Bilbo Baggins (Tactics)

  • Cycle
    • Ered Mithren 
  • Set
  • Player Card Categories
    • Direct Damage
    • Staging Area Control

But one day Bilbo was asked to go
On a big adventure to the caves below
To help some dwarves get back their gold
That was stolen by a dragon in the days of old

The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins by Leonard Nimoy

Background

Bilbo once a respectable Hobbit from a respectable family that didn’t go off having adventures, went on an adventure to burgle treasure from a dragon. Along the way, he won or found a magic ring (depending on the telling) that would change the course of Middle-Earth. That however is another story. Bilbo aided by the magic ring, verbally sparred with a dragon in trying to burgle some treasures. In so doing provoked the dragon to attack a nearby town leading to its demise and liberation of a Dwarven ancestral home and its treasures. Elves, Men, and Dwarves afterwards nearly came to war over the liberated treasures until the host of goblins, orcs, and wargs arrived. Bilbo was soon knocked out in the fighting but survived to take a nice stash of treasure home to retire on.

Card Theme

The willpower boost Bilbo gains from an enemy in the staging area is very thematic to Bilbo in The Hobbit. While he is initially resistant to the adventure, he always rises to the occasion when confronted with adversaries.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Guarded X Cards

This version of Bilbo is basically designed for these cards considering he does 2 damage to an enemy guarding a card. The guarded card Bilbo most wants besides for thematic reasons, Sting, is Guarded (enemy). This is great as it gives Bilbo a potential target and once free of encounters +1 willpower, attack, and defense. It also builds on his ability to directly damage enemies dealing 1 damage each time Bilbo attacks. This set ups Bilbo damaging an enemy in the staging area and dealing the final point of damage just by blocking. Durin’s Axe is similar as the only other Guarded (enemy) card and also with a direct damage effect.

Most of the others are Guarded (enemy or location), and there’s at least a chance they will add an enemy for his ability. Of course, there is always A Shadow of the Past to help set up an enemy preferably with lower hit points for one of these wonderful attachments. Necklace of Girion or The Arkenstone both can help make Bilbo a better quester. Of course these can always be given to other heroes as well even those under the control of other players. In multiplayer, there will likely always be a target for Bilbo’s ability and more willpower available to handle an additional encounter card.

Commit a Hero or Character to the Quest

Both Hobbit Pony and Late Adventurer let a player commit him in the action window after staging but before quest resolution. This opens up any enemy revealed during staging as a target for his ability and maximize Bilbo’s willpower bonus. You can chose to Hobbit Pony is better considering it is an attachment and can be used every round once it is in play.

A fun combo is use one or both of these with Elevenses. Commit Bilbo during the regular commit characters to the quest step. After staging, remove him from the quest with Elvenses and reduce your threat by 1 (assuming you only remove Bilbo). Then recommit him with these two to trigger his willpower boost a second time. This works because his response lasts until the end of the phase. Per FAQ 1.55, lasting effects from player cards are not recalculated even if the game state changes. In this case, Biblo’s questing status. Additionally, his response does not have a stated limit. It can be triggered again if he is recommitted to the quest creating a new trigger and another lasting effect boosting his willpower twice. Windfola can also potentially commit Bilbo to the quest twice, but it requires a Song of Travel and a quest that can removes characters from the quest.

Direct Damage

Bilbo’s ability alone typically won’t destroy an enemy in a single round. Some quests early in the game’s life had a many 1 or 2 hit point enemies like The Seventh Level or Over the Misty Mountains Grim. Later scenarios, the norm was enemies with 3 or more hit points. In those, more is needed if a player wants to destroy an enemy with direct damage.

Tactics is full of direct damage options including Bilbo’s signature weapon, Sting. Sting deals a damage whether attacking or defending. This works quite well considering Hobbits have additional readying via Fast Hitch. Spear of the Citadel can also go directly on Bilbo to deal damage when defending or on Gondorian Spearman. The spearman then can deal 2 damage when defending. Thalin can also soften up any enemies revealed during a turn when he quests. Galadhon Archer, Descendent of Throndor, and Rumil have direct damage effects are like Gandalf ally from the Core Set dealing direct damage when they enter play.

Lore is the other main sphere with direct damage effects. Argalad can team up with Bilbo to deal 1 damage to an enemy in the staging area provided he has enough attack power to reduce their threat to 0. Poisoned Stakes trap can also deal 2 damage at the end of each round. This works well when building around keeping an enemy in staging for Bilbo to target over multiple rounds.

These that I’ve listed is not an exhaustive list. These are most of the recurring ones or could be recurred fairly easily. There are many event based ones like Swift Strike, Hail of Stones, Goblin-Cleaver, or Expecting Mischief.

Staging Area Attack

Similar to Bilbo’s ability, staging area attack lets a player damage an enemy before engaging it. Dunhere introduced the ability in the Core Set. Haldir hero and Leadership Eomer have staging area attack built in as well. Heroes with ranged can also gain it via Great Yew Bow and Hands Upon the Bow. Bilbo’s old acquaintance, Bard the Bowman using the Great Yew Bow can even give the enemy -2 defense.

Engagement Control and Threat Reduction

There are 2 kinds of effects that allow a player wants to keep an enemy in the staging area. Engagement control that either skips the encounter phase or increase the enemies’ engagement cost, or Threat Reduction to 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 which Biblo helps to boost. Unfortunately there are only 2 cards that prevent engagement checks. Ranger Spikes is a bit of a nonbo since it lowers the enemy’s threat. Advance Warning isn’t available because all the heroes require a printed Lore resource to play it.

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 a 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 option with some other combo potential mentioned earlier. Then there always the threat reduction staples of Galadhrim’s Greeting, Elrond’s Counsel, and Woodmen’s Clearing. 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. If the Bilbo player is already low enough, they’ll keep the enemies up in staging Fastred can help get threat lower and put the enemy back into staging for Bilbo to target.

Grey Wanderer

Grey Wanderer has many advantages for Bilbo. One, the player’s threat starts very low avoiding most if not all enemy engagements allowing him to use his ability easily. Two, the free 1 cost attachment can get Strider allowing him to quest every round without exhausting and boost his willpower to quest even without an enemy. Third, it has a built in readying to maximize direct damage when Bilbo uses Sting.

Quest Specific

Escape from Dol Guldur, The Hunt for Gollum, A Journey to Rhosgobel, Across the Ettinmoors, A Storm on Cobas Haven all feature the Guarded keyword. While it is not guaranteed an enemy will be the encounter card guarding each objective, they still present more opportunities for Bilbo to deal 2 damage. Shadows of Mirkwood and Darrowdelf have a couple great targets for Bilbo, Goblin Sniper and Khazad-Dum’s Orc Drummer. High engagement cost, low hit points, and an incredibly annoying ability while they’re in the staging area. Little surging enemies in later cycles similar to Ered Mithren’s Stray Goblin are also good targets. It creates action advantage by not having to defend them and gets a little threat out of the staging area. Ered Mithren also has some enemies like Mirkwood Patrol and Hobgoblin that end up guarding cards on their own that Bilbo can counter.

Intruders in Chetwood, Dungeson of Cirith Gurat, and Helm’s Deep are all ones to avoid using Bilbo in. Intruders in Chetwood enemies can’t be damaged while Orc War Party is in play. The quest starts with one in play and there are 2 others in the encounter deck. More often than not, enemies won’t be able to take damage. Dungeons of Cirith Gurat is a real heartbreaker for Biblo. Enemies guarding objectives are immune to player card effects during stage 1 otherwise they would take 2 damage from him! They’re even often guarding something because they will capture allies as objectives. The second stage when the players have to avoid engaging enemies for 2 turns where it would be another great time for him, except they’re all immune to damage. Helm’s Deep many of the enemies have the toughness X keyword that cancels the first X damage any time damage is dealt to them. Bilbo’s damage then will just get canceled every time it is used against them.

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 going to preface this rating with Tactics Bilbo is one of my top heroes I like to play. If I rated on how much I like the card, the rating would be at least a 2. Still based on his general usefulness, power level, and how many deck types he would fit into he’s a 5. He can work fine in many decks because he can basically offset an enemy’s threat and possibly soften up an enemy before it is engaged. This only gets more powerful when combined with player guarded attachments or more effects that can damage enemies in the staging area. Bonus willpower in the willpower poor Tactics sphere is a huge boon to monosphere Tactics.

One problem is his stats are all low. Still his base willpower isn’t enough for him to be the main questing hero without several willpower boosting attachments or Forth the Three Hunters side B active. His best stat is defense but at 2 and 2 hit points, he can’t defend well without a couple defense boosts. Sting can help since it boosts all his stats and gives him direct damage for defending. Plus 1 to all stats though makes him more like the Dunedain heroes that are jack of all trades. Hobbit heroes fortunately has additional readying with Fast Hitch and additional stat boosting from Rosie Cotton. It is a lot of setup to put him on par with many other heroes.

The other problem that is carried over from his earlier Lore version is the 9 threat cost. It is the highest of the Hobbits and a bit counter to his ability. His ability requires the player to avoid engagement at least once to trigger unless using Hobbit Pony or lots of engagement control and threat reduction.

This is all to say that without much support, Tactics Bilbo is often outclassed by others in the same sphere and threat cost like Core Set Legolas. When built around, Bilbo can be powerful and fun to play. Contracts in particular make it easier to get him built up quickly.

  • Dave – 3
  • Grant – 3
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – 5
  • Average 3.66

External Links

Sample Decks

Wandering Burgler Discovers Fate of Numenor by kattattack22

Basic idea is to leverage Bilbo’s ability combined with direct damage from Gandalf and Descendent of Thorondor to clear enemies guarding Sting or Necklace of Girion. Also the Eagles of the North might discard a non-unqiue enemy guarding a card. Azain’s direct damage ability is another possibility since can engage an enemy not guarding a card that shares a trait and have ability deal more damage to enemy in the staging area.

Wandering Burgler Discovers Fate of Numenor

Main Deck

Hero (1)
Bilbo Baggins (Mount Gundabad)

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

Ally (22)
3x Azain Silverbeard (Flight of the Stormcaller)
3x Descendant of Thorondor (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Eagles of the Misty Mountains (Return to Mirkwood)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
1x Gwaihir (Trouble in Tharbad)
3x Meneldor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
3x Mirkwood Explorer (The Thing in the Depths)
3x Northern Tracker (Core Set)

Attachment (16)
3x Fast Hitch (The Dead Marshes)
3x Necklace of Girion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Resourceful (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Sting (Mount Gundabad)
1x Strider (The Drowned Ruins)
3x Support of the Eagles (Return to Mirkwood)

Event (12)
3x Flight of the Eagles (Roam Across Rhovanion)
3x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
3x The Shirefolk (Mount Gundabad)
3x Timely Aid (The Redhorn Gate)

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

1 Hero, 51 Cards
Cards up to Challenge of the Wainriders

Sideboard

Ally (9)
3x Eagle of the North (Roam Across Rhovanion)
3x Vassal of the Windlord (The Dead Marshes)
3x Winged Guardian (The Hunt for Gollum)

Attachment (6)
3x Born Aloft (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Poisoned Stakes (The Blood of Gondor)

Event (6)
3x The Eagles Are Coming! (The Hunt for Gollum)
3x The King’s Return (The Fate of Wilderland)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Guarded-o-rama by Card Talk Dave

This deck was created because of an episode of Card Talk where Grant and Dave discuss ways to get Guarded Cards, namely Durin’s Axe into play. To see that episode, click on over to it HERE. The idea is that Éomer can attack into the staging area and, coupled with Firefoot, excess damage can be assigned to enemies engaged with you. While this isn’t even remotely the “new hotness,” coupled with Bilbo Baggins is a great twist.

Guarded-o-rama

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

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

The Burglar and the Bowman by Hollowbandit

A Bard and Bilbo buddy deck with Fastred defending them and reducing threat.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Bard the Bowman (On the Doorstep)
Bilbo Baggins (Mount Gundabad)
Fastred (The Black Serpent)

Ally (12)
1x Arwen Undómiel (The Watcher in the Water)
1x Azain Silverbeard (Flight of the Stormcaller)
1x Bofur (The Redhorn Gate)
2x Curious Brandybuck (The Wastes of Eriador)
3x Galadhon Archer (The Nîn-in-Eilph)
1x Gandalf (Core Set)
3x Honour Guard (The Wastes of Eriador)

Attachment (23)
2x Ancient Mathom (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
1x Black Arrow (On the Doorstep)
2x Book of Eldacar (Encounter at Amon Dîn)
3x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
3x Great Yew Bow (On the Doorstep)
1x Hobbit Pony (The Wastes of Eriador)
1x Magic Ring (The Crossings of Poros)
1x Necklace of Girion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Round Shield (Mount Gundabad)
1x Song of Battle (The Dead Marshes)
3x Sting (Mount Gundabad)
1x The Arkenstone (The Withered Heath)
1x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event (15)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Feint (Core Set)
3x Foe-hammer (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Hands Upon the Bow (Shadow and Flame)
3x Straight Shot (On the Doorstep)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to Mount Gundabad

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

The Hidden Way

  • Card Talk Season 3 Episode 58
    • Video episode
    • Audio episode
  • Cycle
    • Ered Mithren
  • Set
    • The Withered Heath 
  • Player Card Categories
    • Location Control
    • Encounter Control
    • Encounter Reveal Reduction

The location version of Wait No Longer.

Background

The card refers to Stonewain Valley that Ghan-Buri-Ghan lead the Rohirrim through to get to Pelennor Fields.

Card Theme

The card lets the player(s) choose a location to go to bypasses any negative travel effects, or other potentially hazardous locations they might have had to go to first before. In true solo, it also ensures you won’t reveal an enemy card thereby avoiding any encounters for a round. It fits very well with source material with the Rohirrim avoiding orcs by going to a different location.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Direct Location Progress

There are several cards that can help explore the new active location brought out by The Hidden Way. Lorien Guide in the Core Set debuted the ability to put progress on the location. The first FAQ also clarified that Tactic Legolas hero and Blade of Gondolin could also place progress on the active location because it always acts as a buffer to the main quest. Cards like Snowbourn Scout, Asfaloth, and The Evening Star that place progress on any location will also work.

Haldan, Scouts, and Location Attachments

Haldan’s abilities all depend on there being an active location. The Hidden Way can help make them more consistent. Putting location attachments on them not only can help explore the location by getting him to quest without exhausting but Woodmen’s Path reduces the quest points to 1. Allies with the Scout trait often have abilities that can help clear the active location.

More Encounter Control

The Hidden Way often ends up in many encounter control decks because it reduces the number of encounter cards revealed. Instead of canceling an encounter card like most encounter control, it gives players the choice of a location helping shut down the worst the encounter deck has to offer. An encounter control strategy is usually limited to multiplayer since it leaves little room in a deck for cards to aid in questing and combat. The Hidden Way still works in solo because it can reduce the number of revealed cards to 0. Additionally it puts the location in the active slot and it won’t add its threat to the staging area. It combos well with A Watchful Peace because any more innocuous location pulled out can be recurred with it. Lore is also full of more encounter manipulation and cancelation. Lore Denethor, Risk Some Light, Out of the Wild, and Scout Ahead can either move or outright remove the worst cards from the encounter deck. Lore also has Leave No Trace and None Return like Out of the Wild that can add cards to the victory display but only after dealing with them at least once. This, however, opens the possibility of canceling another copy of that encounter card with The Door is Closed!

Quest Specific

Any quest with nasty travel effects can be teched against with The Hidden Way. The Hidden Way bypasses traveling and won’t trigger any of the Travel effects. Every cycle has some locations with travel effects that are better avoided. Haradrim, however, can counter The Hidden Way bypassing travel because it features many locations with Forced effects that trigger when a location becomes the active location.

In solo, a quest full of enemies, like The Seventh Level or The Fate of the Wilderland, it can be used to give the players a break from the onslaught.

Ring Rating

Card Talk uses the highly scientific yet arbitrary scale of 1 ring for the card to rule them all to 10 to be cast back into the fiery chasm from whence it came.

I rate The Hidden Way at 5 rings. It can be a widely applicable card to use considering it gives players options to what comes out of the encounter deck. When there isn’t an active location, it will lower the potential added staging area threat. It will bypass travel effects of which there are many that can ruin a game. It really shines in multiplayer where getting one less random card makes a bigger difference since reduces the chances of surge. Also in multiplayer the threat of location lock is higher and getting a location out and potentially cleared in a single turn can have a huge impact. I don’t rate it higher as many quests can be handled by a well balanced deck that quests and fights well. The options provided by encounter control effects while helpful aren’t always needed.

  • Dave – 4
  • Grant – TBR
  • Ted – 4
  • Matt – 5
  • Average – 4.33

External Links

Sample Decks

Infiltration Team for Escape from Dol Guldur by kattattack22

Questing and encounter control deck for 2 handed fellowship to crush Escape from Dol Guldur.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Argalad (The Drowned Ruins)
Glorfindel (Foundations of Stone)
Pippin (The Black Riders)

Ally (17)
2x Daughter of the Nimrodel (Core Set)
3x Elrond (The Road Darkens)
3x Ithilien Lookout (The Dunland Trap)
3x Mirkwood Explorer (The Thing in the Depths)
3x Northern Tracker (Core Set)
3x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)

Attachment (12)
3x Asfaloth (Foundations of Stone)
3x Light of Valinor (Foundations of Stone)
1x Magic Ring (The Crossings of Poros)
3x Song of Travel (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event (21)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Power of Orthanc (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Risk Some Light (Shadow and Flame)
3x Strider’s Path (The Hunt for Gollum)
3x The Evening Star (The Grey Havens)
3x The Hidden Way (The Withered Heath)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Withered Heath

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Revealed in Wrath

  • Cycle
    • Dreamchaser
  • Set
    • Temple of the Deceived

Tech for difficult enemies like the Mumak.

Background

The card title, art, and flavor text all refer to Glorfindel, Aragorn, Pippin, Sam, and Merry driving the Nazgul into the Ford of Bruinen. In particular, Glorfindel reveals his power that forces to Nazghul to shrink away from him and drive their horses mad. This traps them in the Ford to be swept away by the oncoming flood and let them take Frodo to Rivendell safely. Glorfindel had a great presence in the Unseen World due to being a First Age elf that lived in Valinor, died fighting a Balrog, and returned to Middle Earth by the Valar. This presence is what caused the Ringwraiths to recoil and generally avoid him.

Card Theme

The theme of Glorfindel using his presence to neutralize the Nazghul fits very well with blanking enemy textboxes. It doesn’t completely neutralize an enemy in the game since their stats are still in play. It can certainly negate many of their abilities that makes them more dangerous or difficult to defeat.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Quest Specific

The game ever since the Core Set included non-unique enemies with strong abilities. The Hill Troll and Marsh Adder in the Wilderlands encounter set could raise a players threat very quickly. Chieftain Ufthak kept getting stronger the longer it was in play. The Nazgul of Dol Guldur can decimate a board state if there is a shadow effect forcing the player to discard a character. All of these negative effects can be blocked for a turn.

Mumaks are fantastic targets for Revealed in Wrath due to the limit of damage they can take. Blanking text box allows players to exceed the limit and destroy them in a single round. The Uruk-hai in The Treason of Saruman scenarios are similar because Toughness reduces all damage they would normally take. Without it, they are easier to destroy and open to direct damage.

Orc War Party in Angmar Awakened also is great to blank because it prevents enemies in the staging are from taking damage and the players from winning the game. Players using staging area attack or direct damage can clear out the staging area in Intruders in Chetwood.

Revealed in Wrath also can provide a lot of value against ship enemies in the Voyage Across Belegaer, Flight of the Stormcaller, A Storm on Cobas Haven, and Hunt for the Dreadnaught. This is because many of them have the Boarding keyword. Boarding X says, “When a ship-enemy with the Boarding keyword engages a player from the staging area, reveal the top X cards from the Corsair Deck and put the revealed enemies into play, engaged with that player.” Getting rid of the Boarding keyword during the engagement phase can often times avoid additional enemy engagements.

More thematically, there are the various Nazghul enemies from the Saga scenarios. Many are just restricted from having non-Morgul attachments and still vulnerable to being blanked. The best ones to blank are the ones that have additional attack triggers. Rider of Mordor can be great to get rid of the willpower penalty or to avoid engaging because The one Ring is exhausted.

Noldor Heroes

There unfortunately is only one Noldor hero in the Tactics sphere, Elladan, to satisfy both requirements to play Revealed in Wrath. Although, Elrond can play Revealed in Wrath using Vilya. This isn’t much of an issue considering many of Noldor heroes are very splashable with typically high willpower and useful abilities with card draw, resource acceleration, and threat reduction. They ca easily fight into a team with a Tactics hero or two.

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 Revealed in Wrath at 7 rings. It can be useful in a number of scenarios looking at the vast array of abilities. There are a few cases where it can provide a tremendous benefit like the Mumaks with the damage limits and ship enemies with boarding. Other Tactics events likely will be better for most non-unique enemies. Especially if they outright can help the player destroy the enemy like Quick Strike, Hands Upon the Bow, or Fierce Defense.

  • Dave –
  • Grant –
  • Ted –
  • Matt – 7

External Links

Sample Decks

Mettle of the Strong by WingfootRanger

A Spirit Tactics deck with a strong hero line up with a flexible toolbox of answers for a scenario’s challenges.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Beorn (Over Hill and Under Hill)
Beregond (The Flame of the West)
Círdan the Shipwright (The Grey Havens)

Ally (19)
2x Arwen Undómiel (The Watcher in the Water)
1x Bofur (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Dúnedain Hunter (The Lost Realm)
3x Ethir Swordsman (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Galadhon Archer (The Nîn-in-Eilph)
3x Galadriel’s Handmaiden (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
3x Rhovanion Outrider (Temple of the Deceived)
2x Riddermark Knight (The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat)

Attachment (16)
2x Ancient Mathom (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
3x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Light of Valinor (Foundations of Stone)
1x Magic Ring (The Crossings of Poros)
2x Narya (The Grey Havens)
3x Thrór’s Key (On the Doorstep)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event (15)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Desperate Defense (The Flame of the West)
3x Feint (Core Set)
3x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)
3x Revealed in Wrath (Temple of the Deceived)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Crossings of Poros

Sideboard

Ally (21)
2x Dunedain Pathfinder (Race Across Harad)
1x Grimbold (The Flame of the West)
3x Honour Guard (The Wastes of Eriador)
3x Knights of the Swan (The Steward’s Fear)
1x Lindir (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
1x Riddermark Knight (The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat)
2x Saruman (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Silvan Refugee (The Drúadan Forest)
2x Steward of Orthanc (Race Across Harad)
3x Westfold Outrider (The Voice of Isengard)

Attachment (2)
1x Captain of Gondor (The Antlered Crown)
1x Windfola (A Storm on Cobas Haven)

Event (27)
3x Backtrack (Race Across Harad)
3x Dwarven Tomb (Core Set)
3x Elrond’s Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Fortune or Fate (Core Set)
1x Justice Shall Be Done (A Storm on Cobas Haven)
3x Keen as Lances (Escape from Mount Gram)
3x Power of Orthanc (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Sterner than Steel (The Flame of the West)
3x The Wizards’s Voice (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Wait no Longer (The Mûmakil)

Player Side Quest (3)
1x Double Back (Escape from Mount Gram)
1x Gather Information (The Lost Realm)
1x Keep Watch (Beneath the Sands)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Descendants of Kings

  • Card Talk Season 5 Episode 48
    • Video episode
    • Audio episode

Mass Dunedain readying for sticky situations.

Background

This card refers to the people of Gondor’s sister kingdom, Arnor. Arnor was the northern one of the two Numenorian kingdoms. It was the official seat of their High King. After Isildur’s death it split into three smaller kingdoms, Cardolan, Arthedain, and Rhudar. The people of these successor kingdoms dwindled after wars with Angmar and a plague until only scattered settlements and wandering bands remained. Still the blood of Numenor was not diluted like Gondor and the northern Dunedain retained the longer lifespans and some of the physical and mental gifts bestowed on their ancestors.

Card Theme

The card refers to how the Dunedain retained some of the gifts bestowed on their ancestors, the Edain. The Edain were men of the First Age that fought with the elves against the original dark lord, Morgoth. The gods of Middle Earth blessed the Edain with greater physical and mental abilities than others in the race of men. Additionally, they intermarried some with the elves. This only added to their genetic advantages. The greater physical stature and knowledge of the Edain and later the Numenorians (Second Age descendants) made them seem as kings to other men in Middle Earth. While these attributed waned among the Dunedain in the Third Age, they still demonstrated greater physical and mental abilities than most men of the time along with a twice as long lifespan. It is fitting a theme to put on a card that has the Dunedain accomplishing more through action advantage.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Dunedain Characters

The Dunedain characters in the game are great targets for readying. Many of them have multiple 2 or better stats. This goes back even to the Core Set with Northern Tracker that has a great location control ability when questing to place a progress on each location in the staging area along with a decent 2 attack and 2 defense. It often can lead to a tough decision on using Northern Tracker to quest or save for combat. Some of the allies even has stats that scale with the number of enemies engaged which also scales the readying effect. It can make for a huge turn to ready several Dunedain that could have stats at 3 or more due to having a few enemies engaged.

A few of the heroes and unique allies also have very useful abilities that require them to be exhausted. Beravor can draw a player 2 cards. Sulien can reduce the threat of locations in the staging area. Spirit Aragorn can reduced the threat of a single location and possibly place a progress on the location.

Traps

Traps work great to increase the effect of every Dunedain engaged enemy bonuses because it offsets the downside of keeping an enemy engaged. Forest Snare in particular works really well because the enemy remains engaged but no longer attacks. Entangling Nets and Outmatched create a similar more safely engaged enemy that can be defended without sacrificing an action. Shadow effects are still a concern unless the player has a defender with some shadow cancelation like A Burning Brand.

Gloin hero

Gloin can be an interesting way to increase the effect. Song of Wisdom or Narvi’s Belt or a Warden of Healing make it that Gloin can heal all damage done to him quite easily. Some hit point bonuses from attachments like Citadel Plate, and he can take undefended attacks even from boss level enemies. Provided shadow effects don’t discard attachments, it can be quite easy to keep several enemies engaged without much trouble. Generally once Gloin is set up, the Dunedain are only needed to quest and attack. Action advantage might not be needed as much. Especially from an event that will ready them only one time.

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 Descendants of Kings at 8 rings. It is a card I’m sure I’ve included a couple copies at least once. At the time of writing this, I couldn’t tell you if I’ve every played it in a game. I’ve been in situations where it would be helpful with a Dunedain focused deck. It is easy to end up with a bunch of enemies engaged and needing to defend all the attacks and leaving no one left to attack back. Sometimes that is fine and other times, it would be great to ready at least an attacker or two to bring the number of enemies back to a manageable level. It is one of those cards that has to show up at the right time or a player holds onto it for that just in case situation. Now, it is possible to splash this card into a deck that isn’t Dunedain focused, but I don’t see much point to it. Ever Vigilant with a similar cost can ready any ally and not need an enemy engaged. It can also ready heroes but Dunedain have many readying attachments they qualify for roughly the same resource cost. It is just a very situational card. I hope someday to use it to ready many Dunedain heroes and/or allies and turn the tide of battle with it.

  • Dave –
  • Grant –
  • Ted –
  • Matt – 8
  • Average –

External Links

Sample Decks

Dúnedain: for solo plays (Revised Core + Angmar Awakened) by warlock000

A Dunedain theme deck using only the Revised Core Set and Angmar Awakened cycle cards. Check out the deck description on ringsdb for many great piloting tips.

Dúnedain: for solo plays (Revised Core + Angmar Awakened)

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Amarthiúl (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
Beravor (Core Set)
Halbarad (The Lost Realm)

Ally (27)
3x Dúnedain Hunter (The Lost Realm)
2x Faramir (Core Set)
3x Fornost Bowman (The Dread Realm)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
3x Guardian of Arnor (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
1x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
2x Honour Guard (The Wastes of Eriador)
3x Ranger of Cardolan (The Wastes of Eriador)
3x Sarn Ford Sentry (The Lost Realm)
3x Snowbourn Scout (Core Set)
1x Son of Arnor (Core Set)

Attachment (15)
2x Athelas (The Lost Realm)
2x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
3x Forest Snare (Core Set)
3x Heir of Valandil (The Lost Realm)
1x Protector of Lórien (Core Set)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
2x The Long Defeat (The Battle of Carn Dûm)

Event (8)
3x Descendants of Kings (Escape from Mount Gram)
2x Expert Trackers (The Lost Realm)
2x Feint (Core Set)
1x For Gondor! (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Dread Realm

Sideboard

Ally (2)
1x Gléowine (Core Set)
1x Son of Arnor (Core Set)

Attachment (2)
1x Protector of Lórien (Core Set)
1x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)

Event (9)
1x Expert Trackers (The Lost Realm)
1x Feint (Core Set)
1x For Gondor! (Core Set)
3x Radagast’s Cunning (Core Set)
3x Secret Paths (Core Set)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Heir of Valandil

  • Player Card Categories
    • Cost Reduction
    • Resource Acceleration

The trait based resource acceleration for Dunedain.

Background

You might be wondering who is the Heir of Valandil? Spoilers, it is Aragorn. I know what you’re thinking. Aragorn is Isildur’s Heir. How can he be the Heir of Valandil too? It is because Valandil was the original heir of Isildur. As Isildur’s youngest son he became the king of Arnor after his brothers and Isildur died at the Disaster of Gladden Fields. Valandil ended being the longest reigning king of Arnor at 239 years.

Card Theme

The card’s ally cost reduction by engaging an enemies is similar to idea behind Dunedain Hunter. The Dunedain rangers went where there was trouble during The Watchful Peace. It makes sense that their chieftain would have an easier time mustering them to deal with an immediate threat.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Dunedain Allies

A player might wonder why they might use Heir of Valandil when there is already a staple 2 cost unique resource acceleration attachment, Steward of Gondor. There are a couple reasons to highlight. The first is that the cost reduction can be applied to any Dunedain ally that a player already has a resource match for. This is very advantageous considering the 23 Dunedain allies in the game span all 4 spheres.

The second is, a player can use both. Nearly 2/3 of the Dunedain allies cost 3 or more resources. All the resource acceleration Dunedain can get help get a critical mass of allies and overcome the scenario. Lastly, it provides an alternative in multiplayer when someone else already has Steward of Gondor.

Traps

Traps are ideal way to increase the attachment’s cost reduction. Forest Snare in particular works really well because the enemy remains engaged but no longer attacks. Entangling Nets and Outmatched create a similar more safely engaged enemy that can be defended without sacrificing an action. Shadow effects are still a concern unless the player has a defender with some shadow cancelation like A Burning Brand.

Attack Cancellation

Attack cancelation effects like Feint, Thicket of Spears, The Wizard’s Voice, and Coney in a Trap like Trap attachments can help increase the cost reduction and reduce the risk of the engaged enemy albeit just temporarily.

Gloin hero

Gloin can be an interesting way to increase the effect. Song of Wisdom or Narvi’s Belt or a Warden of Healing make it that Gloin can heal all damage done to him quite easily. Some hit point bonuses from attachments like Citadel Plate, and he can take undefended attacks even from boss level enemies. Provided shadow effects don’t discard attachments, it can be quite easy to keep several enemies engaged without much trouble. Heir of Valandil might become a “win more” card at that point since combat is essentially neutralized.

Attachment Search

Ted often points out that a big drawback to any card is you have to draw it. Fortunately, there are 2 cards that help find an attachment in a deck. Galadriel ally searches the top 5 cards and puts it into play. She is even in sphere with Heir of Valandil. Master of the Forge will do the same expect put it into a player’s hand, but it can be used each round.

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 Heir of Valandil at 7 rings. It is only going into a Dunedain focused deck considering it requires a Dunedain hero and works only on Dunedain allies. That alone immediately makes it a niche card. Then the effect is conditional on having at least 1 enemy engaged. The Dunedain generally want to do that anyway, but it is risky. Especially if keeping any enemies engaged to keep the bonus. The only really nice part of the effect is that it is unlimited. The cost reduction can get high enough to even play a 5 cost Dunedain Wanderer into play for free.

The other major drawback is that it has the same sphere, cost, and also unique like Steward of Gondor. In solo play, unless your Dunedain are really spread across 3 or 4 spheres, Steward is going to be better. In multiplayer, it has the advantage of being a potential alternative if Steward is already taken. It is going to see some play in dedicated Dunedain decks, but not much outside of them.

  • Dave – 8
  • Grant – TBR
  • Ted – 5
  • Matt – 7
  • Average – 6.67

External Links

Sample Decks

Dunedain Trappers by Seastan

The most popular Dunedain deck utilizing traps to maximize engaged enemies and power up the effects of Heir of Valandil and Dunedain allies.

Dunedain Trappers

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Amarthiúl (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
Aragorn (The Watcher in the Water)
Damrod (The Land of Shadow)

Ally (20)
2x Dúnedain Hunter (The Lost Realm)
2x Dúnedain Watcher (The Dead Marshes)
3x Galadriel (The Road Darkens)
3x Guardian of Arnor (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
3x Master of the Forge (Shadow and Flame)
3x Northern Tracker (Core Set)
2x Sarn Ford Sentry (The Lost Realm)
2x Warden of Annúminas (The Lost Realm)

Attachment (17)
2x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
3x Forest Snare (Core Set)
1x Gondorian Fire (Assault on Osgiliath)
2x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
2x Heir of Valandil (The Lost Realm)
2x Ranger Spikes (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
2x Sword that was Broken (The Watcher in the Water)

Event (13)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)
2x Descendants of Kings (Escape from Mount Gram)
3x Feint (Core Set)
2x Tighten Our Belts (The Nîn-in-Eilph)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Land of Shadow

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Dunedain Hunter

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

A great way to kick start the Dunedain engagement bonuses.

Background

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

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

Card Theme

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

Card Synergies and Interactions

Engagement Bonus Dunedain

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

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

Mablung Hero

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

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

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

Traps

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

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

Attack Cancellation

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

Quest Specific

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

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

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

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

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

Ring Rating

Card Talk uses the highly scientific yet arbitrary scale of 1 ring for the card to rule them all to 10 to be cast back into the fiery chasm from whence it came.

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

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

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

External Links

Sample Decks

Legolas Shoots Locations by kattattack22

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

Legolas Shoots Locations aka Mono Tactics v4

Main Deck

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

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

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

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

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

Sideboard

Hero (1)
Aragorn (The Lost Realm)

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

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

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

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Halbarad (Hero)

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

Background

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

Card Theme

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

Card Synergies and Interactions

Stat Boosts

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

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

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

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

Traps

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

Early Engagement Effects

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

Forth, The Three Hunters Contract

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

Quest Specific

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

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

Ring Rating

Card Talk uses the highly scientific yet arbitrary scale of 1 ring for the card to rule them all to 10 to be cast back into the fiery chasm from whence it came.

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

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

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

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

External Links

Sample Decks

Three Wolf Hunters for Wastes of Eriador by kattattack22

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

Three Wolf Hunters for Wastes of Eriador

Main Deck

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

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

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

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

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

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Halfling Determination

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

Background

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

Card Theme

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

Card Synergies and Interactions

Action Advantage

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

Rosie Cotton

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

Quest Specific

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

Ring Rating

Card Talk uses the highly scientific yet arbitrary scale of 1 ring for the card to rule them all to 10 to be cast back into the fiery chasm from whence it came.

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

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

External Links

Sample Decks

The Kids Gather ’round the Christmas Tree by Dave Walsh

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

Main Deck

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sideboard

Event (3)
3x Feint (Core Set)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Dwarven Tomb

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Recursion
    • Discard Pile

Almost like having an extra copy of any Spirit card.

Background

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

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

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

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

Card Theme

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

Card Synergies and Interactions

Powerful Spirit Events

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

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

Caldara, Dwarven Mining, and Noldor Discard

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

Other Discard Recursion Cards

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

Quest Specific

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

Ring Rating

Card Talk uses the highly scientific yet arbitrary scale of 1 ring for the card to rule them all to 10 to be cast back into the fiery chasm from whence it came.

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

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

External Links

Sample Decks

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

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

Main Deck

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

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

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

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

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

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Burglar’s Turn to Side Quest by kattattack22

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

Burglar’s Turn to Side Quest

Main Deck

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

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

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

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

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

3 Heroes, 51 Cards
Cards up to Wrath and Ruin

Sideboard

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

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Asfaloth – Community Review

by Clare Bernier

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

Card Background & Theme

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

Card Synergies and Interactions

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

Ring Rating

Card Talk uses the highly scientific yet arbitrary scale of 1 ring for the card to rule them all to 10 to be cast back into the fiery chasm from whence it came.

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

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