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Deck Building 101: Resource Generation

by on April 15, 2014
minas tirith

Two important factors make the world go ’round in LOTR LCG: cards and resources. While I’ve covered card draw in a previous installment of the Deck Building 101 series, it’s about time to take a good, hard look at resource generation in the game. I’m always interested in not just taking common statements about the game for granted (even those I make myself), such as the assertion that the Leadership sphere is absolutely swimming in resources or that resource generation in the game is generally easier than it used to be. I enjoy peering behind the curtain and looking at the cold hard reality of the card pool itself to provide a useful guide for both novice and experienced deck builders. Get your party hats on and fill up your biggest tankards of ale; it’s time to make it rain!

Introduction

The term “resource generation” refers to any card effect that creates resources in addition to those generated in the normal course of the game during the resource phase. Note that this is distinct from “resource transfer” effects, which move resources from one hero to another, or from one player to another, but do not actually add more resources than already existed. Resource transfer effects are extremely useful, and sometimes underrated, but they will be covered in a separate Deck Building 101 installment. This article will solely be concerned with making something from nothing, which has traditionally been conceived of as the specialty of the Leadership sphere. Together with card draw, resource generation is one of the most fundamentally important abilities in the entire game (so much so that I classified it as part of the Wizard archetype of deck abilities in the very first Deck Building 101 article), and so while it is possible to build a deck without any such effects, this should be the result of a conscious choice and compensated for by conscious deck design. Knowing what resource generating effects are available is important to build consistent and effective decks. Knowing which ones are better than others and which to use in certain situations and with certain deck types is even more crucial.

Options

* Theodred (Leadership Hero, 8 threat, 1 willpower, 2 attack, 1 defense, 4 hit points) [Core Set]

Response: After Theodred commits to a quest, choose a hero committed to that quest. Add 1 resource to that hero’s resource pool. 

While Theodred the character was a mere footnote in the actual The Lord of the Rings story, the card version has played an integral role in the card pool since the Core Set. By providing consistent resource generation, to the tune of 1 extra resource per turn (as long as he commits to the quest), Theodred has been very useful. However, he does have an in-built limitation, which is that he must commit to the quest, which wouldn’t be such a terrible restriction if it wasn’t for the fact that he isn’t very good at it considering his paltry 1 willpower. Generally, his stats are just ok, but in the absence of any readying effects sent in his direction, you’re looking at devoting a crucial hero slot and action each turn to questing, while still having to probably send another hero to the quest as well. As time has gone on, the value of Theodred has decreased as the card pool has increased. However, this is not to say that Theodred is useless, as he still can be quite effective in certain deck types and situations. For example, one of the classic combinations of the Core Set, Theodred paired with Leadership Aragorn, still works well in order to facilitate constant readying for our beloved King of Men. In addition, he works well in multiplayer, as he can flexibly provide an extra resource to other players in the game. Just keep in mind the rules regarding character commitment to the quest, as players must commit characters in player order. This means that the player that controls Theodred can only give resources to his or her own heroes when they are the first player. However, there is still plenty of wiggle room to spread the wealth when the Theodred controller is not the first player, which is extremely useful, as the options for creating resources for other players are far more limited than generating them for yourself. Even in solo play, this ability to generate resources for other heroes, in this case from other spheres, can be quite useful, such as giving that questing Spirit hero a resource so that they can use A Test of Will. Flexibility is key here in that the recipient can change each turn. Also, as heroes go, he does have a nice, low threat, and the continuing development of Rohan has made him a more useful option beyond his ability (for example, if you don’t want to waste Unexpected Courage on Theodred, Steed of the Mark can allow him to quest/use his ability and still contribute his 2 attack to combat). It’s also important to remember that while giving up a hero slot for resource generation is its own special cost, it does have one huge advantage in that you can rely on having it from turn one without drawing any other card.

Pros: In play from set-up, repeatable, can generate resources for other players/other spheres in a flexible way, benefits from Rohan synergy, low threat cost

Cons: Takes up a hero slot, requires committing to the quest without much willpower, limited by player order in multiplayer

Combines well with… Leadership Aragorn, Steed of the Mark, Celebrian’s Stone (for extra willpower when questing)

Use if… You are using a Rohan deck. You want to spread resources out during the course of a game. You are looking for a low-threat hero with a useful ability.

* Gloin (Leadership Hero, 9 threat, 2 willpower, 2 attack, 1 defense, 4 hit points) [Core Set]

gloin

Response: After Gloin suffers damage, add 1 resource to his resource pool for each point of damage he just suffered. 

Gloin is the other resource generating hero from the Core Set, also hailing from the Leadership sphere. However, he has generally been less popular than Theodred, especially as time has passed, because using his ability requires support from other cards to be successful. Specifically, since Gloin generates resources when he suffers damage, healing is required to get as much use out of his ability as possible (and to avoid accidentally killing him!), not to mention the fact that you have to find a way to get him damaged in the first place. Self Preservation has been the best option and continues to be a solid counterpart to Gloin, as it allows a hero to heal 2 points of damage each and every turn (3 points with Elrond). Of course, other consistent healing options like Warden of Healing are also possibilities, although none are as uniquely suited to the task as Self Preservation. Getting damage on Gloin is easy in a quest featuring lots of archery and direct damage, but otherwise requires using him as a defender or taking an undefended attack. Often the latter choice is a better option, as it’s a shame to waste his action on defense when his 2 willpower and 2 attack can be used for questing or attacking. On the other hand, playing the damage game, particularly with undefended attacks, can be risky, as inadvertent death can result. Including shadow cancellation is key (perhaps including his Leadership Dwarf comrade Balin is in order), as well as forms of damage soaking. As can be seen from the foregoing description, the biggest drawback of using Gloin for resource generation is the work it entails: setting up healing, getting damage on him consistently, and including safeguards to prevent death. However, the benefit of Gloin is that he can potentially generate more resources on average than any other option available. If you can get 2-3 damage on him per turn (3 with Elrond in play, 2 without), let’s say, that’s 2-3 extra resources! So while Theodred is consistent, easy, and reliable, Gloin is more of the high-risk/high-reward/high-effort option. Thus, Theodred will pop up in a larger variety of decks, while Gloin will emerge in specialty builds. Still, Gloin is a favorite of mine just in terms of the pure fun factor of generating resources from damage. Don’t forget that he is a Dwarf after all, and can benefit from Dwarf-centric cards like Hardy Leadership, Ring Mail, and Dain Ironfoot.

Pros: In play from set-up, repeatable (with healing), can generate many resources, benefits from Dwarf synergy, relatively low threat cost, fun, turns damage into a benefit

Cons: Requires effort and other cards to work, can lead to accidental hero death, resource generation restricted to one hero (Gloin himself), can be inconsistent if damage opportunities aren’t available, might have to spend actions to defend

Combines well with… Self Preservation, other healing effects, Hardy Leadership, Dain Ironfoot, Citadel Plate, Ring Mail, Dori, Balin, Song of Mocking, Silver Lamp, Dunedain Watcher, Elrond

Use if… You are looking to try something different or a fun option. You need resource generation and other options are being used in multiplayer. You are facing a scenario with tons of archery and direct damage.

* Thorin Oakenshield (Leadership Hero, 12 threat, 3 willpower, 3 attack, 1 defense, 5 hit points) [The Hobbit: Over Hill and Under Hill]

If you control at least 5 Dwarf characters, add 1 additional resource to Thorin Oakenshield’s pool when you collect resources during the resource phase.

Gloin isn’t the only Leadership Dwarf in the resource generation game. Thorin Oakenshield is an extremely strong option in this department primarily because of the overall strength of the Dwarf archetype in general. Thorin’s extra resource is consistent and can be relied upon like clockwork as long as you can get 5 Dwarfs into play. This is a pretty easy task with the cards that are available these days, from Fili/Kili to the low-cost Erebor Record Keeper to A Very Good Tale to the abundance of cheap Dwarf allies and the list goes on. Don’t forget that you can easily start with 3 Dwarf characters, if you choose 3 Dwarf heroes, which means that getting up to 5 on turn one is quite feasible, while turn two is usually the latest you will reach this threshold. Unlike other hero resource generation, Thorin doesn’t need to exhaust, use an action, or engage in tricky shenanigans to generate his resources, as once those 5 Dwarves are in play, it simply gets added at the beginning of each round. If that wasn’t enough, Thorin has extremely strong stats, which become even better with Dain Ironfoot in play, and thus despite having to use up a hero slot, it doesn’t feel like a waste at all. The only drawbacks of Thorin are that his resource generation is tied to a specific deck type, Dwarves, which some players are tired of, and he has a high threat cost.

Pros: In play from set-up, doesn’t require an action, extremely easy to hit 5 Dwarf character minimum, consistent, strong stats, tied to powerful Dwarf synergy

Cons: Restricted to Dwarf decks, high threat cost, resources generated for only one hero (Thorin)

Combines well with… A Very Good Tale, Fili/Kili, Erebor Record Keeper (1-cost Dwarf), Narvi’s Belt, other Dwarf heroes, Legacy of Durin

Use if… You are playing a Dwarf deck with Leadership. You want a consistent resource option that is tied to a strong hero. You will have Dain Ironfoot in play.

* Radagast (Neutral Ally, 5 cost, 2 willpower, 1 attack, 1 defense, 3 hit points) [A Journey to Rhosgobel]

Radagast collects 1 resource each resource phase. These resources can be used to pay for Creature cards played from your hand.
Action: Spend X resources from Radagast’s pool to heal X wounds on any 1 Creature.

Radagast is one of the few allies that generates resources, and it’s great that he is neutral, which means he can theoretically fit into any deck. This could potentially solve the resource problems of those resources that don’t have many resource generation options. Unfortunately, Radagast’s ability is quite limited and quite specific, as although he generates 1 additional resource each turn, this can only be spent to pay for Creature cards. Unfortunately, there still aren’t many Creature cards out there (mainly, this applies to Eagle allies). Even worse, Radagast costs a staggering 5 resources, which means he takes awhile to repay the initial cost. If you can get him into play for a reduced cost or cheap, through something like Elf-stone perhaps, and are using an Eagle deck, then he can be useful. His 2 willpower can also come in handy for willpower-starved decks. However, overall this is a limited resource generation option that you’ll usually want to avoid.

Pros: Consistent once in play, neutral, 2 willpower

Cons: Resources restricted to use with Creatures, expensive (5-cost)

Combines well with… Eagles, Elf-stone, A Very Good Tale

Use if… You are using an Eagle deck and need resource help. You have a way to get Radagast into play for free or for a reduced cost. You are a fan of bunny sleds.

* Zigil Miner (Spirit Ally, 2 cost, 1 willpower, 1 attack, 1 defense, 1 hit point) [Khazad-dum]

Action: Exhaust Zigil Miner and name a number to discard the top 2 cards of your deck. If at least one of those cards has cost equal to the named number, choose a hero you control. For each card that matches the named number, add 1 resource to that hero’s resource pool. 

The original version of Zigil Miner was hopelessly broken, as it allowed for ridiculous amounts of resources to be generated with the help of a little player deck manipulation and high-cost cards (the number of resources generated used to be tied to the named number). However, now it is much more reasonable and is limited to 2 resources per use. Far from becoming a useless card, though, as some argued at the time the errata occurred, Zigil Miner remains a useful resource generation option. For one, the Spirit sphere is largely starving for resources, and this ally provides one of the only solutions. In addition, with the inclusion of one other card, Imladris Stargazer, Zigil Miner goes from a hit-or-miss proposition to a consistent supplier of resources. It should also be mentioned that this ally can play an important role in new deck types that center around getting cards into the discard pile in order to resurrect them later. On the other hand, the drawback of Zigil Miner is that it requires a character action, needs set up time to be consistent (drawing and putting into play both the Miner and the Stargazer), and can often miss if you aren’t make use of effects that let you look at your deck. With only 1 hit point, you also need to take precautions to protect your resource engine from direct damage. Still, the arrival of Hidden Cache has really breathed new life into Zigil Miner, and you can never count out a Dwarf in the current card pool.

Pros: Repeatable, requires only one other card to be consistent, generate resources for Spirit, cheap Dwarf ally, benefits from Dwarf synergy, flexible (can be applied to different heroes)

Cons: Requires time to set up, dependent on Imladris Stargazer (or Gildor), inconsistent without player deck manipulation, requires an action, fragile (only 1 hit point), limited to controlling player

Combines well with… Imladris Stargazer, Gildor Inglorion, Hidden Cache, Caldara, Hardy Leadership, Dain Ironfoot

Use if… You are playing the Spirit sphere. You are using Dwarves. You want a fun/interesting option.

* Envoy of Pelargir (Neutral Ally, 2 cost, 1 willpower, 1 attack, 0 defense, 1 hit point) [Heirs of Numenor]

Response: After Envoy of Pelargir enters play, add 1 resource to a Gondor or Noble hero’s resource pool. 

Unlike other resource generation effects that we’ve looked at so far, this particular ally has an one-time use ability. That means that it isn’t repeatable, but simply provides a single resource when Envoy of Pelargir enters play. Since the Envoy costs 2 resources to play, and generates 1 resource, you actually aren’t netting any resources, but actually losing 1. In essence, the Envoy’s ability potentially reduces her cost to 1, making her a cheap chump blocker or ally. However, there is another use for this generation, and that is as a form of transfer between spheres. For example, you could pay for the Envoy with a Leadership hero, and then give the resource to a Lore hero, thus generating 1 net resource for Lore at a cost of 2 Leadership resources. This is an important distinction to remember, as you can’t always just calculate the total resource cost, but also have to assess resource costs and gains in terms of the spheres they come from. Envoy of Pelargir is perfect for this purpose since she is neutral. This same logic applies to transfer between players, as the Envoy is useful in multiplayer to move resources between players. As an ally, the Envoy becomes stronger with Leadership Boromir or Visionary Leadership in play, but the connection of her ability to the Gondor or Noble trait restricts it a bit (though not too much, as the Noble trait is quite common).

Pros: Neutral, cheap ally, can facilitate resource transfer between spheres or players, benefits from Gondor synergy

Cons: One-time use, restricted to Gondor or Noble trait, more a form of resource transfer than generation

Combines well with… Visionary Leadership, Leadership Boromir

Use if… You are playing a multi-sphere deck. You want to generate resources for other players. You want a cheap, neutral ally.

* Squire of the Citadel (Leadership Ally, 1 cost, 0 willpower, 0 attack, 1 defense, 1 hit point) [The Blood of Gondor]

squire

Response: After Squire of the Citadel leaves play, add 1 resource to a Gondor hero’s resource pool. 

The Squire exists for one purpose and one purpose only: chump blocking. With no willpower and attack, he can only defend, and quite poorly at that, and like the Envoy of Pelargir, the Squire of the Citadel has a one-time resource generation effect. However, the Squire’s is tied to leaving play, rather than entering it, which means he actually pays players for chump blocking. If this resource is given back to one of your Leadership allies, then you are essentially netting 0 resources and thus getting a free chump blocker. On the other hand, the resource can be given to a hero of a different sphere or controlled by a different player in an Envoy-like fashion. However, the restriction to only Gondor heroes is a substantial one. When it comes to chump blockers, though, Squire of the Citadel certainly rules the roost.

Pros: Cheap, can be a free chump blocker, can transfer resources between spheres/players, benefits from Gondor synergy

Cons: Limited to Gondor heroes, one-time use, only generates 1 resource

Combines well with… Leadership Boromir, Visionary Leadership

Use if… You want a cheap chump blocker. You want to transfer resources between spheres/players. You are playing Gondor.

* Gloin (Leadership Ally, 3 cost, 2 willpower, 1 attack, 1 defense, 3 hit points) [The Hobbit: On the Doorstep]

While you control at least 5 Dwarf characters, Gloin gains: ‘Response: After you play Gloin from your hand, choose a hero. Add 2 resources to that hero’s resource pool.’ 

Gloin doesn’t take a break from making it rain, as he generates resources even in ally form. In this case, he works quite similarly to Thorin in having his ability tied to controlling 5 Dwarf characters. However, this is a one-time use ability, although it is much more powerful than the Envoy and Squire in that it generates 2 resources rather than 1. This also is a very flexible effect in that it can be applied to any hero from any sphere or controlled by any player. Perhaps the only downsides are the requirement to control 5 Dwarves (which is easy, as mentioned in the Thorin entry), the relative expense (3-cost), and the fact that Gloin is unique so you can’t just keep playing him unless the previous copy has been killed (I will often kill him off on purpose if I have another copy in hand). Still, getting 2 resources back can either make him a 1-cost ally if you put it right back on one of your Leadership heroes, or it can generate a bonanza for another sphere or player. In addition, you’re getting an ally with great stats, which become even better with Dain in play.

Pros: Relatively easy to set up, generates 2 resources, can generate resources for other players or spheres without restriction, great stats, benefits from Dwarf synergy

Cons: Unique, one-time use, have to hit 5 Dwarf minimum, relatively expensive

Combines well with… Dain Ironfoot, Legacy of Durin

Use if… You are running a Dwarf deck with Leadership. You want to generate resources for other player and spheres. You want a solid ally.

* Steward of Gondor (Leadership Attachment, 2 cost) [Core Set]

Attach to a hero. 

Attached hero gains the Gondor trait.
Action: Exhaust Steward of Gondor to add 2 resources to attached hero’s resource pool. 

Put simply, Steward of Gondor is still the best and most efficient form of resource generation in the game. This 2-cost attachment can be placed on any hero and immediately pays for itself. It then consistently and repeatedly generates resources without requiring any other cards to work or the use of a character action. Thus, it is a no-hassle option that has few downsides. If you are using Leadership, there is really no reason at all not to use Steward of Gondor, except for thematic reasons. In fact, it is the thematic disconnect that is probably the only true drawback to this attachment, and not every player takes theme into account necessarily. Beyond theme, the only other negative is that Steward is unique, meaning only one player can use it in multiplayer. Still, these are small matters and Steward of Gondor still reigns supreme.

Pros: Repeatable, consistent, doesn’t require any other cards, generates 2 resources, can be placed on any hero, pays for itself

Cons: Thematic disconnect (anyone can be the Steward of Gondor), unique, can only generate resources for one hero/player

Combines well with… anything

Use if… You are running Leadership and don’t have thematic concerns. You are playing multiplayer and have negotiated a role as the Steward player. You are playing solo.

* Horn of Gondor (Tactics Attachment, 1 cost) [Core Set]

Attach to a hero. Restricted. 

Response: After a character leaves play, add 1 resource to attached hero’s pool.

The Horn of Gondor is strong in that it can be placed on any hero and generates additional resources without the need for taking up a hero/ally slot or using up a character action. However, it is limited in that it is more dependent than the Steward of Gondor, because its value is directly tied to how many characters leave play. Thus, if you want to make Horn of Gondor worth inclusion, you will build a deck where characters will often leave play (Eagles, chump blocking, Sneak Attack, Rohan, etc.). If you do this well, then the Horn is amazing in that there is technically no limit to the number of resources that can be generated other than the number of characters you can get to leave play. Of course, if you simply throw Horn of Gondor into a deck that is a poor fit, it may not pull its weight in a consistent fashion. The Horn of Gondor is really quite valuable from a broader perspective in that it is the primary option for the often resource starved Tactics sphere, and it becomes better as more players are added (more players means more characters meaning a greater chance that some will leave play). Like Steward of Gondor, this attachment is unique, so some negotiation is necessary in multiplayer though. With more and more player cards keying off of characters leaving play, with Eomer and Silvan being the latest examples, the Horn can only get better.

Pros: Repeatable, consistent with the right deck, can generate tons of resources in the right deck, can be placed on any hero/player, generates resources for Tactics, gets better in multiplayer, benefits from many different deck types

Cons: Can be inconsistent in the wrong decks, unique, can only generate resources for one player/hero

Combines well with… Eagles, Rohan, Sneak Attack, Silvan, Prince Imrahil

Use if… You are using a deck where characters will often leave play. You are playing a 3 or 4 player game. You need resource generation for Tactics and don’t have access to Leadership.

* Keys of Orthanc (Neutral Attachment, 1 cost) [Voice of Isengard]

Attach to a hero. 

Response: After you raise your threat from the Doomed keyword, exhaust Keys of Othanc to add 1 resource to attached hero’s resource pool

Unlike Steward of Gondor and even the Horn of Gondor, the Keys of Orthanc are heavily tied to one particular deck type: Doomed decks. This makes it extremely limited, and while the pool of Doomed cards itself will increase, there isn’t much room for this attachment to grow in terms of its flexibility in fitting into certain deck types. Sure, it can trigger off of Doomed from the encounter deck, but this isn’t enough to justify inclusion on its own, unless you know you’re facing a quest with tons of Doomed around. If you are playing a Doomed deck, however, or simply using Grima, Keys of Orthanc becomes a valid option, especially since it is neutral. Keep in mind that it can be placed on any hero, not just Grima or the player using the Doomed cards, so it is a way of spreading out resources in creative ways, from giving cash to a Spirit hero so that they can pay for needed threat reduction to softening the blow of raising another player’s threat by bribing them. Since you largely control when you use Doomed, this attachment can be as consistent as you need it to be and has no real limitation, although your threat level itself is a restriction. The verdict on this card is pretty simple: if you are using Grima/Doomed cards, include it; if you’re not, then don’t.

Pros: Cheap, repeatable, doesn’t require a hero/ally slot or action, can be attached to any hero, can often be triggered at will, limited only by threat and available effects, neutral, triggers off of encounter deck Doomed as well

Cons: Limited to Doomed/Grima decks, tied to raising threat, unique

Combines well with… Grima, Doomed cards

Use if… You are using Grima or Doomed cards. You are facing a scenario with many cards with the Doomed keyword.

* Resourceful (Neutral Attachment, 4 cost) [The Watcher in the Water]

resourceful

Secrecy 3. 

Attach to a hero you control.
Attached hero collects 1 additional resource during the resource phase each round. 

If you are playing a Secrecy deck or simply a deck that starts at 20 threat or below, Resourceful is pretty much a no-brainer, as it pays for itself after one turn, and does so without requiring a character action or a hero/ally slot. In fact, it doesn’t require anything to work once it’s on the board, generating a resource each turn like clockwork. The real question becomes whether Resourceful is worth including and using in a non-Secrecy deck or one where your starting threat is over 20. 4 resources is a hefty price and will require 4 turns to pay back. However, as I emphasized in the Envoy of Pelargir entry and I’ll repeat here, you can’t always just calculate the total resource cost of a card, but also have to assess resource costs and gains in terms of the spheres they come from. This is especially true given that this attachment is neutral, just as the Envoy is, and this means it can be flexibly paid for by any sphere or combination of spheres to generate resources from some other sphere. For example, paying 4 resources from your pair of Spirit heroes to attach Resourceful to your single Tactics hero may indeed be a good move despite surface appearances. Those Spirit resources will be replenished in 2 rounds in order to essentially double the number of Tactics resources you will generate for the rest of the game. This is a much different calculus than simply looking at the cost of Resourceful and the fact that it generates 1 resource and concluding that it will take 4 turns to pay for itself. Thus, Resourceful reaches its full potential in dual and tri-sphere decks, even outside of the Secrecy threshold, but it does depend on the composition of your deck as well. Do you need those extra Tactics resources, for example, because you have plenty of Tactics cards or high-cost ones to pay for? Or will they go to waste because the composition of your deck is heavily tilted towards Spirit? Does that particular hero need resources to fund some ability? All these things need to be taken into account, but don’t count out Resourceful when building a deck, and its neutral affiliation makes it a good option for many deck types.

Pros: Can facilitate multi-sphere decks, amazingly cheap in Secrecy, consistent, neutral (flexible), not unique

Cons: Expensive in non-Secrecy, can only generate resources for one hero/player, limited to heroes you control

Combines well with… multi-sphere decks

Use if… You are running a multi-sphere deck. You are running Secrecy. You are facing a scenario with a long duration and Resourceful will pay for itself.

* Love of Tales (Lore Attachment, 0 cost) [The Long Dark]

Attach to a  Lore hero. Limit 1 per hero. 

Response: After a Song card is played, add 1 resource to attached hero’s resource pool. 

Love of Tales is one of the least popular resource generation effects around. The reason why is fairly simple: it is tied to using Songs, and these cards themselves have somewhat fallen out of fashion. Since all of the Song cards cost 1 themselves, and Love of Tales generates 1 resource for each that is played, you are essentially using Love of Tales to pay for the Songs, rather than actually netting anything. Again, though, this assumes that the hero that pays for the Song has Love of Tales attached, which may not be the best use. As with Resourceful, Love of Tales can be used to generate resources for resource-starved spheres, in this case Lore. For example, a Leadership hero flush with resources can pay for a Song, many of which are Neutral, which will give resources to a Lore hero, even one controlled by another player. The problem here is that this strategy requires consistent playing of Song cards to be effective, and this is only a useful approach if those Songs are useful to you in the first place! For the record, there are 8 Song cards in the card pool: Song of Travel, Song of Kings, Song of Wisdom, Song of Battle, Song of Mocking, Durin’s Song, Song of Earendil, and Lay of Nimrodel. The first four are only going to be used in certain multi-sphere decks, and only then the chances of more than 2 or 3 being used is minimal. Song of Mocking and Song of Earendil are both attachments and thus only used once, and are also rarely used cards that fit only into niche decks. Durin’s Song would perhaps be the most used of this collection, but the net benefits are debatable. Still, there is one positive to this card that I haven’t mentioned: it is not unique (though it is limited to 1 per hero), so if you can get multiple copies of Love of Tales on the board attached to different Lore heroes (and it’s not a printed Lore icon requirement, so Song of Wisdom could work here), then each Song played could net 2-3 resources overall. However, this does require a ton of set up. Thus, Love of Tales is probably only worth inclusion in a multiplayer game where each player is including 3 copies of this card.

Pros: Free (0-cost), not unique, generates resources for Lore, can facilitate multi-sphere resource “transfer”

Cons: Relies on Song cards (which are not played often), overall net of 0 resources (1-cost Song cards generate 1 resource) in many cases, requires an extensive and very narrow deck building setup for meaningful use (multiplayer game with each player using Songs and Love of Tales), limited to 1 per hero

Combines well with… all Song cards, Rivendell Minstrel,

Use if… You are running a deck with many Songs. You want to experiment with an intriguing multiplayer setup.

* Miruvor (Spirit Attachment, 1 cost) [Shadow and Flame]

Attach to a hero. 

Action: Discard Miruvor to (choose two): ready attached hero, add 1 resource to attached hero’s resource pool, attached hero gets +1  until the end of the round, or put Miruvor on the top of your deck. 

Miruvor is really a multi-use utility attachment that includes resource generation as one of its potential effects. In practice, this means that Miruvor either serves as a one-time resource generation effect (which nets 0 if you put it on one of your Spirit heroes, but can be used to transfer between spheres/players) or it can do so over multiple turns if you choose the option of putting Miruvor on the top of your deck as the second effect. However, this means you won’t ever draw any other cards unless you have some card draw effects available. Either way, it’s difficult to isolate Miruvor’s value in terms of only one of its effects, but since it can be placed on any hero and used at any time, this is a very useful option that provides many choices to players.

Pros: Flexible, potentially repeatable, multi-use attachment, can be placed on any hero, can generate resources for Spirit

Cons: Potentially a one-time use, might end up using effects other than resource generation

Combines well with… card draw effects

Use if… You want resource generation as part of a greater package. You want a flexible attachment that can be played anywhere and used anytime. You need resources for Spirit and plan on using this repeatedly.

* Legacy of Numenor (Leadership Event, 0 cost) [Voice of Isengard]

Doomed 4. 

Action: Add 1 resource to each hero’s resource pool. 

I won’t recapitulate all of my thoughts on this card as I’ve recently reviewed it extensively. What I will say is that this card has a very clear benefit (0-cost and adds 3-12 resources in one go depending on the number of players) and an equally clear drawback (gaining 4 threat for every player). This threat gain is quite substantial. I would argue that the primary use of this card is as a first turn accelerator to essentially quicken the pace of everyone’s decks by 1 round, with the knowledge that all players must build decks with this immediate 4 threat gain in mind. This is obviously easier in solo play but possible in multiplayer with prior coordination. It could also be used later in a game as a (desperate) bid to go for broke, but with threat levels probably already creeping up by that point, this is definitely a riskier move.

Pros: Can be extremely powerful, 0-cost, can be an effective accelerator, can likely only be used once or twice

Cons: Raises threat of all players by 4, requires prior negotiation/coordination in multiplayer

Combines well with… Threat reduction effects, Lore Aragorn, Keys of Orthanc

Use if… You have threat reduction available. You want to quickly accelerate your deck’s power during the early game. You are starting with low threat decks.

* We Are Not Idle (Leadership Event, 0 cost) [Shadow and Flame]

we are not idle

Action: Exhaust X Dwarf characters to add X resources to a hero’s resource pool and draw 1 card. 

If there’s one thing Dwarf decks have going for them, it’s sheer numbers. Thus, We Are Not Idle makes perfect sense as a form of resource generation for them, as the only “cost” of this card is the number of Dwarf characters you choose to exhaust to fund it. It really is a perfect form of resource generation in that respect, as you can tailor it to exactly what you need at a given moment, assuming you have the characters available to exhaust at that moment and can safely spare them. Of course, We Are Not Idle pairs perfectly with Lure of Moria, which allows you to ready all Dwarf characters, so you can safely exhaust every single Dwarf you control and then immediately get them back into action! With We Are Not Idle, there is no limit other than Dwarf characters, so it is possible to generate insane amounts of resources. On the other hand, if you don’t need resources or don’t want to exhaust anyone, you can simply use this card to draw another card and essentially replace itself. Thus, there really aren’t too many reasons to leave We Are Not Idle out of a Dwarf deck. Don’t forget that these resources can be added to any hero’s pool, even that controlled by another player, which makes it even better. Its main drawbacks are that it is limited to Dwarves and can be action intensive if you don’t have readying available.

Pros: Can give you exactly what you need or are willing to “pay for”, works perfectly with Dwarven style of play, can replace itself if not needed, 0-cost, can generate resources for any hero/player, can create massive amounts of resources

Cons: Limited to Dwarves, can be action intensive (requires exhausting many characters)

Combines well with… Lure of Moria, Dwarves

Use if… You are running a Dwarf deck with Leadership. You want to generate resources for other spheres/players.  You want to customize the number of resources you generate to the situation.

* Wealth of Gondor (Leadership Event, 0 cost) [Heirs of Numenor] & Gaining Strength (Leadership Event, 0 cost) [The Steward’s Fear]

Wealth of GondorAction: Choose a Gondor hero. Add 1 resource to that hero’s resource pool. 

Gaining Strength: Action: Discard 2 resources from your hero’s resource pool to add 3 resources to that hero’s resource pool. 

I’ve paired these two events together as they are so similar in many ways and were released so closely together. Both Gaining Strength and Wealth of Gondor are 0-cost Leadership events that add a resource to a hero. They seem so similar that one might wonder which is better or which should be used when. Here are the important differences. Wealth of Gondor can only add resources to a hero with the Gondor trait, however this hero can be controlled by any player. By contrast, Gaining Strength can be added to any hero, but it has to be controlled by you. You can add 1 resource to a hero’s pool using Wealth of Gondor no matter how many they already have. With Gaining Strength, they need to already have 2 resources to gain the additional 1 resource. Thus, Wealth of Gondor is the better choice for multiplayer, in that you can give resources to other players, with the caveat that people need to be using at least some Gondor heroes. Gaining Strength is the better choice for solo play if you are not using at least 1 Gondor hero or if you want to generate resources for a non-Gondor hero. If you are using Gondor in solo play, then Wealth of Gondor should probably be your pick since it doesn’t have the minimum requirement of 2 resources. Both events are useful in that they are free and can provide some quick doses of extra resources. On the other hand, they do take up valuable deck space for just 1 extra resource, so only use them if you foresee a need for a little more than usual due to the demands of a scenario or the constraints/needs of your deck or other players’ decks (in the case of Wealth of Gondor).

Pros: Free (0-cost), flexible (can be used when needed), Wealth of Gondor can generate resources for other players

Cons: One-time use, takes up deck space solely for 1 resource, Wealth of Gondor is limited to Gondor, Gaining Strength is limited to controlling player

Combines well with… Leadership Boromir, Blood of Numenor, Gondorian Fire, Steward of Gondor

Use if… You are running a Gondor deck (Wealth of Gondor). You are facing a scenario with unique resource demands. You need to fund resource-based abilities.

* Hidden Cache (Neutral Event, 0 cost) [The Morgul Vale]

Response: After Hidden Cache is discarded from your deck, add 2 resources to the resource pool of a hero you control. 

Action: Spend 1 resource to draw 1 card. 

Hidden Cache is probably my favorite resource generation effect in terms of pure fun factor. It is unlike any of the others (except perhaps Zigil Miner) in the way it creates resources, which is by being discarded from your deck. This can be accomplished through various cards that discard cards from the top of your deck: Emery, Ered Nimrais Prospector, Zigil Miner, etc. Thus, Hidden Cache costs nothing to use and generates a quite substantial 2 resources when it hits. On the other hand, successful and consistent use requires either some player deck manipulation (Imladris Stargazer, Gildor) to know when it is coming or plenty of discard effects to hit the jackpot through sheer volume. A bit of luck can’t hurt either. Thus, this event is not as consistent or reliable as some of the other effects on this list, but it can be part of a unique and entertaining resource engine, particularly when paired with Zigil Miner. If all else fails and this card ends up in your hand, it can replace itself, but unlike We Are Not Idle, this costs 1 resource. Finally, keep in mind that as a neutral card, Hidden Cache can generate resources for potentially any sphere, but particularly Spirit, which is the main focus of the “discard draw” archetype.

Pros: Fun, benefits from discard effect synergy, generates 2 resources for 0 cost, can be added to a sphere of any hero you control

Cons: Can be inconsistent, requires a particular deck type to work well, limited to heroes you control

Combines well with… Zigil Miner, Imladris Stargazer, Gildor Inglorion, Emery, Ered Nimrais Prospector

Use if… You are building a “discard draw” deck. You want to experiment with a different type of resource engine. You want to generate resources for Spirit.

Final Recommendations

Taking a look at this list reveals some interesting facts about resource generation in the game. For example, out of the 19 such effects currently in the card pool, 10 hail from the Leadership sphere. Truly, its reputation as the “rich sphere” is well-earned. The other spheres have limited options, with Spirit perhaps having the most compelling (Zigil Miner/Hidden Cache) and Tactics having one solid choice (Horn of Gondor). There is a quite solid representation of neutral options, with the best perhaps being Resourceful. However, even among Leadership, the picture is a bit more complicated than it appears at first glance. Of those 10 resource generation effects in the sphere, 6 are one-time use cards! That means that if you want a consistent source of resources and are playing Leadership, the only game in town is either Steward of Gondor and/or one of the 3 hero options. 1 of those hero options is for Dwarves (Thorin) while another (Gloin) is a bit difficult to set up. That means Theodred and Steward of Gondor are the main consistent and repeatable resource generation options for non-Dwarf Leadership decks. Thus, the reputation of Leadership as the sphere that can make it rain is a bit less sterling than it appears. In general, the card pool could use more resource generation options to lessen the strangling hold of Steward of Gondor, but thankfully there are fun and interesting alternatives in the form of Zigil Miner/Hidden Cache, Coin Gloin, Horn of Gondor, etc. Also, don’t count out the one-use options that can be used in a way that cumulatively and effectively adds to and smooths out the resource balance among spheres and players.

Until next time, keep an eye out for the next edition of the Deck Building 101 series!

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9 Comments
  1. Mike Courchevel permalink

    Nice analysis globally. Just 2 things.
    1/ When you speak about Gloin (Hero) : “Self Preservation has been the best option and continues to be a solid counterpart to Gloin, as it allows a hero to heal 3 points of damage each and every turn.”
    => Self Preservation only heals for 2 damages (unless you have Elrond in play)
    2/ I would have been happy to read on cost reduction cards as well as they really are comparable to ressource generation. That would have added Grima and Master of Lore in your analysis.

    It could be also interesting to build a table specifying per sphere the “one shot”s and the permanent cards that provide ressource generation.

    Anyhow, great job in your analysis … as always 😉

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Doh! I’m so used to using Gloin/S.P. with Elrond these days that I had 3 on my mind instead of 2. And that Elrond/S.P./Gloin combination is really quite fantastic.

      Cost reduction and resource transfer both would’ve worked logically in this article, but I really keep them very tightly separated for two main reasons: 1) to keep the analysis very defined and clear, and 2) probably more important, it keeps the articles shorter! This might sound trivial, but when writing (and I imagine reading) these particular articles, they tend to get pretty long, so I’ve chopped up the effects to keep them manageable.

      Thanks for reading and commenting! I would love to do a big data/table of all these effects and permanents/one-shots.

  2. I love Gloin for resources. You aren’t reliant on getting cards for that initial economic jumpstart. A hero usually takes damage in the first engagement . . . might as well be him.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      There’s something uniquely fun about Gloin too. Maybe it’s the feeling that he earns his resources with blood and sweat while that wimpy Steward just sits back and rakes in the cash!

  3. Tonskillitis permalink

    Gloin loves the Dol Guldur orcs, he loves: bats, crows, rats, archers, rockslides. Why does he love them so much? Is pain the only thing that makes him feel truly alive? Do allies (and attachments?) flock to his banner when they see this noble dwarf lord suffer? Another thematic obstacle that I am yet to traverse…

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      ” Is pain the only thing that makes him feel truly alive?” This made me chuckle.

      I can usually come up with pretty convoluted explanations to justify the theme of a card, but I got nothing here. There’s really so little information about Gloin that it’s hard to come up with one. It really seems like just a game mechanic choice: “Gimli gets stronger when he takes damage (which makes sense), let’s do the same thing with his dad, except he’s in Leadership so he’ll get resources instead”. Maybe he gets more resourceful and pulls out his bag of tricks when he’s hurt?.

  4. Mndela permalink

    There another cards that they could be added here: Parting Gifts, Pelargir Ship Captain… We could consider they ‘add’ resources to another spheres…, like Miruvor.
    The judgment could be Harbor Master: does it count into his hability? So it ‘generates’ resources

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      I decided to include those cards in a separate “resource transfer” article, as they all involve moving resources, rather than creating them, and so this also includes cards like Bifur, Errand-rider, etc.

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