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Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Classic Characters vs Variant Characters rss

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Alex

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Ok, so now I have played quite a few games with both versions of the game, and many draft games as well. Here are a few ideas on how the new characters compare their old counterparts.

Classic Frodo VS Variant Frodo
I feel that both have their advantages. But there is one clear thing: Varient Frodo + Classic Sam is a terrible combo. The old Sam is just too weak to handle things on his own. You better play good if you have those two.

Classic Sam VS Variant Sam
Variant Sam is definitely more powerful and versatile. He can become an important part of your strategy, and not just Frodo’s bodyguard. Classic Sam is still useful, but remember he is better matched with Classic Frodo.

Classic Gandalf VS Variant Gandalf
I would not hesitate to pick the old one over the new one because his original ability is so awesome, and assures victory in most battles. However, Variant Gandalf is still interesting and works well with other variant characters such as Aragorn, Treebeard, Sam and Elrond.

Classic Aragorn VS Variant Aragorn
Despite his relatively high power (4), I never found Aragorn very useful. His ability to attack any adjacent region is not as good as it seems, since he can rarely use it. His Varient self is a very different character, much more defensive and all-around more powerful. However, the Classic Aragorn can be very useful as a defensive character too, since he can always get to that sneaky Variant Witch-King. ninja

Boromir VS Treebeard
This one I can’t decide. Boromir can be supremely useful because he kills anyone, but Treebeard with a power of 6 in Fangorn and a very respectable 4 otherwise is a real hulk. Just one thing: don’t waste Boromir in a fight with Wormtongue… devil

Gimli VS Theoden
Wow, Gimli is so much better than this old fart that I can’t even imagine why you would choose Theoden over him. The dwarf’s ability to kill the Orcs, even if he’s the one attacked, is great cause those damn Orcs are one of the key Sauron characters. Theoden, well… he tries to get to Rohan, I guess.

Legolas VS Elrond
I think both characters are about evenly matched. They are the most “random” characters in a way since their ability depends so much on what Sauron plays. The Flying Nazgul is pretty unpredictable, and Legolas is good against both of them, because, while the Variant FN doesn’t move a lot, his power of 5 makes an instant kill even sweeter. Elrond’s ability can be good if he is used at exactly the right time, and if you can guess Sauron’s card play.

Merry VS Faramir
All in all, I think Merry is slightly better, even if against a Variant Witch-King; he mainly stays at home in the Shire. Faramir, well, he’s a very average fighter and a decent scout, deeply handicapped by the mountains.

Pippin VS Smeagol
Both are pretty average, and different, characters. Pippin is your best scout, but sucks otherwise, while Smeagol is an extraordinary defense man, with his ability to switch with anyone close to him (ideally Classic Gandalf, Variant Aragorn, Variant Sam, Gimli, Merry or Legolas) but he is pretty useless on the attack. I prefer Smeagol personally.

Classic Witch King VS Variant Witch King
While powerful, the Classic WK sucks big time compared to his game-winning alter-ego. The incredible threat the Variant WK provides simply cannot be matched by big muscles and side-stepping. And when you play as Sauron, you don’t even need more firepower.

Classic Flying Nazgul VS Variant Flying Nazgul
I think they are well-balanced. Where the variant loses in mobility, he gains in power. I like both of them.

Classic Saruman VS Variant Saruman
Both are good, but the Classic Saruman is definitely weaker against variant characters such as Treebeard, Theoden, Aragorn and Sam. But he is still good, very good. Variant Saruman is more subtle, however, and a lethal threat to the otherwise omnipotent Classic Gandalf. My personal choice has to go to the fellowship-killing Classic Saruman, however.

Classic Orcs VS Variant Orcs
I have some trouble imagining why someone would prefer the Variant Orcs over the Classic ones, but both are very good. The variant is better when is comes to attacking two characters in the same region or to defend itself, but still, instant kill anything…

Shelob VS Wormtongue
Grima Wormtongue is definitely better. He is a real pest. Invincible (I like to imagine he convinces the noble warriors to spare his life…many times.) and the best scout there is, he will give headaches to the fellowship player.

Black Rider VS Mouth of Sauron
The Mouth is much more powerful, but lacks mobility. He also has some problems with Classic Gandalf and Variant Aragorn. I think they are well-balanced.

Cave Troll VS The Watcher
I think the Watcher is better. The Cave Troll usually gets blown apart by Classic Gandalf, Boromir of “Noble Sacrifice”. The Watcher can play cards (such as “6” or “Eye of Sauron”) and wipe the opposition. Just place him in the center and have him attack at the right moment.

Balrog VS Uruk-Hai
The Balrog, while a little less useful than the Shire-invading Uruks, really slows the fellowship player. When he knows that the tunnel of Moria is safe, he will take it, and move fast. So think it twice.

Warg VS Gollum
Both are highly-specialized, highly powerful characters in their very specific domains. The Warg is the ultimate Frodo-killer and often a game-winner; he can also be useful against those damn Variant Sam and Boromir. Gollum is only good (and very good) to invade the Shire. If you have Gollum, the Uruk-Hai, the Black Rider and the Classic Flying Nazgul on your side, the fellowship player must really play with caution. He is otherwise almost useless, so I prefer the Warg.

Ok, so if I had to pick two teams… Keep in mind I only consider the individual usefulness of the characters, and I’m not trying to build efficient teams:

Fellowship:
Classic Frodo, Variant Sam, Classic Gandalf, Variant Aragorn, Treebeard, Gimli, Elrond, Merry, Smeagol

Sauron:
Variant Witch King, Classic Flying Nazgul, Classic Saruman, Classic Orcs, Wormtongue, Mouth of Sauron, The Watcher, Balrog, Warg

Hope you liked it; have fun disagreeing!
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Matthew M
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Nice article.

One point you didn't cover regarding Elrond is that he is an unstoppable Nobel Sacrifice candidate, as the Sauron player cannot disable it with the Eye of Sauron. Makes Elrond a bit more useful when that is kept in mind.

-MMM
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Derek Coon
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Very good. I would like to point out that it isn't that hard to get Theoden to Rohan in the pure variant game: Air drop Treebeard into Fangorn from the Shire and then run Theoden through Moria and into Rohan. I still like Gimli better though.
 
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Daniel Edwards
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I think a major issue with the draft play is that if the light has classic gandalf the dark has to be careful to draft enough ways to deal with him.

In the classic game, the dark can effectively deal with gandalf with its 3 5 value pieces and in the right circumstances with the orcs.

In your sample dark set-up, the dark has only the balrog and the orcs (the watcher is in many ways a worse match-up than the troll was). I think you would need to be very good to stop gandalf from wrecking you.
 
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Alex Rockwell
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jellospike wrote:
Pippin VS Smeagol
Both are pretty average, and different, characters. Pippin is your best scout, but sucks otherwise, while Smeagol is an extraordinary defense man, with his ability to switch with anyone close to him (ideally Classic Gandalf, Variant Aragorn, Variant Sam, Gimli, Merry or Legolas) but he is pretty useless on the attack. I prefer Smeagol personally.


I feel that smeagol is quite god, while pippin is the weakest piece in the game.

Its not close.
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Philip Thomas
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On a Thematic note, the Variant Light line-up abandons the 9 Companions...

The Variant seems almost to be going for a Two Towers approach- no Boromir, Treebeard, Theoden, Wormtongue and Faramir...but there is also the Mouth of Sauron and the Watcher...and of course it is the Two Towers of the film rather than the book, since Shelob has been cut.
 
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Are we there yet?
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Alexfrog wrote:
jellospike wrote:
Pippin VS Smeagol
Both are pretty average, and different, characters. Pippin is your best scout, but sucks otherwise, while Smeagol is an extraordinary defense man, with his ability to switch with anyone close to him (ideally Classic Gandalf, Variant Aragorn, Variant Sam, Gimli, Merry or Legolas) but he is pretty useless on the attack. I prefer Smeagol personally.


I feel that smeagol is quite god, while pippin is the weakest piece in the game.

Its not close.


However, Smeagol's strategy is readily apparent to Dark, and he's more worthless to attack. Using Smeagol almost forces a certain arraingment of pieces, which Dark can avoid.

If Dark isn't certain of Smeagol's position, they have the Palantir or the Varient card that reveals a piece's position. Dark can then surmise the other pieces around him, and attack as needed.

It isn't that Pippen is better than Smeagol, it is that Light has limited options to use Smeagol effectively.
 
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Leon Magdic
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About WORMTONGUE:

I would say it's best character in Variant, but has problem
that can retreat to EMPTY region only
so you can't retreat to region with one dark character !!

Because of that, Dark needs to be very careful not to become prey
of some Light attack as Trebeard jump in fangorn ....


 
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Devin Nordberg
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Great review! Here are my agreeances and disagreeances:

Classic Frodo VS Variant Frodo
Classic Frodo, definitely. He's so wonderfully slippery!

Classic Sam VS Variant Sam
Yes, variant Sam, definitely. He's best on the front lines, far from Frodo.

Classic Gandalf VS Variant Gandalf
I used to agree with you, but now I don't. With drafting, you have other ways to get a bruiser, so you don't need Classic G so much. But Variant G can crucially influence so many battles that you have to go with him. He just sits in the middle and radiates aid to all. (And there's major synergy with Variants Gandalf, Aragorn, Sam, and Smeagol!)

Classic Aragorn VS Variant Aragorn
Variant Aragorn, definitely. And with the combo mentioned above.

Boromir VS Treebeard
If you don't want to think too hard, take Boromir. If you want more muscle, take Treebeard (although he will inevitably battle the Watcher in Fangorn and they'll both die).

Gimli VS Theoden
Yeah, Theoden is weak, and there's no reason to consider him. There's Orcs in every game folks, so don't leave home without your Gimli.

Legolas VS Elrond
I disagree with you here. There's a Flying Nazgul who will be a badass either way, so you gotta have your Legolas to shoot that bastard down. (Even if L never does this, just having him makes black get very conservative with their FN.)

Merry VS Faramir
I go with Merry. There's a Witch King in every game who badly needs to be killed.

Pippin VS Smeagol
I think Smeagol is the definite choice here. And in the combination with Variant Gandalf/Aragorn/Sam, he gets even better. Besides, you don't need as much scouting if you go with this combo.

Classic Witch King VS Variant Witch King
Unless your entire draft revolves around getting the Variant Witch King into the Shire, I would stick with the classic. Black has less muscle advantage generally in the Variant game, so I choose muscle here. If I want to win by overrunning the Shire, I'd plan on putting other folks there and having the WK as muscle to kill anyone in the way.

Classic Flying Nazgul VS Variant Flying Nazgul
Normally, I'm so attached to the mobility of the Classic Flying Nazgul that I choose it. But I'm used to playing the Classic game without any of Special cards, so when I play a draft game with all of the Variant cards, having Return to Mordor in my pocket allows me to let go and consider the big hopping bruiser Variant FN. He can fight more in front before Legolas can get up there. (BTW, I only use Palantir on a space that I am able to attack on that turn. There's a lot of synergy between Palantir and Variant FN.)

Classic Saruman VS Variant Saruman
I respectfully disagree with you here. I'd go with Variant Saruman, who can go on the hunt for Gandalf. Hint: Variant Gandalf will be found in the middle of the board, so you know where to look. Variant Saruman's card veto power can also make it costly to kill Saruman. And if you're playing with the Special Gandalf the White card, then you can have Saruman kill him twice! (With Return to Mordor)

Classic Orcs VS Variant Orcs
I tend to play against players who are very effective at dealing with the Classic Orcs, which makes me consider the Variant as more flexible and better at rushing crowds. Sometimes I like to keep the Orcs in Mordor, and in that case I go Classic.

Shelob VS Wormtongue
If your opp is going to have variant characters, then you want Wormtongue, who will be a great scout and a great threat to overrun the Shire.

Black Rider VS Mouth of Sauron
I go Black Rider here. I haven't found the MoS' ability to be very helpful. The Black Rider is also part of the crew that together can really threaten to win by overrunning the Shire.

Cave Troll VS The Watcher
I totally agree, you've got to go with The Watcher. I think the Cave Troll is the second weakest Classic black character. With Variant characters around, the Cave Troll is an even more crude instrument than he was before, in a game that requires more finesse than before. Also, in every game I have played with Variant characters, The Watcher ended up fighting Treebeard in Fangorn (an even match), and they both died in every battle.

Balrog VS Uruk-Hai
If you want to overrun the Shire, take the Uruk-Hai. But if you're feeling like you lack your customary strength advantage (from choosing the Variant Witch King and Wormtongue, for example), take the Balrog and hold the tunnel (since many of the Variant white characters don't want to do the attacking).

Warg VS Gollum
I like Gollum here, although it is a very close choice. Gollum is such a great scout (way better than Little Pippin Longstocking) and a threat to overrun the Shire that I prefer him. The Warg is simpler to play, since you just leave him in Mordor until he's needed, but I have seen too many games end with the Warg attacking Frodo and failing to kill him.

My teams:

Fellowship:
Classic Frodo, Variant Sam, Variant Gandalf, Variant Aragorn, Boromir, Gimli, Legolas, Merry, Smeagol

Sauron:
Classic Witch King (or Variant if you want to overrun the Shire), Variant Flying Nazgul (unless you want to overrun the Shire), Variant Saruman, Classic Orcs, Wormtongue, Black Rider, The Watcher, Balrog (or Uruk-Hai if you want to overrun the Shire), Gollum

Thanks again for putting your opinions up there!
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