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TheGamesWhitman 7

For quests with timed objectives, you might want to swap out A Watchful Peace for Secret Paths, as these can often amount to the same overall threat reduction while also advancing you through the quest (thereby avoiding damage).

Mulligan aggressively for 1-cost allies (especially Erebor Watchman, Guard of the Citadel, and Wandering Took). Threat reduction, Unexpected Courage and Warrior Sword are also helpful to have in your opening hand.

During early turns, use your cheap allies and Tom Took to prevent as much damage as possible. You have no healing, so more than 3-4 damage on your heroes is going to start eating into your score.

Because of the deck's low curve, you'll be able to double activate Aragorn most turns, and you may even have resources free to draw a card with Barliman Butterbur.

Favor of the Lady is for Aragorn, so he can clear hazards with one action. Shield of Rohan is also for Aragorn, if he's tanked one too many hits at the start of the game. If not, you might put it on your main guard (Erkenbrand or Erebor Watchman), to keep them on the board a little longer.

One of the key things to learn when playing Hard mode is when to rush and when to turtle up. Outside of the first turn, you'll rarely play more than one ally, so you can't afford to keep trading with Sauron. Because you're mostly drawing one card per turn, you'll also see fewer of your threat reduction cards, so you can't turtle as freely as you might have in Normal mode.

For this deck, you'll need to buy the Dwalin, Éowyn and Legolas hero packs, 1 copy of Erkenbrand and Beorn, plus 2 copies of Barliman Butterbur, Galadriel's Handmaiden, and Unexpected Courage.

If you don't have the Dwalin hero pack, you could replace Will of Steel with Secret Paths. If you don't have the Éowyn hero pack, you could replace Shield of Rohan with Raiment of War.