This mono-leadership deck featuring Amarthiul was created and posted on RingsDB by user The Mormegil. It focuses on the combo between Elfhelm’s boosting characters with mounts and Amarthiul’s two spheres (when engaged with an enemy).
My first thought was “Why haven’t I thought of this already?!” Amarthiul can make great use of the Armoured Destrier since he is a strong defender, but he also gets the +1 attack from Elfhelm when engaged with an enemy! With that one card in play, you get a 4 defense hero that readies after a defense and can attack back for 4.
The deck looks fairly tight with 3x on the majority of titles with some 2x cards and no single copies. The deck should play fairly consistently. The ally selection looks focused on questing power while the attachments will help boost Amarthiul to help him dominate the combat phase.
There is only 1 Tactics title which surprised me. I fully expected to see Gondorian Fire here (which combos perfectly with Roheryn), but Feint is the only Tactics card in the list including the sideboard.
Sam fills out the third hero slot, but with little threat reduction and none of his attachments I assume he’s there primarily for his high willpower.
Test 1 – The Fords of Isen
With its repeatable defenses and strong attack and lighter card draw I thought this would be a good quest for this deck.
Things worked well! I had a great opening hand including the Armored Destrier, Steward of Gondor and a Dunedain Mark. I had Amarthiul attacking for 5 and defending for 4 on turn 1! I broke even on the quest turn 1 but had no problem questing after I got an ally or two out to help with questing. I took some early damage but Galadriel was able to fetch a Dunedain Remedy and with the excess resources from Steward I was able to keep my heroes fully healed.
While my card draw was light, Galadriel helped me set up my card draw twice. I never drew a Gandalf so I did reach 40 threat on turn 9 as I completed the quest, but it wasn’t a problem. I was able to quest for 23 on the final turn with Amarthiul ready just in case I didn’t complete that last quest stage.
Test 2 – Desert Crossing
I lost my first attempt due to direct damage on stage 2. I didn’t draw the Dunedain Remedy or enough allies to absorb the damage dealt at the end of the round.
I had a great play in my second attempt and won with the temperature just a few points away from cooking me. I managed the direct damage a little better on the second play by getting more allies out and finally drawing Dunedain Remedy which I had plenty of resources to use heavily in spite of needing to pay upkeep for my Dwarven Sellswords.
I got two Rangers of the North into the encounter deck in the first couple turns and both came out to good effect, one killing off an enemy and one helping me quest through the active location.
I was questing for 15-20 in the last rounds and won on turn 9 at 39 threat with 25 cards left in my deck.
Test 3 – Voyage Across Belegaer
I attempted this 3 times but couldn’t get enough allies on the table to keep on course and as soon as I was off course the ship bogged me down and I couldn’t dig myself out fast enough. Allies tend to run expensive in Leadership and while this deck has a good number of economical allies, I couldn’t get them on the board fast enough to keep things under control.
Test 5 – Escape from Umbar
This took a couple attempts but I was able to win a game. The deck kept spamming me with enemies! I drew the best combo of Steward and the Destrier on the first turn. With Amarthiul defending for 4, readying and attacking back for 4 he’s the perfect Umbar Sentry killer!
The worst moment was when the Enfeebled treachery hit me when Amarthiul was ready to defend 3 enemies with his two Destriers. Amarthiul was champ defending the rest of the time and attack power became my chief difficulty. I was engaged with 3 enemies for several turns in a row.
I had to work to get in cards in my hand (which is usual for mono Leadership, but between Valiant Sacrifice and Gandalf, I had some options. I would have been well-served by Rod of the Steward in the late game since Amarthiul built up 23 resources by the end (and I forgot to add his extra resource for being engaged with 2 enemies several times).
I finally won on turn 17 with a threat level of 46 and with 16 cards left in my deck. It was a hard game but very satisfying to succeed!
This Elfhelm/Amarthiul combination is excellent. It makes me want to get Oin mounted up as well! Amarthiul certainly takes center stage in this deck and gets to do most of the flashy work while the other two heroes are there for support. Elfhelm could potentially ride that second or third Destrier but then he couldn’t quest which I founded was needed most of the time. Sam’s high willpower was a great base for your questing power, but don’t expect his readying ability to trigger too often. Gandalf is the only threat reduction in the deck and I expect he should be used for card draw in all but the most threat-intensive quests.
The ally selection is solid. Pretty much every 2 WP Leadership ally is included here! Faramir is always awesome and provides the late game willpower to finish quests. The Sellsword felt really valuable in this deck. You can get him out early and then you usually have the resources to keep him around the rest of the game. In one game I played him turn one to get some progress out on stage 1 of escape from Umbar right away, then let him leave to trigger Valiant Sacrifice and get some more cards in hand. Galadriel was awesome here as well. She never failed to fetch an attachment for me. Not only does she get that free card into play but she lets you plan how you will be able to play for the next couple turns (which can be depressing if you know you’ll be drawing duplicates for the next 3 turns!).
With 11 Signal cards in the deck the Weather Hills Watchman would usually hit though not as consistently as Galadriel. While is willpower isn’t amazing, he contributes to questing and is a nice little boost to your card advantage and he has two HP which isn’t bad for a chud. Rosie and Bill do what they do. There aren’t any fancy Rosie tricks here, but she’s very efficient and flexible.
This is a good deck for Erestor. I wish he costed one less, but with many essential unique cards in the deck, he ensures that you don’t get stuck with a hand full of dead cards, 25 resources and nothing to play. You don’t want to see him early game, but by mid game he will do good work.
The Ranger Summons/Ranger of the North card combo was super fun in this deck. I haven’t run this event/ally combo very much, especially in solo, but he was actually pretty useful! That option to place progress or damage in the quest phase is really fun. You’re playing along not sure how you’re going to kill off that enemy of if you’ll be able to clear that location or quest successfully, then along comes the Ranger and makes the whole turn a lot easier! It’s awesome. Defying all odds I drew him out of the deck at least 5 times in my games and only got him as a shadow card once! The rules on Encounter player cards are still a little murky/no one reads them, but be sure to remove the Ranger from the game if he’s killed. Unfortunately he doesn’t get shuffled back into the encounter deck to come back again and again…
The new Halfast Gamgee might fit well in this deck. He’s basically a 2 cost 2 willpower ally which is decent for Leadership.
The attachment selection is where choices really have to be made. The Destrier is certainly the most important card in the deck so I would encourage a mulligan if you don’t see it in your opening hand. There are also two copies of Roheryn which could go on Amarthiul as well. Roherynhas value just because it’s a mount which will boost Marty’s stats, but in all my games I was never able to make good use of its response. You have to be able to kill the enemy outright with that attack when you optionally engage and you can’t be engaged with anything else when you do it or your only defender will be exhausted for the entire combat phase. If Gondorian Fire was in the deck Roheyrn might be easier to use, but as it is, I think it could be cut without much harm to the deck. If it’s there just to make sure Amarthiul gets a mount ASAP, Steed of the North might do the trick. It’s restricted so you’d have to discard it later if you wanted to attach another Destrier to him, but it only costs one and you could use his 1 WP to quest. I guess if Amarthiul got all 3 Marks attached he could attack for 7 upon engaging which is enough to kill 80% of the enemies out there. I just found myself with enemies engaged with me at the end of the turn too frequently for Roheryn to do anything.
The Signal attachments are good cards but I always have a hard time deciding how much deck space to devote to them. Here we have 3x Dunedain Marks, 2x Dunedain Warnings and 2x Dunedain Remedies along with 3x Rune Masters. The emphasis on the Dunedain Mark is certainly good since attack strength is scarcer than defense in this deck. In my play experiences the deck was rarely tight on resources after turn 3 so I might suggest going down to 2 or even 1 Rune Master and increasing the Remedy to 3.
This deck might function OK without Steward of Gondor, but it makes everything easier, especially in the early game. Celebrian Stone is a solid attachment just for the willpower boost. If you do run Steward and Roheryn, I think you may as well throw in a Gondorian Fire or a Rod of the Steward since you will certainly build up excess resources. I would go with Rod of the Steward so you can get more cards into you hand. I ended one of my games with almost enough resources on Amarthiul to draw all 16 cards left in my deck! Trading Rod for Rune Master might be a good experiment.
Ranger Summons and Sneak Attack are key events for the deck. I found Feint was rarely needed. It could be very helpful in the early game if you weren’t able to find Amarthiul’s horse, but after that, I rarely needed it. The deck includes 2x Valiant Sacrifice but I think it may be worth running a full 3 copies. I rarely had more than 2 cards in my hand past turn 3 in any of the games I played. Any way to get cards into hand should be seized, even if it means letting your chumps die! Actually, this deck is set up to trigger Valiant Sacrifice in several painless ways. Galadriel and Gandalf can both trigger it at the end of the round when they’re discarded as can any ally used with Sneak Attack or even the Dwarven Sellsword if you find yourself tired of handing him cash.
Strength of Arms might be a fun event to try in this deck too if you wanted another boost to your combat phase. You could ready all your allies for only two resources and potentially get another 10 attack or so to kill off any engaged enemies that Amarthiul hasn’t been able to keep up with.
Multi or Solo?
This is actually one of the most balanced Mono Leadership decks I’ve played in a long time. Like the title claims, it will function in either setting. Bringing in the Dunedain Signal from the sideboard would make the deck better for multiplayer. The only disadvantage for multiplayer is that you’re using Steward and you have no way to distribute extra resources to other players.
If other players bring mounts Elfhelm can help boost the entire table as well!
What quests would this deck be good for?
This deck is adept at handling more than one enemy at once and still pumping out enough willpower to get through quests. It won’t ever reach the huge questing numbers you might need for Helm’s Deep but it should be able to keep pace with most “standard” quests. I think it would be a nice deck for the Ringmaker cycle. That game against Fords of Isen was excellent. I would be careful of quests with lots of direct damage like Necromancer’s Reach etc, but if you push through the quest fast, your allies can take a little damage.
I enjoyed this deck a lot! I think Mono Leadership is kind of tough to play solo and this does a good job.
My main suggestion would be to up the card draw as much as is possible within the Leadership constraints. The main weakness of the deck is that it absolutely relies on the Destrier. With it you have a 4 defense defender who can ready and attack for 4. Without it you have a 3 defender with a slightly squishy hitpoint pool and no attacker. If you can’t find the Destrier within the first few turns you may have a tough game. Anything you can do to help get that key card in hand will help, and once you have it going, you’ll not be sorry you brought more card draw anyway. Card games are always more fun when you have cards to play!
The deck is solid and fun to play. You don’t see too many mono sphere decks like this in the current “meta.” Thanks to The Mormegil for creating a fun deck and sharing it with us!
Go over to RingsDB and give it a like and play a few games with it!