Deck #22 The Heir in Ithilien

Lore Faramir has always been a tricky hero. He’s 2/2/2/5 with ranged, has a high threat cost and benefits from enemies in the staging area. His stats aren’t focused and his ability runs counter to his threat cost… He did some interesting things in the Heirs of Numenor Cycle, but I don’t seem him getting played much anymore.

This deck, posted by Rings user Obsidian22, aims to make him viable in a two sphere trap deck.

the heir in itillien.PNG

First Impressions

I’ll be testing this deck in a “true solo” environment, and from my past experiences, I assume a trap deck will have a hard time questing hard enough to get through many quests. Eowyn is a huge help in that area, questing for twice as much as any Ranger hero in the game and providing Tactics resources that will give the trap deck some new options. Giving the Great Yew Bow to Faramir will basically turn him into a Haldir hero without the limitation of not engaging an enemy. Looking through the ally list, I am still a little worried about mustering enough willpower for solo play.

Test 1 – Journey Down the Anduin

The deck description mentioned testing and beating this classic quest, so I started here.

I started having fun right away! A turn 2 Entangling Nets caught Chieftain Ufthak and I was able to attack him for 6 attack with the Great Yew Bow, almost killing him outright. That game ended with direct damage destroying my board after my threat level got above 35, but it was fun while it lasted.

ufthak kill

I trolled the Hill Troll hard with a Mablung/Forest Snare combo. He never had a chance to attack at all!

the heir in jdta combo

Mablung engages and trap the Hill Troll

The second attempt was successful but did drag through stage 2 due to willpower numbers being a bit low. Faramir was awesome in stage 2 with his bow. I was able to trap several crows in the staging area so Faramir was able to pretty much kill any enemy that came off the deck while we floated down the Anduin! This is a perfect scenario for him since no engagement checks are made.

heirs staging 3b jdta

The staging area going into stage 3 in Journey Down the Anduin

By the time I hit stage 3 I had killed all the menacing enemies and had a great time dispatching the trapped orcs and my leisure after the raft landed on the shore. This game was a solid win but took 13 turns. I was fortunate to only see one Necromancer’s Reach in the game.

heirs jdta win

Test 2 – The 7th Level

This simple quests throws lots of enemies at you, but isn’t a long quest.

My first attempt I ended up getting swarmed after getting two copies of Watchful Eyes attached to my heroes.

heirs 7th level loss

Swarmed and dead… The Orc Hornblower will do that to you.

The second attempt was successful but not easy. With plenty of 2hp enemies coming at me, the Ranger Bow/Gondorian Spearman combo was a lot of fun! Drop one damage on them in the staging area then poke out their eyes with the Spearman.

The Cave Trolls are bad news for any deck, and were my downfall in the first attempt but I was lucky enough to get one in a Ranger Spikes and slowly chip away at it with Faramir when was free and the Ranger Bows as they were able. I finally killed it and reduced my threat by 4 with Secret Vigil!

heir-kill-a-troll.png

The various forms of direct damage and engagement manipulation were a lot of fun and very effective here. The main difficulty was keep my willpower numbers high enough compared to what was coming off the encounter deck. I drew a Watchful Eyes the last turn and was able to quest through and win on turn 10.

heirs 7th level win

Test 3 – Escape from Umbar

This was harder and I didn’t win either attempt. I did get to stage 2 once, but the pressure of the constant archery and not enough willpower eventually brought me down, but not before I defeated the Southron Champion side quest! Most of the allies have 2hp with is decent, but with no healing, I didn’t really have a chance unless I could muster more willpower.

heirs umbra

Too much evil in staging area and everyone about to die from archery. That’s how most Escape from Umbar quests end!

Card Choices

I really like the addition of Tactics to a trap deck! It provides some defensive options with strong allies, the Yew Bow is effective on Faramir, and some threat reduction through Secret Vigil is very helpful as well. The new Tactics trap coming in the Crossing of Poros pack should be great in here as well!

There are some delightful combos possible in this deck. Mablung and Forest Snare can engage an enemy and immediately trap it with a Forest Snare or disengage it and throw it on the Ranger Spikes, as can Guardian of Ithilien.

The Guardian of Ithilien is a great target for the Ranger Bow since he’s so cheap and doesn’t contribute much else. The Ranger Bow combos well with Rain of Arrows and the Ithilien Archer provides the Ranged character to exhaust to help pay it’s cost. That said, Rain of Arrows is not a super efficient card unless you are engaged with 2+ enemies which rarely happens.

The Great Yew Bow is a bold card to include, but I like it. It actually made Faramir’s ability meaningful and it did heavy work every game I played. I think this is a good match.

The Ranger Spear is one of my favorite weapons in the game. Nothing fancy, but cheap, thematic, worth the cost at 1 for +1 and then you get +2 with a trap attached. The ability to attach it to a Ranger ally ensures that the extra copies aren’t dead in your hand.

The Defender or Rammas is the only real decent defender included in the deck. I would probably include 3 rather than 2 since you will need to defend against attacks from time to time.

Ithilien Archer is very expensive for you what you get out of him, but you need a Ranged character for Rain of Arrows.

Anborn is a great ally, but expensive and with only 1 copy included, he might be extraneous. He shines in the late game when your Masters of the Forge have pulled all your traps out of the deck. With 3x of Heed the Dream, you have high chance of getting him on the table if you want him in the late game. I like Anborn because you can use his hefty 3 attack if you are forced to engage an enemy, but he doesn’t go to waste if you don’t. He can always pull back the tastiest trap in your discard pile.

Between Foe-Hammer, Damrod and Dearon’s Runes, you will have plenty of card draw. Be aware that you have to exhaust the Great Yew Bow to use it, so you have to get a Ranger Spear on Faramir before Foe-Hammer is useful.

Master of the Forge is excellent here because he’s always excellent.

There are enough traps now that you actually need to make choices and can’t include them all. Here we have 3x Ranger Spikes, 3x Entangljng Nets, and 2x Forest Snare. Ranger Spikes are perfect for boosting Faramir. Entangling Nets are probably worthwhile because you will be engaging enemies with this relatively high threat level for a trap deck. Forest Snare is one of the more powerful traps, but it might not be the best choice for this style of deck. Ithilien Pit or Ambush might be just as good or better and considerably cheaper options. I did find myself without a trap to play several times so including 9-10 traps instead of 8 is a possible modification.

I admire the strict adherence to theme in the deck. The Master of the Forge and Eowyn are the only characters that doesn’t have the Gondor trait! The deck does lack in the willpower department, but if you were playing with someone with a Leadership Gondor deck with Visionary Leadership, that would make a world of difference (they will probably give you the stink-eye for using Faramir by they’ll survive). If played solo, subbing out a couple Gondor allies for 2wp allies like Robin Smallburrow, Quickbeam, Wandering Ent, Mirkwood Explorer, or Ghan-buri-Ghan might move the deck along better.

Final Analysis

The deck is fun to play, but very difficult to actually beat quests while playing solo, and that’s an important point. I think this would be a great multiplayer deck! I’ve played plenty of trap decks, and they only contribute 4-8 willpower most of the game, but they contribute in other ways. This deck doesn’t have loads of willpower, but it has more than the standard trap deck (to date), and it still accomplishes the trap tricks!

This deck will shine best in the multiplayer games that last 8+ turns. My dream scenario in multiplayer for this deck would be to have enemies trapped in all three Ranger Spikes, which would effectively contribute 6 willpower in the questing phase and hopefully tie up some unpleasant enemies. It would quest for 8, soften up a couple enemies with Ranger Bows, Faramir would take out one of the enemies stuck in the Spikes, and Anborn would pull that trap back to hand ready to repeat the process the next turn! Realistically that’s a lot of setup and won’t happen until really late game, but it could be great if you can pull it off!

The deck provides multiplayer support in the form or Ranged attackers and threat reduction with Secret Vigil, but it does lack any form of healing which might be added if no one else is running lore at a table.

It’s been years since I used the Great Yew Bow and I hardly ever use Lore Faramir, so I am thrilled to find a thematic deck that is viable, if not strong, as a solo deck, and should perform very well as a multiplayer deck.

There are at least 2 new cards in the Crossing of Poros pack that might slot into this deck really smoothly and solve the low willpower problem. Come back to the deck in 1-6 months….

Thanks to Obsidian22 for creating and posting the deck! Head over to Ringsdb and comment or like the deck if it looks cool to you. Take it to your next multiplayer game and have fun!

One thought on “Deck #22 The Heir in Ithilien

  1. Interesting. I love a good trap deck. The archetype will likely be boosted significantly by the release of the Emyn Arnen Ranger in Crossings of Poros.

    Like

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