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Card Talk 183
This deck is designed to make the most of the Silvan trait where they are moving in and out of play through the entire game. The deck is thematic in that it uses Celeborn and Galadriel, the Lord and Lady of Lothlorien and also takes advantage of Thranduil, the Elven King of the Mirkwood Silvans.
Even though the deck is slightly above the 50 card minimum that some seasoned veterans like to play with, the deck itself gets its consistency from Galadriel's card drawing action early on and, if you use The Tree People with a lucky draw, from Legolas. The other sub theme within the deck that makes it very effective is the use of Rúmil and many ranged Silvans within the deck itself. With the possibility of having up to 9 ranged characters in play, Rúmil has the potential to direct damage almost any target out of the game. Couple that with Thranduil's ability to bring a Silvan in during the combat phase, it's possible that Rúmil to eliminate an enemy before even having it attack you, matching his brother's, Haldir of Lórien, hero ability.
To start the game, you will want to see either of the leadership resource accelerators, Steward of Gondor or O Lórien!, or Galadriel's ring, Nenya in your opening hand. Many times, if I get one of them in the first hand I draw, I won't mulligan at all. Steward of Gondor and O Lórien! help to bring out the allies by giving you resources. Nenya helps you out because without it, you can't use The Tree People which accelerates your board state in a different way. If you get two of these cards in the first hand, it would be amazing.
When playing O Lórien!, there isn't any benefit or drawback on playing it on a particular hero except that in some cases a nasty treachery or a shadow effect may cause it to be discarded if the hero is exhausted. To eliminate this concern, it's best to play it on Galadriel. Deciding on which character to play Steward of Gondor is a bit trickier situation. It's almost a toss up between the heroes and Galadriel. I think that Galadriel is the early game target to ensure you have access to A Test of Will. The heroes should get it mid- to late game if that's when it comes out.
When The Elvenking comes out, it makes the most sense to put it on Celeborn because of his stat line, but I can see cases where Thranduil would get it if you need a beefy defender more than once per attack phase.
One of the beauties of this deck in true solo play is that you can make a few mistakes with it and it can be forgiving. But, as you play it you will find out that there is real value in making the most out of your action windows and the enter play effects of your Silvans. A prime example of this is how to use Thranduil's action most effectively. If you have the resources, pay for Rúmil and do the direct damage. Or use the action to pay for other out of sphere allies like the Galadhon Archer. Be careful though, Rúmil's ability is only good when you play him from your hand, so you can't use The Tree People to cheat him in AND still do the direct damage.
Another "know your action windows" card is Galadriel. Don't use her action during the planning phase. With Thranduil's action, you can pay for an ally later so that card draw can happen in one of many places throughout the turn and you will still be able to use the card drawn. A few situational alternatives to using Galadriel in the planning phase is to use her before the engagement phase to lower your threat by 1 to avoid having to engage the big bad guy or using the card draw at the beginning of combat with the hopes of drawing an ally to play using Thranduil's action. In general, it's always a good idea to wait to use her until the very last action window before the round or when you need to draw the card or reduce your threat.
Another gameplay piece to keep in mind is that once Galadriel gets Nenya on her, don't always feel like you have to use her to add to your quest AND if you do, you can add her to the character AFTER the staging step. If you don't need the extra , keep her available to use her action. Even if you don't need to draw a card it's always great to be able to lower threat.
Once the deck gets going, it's fun to keep it going and the Silvans provide the flexibility with their "enter play" effects to work to overcome most scenarios. For example: 1) If you have been just brutalized by a Necromancer's Reach, slip Orophin in and out of play a few times. Use Island Amid Perils to do it to reduce your threat by three every time. 2) Need (even more) action advantage? Try bringing Naith Guide in and out of play. It's always a good target for The Tree People, The Elvenking, Feigned Voices or Quicker Than Sight. Slip the guide back in to play the next round. Lather, rinse, repeat. OR, use Thranduil's combat action to bring in to play a Greenwood Archer. Ready a hero and use him to either defend or attack. 3) Looking for cards? Gandalf! With threat reduction from Island Amid Perils, and direct damage from both the Galadhon Archer and Rúmil, many times it's worth using Gandalf's response to get the last of the attachments you need. 4) Looking for events to help your board state? Of course you can use the Galadhrim Minstrel and slip him in and out of play, but don't forget about the Galadhrim Weaver. Bring her back into your hand using any of the Silvan events then pay for her during combat or during planning and that event goes right back in the deck, ready for the minstrel to pull out. 5) Yes. It's a Silvan swarm deck, but it doesn't have to be... Sneak Attack Legolas in to play and use Sword-thain on him to get another hero, tactics resources and only use the big allies like Haldir of Lórien or Rúmil. Continue to trade up cheaper allies to get the allies you need. Find Protector of Lórien and use that to buff your heroes and viola, a deck that has only a few allies out, but can still do major damage!
And Galion. Oh how he seems to be an afterthought in this deck, but don't underestimate a ZERO cost 2 (with Celeborn's response) ally that can be used to trigger The Tree People, Feigned Voices, or The Elvenking. Imagine paying zero resources to bring in Haldir of Lórien or Legolas. Galion/The Tree People does that for you.
So in the end, I love this deck and it is a great deal of fun because you always have something to do. It makes you think about your action windows and how to maximize all sorts of effects in the game.
Enjoy the deck and let Grant and I know what you think!