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A Look Into Middle-Earth’s Arsenal: Part Four

by on January 25, 2013


The shiny, sharp weapons of Middle-Earth have been sharpened, analyzed, and put back onto the rack. Now it is time to open the armory and see what secrets and uses we may find. As there are only two pieces of armor in the game currently, the Citadel Plate and Ring Mail, this discussion will tend to drift towards that inevitable question: which one is better? Of course the answer depends on a wide range of factors, as you will see shortly.

* Citadel Plate

Basic applications: Citadel Plate can be attached to any hero, providing the substantial benefit of an extra 4 hit points. It is restricted, which means that you can only pair one other restricted attachment with it. However, it is not unique, which means you could technically attach two Citadel Plates to the same character, doubling the bonus to insane levels. citadel plateThe basic use of a Citadel Plate is to add hit points to a hero so that they can serve as a better defender, absorbing damage, having a cushion against unexpected shadow effects, and even gaining the possibility of taking some undefended attacks. The biggest drawback to this attachment is the high cost of 4 resources, by far the most expensive of all the weapons and armor currently existing in the game. It is this expense that is responsible for Citadel Plate not finding its place in more decks.

Who to use it with: Simply put, use it with any hero that you plan on using as your main defender. The Citadel Plate will make them far more durable. There are a few specific heroes that stand out as ideal recipients. Beregond gives new life to the Citadel Plate, by being able to equip it for only 2 resources, which when coupled with his awesome defense value turns him into a veritable barrier. The usual suspects with 3 defense like Elrond, Denethor, Elrohir, or Dain are also strong choices. One hero that may not seem like a likely Citadel Plate user at first glance is Frodo, but, in my opinion, this combination works well. You can defend with Frodo, knowing that you have the option of either using his damage-canceling ability or absorbing the damage outright with the Plate, giving him more versatility as a defender. Using the Citadel Plate with Bilbo also makes sense, as he is often used in a defending role paired with A Burning Brand, but his extremely low number of hit points sometimes limits his utility against stronger enemies. The Plate can remedy this situation.

Advanced applications: Is there any use for Citadel Plate other than improving the effectiveness of defending heroes? Most definitely. The first use is to enable the Gloin resource engine. As a reminder, for every point of damage Gloin takes, he receives a resource token. Therefore, one of the popular combinations when LOTR LCGgloin first came out was to throw a Citadel Plate onto Gloin, so that he could suffer more damage and thus generate more resources. This also gave players some peace of mind, as one of the dangers of playing the Gloin resource game was that he would often be sitting with several points of damage, and an unexpected treachery or shadow effect could lead to unanticipated damage and thus death. The Citadel Plate provides a buffer against such eventualities. Key to making the Gloin resource engine effective is the use of healing effects. Self Preservation on Gloin means that he is a self-healing, perpetual resource-generation machine, as long as you can find ways to put damage on him. To that end, the new Archery keyword introduced by Heirs of Numenor, which inflicts damage outside of regular combat, actually makes Gloin a more consistent and reliable resource generator than he ever has been before. Self Preservation is not the only option, and not necessarily the best one as it is a bit expensive at 3 resources. You can use Daughter of the Nimrodel, Warden of Healing, or Lore of Imladris to achieve a similar effect, though the healing is a bit more vulnerable as allies can be destroyed and events are one-shot and then gone.

The second use of the Citadel Plate is to enable Gimli to absorb more damage, so that his attack strength can be boosted to even higher levels than normal. With the Plate attached, he has 8 hit points, and if you can keep him steady at 6 or 7 points of damage or so, then his attack strength would be an amazing 8 or 9. Again, Heirs of Numenor has breathed new life into this strategy, as this attack boosting can be used to benefit not just combat, but questing as well. The one caveat I would mention regarding these two uses of the Citadel Plate, and using it in general, is to be wary of encounter card effects that cause attachments to be discarded. If you are caught unawares, and the Citadel Plate is discarded from a hero who is beyond his or her damage capacity, then that means instant death. You should know in advance if such effects are present in the scenario you are facing, and be prepared with treachery or shadow cancellation.

* Ring Mail

Basic applications: Ring Mail is a piece of armor that adds 1 point of defense and 1 hit point to a Dwarf or Hobbit character. The main use of Ring Mail is obviously to make a defending character harder to damage, and more sturdy when he or she is damaged. At a cost of 2 resources, it is not as expensive as the Citadel Plate. One thing to ring mailkeep in mind though is that you could attach a Boots from Erebor (+1 hit point to a Dwarf or Hobbit character) and a Dunedain Warning (+1 defense) to a character and achieve the same results for only 1 resource. However, you would be using up deck space for two different cards instead of just one. So one of the main benefits of Ring Mail is that it saves you space in your deck by providing two benefits at once. As with Citadel Plate, you can equip 2 copies of Ring Mail on the same character, but no other restricted attachments could be used.

Who to use it with: This card is usually best used on heroes that will serve as your primary defenders (keeping in mind the racial restriction): Dain, Bifur, Nori, Bilbo, and Frodo. For similar reasons as  with the Citadel Plate, I find that Ring Mail works well with Frodo to make him even better and to ensure that you are not eating too much threat. Unlike the Plate, note that Ring Mail can be placed on Dwarf or Hobbit allies as well as heroes. This will lead us to the advanced applications.

Advanced applications: Realistically, most of the time you will not want to waste Ring Mail on an ally when you can spend those 2 resources to provide protection to one of your far more valuable heroes. However, as time goes on, and the card pool grows, the uber-defense ally is becoming more and more viable. What I mean is that instead of having a hero be your primary defender, you could outfit a high-defense, high-hit point ally with some attachments, and have them play that role instead. For example, Erebor Hammersmith is a relatively low-cost Lore ally (2 resources), with a decent defense of 1 and a solid 3 hit points. If you equip Ring Mail to the Hammersmith, he suddenly has 2 defense and 4 hit points. If you have Hardy Leadership in play, suddenly the Hammersmith would have 5 hit points! Keep in mind that A Burning Brand is not limited to heroes, so you could conceivably attach this card as well, completing an impressive combination and making him as effective a defender as most heroes. With two attachments invested in the Hammersmith, you would probably want to invest in some healing for him as well, which shouldn’t be too difficult as you would be running Lore anyway. Another possible target is the Veteran of Nanduhirion, who with 2 defense and 3 hit points (actually 2 as he enters play with 1 damage), would be buffed up to 3 defense, enough to absorb some sizable hits. However, I think Hammersmith is a better choice for a few reasons: the Veteran costs 4 resources, he has fewer hit points, he can’t equip Burning Brand, and his high attack value would be wasted.

* Final Thoughts: Ring Mail vs. Citadel Plate

So it all comes down to this, which piece of armor is better? I could take the easy way out, and say that it all depends on how you use them and what kind of deck(s) you are running, and that would certainly be true. But I will make it more interesting and give a final verdict. The main benefit of the Citadel Plate is essentially doubling the hit points of most heroes, giving you peace of mind for defending heroes and enabling you to get the most out of Gloin or Gimli. The main drawback is the high cost, which is only mitigated if you use Beregond. The biggest argument in favor of Ring Mail is that it gives you a 2-for-1 benefit (hit points and defense), making your defenders better able to handle combat while only costing 2 resources. It also can be attached to allies, and not just heroes, giving you more versatility, which is an intriguing possibility in my eyes. The main drawback of Ring Mail is that it has a racial restriction, and it can be replaced with other effects pretty easily (Dunedain Warning, Hardy Leadership, Boots from Erebor, etc.). With the competition tight and the result uncertain, my choice is (drumroll please)…….

Ring Mail!


Readers, sound off below on the great debate. Which armor do you think is better? Which one do you use more?

With all the weapons and armor examined, I will finish off this series next week by showcasing a deck built around the use of weapons and armor. Stay tuned!

From → Strategy

  1. Glaurung permalink

    I use to play Beregond/legolas/ Eleanor deck in coop game. So Beregond and armor is really powerful combo. For 2 resources you got 4 life for Beregond. Wow wow wow! Spear for free,armor for 2 and from the first round Beregond ready for fight.
    Ring mail i never use much….In my dwarves deck is not really necessary (Hardy leadership is much better).

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Yeah, as you can tell from these articles, I love weapons and armor in this game, so Beregond has become one of my favorite heroes. With him in play, I use Citadel Plate all the time. Funnily enough, Ring Mail is something that I use with Hobbits more than Dwarves actually. With it, Frodo becomes 3 defense and 3 hit points, which along with his damage-canceling ability, makes him a pretty solid defender. I’m experimenting with a deck that uses Ring Mail and attachments to turn an ally into a quasi-hero. Not sure how it will work out in practice, but it should be fun to try to make it work.

  2. Citadel Plate is indeed expensive but once it’s on the table, you feel pretty safe. I run it in every deck with Gimli, even if it’s the only hero to generate tactic resources.

  3. Steve permalink

    Gimli and this make him an absolute beast, great for taking out The Nazgul in one swing

  4. Matthew permalink

    The Ring Mail helps with Siege questing, while the Plate wouldn’t add that extra benefit.

  5. I would like to see a Mithril Shirt for Hobbits and Elves only. It could have the attack lowering ability that you mentioned in your previous article, perhaps a -2 attack to an enemy being defended by the character with Mithril Shirt equipped.

  6. diedertk permalink

    Stumbled on this link by looking for Dwarfdecks. We just played KD and always use our Boots from Erebor on the Veteran because his 1 damage. Then attach a Dwarrowdelf Axe on him and you get a 5 attack ally (if you use Dain). Ring Mail would be a nice substitute for Boots: giving him that extra hp and an extra defense. 🙂

  7. Sweetness Whachacha permalink

    I like both of these cards, but rarely include them. Beefing up allies always makes me nervous, I thought burning brand was hero only, second time this past week I’ve read something on your site that has made me double check the card text.


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