As much as I hate the wait for the next expansion, at least it gives me some time to ponder over the new cards. Many of the cards in this deck I thought were completely useless, especially the Hero Caldara, but with the following deck has pleasantly surprised me. Of course this is not going to bring down the most difficult quests, although I have not tried it yet. I gave it my Seventh Level and JDtA test. I am a little nervous to try it on Battle and Siege quests. Here is the deck and some strategy notes below.
Caldara (TBoG) x1
Glorfindel (FoS) x1
Eowyn (Core) x1
Arwen Undomiel (TWitW) x2
Damrod (HON) x2
Emery (TBoG) x2
Ethir Swordsman (TSF) x3
Northern Tracker (Core) x3
Pelargir Shipwright (AoO) x3
White Tower Watchman (TDF) x3
Zigil Miner (KD) x3
Imladris Stargazer (FoS) x3
Elfhelm (TDM) x2
Light of Valinor (FoS) x3
Map of Earnil (AoO) x3
Dwarven Tomb (Core) x3
Elrond's Counsel (TWitW) x3
Fortune or Fate (Core) x3
Hasty Stroke (Core) x3
Hidden Cache (TMV) x3
A Test of Will (Core) x3
So this deck works very different then any I have played before, since it is more important to have cards in your discard pile then in your hand. In many of the games I have played I just had 1 or 2 cards in my hand, but with Caldara I would be bringing in two 3 or 4 cost allies almost every turn.
Here is how it works. If you start of with high cost allies in your hand other than Emery just use Eowyn's discard ability during the quest phase to get them to the discard pile. The most important card to see early on is Fortune of Fate. Once you have that in hand start saving resources on Glorf and Eowyn. The next 2 important cards are Dwarven Tomb and Map of Earnil. You will be using these to recycle Fortune of Fate or Elrond's Counsel if threat starts to get high.
The next group of important cards are all about resource generation. For this we rely on Zigil, stargazer and Hidden Cache.
Now this is not an easy deck to play there is a lot of set up, but it is pretty cool when all the pieces fit together. Once you have most of the ingredients. High cost allies in the discard pile, Fortune of fate, retrieval card (tomb or map), and Stargazer/Miner combo then it is best to Discard Caldara at the most optimum time.
So far I have found the best time to discard her is at beginning or end of the combat phase usually after she had defended and then I may bring in some allies to help with the attack.
Before she is discarded I try to follow these steps:
1) Use any of her remaining resources. If I have Dwarven tomb in hand I use it now to fetch Fortune of fate.
2) Use the stargazer/miner combo. This could put more high cost allies in the discard pile, and hopefully give you enough resources to put Caldara back into play before the end of the phase. With Hidden Cache this could be between 3-4 resources.
I usually want to make sure she will be put back into play before the end of the round. This is important because I want her to start the next round with a resource, and if I have Pelargir Shipwrights in play I want to make sure they will be questing for 3 next round, since their willpower is based on the number of Spirit heroes in play.
Overall it is a very interesting deck and it totally changed how I played the game. I am now very eager to see how this deck will stand up on the VoI scenarios, since it seems like the new quests intend to penalize a player for having a lot of cards in hand. Not so with this deck the discard pile is where I will be playing my cards from.
Alway open to feed back.