News for March 2014
Cirion's Promise
A Second Breakfast Article by Developer Matthew Newman
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game | Published 20 March 2014

“The Red Arrow!” said Théoden, holding it, as one who receives a summons long expected and yet dreadful when it comes. His hand trembled. “The Red Arrow has not been seen in the Mark in all my years! Has it indeed come to that?”
   
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

The horse lords rode at once, crossing the plains swiftly atop their steeds. When they arrived at the edge of Gondor, the Dark Lord’s armies had not yet arrived, so they dismounted and joined their allies, the Men of Gondor, for a meal that would likely be their last before the battle was joined…

Today, The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game developer Matt Newman introduces a deck list that gives us a new look at the Men of Gondor now that the Against the Shadow cycle and The Voice of Isengard deluxe expansion have been released. He also explains how the deck works as a counterpart to the Rohan deck that he introduced in an earlier Second Breakfast article.

Second Breakfast with the Men of Gondor

In my last Second Breakfast article, I shared an updated Rohan deck that included some of the new Spirit and Tactics cards from the Against the Shadow cycle and The Voice of Isengard. I also hinted that such a deck might be paired with an updated Gondor deck to great effect. This deck shares many of the same sensibilities as the “Bulwark of the West” deck I shared last May; only it has been revisited and makes good use of many of the new cards from the Against the Shadow cycle. I’ve also included many cards meant to be paired with the aforementioned Rohan deck, creating a powerful team.

Heroes:
Boromir (Heirs of Númenor, 2)
Prince Imrahil
Beregond

Allies (22):
2x Citadel Custodian
3x Defender of Rammas
2x Errand-rider
3x Envoy of Pelargir
1x Faramir
1x Denethor (Encounter at Amon Dîn, 57)
2x Gandalf
3x Gondorian Spearman
2x Pelargir Ship Captain (The Morgul Vale, 135)
3x Squire of the Citadel (The Blood of Gondor, 108)

Attachments (12):
1x Citadel Plate
2x Gondorian Shield
1x Horn of Gondor (Core Set, 42)
2x Spear of the Citadel
2x Steward of Gondor
2x Gondorian Fire (Assault on Osgiliath, 85)
2x Visionary Leadership (The Morgul Vale, 136)

Events (16):
3x Behind Strong Walls
2x Sneak Attack
2x Valiant Sacrifice
3x Mutual Accord (Heirs of Númenor, 5)
2x Rear Guard (The Hills of Emyn Muil, 74)
2x For Gondor! (Core Set, 22)
2x Gondorian Discipline (Encounter at Amon Dîn, 60)

Aragorn has been swapped for Prince Imrahil to better take advantage of characters leaving play, which is something that will surely be happening quite often, especially with our Rohan partner occasionally discarding allies to use special abilities. This way, anytime a character leaves play, both Imrahil and Éomer can benefit. As a result, I’ve also swapped out Aragorn’s personal attachments, Celebrian’s Stone and Sword that was Broken, in favor of some more Gondor-focused attachments, such as Visionary Leadership and Gondorian Fire.

Pelargir Ship Captain and Squire of the Citadel are added to the deck’s robust roster of Gondor allies, providing some useful resource moving and generating effects. Squire of the Citadel in particular is a useful card for some of the deck’s more advanced combos and tricks. As for events, we’ve added For Gondor! and Gondorian Discipline for more Gondor synergy, and Rear Guard, which can help tremendously in questing. Finally, Mutual Accord provides the linchpin for the entire alliance.

Playing the Deck

While a bit more straightforward than its Rohan counterpart, this “Cirion’s Promise” Gondor deck is truly the enabler of the two decks. Like the “Bulwark of the West” version of this deck, it excels at defense and can support other players by moving resources around the table, providing resources wherever they are needed most. With Gondorian Fire, a stockpile of resources on Imrahil or Boromir is extremely useful, rather than a waste. Gondorian Shields and Spears of the Citadel can be passed around the deck’s heroes as needed, and since all three heroes have great combat abilities, with enough time they can form a veritable wall of defense and attack power, while Rohan handles much of the questing.

Squire of the Citadel is a great card in and of itself, but combined with Rear Guard and Valiant Sacrifice, can provide a great willpower boost and card draw, as well as serving to ready Imrahil and increase Éomer’s attack. Gondorian Discipline can save almost any character’s life in a pinch, or if you like to take risks, you can take an attack undefended and negate some of the resulting damage. Overall, this deck can handle enemies very well, and with enough time to muster its forces, can go toe-to-toe with the encounter deck during the quest phase.

Light the Beacons!

Pairing this deck with a dedicated Rohan deck is like pairing peanut butter with jelly. Many of the Rohan player’s attachments can be played on the Gondor player’s heroes, along with Nor am I a Stranger (Conflict at the Carrock, 31), making Imrahil and Boromir powerful forces with which to be reckoned. The mere existence of the Gondor deck gives Guthlaf (The Blood of Gondor, 110) a useful boost, and both players have abilities that discard allies to good effect, along with heroes that benefit from allies leaving play. If the Rohan deck is struggling with resources, the Horn of Gondor can give a lot of resource acceleration.

What really ties the entire strategy together is Mutual Accord. By coordinating with your teammate, you can make extraordinary use of this card. Here are just a few:

  • When the Rohan player plays Astonishing Speed (Return to Mirkwood, 122) or We Do Not Sleep (The Dead Marshes, 101), every character on the table can reap the benefits of incredible speed and questing power.
  • When the Gondor player plays For Gondor!, it will increase the attack power and defense power of all characters.
  • If drawn early enough, the Rohan player can play Forth Eolingas! (The Morgul Vale, 138) and allow every hero to attack enemies in the staging area, instead of just his.
  • Visionary Leadership and Boromir’s ability will both apply to all Rohan allies anytime Mutual Accord is played.

There are many more advanced tricks these two decks can pull, and finding them at just the right moment can be incredibly satisfying. In fact, Mutual Accord is so important that you may even consider including a Tome of Atanator (The Blood of Gondor, 109) just to retrieve it.

And the best part is, with The Ring-maker cycle on its way, both of these decks can hope to see a few new cards, including support for the Noble and Warrior traits to make Imrahil a true prince or Boromir a true captain, and you might even hear a famous song that Éomer once sang upon the fields of Pelennor as he unsheathed his sword…

Thanks, Matt!

With The Voice of Isengard, the game has taken a journey to the vale of Isen and the lands that surround it, and this journey comes complete with new enemies, challenges, and surprises. You’ll also find new support for the Silvan trait, Secrecy decks, and more. How will you make use of all the new cards? Will you confront the region’s challenges with heroes and allies from Rohan and Gondor in decks like those Matt has shared? Will you explore decks built around Gríma (The Voice of Isengard, 2) and the Doomed X keyword? Or will you explore entirely different strategies?

Meanwhile, as you wait for The Dunland Trap and your first experiences with The Ring-maker cycle, head to our community forums to share your thoughts about deck-building for the Vale of Isen!

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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