Hero Resource Archetypes
Posted March 24th 2018 by CardGameGeek
This is a list of Hero Resource Archetypes found at Trevorstone.org

Some of them might be outdated or no longer much effective since are all pre-Lidless Eye.

 

The One Ring


Probably the first strategy one thinks of, this is also one of the hardest to carry out. It requires several rare or specific cards and also doesn't make too many MPs in case your opponent calls the council. In return, you win instantly if you can pull it off, it's worth more points in a tournament, and it can be fun to role-play.

Required cards:


The One Ring, Gollum's Fate/Gollum, Cracks of Doom, 1+ hobbits, Precious Gold Ring x3, Wizard's Test, Scroll of Isildur (or The Under-grottos).

Helpful cards:


There are two ways to pull off a One Ring dunk. Be secretive or be powerful. The secretive like to start with a company like Bilbo, Sam, Robin, and Fatty Bolger. They use all sorts of cancellation cards like Concealment, Stealth, Torque of Hues, and Magic Ring of Nature. Fair Travels in Wilderness (and similar cards) can help too. If Morannon didn't suck, it would go here too. The other way, having a large company, can also work well. You should start with one or two hobbits (for corruption modifiers, obviously), and several big fighters. The idea is to protect the hobbits. To this end, you should have several cards which help warriors like Sword of Gondolin and Many Foes He Fought. A Friend or Three can help corruption checks, as well as tapping in assistance. Good wizard choices are Saruman for recycling Wizard's Test, Pallando for holding combos, or Radagast for card advantage. Alatar and Gandalf can work too.

Variants:


There are other ways to do a ring dunk. You can include The One in a normal ring deck and sideboard Gollum's Fate and Cracks just in case. Also, you can use a card like Gandalf instead of Wizard's Test, though you should include more gold rings. Playing without a wizard is difficult. This is best in two or longer deck games, though it is POSSIBLE with luck in a one deck game. There's also the "fake dunk" deck, when you make it look like you'll make a run for Orodruin, thus making your opponent panic a bit, play The One, then use its 6 MPs as a bonus in the council. You can even benefit from its +5 DI bonus.

Compatible hazard portions:


You'll want to play hazards that will be fast to play and won't hurt too much. You probably won't want Doors, especially as you make the final run. Cave-drake, Slayer, and River can be useful here. Agents are also pretty fast to get out. If you want to be really fast, you can include Lost in the Wilderness et al. Some people include Nazgul to be played as permanent-events so they don't attack on the assault on Orodruin. You'll want to try to deny your opponent MPs, so Muster Disperses and Call of Home can be very good (and fast) hazards. As always, Twilight is a must.

Defenses:


There are several good One Ring hoser cards. Since it's pretty obvious early on whether or not you're dealing with a One Ring deck, you might want to sideboard cards like The Precious, The Will of the Ring, and perhaps a few other corruption cards, though any good One Ring deck will be prepared for corruption. Dark-domain based creatures can be good too, though the One Ring deck will be sure to be able to deal with them when it makes the run. You might try the Khamul Nazgul Machine (your opponent may supply most of the Nazgul). Forcing the discard of most of your opponent's hand really hurts when he's playing with such a combo heavy deck. Getting Gollum out yourself both makes it possible to get rid of the Ring and prevent Gollum's Fate. And while concentrating all your effort on dealing with the Ringbearer may be the instinctive thing to do, it may be more effective to play with cards like The Ring Will Have But One Master (if for nothing other than saying that sentence in a menacing voice) and The Precious to get rid of the Hobbit's bodyguards and Fellowships.

 




Indiana Jones


This is perhaps the type of deck with the highest winning percentage. Interestingly, it is also largely made out of commons. The basic idea is to have a strong company run into a big site like Moria, smash through the auto- attack, grab an item, Thorough Search for another, and then Rescue Prisoners, getting the most out of a turn. It is mostly useful in one-deck games (hence its prevalence in tournaments), as it thrives on wins in the first few turns.

Required cards:


Items (and lots of them). Sword of Gondolin x3, Glamdring and Orcrist are good. A few other greater items like The Mithril Coat or a Palantir. You should have a few factions (with Muster) to prevent doublings. Thorough Search x3 is necessary, and Rescue Prisoners x3 is a good idea. For starting characters, you'll want something like Elladan, Elrohir, Gildor Inglorien, Annalena, and Gloin. They can easily deal with auto-attacks at Moria, Carn Dum, and Mount Gundabad. Annalena (or Kili, et al.) is for the Thorough Searches.

Helpful cards:


Anything that untaps you or helps out in speed situations. Cram or Potion of Prowess can be good starting items. Dark Quarrels can deal with an out of hand auto-attack. A Chance Meeting can speed things up and assure an untapped scout. Radagast may be the best wizard here as he greatly speeds up the deck. Alatar can help keep more characters untapped.

Variants:


This deck can have several different items, but the basic premise is the same. If you beat your opponent to the MPs, you win. Figure it out from there. You might want to split up into two companies, perhaps one to influence factions, but if you dilute your efforts too much you may come up empty in both hands.

Compatible hazard portions:


This also works best with a fast hazard strategy, not to keep large combos, but so you can draw more MPs. Again, Cave-drake, Slayer, and River are good. Chance of Being lost can give you a one turn advantage. Don't go totally roadblock, though, as Foul Fumes and Long Winter may set you back as well. Wolf/spider/animal can be a good idea too, as most of your auto-attacks are orcs. Undead can also work, but is a little more risky (you don't want to face another undead deck while you're going to Moria and Carn Dum). Corruption can be fast, though avoid The Balance of Things and Ren the Unclean. Since this deck works through the idea of getting the most out of your turns, you might want to put in any cards that can slow down your opponent. Muster Disperses can effectively waste a turn. Baudila is another good choice, as is Gnaw With Words.

Defenses:


Your opponent thrives on keeping characters untapped. Don't let him. Redoubled Force is his worst nightmare (7 STRIKES AT 9?!?!). Arouse/Awaken/Incite Minions can also be good defenses (common cards to beat common cards). Also, play Searching Eye on-guard to cancel Thorough Search. Shelob may prevent the play of Rescue Prisoners. A standard orc deck can also make the auto-attacks unfriendly. You may also want Call of Home, which can get rid of a character and a Rescue Prisoners (and maybe an item too). So You've Come Back can force the discard of a character and thus a several point MP swing. And if you can time it right, taking someone prisoner can cause a large MP drop requiring a special excursion to save him, wasting a turn.

 




To the Sea!


Costal Seas and Free-domains are the safest regions, though Free-domains have become a little more dangerous with Lidless Eye. While there are some very powerful cards that can deal with the Sea, they rarely fit into a normal deck strategy. A Costal Seas based deck is usually pretty safe and is probably the second most prominent tournament deck. In contrast to Indy Jones, it is largely rares.

Required cards:


Your main sites will be Himring, Isles of the Dead that Live, Tolfalas, Isle of the Ulond (if only for movement), The Stones, and faction sites in Gondor. Thus, you should have a couple major items, as well as a greater item (for The Stones) and maybe the Scroll of Isildur (Tolfalas). Include the Gondor factions. For characters you will want Cirdan and a good diplomat Dunadan. You can split your companies, one for items (with Cirdan, probably), and one for factions (with someone like Adrazar, Imrahil, or Aragorn). Good defensive cards are Great Ship (now hampered by errata), Free Travels in Free-omains and Fair Sailing. Belereand can greatly help your movement, as would a site in Bay of Belfalas if it existed.

Helpful cards:


To top your avoidance off, you might want Stealth. Elves of Lindon are a good idea if you have them (another rare for a rares deck). You can go for information at Stone-circle and Isle of the Ulond. Sentinels of Numenor can give you a few more MPs, though you will need a strong influencer of factions. Alatar and Pallando are probably your wizards of choice as they are at the appropriate havens. Gandalf can also work if you want his corruption bonus.

Compatible hazard portions:


Since you're going through mostly Costal Sea and Free-domains, why not set up a roadblock? Foul Fumes won't hurt you at all, and Long Winter only hits Isle of the Ulond, The Stones, and Stone-circle. If you time that one right, your opponent will be stuck in the snow while you're out sailing. It is possible to go several turns while there's a Snowstorm on the table, but be prepared to Twilight it so you can get to The Stones or once you've used up your coastal movement paths and need to get to Edhellond. Orcs, dragons, Nazgul, animals, drakes, as well as some other strategies work well. It's hard to be hurt in a Costal deck, so don't be too afraid with long and permanent-events. Several of your auto-attacks are undead, so avoid cards like Plague of Wights and The Moon is Dead.

Defenses:


Unless you know your opponent will be going Costal, there's not much you can put in your deck that will hit both Costal and other strategies. Undead can hurt Costal, as can several animals (Fell Turtle, Watcher in the Water). Nameless Thing is also a nasty surprise. For the sideboard you can have Drowning Seas, Storms of Osse, Earcaraxe Ahunt (nasty with Will of Sauron). The Reach of Ulmo cancels Great Ship and then you can play the ultimate turn waster, Lost at Sea (or in Free-domains). Again, this deck thrives on speed, especially in small companies, so you may want the all popular River (and THEY have to cross the mouth of it). You can include some of the Gondorian agents to take out the factions or you can include Sentinels of Numenor yourself. This is one strategy that was hardly touched by Lidless Eye, you're even relatively safe from marauding Orcs and Heralded Lord Ringwraiths. The only problem is that, unless you're playing a two-deck game, if you include lots of anti-coastal cards, you won't be able to handle other strategies.

 




Radagast Speed Deck


There are several decks that are based around getting everything out fast. One deck in particular goes VERY fast, even in two-deck games. The idea is the more cards you draw, the better chance you'll get what you need. If you get Radagast out, and you can accomplish this goal very easily. The area around Rivendell is mostly wilderness, and you can often extend your trip by a region or two to draw more. Be aggressive with your drawing. Don't be afraid to discard a card if you don't need it now. In a few turns, you can have it back again. Meanwhile, your companies get what they need to play.

Required cards:


Radagast x2 (or 3 if you're playing Council of Lorien). You might even want to start with him under the optional wizards as starting characters rule. Other than that, anything goes. You'll want events like Risky Blow and Block that you can play during M/H phase. Avoid big combos. The MPs are mostly whatever you can get in your area of choice. Twilight will prevent nasties like Long Winter, Morgul-night, and Choking Shadows.

Helpful cards:


Fog (with Gates) and Echo of All Joy can make LOTS of wilderness. Shadowfax can get you even more cards, especially when all you want to do is cycle your deck. Fair Travels in the Wilderness can be a good protective card. Goldberry can really help out. Place Robin Smallburrow on Shadowfax, have him play Stealth, and draw in complete safety, letting Radagast influence a faction when you're all done. Meanwhile your other company can play the item that turned up in your drawing.

Variants:


Most of the variants to this deck depend on where you are going. The main two places are the north-west and the area around Mirkwood. Rivendell can allow trips round and around, as well as several factions that are hard to influence away. For lots and lots of cards to draw, check out Buhr Widu. You can draw 7 on your way there and 7 on the way back (Shadowfax anyone?). With Fog it becomes 8, as does Easterling Camp and Shrel-kain. This area boasts several easy factions to bring in (especially with Dain or Theodon) and unlimited items at Buhr Widu. Watch out for Dragons, though.

Compatible hazard portions:


If you're using Fog, make the most out of it. Drakes love site pathes full of wilderness. Wolves, spiders, and animals are also wilderness compatible (though avoid having Spider of the Morlat out and wanting resources in Mirkwood). Avoid long-events that will hurt you such as Long Winter and Morgul-night as well as enhancers for wilderness based attacks (so animals may not be the best idea). Again, avoid almost any kind of combo, as you will have trouble pulling it off. On the other hand, if you're trying to get a few unique cards for a combo, this is one good way to get to them.

Defenses:


Again, wilderness-based attacks. Drakes are serious Radagast threats. Play Lost in the Wilderness. Shadow of Mordor REALLY hurts Radagast. Alatar may be a good wizard, along with Smaug At Home. Long Winter (with protective Twilights) can be a good move as well. Angmar Arises and Reaching Shadow can hit Radagast and co. with undead and orcsRoadblock will slow down MP acquisition, but it won't stop him from drawing cards. Once Radagast has a few corruption points, a well placed Lure of Nature can win you the game.

 




Spelunking


The new strategy from Dark Minions involves getting a tough company and jumping down below the surface to gather items. This is not a deck for a fast game, as it takes a little while to get prepared for the plunge. Once you're down there, hold on until you are too tapped and wounded and rise again to journey to a haven.

Required cards:


You'll want all of the Under-deeps sites and their surface sites. You'll want lots of items, especially Aiglos and Dragon-helm. Swords of Gondolin are good preparation so you can actually get past the auto-attacks, though you might want to have a Hobbit or two to cancel the attacks and carry items. You'll want a large company so you can be assured of being able to tap two characters for items. To the Utmost Foundations is a good idea as well as every item you can get your hands on. Aiglos and Dragon-helm are perhaps the best items in the game. Free to Choose, A Friend or Three, and Fellowships are musts to avoid complete corruption. You might want Rescue Prisoners, as this is sort of an Indy Jones deck on steroids.

Helpful cards:


Into Dark Tunnels, Dwarven Light Stone, and Noldo Lantern can help you get where you want to go. Secret Entrance prevents all hazard creatures except the one allowed for auto-attack. Dwarven Ring of Durin's Tribe can allow you to rape and pillage one site several times (like the Gem Deeps) or let you go back up to the surface site you left tapped. Make sure you have some factions too, or your MPs will be in a bad state.

Variants:


Select a few to hit that are in an area you like anyway. If you are in the Gondor area anyway, why not grab an item at Glittering Caves, drop down to The Pukel-deeps, head over to The Gem-deeps, and back up to get Shadowfax at Dunharrow?

Compatible hazard strategies:


Do NOT use an orc or undead strategy, the long- and permanent-events will hurt you a lot in your auto-attacks. On the other hand, you have no site path other than the site type, so why not plop down The Will of Sauron and a Snowstorm? Long Winter? So what? Make sure you can take out the Long Winter so you have access to the surface too. Wolf/spider/animal won't mess with your auto-attacks either. And agents moving around won't take up too many sites you want to use.

Defenses:


There are several nasty cards against an Under-deeps deck. One of them is Durin's Bane. Ouch. Nameless Thing and a few other similar cards hurt pretty bad down there. The Will of Sauron can keep Drums, Earth-tremors, The Way is Shut, and The Black Enemy's Wrath in play. An undead or orc strategy will seize up your opponent's characters, as well as cards like Incite Minions (ouch!). Be wary with your creatures, as your opponent will be prepared for a fight. Unfortunately, Minions can't yet go down under, so you can't chase after the Enemies of Sauron and beat them up where they won't be found.

 




Hunting


This deck is the closest you can get to AD&D. Get a bunch of characters, buff them up, and go kill anything you can find. Dwarves are good at this, but other races can do it too. It can have several targets, too. You can chase the Dragons out of the north-east, or dare the Nazgul to come at you in Mordor.

Required cards:


Lots of big characters. Glorfindel, Beorn, Elrond, and Thranduil are the four biggest. Don't take anybody with less than 5 prowess unless they're female (and can kill Nazgul). Pack lots of weapons, Aiglos the best of them. Take Risky Blows as well as The Old Thrush (depending on what you're fighting). Lapse of Will can be good too. Fellowship and Potions of Prowess help here.

Helpful cards:


Alatar with The Hunt can be the best way to find creatures once your opponent has grown scared of your characters. If your opponent refuses to play his orcs on you, go hunting for auto-attacks. Get cool hoard items at dragon-lairs. Take on Barad-dur just for the thrill of it. Play your own At Home and kill it for King Under the Mountain/Returned Exiles. Go get three MPs from The Under-galleries. You may want to Twilight and Marvels Told some of the enhancers to make the creatures easier to kill. Then again, you get more style points for taking the tough guy route.

Variants:


The only variants here are where you hunt. Dragon country and Mordor are the best places, but if you think your opponent will be hitting somewhere else, go for it. You might also decide to go on a quest to rid all of Middle-earth of Orc (or Troll or Undead) auto-attacks.

Compatible hazard portions:


Dare your opponent to bring out creatures. Enhance them for him in advance and then take them out with Twilight and Marvels Told. Don't play with too many unique creatures, 'cause if your opponent kills them, you can't. Don't put Nazgul out as events, and try to avoid your own At Home dragons. Other than that, let your imagination run wild. If the whole table is full of hunting decks it can make for a great evening of fun, not caring who wins. And now with Lidless Eye and company vs. company combat, you can go hunting for each other!

Defenses:


If your opponent looks like he's getting too buff, don't just throw stuff at him. Tap characters first, and then try to pick off the weak(er) ones. Event based decks work well here, Corruption being a good one. Tapping him out for the site phase isn't too effective, as he's LOOKING for creatures to tap out against. You could also try to influence his characters away with Your Welcome is Doubtful and other agent cards.

 




Ring of Truth


Rings are best used as additions to an existing deck, but they can be a viable (if slow) strategy.

Required cards:


Lots of gold rings, as well as gold ring sites. As you get low, you'll need to use the dragon lairs. You'll also need sages and tests. If there was ever a deck that called for Gandalf, this is it. Saruman can also work by recycling Wizard's Tests. Oh, and don't forget the rings. Dwarven, Magic, or both. Lesser Ring is a good backup in case you botch a roll. Ringlore is nice too. Oh, and you'll need sages for all those tests.

Helpful cards:


You need to decide what sort of ring deck you're going for. The One Ring deserves a deck of its own, but you can also run Dwarven Ring decks, magic ring decks, or combine them. Dwarven Rings work best with Dwarves, but they are worth 4 MPs stored. And if you have a few non-corrupt Dwarves, give them a few heirlooms. Magic Rings are easier to deal with, though not as powerful. All told, you can get 45 MPs from magic rings and 42 MPs from Dwarven Rings, not to mention Lesser Rings and gold rings. Since this deck works best in longer games, why not head to Mount Doom with Into the Smoking Cone? You'll need factions or misc. points, but Lesser Rings, Dwarven Rings, and Magic Ring of Words give influence bonuses, so there's no problem there. Leaf Brooch can give itself up so you can keep a ring around and test it twice (that's right, this ring and this brooch turned out to be two Dwarven Rings!).

Variants:


Look like you'll do a One Ring dunk, but just look downhearted with magic and Lesser Rings. You can also use all your new influence to take out factions, characters, and whatever else comes by. Style points if you get a character with more than 10 rings on. Super extra style poitns if he makes a corruption check and survives.

Compatible hazard portions:


The only thing to watch out for is across the board corruption. Other than that, you can get a bunch of gold rings, plop down a Snowstorm, and test to your heart's delight. Since you're holding rings and tests in your hand waiting for the right time and cards, a big combo hazard strategy may be hard to pull off.

Defenses:


Corruption. This can hit a company at a haven (Lure of the Senses) or on the road (Lure of Nature). Item stealers can be good, though a company will likely drop a gold ring. The Ring's Betrayal can work well, but other than that, stick to your normal strategy.

 




Palantiri (and other sagacious cards)


Palantiri can give some nifty bonuses as well as some hefty MPs. They are a little hard to get out and corruption can be a problem, but you can be fairly safe from creatures.

Required cards:


As many Palantiri as possible. Lossadan Cairn is a good place to bring them out, as is The Stones. You also need Align Palantir or Magic Ring of Lore (more mobile but harder to get out). This is the deck for Saruman. If you need some more MPs, play with some info cards like Dreams of Lore (search for it with Palantir of Annuminas).

Helpful cards:


Corruption helpers are a must for all sages save Bilbo and maybe Saruman. With the info sites, play Look More Closely Later, grab a resource, tap Annuminas, and get another resource. If you're in for a long game, quest for Fate of the Ithil Stone (which helps to ease corruption). Elf-song can effectively nullify the corruption points from Align Palantir. And to get the most out of your palantiri (and sages), toss in a Weilded Twice or two.

Variants:


Grab the Palantiri, align them, and store 'em. They give lots of MPs and no CPs when they're stuck on a shelf in Rivendell. With all your scrying, you can check out the situation and go dive for the right card for the situation. Or you can be obnoxious in a multi player game by checking out what's coming up or what's in someone's hand and then blabbing it to other players. If you want to avoid the corruption, just play with cards like Look More Closely Later and Dreams of Lore.

Compatible hazard portions:


With Palantir of Orthanc you can recycle stuff, and since you can lean back in a haven, why not bring out The Will of Sauron? Most strategies have a use for that card, though watch out for The Balance of Things (and Ren the Unclean).

Defenses:


Again, corruption. Bane of the Ithil-stone is this deck's worst enemy. And while there will be a sage with Marvels Told or (luckily) using Palantir of Osgiliath, this can be a real thorn in the side of a Palantir deck. And while they're not going anywhere, pop up and influence them away, palantir and all. Which Might Be Lies can annoy Dreams of Lore too. And since they've got lots of sages, start arguments with Gnaw With Words.

 




Racial Decks


Each race has certain advantages and disadvantages. It can be fun to role-play decks based entirely around one race. They can also be fairly competitive.


Dunedain



Noble men with some elven blood, the main strength of the Dunedain lies in their ability to lead. Many factions give Dunedain good bonuses, and they count among their number Aragorn, perhaps the best non-wizard influencer of all.

Required cards:


As I said, factions. The factions in Gondor are good, but you can also get the Easterlings, Variags, and Southrons or you can get some of the ones in the north. The Anduril quest can be good in this deck, as can several other information cards, as sages are many amongst the Dunedain.

Helpful cards:


There aren't too many cards that help just dunedain, so you may want to just put in whatever works well with the rest of your card mix. A Horn of Anor is a good choice as a starting item. If you want to use Aragorn a lot, go with Return of the King, though you can do a dunedain deck well without him. You might want to use Await the Advent of Allies to bring in a character and then wait for the appropriate faction. This is one deck that can go without a wizard, especially with Saw Further and Deeper. Sun can help out, especially with Echo of All Joy.

Variants:


Go for items. Sure, Dunedain are good with factions, but they have some good fighters like Beretar, Imrahil, Boromir, and Aragorn. They also have few characters with negative corruption modifiers, allowing them to get a fair share of items. Their usually high prowess and bodies allow them to fight well too.

Compatible hazard strategies:


Dunedain aren't particularly susceptible to any particular strategies, so you can do pretty much whatever you want. You can do corruption with all the stops out pretty well. Agents, though, often want the same sites as the Dunedain, but other than that, go ahead.

Defenses:


Probably the best Dunedan defense is agents. There are lots of Gondorian agents as well as agents to take out other popular Dune Dan factions. Surion is a nice one here, as he also gets the faction bonuses for Dunedain. Slayers, Assassins, and Muster Disperses can also hurt a Dune Dan deck.

 






Dwarves



Dwarves love building and finely cut gems. They have lots of wealth hoarded in their halls and seven of their own rings. They are also pretty decent warriors, and even better drinkers. Dwarven decks are largely item-based, which can be a problem, as many of them have negative corruption modifiers.

Required cards:


You'll want some of the better (though more expensive) Dwarves. Thorin, Dain, Gimli, Gloin, Balin, and Thrain are all good. To flesh out the company, add some of the lesser Dwarves like Kili, Fili, Bifur, Bofur, Sneezy, Sleepy, and wait! Sorry. The Arkenstone, Durin's Axe, Book of Mazarbul, and maybe Mithril are good item choices. Go with several other items too. With all that corruption, Fellowships are a must, as well as A Friend or Three. Don't be afraid to tap in aid of a corrupt Dwarf. Magical Harp works well here too. You will want the Blue Mountain Dwarves and the Iron Hill Dwarves. The only other normal faction that gives Dwarves a plus is the Men of Dale Most Dwarves kick serious orc bootie, so go raid Moria, Carn Dum, Mount Gram, and Sarn Gorwing.

Helpful cards:


The Dwarves Are Upon You! is the best full company enhancer around. Depending on what you fight, you'll want Orcrist and Glamdring or maybe Wormsbane or Barrow-blade. If you're going for hoards, put in Returned Exiles and King Under the Mountain. An Unexpected Party can be a good choice and has a high role playing value. For more faction points, put in Musters, as there are no non-warrior Dwarves, though errata in effect on August 1, 1997 cuts back on the power of Muster. If you don't fear corruption, put in some Dwarven Rings and crank out the items. Radagast and Gandalf may be good wizard choices for corruption modifiers.

Variants:


Concentrate on a single spot. Bruce Mason (aka Farmer Maggott) played with a deck that used Quiet Lands and Rebuild the Town on Moria and then had Durin's Ring untapping the site. Occasional trips to The Under-gates also happened. You can concentrate on getting the items back that the dragons stole from the Dwarves. King Under the Mountain, Returned Exiles, and lots of hoard items are good here. You can also do a Hobbit-look alike, using An Unexpected Party and other cards found exclusively in The Hobbit. Check out the scenario in the Wizards Companion "The King Beneath the Mountains" which is also playable as a normal deck.

Compatible hazard strategies:


You might want to go with an orc strategy, as the Dwarves won't have too much trouble with their own medicine. Avoid dragon decks, though drake decks with Dragon Feuds can be good. Don't let The Balance of Things get out, and if you bring out Ren the Unclean, don't use him. Nazgul decks can be good, as there isn't too much Dwarven stuff where the Nazgul hurt. You might want to attack faction strategies with men/slayers and/or agents.

Defenses:


Corruption. While Lure of Nature doesn't work on Dwarves, all the others do. With all the items, a couple corruption checks and a Traitor can ruin their day. Undead may also work, though a Dwarf deck may actually be able to take on an undead attack and leave characters untapped. At Home, Ahunt, and basic dragon manifestations work well against Dwarves, though you run the risk of losing the MPs. If it looks like they'll kill it, use Sated Beast right before the last body check. And if a Dwarf player brings out an At Home dragon, Marvels Told it with all due haste to avoid the 10 MP swing from KUtM and RE.

 






Elves



Up through the third age, the Elves were largely the people running Middle-earth. Their long years makes them wise thinkers and worthy allies. They count many of the most influential people in their ranks. Like their aging, Elven decks tend to be fairly slow. They work well in three deck games, though they can also be effective in two deck.

Required cards:


There are two ways to go about an Elven deck, with high mind characters or with medium mind characters. The high mind decks try to get all three Elven Lords in their respective thrones, giving 3 additional cards. To help this, influence cards like Elf-stone, Emerald of Doriath, and Gold Belt of Lorien work well. Many of your MPs will come from characters, so get as much influence and characters as possible. Factions close to havens are good, especially the Elves of Lindon. With all the cards in your hand, go for combos like Anduril or, if you want to add Elesar to your deck, Army of the Dead. You can withstand a fight with Elrond, Cirdan, and Glorfindel in your company, but you can also sit back in a haven and let your sages test rings. Dreams of Lore seems like a good idea here too. Galadriel (with some Fireworks) can get all the Ent allies and hang out in Lorien, sitting on 11 MPs, plus 2 from Celeborn. The middle mind Elven decks use characters like Elladan, Elrohir, Gildor Inglorian, and Annalena. This can be an effective Indy Jones deck, and will need Musters for factions. With several rangers and very few negative corruption modifiers, this is a good item company.

Helpful cards:


Along with the slow Elven deck, you can make it more peaceful. Echo of All Joy on Elf-song is good role-playing. With Gates of Morning you can do well with The Evenstar and Clear Skies. You can include Gandalf and the three Elven Rings for role-playing, or Pallando to fit even more cards in your hand.

Variants:


Be fast and furious. You have few negative corruption modifiers, so grab lots of items. Glorfindel can take down those auto-attacks and Annalena can Thorough Search. Use Old Road or maybe Hour of Need. Galadriel decks can be interesting. Three Golden Hairs, Phial of Galadriel, Lorien items, all the Ents, and Anduin Vales factions. This is not particularly competive, but it is fun. Elves can also carry out Palantir decks pretty successfully, and in a long game can even pull off Fate of the Ithil-stone. Or for style points, play all three Elven Lords, Pallando, Emerald of the Mariner, and the Book of Mazarbul.

Compatible hazard portions:


While you're sitting around at a haven testing rings, why not bring out Long Winter and Snowstorm? As for creatures, see where your deck goes and don't enhance those auto-attacks. There aren't any specific hazard portions you should avoid, either, since Elves can deal with most stuff. If you're moving Galadriel around, why not mess up your opponent's healing and item gathering with the Balrog of Moria?

Defenses:


Elf decks are usually short on free influence, so use Call of Home and Muster Disperses. Call of the Sea can also be a nasty surprise. If you can take somebody prisoner it can really mess with their influence strategy, and if you can eliminate one of the three kings, your opponent gets -6 MPs. The Elven agents that can move to havens are good choices too, especially with Your Welcome is Doubtful.

 






Hobbits



Hobbits, lovable and fun, aren't particularly good fighters and prefer to stay close to home where they can enjoy their six meals a day, smokes in the afternoon, and pocket handkerchiefs. A hobbit usually gets called into service in a deck in a situation where an item with lots of corruption is needed. Hobbit only decks, though not serious competition in a tournament, can be fun to play and annoying to play against.

Required cards:


The typical Hobbit deck tries to be small and unobtrusive. They rely on Stealth, Concealment, Torque of Hues, and other cancellation cards. Start with four Hobbits for a company size of two. Sam Gamgee can play Ford, and once you get some rings you can have Magic Rings of Stealth and a Magic Ring of Nature on Sam. Include lots of items and burgle or cancel your way through the auto-attacks. Include a nice faction influencer for factions or let Frodo with diplomat cards take on factions like the Ents of Fangorn. Start with a Star-glass and you can cancel auto-attaks at several good item sites. Halfling Strength and Stealth help here, as does Tookish Blood.

Helpful cards:


You can go with a larger company and try to set up a Hobbitton metro area. Get as many Hobbits into play as possible (Hobbit-lore and the Red Book work well here). Take Earth of Galadriel's Orchard and grow a Mallorn. Mistress Lobelia can fetch Goldberry or Tom Bombadil. Play Bill the Pony and Hobbits (Bag End doesn't tap). Add The Rangers of the North and a few items and you never have to leave a small space of regions. Gandalf seems to fit in so well with this deck, if just for role-playing. Now if they had just left his ability from play testing that let him bring Hobbits into play at Rivendell... A Chance Meeting is a good choice, though. If you need something to fight a few strikes, go with a Noble Hound.

Variants:


Make a few VERY strong hobbits. Map to Mithril a Valiant Sword, and you've got a Hobbit with 6 prowess. You get the idea. You can also build a Hobbit-only One Ring deck. Give Bilbo or Frodo the Ring and cancel attacks with Torque of Hues, Magic Ring of Nature, and Fatty Bolger (the ultimate Hobbit deck card). You can even pull out the Ring, freak out your opponent, get a couple more MPs, and call the council. Or run a normal ring deck with Hobbits and make your opponent THINK you're going to pull The One. She'll sideboard One Ring defenses and keep them around. Look discouraged when you pull a Magic Ring.

Compatible hazard portions:


If there was ever a deck where you want The Will of Sauron and The Balance of Things, this is it. Since Hobbit decks tend to center around Rivendell, put in some agents. You don't get too many big MP turns, so slow your opponent down with roadblock strategies.

Defenses:


How can you stop a Hobbit deck? Corruption doesn't work and they'll cancel any creature you throw at them (though Searching Eye or Two or Three Tribes Present can help here). Fortunately, Samwise is often the only ranger in a Hobbit deck, so roadblock works fairly well. Play Call of Home on a fully laden Hobbit after he's tapped Bag End. Aside from One Ring paranoia cards and Lobelia Sackville-Baggins, the best hope you have is that your opponent won't get as many MPs as you due to the types of MPs Hobbits have a chance at. Plus, with all those cancellation cards, the player won't have room for many MPs.

 






Men



Though the Dunedain and the Elves ruled Middle-earth for many years, it was not without the help of Men. Men, though short-lived, are tough and valiant warriors. Most of the great armies of Middle-earth are made of mostly Men. Men can easily be corrupted into Sauron's service, but when you can get Men to ally with you, you will seldom be sorry. Most of the factions and agents and a large number of the characters as well as a few hazard creatures in this game are men. They have some drawbacks, but they are also pretty strong.

Required cards:


There aren't any cards that you HAVE to have to run a good man deck. You will probably want at least one character from Edoras, probably Theodon (with a shield) or Eowyn. Beorn is another good character as is Peath. You'll want some of the man factions like Men of Dorwinion, Men of Northern Rhovanion, et al. Dain is also a nice Man influence machine, though he's not really a man. One drawback to Men is their low bodies. To this end you may want to start with Shields of Iron-bound Ash and get Hauberks of Bright Mail or even use Miruvor.

Helpful cards:


Men can manage a fairly even balance between factions and items, though the factions are often easy to influence away. To protect you might want agent defense cards like Withdrawn to Mordor and I Know Much About You. Red Arrow can help out your influence situation, and with easy factions you might want Hour of Need (Peath with a Lordly Presence (Ladily Prescence?) is a good candidate). Gamling the Old will gladly take anything you need to dish out. Hama packs plenty of prowess and fits under many character's DI. Sun is a nice way to boost your prowess. As far as wizards, Radagast is a nice choice, though any of them can come in at Rivendell, so it's up to you.

Variants:


Concentrate on one sort of Man. Make a deck that's based around the Rohirrim. Start with Theodon, Erkenbrad, Eomer, Gamling, and Hama. Bring in Eowyn with Helm of Her Secrecy. Take Shadowfax as an ally and influence in the Riders of Rohan. For items, get Red Arrow and Great Shield of Rohan. Or make an all female deck with Peath, Eowyn, Galva, Voteli, Vygavril, etc. Hope your opponent plays a Nazgul deck.

Compatible hazard portions:


Men decks work well with several different hazard strategies. For role playing, you can go with Man agents and Men creatures (Rank Upon Rank and Thirce Outnumbered). It was unfortunately ruled that Sun only affects men characters (which may help Lidless Eye companies a lot), but not attacks. You might also want to go with a corruption deck, as that won't make body checks more likely on your own characters.

Defenses:


Since it's easy to influence Man factions in, it's pretty easy to influence them away. There are several agents in the east, one of the best man spots. Good Sense Revolts aught to do the trick. You can probably influence them away with your own wizard or other high-influence character. Many man factions are duplicated in Lidless Eye, so a minion company may be going to influence the factions away anyway. If you anticipate a Man hazard strategy, pack Dark Quarrels, Trickery, and Token of Goodwill. Take some hazard creatures that can choose defenders so you can pick off the low-bodied Men. Also, Wormtongue can single-handedly take out an Edoras company.


 




Area Specific Decks


The best way to get MPs fast is to center them in one geographic area, so everything is just one or two turns away. Aside from easy access, specific areas usually have similar resources playable there and similar region types. They also have a couple agents that can hit most of your sites with ease, but that's life. One benefit of regional decks is they free up the rest of your sites for agents and prisoners.


Rivendell



This deck starts where everybody else does and stays there. In the wilderness around Rivendell you can find all sorts of nice things.

Required cards:


You can grab items from Moria, Goblin Gate, Ost-in-Edhil, Barrow-dows, Ruined Signal Tower, and Lossadan Cairn. Just outside of the wilderness lie Mount Gram, Carn Dum, Zarak Dum, Gladden Fields, and Isles of the Dead that Live. You can bring in a plethora of factions like Blue Mountain Dwarves, Rangers of the North, Lossoth, Dunlendings, and even the Hobbits and Hillmen.

Helpful cards:


Radagast, Ford, Fair Travels in Wilderness, and other Wilderness-friendly cards work well here. You can get information at Weathertop and Dimril Dale. You might want some Fireworks to get as much as you can from Bag End, Bree, or Old Forest. Tom Bombadil can be left in Rivendell with a low-mind character to protect your companies. Elrond and Vilya in Rivendell can be a nice advantage, if you can spare the GI.

Variants:


This is the main area for Indy Jones as well as Hobbits. There's also A LOT of minor items available (Tharbad anyone?), so why not make that obscure strategy work with Armory and Cup of Farewell.

Compatible hazard portions:


Aside from Scorba, you can't be hit by many dragons, so go ahead and send some Ahunt. It'll be hard for you to get hit with orcs (and there are plenty of orc-less sites here), so play them (avoid Angmar Arises). Ditto with undead. With all your major items, though, watch out for Scorba at Home (kill him if necessary).

Defenses:


There are several cards that can hit a company on its way out of Rivendell. Scorba Ahunt is one, Dunlending Raiders and Angmar Arises are some others. Also, take advantage of the wilderness. Play with drakesWolves, spiders, and animals can also hit wilderness pretty hard. And a Rivendell company will be badly hampered by Snowstorm and Long Winter.

 






Gondor



Long the home of the Dunedain, they have ruled this safe land for many years. Gondor went not without attack from the Enemy, so there are many armies south of the White Mountains and north of the sea.

Required cards:


This will be largely a faction deck, though it has its share of items. You'll need one good influence Dunadan (Aragorn, Adrazar, Imrahil, etc.) and the Men of ______ (fill in the region). Your items sites are Isengard, Glittering Caves, The Stones, Tolfalas, and a couple dangerous ones. Grab the major items and hit it!

Helpful cards:


You'll want something to deal with the Slayers, Assassins, and other mannish creatures. Fair Travels in Free-domains/Border-holds can be a good move. White Mountians (second ability) can be good too. To actually deal with the Slayers, play with I Know Much About You. That card can also stop the many Gondorian agents from doing too much damage. Sentinels of Numenor (along with Choice of Luthien/Arwen/Aragorn/Return of the King) is the best way to go about the factions. You can seriously load up on major items at two of the safest under-deeps sites, Gem-deeps and Pukel-deeps.

Variants:


The basic Gondor strategy is pretty common, so why not give it a little variant. For quite a while, I used a deck based around Minas Tirith. The heart of it was Bilbo at Minas Tirith using the Palantir of Minas Tirith and growing The White Tree while Aragorn and a few others went out to gather the Easterlings, Southrons, and Variags along with a few other items and factions. This deck can get a LOT of MPs and pretty quickly too. With Amon Hen, Stone-circle, and Isle of the Ulond you might want to pack a bunch of information (and Look More Closely Later).

Compatible hazard portions:


Go ahead and play dragons, they won't hurt you. Angmar Arises and Reaching Shadow won't touch you either. You've got mostly factions, so you can go with corruption, auto-attack enhancement, or whatever. Feel free to move agents and take prisoners in any of the northern regions. You don't do much wilderness, so you can play with Snowstorm, Long Winter, Foul Fumes, and Will of Sauron.

Defences:


Your opponent will be around generally safe areas. Hit him with Slayers, Assassins, Pick-pockets, Thieves, as well as some of the Gondorian agents. Your own Sentinels of Numenor can hurt him, as can Fell Winter. Muster Disperses can take out a faction and thus Sentinels of Numenor. Or send your own character through Gondor, taking out one faction per turn.

 






Up North



One interesting geographic deck heads around the north, getting factions near Rivendell and items off in dragon country.

Required cards:


You'll want quite a few items, largely hoard. As for factions, the Blue Mountain Dwarves, Lossoth, The Great Eagles, Iron Hill Dwarves and Wood- elves. Make sure you've got a buff company, as you will be heading through shadow-lands, a dark-domain, and dragon regions.

Helpful cards:


Forod can make movement easier and safer. Add Ford to make hardly anything playable on you. Sated Beast and Dragon Feuds can help your fights with dragons. You'll want a fairly large company to deal with the auto-attacks (and people like Fram Framson), so pack Fellowships too. You might want a Hobbit along to take care of the bulky items.

Variants:


This deck is actually sort of a variant of north-west and north- east decks. I decided to try it out and it worked surprisingly well with several big characters, though in solitaire it got MURDERED by its own Drake hazard portion. You can get the Middle-earth Role Playing source book The Northern Wastes, which has some CCG scenarios, to add to this deck.

Compatible hazard portions:


Avoid playing with your own dragons, as that could shoot you in the foot. You're not in the way of many agents, so this may be a good opportunity there. Drakes might be a good idea for Dragon Feuds. This is another deck with pretty free range on hazards.

Defenses:


One word: dragons. Ahunt, At Home, or basic, they can seize this deck up. Watch out after a while, because Fram might come at you with Wormsbane. You can also hit with several of the nastier drakes like True Cold Drake and Cave Worm. Long Winter and Fell Winter seem like they should hurt this deck more, but they don't.

 






Lorien/Mirkwood



There's quite a bit of interesting stuff in the area right around Lorien. One of the biggest is Mirkwood, but Moria is also pretty close, as is Dead Marshes.

Required cards:


For factions you'll need the Beornings, Great Ealgles, Woodmen, Wood-elves, and the Riders of Rohan. You've got a pretty good choice of items from Moria, Dead Marshes, Sarn Gorwing, Bandit Lair, Isengard, Glittering Caves, and even Dol Guldur. You'll also want an Ent ally.

Helpful cards:


Galadriel can be a good card here, sitting on an Ent in Lorien giving out some gifts. Radagst's home is in here and there are plenty of wildenress regions here too. Cup of Farewell and Hermit's Hill can be a nice combo. Fireworks can give you several Ent allies all at once (not to mention some Ent-draughts).

Variants:


Due to the low number of MPs in Lorien's immediate viscinity, this deck doesn't have too many variants. One fellow at Inquest built an interesting deck that didn't leave Wold and Foothills. It got items from Lorien and made major items at Hermit's Hill. Galadriel brought in factions with Hour of Need and Old Road, and Ents can be Here, There, or Yonder at Hermit's Hill.

Compatible hazard portions:


Orc enhancements won't hurt your auto-attacks too much. Corruption isn't too much of a problem either. Wolf/spider/animal can work if you leave out Spider of the Morlat. This deck isn't too competitive (but fun nonetheless), so come up with some fun hazards.

Defences:


Spider of the Morlat is a good start to slowing this deck down. It's also hit by both Foul Fumes and Long Winter, so roadblock can work wonders. There's also several border-lands, so let loose with the Slayers. Some Ahunt dragons hit parts of Mirkwood, too.

 






Dragon Country



Get a buff character or two and head up to raid some dragon lairs. If you're lucky, you might have a worm trophy to take home when you're done.

Required cards:


Lots of hoard items. Emerald of the Mariner is a nice one, as is Magical Harp for general items. For combat, grab a Wizard's Staff and a couple Valiant Swords. To get these items, you should start with either Glorfindel, Beorn, Thranduil, or Elrond. Bring Fram Framson in when possible and give someone Wormsbane. You'll need some factions like the Iron Hill Dwarves, Men of Dale, Men of Lake-town, etc.

Helpful cards:


If you are a little timid, you'll want Fast Asleep, Sated Beast, and Dragon Feuds. King Under the Mountain and Returned Exiles can be a nice 10 MPs too. Corruption helpers may be a good idea. Bounty of the Hoard can yeild two very nice items from one shot at a dragon.

Variants:


Look like you want to hit the dragons, but duck around it. Visit Dorwinion, Iron Hills, Southern and Northern Rhovanion, Woodland Realm, and Anduin Vales. You'll look like a chicken, but can still get fried by dragons. I didn't say it was a GOOD variant... This deck can also have a lot in common with a Dwarf deck.

Compatible hazard portions:


Anthing but dragons. Nazgul are good, as are drakes for Dragon Feuds (or just to say your deck is 75% from MetD). You're not around Rivendell, so you can hit with Angmar Arises, and Slayers are always nice. Lay off Long Winter and Foul Fumes, though, unless you enjoy shutting yourself down.

Defences:


Dragons. At Home dragons, Ahunt Dragons, whatever. If you can plop down four Ahunt dragons in one turn, your opponent MAY get lucky and get a few MPs from one, but you will probably knock out more MPs than that. Will of Sauron makes them permanent (and that is a SCARY thought). Corruption can also hit hard with all those hoard items. Arouse, Awaken, and Incite Minions can be really nasty, especially when there's an At Home Dragon lurking about.

 






Rhun



This game (as well as most of Tolkien's writing) takes place in just the north-west corner of Middle-earth. To the east are many men that are wild and bizzare. Near the Sea of Rhun (the easternmost extent of MECCG) live many wary groups of Men.

Required cards:


This deck hits about five regions, plus a few trips to Lorien. Your factions are the Men of Dale, Dorwinion, Lake-town, Norhtern Rhovanion, the Iron Hill Dwarves, and the Easterlings. You can get all the major items you want from Buhr Widu (or Sarn Gorwing if you must). In fact, this deck is almost the two deck equivalant of Indy Jones. Faction, Buhr Widu. Faction, Buhr Widu. Faction, Buhr Widu. Trip to Lorien to store items, and back at it. Buhr Widu has a strong attack, so you'll want someone like Beorn with a Black Arrow to take it down all the time.

Helpful cards:


Pack some dragon defenses, as the Ahunts and some of the basic manifestations can hit you. If you feel strong, take on The Lonely Mountain. Also look out for agents, as there are several in this area and it's not hard to beat an influence number of 6 or 7. Radagast is a good wizard here for speedy drawing (and Buhr Widu/Lorien trips are SO fun). Dain may be a good choice for a faction influencer. You'll want Here, There, or Yonder for allies unless you like Roac the (weak) Raven or Noble Hound. The Rhun card almost makes movement here cool, but only if you want to add the Variags of Khand.

Variants:


This is just about the only way to carry out this area. With too much change it becomes a dragon deck or a Mordor deck.

Compatible hazard strategies:


This was my kick butt deck for a while, and it used spiders, animals, and wolves. They are fast and have some good enhancements. Due to the regions you visit, you manage to avoid the range of Spider of the Morlat (through logic that only works to make things easier). Don't enhance orcs and trolls at all, as Buhr Widu will become a serious problem (Redoubled Force makes it 4@12). Undead can work, though, if you don't use Reaching Shadow. Agents can hit Gondor and Rivendell, the two most frequent geographic regions, and are also pretty fast hand wise.

Defenses:


Ahunt dragons can hurt this deck, as can wilderness based attack. There are plenty of agents that hit the area, and the factions are easy to influence away (most having a required roll of 6 or 7).

 






Mordor



...in the darknes bind them
In the land of Mordor where shadows lie.

This is a deck for a company who really thinks they're tough but doesn't want to spend all its time underground. On the plus side, it has access to lots of items and isn't hurt much by Snowstorm, but on the minus, the company may not live to tell about it. This may be a good deck if you are anticipating a hazard attack of mostly wilderness. In other words, this deck breaks the mold of competition and runs through the opponent's legs, as it were.

Required cards:


You'll want as many weapons as you can get your hands on. A few Nazgul defenders are good too. You'll be getting items from Minas Morgul, Shelob's Lair, Cirith Ungol, Barad-dur, Urtsulu Nurn, and maybe The Under-courts and The Under-galleries. Keep your Musters handy for the Easterlings, Variags, and Southrons. And pack a few miscleaneous combat cards like Risky Blow. And with Lidless Eye out now, you may want some cards to help you when you get attacked on the minions' home turf. Or you might want to sock it to them when they're just building up. The orc-fighters would LOVE to pick on an overt company going to Cirith Ungol...

Helpful cards:


Dark Quarrels can allow you to keep enough people untapped for the site phase. You may want to do a super Indiana Jones deck and add Thorough Search and Rescue Prisoners. Healing Herbs and other healing cards are good ideas too. You'll want corruption helpers like Free to Choose, and you may want to go with as many characters as possible, making A Friend or Three a nice card. You might want to go without a wizard, just so he can't get eliminated from a nasty attack. Saw Further and Deeper allows you another nice warrior.

Variants:


You can either hide from trouble with cancelation cards or you can seek it, playing like a real man (or a moron, depending on point of view). You might also want to have someone like Alatar run around Gondor getting factions while others grab some items. While you're there you might want to play Fate of the Ithil Stone or Into the Smoking Cone, just to be cool. Extra style points if you tap every site in Mordor (save Mount Doom and Morannon) without having a character get eliminated.

Compatible hazard strategies:


You'll want to avoid Doors of Night, as that can bring you some serious damage. Man based decks can do this well, as can agentscorruption, and roadblock, though if Doors and the Will of Sauron come out, Long Winter and Foul Fumes will suck for you. If you bring out Nazgul to let Khamul do his thing, they can't attack you (excepting Out of the Black Sky).

Defences:


Nazgul are good, as are OrcsUndead, and other shadow-based attacks. If you have a Nazgul or two to help your normal strategy (Dwar of Waw, Ren the Unclean, or Uvatha the Horseman, for instance), you might want to attack instead. Foul Fumes can be baaaad, as can normal corruption.