Valorous Aragorn

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sudsywolf 157

Bow of the Galadhrim is subbed here for Enduring Valor.

Damn this is a pretty fun deck. Between this deck (Aragorn/Leadership) and Unkarthug's Gimli/Tactics version (Ultra Heal), the card Enduring Valorhas become a very cool addition to the game. I've always loved when a single card can create a whole new archetype in a card game, especially when it gives new purpose to underused cards, but more on that later.

The idea behind the deck is to get Enduring Valor onto Aragorn as soon as possible. Why? Enduring Valor attaches to a character and grants a free guard action whenever that character exhausts. Because of Aragorn's action to ready himself, this means that Aragorn can gain guard twice in one round whilst performing 2 other actions. Of course, being able to guard twice in a round doesn't really do a lot for the life expectancy of the attached character, so we have to run plenty of healing cards in order to make sure that Aragorn can survive the extra attention from Sauron's forces. Beorn's Hospitality & Lembas both really help here, but the real star at keeping Aragorn alive is Daughter of the Nimrodel, a card that I felt was very underused before this deck and the singular reason why this deck is Double Lore.

Q1: If this deck is double lore, why not run any of the other Lvl 2 Lore cards? You mean, why am I not running either Sudden Riposte and Mablung? Because Forest Snare exists, and for this deck, I have found exhausting an a non-unique enemy for multiple rounds feels better than a single round effect for unique enemies. Most of the time, I want the Unique enemies to attack into Aragorn anyways for the reciprocal damage. Forest Snare works better for those nasty, high health 3+ enemies that can suddenly hit the board at an inopportune time. As for Mablung... He's just not that useful as a board presence, and we need space for more important allies like DoN, Zigil Miner & Northern Survivor... plus any quest specific allies.

Q2: So, what are we looking for in the opening hand? Enduring Valor! It's the reason why this deck exists and the quicker we can get Aragorn on-line, the better. But we also want to see some other cards, just having Enduring Valor is not good enough on it's own, and we also need to set-up Aragorn with more attack value and defenses. Ranger's Blade (Weapon) and Raven-winged Helm (Armor) are both important cards to see early on. Getting one of the two (particularly RWH) will help greatly with our success rate. Having a Daughter of the Nimrodel early is also great, but don't worry if you don't see her or one of the previous cards mentioned. The deck is running a host of draw-card effects that will help us to find the pieces we need. Erebor Record Keeper, Mithrandir's Advice & Faramir's Vanquish trigger all help immensely with this.

Q3: How does it work? Aragorn essentially works like a 'one man army' in this deck. He really is the main attacker and defender of the deck. When loaded up with Enduring Valor, Raven-winged Helm & Ranger's BladeRanger's Blade, he can attack for 4 damage, causing Enduring Valor to trigger and put him on guard where he can do an additional 3 reciprocal damage for 7 damage total. Ready him up again and repeat the same process for 14 damage total in a single round. If he's not attacking, he can be providing his to the fate meter or to objectives/hazards.

While Aragorn is busy handling the enemies, everyone else should be assisting him to do that by healing him or getting him his weapons/armor, or they should be 'questing' by building up fate and dealing with hazards/objectives (Northern Survivor, Arwen, Erebor Record Keeper). Self-Preservation should go onto Arwen and Faramir so that they can care for themselves and Arwen can focus on keeping Aragorn and/or the Daughter of the Nimrodel alive. Longbeard Mapmaker is here to assist Aragorn with (make him 4 and 'quest' twice for 8) or to boost Arwen's wp and effectiveness. Making sure that willpower is never an issue and that no Objective or hazard will slow this deck down.

Q4: Okay, so that's a lot of info, but how well does this deck do? In my testing... quite well! It can easily handle Quest 1, 2, 3 & 5., though like most decks, this one does still struggle a bit with quest 4, and it may be worth side-boarding in a copy or two of Houses of Healing and swapping Forest Snare for Sudden Riposte to help deal with that nasty Giant Slug. The main weakness this deck has is reduction. Gandalf is the only way to reduce our , so be sure to use him for that.

[Note] This deck remains untested in Co-Op mode and was built for Solo play.

I have really enjoyed making this deck. It's a blast to play and having Aragorn doing his thing with Enduring Valor is super satisfying. Hope you enjoy the deck, and if you did, check out the Tactics/Gimli version by Unkarshug.


Feb 27, 2019 Iluvatar 79 14

This is really cool! Can't wait to hear your results.

I've been working on a similar theme with 2x Leadership heroes to try to get mileage out of Sword of Numenor. That allows less healing options though and clearly Daughter of the Nimrodel is a great idea.

With all the card draw you have, you might consider dropping 1x Houses of Healing to free another slot. You're fairly likely to draw through your whole deck and it's unlikely you'll need to play it twice.

How does Self-Preservation perform here? Arwen or Faramir seem unlikely to need it as someone else will be taking almost all the damage. Playing it on Aragorn bumps out Enduring Valour as they are both 'special' attachments.

Feb 28, 2019 sudsywolf 157

@Iluvatar 79 Thanks friend! Funny that you say you've been experimenting with the double Leadership (Sword of Numenor on Aragorn w/Enduring Valor) idea as this deck was born out of that same idea. The combo is hilarious because SoN procs off of guard kills, and I had Aragorn earn 4 resources in one round once! Came to the same conclusion though that the lack of Daughter of the Nimrodel surprisingly reduces Aragorn's survivability by quite a margin.

You're 100% correct on Houses of Healing, totally unnecessary to have 2 copies... even 1 is hard to justify for me because I haven't even needed it yet. Might sub in Longbeard Mapmaker instead(as a 1 or 2 of).

Self-Preservation is for Arwen and Faramir. Because Arwen pretty much needs to focus exclusively on healing Aragorn, and the 2 Self-preservations mean that Arwen and Faramir can take care of themselves.

Mar 02, 2019 Iluvatar 79 14

Nice video on this by the way, love the new arty opening sequence! I think you're selling it a bit short as "perfectly adequate" - with a bit of tuning I think it has real potential. It's also a blast to play.

Mar 02, 2019 sudsywolf 157

Thanks again @Iluvatar 79 , much appreciated. Interested to hear your thoughts on a tune-up, would love any suggestions. I have opted to remove both copies of Houses of Healing (found it mostly unnecessary) and subbed in 2x Longbeard Mapmaker(pretty great getting 8 wp and 2 guard actions per round on the less combat-heavy locations). Other option I've considered is Ever Vigilant for extra insanity on Aragorn or a good way of getting extra use from Arwen's wp.

Houses of Healing will probably end up as a side-board card for the nastier quests like We Must Away (Q4) and possibly KoC.

Mar 04, 2019 Iluvatar 79 14

I was thinking mainly of the balance between resources gained and cards drawn. There's no bigger advocate of Erebor Record Keeper than me, but it this particular deck I found him sitting in my hand too often as I was wanting to spend my resources elsewhere. Likewise Erkenbrand, good as he is, feels a bit of a luxury option.

So I'd suggest to maybe reduce the cost curve. I'm trying a version where my changes are +2 Escort from Edoras; +2 Ever Vigilant; +2 Mithrandir's Advice in lieu of 2x Erebor Record Keeper; Erkenbrand; Beorn's Hospitality; and 2x Houses of Healing.

The cheap readying effects can also be used on Faramir if you are digging for Enduring Valor, mitigating the loss of Erebor Record Keeper

Longbeard Mapmaker is an intriguing option. I'll try him out!

Mar 06, 2019 sudsywolf 157

You might be onto something with Erebor Record Keeper @Iluvatar 79, I've had him sit in my hand before as well, but it's still a very hard cut for me because he can help with those times where you just don't get what you need in your opening hand, and unlike Mithrandir's Advice, doesn't die to event cancels. That said, it may be better with MA, even just to reduce the cost-curve of the deck.

Escort from Edoras is a very interesting suggestion. Generally have never been a fan of the card but he may have a place here with how Aragorn+EV works (being able to protect the team). Likewise, have been meaning to test Enduring Valor in this deck for a while but haven't gotten around to it yet. May try both it and EfE in the same deck to see how valuable the extra readying effects can be, particularly with Lembas already in the deck.

On Longbeard Mapmaker, at first I chucked him in for the lols and can't seem to help myself when it comes to him with Aragorn and Northern Survivor. I was playing with Unkarthugs Gimli/Tactics version and one thing I felt that that deck struggled with was having enough willpower generation to get through objectives/hazards/fate quickly enough to complete quests with low threat (which is important due to low threat reduction in the deck). The ol' Mapmaker really does some work here in greatly upping the willpower generation of the deck, so I am inclined to keep him for now.

TLDR: Gonna try a version with,

  • 2x Erebor Record Keeper
    • 2x Mithrandir's Advice
    • 1 Erkenbrand
    • 2x Houses of Healing
    • 1x Ever Vigilant
    • 2x Escort of Edoras