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Some Sort 2709
This project is "Musings on Dáin" and the purpose is to investigate everything he brings to the table. That largely means THE thing he brings to the table, that insane global boost for dwarves, so the early decks looked at that directly.
Deck #1 was just a generic Dain deck with lots of dwarves. Deck #2 slowed down the rate at which those dwarves came out, while Deck #3 sped it up. Deck #4 asked whether the bonus Dain provided across the table could be as useful as an entire deck unto itself, while Deck #5 essentially asked whether the boost was useful enough to make up for not being able to do anything reliable at all.
For Deck #6 and Deck #7, I went off on a tangent and started looking at Dain as a thematic entity rather than a strictly mechanical one. Dain arriving to join the silvan elves, the men of dale, the eagles, Gandalf, and Beorn to reinforce Thorin's company in the Battle of Five Armies. Dain as king of the dwarves, a faction perhaps best known for digging too deep in search of treasure and awakening monsters.
In Deck #8, I wanted to revisit his bonus one last time as I faced a quest that gave me the unique opportunity to turn it off entirely, allowing me to explore its absence as easily as its presence.
And now at last we have reached the end. After doing so much with Dain, what is left that I want to try?
Absolutely nothing. Dear lord, nothing at all. This project started because I didn't really like building Dain decks, and for some reason that led me to commit to making nine of them. Moreover, making nine MECHANICALLY DISTINCT Dain decks. No tweaking here or there and calling it a day, nine completely different decks that looked and played nothing at all alike.
At this point I've done my time. I've built my eight decks. The project produced some genuine triumphs: Deck #3 is easily the most fun Dain deck I've ever played, and the serendipity of the accidentally-thematic Deck #6 brought me genuine delight.
It also produced some decks that really cannot be described as anything other than performance art. Decks #2 and #5 were bad and silly decks that should never be brought to the table under any circumstances. Though at least the idea of the former gave me a nice chuckle; it was fast and even kind of fun to build.
Then Decks #4, #7, and #8 were just decks I'd been meaning to try that had enough slack in their hero requirements that I was able to shove Dain in and call it a day. He contributed nothing of note to the overall deck, and they would have been better without him.
Sure, there was the pretextual justification about "exploring the limits of Dain's bonus", and that's a valid goal of the series, but there was no reason why those particular decks had to be the ones to do it. I could have just as well built an Outlands deck, or a Three Hunters deck, or a Beorning deck, or anything at all. They were filler.
And now we've reached the end and my penance has been paid and I think we all "understand" Dain much better (not that we didn't really understand him perfectly well in the first place). And all I want to do is cheese a freaking Balrog, smash a quest, and be done.
So here's a Timely Aid deck, because Timely Aid decks are my favorite decks to play and I deserve something fun after all I've just put myself through.
It includes Galadriel and Beravor because this is Shadow and Flame and I can bring whatever the hell heroes I want and still start in secrecy, and because Galadriel makes a mockery of the quest's core mechanic.
Dáin is here because I'm contractually obligated to include him one last time.