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Signal the Dunedain: Preparing for the Lost Realm

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With the Dunedain set to make a huge splash in the card pool when The Lost Realm hits stores this week, the time seems ripe to examine some of the current cards we have available and figure out which ones just might make powerful partners with the Rangers of the North. From the spoilers that have been released thus far, it is clear that the Dunedain deck type is all about engaging enemies and drawing benefits from being engaged with enemies. This approach is interesting because it entails a in-built disadvantage, as generally players aim to engage enemies and quickly destroy them, rather than keep them around for extended periods of time. This is because even though it is possible to tank enemies with the right characters and cards, shadow effects provide a layer of unpredictability. In addition, leaving enemies intact always is dangerous because further enemies might emerge and this could lead to a snowball effect. Of course, you could hope to destroy enemies quickly and then use tricks to engage new ones right away, but this might lead to not getting as much value out of Dunedain abilities as you might want. With all this in mind, it will be intriguing to see how players seek to manage this risk and get the most out of the new Dunedain cards. To help with deck building and speculation, here’s a list of the top 5 cards that are worth thinking about when you crack open The Lost Realm and start building your first Dunedain decks. Obviously, this list isn’t meant to be exhaustive, as I wouldn’t dream of trying to touch every possibility.
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Video: Palantir vs. Nightmare Hills of Emyn Muil

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Please enjoy the first ever TftC video playthrough featuring the Galadriel Gets A Palantir deck against the Nightmare Hills of Emyn Muil scenario!
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First Age Deck: Scrying and Smashing

To celebrate the release of Trial Upon the Marches, here’s another First Age deck. This deck was submitted by Ecthelion III, who helped greatly with the Trial Upon the Marches play-testing. Let’s hear from Ecthelion himself (and yes, the deck does feature Ecthelion):

Here is a deck I designed following the release of Trial Upon the Marches.  (Note: This deck is very bad at that quest because of the card draw effects, but excels at other quests.)  I call it “Scrying and Smashing”.  It’s very effective in solo play because scrying effects as a whole are more effective in solo play, although it can be adapted to multiplayer if another player is kind enough to throw High Kingship of the Noldor on Turgon to pay for repeated scrying.
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Trial Upon the Marches Is Here!

Elven Training

For those who have enjoyed my First Age expansion, or those who are merely interested and looking perhaps to dive in, the first expansion is finally here! Entitled Trial Upon the Marches, this is the first “Adventure Pack” in the custom Doom Mastered cycle, which will take players through the adventures of Túrin Turambar. This expansion is modeled after the official Adventure Pack format used by Fantasy Flight Games and thus included new players cards, a scenario, and of course, a brand new hero: Beleg Strongbow! The quest revolves around your attempts to prove yourself on the marches of Doriath as you battle Orcs intent on raiding and destroying everything in their path. When you’re ready to get started, head over to the Doom Mastered cycle page here at Tales from the Cards! This is where everything related to the cycle will live, including future expansions, any errata, frequently asked questions, and more!

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Encounter Card Set Review: Into the Pit Nightmare

 

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It’s been several ages of Man since I last published an encounter card set review and there  have been good reasons for this absence. One was the psychological block I faced when realizing just how long it would take to reach the current quests if I continued to release each set review in sequential fashion from the Core Set onwards (The Hunt for Gollum was my last review). Two was just a general lack of bandwith when there have been so many other hot topics to cover, with keeping up with player card reviews sometimes being a struggle when the releases are coming fast and furious (I know it doesn’t seem like it right now, skeptical reader, but this does happen!). Third, in all honesty, was the simple realization that other articles tended to be far more popular and I had more fun writing these other articles as well. However, I decided to take up the task once more because several things have changed recently. Most importantly, we are in an utter drought when it comes to new releases and so the time is ripe to try something new (or old/new). I also realized that there was nothing tying me to covering quests or encounter sets in order, other than my own sense of obligation, so I have decided to totally throw that approach out the window. Instead, I will cover whatever quests happen to strike my fancy, tending mostly towards the more difficult quests, especially Nightmare scenarios, although I’m open to reader suggestions as well. This will also make it interesting and fun for me to write, which I must admit is a rather important piece of the puzzle as well! Unlike past encounter card set reviews, I’m going to be looking at the quest as a whole, as well as just the particular encounter card set, with an eye towards building a winning strategy.
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TftC Mailbag: Deck Testing and Asking Questions

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It’s been awhile since I dipped into the TftC mailbag, but this seems like the kind of Friday for just that sort of thing. Recently, I wrote a set of articles that dove deeply into the process of testing a deck and using questions to guide making changes to decks, in a kind of Socratic method of deck building. One reader found this approach useful, but was left with some questions about these questions, as it were:
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Deck Spotlight: Galadriel Gets A Palantir

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Perhaps the one silver lining of the inevitable drought that follows the conclusion of a cycle is that it gives me plenty of time to experiment with cards and decks that have long been floating around in my mind, but that I haven’t had a chance to try. When I’m in the thick of trying to beat the scenarios that are released, I often find myself defaulting to relatively straightforward and well-tested decks that I’ve used in the past. Alternatively, I may end up having to build highly focused decks to meet the needs of a specialized scenario. However, when I’m not faced with the pressing need to add a new quest to the win column, I find myself experimenting freely and using a broad palette of decks. All of this is a rather long-winded way of saying that I have finally gotten around to giving a certain card its due, a card that has long plagued my thoughts, but one that I have never really gotten to grips with in a meaningful way. Not only have I ignored this card for far too long, it has been largely shunned by much of the LOTR LCG community, but by no means all of it, as certain enterprising players have made good use of it, including a guest writer here at Tales from the Cards when it was first released.

I’m talking of course about the Palantir. Players long clamored for the release of this memorable artifact in cardboard form, and unfortunately many were disappointed with the end result. While other classic items like the Sword that was Broken and the Mirror of Galadriel have been viewed as both highly thematic and immediately useful, the Palantir has usually been seen as strong on the former and rather weak on the latter. I must admit that my own view of this artifact was fairly subdued upon its release as part of the Assault on Osgiliath pack. While I definitely saw the value of the card, and specifically argued that it should be viewed primarily as a scrying device rather than a card draw engine, I also admitted that it was rather limited by the sizable threat gain it entailed, which meant only a limited set of decks could reliably make use of it. I ended by concluding that it was likely best used in a deck with a low starting threat and plenty of threat reduction available. With that in mind, I decided to finally take my own advice and do just that!
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