MoD #4 - Dain Don't Need Dwarves

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This is Deck #4 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. Our third deck took that formula and cranked it up to its maximum.

Now that we've established that Dain is really, really good when you play a lot of dwarves, let's demonstrate that he's really, really good even when you don't. Here's a Dale deck. There aren't any dwarves in it at all. Why a Dale deck? I've never built one before, and I've been meaning to, so here it is. Dale deck. (It helps that Dale is an archetype that wants two specific heroes but makes no real demands on the third slot.)

In a large sense, this deck is an interesting competition to see who can contribute more value to the fellowship. For those quest-counters out there, you'll realize that Deck #4 in this series is going to take on Redhorn Gate. Redhorn Gate is famously punishing to characters with low willpower values. Dain is a global willpower boost to dwarves.

Dwarf decks usually work by spamming a huge number of low-to-medium stat allies and trying to overwhelm any given quest through sheer numbers. That's about the worst strategy for a quest like Redhorn Gate with its global debuffs and instant death. Dain's mere presence on the board is going to save a substantial number of dwarves across the table from the grave (Bombur and any Miners of the Iron Hills outright, plus a whole slew of 1- and 2-willpower dwarves in the later stages). Dain will also prevent the partner deck from stalling out on stage 3.

The real question I want to raise here is about which provides more value to the fellowship: Dain, or literally every other card in this deck combined? If I split this into two decks and one deck was just Dain and the other deck was everything else, which deck would stand a better chance of powering the fellowship to victory?

In a 2-player game, I think the answer is probably "everything else". In 3- or 4-player, though, with the other decks all running dwarves to some degree or another? I think the answer switches pretty quickly to "Dain alone", especially against this quest in particular.

Is there another card in the entire cardpool right now where you could say "you can have this card at the table (in addition to your regular deck), but in exchange you have to reveal an additional encounter card every round"... and it'd be a fair trade? I'm not sure. But I don't think so.