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.
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RtR killed Gloin or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love (or at least tolerate) the Ziggy bomb

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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!
Gloin was the first hero I really liked. He has solid questing and fighting for a reasonable threat. He is a dwarf and synergizes well with many cards. But most of all, with a little healing support, he is a great resource engine. With 3 daughters of the Nimrodel and 3 self preservations, he was reliable in this capacity in a 50 card deck. Frodo was his sidekick, attackers could be ignored and mooched for resources with little worry. If a horrible shadow effect occurred, then the damage could be applied to your threat through Frodo's ability. Add on some dunedain watchers and a hasty stroke or two, and even a direct defense by Gloin himself was safe from the likes of the horrible Sudden Pitfall. Dark Knowledge + Rider of the Mark could further expand this safety net. I began to see enemies in the staging area as cash waiting to be harvested on Gloin. Narvi's belt was a perfect addition to allow for flexible expenditure, although songs worked fine as well. Add on UCed Beravor and card draws were no longer a problem. Access to A Test of Will closed off the remaining hole. Gloin, Frodo, and Beravor - this little engine was THE core deck amongst my decks in my two player games.

I really enjoyed this deck. I found the tactical decisions fascinating - sorting through the knittling details to maximize resource gain on Gloin while properly maintaining the board. But most of all, I felt like I had earned my engine. It wasn't as simple as plopping a card into play, it was utilizing card synergies.

But the quests up through Kazadhum had taught me two incorrect lessons:
1. Attachments are almost always safe (Cavern Guardian being the minor exception)
2. Unexhausted allies are safe (I don't think there are any exceptions)

This blinded me to a fundamental weakness of the above strategy: heavy dependencies on allies and attachments. For the deck to work I needed both a mechanism to heal Gloin and a way to route those resources back to Lore or Spirit to bring in high impact cards. Now you could probably say that any deck depends on allies and attachments, but the fundamental engine can easily break down and in a very expensive way that is hard to recover from. Buying healers (DotN or SP) naturally takes 3 turns of collecting resources or requires a Narvi's belt/song in play. I can essentially always make this happen on turn 2, 3, or 4 which is often just when I need to start healing. But if this healer is yanked out from underneath me (and especially if I lose the Narvi's belt too), then I am often 3 critical turns away from getting it moving again. In the meantime, Gloin is often sitting on a lot of damage.

As stated above, this was never really an issue until Road to Rivendell. While Black Uruks present some degree of threat as well, Orc Raiders are positively devistating to a multi-attachment dependent strategy as there is really no way to avoid the effect. Unless I happen to have spare buffer attachments lined up, I can see a self preservation and Narvi's belt/Song disappear in a flash. That is 4 or 5 resources and two cards down the drain with a significant delay before I can get the engine moving again, let alone pay for itself.

RtR also includes a shadow effect on Pathless Country that takes out my frail 1 HP allies, so DotN are similarly exposed. Stacking multiple in play becomes a risk to expand the folly if I don't have a shadow cancellation available. This means that healing can be viewed as both expensive and rare, thus it may not best be applied to a resource acquisition engine.

I can mitigate the Narvi's belt being lost by including more leadership cards and less Spirit/Lore. But I can't say I like my options (so few good Leadership allies/cards). But the healing is really the deal breaker. Just a couple of expansions ago I would have called the deck sturdy or even safe, now it feels frail and prone to collapse. And the center of the collapse is Gloin - he can no longer have a deck built around him.

So it is a sad day. Today, I dismantle the Gloin deck in favor of another engine. One that starts at the push of the button instead of a slow turn of the crank. One that doesn't require additional attachments to balance resources. I never really liked the Zigil Miner. I reluctantly built a 4 cost eagle deck using him so that I could finally afford to play eagles. Now I'll resort to proxies to allow for a second Zigil Miner deck with the refugees from the Gloin deck.

So I will remove Gloin from his protective sleeve. Perhaps if leadership gets the right cards in the future he'll stage a comeback. Until then I'll have the memories of him endlessly taking hits from snaga scouts and Eastern Crows. And I'll remember fondly those two turns in a row when Gloin was wearing a citadel plate with plenty of healing soaking 6 resources a turn from the witch king. But for now he goes in the box.

RIP Gloin.
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