Dunedain Hunter

  • Player Card Categories
    • Encounter Control
    • Enters Play
    • Engagement Control

A great way to kick start the Dunedain engagement bonuses.

Background

Dunedain Hunter is one of the Rangers of the North with the Dunedain and Ranger traits. The Rangers of the North are the descended from the people of Gondor’s sister kingdom, Arnor. Arnor split into three smaller kingdoms, Cardolan, Arthedain, and Rhudar. The people of these successor kingdoms dwindled after wars with Angmar and a plague until only scattered settlements and wandering bands remained.

There are not many Dunedain in the LOTR books besides Aragorn. Halbarad is the only other named one that in The Passing of the Grey Company arrives with 30 of his kinsmen to support Aragorn. Dunedain Hunters gives the game another way to represent members of the Grey Company.

Card Theme

The card’s mechanism here to get a free ally for engaging an enemy is pretty reflective of the Rangers during the Watchful Peace. During that time they fought many minor battles with orcs and goblins to keep the lands of Eriador safe. This to the people of Bree it just appeared that the Rangers were just wandering East and South telling tales of older times. In reality they were going where there was trouble. Also it fits with how Aragorn comes to join Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin in Bree. He only shows up when the enemies are near joins them to guide and protect them on their journey to Rivendell.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Engagement Bonus Dunedain

These are the cards Dunedain Hunter was designed to facilitate. Dunedain Hunter’s cost of putting an enemy into pay transforms into an immediate benefit with these cards in play. Amarthuil can immediately gain his Tactics sphere during planning and be halfway to generating an additional resource a turn. Halbarad can quest without exhausting. Any Dunedain or Noldor hero with Star Brooch, Warden of Annuminas, Fornost Bowman, and Guardian of Arnor all get a stat boost. Sarn Ford Sentry, Heir of Valandil, and Descendants of Kings provide more utility centered abilities for that enemy engagement with card draw, cost reduction, and readying.

Vengeance of Mordor also gave the Dunedain engagement bonus archetype a couple of other allies. These it is more a restriction but one could argue the bonus for engaging an enemy is a cost reduction. Normally allies with 2 willpower in Spirit and 2 attack in Tactics cost at least 2 resources. These only cost 1 which is helpful considering Dunedain are spread out among the 4 spheres. Dunedian Hunter helps makes these playable on the first turn.

Mablung Hero

Mablung hero also can be considered an engagement bonus effect. Dunedain Hunter is one of the few ways to trigger his resource acceleration twice in a turn since it is limit once per phase.

Hobbits Engage an Enemy with Higher Engagement than a Player’s Threat

Similar to Duendain, Hobbits can get bonuses for engaging enemies although there is another condition to it. They have to engage an enemy with higher engagement cost than their threat to get the bonus. Still it can be worthwhile to search the 5 encounter cards for the right enemy to engage. Also getting the bonus during planning is advantageous when playing Tom Cotton, Odo Proudfoot, and/or Raise the Shire. This can ensure that the first Hobbit ally doesn’t need a resource match and Odo or Raise the Shire can find one to play in a subsequent round. Raise the Shire during planning also opens up finding a questing ally for the round like Bywater Shirriff that will also get additional willpower for having the enemy around.

Traps

Normally the downside to Forest Snare is a player has to defend an attack from the enemy first. Dunedain Hunter provides another way besides Son or Arnor to attach it to an enemy without defending first. It’s truly an advantage since Dunedain Hunter is putting an additional encounter card into play than normally would be. This really equates to a cost reduction for Dunedain Hunter. Dunedain Hunter most likely would be 4 resource cost considering he has the exact same stats as Legolas ally. Legolas is also unique but he has an amazing ability that the Hunter doesn’t so it still balances out. The cost reduction can be even more with Damrod hero since the first trap played each turn costs 1 less and a player will draw a new card for attaching a trap.

The trap that is best played with the hunter is Followed. Followed can reduce staging area threat by the threat of the attached enemy but player’s are at the mercy of the encounter deck revealing a high treat enemy once it is out. Unless a player waits until they see one and can maintain a low threat to choose. Dunedain Hunter can give the players more control and options for this trap since it is a choice from the top 5 of the encounter deck. Best of all it goes right to being engaged with the player avoiding any possible engagement mishaps in a multiplayer game. Outmatched can also be used in conjunction especially if the player pulls out a weak enemy (especially with surge) they want to just keep engaged turn after turn.

Attack Cancellation

Feint, Thicket of Spears, and The Wizard’s Voice are solid alternatives to deal with the enemy put into play by Dunedain Hunter. This is because if played early, an additional enemy can be too much for a deck to handle. Canceling the attack avoids the situation where the hunter might have to chump to the enemy it brought in. It also lets the player bring that 3 attack to bear and hopefully get rid of that enemy right away.

Quest Specific

One of the best things about Dunedain Hunter’s cost is that it puts the enemy into play. This doesn’t reveal the enemy which means When Revealed effects and Surge do not trigger. In quests with many weaker surging enemies like The Seventh Level it can be very handy to pull out one. Many of the Angmar Awakened quests feature the Cursed Dead that when revealed return all Cursed Dead from the encounter discard pile to play.

The risk of the hunter’s cost, however, is twofold.

  1. Not finding an enemy
  2. Finding a very strong enemy

The first one can be mitigated by looking at the enemy breakdown in a quest. A couple notable quests that are light on enemies are Hills of Emyn Muil and We Must Away ‘Ere Break of Day. Hills of Emyn Muil was the game’s early location focused quest. We Must Away ‘Ere Break of Day is Thorin’s Company fight with 3 Trolls and there are only a couple weak crow enemies to detract from that fight.

The other possibility can find examples through each cycle. Shadows of Mirkwood has Hill Trolls, Marsh Adder, Hummerhorns, Chieftain Ufthak, and Attercop that players would rather not see if at all possible. Darrowdelf has very tough Cave Trolls. Heirs of Numenor has Umbar Assassins and Zealous Traitors that can wreak board states with direct damage. Dream-Chaser has Ship enemies with Boarding that puts more enemies into play engaged. Haradrim had various Southron enemies that either remove progress or negative effects when engaged. Ered Mithren brought back high attack tough trolls not to mention dangerous werewolves. Vengeance of Mordor putting an enemy in play often just gives the treachery attachments targets to be buffed.

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 Dunedain Hunter at 8. It is a gamble to play. Sometimes it is less of a gamble if the enemies in the quest are not that tough, or if played later in the game. When defense is well established, getting a zero cost ally with 3 attack is nice and powerful. Typically I want to play him early and get the Dunedain bonuses rolling. The trouble is that Dunedain lack a strong early defender. Amarthuil, Halbarad, or even Lore Aragorn can get there with Dunedain Warnings, Ancestral Armor, or Blood of Nuemenor. It is much more manageable with a good early defender like Beregond or traps that can negate whatever enemy that comes out. Even attack cancellation can be enough to get rid of the enemy and the player enjoy the 3 attack going forward.

All of these considerations on how and when best to play the hunter is why it is so low. It is not a simple card to play needs at least some support if a player wants to use it early. If used mid to late game when a player is stabilized, it can easily become win more or too much and push a game towards a loss. Then it has to compete with Fornost Bowman. Fornost Bowman’s attack can become much higher than Dunedain Hunter’s 3. The bowman also has ranged making it a very good multiplayer ally. Hunter works better solo since getting and keeping 2 enemies engaged can be tough outside a Trap deck, but an extra enemy early in true solo is also difficult to manage. I like what the card can do for the Dunedain archetype. It is difficult to play at the right time and use well.

  • Dave – 7
  • Grant – TBR
  • Ted – 4
  • Matt – 8
  • Average – 6.33

External Links

Sample Decks

Legolas Shoots Locations by kattattack22

Mono Tactics deck for Heirs of Numenor and Against the Shadow cycle. I tweaked the deck as I played through the cycle and through the various iterations it beat every quest. It definitely settled into a final form by Encounter at Amon Din.

Legolas Shoots Locations aka Mono Tactics v4

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Beregond (Heirs of Númenor)
Éowyn (The Flame of the West)
Legolas (Core Set)

Ally (24)
2x Beechbone (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
2x Bofur (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Defender of Rammas (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Derndingle Warrior (Escape from Mount Gram)
3x Dúnedain Hunter (The Lost Realm)
3x Eagles of the Misty Mountains (Return to Mirkwood)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)
3x Honour Guard (The Wastes of Eriador)
3x Knights of the Swan (The Steward’s Fear)

Attachment (17)
2x Arod (The Treason of Saruman)
3x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
3x Favor of the Valar (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
3x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Rivendell Blade (Road to Rivendell)
3x Secret Vigil (The Lost Realm)

Event (9)
3x Feint (Core Set)
3x Foe-hammer (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Hands Upon the Bow (Shadow and Flame)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Flame of the West

Sideboard

Hero (1)
Aragorn (The Lost Realm)

Ally (10)
1x Gandalf (Core Set)
3x Grimbold (The Flame of the West)
3x Legolas (The Treason of Saruman)
3x Vassal of the Windlord (The Dead Marshes)

Attachment (5)
3x Dwarven Axe (Core Set)
2x Horn of Gondor (Core Set)

Event (9)
3x Sterner than Steel (The Flame of the West)
3x The Eagles Are Coming! (The Hunt for Gollum)
3x Thicket of Spears (Core Set)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Halbarad (Hero)

  • Cycle
    • Angmar Awakened
  • Set
    • The Lost Realm

“2 against 1, eh? It’s almost a fair fight for you but you really should have brought at least one more to make it even.” – Halbarad probably

Background

Halbarad received a message to join his Chieftain Aragorn in Rohan. He and 30 other Dunedain rode south. Later joined by Elrohir and Elladan, they met Aragorn and accompanied him through the Paths of the Dead. Once Aragorn summoned the dead, they rode for Pelargir fighting off the Corsairs they found there. Halbarad took command of one the Corsair ships and sailed for The Battle of Pelennor Fields. He fought in the battle but died in the fighting.

Card Theme

Halbarad like many of the Dunedain heroes has balanced stats with 2 willpower, 2 attack, and 2 defense. This fits with the Dunedain considering their small population having to be self-sufficient and ready to defend their people. The Dunedain in the game generally gain bonuses for having an enemy engaged. This makes sense with their severely depleted population and many enemies around that they would have to rise to each challenge. His ability to quest without exhausting while engaged with an enemy represents this. His ability to optionally engaged 2 enemies is more representative of the Dunedain’s actions during the Watchful Peace. During that time they fought many minor battles with orcs and goblins to keep the lands of Eriador safe.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Stat Boosts

Halbarad’s built in action advantage and balanced if mediocre stats make him a prime target for stat boosts. In sphere and in theme are the Dunedain signal attachments from the first cycle.

While the bonus is only +1, the ability to move to other heroes shouldn’t be discounted. Especially for Dunedain Warning’s defense boost that can help another hero defend for a turn. Dunedain Quest’s willpower is a bit expensive especially when the Core Set gave players Celebrian’s Stone that gives +2 for the same cost. There aren’t many options for targeted willpower boosts in Leadership although the global boosts from Leadership Faramir ally of Aragorn with Sword That Was Broken are also options.

Aside from Dunedain Mark, Leadership doesn’t have many permanent attack boosts. Sword of Numenor is a very thematic one that comes with the possibility of some resource acceleration if fighting some tougher enemies. If utilizing the side quest bonus Dunedain alongside Halbarad, Legacy Blade can be a fantastic attack buff. Tactics has more possibilities with Dagger of Westernesse being the best to possibly get more than +1 attack from a single attachment.

Defense bonuses are generally better to build up on him at least when using other Dunedain. Another defender that can safely keep a 3 or 4 attack enemy engaged helps build up their bonuses. Fortunately, Leadership has some of the best defensive attachments with aforementioned Dunedian Warning, Ancestral Armor, and Armored Destrier. The destrier doesn’t convey a bonus to defense, the action advantage and shadow control is just what the Dunedain archetype needs to keep multiple enemies engaged for several turns.

Traps

Specifically, Forest Snare and Entangling Nets synergize very well with Halbarad and the rest of the enemies engaged bonus Dunedain. Forest Snare allows a player to just keep an enemy engaged for the entire game without having to worry about defending or any shadows. Entangling Nets is similar because of the attack reduction making defending easier. The action disadvantage of defending can be offset with Outmatched or just taking the attack undefended. Shadows effects can still be an issue with it in some scenarios.

Early Engagement Effects

Normally a player can’t get Halbarad to quest without exhausting unless puts an enemy engaged with a player first thing. Dunedain Hunter and Wait No Longer can help get that ability going. They can be especially useful in true solo play if no enemies are forthcoming since they both search the top 5 cards of the encounter deck for one.

Forth, The Three Hunters Contract

One of the downsides of this contract is that the player is limited to just 3 heroes. Action advantage is key to maximizing the heroes questing and combat potential. Any hero with it built in can make use of the contract’s willpower bonus and the combat bonuses of the extra restricted attachment better than ones without.

Quest Specific

The Shadows of Mirkwood featured the Goblin Sniper that could only be engaged if it was the only enemy in the staging area. This could lead to the dreaded double Goblin Sniper situation where neither can be engaged optionally. This left only Son of Arnor and reaching 48 threat as a solution early on in the game’s life. Halbarad’s ability gives players another way to engage both snipers before 48 threat.

Intruders in Chetwood is another quest that benefits from his ability to optionally engage 2 enemies since they don’t make normal engagement checks. Leaving enemies in the staging area is not a good idea since each one raises the players’ threat by 1 for each enemy there. Wastes of Eriador similarly has enemies not make engagement checks when the day/night objective is on the day side. Engaging multiple enemies during the day is better since many have additional effects or are stronger during the night.

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 Halbarad at 6 rings. The built in action advantage works pretty well with his balanced stats. Keeping an enemy engaged to quest isn’t that difficult for many quests especially if also running traps or with an Armored Destrier. Still it has its risks especially since his balanced stats are only 2 on each. He always requires a bit of set up to be more than just a little supplement questing and combat power. Even when built up, he won’t rival the more specialized heroes with a stat of 3 or 4. Still can be a good addition to line ups with a good questing and defending hero. Starting a quest with 6 willpower from heroes typically provides enough willpower to start. Defense is hard to skimp on since one bad enemy attack can easily take out a hero. Attack power can usually wait a turn or two to come online and easy enough to get from allies or attachments.

His ability to optionally engage 2 enemies doesn’t have many uses for solo play. Still in multiplayer it can supercharge a Dunedain deck. It is still tricky to use well considering the Dunedain can take a little while to get rolling. The heroes often have weaker balanced stats. The allies can be expensive and span all 4 spheres. This can encourage players to build tri-sphere to cram as many Dunedain allies into a deck.

Halbarad at one point was one of my most played heroes. He can be used to good effect but he takes some building around and time to set up. Many quests won’t give players time for it. He’s a decent hero and well worth playing. There are just many that are better because they don’t need that set up and support.

  • Dave – 8
  • Grant – TBR
  • Ted – 7
  • Matt – 6
  • Average – 7

External Links

Sample Decks

Three Wolf Hunters for Wastes of Eriador by kattattack22

A Forth, The Three Hunters deck utilizing Halbarad as a primary quester and secondary combatant.

Three Wolf Hunters for Wastes of Eriador

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Aragorn (The Lost Realm)
Beravor (Core Set)
Halbarad (The Lost Realm)

Contract (0)
1x Forth, The Three Hunters! (The City of Ulfast)

Attachment (41)
3x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Armored Destrier (Temple of the Deceived)
2x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
3x Dúnedain Warning (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Expert Treasure-hunter (On the Doorstep)
2x Favor of the Valar (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
3x Golden Belt (Challenge of the Wainriders)
3x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Ranger Spear (The City of Corsairs)
2x Roheryn (The Flame of the West)
3x Steed of the North (Race Across Harad)
3x Strider (The Drowned Ruins)
3x Sword of Númenor (The Dread Realm)
2x Sword that was Broken (The Watcher in the Water)
3x War Axe (The City of Ulfast)

Event (9)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Feint (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to Challenge of the Wainriders

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

The Shirefolk

  • Card Talk Season 5 Episode 42
    • Video episode
    • Audio episode
  • Cycle
    • Ered Mithren
  • Set
    • Mount Gundabad
  • Player Card Categories 
    • Threat Reduction

The Hobbit Enabler

Background

Hobbits came to settle The Shire from Bree in 1601 of the Third Age after getting permission from Arthedain’s King Argeleb II. In thirty years Hobbits from elsewhere in the Arnorion splinter kingdoms and Dunland came to settle until most Hobbits lived there. Shire Hobbits by the time of the quest to reclaim Erebor had become a heavily agrarian peaceful society if very sheltered. The Shirefolk were known for enjoying simple pleasures of food, smoking, and socializing.

Card Theme

One of the defining qualities of Hobbits in relation to the other races is how they’re overlooked. Part of that is their own doing in avoiding the “big folk” and the insularity of the Shire-folk. The other part of it is the underestimation of the other races. Part of that underestimation stems from the Hobbits avoiding becoming involved the other events of Middle-Earth. Another is that the Hobbits love of the more simple pleasures of life instead of great works of industry. Lastly as well is their short stature seeming as “almost like children” to most men. It is very fitting then that threat reduction is tied to cultural identity of The Shire-folk. Threat is intended to represent the attention of Sauron on the heroes and direct his forces to the great perceived threats. The Hobbits lacking any formal military, lack of widespread industry for armaments, disinterest in the geopolitics of Middle-Earth, and location far in the West made them particularly unthreatening to Mordor.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Hobbit Engage an Enemy with Higher Engagement Cost than Threat Bonus

This is where The Shirefolk really shines and obviously meant to. The Black Riders introduced this mechanism with Hobbit Cloak, Dagger of Westernesse, Lore Pippin hero, and Sam Gamgee hero to name a few. The danger to a Hobbit deck then is a low engagement cost enemy or massive threat gain. The Shirefolk counters both of those and fits into any configuration of Hobbit heroes and help to get those bonuses.

It also came in the same pack as Gaffer Gamgee that also shored up one of the biggest weaknesses of the Hobbit deck, defense. As long as threat is low and a player can spare Lore resources a round, that is one attack canceled every round or at worst every 2 rounds. It’s amazing and The Shirefolk can help keep it consistently happening.

Secrecy

The problem with Secrecy when introduced in Darrowdelf was that there few hero line ups that could have 3 heroes starting at 20 threat or lower. Hobbits fixed that with more good heroes at 6 or lower threat. Still it relied on getting good resource acceleration early with Resourceful and/or Timely Aid in hand early. Most times a player would be in secrecy for a few turns at most. The Shirefolk among other threat reduction introduced later made it easier to extend that window into the midgame. Hobbit decks with Elevenses, The Shirefolk, Smoke Rings, and Spirit Merry have many ways to keep utilizing Secrecy discounts throughout the entire game.

Pipes

Most specifically Hobbit Pipe. Hobbit Pipe turns threat reduction events into draw 1, 2, or 3 cards. A zero cost neutral event that helps the Hobbits do what they do best and draw more cards, it’s great! The Card draw then can help a player find Spare Pipe that can help find another The Shirefolk. There is really good synergy here to help keep the pipe engine moving and get some discounted powerful allies thanks to Smoke and Think.

Song of Eärendil

Song of Eärendil is a multiplayer focused card, but can be extremely powerful with Hobbits. As mentioned earlier, Hobbits have many ways to reduced threat. Spirit Merry in 3 to 4 player games can easily be reducing the Hobbit player’s threat by 2 – 4 per turn alone. Shirefolk only gives more means to offset using the second response liberally. In scenarios with a lot of threat raising effects, the Hobbit deck with this Song becomes a threat control support deck. It is not unheard of a Hobbit deck like this to keep everyone in the game and end with threat lower than its starting level.

Quest Specific

The Shirefolk is great to use in any quest with a lot of threat raising effects or Doomed. Later cycles in particular added more do X or raise threat effects. The Crossing of Poros for example has a Stage 2 that required allies to be exhausted when they enter play unless a player raises their threat by 1. The King’s Quest Stage 1 has players add a location to the staging area or raise their threat. Vengeance of Mordor cycle also hits players’ threat hard. The Power of Mordor encounter set featured in a few of the scenarios has a Doomed 5 card, another card will reduce a player’s threat elimination level by 5, and one raising threat for drawing cards.

Earlier cycles have a few stand out scenarios where threat reduction is a great idea. Shadow and Flame in the Darrowdelf cycle has players start at 0 threat and the Balrog has an engagement cost of 1. If a player can keep threat at 0 then they’re not engaged with Durin’s Bane and don’t have to take its attack. Trouble in Tharbad requires player to reduce their threat to 0 before advancing to a later stage of the game. It has a way for players to get there, but more threat reduction can help speed the game along.

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 The Shirefolk at 4 rings. It is a top notch enabler of the Hobbit strategy. It is neutral and zero cost so it can go into any Hobbit deck that uses all Hobbit heroes. The amount of threat taken off is better than most threat reduction cards except for Galadhrim’s Greeting, Lore Aragorn, and Core Set Gandalf. This helps ensure the Hobbits get their bonuses for engaging higher engagement cost enemies. The only downsides really is that it can’t be played outside Hobbit decks and it can’t be recurred with Record attachments. It’s niche tribal card but one that really helps do what it wants to.

  • Dave –
  • Grant –
  • Ted –
  • Matt – 4

External Links

Sample Decks

The Rise of the Hobbit Tacticians by Dave Walsh

Dave took it upon himself to build a Hobbit deck using only Tactics Hobbit heroes.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Bilbo Baggins (Mount Gundabad)
Merry (The Black Riders)
Tom Cotton (The Mountain of Fire)

Ally (18)
1x Beechbone (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
2x Booming Ent (The Antlered Crown)
2x Derndingle Warrior (Escape from Mount Gram)
2x Farmer Maggot (The Black Riders)
2x Gandalf (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Master of the Forge (Shadow and Flame)
1x Quickbeam (The Treason of Saruman)
2x Rosie Cotton (The Mountain of Fire)
3x Treebeard (The Antlered Crown)

Attachment (20)
3x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
3x Ent Draught (The Treason of Saruman)
3x Fast Hitch (The Dead Marshes)
3x Friend of Friends (The Mountain of Fire)
3x Protector of Lórien (Core Set)
3x Song of Wisdom (Conflict at the Carrock)
2x Sting (Mount Gundabad)

Event (18)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Drinking Song (Mount Gundabad)
3x Entmoot (The Treason of Saruman)
3x Raise the Shire (The Mountain of Fire)
3x The Shirefolk (Mount Gundabad)
3x Unseen Strike (The Redhorn Gate)

3 Heroes, 56 Cards
Cards up to Mount Gundabad

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Three Hobbit Hunters for Antlered Crown by kattattack22

Forth, the Three Hunters deck utilizing the low Hobbit starting threat to build up and eventually get some strong guarded attachments.

Three Hobbit Hunters for Antlered Crown

Hero (3)
Bilbo Baggins (Mount Gundabad)
Pippin (The Black Riders)
Sam Gamgee (The Black Riders)

Contract (0)
1x Forth, The Three Hunters! (The City of Ulfast)

Attachment (44)
1x Arod (The Treason of Saruman)
3x Blade of Gondolin (Core Set)
2x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
3x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
3x Dúnedain Quest (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
3x Fast Hitch (The Dead Marshes)
3x Friend of Friends (The Mountain of Fire)
1x Glamdring (Roam Across Rhovanion)
3x Golden Belt (Challenge of the Wainriders)
3x Hobbit Cloak (The Black Riders)
1x Magic Ring (The Crossings of Poros)
1x Necklace of Girion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Protector of Lórien (Core Set)
3x Ranger Spikes (Heirs of Númenor)
2x Ring Mail (The Long Dark)
2x Staff of Lebethron (The Land of Shadow)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
1x Sting (Mount Gundabad)
1x The Arkenstone (The Withered Heath)
3x Woodmen’s Path (Roam Across Rhovanion)

Event (6)
3x Hobbit-sense (Encounter at Amon Dîn)
3x The Shirefolk (Mount Gundabad)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards

Deck built on RingsDB.

Halfling Determination

  • Card Talk Season 5 Episode 41
    • Video episode
    • Audio episode
  • Cycle
    • Lord of the Rings Saga
  • Set
    • The Black Riders
  • Player Card Categories 
    • Willpower Bonus
    • Attack Bonus
    • Defense Bonus

Background

There are many instances we see the determination of the hobbits in the books culminating in Frodo carrying the Ring all the way to the fire of Mount Doom. The flavor text pins this to shortly after Frodo, Sam, and Pippin meet Gildor and his band of elven pilgrims. Sam recounts to Frodo how Gildor pressed him to stay with Frodo, and now afterwards the nature of the journey has changed for him. It is no longer about having an adventure and seeing unusual creatures. He knows now it will be a dark journey but he feels he has a purpose in it that he must fulfil.

Card Theme

Boosting all of a Hobbits basic stats is a nicely tied to the theme of this card. It is their determination that helps them find whatever they need within themselves to carry on the quest. Whether it is preserving through strange and dangerous lands, or taking up their swords to fight orcs, trolls, and giant spiders. More willpower, attack, and defense can help players realize that in the game.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Action Advantage

Halfling Determination’s boost last until the end of phase. The more times you can make use of it, the better. Hobbits fortunately have their own readying card that is cheap and easy to play with Fast Hitch. It can also target a character much like Halfling Determination. This will be very important later when discussing Halfling Determination’s interaction with a special Hobbit character card. Then of course there are the other readying staples like Unexpected Courage, Rohan Warhorse, Armored Destrier, Cram, Lembas, and Miruvor among many others. For maximum effect, you will want to play it with Hour of Wrath or Path of Need. These cards because heroes will not exhaust to quest, attack, or defend means the boosted hero can use its enhanced stats against every enemy.

Rosie Cotton

Rosie Cotton like Halfling Determination itself is a powerful boosting card for Hobbits. They work well together because Halfling Determination boosts her willpower and then she can use the resulting 4 willpower to add 4 to a Hobbit hero’s stats. A Fast Hitch on her and the willpower bonus can be doubled for questing by using her ability and questing with her. She can also become a hero with Messenger of the King and Sword-thain. This allows her to target herself with her ability and double Halfling’s Determination for combat by adding her 4 willpower to her boosted attack or defense. This turns her in a pretty strong attacker or defender with 6 in either relevant stat.

Quest Specific

The stat boosts are going to be good in almost every quest since they help with both questing and combat. A couple special cases worth mentioning are in the LOTR Saga quests. Both are special tests called hide and fortitude tests. Hide tests are used in A Shadow of the Past and fortitude tests are in Mount Doom. Both have very similar mechanics where the players commit characters (heroes only for fortitude) and use their total willpower for the test. Then encounter cards are discarded to determine the value the players need to beat. In hide tests, threat is totaled up and fortitude it is Sauron eye icons. There is a special action window after encounter cards are discarded before resolving the test. If the players are short on willpower, Halfling Determination can help push them over the edge.

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 Halfling Determination at 7 rings. It is a pretty good boost with +2 to all of the basic stats. This makes it pretty flexible, but still only a one time boost. It going to be a bit niche considering it is limited to hobbits. I find it often just doesn’t make the cut even in Hobbit decks. Largely because the best hobbit cards are in Spirit and Lore. Hobbits additionally are low on defense and Feint is generally a better 1 cost Tactics event to include over this card. It also doesn’t help that this is the hobbit version of Durin’s Song except that it lasts only until the end of the phase.

  • Dave – 4.5
  • Grant – 2
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – 7
  • Average – 4.5

External Links

Sample Decks

The Kids Gather ’round the Christmas Tree by Dave Walsh

Card Talk’s Christmas themed deck focused on utilizing hero Treebeard.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Bilbo Baggins (Mount Gundabad)
Frodo Baggins (A Shadow in the East)
Treebeard (The Treason of Saruman)

Ally (11)
1x Elrond (The Road Darkens)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
1x Gildor Inglorion (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Ioreth (A Storm on Cobas Haven)
3x Rosie Cotton (The Mountain of Fire)

Attachment (26)
3x Cram (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Ent Draught (The Treason of Saruman)
3x Fast Hitch (The Dead Marshes)
2x Necklace of Girion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Protector of Lórien (Core Set)
3x Self Preservation (Core Set)
2x Spear of the Citadel (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
2x Sting (Mount Gundabad)
2x The Arkenstone (The Withered Heath)

Event (17)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Drinking Song (Mount Gundabad)
3x Halfling Determination (The Black Riders)
3x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
3x Taste it Again! (The Land of Shadow)
2x The King’s Return (The Fate of Wilderland)

Player Side Quest (1)
1x Gather Information (The Lost Realm)

3 Heroes, 55 Cards
Cards up to A Shadow in the East

Sideboard

Event (3)
3x Feint (Core Set)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Dwarven Tomb

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Recursion
    • Discard Pile

Almost like having an extra copy of any Spirit card.

Background

There are 2 possible tombs from the books this card can be based on. It could be Thorin Oakenshield’s tomb where he was buried with the Arkenstone after The Battle of Five Armies. The other is tomb of Balin in Moria. The Fellowship of the Ring found Balin’s tomb in the Chamber of Mazarbul when passing through Moria and ambushed there by orcs.

The flavor text is an except from Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold. It is not version the Dwarves sing after the unexpected party at Bag End, but one they sang after Smaug was defeated. The main difference in the excerpt is the first line, “The dwarves no more shall suffer wrong,” instead of “To seek the pale enchanted gold”. This could refer to either Thorin or Balin since both were part of that company. It is possible FFG kept it intentionally ambiguous, but the art favors the description of Balin’s tomb with the shaft of light falling upon it.

The chamber was lit by a wide shaft high in the further eastern wall; it slanted upwards and, far above, a small square patch of blue sky could be seen. The light of the shaft fell directly on a table in the middle of the room: a single oblong block, about two feet high, upon which was laid a great slab of white stone.

The Fellowship of the Ring, Chapter 4: A Journey in the Dark

Card Theme

I know from a couple designer interviews that LOTR LCG is inspired by Magic the Gathering. The discard pile in Magic is called the graveyard. The thematic tie of a tomb to the discard pile recursion mechanic is well known to veteran Magic players. It still makes sense in this game as destroyed allies and heroes are put in the discard pile as well. The brining a card back out of the discard pile doesn’t fit that well with finality of the tomb. If it had been a reference to the Valar sending Gandalf back to Middle Earth then it would have been more thematic.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Powerful Spirit Events

Spirit has some of the most powerful and widely useful event cards in the game. A Test of Will of can neutralize many treachery encounter cards which can account for about a third of a scenario’s encounter cards. Additionally there are some enemies with When Revealed effects that it can cancel. Hasty Stroke can be a game saver against nasty shadows. Elrond’s Counsel and Galadhim’s Greeting are staples in threat reduction.

Dwarven Tomb can act as like an additional 3 copies of each of those events. Events are a more common target because events go right into the discard pile after being played making them easier to recur. Also allies and attachments have their own specific events, Stand and Fight and Reforged. Those 2 are generally better than Dwarven Tomb for allies and attachments because they put the card into play. Players want to keep allies and attachments in play usually as well. Still the flexibility to get any spirit card can be more advantageous in some decks.

Caldara, Dwarven Mining, and Noldor Discard

Caldara, Dwarven Mining, and Noldor Discard decks can all benefit from that flexibility due to each has a similar game plan. Put cards into the discard pile. Caldara decks want to fill it with powerful allies and when Caldara is discarded they get 2, 3, or even 4 allies for the price of an 8 threat cost hero. Dwarven Mining will put cards directly from its deck into the discard to power the abilities of its heroes and allies or possibly get free attachments via Well-Equipped or Ring of Thror. Noldor discard will discard cards from hand for abilities or to play allies with To the Sea, to the Sea! There is always the risk in these decks of either blindly or forced to discard a necessary card. Dwarven Tomb is a great insurance to get that card. Dwarven Tomb also turns the mining effects into pseudo card draw. As the Dwarves put more cards into the discard pile, the potential targets of the tomb expand.

Other Discard Recursion Cards

Dwarven Tomb and Map of Earnil fill similar roles but together can be ridiculous. The map can target the tomb to bring back another card then put the tomb on the bottom of the deck for another possible use. This can lead to an infinite loop with an empty deck as the tomb can target Map of Earnil to return to hand. Play Tomb again with the returned Map to return another Spirit card. A little card draw with Elven-light and this loop can occur every turn. Dwarven Tomb retrieving Knight of Belfalas, especially if somehow all copies ended in the discard, allows for another chain of discard recursion. The Knight can retrieve each other copy since they’re all Gondor allies. Chump block while one is in hand and just get back after replaying it.

Quest Specific

There are a few quests that will force players to discard cards from their deck. Deadman’s Dike from The Lost Realm, Dungeons of Cirth Gurat in the Haradrim cycle, and Under the Ash Mountains. There are also many cards scattered across various quests that force players to discard cards from their hand or their entire hand. Dwarven Tomb can help mitigate the downsides of these quests aside from just getting a key card back. Many of them have effects that additional effects if another copy of card is in your discard. Deadman’s Dike and Under the Ash Mountains both have a player lose if they run out of cards in their deck. Dwarven Tomb can help find a way to get some cards shuffled back into the deck.

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 this card at 4 rings. It has a pretty flexible and useful effect considering it can get any Spirit card out of the discard pile. I’ve used it fairly often even back when I had only 2 copies from my 2 old core sets. I’ve used it in discard recursion focused decks as insurance and added to decks with Spirit as potential extra copy of Test of Will. In my experience, I usually would rather just have the regular card drawn and it can cut from the deck list pretty easily if extra room is needed. It also be helpful in trimming a deck since I’ll drop a 3rd copy of A Test of Will and another generally useful Spirit event like Hasty Stroke. Dwarven Tomb then I’ll count on as the 3rd copy for both. Still I find I’ll hold on to Dwarven Tomb just in case or won’t have the spare resource to play it and the card I pull out. Discard recursion, I’ll find myself trimming Dwarven Tomb if I’m just using it as insurance. One copy sometimes is all that is needed to tilt the odds to seeing it late game when it might be needed. It’s that “just in case role” it fills that while a generally useful card when playing Spirit, that it moves more towards a niche card rather than a powerful will always include card.

  • Dave – 2
  • Grant – 2
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – 4
  • Average – 2.67

External Links

Sample Decks

Doomed Rohan – To Catch An Orc – Minimum Purchase by kattattack22

Rohan themed deck for To Catch an Orc using only Voice of Isengard and 1 old core set. Dwarven Tomb doesn’t feature necessarily in this deck but it serves as a possible 3rd copy of A Test of Will.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Éomer (The Voice of Isengard)
Éowyn (Core Set)
Gríma (The Voice of Isengard)

Ally (27)
2x Erebor Hammersmith (Core Set)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
1x Gléowine (Core Set)
3x Gondorian Spearman (Core Set)
1x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
3x Isengard Messenger (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Lórien Guide (Core Set)
2x Northern Tracker (Core Set)
3x Veteran Axehand (Core Set)
3x Westfold Horse-breeder (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Westfold Outrider (The Voice of Isengard)

Attachment (6)
2x Blade of Gondolin (Core Set)
2x Keys of Orthanc (The Voice of Isengard)
2x Rohan Warhorse (The Voice of Isengard)

Event (17)
2x A Test of Will (Core Set)
2x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)
1x Dwarven Tomb (Core Set)
2x Feint (Core Set)
2x Secret Paths (Core Set)
3x Stand and Fight (Core Set)
2x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
3x The Wizards’s Voice (The Voice of Isengard)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Voice of Isengard

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Burglar’s Turn to Side Quest by kattattack22

Multiplayer questing and support deck that uses some Noldor discard effects and dwarven mining. Dwarven Tomb here is an insurance policy if forced to discard something important or turn Zigil Miner into pseudo card search.

Burglar’s Turn to Side Quest

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Arwen Undómiel (The Dread Realm)
Círdan the Shipwright (The Grey Havens)
Thurindir (Race Across Harad)

Contract (0)
1x The Burglar’s Turn (Wrath and Ruin)

Ally (25)
1x Bilbo Baggins (The Road Darkens)
3x East Road Ranger (The Wastes of Eriador)
1x Faramir (Core Set)
1x Firyal (The Mûmakil)
1x Glorfindel (Flight of the Stormcaller)
3x Lórien Guide (Core Set)
3x Mirkwood Explorer (The Thing in the Depths)
3x Northern Tracker (Core Set)
3x Rider of Rohan (Beneath the Sands)
1x Súlien (The City of Corsairs)
2x Thalion (Fire in the Night)
3x Zigil Miner (Khazad-dûm)

Event (20)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Dwarven Tomb (Core Set)
3x Elven-light (The Dread Realm)
3x Hidden Cache (The Morgul Vale)
3x Stand and Fight (Core Set)
3x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
2x Will of the West (Core Set)

Player Side Quest (6)
1x Double Back (Escape from Mount Gram)
1x Explore Secret Ways (Race Across Harad)
1x Gather Information (The Lost Realm)
1x Rally the West (The Black Serpent)
1x Scout Ahead (The Wastes of Eriador)
1x The Storm Comes (The Sands of Harad)

3 Heroes, 51 Cards
Cards up to Wrath and Ruin

Sideboard

Attachment (14)
1x Ancestral Armor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
1x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
1x Citadel Plate (Core Set)
1x Durin’s Axe (Wrath and Ruin)
1x Glamdring (Roam Across Rhovanion)
1x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
1x Legacy Blade (The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat)
1x Magic Ring (The Crossings of Poros)
1x Mithril Shirt (The Fate of Wilderland)
1x Narya (The Grey Havens)
1x Necklace of Girion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
1x Orcrist (Fire in the Night)
1x Stone of Elostirion (Under the Ash Mountains)
1x The Arkenstone (The Withered Heath)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Asfaloth – Community Review

by Clare Bernier

  • Card Talk Season TBD Episode TBD
    • Video episode
    • Audio episode
  • Cycle
    • Darrowdelf
  • Set
    • Foundations of Stone
  • Player Card Categories 
    • Location Control

Card Background & Theme

The art, flavor text and mechanics reflects the description J.R.R. Tolkien provided in one of his letters, including “ornamental headstall, carrying a plume, and with the straps studded with jewels and small bells.” The card’s flavor text and mechanics are true to the lore, as Asfaloth was Glorfindel’s horse, who was commanded to bear Frodo across the Bruinen after his wounding at Weathertop.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Mostly pros here, with a few drawbacks due to cards that may be part of the Encounter deck. Asfaloth is pretty cheap to get out – but he is also Unique (only 1 copy of him can be in play). Of course, you have to be playing the Lore sphere (or at least have access to Lore sphere resources), and you must have a Noldur or Silvan hero to attach him to. He’s useful with or without Glorfindel – placing even 1 progress token on a land can be huge, especially in scenarios where you can easily become land-locked. True, the designers have come up with many ways to thwart Asfaloth’s progress — lands that cannot be targeted by card effects, and so on. If I’m playing Lore, I usually consider Asfaloth at some point in the deck design.

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.

A large part of what I enjoy most in playing LOTR:LCG is being able to construct an exciting narrative around the heroes and allies struggling to complete each scenario as I play. Asfaloth helps deliver that in a very satisfying way. We summon Asfaloth to the aid of one of our heroes and command him bear our hero more quickly (and thus more safely!) through the ravaged lands of Middle Earth on our way to complete this leg of the journey To me, this is the most wonderful thing about this card.

  • Clare- 2
  • Dave – TBR
  • Grant – TBR
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – TBR
  • Average – 2

Hobbit Cloak

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Defense Bonus
    • Surprise
    • Burglar Treasure

Hobbit tribal defense boost

Background

The flavor text comes from Chapter 3 of the Fellowship of the Ring, Three is Company. It comes not long after Frodo leaves Bag End and overhears Gaffer talking to a black rider that is asking after him. It describes Pippin, Sam and him walking silently in the night as they leave Hobbiton.

Card Theme

The game represents the Hobbits affinity for stealth with various bonuses for engaging enemies with higher engagement cost than their threat. This can easily be construed as the advantage they get from the element of surprise. The description of how the Hobbit cloaks help the characters is a bit of stretch to a defensive bonus. It does help them in a defensive manner by avoiding discovery. There already are a couple mechanisms for that in game, engagement and threat control. It seems like threat reduction or increase engagement cost would have been much more thematic in this case. It is not entirely without precedent. Dunedain Warning, the first Leadership attachment with a defense bonus, arguably more about avoiding danger than protective gear.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Engagement Control and Threat Reduction

The game has 2 ways to help ensure Hobbit Cloak defense bonus can trigger, increase the enemies’ engagement cost and reduce a player’s threat. The only repeatable engagement cost increase is from Lore Pippin‘s ability. There are only a couple cards that can increase an enemy’s engagement cost further, Take No Notice and Mablung ally. Both only do so by 5 and for a single phase. This limits their usefulness significantly because 5 will not push the enemies with very low engagement of 10 – 20 above the threat of most decks. This cross-section of enemies are the ones this effect would be the most useful against and needed, but they don’t increase it enough.

Threat reduction is better considering there are several more cards for it. Unfortunately, in sphere options are limited to Leadership Frodo and Sneak Attack and Gandalf. Fortunately, Hobbit focused decks have The Shirefolk that can reduce threat by 4 for free and it is neutral. Elevenses is another hobbit specific option can significantly reduce threat mid to late game when lots of hobbit allies are out. Leadership Frodo, Spirit Merry, Galadriel, Fastred, and Spirit Beregond all provide repeatable threat reduction. Galadriel and Beregond won’t help lower threat below more enemies’ engagement costs, but they’ll maintain threat turn after turn that a lower threat deck can still ambush the same enemies from beginning to the end of the game.

Hobbit Heroes

Sam Gamgee is an excellent target for the cloak. His ability also triggers when engaging an enemy with higher threat readying him to defend. On top of that his base defense is boosted to 2 and with the cloak he gets up to 4 defense matching that of Beregond. Sam also has the most base hit points of the Hobbit heroes only matched by his father-in-law, Tom Cotton. Tom also makes a great target since he has the best defense stat. Both versions of Frodo also can benefit from it. Leadership Frodo provides Leadership access and threat reduction to help keep triggering it as the game progresses. Spirit Frodo already is great defender thanks to his ability, but it only works once per phase. The cloak can allow Frodo to save his ability for when it is really needed and still defend some lesser enemies.

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 Hobbit Cloak at 7 rings. It is fairly niche considering it is limited to Hobbit heroes and conditional on the attacking enemy having a higher engagement cost. The bonus however is fair costed compared to the +1 defense of Dunedain Warning that can go on any hero and no conditions. It is also similar to the other tribal defense boosts like Gondorian Shield, Shining Shield, and Cloak of Lorien that give a conditional +2 defense for 1 cost. It is slightly less powerful considering it doesn’t provide +1 defense all the time like the others. It works well in a Hobbit deck that focuses on utilizing the bonuses for engaging enemies with higher engagement cost. It is not going to see much play outside that deck type.

  • Dave – 6
  • Grant – 4
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – 7
  • Average – 6.67

External Links

Sample Decks

Three Hobbit Treasure Hunters for Antlered Crown by kattattack22

A Hobbit Three Hunters deck utilizing Expert Treasure Hunter for card draw and Fast Hitch for action advantage.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Bilbo Baggins (Mount Gundabad)
Pippin (The Black Riders)
Sam Gamgee (The Black Riders)

Contract (0)
1x Forth, The Three Hunters! (The City of Ulfast)

Attachment (41)
2x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
3x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
3x Dúnedain Mark (The Hunt for Gollum)
3x Expert Treasure-hunter (On the Doorstep)
3x Fast Hitch (The Dead Marshes)
3x Golden Belt (Challenge of the Wainriders)
3x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Hobbit Cloak (The Black Riders)
1x Magic Ring (The Crossings of Poros)
2x Necklace of Girion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Protector of Lórien (Core Set)
3x Ranger Spikes (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Ring Mail (The Long Dark)
3x Staff of Lebethron (The Land of Shadow)
3x Sting (Mount Gundabad)

Event (9)
3x Feint (Core Set)
3x Heed the Dream (Flight of the Stormcaller)
3x The Shirefolk (Mount Gundabad)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to Challenge of the Wainriders

Sideboard

Attachment (3)
3x Secret Vigil (The Lost Realm)

Event (3)
3x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Bond of Hobbitship by Dave Walsh

Dave’s LOTR Saga campaign deck using Bond of Friendship.

Main Deck

Hero (4)
Frodo Baggins (Conflict at the Carrock)
Merry (The Black Riders)
Pippin (The Black Riders)
Sam Gamgee (The Black Riders)

Contract (0)
1x Bond of Friendship (The Fortress of Nurn)

Ally (20)
2x Bilbo Baggins (The Road Darkens)
2x Bill the Pony (The Black Riders)
2x Boromir (The Road Darkens)
2x Farmer Maggot (The Black Riders)
2x Gaffer Gamgee (Mount Gundabad)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)
2x Quickbeam (The Treason of Saruman)
2x Rosie Cotton (The Mountain of Fire)
2x Treebeard (The Antlered Crown)
2x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)

Attachment (18)
2x Boots from Erebor (Khazad-dûm)
2x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
2x Fast Hitch (The Dead Marshes)
2x Hobbit Cloak (The Black Riders)
2x Red Book of Westmarch (The Land of Sorrow)
2x Ring Mail (The Long Dark)
2x Spare Pipe (The Land of Sorrow)
2x The Arkenstone (The Withered Heath)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event (12)
2x A Test of Will (Core Set)
2x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)
2x Peace, and Thought (Shadow and Flame)
2x Raise the Shire (The Mountain of Fire)
2x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
2x The Shirefolk (Mount Gundabad)

4 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Fortress of Nurn

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Palantir – Community Review

by Erik Miller

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Card Draw
    • Encounter Scrying
    • Encounter Control
    • Burglar Treasure

Background

It’s a big shiny ball that men, Hobbits, and corrupt wizards like to stare into. Too bad only Nobles can use it in the game.

Card Theme

The theme is spot on. Look into the future, and you may be rewarded …. or cursed.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Grey Wanderer, Risk Some Light, Lore Denethor, Needful to Know, Celduin Traveler, Ithilien Lookout, Far Sighted

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.

The Palantir got a lot easier to use with the Grey Wander contract (although it can still to be fun to use with low starting threat heroes), making its value increase since it first came out. With the contract, your threat starts low, you can start with the Palantir in play, and you can ready after using the Palantir. There are also secrecy cards that let you peek at the top cards of the encounter deck when in secrecy. This makes your hit rate with the Palantir increase. With three players, you know exactly what cards you will be getting. In solo, you can set yourself up for multiple rounds. And, even if you don’t know what’s coming the fun of guessing the card type and revealing could (maybe) make up for any threat increase you end up taking.

  • Erik – 4
  • Ian Martin – 5
  • Dave – 7
  • Grant – 7
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – 6
  • Average – 5.8

CON LGrn – To Scry or not to Scry by Erik Miller

Grey Wanderer Denethor with a few different ways to scry and control the encounter deck.

CON LGrn – To Scry or not to Scry

Main Deck

Hero (1)
Denethor (Core Set)

Contract (0)
1x The Grey Wanderer (Challenge of the Wainriders)

Ally (20)
3x Celduin Traveler (The Nîn-in-Eilph)
2x Firyal (The Mûmakil)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)
1x Gléowine (Core Set)
1x Haldir of Lórien (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
1x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
3x Ithilien Lookout (The Dunland Trap)
1x Mablung (The Land of Shadow)
2x Mirkwood Explorer (The Thing in the Depths)
1x Quickbeam (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Treebeard (The Antlered Crown)
2x Wandering Ent (Celebrimbor’s Secret)

Attachment (8)
1x Dark Knowledge (Core Set)
1x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
1x Palantir (Assault on Osgiliath)
3x Resourceful (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event (19)
3x Far-sighted (Challenge of the Wainriders)
2x Gildor’s Counsel (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Needful to Know (The Redhorn Gate)
3x Risk Some Light (Shadow and Flame)
2x Shadow of the Past (Return to Mirkwood)
1x Swift and Silent (The Dunland Trap)
2x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
3x Timely Aid (The Redhorn Gate)

Player Side Quest (3)
1x Double Back (Escape from Mount Gram)
1x Gather Information (The Lost Realm)
1x Scout Ahead (The Wastes of Eriador)

1 Hero, 50 Cards
Cards up to Challenge of the Wainriders

Sideboard

Ally (11)
2x Anfalas Herdsman (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Ethir Swordsman (The Steward’s Fear)
1x Ithilien Tracker (Heirs of Númenor)
1x Robin Smallburrow (The Drowned Ruins)
3x Silvan Refugee (The Drúadan Forest)
1x Treebeard (The Antlered Crown)

Attachment (2)
1x Elf-stone (The Black Riders)
1x Strider (The Drowned Ruins)

Event (13)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Drinking Song (Mount Gundabad)
1x Gildor’s Counsel (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Out of the Wild (Road to Rivendell)
1x Shadow of the Past (Return to Mirkwood)
2x The Hidden Way (The Withered Heath)

Deck built on RingsDB.

Guardian of Esgaroth – Community Review

by David Renaud

  • Card Talk Season TBD Episode TBD
    • Video episode
    • Audio episode
  • Cycle
    • Ered Mithren
  • Set
    • The Withered Heath
  • Player Card Categories 
    • Attack Bonus
    • Defense Bonus
    • Willpower Bonus

Background

Guardian of Esgaroth is fairly clear as where it stands: an armsman from Dale, likely after the events of The Hobbit. Following Bard the Bowman to rebuild their ancestral lands, the Men from Dale would benefit from trade from both the Elves of Mirkwood and the Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain.

Card Theme

The card’s theme becomes quite evident in the deckbuilding direction it demands. Dale is a wealthy land of warriors and craftsmen. Guardian of Esgaroth pushes a deck towards plenty of attachments, including weapons, armour, and horses. The Men of Dale leverage their affluent position to be well prepared for war.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Guardian of Esgaroth fits into a fairly typical Dale deck. Brand son of Bain and Bard son of Brand provide synergistic heroes, with a third slot open for player preference (either to double up with more Leadership/Spirit or open up another Sphere). Personally, I enjoy Theodred for resource smoothing.

Then the rest of the deck can be an assortment of other Dale allies and low cost attachments. In particular, Wild Stallion stands out as an excellent card for the deck, as it provides the Guardian with +2 to all stats.

Additionally, cards that provide extra actions per turn out of Guardian shine. Valiant Determination enables questing for 5 on top of attacking or defending for 5 each turn.

Spare Hood and Cloak has been a surprisingly effective card for the deck. With the heroes, it immediately draws a card. Then it lets you pass the cloak to the Guardian to get an extra action in an emergency, while also letting the Guardian pass it back in rounds in which its combat power isn’t needed. This brings an extra level of flexibility to respond to a critical turn.

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.

Guardian of Esgaroth requires support, but acts on an often unused axis of the game – universally powerful allies. There are often min/maxed allies or universally average allies, but an ally that hits 5/5/5/5 (thanks to Wild Stallion) benefits from many effects that are costed to only apply to allies instead of heroes. This allows it to benefit from cards like Strength of Arms and Valiant Determination to act in multiple phases, for example. A 5 Defense/5 Health Ally also is unlikely to die to an unfortunate shadow, meaning you can heal off the damage and reuse it. And worst case scenario, losing a buffed ally isn’t as consequential as losing a buffed hero. And you can have three of them at once.

However, it requires a significant investment in deckbuilding to make it work.

  • David – 3
  • Dave – TBR
  • Grant – TBR
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – TBR
  • Average – 3

4P Ranger Summons by David Renaud

This deck was part of my four player fellowship running all the “shuffle into the encounter deck” events.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Amarthiúl (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
Bard son of Brand (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
4P Ranger Summons by David Renaud This deck was part of my four player fellowship running all the “shuffle into the encounter deck” events. Brand son of Bain (The Wilds of Rhovanion)

Ally (18)
3x Guardian of Esgaroth (The Withered Heath)
2x Knight of Dale (The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat)
3x Long Lake Fisherman (The Withered Heath)
3x North Realm Lookout (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Redwater Sentry (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
1x Wiglaf (Roam Across Rhovanion)
3x Wild Stallion (Roam Across Rhovanion)

Attachment (23)
2x Ancestral Armor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
2x Bow of Yew (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Hauberk of Mail (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x King of Dale (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
2x Raiment of War (The Thing in the Depths)
3x Round Shield (Mount Gundabad)
2x Squire’s Helm (The Withered Heath)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
3x Valiant Determination (The Ghost of Framsburg)

Event (9)
3x Campfire Tales (The Hunt for Gollum)
3x Ranger Summons (The Lost Realm)
3x Traffic from Dale (The Wilds of Rhovanion)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to Mount Gundabad

Sideboard

Ally (3)
3x Ranger of the North (The Lost Realm)

Deck built on RingsDB.

September 2021 Solo League by Alonewolf87

This isn’t my deck, but includes the general ideas that I would bring into a solo build of the deck.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Bard son of Brand (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
Brand son of Bain (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
Frodo Baggins (Conflict at the Carrock)

Ally (22)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)
3x Guardian of Esgaroth (The Withered Heath)
3x Long Lake Fisherman (The Withered Heath)
3x North Realm Lookout (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Redwater Sentry (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Rhovanion Outrider (Temple of the Deceived)
2x Warrior of Dale (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Wild Stallion (Roam Across Rhovanion)

Attachment (20)
2x Bow of Yew (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Hauberk of Mail (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x King of Dale (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Map of Rhovanion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Spare Hood and Cloak (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Squire’s Helm (The Withered Heath)
3x Valiant Determination (The Ghost of Framsburg)

Event (8)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
2x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
3x Traffic from Dale (The Wilds of Rhovanion)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Ghost of Framsburg

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Fellowship of the Ring

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Willpower Bonus

A very thematic Saga only card that has a pretty big drawback and some opportunity cost.

Background

Title of the first book in trilogy. Also name given to the company charged with destroying The One Ring.

Card Theme

The mechanism here is very thematic as the company is very strong when they are together. The willpower bonus highlights their determination as they traveled from Rivendell through Moira and Lothlorien to Argonath. The Fellowship was broken when Boromir tried to take the Ring forcing Frodo to leave the Fellowship, and shortly after Boromir is killed protecting Merry and Pippin from the Uruk-hai. This card reflects that by forcing it be discarded if a character is destroyed.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Willpower Based Abilities

There are certain cards that provide a bonus based on a character’s willpower stat. Prime among them is Rosie Cotton. Her ability provides great flexibility and can help in both questing and combat with a Fast Hitch to ready her. Note this assumes you play her with Messenger of the King or Sword-thain to benefit from Fellowship of the Ring’s bonus. Spirit Aragorn while his ability seems lackluster gets much better the more willpower he has. Especially if he has any sort of action advantage to quest and lower a location’s threat like the from the readying staple Unexpected Courage. He even has a couple thematic options. Strider in a Grey Wanderer deck or 2 hero deck lets him quest without exhausting. Thorongil can also give him the ability to ready by spending a resource from his Leadership version.

Rohan heroes also have a couple attachments that can take advantage of the willpower boost besides more than just questing. Herugrim applies that willpower to attack and Golden Shield applies it to defense. There is also one very notable attachment that can basically double the willpower bonus for a character, Nenya. Fellowship of the Ring will boost Galadriel hero’s willpower. Then exhausting Nenya to add her boosted willpower to another character that also has boosted willpower results in getting the bonus twice. It can be even tripled if Galadriel’s willpower is added to Rosie who then adds her boosted willpower to a Hobbit hero.

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 this card at 8 rings. It is limited to only the LOTR Saga scenarios by virtue of being a Fellowship sphere. It can’t even be used in all of them since Fellowship Aragorn doesn’t have the Ring-bearer trait. The very limited number of scenarios it can be used in makes it just not up for consideration in most decks despite its effect is fairly powerful. A global willpower boost is great. This in most decks will add 3 or 4 willpower which is really good for the 2 cost. Normally 2 willpower for 2 cost is nice and efficient as seen in many Spirit allies and Celebrian’s Stone. This is balanced with a significant drawback, it is discarded if a character is destroyed. There are already a number of encounter effects that can force an attachment to be discarded and this drawback only makes it harder to keep in play.

Then there is the consideration of what else Fellowship resources can be used for. The first Fellowship versions of Frodo have very powerful abilities. Canceling an encounter card or an attack are well worth 1 resource. Then to play Fellowship means foregoing these game saving effects for 2 rounds. Depending on how the scenario is going, this could be a large opportunity cost.

  • Dave – 6.5
  • Grant – TBR
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – 8
  • Average 7.25

External Links

Sample Decks

Hobbits BoF July 2020 Solo League by kattattack22

I made this deck for a solo league challenge to beat Flight to the Ford, Breaking of the Fellowship, and Mount Doom. It’s a fun voltron style deck that builds up the hobbit heroes than use an ally swarm. The various songs help smooth resources plus add willpower for Fireside Song to build up Pippin and/or Folco into super quester(s). Sam is meant to be a mega defender and Merry with his bonus is the primary attacker.

Main Deck

Hero (5)
Folco Boffin (The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat)
Frodo Baggins (The Mountain of Fire)
Merry (The Black Riders)
Pippin (Encounter at Amon Dîn)
Sam Gamgee (The Black Riders)

Attachment (37)
2x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
2x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
2x Expert Treasure-hunter (On the Doorstep)
2x Fast Hitch (The Dead Marshes)
2x Fellowship of the Ring (The Road Darkens)
2x Fireside Song (Beneath the Sands)
1x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
2x Hobbit Cloak (The Black Riders)
2x Ring Mail (The Long Dark)
2x Self Preservation (Core Set)
2x Silver Circlet (Wrath and Ruin)
1x Song of Battle (The Dead Marshes)
2x Song of Hope (The Black Serpent)
1x Song of Kings (The Hunt for Gollum)
1x Song of Mocking (The Dead Marshes)
1x Song of Travel (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
1x Song of Wisdom (Conflict at the Carrock)
2x Staff of Lebethron (The Land of Shadow)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
2x Strider (The Drowned Ruins)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
1x Windfola (A Storm on Cobas Haven)

Event (13)
1x A Test of Will (Core Set)
2x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)
2x Drinking Song (Mount Gundabad)
2x Feint (Core Set)
2x Frodo’s Intuition (The Black Riders)
2x Power of Orthanc (The Voice of Isengard)
2x The Wizards’s Voice (The Voice of Isengard)

5 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to Wrath and Ruin

Deck built on RingsDB.

The Road Darkens – Minimum Purchase 1 by Darkling Door

Deck made for The Ring Goes South using only The Road Darkens and the Core Set. See Darkling Door’s blog post for more details.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Aragorn (Core Set)
Éowyn (Core Set)
Gandalf (The Road Darkens)

Ally (22)
2x Bilbo Baggins (The Road Darkens)
2x Faramir (Core Set)
3x Galadriel (The Road Darkens)
3x Guard of the Citadel (Core Set)
1x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
2x Lórien Guide (Core Set)
2x Silverlode Archer (Core Set)
3x Snowbourn Scout (Core Set)
2x Son of Arnor (Core Set)
2x Wandering Took (Core Set)

Attachment (13)
1x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
3x Fellowship of the Ring (The Road Darkens)
3x Gandalf’s Staff (The Road Darkens)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
1x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
3x Wizard Pipe (The Road Darkens)

Event (15)
2x Common Cause (Core Set)
2x Ever Vigilant (Core Set)
3x Flame of Anor (The Road Darkens)
2x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)
2x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
2x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
2x Valiant Sacrifice (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Road Darkens

Sideboard

Hero (1)
Frodo Baggins (The Road Darkens)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Ring around the Rosie (saga) by Chad Garlinghouse aka TheChad

short deck description

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Merry (The Wastes of Eriador)
Pippin (The Black Riders)
Sam Gamgee (The Black Riders)

Ally (18)
1x Bill the Pony (The Black Riders)
2x Celduin Traveler (The Nîn-in-Eilph)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
2x Ithilien Lookout (The Dunland Trap)
3x Master of the Forge (Shadow and Flame)
1x Quickbeam (The Treason of Saruman)
3x Rosie Cotton (The Mountain of Fire)
1x Treebeard (The Antlered Crown)
2x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)

Attachment (18)
1x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
3x Fast Hitch (The Dead Marshes)
2x Fellowship of the Ring (The Road Darkens)
2x Fireside Song (Beneath the Sands)
3x Friend of Friends (The Mountain of Fire)
2x Resourceful (The Watcher in the Water)
1x Song of Hope (The Black Serpent)
1x Staff of Lebethron (The Land of Shadow)
3x Sword-thain (The Dread Realm)

Event (15)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Elevenses (The Thing in the Depths)
3x Frodo’s Intuition (The Black Riders)
3x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
3x Timely Aid (The Redhorn Gate)

3 Heroes, 51 Cards
Cards up to The Mountain of Fire

Sideboard

Attachment (5)
3x Hobbit Cloak (The Black Riders)
2x Hobbit Pony (The Wastes of Eriador)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.