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Deck Building 101: Exploring Mono Sphere (Leadership)

by on January 31, 2013

Sphere_Leadership-150x150

After a short break, the Deck Building 101 series continues. Part 1 explained the different deck abilities present in the game, while Part 2 built a sample deck using only Core Set cards. The next few articles in this series are going to begin exploring deck-building using the entire card pool, with a focus on mono-sphere creations. There should be a little something for everyone. For new players, even if you don’t own all the available cards, thinking about mono sphere possibilities and deck building considerations will hopefully still be helpful. For more experienced players, this will be a chance to think about and talk about a type of deck that is currently not that common.

For much of the life of this game, mono-sphere decks, at least those that meet the 50-card minimum, have not been viable, simply because the card pool was too limited. It was necessary to create dual-sphere or tri-sphere decks to avoid having to include “filler” cards and to ensure that the best cards were being used. However, the card pool has reached a size and potency that there are enough strong ally, attachment, and event choices in each sphere to build effective mono-sphere decks. Despite that fact, if you peruse the various deck lists that float around forums and Card Game DB, you will see that the overwhelming majority use at least 2 or 3 spheres. The reason for this relates to the deck abilities I talked about in the first article of this series. Each sphere specializes in just a few of these abilities, meaning that you end up having to include cards from a few different spheres if you want a balanced deck. Mono-sphere invites the danger of being too specialized and thus having weaknesses that can be brutally exposed by encounter decks. Still, I think there are ways of compensating for this imbalance, and indeed the game seems to be headed a bit in this direction, judging by recent FFG previews.

In each of these mono-sphere articles, I will build a deck consisting entirely of cards from one sphere. Eventually, I will investigate tri-sphere (and dual-sphere) decks as well, but for the near future, there will be only one sphere to rule them all! Note that these will be true mono-sphere decks; there will be no splashing of songs to sneak in other spheres, although you can certainly take my builds and alter them to accomodate that technique if you so choose. My main purpose here is to really flesh out and test the character and strengths/weaknesses of each sphere, while proving the viability of mono-sphere decks. This first article will focus on Leadership.

Leadership is the sphere that represents inspiration, guidance, and well…leadership. To quote from the rulebook:

The sphere of Leadership emphasizes the charismatic and inspirational influence of a hero, and that hero’s potential to lead, inspire, and command both allies and other heroes alike.

In game terms, its primary deck abilities are resource generation and readying effects. However, it is also known as possibly the most balanced of all the spheres, being able to do a little bit of everything, though not quite at the same level of expertise as the other spheres. For example, Fresh Tracks is a Leadership event that serves as a form of encounter deck manipulation in that it lets you deal 1 damage to a revealed enemy and prevent it from engaging players for one turn. This is typically a deck ability that you might find in the Lore sphere, and Fresh Tracks is really the lovechild of Expecting Mischief and Ranger Spikes. Another example is Valiant Sacrifice, which gives Leadership a little bit of card draw, but it is more conditional and less powerful than Lore’s card draw effects. With that in mind, Leadership should theoretically be the most suited for mono-sphere play, since it can include a wider range of deck abilities than the other spheres. Will this play out in practice? Read on and find out.

Initial Deck Planning

What I have in mind for these mono-spere decks is two things. One, I want to emphasize the natural strengths of the sphere. Two, I want to cover for the major weaknesses in either a direct or indirect fashion. Taking a look at my previous Deck Abilities article, which will come in handy here, I see that Leadership is especially strong in resource generation. It also has a pretty decent specialization in readying effects, along with a touch of willpower boosting. These will therefore be the main abilities for this mono-sphere deck. I also know that it is weak in a few major areas: card drawtreachery cancellation, and threat management. These are three key abilities that you usually want to have in order to be successful, so I will be looking to include them in some form.

Heroes

One restriction that immediately presents itself when building mono-sphere decks is that your selection of heroes is far more limited than when building dual- or tri-sphere decks, but there are still some choices to be made. To begin, I would really like a hero that generates resources, as that is the key theodredfocus for this deck. Who’s going to be making it rain tokens for my company of heroes? There are 3 main options: Theodred, Gloin, and Thorin Oakenshield. If I pair Gloin and Thorin together, I can go the full Dwarf route and include Dain. Hero selection done. Or I can choose to go with Theodred and leave the Dwarves aside. I decide to go with Theodred, giving my disappointed Dwarf friends their marching orders, for a few reasons:

1) I love me some Dwarf decks, but I feel that you get the best benefits and synergies when you can combine Dwarves from multiple spheres. There are some Dwarf allies and cards in the Leadership sphere, but not enough to really make it worthwhile to run the Dain/Gloin/Thorin combination with a starting threat of 32.

2) Both Gloin’s and Thorin’s resource generation are too conditional for my tastes. I want my resource generation engine going from turn one. Don’t get me wrong, Thorin can be extremely powerful in a dual- or tri-sphere Dwarf deck, when you can pump out Dwarven allies fairly quickly to meet his threshold of 5. However, I’m less certain of accomplishing that with only Brok Ironfist (too expensive), Fili (unique), Longbeard Elder, and Longbeard Orc-Slayer as Dwarven options. Gloin requires damage to generate resources, and without the benefits of healing or a Citadel Plate from Tactics, that is not reliable enough for my liking.

3) Although resource generation is a focus of this deck, Leadership does include other ways to make this happen besides heroes. I would rather only set aside 1 hero for this purpose instead of 2, thus leaving me space to include some other abilities and creating a more balanced deck.

With this in mind, Theodred takes his place as my first hero, and will provide a reliable 1 resource each turn, every time he quests. He therefore will be my designated quester, and I’m happy that one role is filled. I don’t like his laughable willpower of 1, so I will be looking to include some willpower boosting attachments or events in my deck.

At this point, I need an attacking and defending hero at minimum, preferable with some readying effects. This is another of the abilities on my most wanted list, and will help compensate for the lack of Unexpected Courage, which will be sorely missed. Immediately Core Aragorn leaps out as an obvious next choice. He can ready after questing for the cost of just 1 resource, which should be chump change for a mono-sphere Leadership deck. His defense of 2 and hit points of 5 means he can serve as a fairly hearty defender, while being able to contribute to questing as well to supplement Theodred’s willpower. Even better, the two heroes work perfectly in tandem, with Theodred able to throw a resource token Aragorn’s way each turn so that he can use his ability. His threat of 12 is not ideal, but an acceptable cost for his overall utility.

There are only a few choices left for the third hero, and this is where the lack of choice in mono-sphere is really felt. I would prefer a low-threat hero, as currently I sit at a starting level of 20. Ruling out the 3 Dwarves, I only have a few choices left: Boromir, Prince ImrahilPrince Imrahil, and Elrohir. Elrohir doesn’t make sense to include, as he needs his Tactics brother in play to be effective. Boromir should probably ride the bench for this one as well, as I won’t be able to include enough Gondor allies to make his inclusion worthwhile. That leaves Prince Imrahil. His threat of 11 would put me at a starting threat of 31, which attracts far more attention than I would like. Still, I’m pretty happy to include Imrahil. He is one of my favorite heroes, sports yet another readying effect that will be easily activated through the sacrifice of cheap allies like Snowbourn Scout or the use of Sneak Attack, and has well-rounded stats. The beauty of this hero set-up is that I will be able to quest with all three heroes and still have two of them (Aragorn and Imrahil) available for attacking or defending. As such, the roles my heroes will play will be much more fluid than normal. This kind of dynamism and balance makes me excited, and it means I also won’t miss Unexpected Courage…much.

Allies

Now that it’s time to choose allies, I’m first going to go shopping for the deck abilities I want: resource generationreadying, and player deck manipulation.

Strangely enough, Leadership does not provide any allies that create resources directly, likely because that would be a bit overpowered. However, I will take the opportunity to include a handy new ally introduced by the Heirs of Numenor box: Envoy of Pelargir. The Envoy directly produces one resource for a Gondor or Noble hero, and it just so happens that all three of my heroes are Nobles. However, keep in mind that the Envoy costs 2 resources to play, so essentially that 1 resource it generates equates to a discount off the cost of playing it. An essentially 1 cost ally, she provides me with 1 willpower and 1 attack, and can serve as a chump blocker when necessary. I also can use the Envoy as a form of resource manipulation, as if I am playing this deck with another deck that includes a Gondor or Noble hero, I can give them the resource instead of one of my own heroes. 3 copies of the Envoy will hopefully make sure that she makes an appearance or two in each game, although my deck will not fall apart without her. The one other resource manipulating ally, Errand-rider, is a possibility, but as I am only playing mono-sphere, there won’t be much need to transfer resources between my heroes. I’ll let Errand-rider find work elsewhere.

There are a few Leadership allies that can give me willpower boosting effects. Faramir is the quintessential choice in this department, as his ability to give each committed character a +1 willpower boost can be clutch. One of the useful things about Faramir is you can keep him ready until after staging is complete, choosing to use his ability only if it is necessary to make the progress you want. If you don’t need him for that purpose, his 2 defense and 3 hit points make him a useful defender. I decide to include 2 copies of Faramir (I would include 3, but he is unique, and I don’t want too many multiples of unique characters clogging up my hand). Also in this realm of willpower boosting is the Longbeard Elder. His ability, while not strictly a boost to willpower, does contribute to questing in the form of 1 progress token. However, because of a lack of scrying effects, most of the time I will choose not to activate his response (remember, responses are always optional) and be happy to benefit from his 2 willpower. Even without Dain in play, this is very good, and he can contribute a bit to attacking and defending (1 point of each) if needed. Not being unique, I will throw 3 copies in my deck.

As for my final deck ability focus, no allies provide readying effects, so I’ll move on from here, knowing that Aragorn/Imrahil, as well as attachments erestorand events, will cover this ground well. Instead, I’ll start to compensate for some of Leadership’s weaknesses. As far as card draw goes, Erestor allows me to draw 1 card at the cost of discarding 1 from my hand. I can use this power either to get rid of any unique duplicates in my hand or sacrifice cards that are not immediately useful in order to hopefully cycle through my deck more quickly and find what I really need. At a cost of 4 resources, Erestor is usually too expensive to include in my dual- and tri-sphere decks, but here resources aren’t really an issue. One thing I like about his ability is that it doesn’t require him to exhaust, so he can contribute to questing each turn and still give me card draw (and his willpower of 2 makes this a worthwhile endeavor). As a unique character, I’ll include 2 copies of Erestor.

As for other weaknesses of the deck, unfortunately no allies provide treachery cancellation, so that is off the table. As far as threat management is concerned, I have one option that is not creative, but is tried and true: the grey wizard himself, Gandalf. Combined with the Leadership event, Sneak Attack, I should do decently as far as managing my threat is concerned.

Now it’s time to round out my allies with some other deck abilities, as well as make sure that I have some bodies that can help me out in combat when necessary. At this point, I have 13 allies included, and I want to aim for about 20-25 to get a good ratio going. Here’s a breakdown of the rest of my ally selection:

* 3 copies of Dunedain Watcher. She is well-balanced as far as stats are concerned (1 willpower, attack, and defense along with 2 hit points). More importantly she compensates for the lack of Hasty Stroke. While that Spirit event is the cheapest and easiest way to cancel nasty shadows, Dunedain Watcher provides a Leadership alternative. It is definitely more costly (discarding an ally that costs 3 resources to play) but in the absence of alternatives, I will rely on the Watcher to save my skin from the fire. The nice thing is she doesn’t need to be ready to use her ability, so she can participate in questing or combat and still be able to cancel a shadow. Including this ally gives me peace of mind that another weak spot of my deck is covered.

* 3 copies of Snowbourn Scout. This little guy gives me a dab of location management. While not game-changing by any means, the 1 progress token provided by a Scout can be put on any location in play, which can come in handy for a deck that lacks other means of handling locations. More than anything though, these guys are here to serve as cheap chump blockers, preserving my more important allies and readying Prince Imrahil when they die.

* 3 copies of Longbeard Orc Slayer. He’s here to provide brawn, both through a bit of direct damage to orc enemies when he enters play, and by possessing an attacklongbeard orc value of 2, which will be the highest of all my allies (except Gandalf of course). It will be the Orc Slayers, together with Aragorn and Imrahil, that will be handling combat duties. I also like that they have 3 hit points and are not unique. Again, this is an ally that, because of its high cost (4 resources), I often don’t include in dual- or tri-sphere decks. However, this is one of the benefits of a mono-sphere deck: resources become less of an issue (especially for Leadership).

* 2 copies of Fili. This may seem like an odd choice as I can’t use his ability (fetching Kili, who is of the Spirit sphere) in a mono-sphere deck. I could just put Kili in, without including any Spirit resources, and still reliably use Fili’s ability to good effect (I’ve done this before and it works fairly well). However, keeping things truly mono, I will refrain. Mainly I choose Fili because he is well-balanced (1 each of the main stats with 2 hit points). He makes the cut over Silverlode Archer because he is sturdier and over Son of Arnor because he can add to questing as well as combat. However, note that for quests that really focus on combat or feature enemies that can only be damaged by ranged characters, I will substitute Silverlode Archer for Fili.

I now have 24 allies, and my deck looks like this so far:

Hero (3)
Prince Imrahil (AJtR) 
Aragorn (Core) 
Theodred (Core) 

Ally (24)
Dunedain Watcher (TDM) x3
Envoy of Pelargir (HON) x3
Erestor (TLD) x2
Faramir (Core) x2
Longbeard Elder (FoS) x3
Snowbourn Scout (Core) x3
Fili (OHaUH) x2
Longbeard Orc Slayer (Core) x3
Gandalf (Core) x3

Attachments

Attachments and resource generation can only mean one thing: Steward of Gondor. 3 copies, no question. Since all 3 heroes are from the same sphere, it doesn’t matter too much who I choose to attach it to, but generally I will plan on putting the Steward on Aragorn so he always has resources to power his ability.

Readying can easily be supplemented with Cram. This 0-cost attachment is basically a one-shot Unexpected Courage that can be attached to any hero. Generally, Cram will be used to give additional actions to Aragorn or Imrahil (Theodred’s stats are too low to make it worthwhile), or, if playing with another deck, it can be sent across the board. 3 copies is a must since this is a disposable and non-unique item. sword that was brokenAs far as willpower boosting is concerned, Leadership has two great attachments for that purpose. Celebrian’s Stone grants a permanent willpower boost of 2 to one hero. Theodred is a good choice for this attachment, as I know I will be questing with him every single turn. Suddenly, he transforms from a 1 willpower also-ran to a 3 willpower powerhouse. The Stone does grant a special power if attached to Aragorn (granting him a Spirit icon), but since I’m not using any Spirit cards, that ability is moot. Finally, Sword that was Broken is an amazing attachment. Seriously, I can’t stress its awesomeness enough. Once I attach it to Aragorn, all my characters (including Aragorn himself) will have a permanent willpower boost of 1. I don’t need to exhaust anyone or pay resources to activate this ability, it just works passively as soon as it enters play. Although both the Stone and Sword are unique, I will include 2 copies of the Stone and 3 of the Sword to give the best chance of both being in play (I would like 3 of the Stone, but I’m building with 2 core sets). If I manage to put both out into play, I can commit all 3 of my heroes for a base total of 10 willpower each turn, while still having Aragorn and Imrahil available for combat. Add Faramir and a few Longbeard Elders to the mix and this deck can easily become a questing machine.

For the final attachment, I will include 3 copies of Dunedain Warning, which is meant to cover another weakness of my deck. The two likely defending heroes, Aragorn and Imrahil, have defense values of 2, which is decent, but I would really like to boost that number up to 3 or 4. This is especially necessary since I won’t be able to use A Burning Brand to avoid shadows and won’t have healing effects. As for the other Dunedain attachments, I would have loved to include some Dunedain Marks to boost Aragorn or Imrahil’s attack values, but, sitting at 14 attachments, I would rather leave room to include some valuable Leadership events. I will make do without.

Here’s my deck list so far:

Hero (3)
Prince Imrahil (AJtR) 
Aragorn (Core) 
Theodred (Core) 

Ally (24)
Dunedain Watcher (TDM) x3
Envoy of Pelargir (HON) x3
Erestor (TLD) x2
Faramir (Core) x2
Longbeard Elder (FoS) x3
Snowbourn Scout (Core) x3
Fili (OHaUH) x2
Longbeard Orc Slayer (Core) x3
Gandalf (Core) x3

Attachment (14)
Celebrian’s Stone (Core) x2
Cram (OHaUH) x3
Dunedain Warning (CatC) x3
Sword that was Broken (TWitW) x3
Steward of Gondor (Core) x3

Events

I am pretty happy with the resource generationreadying, and willpower boosting I have been able to include in my deck, so I will be using events to balance out my deck and provide a bit more coverage for weaknesses. Here’s a quick rundown:

* 3 copies of A Very Good Tale. I love this card to no end, and although I often use it in Dwarf swarm decks, it can find a place in almost any deck. A Very Good Tale comes into play because even though I will be generating lots of resources, many of my allies are on the expensive side. A Very Good Tale will let me pump out allies much quicker. I just have to make sure that the 2 allies I exhaust to activate this power are 3 or 4 cost at minimum so that I don’t end up pulling out allies that I can’t put into play.

* 3 copies of Campfire Tales for some card draw. One of the worst feelings is to be sitting on a pile of resources and have no cards in your hand. So far my only card draw is Erestor. Campfire Tales is not the best option in the game, but lacking the stronger Lore forms of card draw, it is a must-have for this Leadership deck. 

* 3 copies of Dawn Take You All. I don’t use this card that often because the cost of 2 is a bit high for what it does. The problem with this card is that you end up discarding the shadows blindly instead of dawn takebeing able to cancel a shadow effect as it occurs. This means that you often end up spending the 2 resources to get rid of a shadow card that had no effect anyway. Still, without Hasty Stroke and A Burning Brand, I need some shadow-cancellation to supplement Dunedain Watcher.

* 2 copies of Fresh Tracks for some encounter deck manipulation. This card has a few different uses. The good thing about it, unlike Expecting Mischief, is that you play it once an enemy is revealed instead of before staging, so you don’t have to worry about missing completely. Fresh Tracks’ 1 damage can quickly take out a pesky 1 hit point enemy, but keep in mind this takes place after it is revealed, so any surges or “when revealed” effects would still trigger. More often Fresh Tracks will be used to prevent an enemy coming down to engage me when I am in a bad position and not prepared. This card essentially gives me another turn to get ready for a particularly nasty foe.

* 3 copies of Sneak Attack. The main purpose of this card is to get the most out of the 3 Gandalfs so that I can have plenty of threat managementcard draw, and direct damage depending on what I need most. In general, I will be using this combo almost exclusively to lower my threat, since I don’t have any other means to do this.

There are a couple of other cards that I would have liked to include. Valiant Sacrifice could give me some more card draw, while Wealth of Gondor could provide more resource generation. Second Breakfast could help me to get more uses out of Cram. Grave Cairn could give me a way to boost my attack. Still, these are the hard decisions that have to be made, and as I am sitting at 52 cards, I don’t want to add anything more. In the future, I’ll keep in mind that the one swap I might make is switching out Dawn Take You All for one of these cards.

My final deck list:

The Leaders of Men (Mono-sphere Leadership deck)

Hero (3)
Prince Imrahil (AJtR) 
Aragorn (Core) 
Theodred (Core) 

Ally (24)
Dunedain Watcher (TDM) x3
Envoy of Pelargir (HON) x3
Erestor (TLD) x2
Faramir (Core) x2
Longbeard Elder (FoS) x3
Snowbourn Scout (Core) x3
Fili (OHaUH) x2
Longbeard Orc Slayer (Core) x3
Gandalf (Core) x3

Attachment (14)
Celebrian’s Stone (Core) x2
Cram (OHaUH) x3
Dunedain Warning (CatC) x3
Sword that was Broken (TWitW) x3
Steward of Gondor (Core) x3

Event (14)
A Very Good Tale (OHaUH) x3
Campfire Tales (THfG) x3
Dawn Take You All (RtM) x3
Fresh Tracks (TLD) x2
Sneak Attack (Core) x3

Strategy

In my opening hand, I am going to be looking to draw Steward of Gondor. I also would like to get either Celebrian’s Stone or Sword that was Broken to make sure that I can generate enough questing power early on. Generally, I will quest with all 3 heroes, using Theodred’s extra resource to allow Aragorn to ready. Once I have a cheap chump blocker in play like Snowbourn Scout or Envoy of Pelargir, it will be relatively easy to bring Imrahil back into play if I need him as well. This readying of Aragorn and Imrahil make them the backbone of combat and the lynchpins of the deck overall. Once I get some Longbeard Elders and a Faramir out, questing becomes a breeze, while the Orc Slayers give me some attacking teeth.

Strengths and Weaknesses

This deck will be creating a wealth of resources and has some very strong and useful allies. 2 out of the 3 heroes (Imrahil and Aragorn) can contribute to multiple phases of play, and have the stats to be effective in whatever they do. Overall, the deck is very well-balanced. It can quest very well, almost on par with a Spirit deck, but also doesn’t have the fragility of most questing-focused decks. This deck can get down and dirty in combat if it needs to, though it might struggle a bit against the real heavy-hitting enemies, since it lacks the attack/hulking of Tactics.

What about weaknesses? The biggest, most glaring weakness of this deck is a lack of treachery cancellation. It will be a very uncomfortable feeling, especially for someone like me who never leaves home without A Test of Will riding shotgun, to go completely without a means to cancel treacheries. This will be especially felt in quests that have game-changing or possibly game-ending treacheries like Sleeping Sentry in Road to Rivendell. Still, it is possible to be successful even with this weakness. I will need to know the treacheries present in each quest pretty well, and plan for them in advance. Fortunately, the treacheries that play on exhausting characters and heroes or sapping resources will be partially countered by the abilities of my deck. The other big weakness is a complete lack of healing, and I will need to be very strategic about how I distribute attacks and damage.

Here’s how I assess this deck in terms of abilities:

Resource Generation     ♦♦♦♦

Card Draw     ♦♦◊◊

Treachery Cancellation     ◊◊◊◊

Encounter Deck Manipulation     ♦◊◊◊

Location Management     ♦◊◊◊

Threat Management     ♦♦◊◊

Direct Damage     ♦♦◊◊

Defense/Tanking     ♦♦◊◊

Attack/Hulking     ◊◊◊◊

Healing     ◊◊◊◊

Readying     ♦♦♦♦

Player Deck Manipulation     ♦◊◊◊

Willpower Boosting     ♦♦♦◊

Final Thoughts

Overall, I have to say that I’ve been having a blast lately playing with mono-sphere decks. This particular deck performs pretty well solo, but also can pair seamlessly with other decks. Specifically, I’ve been running this mono-sphere Leadership deck with a mono-sphere Lore deck. That Lore deck just so happens to be the focus of the next Deck-Buiding 101 article. Until then, don’t be afraid to dabble in mono-sphere. There are definitely limitations, but it provides a novel challenge, and I like the thematic aspect and consistency of focusing all my attention on one sphere as well. I’ve been pretty down on Leadership of late, but playing with this deck has given me a new appreciation for it.

Readers, what are your thoughts and experiences regarding mono-sphere decks? Any mono-sphere builds you’d like to share?

15 Comments
  1. gaudyls permalink

    I’m trying mono decks by now and its awesome, you can try than card that was very expensive for your dual-sphere deck or that card that hadnt room with all that options from two or three spheres. I’m playing now with a Leadership and a Tactic deck, solo-two handed and its work fine. I’ve easy wins for almost every quest i’ve made with them. And I had victories (with some effort) with Dol Goldur and Carrok (nasty quests, i think).

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Yes, that’s one of the things I like the most. Playing mono-sphere has allowed me to really enjoy and appreciate some cards that I never get a chance to play because they’re too expensive.

  2. Great article! I particularly like how you broke down the advantage of pairing readying effects with heroes that possess versatile stats. Your deck really does an excellent job of playing to the strengths of Leadership.

  3. Thaddeus permalink

    Good article. I like how you broke down the various functions that you wanted from each card. I don’t often make solo sphere decks, but I made two recently. One was an all dwarf Leadership deck. By itself, it was fairly weak ( too few allies and only Sneak Attack plus Gandalf for Threat reduction or card draw), but it was intended to pair up with a Lore/Tactics dwarf deck that it could funnel resources to. Also we were trying to get through the Hobbit Saga expansion quests and having a mono sphere deck made the riddle contests much easier.
    Last night I tried out a mono Tactics deck which did very well against the first HoN quest. (Although my threat got up to 45 and I had no real way to reduce it.)

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      I’m glad that Heirs of Numenor has finally made mono Tactics not only a viable option, but a strong one. Mono sphere would also work well for the 3rd HoN quest, which has a couple of treacheries which get worse the more spheres you are running.

  4. Orogen permalink

    Really dig the article – one question though, what are your thoughts on deck building with only 2 heroes? Any chance of getting some words on that topic?
    Cheers!

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Thanks! At some point, I will write a bit about deck building with 2 heroes and the whole Secrecy mechanic. My thoughts on the situation are pretty much identical to Thaddeus’ below. I spent time playing a few 2 hero Secrecy decks and trying to make it function, and at the end of the day it felt like I was doing a lot of work just to get the advantages that you get normally with a 3 hero deck. It’s a shame really, but I think some of us are still holding out hope that Secrecy will get some love at some point.

  5. While having Imrahil to use his ability, with Sneak Attacks and amount of chump blockers, I would rather put Valiant Sacrifice instead of Campfire Tales, unless playing 3+ player game.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      There’s pros and cons to both cards. Valiant Sacrifice gives you more bang for your buck (2 cards instead of 1), and I was sorely tempted to include it since it fits in so well with how this deck works, as you said. The benefit of Campfire Tales, beyond the multiplayer uses, is that it is more flexible in that you can play it at any time, which is something that I value highly. I totally see your reasoning though.

      • Thaddeus permalink

        I only even consider Campfire tales, if I expect the deck will be for multi-player games.

  6. Thaddeus permalink

    I’ve tried it a few times and it is possible, but it’s an uphill battle. The benefits of secrecy do not out weigh the cost. IF on your first turn or two you can manage to avoid getting swamped by threat/enemies to use your secrecy cards to get a copy or two of resourceful down and some allies then you might be fine, but really, at that point you’re fighting just to compensate for the normal advantages that you get by having that third hero.
    In order to make secrecy viable they need to do a few things. Such as:
    Fewer enemies with low engagement costs.
    More ways to reduce or maintain your Threat level.
    Some sort of bonus to your questing strength while maintaining secrecy and/or a way to discard enemies in the staging area.

    The idea of trying to slip unnoticed by enemies is a very cool one. It’s also something that I think fits the theme very well. I’d love to play a “hobbit” deck designed to sneak past the enemies in order to win a quest. However, as things are, that just doesn’t work. If you slip past enemies so that they stay in the staging area, then THEY STAY IN THE STAGING AREA!!! Not only does that mean that the level of threat in the staging are continues to mount, but then you also have the enemies with negative affects (like the new Archery keyword) that continue to plague you.
    Yes, there are ways to damage enemies in the staging area (Gandalf, Hands on the Bow, Descendent of Throndor, Dunhere, etc) and I LOVE those cards, but they don’t at all fit into the theme of sneaking unnoticed away from your foes.

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  3. Poll Results: Favorite Deck Archetype | Hall of Beorn

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