The Free Peoples is a fairly recent event card that has huge potential, but I haven’t used as much as I hoped I would. Its a wonderfully thematic card, emphasizing the coming together of different people and races to fight against the shadow in Tolkien’s world. I tend to play “tribal” decks more often than not just because it feels more thematic, but playing a diverse selection of heroes and allies is just as thematic, and possibly more so!
This deck focuses on using this event card a few times during the game and it include
I wasn’t sure what to expect with this deck. Featuring Folco Boffin and “Secret” in the title, I assume it will be a two hero deck which seems counter-intuitive if you’re trying to get the 9 different traits on the board. But between Haldir and Denethor (who has the rare “steward” trait), you have 6 traits between the two heroes and a 7th if you keep Folco. Not a bad start for your 9! Looking through the ally list, I notice that playing any ally will get you a eighth trait, so it shouldn’t be a challenge getting to 9!
In my experience, its dangerous building a deck around an event. You may never see it the entire game unless you play Erestor or a lot of card draw.
I was a little concerned about early game willpower. If you discard Folco, Haldir is basically your only quester which means you have to get allies out fast!
Test 1 – Passage Through Mirkwood
I was feeling timid so I went for an easy one to start with. I charged through it without a hitch. It took 7 turns which is a little long, but 3 of those turns were on the last stage stalling for a couple attackers to kill Ungoliant’s Spawn.
I ended the game at 23 threat with 16 traits on the board. I was able to play Free Peoples once.
Test 2 – Trouble in Tharbad
This quest promotes low threat which made some of my cards better, but it also forces you to get willpower numbers up pretty fast.
The deck worked fantastically! I beat the quest in 4 rounds! With Nalir the knucklehead, and Boffin in play, I had 9 traits by the time I played one ally.
I was able to play The Free Peoples twice in this quest to good effect both times! There’s nothing quite so fun as questing with everyone for a huge amount, and having everyone ready for a great combat phase! It is a very fun card to play!
I found that The Free Peoples combos beautifully with ally Faramir: quest with everyone except Faramir, trigger his ability to boost everyone +1, then play Free Peoples for another +1, then trigger Faramir again for a total of +3 for every character and they’re all ready to fight in the combat phase. Bonkers good. In the shot above I have 15 resources of allies in play and I quested for 42.
Since I didn’t draw Strider this game and I was already reducing my threat through questing I never discarded Folco.
Test 3 – The 7th Level
This quest contrasts nicely to the previous quests with its swarms of low threat enemies.
The swarms didn’t really have to chance to appear and the deck blasted through the quest in 5 turns. Again, I was able to play Free Peoples once and it had a huge, game-smashing moment! It made me want to play Justice Shall be Done right before playing Free Peoples.
Test 4 – Treachery of Rhudaur
This quest demands willpower fairly quickly while potentially throwing some intense combat as you as well.
The first few turns were a challenge, but I was able to complete one of the starting sidequests which is good, but not amazing for a decent deck.
I drew the Free Peoples as I hit stage 2 and blasted through it dropping 74 progress on the quest in two turns and mauling poor undead Rhudaur!
By the 7th and final turn of the game I had 12 allies out with a combined total of 20 different traits and they quested for 58!
I love the ally lineup. We get to see a couple off-beat allies and they help us get to 9 traits and they actually do good work as well! My favorite, just for the novelty was the Mirkwood Explorer. He costs 3 which is spendy for Lore, but he did good work and was able to clear a couple nasty locations in the staging area. Ghan-buri-Ghan also brings a uniqute trait to the table and quested for solid numbers.
Strider is a great choice for the deck and Folco makes it work. You don’t need to discard Folco until you either get some great Secrecy cards (Resourceful or Timely Aid) or Strider. I put it on Haldir a couple times and he could sometimes quest for 4 and still be ready to snipe.
The deck really needs resources so its always ready to play that full 5 for Free Peoples and it delivers. With 3 Resourcefuls, 3 Stewards and Denethor’s 3 starting resources, I never found myself with Free Peoples in hand, but not able to afford it, in spite of having only two heroes.
With several 4 and 5 cost allies in the deck and several turns of Secrecy levels of threat, Timely Aid did great work in every game. I like how you don’t have to discard cards to Timely Aid like you have to for Very Good Tale. Vanish From Sight ensures that you can play Timely Aid even in the late game when your threat is back above 20.
If I had any quibble at all with card selection, I might recommend a little more card draw. Daeron’s Runes is included and is good since we have some uniques. Heed the Dream shines here as well since we have an abundance of the right spheres of resources to take advantage of its power. Its a sure-fire way to fetch Free Peoples if you have the resources but can’t find the event. I never actually used the Leadership-triggered “search your entire deck” action, but it could be a game saver. The only drawback is that you would be paying a total of 4 resources to fetch a 5 resource card… Valiant Sacrifice or Sneaky Gandalf might help with card draw, but honestly, it works as-is.
Its a little odd running a secrecy deck with no threat reduction beyond Folco, but options are limited within Lore and Leadership. Again, Sneak Attack/Gandalf is a lazy solution, but I like seeing this deck work without that delightful, but ever-present combo.
Solo or Multi
This deck does claim a lot of unique cards, but Denethor and Steward are the only mainstays that will often clash with other players in a multiplayer context. I only played it solo, but it can power up plenty fast and it should work perfectly fine in a multiplayer context. The Free Peoples will ready the entire table and give your characters the +1 boost.
I’m excited that this works! It beat several quests that present different challenges and it was thrilling to play! The Free Peoples is an awesome card that should see more play.
I recommend this deck very highly! Go play it! You will have fun and you will probably win.
Thanks to WingfootRanger for posting!