Two Hunters and Tom

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kjeld 36

This deck took me through hard mode on all five quests on the first try. Granted, you won't get a perfect score or even necessarily hit 250, but it's a ton of fun to play. The basic idea is that you have big cards that will stick around for a while, so you don't need much card draw.

Look for Zigil Miner, Warrior Sword, Erebor Watchman, Guard of the Citadel, Escort from Edoras, and Unexpected Courage in your opening hand to help you survive the first round or two until you gain board control. Mulligan anything else.

Reserve Rhovanion Outrider, Galadriel's Handmaiden, and Gandalf until you need to make a big quest push. This deck doesn't avoid Sauron's hazards, but is ready to take them on the chin -- use A Watchful Peace to time the threat-triggered events until you're ready for them.

Quest notes:

On the first quest, DO NOT use Tom's ability as your first action. Rather, send Legolas' damage to the Hive Guardian, and then immediately attack it with Legolas as your first action. You'll avoid 4 damage on the first round this way, and Tom will help you avoid the next two. After that, tank the rest with Aragorn and Legolas, then start playing out your opening hand (which should have a couple of cheap useful cards if you mulliganed properly).

The second quest shouldn't give you much trouble.

On the third quest, threat could eventually be an issue, so don't turtle too much. I don't think it really matters whether you take Smeagol or follow the caravan, it just depends on your board state. If you're full-up on beefy allies or have some expensive cards in hand, then follow the caravan. If you're low on allies, take Smeagol and get lost in the swamp.

The fourth quest is, of course, the hardest. You'll need to carefully manage your threat, as that's the primary way you could lose. Clean the board out first, and then wait for the first threat event to pass before killing the slug; note that you should hit the slug with a point of Legolas' upkeep damage before the first threat event (unless you want to engage two additional orcs). Be ready to kill the slug on the same turn that you hit 33 threat. After that, move through the stages as quickly as possible, since your threat will creep up quickly. Also manage your questing allies carefully, as you'll need them at key points since your heroes willpower is limited.

The fifth quest isn't much of a problem once you've piloted the deck through the previous four quests. I got a 255 score on the first go.