Archives Fellow Travelers Voices of Reason Where am I? Making Fantasy a Reality The Guild Companion Please vote for us once every day by clicking here!

Hazard Deck Prototypes

Copyright Nigel Buckle ©2002

Edited by Nicholas HM Caldwell for The Guild Companion

When building a deck you have to consider the meta-game, your grasp of this will colour the type of decks you build. By meta-game, I mean the game environment you play in, and this is applicable to casual play and  local tournaments as well as the bigger events (Nationals & Worlds). This environment is the decks you end up playing against. How well a player can predict this meta-game can often affect the position they end up with after the game/tournament. If you are good at second-guessing what your opponents are playing, then you can build a deck that exploits the weaknesses of those deck types.

If you've read my previous articles, you'll know I favour winning the game with my resources, rather than my hazards. I believe I have more control over the resource part of the game, whereas hazards need a much more skilful play of the meta-game as a specialist hazard deck can be devastating against the right types of deck, but ineffectual against others. I try to build a resource deck that can cope with most hazard strategies, and those that cause particular problems I rely on support from the sideboard. However to build the resource deck I consider the likely hazards I'm going to face – then when the deck is finished, I usually build a test-deck that has a hazard strategy tailored to stop my resource deck. If my deck can still perform against such an opposing deck, I'm usually confident it will do well in a tournament.

This article lists the hazard prototype decks I usually consider. In the interests of space, I haven't listed every card for each, nor given a full description of why each card is included – in any case these are prototype decks, I'd expect to face tuned variations of these in a tournament. You could also use these decks as ideas for building the hazard part of your decks - just modify them to suit your collection, resources and local play environment.

1. Dump & Run

This hazard deck is not really designed to hinder the opposing deck, rather it is designed for pure speed – the idea is to be able to play hazards to the hazard limit every turn (and raise the hazard limit), so increasing the speed of the deck. This sort of hazard deck is sometimes paired up with a slow resource deck (to make it competitive, an example of this are fallen wizard decks) or even a speed resource deck to reduce even further the number of turns in a game.

12 Minimum Creatures made up of:
  • 9 Ahunt Dragons(4.5 creatures),
  • 9 Nazgul (4.5 creatures)
  • Badulia (0.5 creatures)
  • Dealomin at Home (0.5 creatures)
  • Mouth of Sauron (0.5 creatures)
  • My Precious (0.5 creatures)
  • Saruman the Wise (0.5 creatures)
  • Spider of the Morlat (0.5 creatures)
The remaining 6 cards are:
  • 3x Power Built by Waiting
  • 3x Foolish Words

My precious and Saruman the Wise are token anti-one ring hazards. Also, Khamul can be used late in the game to disrupt a one-ring deck by forcing the discard of the player's hand. Normally you wouldn't want to use Khamul as the idea of the hazard deck is to be faster than your opponent – forcing them to discard their hand just helps your opponent cycle their deck.

2. Orcs and more Orcs

This deck is usually played against minions, as that alignment will not get any MPs from eliminating the weaker creatures. The idea of the deck is to hit your opponent's companies with multiple Orcs, hopefully slowing them down enough for your resources to win the game – a few lucky rolls or the right combination of Orcs can make this deck quite deadly. Doubled Vigilance is an under-appreciated card and fits right in this deck, and with Doors of Night in play is very playable and effective. 2 or 3 Tribes Present can help to beat companies with a low hazard limit. The little snufflers are hard to kill (unless the party has numerous rangers) and their ability to stop the play of scout cards is not to be overlooked – but this deck needs Searching Eye in the sideboard to cancel the effects of Stealth/Sneakin

12 Minimum Creatures made up of:
  • 2x Little Snuffler
  • 3x Hobgoblins
  • 3x Orc Lieutenant
  • 3x Uruk Lieutenant
  • Mouth of Sauron (0.5 creature)
  • Uvatha (0.5 creature)
Remaining 17 cards:
  • 2x Twilight
  • 3x Two or Three Tribes Present
  • 3x An Unexpected Outpost
  • 3x Doors of Night
  • 3x Doubled Vigilance
  • 3x Minions Stir

3. Auto attack Enhancers

The idea of this deck is to boost the auto-attacks at sites and also make your opponent face these attacks during the movement/hazard phase with Tidings of Bold Spies.  Unabated in Malice is the card that really lifts this deck type to make it one of the most competitive, and it is surprisingly effective against most alignment types. You have to build your resource deck with care, so that you avoid visiting sites where the auto attack enhancers will affect your companies. The creatures are chosen to hit the blind spots (those sites with small or no automatic attacks) – the Mumak are only used against hero decks, swap them for Beorning Toll or other suitable creatures. Cards like Awaken Defenders and Incite Denizens should be included in the sideboard to bring in against particular deck types and The Rank Upon Rank are there to boost your man hazard creatures.

12 Minimum Creatures made up of:
  • 2x Mumak
  • 3x Ambusher
  • 3x Corsairs of Umbar
  • 3x Sellswords between Charters
  • Mouth of Sauron (0.5 creature)
  • Uvatha (0.5 creature)
Remaining cards (17):
  • 1x Nature's Revenge
  • 1x Redoubled Force
  • 1x The Moon is Dead
  • 2x Rank Upon Rank
  • 3x An Unexpected Outpost
  • 3x Tidings of Bold Spies
  • 3x Unabated in Malice
  • 3x Whole Villages Roused

4. Corruption

Some players discount corruption as it doesn't actually slow your opponent down. However, most players will tap characters to try to remove the threat a corruption card has, and Balance followed by an Alone & Unadvised or a Lure of Nature is often very effective (especially if you have Traitor in play). Many players avoid corruption against minions (as they have the bonus against it) but often minion players do not prepare for a corruption strategy for this reason – just include Covetous Thoughts which is probably the best corruption card in the game. Also your Corpse Candles are likely to survive against minions as you can play them as detainment and still force the corruption check. Watch for the At Home Itangast being killed by a wizard playing Sacrifice of Form – you probably want to play a deck light in items (and no greater items) if using this deck. Include additional corruption cards in the sideboard (to either bring in on the second deck cycle or with the Unexpected Outposts). This deck appears to break my rules of deck consistency (3 of each card where possible, etc), but you cannot duplicate corruption cards on a single character and often you need a couple of corruption cards to get the corruption total high enough for the character to fail a check – hence you want a variety of corruption cards in the deck and where possible you stack them up on a particular character.

12 Minimum Creatures made up of:
  • 1x Knights of the Prince
  • 3x Assassin
  • 3x Corpse Candle
  • 3x Sellswords Between Charters
  • Itangast At Home (0.5 creature)
  • Mouth of Sauron (0.5 creature)
  • Ren (0.5 creature)
  • Saruman the Wise (0.5 creature)
Remaining Cards (16):
  • 2x Alone and Unadvised
  • 2x An Unexpected Outpost
  • 2x Echoes of the Song
  • 2x Greed
  • 2x Lure of Expedience
  • 2x Lure of Nature
  • 3x Lure of the Senses
  • The Balance of Things
  • Traitor

5. Roadblock

I loathe roadblock – it is such an annoying hazard strategy to play against, but you need to prepare your deck to cope with it. If you can avoid being returned to your site of origin, then there is little else a dedicated roadblock deck can do to slow your companies down. Obviously if you are playing this hazard strategy you will want to choose a resource strategy that avoids the roadblock effect of your hazard cards! Roadblock is usually less effective against minions as often those decks avoid moving out of shadow lands (or don't move at all). Creatures are either roadblock or give coverage to areas not affected by the roadblock cards.

12 Minimum Creatures made up of:
  • 3x Ambusher
  • 3x Beorning Skin Changers (1.5 creatures)
  • 3x Corsairs of Umbar
  • 3x Sellswords Between Charters
  • Mouth of Sauron (0.5 creature)
  • Knights of the Prince (0.5 creature)
Remaining Cards (16):
  • 3x Doors of Night
  • 3x Snowstorm
  • 3x Long Winter
  • 3x An Unexpected Outpost
  • 2x Twilight
  • 2x Withered Lands

6. Dragons & Drakes

This is a fairly straightforward deck – using dragons and drakes to pound your opponent. It can work against both hero and minion, although you'd probably want to change a few cards vs. minion (such as bring in marsh drakes and winged fire drakes for some shadow land coverage). For those players who want some defence against faction decks include 3 foolish words, if you want to try to kill more characters include Dragon's Blood. It's worth including Prowess of Age in the sideboard against heavy avoidance decks.

Creatures (15)
  • 2x Rain Drake
  • 3x Cave Drake
  • 3x Cave Worm
  • Agburanar (0.5 creature)
  • Badulia (0.5 creature)
  • Bairanax (0.5 creature)
  • Itangast (0.5 creature)
  • Leucaruth (0.5 creature)
  • Mouth of Sauron (0.5 creature)
  • Scatha (0.5 creature)
  • Smaug (0.5 creature)
Remaining cards (14):
  • 2x An Unexpected Outpost
  • 3x Dragon's Desolation
  • 3x Summons from Long Sleep
  • 3x Long Dark Reach
  • 3x Searching Eye

7. Corrupting Undead

This deck is very effective against minions, although some players would swap the corruption cards for an alternative hazard strategy. In essence it is two half strategies, undead and corruption, with undead being the main focus and corruption supporting. Against hero decks, you might want to swap the Wisps for other undead (such as Barrow Wight) or possibly Assassins for border/free hold coverage, the Wisp is most useful against minions, its attack is likely to be detainment, but its special ability will still tap a character. Also swap the Covetous Thoughts for Lure of Nature (or maybe a Longing for the West and Lure of Creation to try to corrupt a wizard).

Creatures (14):
  • 2x Barrow Wight
  • 3x Chill Douser
  • 3x Corpse Candle
  • 3x Stirring Bones
  • 3x Wisp of Pale Sheen
Remaining Hazards (16):
  • 2x Lure of Expedience
  • 2x Covetous Thoughts
  • 2x Lure of the Senses
  • 2x The Moon is Dead
  • 2x Alone and Unadvised
  • 3x Foolish Words
  • 3x Spells of the Barrow Wight

8. Free Peoples

This is either an annoying detainment deck against heroes or a beat-down deck against minions. When playing minions swap in Elves Upon Errantry (and take out the Ents) and Lady of the Golden Wood.

Creatures (12):
  • 3x Dwarven Travellers
  • 3x Elf Lord Revealed in Wrath
  • 3x Wandering Eldar
  • 2x Ent in Search of the Entwives
  • My Precious (0.5 creature)
  • Master of the House (0.5 creature)
Remaining Cards (16):
  • 2x Enchanted Stream
  • 3x An Unexpected Outpost
  • 3x Chill them with Fear
  • 3x Foolish Words
  • 3x River
  • No Escape from My Magic
  • Trouble on all Borders

9. Men

This deck is another brutal beat-down deck. With the enhancers in play, even the weaker man hazards are to be feared and the bigger creatures are horrible. Against minions, you should probably remove the Corsairs of Umbar. The creature count is high, but you need lots of man hazard creatures to keep Thrice Outnumbered in play (and use that to recycle the most effective man hazards against the particular deck you are facing).

Creatures (15.5):
  • 3x Ambusher
  • 3x Assassin
  • 3x Corsairs of Umbar
  • 3x Lawless Men
  • 3x Sellswords Between Charters
  • Mouth of Sauron (0.5 creature)
Remaining Cards (14):
  • 2x Thrice Outnumbered
  • 3x An Unexpected Outpost
  • 3x Power Built By Waiting
  • 3x Rank Upon Rank
  • 3x Two or Three Tribes Present

10. Agent Roadblock

This deck is only effective against heroes, as you cannot play the key roadblock card Seek Without Success against minions. This deck is harder to play than some of the others, but very effective. The idea is to move your ranger agents close to where your opponents companies are, and then use Seek without Success to return them to their site of origin. Very little can stop the Seek (as you discard the ranger agent rather than reveal it), then sideboard in corruption against any opposing rangers that get promptings of wisdom (and target those characters with the Cave Drakes and Assassins).

Creatures (12):
  • Badulia (0.5 creature)
  • Dasakun (0.5 creature)
  • Gisulf (0.5 creature)
  • Herion (0.5 creature)
  • Juoma (0.5 creature)
  • Nimloth (0.5 creature)
  • Om-Buri-Om (0.5 creature)
  • Mouth of Sauron (0.5 creature)
  • Dealomin At Home (0.5 creature)
  • 3x Beorning Skin Changers (0.5 creature)
  • 3x Cave Drake
  • 3x Assassin
Remaining Cards (12):
  • 3x Seek Without Success
  • 3x Nobody's Friend
  • 3x River
  • 3x An Unexpected Outpost

11. Cloaked in Darkness

This is the hazard part of a minion deck that actively creates shadow-lands (using Morgul Night) for both turns. The resource deck is designed to make use of the change in the environment, and the hazard deck utilises the fact that Foul Fumes & Bane of the Ithil Stone only affects hero players not minions. I include this as a test deck because it is a non-roadblock heavy environment deck that is ideal to test against resource environment decks utilising Gates of Morning (etc). Also Shadow of Mordor is very effective against hero speed decks utilising A Short Rest. The resource half of the deck should have a copy of twilight.

Creatures (12):
  • 2x Orc-guard
  • 3x Olog Warlords
  • 3x Sellswords Between Charters
  • 3x Winged Fire-Drake
  • Mouth of Sauron (0.5 creature)
  • Uvatha (0.5 creature)
Remaining Cards (17):
  • 2x An Unexpected Outpost
  • 2x Fell Winter
  • 2x Twilight
  • 3x Doors of Night
  • 3x Foul Fumes
  • 3x Morgul Night
  • Bane of the Ithil Stone
  • Shadow of Mordor

12. Spiders

This deck is effective against both heroes and minions (and also the Balrog). Black Vapour is a great way to prevent your spider attacks being cancelled – if you have one in hand, try to play spiders before reaching the hazard limit so you can use this card, not only is the canceller cancelled but the spider attack gains an additional prowess.

Creatures (12):
  • 3x Giant Spiders
  • 3x Lesser Spiders
  • 3x Sellswords Between Charters
  • Badulia (0.5 creature)
  • Mouth of Sauron (0.5 creature)
  • Spider of the Morlat (0.5 creature)
  • Ungoliant's Foul Issue (0.5 creature)
  • Ungoliant's Progeny (0.5 creature)
  • Uvatha (0.5 creature)
Remaining Cards (15):
  • 2x Black Vapour
  • 2x Flies & Spiders
  • 2x Full of Froth & Rage
  • 3x An Unexpected Outpost
  • 3x Foolish Words
  • 3x River
Where am I? Archives Voices of Reason Fellow Travelers Vote for us on the RPG 100 Sponsored by Mimic Media & Data Systems