Balrog Dwarves

Card draw simulator
Odds: 0% – 0% – 0% more
Fellowships using this decklist
Derived from
None. Self-made deck here.
Inspiration for
None yet.

KingsKnightTwitch 85

A beginner-friendly (or at least not-used-to-expert-friendly) deck for defeating the Balrog on Expert difficulty and unlocking its quest rewards.

This decklist is based off of Shorogyth's guide but there are some deviations and alternatives discussed at various points. The overall goal with this deck is that the player be able to defeat the Balrog in a very comfortable manner without worrying about having bad luck. The decklist does assume that you have made good progress in Campaigns 1, 2, & 3, but does not assume that you have unlocked all hero award cards. In cases where you might not have the card, alternatives are discussed.

General Strategy

You want to be able to absorb the damage from the Balrog's main attack at the start of every turn. There are two ways to do this:

  1. Have Dis guard and gain Protect
  2. Have an ally guard, take the hit, die, and be replaced later (if you have Fangorn, I recommend using him instead of Arwen as his saplings are great for this!)

Next, you want to be able to kill Sauron's minions as he plays them. Ideally they will be killed before they can attack you.

Finally, once Sauron passes, you want to deal with the objective object (using your willpower characters) and attack the Balrog with your physical characters. Once the objective object is gone, you can have your willpower characters charge the fate meter to get you more cards. Once the fate meter is depleted of cards, replace your willpower allies with more physical allies.

This will take a while, but you should eventually draw Gandalf as time goes on. Once the Balrog is at low health, play Gandalf and have Gandalf attack it to deliver the killing blow.

Important: At the time of writing, using Gandalf's 3 damage ability to finish off the Balrog does not count for completing the quest. Gandalf needs to finish off the Balrog with an attack for it to count!

Hero Roles

  • Dis: Guard at the start of turn when possible to stop the damage from the Balrog's main attack.
  • Dain: Buff all dwarves passively and then attack once all of your other dwarves are exhausted.
  • Fangorn/Arwen: I recommend using Fangorn if you have him. At the end of each turn you can use his power to generate a sapling and have it guard should Dis be exhausted. If you don't have Fangorn, then Arwen is a reasonable alternative. Arwen can help with healing and either hero is good at doing willpower tasks.

Deck Overview

  • Gandalf: Needed for one of the quests. Also a decent unit with good overall stats and a nice arrival ability. You'll usually use his arrival for the -3 threat just to get more time to kill the Balrog.
  • Narya: For if you want Gandalf to be on your board permanently (not just for the final turn). Make sure to give Gandalf Block or otherwise watch his health (you can also use Arwen's ability on him).
  • Heed the Dream, Mithrandir's Advice, and Reinforcements: These help you get through your deck faster and thus make it much more likely that you will have Gandalf when the time comes to finish off the Balrog.
  • Gondorian Shield, Self-Preservation, & Armor of Erebor: Give Block or health regeneration to your characters so that the Balrog's splash damage does not kill them over time. Only one copy of the Armor of Erebor is included since you don't want its Guard to be interfering with Dis' role in stopping the damage from the Balrog's main attack.
  • Erebor Watchman, Dwarven Sellsword, & Dismounted Rider: These are allies that all come with Block and will thus not take any of the Balrog's splash damage. If you are missing either Dwarven Sellsword or Dismounted Rider, then you can use Iron Hills Sentinel as an alternative. With the Dwarven Sellswords you should pay extra attention to your resources (but if they do fleet, that's okay! We have more allies!). Erkenbrand is another alternative, but it does have a similar problem as the Armor of Erebor so watch out for that!
  • Zigil Miner & Sword of Numenor: These help you gain resources so that you can afford to play events that draw cards as well as your expensive allies. Shorogyth's guide does suggest using Elf Magic but if you don't have it, these cards will still get the job done. Once you have a surplus of resources, it's okay to just let the Zigil Miners die and be replaced by better allies. Resourcefulness is a reasonable alternative to the Zigil Miners but is not really an improvement.
  • Erebor Record Keeper: Some more card draw and willpower. Feel free to replace this with Northern Survivor if you have it. In both cases, their main role is to do willpower tasks and then be replaced with physical allies.
  • Beorn's Hospitality & Imladris Minstrel: Some healing should you need it. Beorn's Hospitality will mainly be used for its 4 health heal while Imladris Minstrel will heal other characters, do willpower tasks, and then be replaced with a physical ally.

Apr 10, 2021 KingsKnightTwitch 85

Check out Shorogyth's guide (which this decklist is based off of) here:

Apr 11, 2021 KingsKnightTwitch 85

A video guide discussing this decklist and showing it in action against the Balrog is also now out (

Apr 15, 2021 Gyg 1

This deck is quite similar to my normal deck. Arwen with dwarves works really well. I use Armour of Erebor on Dain for a second guarding and Lore sphere keeps him alive. I use Erebor Record Keeper and Longbeard Map Maker for questing and Iron Hills Miners and Sentinels for combat.

Apr 15, 2021 KingsKnightTwitch 85

Cool to know. I suspected that an idea for a deck for regular quests and encounters existed within this deck, but haven't tried it outside of the Balrog.

Apr 16, 2021 WinR 1

Deck works a treat, thank you for your help. I got very lucky with the RNG gods as the Threat events were much weaker than before, they can really ruin your day in this match up.

May 08, 2021 KingsKnightTwitch 85

How strong is this deck you may ask? It can do Gundabad solo on Expert difficulty!

(Watch it do that here:

No really, I actually pulled it off! The only change I made was replacing Armor of Erebor with Glamdring. Yes, it took many many tries! And yes, I did not use Against the Shadow!