This Spirit/Leadership super-readying deck was created and posted to RingsDB by user sappidus. It features Cirdan, one of my all-time favorite heroes, Spirit Legolas who I’ve been using a lot of lately, and Theodred, an old core set hero that I never use for some reason (I know he’s good but I never grab him). The deck focuses on getting multiple uses out of heroes through several different readying effects.
The description doesn’t spell out how every combo/card should be used, but it gives one a good idea on how to approach the deck. The Sideboard is fairly extensive but isn’t really mentioned in the write-up.
The deck looks like it has possibilities to me! Questing should be covered and between Legolas and Theodred, there’s some good attack power. The heroes lack in the defensive area of the game and it looks like the deck will rely on Jubayr, Treebeard or maybe even the Northern Tracker buffed by Narya to cover the defensive role. My other thought looking at the list is that isn’t many Leadership cards at all. There’s only 6 cost worth of Leadership cards included which might leave Theodred’s resources wasted some of the time. There is a larger slice of neutral cards that can be paid for by Theodred including the Envoy of Pelargir who can help take unused resources from him as well.
Test 1 – Into the Pit
This scenario is a nice test quest and I thought Jubayr’s shadow cancellation might shine here.
The deck crushed it. I did take an extra mulligan because I wanted to play the deck with it’s key cards… That second gave me the primary combos of Heir of Mardil, Light of Valinor and Elven-Light. With those three cards, all heroes can quest and stay ready. I put LoV on Legolas and Heir of Mardil on Cirdan. Legolas quests without exhausting, Theodred gives Cirdan a resource every turn which readies him and Legolas discards Elven-Light to ready Theodred every turn. It still only quests for 6 but you do have all heroes ready to do other things! Once Narya is on Cirdan, it perfectly smooths all your resources as well since he will have both Spirit and Leadership icons.
I got Jubayr out with a Very Good Tale and his shadow discarding ability was very helpful. The first defense he did during the game discarded the horrible Sudden Pitfall treachery which discard the defending character! Discarding the shadow cards also stopped the Goblin Swordsmen from swarming into the staging area through their shadow effect. Readying Treebeard and Jubayr during the combat phase with Narya is solid!
I went to stage 2 with only 1 enemy, killed it and quested through the last stage in one turn with Faramir’s help. I won on turn 7 with 7 allies in play with a threat level of 41 and 15 cards left in my deck. I was questing for 24 on the last turn.
Test 2 – Escape from Umbar
This went well! I beat it on turn 10 even after I got the Southron Champion sidequest with the Southron Captain as the Champion near the end of the game! I didn’t get all the readying pieces in place until late game, but I just Legolas’s readying along with LoV (which was later discarded by a shadow card!) kept me going through the first few turns of the game. My willpower numbers got crazy near the end of the game with Faramir and all three Ethir Swordsmen on the table. I could have quested for 37 on the last turn and still had solid combat allies ready with Narya backing them up. Not too shabby!
With no healing around the Archery was not pleasant, but I just spread it around and tried to kill the archers ASAP. I won on turn 10 with a dominant board state.
Test 3 – The Ring Goes South
Another win! I was “top decking” most of the game after I got the last two cards in my hand discarded by a location effect and I hadn’t got an Elven-Light into play yet, but I made it work! Cirdan’s two cards every turn gives you a choice if not card advantage (I still think Cirdan should never leave home without his Silver Harp!).
I got a Mirkwood Longknife into play for free from the Council of Elrond and chose to raise my threat by 5 instead of shuffling Lust for the Ring into the encounter deck.
I was able to race through stage 1 with solid willpower but that turned out to be a mistake since I was forced to deal with the Warg Chieftain before I had enough combat capability. The Wargs whittled me down for a couple turns before I was able to kill them and continue. By the time I hit Durin’s Doors, I had enough combat power to snatch Frodo right back from the Watcher and quest through in one turn.
I was able to win on the 7th turn at 46 threat. I felt really tight for card draw in this game since Elven-Light didn’t show up until the last two turns. In spite of not getting Heir of Mardil or an Unexpected Courage out, the deck functioned and was able to beat the quest!
This hero combination is unusual and entertaining! The heroes alone provide resource acceleration, card “draw,” readying, willpower and attack right out of the gate with the potential for powering up the readying by a considerable margin!
In my opinion Cirdan really makes this deck work. Without his high willpower and combat boost the deck would certainly struggle. Jubayr and Treebeard are the linchpins cards for the combat phase while the Northern Tracker can both quest and support in the combat phase if needed. Elfhelm is a fun addition. This Tactics version can jump in to quest or help with combat via his special action or you could get him into play with A Very Good Tale. He is also very valuable to help play A Very Good Tale. You can put him into play for 1 during any phase and trigger A Very Good Tale with another ally and get 1-2 allies for 1 resource plus the exhaustion of one other ally.
The other allies support through strong questing, threat reduction and resource redistribution. The Ethir Swordsmen and Galadriel’s Handmaidens make up the core of the questing allies. Glorfindel is a great choice since this deck has nice resource acceleration and Cirdan can throw it to the discard pile where you can play it when you’re ready. Arwen is a great ally for helping Jubayr defend. I think she’s good enough it might be helpful to run 2 or 3. I would count her value over the second and third copies of Elfhelm or Bilbo who has no pipes to fetch. Cirdan makes single copies of cards harder since you have to grab them when they come up or never see them again. I wish there was a way to include more copies of Arwen, Treebeard and Faramir in this deck.
I found Light of Valinor, Heir of Mardil and Narya to be the most important attachments. I wasn’t able to make use of Cram. It was always discarded to Cirdan’s ability since it was fairly low on the power scale. I’m still unsure on the Mirkwood Longknife. It’s helpful, but doesn’t change the game that much when it enters play, especially for its cost. I would probably favor cutting Cram, reducing the Longknife to 2 and adding a third copy of Heir of Mardil, and possibly adding some card advantage attachments like Silver Harp and/Ancient Mathom. Getting options into my hand was challenging in all the games where I didn’t draw Elven-Light right away.
The event selection worked great and I have no complaints. The deck has the required traits to run Hunting Party which might be a good card for the early game when this deck isn’t equipped to take out some of those bigger enemies that you might have to leave in the staging area for a long time. It could also run Well-Warned if it wanted more threat reduction. Elrond’s Counsel seems to be doing just fine for now and it has the advantage of give you some willpower flexibility.
Multiplayer or Solo?
This deck can function in either capacity but it might be better in a multiplayer context. It offers plenty of multiplayer support through a strong ranged hero, flexible readying with Narya and flexible resource acceleration through Theodred. In addition to the games listed above I played this deck in a two-player game and it’s support elements were useful, though I wasn’t able to find some of my key cards like Narya and Heir of Mardil. These heroes aren’t in high demand so this would be a decent deck to take to a pickup game (you may have to substitute Arwen and/Glorfindel allies out for multiplayer games).
This is an enjoyable deck! With only two cards in play (Heir of Mardil and LoV and Elven-Light would be helpful as well), all three heroes can quest without exhausting! Those cards seem essential to making the deck work, so my main comment would be to have a full 3 copies of each of those cards and increase the card draw a little through Silver Harp or Ancient Mathom to make sure those combos get into place as fast as possible. Once those pieces are in place, you can focus on getting some of those strong allies out and at that point you are in a good place to win some quests!
I like the deck and I applaud its creativity! Thanks to sappidus for creating and sharing a fun and unusual deck! Head over to RingsDB and give it a like! Sappidus has a wide range of creative decks to his credit so make sure to check out his profile!