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The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Two Core Decks for Two-Handed Play/2 Players rss

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Daniel Kreutzenberger
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Hey guys, I am kind of new to this game and I only own the core set, not a single expansion yet. I played this game a lot recently, though. Deckbuildiung was really the part of the game I was really scared of. I never played a deck building game and did not really know how to do it and what to do, which heroes to add, which spheres to include and which allies to use.

After using several decks I found in the internet, i finally managed to create my own deck (at least a deck, that is not so shitty that i don't even get past the Passage through Mirkwood scenario lol). At first I created a deck with the Leadership- and Tactics Spheres for solo play. It definetly did not work in any way, but I did not wanted to throw the whole deck away, so I tried to create a second deck (lore and spirit) that synergizes well with my first deck, that helped the first deck with its weaknesses. Additionally I changed my first deck up significantly, to complement the synergy between my first and my second deck.

I had two decks now, well, that means that I have to play two-handed and I did. And i have to say, it worked out incredibly well. Thus far, I played Passage through Mirkwood 1 time and Journey along the Anduin 3 times and I won every single time. (Last time, I handled two Hill-Trolls, one Chieftain Ufhtak, and a Marsh Adder.

Due to that I decided to share the two decks with you guys. I don't know if a similar deck already exists in these forums, so I apologize if there is one, I do not want to copy anyone else's deck.

1st deck:


Heroes: Théodred (Leadership), Thalin (Tactics), Legolas (Tactics)

Allies (21):

Beorn 1x
Horseback Archer 2x
Gondorian Spearman 3x
Veteran Axehand 3x

Faramir 2x
Guard of the Citadel 3x
Longbeard Orc Slayer 1x
Snowbourn Scout 1x

Gandalf 3x

Attachments (10):

Blade of Gondolin 2x
Citadel Plate 2x
Dwarven Axe 2x
Horn of Gondor 1x

Celebríans Stone 1x
Steward of Gondor 2x

Events (12):

Feint 2x
Quick Strike 2x

Ever Vigilant 2x
For Gondor! 2x
Sneak Attack 2x
Valiant Sacrifice 2x

2nd Deck:
Lore / Spirit

Heroes: Denethor (Lore), Beravor (Lore), Éowyn (Spirit)

Allies (15):

Daughter of the Nimrodel 3x
Henamarth Riversong 1x
Erebor Hammersmith 2x
Miner of the Iron Hills 1x
Gléowine 2x
Lore of Imladris 1x

Wandering Took 2x
Lórien Guide 1x
Northern Tracker 2x

Attachments (8):

Forest Snare 2x
Protector of Lórien 2x
Self Preservation 2x

The Favor of the Lady 2x
Unexpected Courage 1x

Events (19):

Lore of Imladris 1x
Radagast's Cunning 2x
Secret Paths 2x
Gandalf's Search 2x
The Galadhrim's Greeting 2x

Hasty Stroke 2x
A Test of Will 2x
Stand and Fight 3x
A Light in the Dark 1x
Dwarven Tomb 1x
The Favor of the Lady 1x

So yeah, those are my two decks I used. To be honest, I should say that these decks are basically built around beating Journey down the Anduin. Several Cards are in the deck just to get past the Hill Troll.

So let me explain how I play with these decks (totally optional to read the following stuff):
In the 1st deck, I obviously use a lot of Leadership cards what may seem to be a bit strange, concerning the fact that I have two Tactics-heroes and only one Leadership-hero. But with Théodred and Steward of Gondor on Théodred I have about the same amount of Leadership-ressources as Tactics-ressources. So giving Steward of Gondor to Théodred and throwing around the ressources Théodred gives to where I need 'em, allows me to include the many strong Leadership-cards while still using the expensive Tactics-cards as Beorn or Citadel Plate. So Ressource Generation is a big theme in this deck and that is the only reason why I use Théodred.

I need so many ressources to fulfill the main purpose of the deck. Killing everyone. As you can see, I have no real defender in this deck with Legolas being the most offensive hero I have and Thalin being kind of a mix between an offensive, defensive and quest-character. To bypass this obvious weakness, I use 6 allies that are basically for chumpblocking, the Snowbourn Scouts and the Gondorian Spearmans. With so many Allies to block the enemies (and enough ressources to play them all) I can freely use my other Allies and Heroes to crush all the enemies. Legolas plus Dwarven Axe (not so optimal on a non-Dwarf, but I do not really have an alternative) plus Blade of Gondolin in combination with all the other allies I included like the Veteran Axehands and the Horseback-Archers, I can kill almost everything in one blow (and again, I can play all those allies due to the high ressourcegeneration I have with Théodred and the two Tactics-heroes.). Thalin helps me to weaken (or kill) the enemies enough to do that.

Thalin may seem like an odd choice compared to a real fighter like Gimli, but the main reason I included him and not Gimli was the threatcost. I need several rounds to build up my fighting army (coming to that point later again.)and with a threatcost of 11, I just do not have enough rounds to do that. Thalins ability is still incredibly helpful, killing the Eastern Crows instantly is huge and dishing out 1 damage to Hill Trolls, Chieftain Ufhtaks and whatever is pretty nice. I had pretty positive experiences with Thalin, so yeah.

Obviously, there are many weaknesses in this deck alone. First of all, there is the need of playing all the allies that are included. Doing this, needs several things: Ressource generation (I have that already, so thats fine), and card draw. Card draw is only presented by Heroic Sacrifice and that is not enough 99% of the time. That is the reason why i play Beravor and Gléowines in the 2nd deck.
The next weakness is the lack of powerful questing. While i played with the first deck only, I expected Aragorn (used him instead of Thalin earlier) and Théodred to be enough with the combination of the ability of Legolas. It wasn't. Due to that reason, I just included Éowyn, an obvious choice. Insane willpower, the spirit deck (AND the lore deck with Protector of Lórien) gives me even more willpower-boosts. So with sending Éowyn, Thálin and Théodred to the quest, I already have 6 willpower, what is actually really good. In addition to that, I have to attachments of my second deck to boost willpower, and I have Beravor, if I do not need the card draw. So, questing, not a problem. I really rush through the quests. With so much willpower AND Legolas AND Blade of Gondolin, it is fast as hell. In addition to that, I have the Lore-Event cards, Radagast's Cunning and Secret Paths. Using both these cards I have more than enough power to quest.

I really missed one more thing in my deck, and this is "encounterdeckmanipulation" as Tales from the Cards calls it. Being able to see what is coming (using Henamarth Riversong and/or Denethor) gives me several advantages. Most importantly, I know when to commit Thalin to a quest and when I doo not need to. Despite his amazing ability, Thalin brings 2 attack and 2 defense. That is good, and helps me a lot, so with Henamarth and Denethor I see wether enemies are coming next round or not. Huge advantage.

There are other cards in the decks that really need explanation (like the ranged Allies, Denethor, Lore of Imladris and so on), but most of the time the reason why I included those cards is the quest Journey down the Anduin and the hill troll.

And that has to do with the strategy of the decks against this specific scenario. I needed a way to get past the Hill Troll at first. That is the biggest challenge in this quest I think. And it is relatively easy to be honest. I have pretty low starting threats (27 and 26) so I have at least 3 rounds to prepare. That is the starting point. And then I needed the answers for the Hill Troll. These answers are all the answers you would expect, Forest Snares or chump-blocks (Forest Snares are preferred, because I don't have to raise my threat as much then). So getting a Forest Snare is crucial. The strategy is to mulligan completly for a Forest Snare. The chances to get the Forest Snare in 3 or 4 turns are pretty good actually because I really have so much card draw with Gléowine and Beravor and Gandalf's Search. Still, there is the case where I do not get any Forest Snares. In this case I ahve a plan B: Galadhrim's Greeting. With this card I can buy me two more turns, to get the forest snare which almost garantees me to get one. With the forest snare, I can easily kill the Hill Troll. For getting past the one attack, the Hill troll can do, I have the answer in the first deck. Feint, or Sneak Attack -> Beorn -> defend with Beorn. I cannot always make this happen but when I don't I still have one chumpblocker out that time (most of the time) and I take the hit with him. Raising the threat by 3 or 4 is unfortunate, but not too bad.

I could talk for ages really, I really could talk about every single card in this deck, but it gets too much, really. (Still one more word to say, this word is very important in this deck, and that is the reason why i included Denethor: RANGED!)

Yes, so that's my deck. Feel free to express your opinion about the decks.

Sorry for the long text. (and maybe for the English, im German...)

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David Lichtenstein
United States
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These are both pretty good decks for a novice. There are tiny tweaks that you may wish to consider (especially if you are thinking about buying more expansions or adventure packs): Miner of the Iron Hills is somewhat more useful than he looks at first glance; you may wish to include another copy of him. Similarly, Northern Tracker is very useful, but also very expensive in a deck with little resource acceleration, so you may wish to reduce down to one copy of him in this deck.

Increasing the size of your decks to 50 cards will make things harder and less consistent, but as you add to your player-card pool, more interesting options will become available.

Most importantly, have fun!
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Daniel Kreutzenberger
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Thank you very much for your advice!

I just played Escape from Dol Guldur and did beat it with these decks! laugh

And your advice of including one more copy of Miner of the Iron Hills was absolutly perfect. I encountered 2 Caught in the Webs right after the other in one single Staging Phase. They were gods in this situation!

So much fun with this game, really.
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