Half the community seems excited about Folco Boffin and the other half seems to have zero interest at all. I’m looking forward to trying some decks that actually could play in secrecy mode rather than just hope to get a boost by playing one or rwo secrecy cards in the first couple turns. I think Folco is fantastic card design.
Rings user chrsjxn seems to enjoy playing hobbits and secrecy decks so this looks right up his ally. He has already produced a play-through video for this deck which I confess I haven’t watched yet.
The ally lineup looks solid and beefy which you expect from a secrecy deck. Theodred isn’t a hero I use often although I’ve grown to appreciate him more lately. In this context I wonder if it wouldn’t be better to start with a more “multi-purpose” hero like Sam who might give the deck a better WP base to survive the first couple turns. While Theodred’s response is very flexible and helpful, its not that much more valuable than a Resourceful attachment. With Rossiel as a starting hero, I’m surprised to see only 1 card that puts cards into the Victory Display.
I ended up playing this deck 5 against several quests.
Test #1 – Steward’s Fear – Loss/Loss
Chrsjxn indicated he had tested it against Steward’s Fear so I started with it. He said it ended poorly for him and it ended poorly for me as well. I kept my threat low and got some good allies into play, but I got too much threat in the staging area and wasn’t strong enough to engage the enemies or clear the locations.
I was able to stay in secrecy mode most of the game and avoid most enemies, but I ended up calling it quits when the staging area outpaced my WP.
Test #2 Journey Down the Anduin – Loss/Win
My first attempt here I just did’t have enough cards in hand with not enough options to draw cards in the annoying warg ended up chomping me to death.
The second attempt went very well and was a lot of fun. The threat reduction of Sneaky Gandalf is super helpful. In this attempt I was able to play two Out of the Wild events and a Keen as Lances on turn 1 which set up the rest of the game.
I was able to use Rossiel as a defender for most of this game and it went well! I pulled Firyal with Timely Aid and from that point on, I was in good control of the quest.
I had to build up for several turns before I could kill the troll, but with Firyal on the table, I was able to manage just fine. I jumped into stage 2 with a solid board state and cleared it in two turns and finished off stage 3 in one turn.
This was a fun and solid play with a decisive victory. Keeping your threat below 35 makes this quest a lot easier and this deck has no trouble with that!
Test #3 Celibrimbor’s Secret – Win
Another classic “test quest.” This went well! This quest forces you to move along a little faster than JdtA since the time counters will punish you for dawdling. I waited a couple turns to discard Folco as I was able to get down to secrecy right away with Gandalf and get some good cards into play. The decision on when to send Folco “home for lunch” is really delightful.
On this quest, I did have to take the time counter punishment several times as the deck takes a few turns to power up, but I had enough WP to keep the locations cycling so I didn’t have many Scour effects triggering. The orcs actually never explored a location before me!
This game lasted 11 turns which is a bit on the long side but I never was in obvious danger of losing. One thing that came up is that the strong/multipurpose allies make force you to decide if you want to make progress or have a good combat phase. Often you have your questing allies and your combat allies, but in this case I had to decide when to hold back several large well-rounded allies from the quest so I could actually kill an enemy.
This was another decisive and enjoyable win!
Solo or Multi?
This deck works fine solo but would certainly have more Victory Display fun in a multiplayer context. I was never able to play The Door Is Closed in all 5 games I played. The only drawback for a multiplayer setting is the inclusion of several powerful unique allies that would limit the other players (Firyal, Treebeard, Gimli, Erestor, Faramir and Gildor are always popular characters).
This is the first solo deck I’ve played that can really reliably be played in secrecy mode which was great fun. I can give this a solid recommendation! With that said, I have a few constructively critical thoughts.
It may be that this deck is trying to do a little too much. Its hard to balance how much deck space to devote to victory display cards, but in this case, I didn’t feel I got enough value out of that set of cards. Its hard to get Rossiel working well in solo just because you don’t always have an active location. It may be advantageous to either replace Rossiel and Out of the Wild, or add a few more cards that would help her more reliably get the boosts that make her shine.
I found myself wishing for some additional card draw (don’t we always), but I found Rod of the Steward never was able to really help. In 5 games I was only able to draw a card with it twice. Keen as Lances with the best card draw source, but it relied on Out of the Wild which relied on being in Secrecy!
A solid deck that is good fun to play as long as you can keep cards flowing.
Thanks to chrsjxn for posting this deck and exploring this new deck type! Go play the deck and give it a like on Ringsdb!
You can see him play it against vs Journey Down the Anduin on Youtube right here.