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Minion - Auto-attack Deck

Copyright Nigel Buckle ©2002

Edited by Nicholas H.M. Caldwell for The Guild Companion

This article continues on the theme of my recent articles giving hero players advice on how to play against the newer alignments, in a similar way to the article last month.

This time, I'm going to give a fairly competitive minion deck that has a nasty hazard strategy. You could play this deck yourself, or use it as an example of what minion decks can sometimes be like and try to build a hero deck that can compete against it.

When I see a deck list on the internet, or in a magazine, it is not always obvious how the deck should be played or why certain cards have been included (or excluded), so I will also explain how the deck is supposed to work. I've covered in detail the deck versus Hero, but also the cards I would probably change against minion. If you wanted to use this deck in a tournament you would need to fill out the sideboard (depending on what sort of deck types you anticipated you would face).

In this deck, I've not worried about trying to avoid using cards from the later sets. To consider building a minion deck, you must have as a minimum a number of cards from Lidless Eye.

Character Draft (10)

  • *Gorbag
  • *Radbug
  • *Ufthak
  • *Shagrat
  • Grishnak
  • Ill-favoured Fellow (x2)
  • Lugdush
  • Sly Southerner
  • Ugluk
* = Ideal characters
Minor Items: Whip, Blazon of the Eye

Ideal Starting Companies

[start at Dol Guldur]

    Company 1:
    • Gorbag with Whip
    • Controlling Ufthak
    • Radbug
    Company 2:
    • Shagrat with Blazon of the Eye

This gives you 2 starting companies. One (Gorbag's) is set for action immediately, with a hazard limit of 2 and 2 characters with the scout skill and 2 with the ranger skill. Shagrat is a little bit vulnerable until he can get some help, so initially move him to Mordor and move around in relative safety (drawing cards) until you have assembled a second company to help him. Ugluk can form a 3rd company for more speed. All your companies really need rangers and scouts and a company size of 2 (remember orc scouts only count half) to get maximum use of the resources. Once you put the smaller characters under direct influence you're using 16 points of GI; however, once Bade to Rule hits the table you'll have enough GI to play Ugluk.

Character Pool (for the deck)

Badulia (to use as a hazard agent) and some unused characters from the draft. You also have some characters in the sideboard too. It is best to have non-unique characters like Orc Captains to replace any orcs who die unexpectedly. You also want 3 copies of Dwar as your Ringwraith (or 2 of Dwar and one of Hoarmurath if playing against minion).

Resources (30)

MP cards (11)

  • 2-headed troll
  • Great Lord of Goblin Gate
  • High helm
  • Mithril coat
  • Orcs of Dol Guldur
  • Orcs of Minas Morgul
  • Palantir of Amon Sul
  • Regiment of crows
  • Sable shield
  • Thong of fire
  • Uruk-hai

Support cards (19)

  • A nice place to hide (x3)
  • Bade to Rule
  • Crept along Cleverly (x3)
  • Dark tryst (x3)
  • Sneakin (x3)
  • Swarm of bats (x2)
  • Thror's map
  • Weigh all things to a nicety (x3)

The idea of the resource deck is to move around Mirkwood, Dragon Country and the adjacent regions in relative safety. Use Sneakin (and recycle it) for Gorbag's company to avoid most creatures. Save the Nice Place to hides (and the Crept Alongs) to cancel automatic attacks at Dragon lairs and to avoid nasty Ahunt Dragons. Gorbag's company also should take a trip to Goblin Gate to collect the Great Goblin and an appropriate site in Mirkwood for Black Bole (from the sideboard). Collect the crows when you have an untapped character at a dragon's lair. The rest of the allies and factions can be collected by Shagrat and/or Ugluk and your Ringwraith can bring in the Orcs of Dol Guldur. Any of the Orcs can get the 2-headed troll.

2-headed troll: Nice ally, playable at Buhr Widu.
A nice place to hide: Basic utility canceller card, use it when necessary to avoid an attack.
Bade to Rule: You don't plan to move your Ringwraith, so this card is ideal to boost your GI.
Crept along Cleverly: Great canceller - and Gorbag's company is moving to sites where you can use it. Your ranger doesn't have to tap to use this, and can even creep along when wounded!
Dark Tryst: Basic minion utility card drawing card. I use 3 in every minion (and 2 in most fallen wizard) decks.
Great Lord of Goblin Gate: Another useful ally, combined with tapping Dwar you can give your orcs a +3 prowess boost.
High helm: Probably the most useful major item. Give it to Gorbag (or Shagrat) so he can control more characters.
Mithril Coat: Really in the deck for the MPs. The boost to body is nice, but you probably want to store it at some point.
Orcs of Dol Guldur: Easy faction for your squatting Ringwraith to bring in (or any other company at the site).
Orcs of Minas Morgul: Not quite as easy as the other Orc faction. If Bade to Rule isn't in play yet, you can get these with your Ringwraith, otherwise send Shagrat or Ugluk.
Palantir of Amon Sul: Only in the deck for the MPs, store it as soon as possible.
Regiment of crows: A nice easy faction to play when at a dragon site.
Sable Shield: Similar to High Helm, don't count on it lasting the whole game if you use it actively in combat.
Sneakin: Key card for the deck - use this to make your companies immune to hazard creature attacks.
Swarm of bats: The minion equivalent of fellowship, with the added bonus it doesn't go away if you add allies or characters - play it as soon as possible.
Thong of fire: The weapon of choice for Gorbag. Watch that you don't overload him with corrupting items - you could have him with the Thong, a whip, and a high helm, which might be too much temptation.
Thror's Map: Play this as your free minor item as soon as you can. Use it to untap a dragon lair to get a second item.
Uruk-hai: A nice 2 point faction in a very safe area - you can move Shagrat to the dark tower on his own (if he gets tapped, wait there for the next turn).
Weigh all things to a nicety: Necessary for either sideboarding or recycling the key cards.

Key Sideboard Cards


Black Bole, Long Grievous Siege, Orc Captain, Orc Tracker, Orcs of Mirkwood, Sudden Call, Tribute Garnered, Voices of Malice.

Hazards (30)

Creatures (15)

  • Adunaphel *
  • Beorning Skinchangers (x3) *
  • Corsairs of Umbar (x3) *
  • Daelomin at Home *
  • Knights of the Prince *
  • Mouth of Sauron *
  • Sellswords (x3)
  • Wandering Eldar (x2) *

Non-creatures (15)

  • Bane of the Ithil Stone *
  • Fell Winter (x3) *
  • Incite Denizens (x2)
  • Tidings of Bold Spies (x3)
  • Unabated in Malice (x3)
  • Whole Villages Roused (x3) *

* = cards removed when playing against minion

The idea of the non-creature cards is to enhance (or create) automatic attacks at sites and then force your opponent to face them early with Tidings of Bold Spies. The creatures cover the sites that do not usually have automatic attacks. With most of the hazards, you just play them when you draw them. Remember Badulia is in the deck as a character, but should be played as a road-block agent.

Vs minion

(full list, * denotes cards removed when playing against hero)

Creatures (12)

  • Sellswords (x3)
  • Barrow Wight (x3) *
  • Wisp of Pale Sheen (x3) *
  • Chill Douser (x3) *

Non-creatures (18)

  • Tidings of Bold Spies (x3)
  • Unabated in Malice (x3)
  • Foolish Words (x3)
  • Incite Denizens (x2)
  • The Moon is Dead (x2)
  • Times are Evil (x2)
  • Heedless Revelry (x3)

Key Sideboard Cards (Hazards):

Those of you who regularly read my articles should realise I don't often bother to sideboard in hazards. This deck has no easy way of doing so (other than halving the hazard limit for a turn). You probably need to put in a few, if nothing else than for inclusion after the first deck cycle.

One obvious omission is anti-one ring - if your opponent is trying to dunk with Hobbits then probably the auto-attack enhancing hazards (especially Unabated in Malice and Beorning Skin Changers) will be enough to slow him down. However, against other less common ring dunk decks, you need to consider how you would stop them. Saving the Sellswords for keying to Mount Doom probably isn't sufficient, and relying on the one Bane to stop Lucky Search is equally risky. One possible option is agent roadblock. Badulia is too far north to get to Mount Doom in time, but you could include ranger agents such as D‚sakŻn, The Grimburgoth, ‘m-buri-‘m in the sideboard and bring them into the deck (as characters) once you suspect a dunk deck. Then halve the hazard limit to bring in Seek without Success too, followed by moving your agents to sites one move from Mount Doom. (Remember you can move your agents through the black-gate (from Dead Marshes to Udun).) Then you just move the agent to Mount Doom and play Seek without Success to bounce the dunking company back for a turn. Repeat next turn with the next agent (and possibly move your companies to the road-blocked company to attack too). But to be realistic, this deck will often struggle against a highly tuned tournament dunk deck. If you suspect this sort of hero deck will be present at the tournament, include the ranger agents in the deck and swap out the 3 Fell winters for Seek without Success. Even against a non-dunk deck, you can probably bounce your opponent's companies once or twice and your opponent will start to worry once your agents hit the table and move around and you've played Seek without Success.

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