An Unexpected Party

Copyright Nigel Buckle © 2004

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

"The main idea of the deck is to build a big party of dwarves and collect multiple marshalling points at a site"

Some people play MECCG for the role-play/theme aspects of the game, rather than the ultra-competitive nature of a tournament. Unfortunately for many, a tournament is the only place that they can find an opponent to play.

This month I have a theme deck that should perform reasonably well in a tournament, but it's just a deck to play vs. Hero. I've given some explanation of how the deck should play, rather than just a deck list.

The theme is dwarves, and the theme card is An Unexpected Party - the main idea of the deck is to build a big party of dwarves and collect multiple marshalling points at a site (using Thorough Search & Rescue Prisoners). With a large company expect lots of hazards, but you should have enough spare characters to tap to support, and A Friend or Three should give a huge bonus.

Ideal Starting Company (5):
  • Thrain with Cram, controlling
    • Kili
    • Bofur
  • Beretar with Cram, controlling
    • Bombur
  • [Minor Items: Cram (x2)]

Draft Thrain first, then Beretar, then Kili, then Bofur, and finally Bombur; the other characters in the pool are to act as replacements if your ideal characters are duplicated in the draft.

This is a strong starting company, with the possibility to split into 2 companies if you feel it necessary.

Character Pool (10):
  • Thrain
  • Thorin (back-up for Thrain)
  • Beretar
  • Faramir (back-up for Balin)
  • Kili
  • Fili (back-up for Kili)
  • Bofur
  • Bifur (back-up for Bofur)
  • Bombur
  • Dwalin (back-up for Bombur)

Characters for the Deck:

Alatar (x2), Radagast (x1)
Some unused characters from the draft (mainly low mind dwarves), Oin, Balin, Dori, Nori.

Resources (30)

  • MP cards (13)
  • Items (6):
  • Durin's Axe Glamdring
  • Hauberk of Bright Mail (x2)
  • Orcrist
  • The Arkenstone

Allies (2):

  • Gollum
  • Gwahir

Factions (3):

  • Blue Mountain Dwarves
  • Petty Dwarves
  • Rangers of the North

Miscellaneous (2):

  • Rescue Prisoners (x2)

Support cards (17):

  • A Chance Meeting
  • A Friend or 3 (x2)
  • An Unexpected Party (x2)
  • Longbottom Leaf (x2)
  • Many Foes He Fought (x3)
  • Risky Blow (x2)
  • Safe Against the Shadow
  • The Dwarves are Upon You (x2)
  • Thorough Search (x2)

Durin's Axe: Crucial item for the deck - as it's equivalent to a greater item in the hands of a dwarf - watch the corruption though.

Glamdring : Nice item, especially for the wizard as it's only 1 corruption point.

Hauberk of Bright Mail: Good for those 7 body dwarves, and only 1 corruption point.

Orcrist: Staple weapon, good for any character.

The Arkenstone: Another crucial item, watch the corruption.

Gollum: mainly in the deck as anti-one ring (play him before your opponent), his low prowess means it might spend most of the game wounded - but it's easy to play him at Goblin Gate.

Gwahir: An ally with a reasonable prowess (4)

Blue Mountain Dwarves: A nice 3 MP faction.

Petty Dwarves: Relatively easy to bring in with one of your dwarves.

Rangers of the North: A nice 3 MP faction, use Beretar to recruit them.

Rescue Prisoners: A quick mission to play after collecting an item.

The Sites you use for the items will depend on what hazards you see played - you could use any/all of these:

Barrow Downs (major items)

Carn Dum (greater items)

Glittering Caves (major items)

Himring (major items)

Isles of the Dead that Live (major items)

Moria (greater items)

Mount Gram (major items)

Mount Gundabad (greater items)

Ruined Signal Tower (major items)

The Stones (greater items)

Ideally you want to play 2 MP cards at an item site, the first item, then Thorough Search for a major item, or Rescue Prisoners (if at a Shadow or Dark Hold).

A Chance Meeting: Speeds your deck up, once you have An Unexpected Party in play.

A Friend or 3: Useful defence against corruption, or help to recruit the factions, especially as your companies are likely to be large.

An Unexpected Party: Crucial Theme card for the deck - once it's in play you can have a huge company of dwarves!

Long Bottom Leaf: Essential sideboard card, use it to bring in the resources you need

Many Foes He Fought: Useful for getting a dwarf with a weapon to face multiple attacks, especially automatic attacks if you want to get another character into the site untapped. It's also useful for throwing a low mind character against a nasty creature if you think you can't beat it, or don't want to take the risk (such as an enhanced Corsairs of Umbar, etc)

Risky Blow: Staple combat enhancer

Safe Against the Shadow: Useful for storing the Rescue Prisoners or items if corruption is a problem.

The Dwarves are Upon You: With a big party of dwarves this card can be awesome.

Thorough Search: Essential speed card for the deck, allows you to play a second (major) item at a site.

Don't be surprised if your opponent stops playing hazard creatures on your companies, especially once you get some weapons into play. Many Foes He Fought is a very under-rated card, and works well in this deck. If you find your opponent is playing mainly 'attacker chooses defender' type hazard creatures, you might want to sideboard in More Alert than Most.

Sideboard (Resources/Characters):

  • A Chance Meeting
  • A Friend or 3
  • Alliance of Free
  • Peoples
  • Beasts of the Wood
  • Elves of Lindon
  • Gloin
  • Goldberry
  • Hauberk of Bright Mail
  • Marvels Told (x2)
  • More Alert than Most
  • Ori
  • Promptings of Wisdom
  • Risky Blow
  • Smoke Rings
  • Sword of Gondolin
  • The Dwarves are Upon You
  • The Hunt (x2)
  • Thorough Search
  • Wild Hounds
  • Woses of the Eryn Vorn

Hazard Deck (30) * = creature or ½ creature:

  • *Assassin (x3)
  • *Corpse Candle (x3)
  • *Intagast Ahunt
  • *Knights of the Prince
  • *Rain Drake (x3)
  • *Ren the Unclean
  • *The Mouth of Sauron
  • *Uvatha The Horseman
  • Alone and Unadvised
  • Echoes of the Song (x2)
  • Foolish Words (x3)
  • Greed (x2)
  • Lure of Expedience (x3)
  • Lure of Nature (x2)
  • Lure of the Senses (x3)

Assassin: Coverage against decks that recruit factions/allies rather than collect items.

Corpse Candle: Only play this against companies with lots of corruption, you'll be giving up a kill MP but hopefully eliminating characters (and removing their items) with the corruption checks.

Intagast Ahunt: Big Bad dragon to cover dragon country, gets past stealth.

Knights of the Prince: More Gondor coverage

Rain Drake (x3): Main anti-costal sea hazard, also quite playable elsewhere.

Ren the Unclean: Mainly to stop your opponent playing him! But consider tapping Ren to force corruption checks if your opponent has more corruption than you

The Mouth of Sauron: Staple hazard, get back a hazard card that's proving effective

Uvatha The Horseman: Get back a creature (such as The Mouth) or tap to sideboard

Alone and Unadvised: Great against small companies.

Echoes of the Song: Crucial card for forcing corruption checks - shame you can't reuse it.

Foolish Words: Another anti-faction card, and also another target for your opponent's Marvel's Told - hopefully he'll waste it removing this rather than a corruption card.

Greed: Play it on-guard!

Lure of Expedience: Staple corruption card (consider revealing it on-guard in response to the play of an item)

Lure of Nature: Great corruption card, don't expect it to stay on the character long; fortunately your dwarves are immune.

Lure of the Senses: Good corruption card and one of the few that works against hobbits.

The hazard deck is corruption, mainly because your dwarves suffer from corruption, so if your opponent is playing a corruption deck (using Balance of Things, Traitor, etc) then you can benefit from them too. Plus corruption is fast and your resource strategy means you have to hold cards (Thorough Searches, items, characters).

Sideboard (hazards):

  • Echoes of the Song
  • Greed
  • Lure of Nature
  • Longing for the West
  • Rolled Down to the Sea
  • Saruman the Wise
  • Seized by Terror
  • Traitor
  • Twilight

The idea of the deck is to build one or two strong companies and collect a number of items (storing those you don't need). Allies and factions round out the points. The sideboard has a number of useful resources (access by tapping your wizard or use a Longbottom Leaf).

If your opponent plays an elf faction, consider using the Alliance of Free Peoples (unless your opponent has more eligible factions than you!) or else sideboard in the Elves of Lindon and play them yourself with Beretar or your Wizard.

If you play Radagast instead of Alatar, consider bringing in Beasts of the Wood and Wild Hounds, so you can play them along with an item at a Ruins & Lairs.

If you play Alatar, consider giving him a weapon (such as Glamdring or Orcrist) and then sideboard in The Hunt and collect some kill MPs.

The deck works best based out of Rivendell/Grey Havens - don't bother to cross the Misty Mountains, use the sites in the West and Angmar, although you might have to visit the mountains for greater items if necessary.