Top 3 Tactics Heroes: One of Many Filler Posts

In my few weeks of doing this blog I’ve discovered that in can be a bit time consuming to formulate articles that actually say something valid and worth posting. Even though I don’t always have the time to put together something solid I still find myself wanting to write about the game. So I figured I would occasionally toss out a few “Top X” or “Card Spotlight” posts to fill up the gaps between my more content heavy posts. And without further ado I present my top 3 Tactics heroes!

It’s well known that Tactics is the most combat focused sphere in this game. And, seeing as we’re often facing off with Trolls, Orcs, spiders, goblins, giants, haradrim, and various nameless things, Tactics heroes are an ever appreciated resource in the player card pool. With all that being said, I’ve never been a fan of cards that serve just one purpose or rather, only allow for one thing to be done because of their presence. The best cards, in my opinion, are the ones that do their job AND allow you to do other things because of their contributions. That’s why I value these tactics heroes more than the rest in the class, they allow for more things to be done with the cards in your deck.

Honorable Mentions

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These three are all fantastic heroes and they all fit the criteria of not only what a tactics hero is supposed to do, but they also give the players a slight edge over the encounter deck and allow for some flexibility in deck building. The only thing that keeps them from cracking my top three is the fact that they don’t necessarily enhance what your deck, but are instead made better by the cards around them. Granted any hero is made better when you surround it with support, but I feel that the best cards work effectively on their own, and can be used in various deck to similar degrees of success.

Number 3. Beregond

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As mentioned in my post about Gondor’s support capabilities I consider Bereogond to be the ultimate support character. His huge defense and free access to Gondorian shield allow him to be all the defense you’ll need. He gives players lots of time to get their board set up and take on the encounter deck when they’re ready for it. Beyond the early game value this card has, he has staying power and can go toe-to-toe with the toughest enemies in the game and come out unphased.

Number 2. Boromir

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Boromir is the ultimate tactics hero. He has the ability to be the entire source of combat in many decks. Being able to defend and attack as many times as you need him to, allow him to be a one man wall/wrecking crew/Gondorian army knife. Using him too much may result in your threat climbing a bit higher than you’re comfortable with but when paired with the proper spirit hero and player cards there’s really not much to worry about. Boromir really shines in quests where you’re hit with a swarm of smaller enemies who just keep coming. He can take out a good number of them and still keep coming back for more, if he’s given the proper attachments to prepare. And the often overlooked second part of his text provides an incredibly powerful effect, even though it also comes at a huge cost. You’re not likely to use his ability unless it’s going to win you the game or as a last ditch effort to not lose, and in some instances it may be just what you need.

Number 1. Legolas

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Right from the core set Legolas proved to be one of the most formidable heroes available. His stats are incredibly balanced and put in the right spots. In a pinch he can quest or defend, though you’re really not likely at all to use him for anything other than his amazing ability. Being able to toss two progress tokens on the quest is huge, not just for Tactics but, for any deck that includes him. Careful planning with questing and his ability can lead to clearing off locations or quests at the most optimal time for the players. Being able have some control over how the quest and encounter deck effects are going to hit you allow for tons of great tactical options. Everyone reading this blog can think of at least one occasion where Legolas’ ability has allowed them to beat out the encounter deck and that’s because he gives the option progress on your own terms. All that and his range keyword opens him up to use for tons of great cards like Great Yew Bow and Hands Upon the Bow, giving him the potential to contribute to the more quest than some spirit heroes. For a measly 9 threat cost Legolas provides an advantage that not many player cards can provide and that makes him my number 1 tactics hero.

 

 

The Support of Gondor

When it was announced that the Against the Shadows cycle would focus heavily on developing the Gondor trait, most players of this game expected the same thing. We expected to be using the armies of Gondor to form massive assaults, a hyper synergy on par with the dwarves, and most of all we expected to be able to make cohesive and effective Gondor decks that could hold their own against any scenario. We were wrong.

What we got instead, were custodians, errand riders, shipwrights, and squires. We were given, in effect, the support staff. While many people have felt disappointed with this, I’ve actually grown to appreciate what the Gondor cards provide to the game. With the development of the Gondor trait the Lord of the Rings LCG was given it’s best developed “support class.”

Looking back through the some of Gondor cards that were available prior to the Heirs of Numenor, it’s easy to see that Gondor was always going to be this game’s biggest support deck. With cards like Steward of Gondor, Denethor, Eleanor, and Gondorian Spearman, Gondor has always been attached to the cards that seem to either give you more time to set your self up, provide you with the necessary resources you need for the long hall, or give you a way out of a tricky problem just when you need it. It should come as no surprise then, that the best received Gondor card out of this cycle, is the card that does nearly all of those things.

Beregond

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I’m, of course, speaking of Beregond with his monster defense, he grants you the ability to play at your own pace during the beginning of most scenarios, and provides an excellent amount of cover when things get tough giving you the opportunity to better utilize the rest of your cards to your advantage. He is the ultimate support character in single player or multi-player because he allows everyone to do their thing and not have to worry about a big enemy sneaking down and wrecking your board before you’ve even had a chance to set yourself up.

Leadership

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When you speak about Gondor in the Leadership sphere, you must consider it as a whole, because one card alone can’t be nearly as effective as they are together. Working within just the Leadership sphere Gondor supports the whole team by getting resources where they need to go, and makes excellent use of them when they get there. Whether you’re using the resources to bring in more effective allies and attachments or using those resources on Boromir and Visionary Leadership to provide a Dain-like boost for the whole table’s Gondor characters. In short, Gondor ensures that there are no wasted resources and allows decks to run smoothly and efficiently.

Outlands (for the player who doesn’t want to be in the support role)

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Love them or hate them, Outlands provided players with the synergy they may have been expecting from the Gondor trait. And, as obscure as they may be, Outlands characters do fall under the realm of Gondor, even if they don’t necessarily have the Gondor trait. While it may be cheating a bit to call them it Gondor deck, Outlands is about as close as we are right now to having a super powerful Gondor deck, that can stand on it’s own against anything the encounter deck throws at it.

You’ll notice that I did skip out on discussing the Ranger trait and how it pertains to Gondor’s support role. This isn’t a slight against them nor do I feel that they don’t warrant discussion. I love the Ranger trait and feel like it deserves an article all to itself, which I will bring to you next time. Until then, enjoy trashing the encounter deck!

The Secret’s Out: A Close Look at Secrecy

While it may be a (criminally) under-developed game mechanic, Secrecy provides a way for players to almost completely take control over how they’re adventure is going to play out. By keeping your threat low and giving yourself time to use powerful allies and events you allow yourself to react to whatever the encounter deck throws at you and, more importantly, put yourself in a position where you can actively deal with problems before they become something more difficult than they need to be.

Not every secrecy card is amazing and there are only 8 secrecy cards to begin with, so they are not cards that you build a deck around. They are meant to enhance a certain play style and give it an edge where other types of decks may be found wanting. I’m going to highlight 3 of the secrecy card I feel give a player an incredible advantage in the early stages of the game, and make it easier for them to get through the later stages of most quests.

Resourceful

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The value of this card in the opening hand of a secrecy deck cannot be stressed enough. Resource generation is always a great thing to have in any deck. In a secrecy deck Resourceful is the resource card you can get early in the game because allows to both produce enough resources to get your board set up and secure early, provides you with extra resources to pay for secrecy cards late in the game after you’ve gone over the 20 threat, and it’s neutral, so it can be used by everyone. Outside of a secrecy deck I think this card has some value still, it may not be as fast or cheap as Steward or Horn of Gondor but it is still a reliable means of generating more resources consistently over the game.

Timely Aid

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Sneak attack allows you to bring in an Ally until this end of the phase for 1 resource. Timely Aid allows you to do the same except the Ally doesn’t leave play and doesn’t even have to be in your hand. Granted their are the drawbacks of it requiring a good ally on the top of your deck and it needing to be played early, but the benefits outweigh that if you can get it into your hand early enough. Outside of a Secrecy deck the value drops significantly seeing as there’s not many allies made cheaper by spending four resources. I have been prone to using it in combination with Sam Gamgee and Good Meal and for that I think it’s decent enough, but outside of a secrecy deck then it’s definitely not a card you should get splashy with.

Risk Some Light and Out of the Wild

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I’ll be upfront and say that I believe these are two of the most powerful card in the game. Being able to scry is one thing, but being able to choose what you’re going to face for the next three cards off of the encounter deck is a whole new level of advantageous. More than that, being able to completely eliminate a threat before it even manages to surface provides any deck type with the opportunity to prepare for the other hazards in any encounter while they remove the toughest obstacle all together. In a secrecy deck playing both of these cards on one turn will cost just 1 resource! They do great work to give you time to set up whatever you need to do.

That about wraps up my view on secrecy. I think it’s a very fun mechanic and with Caleb hinting at it being expanded on in the Ring Maker cycle I can’t wait to see where it will go from here. I’ll see you guys next time when I weigh in on the ever up-for-discussion Gondor trait and discuss how I think previous traits have warped our views on how future traits need to be developed.

For The Shire! A discussion of Hobbits.

Hobbits have been my favorite part of Middle-Earth since I can remember. To me, they represent what the whole series is about and they’re always very fun to read about as they always find themselves in some kind of deep trouble.

There are quite a few great Hobbit cards that were released prior to the expansion that were lying in wait, ready to be used to make some incredibly powerful decks with out halfling heroes.

Small Target

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For future reference, these are my favorite types of cards: card with a super cool, unique, and fun effect…even if they don’t always work out so well.

The effect of this card, is much too strong to overlook considering all of the value it offers. When it does go off it’s just as good as Feint (except for having to exhaust a hero) and can even get rid of some of the bigger threats on the board. It’s by no means the perfect card (seeing as how it hinges on the shadow card having no effect) and it’s not a card you should plan on coming through for you every time, but if you find yourself in a tougher situation, with a spare spirit resource to pay for it then this is a good way of giving yourself a chance at having a leg up on the encounter deck. Finally, this card is best used with a bit of out of game preparation. Examining the encounter deck to see the amount of shadow effects that are present should help a bit in deciding whether or not to include it.

Good Meal

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A card with no use outside of a deck that features a Hobbit hero, absolutely shines today given that most Hobbit decks are going to be tri-sphere. With this card you can include several really expensive events and play them for cheap or, even better, for free! Consider the value of playing the Galadhrim’s Greeting for 1, a free Sneak Attack, or even using Timely Aid later in a game for just 2.  The value in this card comes from its ability to help with the tougher parts of using a deck with three different spheres of influence without having to include Steward of Gondor it also has a bit more flexibility than Steward in that you can use it on any one of you Hobbits when you need it, so you’re not having one holding onto a bunch of resources you don’t need. The major drawback of course is that it’s only a one time use per copy and it only works on events, but there are a few good ways to get attachments back and there are more than enough great events to warrant using this card.

Pippin (Spirit)

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Now I’m not gonna say that spirit Pippin is the best Hobbit hero, I’m not even going to say that he’s the best Hobbit hero that came out before the Black Riders expansion. I will, however, put forward that, in the right deck he’s an incredibly useful hero. At first glance his ability goes directly against what a Hobbit deck aims to do (engaging a high cost enemy and dealing with him as quick as you can) but if you’ve played with the Hobbits enough or if you’ve just played through enough quests you know that there are some really tough enemies that will either engage you through encounter deck effects, have extremely low threat values that’ll entirely throw off the flow of your deck. Being able to be rid of these enemies can save you the game. And, even though you have to raise your threat to do it, Pippin gives you song-free access to some great threat reduction.

So those are my thoughts on a few of the cards I think are really strong and can go a long way to helping some hobbit decks and making it a bit easier to deal with some of the problems they may have. Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments.

I’ll close by including the deck list for my own Hobbit deck in it’s current form. See you next time when I’ll be writing about one of my favorite game mechanics: Secrecy.

Heroes

Sam Gamgee

Merry

Pippin (Encounter at Amon Din)

Allies (17)

Gandalf x 3

Winged Guardian x 3

Vassal of the Windlord x 3

Farmer Maggot x 1

Eagles of the Misty mountain x 1

Dúnedain Wanderer x 1

Bill the pony x 2

Wondering Took x 2

Arwen Undómiel x 1

Events (20)

Unseen Strike x 2

Halfling Determination x 2

Timely Aid x 2

Sneak Attack x 3

Fresh Tracks x 2

Small Target x 2

Smoke Rings x 2

The Galadhrim’s Greeting x 2

Piece and Thought x 1

A Good Harvest x 2

Attachments (13)

Hobbit Cloak x 2

Dagger of Westernesse x 2

Hobbit Pipe x 3

Fast Hitch x 2

Song of Wisdom x 1

Good Meal x 3

An Introduction

Greetings fellow LOTR players, I’m the white tower watchman, but you can call me Robert. Given my ever rising appreciation for the  Lord of the Rings LCG, and my desire to become a part of the games community I’ve decided to start my own blog for the game. Much like the guys over at The Grey Company and Cardboard of the Rings I’m going to be discussing, with you, different strategies and deck building ideas. I’ll also be reviewing future adventure packs and deluxe expansions as they are released. While I don’t consider myself at all an incredibly great player I do hope that I can offer up some valid opinions on the game as a whole.

I’ll say a little about my experience with the game and then, for the sake of brevity cut this short and move on to getting started on my first real post where I’ll be discussing Hobbits and a hero who, I believe, gets a bit of a bad rap.

The first time I played the game was on OCTGN back in the begining of 2012, I only played a few games, and since I was just playing single player, didn’t know the rules very well, and was unimpressed with the very small pool of cards that were available to me, I quickly found myself ignoring the game in other to play different LCG’s (A Game of Thrones). It wasn’t until the spring of 2013 that I finally tried Lord of the Rings again, and this time, it was different. This time everything clicked and I found myself coming back to play multiple times a day. Eventually I went out and bought my own copies of the the core set and each of the expansions that had been released to that point…needless to say I was very hooked on the game. I still play at least once a week and I’m constantly building and rebuilding new decks (definitely a huge fan of deck building here). I post pretty frequently on the subreddit for the game. And that’s pretty much it for me, I’ll stop boring you with that and get to work on my first then. I hope to give you guys something worth reading!