Flame of Anor

  • Card Talk Season 5 Episode 51
    • Video episode
    • Audio episode
  • Cycle
    • Lord of the Rings Saga 
  • Set
    • The Road Darkens
  • Player Card Categories
    • Attack Bonus
    • Discarded from Deck
    • Readying

Highest attack boost from an event card, perfect for slaying Balrogs.

Background

Gandalf mentions the flame of Anor during his fight with Durin’s Bane.

I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor.

J. R. R. Tolkien. The Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring, Ch. 5, The Bridge of Khazad-dum

There are a couple theories as to what Gandalf is referring to here. He could be revealing he is the weilder of Narya with a flame red gem. The other is based Anor’s meaning in Sindarin which is Sun. Then it could be that he is wielding the light and fire of the sun.

Card Theme

The link between mechanism and theme on this one is going to rely a bit on the game LOTR is based one, Magic the Gathering. In Magic, a player’s deck is flavored as a library of spells their planeswalker knows. The cards in the players deck can similarly be considered knowledge as card draw effects are primarily in the Lore sphere. Flame of Anor represents Gandalf unleashing his knowledge of magic to attack.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Deck Manipulation

The magnitude of the attack boost is determined by the cost of the deck’s top card. There are a few ways to try and improve the bonus. Wizard Pipe can take any card in the player’s hand and put it on top. Imladris Stargazer can choose from any of the top 5 cards. Gandalf’s Search is much maligned for how costly it is for its effect, but it can rearrange any of the X top cards the player pays to see.

High Cost Cards

There are only 2 cards in the entire card pool that can maximize the attack boost, Brok Ironfist and Beorn. After the Core Set, there weren’t any other 6 cost cards designed. Brok generally isn’t worth the 6 cost and generally better to use with Flame of Anor. Beorn is a little more of a decision between using for the attack boost or playing. Beorn after all can attack for 8 with his ability. Although, 6 Tactics resources for 1 attack at 8 while Anor can do the same for 1 resource is more cost efficient.

There are over 30 more options at 5 cost that can also work. Many of them are powerful options for a large variety of decks. Examples include global readying from Grim Resolve and The Free Peoples, the variety of options offered by Keen as Lances, or hero revival from Houses of Healing. Additionally, many strong unique allies are also at 5 cost like the 3 Harad allies, Glorfindel, Gildor, both versions of Gandalf, and Radagast. The Over Hill and Under Hill Gandalf and Radagast allies not only can benefit from Flame of Anor’s effect, but it can discard additional copies that are no longer needed.

Dwarf Mining Bonus

There are a couple cards that give additional effects if discarded from a player’s deck. Ered Luin Miner is a great 2 for 1 since it will set Flame of Anor’s attack bonus to 3 and put the ally into play. Hidden Cache is a bit of a nonbo since it won’t give an attack bonus, but 2 resources can be great.

Quest Specific

Flame of Anor is great to include for Journey in the Dark and not just thematically. The Balrog’s 9 defense is difficult to overcome. It’s immunity to player card effects prevents any defense reduction effects like Rivendell Blade. Using Flame of Anor to boost Gandalf’s or Saruman’s attack with a 6 cost card can get any other attacking heroes or allies to damage it. It also can work well in the the original Balrog Fight scenario, Shadow and Flame. Basically any boss fight scenario is where Flame of Anor can get the most mileage. The list below has more possibilities:

  • Watcher in the Water
  • The Morgul Vale
  • The Three Trials
  • The Antlered Crown
  • Deadman’s Dike
  • Battle of Carn Dum
  • A Storm on Cobas Haven
  • The King’s Quest
  • Mount Gundabad

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 Flame of Anor at 7 rings. The main reason is the limited number of characters it works with. It has to target an Istari character of which there are 3 of in the game each with a hero and ally version. Gandalf’s 2 versions make that 7 possible targets, but 2 of the ally versions are only in play for a single round. Getting Flame of Anor to work with Core Set Gandalf of Saruman ally would take some luck or lots of card draw. Over Hill and Under Hill Gandalf ally or Radagast ally at least can stick around although Radagast ally’s attack is low at 1. The other inconsistency in the card is the reliance on the cost of the card being discarded from the deck. There are at least cards to set it up and make it more consistent. Wizard Pipe among them in particular works well with both Gandalf and Radagast heroes. Still it can be much to build around for a single event. A powerful event especially when a large attack boost is really needed. It just won’t make it into very many decks and be somewhat situational.

  • Dave – 6
  • Grant – TBR
  • Ted – 3
  • Matt – 7
  • Average – 5.33

External Links

Sample Decks

Desert Pilgrims by kattattack22

The original idea was to have Northern Trackers and Thror’s Key to negate the Forced effects on locations in Desert Crossing. They still can, but it’s not going to single-handedly win the scenario for you.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
(MotK) Firyal (Messenger of the King Allies)
Arwen Undómiel (The Dread Realm)
Gandalf (The Road Darkens)

Contract (0)
1x Messenger of the King (The Land of Sorrow)

Ally (10)
1x Bilbo Baggins (The Road Darkens)
1x Firyal (The Mûmakil)
1x Glorfindel (Flight of the Stormcaller)
1x Ioreth (A Storm on Cobas Haven)
3x Northern Tracker (Core Set)
3x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)

Attachment (15)
3x Expert Treasure-hunter (On the Doorstep)
2x Gandalf’s Staff (The Road Darkens)
2x Lembas (Trouble in Tharbad)
1x Shadowfax (The Treason of Saruman)
3x Silver Circlet (Wrath and Ruin)
2x Thrór’s Key (On the Doorstep)
2x Wizard Pipe (The Road Darkens)

Event (26)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Drinking Song (Mount Gundabad)
2x Dwarven Tomb (Core Set)
3x Elrond’s Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Elven-light (The Dread Realm)
2x Flame of Anor (The Road Darkens)
3x Hidden Cache (The Morgul Vale)
1x Will of the West (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 51 Cards
Cards up to The Land of Sorrow

Sideboard

Ally (12)
3x Ered Luin Miner (Temple of the Deceived)
1x Glorfindel (Flight of the Stormcaller)
2x Ioreth (A Storm on Cobas Haven)
3x Mirkwood Explorer (The Thing in the Depths)
3x Rhovanion Outrider (Temple of the Deceived)

Attachment (11)
2x Ancestral Armor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
1x Asfaloth (Foundations of Stone)
2x Protector of Lórien (Core Set)
3x Self Preservation (Core Set)
3x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event (4)
1x Dwarven Tomb (Core Set)
3x Reforged (The Fate of Wilderland)

Player Side Quest (2)
2x Rally the West (The Black Serpent)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Tame & Flame: a Radagast + Gandalf Deck by Imrahil13

The original idea was to have Northern Trackers and Thror’s Key to negate the Forced effects on locations in Desert Crossing. They still can, but it’s not going to single-handedly win the scenario for you.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
(MotK) Halfast Gamgee (Messenger of the King Allies)
Gandalf (The Road Darkens)
Radagast (The Fate of Wilderland)

Contract (0)
1x Messenger of the King (The Land of Sorrow)

Ally (23)
3x Beorn (Core Set)
3x Beorning Skin-changer (The Withered Heath)
3x Eagles of the Misty Mountains (Return to Mirkwood)
3x Giant Bear (Fire in the Night)
1x Gwaihir (Trouble in Tharbad)
1x Halfast Gamgee (The Crossings of Poros)
1x Ioreth (A Storm on Cobas Haven)
1x Landroval (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
2x Loyal Hound (The Fate of Wilderland)
2x Meneldor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
3x Messenger Raven (The Fate of Wilderland)

Attachment (15)
1x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
2x Expert Treasure-hunter (On the Doorstep)
1x Favor of the Valar (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
1x Gandalf’s Staff (The Road Darkens)
1x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
1x Narya (The Grey Havens)
2x Radagast’s Staff (The Fate of Wilderland)
1x Song of Battle (The Dead Marshes)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
2x Wizard Pipe (The Road Darkens)

Event (13)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Drinking Song (Mount Gundabad)
3x Flame of Anor (The Road Darkens)
3x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
1x Word of Command (The Long Dark)

3 Heroes, 51 Cards
Cards up to The Land of Sorrow

Decklist built and published 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.

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.

Pippin (Ally)

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Attack Bonus
    • Surprise
    • Messenger of the King

The best willpower ally in Tactics.

Background

Peregrine “Pippin” Took most people know as the hobbit that sang a sad song while Denethor made a disgusting mess of a tomato. He also is Merry’s cousin, a relative of Bilbo and Frodo, and good friend of Frodo and Merry. So much so that he aided in Frodo’s plan to cover his leaving the Shire. He helped Frodo pack for his apparent move from Hobbiton to Buckland. Then accompanying Frodo on his journey to Rivendell.

At Rivendell he would join the Fellowship of the Ring. Notably he caused the commotion that lead to the Fellowship being attacked by Orcs and a Troll. This ultimately led to Gandalf’s demise by Durin’s Bane. He would also inadvertently lead to Boromir’s end. This time due to being ambushed by Orcs as Boromir attempted to defend him and Merry.

It is after being captured by the Uruk-hai that he shows his quality. He keeps his wits to leave a clue for the Three Hunters and engineer his escape with Merry. Then he and Merry manage to get the Ents to attack Isengard and stop Saruman.Pippin’s curiosity about the Palantir diverts Sauron’s attention to Gondor and Rohan as Sauron thinks Pippin has the Ring at Isengard. He rides with Gandalf to Gondor and upon arrival enters Denethor’s service in honor of Boromir’s sacrifice. This position allows him to know of Denethor’s plan to burn Faramir and himself to death and get help to rescue Faramir from the funeral pyre. Pippin also participates in the final battle at the Black Gate killing a troll that subsequently falls on him and removes him from the battle. After returning home to the Shire, Pippin would help oust Sharkey/Saruman by raising the Shire against Sharkey and his men.

Card Theme

Pippin having 2 willpower is reasonable considering he volunteered to help Frodo leave the Shire. Then despite the dangers they encountered there, again volunteered for the dangerous mission to Mordor to destroy the Ring. While he wasn’t a fighter early in the story, Pippin learned how to fight as demonstrated by his taking down a Troll at the Battle of Morannon. That his attack is predicated on attacking an enemy with higher threat is aligned with other hobbit cards to represent their sneakiness and affinity for stealth or being underestimated.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Hobbit Tribal

There are 3 in sphere cards that can work very well with ally Pippin.

Many hobbit decks tend to be tri-sphere as they have several good cards across all 4 spheres. Tom Cotton‘s resource smoothing ability makes it easier to play Pippin and gives him 2 attack the turn he enters play. The second ability synergizes very well with Raise the Shire. Raise the Shire is great to help find Pippin. In the best case scenario, the players engages a higher engagement cost enemy, finds Pippin to put him into play, attacks for 4, and then returns him to hand to play Pippin again to quest for 2 and attack again for 4. Halfling Determination can make Pippin have top tier hero level willpower or attack for a phase.

Odo Proudfoot is also useful to help find Pippin. Fast Hitch, however, is a bit of a nonbo. Pippin already readies himself when engaging an enemy with higher threat cost. Secondly, his attack is conditional and may not always have attack to make good use of the ready. Lastly, if playing a Hobbit focused deck, a player likely has a better target for this that I’ll discuss in the Messenger of the King and Sword-thain section.

Engagement Control and Threat Reduction

The game has 2 ways to help ensure Pippin’s abilities can trigger, increase the enemies’ engagement cost and reduce a player’s threat. There are only a couple cards that can increase an enemy’s engagement cost, 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. The only repeatable engagement cost increase is from Lore Pippin‘s ability and can’t be used with his ally version.

Threat reduction is better considering there are several more cards for it. Unfortunately, in sphere there is only Secret Vigil that at best will reduce each players threat by 4. 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. 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.

Fellowship Contract

Pippin is a thematic fit with this card. He like any other unique character gains great state buffs. This means once flipped Pippin could quest for 3 and attack for 3 when engaging an enemy with higher engagement cost than the player’s threat. On top of that, many unique allies are on the more expensive side. Pippin at only 2 Tactics resources can get into play quick and help flip the contract.

Messenger of the King and Sword-thain

As a Messengar of the King Hero, Pippin is pure value. He becomes a 4 threat hero that often times will have 6 threat of states. Especially as he will help keep the total low. It also opens up giving him state boosting attachments like Celebrian’s Stone or Dagger of Westernesse to make him more effective either questing or attacking. Thorongil is also a great option to add his Lore version to him. Then engagement costs are always at least 1 higher for better chance of triggering his abilities and possibly drawing a card as well. On top of this, Rosie can help boost his stats further even in both phases when a Fast Hitch is attached to her. Sword-thain also opens this possibilities, but it comes with the downside that Ted always points out in the podcast. That is the player has to draw it first. Still, it is great that the card referring to Pippin swearing his service to Denethor can be used on him and is useful.

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’m very close to 1 on ally Pippin because I know how hard it is to get willpower in Tactics. I’m rating him at 2 rings. Any Tactics ally with 2 willpower is almost an auto-include in mono-Tactics. That he is 2 cost for 2 willpower putting it on par with the best questing allies usually concentrated in Spirit is fantastic. On top of that he has great abilities with the conditional readying and attack that fits right in with other hobbit cards. He is great for almost any deck running Tactics or hobbits.

I didn’t rate him a 1 ring because outside hobbits or other low threat decks he is often just a 2 cost quester. Two cost questing allies are solid cards, but they’re not a card like A Test of Will that will save the players from certain defeat, or Core Set Gandalf that are so powerful that they can turn the tide of the entire game. I also think that Forth, the Three Hunters lowered the value of willpower allies in Tactics. Tactics has more restricted attachments than the other spheres making it easy to flip the contract and get the willpower boost. Three Hunters decks can quest really well when combined with some other willpower boosting attachments and the combat power of the restricted attachments to destroy enemies reliably.

Pippin ally is still an incredibly strong fair costed card with great abilities. He’s a pretty good target for Messenger of the King and works well with the Fellowship contract. He can synergize well with other hobbit cards as both his abilities that want to engage and attack enemies with higher engagement cost. He helps Tactics with one of their major deficiencies since the Core Set. There is a lot to like about this card and has become a staple of my decks with Tactics that aren’t using Forth, the Three Hunters.

  • Dave – 5
  • Grant – TBR
  • Ted – 4
  • Matt – 2
  • Average – 3.67

External Links

Sample Decks

The Doom of Men by Dave Walsh

This is Dave’s version of a “true hobbit deck.” One where most of the allies are hobbits.

Tom Cotton for the Win!

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Bilbo Baggins (The Hunt for Gollum)
Sam Gamgee (The Black Riders)
Tom Cotton (The Mountain of Fire)

Ally (23)
2x Bill the Pony (The Black Riders)
3x Bywater Shirriff (The Fate of Wilderland)
3x Cautious Halfling (Wrath and Ruin)
1x Farmer Maggot (The Black Riders)
3x Gaffer Gamgee (Mount Gundabad)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
2x Pippin (A Shadow in the East)
3x Rosie Cotton (The Mountain of Fire)
3x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)

Attachment (18)
2x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
3x Fast Hitch (The Dead Marshes)
3x Forest Snare (Core Set)
3x Friend of Friends (The Mountain of Fire)
2x Hobbit Cloak (The Black Riders)
1x Protector of Lórien (Core Set)
1x Ring Mail (The Long Dark)
1x Song of Hope (The Black Serpent)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)

Event (12)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Drinking Song (Mount Gundabad)
3x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
3x The Shirefolk (Mount Gundabad)

3 Heroes, 53 Cards
Cards up to Wrath and Ruin

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

The Doom of Men by Matt Kell aka kattattack22

A Bond of Friendship “good stuff” deck for a couple of the Vengeance of Mordor quests.

The Doom of Men

Main Deck

Hero (4)
Aragorn (The Watcher in the Water)
Beregond (The Flame of the West)
Éowyn (The Flame of the West)
Ingold (ALeP – Children of Eorl)

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

Ally (25)
1x Angbor the Fearless (The City of Ulfast)
1x Arwen Undómiel (The Watcher in the Water)
1x Beorn (Core Set)
2x Envoy of Pelargir (Heirs of Númenor)
1x Firyal (The Mûmakil)
2x Galadriel’s Handmaiden (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)
1x Glorfindel (Flight of the Stormcaller)
1x Grimbold (The Flame of the West)
2x Honour Guard (The Wastes of Eriador)
2x Ioreth (A Storm on Cobas Haven)
1x Legolas (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Meneldor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
1x Pippin (A Shadow in the East)
1x Quickbeam (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Rhovanion Outrider (Temple of the Deceived)
1x Treebeard (The Antlered Crown)
1x Veteran of Osgiliath (Escape from Mount Gram)
2x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)

Attachment (11)
2x Armored Destrier (Temple of the Deceived)
1x Blood of Númenor (Heirs of Númenor)
1x Favor of the Valar (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
2x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
1x The Red Arrow (Beneath the Sands)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event (14)
2x A Good Harvest (The Steward’s Fear)
2x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
2x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)
2x Legacy of Númenor (The Voice of Isengard)
2x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
2x The Seeing-stone (The Voice of Isengard)
2x Tighten Our Belts (The Nîn-in-Eilph)

4 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to ALeP – Children of Eorl

Sideboard

Hero (4)
Aragorn (Core Set)
Aragorn (The Lost Realm)
Aragorn (The Fortress of Nurn)
Beregond (Heirs of Númenor)

Ally (5)
1x Errand-rider (Heirs of Númenor)
2x Mirkwood Explorer (The Thing in the Depths)
2x Ranger of Cardolan (The Wastes of Eriador)

Attachment (13)
1x Gondorian Fire (Assault on Osgiliath)
2x Hauberk of Mail (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
1x Inner Strength (Wrath and Ruin)
1x Raven-winged Helm (The Wastes of Eriador)
2x Roheryn (The Flame of the West)
2x Sword that was Broken (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Sword-thain (The Dread Realm)
1x The One Ring (A Shadow in the East)
1x Thorongil (The Fortress of Nurn)

Event (11)
2x A Test of Will (Core Set)
2x Drinking Song (Mount Gundabad)
2x Horns! Horns! Horns! (Challenge of the Wainriders)
1x Legacy of Númenor (The Voice of Isengard)
2x Need Drives Them (The City of Ulfast)
2x Sneak Attack (Core Set)

Deck built on RingsDB.

Tactics Glorfindel – Spoiler Review

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Attack Bonus

Balrog slayer version of Glorfindel.

Background

Glorfindel we meet in the Lord of the Rings trilogy after Frodo is stabbed by the Morgul blade. He finds Strider and the Hobbits on their way to Rivendell. He takes Frodo from them and carries him swiftly to Rivendell. When confronted by the ringwraiths at the ford, he reveals his spiritual presence to drive the wraiths into the river. Then they are swept away in the ensuing flood. Those unfamiliar with books will note this part is filled by Arwen in the Peter Jackson film adaption.

Glorfindel, however, has a much more extensive story than his cameo in Lord of the Rings. In the First Age, he is one of the captains of Gondolin, the hidden elf city. He is most well known for slaying a Blarog in single combat covering the elves’ flight from the city after it fell. After the fatal blow, the Balrog began to fall into an abyss and dragged Glorfindel down with him. Glorfindel died, but the Valar brought him back from the Halls of Waiting.

He lived in Valinor after his ressurction puntil coming back to Middle Earth in the Second Age. Glorfindel most likely returned to Middle Earth with the Blue Wizards. He was sent to aid King Gil-galad and Elrond in fighting Sauron. Not much is known of his deeds during the end of the second age and early third age. He did fight Sauron’s forces in Eriador. There, most notably, he gave the prophecy that the Witch-King would not fall by the hand of a man.

Card Theme

The attack bonus for attacking alone is very thematic for Glorfindel’s one on one fight with a Blarog. Each incarnation of a Balrog in the game, The Nameless Fear, Durin’s Bane, and The Balrog, are all unique as well. Glorfindel will have both bonuses while attacking them alone. The Nameless Fear and Durin’s Bane generally have low enough defense that he could fight them alone with just his 7 attack. Durin’s Bane 9 defense, however, he’ll need some additional attack boosts to go one on one with.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Attack boosts

Strength and Courage is going to be the biggest and fastest way to boost Glorfindel’s attack power. It gives +1 but exhausting the The One Ring and gaining 1 threat will boost his attack to 11! It is one better than Tactics Eowyn‘s once per game ability. It is enough to kill many boss enemies without any further boosts.

Rivendell Blade isn’t a straight attack boost since it lowers an enemy’s defense. It is rare to have an enemy without at least 2 defense basically becoming +2 attack. Although it also doesn’t work on enemies immune to player card effects. Dagger of Westernesse is another weapon that can easily be +2 attack in many situations. Especially if you are keeping threat low which is often a good idea to do anyway. War Axe is best second weapon to have since it gives +1 attack for each restricted attachment. This can be a mega boost in Forth, the Three Hunters! decks and/or with Golden Belt. There are many other in sphere weapons that boost attack by 1, but are less efficient than Rivendell Blade, Dagger of Westernesse, and War Axe.

There are a couple other attachments for boosting attack that don’t cost a restricted slot. Keeping Count is in sphere for Tactics Glorfindel. He can also become Captain of Gondor since he has the Warrior trait. Dunedain Mark as a solid option in Leadership. Lastly, there’s a few attack boosting events like Blade Mastery and Unseen Striker that can get his attack up to even greater Balrog slaying levels

Firefoot

While Firefoot also boosts attack, the response on it deserves its own special mention. Glorfindel with Firefoot attacking alone will have 6 attack and any excess damage can be dealt directly to a second enemy. This can be made into a even more reliable 2 enemy killing machine with the other attack boosting attachments previously mentioned. The only downside is enemies that are immune to player card effects can’t be target by Firefoot’s ability.

Light of Valinor

There’s no better value than 1 resource for 3 willpower. Typically in this game it takes 1 resource for 1 willpower if not more resources for 1 willpower. Light of Valinor is more valuable to Glorfindel’s spirit version to avoid threat raise for questing with him, but still useful to the Tactics version.

Forth, The Three Hunters!

There are very few Tactics heroes with high willpower. Forth, The Three Hunters! contract fixes that weakness by letting the Tactics sphere use it vast armory of restricted attachment into willpower boosts. Still having a high willpower hero increases the maximum possible willpower for the hero line up. Light of Valinor, Unexpected Courage, or another readying effect lets Glorfindel leverage both his best stats which is key to decks using this contract since action economy is limited.

Revealed in Wrath

Credit to alonewolf87 talking about this card on the Cardboard of the Rings Discord putting it on my radar. I don’t play Noldor much and haven’t used this card yet. Still it is easy to see how combined with Glorfindel’s attack boost this can be game changing. Particularly for non-unique enemies that aren’t immune to player card effects but have other abilities that make them difficult to defeat. Enemies with Toughness or hard damage limits like the Mumaks are prime targets. Ship enemies and others like the Haradrim with engagement effects also are great to blank. Enemies stats of X can be lowered to 0 when blanked as well.

Quest Specific

There are lots of quests with big unique enemies that Glorfindel can get full benefit of his ability against. There are even some where attacking alone he doesn’t need any additional help beyond his built in abilities.

There are even a few enemies like the Fire Drake in The King’s Quest, The Black Serpent in The Flame of the West, and Tom in We Must Away Ere Break of Day that you must or encouraged to attack with 1 character.

Then of course there are many quests that are just straight up boss fights or require one to progress like Conflict at the Carrock, Watcher in the Water, Shadow and Flame, The Three Trials, City of Corsairs, Battle of Carn Dum, Fire in the Night, The Land of Sorrow, and more. While many of the boss level enemies are immune to player card effects, Glorfindel’s attack boosts target himself offering them no protection from his high attack.

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. Typically in spoiler reviews the team uses a thumbs up and thumbs down rating instead.

I give Tactics Glorfindel a thumbs up and I’ll even go so far to give a preliminary 3 ring rating. I could see that going even to 2. The Tactics version definitely is huge step up from the core set Lore version, but it can’t beat the huge value of the Spirt version. Still the attack bonus abilities are very thematic and very useful. In most cases, you can count on him having attack equivalent to hero Beorn. You can easily that get much higher to rival even Tactics Eowyn’s once per game ability. On top of that, you can use Revealed in Wrath that in sphere to get around certain enemy damage limitations making them significantly easier to deal with. Lastly and one I think is easily overlooked is that he has 3 willpower in Tactics. Only 2 Tactics heroes have 3 or more willpower without any other cards in play, Eowyn and Theoden. Glorfindel is welcome addition to increasing solo viable mono-Tactics decks.

  • Dave – Thumbs up
  • Grant – Thumbs up
  • Ted – Thumbs up
  • Matt – Thumbs up and preliminary 3

Sample Decks

The Golden Liberator 1.0

This is a deck I built with a proxied Tactics Glorfindel for The Land of Sorrow. Check back on January 28th for the playthrough.

Hero (2)
Arwen Undómiel (The Dread Realm)
Dáin Ironfoot (The Ghost of Framsburg)
Glorfindel (The Glittering Caves)

Ally (22)
1x Bilbo Baggins (The Road Darkens)
2x Elfhelm (The Dead Marshes)
3x Ered Luin Miner (Temple of the Deceived)
3x Ethir Swordsman (The Steward’s Fear)
2x Grimbold (The Flame of the West)
3x Honour Guard (The Wastes of Eriador)
1x Meneldor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
1x Pippin (A Shadow in the East)
3x Westfold Horse-breeder (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Wilyador (The Land of Sorrow)

Attachment (11)
2x Asfaloth (Foundations of Stone)
2x Light of Valinor (Foundations of Stone)
2x Rohan Warhorse (The Voice of Isengard)
1x Strength and Courage (The City of Ulfast)
1x The One Ring (A Shadow in the East)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
1x Windfola (A Storm on Cobas Haven)

Event (18)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Elrond’s Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Elven-light (The Dread Realm)
3x Hidden Cache (The Morgul Vale)
3x Quick Strike (Core Set)
3x Reforged (The Fate of Wilderland)

3 Heroes, 51 Cards

Deck built on RingsDB.

Leadership Elfhelm

Elfhelm gives stat-boosts to heroes with mount attachments
  • Player Card Categories 
    • Willpower Bonus
    • Attack Bonus
    • Defense Bonus

Background

If you’re solely a LOTR fan of the Peter Jackson films you may be wondering who this “Elfhelm” guy is and why you haven’t heard of him before. Well, that is because they pretty much cut him out of the story for the theatrical release. In the books he has a much more prominent role. Elfhelm eventually became the Marshal of the East-Mark. He was present at the Battle of the Ford of Isen where Theodred had fallen to the forces of Isengard. He later appears in Rohan’s ride to Gondor and fights in the Battle of Pelennor fields. While riding to Gondor he is actually aware of Eowyn’s presence and even supplies her with Theodred’s sword – the sword which would inevitably become the Witch-King’s demise. In the lore we see Elfhelm riding to and fro, making haste to where his king, or Gandalf, needs him most. This is presumably the theme behind his card abilities as well as his stats clearly boost the heroes around him.

Card Theme

Elfhelm is a lord of Rohan. And like any faithful Rider of the Mark he is well-trained in the art of horseback combat. It’s only natural that a lord of Rohan synergizes with the mount sub-archetype. While this sub-archetype is not as fleshed out as the typical Rohan discarding archetype it does have its benefits. Especially if you appreciate passive, versatile abilities. With Elfhelm you get a +1 boost hero to stats when that hero is equipped with a mount attachment. With the exception of Lore, each hero on the table with an attached mount will get at least one stat boost correlating to their sphere. This has the potential to increase hero stats dramatically for all players. Whether you’re building for an epic multiplayer Helm’s Deep game, or just “horsing” around solo, Elfhelm has his place on the table. Or in the stable? Okay, enough with the dad jokes… let’s “mount” up and see what Elfhelm has to offer.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Thematic Deckbuilding Ideas

Elfhelm’s hero version is pretty cut-and-dry in that mounts are needed to make him work. This concept is great in terms of theme and lore. Rohan is unique and powerful in Middle-Earth because of their horseback capabilities. Elfhelm helps reinforce this by rewarding the use of mounts. This reward comes in the form of +1 attack for Tactics heroes, +1 willpower to Spirit heroes, and +1 defense to Leadership heroes. A noteworthy mention is that his ability specifically excludes the Lore sphere. I have seen many people talk about house ruling the inclusion of the Lore sphere to include +1 HP. There is only one Lore Rohan “hero” which is Grima. This could be an indicator his intention may be to boost his Rohirrim comrades. You know, the ones who are not corrupt. While mount cards are what make him work, a potential drawback is how Elfhelm’s ability relies on extra cards to make him work. This can take up valuable deck space. Luckily, there are many useful mount-traited cards in the game. Not all of them are Rohan-themed though there are many thematic options. More on that later.

If you are going for a thematic Elfhelm/Mount deck you are obviously making room in your deck for mounts. Another common strategy is to include Song cards to grant additional spheres for heroes. I see this as particularly thematic when you envision a Rohirrim charge and the accompanying battle cries and chants. For that reason, song cards not only help boost an Elfhelm deck but align with a thematic Rohirrim charge. Much like what we see in the infamous scene of the “Ride of the Rohirrim” in the lore. It is fitting then that Burst into Song is in sphere with Elfhelm, boasts Rohan artwork, and has an incredibly thematic quote from the books:

“And then all the host of Rohan burst into song, and they sang as they slew, for the joy of battle was on them, and the sound of their singing that was fair and terrible came even to the City.”

Okay, now a show of hands: who wants to immediately go and build a thematic Elfhelm/Rohan deck after reading that? I know I do.

Deckbuilding Considerations

We already know Elfhelm can really only work when you give dedicated space in your deck to mounts. Count a few more spaces dedicated to songs and perhaps another two for Burst into song. Here we see the biggest limitation to Elfhelm decks – he requires a LOT of deck space to make him truly thrive. With this being the case, I see him as a great multiplayer hero where you can be the support role. You bring all the mounts and songs and your entire fellowship can benefit. When deciding to bring Elfhelm you will undoubtedly need to answer the question, “Are the mounts going to offer that much of an advantage to justify their use.” Let’s evaluate some thematic options as well as some other popular hero choices to see if Elfhelm can really help them.

Mounts

Rohan has many mounts specific to them. They are all worthy of adding into an Elfhelm deck. Notable cards include:

Snowmane: Give Theoden his steed, boost his willpower, and allow him to get ready for combat. If you use his Tactics version you get an even better combat boost. 

Armored Destrier: Use on Elfhelm himself to boost his defense stat and offer shadow cancellation. Better yet, give it to his buddy Erkenbrand for better stats and advantage.

Firefoot: Could Eomer possibly become a more powerful attacker? Why, yes he can! Because he gets an additional attack if you equip him with Firefoot thanks to Elfhelm.

Rohan Warhorse: What’s that? Giving Eomer more attack with Firefoot wasn’t enough and you want him to attack twice? Or you want to slap it on Tactics Eowyn for a double 11 attack swing? Rohan Warhorse can make it happen!

Windfola: The queen of questing, Spirit Eowyn, gets an extra willpower for one resource. That allows her to accrue two willpower for one resource and a guarantee she will not be removed from any questing thanks to Windfola’s ability. 

Steed of the Mark: A great option for whoever wins the “I get to use Steward of Gondor” debate. 

Not all of your fellowship will be using Rohan of course. Some of the best non-Rohan and mount synergies include:

Arod: For any tactics hero to boost attack and improve the chances of gaining that extra progress token. 

Armored Destrier: Denny and this steed are good friends. Elfhelm is also in sphere for this card if playing solo. 

Asfaloth: Especially for Spirit Glorfindel.

Hobbit Pony: especially for Spirit Merry with Fast Hitch or Unexpected Courage.

Firefoot: Basically any Tactics hero. But Grimbeorn loves him the most!

Shadowfax: Make Gandalf stronger (when equipped with his ring).

Roheryn and Steed of the North: Aragorn loves his horses as much as any of his other toys. He will be boosted an additional stat (attack) if you use Roheryn on his Leadership or Spirit versions. 

Non-Mounts

Song of Battle/Kings/Travel: Grant additional spheres for heroes for extra stat boosts. 

Burst into Song: Nearly an auto include if you run songs. Use it after defending but before attacking. After all, who doesn’t like singing while they slay? 

Westfold Horse-Breeder: Great mount search and acceleration. 

Charge of the Rohirrim: Even more boosts for heroes with mounts?! What are you waiting for? Ride out and meet them!

Forth, The Three Hunters: This contract *elevates* Eflhelm significantly in solo. I’d argue Three Hunters actually makes Elfhelm not only viable in solo, but close to top tier. You don’t have to worry about putting allies on the board and can focus solely on mounts and songs. No to mention Elfhelm becomes a good dedicated defender with Armored Destrier in a Three Hunter’s build. 

Sword-Thain: You get another hero with boosted stats if you attach a mount.

Quest Specific

Given the stat-boosting nature of Elfhelm’s ability you could throw him into any scenario. I personally think he does not play great in solo unless you run him in a Three Hunter’s deck. There are many scenarios which simply do not allow for setup time. If you are running three spheres it becomes even more difficult to accomplish this and get allies on the table. In my experience this ends up being overwhelming (location lock or enemy swarming) and sometimes frustrating.I would argue that Elfhelm shines most in a multiplayer game where he can throw his boosts around the table. So long as others are including mounts in their decks Eflhelm’s ability only increases in strength with higher player counts. This might make epic multiplayer games that much more epic. It’s this type of versatility that allows Elfhelm to potentially excel in most scenarios rather than specializing in any one. With a little coordination your fellowship can gauge what types of mounts and songs are best suited for the scenario and voilà! You’re ready to ride!

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.

  • Dave – 8
  • Grant – 6
  • Ted – 5
  • Matt – 5
  • Joe – 6
  • Average – 6

I have to give Elfhelm a 6 overall. It pains me because I’m clearly biased towards loving Rohan cards. The fact of the matter is he just is not a top tier hero and is often too cumbersome in solo. I will say he is a strong multiplayer hero. As long as another player can offer combat help in the early stages of the game Elfhelm could be a deciding factor in whether or not victory is achieved. The contrast for grading solo vs. multiplayer is quite a large spread for me. I’d give him a 6 for solo (Forth, Three Hunters! saves him from a 7) and a 4 for multiplayer. Unfortunately for Elfhelm, he rides as a middle-of-the-road hero at the end of the day. Still, he is a fun hero to play in the right circumstance!

Sample Decks

Rohan’s Mighty Hunters by The BGamerJoe

A thematic Rohan 3 hunters deck featuring Elfhelm as the defender.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Elfhelm (Temple of the Deceived)
Éowyn (Core Set)
Théoden (The Morgul Vale)

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

Attachment (39)
3x Ancestral Armor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
3x Ancient Mathom (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
3x Armored Destrier (Temple of the Deceived)
1x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
1x Dúnedain Warning (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Golden Shield (The Flame of the West)
2x Herugrim (The Treason of Saruman)
2x Round Shield (Mount Gundabad)
2x Silver Circlet (Wrath and Ruin)
1x Silver Harp (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
3x Snowmane (The Land of Shadow)
2x Song of Travel (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
2x Steed of the Mark (The Morgul Vale)
3x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
3x War Axe (The City of Ulfast)
3x Warrior Sword (The Ghost of Framsburg)
2x Windfola (A Storm on Cobas Haven)

Event (11)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
2x Elven-light (The Dread Realm)
3x Foe-hammer (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Well Warned (The Sands of Harad)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The City of Ulfast

Sideboard

Attachment (5)
3x Raiment of War (The Thing in the Depths)
1x Silver Harp (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
1x Steed of Imladris (Across the Ettenmoors)

Event (6)
3x Sterner than Steel (The Flame of the West)
3x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)

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

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Earth, Wind, and Firefoot by TheChad

A Grimbeorn + Firefoot deck using Elfhelm’s bonus and other attachments to power up Grimbeorn’s attack.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Elfhelm (Temple of the Deceived)
Éowyn (Core Set)
Grimbeorn the Old (The Withered Heath)

Ally (17)
3x Arwen Undómiel (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Beorn (Core Set)
3x Beorning Skin-changer (The Withered Heath)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)
2x Giant Bear (Fire in the Night)
2x Honour Guard (The Wastes of Eriador)
3x Westfold Horse-breeder (The Voice of Isengard)

Attachment (25)
3x Ancient Mathom (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
1x Arod (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Dúnedain Remedy (The Drowned Ruins)
3x Firefoot (The Dunland Trap)
1x Hauberk of Mail (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
1x Miruvor (Shadow and Flame)
2x Necklace of Girion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Orcrist (Fire in the Night)
1x Snowmane (The Land of Shadow)
1x Song of Kings (The Hunt for Gollum)
1x Steed of Imladris (Across the Ettenmoors)
3x The Day’s Rising (The Antlered Crown)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
2x Windfola (A Storm on Cobas Haven)

Event (6)
2x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)
1x Quick Strike (Core Set)
3x Sneak Attack (Core Set)

Player Side Quest (2)
1x Double Back (Escape from Mount Gram)
1x Gather Information (The Lost Realm)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to Fire in the Night

Sideboard

Hero (1)
Hirgon (Beneath the Sands)

Ally (3)
3x Wild Stallion (Roam Across Rhovanion)

Attachment (9)
3x Armored Destrier (Temple of the Deceived)
3x Steed of the Mark (The Morgul Vale)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)

Event (6)
3x Beorn’s Rage (The Withered Heath)
3x Open the Armory (The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

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.