Voices at the Door: No More Dead Cards!

When I first started playing our beloved game in January 2014, I remember how much I hated having duplicates of unique cards in hand. Everyone who has played LOTR:LCG has known that feeling: you play your Steward of Gondor, and two turns later, you get to the resource phase and you draw…a completely useless second copy. Even back in the Core Set days, though, one could always pitch those dead cards to Eowyn or Protector of Lorien. In the last few months, we’ve had an absolute glut of cards that allow you to turn multiple copies of uniques into useful willpower, progress, attack, defense, and even resources. Just use Hall of Beorn’s advanced search functions to look for “Discard from Hand,” and you get a huge list.

As I built decks through 2015, I found the majority of these cards making their way into my new creations. Perhaps my favorite is Steed of Imladris, a card I have an absurd attachment to for some reason. It reads:

Attach to a Spirit or Noldor hero.
Response: After attached hero commits to a quest, discard a card from your hand to place 2 progress on the active location.

In multiplayer, where there is almost certainly going to be an active location every turn, this is an incredible card. Like Eowyn, it’s essentially a Willpower boost, but at a 2:1 ratio. It’s limited by the fact that only you can trigger it, but there’s more than meets the eye here. Before this card came along, every Spirit deck I built featured Eowyn because her ability is just so good. Now that we have this hardy Steed, however, I feel more free to pass over Eowyn during deckbuilding as long as I include Steed of Imladris for a similar effect.

In a similar vein, Elven Spear is a card that fascinates me. Never before have we been able to discard to boost attack power. At first glance, I wasn’t sure I’d ever play this card, since Tactics is somewhat limited in its card draw, but since the Spear is a Weapon, you can at least trigger Foe-Hammer. Another option is pairing Elven Spear with the new hero, Erestor, and including Songs. Since you’re cruising through your deck more quickly with Erestor’s ability, it’s easy to find that Song of Battle, slap it down, and then play Elven Spear on the same turn.

As I look over these cards which allow players to turn dead multiple copies of uniques into something useful, Leadership is still lacking in this area. To be fair, what this means is that, unless you are playing mono-Leadership, there is always a way to convert dead cards into a stat boost. Just include Eowyn, hero Arwen, Protector of Lorien, Steed of Imladris, or Elven Spear, and you can make the most out of those formerly useless cards. I’m happy to declare it: no more dead cards in LOTR:LCG!

Until next time, mára mesta: good journeys!

Voice at the Door: Side-by-Side and Cooperative Play

As I’ve continued my journey with our beloved game, I’ve spent quite a bit of time playing with other folks and observing how others play. In terms of basic play-style, I have seen two camps emerge: side-by-side players and cooperative players. Neither is better or worse than the other, and at different times, I have been a part of both camps:

Side-by-Side: This kind of player, whether he or she is playing with one, two, or three other players, tends to work within their own play area as much as possible. Other than cooperating in the broadest sense, by which I mean contributing attack, defense, willpower, and cancellation, he or she is primarily focused on playing a particular role. Few cards are played across the table unless it will benefit this player directly (e.g., A Test of Will or a universal boost of some sort).

Cooperative: This kind of player, whether he or she is playing with one, two, or three other players, tends to work across the table with other players. In addition to contributing to attack, defense, willpower, and cancellation, he or she will play key attachments across the table (e.g., Unexpected Courage, Gondorian Shield), utilize resource moving cards like Blue Mountain Trader and Errand Rider to offer other players resources, and both give and receive sentinel and ranged help.

So, dear readers, what camp do you primarily fall into? Answer the poll below!