Blade of Gondolin

  • Card Talk Season TBD Episode TBD
    • Video episode
    • Audio episode
  • Cycle
    • Shadows of Mirkwood
  • Set
    • Core Set
  • Player Card Categories 
    • Attack Bonus
    • Location Control
  • Deck Archetype(s)
    • Dale Armory

  • Inexpensive utility weapon/item attachment available right out of the Core set, with a deep connection to Tolkien lore.

Background

The story of the great Elf city of Gondolin goes back almost to the very beginning of the First Age. It was founded by Turgon about 300 or so years after the first awakening of the Elves, and Turgon would remain its King until its fall many years later. The city itself was hidden from Morgoth (the original Dark Lord) by the Encircling Mountains and was also guarded by the Eagles led by Thorondor. Through an unfortunate series of events described in The Silmarillion, Morgoth discovered the location of the city and amassed all of his forces to sack the great city, in which he was ultimately successful.

Fast forward to the Third Age and the events of The Hobbit. We learn that many of the Elven blades used during the siege of Gondolin ages beforehand are still considered legendary for their ability to slay Orcs, and were also imbued with magical qualities that caused the blades to glow blue when Orcs are nearby. Thorin Oakenshield and Co. find 3 of these legendary blades in the troll cave after dawn had taken the trolls and the Company was saved. The flavor text on the card is from this passage of the book. The three specific “blades of Gondolin” named in the book are Orcrist (also known as “Goblin Cleaver”, but the Orcs nicknamed it “Biter” and it was taken by Thorin), Glamdring (also known as “Foe-Hammer,” but the Orcs nicknamed it “Beater” and it was taken by Gandalf), as well as Sting, which we all know was taken by Bilbo Baggins. Orcrist and Glamdring were said to have been personal swords of King Turgon once, and Glamdring and Sting would go on to play pivotal roles in both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings in the war against Sauron.

Card Theme

The theme of the card is pretty simple: slay Orcs to make help progress on the quest! The theme is spot on when you take into account the lore mentioned above and what the card does for the player. Orcs are terrified of these blades, hence the attack boost when attacking Orc traited enemies. Imagine heroes wielding these blades in battle and fighting through hordes of Orcs who will probably hesitate a little bit at first sight of the blue blade coming at them. As these Orcs are destroyed, the heroes swing the momentum against the Enemy and ultimately aid in progressing through the battle.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Card combos

Pretty much any hero you plan on using as an attacker will be a good fit for the Blade. Legolas is an obvious choice, but more on him later. Keep in mind it does takes up a restricted slot, but it is also very cheap at 1 cost. Goblin-Cleaver synergizes well with the Blade, and even more so if you are attacking an Orc. In that case you can deal 3 damage to an enemy engaged with you, and then the hero can attack for +1 to finish it off. Foe-Hammer is another good combo with the Blade (makes sense since Goblin-Cleaver and Foe-Hammer are both blades of Gondolin!). Since this is a cheap Weapon attachment, you could throw an extra copy onto your main defender and pair it nicely with Sterner Than Steel. All of the cards mentioned here are in-sphere, to boot!

Location control decks

Straight out of the Core set this weapon seems designed for Core Legolas, who after participating in an attack that kills an Orc enemy while this card is attached would be able to place either 1, 2, or 3 progress on the current quest (since his ability and the Blade’s ability are both Responses they are optional). This is extremely helpful if, say, you need an extra 1 or 2 progress to clear the active location, but you don’t want to put progress on the current quest and inadvertently advance before your board state is built up. Put two of these on a hero, especially Legolas, and watch the progress tokens pile up! Pairing a Blade or two with Asfaloth or Arod on a hero (especially on Glorfindel and Legolas, respectively), is another good combo to give even more progress flexibility. It really can work well on any hero in a location control deck, because as we all know from playing the Riddermark Chump Blocker Snowbourne Scout, that 1 extra progress token each round can often make all the difference! Looking at you, Three Trials.

Dale Armory deck

Since this is an attachment with the Item and Weapon attachment, it will synergize well in a Dale Armory deck. Brand son of Bain, Traffic from Dale, and Dale Messenger are some of the cards that will synergize nicely with the Blade of Gondolin. Looking to build a Dale deck without a Tactics resource match? Bard son of Brand will let you slip Blade of Gondolin into your deck seamlessly.

Quest Specific

Because the Response is optional, the biggest question you’ll want to ask yourself before putting this card in your deck is “how many Orc enemies does the scenario I’m up against contain?” If there are a moderate to high number of Orc traited enemies, it’s probably worth it. If there are few to no Orc enemies in the scenario, it’s generally not worth the opportunity cost of having better cards taking up those slots in your deck.

For example, scenarios such as Peril In Pelargir, Into Ithilien, The Steward’s Fear, The Druadan Forest, Across the Ettenmoors, Deadman’s Dike, most of the Ringmaker Cycle, Dreamchaser Cycle, all the Black Riders scenarios, and others have few to no Orc enemies. You won’t be getting that attack boost very often if at all, so is that 1 point of progress from the hero killing an enemy going to be worth the deck slot(s) by itself? Might as well include Snowbourne Scout to at least get the chump blocker for the same cost and still place the 1 progress token.

On the other hand, arguably one of the best parts of playing LOTR:LCG is slaying Orcs, and the majority of scenarios are going to have Orc enemies. Some will have a LOT of them to provide maximum hacking and slashing fun while chipping in progress, which makes the Blade of Gondolin so utilitarian. And as previously stated, in many quests you want to advance to the next quest stage as quickly as possible, or time your advancing just right.

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.

This card is cheap, gives you an attack boost against a majority of enemies in the game, has some nice combos/synergies with other cards, and lets you place that 1 extra progress which can be so incredibly helpful. The biggest downsides to the card are the fact that you’ll generally need to run Tactics to play it (which as we learned in Superlative February is the community’s least favorite sphere), it cannot reach its maximum potential in all scenarios, and by the time a new player expands beyond the first couple of cycles they generally have more powerful cards that outshine it. One more thing – the artwork. The sheath and hilt are both beautiful. But for a card named Blade of Gondolin, you only get to see a sliver of the actual blade! Missed opportunity there. I give it 5 rings.

  • Dave – TBD
  • Grant – TBD
  • Ted – TBD
  • Eric – 5
  • Matt – 6

External Links

Sample Decks

Location, Location, Location by Durin’s Father

Location control deck with many direct progress effects like Blade of Gondolin.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Haldir of Lórien (Trouble in Tharbad)
Idraen (The Three Trials)
Legolas (Core Set)

Ally (22)
2x Celduin Traveler (The Nîn-in-Eilph)
2x East Road Ranger (The Wastes of Eriador)
2x Galadriel’s Handmaiden (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
2x Greyflood Wanderer (The Three Trials)
2x Lindon Navigator (The Grey Havens)
2x Lórien Guide (Core Set)
2x Northern Tracker (Core Set)
2x Ravenhill Scout (The Redhorn Gate)
2x Sarn Ford Sentry (The Lost Realm)
2x Silvan Refugee (The Drúadan Forest)
2x The Riddermark’s Finest (The Hills of Emyn Muil)

Attachment (22)
2x Arod (The Treason of Saruman)
2x Asfaloth (Foundations of Stone)
2x Blade of Gondolin (Core Set)
2x Lembas (Trouble in Tharbad)
2x Rivendell Blade (Road to Rivendell)
1x Song of Travel (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
1x Song of Wisdom (Conflict at the Carrock)
2x Thrór’s Key (On the Doorstep)
2x Thror’s Map (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
2x Warden of Arnor (The Three Trials)
2x Wingfoot (The Nîn-in-Eilph)

Event (11)
2x Distant Stars (Escape from Mount Gram)
3x Expert Trackers (The Lost Realm)
2x Feint (Core Set)
2x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
2x The Tree People (The Dunland Trap)

3 Heroes, 55 Cards
Cards up to The Grey Havens

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Eagles of the Misty Mountains

The capstone card of the Eagles cards released in the first cycle of the game. While 4 resources can be a big investment in LOTR LCG, this is one is very much worth it.

Background

The Eagles of the Misty Mountains were descendants of the Great Eagles, servants of Manwe in the First and Second Ages. They came to the aid of Gandalf, Bilbo, and Thorin’s Company when trapped in trees after escaping from dungeons dim and caverns deep pursued by goblins and wargs. They also aided the men, elves, dwarves in the Battle of Five Armies turning the tide along with the arrival of Beorn. In the Lord of the Rings, their involvement is more off-screen as Gandalf later relates to Frodo his rescue from Orthanc by Gwaihir . Then again, Galadriel sends Gwaihir to retrieve Gandalf from the top of Celebdil after his battle with the Balrog. They join the Battle of the Morannon as Aragorn leads the armies of the West against Sauron as a distraction for Frodo. Most notably Gwaihir, Meneldor, and Landroval fly to Mount Doom after The One Ring’s destruction to save Frodo and Sam.

Card Theme

This card is incredibly thematic. You can easily imagine a Vassel of the Winglord swooping down from sky to attack an orc and then flying back up to rejoin the convocation. This card represents that as those Eagle allies with discard effects getting attached to it making the whole convocation stronger.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Other Eagle Allies

The more Eagle allies you run in your deck, the more potential attachments you have to build up the Eagles of the Misty Mountain’s attack and defense. The primary ones for this are Eagle Emissary, Vassel of the Winglord, Wilyador, and Winged Guardian since they can discard themselves. Descendent of Thorondor and Meneldor could be attached too after using Born Aloft, Meneldor’s Flight, or Flight of the Eagles to trigger their leave play effects. Although, you might really want to just return them to your hand to replay them.

Put Ally into Play & Resource Acceleration

The Eagles allies that discard themselves tend to be the cheaper ones that can get into play early. Eagles of the Misty Mountains at 4 cost are difficult to play early in the game before discarding any other Eagle allies. Having any effects that can put allies into play or accelerate your resources to play them helps the Eagles build up more attachments quickly.

Top among put into play effects is Vilya which for the cost of exhausting Elrond can put the top card of a deck into play. The classic ally mustering card, A Very Good Tale could be difficult to get an Eagles of the Misty Mountains with only the cheaper Eagle allies. A little trick is to an ally put into play via Gwaihir’s Debt, Sneak Attack, or Horns! Horns! Horns! Meneldor, Descendent of Thorondor, or Gandalf core set ally are good ones to use for triggering their enter and leave play effects along with higher costs.

For decks with a lot of questing power, Elf-Stone and the side quest Send for Aid are good options for getting the Eagles of the Misty Mountains in play. Hirgon is another popular resource acceleration choice. He can reduce the cost by 1 when the player quests successfully. He has additional combat synergy since the ability has the option to add 1 attack and defense when played with his ability at the cost of 1 threat.

Low threat Tactics heroes like Merry, Éowyn, Na’asiyah, and Tom Cotton or Messenger of the King and Grey Wanderer contracts can also allow for 2 great options in Secrecy. Resourceful can provide amazing value over the course of a game providing an extra resource for the Secrecy cost discounted cost of 1. Timely Aid will search the top 5 cards for an ally to put into play also for the low, low 1 cost. It’s not necessarily a reliable means for getting Eagles of the Misty Mountains into play without some player deck manipulation like Imladris Stargazer’s rearranging the top 5 cards or swapping the top card with Wizard Pipe. One advantage for Timely Aid is that there are a few other expensive Eagle allies that it can help with. Also it could put one other ally that will help play Eagles.

The much maligned Radagast ally offers creature specific resource acceleration. His cost of 5 is more prohibitive then Resourceful played out of Secrecy. If put into play with Timely Aid, Elf-Stone, A Very Good Tale, etc. then it still provides a good value. Additionally, you an make use of his staff to lower the cost of the Eagles to 2. Wizard Pipe can also be put on him to set up Eagles for a second Timely Aid. Of course, you can always run his hero version which provides access to Word of Command to find the staff or Eagles to help get them out sooner than later.

Ally Readying

Ally readying effects let you get more use out of their solid base stats or hopefully their built up attack and defense. Radagast’s Staff offers this effect along with the cost discount to play the Eagles. Also in hero specific attachments, Narya can ready them and boost their combat stats further. Ever Vigilant is the base ally readying event from the core set. Spare Hood and Cloak is cheap option for a single ready if there is another ally that isn’t needed or used often. Long Lake Trader could always move Spare Hood and Cloak back to an available character. Leadership Faramir hero‘s ability to ready an ally on engagement isn’t as useful as the others since it means the readying will only help to use Eagles to quest or defend an immediate attack prior to step 5. Their 2 willpower is still good for questing and there are some scenarios where enemies can attack when revealed. It is just not as flexible as the others.

Support of the Eagles

Before Gondorian Fire and Blood of Numenor, there was Support of the Eagles. This is the other way to take advantage of an Eagles of the Misty Mountains with several attachments. It synergized incredibly well with pre-errata Tactics Boromir because he could ready multiple times during combat. In modern decks, it has found a new preferred target, Gwaihir hero. Gwaihir readies as any Eagle leaves play that can be attached to Eagles of the Misty Mountains allowing Gwaihir to take advantage of that stat boost immediately.

Grappling Hook

This card can let you leverage the Eagles attack stat for questing outside of a Battle quest. It could easily provide a mid to late game questing push to get through at particularly bad stage or rush to the end. The Haradrim cycle has a couple quests where it can be important to push through a stage quickly. Race for Harad in particular is one where having the option to convert strong attack into a questing boost at the end before the orcs catch up can be very valuable.

Quest Specific

The Eagles of the Misty Mountains can be very helpful in quests with the Battle and Siege keywords. Quests with those keywords have characters quest with their attack and defense stats. These are featured in all three of the Heirs of Numenor quests. They’re also good to use in Battle of the Five Armies aside from thematic reasons as Battle and Siege show up in that quest as well.

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 3 rings. The Eagles have stats comparable to a 9-10 threat hero and they can get better if you are running other allies with the eagle trait. I’ve found their 2 willpower to be very useful in willpower poor mono-Tactics. It also just very fun to get them into play early and start building up them up into a massive attacker or defender. The main drawback is the high cost especially as you want to play them as early as possible to avoid wasting a discarded or destroyed eagle ally. The high cost, however, is well justified considering what they bring to the table. There are also more 4 costs allies in Tactics that are better, Legolas, or just as good as the Eagles. While I don’t consider them a staple Tactics ally anymore, they’re still a really good value for the cost and only get better the more eagles in the deck.

  • Dave – 5
  • Grant – 4
  • Ted – 3
  • Matt – 3
  • Average – 3.75

External Links

Sample Decks

Eagles of the Misty Riddermark by peacefrog3 (Chris G)

Chris’s deck tries to get as much value as possible from Eagles leaving play as possible. Eomer and Eagles of the Misty Mountains get boosts when any leave play. Chump blocking will generate resources with Horn of Gondor.

Eagles of the Misty Riddermark

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Éomer (The Voice of Isengard)
Éowyn (The Flame of the West)
Théoden (The Morgul Vale)

Ally (24)
1x Bofur (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Descendant of Thorondor (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Eagles of the Misty Mountains (Return to Mirkwood)
1x Envoy of Pelargir (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
2x Grimbold (The Flame of the West)
1x Guthlaf (The Blood of Gondor)
1x Gwaihir (Trouble in Tharbad)
1x Landroval (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
1x Legolas (The Treason of Saruman)
3x Vassal of the Windlord (The Dead Marshes)
2x Westfold Outrider (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Winged Guardian (The Hunt for Gollum)

Attachment (15)
3x Firefoot (The Dunland Trap)
2x Golden Shield (The Flame of the West)
3x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
2x Grappling Hook (The Grey Havens)
2x Horn of Gondor (Core Set)
3x Spear of the Mark (The Morgul Vale)

Event (10)
3x Feint (Core Set)
2x Foe-hammer (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Hail of Stones (Road to Rivendell)
3x The Eagles Are Coming! (The Hunt for Gollum)

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

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

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Two Istari Try To Fly Far-i! Gandalf/Eagles! by Attercop! (Shane M)

Shane is having a blast playing this Eagle deck against the Haradrim and a bit of the Vengeance of Mordor cycles. He mentioned something about explaining later some bike spoke card choices in this deck, but I have no idea what he could be referring to. I see a lot of solid resource acceleration and put ally into play options with this deck!

Two Istari Try To Fly Far-i! Gandalf/Eagles!

Main Deck

Hero (1)
Gandalf (The Road Darkens)

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

Ally (20)
3x Descendant of Thorondor (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Eagles of the Misty Mountains (Return to Mirkwood)
1x Gwaihir (Trouble in Tharbad)
1x Landroval (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
2x Meneldor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
3x Radagast (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
3x Vassal of the Windlord (The Dead Marshes)
2x Wilyador (The Land of Sorrow)
2x Winged Guardian (The Hunt for Gollum)

Attachment (12)
3x Gandalf’s Staff (The Road Darkens)
1x Narya (The Grey Havens)
1x Radagast’s Staff (The Fate of Wilderland)
3x Resourceful (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Shadowfax (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Song of Battle (The Dead Marshes)
1x Wizard Pipe (The Road Darkens)

Event (21)
3x A Very Good Tale (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Flame of Anor (The Road Darkens)
3x Flight of the Eagles (Roam Across Rhovanion)
3x Gwaihir’s Debt (The Fate of Wilderland)
3x The Eagles Are Coming! (The Hunt for Gollum)
3x Timely Aid (The Redhorn Gate)
3x Word of Command (The Long Dark)

1 Hero, 53 Cards
Cards up to The Land of Sorrow

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Legolas Shoots Locations by kattattack22 (Matt Kell)

A mono Tactics deck I played through Against the Shadow where Eagles of Misty Mountains 2 willpower is pretty key.

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.