Honour Guard

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Damage Control
    • Valour
    • Beorn Support

The most flexible damage cancelation card. I wish there were more like it.

Background

The art depicts a Guard of the Citadel much like the Leadership ally of the same name. Honour Guard is still apt as guarding the citadel and the White Tree was the highest honor and duty to the guards in Minas Tirith. They couldn’t leave their posts for any reason except if commanded by their lord. They could wear Elendil’s livery of the White Tree with a silver crown and stars on a field of black. They also wore mithril helms with wings of sea birds.

Card Theme

One of the more obvious mechanism and thematic links with the guard meant to protect those in the Tower of Gondor. The card can protect characters in the game by canceling a damage or 5 in Valour directly.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Beorn

Beorn hero is not an obvious synergy since he is immune to player card effects. Fortunately, Honour Guard’s effect targets the damage much like ally Dori. Per the FAQ, that clarified that Dori’s ability can redirect damage dealt to Beorn because it targets the damage, Honour Guard’s ability can cancel damage to Beorn too.

Ally Readying

The ability to cancel a damage requires a player to exhaust the Honour Guard. Readying effects that target allies then allow the ability to be used more than once per round. Players can use the Core Set Leadership cards of Ever Vigilant to ready a single ally and Grim Resolve to ready all characters. Many other single target and global readying cards work as well like Narya, To Arms!, Strength of Arms, Elwing’s Flight, and Leadership Faramir hero. The only issue is these effects are all actions. They can’t ready Honour Guard immediately after he is exhausted to cancel 2 points of damage. A player will have to wait until the next action window and then the Honour Guard can use its ability the next time a character might take damage. A couple have an additional timing limitation. For example, Elwing’s Flight is a quest phase action or Leadership Faramir’s response typically will occur during the Encounter Phase.

Quest Specific

Much like hero Beorn, there are several objectives and objective allies that take damage but are immune to player card effects. Canceling damage on these objectives is incredibly helpful because often times if they enough damage the players lose the scenario.

A Journey to Rhosgobel is a noted early example as Wilyador takes 2 damage each round. He can also take additional damage from other encounter effects. An advantage Honour Guard has here over healing effects is that it will not be removed from the game by Stage 2’s Forced effect. This quest infamously has a surprise loss condition if Wilyador is not fully healed by Stage 3. Wilyador only taking 1 damage per round gives the players more time to find enough Athelas for him.

Flight to the Ford is very similar to A Journey to Rhosgobel. The Ring-bearer will take 1 damage per round and there are more encounter effects that can add more. If the Ring-bearer runs out of life, the players lose. Canceling that 1 damage at the end of each round takes some pressure off the players to rush through the quest.

The Antlered Crow, Race Across Harad, The Crossings of Poros, Roam Across Rhovanion, and The Land of Sorrow all feature objective allies that if they leave play, that player is eliminated or the players lose. There are other objective allies and scenarios that also have this condition like Nalir in Trouble in Tharbad. These scenarios and allies in particular benefit from Honour Guard’s damage cancelation more than others because they have good stats, useful abilities, and/or damage from undefended attacks has to be assigned to them.

Chief Turch notably can defend without exhausting and has decent defense of 2 and large hit point pool of 5. An Honor Guard or two can make Turch defending multiple enemies much safer and a viable strategy. Tamed Mumak in Race Across Harad is usually best to quest with considering the quest limits progress if you don’t. The quest can be very combat heavy if many enemies pile up in the Orc area and then engage when they catch up to the players. Honour Guard can help the players take undefended attacks safely since they’re assigned to Mumaks and help clear out the orcs enemies. Urdug and Tiny are also no slouch at defending and only get better with some damage cancelation. Lastly, Arador in The Land of Sorrow is well set to be a secondary defender with 3 defense, 5 hit points, and built in readying for defending but risky if he takes too much damage. Honor Guard mitigates the risk of losing to a bad shadow which are a few in the quest to be wary of.

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 Honor Guard at 2 rings. Damage cancelation is a very useful ability to counter attack boosting shadows, direct damage shadow and treachery effects, high attack enemies, Archery damage, and other direct damage effects that quests might throw at the players. It can be used for any character and repeatable putting ahead of other damage cancelation cards like Raven-winged Helm or Mithril Shirt that are limited to the attached hero. The damage cancelation has a slight timing advantage over healing since it responds to the damage because this can prevent a character destruction from direct damage from treacheries and shadows. Healing usually needs to happen in action window before or after such effects, but it is not always possible if the character just has so few hit points. The only downside to the ability being damage cancelation versus healing is that it doesn’t benefit from Elrond hero’s healing boost.

The ally itself has a beefy 3 hit points and far less vulnerable to direct damage than many healing allies and especially compared to Warden of healing. It is a very fair costed 2 resources. It has the Gondor and Warrior traits that both are very useful for benefiting from global boosts and qualifying for attachments. Even better it is in the Tactics sphere that is the most combat focused sphere, but healing effects are exclusively in Lore. This makes a multiplayer mono-Tactic battle deck much more self-sufficient in handling all combat. Lore and Tactics can be a difficult combination to build together in a deck because both don’t have many resource acceleration cards and have less strong willpower or willpower boosting options than Spirit and Leadership. In true solo or a strong balanced willpower and combat deck Spirit or Leadership often are better to include.

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

External Links

Sample Decks

Legolas Shoots Locations aka Mono Tactics v4

Mono Tactics deck for Heirs of Numenor and Against the Shadow cycle. I tweaked the deck as I played through the cycle and through the various iterations it beat every quest. It definitely settled into a final form by Encounter at Amon Din. The games I’ve played with it with earlier iterations are featured on the blog as well.

Main Deck

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

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

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

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

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

Sideboard

Hero (1)
Aragorn (The Lost Realm)

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

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

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

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Power grimbeorn the old nightmare by Grant

Grant’s go to Grimbeorn multiplayer battle deck. It’s survived Assault on Dol Guldur epic multiplayer.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Grimbeorn the Old (The Withered Heath)
Hirgon (Beneath the Sands)
Théodred (Core Set)

Ally (21)
2x Beorn (Core Set)
3x Beorning Guardian (The Crossings of Poros)
3x Beorning Skin-changer (The Withered Heath)
1x Erestor (The Long Dark)
3x Giant Bear (Fire in the Night)
1x Grimbold (The Flame of the West)
2x Honour Guard (The Wastes of Eriador)
3x Legolas (The Treason of Saruman)
2x Warrior of Dale (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
1x Yazan (The Mûmakil)

Attachment (22)
2x Armored Destrier (Temple of the Deceived)
2x Bow of Yew (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
2x Cram (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Dúnedain Mark (The Hunt for Gollum)
3x Dúnedain Warning (Conflict at the Carrock)
2x Hauberk of Mail (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
2x Raven-winged Helm (The Wastes of Eriador)
2x Secret Vigil (The Lost Realm)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
2x Warrior Sword (The Ghost of Framsburg)

Event (5)
2x Feint (Core Set)
3x Sneak Attack (Core Set)

Player Side Quest (2)
1x Gather Information (The Lost Realm)
1x Send for Aid (The Treachery of Rhudaur)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Ghost of Framsburg

Sideboard

Ally (4)
1x Faramir (Core Set)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)

Attachment (10)
1x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
2x Necklace of Girion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Song of Travel (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
1x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
3x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event (3)
3x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Eleanor

Extra treachery cancelation hero that shines in multiplayer.

Background

Eleanor is a FFG created character with the Gondor and Noble traits. If the traits weren’t enough of a clue, her art shows her wearing a diadem. It even looks reminiscent of the Aragorn’s crown in Peter Jackson’s Return of the King.

Card Theme

Eleanor’s ability to cancel a treachery and reveal a new encounter card doesn’t match the abilities of most Gondorian heroes. Heirs of Numenor really started to establish the Gondor trait being linked to resources and resource acceleration with Leadership Borormir giving an attack bonus when he has a resource in his pool and Tactics Beregond discounting Armor and Weapon attachments. Other Gondor cards expanded on this theme with more resource acceleration like Wealth of Gondor, Mablung hero, Captain’s Wisdom and Leadership Denethor

.

Eleanor’s ability is similar to Lore Denethor‘s ability to look at the top card of the encounter deck and either put it on the top or bottom. There weren’t any more Gondor themed encounter control cards until the Gondorian Rangers and Traps in Against the Shadow and then it was limited to Lore. Eleanor’s ability is more aligned with the Spirit sphere’s encounter cancellation cards like A Test of Will and Hasty Stroke. I think this is largely a result of the initial design not being as centered around traits as what eventually developed in larger expansions.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Defense Bonus

Defense is Eleanor’s only stat besides hit points greater than 1. At 2, it is sufficient for the Core Set scenarios where many enemies have 2 attack and there is even 1 attack enemies. Gondorian Shield since it gives +2 defense to Gondorian heroes turns her into a decent defender. Blood of Numenor is a solid option in the Spirit sphere and works well with all the resource acceleration options for a Gondor deck. Eleanor’s low threat of 7 also makes it possible to pair it with Resourceful. Still even with these significant defense boosts, Eleanor’s 3 hit points keeps her from being a great primary defender.

Readying

Readying is good if a player wants to use Eleanor as a defender in addition to her ability. Unexpected Courage, of course is the quintessential readying card. Miruvor also is a decent option to ready Eleanor after using her ability. It can even add a resource to Eleanor for use with Blood of Numenor.

More Encounter Control

Eleanor can become an adequate defender, but it is really her ability that is most useful considering how much build up she needs. Utilizing it alongside more encounter control, can shut down the worst the encounter has to offer. This strategy is usually limited to multiplayer since it leaves little room in a deck for cards to aid in questing and combat. In Spirit, there’s A Test of Will and Hasty Stroke. A Watchful Peace can also control the encounters by recurring an innocuous locations. Lore, however, will need to be added for more direct encounter manipulation and cancelation. Lore Denethor, Risk Some Light, Out of the Wild, and Scout Ahead can either move or outright remove the worst cards from the encounter deck. Lore also has Leave No Trace and None Return like Out of the Wild that can add cards to the victory display but only after dealing with them at least once. This, however, opens the possibility of canceling another copy of that encounter card with The Door is Closed!

Quest Specific

Eleanor can be useful in many quests considering all of them have treacheries. The first two cycles more so than later cycles. Shadows of Mirkwood included many that dealt direct damage to heroes and allies that could lay waste to a players board state. Massing at Night in multiplayer especially at 3 and 4 players can be overwhelming. Roasted Slowly and Gollum’s Bite are outright hero killers.

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

These cancel or lose type treacheries are part of why the first few cycles can be very “swingy” for new players. If you don’t see them in your game, the scenario can seem very easy. If you get one or two at the wrong time, it can be very difficult if they don’t end the game outright.

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 Eleanor at 6 rings. I think she’s dropped off in importance as the card pool has grown and scenario design moved away from treacheries having such a large effects. In the first couple of cycles, I would have rated her a 3 especially in multiplayer. She doesn’t do a lot for a player turn to turn without significant investment in building her up. She’s got it covered, however, when you really need to cancel Massing at Night or Crumbling Ruins. The more players you add, the more likely that a treachery will show up to wreck havoc on the players. Later cycles treacheries are less prevalent and the effects are more manageable. Part of that is just having more options in deckbuilding. More allies have more than 1 hit point to absorb direct damage. Threat reduction options expanded even beyond Spirit. Lore encounter control options have grown in number. There are even more ways to return heroes to play.

  • Dave – 6
  • Grant – 5
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – 6
  • Average – 5.33

External Links

Sample Decks

The Nope Deck by Qwaz

This deck is entirely devoted to controlling the encounter deck. Eleanor cancels treacheries, Balin cancels shadows, and Damrod helps trap enemies. On top of that, victory display cards remove the nastier encounters.

The Nope Deck

Main Deck

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sideboard

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

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

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

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Tactics Beregond – Community Review

by Rambokc

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Equipping
    • Resource Acceleration

Background

Beregond didn’t appear in the movies but I have definitely heard of him somewhere within the books.

Editor’s note – Denethor assigned Beregond to show Pippin the ropes after joining the Guard of the Citadel.

Card Theme

Defender, Gondor, Tactics

Card Synergies and Interactions

Tactics equipment and attachments

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.

Do keep in mind I am a relatively new yet very enthusiastic player of LOTR LCG! Tactics Beregond is a great card as it provides some of the highest defense values in the game. Another plus point of the card is its ability to lower the cost required to play armour and equipment attachments on him that can further bolster his defensive ability, such as Spear of the Citadel or Citadel Plate. Beregond often forms the very heart of my defense and he has not let me down – having 4 health points means that should enemy attack slip past his defense, Beregond will still be able to soak up some damage and stay alive. While some might be tempted to compare Tactics Beregond with defensively-oriented characters out there such as Spirit Beregond or Denethor (both Leadership and Spirit versions), bear in mind that Tactics Beregond has aged very well. He was released rather early in the game’s lifespan and he fact that he is still regarded as one of the top defenders shows the value of the card. The drawbacks of Tactics Beregond are him having 0 quest points and a mere 1 attack point, meaning that his role is mostly limited to defense, which I have to admit, he does very well!

  • Kenddrick – 2
  • Dave – 3
  • Grant – 5
  • Ted – 2
  • Matt – 2
  • Average 2.8

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

Envoy of Pelagrir

  • Card Effect Categories 
    • Resource Acceleration
    • Resource Smoothing
    • Enters Play

A flexible cheap efficient ally that was necessary early in the life of the game. Now in the larger card pool, it’s a fine filler or resource smoothing card.

Background

Pelagrir is the primary coastal city of Gondor located along the Anduin. An envoy based or from Pelagrir makes sense as the envoy can board sailing or river ships to travel to many places in Middle Earth. Most notably in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Aragorn lead the dead men of Dunharrow against the corsairs of Umbar that had taken the city.

Card Theme

Steward of Gondor back in the core set introduced the resource acceleration mechanism to the game. Heirs of Númenor as the first Gondor focused deluxe expanded on the Gondor trait having resource related mechanisms. Envoy of Pelagrir and Errand-Rider both gave it ways to move resources around. Wealth of Gondor gave it another acceleration option, and Leadership Boromir boosted ally attack while he had a resource. This is a nice way to represent the manpower and materials at Gondor’s command. It makes a lot sense as the kingdom was the largest and strongest of the free peoples during the later years of the Third Age.

Envoy of Pelagrir and Errand-Rider both provide another great thematic representation of the mechanism of moving resources from one hero to another. Both are traveling around and interacting with the various peoples of Middle Earth. The Pelargir Ship Captain, introduced later in the cycle, continued the thematic link of traveling allies with a resource smoothing ability that isn’t limited to just Gondor or Noble. Squire of the Citadel is another later example of the thematic link. Although it is not as obvious as the prior examples considering the squire would need to leave play first to basically move the resource to a different Gondor hero. Still a squire could be expected to run messages for their knight and it can tie in.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Gondor Global Boosts

Envoy is a pretty good value with 1 willpower and attack for essentially 1 resource. You can get more stats with Leadership Boromir hero or For Gondor! boosting its attack. Gondor has many good allies for combat.

I tend to think of Envoy as a cheap questing ally. Especially since it’s easy to boost its willpower with Visionary Leadership, Leadership ally Faramir, and even Sword that was Broken on Aragorn.

Bond of Friendship

The Envoy fits in well with this contract’s deckbuilding restrictions considering you have to include at least 5 neutral or Saga sphere cards. There aren’t as many neutral card options as the regular 4 spheres. It’s ability to smooth resources between Gondor and Noble heroes is even better value with the mandatory quad sphere build.

Ring Rating

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

I rate the Envoy at 5 rings because it is one the best filler cards. I could see a a strong argument for 4 on that basis. I just find that being a good or even great filler usually gets cut from my deck. In larger card pool, I often find better choices for the particular deck I’m building. Even Gondor swarm has many great cheap options that are competing for space like Solider of Gondor, Herald of Anórien, Defender of Rammas, or Knight of Belfalas.

When it came out, the Envoy was fantastic. It was just the kind of card the game needed for the small card pool, a flexible ally that could go in any deck. Also it could make your early game much better by giving a hero that one resource needed to play another card in the same turn especially in dual sphere decks. Now, there are better cheap allies for most decks and better resource smoothing options. It still is useful, but not as universally as it was back in Against the Shadow.

  • Dave – 5
  • Grant – 4
  • Ted – 5
  • Matt – 5
  • Average 4.75

External Links

Sample Decks

A Family of Leaders by emorlecallor

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Boromir (Heirs of Númenor)
Denethor (Flight of the Stormcaller)
Faramir (The Land of Shadow)

Ally (29)
1x Anborn (The Land of Shadow)
2x Citadel Custodian (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Envoy of Pelargir (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Errand-rider (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
3x Herald of Anórien (Trouble in Tharbad)
1x Ingold (The Wastes of Eriador)
2x Pelargir Ship Captain (The Morgul Vale)
3x Squire of the Citadel (The Blood of Gondor)
3x Veteran of Osgiliath (Escape from Mount Gram)
2x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)
3x White Tower Watchman (The Drúadan Forest)

Attachment (12)
3x Rod of the Steward (Flight of the Stormcaller)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
3x Tome of Atanatar (The Blood of Gondor)
3x Visionary Leadership (The Morgul Vale)

Event (10)
3x A Very Good Tale (Over Hill and Under Hill)
1x For Gondor! (Core Set)
3x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
3x Strength of Arms (The Drúadan Forest)

Player Side Quest (1)
1x Send for Aid (The Treachery of Rhudaur)

3 Heroes, 52 Cards
Cards up to Flight of the Stormcaller

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.