Citadel Plate

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Hit Point Bonus
    • Burglar Treasure

The best pure hit point boost.

Background

The only description of what the Guard of the Citadel is wearing describes their robe or tabard they and helmets.

The Guards of the gate were robed in black, and their helms were of strange shape, high-crowned, with long cheek-guards close-fitting to the face, and above the cheek-guards were set the white wings of sea-birds; but the helms gleamed with a flame of silver, for they were indeed wrought of mithril, heirlooms from the glory of old days. Upon the black surcoats were embroidered in white a tree blossoming like snow beneath a silver crown and many-pointed stars. This was the livery of the heirs of Elendil, and none wore it now in all Gondor, save the Guards of the Citadel before the Court of the Fountain where the White Tree once had grown.

J. R. R. Tolkien. The Lord of the Rings, Return of the King, Chapter 1: Minas Tirith

Assuming the Guards of the Citadel would wear plate armor isn’t a bad assumption. Particularly as the quoted passage notes the guard gets mithril helms handed down from their old glory days. Plate armor if well maintained could be passed down over the years as well.

Card Theme

The hit point bonus provided by the armor is a little bit of thematic miss. The defense stat prevents characters from taking damage to their hit points. Plate armor is designed to deflect slashes of swords and other bladed weapons to keep them from the wearer’s flesh. A defense bonus would seem more appropriate. Players can imagine that instead the armor allowing a character to survive more attacks because of the protection it provides is how it ties to the bonus hit points.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Gloin

Gloin has the biggest combo with Citadel Plate. More hit points means Gloin can take more damage and gain more resources in a single round. Additionally, the more hit points he has the bigger the attack he can take. Two Citadel Plates and he can take undefended attacks from many of the biggest boss enemies in the game. It is even possible to get Gloin to take all attacks undefended. Citadel Plates are key to that to have plenty of hit points to absorb many attacks. The second piece is to have enough repeatable healing. Warden of Healing boosted with Elrond hero can handle this once Gloin has a Lore resource icon via either Narvi’s Belt or Song of Wisdom. Then Gloin’s resources can be spent to ready Warden to heal each point of damage taken. Song of Mocking and/or Vigilant Guard allows damaged deal to another player’s hero(es) to Gloin.

Gimli

Gloin’s son has the most straightforward combo with Citadel Plate. His ability scales with the more hit points he has. Two Citadel Plates means his attack can get all the way up to 14 with 12 damage on him.

Defenders

Heroes with good defense can always benefit from additional hit points. Not quite as good as more defense as hit points are gone once damage is taken until a hero is healed. Still there are some heroes with good defense but not many hit points like Denethor, Amarthuil, and Fastred. An unfortunate strong shadow or chain of shadows could kill them.

More hit points is also helpful for Erkenbrand‘s ability to cancel shadows. More hit points increases the number of uses without needing healing. Beregond + Citadel Plate can also set up playing another expensive attachment like Ancestral Armor and Resourceful on another hero with his 2 cost discount.

Quest Specific

Quests with lots of Archery and other direct damage effects it is helpful to have more hit points to take the additional damage. This ensures the heroes can survive until they have healing on the board an/or a good action window. Watcher in the Water has many attacks from tentacles that can become undefended on a hero. The Against the Shadow, Haradhrim, and Vengeance of Mordor cycles have quite a bit of archery. The Lord of the Rings saga quests starting in Treason of Saruman features Archery quite heavily.

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 Citadel Plate at 7 rings. Citadel Plate is the best pure hit point boost in the game. The others only add one or two hit points. It can take several attachments to equal the effect of one Citadel Plate. Bonus hit points aren’t quite as good as defense, but it can still be very useful particularly combined with healing. Then there is the Gloin Combo. You can build up Gloin to take several undefended attacks without Citadel Plate, but it gets so much better with Citadel Plates. Gloin can take huge attacks from bosses and all other enemies without much trouble and generate resources all the while. It takes a while to set up but very much worth it. As much fun as that combo is, Citadel Plate is very expensive for a stat that while essential isn’t as important to boost as the others. Defense and healing typically are better to build up to improve characters chances of survival since hit points don’t refresh on their own.

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

External Links

Sample Decks

DúneGlóin by Seastan

A Gloin resource acceleration deck using his resources for Dunedain allies.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Elrond (Shadow and Flame)
Glóin (Core Set)
Mablung (The Nîn-in-Eilph)

Ally (20)
3x Dúnedain Hunter (The Lost Realm)
2x Dúnedain Watcher (The Dead Marshes)
2x Fornost Bowman (The Dread Realm)
2x Galadhrim Minstrel (Trouble in Tharbad)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
3x Master of the Forge (Shadow and Flame)
2x Warden of Annúminas (The Lost Realm)
3x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)

Attachment (15)
3x Citadel Plate (Core Set)
3x Narvi’s Belt (Khazad-dûm)
3x Self Preservation (Core Set)
3x Song of Mocking (The Dead Marshes)
3x Song of Wisdom (Conflict at the Carrock)

Event (15)
3x A Good Harvest (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Peace, and Thought (Shadow and Flame)
3x Sneak Attack (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Dread Realm

Sideboard

Ally (2)
1x Fornost Bowman (The Dread Realm)
1x Warden of Annúminas (The Lost Realm)

Attachment (3)
3x Boots from Erebor (Khazad-dûm)

Event (3)
3x We Are Not Idle (Shadow and Flame)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Spare Pipe

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Ally Attachment
    • Burglar Treasure
    • Card Search
    • Hit Point Bonus
    • Played from Hand

Fantastic card in the pipe deck, but otherwise just a filler.

Background

Pipe-weed originally grew in Numenor. The Numenorians brought it to Middle Earth. It was the Hobbits though that domesticated and started smoking it in pipes. The practice spread via Bree because it was a crossroads town.

Card Theme

The first part of the card is a huge thematic miss. While Tolkien indicated pipe-weed isn’t exactly tobacco it is related. The US Surgeon General has warned people for decades that smoking can lead to lung cancer. Gaining a hit point implying the character is healthier is completely backwards to what we know about smoking. The second part at least makes sense given Smoke Rings, Smoke and Think, and Old Toby are events. Once a character has a pipe, they’re going to want some leaf for it and start smoking it right away.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Smoke and Think

This is the card Spare Pipe was made for. It came in the same adventure pack. All the other pipes are trait restricted. Having a pipe for any character, in sphere, provides a universally good bonus, and helps you find Smoke and Think is everything a player wants to maximize the cost reduction. Between Hobbit Pipe, Wizard Pipe, Dunedain Pipe, and Dwarf Pipe that’s 12 cards to help maximize its effect. Fifteen cards adding in Spare Pipe. It can be difficult to fit four different traits into a single deck. Spare Pipe makes Smoke and Think possible to run in deck with just one of the associated traits. It is pretty efficient in one that can run 2.

A great example is a Dwarf Mining deck with Hero Gandalf. He already worked well with Dwarf mining decks. This is because Gandalf would let the player know at least of the cards to be minded. Then he can set up mining cards with Wizard Pipe. Dwarf Pipe being able to put one of those mined on the bottom of the deck fits right into this deck type too. Already that is 4-6 pipes in the deck to help get a decent cost reduction with Smoke and Think. Spare Pipe’s bonus hit point also won’t be amiss another great Dwarf Mining hero, Spirit Dain.

Hobbit Pipe

Spare Pipe enables the Hobbit Pipe threat reduction engine created by this card. Spare Pipe can help find a threat reduction event like the aforementioned Smoke Rings, Galadhrim’s Greeting, or The Shirefolk to draw additional cards. Smoke and Think added in gives it the additional resource acceleration component to play powerful allies like Glorfindel and Beorn to make up for their generally lower stats.

Old Toby

Old Toby like Smoke and Think became much better with Spare Pipe. It became a lot easier to have heal 1 damage on a wider range of heroes. Then to draw multiple cards. Especially at 2 cost it needs to draw 2 cards to have the same cost benefit as Lórien Wealth. It has to draw in the range of 4-6 cards to match the likes of Mithrandir’s Advice. It can however reach that level with some Spare Pipes among the other trait based ones.

Gloin

Gloin hero can turn into a monster resource engine and “defender” the more hit points he has. I say defender loosely in that usually he will be soaking undefended attacks. Spare Pipe provides another means of boosting those hit points besides the usual includes of Citadel Plate and Ent Draught. It can be a good early game option especially if paired with card draw events. Then it can help Gloin resource generation and near invincibility combos.

Dale

Spare Pipe could easily slot into a Dale deck. Dale is usually going to run some Spirit to utilize King of Dale. It doesn’t provide much for the Dale deck than an additional attachment for Guardian of Esgaroth. Many of the Dale allies have 2 or more hit points. Most Dale decks want to maximize the number of allies and attachments to draw cards from Brand son of Bain. There usually isn’t much room for events for Spare Pipe to pull out of the top 5.

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 Spare Pipe at 6 rings. It is a fine card. The +1 hit point is always useful. It is very flexible since it can go on any character. It likely will replace itself when played searching the top 5 cards for an event. It really enables the pipe engine with Hobbit Pipe and Smoke and Think. Outside of Pipe focused and maybe Gloin decks it is pretty marginal. Especially in Spirit that is overloaded with good cards.

  • Dave – 3
  • Grant – 3
  • Ted – 3
  • Matt – 6
  • Average – 3.75

Sample Decks

Deck Bond of Hobbitship by Dave Walsh

A Hobbit good stuff Bond of Friendship deck.

Main Deck

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

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

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

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

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

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

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Love of the Halfling’s Leaf by MrSpaceBear

Selection from the Ringsdb deck description:

This deck makes fantastic use of Smoke and Think along with the pipes for hobbits, dwarves, and wizards. In total, there are 7 pipes in the deck. The Spare Pipe can go on just about anyone, but Dáin Ironfoot is typically the first target for extra hit points. The pipes are all functional in this deck. Wizard Pipe is key to swap the top card that you want onto the top of your deck (to then Discard with Dáin Ironfoot, play with Gandalf’s ability, or mill with a Zigil Miner/Well-Equipped). The Hobbit Pipe helps to empower Smoke and Think as well as draw some cards when Smoke Rings is played later in the game. Dwarf Pipe is amazing in this deck. It should be churning through the deck quickly. Use the Dwarf Pipe to put the key pieces back on the bottom to find again. This can be key allies like Faramir in quests where high willpower is needed. It can be A Test of Will in multiplayer games where extra cancels may be needed. The Spare Pipe is a tutor for an event and helps to fuel Smoke and Think.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
(MotK) Bilbo Baggins (Messenger of the King Allies)
Dáin Ironfoot (The Ghost of Framsburg)
Gandalf (The Road Darkens)

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

Ally (19)
1x Arwen Undómiel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Ered Luin Miner (Temple of the Deceived)
1x Faramir (Core Set)
1x Firyal (The Mûmakil)
1x Gimli (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Glorfindel (Flight of the Stormcaller)
1x Legolas (The Treason of Saruman)
2x Northern Tracker (Core Set)
3x Rhovanion Outrider (Temple of the Deceived)
1x Súlien (The City of Corsairs)
1x Thalion (Fire in the Night)
3x Zigil Miner (Khazad-dûm)

Attachment (18)
1x Ancestral Armor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
1x Armor of Erebor (Mount Gundabad)
3x Dwarf Pipe (The Mûmakil)
1x Expert Treasure-hunter (On the Doorstep)
1x Gandalf’s Staff (The Road Darkens)
1x Hobbit Pipe (The Black Riders)
1x Inner Strength (Wrath and Ruin)
1x Shadowfax (The Treason of Saruman)
2x Silver Circlet (Wrath and Ruin)
2x Spare Pipe (The Land of Sorrow)
3x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
1x Wizard Pipe (The Road Darkens)

Event (18)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Hidden Cache (The Morgul Vale)
3x Old Toby (The Black Serpent)
3x Smoke and Think (The Land of Sorrow)
2x Smoke Rings (The Black Riders)
2x Well-Equipped (The Blood of Gondor)
2x Will of the West (Core Set)

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

3 Heroes, 56 Cards
Cards up to The Land of Sorrow

Sideboard

Ally (3)
1x Lórien Guide (Core Set)
1x Northern Tracker (Core Set)
1x Treebeard (The Antlered Crown)

Attachment (1)
1x The One Ring (A Shadow in the East)

Event (1)
1x Well-Equipped (The Blood of Gondor)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Radagast and Radagast’s Staff

The hero and attachment the Eagles deck needed.

Background

Radagast is one of the wizards sent from Valinor to be an emissary of Manwë and the Valar to the peoples of Middle Earth. It is said that that he was a greatly interested in plants and animals although his knowledge of them was second to Gandalf. He lived for a time in Rhosgobel, a small settlement between the Carrock and the Old Forest Road of Mirkwood. As a result, he and Beorn knew of each other as Beorn considered him not bad for a wizard in The Hobbit. He was also a noted friend of the great eagles. He was also used as a pawn by Saruman to bring Gandalf to Orthanc, Whereupon Saruman imprisoned Gandalf preventing from returning to The Shire to inform Frodo what he learned of The One Ring.

Card Theme

Radagast’s interest and friendship with the various beasts of Middle Earth are represented heavily in his abilities and those of his staff. His resource smoothing and the staff’s resource acceleration for creatures reflect bringing those friends to his aid. Whether having them act as spies, carrying messages, or sending Gwaihir to rescue Gandalf from Orthanc. This also ties into his ability to quest without exhausting when a creature is played. As mentioned in the earlier examples, Radagast is able to cover a lot of ground with the help of his bird and beast allies.

The last ability to return a creature enemy to the staging area I don’t think has a thematic link to the books. It seems more to be inspired by The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug movie directed by Peter Jackson. In the movie, shadowy forms of giant spiders can be seen while Radagast is trying to heal a sick hedgehog. It is only after he draws out the magical sickness the spiders apparently retreat.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Creature Allies

The obvious one here to take advantage of Radagast’s Staff cost reduction and readying, the hero’s ability to smooth resources, and get him to quest without exhausting. The creatures allies available in the game can give a deck a suite of card draw as well as potential answers to enemies, locations, and direct damage. Eagles are the primary contingent of creature allies in the game. Vassal of the Windlord, Winged Guardian, and Wilyador are cheap efficient attacking and defending allies. Their discard effects feed The Eagles of the Misty Mountains to create mid to late game combat behemoths.

Additionally, Descendent of Thorondor‘s direct damage when entering and leaving play can take out enemies in the staging area making combat easier as well as providing pseudo-questing by removing some staging area threat. Meneldor has a similar enters and leaves play ability except for placing progress on locations. Using as many Eagle allies as possible makes The Eagles Are Coming! into a more reliable way to draw multiple cards.

The non-Eagle allies provide the other utility effects to round out a creature deck. Messenger Raven can generate card draw by successfully naming the player card type on top the player deck. Wizard Pipe can reliably set this up. That it returns the raven to hand allows Radagast to reliably quest without exhausting for 1 resource per turn. Riddermark’s Finest can be discarded for location progress for another location control option. Loyal Hound’s damage cancellation and can stop direct damage effects helps make defending with Radagast safer. The insurance in defending is helpful considering the only Lore defensive bonus he can have is Protector of Lorien.

Return Ally to Hand Effects

Meneldor’s Flight, Born Aloft, Flight of the Eagles, and Gwaihir’s Debt much like the core set Sneak Attack let you get extra triggers on the Eagles enter and leave play effects. Particularly useful for Descendent of Thorondor, Meneldor, and even ally Gwaihir if you want to get an Eagle ally back. Normally playing those 3 allies multiple times would be difficult considering their 3, 4, and 5 cost. Radaghast’s Staff makes it much more reasonable to get an extra play or two out of them. Returning creature alies to hand also make sure you have one to play each turn to trigger Radagast’s action advantage.

Defense Bonus

Radagast’s 3 defense stat puts him into the top tier of Lore hero defenders with core set Denethor, Treebeard, and Elrond. He’s in sphere for one of the best shadow control cards in the game, A Burning Brand. If Radaghast is the primary defender, being able to cancel a shadow effect every turn is always going to be good. Unfortunately, the only in-sphere defensive boost he can have is Protector of Lorien. Lore has enough card draw to provide the means to reliably boost his defense higher with it.

Tactics, however, has some additional defense boosting options, and if playing Eagles then a player is likely to include a Tactics hero as well. Gondorian Shield and Round Shield can are nice cheap options to put Radagast in the 4+ defense that is often necessary in many quests.

Word of Command

Word of Command let’s you search your deck for any card to add to your hand, but the requirement of exhausting an Istari carries a heavy opportunity cost. Gandalf and Saruman heroes and allies versions have great stats that players typically want to use. The ally versions tend to not stay in play more than a round. Radagast ally doesn’t have those drawbacks but is very expensive at 5 cost. This means you’re not going to get use its effect early in the game when it would be the most useful. Radagast’s ability to quest without exhausting after playing a creature makes Word of Command easier to play in the early game. Especially in true solo where after questing there may not even be any enemies for combat.

Quest Specific

One ability of Radagast’s Staff haven’t mentioned much yet is that it can return a creature enemy to the staging area. It’s easy to overlook since many earlier player cards triggered off the Orc and Goblin traits. There are a lot of creature enemies in the game. The core set alone has King Spider, Wargs, Hummerhorns, Ungoliant’s Spawn, Marsh Adder, Forest Spider, Black Forest Bats, and Eastern Crows.

This ability can be a game saver if Attercop, Attercop is revealed in Return to Mirkwood. Attercop’s 8 attack is difficult for many decks to deal handle, but the 2 threat is easier to quest over. Wastes of Eriador has exclusively Warg enemies that are also have the Creature trait. The Day / Night mechanism in that quest can make it easy to get overwhelmed with too many enemies and having a way to send one back to the staging during Night could be very useful. The Múmakil has exclusively creature enemies some with very nasty abilities. The staff can do some great work in it by sending back a Territoral Ape when the active location has 4 threat or help to avoid gaining a Strangling Python as an attachment or having Giant Centipede blank a hero’s textbox

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 Radagast hero at 4 rings. Built in action advantage, good defense stat in Lore so can have A Burning Brand. The hero with his Staff basically makes the creature ally deck work. Downside is he is a little higher threat at 11. Even that isn’t too difficult to get into a deck especially with the Lore Hobbit heroes or Mirlonde. This all makes him a very solid hero, but you need at least some creature allies to leverage the hero’s abilities. Outside a deck without creature allies, Radagast still can be a decent Lore defender.

Radagast’s Staff I rate at 3 rings. The cost reduction makes it Steward of Gondor for creature allies. This makes it one of the best trait based resource accelerators. Amazing value for the more expensive Eagle allies and Giant Bear. It also can ready those strong allies like Eagles of the Misty Mountains. Without creatures allies, the staff seems to take a bigger hit in utility than the hero. The only ability that can be used then is the return creature enemy to the staging area. This ability is more useful than it seems at first glance. The game is rife with spiders, bats, wolves, crows, scorpions and other creature enemies it can return to the staging area.

Overall, I like the Staff better than the hero. The staff with its cost reduction and readying of creature allies is fantastic in an Eagles deck. You don’t even need the hero to use it. You can use it with Radagast ally which doesn’t completely offset his high cost, certainly makes it more playable.

The on the other hand, I have trouble with using as a primary defender. Part of it is the lack of traits to give him some of the stronger defensive attachments like Ancestral Armor or Armored Destrier. Another part is I wish he had a Tactics icon to be in sphere with many of them and could get Support of the Eagles. It is thematic that he is Lore and there are songs, but it would have been easier if he had just been a Tactics hero. I also think his overall Istari package of staff and creature allies isn’t as widely useful or interesting as the Gandalf and Saruman heroes. It is nice that he is lower threat than either of the other 2, but really if I’m playing this hero it’s to facilitate playing expensive Eagle allies. Everything after that is a nice bonus to take advantage of.

Hero

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

Staff

  • Dave – 5
  • Grant – 5
  • Ted – 2
  • Matt – 3
  • Average 3.75

External Links

Sample Decks

The Eagles Are Coming! by radAGHAST 

This deck aims to swarm the board with Eagles utilizing the discount from Radagast’s Staff and Hirgon’s ability after questing succesfully.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Éowyn (The Flame of the West)
Hirgon (Beneath the Sands)
Radagast (The Fate of Wilderland)

Ally (31)
3x Descendant of Thorondor (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Eagle of the North (Roam Across Rhovanion)
3x Eagles of the Misty Mountains (Return to Mirkwood)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
2x Gwaihir (Trouble in Tharbad)
2x Landroval (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
3x Loyal Hound (The Fate of Wilderland)
3x Meneldor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
3x Vassal of the Windlord (The Dead Marshes)
3x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)
3x Winged Guardian (The Hunt for Gollum)

Attachment (6)
2x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
1x Magic Ring (The Crossings of Poros)
3x Radagast’s Staff (The Fate of Wilderland)

Event (16)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Flight of the Eagles (Roam Across Rhovanion)
3x Gwaihir’s Debt (The Fate of Wilderland)
1x Justice Shall Be Done (A Storm on Cobas Haven)
3x The Eagles Are Coming! (The Hunt for Gollum)
3x Word of Command (The Long Dark)

3 Heroes, 53 Cards
Cards up to The Fate of Wilderland

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Mono-Lore of the Eagles by The Purple Wizard

An Eagle centric Vilya deck that adds in some of the best questing and support allies from Lore and Spirit. It also utilizes Protector of Lorien to make Radagast into a serious defender with the extra cards drawn by Erestor.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Elrond (Shadow and Flame)
Erestor (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
Radagast (The Fate of Wilderland)

Ally (34)
1x Arwen Undómiel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Descendant of Thorondor (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Eagles of the Misty Mountains (Return to Mirkwood)
1x Ered Nimrais Prospector (The Morgul Vale)
2x Firyal (The Mûmakil)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
1x Ghân-buri-Ghân (The Flame of the West)
2x Glorfindel (Flight of the Stormcaller)
1x Gwaihir (Trouble in Tharbad)
1x Landroval (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
3x Loyal Hound (The Fate of Wilderland)
1x Mablung (The Land of Shadow)
3x Meneldor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
3x Vassal of the Windlord (The Dead Marshes)
3x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)
3x Winged Guardian (The Hunt for Gollum)

Attachment (15)
2x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
1x Favor of the Valar (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
2x Protector of Lórien (Core Set)
3x Radagast’s Staff (The Fate of Wilderland)
1x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
3x Vilya (Shadow and Flame)
3x Wizard Pipe (The Road Darkens)

Event (5)
3x The Evening Star (The Grey Havens)
1x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
1x Will of the West (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 54 Cards
Cards up to The Fate of Wilderland

Sideboard

Ally (15)
2x Ered Nimrais Prospector (The Morgul Vale)
2x Ghân-buri-Ghân (The Flame of the West)
1x Gwaihir (Trouble in Tharbad)
3x Imladris Stargazer (Foundations of Stone)
1x Jubayr (The Mûmakil)
1x Landroval (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
3x Northern Tracker (Core Set)
1x Quickbeam (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Robin Smallburrow (The Drowned Ruins)

Event (4)
2x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
2x Will of the West (Core Set)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Stone of Elostirion

Guarded (location). Restricted.

Attach to a hero. Attached hero gets +2  [willpower].

You draw 1 additional card during the resource phase.

Stone of Elostirion is the latest of the player Guarded X attachments introduced in Ered Mithren cycle and only one of two released in Vengeance of Mordor. I think there is a strong case that it is the most playable of the Guarded X attachments with a lot of appeal to variety of players. The Guarded (location) mechanism provides Pippin players some opportunities to exploit location control combos with this card. Those combos provide means to basically negate the effects of adding another location. The automatic extra card per turn combined with a willpower boost is a powerful combination that a Boromir player can appreciate. While Bilbo players can enjoy the deep dive into Middle Earth stemming from the card’s background to theme.

Background

The Stone of Elostirion as indicated by the card art, is one of the palantiri. It was a rather unique one at that considering it was not linked to the others. Instead, it only looked West to Varda. It resided in one of three towers at the aptly named Tower Hills that was part of the former nation of Arnor. It was still there during the stated timeframe of the game between The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings as it left Middle Earth with the ringbearers. Gildor Ingolorian when he meet Frodo and company in Fellowship of the Ring, reportedly was returning from a visit to the stone with his company of elves. Although, this is not specifically mentioned within the text of their meeting.

Card Theme

The mechanics of this card fit right into the its background from the books. It being guarded by a location is perfect considering wandering companies of Elves would travel to the Tower Hills just to see it. Their hope to see Elbereth as Gildor and his company sing of is inspiring to them represented by the willpower boost of +2.

Palantir

The other thematic element to this card is the potential knowledge one can gain from through the different palantiri. Generally, knowledge in the game is represented by card draw. This is consistent with the other Palantir player cards (except for the Saga boon). The Palantir attachment allows players to exhaust it to possibly draw cards. The Seeing Stone is very targeted card draw for a card with Doomed. One noticeable difference between these two and Stone of Elostirion is the others come at the cost of direct threat gain. Stone of Elostirion could cause threat gain from questing unsuccessfully, but it doesn’t instantly raise threat for its card draw effect. This fits since it was not linked to the other palantiri . The Stone then didn’t carry the risk of Sauron spying or influencing people through the palantir in his possession.

Thematic Deckbuilding Ideas

  • Leadership or Lore Gildor Inglorion
    • He is the one that actually visited the Stone.
    • The Stone is in sphere with his ally version
    • Either version has location control options to help play Stone more easily (see Card Syngeries and Interactions section)
  • Frodo Baggins (Leadership hero especially)
    • Represents the Frodo leading his friends through the Shire evading the Black Riders
    • In sphere with Marnier’s Compass
  • Sam
  • Merry
  • Pippin
  • Wandering Exile
    • Many bands of elves traveled Eriador in the Third Age were called wandering companies.
    • Gildor calls his company of elves exiles in his meeting with Frodo.
  • Other non-unique Noldor allies
    • Gildor and his wandering companies of elves are identified by Frodo as high elves, but only Gildor is referenced by name.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Discard Location Effects

Guarded X cards come under a player’s control as soon as they’re “free of encounters” This means that players cards that discard the guarding location in play are generally the fastest and easiest way to get The Stone of Elostirion. Marnier’s Compass chief among them considering it only requires a leadership or scout character, it is repeatable, and can be done with the location in the staging area. Distant Stars, Short Cut, and Heirs of Eärendil all work as well, but the required character traits are not as broad. Distant Stars and Short Cut also require you can travel to the guarding location.

Direct Location Progress

Another way to accelerate getting Stone of Elostirion under your control is placing progress without having to quest. Cards like Asfaloth, Northern Tracker, Spirit Aragorn Hero, Mirkwood Explorer, Arod that can place progress on locations in the staging area are generally better. Many quests have locations that limit this method. There are others that place progress on the active location that still can help clear the guarding location faster, such as, Tactics Legolas Hero, Lórien Guide, and Steed of Imladris.

Automatic Card Draw

There are three heroes in the game that also have draw additional card(s) effects like the Stone, Lore Bilbo hero, Erestor hero, and Círdan the Shipwright. They will have the player draw 7 cards (and discard 1) each resource phase. Once the stone is out it can get up to 8 cards. This set up with the Perilous Voyage Contract a player could potentially draw the entire 100 card deck in 12-13 turns.

Quest Specific

Temple of the Deceived is the ideal scenario to play this card. All the locations are placed out as a map and there are none in the encounter deck. Once the Stone is played, the player fails to find any locations and gain control of it immediately.

Ring Ratings

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 Stone of Elostirion at 3 rings. It has 2 pretty powerful and widely useful effects on it. An additional card per turn means more options for what a player can do on their turn. The 2 willpower stat boost isn’t as exciting as the card draw, but it is a great value. Allies with 2 willpower at 2 cost are efficient for sending to the quest. The Stone only costs 1 resource and gives the same amount of additional willpower.

The other cost in adding a location to the staging area, is significant. This can be bypassed, mitigated, or even negated if build for it as mentioned in the card synergies section. Many of those cards are even in the same sphere as the Stone. Those location control cards do take up valuable deck space, but without them then when you play the card is key. Usually once the player deck is established and gaining ground in the mid to late game. Then it is in danger of becoming a “win more” card because you may not really need the willpower and card draw. It is that point in the game, however, when that extra card could be more valuable in keeping a deck from stalling out.

The quest being played will make it more or less playable as well. Many later quests prevent or limit location control strategies or have terrible locations that be extremely difficult to deal with. Besides Temple of the Deceived there will be others with locations that are not much of an issue to deal with. Others like Dungeons of Cirith Gurat encourage “voltron” builds that focus on building up the heroes with attachments. Stone of Elostirion is one of few player cards options with a +2 willpower boost and help boost the deck’s questing capability.

That all said, Stone of Elostirion is certainly powerful but has drawbacks to match. This is why a 3 seems appropriate. It will get considered for every deck I build with Lore because of its 2 widely useful effects. It may not make the final list because it can be tricky to play, don’t have the deck space for some location control, or the quest has troublesome locations. If I rated purely on power or how playable it is, I could see giving it a 4 or 5 rating. It gets an extra boost from me for interactions with location control and the theme. This card added more details to the meeting of Gildor and the Hobbits in Fellowship of the Ring for me. Prior to this review, I thought this was the Palantir Saruman had and was mistaken in that. This game continues to expand my knowledge and relationship to the stories of Middle Earth. I appreciate this card more as a result.

  • Dave – 3
  • Grant – 3
  • Ted – 4
  • Matt – 3
  • Average – 3.25

External Links

Sample Decks

Guarded-o-rama by Card Talk Dave

A Forth the Three Hunters deck with Tactics Bilbo, Leadership Eomer, and Tactics Eoywn focusing on getting Guarded cards to be free of encounter cards.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Bilbo Baggins (Mount Gundabad)
Éomer (The Mountain of Fire)
Éowyn (The Flame of the West)

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

Attachment (39)
3x Cram (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
1x Durin’s Axe (Wrath and Ruin)
2x Firefoot (The Dunland Trap)
3x Golden Belt (Challenge of the Wainriders)
2x Golden Shield (The Flame of the West)
2x Gúthwinë (The Mountain of Fire)
1x Magic Ring (The Crossings of Poros)
2x Mariner’s Compass (The Grey Havens)
1x Mithril Shirt (The Fate of Wilderland)
1x Necklace of Girion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Rohan Warhorse (The Voice of Isengard)
2x Spear of the Citadel (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
1x Sting (Mount Gundabad)
1x Stone of Elostirion (Under the Ash Mountains)
1x The Arkenstone (The Withered Heath)
1x Thorongil (The Fortress of Nurn)
3x War Axe (The City of Ulfast)
3x Warrior Sword (The Ghost of Framsburg)

Event (12)
3x Bilbo’s Plan (The Land of Sorrow)
3x Foe-hammer (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Open the Armory (The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat)
3x The King’s Return (The Fate of Wilderland)

3 Heroes, 51 Cards
Cards up to The Fortress of Nurn

Scout’s Honor by Uruk-Guy

Scout themed multiplayer support deck with many direct location progress effects.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
(MotK) Haleth (Messenger of the King Allies)
Aragorn (The Fortress of Nurn)
Legolas (The Sands of Harad)

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

Ally (14)
2x Dunedain Pathfinder (Race Across Harad)
2x Firyal (The Mûmakil)
2x Forest Road Traveler (Fire in the Night)
1x Haleth (The Fortress of Nurn)
2x Mirkwood Explorer (The Thing in the Depths)
2x North Realm Lookout (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
2x Rhovanion Outrider (Temple of the Deceived)
1x Súlien (The City of Corsairs)

Attachment (31)
3x Ancient Mathom (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
2x Dúnedain Pipe (The Black Serpent)
3x Elf-stone (The Black Riders)
2x Leather Boots (Fire in the Night)
2x Light of Valinor (Foundations of Stone)
2x Map of Rhovanion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
2x Mirkwood Long-knife (The Sands of Harad)
1x Mithril Shirt (The Fate of Wilderland)
2x Necklace of Girion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
2x Ring of Barahir (The Steward’s Fear)
1x Silver Circlet (Wrath and Ruin)
1x Silver Harp (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
1x Stone of Elostirion (Under the Ash Mountains)
1x Thorongil (The Fortress of Nurn)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
1x Warden of Arnor (The Three Trials)
3x Woodmen’s Clearing (The Withered Heath)

Event (11)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
2x Desperate Defense (The Flame of the West)
3x Elven-light (The Dread Realm)
2x Scouting Party (Temple of the Deceived)
1x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 56 Cards
Cards up to The Fortress of Nurn

Sideboard

Ally (3)
1x Mirkwood Runner (Return to Mirkwood)
1x Rider of Rohan (Beneath the Sands)
1x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)

Attachment (2)
1x Protector of Lórien (Core Set)
1x Silver Circlet (Wrath and Ruin)