The Noldor deck type has been my favorite style for a few months now so my interest was piqued when I saw this variation on the Noldor deck get published on RingsDB.
I’ve played a good bit of Noldor and I’ve wished there was more support for Noldor in the Tactics sphere so this idea intrigues me. Aragorn seems like a great candidate to add to the deck since Arwen can give him resources as well. Losing Cirdan’s willpower and readying is a blow to the “classic” lineup for the Noldor, but this deck will obviously be better equipped to kill of enemies right away.
Aragorn is accompanied by some Dunedain Hunters a couple stray Ents and a random Silvan , but other than that all the allies are Noldor. It’s fun to see the oft-maligned but actually decent Veteran Sword Elf show up here.
This deck doesn’t run Will of the West which is unusual for Noldor. The description mentions the cost curve running fairly low, but with around 90 resources worth of cards in the deck, I’m wondering how it will do in longer games when the deck runs out. You can always play Lords of the Eldar at that point.
Test 1 – The Seventh Level
A nice fighty quest to start things off. (I played this with a Quickbeam deck I was working on lately and ended up engaged with 13 enemies at once… That deck has a ways to go.)
Aragorn is perfect for this quest. He munched through those Goblins like crazy! The deck performed very well. I exhausted my deck and won on turn 10. Arwen’s resource smoothing ability is truly awesome for a tri-sphere deck!
With only one shot through the deck some of the decisions on what to play were difficult. I was able to get two of the Guardian of Rivendell allies and one Veteran Sword Elf out in addition to a couple two-cost allies, the Ents and Gildor. Galdor and Gildor both came up in the same hand so I wasn’t able to get both into play. I wasn’t able to get Raiment of War on anyone either. But my defenders did good work only eventually falling to the Cave-Troll with a nasty shadow effect.
The Dunedain Hunter is a great card here as well. Erestor loves free cards and this deck seems to handle enemies well enough to handle it.
Next time I play The Seventh Level I’ll make sure to bring Aragorn! He can pull down those Goblin Swordsmen and Spearmen that pop up in the staging area due to shadow effects! His -1 defense makes those goblins super easy to kill as well! It was a good game, but not too tough.
The final willpower number topped out at around 15-18 which is solid but not crazy like some Noldor decks, but it can afford it since it welcomes enemies and keeps the staging area fairly clear.
Test 2 – The Crossings of Poros
I’ve been having fun with this quest but it’s not easy! I ended up locked up with the infamous Desolate Lands in the staging area once and killed by some enemies I wasn’t ready for on the second play. This is a good quest but a hard one!
Test 3 – The Fords of Isen
This was a perfect player deck for this quest. Erestor really nerfs the card draw hate. The first turn can be scary when you have 5+ cards in hand after the planning phase, but you can basically keep your hand empty for the rest of the game and still get cards on the board.
I won handily on turn 8 with a threat level of 34 and 9 solid allies on the board. I didn’t even run out of cards in my deck. Erestor’s wisdom was too much for the poor Dunlandings. They never knew what hit them.
Test 4 – Escape from Umbar
Again, this deck was a great match for this quest. While this deck doesn’t pump out massive willpower numbers, it doesn’t need it because it makes sure nothing survives longer than one round. I quested without a problem and in spite of not getting To The Sea out right away, I was able to get a Guardian of Rivendell out on turn 1 and I never lost control of the board. The encounter deck wasn’t too hard on me (i.e. it never revealed Southron Champion), and I quested through without a hitch. The deck is fun and super fast to play. Draw four cards, play what you can, keep moving. It’s a very “user-friendly” deck as far as Noldor decks go. Not too complicated but still some good decisions.
The Galadhrim Weaver proved her quality this game by throwing the Magic Rings back into the deck after I had to discard it as part of my opening hand.
I beat the quest on turn 9 with 32 threat, 6 cards left in my deck and 8 strong allies on the board. I never lost a character.
This hero combination is interesting. I miss the high willpower and solid readying that Cirdan usually provides for the Noldor, but Aragorn really makes combat easier and starting access to Tactics changes the deck a lot. The Erestor/Arwen combo is really a strong place to start for nearly any deck (as chrsjxn has shown in his decks/videos recently!).
The more I played the deck, the fewer quibbles I had with the deck construction. Everything contributes something. There were a few cards that I didn’t get to use to their full potential, but some cards, like the Evening Star would be more useful in a multi-player game.
I like the ally lineup. The Veteran Sword Elf seems a little lackluster, but she’s really not that bad. I much prefer the Guardian of Rivendell, but the Sword Elf is cheaper and can still pack a punch. Once you have two copies in the discard she’s 1/3/3/3 and if you get Raiment of War plus the Cloak of Lorien she becomes 1/4/5/5 which adds up to more stats than hero Gandalf! If you have a Guardian online when you’re able to play a Sword Elf, you can always equip her with a Rivendell blade and she’s a solid attacker.
I wasn’t ever able to get Glorfindel into play in my games, but I think he’s a good choice anyway. He would be a huge help in a long game since you can pull him from your discard pile once your deck is empty and you have no cards to play. If you ever draw a dud hand at the beginning of turn you can always pull him for 1 resource and your cards with To the Sea.
Treebeard and Quickbeam pretty much make any solo deck better but they could probably be replaced with a couple more elves if you wanted to make the deck more thematic. I got Quickbeam into almost every game, but I never wanted to pay the full 4 for Treebeard.
The only attachment that I was unsure about was the Rohan Warhorse. It’s super good with Aragorn, but it didn’t do much for me in solo games (it was helpful in the Seventh Level). I had to put a Raiment on Aragorn once to keep him alive after a nasty turn 1 attack and then that Warhorse was useless. But at least it’s not totally wasted space in a deck with To the Sea’s cost reduction.
The Lembas was great with the Guardian of Rivendell. Even set up with 5 defense, he is bound to take some damage at some point. With Lembas you can heal and ready and use that 3 attack (counting Raiment of War’s +1) to hit back. (Edit: I cheated. Lembas can’t be attached to an ally so it will be best (and legal) on Aragorn)
The Song of Travel is very helpful for the long game. Once you run out of cards, you’re going to want to play Lords of the Eldar on as many turns as you can. If two heroes have a Spirit match, you can play Lords every turn (since it goes back in your deck and Arwen can discard it for a resource every turn after you draw it). I was playing it on Aragorn since there seems to be larger demand on Lore resources for most of the game.
Light of Valinor is usually a 3x card in a Noldor deck, but this lineup of heroes doesn’t need it, but its just a nice card. It basically frees up Erestor to help out with combat.
I was unsure if I would actually play Wait No Longer in this deck, but I did several times and never regretted it. It gives you complete control of a turn in a solo game since you know you won’t be adding any threat to the staging area.
I never played The Evening Star, but it could be useful in a multiplayer game or for locations with super nasty effects. For a solo game I might replace it with something like a Lindir, another Weaver and Imladris Caregiver.
I like the option of recycling the deck with Will of the West, but this deck likes to dispatch quests quickly and it wouldn’t really be smart to devote 3 slots to a card that you really don’t need. This deck will be fine with one run through the deck.
Solo or Multiplayer?
This will play fine in either context, but it may be best as a multiplayer deck just because of Aragorn’s prowess. Aragorn with those warhorses and all those sweet allies will wreck a group of orcs in a multiplayer game! Without out Aragorn’s enemy-grabbing ability, you’d likely find yourself with tons of wasted combat stats, but Aragorn should be able to provide those big allies with plenty of enemies to dispatch in a multiplayer game.
This is a solid deck! It plays fast and hits hard. It doesn’t have the huge willpower numbers and “swarmy” feel that I’ve become used to playing my “Swords of the Noldor” deck, but in has a more aggressive early game and doesn’t get pinned down with enemies. The “traditional” Noldor deck gets control by questing over anything it doesn’t want to deal with and this deck kills everything so it doesn’t have to. This deck is much simpler and faster to play, but I don’t think it would have the same late-game strength in any game that last more than 12 turns. It’s way more aggressive for the first 5 turns, but tops out at about 15-20 willpower.
This deck made short work of The Fords of Isen where a standard Noldor deck might have trouble, but it wasn’t able to get through The Crossings of Poros while Swords of the Noldor was able to get through that quest without too much trouble.
It’s a solid deck that’s fun to play, hits hard and fast and has a cohesive theme. Give it a like on RingDB and then go play it! Thanks to Ryson for creating and sharing a great deck!