|Ride Headlong Against the Enemy
A Preview of The Voice of Isengard Expansion for The Lord of the Rings
|The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game | Published 08 November 2013|
“Without taking counsel or waiting for the approach of the men of the City, he spurred headlong back to the front of the great host, and blew a horn, and cried aloud for the onset. Over the field rang his clear voice calling: ‘Death! Ride, ride to ruin and the world’s ending!’”
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
Like Khazad-dûm and Heirs of Númenor before it, The Voice of Isengard introduces three new scenarios, along with multiple new encounter sets, that transport players into a realm of Middle-earth previously unexplored in the game. There, the tower of Orthanc stands tall and alone, and the white wizard Saruman gathers knowledge of the Enemy to use it against him.
The Voice of Isengard introduces new mechanics, as well. Its scenarios all feature the new Time X keyword, which ensures your quests will maintain their sense of urgency, even if you would otherwise be able to lower your threat and “turtle” your way through them. Additionally, many of the expansion’s player cards feature the Doomed X keyword: Using the Enemy’s arts against him may be an effective strategy, but it is never one without risk.
Meanwhile, as The Voice of Isengard gives new life to the threats and themes of the region of Middle-earth surrounding Isengard, it also introduces some of the region’s friendlier and more familiar faces. Today, lead developer Caleb Grace explains how the Rohirrim were a natural fit for the expansion and discusses the origins of one of its new heroes, the esteemed Third Marshal of the Riddermark, Éomer (The Voice of Isengard, 1).
Lead Developer Caleb Grace on Isengard and the Rohirrim
The Rohirrim are the nearest neighbors to Isengard, so it made sense to include some new player cards with the Rohan trait in The Voice of Isengard. Fans have been eagerly waiting for Éomer to appear in The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, and this expansion was the perfect time for the Third Marshal of the Riddermark to finally make his debut as a Tactics hero.
A warrior of great prowess and ferocity in the books, I knew that Éomer needed to have a high attack value in the living card game, and while a printed “3” attack is above average, his ability can raise it to “5”:
“Response: After a character leaves play, Eomer gets +2 ATK until the end of the round. (Limit once per round.)”
The inspiration for his ability came from one of his defining moments in The Return of the King during the Battle of Pelannor Fields: After discovering his sister, Éowyn, lying ofnthe field of battle, Éomer went berserk and led his men in a reckless charge against the enemy shouting “Death!” His battle-fury was so intense that he cut his way through the forces of Mordor and none could withstand him. Since discarding characters to trigger effects is already a theme for Rohan cards in The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, it made sense that Eomer would get a boost after a character left play since it drove him to great feats in the story.
There are a couple of other Rohan-themed cards to go along with Eomer that can help a player get the most out of his ability. The Rohan Warhorse (The Voice of Isengard, 8) is a Mount attachment that can be played on a tactics or Rohan hero for only one resource. It’s ability reads:
“Response: After attached hero participates in an attack that destroys an enemy, exhaust Rohan Warhorse to ready attached hero.”
This ability represents the Rohirrim’s uncanny ability to let their horses maneuver them through battle, striking at their enemies on all sides. Attaching the Rohan Warhorse to Éomer can help a player get the most use out of his temporary attack bonus. It can also be attached to other popular heroes such as Legolas (Core Set, 5) or Dúnhere (Core Set, 9) to get extra use from their powerful effects each round.
There’s one more card that really pulls the entire combo together, and that’s the Westfold Outrider (The Voice of Isengard, 6). His ability reads:
At first glance, players might wonder: why would I want to discard an ally to engage an enemy? But when you consider that you can trigger this action during the combat phase, after enemies have attacked, then it becomes a useful way to trigger Éomer’s attack boost and destroy that enemy. Or, you can trigger the Westfold Outrider’s ability during the quest phase to engage an enemy and remove its threat strength from the staging area, making it easier to quest successfully and place progress on the quest.
Together, the expansion’s new Rohan cards open a variety of new options for deck design. For example, you can now build an all-Rohan, all-Tactics deck using Éomer, Théoden (The Morgul Vale, 134), and Hama (The Long Dark, 76) to take advantage of all the mono-tactics cards in the Against the Shadow cycle. Or you can field a combo-focused team of Éomer, Pippin (The Black Riders, 4), and Prince Imrahil (A Journey to Rhosgobel, 50). By using the Westfold Outrider’s ability to engage an enemy with engagement cost higher than your threat, you can draw a card with Pippin, ready Imrahil, use him to defend that enemy’s attack, and then destroy it with Éomer. That’s just for starters! I’m sure that once it The Voice of Isengard the shelves, players will find even more interesting ways to use its exciting new player cards.
Is Middle-earth soon to be doomed by the threats gathering around the tower of Orthanc? Or is there still time to work against the Enemy? Soon, you’ll have the opportunity to search for the answers the Free People of Middle-earth so desperately need. Will you call upon the services of Éomer and the men of Rohan? Or will you request the services of other heroes?
It’s up to you to find the answers when The Voice of Isengard arrives at retailers everywhere in a number of weeks. Head to your local retailer to pre-order 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.