John Steinbach
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Forest Grove
Oregon
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Hey everybody, I wanted to share the deck I have been using for the last several months. I only own a single Core Set, so my original goal was to design a deck that could effectively beat ANY scenario in the game AND successfully complete various Nightmare play-throughs (e.g. the entire Shadows of Mirkwood/Dwarrowdelf cycles) without alteration.

Part of the impetus for such a design came from the friends I play with; they, like some people on the various LotR LCG forums, were convinced that they couldn't really construct successful builds without multiple Core Sets. I wanted to challenge that assumption by making something that could defeat every scenario pretty regularly. I have used this same deck to beat every single quest in the game, including the HoN quests, and I have also used it to make two Nightmare runs through the Shadows of Mirkwood cycle. I have yet to actually complete the Dwarrowdelf cycle (made it to SaF twice, but suffered gruesome defeats both times).

Right now, you may be thinking that this post is one long brag designed to inflate my already outsized ego. Please believe that it is not. I don't claim to be the best LotR player, and I am not arrogant enough to think that this is the best deck in the format--or even the best deck that can be put together using only one Core Set. I only want to suggest that you don't need to buy the same product three times in order to construct a very, very potent single-player build. If you do have multiple Core Sets, there are certainly some tweaks you can make to improve the deck (replacing Miruvor with Unexpected Courage, adding a third Test of Will, etc.). Ultimately, though, one Core Set is enough.

On to the deck:

Heroes:
-Glorfindel (FoS)
-Aragorn (TWitW)
-Elrond (SaF)

Starting threat: 30

Allies (24)
-3x Master of the Forge (SaF)
-3x Imladris Stargazer (FoS)
-3x Warden of Healing (TLD)
-2x Gildor Inglorion (THoEM)
-2x Arwen Undomiel (TWitW)
-2x Dunedain Watcher (TDM)
-2x Gandalf (OHaUH)
-2x Silvan Tracker (TDM)
-1x Henamarth Riversong (Core)
-1x Elfhelm (TDM)
-1x Haldir of Lorien (AJtR)
-1x Faramir (Core)
-1x Beorn (Core)

Attachments (16)
-3x Vilya (SaF)
-3x Light of Valinor (FoS)
-2x Asfaloth (FoS)
-2x Protector of Lorien (Core)
-2x Healing Herbs (FoS)
-2x Miruvor (SaF)
-1x Unexpected Courage (Core)
-1x A Burning Brand (CatC)

Events (10)
-3x Daeron's Runes (FoS)
-3x Elrond's Counsel (TWitW)
-2x A Test of Will (Core)
-2x Will of the West (Core)

Individual card comments:

HEROES
-The Heroes: At its heart, the deck is built around Elrond and Vilya. Elrond allows you to rapidly improve your board state by dumping Gildor, Gandalf, Beorn, etc. into play. You can also use his response to amplify healing effects, making Warden of Healing an absolute stud. Aragorn is there for his solid stats and ability to reset threat. During a Nightmare run, he is one of the one or two most important cards in the deck. He also allows you to get great mileage out of OHaUH Gandalf, since you can keep the wizard in play turn after turn without fear of hitting the threat cap. With two very expensive heroes, Glorfindel was the obvious choice to fill out the roster. Give him Light of Valinor and Asfaloth...you know the drill.

ALLIES
-Master of the Forge and Imladris Stargazer: These two are Vilya facilitators. The Master searches up attachments and reshuffles your deck, while the Stargazer lets you stack the top five cards to ensure that Vilya will flip into whatever you need at a given point during the game. In a pinch, they are also cheap enough to serve as cannon fodder (particularly in The Battle for Lake-town).

-Warden of Healing: With Elrond, this guy can effectively heal two damage off of two different characters. That's crazy value.

-Gildor Inglorion: He's a fatty, so you'll normally want to cheat him into play with Vilya. Apart from his monster stats, he provides an alternate way to set up the Vilya combo and allows you to get expensive allies (Beorn, Faramir, etc.) out of your hand and onto the top of your deck where they belong!

-Arwen Undomiel: She's cheap, she quests, and she boosts defense. Not really much else to say. Provided you have access to Spirit resources, she's one of the best allies in the game.

-Dunedain Watcher: I think this card is severely underused. It's Hasty Stroke on a stick, able to quest, attack and defend until you need it to cancel something. You can use Vilya to cheat it into play, but Elrond can also pay for these lovely ladies if need be (one more reason why Elrond is freaking awesome).

-Gandalf(OHaUH): Another card that I don't think gets enough love. Without access to Leadership resources, the Core Set version loses some of its appeal in this deck. Fortunately, the new version of Gandalf is, in my mind, even better than the old mainstay (at least in conjunction with Aragorn). He gives you a powerful quester AND attacker/blocker every single turn, and Aragorn's ability allows you to keep him in play for a long time. New Gandalf is an absolute god in the HoN scenarios, since he can ALWAYS contribute four strength to the quest.

-Silvan Tracker: These guys are mostly just extra bodies who can occasionally be useful against swarms of smaller enemies (i.e. any Moria scenario ever). They're the next cards I'll cut as soon as FFG prints an ally I deem to be an upgrade.

-The Beatsticks (Elfhelm, Faramir, Haldir, Beorn, and Henamarth--ok, not Henamarth): Put these (except Henamarth) into play with Vilya. They crush enemies, manage threat, and help you quest. Henamarth is there because he's cheap and he allows you to play around the encounter deck.

ATTACHMENTS:
-Vilya: Slap it on Elrond and go to town. It's best used when you already have a Stargazer/Gildor in play, but there are enough allies and attachments in the deck that you can usually use it blindly and still get something useful.

-Light of Valinor and Asfaloth: The Glorfindel suite. I only included two copies of Asfaloth because there are plenty of scenarios in which location control isn't really a huge issue. Extra copies of all the unique attachments can be discarded to power Protector of Lorien.

-Protector of Lorien: With the Masters of the Forge, you'll generally wind up with plenty of cards in hand. With PoL, cards you don't need can turn Elrond into a tank or add some willpower to the quest.

-Healing Herbs: This card is included so that you can heal Wilyador in A Journey to Rhosgobel. I would really, really like to use these slots for something else, but it's way too difficult to consistently beat AJtR without some sort of healing effect beyond the Athelas objectives. The chief reason I opted for Healing Herbs over, say, Lore of Imladris was due to card type; as an attachment, Healing Herbs can be searched up by Master of the Forge.

-Miruvor and Unexpected Courage: These are usually played on Elrond in order to get the most out of his monster stats. UC is generally better than Miruvor, but the latter works just fine. With Master of the Forge, you can constantly recycle Miruvor without choking your draw.

-A Burning Brand: Slap this on Elrond and defend away. I go back and forth on whether to include a second copy, but one has worked pretty well for me.

EVENTS
-Daeron's Runes: Who has two thumbs and enjoys playing with a 47-card deck? This guy.

-Elrond's Counsel: A bit redundant given Aragorn's ability, but it can be very helpful to buy a bit of time in scenarios like Journey Along the Anduin or The Battle for Lake-town. Sometimes that extra turn or two is all you need to really take control of the game. Also, it's free.

-A Test of Will: This is really the only card that makes me miss owning additional Core Sets. A card you're never sorry to see.

-Will of the West: Almost mandatory if you want to play Nightmare mode. Since your discard pile isn't reshuffled between scenarios, you will run out of cards without some way to reset your deck. Both of my unsuccessful Dwarrowdelf runs came to a screeching halt in large part because shadow effects in Foundations of Stone discarded both Wills of the West and left me with no way to reshuffle.

So that's the deck. Like I wrote earlier, I don't mean to suggest that this is the be-all and end-all of LotR builds. It is ONE approach that has worked very well for me, but I'm sure there are plenty of others. For those of you struggling with the difficulty of the game and feeling like you have to buy more Core Sets in order to be successful, I hope this helps you realize that you can tackle even the most challenging scenarios without full playsets of certain Core staples. I don't intend to disparage those who DO use three Cores; I merely want to suggest that one can build an extremely powerful, versatile deck with just a single copy.

I'll be happy to answer any questions about deck philosophy and/or strategy (either for certain scenarios or for Nightmare mode).

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John R
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Re: One Core Set, One Deck to Rule Them All (including the most Nightmarish ones)
Hugely helpful for a new player like myself. Thanks!
 
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Peder Bergenwall
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Re: One Core Set, One Deck to Rule Them All (including the most Nightmarish ones)
Thanks, have been looking for some tips on a one core deck that could play most scenarios.
 
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Thanee
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Re: One Core Set, One Deck to Rule Them All (including the most Nightmarish ones)
Starhawk77 wrote:
Part of the impetus for such a design came from the friends I play with; they, like some people on the various LotR LCG forums, were convinced that they couldn't really construct successful builds without multiple Core Sets.


Huh. Really?

What a weird thought.

I'm a big fan of having multiple Core Sets, just for completeness and having all options, and some cards (Unexpected Courage in particular) sure are very strong in multiples, but I would never think that you cannot build a good deck with just one Core Set (and the various expansions).

Bye
Thanee
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John Steinbach
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Re: One Core Set, One Deck to Rule Them All (including the most Nightmarish ones)
Thanee wrote:
Starhawk77 wrote:
Part of the impetus for such a design came from the friends I play with; they, like some people on the various LotR LCG forums, were convinced that they couldn't really construct successful builds without multiple Core Sets.


Huh. Really?

What a weird thought.

I'm a big fan of having multiple Core Sets, just for completeness and having all options, and some cards (Unexpected Courage in particular) sure are very strong in multiples, but I would never think that you cannot build a good deck with just one Core Set (and the various expansions).

Bye
Thanee

Yeah, I always took issue with that point of view, but a couple of the guys in my play group were growing somewhat disillusioned with the game. As much as I enjoy the CotR podcast and appreciate the great work those guys do, they put out an episode a while back in which they really advocated owning three Core Sets for competitive play. I don't think their intent was to suggest that one or two would be insufficient, but some of the other people I play with took that to heart and started to feel like they would either have to shell out ~$50 for two more Cores or be consigned to play watered-down decks for the foreseeable future.
 
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Brendon Russell
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Re: One Core Set, One Deck to Rule Them All (including the most Nightmarish ones)
Starhawk77 wrote:
Thanee wrote:

I'm a big fan of having multiple Core Sets, just for completeness and having all options, and some cards (Unexpected Courage in particular) sure are very strong in multiples, but I would never think that you cannot build a good deck with just one Core Set (and the various expansions).

Yeah, I always took issue with that point of view, but a couple of the guys in my play group were growing somewhat disillusioned with the game. As much as I enjoy the CotR podcast and appreciate the great work those guys do, they put out an episode a while back in which they really advocated owning three Core Sets for competitive play. I don't think their intent was to suggest that one or two would be insufficient, but some of the other people I play with took that to heart and started to feel like they would either have to shell out ~$50 for two more Cores or be consigned to play watered-down decks for the foreseeable future.
I suspect most multiple-core advocates are, like the CoTR co-hosts, people who started playing the game in its early days. The argument for multiple core sets was stronger back then, but will inevitably get weaker over time as the available card pool grows, even though we've yet to see direct alternatives to some of the key core set cards (e.g. A Test of Will).

There is other alternative as well, i.e. proxying extra copies of "missing" core set cards, although not all players or playgroups will be happy going down that route.
 
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John Steinbach
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Re: One Core Set, One Deck to Rule Them All (including the most Nightmarish ones)
scwont wrote:
I suspect most multiple-core advocates are, like the CoTR co-hosts, people who started playing the game in its early days. The argument for multiple core sets was stronger back then, but will inevitably get weaker over time as the available card pool grows, even though we've yet to see direct alternatives to some of the key core set cards (e.g. A Test of Will).

That's a good observation. It would have been very difficult to construct a deck like this a couple years ago, but the expanded card pool has produced a number of cards that either approximate or surpass many popular Core Set fixtures. Miruvor, for instance, while not quite as good as Unexpected Courage, performs essentially the same function.
 
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David Folksman
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Re: One Core Set, One Deck to Rule Them All (including the most Nightmarish ones)
This is a good thread but the context of the title is a little misleading. I came in expecting you to have a deck comprised solely of core set cards.
 
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Thanee
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Re: One Core Set, One Deck to Rule Them All (including the most Nightmarish ones)
Haha! Yeah, me too. That seemed a little bit hard to believe, though.

Might want to add a little "+ Exp" behind the "One Core Set".

Bye
Thanee
 
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Chris Rudling
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Re: One Core Set, One Deck to Rule Them All (including the most Nightmarish ones)
"put together using only one Core Set"

So this can be played having only purchased the core set?
with no other adventure packs or expansions?
 
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John Steinbach
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killcrystal wrote:
"put together using only one Core Set"

So this can be played having only purchased the core set?
with no other adventure packs or expansions?

No, it requires cards from several APs. Just not from multiple Core Sets. I have edited the title to avoid any confusion.
 
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killcrystal wrote:
So this can be played having only purchased the core set?
with no other adventure packs or expansions?


The deck in this thread here is built to defeat all existing scenarios (and looks like it works quite well there ). You won't be able to do that with just one Core Set (for the fact alone, that you won't have all the scenarios, heh).

If you are looking for a nice deck, which uses only a single Core Set and nothing else, you can check out this thread.

Bye
Thanee
 
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Chris Rudling
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Thanks, ill give that a try!
Im ok playing Passage Through Mirkwood with no shadow cards, but when i do include them i get my arse kicked. Perhaps ill give your deck a try, and let you know the results
 
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Question for you

So if you have a 0 cost card you can still only play it if you have a hero with that sphere icon. Elronds ability lets him play allies but does that count as having that sphere icon when putting characters via Vilya? Like putting beorn into play for free but do you still need a hero with tactics icon?
 
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Thanee
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dimsumboy wrote:
Question for you

So if you have a 0 cost card you can still only play it if you have a hero with that sphere icon. Elronds ability lets him play allies but does that count as having that sphere icon when putting characters via Vilya? Like putting beorn into play for free but do you still need a hero with tactics icon?


The last time I asked this question, the consensus was, that Vilya breaks the normal rules and circumvents the necessity of having a matching icon at all.

Bye
Thanee
 
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John Steinbach
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dimsumboy wrote:
Question for you

So if you have a 0 cost card you can still only play it if you have a hero with that sphere icon. Elronds ability lets him play allies but does that count as having that sphere icon when putting characters via Vilya? Like putting beorn into play for free but do you still need a hero with tactics icon?


1) Elrond's ability does not actually give him additional resource icons.
2) Fortunately, with Vilya, that doesn't matter. "Put into play" is distinct from "play" and does not require a resource match. That's why you can, say, Sneak Attack a Beorn into play even if you don't control a hero with a Tactics icon.
 
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