When we last left our heroes, the fellowship had been well and truly broken. Gandalf fell in battle with The Balrog, while Pippin gave into the temptation of the Ring, although he ultimately earned redemption, giving his life to save Merry. If that wasn’t a steep enough cost, Boromir and Merry were captured by the Uruk-hai who beset the fellowship on the shores of the Anduin, and they are now being carried to some dark fate at Isengard. The remnants of the fellowship have decided to pursue the Uruk-hai and rescue their friends, and this is where we pick up the story as we crack open The Treason of Saruman and continue the TftC campaign!
In Part 1 of The Uruk-hai entry, I will outline some strategies for taking on the first scenario in the box, as well as discuss how I will adapt the decks I have been using in light of the fall-out from the Breaking of the Fellowship and the new cards that have arrived since The Road Darkens.
Saga Expansions have developed a habit of introducing ally versions of unique characters from the story, particularly those characters that also have hero versions. This seems to be a way of allowing players more options for building thematic decks and including key characters from the story beyond the restriction of three heroes. On the one hand, it’s always great to see different versions of key figures. On the other, this development does create more and more clashes when it comes to multiplayer games and the uniqueness rule. Still, as unique allies tend to be quite powerful, the four new unique allies of The Treason of Saruman certainly provide some strong new options for players to include in their decks.
Just when a humble reviewer thought it was safe to creep out from behind his laptop, another big expansion for LOTR LCG has arrived: The Treason of Saruman. That means there can be no rest for the weary, as a fresh batch of player cards is waiting to be weighed, measured, and judged. The Treason of Saruman has to be one of the most anticipated expansions this game has ever seen, if for no other reason than it finally brings one of the most amazing and epic moments of The Lord of the Rings to the table: the battle and siege of Helm’s Deep! The stakes are also raised in terms of player cards, and heroes in particular, as Saga Expansions necessitate the arrival of only the biggest and most important characters from the story we all know and love. The Treason of Saruman certainly doesn’t disappoint, delivering two heroes representing two very different characters, both of which play a key role in this part of the story and are also two of the most powerful figures during this period of Middle-earth’s history, albeit not quite in the same way. I speak of course of Theoden, king of Rohan, and Treebeard, oldest and perhaps wisest of the Ents. How do the hero versions match up to the importance of these characters?
It is time to conclude the review of player cards in The Lost Realm expansion, as we make way for the flood of content. Yes indeed, the next Saga Expansion, Treason of Saruman, has arrived, but I shall not turn my gaze quite yet, as there still is the little matter of the events and side quest of The Lost Realm that deserve my undivided attention. One of these events, in particular, is quite worthy of full discussion, as it introduces an exciting and new element to the game. This is in addition to the fact that there is an opportunity to reveiew a side quest for the very first time! In truth, this article was meant to see the light of day quite some time ago, but an illness from Mordor took me for a time and I knew nothing until I awoke in the houses of healing at Rivendell. Then, master Elrond asked if I was feeling better. just before he threw a laptop at me and told me to stop slacking. Ah, such a wise and noble one, that Elrond…
Any new deck type needs some quality toys to play with, which means a crop of new attachments to help add power and flavor. In the case of The Lost Realm, we have one attachment for each of the four spheres, providing a variety of options. However, while one of them is clearly tied to the Dunedain deck type, the others have more broad uses, which definitely helps to add to the value of these particular player cards. However, as with any new cards, some will end up being staples, found in decks everywhere for months and years to come, while others will become utility cards or even, dare I say, coasters. What will be the fate of these new attachments? Read on to find out!
The release of The Lost Realm has introduced a brand new deck type, one that is firmly centered around engaging enemies often and without fear. While other decks employ cutesy tricks to avoid combat or hide in the shadows, the Dunedain do not go in for all that nonsense. They are too busy taking all the heat so that everyone else can live and quest in relative peace. Such a deck type is refreshing as it encourages players to think about combat and the game overall in a new way. However, there’s always a period of adjustment and learning after a big release as players get used to the new cards and have to figure out what the best deck builds are to make use of them. The Dunedain are certainly no exception. After some fiddling and tweaking, I’ve arrived at a Dunedain deck that puts a smile on my face, which is the summit of my promises about this deck. I don’t claim to have the optimal list or the most powerful, as to get there I would definitely have to make some thematic compromises. On the other hand, this is a deck that can do quite well for itself in multiplayer and has a strong Dunedain heart beating at its core.
My review of The Lost Realm’s two heroes certainly generated a fair bit of discussion, which is a great sign that these new additions are worth talking about. Getting heroes that barely elicited a peep would not be a good sign after all! What remains to be seen is whether the rest of the player cards are as intriguing and worthy of conversation. In my opinion, they certainly are, as we have received a highly focused set of player cards centered around the Dunedain trait and a new deck type focused on engaging enemies and deriving benefits from that engagement. When it comes to the five new allies in this expansion, only two of them actually give you direct benefits for enemy engagement. However, the other three provide supportive abilities that help the Dunedain deck type function or at least introduce a new and interesting wrinkle. Of course, it’s also important to keep an eye out for other possibilities and not become too Dunedain-centric, as there is the potential that some of these new allies and effects might play a key role in other deck types as well.