written by: Lao of Gondor

Sometimes there is nothing more frustrating than building a deck. Many times I have just blankly stared at my card binder wondering what to do to even begin the building process. Thanks to a few friends (and the advice of Mr. Spock) I have discovered a way to make the process both enjoyable and “logical”. Have fun with your approach and let logic dictate the course of the building – in the end, you will have designed something that will be comfortable to play and difficult to beat.

REMEMBER: Play to your tempo! Only you can play this game at your speed and comfort level. So when you build a deck, play to your strengths and don’t overextend yourself to what you can not strategically handle.

A. THEME: What is the purpose of this deck? What do want it to do?

B. CO-OPERATION: Do the Fellowship and Shadow components compliment each other and the overall theme? Don’t think of the two sides of the deck as seperate components. Think of the OVERALL success that the deck can achieve.

C. KEY CHARACTERS: Who will lead the Fellowship or Shadow? The theme of your deck MUST revolve around KEY companions or Minions in order to achieve your goal. For example – Ranger decks must be built around Aragorn, Arwen and the rare Boromir. Twilight NAZGUL corruption decks must be built around twilight NAZGUL, especially the Witch King, Ulaire Nelya, Attea and Enquea – who all either wound the ring bearer to force the burdens.

D. CHOOSE YOUR WEAPONS: Does this card really need to be in this deck? Can I really use this card in my strategy? Remember – don’t add a card just to add a card for the sake of boosting the size of your deck. Streamlined decks hold no margin for error and cannot afford to place one-single unusable card in the deck. They tend to be very succesful and hard to beat since the deck theme manifests itself rather quickly!

E. ELEMENT OF SURPRISE: Can I catch my opponent off guard – forcing a mistake? There is the one hidden weapon in every deck design. Many players believe that a surprise Witch King, Balrog or Troop of Uruk-Hai is the answer to a possible stop. But remember will that surprise end up taking crucial deck-space – or does it add to the strength of the strategy?

There are numerous other things to consider when you are designing a deck. But I believe that the list I have provided outlines the very basics in Deck Design and basic strategy. I hope these tidbits prove helpful in some way.