Today I’ll look at a new deck on RingsDB that focuses on getting expensive into play for “free.” Cheaters Prosper was created and uploaded to RingsDB by user Denison.
The deck contains 40 allies and a few key attachments and events to help get them into play for reduced cost.
It looks like the deck relies heavily on A Very Good Tale and it uses Thurindir/Gather Information along with Eowyn’s strong willpower to make sure it can fetch that crucial event. Of the 40 allies, all them except the 3x Gandalfs cost 4 resources which will help the Very Good Tale give you maximum value every time. It’s a weird deck! Let’s see if it works!
Test 1 – Beneath the Sands
The description mentioned that it had been tested against Beneath the Sands so I will start here.
It took me a good 12 full turns to beat, but it did work! It was a slow start since I wasn’t able to clear Gather Information until the third turn, but once I get that completed, things started to work well.
With no accelerated card draw in the deck, there’s no guarantee you’ll see another copy of A Very Good Tale, but you may not need it if things go well for the first few turns.
By turn 6 I felt established and was confident I could get through the quest just fine.
I got Gandalf out near the end and he was able defend against the Brood Mother for a couple turns. The Vigilant Dunedan was excellent for defending against the Broodling enemies. I triggered Eowyn’s +9 attack to finish off the Brood Mother on turn 12 and won on the following turn.
The deck moves kind of “slow” on normal turns since it can only play allies when a hero has accrued 4 resources (or you draw a neutral ally), but the it has surges when you are able to play A Very Good Tale and get 8 resources of allies into to play for free.
Test 2 – The Seventh Level
The Vigilant Dunedan loves defending against Goblin Spearmen! So many goblins… The deck was able to beat this quest fairly well though the goblin swarm nearly took it down in the first couple turns. A nasty shadow effect discarded a Defender of Cair Andros while he was defending against a Cave Troll so Thurindir go smashed by a the undefended blow.
The main challenge for this deck is getting the first two allies in play to trigger the Very Good Tale. There are good options in the deck but you have to draw them. Elf-Stone, Ranger of Cardolan and Elfhelm can all help, but in this game, I had to wait 4 turns before I could get two allies on the board. Denethor’s extra resources let you get a Leadership ally out earlier, but that second ally is a challenge. Eventually I was able to play 2 copies of A Very Good Tale in one turn and get 4 free allies out!
Questing power is huge once you get Faramir into play, but can be spotty before that, especially if you draw combat allies.
I beat this scenario on turn 10 at 40 threat with 19 cards left in the deck. I did lose several allies to various effects and attacks through the game, but the board state was plenty strong and I had cleared the board of enemies and locations by the end. The Vigilant Dunedan is sure nice when those little goblins start to multiply!
Test 3 – Escape from Umbar
It won! The deck passes my “advanced test”! It’s a weird style of play to be sure, but it actually works. It takes a couple “power heroes,” but with Denethor’s defense, extra resources and low threat, Eowyn’s extra low threat and extra high willpower along with her one time insta-kill, and Thurindir’s consistency, these heroes can make an odd strategy like this work.
After completing Gather Information and an encounter sidequest, Thurindir, Eowyn and ally Faramir were generating 10 willpower without any other allies at all. With Gandalf out that brings it up to 15 with plenty of big allies ready for the combat phase.
This is what you might call a “gimmicky deck.” As such it limits itself to a certain set of cards to make it work. It has to stay focused on high cost allies for Very Good Tale to consistently give huge benefits.
I think the heroes are all great choices for this type of deck. Each plays an important role in making the deck function. Thurindir has really been a great addition to the cardpool! He provides a degree of reliability that was never there before. With 50 card decks, you can build a deck around a certain card or pair of cards, then never see then card you really need until late in the game, but with Thurindir and Gather Information, you can be sure to fetch that card that will make some of the these interesting combos more viable.
The main issue I came across while playing it was resource matching, or smoothing. Resource management was much different than a “normal game” since you pretty much had to wait until you had 4 resources on a hero before you spent them. I found that the card distribution put a much larger demand on Leadership and Tactics resources than it did on Lore. Thurindir was always building up more resources and sometimes built up 6 or 7 before I drew either a Lore or Neutral ally to spend them on. There aren’t many 4-cost Lore allies out there, but I think it may be more efficient if a couple Leadership allies were replaced with some Lore cards. Leadership Anborn could be replaced with Lore Anborn and you could even add Gildor Inglorien in spite of his 5 cost. It’s not as consistent for A Very Good Tale, but its a shame to see Thurindir build up so many resources with nothing to spend them on.
The other option would be to include The Storm Comes. Again, it would water down the deck a bit, but it might let you get those allies out in a steadier stream rather than in spurts every few turns.
The other possible four-cost allies that are excluded from the deck include Descendant of Thorondor, Beorning Beekeeper, Knight of Dale, Rumil, and Lore Anborn. I’m wondering if the Descendant of Thorondor would be just as valuable or possibly more valuable than the Veteran of Nanduhirion, but other than that and the resource distribution, I think the choices are solid. The Knight of Dale would be great, but the description mentions that the creator is just waiting for OCTGN to add the card before he adds it to the deck.
Take Initiative is the only other event included in the deck. It’s a niche card and it helps in the early game, but is a dead draw in the late game. After getting benefit out of it in 2/3 games, I think it’s worth its slot in the deck.
Good old Steward of Gondor would likely make the deck “better” as well, but it doesn’t need it and its always nice to avoid some of the “power staples.”
Ally Erestor is valuable since he is the only form of “card draw” in the deck. Drawing a copy of A Very Good Tale if hugely valuable, so having some way to draw or cycle cards is worthwhile!
Multi or Solo
This deck is probably best as a solo deck, not because it’s slow or takes a special approach to beating quests, but because it uses up so many unique characters and several very popular heroes. If your mates can tolerate your claiming so many strong uniques, I think it could function decently in a multiplayer game.
Again, I find myself pleasantly surprised. This is a strange deck, but the consistency of the heroes makes it function better than it appears that it would on paper. It’s certainly a different feel piloting this deck, but it was enjoyable and it offered plenty of decisions to make while playing.
Give it a try if you want to play with some of these big allies that don’t get as much play and you want to try something a little different than the standard 20 allies, 15 attachments and 15 events that we tend to gravitate towards. Check out the deck here and give Denison your thoughts and feedback.
Thanks to Denison for creating a deck that defies convention and actually works! It was a pleasure to play it!