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Guest Spotlight: Trained For War – Unlocking the Potential of the Tactics Sphere

by on July 9, 2013

Editor’s Note: Recently, TftC reader Landroval commented on one of my Deck Building 101 articles, sharing his successes using Trained for War to enable mono-Tactics to function against a broad range of quests. I was quite intrigued by this idea, and Landroval offered to write an article explaining his ideas at greater length. I’m very happy to publish the finished product here, and I think you’ll find it of great interest as well. He has made use of handy charts, tables, and statistics, which I always find helpful, and has even found a way to include cards that are often dumped on (Brand son of Bain, Keeping Count, Shadow of the Past, etc.). I hope you enjoy this guest piece!

                                                                                            -Ian-

Introduction

This article is in response to Deck Building 101 -Exploring Mono Sphere (Tactics). It concerns a method of dual-deck, mono-sphere Tactics play that uses Trained for War combined with Hama to subvert the general laws of the game and transform Tactics allies and weapons into an overkill questing machine  which can destroy entire quest stages in a single swoop.

Background

I have been playing LOTR LCG for around 12 months. I only play solo. By far my favourite sphere is Tactics, whose focus is death and destruction. It has some pretty badass Heroes (Legolas, Gimli, Beorn) and some cool player cards in terms of theme (Mighty Prowess, Keeping Count, Rain of Arrows), but it does not have an overabundance of ‘power’ player cards in comparison to other spheres, although it does have some (Horn of Gondor, Blade of Gondolin, Erebor Battle Master). By far its biggest weakness is willpower/threat control, which is quite a considerable drawback. Most players will know that willpower is pretty much the single most important thing in being able to win the majority of quests.

Traditionally, there are three ways in which I play the game:

Custom-built decks designed specifically to crush a specific (usually the latest) Adventure Pack. I generally do this one-handed solo. My first attempt is always mono-sphere Tactics solo, which generally doesn’t work, but allows me to get a feel for the quest and spend the next day or two thinking about what type of deck is needed. I generally maintain 2-3 Tactics heroes and then either include a Hero from one other sphere or access to another sphere via Songs (e.g. for Druadan Forest, I settled on Beregond/Legolas/Eowyn). This is my preferred way of playing, due to the freshness of the new quest and the mental challenge provided by dealing with something new.

– One-deck to rule them all. This was a personal quest of mine for quite some time. To be honest, I no longer enjoy this type of challenge at all. Primarily because true solo play is so restrictive/difficult, you end up relying on power Heroes/power player cards, seeing the same cards all the time and settling for lower win ratios etc. etc. This type of deck was traditionally restricted to Glorfindel (Sp)/Frodo/Aragorn (Lo), but now Hirluin and the Outlands are viable too. I no longer like playing like this. It’s the most challenging but also, for me, the most boring. I prefer to change my deck regularly.

Thematic Play. Building a deck around a particular section of LOTR Lore, a particular trait, or even a single player card or Hero. E.g. I built a deck around Bilbo, Beorn and Glorfindel (Sp) which was designed to resurrect Beorn multiple times. The blog, Hall of Beorn, has a large amount of flavoursome decks which are loyal to a particular strain of LOTR lore. Most thematic based decks are not particularly powerful, but the reason for playing is more based on experimentalism and interacting with the theme. My favourite trait is the Eagle trait, but it is difficult to build a solo-deck around this trait which will succeed in most quests.

Trained for War Decks

Trained for War gives the Veteran new life

I now have a new way of play which is the focus of this article. The Against the Shadow cycle focuses on mono-sphere play, and contains a number of cards which are only allowed in mono-sphere (Advance Warning, Against the Shadow, Strength of Arms, etc.). Another such card is Trained for War, which allows Tactics players to convert the Sphere’s overwhelming Attack power into Willpower. With characters like Beorn, Gimli and Erebor Battle Master available, the combo potential is astounding. As mentioned above, my starting point is always mono-sphere. Generating 3 resources of the same sphere each turn soon builds up to a significant war chest with which to buy 4+ cost allies, and generally it is more interesting to explore a single sphere in detail rather than the same old power cards of the other 2-3 spheres (i.e. Steward of Gondor, Unexpected Courage, Self-Preservation). The release of this card in the Druadan Forest AP was so far up my alley it was coming out the other end. This card’s ability makes Tactics a viable option for winning the majority of quests, and also allows greater use of Eagle cards and synergies, as well as more obscure and unloved cards from the Tactics sphere.

Traditionally I have always played true one-handed solo. Trained for War would work fine in solo-play but is far from problematic, for the following reasons:

1. It’s expensive. Its cost of 2 is 67% of the heroes’ base resources. Given that you will be aiming to play it (virtually) every single round (via Hama) that is quite a drain on resources. You could loosen this up via resource acceleration (Steward of Gondor being the most obvious method), although this would rely on getting Song of Kings out early as well as Trained for War (using a Leadership Hero would make the card ineligible to be played).

2. Hama needs enemies with which to feed his ability. These may not be forthcoming in solo play (i.e. if you are drawing a large number of locations), and locations are when you need that high Willpower the most.

We can fix both of these issues in multi-player. As an aside, for solo-players who have never played dual-handed I would strongly recommend it. It really opens up the game and allows trait and sphere synergies to shine, as well as the synergies and exponentialities in the encounter decks. The minor additional thought-process, hand management and admin are well worth it. For Trained for War, the solutions to the problems recognised above by two-handing are rectified as follows:

1. The effect of Trained for War is global, i.e. it affects the quest card rather than a single player/Hero. This means that its cost represents only 33% of the base resources the six heroes have to use.

2. Revealing two cards per round actually helps the strategy. More enemies will appear, which will provide more enemies for Hama to attack, which makes it easier to recycle the card. It also provides more enemies for Legolas to attack, which will aid in questing. Attacking and killing is also important as it allows us to use Foe-hammer, a 0-cost card which Hama can use to burn through the deck as we wait for Trained for War to arrive, dramatically tilting the odds of success in our favour.

The decks, and the approach, to me are interesting, as generally received wisdom is that a mono-Tactics deck works well with a Spirit Deck and they complement each other well. This approach is unusual in that we are using not one but two mono-sphere decks (stereo decks?) of the same sphere, and the effect of Trained for War is removing the decks’ key weakness and replacing it with their key strength. I do not believe this approach is viable for any other sphere (at present).

Please note that although this is a 6 x Tactics Hero build, you could feasibly make a (stronger) deck by playing 3 x Tactics on one side and a mix of spheres on the other. Just adding in a single Leadership hero and the Leadership power cards on one side of the table would boost the decks’ overall effectiveness. But that is not what this article is about.

This is also not (designed to be) ‘one deck to rule them all’ . But it could be. The example below has been designed specifically for the classic second Quest from the core set: Journey Down the Anduin. It would likely work well on any quest that requires heavy questing ability, but I have yet to play test it extensively. So for Anduin, I have included Thalin, who is the most effective Hero against Eastern Crows, effectively removing the card from play the moment it is revealed. If I was building a deck for Conflict at the Carrock, or Shadow and Flame, I’d probably switch in Beregond/Boromir to increase the defence a little. But overall these deck builds should work well against the majority of Quests.

Without further ado, let’s get to building the decks. I will refer to the decks as Deck 1 (Led by Hama) and Deck 2 (Led by Gimli). I am building the decks from a single core set and one copy of all APs released so far. Where you have more sets, you can jiggle around the card counts as you see fit.

Our starting point, obviously, is Trained for War. 3 copies of this go straight in to Deck 1, along with Hama, who has the ability to recycle it every round (providing there is an enemy for him to attack). I would add 3 copies of TFW in to Deck 2 if I had them, just as a bonus to improving the probability of a draw, although it would be a one-off use. It would be nice if I had a bow or some other kind of ranged weapon to attach to Hama to give him the ranged ability, but Rivendell Bow is too ‘Elvish’ for him to use apparently. I know there is Dunedain Cache, but that is a Leadership card, and we are building a straight-edge Tactics deck here today, so Hama will be restricted to attacking enemies on his own side. Make sure you consider this when making optional engagement checks.

Next up, we will definitely need some card draw ability. I will do this in two ways: 3 copies of Foe-Hammer and 3 Copies of The Eagles are Coming. Foe-Hammer is driven by Weapons and kills. I will spread the distribution of Weapons unevenly between the two decks, with the majority going in to Deck 2, which will include all Axes available, as well as a range of Bows, Blades and Spears for your enjoyment. Can I just take a take a moment to say that phrases like ‘Bows, Blades and Spears’ are what lift the Tactics sphere to another level. Just spread all those weapons cards out in front of you and smell the blood!

Anyway, back to the Decks. Deck 1 will only include the 2 Blades of Gondolin and 1 Rivendell Blade. Blade of Gondolin is a card I want to get my hands on as soon as possible, as it aids in questing (the attack boost only applies when attacking an Orc so does not trigger for TFW purposes). These cards are a perfect match for the world’s favourite Tactics Hero, Legolas of the Woodland Realm. He already has 2 Blades of Gondolin “built-in” and 2 more are always welcome. If we can get a Weapon/Foe-Hammer Combo up-and-running nice and early, we will burn through Deck 1 to find the card we need in no time at all.  I will also throw 1 Blade and 1 Bow into Deck 2 for now. Rivendell Bow and Blade make Legolas’s attacks more potent, but do not interact with TFW.

The other aspect of card draw is Eagles. The Eagles are Coming is a 0-cost card than be played at any time to mine the deck for Eagles. If Hama has nothing better to do (and, early in the game, there may be no other Event cards in the discard pile), he can recycle this freely to drag eagles out of the deck. We will add some feathered friends to our deck in a minute. Whilst the card draw ability isn’t the best, it is free and easy, and can ‘thin’ the deck by quite a few cards if you get lucky with the draw, improving the chances of drawing TFW. Eagles are coming also has the Eagle Trait on it, so can combo with itself for consecutive eagle hunts.

Now that we have made a foundation for getting our MVP-card into play, we still need to keep afloat during regular questing activity, lest our threat get out of control and the game ends before it has really begun. We will achieve this by having questing Heroes for Deck 2, and questing Allies in Deck 1. The Heroes I have chosen to accompany Gimli’s squad are Thalin ‘The Crowslayer’, who only quests for 1 but will negate the crow’s surge affect (important in stage 2 of this quest), and Brand, who quests for 2. This will enable us to quest for at least five each turn with our Deck 2 Heroes. Not great, but it will at least keep the threat down whilst progress can be attained through Legolas. It is worth mentioning that Brand can be used as a means of readying either Legolas or Hama, depending on your priorities. This is a very useful readying ability and can be used every few rounds in my experience. Brand + Legolas + 2x Blade of Gondolin can give you up to 8 progress per round.

Deck 1 will also include 2 copies of Tactics Bofur and 2 Copies of Core Gandalf. Tactics Bofur can be used to fetch weapons, during the Battle Questing phases (unless you really need his 2 ATK). For Deck 1, we will add 3 copies of Eagles of the Misty Mountain, 3 copies of Envoy of Pelagrir, another 2 copies of Gandalf (Core), and 3 copies of Radagast. It is okay to have the excess Radagasts in this deck; we want his questing ability (and resource acceleration) in play as early as possible. The excess copies can be traded for Event cards from the discard pile via Hama’s ability. The other side of questing is of course threat management. Gandalf is our only means of achieving this, so we will also include 2 copies of Born Aloft, to take him back in our hand, and play him again to get another go of his threat reducing entrance ability. I might, from time-to-time, use his card draw ability as well if I was really going to go for win or bust on finding TFW. One final card I put into Deck 1’s questing category is Hands upon the Bow. This is because you can essentially get quadruple benefit out of it when combo’d with Legolas during the quest phase:

1 – It removes an enemy from play

2 – Enemy does not get an opportunity to attack

3 – Enemies staging threat is not applied during quest resolution

4 – Progress tokens are placed from Legolas’s ability

All these cards cost money and we need some help along the way to pay for them. The only options we have (restricting ourselves to Tactics/neutral cards) for that are the Horn of Gondor and Radagast. Horn of Gondor is interesting; later, we will pack Deck 2 with chump-blockers and others. When these leave play, Deck 1 will get the resource, so in effect, Deck 2 is ‘giving’ its resources over to Deck 1, so that it can pay up for the ongoing Trained for War requirement. Also, once HOG is in play, we effectively get 1 cost allies (and Envoy of Pelagrir) into play for free (assuming that they leave play at some point). Radagast is a bit of a polarizing character amongst some players. In this deck, his willpower, resource production and healing ability for Eagles of the Misty Mountains make him well worth the cost of five resources, so three copies it is.

Obviously, we are not seeking to be reliant on Tactic’s characters’ Willpower, and would much rather put their outrageously high ATK stats to good use via TFW. Thematically, I view the game as the characters getting ‘prepared’ for a long march into new territory, whilst they are just holding the ground they have already won (i.e. the ‘treading of water’ and threat management of questing under standard conditions). Once the ‘training’/’preparation’ for marching is made, Hama and Gimli rally their troops on to the next location. The ATK power we will be making use of to maximise TFW’s impact are as follows:

Deck 1

Beorn as a 3rd Hero

3 x Vassal of the Windlord (Cost 1 – ATK 3). Also has the Ranged ability and Eagle Trait. Leaves play after attacking, but not after questing.

3 x Knights of the Swan (Cost 1 – ATK 1-3). The more the merrier.

3 x Khazad! Khazad! (Cost 0 – ATK 1 x 3)

3 x Support of the Eagles (Cost 3 – ATK: Typically 2 or 3. Sometimes as high as 5/6 via Eagles of the Misty Mountains ability). Expensive. Consider carefully who to put it on.

3 x Keeping Count – (Cost 0 – ATK: Ranges from 0 to 2 x X, where X is the number of enemies that Legolas has slain) I played one game with this and all 3 popped out. The effect was to give Gimli and Thalin +5 ATK by the end of the game. A very, very powerful card in this deck.

Deck 2

2 x Dwarven Axe (Cost 2 – ATK 1 or 2) Best to add to a Dwarf, but I have used on Legolas before, just to get Foe-Hammer up and running as early as possible.

3 x Dwarrowdelf Axe (Cost 1 – ATK 1) Attach to Dwarven Allies to save room on Gimli for Citadel Plate.

3 x Dwarven Axehand (Cost 2 – ATK 2) Boosts Erebor Battle Master.

3 x Veteran of Nanduhirion (Cost 4 – ATK 3) Cost benefit is not too shabby, and boosts Erebor Battle Master.

2 x Citadel Plate (Cost 4 – Attached to Gimli ATK +4)

2 x Ring mail (Cost 2 – Attached to Gimli ATK +1)

2 x Boots from Erebor (Cost 0 – Attached to Gimli ATK +1) All intended to go on Gimli. I had 14 Damage on the poor guy when escaping from Dol Guldur. I think Chieftan Ufthak actually soiled himself.

3 x Trollshaw Scout (Cost 2 – ATK 2) Can benefit from Bow or Blade.

3 x Erebor Battle Master (Cost 3 – ATK: 1 – 12) Need I say more?

These cards all have multiple other uses, but the ATK boost is what we’re in the market for, and an ATK boost is exactly what we will get.

In a moment, I will summarise where the decks have got to, and how they look overall. But first, we need one other very important element for our war marches to be successful: blockers (I respectfully refrain from using the term chump-blockers).

We have some cheap sacrificial allies in our decks already (Vassal of the Windlord, Knights of the Swan, Envoy of Pelagrir), but we should only use them as blockers if we have to. Gimli and Beorn are able to take undefended damage, and in addition to that we will also throw some defensive specialists in to the mix. Again, this will primarily be the domain of Deck 2, as Deck 1 has to focus its resources more on Trained for War, while Deck 2 seeks to provide the right balance between Attackers (i.e. Questers) and blockers.

The defensive cards used are:

Deck 1:

2 x Feint (1 Cost – 1 Block and 1 Shadow Cancellation) Can be used on either player. Can be recycled.

3 x Winged Guardian (2 Cost – At least 1 block). Dependable enough. Can be attached to Eagles of Misty Mountains on leaving play.

Deck 2:

3 x Defender of Rammas (2 Cost – At least 1 Block). Solid.

3 x Gondorian Spearman (2 Cost – At least 1 Block and Damage). If an enemy has 1 HP left you can remove him from play and discard the shadow card.

3 x Behind Strong Walls (1 Cost – +1 Block to the above cards (with +1 DEF)) Good to keep in the back pocket in case things go wrong with engagements.

3 x Watcher of the Bruinen (2 Cost – At least 1 Block). Worth the card burn if he can be kept in play.

2 x Spear of the Citadel (2 Cost – + 1 Damage to a defender) Definitely worth having, and can combo with:

2 x Goblin Cleaver (0 Cost – Comboing with Thalin’s ability + a Weapon is able to remove 3/4 HP enemies from play before they Attack) An underrated little card, which turns weapons into killing machines.

1 x Stand Together (0 Cost – Allows Pooling of DEF, and, more importantly ‘Spear Effects’ – note that any damage done must apply to a single character – as per the FAQ). A life-saver in occasional situations.

I think we’re pretty much there. And probably have about 50 cards in each deck. Let’s see what we’ve got:

Deck 1:

Beorn (T:12,W:0, A:5, D:1, HP:10)

Legolas (T:9, W:1, A:3, D:1, HP:4)

Hama (T:9,W:1, A:3,D:1, HP: 4)

Total: T: 30, W: 2, A: 11, D: 3, HP: 18

Allies (20):

3 x Eagles of the misty Mountains

3 x Radagast

2 x Gandalf (Core)

3 x Vassal of the Windlord

3 x Knights of the Swan

3 x Winged Guardian

3 x Envoy of Pelagrir

Attachments (12):

2 x Blade of Gondolin

1 x Horn of Gondor

2 x Born Aloft

3 x Support of the Eagles

3 x Keeping Count

1 x Rivendell Blade

Events (17)

3 x Trained for War

3 x Hands upon the Bow

3 x Foe Hammer

3 x The Eagles are Coming!

3 x Khazhad! Khazhad!

2 x Feint

49 Cards

 

Deck 2:

Gimli (T:11,W:2, A:2, D:2, HP:5)

Thalin (T:9, W:1, A:2, D:2, HP:4)

Brand (T:10,W:2, A:3, D:2, HP: 3)

Total: T: 30, W: 5, A: 7, D:6, HP: 12

Allies (25):

2 x Gandalf (Core)

3 x Dwarven Axehand

3 x Erebor Battle Master

3 x Veteran of Nanduhirion

3 x Trollshaw Scout

3 x Gondorian Spearman

3 x Defender of Rammas

3 x Watcher of the Bruin

2 x Bofur (Tactics)

Attachments (15):

1 x Rivendell Blade

1 x Rivendell Bow

2 x Dwarven Axe

3 x Dwarrowdelf Axe

2 x Citadel Plate

2 x Ring Mail

2 x Boots from Erebor

2 x Spear of the Citadel

Events (6):

3 x Behind Strong Walls

1 x Stand Together

2 x Goblin Cleaver

46 Cards

We are only 4 cards short of where we need to be. To be honest, there are not many red cards left to choose from! After careful consideration, I have decided to fill the last 5 cards with 3 copies of Shadow of the Past, and 1 copy of Landroval in each deck. Shadow of the Past will let us bring a low cost location or low-risk enemy into play, in order to aid with questing. Landroval’s ability can be used once per player per game, so we might as well include him. His stats are a good match for this strategy, and given that Gimli and Beorn will both be saddled with damage tokens, he is a good safety net in the event that things go wrong.

So far I have pitted these decks against:

Anduin – Played 2 – Won 2. Both times Trained for War was drawn midway through stage 2. ATK power was up to 44, so the game ended almost immediately once Legolas and Beorn had refreshed and took care of the residual enemies.

Dol Guldur. Played 1 – Won 1. Breezed through this quest, without Trained for War being drawn.

Osgiliath. Played 2 – Won 0. (Note: this quest is completely new to me and was played completely blind.) Both times I got to stage 4 and loss through excessive threat; although I have seen enough to know that this can be beat. I need to hone my strategy for the opening round but I now know that it can be beat with this deck (Mighty Prowess would be a good substitute for this quest).

I intend to go through all FFG quests available with variations of this deck. The main quests which I anticipate giving some grief are:

Conflict at Carrock: Traditionally I’ve used excessive threat control to beat this quest. I think a new approach is required for these TFW decks (probably involving a Troll-shaped blood-bath in a single round) but I think Beregond, Boromir, Gimli and Beorn would have enough in their locker to deal with it.

Journey to Rhosgobel: Assuming the quest can be beat in less than four rounds I think it’s not impossible. Long time since I’ve played it though.

Return to Mirkwood: Starting threat is not ideal. Would need to get Trained For War out early and just sprint to the finish line.

Redhorn Gate: Need to address WIllpower issue

Battle of Lake Town: Obviously very tough for any non-specialist deck.

The Steward’s Fear: Possibly an issue with excessive location threat and inconsistent enemy distribution.

Druadan Forest: Likely to be an issue with resources, although Beorn and Gimli help negate the Archery effects.

+ any other quest which bans event cards being played (Can’t think specifically but I’m sure there are a few).

The strategy is pretty simple, and has been explained throughout the deckbuild. Here are some high-level pointers:

Mulligan for:

1.Foe-Hammer (more useful overall)

2.Trained for War

Resource Priorities:

Pre-Trained for War – Radagast, Envoy of Pelagrir, Eagles of the Misty Mountain, Bofur.

Battle Questing – Resource Priorities: Vassal of the Windlord, Erebor Battle Master + Dwarves, Citadel Plate, Axes

Hero use:

Hero

Normal

Battle

Hama

Attack

Attack

Legolas

Attack

Attack

Beorn

Defend/Attack

Quest

Thalin

Quest

Quest

Gimli

Quest

Quest

Brand

Quest

Quest

Restricted Attachments use:

Hero

1

2

Hama

Horn of Gondor

Optional

Legolas

Blade of Gondolin

Blade of Gondolin

Beorn

N/A

N/A

Thalin

Dwarven Axe

Dwarven Axe

Gimli

Citadel Plate

Citadel Plate

Brand

Optional

Optional

Deck Variants:

The decks can be made even more potent by the addition of the following in Deck 2:

– Substituting in Eowyn: increased questing in early stages, access to Spirit

– Substituting in Elladan and Elrohir: Access to Steward of Gondor

– (when he’s released) substituting in Théoden.

Analysis of Spirit Willpower Questing vs. Tactics Battle Questing

I have used what I regard as the most effective options for spirit questing and battle questing, and assumed I had one card of each to pay for. The ratio of willpower/ATK to resource is at the bottom. I have assumed the cost over five rounds, hence the cost of 10 for Trained for War. Spirit has the benefit of the lower threat, but then tactics has the benefit of being able to quickly slay the enemies that engage. It’s not scientific, but it demonstrates the point.

Name

Cost

Willpower

Name

Cost

ATK Power

Arwen

2

2

Bofur

3

2

Bofur

3

2

Dwarven Axe

2

2

Eomund

3

2

Eagles of MM* (+1)

4

3

Kili/Fili*

3

2

Citadel Plate* (-2)

4

2

Lorien Guide* (+1)

3

2

Trollshaw Scout

2

2

Miruvor

1

1

Vassal of the Windlord

1

3

Northern Tracker* (+2)

4

3

Veteran of Nanduhirion

4

3

Power in the Earth

1

1

Veteran Axehand

2

2

Rider of the Mark

3

2

Dwarrowdelf Axe

1

1

Silvan Refugee

1

2

Erebor Battle Master* (+2)

3

3

Favor of the Lady

2

1

Trained for War

10

0

Riddermark’s Finest

2

1

Wandering Took

2

1

West Road Traveller

2

2

Westfold Horse-breaker

2

1

Zigil Miner

2

1

Eowyn

4

Beorn

5

Glorfindel

3

Gimli* (+2)

4

Frodo

2

Bard

3

TOTAL

36

35

TOTAL

36

35

WILLPOWER/COST RATIO

97%

ATK POWER/COST RATIO

97%

So that’s it!

I hope you have fun trying out these decks against different scenarios.

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18 Comments
  1. Chris permalink

    Amazing article. Love how in depth you go. Will be giving these a shot ASAP.

  2. tomtomiszcze permalink

    Plain amazing! I’ve just dared to include mono tactics deck in my solo two-handed adventures, but had never thought to have them on both sides of the table. Thank you very much, I must check it out in practice.
    Sidenote: the concept of guest spotlight seems great for the blog itself.

  3. Glowwyrm permalink

    Great article! I love playing mono-Tactics, and was really happy when Trained For War came out.
    Trained for War also makes for humorously thematic gameplay to me. In my head, my game goes something like this:

    Dwarven Defender: “Hama, how are we going to journey across the mountains?”

    Hama: “Journey?”

    DD: “You know, travel, quest, walk, and generally will our way to our destination?”

    Hama, laughing: “Real men don’t travel like that. We fight. We will battle our way there.”

    DD: “But there’s no enemies here to battle.”

    Hama: “Then we will fight everything!”

  4. Traekos77 permalink

    How did you get 14 damage on Gimli without killing him?

    Base: 5
    Citadel Plate (limit 2 due to restricted): 4
    Boots from Erebor (isn’t there a limit of 1 per character?) : 1

    5 + 4×2 + 1 = 14 health

  5. Glowwyrm permalink

    Another suggestion for a potent deck 2 is a Leadermir and Gondor allies deck. Most of the Leadership Gondor allies are inexpensive (or neutral), so you can include them in a deck while still using lots of tactics cards. It’s a good way to build a cheap ally army that can battle quest well and improve the Gondor cards you already have.

  6. Landroval permalink

    the 14 damage should be 14 atk. (12 damage + 2 base atk)

    Thanks

  7. Phate999 permalink

    I just tried this idea and it worked marvelously on The Seventh Level. I got super threated out (but finished just for fun) on The Watcher in the Water. I was able to kill The Watcher in one turn, which made me smile. I got a total of Doomed 15 (5 three different times) which is why I technically lost. But the last wave with Trained for War netted 36 questing force to finish in style.

    I am curious if any of you have found this style (Duel Tactics two-handed) to work even better with Theoden? I find that I am able to quest normally just with my heroes with 8-10 (which is pretty good) on the first turn using him.

    My heroes are:

    Deck 1
    Theoden
    Legolas
    Merry

    27 Starting Threat. This deck is composed of mostly Gondor and Dwarf Tactics allies.

    Deck 2
    Beregond
    Hama
    Thalin

    28 Starting Threat. This deck is made up of all Eagle allies.

    On the first turn I normally quest with Theoden + Thalin + Merry + Hama (maybe) which produces 8-10 willpower.

    Since Thalin deals 1 damage to the enemies revealed, a lot of times I am able to kill enemies before they can attack me using Gondorian Spearman, Spear of the Citadel on Beregond, Descent of Thorondor (also is useful to kill an enemy as it is revealed using Melenor’s Flight and Born Aloft) and Hands Upon the Bow. This can be good and bad if this is done; I don’t get progress tokens for Legolas (except for HUtB) nor can I regain an event with Hama (But I can use Book of Eldacar). However, it does provide the advantage of totally avoiding Shadow cards as well as removing threat from the staging area during questing, which works well in this build.

    Trained for War still becomes useful here, it is just less reliant with Theoden in the mix. TfW can be used as a final push to blow away the scenario once lots of allies have hit the board.

    On a side note, if you can get Beorn (ally) on the board, he can help finish off a quest if you needed a little more (by using his +5 attack action) after the shadow cards are revealed.

    This is a really fun way to play and while it won’t work on every quest probably, the ones that it does work it blows away.

    • Landroval permalink

      I’ve not used it for a while. I prefer playing one-handed. The majority of quests can be crushed, the majority of the time. I think i designed this before Theoden and Merry came out. The decks i posted were finely-tuned to accentuate card-draw and Legolas’s ability to tread water before Trained for war was drawn. You really should pair up merry/pippin/bard in some way now to use legolas even more. You should also use Shadow of the Past on any low threat enemies. Shadow of the past + Trained for war + Legolas + Bard, generally = next quest card.

      • Landroval permalink

        btw – i would probably choose Gimli over Theoden :

        – 1 less starting threat
        – Theoden’s ability is pointless under trained for war events
        – Gimli attack can easily be increased to 7, which easily overrides Theoden’s ability – especially if he is teamed with Merry/Legolas, who will need to be kept free to attack
        – dwarf trait works with Erebor Battle master – no real use of the Rohan trait in this deck (although i think Erebror battle master has been neutered in some way by the latest FAQ)
        – also – you wouldn’t want to kill enemies with anyone other than Hama/Legolas primarily, so make sure as many as possible go on hama’s side – Shadow effects are just another element of luck which you need to hope you avoid in this build, but you can use feint/hands upon the bow, and you can recycle these if TFW is not out in play yet

        • Phate999 permalink

          I explored this more last night. I changed my Heroes to this:

          Deck 1
          Theoden
          Merry
          Eowyn

          I found that putting 3 Westfold Horse-Breeder to fetch Rohan Warhorse or Steed of the Mark (for Theoden) plus adding a few 1-2 cost questing allies from Spirit really made a big difference (so did Ancient Mathom actually). I no longer really needed Trained for War at all. I was questing for 12 willpower right out the gates. Rising to around 18 on turn 2, which is usually more than enough to breeze through a quest.

          Deck 2
          Legolas
          Hama
          Thalin

          In this deck I placed all the 0-cost “exhaust a weapon” Events. In the other, I placed all the weapons. This helped with card draw. And also made killing enemies before they attached a breeze (in a pinch when I had no blocker).

          I was able to beat “Road to Rivendell” two times in a row on turn 5 with this set up. I even got the “Sleeping Sentry” shadow effect pulled at the end and lost Thalin. Legolas + Hama killed one enemy to put 3 quest tokens on the Quest (Hama had a Blade of Gondolin attached) then Legolas readied with Rohan Warhorse and killed the other enemy on the other side that had just taken out Theoden. I had already lost Merry due to an ambush attack that I wasn’t ready for. It was pretty cool way to end because those last 5 quest points from killing the two enemies won me the quest by an exact amount of 13.

          • Landroval permalink

            Yep – good old legolas

            I think his ability is so cool as you can change quest stages during combat, rather than before the travel step. This can make quite a difference in a lot of quests.

            You will get a stronger overall deck if you splash in another sphere i’m sure. I like playing mono-sphere tactics as you don’t need to worry so much about resource gen/songs etc. The deck i am currently using is good (Beorn/Legolas/Eowyn) because the resource gen and card draw are both on the slow side but they match off with each other very well – i.e. i do not have loads of excess cards, and neither do i have loads of excess resource. i often spend all my resources and just have 3/4 cards in my hand. To me, this is a sign of an efficient deck.

            It is posted on the BGG Druadan Forest page as Strong Eagles Deck, if you want to look at it.

            • Phate999 permalink

              “I think his ability is so cool as you can change quest stages during combat, rather than before the travel step. This can make quite a difference in a lot of quests.”

              Totally agree! A lot of times once you finish a card during the quest phase, enemies come in when revealing the next card. And then you have to make engagements right away. Not cool. But Legolas can give you a breath to prepare.

              I will check out your Eagles deck on there. Thanks!

      • Phate999 permalink

        “You really should pair up merry/pippin/bard in some way now to use legolas even more.”

        Green or Blue Pippin? I am scratching my head with how this combo would make Legolas used even more?

        I do this by placing Rohan Warhorse on Legolas. Preferably 2 of them combined with Support of the Eagles = He can pwn 3 enemies for 6-8 damage per = 6 quest tokens.

        • Landroval permalink

          sorry – i meant Legolas/Merry (? Tactics Hobbit – i’m not hot on the Hobbit names) + Bard

          there is something you can do with merry/bard to keep refreshing legolas after attacking

          I think warhorse was not out when i built it, but probably would include for Hama primarily and legolas second. if Hama could recycle multple cards per round that would be great.

          • Phate999 permalink

            Oh I see. Merry + Bard + Legolas. That would be a good combo. Of course most of the time Merry is sent on the quest, I’d imagine.

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