Beravor

  • Player Card Categories
    • Card Draw

A versatile hero with a incredibly useful ability. Power creep has marginalized her a little, but can still be used to great effect.

Background

Beravor is a character created by Fantasy Flight Games. She made her first appearance in Middle Earth Quest. Then FFG reused the character for LOTR LCG. Clearly she is intended to be one of 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. No further details of these 30 are given and there is no one to say that Beravor was not one of them.

Card Theme

Beravor’s card draw is representative of the Lore sphere more than anything else. The Lore sphere is full of card draw effects with Gleowine, Lore Bilbo hero, Daeron’s Runes, Deep Knowledge, Erestor, Drinking Song, and Mithrandir’s Advice representing the knowledge, stories, and songs present in Middle Earth. Beravor’s knowledge as a Ranger would be of natural things like plants and animals, tracking, and how to survive in the wild. Much like the skills and knowledge demonstrated by Aragorn back when the Hobbits knew him as Strider.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Readying

Cards that can ready Beravor are great to allow a player to make use her ability and stats. Her 2/2/2 stats are also advantageous when taking multiple actions. She is equally good at questing, attacking, and defending. A general rule is a 2 cost ally with a 2 stat is considered pretty efficient. Paying 2 resources for Beravor to take an additional action is similar to paying for an efficient ally with more flexibility.

In the core set, there are a few options for readying Beravor. None unfortunately are in the Lore sphere. Unexpected in Spirit, however, is the staple hero readying card. For 2 resources, Beravor can be readied once per round which is amazing value. Many other ready a hero effects are either an event and therefore not repeatable, or come with additional restrictions and/or conditions. Leadership is the only other sphere to offer a couple readying options. Common Cause while cheap in resource cost, requires that you exhaust another hero. This generally is prohibitive to using it. Either a hero will already be exhausted or will have just as good if not better stats to use. The best use case will be a ready defending hero with no enemies to defend who then can ready Beravor. Grim Resolve is the other Leadership card which readies all characters. Usually a mass ready like this will be used to make significant questing push exhausting everyone. Then played to ready everyone for combat. It can really turn a game around, but not one to include just to use Beravor’s ability and stats.

Fortunately as the game has progressed there are a few more great readying cards added or this Dunedain Ranger.

Leather Boots and Wingfoot are in the same sphere as Beravor and cheaper than Unexpected Courage. Both are a little more limited since the ready will trigger after committing characters to the quest for both of them. Basically they’ll allow a player to use her to quest or draw cards before questing. Then maybe ready for combat or any travel effects that require exhausting a hero. Steed of the North is similar although it triggers on engagement. This is more controllable considering all the additional ways Dunedain have to force engagement like Son of Arnor, Dunedain Hunter, and Tactics Aragorn hero. Descendants of Kings much like the other readying events isn’t great for Beravor since it is not repeatable. Still Beravor is a good target among other Dunedain characters in a dedicated Dunedain deck.

Discard effects

There are several cards that give players a bonus when a card is discarded from their hand. Beravor’s card draw can help fuel these abilities. Protector of Lórien and Eowyn both could boost willpower at the cost of a discarded card and defense as well for Protector. Later cards expanded to other effects like Spirit Legolas’s readying and healing with Song of Healing. The Noldor characters in particular expanded the use of discard effects as many of their effects required discarding cards.

Dale

Beravor is often included as third hero in a Dale deck. This is because the Dale engine of playing attachments on allies is prone to stalling. Brand, Son of Bain will let players draw a card for the first attachment played on a Dale ally. Players can hit a string of allies with no attachments or attachments with no allies. More card draw helps alleviate this issue and find whichever the player currently needs.

Quest Specific

Beravor is not a good choice for many of the quests in the Ringmaker cycle. There are several card effects that trigger from the players drawing cards. there are also effects that get worse the more cards a player has in their hand.

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 Beravor at 3 rings. Repeatable card draw is powerful. Most decks need some card draw and resource acceleration to stay ahead of the encounter deck. Drawing 2 cards each turn increases a player’s options tremendously. The only downsides to Beravor are her lower stats for a hero and that the ability requires exhausting her. The second downside can be offset with readying cards. The stats aren’t bad necessarily. They were fine in the core set when 1 or 2 attack enemies were more prevalent. Power creep has marginalized her 2 defense. It still can help with the weaker surging enemies, but most quests, it will be a huge risk to defend with her. Two attack also became less useful as enemies gained more defense and hit points. The 2 willpower is fine for secondary quester since a good start usually require 6 willpower available on turn 1. It can be difficult to squeeze in a utility hero like Beravor when a quest starts off strong. It usually is a better idea to have a designated quester, attacker, and defender heroes that have the appropriate high stat.

  • Dave – 6
  • Grant – 4
  • Ted – 3
  • Matt – 3
  • Average – 4

Sample Decks

Back to Basics – A Killer Deck Using Cards from 1 Core Set by Xanalor

A tri-sphere core set only deck. It is only 44 cards since it was built back when the core set didn’t come with a full play set of each card. The deck description on ringsdb is quite extension highlighting many combos.

Back to Basics – A Killer Deck Using Cards from 1 Core Set

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Beravor (Core Set)
Éowyn (Core Set)
Théodred (Core Set)

Ally (21)
1x Beorn (Core Set)
2x Erebor Hammersmith (Core Set)
2x Faramir (Core Set)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
2x Gléowine (Core Set)
3x Guard of the Citadel (Core Set)
1x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
2x Miner of the Iron Hills (Core Set)
2x Northern Tracker (Core Set)
3x Snowbourn Scout (Core Set)

Attachment (5)
2x Forest Snare (Core Set)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
1x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event (18)
2x A Test of Will (Core Set)
1x Dwarven Tomb (Core Set)
1x For Gondor! (Core Set)
2x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)
3x Lore of Imladris (Core Set)
2x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
3x Stand and Fight (Core Set)
2x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
2x Will of the West (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 44 Cards
Cards up to Core Set

Sideboard

Event (1)
1x Will of the West (Core Set)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Minimum Purchase Dale Deck by Darkling Door

Dale deck built with cards just from Wilds of Rhovanion and the Core Set.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Bard son of Brand (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
Beravor (Core Set)
Brand son of Bain (The Wilds of Rhovanion)

Ally (20)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
2x Gléowine (Core Set)
1x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
3x Long Lake Trader (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x North Realm Lookout (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Redwater Sentry (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
2x Snowbourn Scout (Core Set)
3x Warrior of Dale (The Wilds of Rhovanion)

Attachment (16)
3x Bow of Yew (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
1x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
3x Hauberk of Mail (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x King of Dale (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Map of Rhovanion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
2x Necklace of Girion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
1x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event (14)
2x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Bartering (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
2x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)
3x To Arms! (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Traffic from Dale (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
1x Will of the West (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Wilds of Rhovanion

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Three Wolf Hunters for Wastes of Eriador by kattattack22

A Dunedain Three Hunters deck built for the first couple of scenarios in the Angmar Awakened cycle.

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.

Firyal – Community Review

by Daniel King

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Encounter Control
    • Encounter Scrying
    • Messenger of the King

Background

Firyal was created as means of fleshing out the Harad characters. In the book/movie they are the bad guys, but there is a line from Sam where he wonders if the Harad man that he just saw slain was really a bad guy or if he would have rather stayed home. We get a string of Harad heroes for the game and I love that.

Card Theme

Firyal is meant to be an efficient scout and quester, which her ability emphasizes.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Player Encounter Cards

She can potentially combo with player cards that generate encounter cards like Tom Bombadillo! and Flight of the Eagles.

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.

Firyal is the best lore hero in the game. As a primarily solo player I find her ability to filter the top of the deck to be incredibly useful. In solo play you have to do everything on your own. You have to be able to quest, defend and attack on any given turn. Firyal allows you to get rid of something that you can’t handle that turn. If you have an enemy still engaged with you from the previous round, you might use Firyal’s ability to get rid of an enemy from the top of the deck in hopes of seeing a location. She can also help you get rid of those impossibly difficult treacheries if you don’t have a test of will in hand or want to save it. Finally, because she is a unique ally, she is a great target for the contract, Messenger of the King. Having her amazing ability and 3 will power from turn one is a great deal for 9 threat.

  • Daniel- 2
  • Dave – 3
  • Grant – 3
  • Ted – 2
  • Mark Chan – 3
  • Matt – 2
  • Average – 2.5

Sample Decks

Firyal is pretty good by Daniel King

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

Main Deck

Hero (3)
(MotK) Firyal (Messenger of the King Allies)
Beregond (The Flame of the West)
Glorfindel (Foundations of Stone)

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

Ally (21)
2x Arwen Undómiel (The Watcher in the Water)
1x Elfhelm (The Dead Marshes)
3x Erebor Toymaker (Mount Gundabad)
1x Firyal (The Mûmakil)
2x Gléowine (Core Set)
2x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
2x Northern Tracker (Core Set)
2x Quickbeam (The Treason of Saruman)
2x Théodwyn (ALeP – Children of Eorl)
2x Treebeard (The Antlered Crown)
2x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)

Attachment (21)
2x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Ancient Mathom (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
2x Asfaloth (Foundations of Stone)
2x Blood of Númenor (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Light of Valinor (Foundations of Stone)
3x Protector of Lórien (Core Set)
2x Song of Wisdom (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
1x Warden of Arnor (The Three Trials)

Event (8)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Elven-light (The Dread Realm)
2x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to ALeP – Children of Eorl

Deck built on RingsDB.

Warden of Healing – Community Review

by James Byun

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Healing

Background

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

Card Theme

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

Card Synergies and Interactions

Elrond

Ring Rating

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

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

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

Bombur (Hero)

Thematic Dwarf hero designed primarily to get you to 5 Dwarf characters as quickly as possible.

Background

Poor Bombur. The dude just likes a good meal and strong drink, yet is always the butt of the jokes. In Tolkien’s world, we first meet Bombur in The Hobbit when he shows up along with the other dwarves of Thorin’s Company (along with Gandalf) to Bilbo Baggins’ home of Bag End in the Shire. We learn little of his background, other than the fact that his brother is Bofur and his cousin is Bifur. He likely lived with Thorin and the other dwarves of this tale in the Blue Mountains leading up to the main events of the story – namely the quest to reclaim Erebor from the dragon Smaug. Throughout the adventure, numerous references are made to his, um, girth, and usually in a humorous manner. The card’s flavor text is a perfect example. A memorable scenario involving Bombur’s size is the Enchanted Stream in Mirkwood, where Bombur fell into the water and fell into a deep sleep for 6 days, forcing the other dwarves to carry him and complain constantly about it. He is also depicted in the book as constantly thinking and talking about food. Once Erebor was reclaimed, Bombur remained and lived there (happily ever after with plenty of food we assume).

Card Theme

Dwarves, dwarves, and more dwarves. That’s the goal of a Dwarf swarm deck. However, certain Dwarf heroes and allies have bonuses that trigger once you have at least 5 Dwarf characters in play. Those heroes are Thorin Oakenshield; Ori; and Oin, and the allies are Dwalin; Gloin; and Bifur. The heroes’ ability is passive while you control 5+ dwarves, while the allies’ ability only activates upon being played from your hand while you control 5+ dwarves. Bombur increases your efficiency in getting to that 5 dwarf threshold that much faster, and essentially provides slight, early resource generation in the fact that he counts for 2 of those 5.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Synergies

Did I mention dwarves? Heroes, allies, doesn’t matter. Assuming you’re starting with 3 Dwarf heroes, you technically have 4 Dwarf characters on the table before you even start the game. This means playing a turn 1 Erebor Record Keeper, Dwarven Sellsword, Ered Nimrais Prospector, Erebor Hammersmith, Zigil Miner, Veteran Axehand, or other low cost dwarf ally gives you 5 Dwarves under your control on turn 1 and triggers the abilities of the aforementioned heroes and allies with 5+ dwarf abilities, most of which will then be able to be used right away (other than Thorin and Ori which would then be available on turn 2). If Dain Ironfoot is on the table (which he should be if you’re building a Dwarf swarm deck), Bombur goes to 1/2/2/5 for a statline.

Attachments and Events

Bombur’s statline means you will likely be doing nothing but defending with him. He can chip in the occasional 1 attack power (2 with Dain on the table) if you end up not needing him to defend say, via using Feint, Forest Snare, Ranger Spikes, or some other effect, so you certainly can throw Dwarf-specific weapons such as Dwarven Axe, Dwarrowdelf Axe, or other weapons on him. Or maybe you just defend with one of your other characters or a Sentinel defender across the table does it for you and he can chip in attack that way. You are almost always going to be defending with him, so you want to load him up with defense oriented attachments.

Some of the best attachments for him are A Burning Brand (in-sphere), Protector of Lorien (in-sphere), Dunedain Warning, Ring Mail, Ancestral Armor, Armor of Erebor, Citadel Plate, Dwarven Shield, and Round Shield. He will also benefit from Hardy Leadership on a Leadership hero such as Dain. Readying attachments such as Unexpected Courage or Cram would also be beneficial. Since his 2 defense is not the sturdiest on its own, playing a healing attachment such as Self-Preservation, Healing Herbs, or Dunedain Remedy on him will go a long way.

As for events, a few come to mind you would want to consider using on Bombur. Durin’s Song will give him +2 of all stats (not hitpoints). Lure of Moria will allow him to use 2 of those stats one round, so you could chip in 1 willpower for questing, then ready him for a defense, or you could play it in the combat phase to get 2 defenses out of him.

Some non-bos with Bombur: pretty much any cards traited or designed to be played with traits other than Dwarf. Even a card such as Unlikely Friendship, which requires you to control a Dwarf hero and a Silvan hero, will likely never make it in a Bombur deck. Why would you effectively negate his ability by running a Silvan hero in a dwarf deck? Or render Bombur useless by putting him in a non-dwarf swarm deck?

Contracts

Bond of Friendship is the contract Bombur synergizes the best with. Running him as your Lore hero along with 3 other Dwarf heroes means you now start the game with 5 Dwarf characters (all heroes) and can take advantage of the 5+ Dwarf bonuses from the beginning of the game (although you wouldn’t be able to use Ori due to the contract’s restriction on each hero needing to be from a different sphere, and Bombur already takes up the Lore slot).

Quest Specific

Dwarfs, and swarm in particular, is the earliest, most fully developed archetype in the game. And they are very powerful. While powerful in the majority of scenarios, they really shine in scenarios with Underground and/or Dark and/or Mountain locations due to the numerous player cards that synergize with Dwarves and locations with those traits – such as Untroubled by Darkness, Ever My Heart Rises, and Ancestral Knowledge. Think Dwarrowdelf Cycle, Ered Mithrin Cycle, Vengeance of Mordor cycle, the Hobbit sagas, etc. These are the quests you will be more likely to run a Dwarf deck in, and therefore the quests you will be most likely to play Bombur.

Other Considerations

Traits and Sphere: Bombur is…a Dwarf. That’s it. Thematically this makes sense as the character Bombur most definitely was not a warrior (and in the game you aren’t going to be attacking with him), and he isn’t a noble. I think he should at least have the Sentinel keyword as defending is clearly his intended design, but it was not to be. As already mentioned, his Lore sphere provides access to A Burning Brand and Protector of Lorien which synergize nicely with him, and other helpful cards such as Legacy of Durin, Ancestral Knowledge, Daeron’s Runes, and most healing cards will be in-sphere.

Ally Version: So far in this review, I’ve been fairly neutral and looked at Bombur’s potential upsides, but spoiler alert: from here on we’ll mostly see his downsides (no, that wasn’t a fat joke). Let’s start with the fact that ally Bombur is arguably more useful in the type of quests you’ll be most likely to want to run his hero version. Exhausting to reduce the threat of a location by 1 is a fine ability, but it gets bonkers when you get him on the table in quests with a lot of Underground locations (see the Quest Specific section above). Now you’re shutting down some of those nasty, high threat locations that are notorious for bogging you down in these types of quests, and essentially getting +4 willpower which helps move you forward in the game significantly. I would argue this can make more of a difference for you in the right quests rather than having one additional Dwarf character at the beginning of the game or having a somewhat shaky defense-dedicated hero who needs to get built up a bit. Yes his ally version costs 3, but if you’re generating resources with Thorin Oakenshield, Steward of Gondor, Resourceful, and potentially spreading them around with Bifur or Narvi’s Belt, then his cost shouldn’t be an issue. Not to mention you can get him into play for free with A Very Good Tale or Elf-stone.

Deckbuilding

Opportunity cost is one of the overarching concepts of deckbuilding games, and you really need to take your time here considering whether Hero Bombur is worth a spot in your Hero lineup. There are countless ways to build a Dwarf swarm deck, but let’s examine a basic hero lineup. A strong swarm deck will usually be tri-sphere to give you access to as many dwarf allies as possible, but does not have to be so. It will usually include Dain Ironfoot doing his thing providing that global +1 WP and +1 attack for all dwarf characters on the table. Thorin Oakenshield is also a solid contender due to his resource generation. We’ll add Nori to keep your threat manageable and negate the need for treat reduction by allowing you to lower your threat by 1 for each of those swarming allies you’re playing. Now we need one more hero, and Tactics can be a solid play depending on the quest, so Oin with his swarm-y ability could be a good substitute for Nori unless you need a tank like Gimli. That leaves Lore as the best option for that 3rd hero.

Now let’s narrow down our Lore Dwarf hero options. Bombur will do all the things we already looked at above: get you 1 Dwarf closer to 5 and do some light defending sans any buffs/attachments for 8 threat cost. Bifur is a nice 7 threat cost, will quest for 3 with Dain on the table, can defend for the same amount as Bombur (albeit with 2 fewer HP), and can smooth your resources to boot. Ori is often too good to pass up in many situations like this. His threat is 8 (same as Bombur), he can quest for 3 AND attack for 3 with Dain on the table, and the golden ticket with Ori is his passive ability of drawing an extra card each round during the resource phase (assuming you have 5 dwarfs).

In preparation for writing this review, I re-played Hero Bombur in a variety of decks, in a variety of quests, and even multi-player. To get maximum use out of his ability, one deck I built had Bombur, Thorin, and Oin as the heroes. It was fun getting to use both of their 5+ abilities very early, but I lost every time. I ran him with Dain and Nori which went better, but Bombur could never pull his weight (again, not a fat joke) against the encounter deck with his statline, and I needed every resource I had to get more dwarfs out on the table, and was therefore not able to get any defense buffs or healing for him. One other finding from my playthroughs using Bombur is that he holds up OK against the first 2 cycles, but man is he worthless defending against most enemies in this game (sans building him up). I found myself only able to defend wimpier goblins or birds due to that 2 defense. Even with +1 defense you’re just going to get worn down using him as a dedicated defender and will find yourself needing to chump block or use Dain to defend. It was frustrating trying to build a deck that was actually strong using him that didn’t rely on other players helping beef him up.

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 Bombur at 9 rings. To be honest, the only thing keeping me from giving him a 10 is how much I love the thematic design of the card, which goes perfectly with its artwork. Starting out only 1 dwarf away from hitting 5 instead of being 2 away is nice, but I’ve never found it to be game-changing. How does that help you when you’ve mulligan’ed to get that 1 cost dwarf ally, but your second hand still only has 2+ cost allies and you have a tri-sphere deck? Even if you can use it to your advantage on turn 2, in a dwarf swarm deck you’ll start filling the board with dwarves by round 2 or 3 anyway, and now you have to focus on boosting his defense or healing so you can actually use him the rest of the game. With 15 other Dwarf heroes to choose from, there’s just too many other, better options. Not to mention bypassing his hero version frees me up to use ally Bombur instead! He only goes into literally 1 type of deck, and even then he does not do very much for you without needing to be built up, which takes away from the focus on overwhelming Sauron with your Dwarf swarm. I want to like Hero Bombur, but he’s just not good.

  • Dave – 7
  • Grant – 5
  • Ted – 6
  • Matt – 7
  • Eric – 9
  • Average – 6.8

Sample Decks

Bombur Doin’ His Thing by Stone of Eric

Here is a deck I made that is designed to make maximum impact with the 5+ Dwarf boosts.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Bombur (On the Doorstep)
Óin (On the Doorstep)
Thorin Oakenshield (Over Hill and Under Hill)

Ally (22)
2x Bifur (On the Doorstep)
2x Bofur (The Redhorn Gate)
1x Dori (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Dwalin (On the Doorstep)
1x Erebor Hammersmith (Core Set)
1x Erebor Record Keeper (Khazad-dûm)
2x Fili (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Glóin (On the Doorstep)
2x Kili (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Longbeard Elder (Foundations of Stone)
2x Miner of the Iron Hills (Core Set)
1x Veteran Axehand (Core Set)
2x Zigil Miner (Khazad-dûm)

Attachment (14)
1x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
2x Armor of Erebor (Mount Gundabad)
2x Ever My Heart Rises (The Long Dark)
1x Hardy Leadership (Shadow and Flame)
1x King Under the Mountain (On the Doorstep)
1x Legacy of Durin (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Narvi’s Belt (Khazad-dûm)
2x Ring Mail (The Long Dark)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)

Event (14)
2x A Test of Will (Core Set)
2x Ancestral Knowledge (Khazad-dûm)
2x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
2x Feint (Core Set)
1x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)
3x Lure of Moria (Road to Rivendell)
2x Untroubled by Darkness (Khazad-dûm)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to Mount Gundabad

Sideboard

Hero (1)
Dwalin (Khazad-dûm)

Ally (4)
2x Arwen Undómiel (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)

Attachment (5)
2x Ancestral Armor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
2x Cram (Over Hill and Under Hill)
1x Narvi’s Belt (Khazad-dûm)

Event (2)
2x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Books and Eating (Mono Lore) by Durins_Father

Here is a deck built by durins_father that is a mono-Lore deck designed to be played as part of a Dwarf fellowship.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Bifur (Khazad-dûm)
Bombur (On the Doorstep)
Ori (Over Hill and Under Hill)

Ally (17)
3x Erebor Hammersmith (Core Set)
3x Erebor Record Keeper (Khazad-dûm)
3x Ered Nimrais Prospector (The Morgul Vale)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)
3x Longbeard Map-Maker (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Miner of the Iron Hills (Core Set)

Attachment (18)
2x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
2x Elf-stone (The Black Riders)
2x Expert Treasure-hunter (On the Doorstep)
2x Healing Herbs (Foundations of Stone)
2x Legacy of Durin (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Scroll of Isildur (The Morgul Vale)
3x Self Preservation (Core Set)
3x Thror’s Map (Over Hill and Under Hill)

Event (17)
3x Advance Warning (The Drúadan Forest)
3x Ancestral Knowledge (Khazad-dûm)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
2x Expecting Mischief (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Infighting (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
2x Lore of Imladris (Core Set)
2x Mithrandir’s Advice (The Steward’s Fear)

3 Heroes, 52 Cards
Cards up to The Black Riders

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Gluttony by Beorn

On the humorous side of things, here is a vintage deck from Beorn called “Gluttony” with an article explaining the deck theme in the description.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Bombur (On the Doorstep)
Frodo Baggins (Conflict at the Carrock)
Glóin (Core Set)

Ally (20)
1x Brok Ironfist (Core Set)
3x Erebor Hammersmith (Core Set)
3x Erebor Record Keeper (Khazad-dûm)
2x Fili (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Gandalf (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Kili (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Longbeard Elder (Foundations of Stone)
3x Master of the Forge (Shadow and Flame)
2x Wandering Took (Core Set)

Attachment (15)
2x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Cram (Over Hill and Under Hill)
1x Fast Hitch (The Dead Marshes)
2x Good Meal (The Redhorn Gate)
3x Miruvor (Shadow and Flame)
2x Narvi’s Belt (Khazad-dûm)
2x Self Preservation (Core Set)

Event (15)
3x A Very Good Tale (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x O Elbereth! Gilthonial! (Shadow and Flame)
2x Peace, and Thought (Shadow and Flame)
2x Second Breakfast (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
3x We Are Not Idle (Shadow and Flame)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to On the Doorstep

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Folco Boffin

Mirlonde for Hobbits not that they needed one.

Background

Folco Boffin is a friend to Frodo. He that helps Frodo load up his belongings in a cart for the move from Bag End to Crikhollow. After they finished and had lunch, Folco returned home.

Card Theme

What little screen time Folco has in the books fits pretty well his abilities. Frodo’s move is cover for him to head East and travel to Rivendell. Folco, unwittingly, assists in that deception as seemingly just another Hobbit helping his friend move. Nothing out of the ordinary at all. He even returns home after helping and having lunch with his friends. Nothing there to draw the attention of Sauron. This is consistent with the idea of threat being the awareness of Sauron and his minions to the activities of our heroes. The more heroic and active in opposing to this plans, the more threatening they are to Sauron.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Secrecy

Folco’s low base starting threat makes it fairly easy to put him in a 3 hero line up to start with 20 or less threat. Just looking at heroes with effective starting threat cost of 7 or less there are 10 unique possibilities. 13 options including other sphere versions of the same character. This isn’t counting the low threat options available thanks to Messenger of the King contract.

  • Bifur
  • Eleanor
  • Tactics Eowyn
  • Fatty Bolger
  • Leadership Frodo Baggins
  • Spirit Frodo Baggins
  • Spirit Glorfindel
  • Spirit Merry
  • Tactics Merry
  • Mirlonde
  • Spirit Pippin
  • Lore Pippin
  • Smeagol

Roughly half of these listed above are Hobbits that makes Folco even cheaper. This extends the time you have in Secrecy or more flexibility to include a higher threat cost hero.

You can then utilize 2 great resource acceleration cards Resourceful and Timely Aid. Although you will need Leadership for Timely Aid it can very much worth it wirh expensive but powerful allies like Treebeard and Beorn. Both who are great ally defenders for the generally low defense and low hit point Hobbits.

Even if you are sticking to mono-Lore Secrecy is on a few great Lore cards providing even more resource acceleration from the discounted cost. Ithilien Lookout is a very solid combat ally with its 2 attack and tremendous value at 1 cost. The ability to discard an enemy from the encounter deck is very helpful for the squishy low hit point Hobbit heroes. Then there are 2 of the best encounter control cards, Out of the Wild and Risk Some Light. Needful to Know is another Secrecy Lore card, but even free the chances of reducing your threat after raising it one are not great. Woodmen’s Clearing is a much better option that always costs 0.

Hobbit Engage an Enemy with higher Engagement Cost than your Threat Bonus

Folco’s low starting threat, particularly with other Hobbit heroes, facilitates the Hobbit abilities centered on engaging enemies with higher engagement cost than your threat. Most important among these and in sphere for Folco, Gaffer Gamgee. Attack cancelation is huge for the generally low defense and low hit point Hobbits. The only other in sphere effect is Lore Pippins card draw which drawing more cards is almost always good.

Out of sphere, many of these abilities are simple stat boosts like that of Leadership Sam, Tactics Pippin, Hobbit Cloak, Dagger of Westernesse, Taste it Again!, Hobbit Archer, and Bywater Shirrif. You also get readying effects from Sam, Pippin, and Taste it Again! There’s a little ally mustering from Odo Proudfoot and Raise the Shire. After that it’s a few miscellaneous effects like Farmer Maggot’s direct damage, Tom Cotton’s resource smoothing, and shadow cancelation from Staff of Lebethron.

Houses of Healing

If you want to take advantage of Folco’s sacrifice ability, Houses of Healing is a good in sphere option to bring him back immediately after. The 5 cost is high but easily reduced with the number of Healer characters available in Lore. Elrond, Ioreth, Warden of Healing

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 Folco at 4 rings. He’s a solid hero for enabling Secrecy or the Hobbit engagement mechanism. It’s not difficult to get his threat cost down to 4 or 5. Not quite the stats for cost value of Spirit Glorfindl but still a free stat or 2. His stats are very efficient as well with 2 willpower, 2 attack and 2 hit points. Equally good at questing or attacking. A decent target for Fast Hitch to leverage both of those stats. He also offers some emergency threat reduction by sacrifing him. Easy to bring him back with Houses of Healing in the same sphere.

His low threat cost consistently makes him a third hero choice when building Secrecy Hobbits. It’s also for that reason he’s rather limited to those type of decks. Alone he is just a Lore Hobbit hero at 6 cost putting him in direct competition with Lore Pippin. Lore Pippin in most cases is going to be better for the card draw. There are some 2 hero decks that run him for the single Lore resource then sacrifice him first turn, but they’re fairly niche.

I also find his efficiency rather boring. After setup, he’s just going to help with questing or attacking. He doesn’t have an interesting ability that you can trigger throughout the game or build around like many of the other Hobbit heroes. He just serves a particular role in deck building and does it well.

  • Dave – 4
  • Grant – TBR
  • Ted – 6
  • Matt – 4

Sample Decks

Deck name and creator

short deck description

Mirkwood Explorer

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Location Control
  • Artist
  • Kim Sokol

Need to explore 1 location in a single fell swoop, call the Mirkwood Explorer.

Background

In The Hobbit, a great grey wolf tells the wargs sitting below Thorin’s Company and Gandalf up in some pine trees about the woodmen.

In spite of the dangers of this far land bold men had of late been making their way back into it from the South, cutting down trees, and building themselves places to live in among the more pleasant woods in the valleys and along the river-shores. There were many of them, and they were brave and well armed, and even the Wargs dared not
attack them if there were many together, or in the bright day.

The Hobbit, Chapter 6: Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire

Card Theme

The ability on the Mirkwood explorer fits with the little we know of the woodmen. As a group of men venturing into what is new lands to them, they would need explorers to scout out areas for resources and future settlements. The explorer’s 2 willpower is good for non-unique ally as questing is often intended to represent the players traversing the lands of Middle-Earth. He also can also help clear other locations with his ability.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Ally Readying

Ideally players will want to quest and have the option of using Mirkwood Explorer’s ability in the same turn. The 2 willpower is quite significant for an ally. The option to explore a location revealed during staging can mean the difference between questing successfully or not. It is even more valuable in multiplayer. Fortunately, there is an in sphere card that synergizes well with the explorer, Leather Boots.

It is cheap, in sphere, repeatable, and the explorer will ready if a potential target for its ability is revealed in staging. If a location isn’t revealed, Leather Boots makes the explorer a valid target for To Arms! as another way to ready them. Spare Hood and Cloak also opens the option of using To Arms!, but more importantly can be a repeatable source of readying on its own. It does take Long Lake Trader that can move it to another ally, but the trader is also in Lore and not that hard to manage.

Another readying option in Lore is Woodmen Lore that is limited to the Woodmen trait and will require at least one location attachment in play. Elwing’s Flight is a questing two for with the explorer because it will boost its willpower and let it use its ability. The last single ally readying event Ever Vigilant from the core set is an option open to every player.

Global readying from Grim Resolve, Strength of Arms, and The Free Peoples can work too. Especially it is a good idea to have all characters quest and then play one of the above to ready them all for combat. These can easily be played in the action windows after committing characters for the explorer to use his ability.

Location Attachments

Aside from the requirement of Woodmen’s Lore, there is one location attachment that makes the explorer’s ability much, much more efficient. Woodman’s Path reduces a location quest points to 1. Normally it can take several turns of questing successfully to get enough progress to explore a single location. Woodmen’s Path reduces the time to a single turn.

This can be pretty important especially when paired with the seris of attachments that have an effect when a location is explored. Ancient Mathom draws 3 cards, Elf-Stone musters an ally, Ranger Provisions accelerates resources, Woodmen’s Clearing reduces threat, and Put Off Pursuit trades an enemy for a location. Timing when the attached location is explored is important since all of them except Put Off Pursuit only gives the benefit to the first player. The Explorer’s ability to place progress is an action giving the player control when it is explored and the effect is triggered.

Player Guarded Cards and Burglar’s Turn

In a similar vein to the location attachments, the Explorer’s ability can explore a location guarding a player Guarded X card. Stone of Elostirion and Mithril Shirt as the only Guarded (location) cards work best with the explorer. Many of the others are Guarded (enemy or location) where the Explorer can possibly help get them under a player’s control. The contract Burglar’s Turn also rewards players for exploring locations with item and artifact attachments. Although it only works if the players travel to a location and explore the location while it is active. Still the explorer can use it ability to help clear the active location faster and claim the loot.

Other Direct Location Progress Effects

As mentioned earlier, it can take several turns for the Mirkwood Explorer to build up enough progress to clear a location. Combining it with more cards that also directly progress to location shorten the time to explore a particular location significantly. Lore has a number of other cards that can put progress on a location. While not all are great, Lore has the best one, Asfaloth that for an action can always add 1 progress to a location or 2 if playing with Glorfindel. The Evening Star is second only to the Mirkwood Explorer in Lore for placing the most progress on any location at one time considering it starts at 2 for the first copy. Then by the third copy it places 4. Expert Trackers is the only other one that can place progress on any location and not just the active. It is very conditional since it is a response to enemy engagement. Then the amount of progress is dependent on the threat of the engaged enemy. On top of it all, you have to exhaust a scout or ranger character.

Spirit has more options with Northern Tracker, Riddermark’s Finest, Rhovanion Outrider, Spirit Aragorn Hero, Woodland Courier, and Backtrack. Leadership, unfortunately, only has Snowbourn Scout.

Quest Specific

The Brown Lands in Journey Along the Anduin, Conflict at the Carrock, The Dead Marshes, and Return to Mirkwood is a great target for the explorer’s ability. He will need only 1 progress saved up to eliminate 5 threat from the staging area. Emyn Muil as the first location heavy quest with 22 locations to only 12 enemies, every location control card can do a lot of work.

The Haradhrim cycle is full of locations that players don’t want to travel to. Many have nasty forced effects when they become the active location. This circumvents many location control effects like Thror’s Map that avoid travel effects. Towering Dunes in addition to its Forced effect even limits Northern Tracker’s effectiveness. The explorer, however, could clear the way for the tracker. Lastly, the cycle features 2 locations, Pitch Black Tunnel and Desolate Land, with threat equal to the number of characters controlled by a player. Exploring those locations as soon as they come out especially late game can avoid a disastrous threat raise.

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 Mirkwood Explorer at 4 rings. It is a solid questing ally with a very useful location control ability. The only negatives are that it has to exhaust to transfer its accumulated progress and its 3 cost. There are a number of good options to mitigate the exhausting requirement. Even without readying, there are situations where using its ability can add more to questing than 2 willpower will. The 3 cost outside of mono-Lore or significant resource acceleration typically keep it from a first turn play. Generally the earlier it can be played, the better to start accumulating progress. There are a few lower cost 2 willpower allies and location control cards, but this one does both. It usually is in consideration for inclusion when I’m playing Lore.

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

Sample Decks

https://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/7949/location-busters-1.0

Location Busters by The BGamerJoe

A multiplayer location control deck with some combat ability thanks to Spirit Glorfindel and Idraen’s action advantage.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Bifur (Khazad-dûm)
Glorfindel (Foundations of Stone)
Idraen (The Three Trials)

Ally (14)
1x Bilbo Baggins (The Road Darkens)
2x Eryn Galen Settler (Race Across Harad)
3x Mirkwood Explorer (The Thing in the Depths)
3x Northern Tracker (Core Set)
1x Quickbeam (The Treason of Saruman)
2x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)
2x Westfold Horse-breeder (The Voice of Isengard)

Attachment (18)
3x Ancient Mathom (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
2x Asfaloth (Foundations of Stone)
1x Dúnedain Pipe (The Black Serpent)
3x Elf-stone (The Black Riders)
2x Explorer’s Almanac (The Grey Havens)
3x Light of Valinor (Foundations of Stone)
1x Magic Ring (The Crossings of Poros)
2x Steed of Imladris (Across the Ettenmoors)
1x Warden of Arnor (The Three Trials)

Event (18)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Backtrack (Race Across Harad)
2x Dwarven Tomb (Core Set)
3x Elrond’s Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Elven-light (The Dread Realm)
3x Heirs of Earendil (The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat)
2x Tale of Tinúviel (The Dread Realm)

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

Sideboard

Ally (8)
3x Dunedain Pathfinder (Race Across Harad)
2x Ranger of Cardolan (The Wastes of Eriador)
3x Rhovanion Outrider (Temple of the Deceived)

Attachment (2)
1x Silver Lamp (The Voice of Isengard)
1x Thrór’s Key (On the Doorstep)

Event (10)
3x Coney in a Trap (The Mûmakil)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
1x The Free Peoples (Beneath the Sands)
3x Well Warned (The Sands of Harad)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Ranger Bow

  • Player Card Categories Willpower Bonus
    • Direct Damage
    • Staging Area Attack
    • Ally Attachment

A tool for Ranger decks looking to dispatch enemies in the staging area which is easier said than done.

Background

The flavor text points the Ranger Bow as those carried by the Rangers of Ithilien. In fact, the text is from when Frodo and Sam first met the rangers after their capture:

If they were astonished at what they saw, their captors were even more astonished. Four tall Men stood there. Two had spears in their hands with broad bright heads. Two had great bows, almost of their own height, and great quivers of long green-feathered arrows. All had swords at their sides, and were clad in green and brown of varied hues, as if the better to walk unseen in the glades of Ithilien. Green gauntlets
covered their hands, and their faces were hooded and masked with green, except for their eyes, which were very keen and bright.

The Two Towers, Book 4, Chapter 4: Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit

It is later revealed these rangers are selected from people descended from Ithilien’s former residents. They secretly cross the Anduin to engage in guerilla tactics to harry the forces of Mordor.

Card Theme

The direct damage into the staging area is very thematic to the Rangers of Ithilien. Their job is set up ambushes and harass the enemy at every opportunity then fade away back into their secret hiding places. Keeping low threat or otherwise avoiding engaging enemies to damage them outside of direct combat represents their tactics very well.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Cheap Ranger Allies

The Ranger Bow of course requires a ranger character to use it. While ranger heroes are certainly an option, allies are better as heroes tend to have strong stats or abilities that require them to exhaust. Top ally candidates are Guardian of Ithilien, Ithilien Tracker, Ithilien Lookout, and Andrath Guardsman. All are or can be 1 or 2 cost making them cheap to play. Aside from Ithilien Lookout, they all have 1 stat scores that won’t be terribly missed if exhausted to use the bow.

Guardian of Ithilien is the first choice since can help get an enemy back up into staging but after it enters play, its utility is diminished. It could be useful for a chump block but with a Ranger Bow it provides more value turn after turn. The one direct damage into the staging area can allow it to damage an enemy on its own. It it kills an enemy, this could possibly reduce threat in the staging area for some pseudo questing.

Ithilien Tracker is a good second choice also with its one attack that won’t be missed. It’s ability can be hit or miss since it is an action that has to be triggered prior to staging. Ithilien Lookout is another useful inclusion for a secrecy deck with its cost lowered to one. While it has a more useful 2 attack than the others, the bow is a good option for it while avoiding engagements. Andrath Guardsman similar to the Guardian of Ithilien loses utility once played. The bow gives it some ongoing utility.

Engagement Control, Threat Reduction, and Return to Staging Area

All of these types of cards can help keep enemies in the staging area for Ranger Bow. The method just differs slightly. Engagement control cards like Take No Notice, Advance Warning, Mablung ally, and Lore Pippin hero, Noiseless Movement, and Rohirrim Scout either increase the engagement cost of enemies or prevent engagement.

Threat reduction helps keep you below the engagement of enemies so they don’t come down at all. In Lore with Ranger Bow there are only 2 options, but they’re great. Woodmen’s Clearing at 0 resource cost can lower your threat by 3 once the location it is attached to is explored. Location control effects are quite prevalent in Lore making this fairly easy to do. Lore Aragorn, which I like to think of as Strider because of the art, is the other option. His refresh action to reset your threat to its starting level is the biggest threat reduction effect in the game. Of course these are not the only options even in mono-Lore. There are a couple neutral options like core set Gandalf ally and Keen as Lances that work well too. There are more neutral cards and in other spheres. I’ll cover them later as they overlap with other synergies.

If you can’t avoid engagement there are cards to return them to the staging area. Guardian of Ithilien is a great double duty card here. It sends an enemy back up to the staging area and is a ranger for the Ranger Bow to go on. Best case is you’ve damaged an enemy the previous round, return it to the staging area with Guardian, and then shoot it dead with Ranger Bow. Another double duty card is Fastred hero. Not only will he send an enemy back, but he will also reduce threat for doing so.

Ithilien Archer and Terrible to Behold are other options but are just not worth it. The archer is expensive at 3 cost. It’s 2 attack usually isn’t going to damage an enemy on its own. If you can damage an enemy, you might as well try to kill it since that means the attack already has been defended. Terrible to Behold at least cancels the attack and returns it, but as the cost of exhausting a Noble character. At that point you might as well have defended the attack.

Hobbits

Hobbits can work quite well with the bow. They offer some of the lowest threat cost heroes in the game, additional threat reduction, and engagement control. Particularly in the Lore sphere with Ranger Bow. As mentioned earlier, hero Pippen its chief among them for increasing engagement cost of enemies per Hobbit hero you control. Folco Boffin also in the lore sphere is a great choice because his threat cost can be 4 when you’re running only Hobbit Heroes. Plus he can be discarded for an emergency threat reduction. The last in sphere option, Bilbo Baggins, is less optimal than others considering his 9 threat cost. He’s not bad when paired with Pippin and Folco for 19 starting threat, and more card draw is never a bad thing.

A couple of the spirit Hobbit Heroes also have very useful abilities to to pair with Ranger Bow. Spirit Merry with his threat reduction ability can help keep Heroes below the engagement cost of enemies. Spirit Pippin can send an enemy back up to the staging area to make it a target for the Bow. They also provide Spirit access for many threat reduction cards like Galadhrim’s Greeting, Smoke Rings, and the more Hobbit specific Elvenses. Lastly but certainly not least is The Shirefolk if using all Hobbits.

Robin Smallburrow offers another way to increase engagement cost of enemies. It’s a bit conditional with having to travel, but the increase by quest points can be significant. Particularly in later cycles when locations were given more quest points to counter direct location progress effects like Asfaloth.

Other Direct Damage and Staging Area Attack

Ranger Bow dealing only 1 damage means it is unlikely to kill an enemy in a single turn. Even with 2 or 3 copies out unless you’re playing earlier scenarios where enemies could have 1 or 2 hit points like Shadows of Mirkwood, Darrowdelf, or The Hobbit Saga. More cards with these effects make this strategy more effective and consistent. Heroes like Thalin from the Core Set, Argalad, and Tactics Bilbo can all do a direct damage to enemies in the staging area. Argalad besides being in sphere is the most flexible as his ability is an action that can be triggered after staging. Bilbo and Thalin on the other hand have to quest to get the damage. A number of allies also have direct damage effects typically from entering play like the Core Set Gandalf, Descendent of Thorondor, Galadhon Archer, and Rumil. There are some thematic options as well with Forest Patrol, Poisoned Stakes, Leadership Anborn ally, Arrows from the Trees, and Lore Faramir ally.

The other route is to use heroes that can attack directly into the staging area either to soften up or finish off targets of the Ranger Bow. Haldir hero, Dúnhere and Leadership Éomer all have staging area attack built in. They also have the staging area attack specific attachments, Bow of the Galadhrim and Spear of the Mark, to make them very effective at attacking into the staging area. Great Yew Bow and Hands Upon the Bow can allow any ranged hero to attack into the staging area as well.

Quest Specific

Ranger bow will really shine against enemies like the Core Set’s 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.

Quests to not bring the Ranger Bow against are definitely Intruders in Chetwood, Dungeson of Cirith Gurat, and Helm’s Deep. 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. In Dungeons of Cirith Gurat, enemies guarding objectives are immune to player card effects during stage 1. They’re often guarding objectives since they will capture allies as objectives. The second stage when the players have to avoid engaging enemies for 2 turns Ranger Bow would be great, 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. Ranger Bow’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 rate Ranger Bow at 7 rings. It can be useful, but you have to build in some encounter control, low threat, or return to staging area effects to use continually. Otherwise, it just softens up enemies when engaged and there are attack boosting attachments that would be a better use of deck space. The 1 direct damage isn’t enough to kill an enemy at least every other turn without 2 copies in play. This direct damage also is generally outclassed by staging area attack. Dunhere, Haldir, and Leadership Eomer can all get their attack up to kill an enemy in a single turn with a couple attachments. It is not unplayable, but the card pool generally has better options for what this is trying to do.

  • Dave – 8
  • Grant – 9
  • Ted – 7
  • Matt – 7
  • Average – 7.75

Sample Decks

Ye Olde Ranger Trap Deck by Matt Duckworth

The main idea is enemy manipulation in staging. The focus is to either trap enemies as they come into play, or use Ithilien Archer or Mablung to bounce select enemies you engage back into traps in staging. As you are laying traps and trapping enemies, Damrod functions to both accelerate resources and fuel additional card draw. The main attack power comes from Faramir, who is boosted both by sticking enemies in staging with low threat and Ranger Spikes, as well as equipping Dagger of Westernesse.

Ye Olde Ranger Trap Deck

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Damrod (The Land of Shadow)
Faramir (Assault on Osgiliath)
Mirlonde (The Drúadan Forest)

Ally (22)
2x Anborn (The Blood of Gondor)
2x Gandalf (Over Hill and Under Hill)
1x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
2x Ithilien Archer (Encounter at Amon Dîn)
2x Ithilien Lookout (The Dunland Trap)
2x Ithilien Tracker (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Mablung (The Land of Shadow)
3x Master of the Forge (Shadow and Flame)
2x Mirkwood Pioneer (The Nîn-in-Eilph)
3x Rivendell Minstrel (The Hunt for Gollum)

Attachment (23)
2x Ambush (The Land of Shadow)
2x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
2x Forest Snare (Core Set)
2x Ithilien Pit (Encounter at Amon Dîn)
2x Poisoned Stakes (The Blood of Gondor)
2x Protector of Lórien (Core Set)
2x Ranger Bow (Assault on Osgiliath)
3x Ranger Spikes (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Secret Vigil (The Lost Realm)
1x Song of Battle (The Dead Marshes)
2x Wingfoot (The Nîn-in-Eilph)

Event (6)
2x Distant Stars (Escape from Mount Gram)
2x Forest Patrol (Assault on Osgiliath)
2x Mithrandir’s Advice (The Steward’s Fear)

Player Side Quest (1)
1x Scout Ahead (The Wastes of Eriador)

3 Heroes, 52 Cards
Cards up to The Black Riders

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Smoke Screen Alliance by Matt Kell (kattattack22)

A Ranger Hobbit Last Alliance deck also featuring Pipes. General game plan is mulligan for Hobbit Pipe(s). Multiple if possible. Once some Hobbit Pipes are in play use the threat reduction events to draw cards. Last Alliance provides some resource acceleration throughout the game. Smoke and Think helps pay for the high cost Ranger allies.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Aragorn (The Watcher in the Water)
Frodo Baggins (Conflict at the Carrock)
Pippin (Encounter at Amon Dîn)

Contract (0)
1x The Last Alliance (ALeP – Children of Eorl)

Ally (20)
1x Bilbo Baggins (The Road Darkens)
2x Cautious Halfling (Wrath and Ruin)
2x Curious Brandybuck (The Wastes of Eriador)
2x Gaffer Gamgee (Mount Gundabad)
3x Guardian of Ithilien (The City of Corsairs)
2x Ithilien Tracker (Heirs of Númenor)
1x Mablung (The Land of Shadow)
2x Northern Tracker (Core Set)
1x Odo Proudfoot (Under the Ash Mountains)
2x Ranger of Cardolan (The Wastes of Eriador)
1x Robin Smallburrow (The Drowned Ruins)
1x Sam Gamgee (The Thing in the Depths)

Attachment (13)
3x Dúnedain Pipe (The Black Serpent)
3x Hobbit Pipe (The Black Riders)
3x Ranger Bow (Assault on Osgiliath)
3x Spare Pipe (The Land of Sorrow)
1x Thorongil (The Fortress of Nurn)

Event (18)
3x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Drinking Song (Mount Gundabad)
3x Smoke and Think (The Land of Sorrow)
3x Smoke Rings (The Black Riders)
3x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
3x The Shirefolk (Mount Gundabad)

3 Heroes, 51 Cards
Cards up to ALeP – Children of Eorl

Sideboard

Hero (5)
Aragorn (Core Set)
Aragorn (The Lost Realm)
Aragorn (The Fortress of Nurn)
Frodo Baggins (A Shadow in the East)
Pippin (The Black Riders)

Ally (14)
2x Bilbo Baggins (The Road Darkens)
1x Cautious Halfling (Wrath and Ruin)
1x Curious Brandybuck (The Wastes of Eriador)
2x Elladan (The Mountain of Fire)
2x Elrohir (The Mountain of Fire)
1x Gaffer Gamgee (Mount Gundabad)
1x Odo Proudfoot (Under the Ash Mountains)
1x Ranger of Cardolan (The Wastes of Eriador)
1x Robin Smallburrow (The Drowned Ruins)
1x Sam Gamgee (The Thing in the Depths)
1x Súlien (The City of Corsairs)

Event (7)
3x Elrond’s Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Old Toby (The Black Serpent)
1x Will of the West (Core Set)

Deck built on RingsDB.

Ranger Bow Target Practice by Jim H (teamjimby)

A Secrecy deck with scrying and card draw to support using Ranger Bow.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Glorfindel (Foundations of Stone)
Mirlonde (The Drúadan Forest)
Pippin (The Black Riders)

Ally (19)
1x Bilbo Baggins (The Road Darkens)
3x Celduin Traveler (The Nîn-in-Eilph)
3x Guardian of Ithilien (The City of Corsairs)
2x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
3x Ithilien Lookout (The Dunland Trap)
1x Ithilien Tracker (Heirs of Númenor)
1x Mablung (The Land of Shadow)
3x Master of the Forge (Shadow and Flame)
2x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)

Attachment (16)
1x Asfaloth (Foundations of Stone)
1x Hobbit Pipe (The Black Riders)
3x Light of Valinor (Foundations of Stone)
3x Poisoned Stakes (The Blood of Gondor)
3x Ranger Bow (Assault on Osgiliath)
2x Ranger Spikes (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Resourceful (The Watcher in the Water)

Event (14)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Elrond’s Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Risk Some Light (Shadow and Flame)
2x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)

Player Side Quest (1)
1x Scout Ahead (The Wastes of Eriador)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The City of Corsairs

Sideboard

Ally (1)
1x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)

Attachment (3)
1x Asfaloth (Foundations of Stone)
1x Ithilien Pit (Encounter at Amon Dîn)
1x Ranger Spikes (Heirs of Númenor)

Event (4)
3x O Elbereth! Gilthonial! (Shadow and Flame)
1x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Fast Hitch

A card so nice, they reviewed it twice (at least).

TL;DR It’s a Hobbit staple.

Background

Hobbit stats are rubbish: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever, about that. If you’re of the persuasion the first statement would read better with the word “stats” omitted, then you are probably off to find a better use of your time. Unless you’re getting into extended fan-created content (ALEP: The Last Alliance Contract) from here on, the following discussion is clearly in the context of Hobbitish application.

Card Theme

The source material for Fast Hitch comes from Sam and Frodo’s journey through the Emyn Muil. Our beloved podcast hosts appreciated this context the first time around, but a veil of forgetfulness had passed over all of them by the second time they discussed this card. Please reference The Two Towers: Chapter 1. The Taming of Smeagol to delight yourself with the fullest quotation.

After the elven rope gifted to Sam by Galadriel comes loose:

Sam did not laugh. “I may not be much good at climbing, Mr. Frodo,” he said in injured tones, “but I do know something about rope and about knots. It’s in the family, as you might say. Why, my grand-dad, and my uncle Andy after him, him that was the Gaffer’s eldest brother he had a rope-walk over by Tighfield many a year. And I put as fast a hitch over the stump as any one could have done, in the Shire or out of it.”

Even though an internet search today for fast hitches will result predominately in towing hitches, the demographic most interested in them is unsurprising: Farmers (and tangentially modern farming certainly relies on fast tow hitches to quickly attach and unattach equipment from tractors). The ability to quickly secure loads, equipment, or produce is key to agrarian values and skills that just such a Gamgee Hobbit family would have prided themselves on and found essential to efficiently cultivating lands.

Hopefully, it is obvious why knotting knowledge and the ability to quickly fasten loads would thematically represent action advantage for Hobbits. In the source material, the fact the elven rope loosens itself and returns to its owner is a sore point for Sam, but it also allows them to continue their quest sooner, without having to leave the rope behind.

Of note, in knot tying theory, a hitch is a knot used to fasten a rope to another object. Clearly an accurate use in this circumstance. Another thematic win is achieved by designing this card for the Lore sphere; from the core rules, “the sphere of Lore emphasizes the potential of a hero’s mind. Intellect, wisdom, experience, and specialized knowledge are all under the domain of this sphere.” A small quibble is it would have been nice if there was a Gamgee hero with the printed Lore icon; a MotK Gaffer is the closest we come.

Synergies and Interatcions

In the greater context, Fast Hitch compares most directly with the core staple Unexpected Courage; attachments that provide a repeatable readying effect. Note that Fast Hitch can be used on any character, not just heroes.

It’s easy to ask, “name a Hobbit that’s not a good target for Fast Hitch?” Clearly they all are, but one must consider the opportunity cost that exists. Because of this, there are clearly better targets for the readying. Also, should multiple Fast Hitches be stacked on a single character, or should they be spread around.

There exist two main strategies for building for Fast Hitch: you are planning to sufficiently boost a Hobbit’s stats to make the extra actions pay off or you are planning to use actions that require a character to exhaust. But let it be stated, Rosie Cotton merges these two strategies in powerful ways.

Stat Boosting

  • Characters that have above average or stat boosting abilities: Sam Gamgee (Leadership), Tom Cotton, Tactics Merry
  • Attachments for boosting Hobbits: Hobbit Cloak, Staff of Lebethron, Sting, Ring Mail, Friend of Friends, etc as well as plenty of others (i.e. play an off-theme Steward of Gondor, then Gondorian Shield becomes quite effective)
  • Events for boosting: Halfling Determination (best for combat as you might get multiple uses out of the boost).

Ability Triggers

Characters with abilities you may want multiple uses of:

  • Firstly, MotK Rossie Cotton: if her power isn’t self-evident, more in the next section.
  • Tactics Merry: top attack potential for Hobbits, with an attacking buddy they can really mow down the enemies. Top thematic points for pairing with a partner deck triggering Tactic Eowyn’s ability. You will have to figure out some potential ranged damage though (partner attack w/printed range, Dunedain Cache, etc.)
  • Spirit Merry: even though Hobbit Pony may do it better, questing-readying-triggering is quite effective.
  • Other more niche cases include Spirit Pippin and Tactics Bilbo Baggins

Peak Power

If your ambition is to feature Fast Hitch in the most powerful ways, building around MotK Rosie Cotton is your objective. Making Rosie a hero (yes, Sword-thane is similarly viable, but requires considerably more resources to set up), opens her up to all willpower boosting effects that target heroes (consider Fireside Song, Red Book of Westmarch, Celebrian’s Stone, Necklace of Girion, Stone of Elostirion, Strider, Courage Awakened, Hobbit Pipe + Smoke Rings, etc.). Having multiple hitches on Rosie will allow her to quest, then ready and exhaust to boost another questing Hobbit, while finally readying and exhaust to boost a combat hobbit. Not to mention all the decision points of whether you want to trigger her ability; you might want to limit your progress, while a big enemy reveal might have you prioritizing combat. It is still incredibly strong even if you can’t get her willpower boosted.

Defending enemy attacks is always a vital part of this game. As such, our defense capable Hobbits can greatly benefit from Fast Hitch: Sam Gamgee, Tom Cotton, and Spirit Frodo.

Even though Hobbit decks tend to be tri-sphere, you still must have access to Lore. There are only 3 printed heroes that are Lore Hobbits. While A Good Harvest, Song of Wisdom, or intentional discarding an attachment and playing it with Reforged can work, they are probably a bit too big of a momentum hit unless you’re utilizing those cards in other ways to facilitate your deck. Also note, the Bond of Friendship contract plays nicely with a couple of Fast Hitches. Additionally, Fast Hitch is a nice inclusion for many of the saga quests, since the extra hero is often a Hobbit and may have some nifty utility in the quest.

Rating, Conclusion

Even though their stats are rubbish, a pleasant side effect is that giving Hobbits action advantage through Fast Hitch doesn’t feel overpowered. Many decisions underlie skillful play of this card that is thematically appropriate for the hiding in the shadows, tricksey Hobbit archetype.

You knew it before you read all this, Fast Hitch is a near auto-include in any Hobbit deck. There are many shenanigans yet to be uncovered if you’ve extended your LCG experience with the ALEP fan content; the Last Alliance contract opens up the Hobbit trait to any other trait archetype.

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.

Dave: w/Hobbits 1, w/out Hobbits 10: overall 5

Grant: 3

My rating: 4 — I agree with Dave’s logic to split the difference between it’s usefulness with or without Hobbits; but as the card pool grows beyond the official FFG releases, there are more ways to use Fast Hitch than a strictly pure Hobbit deck.

Radagast and Radagast’s Staff

The hero and attachment the Eagles deck needed.

Background

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

Card Theme

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

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

Card Synergies and Interactions

Creature Allies

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

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

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

Return Ally to Hand Effects

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

Defense Bonus

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

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

Word of Command

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

Quest Specific

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

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

Ring Rating

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

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

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

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

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

Hero

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

Staff

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

External Links

Sample Decks

The Eagles Are Coming! by radAGHAST 

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

Main Deck

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

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

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

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

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

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Mono-Lore of the Eagles by The Purple Wizard

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

Main Deck

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

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

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

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

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

Sideboard

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

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

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Stone of Elostirion

Guarded (location). Restricted.

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

You draw 1 additional card during the resource phase.

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

Background

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

Card Theme

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

Palantir

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

Thematic Deckbuilding Ideas

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

Card Synergies and Interactions

Discard Location Effects

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

Direct Location Progress

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

Automatic Card Draw

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

Quest Specific

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

Ring Ratings

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

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

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

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

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

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

External Links

Sample Decks

Guarded-o-rama by Card Talk Dave

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

Main Deck

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

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

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

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

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

Scout’s Honor by Uruk-Guy

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

Main Deck

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sideboard

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

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