Deck #60 Bear Meets Ents

I’m always happy playing an Ent Deck! This Ent deck has a different hero lineup that is assembled to cover the early game where the Ents are weakest. Beorn is a fantastic early game hero who can defend and kill off enemies in the early game, Eowyn gives a solid willpower base and Bifur is the Ents’ best friend for resource smoothing.

This deck was created and published by RingsDB user Roka.

bear meets ent list.PNG

First Impressions

This looks like a solid deck. Ents will certainly bulk up the board state by the midgame and starting at 25 threat with a solid hero base will give the deck time to set those Ents up. I see good card draw and some multipurpose allies to help smooth resources and boost willpower numbers. Defense looks like the weakest element in the deck but between Beorn covering the early game and the Derndingle and/or Wandering Ent covering the late game, it should be OK.

Test 1 – Journey Down the Anduin

This trip along the Anduin gave me a good game that ended well. I drew the second Hill Troll on the second turn so I had to kill both of them before moving on to stage 2 but I had enough turns to build up. I was doing great until the Pursued by Shadow treachery hit in the late game and raised my threat by 12 points! I was at 47 threat going into the last stage and won on turn 10 with 49 threat.

bear ents anduin

Test 2 – The Morgul Vale

With low threat and some good boss killing abilities, I thought this would be a good match.

I had a good game but did one blatant cheat and redrew a card when I revealed Master’s Malice because that card ruins the quest for “test purposes.” I was able to avoid Murzag for several turns and then crush him and Alcaron on subsequent turns. There were 9 progress tokens on the Tower going into the last two rounds so it was a close game, but the deck and encounter deck were well-matched (except Master’s Malice) and it was a fun game!

bear and ent morgul vale.PNG

Test 3 – Escape from Umbar

I played a couple good games here. The Ents are good at soaking Archery in this quest although I eventually reached a saturation point and had a hard time keeping my allies alive! I didn’t draw either Warden of Healing and I only got one Preserver into play so healing was very difficult.

I had to drop my first game before I was able to finish but I won the second game fairly handily. It took a while but I had a solid board by round 12. The unexpectedly useful card was Wait No Longer. It always seemed worth playing here since you can precisely quest and calculate how much you’ll need to leave ready to take card of that enemy. It’s a great card! I ran low on cards in my hand in the mid game, but only because I discarded my Deep Knowledges to Daeron’s Runes because I wanted to keep my threat low.

Beorn is really good in this quest since he can defend that initial enemy and usually take a single damage, then counterattack and take him out instead of throwing him in the Narrow Alleyway. You have a much easier second turn if you take that Umbar Sentry out on turn 1.

tree and bear umbar.PNG

Test 4 – We Must Away Ere Break of Day

I tend to neglect these Hobbit Saga quests, but Elrond’s Quest of the Week has got me playing one again (#elrondsorders is now the “official” hashtag)!

This deck is fairly good against this quest since it has no attachments (curse you Wind-Whipped Rain!) and it starts at a low threat level. The Booming Ent is also a good ally to power up to take out the trolls since you can initially only attack with one character at a time. I didn’t get the treasures but I killed all 3 trolls by turn 8 which is pretty good!

I didn’t see enough of my healing allies and I was hard pressed to keep everyone alive again. Poor Treebeard was in and out of the sack so many times… His stats are so high he’s pretty much the target of every single sack, especially since Beorn can’t have any attachments.

bear and tree we must away

It even did well against it in Nightmare mode.

bear and tree we must away nightmare

Card Choices

This hero combination is brilliant. It doesn’t have much thematic value, but it provides everything a good Ent deck needs: early game defense, attack and willpower and excellent resource smoothing.

Ents are an ideal support deck for Beorn since he fades in the late game when the Ents can dominate the board. Eowyn, Beorn and Bifur both come in below what would be a standard threat cost so you start the game with 33 stats and 25 threat. Hobbits also make good Ent deck heroes since you can start the game with low enough threat to build up, but this hero combination starts low and can do a lot more in the early game.

The sideboard contains Grima as an alternate hero to sub in for Bifur and he would certainly accelerate the deck’s build up, but I prefer the low threat these heroes provide.

There are a lot of allies in this deck! It contains 3x of all 4 non-unique Ent allies and Treebeard, but only 1x Quickbeam and it omits Beechbone, Skinbark and Leaflock entirely. The generic allies are the best of the Ent crew, but by excluding most of the uniques (and other Ent-traited cards like Boomed and Trumpeted and Ent Draught), I found that Entmoot wasn’t nearly as strong as it could be. It whiffed several times for me and pulled an average of 1 card. I think adding a single copy of a couple of the other unique Ent allies would be kind of nice, but it doesn’t absolutely need them.

bear and ent

Mablung, Ghan-buri-Ghan, Henamarth and Grimbold are great utility allies that are always worth including. The Honour Guard is great support for Beorn and in the later game, he’s actually really good for keeping the Derndingle Warrior alive against any attack that might get up to 6 or 7. The Warden of Healing is also essential for keeping a herd of Ents angry but alive. There are two copies included here and that will probably be enough most of the time. I found myself wanting more healing in a few quests that featured direct damage and archery. The Preserver helps, but he only does so much and he’s harder to get out.

The Envoy of Pelargir and the Ithilien Tracker are nice cheap questing allies but I would consider them the least useful in the lineup. The Envoy can be helpful for more resource smoothing, but Bifur does a fine job and with only one legitimate Noble/Gondor target to give a resource, that effect doesn’t do much. Her main strength is she’s a 1 cost ally that can quest for 1 and take any ally hate the encounter deck throws at you. If you’re going up against any quest that has any direct damage or archery I would consider replacing one of the Envoys with another Warden of Healing.

The Ithilien Tracker is nice, but not great for solo play since he won’t always trigger. For solo play, you could consider substituting another questing character like Leaflock.

Secret Vigil is the only attachment in the deck! With low starting threat, I wouldn’t consider it essential, but it’s always nice to keep threat low, so I think it’s worthwhile. It can also counteract the threat gain of a Deep Knowledge which is nice. If a quest doesn’t reward a low threat level and you want to beef up your ally defenders, you might consider replacing it with Ent Draught. I played a couple quests that had a shadow effect that discarded attachments and it was so weird to have the shadow effect do nothing! It’s an unusual deck that has this few attachments but it works here.

There are more events here than usual in an Ent deck and they do a lot of different things. For card draw we have Daeron’s Runes, Deep Knowledge and Entmoot. For some reason my Entmoots kept missing, but with 16 Ent cards in the deck, you should get something most every time and it’s free. Deep Knowledge is solid card draw but it spoils the low threat that’s such an advantage at the beginning of a game. With no real resource acceleration, you hopefully will have enough cards to play for a while in the early game then you can use that Deep Knowledge to replenish your hand in the mid-game when you have enough allies in play to make your threat level less important.

Wait No Longer is a little expensive in this deck, but for solo play, it’s very powerful. Since you play it at the beginning of the quest phase, you can plan very precisely and make more progress since nothing will be added to the staging area. Killing enemies is what Ents do best!

Secret Paths is a bit of a specialized card and I didn’t find it that useful in the games that I played, but it would be good in quests with high threat locations (Gladden Marshlands, Zigil Mineshaft, Desolate Lands etc). With Lore resources being fairly precious to get those Ents out, I found it hard to save that resource through into the quest phase to use this event.

Boomed and Trumpeted would be another solid choice since it can be used when nearly any Ent defends.

It’s not reliable since it’s not in your hero lineup, but if you increased the count of Mablung in the deck, you could actually include Proud Hunters in the deck for some resource acceleration. Apparently you can trigger the event with Beorn in spite of the “Immune to player card effects” restriction.

This deck is great, but I couldn’t resist cloning it and making some adjustments. Here’s what I came up with:

tweaked ent and bear.PNG

I upped the healing a little, added a couple unique Ent allies and added a little (dubious) resource acceleration. This hero lineup is strong and Ents are strong so I think there could be plenty of variations made within the “filler” cards and it would still be a strong deck.

Final Thoughts

This is a solid deck. While Ents aren’t new and they aren’t doing anything new here, this hero lineup is a fantastic for letting them set up and survive the early game. A quick check confirms that this is the only deck up there to use this particular hero lineup.

The Ent allies give this deck plenty of versatility and I think the support cards can be tweaked here and there to address the particular challenges of any given quest. This is a strong deck as-is and if you keep the heroes and the Ent allies, you have plenty of flexibility to tech the deck a little against whichever quest you’re going up against.

Thanks to Roka for creating a strong Ent deck with a new powerful hero lineup! Check it out here on RingsDB and give it a like. Play some games and see how it plays for you!


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