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Qualifying Deck for the UK Nationals (2001)
Part II

Copyright Nigel Buckle ©2001

Edited by Nicholas Caldwell for The Guild Companion

Introduction

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

As I mentioned in the article covering my "versus Minion" qualifying deck, 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.

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. hero players. I specifically selected the hazards to give general coverage of all the various popular hero resource strategies, sacrificing power for flexibility. I felt that hero speed decks are just so fast (playing big MP cards every turn and drawing multiple cards with A Short Rest, or Radagast & Bridge) that I couldn't afford to 'guess' the meta-game and tailor a hazard strategy to stop particular deck types. Instead I decided to rely on my resource strategy to win the game and use my hazards to slow down my opponent (rather than go for a 'knock-out'). However I intended to stop hero speed draw decks with 'Shadow of Mordor', and also use 'Worn and Famished' to encourage my opponent to visit border/freeholds  - where I could hit the company with 'Siege'. I hoped to ruin my opponent's item strategy with 'Great Secrets Buried There' and bury items in the Underdeeps – I assumed it was unlikely someone would play an Underdeeps resource strategy against minions, for fear of facing a Balrog deck.

My resource strategy would support my hazards by the use of Agents. Minions treat these as characters in deck building, so I'd include several strong agents (playable at popular sites) and play them as agent hazards rather than characters. I would start the game with 3 companies and stay close to Mordor – raiding the borderholds in the South, and visiting shadow-holds like Nurniag Camp and Mount Doom, hopefully avoiding the nastier hazards.   

Character Draft

Elwen
Euog (Ulzog)
Gorbag
Grishnakh
Ill Favoured Fellow
Lagduf
Muzgash
Raisha
Ugluk
Wormtongue

Minor Items

Blazon of the Eye
Open to the Summons

With the ideal starting companies being:

Raisha (with Open to the Summons)
Ugluk controlling Lagduf
Euog with Blazon of the Eye, controlling Muzgash

Split into three companies, start all companies at Minas Morgul, for 7 character MPs and only 14 GI used, leaving plenty free to start a fourth company later in the game. Ugluk's company goes kicking down borderholds for items (using 'Come By Night' to play more than one) and then burn them down with 'Burning Rick Cot and Tree' - prime targets are Raider Hold and Gobel Mirlond. Euog moves to Cirith Ungol and stays there to play the 3 factions, Muzgash may get discarded (Cirith Ungol is one of his home sites) or join the fourth company, or even Raisha (as she's a 'man'). Dwar plays the Morgul Orcs, then gets on his black horse and collects a Helm of Fear, while Rashia collects the War Wolf (from Mount Doom) and Great Bats from Nurniag Camp. Don't forget to tap Dwar to give Ugluk's company a prowess boost if there's nothing much to do with him otherwise in a turn.

Character Pool

Dwar (x3), Badulia (to be played as a hazard), some characters from the draft, the agents (to be played as hazards) and Gorbag & Grishnakh to form the final company.

Resources (30)

Ancient Secrets
Ancient Secrets
Awaiting the Call
Black Horse
Bold Thrust
Bold Thrust
Bold Thrust
Broad Headed Spear
Broad Headed Spear
Burning Rick, Cot & Tree
Burning Rick, Cot & Tree
Come by Night
Dark Tryst
Dark Tryst
Dark Tryst
Gifts as Given of Old
Great Bats
Helm of Fear
High Helm
Morgul Orcs
Orc Quarrels
Orc Quarrels
Orc Quarrels
Orcs of the Ephel Duath
Sable Shield
Swarm of Bats
Swift Strokes
Ungol Orcs
Uruk-Hai
War Wolf

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 play deck, depending on how the game is progressing.

Awaiting the Call: Play on Euog once he's at Cirith Ungol to free up more GI.

Black Horse: A steed for Dwar, so he can collect the Helm of Fear – he might also do other things (collected from the sideboard), depending when he comes into play.

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.

Burning Rick Cot & Tree: Staple MP card, easy enough to play – and you can use an Orc Quarrels to cancel the attack. Although if you've collected weapons to tap the site, then chances are your company can handle the attack anyway (and/or use a Bold Thrust).

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.

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

Gifts as Given of Old: Helper card for Euog to play a faction

Great Bats: Play this ally with Raisha or possibly Gorbag's company – at Nurniag Camp as that is a very safe site with no automatic attack.

Helm of Fear: Dwar plays this (after getting a black horse).

High Helm: A great major item, play it the first opportunity you get.

Morgul Orcs: An easy faction for Dwar to play while waiting for his horse (or when he returns from collecting his Helm of Fear).

Orc Quarrels: In the deck to cancel the man auto attacks or men/orc/troll hazard creatures, or the attacks on Burning Rick, Cot & Tree.

Orcs of the Ephel Duath: One of the factions to play under Euog.

Sable Shield: Similar to High Helm, don't count on it lasting the whole game if you use it actively in combat.

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

Swift Strokes: Another utility combat card.

Ungol Orcs: Another faction for Euog.

Uruk-Hai: A further faction for Euog (you might want to save the Gifts as Given for this one).

War Wolf : The other ally for Raisha to collect, Mount Doom is probably the safest place to play it.

Hazards (30)

Note: * indicates Creatures & ˝ Creatures
* Bairanax Ahunt
* Beorning Skin Changers (x2)
* Cave Drake (x3)
* Daelomin at Home
* Mouth of Sauron
* My Precious 
* Rain Drake (x3)
* Sellswords between Charters (x3)
An Unexpected Outpost (x2)
Foolish Words (x3)
Great Secrets Buried There  (x3)
Revealed To All Watchers
Shadow of Mordor
Siege (x2)
Call of Home
Worn and Famished (x2)

Bairanax Ahunt: Covers popular regions (Anduin Vales, without Doors of Night!), small enough to avoid The Old Thrush, but quite effective, especially against companies using stealth.

Beorning Skin Changers: Really this shouldn't count as half a creature against hero decks, but it does – so I use it. A very annoying card, especially for companies of 4 hobbits.

Cave Drake: Staple hazard creature, covering deep wilderness and Ruins & Lairs.

Daelomin at Home: Probably the only generally used at home manifestation – use it to boost the hazard limit when you have effective hazards to play, or keep it on the table to stop your opponent playing it.

Mouth of Sauron: Recycle the most effective hazard cards

My Precious: Anti one-ring agent, my precious cannot be played as a character by minions, so goes in the deck as a hazard.

Rain Drake: Hazard creature for coastal Sea coverage, and many Ruins & Lairs; also good against Radagast decks and decks based out of Rivendell, both of which frequently travel through triple wilderness.

Sellswords between Charters: One of the best 'men' hazards, covering both borderholds and shadowholds.

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, I always seem to end up with 3 of these in all my decks!

Great Secrets Buried There: Great card for stripping out items and burying them in the Underdeeps, or if not you get to see a chunk of your opponent's deck – which always helps.

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).

Shadow of Mordor: Great card to stop those annoying hero decks, which draw a ton of cards each turn, doesn't really bother your companies, just draw one card if the increased hazard limit looks like being a problem.

Siege: Good card to slow free/border hold decks, works well in tandem with Worn and Famished.

Call of Home: Very playable, and surprisingly effective early on (before your opponent gets a wizard in play) or if your opponent risks leaving little or no GI free.

Worn and Famished: Great hazard as it doesn't affect you at all.

Sideboard

Some of the sideboard cards should be played each game either directly from the sideboard or bought into the deck (using An Unexpected Outpost, Ancient Secrets or just by tapping Dwar). Others are there for the second deck cycle, or as support cards against particular hazard or resource strategies. You need to bring in Sudden Call at some point to end the game.

Blackbole
Easterlings
Faithless Steward
Long Grievous Siege
Lost in the Free-Domains (x2)
Lure of Expedience
Lure of Nature
Lure of the Senses
Mordor in Arms
Orcs of Dol Guldur
Orcs of Mirkwood
Ready To His Will
Searching Eye (x2)
Seized By Terror (x2)
Shadow of Mordor
Stormcrow
Sudden Call
Swarm of Bats
Swift Strokes
Tribute Garnered (x2)
Twilight (x2)
Use Your Legs
Voices of Malice (x2)
Will Not Come Down
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