MoD #3 - Reductio Ad Dain

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Some Sort 2824

This is Deck #3 in my "Musings on Dáin" series. See the first deck for more details about the project.


Our first deck was just a basic, bog-standard Dain deck. Our second deck took that formula and stripped it down to the bare minimum. If our first deck was Dain at level 5 and our second deck was Dain turned down to 1, this deck takes that basic Dain formula and attempts to crank it up to 11.

If playing one dwarf per round is good, playing two or three must be even better. Originally the way people did that was with Legacy of Durin and We Are Not Idle. But all of the key Dwarf cards have gotten errata'd (except, of course, for Dain himself), and my partner deck is running Legacy of Durin besides, so we'll do something a bit different here.

Erestor and Arwen Undómiel is a famous hero combo that excels at dumping a ton of cards in a hurry. Despite Dain not being a Noldor (to get resources from Arwen) and the other two not being Dwarves (to get the bonus from Dain), they still work splendidly together.

Erestor decks tend to be long on cards and short on resources, so they prize the ability to turn cards into resources. (Hence the pairing with Arwen.) Given the disposable nature of cards, the Dwarves have another neat trick they can bring to the table: mining. Zigil Miners are some of the most powerful resource generation around, especially if you pair them with Imladris Stargazer.

But this is Erestor and ain't nobody got time for that, so we unlocked those miners in a much more straightforward manner: by making 2/3s of the deck cost 2 resources. (Two of the exceptions are Hidden Cache, which counts as a double hit even if you don't get the number right, and Ered Luin Miner, who as a free ally is more valuable than the extra resource would be, anyway.)

Zigil Miners aren't the only way to dump your deck, though. King Under the Mountain, Erebor Guard, and Ered Nimrais Prospector also let you dump the top of your deck to search for a Cache or a Miner, and the Prospector lets you save any Wills of the West you might have dumped in your haste.

The last notable exceptions to the "everything costs 2" rule are Reforged, which lets you save any dumped attachments (and also lets you get Steward of Gondor out on the first turn by paying for it with Spirit resources instead), and Erebor Record Keeper, which is a fantastic value (1 cost for 2 willpower) that lets your Zigil Miners go nuts while getting set up and serves as an outlet for extra resources once all your cards are played.

Really the most important card to see in your opening hand is a Zigil Miner. Once you've got one, go nuts and mine your deck as frantically as you can for resources (remembering to use the Record Keepers for additional mining attempts). From a naive probability standpoint, if you factor the Hidden Caches and count the Ered Luin Miners as being worth two resources, the expected value of every Zigil Miner activation is 1.8 resources.

But the Miner is still better than the Steward because of the flexibility; those 1.8 resources (in expectation) can go on any of your three heroes, having a Miner on the table turns Erebor Record Keepers into +EV resource generators, and getting cards into your discard pile is positive utility because it leaves them viable targets for Reforged and Ered Nimrais Prospector.

(Also, once you're flush with resources those Miners become 2WP / 2Att allies.)

When your deck is empty or nearly empty, play a Will of the West and repeat. By your fourth trip through the deck you should have every ally and attachment on the table and a huge pile of resources to pay for healing and readying. If you get your miners early enough, that should only take ~10 rounds.


I've always hated building and playing Dain decks. The point of this project was to hopefully get my creative juices flowing and find one that I actually liked. Turns out the third time was the charm.

Most of the decks in this project will probably never get revisited, but I've already brought this one against a variety of quests. I'd be happy to bring it to any pickup game. Thematically it's a bit of a mess, but mechanically it plays fast and strong with a ton of interesting decision points, while still hitting all of the notes you'd expect from Dain. It's... dare I say it... actually a pretty dang fun Dain deck.

3 comments

Dec 19, 2020 doomguard 953

you can do that without erestor. thurindir or an istari with word o command should do kind of the same.

if you play solo you can switch to spiritdain and be even more efficient with mining.

Dec 19, 2020 Some Sort 2824

Erestor’s not just for finding your Miners faster, he’s providing all the card draw to give you something to spend that outrageous resource generation on. The deck is far more of a swarm deck than a mining deck, the mining is just how you accomplish the swarming. And then Purple Dain is what makes the swarm so formidable.

Dec 19, 2020 Some Sort 2824

Also: one could easily drop the Stewards to make this deck more multiplayer-friendly. Perhaps replacing them with 2x Lords of the Eldar and slimming down to 50 cards. It’ll slow down your resource gen and your swarm engine a touch (and slightly lower the hit-rate on your miners), but it creates a stable end-state once your deck is empty of cycling Lords, mining it back into your discard, and repeating.

Especially in multiplayer, even if you aren’t paired with dedicated Dwarf or Noldor decks, odds are solid that someone at the table will have included a dwarf or an elf somewhere who would appreciate the free stat boost.