- Card Talk Season 6 Episode 9
- Shadows of Mirkwood
- Core and Revised Core Sets
- Player Card Categories
- Card Search
- Player Scrying
LotR LCG’s much worse version of Magic the Gathering’s Brainstorm or Ponder.
The card refers to Gandalf searching the records of Minas Tirith for any mention of The One Ring. He recounted the events during The Council of Elrond. There he found Isildur’s Scroll that detailed that he kept it and made it an heirloom of Arnor. Also the scroll detailed how to identify the ring by the inscription that it bore that would only reveal itself in fire.
This game often represents knowledge as card draw. The Lore sphere in particular is full of examples cards representing Middle-Earth’s knowledge, stories, and songs with Gleowine, Daeron’s Runes, Deep Knowledge, Erestor, Drinking Song, and Mithrandir’s Advice representing the knowledge, stories, and songs present in Middle Earth. Gandalf’s Search centered around finding a very specific piece of knowledge. Mechanically looking at cards in a player’s deck to find 1 particular card fits very well with the theme.
Card Synergies and Interactions
Gandalf’s Search can assist in setting up Gandalf hero’s ability. Especially if the top card isn’t that helpful or just trying to find an event Gandalf can play to maximize on the once per phase limit. It also plays well with Flame of Anor to maximize the attack boost to the Istari heroes and allies. Any high cost card the search can put on top works. A player knowing what their top card is also helps enable Messenger Raven’s ability. Messenger Raven is run in a lot of Radagast hero decks to give him a repeatable way to quest without exhausting. The player just returns the raven to hand and plays it next round with the added bonus of possibly drawing a card.
It is is not the most efficient option to set up putting an expensive card into play with Vilya’s effect compared to Imladris Stargazer, Gildor ally, or Wizard Pipe. Still it is an option that can be cheaper than Gildor in the same sphere as Elrond hero.
The Dwarven Mining cards discard cards from the top of the player deck for an effect. Zigil Miner in particular it helps to know what the top 1 or 2 cards of a player’s deck are to gain resources. Rearranging more than 2 can help set up gaining 2 resources. The other mining cards get an effect no matter what the top cards are, but the rearranging effect if enough resources are paid can help avoid discarding key cards. Then there are two cards are designed to be mined. Hidden Cache offsets the nerf Zigil Miner received from its errata down to 1 resource per card with a matching cost. Ered Luin Miner is not an efficient ally for 3 cost, but great value when put into play for free.
Expert Treasure-hunter is similar to Dwarven Mining cards since it discards the top card of the player deck. A player that knows what the card is can always guess correctly to draw it instead.
More resources or cost reduction increases X and the player can see and rearrange more cards. Steward of Gondor was the big one in the Core Set and still strong today. In Lore, options are more limited with Master of Lore that can only reduce the cost by 3 at best. Love of Tales while cheap requires multiple copies in play to generate significant resources and many song cards or Drinking Song with Scroll of Isildur. Hobbits with a Good Meal can basically turn the effect into X + 2. There are all the Leadership events like Tighten Our Belts, Legacy of Numenor, and Captain’s Wisdom that can add resources to heroes.
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 Gandalf’s Search at 9 rings. I strongly suspect Nate French modeled this card on Brainstorm or Ponder. Brainstorm is incredibly strong in Magic the Gathering, and Ponder while weaker is still very good. Both are cheap and have great ability to set up combos and find answers to cards played by the opponent. Brainstorm especially is strong because it lets you swap cards in your hand with the top 3 of your deck and then put them back in any order at any time. Ponder is much closer to Gandalf’s Search since it draws only 1 deck, the player reorders the rest, and its timing is limited to main phases (equivalent to LotR’s Planning Phase.)
Like many LotR Core Set cards, cost was set fairly high compared to cards that came later. This could be Nate trying balance the card search and draw effect, or possibly it made sense with unknown plans for more strong resource acceleration on par of Steward of Gondor and original Zigil Miner. Either way, the cost never made much sense when Lorien’s Wealth can draw 3 cards for 3 cost. Gandalf’s Search for the same cost looks at 3 cards, draws 1, and the player puts the other two back on top in the order they want. Lorien’s Wealth effectively set the standard cost to draw a card at 1 resource. If you are paying more than 1 for Gandalf’s Search, then the player is better off just playing Lorien’s Wealth and drawing all the cards you get to look at. There also wasn’t any cards in the Core Set that trigger off what a player’s top card is. Getting to choose the order of cards is only setting up draws. It isn’t until Expert Treasure Hunter in The Hobbit Over Hill and Under Hill and Zigil Miner came out in Khazad-Dum that it could do more. Original Zigil Miner could help recoup the cost of it looking at more than 1, but with the errata version, it still wouldn’t be worth it.
The good news is we eventually got the better version of this card, Heed the Dream. That’s why despite the card have a few potential uses, I rated it so low. The cost is just too high for them and many cheaper more efficient alternatives exist.
- Dave – 10
- Grant – 10
- Ted – 10
- Matt – 9
- Average 9.75
Low-Cost Very Efficient 1 Core Set Deck by nelloianiro
Pretty much as the title says, a single (original) core set deck full of low cost cards.
Aragorn (Core Set)
Eleanor (Core Set)
Glorfindel (Core Set)
2x Daughter of the Nimrodel (Core Set)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
2x Gléowine (Core Set)
3x Guard of the Citadel (Core Set)
1x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
1x Lórien Guide (Core Set)
2x Miner of the Iron Hills (Core Set)
3x Snowbourn Scout (Core Set)
1x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
1x Dark Knowledge (Core Set)
2x Forest Snare (Core Set)
1x Power in the Earth (Core Set)
2x Protector of Lórien (Core Set)
1x Self Preservation (Core Set)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
2x The Favor of the Lady (Core Set)
1x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
2x Common Cause (Core Set)
1x Dwarven Tomb (Core Set)
2x Ever Vigilant (Core Set)
2x For Gondor! (Core Set)
1x Gandalf’s Search (Core Set)
1x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)
2x Lore of Imladris (Core Set)
1x Lórien’s Wealth (Core Set)
2x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
2x Stand and Fight (Core Set)
1x Strength of Will (Core Set)
2x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
1x Valiant Sacrifice (Core Set)
3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to Core Set
Decklist built and published on RingsDB.