This deck featuring Beorn, Arwen and Galadriel was submitted for testing by Rimogard. This appears to be a refined version of a deck idea that he has been playing for a while. In his submission he said this was tweaked to specifically beat the Morgul Vale so I’ll have to make sure to test it against that quest!
I’m eager to play a Beorn deck since he’s a hero I rarely build around.
I looks like there’a lot going on in this deck. Beorn is here to gives the deck a safe start. He can defend and attack on the same turn and hopefully beat back the first few enemies before he gets too much damage piled on him. He supported by damage prevention cards like Honour Guard and Close Call.
It looks like the entire attachment list is meant for Galadriel so she can pull cards out of the deck, lower threat and quest with Nenya.
The ally list looks mixed between single copies of strong solo cards like Treebeard, Quickbeam and Henamarth Riversong and multiple copies of generic questing and supporting allies.
The event selection is extensive with 11 titles including several copies of direct damage cards which I assume are meant for the last boss enemy in the Morgul Vale.
It looks like it has a potential to be strong. My main reservation looking at the deck is consistency. There are lots of titles here and 13 of them are only single copies.
Test 1 – Passage Through Mirkwood
I had a good opening hand with Nenya in it and things went well the entire game. Beorn only took two damage through the whole game! Beorn’s ability to defend the first enemy and kill it on turn one is so strong! My willpower was sufficient and I won on turn 8.
Test 2 – Morgul Vale
The Morgul Vale is a hard quest. I’ve had some really good games with this quest and it remains one of my favorites from the Against the Shadow cycle.
My first play was going OK until I revealed an Orc Vanguard on the same turn I hit stage 3. My willpower wasn’t high enough to quest through and I wasn’t really ready for that Vanguard or the Nazgul boss and I couldn’t spend any Spirit resources! Game over.
I stalled out on willpower on my second and third attempts but finally got a solid win on my fourth try (four tries isn’t bad for Morgul Vale).
I was able to keep my threat at 29 or lower for a good 10 turns and build up my board state before facing Murzag, the first boss enemy. Galadriel is so incredibly good! She just gives you turn after turn to build up in a quest like this one. Once I got the Mirror of Galadriel and Silver Harp out, I started to really have control of quest since I could fetch the exact card I needed. I was able to Feint all 3 bosses and never took an attack from them. I had Test of Will in hand almost every single turn and after turn 8, I was able to plan my quest phase with Henamarth Riversong’s scouting report.
Eventually I got an encounter card that brought my threat above 30 and I was forced to engage Murzag and I proceeded to finish off the other two bosses in one turn each. By the time I was facing the Nazgul, I had all the direct damage events in my hand and I was able to deal all 5 damage in one turn. 2x Hail of Stones and 2x Pursuing the Enemy followed by a Feint and Beorn attacked for the winning blow.
The game lasted 14 turns and I ended at 35 threat with 5 cards left in my deck. I did have to deal with the Captain of Mordor who almost killed Beorn (only saved by Close Call), but the terrible Orc Vanguard didn’t show up in this game.
It took 8-10 turns to get everything set up the way I wanted it but once I got things in place, this was a control game that was played on my terms.
Test 3 – Escape from Umbar
This was a good game and I feel like I’m getting better at piloting the deck. I really needed to find Nenya to have a decent start and I found it with my mulligan. Once I got progress down I was able to turtle with Galadriel keeping my threat steady. Halfway through the game I got the Mirror/Harp combo going and things went well after that. Combat phase can be hard until you get either Glorfindel or Treebeard into play so I fetched Glorfindel with the Mirror at my first opportunity.
I won on turn 10 with a threat level only 2 above my starting threat.
Test 4 – The Fords of Isen
This deck does best when it can draw lots of cards so I’ll try it against something that restricts card draw.
I did have to slow down on using Galadriel’s card draw effect but Beorn was adept at crushing the Dunlandings. I got a +8 threat bump from a treachery at one point, but most of the game was fairly well under control. One enemy got his attack boosted by the number of cards in my hand which would have been a big problem, but I was able to play Feint on him and maul him with Boern. Arwen’s discard ability was helpful in keeping my hand reasonably small.
The game was only 8 turns long, but I got my willpower numbers up to 26 by the end which is the best I’ve got out of this deck so far.
This deck grew on me as I played it more and more. The hero combination brings a lot to the table. Between the 3 starting characters you have immediate resource acceleration, card draw, threat reduction, decent starting willpower, action advantage, repeatable defense and strong attack. That’s before they get powered up!
Beorn is a strong hero but he takes some support. The Honour Guard is the obvious choice, but Close Call is even stronger when used well. With Galadriel’s constant threat management, this deck is well equipped to use Close Call and still stay at a reasonable threat level. Between Galadriel and Elrond’s Counsel, there were several games I ended at 31-35 threat in spite of using Close Call!
My main suggestion for this deck would be to increase consistency by eliminating a couple less important cards to make room for more duplicates of some of the stronger cards. I know this version of the deck was optimized for The Morgul Vale, but if you’re going up against most any other quest, the direct damage cards would easy cards to cut.
This deck works best when you have Henamarth Riversong in play. Galadriel gives you options every turn and Riversong helps you pick the best of those options. Do you go ahead and draw a card and reduce your threat during the planning phase, or do you wait to see if you need to boost questing willpower with Nenya? With Riversong in play, you can plan out most of the turn during the planning phase. Galadriel’s Mirror supported by Silver Harp gives you even more control! If you see a treachery coming up, search for a Test of Will. If you see an enemy coming that will hit hard, search for another Honour Guard, of if that enemy is beefy, pull another Knight of the Swan so you’re sure to kill him off in one turn. The combination of Riversong and Galadriel’s Mirror/Silver Harp gives you incredible control in a solo game. That said, I would say both Henemarth Riversong and Silver Harp merit more copies in the deck. Silver Harp has two good options in this deck since you can use it with the Mirror and Arwen’s ability. It’s a little expensive, but the control it gives you is worth it in my opinion. I tend to shy away from using the Mirror with out the Harp. I inevitably discard the very card I need most if I use the Mirror without that Harp insurance!
I cloned the deck and made some modifications and here’s what I came up with:
I basically removed all the direct damage cards (they’re good for the Morgul Vale, but not as helpful for every quest) and added copies of Henamarth, Silver Harp, and a couple copies of Revealed In Wrath. While this event is a little quest dependent as well, it can really help nerf an enemy like the Dunlanding Bandit, Zealous Traitor, the potentially insane Orc Rabble or even the infamous Hummerhorns. Since there aren’t many Tactics Noldor heroes, Revealed in Wrath doesn’t get played very often, but its a powerful card that’s very satisfying to play.
I played a couple games with this cloned list and this seemed to do very well, getting some combos set up a little faster. The first time I loaded it up it served me up a perfect hand:
You really want to see Nenya and/or a decent questing ally and one way to control damage coming into Beorn in that opening hand.
Here’s the winning situation at the Fords of Isen with the modified deck. I won in 6 turns here:
Multi or Solo?
This should work fine in either setting, but Galadriel’s threat slowing pushes it a little towards the solo side of things since it gives you time to take the quest slow and play at your own pace without worrying about threating out.
I consider this a good strong deck! It can crash and burn if you get a rough opening hand with no way to ramp up your willpower, but that doesn’t happen too often.
With a few pieces it place it becomes a very strong control deck that can anticipate and quickly respond to whatever the encounter deck throws at it. That Henamarth Riversong/Mirror of Galadriel was incredibly strong and gave me some really good game experiences! I recommend streamlining the deck a little just to make it play more consistently but those adjustments are small and will be dependent on the quest you want to play.
This deck really highlights the strengths of Galadriel and Beorn and it’s worth checking out! You can find the deck on RingsDB here and you can see Rimogard’s other deck including 3 other variations on this list here.
Thanks to Rimogard for submitting a fun and strong deck! Give it a like on RingsDB and try it out! I think you’ll have a good time.