This deck posted by RingsDB user curiousboss combos a huge amount of card draw and cost reduction to make the eagles set up super fast. Hirgon is good, Elrond and really good and Gandalf is crazy good so this should be wild!
The description claims that it can empty the 50 card deck in just 5 turns which is pretty intense for any deck, especially without Erestor. Expert Treasure Hunter plus Gandalf’s extra draw plus The Eagles Are Coming plus Master of the Forge plus a possible Vilya play certainly has potential to get a deck into your hand! The deck has some of all the basic elements of the game so if it can draw it all, it seems like it should work well.
Test 1 – Passage Through Mirkwood
The first couple turns were tricky since I drew Ungoliant’s Spawn on turn 2, but by turn 5 I had a good board state and had killed off the spawn and had Gandalf all “supported” by the Eagles and ready to kill anything that came at me.
I emptied my deck on 7 turn, recycled with Will of the West and emptied the deck again before winning on turn 9.
Basic play was to quest with the heroes, drop an eagle with Hirgon, draw plenty of cards with Expert Treasure Hunters, play a big card off the top of the deck with Elrond, then let a mega-eagle and Gandalf handle the combat phase.
My threat started high, but drawing so many card, I was able to play Elrond’s Counsel 4-5 times over 9 turns and I ended lower than I started.
Test 2 – Intruders in Chetwood
This should challenge the deck’s threat issue, but it should have no trouble killing off those big enemies if the eagles get online.
It took a full 10 turns and the first turns were dangerous, but I won, very safely by the end. I was a little crippled at the beginning by drawing the Lost in the Wilderness sidequest on turn 2, but with Gandalf and Elrond working off the top of the deck, I was able to recover!
This play I did empty my deck by turn 5 and emptied it again on turn 7. I drew a bunch of little eagles in the first 4 turns and they all got killed off keeping me alive while waiting for an Eagle of the Misty Mountains, so it took me a lot longer to get Gandalf powered up as an attacker.
After I got his attack up to 7 or so, I was able to kill off the enemies that had locked me down and started making progress on the quest. Even with no enemies out, it took another 4 turns to get the 30 progress on the main quest. The deck tops out around 16-17 willpower.
This is hero combination put eagles on the board insanely fast, then boosts and already strong character like Gandalf up to insane stats. I had Gandalf attacking for 19! Hirgon brings a resource match and cost reduction, Gandalf brings deck manipulation, resource smoothing and card draw and Elrond brings resource smoothing, free allies, threat reduction and healing.
There are plenty of “standard combos” here with Vilya and Support of the Eagles at the center of the deck, but this is the fastest eagle deck I’ve ever played.
Since Support of the Eagles has to go on a Tactics character, you either need to get Song or Battle on Gandalf (or Elrond), or play it from the top of the deck with Gandalf so he will gain the Tactics icon.
Expert Treasure Hunter with Gandalf is bonkers and you’ll be questing with all 3 heroes most of the game.
Narya wasn’t a particularly useful in my plays. Since I was boosting Gandalf to big attack and defense numbers, I found myself using him rather than readying allies with him. I might actually drop Narya and add another Unexpected Courage to make sure I can get double duty out of Gandalf as soon as possible.
Another possible modification for a longer scenario would be adding another Will of the West and 1x Protector Of Lorien. My deck was run dry for a second time by turn 6 or 7 and although there wasn’t many allies in my discard that I could play if I redrew them, it’s possible to boost willpower with Protector and Elrond’s Counsel if you can keep cards moving though your hand.
The Descendant Of Thorondor has always been a hard ally to use since there’s rarely an enemy in the staging area during the planning phase at the point in a game when you can afford to spend 4 resources for an ally with mediocre stats. Both Hirgon and Elrond provide ways to get him played during the quest phase before the enemies come out of the staging area. To be honest I was only able to get good use out of the Descendant once in my two games. Support of the Eagles on Gandalf kind of overshadows everything else in the deck…
Solo or Multi?
Both would be fine. I find myself saying this a lot, but the 36 starting threat level might give a group grief for the first couple turns, but no one will complain when. 19 Attack Gandalf with Ranged starts helping out!
The deck powers up fast enough to be viable in a group or in solo play.
This is a solid deck bordering on insane.
It does contain some classic “power combos,” but if you’re ok with that, you’ll have a great time playing it! It won’t spit out massive amounts of willpower, but with a decent amount and enough combat power to clear the boar of enemies when it needs to, the 15 WP it produces should be fine for most quests.
Thanks to curiousboss for creating and posting this bastard deck. Go over to Ringsdb and give it a like because it deserves it.