Steward of Gondor

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    • Resource Acceleration

The resource acceleration to rule them all.


The office of Steward originally established as older men of high trust and wisdom. It changed over time to have men chose from the house of Hurin and from there it became a hereditary title. The Steward Mardil took over rule of Gondor with the death of King Eärnur who left no heir to the throne. (It was also unknown if he alive or dead after riding to Minas Morgul to answer the Witch-King’s challenge.) The Stewards then ruled Gondor until King Elessar (Aragorn) took the throne following the final defeat of Sauron and Mordor.

Card Theme

Gondor was the largest and strongest kingdom of the free peoples during the later years of the Third Age. The resource acceleration provided by this is a nice way to represent the manpower and materials at Gondor’s command. It makes sense that the Steward as the ruler at the time of the game’s setting would marshal be able to marshal those resources.

The large thematic disconnect with the card is that any hero can be the Steward of Gondor and become Gondorian. At least it is very unthematic for the hereditary title Steward of Gondor as known from the Lord of the Ring trilogy. It would work if it referred to the original meaning of the title, but that was about 2500 years before the years between Bilbo’s party and Frodo’s leaving the Shire.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Blood of Númenor and Gondorian Fire

These two attachments can turn any hero into combat monsters. Those with built-in readying even more so. It can be any hero because Steward will give the necessary Gondor trait to play either one on the hero. A quick example, I think illustrates how well these work with Steward. First turn, use Steward on a hero to have 3 resources. During combat, activate Blood to defend for +2 defense for the entire phase. Then before attacking activate Fire, spend another resource, and gain +1 attack. That still leaves 1 resource on the hero. Each turn, they will gain a resource and the bonuses will increase by 1. Three turns of this, even a hero with 0 defense will have the same defense as Beregond (without any attachments). If the player can build up for 1 turn before activating, they will defend with +5 surpassing Beregond. Pre-errata Tactics Boromir hero with these attachments could handle all enemies engaged with the player or the entire table with Dunedain Signal and Dunedain Cache.

Abilities that Cost Resources

Elrohir, Elladan, Eomer, and Grimbeorn in particular have abilities that not only work well with Steward of Gondor, but also the previously mentioned Blood and/or Fire. Elrohir and Elladan can readying after defending and attack, respectively, for 1 resource each time. There are no limits on this which can make them combat beasts. Eomer can only use his ability once per round since a player can commit him to the quest only once. Still the additional attack from Gondorian Fire can ensure he kills the enemy targeted in the staging area. Grimbeorn for 1 resource can attack right after defending. The only limits to his ability to defend then attack an enemy is how much he can ready and resources to activate the response.

There are a couple heroes that benefit from Steward to use their abilities multiple times. Na’asiyah basically has weaker versions of Blood and Fire built in. The bonuses apply only for a single attack although the bonus is +2 for each resource spent.

Balin’s does have a limit, but it is once per attack. It can still be used against multiple enemies or enemies that attack multiple times per round. Leadership Eomer like Grimbeorn

There are many other heroes with abilities that cost resources, but they cost 1 resource and limited to once per round. Leadership Aragorn, Leadership Frodo, and Gildor are all in sphere examples. Steward really helps to use the ability and still have resources for other cards.

Allies have a few abilities that cost resources as well. Most notably Warden of Healing and Erebor Record Keeper have readying abilities. A few eagle allies like Eagle Emissary, Winged Guardian, and Wilyador and the Dwarven Sellsword require resources to keep them in play. There are a couple other attachments that require resources to activate their ability. Song of Hope offers the more limited willpower version of Blood of Numenor and Gondorian Fire. Steed of the Mark gives some action advantage although ultimately expensive compared to Unexpected Courage. The Dream-Chaser cycle introduced many events that had additional effects if players spend resources from another sphere. Steward can make those additional costs much more affordable.

Resource Smoothing

Resource smoothing is all about changing one resource type to another. There are several neutral options for this to leverage Steward besides just the sphere of the hero it is played on. A Good Harvest is the easiest of these since the player can name whichever sphere is needed. The Storm Comes side quest takes a little work but once completed the resources can be used for the first ally each turn. Gandalf is a little trickier to leverage his resource smoothing but it can be done with some help. The Songs from the first cycle are great if the player knows which sphere they need since it sticks around for the entire game.

Hirulan the Fair, Kahliel, and Radaghast have built in resource smoothing for Outlands, Kahliel, and Creature allies. Elrond hero tops all of them smoothing for all ally cards.

The other option is just to move resources from one hero to another. There are some cards that can do this and many are Gondor related. Chief among them is Errand-Rider since it can exhaust each round to move a resource from one hero to any other. Denethor Leadership and Bifur hero can do so repeatedly as well but are limited who they transfer to. Envoy of Pelargir, Pelargir Ship Captain, and Parting Gifts are all one time transfers.

Quest Specific

One of the more annoying treacheries in the Core Set is Caught in a Web. It forces players to pay 2 resources to ready a hero with the condition attachment. Fortunately that is the number of extra resources given by Steward so the player can ready the hero without too much trouble.

The Druadan Forest scenario introduced the Prowl keyword which discarded resources from heroes equal to the Prowl value. Then penalized players if they didn’t have resources or forced them to pay more to avoid bad effects.

Ring Rating

Card Talk uses the highly scientific yet arbitrary scale of 1 ring for the card to rule them all to 10 to be cast back into the fiery chasm from whence it came.

I rate Steward at 1 ring. It’s the resource acceleration card to rule them all. I remember the first few games I played, it was a was struggle to build up with many ally cards costing 3 resources. Then when I put Steward of Gondor into play, it suddenly made sense why they cost that much. The introduction of many more affordable 2 cost allies into the card pool only made it stronger. There’s a reason that basic deck building advice is have resource acceleration and card draw. The encounter deck is typically going to put out 1 enemy or location in true solo ever turn. If the player can get to play 2 allies, attachments, or combination thereof every other turn or better every turn the player will win. Two extra resources per turn ensures that unless the player stuffs their deck with 4+ cost cards.

The only real drawback to the card is that it is unique. A player will want 3 copies to draw it as early as possible and after that it can be a potential dead draw. Even then it can still be helpful to have a back up in case a treachery or shadow forces a player to discard it. The unique limitation is felt more in multiplayer as players have to plan who will use it. There are other less efficient options and even playing on the curve with only low cost card is very possible with a full card pool. It is not an insurmountable problem.

Dave and Grant discussed it falling off in the late game, but that is a good problem to have. If resources are piling up on the hero with Steward, then if all is going well that means the player has played many cards and has no use for them. It is also comforting to know that any card that has a resource match with that hero can be played. This isn’t even considering Blood and Fire decks where the pile of resources is the goal to fuel a heroes like Boromir, Elladan, Elrohir, etc. If all isn’t going well and there is a pile of resources, then likely it was a poor shuffle or a sign that the deck needs some tweaking.

  • Dave – 5
  • Grant – 4
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – 1
  • Average – 3.33

External Links

Sample Decks

R/lotrlcg Crowdsource Deck by r/lotrlcg

A deck created via Reddit polls at r/lotrlcg featuring Na’asiyah + Steward of Gondor.

R/lotrlcg Crowdsource Deck May 8, 2020

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Éowyn (The Flame of the West)
Glorfindel (Foundations of Stone)
Na’asiyah (A Storm on Cobas Haven)

Ally (19)
3x Arwen Undómiel (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Beorn (Core Set)
2x Elfhelm (The Dead Marshes)
3x Escort from Edoras (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
3x Pippin (A Shadow in the East)
3x Westfold Horse-breeder (The Voice of Isengard)

Attachment (15)
3x Ancient Mathom (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
3x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
3x Light of Valinor (Foundations of Stone)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
3x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event (15)
3x A Good Harvest (The Steward’s Fear)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Elrond’s Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Feint (Core Set)
3x Foe-hammer (Over Hill and Under Hill)

Player Side Quest (1)
1x Rally the West (The Black Serpent)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to A Shadow in the East

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Descendants of Imladris by captainace

Children of Elrond deck building up Elrohir and Elladan with Blood and Fire.

Descendants of Imladris

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Arwen Undómiel (The Dread Realm)
Elladan (Road to Rivendell)
Elrohir (The Redhorn Gate)

Ally (17)
3x Ethir Swordsman (The Steward’s Fear)
2x Faramir (Core Set)
3x Galadriel (The Road Darkens)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
3x Northern Tracker (Core Set)
3x Weather Hills Watchman (The Lost Realm)

Attachment (21)
3x Ancient Mathom (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
3x Blood of Númenor (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Dúnedain Mark (The Hunt for Gollum)
3x Dúnedain Warning (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Gondorian Fire (Assault on Osgiliath)
1x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
2x Rivendell Blade (Road to Rivendell)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)

Event (12)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Elrond’s Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Elven-light (The Dread Realm)
3x Tighten Our Belts (The Nîn-in-Eilph)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Dread Realm

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

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