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.

Drinking Song

  • Card Talk Season 5 Episode 36
    • Video episode
    • Audio episode

It’s an extra mulligan!

Background

Tolkien’s works feature many songs. It considering that a major theme in the Lord of the Rings is joy of everyday life and simple pleasures that it would have a couple drinking songs. There is “Ho! Ho! Ho! To the Bottle I Go” that used for the flavor text. The hobbits sing it after meeting Gildor and his entourage of elves.

Ho! Ho! Ho! to the bottle I go

To heal my heart and drown my woe.

Rain may fall and wind may blow,

And many miles be still to go,

But under a tall tree I will lie,

And let the clouds go sailing by.

Fellowship of the Ring, Chapter 4: A Short Cut to Mushrooms

There is also “The Man in the Moon Stayed Up Too Late” that Frodo sings when he gets up on a table at The Prancing Pony.

There is an inn, a merry old inn

beneath an old grey hill,

And there they brew a beer so brown

That the Man in the Moon himself came down

One night to drink his fill.

Fellowship of the Ring, Chapter 9: At the Sign of the Prancing Pony

The above is an just an except as the full song is quite long.

Card Theme

Many of the cards with draw effects in the game has ties to knowledge in the game. Daeron’s Runes (a writing system), Deep Knowledge, Gandalf’s Search, Mithrandir’s Advice, etc.

Drinking Song is an interesting entry into melding this theme and mechanism. It can be argued that songs are another medium to convey knowledge. Particularly with many of the songs of the ancient heroes and deeds in Middle Earth. Drinking Songs, however, generally are not these grand epic songs. They’re silly, funny, and fun to sing while drinking impairing one’s wits. I think this is why it has a player shuffle their hand back into the deck and redraw those cards. It is represents the alcohol scrambling the knowledge in their head.

Card Synergies and Interactions

More Card Draw

The idea behind combining this card with more card draw, is it increases the number of cards you reshuffle into the deck. This synergy is best if a player truly wants an extra mulligan with this card ensure getting a key card or to really thin their deck. Peace and Thought is a really strong choice for this since it draws 5 at the cost of a single card. Erestor hero also especially on turn 1 can help maximize that new hand if played on turn 1. Deep Knowledge and Daeron’s Runes also can help incrementally increase your hand size especially if you have more than 1 or draw into multiple copies.

Love of Tales

Drinking Song and Love of Tales can create a resource acceleration engine in mono-Lore. Lore doesn’t have many resource acceleration options after the Master of Lore nerf. This particular engine for Mono-Lore takes a bit of setup to get 2 or optimally 3 Love of Tales in play. Still it is not that difficult since they’re zero cost and just need to be drawn, and fortunately Lore has many ways to draw cards. Then each play of Drinking Song, will give each hero with Love of Tales a resource. They can be recurred with Scroll of Isildur to play them 9 times in a game. Erebor Hammersmiths can increase this up to 15 times in game. That means this engine could generate up to 45 resources in a game. The entire time, the player will get to draw new hands of cards.

Council of the Wise

Council of the Wise because of its deckbuilding limitation, can be very inconsistent. The limit of 1 copy of each card in a deck works in Magic the Gathering where Elder Dragon Highlander or as it is now known, Commander is a very popular format because its card pool lots of cards with similar effects. This allows Magic decks to create consistent decks because there are dozens of cards with different names that still do the same thing. LOTR LCG doesn’t have that same depth particularly as less player cards came out in each cycle than many Magic sets. Additonally, an advantage of the LCG release model is there is little to no reprints and players don’t have to buy multiple copies of expansions except for the original core set. Drinking Song can help make Council of the Wise decks a bit more consistent. Anytime there is a bad draw or starts to stall because events aren’t being drawn, then Drinking Song can reset the player’s hand plus triggers the contract’s response.

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 Drinking Song at 4 rings. It is a good solid card that helps dig for specific cards and makes for a fun resource engine in mono-Lore. It is a very Pippin player friendly card because it help get combos set up. That said, I think it is more a role player of the zero cost card draw events. Daeron’s Runes and Deep Knowledge are easier to play since they are zero resource cost and get the player 2 new cards. Drinking Song needs a unique Hobbit in order to replace itself. The main hurdle I find to playing it usually if I have a card I want to keep, then I don’t play Drinking Song even if all the other cards in my hand aren’t helpful. If playing Lore and looking to splash in card draw Daeron’s Runes and Deep Knowledge are top of the list. Including a third card draw event after those can take up too much deck space. Even if considering more card draw, Heed the Dream is a strong contender for the similar use case as Drinking Song. Heed the Dream let’s a player search their top 5 cards for 1 in particular and their entire deck if 3 leadership resources are paid. At that point, it may come down to if unique Hobbits are being played in the deck or not.

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

External Links

Sample Decks

Love of Drinking Song by Marcelf

Mono-Lore deck showcasing Love of Tales and Drinking Song resources acceleration.

Love of Drinking Song

Main Deck

Hero (3)
(MotK) Gléowine (Messenger of the King Allies)
Folco Boffin (The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat)
Gríma (The Voice of Isengard)

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

Ally (23)
3x Erebor Hammersmith (Core Set)
1x Firyal (The Mûmakil)
1x Gaffer Gamgee (Mount Gundabad)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)
1x Gandalf (Over Hill and Under Hill)
1x Gléowine (Core Set)
1x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
1x Ioreth (A Storm on Cobas Haven)
3x Isengard Messenger (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Loyal Hound (The Fate of Wilderland)
1x Mablung (The Land of Shadow)
1x Quickbeam (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Robin Smallburrow (The Drowned Ruins)
2x Steward of Orthanc (Race Across Harad)
1x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)

Attachment (15)
3x Keys of Orthanc (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Love of Tales (The Long Dark)
3x Resourceful (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Scroll of Isildur (The Morgul Vale)
3x Sword-thain (The Dread Realm)

Event (12)
3x Bartering (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
2x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Drinking Song (Mount Gundabad)
3x Mithrandir’s Advice (The Steward’s Fear)
1x The Houses of Healing (A Storm on Cobas Haven)

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

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

The Great Hunt

  • Cycle
    • Ered Mithren
  • Set
    • Fate of the Wilderland
  • Player Card Categories 
    • Mono Sphere Required

The Great Ship Killer!

Background

The picture of the White Hart and the flavor text refer to in The Hobbit when an deer knocks Bombur into the enchanted stream. Shortly after they hear a great hunt going on. Knowing Tolkien’s interest in Western and Northern European folklore, this is likely a reference to The Wild Hunt. The Wild Hunt is a type of mythological story common in Northern Europe with a hunting party comprised of Gods or supernatural beings.

The more direct reference is to the White Hart most notably appearing in Arthurian Legend. The Hart is hunted by King Arthur and his knights but has an uncanny ability to evade them.

The appearance of the White Hart, the implications of Mirkwood as a magical place with the enchanted stream, and similarity in name are why I think Tolkien alludes to The Wild Hunt. It also fits with his interest in mythology and attempting to create a mythological stories with The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings.

Card Theme

The effect of destroying a non-unique enemy matches the idea of a great hunt that would culminate in the death of the pursued creature. It doesn’t match the passing reference to the possibility of a great hunt proposed by Bilbo and the Dwarves in The Hobbit. Especially as they do not kill the deer and the White Hart also has a great ability to elude hunters in legend.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Resource Smoothing

The nice part about this card compared to previous cards that require mono-sphere is it doesn’t require the printed resource icon on each hero like Strength of Arms or Advanced Warning. Song of Wisdom or A Good Harvest can make it possible to play The Great Hunt. Any heroes or unique allies with Messenger of the King that also have a Lore hero version with Thorongil can pay for The Great Hunt. Galadriel and Aragorn can also gain Lore through Nenya and Ring of Barahir. This makes it a bit more flexible than the Against the Shadow cycle mono-sphere cards.

Cost Reduction

The drawback to this version of mono-sphere card, is the 3 resources have to be paid. All cost reduction cards then cannot combo or a nonbo with The Great Hunt. It is especially unfortunate for Hobbit decks considering A Good Meal and Leaf Brooch are great cost reduction options.

Low Threat Heroes and Engagement Control

The second reason that it unfortunate the Hobbit cost reduction is a nonbo is the advantage of putting The Great Hunt in a low starting threat deck. The Great Hunt can only target an enemy in the staging area, but it can only be played after engagements during the combat phase. Hobbit heroes in particular work well because they’re all fairly low starting threat. Folco Boffin that is a Lore hero helps keep them even lower since he can be 4 threat with 2 other Hobbit heroes. The Shirefolk is a great threat reduction card that lowers threat slightly more than Elrond’s Counsel and still costs 0. In other mono-Lore builds Woodmen’s Clearing or Lore Aragorn are going to be the best threat reduction options.

Lore isn’t limited to just threat reduction for controlling engagements. Advanced Warning was mentioned earlier that lets the player skip engagement checks for a phase. Lore also cards that increase engagement costs of enemies with Lore Pippin hero, Take No Notice, and Mablung ally.

Scroll of Isildur

Scroll of Isildur is the best combo with The Great Hunt. This allows players to possibly play each copy 3 times in a game. That is up 9 non-unique enemies just discarded from play. The recursion can be taken further with Erebor Hammersmith or Second Breakfast to bring Scroll of Isildur back from the discard pile. That is not far fetched considering how much card draw Lore has available between Drinking Song, Daeron’s Runes, Mithrandir’s Advice, Peace and Thought, Deep Knowledge and more.

Quest Specific

The game even since the beginning of the game has made strong non-unique enemies. Most notoriously is the Hill Troll players have in the staging area at the start of Journey Along the Anduin. The Great Hunt can get rid of it right away. Marsh Adder in the Wilderlands encounter set can also make an appearance in Journey and it is not easy to deal with its fairly high 7 hit points. Chieftain Ufthak similarly has tough defense and hit points compared to most other enemies in the core set. Both are better to not engage as each attack they make increases a player’s threat or their attack. Most surprising, however, is that the Nazgul of Dol Guldur in Escape from Dol Guldur is not unique and vulnerable to The Great Hunt. Discarding it and not risking having to discard an ally due its second forced effect is a great value.

Another good target for The Great Hunt are Mumaks. They’re often not unique but very strong with a lot of hit points. On top of that they have a limit on how much damage they can take each round. The Great Hunt bypasses that limitation and gets rid of the Mumak in a single round!

Intruders in Chetwood in the Angmar Awakened cycle sets up using The Great Hunt very well. First of all the quest, makes it so there are no engagement checks perfect for setting up targets. Second, the quest starts with an Orc War Party in play. It is a strong enemy that prevents enemies in the staging are from taking damage and the players from winning the game. There is also another strong orc enemy, Angmar Captain that is better to not to engage if at all possible. It’s forced effect can make it attack twice in a single combat with its 5 attack! Both enemies have 3 threat which is not easy to just quest over. Reducing staging area threat by 3 is going to help questing more than playing most allies since few have 3 or more willpower.

The best value for The Great Hunt is discarding ship enemies. 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.” Discarding a ship enemy then not only gets rid of 1 enemy engagement, but often times 2, 3, or even 4 enemy engagements. Ship enemies only appear in Voyage Across Belegaer, Flight of the Stormcaller, A Storm on Cobas Haven, A City of Corsairs, and The Hunt for the Dreadnaught. In those 5 scenarios, it can do a lot of work.

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 Great Hunt at 5 rings. The effect can be incredibly powerful. In some scenarios, it can make them much, much easier. The core set offers the earliest examples of this with advancement of quest prevented by Hill Troll in Joureny Along the Anduin and the Nazgul in Escape from Dol Guldur. Normal strategy would be to build up to deal those enemies in combat. The Great Hunt offers an alternative. There are a couple scenarios like Intruders in Chetwood and Dungeons of Cirith Gurat where enemies don’t make engagement checks and having other ways to get them out of play is very useful. Lastly, getting rid of ship enemies with Boarding is just amazing value.

That all said, the requirement to pay for The Great Hunt from 3 different heroes resource pools is limiting. It doesn’t necessarily require 3 Lore heroes to play since resource smoothing does work to fulfil the requirement. It does mean it can’t be played in a Grey Wanderer deck and cost reduction is not an option. The cost reduction nonbo is an issue for mono-Lore. Lore doesn’t have much resource acceleration available unless playing secrecy for Resourceful and/or Grima. Outside mono-Lore then there is a bit of additional setup required with the smoothing to be able to play it. It also is just an event. Even if Lore has a ways to recur it a substantial number of times. It will discard one enemy per turn. A strong attacker with a few attachments could achieve the same effect without the 3 resources per turn cost.

I’ve found it to be a good effective card for solo or multiplayer. It just doesn’t see widespread play because of the cost and requirement to pay the cost from 3 different heroes resource pools.

  • Dave – 3
  • Grant – 5
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – 5
  • Average – 4.33

External Links

Sample Decks

Victory via a Burglary Side Quest by Matt Kell aka kattattack22

Questing deck for multiplayer leveraging the willpower boosting on Treebeard, Thurindir, and Rossiel in early to mid game. While also providing some encounter control with victory display events.

Burglar’s Turn provides some strong attachments to further boost willpower and comabt ability. Many can be easily passed out to other players.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Rossiel (Escape from Mount Gram)
Thurindir (Race Across Harad)
Treebeard (The Treason of Saruman)

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

Ally (28)
3x East Road Ranger (The Wastes of Eriador)
2x Firyal (The Mûmakil)
2x Ghân-buri-Ghân (The Flame of the West)
2x Gléowine (Core Set)
2x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
2x Mablung (The Land of Shadow)
3x Mirkwood Explorer (The Thing in the Depths)
2x Mirkwood Hunter (The Ghost of Framsburg)
2x Quickbeam (The Treason of Saruman)
2x Robin Smallburrow (The Drowned Ruins)
3x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)
3x Wellinghall Preserver (Across the Ettenmoors)

Event (21)
3x Gildor’s Counsel (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Leave No Trace (Escape from Mount Gram)
3x None Return (Across the Ettenmoors)
3x Out of the Wild (Road to Rivendell)
3x The Door is Closed! (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
3x The Great Hunt (The Fate of Wilderland)
3x The Hidden Way (The Withered Heath)

Player Side Quest (3)
1x Explore Secret Ways (Race Across Harad)
1x Gather Information (The Lost Realm)
1x Scout Ahead (The Wastes of Eriador)

3 Heroes, 52 Cards
Cards up to Wrath and Ruin

Sideboard

Attachment (14)
1x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
1x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
1x Durin’s Axe (Wrath and Ruin)
1x Elven Mail (The Three Trials)
1x Ent Draught (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Glamdring (Roam Across Rhovanion)
1x Magic Ring (The Crossings of Poros)
1x Mirkwood Long-knife (The Sands of Harad)
1x Mithril Shirt (The Fate of Wilderland)
1x Necklace of Girion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
1x Orcrist (Fire in the Night)
1x Ring of Barahir (The Steward’s Fear)
1x Stone of Elostirion (Under the Ash Mountains)
1x The Arkenstone (The Withered Heath)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

The Greatest Hunt by Seastan

A low threat mono-Lore deck dedicated to recurring The Great Hunt. Resource acceleration and card draw ensures it has everything to keep the recursion going. I’ve done something similar with Marcelf’s Love of Drinking Song sideboarding in The Great Hunt. It is highly effective.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Bilbo Baggins (The Hunt for Gollum)
Folco Boffin (The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat)
Pippin (The Black Riders)

Ally (16)
3x Erebor Hammersmith (Core Set)
2x Firyal (The Mûmakil)
1x Gaffer Gamgee (Mount Gundabad)
1x Gléowine (Core Set)
1x Guardian of Ithilien (The City of Corsairs)
1x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
1x Mablung (The Land of Shadow)
1x Quickbeam (The Treason of Saruman)
3x Robin Smallburrow (The Drowned Ruins)
1x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)
1x Wellinghall Preserver (Across the Ettenmoors)

Attachment (12)
3x Resourceful (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Scroll of Isildur (The Morgul Vale)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
3x Sword-thain (The Dread Realm)

Event (22)
3x A Good Harvest (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Bartering (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Drinking Song (Mount Gundabad)
3x Mithrandir’s Advice (The Steward’s Fear)
3x The Great Hunt (The Fate of Wilderland)
3x The Shirefolk (Mount Gundabad)
1x Will of the West (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Fate of Wilderland

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Out of the Wild – Community Review

by Shane Marquez

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Secrecy
    • Victory Display

Background

I had never played the card before one of the Epic Multiplayer community events and after testing a bit with the deck I was given to play, the archetype fit my playstyle perfectly. I enjoy planning turns ahead and trying to make informed decisions to prevent catastrophe.

Card Theme

The card definitely fall in theme with the other “ranger”-y cards like Hidden Path. It allows the player to sort of “play ahead” of the encounter deck and by continually undermining the Enemy through preparedness, they never gain a foothold to stop the players.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Victory Display

The deck is complimented by anything that asks the players to build up the Victory Display. Keen As Lances rewards not only the player using Out of the Wild, but the entire team, if they’re willing to dedicate the room (and why wouldn’t everyone want free “draw 3” if they know a teammate will be doing the work for them?). It also synergizes extremely well with The Door Is Closed! as it sets up TDIC as a reliable and complete cancellation card, the longer the game goes on.

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.

Out of the Wild is the type of card that offers a fun and impactful decision point. At face value, it removes a card from the game that you’d prefer not to see, but the criteria of what makes a card one that you don’t want to see if is flexible for every group or scenario. It can reduce Surge appearing probability, it can proactively remove enemies you’re not able to fight, and it can even remove some of the most notorious treacheries from the game. While it doesn’t answer threats that are currently facing you, it’s efficient, proactive, and interesting. If I’m playing Lore at all, and the threat is low enough to afford Secrecy (it’s only other drawback), Out of the Wild is included.

  • Shane- 2
  • Dave – TBR
  • Grant – TBR
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – TBR

Sample Decks

Asneak On Dol Goldur! Second Impact! by Attercop!

Well rounded deck featuring Firyal as a hero with a fair amount of location control.

Asneak On Dol Goldur! Second Impact!

Main Deck

Hero (3)
(MotK) Robin Smallburrow (Messenger of the King Allies)
Folco Boffin (The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat)
Pippin (The Black Riders)

Ally (3)
1x Ioreth (A Storm on Cobas Haven)
2x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)

Attachment (10)
3x Good Meal (The Redhorn Gate)
2x Leaf Brooch (The Three Trials)
3x Resourceful (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Scroll of Isildur (The Morgul Vale)

Event (40)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
2x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Drinking Song (Mount Gundabad)
3x Gildor’s Counsel (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Keen as Lances (Escape from Mount Gram)
3x Leave No Trace (Escape from Mount Gram)
3x Mithrandir’s Advice (The Steward’s Fear)
2x None Return (Across the Ettenmoors)
3x Out of the Wild (Road to Rivendell)
3x Peace, and Thought (Shadow and Flame)
3x The Door is Closed! (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
2x The Great Hunt (The Fate of Wilderland)
3x The Hidden Way (The Withered Heath)
1x The Houses of Healing (A Storm on Cobas Haven)
2x The Shirefolk (Mount Gundabad)
1x Tom Bombadillo! (Wrath and Ruin)

3 Heroes, 53 Cards
Cards up to Messenger of the King Allies

Sideboard

Attachment (5)
3x Expert Treasure-hunter (On the Doorstep)
1x Leaf Brooch (The Three Trials)
1x Scroll of Isildur (The Morgul Vale)

Event (26)
3x Advance Warning (The Drúadan Forest)
3x Heed the Dream (Flight of the Stormcaller)
1x None Return (Across the Ettenmoors)
3x Radagast’s Cunning (Core Set)
3x Risk Some Light (Shadow and Flame)
3x Secret Paths (Core Set)
3x Strider’s Path (The Hunt for Gollum)
3x The Evening Star (The Grey Havens)
1x The Great Hunt (The Fate of Wilderland)
1x The Houses of Healing (A Storm on Cobas Haven)
1x The Shirefolk (Mount Gundabad)
1x Tom Bombadillo! (Wrath and Ruin)

Deck built on RingsDB.

Feint

  • Player Card Categories
    • Attack Cancelation

Best when played tactically.

Background

A feint is an attack meant to mislead an opponent and open them to another attack. the card image shows a sword fight which can employ feints. In the books, it is used to describe battlefield tactics. The flavor text refers to the one instance it appears in The Hobbit. The men of Dale put up a token resistance to the Goblin vanguard. This is a feint intended to get the Goblins to following the fleeing men into the battleground of their choosing, the valley between the arms of the mountain. The other instance of it is in Lord of the Rings as Aragorn leads the armies of men to The Black Gate. Near the Crossroads, they are ambushed by Orcs and Easterlings, but it was an easy victory for them. Aragorn believes that it is a feint to give them a false sense of the Saruon’s military strength.

Card Theme

A deceptive move or battlefield tactic is hard to simulate in a card game where the opponent isn’t another human player. The result of it, however, the advantage gained can be. Here the designers gave the player that plays this card the biggest advantage in canceling an attack and get the first swing at the enemy.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Event Recursion

Hama hero and Book of Eldacar let you replay this card up to 6 times. If you have 3 copies in your deck, that’s 9 attacks canceled in a game. Twelve if you manage to draw each copy again. It’s very possible to “Feint Lock” a big enemy so they don’t even have a chance to attack. It was easier before the errata that limited Hama’s ability to 3 times per game.

Discard Recursion

The other way to get more plays of Feint is to shuffle it from the discard pile back into your deck. Nori ally is the only in sphere option for this effect. He does enable a strategy where a player thins there deck to a few cards. Then endlessly recycles those few cards. It is not easy to achieve and takes quite a bit of set up and enemies for him to destroy each round. Outside of Tactics, Will of the West, Galadhrim Weaver, and The White Council can also shuffle it back into the deck.

Quest Specific

The core set scenarios provided a few great targets for Feint. It works well for the Hill Troll in Journey Along the Anduin to get a free hit on it and avoid having to raise threat by chump blocking. It also prevents the Marsh Adder, Chieftan Ufthak, and Nazgul of Dol Guldur from triggering their additional effects when they attack along with avoiding dealing with their relatively high attack.

Against the Shadow cycle featured many shadow effects that had players add additional shadow cards to an enemy. This is where having Feint to prevent seeing a shadow at all and avoid the Shadow chain can be huge. The first three quests of the cycle also had some enemies with very strong attack including the Orc Vanguard with 8 attack that even could give Tactics Beregond with a Gondorian Shield pause. Haradrim cycle features many enemies with additional attacks. The were-worms in Desert Crossing will all attack when engaged as well as the combat phase. Hight attack enemies were not limited to the earlier cycles as they periodically appeared in each cycle.

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 Feint at 2 rings. Once you can play it it’s almost always helpful. Even if you have a strong defender, it works as shadow cancelation as well since you never reveal the shadow card. You also get the action advantage of not having to defend freeing up a character to quest, attack, or an ability.

The challenge with this card is when to play it. You can easily hold onto it the whole game saving it just for when you need it. It feels like a waste to stop an attack from a single enemy with 4 or less attack, but sometimes you have to. Besides that a player could want to save it for when they have to engage 2 or more enemies in a single round. Another concern can be seeing a surprise big enemy like the second Hill Troll in Journey Along the Anduin.

The main reason I don’t give it a one is the prevalence of enemies with immune to player card effects. Understandably, the boss enemies often have this to avoid being “feint locked”. Still it makes it much less useful because those enemies who you’d most need it for, it won’t work. In those cases the deck space is better spent on action attachments with a strong defender like Beregond, Erkenbrand, Grimbeorn, or Dain

It’s still very helpful to deal with an unexpected enemy or ones with additional attacks. Although a strong defender with Armored Destrier and/or Unexpected Courage is generally better. Overall, it’s a great emergency button card.

  • Dave – 1
  • Grant – 1
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – 2
  • Average 1.3

Sample Decks

Deck Tech: Beorn SMASH! by chrsjxn

Title really says what the deck does. It does also feature many ways to recur Feint and make good use of it.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Beorn (Over Hill and Under Hill)
Háma (The Long Dark)
Mablung (The Nîn-in-Eilph)

Ally (30)
2x Bofur (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Dúnedain Hunter (The Lost Realm)
3x Eagles of the Misty Mountains (Return to Mirkwood)
3x Envoy of Pelargir (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
3x Gondorian Spearman (Core Set)
1x Gwaihir (Trouble in Tharbad)
3x Knight of Minas Tirith (Assault on Osgiliath)
3x Landroval (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
3x Vassal of the Windlord (The Dead Marshes)
3x Winged Guardian (The Hunt for Gollum)

Attachment (11)
2x Blade of Gondolin (Core Set)
3x Book of Eldacar (Encounter at Amon Dîn)
3x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Secret Vigil (The Lost Realm)

Event (9)
3x Feint (Core Set)
3x The Eagles Are Coming! (The Hunt for Gollum)
3x Trained for War (The Drúadan Forest)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Lost Realm

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Second Breakfast – Community Review

by Ziggi W

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Recursion
    • Discard Pile

Background

Hate that art. That disgusting stuffed Hobbit, is like a tiny Denethor who has just munched on all the tomatoes and is now considering tomatoes for dessert.

Card Theme

This should have been the Hobbit readying card instead of Fast Hitch. A real thematic miss to not create a Hobbit food related readying chain, Second Breakfast, Elevenses, Good Meal (that one is ok kinda). Drinking Song I’m on board with for theme and because it’s amazing, but Second Breakfast….so much sadness.

Card Synergies and Interactions

None, other than that food covered Hobbit-like ball on the art synergizes at putting me off my food.

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.

Rated 10 for being bloody useless and more importantly for being thematically wasted. This card is thematically what Fast Hitch should have been, Hobbits need their second breakfast to be ready for the day…after their first breakfast. In addition, FFG missed the boat on thematically incorporating Elevenses together with Second Breakfast for a delicious Hobbit readying chain, to be followed by eggs and bakey and a pipe. I would also have accepted ‘They come in PINTS!’ for Hobbit readying. Onto that card art, ughhhh! That stuffed Hobbit is giving me Denethor eating tomatoes vibes times 10, I had to sleeve the card backwards to save my soul from that image.

  • Ziggi – 10
  • Dave – TBR
  • Grant – TBR
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – TBR

Smoke and Think

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Cost Reduction

Background

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

Card Theme

Many of the resource acceleration cards in the game represent Middle Earth’s material wealth. These include cards like Steward of Gondor, Zigil Miner, Traffic from Dale. Many of the cost reduction cards are thematically tied to knowledge and thought. Master of Lore and Erebor Toymaker are prime examples.

The Song attachments of To the Sea, To the Sea and O Lorien! also arguably can be tied to this theme. The record attachments since they reduce their own cost represent this as well.

It is also fun to think about the characters all being drawn together to sit around and smoke a pipe. Granted this card can help play other cards besides allies. The high cost unique allies like Gandalf and Gimli as we see them do so in the books.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Pipes

Obviously the more pipes you have the better this card is. Spare Pipe, Hobbit Pipe, and Dunedain Pipe all help draw Smoke and Think to get it into play. Wizard Pipe plus Gandalf hero has great synergy with Smoke and Think. The Wizard Pipe can set up Gandalf to play it from the top of the deck even if you don’t have a Spirit hero. Gandalf can also make use of the cost reduction in any phase with his ability which can be great to play some high cost yet powerful events like Galadhrim’s Greeting or Grim Resolve. Dwarf Pipe doesn’t have much synergy other than it being in the same sphere and keeping Smoke and Think in the deck if a mined away by a Zigil Miner or Spirit Dain.

High Cost allies

Once two or three pipes are play, Smoke and Think accelerate resources at rate similar to Steward of Gondor. Gandalf hero with his resource smoothing and strong stats works well with Hobbits, Dwarves, and/or Dunedain to make it possible to get 5 or 6 pipes in play that can make even the most expensive cards like Beorn ally and Brok Ironfist cost 0. This burst of resource acceleration is fantastic with high cost unique allies like Firyal, Jubayr, Legolas, or Treebeard. These allies have hero level stats and strong abilities that can make a huge difference if played early. Even a 2 or 3 cost discount can help to play them without having to save up for multiple turns.

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 Smoke and Think at 4 rings. It can have a pretty big effect. It takes a good amount of setup to get there however. It is also is limited because it is an event. Repeatable resource acceleration like Steward of Gondor, Zigil Miner, and O Lorien! will provide more value over the course of the game. If used to bring in a high cost yet strong ally like Treebread, Beorn, or Glorfindel then it is worth the effort. It can also be hard to count on with only 3 copies in the deck. Fortunately, card draw and search cards like Spare Pipe and Heed the Dream can help a player find it when they have a high cost card in hand.

  • Dave – 4
  • Grant – 2
  • Ted – 3
  • Matt – 4
  • Average – 3.25

Sample Decks

Smokin’ Sidequest Gandalf! by Matt Kell (kattattack22)

Pipe deck also featuring dwarf mining and side quests with underground location tech for Beneath the Sands.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Dáin Ironfoot (The Ghost of Framsburg)
Gandalf (The Road Darkens)
Thurindir (Race Across Harad)

Ally (13)
1x Bilbo Baggins (The Road Darkens)
2x Bombur (Road to Rivendell)
3x Ered Luin Miner (Temple of the Deceived)
1x Glorfindel (Flight of the Stormcaller)
3x Northern Tracker (Core Set)
3x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)

Attachment (23)
2x Dúnedain Pipe (The Black Serpent)
2x Dwarf Pipe (The Mûmakil)
3x Ever My Heart Rises (The Long Dark)
2x Gandalf’s Staff (The Road Darkens)
1x Narya (The Grey Havens)
2x Ring of Thrór (The Ghost of Framsburg)
2x Shadowfax (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Silver Lamp (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Spare Pipe (The Land of Sorrow)
3x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
2x Wizard Pipe (The Road Darkens)

Event (15)
3x Hidden Cache (The Morgul Vale)
3x Old Toby (The Black Serpent)
3x Smoke and Think (The Land of Sorrow)
3x Smoke Rings (The Black Riders)
3x Will of the West (Core Set)

Player Side Quest (4)
1x Double Back (Escape from Mount Gram)
1x Gather Information (The Lost Realm)
1x Rally the West (The Black Serpent)
1x Scout Ahead (The Wastes of Eriador)

3 Heroes, 55 Cards
Cards up to The Land of Sorrow

Sideboard

Ally (9)
3x East Road Ranger (The Wastes of Eriador)
3x Ethir Swordsman (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Rhovanion Outrider (Temple of the Deceived)

Attachment (1)
1x Ring of Thrór (The Ghost of Framsburg)

Event (9)
3x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
3x Well-Equipped (The Blood of Gondor)
3x Word of Command (The Long Dark)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Master Baggins by TheChad

Hobbit Pipe deck that pumps out strong unique allies with Smoke and Think.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
(MotK) Bilbo Baggins (Messenger of the King Allies)
Frodo Baggins (Conflict at the Carrock)
Sam Gamgee (The Black Riders)

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

Ally (20)
1x Arwen Undómiel (The Watcher in the Water)
1x Bill the Pony (The Black Riders)
3x Celduin Traveler (The Nîn-in-Eilph)
1x Erebor Toymaker (Mount Gundabad)
1x Erestor (The Long Dark)
1x Faramir (Core Set)
3x Gandalf (Over Hill and Under Hill)
1x Gimli (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Glorfindel (Flight of the Stormcaller)
1x Jubayr (The Mûmakil)
1x Prince Imrahil (The Flame of the West)
1x Rosie Cotton (The Mountain of Fire)
1x Súlien (The City of Corsairs)
1x Treebeard (The Antlered Crown)
2x Wild Stallion (Roam Across Rhovanion)

Attachment (14)
1x Gandalf’s Staff (The Road Darkens)
3x Hobbit Pipe (The Black Riders)
2x Narya (The Grey Havens)
1x Red Book of Westmarch (The Land of Sorrow)
1x Resourceful (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Shadowfax (The Treason of Saruman)
3x Spare Pipe (The Land of Sorrow)
1x Wizard Pipe (The Road Darkens)

Event (17)
2x A Test of Will (Core Set)
2x Dwarven Tomb (Core Set)
1x Free to Choose (Trouble in Tharbad)
3x Smoke and Think (The Land of Sorrow)
2x Smoke Rings (The Black Riders)
3x The Shirefolk (Mount Gundabad)
3x Timely Aid (The Redhorn Gate)
1x To Arms! (The Wilds of Rhovanion)

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

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

A Test of Will

The staple Spirit card to rule them all.

Background

It’s difficult to point to a single character or event in the books that this would apply to because really its a theme in Lord of the Rings. Frodo’s will is consistently tested by the ring on the journey to Mordor. Gandalf and Galadriel are tempted but ultimately pass the test when Frodo offers it to them. Boromir’s will is eventually broken by its promise of a means to save his people. The will of the free peoples are tested as they are betrayed and beset on all sides against what seems overwhelming odds.

Card Theme

Treacheries in this game can be thought of like a plot twist. The game can seem to be heading in one direction then suddenly there is a Piercing Cry. The heroes must summon their will to fight off Dread and Despair. Their will is continually tested as the road darkens with the Devilry of Saruman and his Orcs of the White Hand. All the while resisting The Lure of the Ring until they reach the Foul Fumes of Mount Doom.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Encounter Control

A Test of Will can basically reduce the number of cards revealed in a turn by 1 as long as it is a treachery. Lore with Gildor’s Counsel can do in a more straightforward fashion. Lore also has many other ways to mitigate what the encounter deck can throw at the players. Out of the Wild and Scout Ahead can put the most punishing encounter card of the top 5 in the victory display. This can set up The Door is Closed to cancel not only treacheries (and their keywords which A Test of Will can’t do), but any encounter card in the victory display. None Return and Leave No Trace can ensure that a bad enemy or location that the players destroyed or explored doesn’t make a repeat appearance.

Additionally there are some encounter filtering effects like Lore Denethor in the core set that can put an encounter card on the bottom of the encounter deck. Risk Some Light does much the same except players can choose one of the top 3. The Hidden Way and Wait No Longer let players choose a location or enemy, respectively, from the top 5 cards to replace a card revealed during staging. Plus, these cards put the location in the active slot or engaged keeping staging area threat under control. Eleanor and Balin can also replace a treachery or shadow revealed. These filtering effects help players mitigate the randomness of the encounter deck bypassing the worst effects for ones that are hopefully easier to deal with. Players combining all of these cards can have a strong measure of control over the encounter deck as they’ll either always be choosing the least harmful effect or having the means to remove or cancel it.

Nonbos

There are a couple cards that seem like they should work with A Test of Will but don’t due to the timing framework.

Map of Eardindil

Map of Eardindil can’t be used to recur A Test of Will. It is an action to use the map to replay A Test of Will from the discard and there are no action windows during staging when most treacheries are revealed. It still doesn’t work even if you reveal a treachery during the Planning Phase when there are action windows presumably through something like A Desperate Path. This is because per FAQ 1.37 on timing of effects, “players should use this order of resolution: passive abilities first, Forced effects second, Response actions third”. Each effect has to pass their priority (to borrow some Magic: The Gathering terminology) before actions can be used. This means that by the time you can use Map of Earindil’s action, the window to play a response is closed.

A Good Harvest

As mentioned earlier, there isn’t any action windows during staging. If you planned to splash A Test of Will into a deck without a Spirit hero, A Good Harvest it won’t be able to help do so on as needed basis. A Good Harvest would have to be played before staging since it is an action either at the action window after 3.1 Quest Phase begins or 3.2 Commit characters to the quest. A risky play just for the chance to cancel a when revealed effect without some encounter scrying especially in lower player counts.

Quest Specific

A Test of Will will be useful in any quest since all of them still have treacheries with When Revealed effect. The Khazad-Dum cycle, however, it is almost a requirement to bring Test of Will. The Hazards of the Pit set that is part of many of the scenarios includes the notorious Sudden Pitfall that can easily take out a hero if there are no other questing characters to discard. Crumbling Ruin in the same set can also often result in the loss of an ally and even a hero if they don’t have an ally instead. Watchful Eyes also in one of the deluxe sets means many additional encounter cards or not being able to use a hero. Then there’s Road to Rivendell with not 1 but 2 terrible treacheries to watch out for. The infamous Sleeping Sentry that has ended many a game when A Test of Will is not available to cancel it. Then there’s Orc Ambush that as Ted pointed out in Superlative February covering the best and worst encounter cards not only can give bring a ton of enemies into play late game, but surges on top of it.

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.

There’s no denying A Test of Will is 1 ring rating card. One Spirit resource to stop some of the worst effects the encounter deck can do to players is amazing. Especially in the early cycles when the encounter design threw more varying levels of difficulty at players. Treacheries could act more like a “bomb” card for the encounter deck. Later cycles treacheries and the occasional when reveled on an enemy work more to grind away at a player’s board state, but canceling one that would take out a key part of it is still important.

  • Dave – 1
  • Grant – 1
  • Ted – 1
  • Matt – 1

External Links

Sample Deck

Really you can find just about any deck with a Spirit hero and some without that include Test of Will. There’s is one deck that takes encounter control to another level.

The Nope Deck by Qwaz

This is a multiplayer encounter control support deck. It runs Balin and Eleanor to provide ways to mitigate treacheries and shadows right off the rip. The full victory display suite to get ride of the worst encounter cards and double up on cancelation with both A Test of Will and The Door is Closed!

The Nope Deck

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Balin (On the Doorstep)
Damrod (The Land of Shadow)
Eleanor (Core Set)

Ally (3)
3x Errand-rider (Heirs of Númenor)

Attachment (14)
3x Forest Snare (Core Set)
3x King Under the Mountain (On the Doorstep)
3x Ranger Spikes (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
2x Thror’s Map (Over Hill and Under Hill)

Event (31)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Gildor’s Counsel (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)
3x None Return (Across the Ettenmoors)
3x Out of the Wild (Road to Rivendell)
3x Power of Orthanc (The Voice of Isengard)
3x The Door is Closed! (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
3x We Are Not Idle (Shadow and Flame)
1x Will of the West (Core Set)

Player Side Quest (2)
1x Gather Information (The Lost Realm)
1x Scout Ahead (The Wastes of Eriador)

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

Sideboard

Ally (6)
3x Miner of the Iron Hills (Core Set)
3x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)

Attachment (13)
3x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Entangling Nets (Temple of the Deceived)
3x Song of Wisdom (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Thrór’s Key (On the Doorstep)
1x Thror’s Map (Over Hill and Under Hill)

Event (9)
3x A Good Harvest (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Dwarven Tomb (Core Set)
3x Heed the Dream (Flight of the Stormcaller)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.