Forth, The Three Hunters! – Community Review

by Jonathan Gillies

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Healing
    • Willpower Bonus

Background

The contract references Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas pursuing the Urak-Hai after the breaking of the fellowship in The Two Towers.

Card Theme

This card harkens back to the core of The Lord of the Rings where a few brave souls can change the fate of the world. Rather than relying on hordes of allies swarming. Your three heroes must be brave and bold enough to risk this journey alone. But are given significant aid from the Valar and their gifts (cost-reduction), blessings (willpower boosting) and their healing (yeah still healing). I can really see how the developers wanted to create that feeling of a small band of heroes working alone to overcome the armies and traps of the enemy as they sprint across locations.

Card Synergies and Interactions

This contract combos with strong heroes that can get the most out of its boosting by being capable fighters and questers. As such it requires and works best with as much readying as you can throw at it: Leadership Aragorn, Spirit Legolas, Leadership Frodo, and Sam Gamgee are all excellent candidates for this contract. Arguably and ironically (since he is dead by the time of this contract’s namesake) Tactics Boromir is the best hero to make this really work with his ability to ready often throughout all phases of the game and help you with hide, escape, sailing, fortitude, racing and other tests. He’s always ready for you.

Anything else that helps with giving your few characters more actions such as Light of Valinor, Unexpected Courage x3, Shadowfax, Magic Ring, Steed of the North, Steed of the Mark, Rohan Warhorse (lots of mounts here), readying events and all of those delicious food-readying items are key to include.

Heroes that draw cards will help you get this contract flipped sooner and Erestor can do often do it round 1.

This deck excels in most quests because it completely ignores any effects that harm allies. And while you get to entirely avoid any treacheries, enemies or other hindering affects that target allies, this also can make quests where you have an objective ally you have to protect become extremely hard and create more auto loss events. Likewise when you are always defending with heroes shadow effects that discard the defending character are often game over in that moment.

Also Pelennor Fields, while beatable, absolutely requires having Will of the West in your starting hand as you have no allies to be put into play. Meaning your entire deck is discarded on the second phase and you skip right to the third much harder one. Also Wind-Whipped Rain and other discard all attachments you control are game-Enders. But still overall the benefits far outweigh the negatives of this contracts deck-building requirements. Also Ranger Summons or other players sending you their allies (looking at you Rider of the Mark and Blue Mountain Trader) is a great way to sneak in some allies into your deck. As there is no restriction on side B of the contract or gaining allies through other means.

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.

Alright hear me out here. I have been playing a Forth, The Three Hunters Gandalf, Spirit Legolas and Tactics Boromir deck for a solid year and a half now as I have been taking on every single quest in the game with the same deck, no changes or substitutions. And I can honestly say that this card is a 1, it’s the one contract to rule them all.

Firstly it completely opens up a new style of play that wasn’t really practical before. This is something the contracts were meant to do generally, but this one takes the cake for sheer power and changing up the game to the point that it almost feels like a different game entirely. Traditionally in our lovely game you are trying to build up an ally swarm as quickly as you can and then once you have raised the shire (or perhaps all of middle earth) you can casually walk through the game with your horde of allies both unique and not. This contract limits you to your three heroes only, and suddenly this game shifts from a classic strategy game horde builder to a classic dungeon crawler. This also feels so much more thematic as often it’s the work of a few heroes against the forces of the enemy that wins the day. You have to choose strong heroes because that’s all you have to take on the horrors of the enemy. Then with your heroes you slowly progress through the quest looking for more loot (oops I mean items, loot is another deck right?) to make your heroes stronger. Once you have two restricted attachments per hero suddenly your heroes becomes super powered, charged with willpower bonuses and by the end your fully levelled up mecha-warrior heroes battle their way to the finish.

Now next let’s talk about power, Bond of Fellowship is great to start with an extra hero, and Perilous Voyage helps with card draw and some crazy fun on the B side, but this contract is hands down the strongest of the lot. You are given an cost reduction of 1 for each of your heroes first restricted attachment EACH ROUND! That is essentially three free resources a round (or 4 with saga heroes) if your deck is full of restricted items (which it should be!). Helping to increase your board state is incredibly helpful and just ask Beregond how much he likes his cost reduction. So three extra resources a round of purchasing power is a great way to accelerate the often most difficult part of quests which is getting your engine going. And if you aren’t hurting for questing too badly you can even delay flipping your contract a few rounds to further utilize this early game acceleration.

But what happens when you flip that contract? All of a sudden you get a willpower boost for EACH restricted attachment on your heroes. And 2-4 extra willpower per hero makes questing a breeze for the second half of the game. Also you get the added benefit of a built in healing of 1 on each of your heroes a round. This greatly boosts your characters survivability as you have no chump blocking allies around.

But wait there’s more! While attachment-hating quests can completely ruin your burglar’s turn decks, and Escape From Dol Guldur ends your grey wandering before it begins, this contracts negative is actually a benefit. Think about the standard flow of the game traditionally. You are trying to increase your board state to build up your engine and then power through the quest as you deal with enemies that pop up and clear locations. The encounter deck always wants to attack you by filling the staging area with locations, swarming you with enemies (or strong attacks/damage), stealing your cards/resources, blocking your questing and finally attacking your board state. So many treachery cards and enemies specifically target allies. As they assume every player has some. When you don’t have allies at all, then a good chunk of the encounter deck more often then not will simply miss in their attempts to hurt you. This gives you more time to further build up your board state and be able to crush whatever remains.

One must also talk about the weaknesses of this contract to balance out the sheer power of it. And while you get to entirely avoid any treacheries, enemies or other hindering affects that target allies, this also can make quests where you have an objective ally you have to protect become extremely hard and create more auto loss events. Likewise when you are always defending with heroes shadow effects that discard the defending character are often game over in that moment.

Also Pelennor Fields, while beatable, absolutely requires having Will of the West in your starting hand as you have no allies to be put into play. Meaning your entire deck is discarded on the second phase and you skip right to the third much harder one. Also Wind-Whipped Rain and other discard all attachments you control are game-Enders. But still overall the benefits far outweigh the negatives of this contracts deck-building requirements. Also Ranger Summons or other players sending you their allies (looking at you Rider of the Mark and Blue Mountain Trader) is a great way to sneak in some allies into your deck. As there is no restriction on side B of the contract or gaining allies through other means.

When playing with this contract you do need to make sure you have a ton of readying so Unexpected Courage x3, Shadowfax, Magic Ring, Heroes that ready other heroes, and all of those delicious food-readying items are key to include. And Tactics Boromir is permanently glued to this contract for me for all of the cards that need you to exhaust a character outside do the traditional questing and fighting phases including but not limited to hide, sailing, and escape tests.

All in all this contract is the best example of how one single card can completely change how a game is played, how it feels and how it turns a novelty idea in the before-contract times into one of the most powerful archetypes in the game. That is why this card is a 1 to me and it’s extremely hard for me to not just always want to build another Forth, Three Hunters deck.

*for reference,
https://www.ringsdb.com/decklist/view/18333/thethirdagegba3hunterstheonedeck-2.0

TLDR: This contract completely changes the entire gameplay feel, takes the teeth out of the encounter deck since there are no allies to harm, and gives you crazy early game resource acceleration and second half power questing.

  • Jonathan – 1
  • Dave – TBR
  • Grant – TBR
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – TBR
  • Average – 1

The Third Age GBA (3 Hunters THE ONE DECK!) by Christian_Medic

this is the deck I have beaten every single non-nightmare quest in the game with, and a share of nightmares that I have as well:

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Boromir (The Dead Marshes)
Gandalf (The Road Darkens)
Legolas (The Sands of Harad)

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

Attachment (38)
1x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
1x Arod (The Treason of Saruman)
2x Blade of Gondolin (Core Set)
1x Blood of Númenor (Heirs of Númenor)
1x Captain of Gondor (The Antlered Crown)
3x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
2x Dwarven Axe (Core Set)
1x Favor of the Valar (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
1x Gandalf’s Staff (The Road Darkens)
3x Golden Belt (Challenge of the Wainriders)
1x Gondorian Fire (Assault on Osgiliath)
3x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
1x Light of Valinor (Foundations of Stone)
1x Livery of the Tower (The Flame of the West)
1x Magic Ring (The Crossings of Poros)
1x Miruvor (Shadow and Flame)
1x Raiment of War (The Thing in the Depths)
1x Rohan Warhorse (The Voice of Isengard)
1x Shadowfax (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Silver Circlet (Wrath and Ruin)
1x Steed of the Mark (The Morgul Vale)
1x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
1x Strider (The Drowned Ruins)
1x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
2x Unexpected Courage (Two-Player Limited Edition Starter)
1x Vigilant Guard (A Storm on Cobas Haven)
2x War Axe (The City of Ulfast)
1x Wizard Pipe (The Road Darkens)

Event (10)
1x Dwarven Tomb (Core Set)
1x Elven-light (The Dread Realm)
1x Foe-hammer (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Open the Armory (The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat)
1x Power of Orthanc (The Voice of Isengard)
2x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
1x Will of the West (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 Challenge of the Wainriders

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Warden of Healing – Community Review

by James Byun

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Healing

Background

Part of the healers of Gondor as written in Return of the King. They are attending the wounded after the Battle of Pelenor fields, so it makes sense they would heal multiple characters.

Card Theme

Not especially tied to Gondor’s trait of increasing willpower, resource acceleration, or traps.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Elrond

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 is the best healing card in the game due to it’s versatility. Cards previous to this either were one use or focused on a single character. Often, you will have damage spread out among heroes and allies, so having a character that can heal as an action creates so much flexibility. The ability to pay 2 lore resources to ready again lets you heal throughout the round. Combine this card with Elrond, and you effectively don’t have to worry about losing any character. Only reason not to use this card is if you are not running Lore or for theme.

  • James – 2
  • Dave – 2
  • Grant – 1.5
  • Ted – 1
  • Matt – 2
  • Average – 1.7