Spirit Théoden

Théoden is the king of Rohan, and perhaps the king of cost reduction. He has a clear role of getting out your Rohan allies efficiently. As is commonly known, Rohan has a strong theme of discarding allies in exchange for card effects. Théoden helps soften the blow of losing an ally by having it cost less. Additionally, one can build up a good sized army of Rohan allies of any sphere with Théoden’s strong resource smoothing and cost reduction features. Let the mustering begin!

Background

Théoden king, the Lord of the Mark of Rohan. He is the seventeenth king of Rohan and plays a prominent role in The Lord of the Rings. During the war of the ring he is under the spell of Saruman before Gandalf shows to free him from said spell. After this he comes to his senses and immediately thwarts Rohan in action against the evil forces of Saruman, and then Sauron. He famously calls for the mustering of Rohan and eventually presses his Rohirrim forward to the Battle of Pelennor Fields. His iconic speech closes with battle cries of death. He does meet his own death in the fields of Pelennor and in doing so leaves behind a legacy of redemption and glory.

Card Theme

Thedoen’s ability matches his theme quite well, specifically the mustering theme. His ability allows a player to reduce the cost the first played Rohan ally to zero. This is much like his attempts to rally his army in Tolkein’s work. Théoden’s ability is not great by shear power, but by numbers. The idea here is a Rohan ally swarm attempting to get any able-bodied warrior into the battle. Such a theme mimics the desperation to form forces to fight the enemy in both the Battle of Helm’s Deep and Pelennor fields.

Thematic Deckbuilding Ideas

The beauty of deckbuilding with Théoden is he can be dropped in any thematic Rohan deck. In fact, there are pages upon pages of deck ideas on RingsDB demonstrating exactly this. He is going to fit best into a Rohan themed deck with many allies and some high-cost allies, ideally both. This is a huge bonus if you love running Rohan. Any time you can drop a Westfold Horse-breeder for 0 resources, or an Eomund or Gamling for 2 you’re at a major advantage. A Spirit Elfhelm for 3 resources? Yes, please.

Other than his high threat there’s hardly any reason to exclude him in a Rohan swarm deck. His sentinel ability makes him a great defender in multiplayer which also has a thematic flare of it’s own. While Théoden boasts great stats, his value does drop outside of Rohan themed decks due to his specialized nature. Dave and Grant explain more about this in the podcast episode.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Théoden is priviledged into having access to tools specific to him. Snowmane and Herugrim both have added bonuses if you attach them to Théoden. Golden Shield is another thematic fit. Théoden can host all three due to Snowmane losing the restricted keyword when attached to Théoden. It’s clear these were developed with him in mind. Snowmane provides a free readying ability barring a successful quest. Herugrim provides and awesome base of +2 attack bonus while Golden Shield provides a fortifying base of +2 defense bonus. An Unexpected Courage ensures Théoden can utilize both of his combat attachments.

Gamling and Guthwine‘s ability to recur Rohan allies sets Théoden for a nonstop swarm. Speaking of swarm, Mustering the Rohirrim can help dig for any Rohan ally within the top 10 cards of your deck. The one resource you spend doing this is negated by Theoden’s cost reduction.

Feel like making Theoden a powerhouse attacker? Add Herugrim to him as well as a Steward of Gondor and a Song of Hope. Boost that willpower and swing away. Do the same with Golden Shield.

Finally, we can refer to Card Talk’s episode on Théoden and Théodred. I love Dave’s (rather insistent) idea of using both heroes’ ability to double resource smooth. The Rohan swarm could be never-ending with this duo. Want to take it a step further? Add Grima for maximum resource smoothing.

Quest Specific

I’m not sure there’s any specific quest Théoden is going to excel in specifically. The only immediate exception I can think of is Voyage across Belegaer where Nárelenya essentially has the same ability as Théoden.

I might suggest staying away from quests which start off combat-heavy. The reason for this is Théoden’s high threat level. For example, we all know what we have to deal with turn one during Journey Along the Anduin if your threat is over 30. Even with a great cost reduction ability it’s hard to build a board state in a situation like this.

Ring Rating

I’d ring Théoden a 3. He’s reached elite status in Rohan decks but is lackluster outside the archetype. He has good stats and the sentinel ability to help his cause but its not enough to make him a versatile hero overall. He’s high specialized and highly effective in Rohan decks which is the primary reason I give him a three. I keep him at a three because there’s no reason to consider building with him outside the Rohan archetype unless you do some Three Hunter’s shenanigans. Oh, and I freely admit I’m quite partial to Rohan!

  • Dave – 4
  • Grant – 3
  • Joe – 3
  • Average – 3.33

External Links

Sample Decks

A Sword-day: Arise, Arise, Riders of Théoden! – Devaresh

A Rohan swarm deck featuring Théoden and his attachments.

A Sword-day: Arise, Arise, Riders of Théoden!

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Éomer (The Voice of Isengard)
Éowyn (Core Set)
Théoden (The Treason of Saruman)

Ally (23)
3x Elfhelm (The Mountain of Fire)
2x Éomund (Conflict at the Carrock)
2x Escort from Edoras (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
1x Gamling (The Land of Shadow)
3x Riddermark Knight (The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat)
2x Rider of Rohan (Beneath the Sands)
3x Steward of Orthanc (Race Across Harad)
2x West Road Traveller (Return to Mirkwood)
3x Westfold Horse-breeder (The Voice of Isengard)
2x Westfold Outrider (The Voice of Isengard)

Attachment (14)
3x Firefoot (The Dunland Trap)
2x Golden Shield (The Flame of the West)
3x Gúthwinë (The Mountain of Fire)
2x Herugrim (The Treason of Saruman)
2x Snowmane (The Land of Shadow)
2x Song of Kings (The Hunt for Gollum)

Event (13)
3x A Good Harvest (The Steward’s Fear)
1x Astonishing Speed (Return to Mirkwood)
3x Elven-light (The Dread Realm)
3x Keen as Lances (Escape from Mount Gram)
3x Open the Armory (The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat

Sideboard

Ally (15)
3x Déorwine (Temple of the Deceived)
3x Elfhelm (The Dead Marshes)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
3x Háma (The Treason of Saruman)
3x Rider of the Mark (Road to Rivendell)

Attachment (4)
3x Favor of the Valar (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
1x Song of Kings (The Hunt for Gollum)

Event (6)
2x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)
2x Mustering the Rohirrim (The Hunt for Gollum)
2x Ride to Ruin (The Hills of Emyn Muil)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Wise Horse Lords of Rohan – Card Talk

A Council of the Wise deck focused on swarming. This deck combos with Théodred for increased resource smoothing.

Wise Horse Lords of Rohan

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Éowyn (The Flame of the West)
Théoden (The Treason of Saruman)
Théodred (Core Set)

Contract (0)
1x Council of the Wise (Under the Ash Mountains)

Ally (22)
1x Ceorl (Temple of the Deceived)
1x Déorwine (Temple of the Deceived)
1x Elfhelm (The Mountain of Fire)
1x Éomund (Conflict at the Carrock)
1x Éothain (The Dread Realm)
1x Escort from Edoras (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
1x Gamling (The Land of Shadow)
1x Grimbold (The Flame of the West)
1x Guthlaf (The Blood of Gondor)
1x Háma (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Horseback Archer (Core Set)
1x Riddermark Knight (The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat)
1x Rider of Rohan (Beneath the Sands)
1x Rider of the Mark (Road to Rivendell)
1x Rohirrim Scout (Challenge of the Wainriders)
1x Snowbourn Scout (Core Set)
1x The Riddermark’s Finest (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
1x Warden of Helm’s Deep (The Antlered Crown)
1x West Road Traveller (Return to Mirkwood)
1x Westfold Horse-Breaker (The Hunt for Gollum)
1x Westfold Horse-breeder (The Voice of Isengard)
1x Westfold Outrider (The Voice of Isengard)

Attachment (8)
1x Armored Destrier (Temple of the Deceived)
1x Golden Shield (The Flame of the West)
1x Gúthwinë (The Mountain of Fire)
1x Herugrim (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Horn of the Mark (The City of Ulfast)
1x Snowmane (The Land of Shadow)
1x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
1x Windfola (A Storm on Cobas Haven)

Event (23)
1x A Test of Will (Core Set)
1x A Very Good Tale (Over Hill and Under Hill)
1x Astonishing Speed (Return to Mirkwood)
1x Battle-fury (The Drowned Ruins)
1x Captain’s Wisdom (The Thing in the Depths)
1x Charge into Battle (Wrath and Ruin)
1x Charge of the Rohirrim (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
1x Desperate Defense (The Flame of the West)
1x Dwarven Tomb (Core Set)
1x Feint (Core Set)
1x Forth Eorlingas! (The Morgul Vale)
1x Gaining Strength (The Steward’s Fear)
1x Helm! Helm! (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Last Stand (Flight of the Stormcaller)
1x Mustering the Rohirrim (The Hunt for Gollum)
1x Parting Gifts (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
1x Ride Them Down (The Antlered Crown)
1x Ride to Ruin (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
1x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
1x Stand and Fight (Core Set)
1x The Muster of Rohan (Challenge of the Wainriders)
1x Valiant Sacrifice (Core Set)
1x We Do Not Sleep (The Dead Marshes)

3 Heroes, 53 Cards
Cards up to Under the Ash Mountains

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Leadership Éomer

  • Card Talk Season 4 Episode 26
  • LOTR Saga
    • Mountain of Fire
  • Card Effect Categories
    • Staging Area Attack
    • Declared Attack

The first iteration of Éomer in Voice of Isengard fit into the primary ally discard mechanism associated with Rohan. It is fitting then that the second iteration builds on the second mechanism, staging area attack. The core set introduced this mechanism with the Dúnhere hero. It was only sporadically developed since then, but Leadership Éomer is a strong addition to the archetype.

Background

Éomer is the ever loyal nephew and adopted son of King Theoden as well as the brother of Éowyn when he is introduced in the Two Towers. He is also the Third Marshal of Rohan following in the footsteps of of his father of Eomund. His efforts to keep Rohan safe form orc incursions resulted in imprisonment by the traitor Grima. After being freed, he goes on to fight valiantly in the defense of Helm’s Deep, The Battle of Pelannor Fields, and at the Black Gate. Eventually he becomes King of Rohan in the Fourth Age.

Card Theme

Most staging area attack cards are themed to imply the mechanism covers significant distance. Dúnhere, as mentioned earlier, introduced the staging area attack mechanism. It wasn’t until Darrowdelf and The Hobbit Saga with Hands Upon the Bow and Great Yew Bow requiring ranged the implication of these attacks covering great distance started to form. Then in The Morgul Vale with Spear of the Mark and Forth Eorlingas! cemented the Rohan version is based on the calvary charge. It is fitting considering calvary charges can be an effective shock tactic that would keep an enemy too disarrayed to attack. Particularly against the more cowardly and not highly disciplined orc and goblin troops of Mordor prevalent in the game.

Thematic Deckbuilding Ideas

Card Synergies and Interactions

Attack Boosts

Of course anything that boosts Eomer’s attack helps him destroy an enemy in the staging area. This removes threat to quest against and takes pressure off your defender.

Spear of the Mark is a top choice for making the most of his ability with +2 vs. enemies in the staging area. Dagger of Westernesse is similar especially in a low starting threat deck as most enemies in the staging area when committing characters to the quest should have a higher engagement cost.

His sword, Guthwine, offers +2 attack and can bring back a Rohan ally to hand in an ally discard deck. It’s main limitation is having to exhaust it to get the bonus and it won’t be available during combat assuming you can ready Eomer. Firefoot also provides +2 attack for Eomer with a useful ability to address multiple engaged enemies. Fantastic for Éomer as it should be since it is his horse after all.

Valiant Sword, Orcrist, and even Dúnedain Mark provide solid options to make his attack more effective. Orcrist in particular has some additional synergy as it can replace the resource used for the attack.

Herugrim and Willpower Bonus

Another means of maximizing his ability is to make him a better at questing with cards like Celebrían’s Stone. Then attach Herugrim to Éomer that he is not only making a strong attack against an enemy in the staging area but meaningfully contributing to the quest. Another option is to use hero Galadriel and Nenya to boost his willpower and attack by 4. One downside is Éomer then is less effective if you ready him for combat because Herugrim is exhausted for for the attack bonus. This limit its use to once per round.

Guarded X Player Cards

Éomer with his ability makes playing the Guarded (enemy) and (enemy or location) attachments an easier proposition. Basically any enemy that comes out from them he can attack and possbily remove their threat from the staging area. I mentioned earlier he beneifts quite a bit from Orcrist, but many of them give a powerful attack or willpower boost that can benefit from as well.

Quest Specific

Basically any quest that has enemies that have negative effects when they engage a player or while engaged Éomer can be a strong counter to. The Passage of the Marshes has many undead enemies where the players can’t reduce their threat while they’re engaged. Many of the enemies in the Haradrim cycle have effects that when they engage you must remove quest progress or suffer a negative effect. For example Southron Soldier, has you remove 2 progress of take an immediate attack. Although there are quests that prevent players from using Éomer’s ability with enemies in the staging area being immune to player card effects or not being able to take damage. Intruders in Chetwood in the Angmar Awakened cycle and Dungeons of Cirith Gurat from the Haradrim cycle are prime examples.

Ring Rating

I rate Leadership Éomer at 3 rings. I think staging area attack is a really fun mechanism. It helps avoid or minimize one of the more variable parts of the game, defending. You can use his ability right away and doesn’t have the same prerequisites that Haldir, Legolas, or Bard the Bowman to attack the staging area. It’s not too difficult to use every turn because this version of Éomer is in the primary sphere for resource acceleration. It’s not too difficult to build up his attack using Spears of the Mark, his horse, his sword, even his uncle’s sword, or other options available to Rohan and Leadership heroes. He’s a very solid attacking hero that only has a couple downsides to me. You can’t make the most use of his ability in every scenario because of immune to player effect type of limitations. The other is minor for building him in a pure Rohan deck which is Leadership has less Rohan allies than Spirit and Tactics. This limits your options a bit, particularly in dual sphere.

  • Dave – 3
  • Grant – 2
  • Ted – 6
  • Matt – 3
  • Average – 3.5

External Links

Sample Decks

Éomer takes the Lead by Grant

Forth, the Three Hunters multiplayer combat deck.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Éomer (The Mountain of Fire)
Éowyn (The Flame of the West)
Erkenbrand (The Antlered Crown)

Attachment (50)
2x Ancestral Armor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
2x Armored Destrier (Temple of the Deceived)
3x Blade of Gondolin (Core Set)
2x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
3x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
2x Firefoot (The Dunland Trap)
3x Golden Belt (Challenge of the Wainriders)
1x Golden Shield (The Flame of the West)
2x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
2x Gúthwinë (The Mountain of Fire)
2x Hauberk of Mail (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
2x Raiment of War (The Thing in the Depths)
2x Rod of the Steward (Flight of the Stormcaller)
3x Rohan Warhorse (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Round Shield (Mount Gundabad)
3x Secret Vigil (The Lost Realm)
2x Shining Shield (The Fortress of Nurn)
2x Song of Battle (The Dead Marshes)
3x Spear of the Mark (The Morgul Vale)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
2x Valiant Sword (Under the Ash Mountains)
2x War Axe (The City of Ulfast)

Event (6)
3x Foe-hammer (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Open the Armory (The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat)

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

Ride them Down! by Onidsen

This deck uses Herugrim + Galadriel with Nenya to boost Éomer’s willpower and attack. Fastred bounces enemies back to the staging area for Éomer to attack.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Éomer (The Mountain of Fire)
Fastred (The Black Serpent)
Galadriel (Celebrimbor’s Secret)

Ally (18)
3x Arwen Undómiel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Bofur (The Redhorn Gate)
1x Elfhelm (The Dead Marshes)
1x Errand-rider (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Ethir Swordsman (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Galadriel’s Handmaiden (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
1x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)
3x West Road Traveller (Return to Mirkwood)

Attachment (24)
1x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
3x Dúnedain Warning (Conflict at the Carrock)
1x Firefoot (The Dunland Trap)
3x Herugrim (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Livery of the Tower (The Flame of the West)
3x Mirror of Galadriel (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
3x Nenya (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
2x Silver Harp (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
2x The Favor of the Lady (Core Set)
3x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event (9)
2x A Good Harvest (The Steward’s Fear)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
2x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)
2x Ride Them Down (The Antlered Crown)

Player Side Quest (1)
1x Rally the West (The Black Serpent)

3 Heroes, 52 Cards
Cards up to The Mountain of Fire

Sideboard

Ally (5)
2x Elfhelm (The Dead Marshes)
2x Northern Tracker (Core Set)
1x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)

Event (6)
2x A Light in the Dark (Core Set)
1x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)
3x Power of Orthanc (The Voice of Isengard)