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Outlands Poll Results

by on September 30, 2013

A hot topic recently among LOTR LCG players has been whether or not the recently introduced Outlands deck type is overpowered and whether or not it is good for the game. Thrust upon the card pool in The Steward’s Fear, and strengthened even further by subsequent packs in the Against the Shadow cycle, I don’t think it’s arguable that Outlands has quickly become one of the top deck types in terms of raw power. Several players have been able to beat the most difficult quests with ease using Outlands, and I myself have made short work of Nightmare scenarios using this trait to full effect. The controversy really comes in debating whether or not this level of power is detrimental to the health of the game. I was quite curious to know what others out there thought beyond my own circle, and the results were quite illuminating, with 152 people participating in the poll:

* 29.61% of respondents feel that Outlands are “Just right in terms of power, and I’m glad they’re in the game”.

* 21.05% of respondents feel that Outlands are “Too powerful, but I play them!”.

* 21.05% of respondents feel that Outlands are “Too powerful, and I won’t touch them!”.

* 9.21% of respondents feel that Outlands are “Just right in terms of power, but I’m indifferent to them”.

* 3.25% of respondents feel that Outlands are “Not as powerful as everyone thinks, but I play them!”.

* 3.95% of respondents feel that Outlands are “Not as powerful as everyone thinks, and I won’t touch them!”.

* A sizable 11.18% of respondents responded with “Other’.

Compiling these statistics a different way, we can see that 42.1% of participants, or close to half, feel that Outlands are overpowered. On the other hand, 38.82% of those voting feel that Outlands are just right in terms of power, so opinion on this issue is pretty evenly split amongst readers. Only 7.2% of respondents feel that Outlands are not that powerful.

The second issue is whether or not players feel that Outlands are good for the game (or whether they are willing to even play them). 53.91% of voters responded with some variation of positive feelings about Outlands being part of the card pool, while 25% refuse to play them outright.

Perhaps what these numbers show most clearly is that feelings about Outlands are clearly quite divided (no surprise there). If I had to make a sketchy generalization from these poll results, I would say that many, if not most, players (that participated in this poll) agree that Outlands are overpowered, at least to some degree. At the same time, many, if not most, players (that participated in this poll) feel that Outlands are either generally good for the game or something that they do play themselves.

The Outlands deck type is pretty clearly something that was designed to help newer players get to grips with the game, providing them with a build that could be easily assembled from a few packs, while giving them the ability to win against even the most difficult quests. While I applaud this approach on the part of the designers, I do feel that Outlands are perhaps too powerful for this purpose, and my feelings for this trait have certainly soured over time. I feel that the biggest issue, beyond just power level, is that they can be plugged and played fairly mindlessly, allowing you to breeze through a quest without much thought or even fun. As always, there is the valid argument to be made that if you don’t like something in this game, you can just choose not to play it, and it certainly is possible to ignore Outlands and build decks that are more interesting to you as a player. To be clear, I don’t think Outlands should be banned or destroyed. However, I would like further love for Outlands to be limited, and other deck traits to get attention instead, and I fully expect that to be the case in the future.

From → Poll Results

  1. I’m a relative new player.
    Started playing within less than a year ago.

    Although I know that I can just refrain from playing cards, that is not who I am.
    I’m not in the group who police themselves, I take the best that are out there and to be honest this is quite off putting to the game having what seems to be such a powerful deck.

    Hopefully they can release rules to make quests harder so that even these kind of decks struggle.

    • You raise an interesting point, MuRRe: if Outlands are overpowered, and if they start designing encounter sets around that power, what does that mean for the rest of the card pool?

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Well, MuRRe, you really hit the nail on the head regarding the problem of including a deck type, Outlands, that is overpowered. While variable difficulty through easy mode and nightmare mode partly compensates for the varying deck strengths of different players, it doesn’t totally resolve the issue. Most quests can be easily dismantled by a decent Outlands deck, and if the designers have to up the power level of scenarios to match this, it will make things too hard for most other builds.

  2. Vladimir permalink

    Just as you want to limit further love for Outlands, I want the designers to forget those damned Dwarves for a while. Hell, they even got a card in this cycle. Gondor (as a trait) did not get much love, other traits are a little more than a worthless text. I think some boon cards in Black Riders add traits (healer, noble, warrior) – do they at least get some use somehow in the expansion, or are they again just worthless extra text?

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Those traits (healer, noble, warrior) haven’t gotten any love in the Black Riders expansion beyond the boon cards themselves. I’m really hoping that they will finally find a purpose and soon.

  3. Drew permalink

    I’m relatively new as well, so I don’t even have the out lands cards yet, but knowing how they work I doubt I’ll ever personally play with them. Most I’ll probably do is build and test an intro deck to let a buddy use during a first play.

    If I were going to play with Outlands at any point probably what I’d do is limit the amount if cards that have that trait, so that not every single card easily synergizes with the rest of the deck, sort of in the same way that when I finally end up building a Dwarf deck, it will most likely not contain Dain at all.

  4. ishallcallusting permalink

    I like that Outlands is in the game, because they are fun. I was one of the minority who voted that Outlands were not as powerful as everyone thinks they are, because, unless you get the herder, one sweeper can totally wreck your board position. Also, I find that Outlands is too slow.

    The real reason that Outlands is so “overpowered” is because you basically only need one set to get all the cards. Therefore, a casual player with only a few cards can run the deck and beat a lot of quests. Great! I am so glad that FFG gave players a powerful option that doesn’t need a lot of cash. I think this game is crazy hard for casual players, so I am fine with it.

    I seriously doubt that outlands is the most powerful deck, even if it is the most overplayed. I think Frodo/Aragorn/Glorfindel decks are still better at most quests. If people were complaining about those decks as being overpowered, I would be far more inclined to agree. I think dwarf decks are crazy powerful as well. Don’t worry, soon other decks will come along that will be different and possibly better.

    Also, I don’t think anyone should worry that encounter decks in the future will punish everyone because they have to be hard enough to challenge outlands. The designers make scenarios in order to highlight the NEW cards, not old ones. That will guide the design process. Also, there are “silver bullet” type effects that can specifically target certain types of decks, but will largely ignore other decks. For instance, effects that reward mono-colored decks tend to punish outlands rather severely because it is so heavily multicolored. Perhaps a “ranger deck” focus in the future will reward decks that don’t use allies–just one option.

    Bottom line, don’t stress guys, this game rocks and outlands players can be just as proud of their decks as anyone 🙂

    • Tiandes permalink

      I’ll take the opportunity to jump on your last statement about “a ranger deck”!

      I dream of a card that can allow the player to get the first strike for the combat phase.Thematically, I think it would be a fit to get that kind of mechansim involving rangers, maybe after exploring a location, something like

      “Response: If you succesfully explore a location instead of discarding it, exhaust a ranger and pay one ressource for every progress counter on location to get an attack phase before the defend phase”

      In other word, we get to ambush the ennemies! But the price can very high if it’s a difficult location. Just normal, not to easy to hurry your little band in location like Carrock!

      • TalesfromtheCards permalink

        I do like the idea of an ambush-type card. We have Quick Strike, but that’s limited to only one character. Giving all characters an attack before defense would be super powerful, so it would have to appropriately expensive and/or difficult to set up.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      There are certainly other deck types that are powerful, but I can throw my mono-Leadership Outlands deck on the board and know with certainty that I will annihilate a Nightmare quest (Nightmare Escape from Dol Guldur is an exception because of the prisoner mechanic). I can’t say that about most other deck types, and what’s remarkable is the level of power that is possible. With a well-built deck of a non-Outlands variety, I can also feel confident against the hardest quests, but there is still some level of danger or uncertainty involved. With Outlands, sometimes it feels like you are a cat merely toying with the mice the encounter deck is throwing at you, even if those mice are big ‘ol trolls.

  5. Traekos77 permalink

    Outlands is a good addition for two reasons:
    1. Some quests can be very hard.
    2. Leadership is the most boring (least interesting) sphere.

    That being said, I enjoy other decks more since the # of cards that can be swapped in or out is a larger number. With Outlands, ~60% of the deck is pre-decided.

  6. Outlands CAN be uber powered… but it takes time/luck. Recently played an Outland deck and a lore/spirit (deck dual deck solo) against The Hills of Emyn Muil… (and a couple other scenarios) and the treachery cards annihilated my outlands rather fast (2 of the my 3 attempts), however, on try 3 the herders came out, and then really it became rather comical with a small army amassed. They are fun. I wont always play them because they while they have good within deck synergy, i personally enjoy cross deck synergies better, but when it comes down to it, i play for fun… so more fun (yes even if it is more dwarves). is more fun

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about: fun. If you have fun playing Outlands, then it doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks. In a similar way, some people have sworn off Dwarves, while I still get some enjoyment out of playing them, just not all the time.

  7. DavidJC permalink

    DavidJC tend to get all packs in a set, instead I concentrate on ones that seem to have good write ups in certain blogs (ahem…). The two in this series that do grab me are The Stewards Fear and the Druadan Forest, as much for their adventures as for the player cards. In your humble opinion, given some of the views above, if I limited myself to those two packs, would this be sufficient to enjoy outlands without it feeling way overpowered.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Well, overpowered is somewhat in the eye of the beholder. With those two packs, you’ll definitely have a quite powerful Outlands deck available. On the other hand, if you’re only planning on getting a few packs from the current cycle, The Steward’s Fear and The Druadan Forest are great choices, as they are probably the best two quests in the Against the Shadow set, at least in my opinion.

  8. DavidJC permalink

    Sorry, i am using a tablet and the first sentence went haywire. It is mean’t to read “I dont tend to get all packs in a set,….”

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Haha, ok, I thought you were doing a weird “speak-of-yourself-in-the-third-person” thing.

  9. DavidJC permalink

    Cheers for the fast reply (not sure what time zone you live in). I really appreciate your blog and commentary, especially as I am new to the whole LCG thing, and have learnt quite a bit from deckbuilding 101. I recently lent my cards to friends, and included your website address in the box.

    As for the third person thing, I thought that was only in the movies (and Boardwalk Empire ).

  10. sweetnesswhachacha permalink

    I like the Outlands, and have a deck, but I would agree with some of this. As long as you can build up your engine quickly then mostly you are playing the deck itself and the scenario is incidental. It is clearly more powerful than anything else in the game. But the excitement isn’t there as much because the decisions are less difficult when you play the same cards the same way to ramp up your power regardless of the scenario. I like it as a second solo deck to quest, and a more interesting second deck to tackle the scenarios . But hopefully they will break this global boost trend which it looks like they are with the Hobbits

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