In a few days time, I will embark upon that annual pilgrimage to the fabled land of Indianapolis to soak up all the LOTR LCG goodness (as well as general card and board game goodness) that I can. This will therefore be my last post before Gen Con, but expect to see a ton of content afterwards to catch up on all the happenings that take place. With that out of the way, it’s time to dust off our spotlight and cast its withering glare at the next victim — *ahem* — card. Some cards are universally loved almost immediately, some are cast aside without much thought, and some are quickly forgotten without many opinions expressed one way or another. The most interesting are those that inspire the most debate, and today’s candidate for the spotlight firmly falls into this category. If you say the words “Silvan Refugee” to almost any LOTR LCG player that is at all familiar with the card pool, the chances are good that they will have an opinion. Some will loudly lambast this ally, pointing out its transient nature and the prevalence of alternatives in the sphere. Others will sing its praises, citing as evidence its strengths as a cheap source of willpower. Either way, it’s safe to say that few cards can spark a debate as easily as the Silvan Refugee. This of course makes it prime fodder for the spotlight, and it’s time to settle once and for all (not likely!) the debate. Is Silvan Refugee a poor shadow of a Spirit ally, briefly flitting across the stage before leaving you in the lurch, helpless and bereft of willpower? Or is it a strong component of a deck, a questing ally without easy parallel? Read on to find out!
Although the matter remained in doubt for some time, our erstwhile heroes were successful in rescuing Boromir and Merry from the clutches of the Uruk-hai. They were helped along the way by a couple of new faces, as the King of Rohan himself rode to meet the strangers in his land, while the ancient Ent known as Treebeard guarded the borders of Fangorn against the hated orcs. However, the stakes are about to get much higher and even more new companions may have to enter the fray as our heroes become swept up in the first major battle of the War of the Ring. Saruman is set to unleash a massive army against Rohan and the fate of not just that land, but the entire world, hangs in the balance.
In Part 1 of Helm’s Deep, I will explore some hard-won lessons I’ve learned after banging my head against the wall of this scenario like a Jacksonian troll, as well as some strategies that might lead you to success. In addition, this part of the campaign allows for a complete change in the hero lineup, so I’ll take stock of the decks I’ve used so far and outline the changes I’ve made to hopefully achieve victory against the toughest challenge I’ve yet faced.
Although Spirit Merry has recently been released and I’m just beginning to consider the wide realm of possibility opened up by this new hero, there also are a few other decks that I’ve been tinkering with for awhile. No matter where we’re at in the game’s release schedule, there’s always a collection of “experimental” decks sitting around, waiting to be perfected. One of them is a deck centered around the Over Hill and Under Hill ally version of Gandalf and it’s gotten to a point that it’s now at least worth sharing. This deck is a bit of an unconventional one, as its main purpose is to build up one particular ally, rather than the heroes, and to ride that ally to the promised land of LOTR LCG success.
New cards are here! New cards are here! After starting off the party by reviewing Spirit Merry to within an inch of his life, it’s now time to pull out the allies from The Wastes of Eriador and give them a chance to prove their quality. The beginning of a cycle is always exciting, as we get our first taste of what might be in store for us in the future. Support for Dunedain and Noldor has been promised as the main focus of the Angmar Awakened cycle, however every cycle always contain a sprinkling of support for a variety of traits and The Wastes of Eriador certainly shines in this respect. Whether or not these particular cards will have an enduring place in the card pool is a whole separate matter and it to this question that we turn our attention to now.
The Wastes of Eriador is not yet officially released, but with it due to hit stores this week, and with my impatience reaching a fever pitch, I will get started on the player card reviews a bit early. Of course, this kind of pre-release review is made possible because the hero for The Wastes of Eriador Adventure Pack was actually spoiled quite a bit ago in Game Trade magazine (and the spoilers are now up on CardGameDB as well). That hero is a Spirit version of Merry (a.k.a. Meriadoc Brandybuck). As I am a great fan of Hobbits, both in The Lord of the Rings itself and in the game, I’m quite excited for this new addition and figuring out how he fits into the existing meta. Is Spirit Merry a good fit for the “hide-and-go-seek” Hobbit deck type or the “slice and dice” Hobbit deck type? For that matter, is he restricted to use with Hobbit decks or is he of a more general use hero? Read on to find out!
The Nightmare Buying Guide has received a big update, covering everything up to the end of the Against the Shadow cycle! The only thing missing now are The Black Riders scenarios, which I actually need to play before I can share my two cents about them! If you’re trying to figure out which Nightmare packs to buy, want more information about the changes that Nightmare packs make, or just want to read anything about LOTR LCG, make sure you check out the guide!