on his own via Firefoot and/or readying from a Greenwood Archer.
In general, it’s always worth being mindful of the variety of options available to you – you can ready Thranduil with Elvenking which will also ready Imrahil, but you can equally ready someone by playing a Greenwood Archer. You should consider whether you can get that Archer to make an attack before being returned to hand for the boosts. Of course if you don’t need the boosts then you can save it for another round. If you have allies already in play there’s nothing to say you can’t use Elvenking for a ready before playing an ally with Thranduil, though the other way around is more standard. If you don’t need other effects, just a body to put in and out of play, then of course the Galadhrim Minstrel is the best choice for the extra effective card draw.
All in all, this deck wasn’t too complicated to construct, but it gives a bunch of interesting options when played and can be a lot of fun.