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Qualifying Deck for the UK Nationals (2001)

Copyright Nigel Buckle ©2001

Edited by Nigel Buckle for The Guild Companion

Introduction

This article details the deck I played against minions in the qualifier for the UK Nationals run in Nottingham on 10th November 2001.

Often players will work on a deck for such an important event all year, tweaking and tuning it and playing it until they know it inside out and backwards. Unfortunately I do not have a regular playgroup to 'test' my decks, so I'm forced to build my decks and hope the limited testing I can do solo will prove sufficient. One advantage to this is I always seem to produce a different deck each tournament, which hopefully prevents my opponents from playing the meta-game and anticipating a particular deck from me and tuning their hazard strategies accordingly.

Of course now I've released this deck, I do not intend to play it in the finals, and the second deck (the one I used against heroes) I'll detail in an article next month.

There were 12 players for the qualifier, and 5 played hero, 6 played minion (with at least 2 playing Balrog) and one Fallen Wizard. In the four games I played I faced one hero and 3 minion decks, and I won all four games I played.

Here is the deck I played vs. minion players, I specifically selected the hazards to target popular Balrog, Shadow-hold squatters and Mordor-based resource strategies.

My resource strategy tried to avoid these popular ones and instead I opted for a covert (agent) company operating west of the Misty Mountains and a second overt company scouring Mirkwood and the regions to the south. I decided to use Ren as my ringwraith (avoiding the popular Dwar, Witch King and Hoarmurath) mainly because he can start at Barad-dur and play a faction, Helm of Fear and Creature of an Older World.

Character Draft

Lagduf
Ugluk
The Grimburgoth
Leamon
Baduila
Shagrat
Eun
Grishnakh
Euog (Ulzog)
Ill Favoured Fellow

Minor Items

Open to the Summons (x2)

With an ideal starting company being:

The Grimburgoth (with Open to the Summons) controlling
Leamon (with Open to the Summons)
Ugluk controlling
Lagduf

Split into two companies, the agents in one, Orcs in the other, and Baduila, Shagrat (or Gorbag) and Grishnakh (or Ill Favoured Fellow) and Euog go into the deck.

The idea is to move the agent company across the Misty Mountains immediately (starting both companies at Dol Guldur).

Character Pool

Ren (x3) and an Orc Captain.

Resources (30)

Ancient Secrets
Ancient Secrets
Blackbole
Bold Thrust
Bold Thrust
Bold Thrust
Broad Headed Spear
Broad Headed Spear
Come By Night
Come By Night
Dark Tryst
Dark Tryst
Dark Tryst
Dunlendings
Great Lord of Goblin-gate
Helm of Fear
High Helm
Hillmen
Orc Quarrels
Orc Quarrels
Orcs of Mirkwood
Sable Shield
Sudden Call
Swarm of Bats
Swift Strokes
Swift Strokes
Threats
Threats
Threats
Weigh All Things to a Nicety

Ancient Secrets: Great utility card from the Balrog, either use it to remove an annoying event (such as Foolish Words) or bring two resources from the sideboard into the playdeck, depending on how the game is progressing.

Blackbole: Good ally, Ugluk's company should play him at Woodmen Town.

Bold Thrust: Basic combat utility card use it against creatures or automatic attacks.

Broad Headed Spear: Basic non-unique item, as it's a weapon you can combine its play at a border-hold with Come By Night.

Come By Night: Great card if you're planning to use borderholds, it helps defeat the automatic attack with your company untapped and the first item played doesn't tap the site. This deck uses it at Cameth Brin, Dunnish Clan Hold or Raider Hold.

Dark Tryst: Basic minion utility card drawing card. I use 3 in every minion (and 2 in most fallen wizard) decks.

Dunlendings: Big MP faction, easy enough to bring into play with The Grimborgoth if he tries some threats.

Great Lord of Goblin-gate: Play this ally with Ugluk's company the Great Lord makes an Orc company great with his special ability, just beware Goblin Gate can produce several non-detainment creature attacks so try to save a few combat utility cards when making the trip.

Helm of Fear: Ren is in the deck to come into play at Barad-dur and play this item.

High Helm: Popular major item, play it the first opportunity you get, to beat your opponent to it.

Hillmen: Same as the Dunlendings, a big faction whose site of play can produce an item if you use Come By Night.

Orc Quarrels: In the deck to cancel the man auto attacks (or the troll attack at Buhr Widu) or men/orc/troll hazard creatures.

Orcs of Mirkwood: Nice 2 point faction in Mirkwood, use Ugluk's company to recruit them.

Sable Shield: Similar to High Helm, a popular item so get it before your opponent does.

Sudden Call: Keep putting this back in your playdeck, until you've exhausted it once, then hold it until the conditions are right to play it. Namely you've got at least 25 MPs and you are far enough ahead that you don't believe your opponent can catch up in one turn.

Swarm of Bats: Minion equivalent of Fellowship play it on Ugluk's Company (remember it remains if you add characters/allies unlike fellowship).

Swift Strokes: Another utility combat card

Threats: Hold until you can use it to influence one of the factions in the deck.

Weigh All Things to a Nicety: General utility card, use it to bring in Uvatha the Ringwraith if your opponent plays Ren first, otherwise recycle a resource that is proving useful (such as a combat resource or Come by Night) or sideboard another resource.

Hazards (30) * indicates Creatures & Creatures

* Barrow Wight
* Barrow Wight
* Cave Worm
* Cave Worm
* Chill Douser
* Chill Douser
* Itangast Ahunt
* Mouth of Sauron
* Stirring Bones
* Stirring Bones
* Stirring Bones
* Wisp of Pale Sheen
* Wisp of Pale Sheen
An Unexpected Outpost
An Unexpected Outpost
Foolish Words
Foolish Words
Foolish Words
Revealed to all Watchers
Spells of the Barrow Wight
Spells of the Barrow Wight
Spells of the Barrow Wight
The Moon is Dead
The Moon is Dead
Tidings of Bold Spies
Tidings of Bold Spies
Tidings of Bold Spies
Unabated in Malice
Unabated in Malice
Unabated in Malice

The hazards are designed to slow down most popular minion strategies, furthermore the hazards are mainly single shots not requiring a combination of cards, making the overall hazard deck highly playable, giving a good throughput of cards.

Barrow Wight: Good general undead creature to detain minion companies at Dark/Shadow Holds or moving through Dark Domains or Shadow Lands.

Cave Worm: High prowess creature covering the popular item sites in the North and playable against most Balrog companies that move above ground.

Chill Douser: A staple creature in an undead hazard strategy, best used in combination with other undead to get the maximum benefit. Don't be surprised if a Chill Douser becomes a trophy.

Itangast Ahunt: The biggest Ahunt dragon in the game, covering some of the most popular item sites and his range (even with Doors of Night in play) shouldn't hamper your own companies too much.

Mouth of Sauron: Staple hazard recycling card and against minions has the added bonus of returning the mouth character to the opponent's hand, should it be in play.

Stirring Bones: Another staple undead its prowess is rather low so really it needs an enhancer to avoid becoming a trophy (unless the attack is detainment).

Wisp of Pale Sheen: On the surface this appears to be a weak creature but it is in the deck to be used against characters squatting at sites where its attack is detainment. As long as you can get Wisp's prowess to be at least as high as the character's mind, then its special ability means the character is tapped.

An Unexpected Outpost: Use to sideboard appropriate hazards, or recycle hazards that appear the most effective in the current game.

Foolish Words: Staple anti-influence hazard.

Revealed to all Watchers: Under-used card in my experience, great for those times when you have few hazards to play. This card gives you significant card advantage; just make sure you don't shuffle your draw pile after you've put the resources back in the order you've chosen (unless of course the resources were useless at this point in the game).

Spells of the Barrow Wight: The main 'combo' card in the hazard deck play with a strike from an undead creature (including detainment), useful if you can capture an orc leader (and discard the factions he had recruited).

The Moon is Dead: Staple undead enhancer, it also helps boost undead auto attacks, which works well with Tidings of Bold Spies.

Tidings of Bold Spies: Great card against non-squatting companies. Most minion sites have an automatic attack, and forcing your opponent to face it during the movement/hazard phase is less risky than playing creatures, as there is no danger of providing your opponent with trophies or marshalling points.

Unabated in Malice: Ideal in combination with Tidings of Bold Spies, but this card is generally useful to prevent easy cancellation of automatic attacks.

Sideboard

Black Horse
Creature of an Older World
Crept Along Cleverly
Crept Along Cleverly
Drums
Fell Rider
Fell Rider
Great Bats
Heedless Revelry
Long Grievous Siege
Morgul-orcs
Orc Quarrels
Orcs of Gorgoroth
Orcs of the Ash Mountains
Palantir of Minas Tirith
Ready to his Will
Redoubled Force
Scorba Roused
Smoke on the Wind
Snaga-Hai
Snaga-Hai
Swift Strokes
Tribute Garnered
Tribute Garnered
Twilight
Uvatha the Ringwraith
Voices of Malice
Voices of Malice
War Wolf
War Wolf

Some of the sideboard cards should be played each game, bring them into the deck (using Ancient Secrets or just by tapping Ren). Others are there for the second deck cycle, or as support cards against particular hazard or resource strategies.

Black Horse: Used if you can't play Ren as the ringwraith, or you need to actively move Ren.

Creature of an Older World: Bring this in once you have Ren in play.

Crept Along Cleverly: Bring this in against decks using those particular hazard creatures.

Drums: Anti-balrog hazard.

Fell Rider: Similar to Black Horse use this if you can't play Creature of an Older World.

Great Bats: Another ally for the 2nd deck cycle (Ugluk can play it at Nurniag Camp for example).

Heedless Revelry: Another anti-balrog hazard, but useful against any squatting shadow-hold decks wanting to play multiple blasting/liquid fires etc.

Long Grievous Siege: Bring this in once you have a suitable faction to play it on.

Morgul-orcs: Bring this in for the 2nd deck cycle

Orc Quarrels: Bring this in if necessary

Orcs of Gorgoroth: Bring this in once you have Ren in play, he can recruit this faction before moving away.

Orcs of the Ash Mountains: A back-up faction, useful for the 2nd cycle.

Palantir of Minas Tirith: Consider bringing this in once Ren has the Creature of an Older World (or you've sideboarded in Fell Rider) to visit Minas Tirith for 3 MPs in items.

Ready to his Will: Bring this in if your opponent is playing slayers/assassins.

Redoubled Force: Anti-balrog card (although useful against any deck using sites with orc/troll automatic attacks).

Scorba Roused: Bring this faction in if necessary his location in Angmar means it's less dangerous for your covert company to try to recruit him (with well placed 'threats').

Smoke on the Wind: Combine this card with the Palantir, to give Ren two things to do at Minas Tirith.

Snaga-Hai: Another back-up faction.

Swift Strokes: Bring this support card in if necessary.

Tribute Garnered: Bring this in near the end of the first deck cycle, or for the 2nd deck cycle play it for easy MPs.

Twilight: Bring this in if your opponent is actively using environment cards.

Uvatha the Ringwraith: A back-up ringwraith if your opponent plays Ren first.

Voices of Malice: Bring this support card in if necessary.

War Wolf: Similar to Great Bats, bring it in if necessary or for the 2nd cycle, and you can play War Wolf either at Mount Doom or at sites east of the Misty Mountains.

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