Nobles in Disguise

Inspiration
As soon as Tactics Eowyn was spoiled, I knew I wanted to build a secrecy deck around her. While Flame of the West was on the boat, I kept constructing this deck in my head, first pairing her with Hobbits, then with Hirluin the Fair. However, the release of Leadership Denethor changed my thinking. His setup ability of +2 resources allows a secrecy deck to get out Resourceful quickly, while still playing cheap allies and attachments on the first turn. After sleeving Flame of the West last week, I built this deck and took it against the Fords of Isen, Dunland Trap, and Three Trials quests. It did admirably in solo play.

noblesindisguise

Secret Nobles
Total Cards: 52
Starting Threat: 19

Heroes (3)
Denethor (Flight of the Stormcaller)
Éowyn (The Flame of the West)
Glorfindel (Foundations of Stone)

Allies (20)
2x Azain Silverbeard (Flight of the Stormcaller)
2x Bofur (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Derndingle Warrior (Escape from Mount Gram)
3x Envoy of Pelargir (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Galadriel’s Handmaiden (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
2x Grimbold (The Flame of the West)
2x Legolas (The Treason of Saruman)
3x Westfold Horse-breeder (The Voice of Isengard)

Attachments (24)
2x Armored Destrier (Temple of the Deceived)
3x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
2x Heir of Mardil (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
2x Herugrim (The Treason of Saruman)
2x Light of Valinor (Foundations of Stone)
3x Resourceful (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Rivendell Blade (Road to Rivendell)
2x Rod of the Steward (Flight of the Stormcaller)
2x Snowmane (The Land of Shadow)
1x Steed of Imladris (Across the Ettenmoors)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)

Events (8)
2x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Elrond’s Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Foe-hammer (Over Hill and Under Hill)

SIDEBOARD

Attachments (4)

2x Dúnedain Cache (The Dead Marshes)
2x In Service of the Steward (Flight of the Stormcaller)

Events (2)
2x Captain’s Wisdom (The Thing in the Depths)

Deck built on RingsDB.
Cards up to The Flame of the West

Strategy
In this deck, a good starting hand consists of either Steward of Gondor or Resourceful to jumpstart resource generation. The first copy of either needs to go on Eowyn, since this deck leans toward expensive Tactics cards.  Any other resource generation should be played on Glorfindel, to pay for Herugrim and questing allies. If you can find either Steward of Gondor or Resourceful in that starting hand, everything else should fall into place rather quickly. An early Light of Valinor or Snowmane will get you action advantage, while Herugrim, Rivendell Blade, Armored Destrier, or Gondorian Shield will get combat well in hand.

Eowyn quickly becomes the powerhouse of this deck. Charge her up with Snowmane, Herugrim, Steward of Gondor, and Heir of Mardil, and she’s nigh unstoppable. Quest successfully with her for four, ready her up with Snowmane’s response, swing with Herugrim for 5 attack, and then trigger Steward and Heir for a second attack. Combine her with Legolas ally plus Rivendell blade, and you’ll be killing and drawing whatever you need.

Denethor clearly takes a back seat in this deck. He is really only there for a quick first turn start, after which I usually play Rod of the Steward on him and let him help with card draw. Once Eowyn has the Gondor trait through Steward of Gondor, you can also spin extra resources to her, though she will rarely need them.

Regarding allies, a few thoughts: In an original iteration of this deck, I had 3x Errand-riders, but I found that resource-smoothing could be accomplished by playing off of the Noble trait, which all three heroes share. Bofur and Grimbold might seem like slightly odd choices, but since Eowyn will have plenty of Tactics resources through Steward of Gondor and/or Resourceful, they become beefy Willpower allies and give you built in weapon-tutoring and attack cancellation if needed. Azain Silverbeard was thrown in just for fun–with him dealing direct damage and Legolas and Glorfindel wielding Rivendell blades, you can take down many, many enemies.

While this deck was built for solo play, with a few tweaks, it can be adapted to multiplayer use. Consider cutting Steward if some other deck needs it more, substituting Captain’s Wisdom and In Service of the Steward; this allows you to exhaust Denethor to pick up resources and then transfer them to Eowyn when needed. Also, consider packing Dunedain Cache to give Glorfindel and Eowyn ranged without sacrificing a restricted slot.

The Reward
In the end, this deck provides an interesting mix of powered-up and utility heroes. It’s unlikely you’ll end the game with a large army of allies, but rather a mix of allies and attachments that gives more of that “fellowship” feel. The payoff comes when you have Eowyn and Glorfindel questing for seven and still dishing out massive damage to tough allies. I hope you enjoy playing the deck as much as I enjoyed putting it together. Until next time, mára mesta: good journeys!

The North Rides to War

Inspiration
After the Armored Destrier came out in the Temple of the Deceived AP, I finally saw what the solo Dúnedain deck had been needing for so long: a way to make one of fabled northern Rangers a steady defender to keep the hordes of Mordor in check. Last week I promised a solo deck using the Destrier and Amarthiúl, and today I’m ready to deliver! After testing it against several quests old and new (everything from Journey Along the Anduin to The Thing in the Depths), it’s time to reveal the power of two Dúnedain and one Noldor lord and his ring.

passing_of_the_grey_company_by_jeiwo

The North Rides to War
Total Cards: 50
Starting Threat: 34

Heroes (3)
Amarthiúl (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
Aragorn (The Lost Realm)
Círdan the Shipwright (The Grey Havens)

Allies (20)
2x Arwen Undómiel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Dúnedain Hunter (The Lost Realm)
2x Fornost Bowman (The Dread Realm)
2x Gandalf (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Ranger of Cardolan (The Wastes of Eriador)
2x Silvan Refugee (The Drúadan Forest)
3x Weather Hills Watchman (The Lost Realm)
3x Westfold Horse-breeder (The Voice of Isengard)

Attachment (21)
2x Armored Destrier (Temple of the Deceived)
2x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
3x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
3x Dúnedain Warning (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Light of Valinor (Foundations of Stone)
3x Narya (The Grey Havens)
2x Rohan Warhorse (The Voice of Isengard)
1x Steed of Imladris (Across the Ettenmoors)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event (9)
3x A Good Harvest (The Steward’s Fear)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Elrond’s Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)

Deck built on RingsDB.

Strategy
In this deck, a good starting hand consists of either the Armored Destrier or the Westfold Horse-breeder to go fetch it, and, depending on the quest you’re playing, a few cheap allies to spit out early on. Cirdan is standing by to provide early questing support and access to cheap willpower like Arwen and Silvan Refugee. Engaging one weak enemy early is preferred, since Amarthiúl will need access to Tactics early. Time A Good Harvest so that you can drop out a lot of allies and attachments from either Leadership or Spirit. Contrary to what’s printed on the card, I ignore Aragorn as a target for Celebrian’s Stone and use it instead to boost Cirdan’s willpower to a mighty six.

In the mid-game, getting Gandalf 2.0 out will get you four more questing, plus beefy defense and attack if you ready him with Narya.

Above all, getting that Armored Destrier is key, since with it Amarthiúl can block and discard shadow cards with ease, all while gaining his engagement buffs.

The Reward
This deck is rather straightforward in its approach, but the reward is in finally being able to get good use out of Amarthiúl’s two engagement buffs consistently without being overwhelmed by enemies. Laugh with grim delight as the forces of the North ride roughshod over the forces of the Dark Lord. Until next time, mára mesta: good journeys!

Deck-Craft: “I will not yield the river and Pelennor unfought!”

Inspiration
In Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film trilogy, there is a moment during Return of the King in which Denethor, aptly played by John Noble, tells Faramir, “I will not yield the river and Pelennor unfought!” before ordering his son to a near-certain death. But Noble delivers the line in such a goofy way (while creepily preparing his meal, in fact) that my Beloved Wife and I have always made fun of it. Take a look/listen:

To this line, we always reply, “Huh? Wassat now? Speak up!” While I am traveling for work, I have lots of layover time to make goofy decks, so this mangled line has become the inspiration for a (mostly) Gondor deck designed to shield those in need of sentinel defenders and/or siege questing. Say it with me now, “IwillnotyieldtheriverandPelennorunfought!” Huh?!

“I will not yield the river and Pelennor unfought!”
Total Cards: 50
Starting Threat: 28

Heroes (3)
Beregond (Heirs of Númenor)
Denethor (Flight of the Stormcaller)
Mablung (The Nîn-in-Eilph)

Ally (15)
3x Derndingle Warrior (Escape from Mount Gram)
3x Envoy of Pelargir (Heirs of Númenor)
2x Faramir (Core Set)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
3x Squire of the Citadel (The Blood of Gondor)
1x Vassal of the Windlord (The Dead Marshes)

Attachment (26)
3x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
3x Gondorian Fire (Assault on Osgiliath)
3x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
2x Heir of Mardil (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
1x Protector of Lórien (Core Set)
3x Rod of the Steward (Flight of the Stormcaller)
2x Rohan Warhorse (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
1x Sword of Númenor (The Dread Realm)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
3x Visionary Leadership (The Morgul Vale)

Event (9)
3x A Good Harvest (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Foe-hammer (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Sneak Attack (Core Set)

Cards up to Flight of the Stormcaller
Deck built on RingsDB.

Strategy
Good starting hands include Steward of Gondor and/or Rod of the Steward, Gondorian Shield, or Gondorian Fire. The goal here is to get as many attachments as possible on Mablung until he becomes a beast of an attacker and defender. Behold, a tapestry of awesome from my first turn planning last week:
FortPelennorYes friends, that was a turn one Steward played on Mablung (thanks, Denethor!), followed by Rod of the Steward, Dagger of Westernesse, and Squire of the Citadel. Oh, and in this early iteration I was using Wingfoot instead of Heir of Mardil, so I Good Harvested into that. Crazy! But wait, it gets crazier. Here’s turn four:
IMG_2509That’s eight amazing attachments on our buddy here. In short, Steward and Rod of the Steward will get you all the resource acceleration and card draw you need to turn Mablung into a Gondorian fire-thrower of doom. DOOM! Meanwhile, Denethor can tank attacks on your side of the table, and Beregond, Winged Guardians, and Derndingle Warriors can block for everyone else. Throw in Visionary Leadership and Faramir and you’re granting a whole lot of people willpower boosts. Sneak attack Gandalf is reserved strictly for emergencies, or for that moment when you need to drop your threat. Lock and load Mablung, point him at the bad guys, and have fun!

Reward
It should be self-evident: blocking all incoming attacks is really fun, and you’re doing everyone at the table a service. But for me personally, the fun is in having three thematic heroes working in tandem and relying on the synergy granted by the Gondor trait, without going whole hog. In fact, this deck started as a mono-leadership Denethor, Boromir, Faramir deck, but it was full of (boring) ally mustering and sort of either worked or flopped based on how quickly Visionary Leadership and A Very Good Tale hit the table. This second iteration, however, gels a lot better.

I want to really tip my hat to community contributor Seastan and a comment he made inf Episode 98 of Cardboard of the Rings. He was talking about card combos and synergy and talked about how A Good Harvest opens up so many options. To that end, I threw Unexpected Courage and Protector of Lorien into this deck and have been very, very happy with the result. Sword of Numenor was a late add because, when paired with Gondorian Fire, it ends up paying for itself very quickly. These sorts of small efficiencies add up over time.

Well, it’s been a while since I felt confident enough to post a deck idea, but I hope you enjoy it. Until next time, mára mesta: good journeys!

New Deckbuilders Available!

Wow, what a big couple of weeks for deckbuilding in the Lord of the Rings: the Living Card Game! First, Seastan released his Love of Tales deckbuilder, which is based upon the Rivendell Councilroom (now no longer updated). A few things I really like about Love of Tales is the ability to save decks in the cloud, the card suggestion feature by which the builder actually gives you a pretty good list of cards you might put in the deck, and the ability to immediately export to OCTGN.

Right on the heels of that, Sydtrack released RingsDB, which is based upon the ThronesDB and NetRunnerDB sites. I haven’t gotten a chance to play around with this one yet, but it looks very similar to Seastan.

With these two big releases, I think I can officially say that I will not be returning to CardGameDB anytime soon. More easily accessible tools for deckbuilding–thanks Seastan and Sydtrack!

Deck-Craft: Secondary, Tertiary Elves

Inspiration
In The Lord of the Rings, there are elves and then there are elves. Arwen and Haldir are clearly secondary characters, whereas Erestor is a tertiary character, showing up only in the chapter “The Council of Elrond” and offering some sage advice. However, these three characters have all become strong heroes in our beloved card game in the last eighteen months, and so when MD and I decided to play a few quests at Level Up Games, I was really excited to put these three together. This deck performed admirably alongside a more combat-focused deck featuring Legolas, Bifur, and Beregond. So, without further ado, here’s the decklist for Secondary, Tertiary Elves.
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Total Cards: 54

Heroes: 3
1x Arwen Undómiel (The Dread Realm)
1x Erestor (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
1x Haldir of Lórien (Trouble in Tharbad)

Allies: 19
2x Galadhrim Weaver (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
2x Galadhrim Minstrel (Trouble in Tharbad)
2x Galadhrim Healer (The Dread Realm)
2x Silvan Refugee (The Drúadan Forest)
2x Curious Brandybuck (The Wastes of Eriador)
2x Erebor Hammersmith (Core Set)
2x Quickbeam (The Treason of Saruman)
2x Galdor of the Havens (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
2x Elrond (The Road Darkens)
1x Gildor Inglorion (The Hills of Emyn Muil)

Attachments: 19
1x Thror’s Map (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Silver Harp (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
2x Wingfoot (The Nin-in-Eilph)
1x Protector of Lorien (Core Set)
3x Song of Battle (The Dead Marshes)
1x Steed of Imladris (Across the Ettenmoors)
3x Elven Spear (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
2x Lembas (Trouble in Tharbad)
2x Rivendell Blade (Road to Rivendell)

Events: 14
2x Elrond’s Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Power of Orthanc (The Voice of Isengard)
2x Fair and Perilous (Across the Ettenmoors)
2x A Test of Will (Core Set)
2x Will of the West (Core Set)
2x Elven-light (The Dread Realm)
2x Mithrandir’s Advice (The Steward’s Fear)

Side Quests: 2
1x Scout Ahead (The Wastes of Eriador)
1x Double Back (Escape from Mount Gram)

Strategy
Like my last deck, Swift and Strong Steeds, there is no resource acceleration here, except what’s provided by Arwen. One interesting thing about her is she can be splashed in a deck to allow you to spam out 1-cost Spirit cards or play a 2-cost Spirit card right away on the first turn, provided you are willing to “convert” a card to a resource through discarding. In this deck, she can also discard a card to add a resource to Haldir or Erestor, allowing for a 3-cost Lore card to be played on the first turn. This provides a lot of versatility, as more expensive Lore cards that might not usually make it into a two-hero Lore deck are now viable.

In my starting hand, I like to look for a copy of Song of Battle so that the Elven weapons (Rivendell Blade, Elven Spear) can be put on Haldir right away. In hindsight, I would probably swap out Elven Spear for Bow of the Galadhrim, but I wanted to try it out. That massive ten-card starting hand is a lot of fun to play with. Here’s a look at what my heroes looked like at the start of Turn Two a few nights ago, with Quickbeam peeking in below:IMG_1839
This deck is not straightforward, since you need to think of every card as a potential resource if it’s discarded, or as a willpower, defense, or attack boost if it’s discarded to boost Protector of Lorien or Elven Spear, respectively. Keep in mind too that there’s no reliable way to keep hold of a card like A Test of Will until Galdor comes out, so you need to adopt a “use them or lose them” mentality. By turn three or four, however, Erestor’s draw ability should let you spam out cheap attachments to get attack, defense, willpower, and readying out of your heroes, and you should either have a swarm of cheap questers such a Silvan Refugee, Curious Brandybuck, and Galadrhim Weaver on the board, or a small band of beefier allies like Quickbeam, Galdor, and Gildor. Either way, you can muster significant willpower, chump block, and slay enemies with a powered up Haldir pretty easily. Meanwhile, playing cards like Unexpected Courage and Lembas across the table should ensure that you get a sentinel block from your fellow players every now and again.

A fair warning: I slapped this deck together in five minutes before heading to the game store, so I recognize that there might be better card choices out there, but I was truly surprised how well it worked against The Dead Marshes.

Reward
The fun factor in this deck comes from the fact that Arwen and Erestor make me think about deck construction and play in very different ways. There’s really no need to include three copies of key cards, since you’ll get to them easily. That allowed me the space to put in a lot of what I consider “fun” cards like Curious Brandybuck, just to see how they work. So if you feel hampered by needing consistency all the time, and you feel like as a result many of those neat but “not quite top tier” cards are staying in your binder, play with Erestor and Arwen to give yourself some breathing space to test off-the-wall cards.

Happy new year, readers, and until next time, mára mesta: good journeys!

Deck-Craft: Swift and Strong Steeds

After another great Sunday playing our beloved game at the Fantasy Flight Game Center has come and gone, and I was so pleased with the performance of my deck that I just had to share it. This deck shines in a four-player game and helped my teammates and I defeat A Shadow of the Past and the Treachery of Rhudaur handily.

Inspiration
As many skilled players of the game have pointed out in the past few years, four-player LOTR:LCG really lives and dies by everyone playing a particular role. You need a strong questing deck (or two!) and a strong combat deck. Meanwhile, one or two folks must play support in some way. Since multiple players can take on enemies, some of the combat responsibilities can be shared. However, since there can only be one active location at a time, location lock is a real threat. At the same time, my experience is that a lot of people find the travel phase to be one of the least interesting portions of the game, and very few people want to play the “travel deck”. My goal in building this deck was to make it fun (and easy!) to travel. To that end…I give you Swift and Strong Steeds.
Rohan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Cards: 50

Heroes: 3
1x Eowyn (Core Set)
1x Theoden (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Galadriel (Celebrimbor’s Secret)

Allies: 24
3x Escort from Edoras (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
3x Northern Tracker (Core Set)
2x Eomund (Conflict at the Carrock)
2x Westfold Horse-Breaker (The Hunt for Gollum)
3x Westfold Horse-breeder (The Voice of Isengard)
1x Elfhelm (The Dead Marshes)
2x West Road Traveller (Return to Mirkwood)
3x Gamling (The Land of Shadow)
3x Hama (The Treason of Saruman)
2x The Riddermark’s Finest (The Hills of Emyn Muil)

Attachments: 19
1x Protector of Lorien (Core Set)
1x Asfaloth (Foundations of Stone)
2x Herugrim (The Treason of Saruman)
3x Snowmane (The Land of Shadow)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
1x Silver Harp (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
2x Nenya (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
3x Mirror of Galadriel (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
2x Thror’s Key (On the Doorstep)
2x Steed of Imladris (Across the Ettenmoors)

Events: 6
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
2x Ride to Ruin (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
1x Astonishing Speed (Return to Mirkwood)

Side Quest: 1
1x Double Back (Escape from Mount Gram)

Strategy
Though this deck contains no resource acceleration, the discount you receive from Spirit Theoden is enough to ensure that you can always play one or two Rohan allies a turn. I mulligan for either Nenya, the Mirror of Galadriel, or Gamling, since the first can get you a Willpower boost, the second can let you go fishing for cards, or the third can help recycle those Rohan allies that are getting discarded all the time.

As the game progresses, Steed of Imladris, The Riddermark’s Finest, Asfaloth, and Northern Tracker can all allow you to rain down progress tokens upon various locations, clearing the dreaded location lock that can be the end of so many multiplayer games. I’ve found that the Riddermark’s Finest to be incredibly helpful in this regard, since when you discard it, you can drop two progress on a location, then use Gamling to bring it back to hand, and do it again next turn. Meanwhile, Westfold Horse Breeder will let you go fishing for three all-important mounts: Steed of Imladris, Asfaloth, and Snowmane, all of who supercharge the deck in various ways.

By the late game, it’s common to have out a host of strong Rohan allies, all of whom are getting recycled as long as you use their abilities sparingly. Theoden and his sword, Herugrim, are laying waste to enemies that engage with you, Galadriel is dishing out Willpower boosts, cards, and threat reduction left and right, and Eowyn is helping the team make it through difficult quest phases with her discard to Willpower conversion. Though this deck doesn’t muster a huge amount of Willpower (I still think Leadership is best for that!) and it’s definitely a second-tier combat deck, you won’t need to be constantly begging the Tactics player for a sentinel block or a ranged attack on your behalf, and other players will be thankful as you clear multiple locations a turn and cancel treacheries through A Test of Will. Go team!

Reward
For me, the real reward of this deck is that you can take care of locations in a lot of interesting ways–discarding to Steed of Imladris, placing progress with pinpoint precision with Asfaloth and Steed of Imladris, or using Ride to Ruin to discard an ally and place progress, just to name a few–while also providing questing, cancellation, and combat assistance. Mirror of Galadriel and Westfold Horse Breeder give you two fun tutoring mechanics, and leading the cavalry of Rohan as it does its thing is just plain satisfying.

The real power of this deck showed up this past Sunday, when, in a four-player game of A Shadow of the Past, we had several locations in the staging area and were trying to get to Buckleberry Ferry. However, since all locations must be cleared from the staging area before you can travel to Buckleberry, we were in a bit of a bind. But my Northern Tracker had been prepping several locations for a few turns, and Asfaloth and The Riddermark’s Finest were in play. In one fell swoop, I committed the Northern Tracker, clearing three locations at once, then exhausted the Riddermark’s Finest and Asfaloth to get rid of a location just revealed. Finally, we used Fellowship Frodo’s Ring ability to shuffle another location away, and then we finally quested hard enough to clear the active location (using Eowyn’s discard ability to make up the final progress). So my deck allowed for the clearing of five locations in one turn, and Fellowship Frodo took care of a sixth. Traveling never felt so good!

If you’re headed into a four-player game in the next few weeks, definitely build this one. Better yet, improve upon it and leave a comment. Until next time, mára mesta: good journeys!

Deck-Craft: Fangorn and Friends

I originally planned to get out a video this week, but I’ve been waylaid by a monster cold (as have all four of my children! No!), so while the technical issues of recording have been largely ironed out, my voice is shot. In fact, just before writing this, I downed a hot toddy and tried to tough it out, but I still sounded like Kermit the Frog after a hard night of drinking…so Deck-Craft it is!

Inspiration
There’s no doubt about it; Ents are the new power on the LOTR:LCG scene. We’ve had a glut of them recently, and they just begged to be played. As I first started constructing Ent decks, however, two major problems popped out. First, true to their nature, they are not very hasty, entering play exhausted. Second, the two spheres from which they hail (Tactics and Lore) are not great at resource acceleration. What’s a poor player to do? My answer, which is just one of many to this two-pronged problem: a three-sphere deck featuring Leadership Theodred to send resources wherever they need to go, paired with two resource generating/smoothing heroes: Mablung and Bifur. Bonus: low threat to get those Ents ready! To that end…I give you Fangorn and Friends!

ents

“We’re slow.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Cards: 50

Heroes: 3
1x Mablung (The Nin-in-Eilph)
1x Theodred (Core Set)
1x Bifur (Khazad-dum)

Allies: 21
3x Treebeard (The Antlered Crown)
2x Wandering Ent (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
2x Gleowine (Core Set)
3x Booming Ent (The Antlered Crown)
2x Skinbark (The Land of Shadow)
2x Wellinghall Preserver (Across the Ettenmoors)
2x Quickbeam (The Treason of Saruman)
3x Derndingle Warrior (Escape from Mount Gram)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)

Attachments: 11
3x Wingfoot (The Nin-in-Eilph)
2x King Under the Mountain (On the Doorstep)
2x Celebrian’s Stone (Core Set)
1x Protector of Lorien (Core Set)
3x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)

Events: 17
2x We Are Not Idle (Shadow and Flame)
2x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
3x Tighten Our Belts (The Nin-in-Eilph)
3x Ever Vigilant (Core Set)
2x Durin’s Song (Khazad-dum)
2x Tireless Hunters (The Lost Realm)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)

Side Quest: 1
1x Send for Aid (The Treachery of Rhudaur)

Strategy
There’s really not a bad starting hand with this deck, but some key cards to look for are either Gondorian Shield or Durin’s Song (to offer you early defense while you set the Ents up), King Under the Mountain (for early card draw), or Wingfoot (for action advantage). All three heroes are somewhat lackluster in stats, but with Theodred’s ability, just take a look at your hand, and quest with Theodred and the hero of whatever sphere you need resources in.

Meanwhile, the quest will largely determine whether you need defending, questing, or attacking Ents out first. I usually lead with a good defender, like Derndingle Warrior, just to offer my heroes some breathing space. If you find yourself swarmed by enemies, a well-timed Ever Vigilant can ready and Ent to defend or smash the forces of Sauron. Good times!

Reward
For me, the real reward of this deck is that you can be all things to all people. Since your Ents heal up with Wellinghall Preserver, you’re not taking the healing at the table. You are self-sufficient in terms of resource generation and card draw, and everyone loves to see the Ents trounce enemies. Playing this multiplayer, I have been pleasantly surprised at how I can offer willpower, attack, and defense as needed. And there’s nothing more fun than pulling a friend out of a jam with Tireless Hunters.

A very short post this week (again, I’m trying to heal!), but take heart, faithful readers: videos are coming! Until next time, mára mesta: good journeys!

Deck-Craft: The Lady, the Master, and the Captain

Since 2013, my most common companion in the world of LOTR: LCG is my Better Half (a.k.a. the Wifey, Dear Wife [DW], My First Wife [MFW]). Since I am traveling a lot for work lately, some of my two-player time has been taken up with nights away from home. As I’m packing for a few days away, I like to bring a quest and one pure solo deck that is incredibly versatile. So, without further ado, I present to you my most recent creation, The Lady, the Master, and the Captain.

Inspiration
I’ve been listening to the Cardboard of the Rings podcast almost since its beginning. In addition to the friendly banter and the antics of Brandon, the podcast’s founder, I really appreciate the deckbox that Sean, one of the hosts local to my beloved state of MN, has put together. Over the past few months, he and the other hosts have curated a number of great decks with piloting instructions.

It’s a long-running joke on the podcast how much Brandon loves Tactics Boromir, and he’s been playing with a deck called Boromir Shows His Quality, or variations thereof, a lot on their Twitch stream. But I wanted to see if this deck could be tweaked just a bit to make it more solo-friendly. With just a few minor changes and one hero swapped out, I’ve had stunning success against a variety of quests, including Peril in Pelargir, Into Ithilien, and The Nîn-in-Eilph. Kudos to the COTR guys for inspiring me!

galadriel

Merry is angry because he’s shorter than everyone in this deck.

Total Cards: 50

Heroes: 3
1x Galadriel (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
1x Merry (The Wastes of Eriador)
1x Boromir (The Dead Marshes)

Allies: 19
2x Silvan Refugee (The Drúadan Forest)
2x Vassal of the Windlord (The Dead Marshes)
2x Arwen Undomiel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Zigil Miner (Khazad-dum)
3x Galadriel’s Handmaiden (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
2x Envoy of Pelargir (Heirs of Numenor)
3x Imladris Stargazer (Foundations of Stone)
2x Bofur (The Redhorn Gate)

Attachments: 20
2x Hobbit Pony (The Wastes of Eriador)
2x Mirror of Galadriel (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
2x Nenya (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
3x Gondorian Fire (Assault on Osgiliath)
2x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Blood of Numenor (Heirs of Numenor)
2x Horn of Gondor (Core Set)
2x Protector of Lorien (Core Set)
2x Captain of Gondor (The Antlered Crown)

Events: 11
2x A Test of Will (Core Set)
2x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)
2x Hidden Cache (The Morgul Vale)
2x Power of Orthanc (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Dwarven Tomb (Core Set)

Strategy
In this deck, you are looking to get Boromir, Captain of Gondor, loaded up with all sorts of goodies: Horn of Gondor for resource generation, Blood of Numenor and Gondorian Shield for defense, Gondorian Fire for attack, and Captain of Gondor for a little bit of both. Meanwhile, Galadriel will exhaust to draw you cards and lower your threat, and Merry will be held back from questing in case an enemy is revealed, allowing him to drop your threat further. These two in tandem will help keep your threat at or close to your starting threat of 26, even while you are readying Boromir multiple times a turn.

In your starting hand, look for either Zigil Miner, Imladris Stargazer, or Horn of Gondor to get your resource engine going. If that doesn’t happen, consider a mulligan unless Mirror of Galadriel is in hand.

In mid-game, once your key attachments are on Boromir and he has become a defending, attacking machine, use a Nenya-wielding Galadriel to place Protector of Lorien on him. By this point, you may be swimming in extra copies of “one-of” attachments, and you can discard the multiples for bonus willpower or defense. If you’re not really looking for any more key cards at this point, you can even “dig” for resources with Zigil Miner blindly. Guessing one will almost always net you at least one more resource, since 23 cards in the deck are one-cost.

Throughout the game, look for the right moment to play Envoy of Pelargir, which can help smooth resources between Boromir and Galadriel, two Nobles of different spheres. If you find yourself with way too many Tactics resources, for instance, and not enough questing power, playing the Envoy with two Tactics resources can place one Spirit resource on Galadriel, which, when combined the two resources she and Merry are collecting each turn, can allow you to play Silvan Refugee and Galadriel’s Handmaiden in one turn, netting you four more willpower and a drop in threat.

Reward: With its nice mix of utility cards and interesting decisions, The Lady, the Master, and the Captain is really fun to play. One happy moment occurred just a few days ago, when I realized that since Galadriel allows allies to commit to the quest without exhausting on their first turn in play, my Vassal of the Windlord was going to Battle quest for three and be able to attack in the same round!

In a week or two, I’ll be making my first attempt at recording a play session using this deck. Wish me luck. Until next time, mára mesta: good journeys!

 

 

 

Deck-Craft: Stout Squires of Support

With the 2015 Fellowship Event, Murder at the Prancing Pony, imminent, it’s time to start building for that event. I was lucky enough to attend the 2014 event at the Fantasy Flight Games Center in Roseville, MN, which is a mere twelve miles from home. At that event, I was able to play with three good friends, so we were able to build our decks together. This year, however, I want to be prepared for anything, so I’ll be bringing along a deck that is completely friendly to any multiplayer situation.

Since this is the first post for the blog, I also wanted to introduce what will become a regular feature here at Peace and Thought: Deck-Craft, in which I simply post a deck with some piloting instructions. Very soon, I’ll be introducing another feature, Double-Take. In short, this category of posts will take one idea for a deck and offer two different variations upon it. This allows for you to easily build version A, which was created in Deck-Craft, then pack the cards necessary for version B, introduced in Double-Take, so that you can switch out from one to the other with relative ease.

Okay, enough with the introduction: let’s get to it!

Inspiration
In LOTR:LCG, each deck must have a focus, especially in four-player games. This deck is designed to fill in a lot of the gaps that other archetypes don’t. At the same time, it uses as few unique allies, attachments, and events as possible so it can be easily used in a pickup game. With a strong focus on giving other players at the table what they need, when they need it, I call this deck The Stout Squires of Support.

stout

Total Cards: 52

Heroes: (3)
1x Sam Gamgee (The Black Riders)
1x Merry (The Wastes of Eriador)
1x Pippin (The Black Riders)

Allies: (17)
2x Bill the Pony (The Black Riders)
3x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)
3x Miner of the Iron Hills (Core Set)
2x Master of the Forge (Shadow and Flame)
2x Erebor Hammersmith (Core Set)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)
3x Errand-rider (Heirs of Numenor)

Attachments: (23)
3x Ranger Provisions (Across the Ettenmoors)
3x Ancient Mathom (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
3x Elf-stone (The Black Riders)
3x Resourceful (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Hobbit Cloak (The Black Riders)
2x Hobbit Pony (The Wastes of Eriador)
3x Fast Hitch (The Dead Marshes)
2x Staff of Lebethron (The Land of Shadow)
2x Cram (Over Hill and Under Hill)

Events: (12)
3x Tighten Our Belts (The Nin-in-Eilph)
3x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
3x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)

Strategy: This deck is all about the goodies for other players. Look for Resourceful in your starting hand; it’s best on Pippin to pay for the large number of Lore cards, or Merry to pay for Galadrhim’s Greeting for other players. Other than that, use Ranger Provisions, Ancient Mathom, Elf-Stone, and Tighten Our Belts to dish out what other players need at exactly the right time. Even with table-talk restrictions, it should be easy to ask another player, “What do you need right now?” and get it to them as needed.

Regarding ally use, getting out an early Master of the Forge means you’ll be finding the right attachments at the right time. Erebor Hammersmith can help you fetch any attachments that have been discarded once the active location has been explored. Once you are a few rounds in, play Warden of Healing and Miner of the Iron Hills to help other players deal with damage and condition attachments. Meanwhile, Sam Gamgee is a sturdy defender. To be completely honest, you will need help in dealing with enemies, but a Tactics player with ranged characters or a Dúnedain deck that can bring enemies to it will work great.

Reward: For a lot of players, it really is all about the questing or combat. However, for the more peaceful, thoughtful player, a hobbit who enjoys a quiet brew or a luxurious bowl of pipe tobacco, this is a great deck to run. Watch your more straightforward companions steamroll to victory, content in the knowledge that you made it happen.

Look for a twist on this deck in an upcoming Double-Take feature. Until next time, mára mesta: good journeys!