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Subject: Diving Into the Challenge Decks - Various Questions rss

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Josiah Fiscus
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I picked up a set of just the 5 Wizard challenge decks. That's probably as far as I want to go for now. I seem to recall from when I played this years ago that mixing Wizard vs Ringwraith tended to lead to really weird gameplay where you just "detained" each other a lot instead of being able to attack. Am I wrong about that? Will my experience be improved by also acquiring the 5 Ringwraith decks?

Secondly, I'm confused as to how the challenge decks all seem to contain 3 Wizards, but the deckbuilding rules say you can only have two. What gives?

I'm really confused about the best way to handle movement. Should I get a map? If I get a map, will I still need the site and region cards? Most players seem to recommend a map, but the rules don't really cover how to use a map instead. Help?

I'll likely be playing with gamers, but gamers who have not played this game before. Should I dive right into the Standard rules or start with the basic rules? Maybe a little of each? Stuff like tapping to support combat and corruption checks seems very minor to add, but other stuff seems a bit more complex. How many times through the deck should we go?

Any other tips for a first attempt?
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Kris Van Beurden
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Detaining each other is actually quite a good mechanic - tapping somebody's party so that they can't play a MP resource is pretty strong, whereas challenging them with creatures that give away kill MPs can give your opponent the win.

But if it has been years ago since you last played, you'll want to begin with playing just wizards. The rule interactions are easier than when playing WvR.

You can only have two DIFFERENT wizards (but you may play just one). So, any combination of 0-3 wizard cards, instances of 0-2 DIFFERENT wizards is possible (e.g. none, one radagast, two radagasts and a gandalf or three radagasts is all legal. Palando, Alatar and Gandalf isn't).

If you have a map, still use SITE cards but ignore region cards. Region cards were basically used to simulate a big map without putting a big map in the game :/. Either use starter movement (in which case you don't even need a map, and just move from sites to their nearest haven or v.v.) or Region Movement, but using the map instead of the region cards. The rules don't cover using a map, but that is because you still perform region movement, but just without the region cards.

I don't even remember the difference between standard or basic rules. Just go for everything. Go for once through the deck, then call at 25.

I once wrote a tutorial for this game as part of my MECCG Judge certification, it should still float around somewhere on the web. Read that? It uses 2 of the challenge decks.

Hmm, I just googled it and it is in fact hosted right here https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/93256/tutorial-game-middl...

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Josiah Fiscus
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Great stuff, thanks!

I think we'll just do Starter Movement (one of the differences between basic and standard) and that should eliminate the need for a map for the time being.

Still a bit perplexed about the deckbuilding rules though. All the decks contain 3x of their wizard, but then the sideboard has yet a different wizard (four total)! For something "Unique", there can only be one in the deck, correct? And then Wizards are an exception to this somehow?
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Kris Van Beurden
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Yeah, I can see using starter movement for the first few games. But on the whole, it will be slightly less eventful game (e.g. if you want to meet Tom Bombadil after recruiting the Rangers of the North, Region Movement would have you just move from Bree to the Old Forest, whereas starter movement means you move from Bree to Rivendell and then the next turn from Rivendell to the Old Forest ... and presumably the move to Rivendell will be "wasted" as there are no resource MP cards playable there).

Normally, tournament decks had 2/1 split in wizards, so that you had a backup wizard if your opponent played your "preferred" wizard. The challenge decks solved this by going 3 of the main wizard maindeck, and having a copy of the backup wizard in the sideboard in case you played against a deck also using your main wizard. Wizards are an exception to the Unique rule indeed. I could find the rules reference, but I'll be glad if you just take me on my word there .

If you plan on playing just challenge decks vs each other, you won't need the backup wizards in the sideboards...
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Josiah Fiscus
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Cool thanks. So theoretically I could build a deck with 3 Gandalf and 3 Saruman, but that would be the absolute limit. And Legolas could only show up once total, between the sideboard and the main. Do I have it now?
 
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Marc Gacy
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happyjosiah wrote:
Great stuff, thanks!

I think we'll just do Starter Movement (one of the differences between basic and standard) and that should eliminate the need for a map for the time being.


There are a number of maps out there that are easy to print. I'd get to region movement as soon as possible! It's one of the things that gives the game a sense of place rather than having the prescribed movement from point A to Point B.
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Marc Gacy
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Up to 3 wizards TOTAL, at most two different types:

Wizard A, Wizard B

Allowed Permutations:
None
A
AA
AAA
B
BB
BBB
AB
ABB
AAB

ABC is NOT allowed
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Josiah Fiscus
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Challenge decks are illegal as constructed then? They have 4 total, including the one in the sideboard...
 
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Brad Miller
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If you are using the challenge decks, there's no deck building involved, or allowed. Pretty much the same for movement. You are only allowed to use the sites given with each deck.

I think the rules as printed out off the internet were a bit different from those included in the challenge decks. Or maybe, sideboard wizards don't count?

They always felt like their own little world. We just played with the normal rules, since I thrifted a ton of cards, prior to thrifting the challenge decks. Have maybe only played once or twice with the challenge decks.
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Robert Schwieger
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I would highly recommend this map file: MECCG Map Schematic. I've just been learning the game with the Challenge Decks. I printed one copy for each Wizard and highlighted the sites in their deck. It allows you to mentally weed out the very large portion of Middle Earth you won't be visiting with each deck. And the direct point to point connections make region movement easy too.
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Roger Bordelon
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the Challenge Decks are fully legal. you can have 2 Gandalf +1 Saruman.
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Josiah Fiscus
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TsarRiri wrote:
the Challenge Decks are fully legal. you can have 2 Gandalf +1 Saruman.


Again, the challenge decks contain, for example 3x Gandalf and then, in the sideboard, 1x Saruman.
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Carolyn Longinton
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i think the side board does not count when counting the number of avatars in deck. Or the rule is maybe maximum a total of 2 different avatars, including side board, like AAA in deck and B in side board.
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Tucker Rumm
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Carocaro wrote:
i think the side board does not count when counting the number of avatars in deck. Or the rule is maybe maximum a total of 2 different avatars, including side board, like AAA in deck and B in side board.
The official rule is as follows:
Quote:
Up to 3 of the same Wizard/Ringwraith or up to 2 of the same Wizard/Ringwraith and 1 of a different Wizard/Ringwraith may be included in a play deck. Up to 3 of the same Wizard/Ringwraith, and one of each of the other Wizards/Ringwraiths, may be included in a play deck and sideboard combined.
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