I’m a big fan of the Harad deck style and while Seastan’s decks certainly don’t need outside testing, I wanted to play it so I thought I write a short post as I played some games. This creatively named Harad deck was created and shared on RingsDB by Seastan.
This features the standard set of Harad allies (although only 2x Yazan) and massive amounts of card draw and resource acceleration to get those allies out fast. It plays fast and loose with your threat level to accomplish that acceleration but it provides ways to keep itself from threating out. This is a variation on his Very Peace. So Thoughts. Many Aggro deck he published in 2017.
Looks good to me! I can imagine it might have difficulty mustering large amounts of willpower during the first two turns or so, but the deck can probably manage a little early threat gain.
Seventeen of the nineteen event cards are devoted to resource and card advantage along with Steward of Gondor so I imagine the deck will move along fairly quickly!
Test 1 – Escape from Umbar
My thematic choice is questionable here, but the Harad characters which the heroes haven’t even met yet (in the FFG storyline) successfully escaped their own city!
I was able to play 2 of the 5 cost allies on turn 2 which is huge. I managed the Peace and Thought trick using Grima’s threat to play it for free and play Tighten Our Belts on the same turn. It’s a massive turn two if you go into it with 9+ resources and 13 cards!
I played conservatively holding plenty of characters back for the combat phase and I ended up winning on turn 9 with 9 Harad allies in play, Favor of the Valar attached to my threat dial and sitting at 49 threat (not using any reduction the entire game).
Test 2 – The Hunt for Gollum
The Discord bot gave me Hunt for Gollum next and it was actually a tough game. I had terrible luck and couldn’t draw Steward or Peace and Thought. It took me a good while to power up, but I think it was just bad luck.
I didn’t win until round 14 after hitting 50 threat twice (saved by Favor of the Valar).
Test 3 – Return to Mirkwood
With plenty of threat increases in the deck and the quest, this proved very hard. An Attercop ate Grima and I hit 50 for a third time with no way to stop it at stage 2. It almost worked but the threat gain was pretty crazy. I tried twice but couldn’t manage the threat.
Test 4 – The Wastes of Eriador
This is a tough quest at any player count and it can hit hard right out of the gate. I lost my first attempt to threat elimination, but I won on a second play! It was a long and difficult game, but that’s how this quest plays. I won on turn 15 with a threat level of 47. I was able to fetch several Sneak Attacks with Heed the Dream which let me play Gandalf 5 times which helped me keep cards in my hand and my threat level close to reasonable.
You really have to get the card draw engine going or the threat will kill you.
I don’t have many comments here but I’ll compare this version to the version he published a year ago and mention a couple cards that would be interesting to consider.
The heroes are certainly central to making this deck work. Kahliel is essential as he provides a massive willpower boost with his headdress and he provides easy and repeatable readying for himself and the strong allies. His readying combined with Boromir’s built-in readying help this deck draw the cards it needs without slowing it down. Boromir also gives the deck a solid way to defend and even potentially attack during the first couple turns of a game. Grima provides nice cost reduction and solid access to the Lore sphere to facilitate that card draw and healing.
Seastan’s first Harad deck omits the Tribesman and the Harad Refugee (they probably weren’t released when he made it) so this deck has much stronger willpower potential. When set up, this deck easily quests for around 22 willpower while keeping some good options ready for the combat phase. This deck makes room for the extra allies by dropping 2 copies of Gondorian Fire, and one copy each of The White Counsel and Favor of the Valar. This makes threat reduction a little less reliable, but with 3 Gandalfs, 3 Sneak Attacks, 2 Favor of the Valar and 2 copies of The White Counsel to recycle either Favor of the Valar or Sneak Attack after your deck gets small, there are still plenty of threat control options. Overall this version has much better willpower, but slightly slower combat power compared to his previous version.
Two strong attachments came to mind while I was playing this deck. The Keys of Orthanc attachments is always strong when coupled with Grima. It’s a unique attachment that could take up 3 slots to rely on, but it’s pretty much a guaranteed resource every turn when playing with Grima. It’s actually in the sideboard. If I was to sub it in, I would probably drop Captain’s Wisdom to make room for it. Captain’s Wisdom is more of a “burst” advantage, but Keys of Orthanc hits every turn might be better in some cases.
The other card that came to mind while I was playing this was Raiment of War. Jubayr is a strong defensive ally, but without Narya or Arwen to boost his defense stat, he has to rely on his Tribesmen to boost his strength to defend against the stronger enemies. Since the Tribesmen usually end up questing (in my experience), Jubayr was often relying on his 3 defense which isn’t invincible. Boromir with his shield is there as well, so you always have the option of defending for 4 with 5 hitpoints and facing the shadow effect, or defending for 3 & 3 and knowing you won’t have to deal with the shadow card. It’s a fun choice and it’s nice to have options. It would be possible to replace the 3 Gondorian Shields with 3 Raiment of War. Boromir could use it to defend for 3 with 7 hitpoints and it would make Jubayr much tougher at 4 defense and 5 hitpoints with shadow protection. It’s a little more expensive, but it can go on two characters which reduces the number of “dead cards” in your deck (only by 1…), and it might be an interesting variation. Jubayr and Raiment of War is a favorite combo of mine…
Solo or Multiplayer?
This is certainly a solo deck since it uses Grima fairly extensively. You could dial back the Grima Doom a lot for multiplayer games if the other players were OK with it and it would work decently, but Grima is really a solo hero. I wouldn’t bring this deck to a multiplayer game.
This is a fast, strong and exciting deck. Mostly exciting because you’re usually sitting at 40+ threat and have to take every enemy as it comes! With no treachery cancellation and a high threat level, you forfeit some control of the quest, but with strong readying options, plenty of willpower and consistent Firyal scrying and Jubayr shadow mitigation, it has the tools to hold its ground against the servants of Sauron!
I beat most of the quests I tried with this deck. The only quests that were real trouble were quests like Return to Mirkwood which jack your threat up really fast. It’s a strong deck which gives you plenty of options and excitement. Check it out on RingsDB and give it a try! Thanks to Seastan for sharing the deck and all his contributions to the community!