|Second Breakfast: Second Helpings
A Look at The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game by the Developers
|The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game | Published 12 April 2013|
“By that time the sun was shining; and the front door was open, letting in a warm spring breeze. Bilbo began to whistle loudly and to forget about the night before. In fact he was just sitting down to a nice little second breakfast in the dining-room by the open window, when in walked Gandalf.”
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
A wizard is always arriving just when he means to arrive, and if you’ve ever met a wizard, you would know that his arrival almost always means he has something to say. Today, one of the wizards behind the development of The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game has arrived to share a few thoughts about one of his tried and true decks.
In the first edition of Second Breakfast, lead developer Caleb Grace shared a deck that paired the Tactics heroes, Legolas and Bard the Bowman, with the Spirit version of Glorfindel (Foundations of Stone, 101). Since then, several players have wondered if Caleb would be willing to post a deck built with only one copy of the game’s Core Set, and others questioned how the deck can function in multiplayer games, when the rising threats of other players’ decks would seem to render its ability to attack cards in the staging area less effective.
Today, Caleb addresses these concerns, even as he continues to explore the challenges and rewards of deck-building. His second sample deck uses only one copy of the Core Set, plays well in solo games, and partners well with his first deck, since they both start with the same threat of twenty-five and both focus on keeping their threat low as the game progresses.
Lead Developer Caleb Grace Rides with Rohan
In our first helping of Second Breakfast, I described a dual-sphere Tactics and Spirit deck that excels at keeping its threat low enough to hold enemies in the staging area and uses Great Yew Bow (The Hobbit: On the Doorstep, 14) to attack and destroy them without having to engage them. In this second helping of Second Breakfast, I’d like to outline a dual-sphere Leadership and Spirit deck that can be paired effectively with that first deck in a two-player game, or used successfully as a solo deck.
Gandalf (Core Set, 73) x3
Northern Tracker x2
West Road Traveller x3
The Riddermark’s Finest x3
Westfold Horse-Breaker x2
Snowbourn Scout x3
Astonishing Speed x3
The Galadhrim's Greetings x2
A Light in the Dark x2
Sneak Attack x2
A Test of Will x2
Hasty Stroke x2
Ever Vigilant x2
Dwarven Tomb x1
Stand and Fight x3
This is actually a slightly modified version of the first deck I built after I started playing The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, and it’s still one of the decks that I play frequently to test new scenarios. It’s a good deck for players who enjoy a straight-forward style of play since its focus is simply to keep my threat low as I quest successfully and defeat scenarios.
The deck uses the three heroes from the Core Set that share the Rohan trait: Théodred (Core Set, 2), Éowyn (Core Set, 7), and Dúnhere (Core Set, 9). I like this starting lineup because it starts at a mere twenty-five starting threat, Éowyn and Théodred can quest for five Willpower without any support, and they gain a resource from Théodred’s ability to boot! That allows me to leave Dúnhere ready in case an enemy is revealed from the encounter deck.
The deck also runs a total of fourteen Rohan allies. With that many Rohan characters in the deck, it’s not uncommon for me to be able to commit at least six Rohan characters to a quest. For this reason, Astonishing Speed (Return to Mirkwood, 122) is the most valuable card in the deck. A well-timed Astonishing Speed can grant me twelve or more additional Willpower for only three resources! Every time I play this card, I enjoy picturing the Riders of Rohan galloping over all the enemies in the staging area.
It’s such an important card in the deck that I included Dwarven Tomb (Core Set, 53) so that I can potentially play it more than three times. I also like that it gives me the option to return a Spirit ally to my hand. It pairs nicely with Stand and Fight (Core Set, 51) since many of the allies in this deck have effects that trigger when they are discarded. My favorite example would have to be The Riddermark’s Finest: “Action: Exhaust and discard The Riddermark’s Finest to place 2 progress on any location.” I like using that effect to explore a location in the staging area in order to remove its threat strength. Not only that, but if I attach Ancient Mathom (A Journey to Rhosgobel, 56) to that location ahead of time, I can draw three cards while I’m questing.
The main thing that this deck struggles with is defeating a lot of enemies. That’s why it’s important to keep my threat low; then I can choose when they engage me. Typically, I will try to keep them in the staging area where I can use Dúnhere to destroy them. If Dúnhere isn’t strong enough to defeat an enemy, I can boost his Attack Strength with Dúnedain Mark (The Hunt for Gollum, 2), or I can play Gandalf to deal four damage to the enemy. Occasionally, it’s necessary to defend an enemy with Éomund (Conflict at the Carrock, 30) so that his sacrifice can inspire each of my other Rohan characters to a massive counter-attack. That’s a great opportunity to shout his son’s battle-cry: “Death!”
This deck pairs well with the aforementioned Tactics and Spirit deck because the two complement each other and cover for each other’s weaknesses. The fact that they both begin with a low starting threat and can lower their threat as the game plays means that they can each function as designed, even in multiplayer. Between the two decks, players gain lots of options to quest with high Willpower, keep their combined threat low, explore locations, and deal with enemies. Most importantly of all, as with the first deck, I find that this deck is fun to play. If you try this deck or use pieces of it in your own deck, I hope that you will enjoy the experience as well!
Caleb and the other developers for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game will continue to share helpings from their Second Breakfast series of articles whenever time allows them to take a break from forging rings of power.
As you wait for the next installment of Second Breakfast, keep your eyes peeled for other The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game news, including a preview of The Steward’s Fear!
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is a cooperative card game that puts 1-2 players (or up to four with an additional Core Set) in control of the most powerful characters and artifacts of Middle-earth. Players will select heroes, gather allies, acquire artifacts, and coordinate their efforts to face Middle-earth’s most dangerous fiends. The Living Card Game format allows players to customize their gaming experience with monthly Adventure Pack expansions to the core game.