News for October 2013
The Hunt Begins
The Fifth Adventure Pack in the Against the Shadow Cycle Is Now Available
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game | Published 17 October 2013


“The dusk was deep when at length they set out, creeping over the westward rim of the dell, and fading like ghosts into the broken country on the borders of the road.”
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers

The Against the Shadow cycle of Adventure Packs for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game has been full of mysteries, perils, and epic confrontations. Now, the action continues in the cycle’s penultimate chapter, The Blood of Gondor, available today at local retailers and online through our webstore!

The Blood of Gondor recalls the tension created in The Steward’s Fear and The Drúadan Forest and builds upon the heroic storytelling of Encounter at Amon Dîn and Assault on Osgiliath. Lord Boromir has just commanded the reclamation of Osgiliath, and in the wake of the bloody battles, he asks several of Middle-earth’s greatest heroes to join the Rangers of Ithilien in pursuit of their retreating foes. However, the forest roads of Ithilien are full of perils, and the Orcs and Uruks of Mordor lurk in wait along the way. Will the hunters become the hunted?

Led by Faramir (The Blood of Gondor, 132) and Lord Alcaron (The Blood of Gondor, 133), your heroes pursue Gondor’s enemies through the autumnal forest of Ithilien. For days, the hunt carries the group ever closer to the shadows of Mordor, until it arrives to the old Crossroads at the foot of the mountains. There, Faramir decides that the trail has gone cold enough and far enough that the group should turn back to Osgiliath, but that is when you hear the distant blare of a horn and see the shadowy shapes of Orcs rushing toward you through the woods.

The Blood of Gondor is a two-stage scenario that thrusts you into the middle of a skirmish at the Crossroads of Ithilien. It captures the tension of your heroes’ plight with scenario-specific rules for “hidden” cards, the arrival of a menacing new foe, the Black Númenorean. What does his participation in the battle mean for the fate of Gondor?

Hidden in the Shadows

How far will you pursue Gondor’s foes? If you survive the initial wave of ambushers at the Crossroads, will you seek to continue your hunt? For each Orc you slay, how many more lie hidden in the woods and shadows?

The Blood of Gondor dares you to press your luck with its new mechanic for hidden cards. You can quest slowly, trying to limit the number of hidden cards you might encounter, or you can attempt to cut quickly through your foes and chase them through the woods of Ithilien. The decision is forced upon you by the B-side of the first quest stage, The Ambush (The Blood of Gondor, 117).

Until you complete this first stage of your quest, you must take one hidden card at the beginning of each of your quest phases. Then, at the beginning of the combat phase, you have to decide whether to take an additional hidden card or reveal one of the hidden cards already in front of you. If your revealed card is a location or treachery, it’s discarded, but if it’s an enemy, it immediately engages with you.

Naturally, the scenario includes effects that force you to reveal your hidden cards, so you'll want to think carefully about how you proceed. Should you just dash as fast as you can, clear the first stage, and hope for the best? Or should you be more pragmatic and watch your backs, even as you move forward? What is that shape in the woods? Was it a tree blowing in the breeze, or was it something else?

Rally Your Troops

There’s a good chance that some of your allies will fall once the Orcs spring their ambush. Fortunately, the Adventure Pack’s new Gondor hero, Caldara (The Blood of Gondor, 107), can help you rally and regroup.

With her two Willpower and her two Defense Strength, Caldara can make solid contributions either during the Quest phase or as a defender. However, it’s when your allies start to scatter and fall that she’s most useful. At any point she can take an action, Caldara can set off from the rest of your group to tend to those who had hesitated or been left behind. She can leave play to return as many as two other Spirit allies to play.

Now, we had best begin the exploration of her contributions by pointing out the fact that a discarded hero is not removed from the game. While it’s difficult, in most decks, to cope with the loss of a hero, anyone playing with Caldara would do well to become familiar with the effect of Fortune or Fate (Core Set, 54). While there may be times you’d discard Caldara to recover allies for one final push through a scenario, it’s more likely that your Caldara deck is going to make good use of Fortune or Fate.

In tandem with the effect of Fortune or Fate, Caldara’s ability offers you a relatively cost-effective means to put expensive allies like Damrod (Heirs of Númenor, 10), Elfhelm (The Dead Marshes, 100), and Northern Tracker (Core Set, 45) into play.

That most obvious use, though, is just the beginning. Caldara and Fortune or Fate may also play into some trickier, more intricate strategies. Using a combination of Zigil Miner (Khazad-dûm, 9) and Imladris Stargazer (Foundations of Stone, 106), you can feed allies into your discard pile to gain resources, then use Caldara to rally your discarded allies. In this way, Caldara not only enhances the efficiency of your resource expenditure, but she helps you gain quicker access to the allies in your deck. Plus, since Spirit features more recursion effects than any other sphere, you can find ways to recover your other discarded cards, too.

Set Forth on Your Hunt Today

Your hunt in The Blood of Gondor will be full of hidden threats, mounting tension, and startling surprises.

This penultimate chapter of the Against the Shadow cycle is now available at your local retailer and online through our webstore, so pick up your copy today!

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.

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