This deck uses Grima and Hirgon to reduce the cost of the expensive eagle allies and even runs the infamous Radagast ally to provide some more resources for playing and healing eagles.
The deck description is extensive and thorough on RingsDB so I won’t be repeating a lot of what he’s already written.
Eowyn and Hirgon are a great pair and I’m sure they can tolerate the presence of the Middle Earth’s most notorious creeper. Grima decks are solid and Hirgon decks are solid so I don’t see why the two acceleration engines couldn’t be combined and work well together.
The heroes are not very well equipped to handle combat but with all these eagles in the deck that tend to build power as the game progresses, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Leaving T Theoden at home brings the starting willpower down a little and the heroes lose a little combat potential, but the acceleration that Grima brings to the table should be huge. Access to Lore is always a good things as well! Grima’s sphere brings some card draw, threat reduction (!) and Elf Stone to this deck.
When set up, that combo of Grima, Keys of Orthanc and Hirgon can basically generate three resources per turn. If Radagast is on the table, that brings your total resource possibilities up to 7 which seems “OK.” 🙂
Test 1 – Passage Through Mirkwood
I “flew through” this quest in a brief 6 turns. I mulliganed for the Keys of Orthanc and at that point I was able to play a solid eagle or two eagles per turn. By the end of the game I was able to quest for 15 fairly handily which is solid for an eagle deck. I enjoyed using the Steward of Orthanc in this quest. He makes Daeron’s Runes even better! Threat management didn’t prove a problem.
Test 2 – The 7th Level
I just played a two player game of this and got reminded how crazy this quest can be. Bring on the Goblins!
This was a fun game and I beat it. The Cave-Troll starting smashing me to pieces there at the very end but I was able to quest out and win before I had to really deal with him.
The best moment was the Descendant of Thorondor taking out 2 Goblins in one turn. I quested successfully, dropped him into play for 2 (Hirgon and Grima), killed a Goblin Swordsmen so I wouldn’t have to defend him then chumped block the other Goblin Swordsmen to take out the forever-annoying Goblin Archer.
I didn’t draw an Eagle of the Misty Mountains until turn 7 which was frustrating but most of the enemies in this quest aren’t that tough anyway so I made it work. I payed full price for Radagast because I had the resources and no other better cards to play.
I was able to quest for 19 on the final turn which is solid for an eagle deck!
Test 3 – Into Ithilien
Look at that starting hand! So many eagles!
With 2 Vassels in play on turn 1 I quested through the Ithilien Road and wasn’t forced to engage anything on turn 1. I proceeded to reveal three more enemies in a row in the next couple turns which packed the staging area with threat. I ended up questing unsuccessfully and was forced to engage several of them without a great way to kill them. I defended with a Winged Guardian but the shadow card dealt one damage to him which let it go undefended which killed Hirgon. I used Eown’s effect to clear up some enemies but they kept coming.
I survived another couple turns but Grima fell to more direct damage and I was eventually swarmed with 3 Southron Companies. I made it through to stage 2 but didn’t get past that.
This deck wasn’t designed for Battle/Siege quest, but eagle decks often have a good chance.
Test 3 – The King’s Quest
This is the deck that Duckworth83 used to beat this quest so I thought I’d give it a try.
My first two attempts were failures as I was forced to engage enemies I couldn’t kill and my threat ramped up but my third game was a success! You really need to get that Eagles of the Misty Mountains out early. I think I got it out right away and eventually added 14 eagle cards under him so he nearly killed the dragon by himself at the end of the quest. 16 attack and defense!
The Dragon Breath took out Grima but I continued on without him and finished on turn 11. Good game.
Test 4 – Flight of the Stormcaller
Those Vassels can sure sail! Perfect sailing allies. I didn’t get some of the pieces in place until late in the game, but I still won. I never got the Keys of Orthanc down but the Narelenya helped a lot. Radagast didn’t show up until near the end and I had no way to use Grima’s resources most of the game which was a little annoying but it still worked out. I won on turn 9 while questing for 25. I made it through half my player deck but card draw still felt slow (possibly because I played a Beravor/Dale deck right before this game). Threat increases from the encounter deck left my at 44 threat.
I’m still not convinced Meneldor’s Flight is needed or helpful. If you run out of other cards to play and have resources laying around you could pull back Meneldor and play him again for 4 progress, but I wonder if a card draw effect like Heed the Dream would be better. I would have preferred to see Lorien’s Wealth over Meneldor’s Flight in most of the games I’ve played with this deck. Word of Command might be another cool Lore event to take its place… you could make Radagast do something cool.
I played all 3 copies of Flight of the Eagles and was able to knock out a ship in the staging area with one of the Eagles of the North. The other two eagles came out of the encounter deck but there were no enemies to discard. It was still fun! I love that event.
Test 5 – The Fords of Isen
I know I doubled up on Grima here but I wanted to try this quest… I figured this would be a fun quests to play since there’s plenty of enemies, some nasty locations Meneldor might be able to knock out and the encounter deck would give me bursts of card draw.
My first attempt was a disaster with a huge surge train hitting me on turn 1 so I restarted…
This second game was a lot of fun. By turn 3 I had played out my hand and was able to dodge a lot of the pain the encounter deck was trying to hit me with. I used Meneldor’s Flight once here to knock out a Dunland Tribesman. It wasn’t an awesome play but it did something! It took a good while to find an Eagle of the Misty Mountains again and Radagast never showed up but I still got to 20WP by turn 8 which isn’t too shabby!
Overall I’d say this deck does it’s job! It gets eagles out quickly and builds up a nice spread of questing and combat allies. My main thought is that it can have a hard time finding its key pieces. In most cases I had plenty of resources/cost reduction for the cards in my hand and in many cases, I had excess resources and nothing to play.
This hero combination is solid. It lacks an early game defender but with a low starting threat level, you can either avoid enemies for a bit of sacrifice an early eagle chump. Defending was rarely an issue for me in my plays. 8 starting willpower is really good and a minimum of 2 resources of savings per turn helps get allies on the board right away.
I don’t have a lot of comments on the ally list. We have nearly all the eagle allies included here with Landroval the only entirely omitted option. Landroval isn’t really helpful for the deck but I suppose you could throw one copy in the deck for fun. His 4 hp and 3 attack are his best selling points for this deck since you’re unlikely to lose a hero in most cases.
I don’t like drawing that second copy of Gwaihir but his ability can be really good if have to chump with an eagles before an Eagle of the Misty Mountains starts gathering them. I guess he’s worth 2 copies.
Steward of Orthanc is a good choice thematically and mechanically. There’s two copies here and that’s probably enough. He’s provides a nice way to use those Lore resources before you find the Song of Battle and both his card draw and willpower are appreciated. It’s really nice that he has 2hp as well. Gleowine is solid as well. I was always happy to see him in my hand and I’d likely move him up to 3x if possible. Lore resources are usually in plenty and the earlier you get him the better. If you find him early his card draw can really help. If he can draw you 8 cards in a game instead of 3, drawing that duplicated of him later doesn’t really hurt that much.
I like this set of cards. Elf Stone can be really nice if you draw it early, but sometimes I found it unnecessary if I drew it in the late game. Best case you get it with Radagast or Eagle of the Misty Mountains in opening hand. That lets you build up fast in the first turns.
With the amount of chump blocking that can happen in an Eagle deck, I could see removing 1 copy of Keys of Orthanc and adding 1 copy of Horn of Gondor. Keys is better, but Horn would actually be good here, even in it’s nerfed version. It could help you draw less duplicates.
Songs of Battle are helpful to get those resources of Grima since there are very few resources required for the Lore cards in the deck. I might consider The Red Arrow the “most cutable” attachment. The 1 willpower isn’t bad and eventually you’ll probably be able to get a free ally off it but I found that by the late game I had resources to pay for whatever came into my hand anyway so I wouldn’t consider it as valuable as it might be in other decks.
Woodmen’s Clearing feels great to have around but could be cut in a quest that doesn’t crank your threat up. I typically had at least 5-8 threat left before threating out in my games. But -3 threat for free in Lore is too good to pass up! Same thing applies to the Favor of the Valar. It feels good to have around but usually isn’t necessary.
Another attachment that could fight for deck space is The Long Defeat. I think one of the things the deck could really use more of it card draw and while this isn’t the best form of card draw, it isn’t bad and it has the added benefit of giving you flexible healing. You always have Lore resources around so the 1 cost wouldn’t be hard to deal with.
Daeron’s Runes, Flight of the Eagles and The Eagles are Coming are “auto includes” in my book. They work great. I’m not sold on Meneldor’s Flight yet. The Eagles are Coming is so much better and it usually gives me enough opportunity to pull an ally back if I want to (not very often). I think I found one good time to play it in my 7+ games with the deck. Feint is never bad but with so many allies that can either defend well or want to get killed, I found it not that helpful.
I know it wouldn’t always be a great card to draw early, but Word of Command would be a fun Lore event to add to the deck. Having Radagast fetch that Eagles of the Misty Mountains directly out of the deck would be awesome. I feel like it would be more valuable than Meneldor’s Flight.
I wish there were some more good Lore events that would help card draw. Mithrandir’s Advice isn’t good here, Deep Knowledge isn’t that amazing in solo and it pushes threat up faster, and Lorien’s Wealth is so expensive. Deep Knowledge is probably the best option just because it thins the deck considerably but I’m not sure it’s worth it or not. Peace and thought is another option but the heroes really need to quest.
It doesn’t count as card advantage but I think Heed the Dream could be really helpful. There’s really powerful cards in the deck and the fasted you find them the better you will do. I’d gladly pay 1 Lore resource to filter through the top 5 cards and find whichever piece of the Doomed puzzle I was missing. More events mean more potential chances to draw cards off the Steward of Orthanc as well.
If I was to tweak the deck at all I would remove 2 Feint, 2 Meneldor’s Flight, 1 Gwaihir, and The Red Arrow and add 3 Heed the Dream, 2 The Long Defeats and a 3rd copy of Gleowine.
This is a solid Eagle deck! One of the main challenges for an eagle deck is getting those high cost allies into play right away and this deck does a great job solving that problem. Grima is a great (solo) hero and he doesn’t see too much play time so I encourage you to give him a try.
The deck was built to make Radagast useful and while he is nice, he doesn’t come close to being essential or as powerful as other allies in the same cost category (Treebeard still blows him out of the water, but we all knew that). I do think that if we want to get value out of Radagast, there should be more ways of actually digging through the deck to find him. Paying for him isn’t really a problem with all the resource acceleration, but finding him isn’t easy. The deck title might be slightly overstated, but at least he’s a welcome sight when he comes into hand instead of a fat card you won’t play! This deck makes him useful and I think that was the goal.
Thanks to MDuckworth83 for building a Radagast Eagle deck and sending it my way! The Hero version of Radagast has recently been spoiled as I write this and I’m sure he will really breath new life into this deck archetype. Check out this deck on RingsDB and feel free to comment if you agree or don’t agree with my analysis!
Thanks for reading!