Net-Decking Guilt

Now that I am blogging about Our Beloved Game, albeit infrequently, I feel the pressure to bring my “A game” to every deckbuilding session and quest. It has definitely changed the way I feel about LOTR:LCG, and I’m not yet sure if that’s a good or a bad thing. However, when I’m just too mentally tired to build a deck, I’ll peruse RingsDB for something cool, print out the list, and assemble it while watching television. Then I can save my limited mental energy for actually playing whatever quest I have set up. That leads to net-decking guilt.

Net-decking guilt (n): The feeling a LCG or CCG aficionado gets of having failed in his or her obligation as a player when he or she creates a deck from online sources. Synonyms: net-decking self-reproach, net-decking shame

This week was a study in net-decking guilt. My lovely wife knew I hadn’t been to the Fantasy Flight Games Center in the last few months, so she told me to take Sunday afternoon and head up there. Since I was going to be playing with MD, I did what I usually do: build a pair of decks that work well together and pack the most recent quests. On the night I had set aside to deckbuild, I was mentally fatigued and not ready to create two awesome decks. So I net-decked. And in the one case, I felt terrible about it, and in the other, I felt awesome about it:

Case 1: I threw together Denethor and Sons from the Fantasy Flight Games site. When I piloted it that evening to test it out, I instantly felt net-decking guilt. It was an ally swarm deck that might have been fun to play if I had crafted it myself, but since I had pulled the list off the ‘net, piloting it was boring. There aren’t any interesting tricks, and I felt bad I had put this together.

Case 2: I drifted around on RingsDB until I found Seastan’s Everything Costs Two deck. I also piloted it that evening to test it out, and I loved it. There were interesting choices to be made every turn, and the thing got set up so fast I was giggling with glee. Seriously. My wife asked me what was so funny a few times. There were a lot of fun nuances and so many awesome tricks to be discovered that I felt really good about my choice.

On Sunday I headed to the Games Center with both decks in my backpack, and when MD heard about them, he just ignored the Denethor and Sons deck (probably didn’t sound interesting) and let me play Everything Costs Two while he piloted a Erestor, Haldir, Cirdan deck with a ton of Ent allies. We had a blast. I played Seastan’s deck three times and was still learning new things about it on the last turn of the last quest.

So, why the guilt in the first case, and not in the second? It really does come down to choices. I could have put Denethor and Sons together myself, and I would have been proud of my ability to choose the right cards in order to muster the might of Gondor. However, when I took the easy way out and just built it from someone else’s list, there wasn’t enough depth to the choices to make it fun to pilot. In the second case, I probably never could have put together that deck on my own, and it was full of cards I never play. Because of this, playing it felt like a discovery of sorts. I have a lot of respect for Mithlond Sea-Watcher and The Evening Star now, whereas before I might have just passed them by.

SO. NO MORE NET-DECKING GUILT. That is, as long as I use RingsDB to broad my horizons. Thanks for the awesome deck, Seastan.

Oh, and on my way out of the Games Center, I saw this on the menu. Totally unrelated, but funny all the same:

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Stories Left Untold

As I mentioned in my recent post, A Letter to the Forgotten Heroes, over the past 3.5 years I’ve experienced a lot of life changes that have interrupted my playing time with our beloved game. Welcoming twins, a career change, and traveling for work will definitely cut into the playing time. Here, in the interest of full disclosure, are the quests in the game I have yet to beat (please note that I exclude Nightmare quests, since I do not collect Nightmare yet):

Morgul Vale: Oh, how I long to get to these boss fights!

Celebrimbor’s Secret: I have actually attempted this many, many times, but always in large groups without perfectly tuned decks, and so, alas, I have yet to beat it.

The Antlered Crown: Haven’t even set up the quest yet. Le sigh.

The Battle of Carn Dum: Attempted many times, but never gotten past the first stage.

The Dread Realm: Again, never even set it up.

Flight of the Stormcaller: Set up, but never yet played.

The Thing from the Depths: Never set up.

Just a few months ago, this list was much, much longer, but in April-May I was able to go after some of the Heirs of Numenor/Against the Shadow quests I had yet to beat and really go to it. Some of them were beaten solo, others two-handed, but I can check them off my list. Now my goal is to play both whatever is in the newest cycle and beat one old quest a month. That way, I figure I should catch up pretty quickly.

Okay, just a quick post today. But I’m testing some new decks I hope to share soon. Until next time, mára mesta: good journeys!