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Elrond’s Counsel: Deck-building for Goblins #1

by on December 29, 2015


Everett returns with a look at deck-building for a specific scenario. -Ian

Welcome back to Lore of the Rings! Last time on Elrond’s Counsel we reviewed Conflict at the Carrock, the first of many new player scenario reviews. Now, I am proud to announce the first Deck-building for Goblins, which explores Deckbuilding with a limited cardpool.

So what I am going to do is I will build a solo deck that can beat Conflict at the Carrock, using only one core set and packs from the Mirkwood Cycle, and as few of those packs as possible. So what this is really all about is making good use out of what you have when constrained by a limited budget. So today we’re going to get down to some Deckbuilding business. If you’d rather be reading something funny, you might have better luck with Piero over at Spotlight Slapdash.

So what do we need to beat Conflict at the Carrock? Getting Grimbeorn the Old is important, so Resource Generation is important. This is a boss fight, so Attack/Hulking is also highly important. Defense isn’t needed as much, seeing as Grimbeorn can take care of most things. Getting through the tough locations and timing out the fight require Willpower Boosting as well as Location Management. Threat Management can lengthen the time that we get to beat the trolls, and Creatures are needed to cancel A Frightened Beast. And a little Treachery Cancellation is nice to cancel Roasted Slowly and Shadow Cancellation to keep the trolls and muck adders in line. So let’s look at building this deck!


Eowyn card

Many of the above abilities all point to Spirit, so that is probably the best way to go for our first hero. Eleanor would provide treachery cancellation, but we don’t really need it all of the time, and she would not really be able to fill any role. Dunhere might seem good on paper, as Direct Damage could help out with hurting the smaller enemies, but he relies too much on attachments for a quest with a short clock. Frodo could be good, as his ability cancels out the muck adders, but the added threat is counter-productive. So guess who that leaves? I know, Eowyn is overused, but she fits this scenario really well, as she can boost her will if needed in order to perfectly time things out with the trolls, and she provides the push needed during the second stage.

Next, seeing as this is a boss fight, we should probably include tactics. Thalin doesn’t really fit the play style of the quest, so he is out. Boromir raises threat, so bye bye to him. This is a solo deck, so no Brand (aw, shucks). So that leaves Gimli and Legolas. On the one hand, Legolas could provide the extra progress push that we need. On the other hand, his ability doesn’t work while the Carrock is the active location. And Gimli’s high attack could be useful for taking down trolls. So that settled it, Gimli it is!

So between the requirement of Leadership for Grimbeorn and the need of resource generation, we should probably pick a Leadership hero. Dain is out of the picture as Eowyn isn’t a Dwarf. Prince Imrahil is a bad idea as he relies on people leaving play, which is the last thing we need here. Aragorn spends resources, not generates them. So that leaves Gloin and Theodred. Gloin is probably a bad idea, especially since there is no lore in this deck to heal him, so Theodred it is! Now we are stuck three-sphere, but we can make it work.



Vassal of the Windlord x3 (TDM): This is an obvious choice, as it helps with Attack/Hulking as well as being a Creature. And on top of that, it has a low cost making it easily playable in three sphere.

Veteran Axehand x3 (Core)- This is the ultimate attack card, and it can chip in on defense in a pitch. Finally, it’s low cost makes it a decent chump blocker.

Descendant of Thorondor x2 (THoEM)- We need some more creatures, and this card’s direct damage not only helps take down trolls, but also slightly synergizes with A Frightened Beast. Still, it is expensive, so only two copies are needed.


The Riddermark’s Finest x3 (THoEM): Even if it wasn’t a creature, this card would still be a must for our deck. It’s so great to have this location management when these awful locations come in, and on top of that, another Creature!

Elfhelm x2 (TDM): We need threat management, and so there is no better way to limit the damage than Elfhelm in this scenario. His fighting skills will come in handy as well.

Eomund x1 (CatC): Since we have a lot of Rohan in this deck, we might as well take advantage of it with Eomund, whose willpower alone will greatly help.

Northern Tracker x2 (Core): Nothing like a Tracker for clearing out locations when you are a new player, and are playing without all of the location management stuff in the later cycles.


Snowbourn Scout x3 (Core): The scout provides two important things, Location Management, and chump blocking. And it’s low cost makes it easy to get into play when you need it.

Dunedain Watcher x3 (TDM): While this card hasn’t held up well, we should take advantage of having it since we are already using Dead Marshes. Having the extra will as well as safety from a few nasty shadows like Despair is wonderful.

Son of Arnor x2 (Core): Having the ability to pull out a trolls threat while still not having to fight it is amazing. Plus, the two attack will come in handy.


Gandalf x3 (Core): Big surprise, right?

So far, total cost is:

Tactics: 17 resources

Spirit: 25 Resources

Leadership: 18 resources

Neutral: 15 resources

27 cards

We may have to cut back a little on the spirit in the next sections.



citadel plate


Citadel Plate x2 (Core): Even though it is expensive, Gimli with ten attack is just too good to pass up in this scenario


Power in the Earth x2 (Core): You may lynch me now. But seriously, in a scenario where we will either A. Be traveling every turn and still have locations, or B. Be stuck behind the East Bight or Carrock, wouldn’t you like to get plus one will by slapping this on the Banks of the Anduin? Right? Please?

Favor of the Lady x2 (Core): This card provides willpower boosting, an essential element of this quest. It is also very cost efficient.


Steward of Gondor x2 (Core): Overpowered, not much to say here.

Celebrian’s Stone x1 (Core): Leadership is always overpowered or underpowered. While that may not exactly be true, it sure seems like it sometimes!

Dunedain Warning x3 (CotC): My weakness. I can’t resist. It does work well enough in this scenario though, allowing Gimli to do some defending in a pinch.

Total Cost:

Tactics: 25 resources

Spirit: 31 resources

Leadership: 27 resources

Neutral: 15 resources

Total cards: 39





Blade Mastery x3 (Core): The ultimate fail safe, this card works even better with a risky hero like Gimli.

Feint x2 (Core): Stop an attack? Heck, yeah! The only issue with this is that the core only comes with two and not three.


A Test of Will x2 (Core): Nothing to see here, just another auto-include.

The Galadhrim’s Greeting x2 (Core): This card is usually a little over costed for what it does, yet in this scenario it can work quite well for us.


Ever Vigilant x2 (Core): This card could be useful in many ways, but the best way would be to ready Grimbeorn. Think of it as utility Feint.


Tactics: 30

Spirit: 39

Leadership: 29

Neutral: 15

Total cards: 50

 There you go! A deck built with only three packs and one core, that beat Conflict at the Carrock. Now of course, for those newbies with other larger cardpools, there are other options. And of course, this isn’t a stand by deck either, so feel free to change it. Explore! That is the most important part of the game, having fun.


The Hunt for Gollum

Winged Guardian

Song of Kings

Dunedain Mark

A Journey to Rhogsobel



Ancient Mathom

Dunedain Quest

Return to Mirkwood

West Road Traveller

Support of the Eagles

Khazad Dum

Dwarrodelf Axe

Khazad! Khazad!

Zigil Miner

The Redhorn Gate


The Watcher in the Water

Arwen Undomiel


Foundations of Stone



Light of Valinor



So now we are going to quickly cover strategy for beating this scenario.

#1: Never go without a way to quest quickly. The Carrock is dangerous, and has to be cleared quickly. The threat of the Trolls does not help this. Bringing threat cancellation like Radagast’s Cunning, Secret Paths, and Son of Arnor can help with this.

#2: Control the clock. Your threat is essentially a time bomb, and once it reaches 34, you’re likely dead. Using threat management at the right time is key, and also planning your mission out a few turns in advance can be good.

#3: TAKE THEM ON ONE AT A TIME. Never voluntarily be engaged with two trolls (unless, of course, one is going to be finished off by a Gondorian Spearman or Swift Strike). Pretty self-explanatory.

#4: Don’t rush it. Don’t move on to the second stage until you are ready. If you don’t have Grimbeorn, you really shouldn’t move on, unless you have good enough combat skills at the ready.

#5: Read my last article. A little ad here, but my previous article is good for reviewing the threats so that you don’t forget any.

#6: There is no right way. Different decks use vastly different strategies to win, and trying to come up with one “cookie cutter” strategy for this quest is shear folly.


Dain’s Daily Challenge Winners

For those of you who forgot, here’s the challenge that I gave last month:

I want you to build a deck that relates to Trolls in every way possible. This could be done by using cards that are from the encounter during The Hobbit, or it could be cards that naturally are anti-troll, thematically that is. It doesn’t have to be great, but still make it good enough to have a chance against average scenarios. Here is an entry from a player from Germany, Niklas Bloch.


Dawn take you all!

This is a thematic approach towards the Conflict at the Carrock scenario.

It draws inspiration from different encounters with trolls that can be found both in the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings-Movies.

I’ll explain my choices regarding each card going forward but let me explain how I feel about this quest. It’s the big boss battle of the first cycle. So the inclusion of strong defence and attacking seems to be a sensible move. But I like to understand the whole battle aspect to be a meeting of the minds. With this deck I am looking to step away from pure fighting and trying to give the scenario a more negotiation-like feeling in which a small and smart force tries to stall out and wait for the morning sun to show up. Just like Bilbo does in the Hobbit movie and which was later on implemented in the first Hobbit saga box expansion quest.




– The Gandalf hero is taken from the encounter with the three cave trolls in the Hobbit movie. I wanted to recreate the “Dawn take you all” scene in which he shows up and delivers the final blow by splitting the rock and exposing the trolls to the morning light of the sun.


– Frodo is in here to recreate the fight at Balin’s tomb in Moria. The access to spirit allows us to include some cards that reference the bravery of his uncle Bilbo when he was facing the cave trolls.


– Legolas shows up for two small reasons. Firstly we want access to the tactics sphere. This is a strategic choice. Theme wise Legolas may show up at the Carrock since one of his patrols through mirkwood forest might bring him close to the small islet in the Anduin River. Also he takes part in the battle at Moria.


Allies (9):

2x Beorn

– We include Beorn for thematic reasons. While Grimbeorn might not show up or won’t side with us since we don’t have an easy access to leadership resources (we have to rely on Oakwood Grove to show up) Beorn’s home is not too far off and we can call him into battle quite reliably between resources from Legolas and Gandalf later on in the game.

1x Bilbo

– The old Hobbit is included to help with questing and getting the pipes out. Also he is the reason the dwarfs don’t get squashed into mutton right away by distracting the trolls. We need the willpower to help us quest through the side quest we will include as well to not getting overwhelmed when the 4 unique trolls show up.

1x Bofur

– Our dwarven friend shows up for the same reasons the aformentioned Bilbo is in this deck. Experience with getting roasted and having enough willpower to get over that traumatic event.

2x Henamarth

– He is a good solo character as well has his home base in the vicinity to the carrock. He is key to manage the willpower we send to the quest as well as important towards the distribution of shadow effects later on in combination with a certain spirit event I’ll cover further below.

3x Miner of the iron hills

– Pure strategic value. They seem to be the only folks in middle earth next to Elrond who know how to open a sack.


Attachments (19):

1x Hobbit Cloak

– This piece will allow Frodo to defend against the trolls without necessarily raising our threat each time.

1x Ring Mail

– Mithril! Thematic reason: Frodo survives the cave troll’s spear solely because of this valuable piece of armour. When combined with the cloak above Frodo will field 5 defence and can soak up the troll’s attacks while the others do their attacking work.

1x Hobbit Pony

– This one in combination with one unexpected courage allows Frodo to quest and defend which helps greatly when we reach stage 2. I also like to think of the pony of being one of the captured ponies Bilbo and the dwarfs try to free from the greasy hands of the trolls.

1x Hobbit Pipe

– Since we will include The Galadhrim‘s Greeting as well as Bilbo we can use the Hobbit Pipe to get a little more utility out of both of those cards.

2x Expert Treasure hunters

– This will be our main card draw. Put on Gandalf and Frodo It will provide us with a steady influx of cards from questing successfully. And since the victory over the trolls in the Hobbit grants them access to their cave and weapons therein it thematically makes sense to rewards the heroes for their initiative during the quest phase.

2x Unexpected Courage

– As mentioned before this helps Frodo do a little more than just defending or just questing. Also Gandalf. For being no one trick pony.

3x Gandalf’s Staff

– He needs that one for smashing the rocks. Other benefits: Cards, resources and getting rid of shadows.

2x Wizard Pipe

– Helps us playing the lore and leadership cards we’ll include.

2x Shadowfax

– Strategic reasons. We will want to have sentinel on Gandalf. It’s a solo deck but…

1x The Day’s Rising

– … This card is the thematic counter against trolls. The German version translates to “Morning Sun”. Sun! I heard trolls don’t like that thing. Also helps us to gain some resources since the smaller enemies tend to be weak enough for this to trigger on a regular basis.

3x Good Meal

– Another strategic choice. Since only Frodo supplies us with those spirit resources we’ll want to use this attachment to get out our Galadhrim’s Greetings more easily. Also helps with emergency Test of Wills when in play.


Events (18):

1x Dawn take you all

– Pure thematic reason. It’s nice to trigger it as we don’t have other shadow cancelation besides the staff.

1x Sneak attack

– For the occasional Beorn or Miner to get rid of enemies or conditions.

3x Close call

– Another highly thematic card. It displays the aforementioned scene of Frodo being struck down and revealing the Mithril shirt. What’s better against trolls then some plot armour? We can also use this card in case on pesky muck adder would discard Legolas or Gandalf.

3x Feint

– Let me give you another point of view on this card. How about this one not being a side step in combat or a wicked move to fake out your opponent but a sly and cunning hobbit messing with the minds of trolls? I like this card to be a more intellectual approach of staling out the big fellas until the morning sun shows up.

3x A Test of Will

– Once again we should look upon this card as Bilbo’s actions to outwit the opponents. It’s a good card as well.

3x Small Target

– Love this card in this matchup. We will use it to try and have the trolls swing at each other. Once again this might be in combat as well as turning them against each other through careful manipulation. Since the outcome is dependent on the shadow card I like to use Henamarth to find out which troll should be targeted by Frodo’s defence and this card.

3x The Galadhrim’s Greeting

– We want to use this card to buy us some more time before the trolls start attacking us. To give it more flavour rename it to “Tube worms and how you will want to cook a dwarf”.

1x Expecting Mischief

– Theme. The quote and artwork secure a slot for this card. Use it on the wolf riders to circumvent the surge maybe?


Quests (4):

Generally speaking these quests will help us set up the whole lot of attachments as well as drawing and playing out the Greetings. Use them early and use them all I’d say.

Thematically these are all stories and lies Bilbo might use to distract the trolls.

Send for Aid

– This one we will want to use to bring out a Beorn. Keep in mind that you can put him on the top of your deck in case you got him in hand and have a wizard pipe ready when nearing completion on this sidequest.

Double Back

– Another nice effect to reduce our threat.

Scout Ahead

– A nice side quest to get rid of a certain threat you might see come up. In addition to that we are also allowed to arrange the cards that we put back on top of the encounter deck. So use these information wisely to prepare shadow cards for Small Target!

Gather Information

– Getting this one out early is of great use. We can use it to stay at quest phase 1. The card we want to pick from the deck is up to you. Maybe a Greeting to not engage the trolls as early? A Beorn could be a nice choice as well as any type of attachment to round out Frodo’s defence capabilities.


This deck is far from being consistent or powerful. But it offers interesting decisions when it comes to questing and defending. Gandalf plays a major role as he should be in this setting. The very few allies create a sense of being outnumbered and stuck in a precarious situation. I didn’t want to field an army into battle since both of the referenced scenes only contain small amounts of adventurers.

I managed to win a round against the quest and it was a very strategic and tense game. In hindsight I might want to get rid of one Beorn and exchange him with the Boromir ally. Firstly because my strategy opens up his ability to be useful and secondly because who will warn us of any trolls if not him?


Dain’s Daily Challenge! 

In today’s exploration of making the most out of your cardpool, pick a scenario. It may not come from the core or a deluxe expansion. Then, build a deck to beat it using the only cards from one core, the cards from the pack containing the scenario you chose, and two other packs of your choice. Send me ( the deck list and a small game report and it could appear in a later article!

Until next time, happy questing!


  1. Tophern permalink

    Great article! Thank you!

  2. Steven permalink

    Someone used Power in the Earth! The endtimes are near!

    • Everett Zuras permalink

      I find that it can be better than Favor of the Lady when Banks of the Anduin is in. One cost for minus threat isn’t bad.

  3. Everett Zuras permalink

    Just to let you guys know, there will be quite a gap between this and my next article due to exam week.

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