This mono Spirit deck was created and published by RingsDB user McDog3. There seems to be a bit of a Vigilant Dunedan craze lately with decks featuring this ally published by TheChad, McDog3 and myself within 24 hours!
The deck description is well written and helpful in pointing out several combos and interactions between cards.
This certainly wasn’t the deck I expected to see after I read that title! A mono Spirit centered around a big Tactics ally isn’t a “standard” approach.
With the highest possible willpower combination of all the heroes in the game, it should have plenty of starting willpower in spite of Galadriel not contributing willpower right away.
With no Tactics resource match it look like the deck relies on either The Storm Comes or Stand and Fight to get the Vigilant Dunedain into play.
My main “concern” I have looking at the deck is how it will deal with killing enemies in the early game. Once the Dunedan is on the table it will be easier but the Spirit allies have fairly low attack in general. The Rider of Rohan could really help if he gets into play early.
There are directions for modifying the deck for solo play, but I went ahead and used it “as is.” The modifications include using Hero Arwen instead of the ally version
Test 1 – Passage Through Mirkwood
The deck played smoothly right in the progression outlined in the description. I got Arwen out early so Cirdan was able to defend for a while against the first Forest Spider while the deck set up.
It did take a while to actually start killing things. I wasn’t able to dispatch that starting Forest Spider until turn 5 when I got the Dunedan out. Galadriel helped me keep my threat nice and low through the whole game and I was able to engage the Spawn on my own terms when I was powered up enough to kill her on turn 10. I finally used Tale of Tinuviel on the last turn to finish off Ungoliant’s Spawn.
Test 2 – Fate of Numenor
The deck dished me up every card I needed as I needed it for the first few turns and I was set up with my main combos on by turn 4. I was able to play Arwen and complete Double Back on turn one which let me go through the rest of the quest with my threat in the low 20’s so I wasn’t forced to engage any enemy I wasn’t ready for.
The enemies in this quest don’t have massive stats but their shadow and card effects can boost their base attack by considerable numbers! The Servant of the Deceiver got his attack boosted up to 7 but with Tale of Tinuviel I was able to get the Dunedain to defend for 7 and attack back and kill it in the same turn!
With a nice steady block of willpower I was able to clear locations almost every turn and keep the quest moving. After moving to stage 2 I got uncharacteristically lucky and traveled to the Shrine of Morgoth on the first attempt! It took a couple turns to explore that final location, but I completed the quest on turn 8 which is good time for this quest.
The deck performed well and I really appreciated the quest design here as well. Such a good quest!
Test 3 – Into the Pit
This quest has more low threat enemies and enough Doomed encounter cards that the deck wasn’t able to avoid combat long, but it still managed to win (with one takesy-backsy asterisk) .
I was lucky enough to have The Storm Comes in my opening hand and was able to complete it on turn 2 but it took several more turns to find a Dunedan and Cirdan took a beating in the meanwhile. Arwen supported him, but I cheated once to redirected an attack to a chump instead of Cirdan so he wouldn’t die. I didn’t want to start over…
I had to spend most of the game on stage one getting my combos in place. I moved to stage 2 on turn 9 and was able complete stage 2 right away by killing both enemies with a Tale of Tinuviel play. With 23 willpower available for the last turn I quested through the final stage in one shot winning* on turn 10.
Test 4 – Escape from Umbar
The first attempt went poorly and I had to start again, but I was able to win on the second try. High starting willpower makes the game so much easier! That early game willower shouldn’t be underestimated!
The Vigilant Dunedan is a great defender for the Harad cycle since he totally avoids that “The defending character cannot ready until the end of the round” shadow card.
Any deck that can beat Escape from Umbar solo deserves my respect!
I’ve toyed with the idea of putting these three 4WP heroes together in a deck, but this isn’t the deck that I imagined!
Each hero contributes here. Cirdan is turning into one of my favorite “glue” heroes. His combination of willpower, readying and card draw really give a deck a huge boost, much like his Ring-buddy Gandalf. Eowyn gives us plenty of willpower as well along with more card draw through Elven-Light when it’s needed (and affordable). Galadriel provides more card draw and unmatched threat reduction. Her ability to keep allies from exhausting to quest on their first turn helps a little, but with lots of specialized allies here, it doesn’t do that much.
The Vigilant Dunedan, Riders of Rohan and Arwen are the deck’s most valuable allies. Do all you can to get the Dunedan into play as soon as possible. With 3x The Storm Comes, 2x Stand and Fight and 2x Good Harvest and 2x Mirror of Galadriel, you will likely have a way to play the Dunedan available by the time you draw him. The Rider of Rohan is essential as well so you can actually kill things. If you have one Dunedan and one Rider in play you can attack back for 5 (or 7 with Cirdan) after the Dunedan defends. If used as a solo deck, I think it might be helpful to add a couple more Tactics allies to provide some more attack power. With several ways to play off-sphere allies, a couple copies of the new Riddermark Knight might be nice addition. He could help with his 2 attack or go crazy with his 4 and be replayed later with Stand and Fight.
Another possibility for allies would be a healer. If the Dunedan does take damage there’s no way to heal him in this deck. Lore is an easy include with Nenya and the various other tricks that are included for playing the Vigilant Dunedain. The deck does a good job of avoiding some of the direct damage cards like Necromancer’s Reach since several characters don’t have to exhaust to quest, but still, with easy access to Lore, some healing might be a good idea.
The other allies in the deck including the Sailor of Lune, Galadhrim Weaver, Elven Jeweler and Galadriel’s Handmaiden all serve as basic questing characters. They all serve their purpose and you’re sure to see enough of them. I was actually able to use the Jeweler as a back up defender a couple times when all my heroes were maxed out with damage. With 2 hitpoints and Arwen’s +1 defense boost, she survived a 3 attack enemy.
The attachment selection includes 3x Narya, 2 Nenya, 3x Light of Valinor, and 2x Mirror of Galadriel. While the Mirror is a decent card, I don’t like to run it without Silver Harp. With only a few ways to get cards back from the discard, I’m wary of digging through my deck for something I need with the possibility of discarding the very card I worked for!
The events help out with card drawn and recycling events from the discard pile. Elven-Light can end up drawing a lot of cards but I had a hard time spending resources on it. Good Harvest can really help getting the Dunedan out, but I found that I never had to use since I either had a Stand and Fight in hand or I was able to complete The Storm Comes. Tale of Tinuviel is the centerpiece event here and it’s awesome to see it go off! With 3 copies of Tale and 2 Dwarven Tomb I always had it when I actually needed to play it.
The sidequest selection works and I’m glad to see The Storm Comes get a little use! Even without Thurindir, I’m getting at least one copy of a sidequest into my hand in the first couple turns.
Between Galadriel and Double Back, you get your threat down to the low 20’s and keep in there the entire game unless there’s a lot of Doomed encounter cards.
To summarize, this deck does a great job of providing lots of willpower and getting the Vigilant Dunedan on the table. There are a lot of pieces to make the deck work optimally, but there is enough redundancy built in that you’re reasonably sure to get your key pieces in place fairly quickly. It could use a little more attack power which would be easy to add by replacing 1 of the questing allies with an attacking ally. I think the Galadhrim Weaver might be the best card to remove if you were to add a Tactics ally. I think Silver Harp is always a good card to bring along with Cirdan and I think it would actually help this deck, especially with the Mirror of Galadriel included. I would honestly either bring the Harp or cut out the Mirror. I’m too chicken to use the Mirror without having the Harp as backup!
This deck works! I was dubious when I saw a mono Spirit deck with 1 Tactics card that was the linchpin to the whole strategy, but it actually works. Spirit is such a strong sphere!
As I said, I played the deck in its “standard form” without the modifications for solo play that were outlined in the description. That said, I believe the deck could still use a little more attack power which would be easy to add to the existing deck without changing more that 1 or 2 cards. My only other thought is to add 2x Silver Harps. I think Cirdan should always have a harp! Think of it as an attachment that says “Draw a card during the resource phase.” That’s amazing to double your card draw! With Eowyn in the deck, you have a chance to discard a card every round if you need to work with discard pile shenanigans.
Everyone has been playing Vigilant Dunedan decks lately so I’m including a couple more version of decks featuring this awesome ally.
Thurindir the Snapping Turtle (my own contribution to the list)