163.html|@/@@TEXTR*chl~|5 Deck Building: Resources and Characters Well, though I didn't mention it much today is the start of Strategy Week, an entire week devoted to discussions of strategic ideas in METW and now METD. This week will be divided into seven different sections by subject: Deck building - Resources/Characters, Deck building - Hazards, Starting setups and the first few turns, Strategic hand management, Playing hazards, Marshalling point strategies, and finally Ring decks. I may have another week later devoted to more specific strategies or areas of play, but for this week it's just a general set of reviews. A note to advanced players: these aren't targeted at an advanced level, more towards beginners to intermediate players. Today let's start the week with:

Strategy Week Day 1: Deck Building: Resources and Characters

Making a good deck involves balancing of three different parts: The resource deck (which includes characters), the hazard deck, and the site deck. Since designing a site deck is, for the most part, just a matter of putting every site you've got into a pile, I won't waste a review on that, but instead will spend two reviews on deck building: one on the resource/character deck, the other on the hazard deck. Today we'll cover the first of those, the resource/character deck.

The first step to designing a resource/character deck is deciding what your general strategy should be. The sideboard you can make later if you want, with a few cards for other strategies, but in your main deck you should try to build it around how you want to win the game. There are two main ways to do this: the third way, killing your opponent's wizard, is more of a hazard deck strategy, and also is a good deal harder in general and less reliable than the other two methods. So the two ways are by getting marshalling points or destroying The One Ring. Each has its merits, though my personal pick is to build a deck around The One Ring and if you have failures with that put some factions in your sideboard so you can recover (it becomes a LOT easier to access your sideboard in Dragons with the new sideboard rules, so sideboards become an even better place to store factions). But it's your own choice.

Once you've decided on your strategy, the next step is to put the essential cards for it in your deck. For One Ring decks the basic requirements are The One Ring, three precious gold rings, three Wizard's Tests, possibly a few more tests and Fair Gold Rings, and finally a few Cracks of Dooms and/or Gollum's Fates (and Gollum of course in the latter option). As for faction decks I'd probably put about five to ten factions MINIMUM in my deck and another five to ten in my sideboard. The main thing to remember in this is to make sure you'll have enough marshalling points from them. It's also smart to include a few permanent-events, items, and/or allies for some other types of marshalling points, especially if you're playing with standard rules. Also be sure to back up your factions with some essential cards like Muster, to make sure you can get them out easily enough. Once you've put in the essentials for your win strategy, also include some general essentials like Torque of Hues, Twilight, and maybe some other cancelers depending on your hazard deck and what you know of your opponent's strategies. Leave some spaces for the items and a few other things you'll be deciding on after you put in characters.

Then it's time to put in characters. For starters decide on a Wizard or two. I could write an entire issue on this, and in fact I did, it's issue 50. You can look at that to help you decide in which Wizard (or two if you prefer) to include. Once you've done that, you can decide on the rest of your characters. First include a Hobbit or two, because they're always useful, and put another one or two in your starting arrangement (issue 165 will deal with those). Frodo and Bilbo are the best picks, if you don't have those Sam's the next best choice. Be sure to include at least two of them, with either Frodo or Bilbo as one, in a One Ring deck. Next I'd put in at least one Dwarf, maybe two, because the items associated with them are always useful and they're good fighters too. Thrain II or Thorin II are the best choices for those. After that the rest of the deck depends on your strategy. If you can afford it and you think you'll have the influence points include one of the Elven kings, Elrond if you can afford him and if not him Cirdan or Galadriel. After that you can finish it off with a few men or Dunedain to be the warriors of your group, Aragorn II's always good here and so are Beorn and Fram Framson. If you don't include an Elven king, or even if you do and have a LOT of influence enhancers, you can (and probably should) include Glorfindel II as a warrior. Your total number should be AT LEAST 6 and more depending on how big the rest of your deck is (bigger deck means more, naturally).

Finally, put in some items and other cards which support your character picks. If you've got a good Dwarf and a deck that can handle rings Dwarven Ring of Durin's Tribe is almost essential, as are a few other Dwarf items. For Aragorn make sure to include Return of the King, for Hobbits a couple of their enhancers, all dependent on how many of each type you have and what you want to do with them. Then just shuffle them together and get started on your hazard deck, which I'll cover in the next issue.

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