With the arrival of Sands of Harad and Ringsdb receiving an update including the new heroes and player cards from the deluxe box I am finally able to publish my Three Hunters Deck I have now been using for a while without having to include Tactics Gimli as a placeholder for Leadership Gimli. Granted I have been using Leadership Gimli for quite a while now but I have also made several new changes to both decks as of late so would like to briefly showcase the current versions as reference for upcoming Turn by Turn reports, Nightmare Review and the continuation of my Nightmare Campaign.
First off here are the most current version of the decks:
I am absolutely loving the new Gimli hero and he has very quickly proved his tremendous strength and worth. I used the core version of Gimli very briefly when I first got into the game but he never really worked for me so I am extremely happy we have received this new version considering he is one of my favourite characters from the books.
Here is a rundown of the new inclusions of late and their role within the decks:
–Beorn: Beorn while expensive is a ridiculously good ally. He makes both a fantastic defender and attacker and has a huge 6 hitpoints to soak archery and direct damage as well. He works so well with both Sneak Attack and Send for Aid that I sort of question how I didn’t have him in the decks already. Rather than shuffling him back into your deck after triggering his ability so long as you sneak attacked him into play you can actually return him to hand instead which is crazy! Eight extra attack strength for a single leadership resource! Send for Aid is even better and simply allows you to play him for free but for good not just for a single turn. Running two tactics heroes and having Arwen in play to boost Aragorn’s resources if need be allows me to play Beorn outright fairly easily if I really want to and if I can’t cheat him into play. How beneficial and powerful he is during the games he does see play easily makes up for the rare games where he sits in my hand and does not get played due to his high cost.
–Bow of the Galadhrim: I find Legolas attacking enemies in staging or engaged with the other deck pretty damn often. This attachment gives him +2 attack instead of just +1 when he is attacking an enemy not engaged with his deck so it is perfect for him. It combos with Hands Upon the Bow (which then combos nicely with Gimli’s ability) really well which is another bonus. Before I only had x3 Dagger and x2 Rivendell Blade so with x2 of all three weapons there is a single extra weapon in the decks now which is handy as sometimes I do not draw any weapons for a while and they are necessary to boost Legolas and Aragorn’s attack as well as to trigger copies of Foe Hammer. It is also a really great attachment on Haldir and both of his brothers boosting their attack by up to two points which is pretty impressive for allies.
–Captain of Gondor: Captain of Gondor replaces once of the copies of Dunedain Warning. It costs a single tactics resource which can be more easily spared than leadership resources and boosts not only Gimli’s defense but also his attack. Considering how often Gimli is actually able to join in during attacks against enemies thanks to readying effects a boost to both his defense and attack can be quite potent. Considering his deck optionally engages enemies constantly in every game (to keep them away from the support/questing deck) the effect on Captain of Gondor triggers extremely often. The only thing that really messes with it is boss enemies that do not leave the staging area and are only “considered” to be engaged with players. Even in these situations though so long as you manage engagement with the smaller foes that appear you can still ensure Captain of Gondor triggers as often as possible. This card requires a fair bit of a thematic concession as the title “Captain of Gondor” certainly does not belong on Gimli but the fact I run ally Boromir (and Faramir) in the deck makes me somewhat less irritated by this cards inclusion somehow.
–Asfaloth: Asfaloth may not be the best location control card without Glorfindel hero in play to attach it to but even at just 1 progress point at a time it can still be very useful when combined with other location control cards. Considering Legolas hero is constantly placing progress on the active location during the combat phase Asfaloth can help him at clearing the active location outside of the quest phase more regularly. Asfaloth can also help Rhovanion Outriders place progress on locations in the staging area allowing me to clear them much faster as well. The questing/support deck churns through cards so quickly during most games that it is nice to have a single copy of this card that will sometimes see play and make a decent impact alongside Legolas and/or a Rhovanion Outrider. Man I really wish Asfaloth worked with the ally version of Glorfindel as it would make it that little bit more worthwhile and useful in the deck.
–Lembas: As of late I have noticed that I don’t have enough healing or readying for certain quests and fall short when it comes to defense from time to time. Lembas fixes both of these issues by providing both a nice readying effect and healing effect in one when used. It almost always goes on Gimli so that he can perform an additional defense and heal in the process. It is just as useful however on Legolas or Aragorn if they have damage tokens on them so that they can attack multiple times and heal or even on Elrond or Galadriel so they can both use their rings/abilities and quest in the same round while also healing. It just provides tons of flexibility as well as a decent boost to the healing abilities of the decks. Although a simple card one that often gets me out of a bind and stops a hero death.
–Rhovanion Outrider: I replaced both copies of Northern Tracker with copies of Rhovanion Outrider. They are slightly cheaper and have higher willpower on most occasions unless their ability clears a location. Yes they only place a point of progress on one location in the staging area instead of all of them but this can actually be beneficial in certain situations. Often there will be a location that punishes you for placing progress on it, in these cases Northern Tracker cannot avoid this effect if you trigger his response because you have to place progress tokens on all locations in staging or none of them. The Outrider gets around this by letting you choose where to place a single point of progress.
Honestly even though they are minor the difference in cost and the extra point of willpower are a big deal and sometimes just a single resource difference in cost and a single extra point of willpower make all the difference in the world. The Outrider helps its deck play cards faster and quest harder than the Northern Tracker does while still providing a similar albeit slightly weaker effect and having very similar stats. This change my not stick in the end if the Outrider does not live up to my expectations but in the couple of games I have played since making this change the Outrider has been extremely useful so I am happy thus far. The inclusion of this ally was actually somewhat recommended by Seastan who commented on an old verison of the decks on Ringsdb asking I had tried this card out so many thanks to him for the suggestion!
That about wraps up the new changes and current versions of my decks. I am extremely tempted to put a few copies of Greenwood Archer in “Vilya+Nenya” but have nothing I am willing to remove to make room for them. Other than that I am extremely happy with the decks and am looking forward to new player card spoilers from the upcoming cycle that will tempt me into making new changes and additions to the decks. I hope you enjoyed the read and as always I welcome any feedback or comments.