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Deck Spotlight: Spearman Superhero

by on November 13, 2013


In the most recent episode of The Grey Company podcast, which you can find here (I’m only slightly sheepish about this shameless plug), we discussed the Outlands trait. More specifically, we each took on the challenge of creating an Outlands deck that was unique or creative in some way. Here you will find the full deck list, along with a bit of explanation of the idea behind it and some basic strategy guidelines. I should say that this isn’t one of the most high-powered Outlands builds around, as it is designed more around a particular combo and the desire to make something different, but it can certainly hold its own, as with most Outlands builds.

Deck List:

Hero (3)
Elrond (SaF) x1
Thalin (Core) x1
Hirluin the Fair (TSF) x1

Ally (21)
Anfalas Herdsman (TSF) x3
Gondorian Spearman (Core) x3
Ethir Swordsman (TSF) x3
Hunter of Lamedon (HON) x3
Knights of the Swan (TSF) x3
Warden of Healing (TLD) x3
Warrior of Lossarnach (TSF) x3

Attachment (15)
Steward of Gondor (Core) x3
King Under the Mountain (OtD) x3
Spear of the Citadel (HON) x3
Sword of Morthond (AoO) x3
Cram (OHaUH) x3

Event (14)
Behind Strong Walls (HON) x3
Men of the West (AoO) x3
Ever Vigilant (Core) x2
Goblin-cleaver (OHaUH) x3
Peace, and Thought (SaF) x3

Theme: Outlands, Ally Hulking, and Direct Damage

Spheres: Lore, Leadership, and Tactics

Strategy: This deck is built with a single goal in mind: to build up the Gondorian Spearman into a superhero. This requires a three-part process:

1) Get several copies of the Warrior of Lossarnach and Anfalas Herdsman into play. These will eventually serve the purpose of increasing the defense and hit points of the Gondorian Spearman up to 3 or 4.

2) Attach a Spear of the Citadel to the Gondorian Spearman. This will allow him to deal 2 damage each time he is declared as a defender.

3) Attach a Sword of Morthond to the Gondorian Spearman. This will give him the Outlands trait and allow him to benefit from the Outlands buffs.

These steps don’t have to be completed in this order, but they are all necessary to accomplish the ultimate objective of this deck. Once this gondorian spearmanset-up is finished, you will have a Gondorian Spearman that can defend with a strength of 3 or 4 and deal 2 damage each time, making it nigh indestructible against all but the toughest of foes. Since so much effort has been put into creating this powered up ally, it would be a shame to only get one action per turn. With this in mind, I have included 3 copies of Behind Strong Walls, which can allow him to defend twice in one turn, with an extra point of defense the second time around. That’s not the only readying effect, as I’ve also brought along Ever Vigilant, which provides an additional action for the Spearman for only 1 Leadership resource. It’s not all about readying, however. I also don’t want to see my precious Spearman destroyed, and this is where the Warden of Healing comes in, who will be even more effective thanks to Elrond. Finally, I couldn’t resist finding room for 3 copies of Goblin-cleaver, which will give a Spear-carrying Spearman the ability to inflict 4 points of damage with a single defense. Brutal.

Beyond the Spearman shenanigans, there also is a passable Outlands deck here. As with all good Outlands builds, your main priority is card draw, which helps with pumping out allies as quickly as possible. Since I didn’t run with mono-Leadership, I can’t take advantage of Lord of Morthond, so I have made use of Thalin’s presence to include King Under the Mountain instead. Men of the West provides insurance against situations where King Under the Mountain draws 2 Outlands allies and I have to discard 1 (as well as against generic ally destruction). However, this deck can struggle a bit in solo play with generating enough willpower in the early rounds, and there is a pressing need to get it going more quickly than even King Under the Mountain can facilitate (the deck works much better in multiplayer). Therefore, I have chosen to include one of the best forms of card draw from the perspective of pace: Peace, and Thought. This card is fantastic for Outlands decks, as by exhausting 2 heroes, I can draw an amazing 5 cards. The 3 copies of Cram in this deck can help compensate for the need to exhaust 2 heroes, which can be a tough ask in the opening stages of a game. Generally, the Steward of Gondor can go on either Elrond or Hirluin, with there not being much difference between the two, other than Elrond being able to pay for the Warden and Hirluin being able to pay for some of the non-ally Leadership cards. Once the Outlands allies are out on the table in numbers, not much strategy is required. Just exhaust and win.

How It Was Constructed: The deck really solidified around the one Outlands card that is somewhat fascinating to me: the Sword of sword of morthondMorthond. From there, I tried to think of a Gondorian ally that would be interesting in a buffed up form. While someone like Faramir or Denethor can certainly reach crazy stat levels with help from the Outlands trait, I wanted to pick an ally that could do something really interesting with those superpowers. This led me to the Gondorian Spearman. In his natural state, the Spearman is a valuable ally with a strong ability, but he has the natural limitation of low defense and a measly 1 hit point, which ensures that he either gets sacrificed as a chump blocker or can only be used in a limited set of situations and survive. Being able to bump him up to a higher level of defense with the Sword of Morthond seemed like a match made in heaven. Thus, the idea for the deck was born. The allies filled themselves in, while I chose attachments and events that either directly complemented the Spearman Superhero approach or facilitated general Outlands strategy.

Hero choice was a bit interesting. I knew I needed a Tactics hero to make the whole Spearman idea work, but it was difficult to pin down the right choice. In the end, I gave Thalin the nod for a few reasons. One, he has a relatively low threat. Two, he synergizes well with the Spearman, providing an extra point of direct damage. Third, he provides access to King Under the Mountain, which is an important consolation for the lack of Lord of Morthond. Beyond Thalin, Hirluin was an auto-include, while I find Elrond to be a strong counterpart for Outlands decks despite his high threat. His 3 defense serves as a good buffer in the early game, while his 3 willpower is essential for questing during the first few rounds.

Possible Combos:

1) Gondorian Spearman + Sword of Morthond + Spear of the Citadel: This is the central combination of the deck and what everything is based around. Usually, I shy away from 3-card combinations, but with the card draw in this deck, I can usually get it on the board fairly quickly.

2) Goblin-cleaver + Thalin + powered up Gondorian Spearman: The powered up Spearman deals 2 damage when he defends, while Thalin inflicts 1 on each enemy that is revealed during questing. Finally, Goblin-cleaver adds another 2 damage (3 if the enemy is an orc). Altogether, this is a grand total of 5, which can dispatch most enemies in the game before they can even attack!

3) Cram + Peace, and Thought: Cram is a versatile readying effect that can be used for many purposes. Here, however, its primary role is to make sure that 2 heroes are available to activate Peace, and Thought.

Variations: This is a pretty specific deck, so there aren’t a ton of variations available. However, there is definitely some wiggle room in the choice of heroes. If you are looking for a lower starting threat, you can certainly replace Elrond with a different Lore hero. Just keep in mind that you will be missing out on willpower and resource flexibility. Substituting another Tactics hero in for Thalin is another possibility, but I wouldn’t recommend it. If you’re interested in making this deck a bit less gimmicky and more focused on straight-up power, then you can take out the Spearman-centric cards, like Goblin-cleaver, Ever Vigilant, and Behind Strong Walls, and replace them with more universally applicable effects.

Final Thoughts: The Spearman Superhero deck is designed to provide an interesting twist on Outlands, and it succeeds in that respect. It can be extremely powerful in multiplayer games, as the Gondorian Spearman has sentinel and can defend across the board. In addition, other decks can provide some questing and combat cover for this deck until it really gets going. As a solo deck, this build struggles a bit in the first few rounds with generating enough willpower for questing. Once you get some Ethir Swordsman on the table though, everything starts to take off. While I am generally reluctant to play Outlands, I do like the idea of using the Sword of Morthond to create some intriguing interactions, and that is something that can be expanded upon by other players, especially as additional Gondorian allies emerge in the future.


From → Deck Spotlight

  1. Scroll Lock permalink

    Hey, that is my deck! 😀

  2. Alan permalink

    Cool deck idea! I like to pump up my Spearman with the Spear and have Thalin around for extra damage, but I hadn’t though about the Sword of Morthond combo. Without the Sword his frailty has always concerned me, but by upping his defense and hit points he is crazy. This deck would be brutal in a 3 or 4 player game where both the Spearman and Thalin shine.

    I hate to be picky about details, but Goblin Cleaver can only be activated by a weapon attached to a Hero. I guess you could still attach a Spear to Thalin to trigger it, or you could use Swift Strike (which you mentioned I think by accident in your 2nd Possible Combos).

    I enjoy reading your blogs, thanks for your contributions to the community!

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      I agree, I think this deck reaches its full potential in a 3 or 4 player game. I should’ve specified in the article, but the idea is that since there are multiple Spears in the deck, and you can only put 1 on a Spearman, that you would attach one to Thalin to activate for Goblin-cleaver. This may seem like a waste of 2 resources, but it’s actually the same cost as Swift Strike for the first instance, and cheaper with a second or third use (i.e. 2 Goblin-cleavers cost 2 resources–the cost of the Spear–while 2 Swift Strikes cost 4 resources)

  3. Grand Deck idea! It’s about the only build where Behind Strong Walls is better than Feint. Note that event gives +1 defence to all the blocks the character makes that turn, unless you time it very strangely.

  4. The event count says 14, but all of your events say they have 3 copies, so it would be 15, assuming you didn’t accidentally mark an event as having 3 when it should have been 2.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Thanks for catching that one. That was a mistake; there should be only 2 copies of Ever Vigilant.

  5. Ian, that’s almost like and deck idead i’ve been trying, but in mine I also found some space for sneak attack and Landroval, for maximum direct damage. Also the one i use is made of just 1 core set copy.
    Nice job!

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Thanks! I think if someone wanted to go really crazy with the direct damage and minimize the Outlands aspects, I think it’s totally possible. You could conceivably strip out everything but the Anfalas Herdsman and Warrior of Lossarnach, which are the important Outlands bits in terms of the Spearman combo (along with the Sword, of course).

  6. Tiandes permalink

    I’ll jump on the occasion toclarify a point about Sword of Morthond, I was just wondering if there is anything that prevent me of playinf the Sword on a Rohan ally after playing Mutual Accord just before.

    Personaly, I think it’s a legitimate action. PLus, since nothing in the text of Sword says anything against letting the sword on a Rohan ally for the next rounds, when the Gondor trait is no more active.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      That’s pretty ingenious! I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work. Sword of Morthond only stipulates that an ally has to have the Gondor trait for the attachment process itself, not for anything afterwards, so I don’t see any reason why the Sword should “fall off”. Seems like a perfectly valid combo to me. Nice work! Which Rohan ally do you plan on giving the Sword to?

  7. Tonskillitis permalink

    I’m extremely interested in what is the most effective way to use this Sword of Morthond. I really haven’t heard of or seen anyone use it. Is the spearman the optimum target do you think? I suppose you could make the Defender of Rammas into a siege questing monster capable of defending mumaks. Probably the herdsman would be most significant in giving a robustness to gondor allies with low hit points. I could find a use for a White Tower Watchman with 6 HP. Though the Knight of Minas Tirith with 6 attack would be nice of course…

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      It’s hard to judge exactly what the optimum target for the Sword would be, mainly because the existing Outlands cards are so powerful that the Sword kind of feels like an afterthought by the time it hits the table. I do think your idea of a siege questing Defender of Rammas would be extremely powerful. Someone like Denethor or Faramir could be turned into a questing and combat machine thanks to their strong starting stats (although this is an expensive option). All in all, I wouldn’t say there’s one prime target for the Sword.

  8. Phate999 permalink

    I like the OP deck build, except for the 30 starting threat (Journey Down the Anduin would smash it). This is an Outlands and Secrecy build that I came up with for anyone interested.

    Out of Land!

    Hero (2)
    Hirluin the Fair (TSF)
    Sam Gamgee (TBR)

    Ally (23)
    Anfalas Herdsman (TSF) x3
    Ethir Swordsman (TSF) x3
    Forlong (TDF) x3
    Hunter of Lamedon (HON) x3
    Knights of the Swan (TSF) x3
    Warrior of Lossarnach (TSF) x3
    Denethor (EaAD) x1
    Faramir (Core) x1
    Gandalf (Core) x3

    Attachment (12)
    Lord of Morthond (EaAD) x3
    Steward of Gondor (Core) x3
    Sword of Morthond (AoO) x2
    Resourceful (TWitW) x3
    Path of Need (FoS) x1

    Event (15)
    A Very Good Tale (OHaUH) x3
    Sneak Attack (Core) x3
    Men of the West (AoO) x3
    Timely Aid (TRG) x3
    Strength of Arms (TDF) x3

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      One nice thing about Outlands is that you can change up the hero line-up according to scenario need (like the Anduin example you mentioned), and the ally set-up will be strong enough to facilitate this variation.

  9. sweetnesswhachacha permalink

    Great deck! Often I feel hemmed in by the decks that mostly make themselves as the designers have sort of setup, whenever I try oddball stuff like this I don’t do as well I’m the quest. But I love gondorian spearman, and the spear of the citadel, 3 of my favorite cards.

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  1. Episode 1 – Outlands | Grey Company Podcast

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