LOTR LCG: The Great Wall of Endless Text

Currently, my main gaming focus is on Lord of the Rings the card game. I feel the need to rant and rave about my strategic and mental transgressions and figure it is better to not clog up the forum with it.
 Thumb up

Building with Elrond

msg tools
Microbadge: 5 Year Geek VeteranMicrobadge: Hanabi fanMicrobadge: Battlestar Galactica fanMicrobadge: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game fanMicrobadge: LotR:LCG fan - I build Resource Engines!
Elrond is massively powerful with Vilya and is eminently worth building around. It has effectively pushed me to tear down my decks and build from scratch in order to best utilize Elrond's strengths. Traditionally when I am deck building, I am usually looking for a combination of 4 relatively straight forward things:

1. Resource acceleration
2. Card draw
3. Card combos fueled by 1 and 2
4. A hero/sphere selection that enables the strategy defined by the first 3

How much resource acceleration and card draw you need is a function of how expensive your cards are and how the acceleration and card draw balance each other with that expense. Often/usually my hero selection is effectively made by the first 3 in this list, but sometimes I just need some hero in a sphere to fill out a strategy, much like you have filler player cards that are not the cornerstone of the deck strategy but need to be in there to fill out the deck. Glossing over a lot of other complexities, balancing these items is basic deck building in lord of the rings the card game.

I state this to emphasize how massively different it is to build with and around Elrond. I find my base qualifiers to be inherently different regarding what I want:

1. Attachment fishing (getting Vilya in play)
2. High power cards + card combos (cost and sphere can largely be ignored)
3. A way to ready Elrond so that I can use him for other things other than Vilya
4. Get out a peak card to optimize the combo

You can certainly make an argument that trying to get specific cards in play is a significant strategic deck building element in general, but I tend to view it as a secondary concern + tweak to the fundamental strategy around the 4 I list earlier. This is partially because adding 3 of a card is usually reasonably effective at making the card available, and until recently, the options for fishing for a card have been minimal. They were either through brute force card draw (e.g. Beravor + UC), very specialized (Rivendell Minstrel), or sufficiently difficult to play to not be worth it (Word of Command). Well, Vilya and Elrond are different. I want Vilya in play as soon as possible as putting a card into play regardless of cost is too powerful to pass on. Resource acceleration is not as relevant to getting the Elrond engine rolling. Card draw doesn’t help optimize Elronding once it has been set up. The other heroes aren’t even that important. Elrond covers two spheres when he has Vilya – Spirit and Lore, and he can summon the allies from the other spheres. There are very few high impact cards he doesn’t have access to. Of course you can add a whole separate engine on top of this as well if you choose (which I do), but Eldronding by itself can outperform a steward of gondor with extra card draw.

So Elrond and Vilya significantly alter the way I think about deck building, probably more than any card releases since Zigil Miner. The key cards to me become Imraldis Stargazer and Master of the Forge. Imraldis Stargazer is the obvious solution to peaking (although Gildor presents an expensive alternative). While Word of Command is also possibly an option, I view the upcoming Master of the Forge is the best way to go fishing for Vilya. Assuming 3 Vilya in the deck, the chances of pulling a Vilya with Master of the Forge is roughly 30%. Chances obviously increase with fewer cards to sift through. UC, Light of Valinor, or Miruvor are all decent options for readying and using Elrond’s other all around abilities. Miruvor in particular is interesting since Master of the Forge allows for a convenient way to re-add the card your hand assuming one of the options you choose is to put it back on top of the deck. With Vilya and Miruvor for the price of 1 resource a turn, you can use Elrond’s power and one conventional action. Without Master of the Forge, doing this cycle is an impact on your card draw since Miruvor becomes one of your draws every turn.

So hence there is a little dance that forms. You use Master of the Forge to find Vilya and Miruvor. You play Miruvor on Elrond to un-exhaust him. Then you use Master of the Forge to pull the Miruvor back for the next turn.


I’d feel proud of spotting it, but all of these cards are in the same expansion and hence it sniffs of an intended synergy. The first 10 or so expansions got me used to “promise” cards: Cards that don’t do much now but might be good later. Many/most of the synergies require matching up with other expansions. Rohan and eagles were scattered amongst Mirkwood. Dain shows up ahead of the massive dwarf reinforcements in Khazaddum. Elrohir was nearly useless without Elladan.

But then the Long Dark came out which included Aragorn + Sword that was broken. It also had another attachment that specifically names Aragorn (Rivendell Bow). Foundations of Stone gave us Glorfindel, Light of Valinor, and Asfaloth. Shadow and Flame gives us the block described above. In retrospect, it seems like The Long Dark should have included a couple of killer tactics events to go with Hama. Which of course begs the ever present question of why Tactics keeps getting the shaft.

So I can’t help wondering if this is a trend (batching not Tactics getting the shaft - we know that is a trend). Having expansion packs contain cards that work well with each other makes the game substantially more accessible. Although I am sure that FFG would prefer everyone purchase all of the expansions. All in all I think it is a good idea and I applaud FFG’s efforts.

I looked at numerous angles for rolling out Elrond. An Elrond solo/super deck was the primary objective, but I kept coming out a bit disappointed. Elrond requires a significant amount of support cards to set up and optimize. Then if he is paired with his buddy Glorfindel, even more deck space is chewed up by relatively inexpensive cards. What is worse is that many of these cards are unique, so a blind Vilya action starts having a high rate of failure. Ziggy/Gazer is a very easy combo to add since I tend to want high cost cards in an Elrond deck anyway. But adding ziggy further waters down the pool of cards. So between Vilya, Ziggy, Gazer, UC, Miruvor, Master of the Forge, Light of Valinor, Asfaloth, and the ever requisite A Test of Will, suddenly half of my deck was chewed up with sub optimal cards to Elrond. So pairing became inevitable to optimize the strategy.

Deck Snapshot

Shadow and Flame is having a massive impact on how I lay out my decks. I am assuming that they've spoiled all of the good cards at this point (or it is really going to be an unbelievably strong set). But with what we know so far, I've reworked into 5 decks. Proxies are very limited with 2 core sets, they include: 5 A Test of Will, 2 Sneak attacks, 2 Longbeard Map-Makers, 2 Wardens of Healing, 2 Ring Mail, 3 Zigil Miners, 1 Unexpected Courage. The decks are split into two tightly coupled pairs with a bonus secrecy deck that could be played with either. Each pair can be played without proxies.

Elrond's Army (28 threat)
This deck depends massively on the Armory to get the necessary attachments in play. But with that help, both Elronding and Ziggy/Gazering can occur with an abundant amount of high cost/value allies. Eagles present early game reinforcements before the engine starts rolling and they are easily paid for by Elrond and Brand. Support of the eagles is primarily targeted at Brand to allow for much easier kills. Legolas is a more thematic choice than Brand, but the Brand readying Beravor combo is too much to pass up.

Hero (3)
Elrond (SaF) x1
Brand Son of Bain (THoEM) x1
Glorfindel (FoS) x1

Ally (40)
Elfhelm (TDM) x2
Faramir (Core) x1
Erestor (TLD) x1
Gandalf (Core) x3
Gildor Inglorion (THoEM) x2
Haldir of Lorien (AJtR) x2
Northern Tracker (Core) x3
Radagast (AJtR) x2
Beorn (Core) x2
Zigil Miner (KD) x3
Longbeard Map-Maker (CatC) x2
Eagles of the Misty Mountains (RtM) x3
Descendant of Thorondor (THoEM) x3
Vassal of the Windlord (TDM) x3
Landroval (AJtR) x2
Winged Guardian (THfG) x3
Warden of Healing (TLD) x2
Silvan Tracker (TDM) x1

Attachment (4)
Forest Snare (Core) x2
Support of the Eagles (RtM) x2

Event (6)
Elrond's Counsel (TWitW) x3
The Eagles Are Coming! (THfG) x3

Elrond's Armory (26 threat)
This is the deck that builds the engine. Vilya and Imladris Stargazer are the key cards to get the army rolling out. Over half of the deck is attachments so Master of the Forge is nearly guaranteed to find at least one attachement. The Watcher of Bruinens and Trollshaw Scout along with Protector of Lorien provide early options to fight off enemies, although ideally a Feint would be in hand. There is no threat reduction, so there is a reliance on Elrond's council and Gandalf in the Army deck to drop threat and use Wandering Earendil to balance it out. Born Aloft is intended to allow for additional plays of Gandalf or Descendent of Thorondor. Some of the readying attachments should be directed to Beravor to push forward card draw, particularly early on. I think there is enough card draw to mow through the deck, but Gleowine is an option to boost a bit more at the expense of one of the card discarding elves. Frodo is set up again as a stud defender ideally getting Ring Mail, Protector of Lorien, Song of Wisdom, Burning Brand, Fast hitches for repeat defenses, and Arwen to trigger sentinel. Either a Frodo wall or a Feint can allow for safe defenses while Brand+Hama take out the enemy. I am a bit worried that my inner Boromir has jumped the shark here as I expect this deck pair to be obscenely effective.

Hero (3)
Beravor (Core) x1
Frodo Baggins (CatC) x1
Hama (TLD) x1

Ally (14)
Master of the Forge (SaF) x3
Imladris Stargazer (FoS) x3
Arwen Undomiel (TWitW) x1
Henamarth Riversong (Core) x1
Miner of the Iron Hills (Core) x1
Erebor Hammersmith (Core) x1
Trollshaw Scout (FoS) x1
Watcher of the Bruinen (TWitW) x2
Wandering Took (Core) x1

Attachment (28)
Asfaloth (FoS) x2
A Burning Brand (CatC) x3
Fast Hitch (TDM) x3
Protector of Lorien (Core) x2
Song of Wisdom (CatC) x1
Light of Valinor (FoS) x3
Unexpected Courage (Core) x2
Song of Earendil (RtR) x1
Born Aloft (CatC) x3
Ring Mail (TLD) x2
Vilya (SaF) x3
Miruvor (SaF) x3

Event (8)
A Test of Will (Core) x3
Feint (Core) x3
Dwarven Tomb (Core) x1
Will of the West (Core) x1

Dain's Council (29 threat)
Dwarves suddenly look a little wimpy in comparsion to the all around studlyness of the Elrond decks. But Hardy Leadership is a strong effect that makes the dwarves much tougher, and dwarves are generally cheaper and can flow out rather quickly right from the start. This deck is more support focused although it has some expensive Leadership allies which are funded through Gloin's power and undefended attacks protected by shadow cancelation. There is a large amount of healing in the other deck to allow this. The recent introductions of Longbeard Elder and Erestor help a ton to make Gloining resources more fruitful without depending on songs or Narvi's belt.

Hero (3)
Dain Ironfoot (RtM) x1
Dwalin (KD) x1
Gloin (Core) x1

Ally (23)
Bofur (TRG) x3
Brok Ironfist (Core) x1
Dunedain Watcher (TDM) x3
Erestor (TLD) x2
Faramir (Core) x1
Gandalf (Core) x3
Longbeard Elder (FoS) x3
Longbeard Orc Slayer (Core) x3
Zigil Miner (KD) x3
Arwen Undomiel (TWitW) x1

Attachment (10)
Ancient Mathom (AJtR) x3
Ever My Heart Rises (TLD) x3
Steward of Gondor (Core) x3
Unexpected Courage (Core) x1
Hardy Leadership (SaF) x3

Event (14)
A Test of Will (Core) x3
Dwarven Tomb (Core) x1
Lure of Moria (RtR) x3
Sneak Attack (Core) x3
The Galadhrim's Greeting (Core) x2
Hasty Stroke (Core) x2

Dwarven Swarm (27 threat)
The Steward of Gondor from the Dain deck goes on Gimli or Thalin with Bifur pilfering one of the resources (or possibly from Gloin). 23 cards in this deck ard dwarves, so it is quite possible to set up "Legacy of Durin dwarf chains" for as long as resources allow. Veteran of Nanduhuirion can be used as a stud defender with a Ring Mail or two, Hardy Leadership, and Warden of Healing support. I think Bombur is a not so good card in a general purpose deck and it is a card I had tucked away out of sight and forgotten about. But with the synergies from EBM, Hardy Leadership, and especially Legacy of Durin, I think he is a solid play if the deck isn't too crowded. It is amazing how much more playable a card is when it triggers a card draw.

Hero (3)
Bifur (KD) x1
Gimli (Core) x1
Thalin (Core) x1

Ally (33)
Bombur (RtR) x2
Erebor Battle Master (TLD) x3
Erebor Hammersmith (Core) x3
Erebor Record Keeper (KD) x3
Gondorian Spearman (Core) x3
Henamarth Riversong (Core) x1
Longbeard Map-Maker (CatC) x3
Miner of the Iron Hills (Core) x3
Veteran of Nanduhirion (KD) x3
Veteran Axehand (Core) x3
Warden of Healing (TLD) x3
Landroval (AJtR) x1
Haldir of Lorien (AJtR) x1
Gleowine (Core) x1

Attachment (11)
Legacy of Durin (TWitW) x3
Ring Mail (TLD) x3
Dwarrowdelf Axe (KD) x3
Self Preservation (Core) x2

Event (6)
Daeron's Runes (FoS) x3
Hail of Stones (RtR) x3

Rohan Secrecy (17 threat)
I toyed around with secrecy oriented decks recently with fellow BoardGameGeeker Emelye last week. After a first turn where Theodred was able to play two timely aids all by himself, I started taking the concept of secrecy as a power curve strategy a bit more seriously. This hero combo has certainly been discussed before, and I am looking forward to trying it. I expect this deck to work reasonably well on its own, although it could be a third deck to either of the two pairs above. It still bugs me that I find little to get excited about with synergizing Rohan despite the extensive use of the trait in the game. Elves are not much better, but at least they do have some very good attachments now.

Hero (2)
Eowyn (Core) x1
Theodred (Core) x1

Ally (28)
Elfhelm (TDM) x1
Eomund (CatC) x3
Rider of the Mark (RtR) x3
Snowbourn Scout (Core) x3
The Riddermark's Finest (THoEM) x3
West Road Traveller (RtM) x3
Dunedain Wanderer (RtR) x3
Gandalf (Core) x3
Northern Tracker (Core) x1
Faramir (Core) x1
Wandering Took (Core) x3
Longbeard Orc Slayer (Core) x1

Attachment (3)
Resourceful (TWitW) x3

Event (19)
Astonishing Speed (RtM) x2
Ride to Ruin (THoEM) x3
Out of Sight (TLD) x3
Timely Aid (TRG) x3
A Test of Will (Core) x3
Sneak Attack (Core) x3
The Galadhrim's Greeting (Core) x2
Twitter Facebook
Subscribe sub options Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:36 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}