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Exclusive Spoiler: Encounter at Amon Din

by on June 21, 2013

encounter at amon din

Beregond peered searchingly into the dark, one hand on the hilt of the sword at his hip. Unfortunately, the moonless night was doing him and his company no favors. If it wasn’t for the harsh sound of orc voices somewhere in the distance not moments ago, they could almost be convinced that they were alone under the dim light of the stars. Only the breathing of Beregond’s companions could be heard as his grip tightened and he set his feet firmly in the dirt. All at once, the darkness deepened unnaturally.

“What wickedness is this?” the guardsman next to Beregond hissed. 

A dark shape loomed before Beregond’s vision and suddenly materialized into an orc, bellowing as it charged forward. Its scimitar-like blade was poised to strike, but Beregond’s sword found its mark first, slashing cleanly through the orc’s throat. The darkness deepened even further as sounds of heavy feet pounded on all sides. Beregond was surprised as a light suddenly flared at his side. It was the lampwright from Minas Tirith, his hand shaking nervously as he thrust one of his creations defiantly forward into the night. Only by this sudden chance was Beregond saved, as it was just in time to illuminate an orc attacking from his left, and he pivoted perfectly so that it crashed onto his blade. The brave yet foolish lampwright was soon riddled with arrows as the orcs sought to bring back the darkness, but his lamp held strong even as it crashed to the ground, and the orc band was beaten back into the night.


Well, loyal TftC readers, you’ll forgive my bit of fan-fiction. Please chalk it up to barely contained excitement. I’m pleased to tell you that the fine folks over at Fantasy Flight Games have given me the opportunity to spoil a card from the upcoming Adventure Pack, Encounter at Amon Dîn, the third in the Against the Shadow cycle, and I can say without hyperbole that once you see the card I am spoiling today, you will understand my my giddy anticipation.

Ladies and gentleman, allow me to introduce to you the Minas Tirith Lampwright. For ages, long-suffering adventurers have prayed fruitlessly for an answer to the dreaded “surge” keyword. While even the mightiest heroes seemed unable to counter this threat, it is a humble lamp-maker who has emerged to save the day. This 1-cost Spirit ally can sacrifice himself (be discarded)minas-tirith-lampwright to give you a chance at nullifying a “surge” effect. Here’s how it works. After an encounter card with the “surge” keyword is revealed and before you draw the surging card, you can discard the Minas Tirith Lampwright and name a type of encounter card (“enemy”, “location”, “treachery”). If the surging card matches the type you named, you can discard it, ignoring all of its effects. What this means is that you essentially have prevented “surge” from activating, and you also avoid any nasty “surge chaining” (when a card with “surge” surges into another card with “surge”) that can lead to upturned tables and tears.

There are a few aspects of this card that I want to discuss in greater detail:

1) The Random Factor: This card does not work successfully 100% of the time, as it is subject to the fickle whims of the encounter deck and the strength of your ESP skills. I actually like this aspect of the card. I suspect that if it simply read “Discard Minas Tirith Lampwright to cancel a surge keyword that was just revealed” that it would be too powerful. As it is, you have a fair chance of nullifying “surge” while enjoying that white knuckle sense of rolling the die. I know some players detest any introduction of extra randomness, but I enjoy it in small doses, and here I think it’s appropriate. There are ways to increase your chances of guessing correctly if you are willing to put some work in. Knowing the rough composition of the encounter deck (how many treacheries/enemies/locations), as well as counting the cards that have already emerged, can help guide the decision of which type to name. If you know which cards have the “surge” keyword in the encounter deck, you can choose that type to hedge your bets against surge chaining. Similarly, if there is a particular card type or specific card you are hoping to avoid, then you can name that type to ensure that you won’t face it, no matter what else happens. Finally, for those who really want to maximize the success rate of this card, scrying effects that let you see multiple encounter cards at once might give you the certainty of guessing correctly. Currently, the one card that stands out in this respect is Risk Some Light, which allows you to look at the top 3 cards of the encounter deck and re-arrange them in any order, enabling you to know and manipulate which card comes after any “surge” effects. The previously spoiled Palantir, which allows you to also look at the top 3 cards (in exchange for increased threat) can also be used for this purpose.

2) Is This Worth Including?: I suppose the answer to this question depends on how much you enjoy cursing futilely as your well-laid plans crumble to ashes. In all seriousness, it obviously isn’t worth including the Minas Tirith Lampwright if you are facing an encounter deck with zero “surge” keywords. However, I might consider bringing this ally along even if only a few of them have “surge”. At only 1 cost, it is easy for almost any type of deck to get the Lampwright onto the table, even those who are only splashing Spirit. For strong decks, the “surge” keyword is often one of the few “x” factors that can truly upset their well-laid plans (just imagine what it can do to more moderately powered builds). The question is whether it is worth 1 resource and 2-3 spots in your deck to guard against this eventuality. The answer, in my book, is a clear yes in many cases, but it will often be a judgement call based on the quest you are facing.

3) One-Trick Pony: The biggest downside to this ally is that his stats are incredibly weak. With 0 willpower, he can’t contribute to questing, which would have been ideal, as the Lampwright doesn’t need to be ready to use his power, so you could have quested with him each turn until he was needed. Unfortunately, this isn’t an option. He also can’t participate meaningfully in attacks, as he has 0 for that stat as well. He does have 1 defense, but with only 1 hit point, you’re probably never going to be defending with him except for in the most desperate circumstances. With the Gondor trait, his stats can be boosted through trait synergy, such as Leadership Boromir’s attack boost or the event, For Gondor! However, until that synergy is further developed, there are not enough options to boost his stats to the point where he can meaningfully participate in questing or combat (he does count as a Gondor body for lowering the cost of Citadel Custodian, so that is something). At 1 cost though, you can’t really complain about the Minas Tirith Lampwright being limited, as he is designed to serve a specific function and you don’t have to pay any extra resources for potentially wasted stats.

4) The Theme: For you thematic players out there, I would feel remiss if I didn’t touch on the lore behind this card. The Lampwright’s Street in Minas Tirith, known as Rath Celerdain in Sindarin, was a street on the first level of Minas Tirith. It was on this street, in front of the Old Guesthouse, that Pippin met Beregond’s son, Bergil. As only makes sense given the name, it was the home of lampwrights (lamp makers). We can assume that this card represents one of these skilled lamp makers from Minas Tirith, using his light to warn against approaching dangers.

Deck: Bonds of Fellowship

To conclude this spoiler, I’ve built a thematic deck designed to get the most out of this new ally:

Hero (3)
Boromir (HON) x1
Eowyn (Core) x1
Beregond (HON) x1

Ally (24)
Snowbourn Scout (Core) x3
Defender of Rammas (HON) x3
Envoy of Pelargir (HON) x3
Errand-rider (HON) x3
Escort from Edoras (AJtR) x3
Gondorian Spearman (Core) x3
The Riddermark’s Finest (THoEM) x3
Minas Tirith Lampwright (EaAD) x3

Attachment (8)
Gondorian Shield (TSF) x2
Horn of Gondor (Core) x1
Spear of the Citadel (HON) x2
Ancient Mathom (AJtR) x3

Event (18)
A Test of Will (Core) x2
Astonishing Speed (RtM) x3
Behind Strong Walls (HON) x3
For Gondor! (Core) x2
Mutual Accord (HON) x2
Stand and Fight (Core) x3
Wealth of Gondor (HON) x3

This deck is designed as a support deck in a multiplayer environment, and can be built with one Core Set. Even better, it can combine easily with almost any other deck, as it contains only one unique card (the Horn of Gondor). While this is not a powerhouse build, it does its job efficiently. There is only 1 card above 2 cost in the entire deck (Astonishing Speed), which means that even though it is tri-sphere, it can pump out allies fairly quickly, as well as easily pay for attachments and events. The theme of the deck is the alliance of Rohan and Gondor, with Mutual Accord allowing for Gondor characters to benefit from Astonishing Speed in a big quest push, while Rohan characters can be boosted by Boromir and For Gondor! Allies like the Escort from Edoras, Snowbourn Scout, and the Lampwright himself will be popping out of play quite often, but hopefully by this point Boromir will have the Horn of Gondor in his possession to reap the rewards. To this end, Ancient Mathom provides some card draw to hopefully find the Horn sooner rather than later. Wealth of Gondor brings some extra resource generation to the party, while the Errand-riders work to make sure that everything is where it is needed most (including transfers to other players). Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten the man of the hour. 3 copies of Stand and Fight mean that the Minas Tirith Lampwright can be brought back quickly from the discard pile after using his ability. Various Gondor-boosting effects give the Lampwright some added utility, and the Mutual Accord/Astonishing Speed combination means that he can even contribute 2 willpower to questing during a much-needed moment. Again, while this deck won’t blow away a scenario, it is well-balanced, with decent questing power, formidable defensive options, abundant resource transfer opportunities, and most importantly, a supply of treachery and surge-cancellation abilities. I didn’t follow my original plan of building a Lore/Spirit deck to make use of Risk Some Light, but that is certainly an alternative option to complement the Minas Tirith Lampwright.

That’s it for now, folks. Currently, Encounter at Amon Dîn is scheduled for a July release, so it shouldn’t be too long before you have a chance to include the Minas Tirith Lampwright in your own decks. Until next time, keep your eye out for the beacon fires and your sword arm ready!


From → Spoilers

  1. Great analysis and I really like the deck. So did those agents of Sauron hook you up with the connection at FFG to spoil cards? 😀

    On a serious note, I think this card could be good against the right scenarios. I’m thinking of Into Ithilien as a good example. If I am trying to win out on questing in the final stage, and I know that the only thing that will stop me is a second Blocking Wargs or a Southron Support, I can say treachery and be covered. The fact that it doesn’t always work does not mean that it isn’t effective at protecting for a deck’s weakness; a location or enemy in that situation is not going to matter. I do very much agree that it would be better if he had a useful stat – I can’t see wanting to defend with him very often. Either the scenario has surge and I want him for his ability, or I won’t be including him to begin with. I like that you use Boromir in this deck to ensure that he can at least help on the attack, from time to time.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Smoke rises from the mountain of Doom. The hour grows late and Beorn the Bear comes to Isengard seeking news of agents of Sauron…

      Yes, I think that’s the important part of the naming mechanic: it allows you to at least eliminate the possibility of getting the card type that will most hurt you. For that alone it is worth it. It is definitely a scenario-specific card, either it will be begging for his exclusion or he’ll be left out.

  2. scwont permalink

    Wow, great to see FFG farming out some of its spoilers! It’s a great way to show encouragement and reward for those like yourself who work hard to provide such a great resource for the LoTR LCG community.

    The card itself is very interesting. A niche card but I’m sure there are plenty of surge-haters out there who’ll be willing to give it a try!

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      I agree, it definitely says much about the FFG team that they are willing to provide this opportunity.

      As for the effect, it is niche, but I think my excitement is generated by the fact that this is the first surge protector (hehe) that we’ve seen yet in the game. I almost feel like the psychological effect of surge is sometimes worse than the actual effect, but I’m glad to see players get to add a new tool to their collection.

      • gaudyls permalink

        Great Grats for the chance to spoil us cards. Your blog really shines in the middle earth.

      • TalesfromtheCards permalink

        Thanks gaudyls!

  3. legolas18 permalink

    So does this mean you already have the pack? Or did they just show you this card so you could spoil it?

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Just this one card. I am in the dark as much as everyone else as to what else is coming in this pack, but I’m excited to kill some…I mean save some villagers!

  4. Ian permalink

    Nice review! Interesting card, tossing up whether he is worth it just as a chump blocker irrespective of effect.

    Certainly in tri-sphere, in mono or duel perhaps not. As you said, depends too much on encounter and player composition.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Always good to see a fellow Ian, and I’m glad you enjoyed the article! I think the Lampwright’s case will be strengthened if we get more Gondor synergy in the near future.

  5. Awesome article and awesome gesture from FFG. Brilliant work!

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Thanks! Big shout-out to FFG for their efforts to support the community.

  6. MountainRoot permalink

    I like this card a lot but not for the ability but as a 1 cost Ally. There are so few 1 cost allies (only 8). Spirit 1 point ally is only Silvan Refugee (which doesn’t stay at the board for long). So as far a i am concerned it’s the first ally for the spirit sphere which costs 1.
    An ally can help me defend no matter how wicked he is….he can be chosen to be the target of bad effects, he can be killed without much thinking of making me loose ground. It’s nice to have an ally on board no matter what his stats are. Hey i even like a 1 cost ally with no ability and stat 0-0-0-1HP.

    This little guy here not only can do all the above but he also comes with an ability at NO cost….and it’s a response.

    What encounter card type to choose??? You don’t try to figure out what the next card will be….you choose based on what you DON’T want to see YOU WILL NOT SEE IT. Let’s say i can’t handle any more enemies…i choose enemies and at least i know an enemy will not show. Let’s say i have enough willpower to quest so locations don’t matter and enough fight power to battle anything….the i choose treachery and at least i will not have to face a treachery card.

    Bottom line: This card’s basic ability is that he is a 1 cost spirit ally……..with an ability

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      I agree, I looooove 1 cost allies. Also agreed on the nice way the mechanic works in allowing you to avoid what you don’t want to deal with. As I mentioned in the article, this could even apply to a specific card you don’t want to face (Southron Support, I’m looking at you!).

  7. Thaddeus permalink

    I’m not as in love with this card as I’m not keen to toss away my allies just so I can *maybe* cancel a Surge effect. However, he’s like a Snowborne Scout for Spirit/Gondor. A cheap ally to chump block for Spirit or partake in various Gondor synergies is pretty much worth it by itself. I’d probably only ever use his Response ability, though, if I was using a scrying affect and was likely to know what was coming next or if I was getting really hammered by the deck and was desperate to avoid seeing another card.

  8. gaudyls permalink

    I think is a card very worthy for the cost and the gondor sinergies. The surge cancel trick is just a very good bonus for me. Im working by now in making gondor (without outlanders) and rohan decks and this card is a must have in what im looking for.

  9. This used with prince imrahil is great. Quest with imrahil, use lamplight to discard, ready imrahil. I did this when i ran an eowyn, boromir (hon), and imrahil.

  10. sweetnesswhachacha permalink

    Yeah I like this guy, even though he is fragile and not a sure thing. I want to build a deck around the Palintir and he would be perfect for that!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Encounter at Amon Din: Player Cards Review | Tales from the Cards
  2. Key Concepts: Factions | Hall of Beorn
  3. Deck: Out of Ithilien | Hall of Beorn

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