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3stari 0 0 0 1.0
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TheMisFitMan 269

TheMisFitMan has a newer deck inspired by this one: 3stari

I wanted to make a deck with our famous three Istari (hence its title „3stari“), but with a reasonable starting threat. Here it is!

Mulligan for Saruman's Staff or Word of Command. Attach the staff to Saruman immediately. If it is not in your starting hand, exhaust Saruman for Word of Command and search your deck for his staff, then play it on him (and maybe ready him by playing a doomed event from your hand afterwards, using the first option of the staff, which reduces the doomed value by 2).

If you haven‘t any doomed cards in hand, use the staff‘s second option and search the top five cards of your deck for one. If Saruman is exhausted right now, you should play that event immediately (if able), so the wizard would be ready for the quest phase.

Attach Gandalf's Staff, Shadowfax and a Wizard Pipe to Gandalf. If you manage to play A Burning Brand from the top of your deck (maybe you have to use Wizard Pipe for that), Gandalf has the icon and you can attach it to him. Now he can safely defend an attack each round and use his staff for other things (no more discarding of shadow cards required).

Attach the second Wizard Pipe to Saruman. Now you’re able to manipulate your deck even more. Remember that with Gandalf as one of your heroes you play with the top card of your deck face up and are allowed to play it once per phase. So, play the top card from your deck in the planning phase, use the Wizard Pipe to put A Test of Will or another event on top, which you may play in the quest phase. Then use the action window after questing to put another event (e.g. Hasty Stroke or The Wizards's Voice) on top with your second Wizard Pipe and play it in the combat phase. If it is a doomed event, this readies up Saruman and you can make good use of his strong 4 .

Remember that you are allowed to play all events with the doomed keyword from your hand, too - regardless of the sphere. But playing the event cards from the top of your deck is recommended, because you thin out your deck much faster and kind of draw more cards each round.

Speaking of drawing cards: Next to the card draw option of Gandalf‘s Staff and the opportunity, to search for a doomed event with Saruman‘s Staff, you have plenty of other options to search your deck (The Seeing-stone, Word of Command) and simply draw cards (Deep Knowledge, Sméagol‘s response). Another trick is to play Messenger Raven (either from the top of your deck or from your hand with resources from Radagast), let it quest that round and then use its action in the refresh phase. As you always know, which card is on top of your deck, you‘ll never fail in getting an additional card to your hand with the raven.

Playing Radagast needs a lot of resources, therefore you have Legacy of Númenor, which you can play for the cost of ,doomed 2’ with Saruman‘s Staff. If, at the beginning of any round, you already have Radagast and a copy of Word of Command in hand, but not enough resources to play your wizard ally, simply pay one resource and exhaust Saruman for the action of Word of Command, fetch a copy of Legacy of Númenor out of your deck, play it, ready Saruman and play Radagast with the remaining resources.

Radagast can pay for and heal some of the allies in this deck, for them all being creatures, except from Elfhelm and Ioreth (and Radagast himself). Even better: You can attach Radagast's Staff to him and use its effects. For example, exhaust his staff and reduce the cost of the next creature ally by 2 and play a Loyal Hound or The Riddermark's Finest (only possible if played from the top of your deck, otherwise no resource match!) for free.

Some advices:

  • You should always try to spend resources from Sméagol‘s pool first. If you loose him to the „Stinker“ - treachery, you don‘t want all his resources to be lost with him.
  • If you have to assign archery damage, always put it on Sméagol first. If he becomes an enemy thanks to „Stinker“, you remove all the damage tokens from him and when you get him back as a hero, he is kinda healed up again.
  • When playing quests, that have treacheries with conditions, exchange two copies of Hasty Stroke with two copies of Power of Orthanc.
  • If you think, with Gandalf's Staff and A Burning Brand there‘s already enough shadow cancellation, feel free to replace the two copies of Hasty Stroke with any other cards (e.g. a copy of Arwen Undómiel or more copies of events with the doomed keyword).
  • The Riddermark's Finest can easily be replaced with Wild Stallions, if you want to pimp up Radagast‘s, Ioreth‘s or Elfhelm‘s stats and you aren‘t in need of location control effects.
  • Due to Saruman‘s passive effect, you cannot reduce your threat by more than one per effect. So, threat could be a problem, especially in quests with a lot of doomed keywords. Enter: Elfhelm. If he‘s in play and ready, you can at least keep at bay any threat-raising effects the encounter deck throws at you. And still being ready in the combat phase, he and Saruman will often kill an enemy with a combined 6 .
  • Reducing your threat by more than one is possible albeit a little bit tricky: Attach The Fall of Gil-Galad to Saruman and play Landroval from the top of your deck with resources from Gandalf and Radagast, lowering the eagle’s cost by 2 with Radagast‘s Staff. Take the next enemy‘s attack undefended on Saruman, letting him die. Trigger the response on The Fall of Gil-Galad and reduce your threat by 13 (!!!), then trigger Landroval‘s response, take him back to your hand and bring Saruman back to life (with one damage token on him).

Jan 18, 2021 tickler 219

Would (MotK) Bilbo Baggins not be a better choice? Starting threat 31, you get the Wizard Pipe into your starting hand and you don't have to care about stinker?

Jan 18, 2021 doomguard 1323

or go under 30 with motk ioreth or motk henemarth. stinker is really nasty.... without ring and the masterevents i cannot recommand smeagol at all.

Jan 18, 2021 TheMisFitMan 269

@doomguard @tickler You both are right and I really like your ideas of either the initial opportunity to heal (MotK Ioreth) or have a Wizard Pipe from the beginning and the same as Sméagol (MotK Bilbo)! When I designed the deck, the idea was to not use any Contracts. But now, that I think about it - why should I not?? ;)