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Spotlight Slapdash: Longbeard Elder

by on October 7, 2015


This is the first piece from our group of new TftC contributors, and it comes from Piero, creator of a new series called the Spotlight Slapdash. Enjoy!


Welcome ladies and gentleman!  Today I am Piero, and I am your host for the next little bit.  I’m a long time player of the Lord of the Rings LCG.  I got introduced to the game around the time the Khazad-dum expansion was released, and have been hooked ever since.  I’ve been reading Ian’s blog for a couple of years, and always enjoyed the Card Spotlights in particular.  So when I saw Ian asking for writers on TftC, I thought I’d give this a shot.  This article is what resulted, and it’s the first in a series that can only be called Spotlight Slapdash, in which you may bear witness to questionable deck construction inspired by Ian’s Card Spotlights.  You can expect these to replace all of Ian’s regular content here on TftC.  Disclaimer: these will not replace any of Ian’s content on TftC.  Enjoy!

Weird cards are fun, and that’s what makes Ian’s Card Spotlights fun to read. Sure Arwen and Core Gandalf are great cards, but their value is not in dispute and seeing them hit the table is a routine experience for most of us. Weird cards though, those can make a splash…

Our job here today is to take a card from Ian’s Card Spotlight series, plumb the grimy depths of inspiration, and come up with a deck for it. We’ll take that Gem or Coaster verdict and put it to the test! (although let’s be honest—it’s Ian, so they’re pretty much all Gems). Anyhoo… rubber boots on and ready, set, plumb!

The first Card Spotlight is not a weird card at all: Longbeard Elder. He’s a Dwarf. He holds up a lantern. He peeks at the encounter deck. He’s leadership… hmm… well, it takes but one look at this guy for the familiar “oh no what are you going to do” feeling of inspiration to settle in. After that good look, you should hopefully have come to the same conclusion as me and decided to construct a little deck I like to call:


Dwarves are a race that enjoys holding things up for examination, for proper use, or just for effect. Whether it be a lantern, a gemstone, or just your run of the mill Dwarvish hand, you can bet a Dwarf somewhere has held it up. Lucky for us, many of these moments have been captured on cardstock. This makes it relatively easy to construct a deck.

First, some allies:
Longbeard Elder – The inspiration for the deck and the original hefter in the deck. He holds aloft his lantern proudly, peering possibly at a dark hall, or perhaps instead at a gemstone further down the passage, itself held up by a few million years’ worth of limestone. And three freakin’ willpower with Dain.

Ered Nimrais Prospector – Astute observer of stone, and a solid cost-to-willpower ratio with Dain in play. Also with him in the deck we get to be miners!

Gloin – Fond of torches and mostly pays for himself, and in direct competition with the Longbeard Elder for ‘highest held light source on a card.’ And again three willpower with Dain in play!

Zigil Miner – As the deck takes shape, a ‘Dwarven miner’ subtype seems appropriate, and although this Zigil Miner examines nothing, he does hold his pickax up sufficiently high and therefore simultaneously satisfies requirements of holding things up and mining at the same time. Also, 2 willpower with Dain.

At this point we need to stop and realize that we’re going to have to do something drastic:

Bombur – As the deck more or less constructs itself, we are horrified to learn that Bombur the ally is very much on the keen edge of holding things up, in fact he is holding his object up hard, so hard it requires one closed eye and a scratch of the beard. OK Bombur, you’ve earned this one, you’re in. Shine a light on that one, Ian.

The Dwarven allies are set, and now we need some heroes to support them.

NoriBifur cardThorin-Oakenshield
Nori – The easy winner of the lot of Dwarven heroes, he holds his mug up proudly and begs inclusion in this deck.

Thorin – He misses the point a little and holds his hands aloft rather than an object, but he earns the benefit of the doubt for his resource generation.

Bifur – Rest assured that a younger Bifur woud hold that book quite high. The white-haired Bifur in this card has aged considerably and may find it difficult to hold things up for any length of time, but does certainly examine that book sufficiently, and his resource smoothing ought to help on some level.

We were in danger of including Dori the hero in this deck, but as he did not appear to examine his helmet or hold it up so much as to don it, we were saved the vaguely uncomfortable reputation-enhancing effect of putting both Dori the hero and Bombur the ally into the same deck. And with no danger of a Tactics Dwarf on this team, we can exclude from our list each of the red Dwarf allies who heft axes of various sizes.

At this time it is appropriate to note that Dain has not made the cut, stubbornly refusing to hold aloft any notable object and therefore is excluded immediately from consideration. Prior considerations about allies with Dain should be summarily ignored, but each chosen ally does hold up an object proudly, and inclusion is mandatory.

Allies and heroes are not the only cards with Dwarves who heft, and we shall include events and attachments accordingly. A few words on those:


King Under the Mountain – It is almost as if the art director knew this day would come, and specifically directed that this crown be held aloft, all the way to eye level.

OK, in fact that was the only appropriate Dwarf-themed card I could dig up, and at this point the corrosive vinegar of ‘oh my god how is this deck going to play?’ has begun to seep through even the most well-lacquered rubber boots. Google-sensei tells me that yes, rubber boots can indeed be lacquered. So we now fill out the deck with a variety of power cards and Dwarven-themed goodies and call it a day.

Ah but wait!

The deck does have a special guest star. Although he is not a Dwarf, this fellow has a beard that would be respectable in any of the halls of Durin’s folk. But he is not included for his own merit, so much as for the superb form with which he raises his accompanying object skyward:


The full decklist I shall post below. I have taken it against Into the Pit and earned a staggering win:loss ratio of 1:3! Later I did replay with a radically altered version of this deck entitled “Elrond Gandalf and Aragorn with Elves,” and succeeded against Into the Pit with a substantially better ratio. It was a pleasant experience.

For those with keen eyes, there is indeed a tactics Ring Mail attachment in this deck, and it is true that we absolutely cannot pay for it. Either you are lucky with Well-Equipped, or you force luck and use a Wizard Pipe to move it back onto the deck before using that Well-Equipped. Or it’s a dead card. Guess which one happens most often?

This deck was surprisingly fun to play, and were Dain on the table it might actually function. It may also be fun to play with a companion deck, such as Elves Who Gaze Dramatically Off-Panel. As for the Longbeard Elder, he was a victim of cruel circumstance today. He served as inspiration for a deck that gave him no chance to shine as a Gem, so we’ll just have to trust Ian’s judgment on this one.

Dwarves Holding Things Up
Total Cards: (52)

Hero: (3)
1x Thorin Oakenshield
1x Nori
1x Bifur

Ally: (15)
1x Bombur
3x Longbeard Elder
2x Gloin
3x Zigil Miner
3x Ered Nimrais Prospector
3x Gandalf

Attachment: (19)
3x Gandalf Staff
3x Wizard Pipe
3x Ring Mail
3x Ever My Heart Rises
3x A Burning Brand
1x Legacy of Durin
3x King Under the Mountain

Event: (18)
3x Daeron’s Runes
3x Durin’s Song
3x A Test of Will
3x Hidden Cache
3x Well-Equipped
3x A Very Good Tale

Side Quest: (0)


From → Uncategorized

  1. Chris Eckes permalink

    Haha, this is hilarious and amazing. Well done!

  2. Sechen permalink

    Totally awesome! I feel a deep urge to print out this article, hold it up, and examine it.

  3. Kjeld permalink

    Where’s the Cram?? And resourceful, for that matter =)

    Also, if the companion deck includes Imladris Stargazer — perfection in gazing off panel on a par with Gandalf for holding things up — then this deck could put in Expert Treasure-hunter. Bilbo is an honorary dwarf, and not only holding up a torch, but actually contemplating holding up the Arkenstone. THE ARKENSTONE — that would be perfection.

  4. This is awesome. Keep doing these!

  5. Alicia permalink

    Love it! I look forward to reading more fun ideas for decks! I already like the idea of elves gazing off panel. 🙂 A deck of odd facial expressions, a deck without weapons (both in card art and card names), a deck of blondes (men, women, and horses alike), a beardless deck…anyway, I’m getting carried away. 🙂

    Keep up the good work!

  6. Tom permalink

    “were Dain on the table it might actually function.” You’re killin’ me. Very enjoyable and well-written humor. Your win-loss ratio actually brings up a good point that I forget sometimes – you don’t always have to have the best deck. Sometimes it’s fun to challenge your skills by playing with a weaker deck – maybe you lose a lot but how satisfying to finally win!

  7. What a fun article and deck idea. Thanks for the great read!

  8. NathanH permalink

    A few non-dwarf allies are holding things dramatically enough that you might allow them honorary appearances: Elven Jeweler, Errand-Rider, and (haha) Keen-Eyed Took. Envoy of Pelargir is holding something up, but really isn’t putting her all into it. It’s a little-known fact that Ithilien Lookout is in fact holding up an entire tree with one hand.

    If you want another attachment you can’t play, Horn of Gondor could be held by a dwarf, perhaps Gimli in an alternative universe where the Hunters’ response to Boromir’s passing was “we loot the corpse”.

    • kwitee permalink

      Aragorn actually looted the corpse in the film 🙂

  9. Nusse permalink

    Loved your article! Very well done, sir.

  10. Love the humor in this. What an odball idea for a deck haha. I want to give this deck a spin for kicks. When do we get to see the companion deck, Elves Who Gaze Dramatically Off-Panel? 😉

  11. I haven’t read the entire article, but the concept is hilarious! I definitively want to come back and read the rest of it.

  12. Mikallo permalink

    Very clever. I look forward to more!

  13. Steven permalink

    A Kim Jong looking at things deck? Sure, that makes plenty of sense!

  14. Herald permalink

    Hilarious! Great work, keep it up!

  15. Wow. Very good a flavour like article. I love those and what a change from also appreciated but more technical building deck articles. Many thanks for that. Please continue. What about a ladies only deck, an indoor one or goofier ideas.

  16. This was a great read. Excellent work!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Spotlight Slapdash: Ever Onward! | Tales from the Cards
  2. A Note on Theme | Darkling Door

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