Deck #27 Teach a Tree to Talk: Teach a Tree to Smash

Another Ent-themed deck! This deck was submitted to the blog by The Purple Wizard. While this deck shares two heroes with the last deck I tested this week, it should feel a good bit different with Treebeard as a starting hero! I haven’t played hero Treebeard for a while so I’m looking forward to this!

Teach a Tree to Talk list.PNG

First Impressions

Looking at this deck, it appears to be well-rounded. The heroes boast plenty of starting stats and Treebeard helps keep it flexible with his strong defense, attack and willpower.

As I would expect, there is plenty of healing included with 7 allies and 3 attachments devoted to keeping Treebeard angry but not dead. Elrond is an excellent companion for Treebeard as all the healing effects will be extra efficient. The rest of the ally lineup looks diverse and interesting. The events are “standard” for supporting the Elven heroes. With a stiff 35 starting threat, I hope that 4 cards devoted to threat reduction are enough.

Test 1 – Into the Pit

This quest isn’t too hard, but pushes threat levels up so I thought I would start here and see how the deck was able to cope with high threat.

Things fell into place here. Elven-Light started drawing me cards, I got Light of Valinor on Elrond so he could quest and defend and I drew a couple Lembas attachments for Treebeard early on which let him quest, then ready for combat phase, either healing damage from boosting his willpower during questing or damage he had taken to boost his attack to the right level to kill off whatever enemy came at me. The sturdy Goblin Follower came off the deck turn 1 and he can really slow a deck down since he takes 6 attack to kill him in one blow. Treebeard has no problem working himself up to 6 attack to kill him right away.

Elven-Light helped me draw into a couple Unexpected Courage attachments for Treebeard. Coupled with the morbid Burning Brand and two Unexpected Courages, Treebeard dominated the combat portion of the game, crushing any hapless goblin that engaged him. With 2 UC and a Lembas, he defended two goblins with shadow protection, then damaged himself for 4, readied and healed for 3 with Lembas and attacked back for 7 killing both the Patrol Leader and the Goblin chump! With a Preserver at his side, he healed up to green and fresh at the end of the turn!

teach a tree into the pit

Threat went crazy as often happens in Moria. Starting at 35 I hit 48 by turn 7. As I was trying to quest out on the last stage. I had been forced to randomly discarded a Elrond’s Counsel earlier in the game and I had no threat reduction in hand. I drew and played Heed the Dream but only found another Heed the Dream which luckily drew into Favor of the Valar.

On the last stage I drew a Zigil Mineshaft and its 5 threat was too much for me to quest past and win. At 48 threat I triggered the Mineshaft’s action and pushed myself up to 50, dropping down to 45 with Favor of the Valar, then pushed myself back to 48 to clear the Mineshaft! Then I boosted Treebeard to the max of 7WP to clear the final stage in one turn!

teach a tree to talk into the pit win.PNG

Test 2 – Shadow of the Past

The deck description mentioned playing this deck through a good bit of the campaign so I’ll test it through a couple campaign quests.

It turns out Treebeard is great at Hiding! He can blend right in to the countryside and the Black Riders won’t even notice him.

hide 7.PNG

Treebeard Hides for 7 by himself

Getting Burning Brand on Elrond early helped immensely in this game. With Light of Valinor and Burning Brand on Elrond and Unexpected Courage on Treebeard, I could quest with all three heroes and still have Elrond to defend any enemy and Treebeard ready to perform a hide test of up to 6WP (or 7 with Ent Draught). With Henamarth Riversong out, this quest became pretty easy. I got one Warden of Healing out and he was able to keep up with all my healing needs.

Between Quickbeam’s 3 attack and boosting Treebeard up to 6 attack when I needed to, I was able to kill Black Riders off fairly easily.

teach a tree shadow of the past midway.PNG

This was a really fun game. I usually try to use a low threat deck for Shadow of the Past so this was a very different approach to the quest, but extremely satisfying. Imagine Treebeard hiding Frodo with his branchy arms, then clobbering that Black Rider as he passed by!

I won on turn 10 with 13 cards left in my deck, a threat level of 42 and more threat reduction in my hand.

teach a tree to talk shadow of the past win

Test 3 – The Ring Goes South

Crushed it! The deck seems fairly consistent. I raced through the quest in six turns with the only scary turn coming when I had to engage the Great Warg Chief and two wolves with him. But with Burning Brand and plenty of healing I wasn’t in too much danger.

With plenty of willpower and Treebeard’s flexibility in the quest and combat phases, this deck seems very capable. I’m starting to appreciate flexibility as one of the most powerful attributes a hero or deck can boast. The ability to quest for the precise amount you need after the staging step, or the ability to boost your attack in need to kill off that boss or enemy that will attack again next turn if it has one HP left.

elronds counsel.PNG

Reducing threat by 9 in one turn with 3x Elrond’s Counsel

Treebeard and Quickbeam hit the Watcher hard enough in one blow to get Frodo back and I was able to get through Doors of Durin on the next turn and win. With a possible 7 willpower Treebeard is a great YOLO quester!

teach a tree to talk rings goes south.PNG

Test 4 – Breaking of the Fellowship

This quest has plenty of archery and the enemies discard allies through the quest so it was more of a challenge managing damage and keeping a healer in play.

Again, the high willpower from turn 1 was a huge factor and I was able to avoid getting bogged down in stage 1. I had a difficult time in the middle of the quest as my healers kept getting picked off by the Uruk-hai Archers and I get engaged with 3 enemies with no allies in play. I had a Lembas on Treebeard and was able to succesfully defend them all, and then started cycling Lembas with the Erebor Hammersmith and eventually pulled myself out of the mess and killed them all off!

The last stage was hard since it reveals two encounter cards per turn, but with enough readying on Treebeard and my allies finally starting to build up, I was able to complete the quest on turn 12 at 46 threat.

teach a tree breaking of the fellowship.PNG

Test 5- Journey to the Crossroads

This quest has just been on my mind lately and this deck performed well on the previous, so I gave it a try. Death. Death. And more death. I got to turn 5 once and 6 the second time, but this quest does a very reliable job of dismantling the best of decks and I couldn’t keep cards on the board. One run I had 3 hefty enemies engaged with me on turn 2 after killing all the enemies on turn 1! I think this is one of the very hardest quests in the game and while I didn’t beat it (or come close to beating it), that doesn’t reflect poorly on the deck.

teach a tree to talk crossroads.PNG

Attempt 1 – Hit 54 on turn 5

teach a tree crossroards death 2

Attempt 2 – 3 escaped enemies, 2 Mumaks engaged, no cards in hand and no healers on the board.

Card Choices

These heroes work wonderfully together. Treebeard is strong, but his weaknesses are a need for constant healing and the lack of readying in Lore. Arwen and Elrond provide the perfect support to make Fanghorn great.

Consistent healing is what makes this deck work. With 3x Warden of Healing, 3x Wellinghall Preserver, 1x Ioreth, 3x Lembas, 3x Erebor Hammersmith to recycle the Lembas (or Favor of the Valar) and 3x Heed the Dream and Daeron’s Runes to fetch a healing card, it’s virtually impossible to draw a starting hand without a good healing option in it.

Henamarth Riversong is always strong and here he seems especially useful since Treebeard is so useful in both the quest and combat phase.  Will he quest for big numbers, or throw all his weight into the combat phase?

Glorfindel is a good late game card as he can be discarded for Arwen’s resource until you have the resources to pay for him in the late game. He can help cycle Elven-Lights more aggressively in the late game as well.

The Wellinghall Preserver does double work here, healing Treebeard every turn and usually contributing 3wp to the quest or helping with combat if needed.

The Defender of Rammas was the one ally I didn’t actually use much. I don’t have many suggestions for modifications in this deck,  but one of them would be swapping out a Defender for 3rd copy of Burning Brand. With Elrond and Treebeard both great targets for the Brand, I think it warrants a 3x.

The attachment lineup is solid. The Ent Draught helps Treebeard utilize his full 5 damage ability and a copy on Elrond and either a Defender of Ramas or a Preserver gets you a solid defender as well. Lembas is a great early game card since it provides a readying effect and 4 points of healing (with Elrond) and it proved its worth in several of the games I played. Using the Hammersmith to recur it was a little wonky as far as theme goes, but it was super useful. The Hammersmiths can recycle Favor of the Valar as well, but I might drop the other Defender and add a second copy from the Sideboard if you’re going up a quest with any Doomed cards in it. I hit 50 in just a few turns in Moria!

The simple readying Unexpected Courage provides makes Treebeard actually worth his high threat cost. If you’r able to get Light of Valinor on Elrond, you may as well put all three copies of Unexpected Courage on Treebeard and wreck everything with him. With Arwen’s resource acceleration, you can play UC on Treebeard on turn 1 as well!

The event selection is primarily standard cards, but they provide the support needed and I don’t have any comments (but I need to say Elven-Light is crazy good again).

Solo or Multi?

Both. The deck ramps up fast enough to help out a group from turn 1, and it’s well-rounded enough to shine as a solo deck as well.

Final Analysis

Treebeard is certainly the focus point of this deck and he really shines here. This is the Ent deck rather than “an Ent deck.” There’s something immensely satisfying about watching Treebeard quest for the exact number needed, heal up, block, smash and clobber everything and come out all healed up again at the end of the round, all ready to do it again. It’s an entertaining deck to play!

Thanks to The Purple Wizard for sending me the deck and helping me enjoy Treebeard more than I ever have before! Go give the deck a play and come back to RingsDB and let him know how it played for you! I highly recommend it!

2 thoughts on “Deck #27 Teach a Tree to Talk: Teach a Tree to Smash

  1. Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the feedback! This deck is an attempt to make Treebeard as great as he can be and is a favorite of mine, so it’s nice to see someone else get to enjoy it too. 🙂

    In response to your feedback, I believe the Defender of Ranmas got added to this deck in my attempts to take down “Raid on the Grey Havens,” in which Sahir’s Ravenger http://hallofbeorn.com/LotR/Details/Sahir's-Ravager-TGH starting out in the staging area and engaging almost immediately was giving me fits. He was such a big help there I kept him in afterwards. You may be right that he’s not necessary for several quests, but for the ones he is (mostly enemy swarm quests) he’s essential. Maybe that makes him a sideboard card? I’d be more inclined to drop the Hammersmiths for your suggestions, personally.

    The real issue is that, in order to kill pretty much anything, you need to attack with Treebeard. I’d be curious to know if you killed ANY enemies in any of your attempts without using him in the attack. So the deck has to figure out a way, often in round one because of the high starting threat, to leave him an action to attack with. Long-term there are much better solutions I could come up with, including the ones you mentioned, but he’s there because when this deck loses it’s usually because I lost the first round somehow. If he’s in my first hand, I’m usually buying him right away, freeing up Treebeard to do something other than defend. Sounds like you played it a bit differently than I do. 🙂

    In other news, Journey to the Crossroads gave me fits too. I only beat it because in my campaign I had the boon that gave Treebeard a couple extra hit points and could take some attacks undefended. Just a ridiculous quest in single player.

    Lastly, i’m curious if you think one copy of Vilya would make sense for this deck, for mid-late game when Elrond has Light of Valinor and I have enough actions elsewhere that he isn’t needed for defense. What even happens when Vilya reveals an Elven Light, anyway?

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    • I’m sure the Defender would be great in many cases but when I can defend with a Burning Brand, I’ll take it!
      You might not need all 3 hammersmiths but they did save my game a couple times!

      Crossroads is insane. I’ve been working on it lately and it’s a real puzzle. Two player is more manageable.

      I think issuing Elrond as a defender with Burning Brand is probably more valuable than using Vilya blindly. I find that unless a deck is built around Vilya, it’s a “win more” card that doesn’t help you get through the hard part of a game.

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