E3 – New Fish at Dul Guldur

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31 thoughts on “E3 – New Fish at Dul Guldur

  1. I haven’t finished listening yet, but great episode! I do have one constructive comment about the rules for you guys, though…

    I’m pretty sure you were originally playing Steward of Gondor appropriately, which was to exhaust the attachment itself to add resources, and not the attached hero. Just like you can exhaust the attachment Self Preservation to heal damage, or Unexpected Courage to ready a hero, in this case, reading the card it specifically says to exhaust “Steward of Gondor” (the “card title,” p.8), to add resources. The attached hero only gains the “Gondor” trait, the card doesn’t mention anything about the hero being renamed “Steward of Gondor,” and the wording is nothing like “attached hero gains the ability ‘Action: exhaust this hero to add 2 resources to this heroes’ resource pool.’ ”

    While the attachment does have the “title” trait, after scouring the rulebook, there are absolutely no special rules for -any- type of attachment, and really the only difference between the types are that some player and encounter deck cards specify that they only affect certain kinds of attachments; for example, Unexpected Courage is a “condition” attachment, while Self Preservation is a “skill” attachment. For a common sense argument, in thinking about the other, similar attachments, I think it would be a little weird if you had to exhaust a hero with Unexpected Courage attached to it just so you could ready it again.

    According to the rulebook on page 14, “characters and attachment cards enter the game in the “ready” position-that is, faceup on the playing surface in front of their controller. When a card has been “used” for some purpose, such as… to use a character ability that requires the card to exhaust, it is turned 90 degrees sideways and considered “exhausted.” An exhausted card cannot exhaust again… until it has been readied once more. When a player is instructed by the game or by a card effect to ready a card, he moves that card to its normal upright position.” I think that this passage suggests pretty clearly that there exist attachment cards that exhaust independently of their attached heroes, but I can’t think up of any better evidence.

    In any case, I think that Steward of Gondor is pretty goddamn good, and for me is definitely a “3 of” card. I mostly play two player games, so even if I draw another 1-2 copies after playing the first, I can at least throw them to Eowyn to give a willpower boost, and this card is definitely good enough to want to get into play as soon as possible. In fact, I would be willing to be that it’ll probably become one of the “power nine” for LotR:tCG.

    • See we thought the word title gave the hero the title “Steward of Gondor” so any future references to that card would be referencing the hero who was bestowed the title of Steward of Gondor. I totally agree that if you JUST exhaust SoG the card is so broken it isn’t even funny! I wish THAT was addressed in the FAQ! Thanks for listening!

      • I agree that it would make sense to assume that cards with the title trait maybe -should- work like that, but there just aren’t any rules about it at the moment. All you can really do is just assume that it would work exactly like the other attachments, meaning that “exhaust Steward of Gondor” has to mean “exhaust the card with the specific card title ‘Steward of Gondor.’ ”

        Unless a future FAQ or something says otherwise, its pretty much a “must” in any kind of leadership, dual-sphere or multiplayer deck, for sure, and definitely one of the strongest cards in the core set. The first game I ever played (pre-constructed Leadership deck), I didn’t realize that they were unique, and needless to say it was a little ridiculous 😛

  2. Great podcast, guys! Just one note about Aragorn; my interpretation is that if you’re going to ready him, it has to be after he commits, and not at the end of the quest phase (hence, before any encounter cards are revealed in the staging area) and after you’ve totalled up the willpower and the threat (so, he’s ready, but still committed when cards are revealed). Which can actually be handy if you draw Necromancer’s Reach, but not handy if you’ve paid the one resource to ready him and then he has nothing left to do for the rest of the turn.

  3. Common Cause being free means less with Leadership than other spheres, because Leadership typically has plenty of resources. It can be nice if one player has an uber-Gimli, but that’s the only situation I’ve found it useful.

    As for Strength of Will, maybe if you only have one spirit hero in a deck and won’t be able to consistently pay for Lorien Guide and Northern Tracker? I’d still be hesitant even then though, it’s not a good card.

    I’m sure that you only exhaust the Steward attachment, not the whole hero. “Title” is just a card trait like any other, it doesn’t have any special rules.

    • Regarding Strength of Will:

      I think that needing to exhaust a Spirit character is probably what holds this card back the most from being something that I would want to include in a deck. For Allies, Spirit only has three options, and I cannot see myself choosing specifically NOT to quest with a Lorien Guide, let alone a Northern Tracker, on the off chance that I end up revealing a location in the Staging Area that I absolutely need to travel to -and- could immediately knock out with 2 progress tokens. Since you still have to eat the travel effect to make a location active and eligible for Strength of Will (i.e., discarding two cards at random per Necromancer’s Pass), and considering that 2 progress tokens often isn’t enough to one-shot a location (i.e., Gladden Fields, add an extra Threat during Refresh phase), you’ll often find yourself having to deal with these negative effects at least once, whether you play Strength of Will or not.

      Sure playing this card means an extra 2 progress tokens, and in the long run that means 2 more tokens that in the future can go onto your quest instead of being “wasted” on active locations, but all Spirit characters have at least 1 Willpower to start with. Maybe Wandering Took could be exhausted to play this card, but that isn’t always preferable to another 1 Willpower Ally being committed to the quest (especially considering there are +Willpower effects like Faramir). Honestly, I think that the most likely candidate for a Spirit character to be exhausted to play this card would be Eleanor (if anyone is actually using her), or perhaps Dunhere. If no horrible Treachery cards end up being revealed, Eleanor will still be ready, and since she’s a crappy attacker anyway you could perhaps make better use of her action by playing Strength of Will-that is, if you don’t think you’ll need her to do any defending later that turn. Dunhere of course could also be used if you don’t end up revealing any enemies that need to be attacked, so really either of these could be pretty likely.

      I think that this card would be far more appealing if it was “exhaust a Spirit character to automatically explore the active location,” or to add 3 progress tokens, even if it came with a small resource cost. It might even change from “how can I rationalize including this card in my deck?” to “is this card broken?”

      • Yeah, true. Maybe if there are more cheap spirit allies in the future it’ll become more playable? It’ll always be a marginal card at best though.

  4. Hey – loving the discussion – thanks listeners!

    I hope an FFG staffer puts an official end to this dispute quickly! Then, we’re either right, which is nice, or we can start using this broken card in a broken way! Potentially even better! Our interpretation was based on the literal language on the card, and on the thought process that the game is supposed to be difficult. It just seems too good to be true, otherwise.

    This specific question is answered by pumpkin on the FFG Forum, and it says it should be the broken way, i know; but I still disagree – stubborn me with no experience/credibility. haha.

    The language says it’s a title. The hero becomes the SoG – when you exhaust the SoG, it’s the hero. I figure it should be a skill called Stewardship of Gondor to play it as the masses have suggested. Or it should cost more. I think the idea is that it should be a tough decision – do i quest, attack, defend, or gain resources with this hero?

    Caught in a Web, then, isn’t so bad if you can just keep using SoG to break even. I can’t decide whether I want to be right or wrong.

    I’m most likely wrong though – and I’m okay with that – I agree with every other FAQ answer on that forum, so…yeah. I guess the card’s unique quality makes it likely to be ‘skill-like’ in nature. Let’s hope pages 3-999 of the official FAQ are released soon. Based on the amount of questions people have, there has to be an epic tome on its way!

    Thanks again for listening.

    • There are “title” attachments in the Game of Thrones card game too, and it’s just a trait with no special rules (“Kneel Hand of the King to stand attached character” would be utter nonsense if it worked like that!)

      Steward is overpowered, but I’m not sure it’s any more overpowered than Gandalf or Northern Tracker.

    • There are “title” attachments in the Game of Thrones card game too, and it’s just a trait with no special rules (“Kneel Hand of the King to stand attached character” would be utter nonsense if it worked like you’re saying!) If title meant what you’re saying, they would certainly have a rule about it.

      Anyway, while Steward is overpowered and I would have at least made it cost more, I’m not sure it’s any more overpowered than Northern Tracker or Gandalf or a beefed-up Gimli. I wouldn’t call it broken.

      • We are in agreement now with the rest of the world that indeed SoG exhausts and the hero doesn’t. This card is super powerful, and certainly a 3 of in any leadership deck! The only thing keeping it reasonably in check is the fact that it is unique. I look forward to trying to play with it as it was meant to be now to see how broken it is!

  5. Near the end of the podcast you talked about a negative score. I built a Spirit/Lore deck that basically does that. The key card is Will of the West which lets you shuffle your discard into your deck. That way you can play The Galadhrim’s Greeting an unlimited amount of times.

    Beravor with Unexpected Courage lets you draw a huge amount of cards. Given enough time the deck will eventually draw ever card in the deck and eventually get all of the allies out in play. Then the only real thing you have to spend your resources on is using Galadhrim’s greeting until you drop your threat to 0.

    The deck is a little slow but once it gets going it is invincible.

    • What you described is basically what I did with my three sphere deck, except I also use Leadership. With Aragorn + Celebrian’s Stone + Steward, Leadership allies, and Sneak Attacking Gandalf, the deck becomes practically unstoppable.

  6. Steward of Gondor rubs me the wrong way too. A FREE card that gives you two resources a turn? How on earth is that balanced? At the very least, shouldn’t the cost of the card be more than what you’ll be getting refunded immediately?

    Oh, and I can’t leave without taking a shot at the podcasters. 🙂 One of you was talking about wanting material from the Silmarillion and generally seemed to be really into Tolkien. Perhaps you can explain then not knowing what a Dol is… as in Dol Amroth or Dol Guldur. Or are you going to tell me it’s the other guy who goes around setting up the podcasts here and on iTunes with the name misspelled…

    • In response to your question about the meaning of the word “Dol”, here’s a quote from the Wikipedia page on “Dol Guldur”: (which may not necessarily be accurate)

      “The word dol strictly means “head” but is frequently applied to hills or mountains in Tolkien’s work, as in Dol Amroth and Dol Baran.”

  7. I just got the chance to listen to all of the podcasts today. They were a very enjoyable listen while putting together new decks to try out.

    I look forward to listening to more episodes in the future!

  8. Thank you guys for great podcasts!
    Regarding the steward; I feel that it is extremely good at the start of the game when your hand is full of cards and you can just pump em out! But at the end game, you usually have enough of resources anyway and the steward of gondor usually ends up with a huge pile of resources. I have only played it with a spirit/leadership deck though, without any carddraw. I imagine that the steward with a card-drawing-engine can be insane!

    Can you enter the contest if you live in Germany?


  9. I just realized that A Light in the Dark can be used after Shadow Effects are revealed but before damage is dealt. I haven’t tried it with that in mind yet, but it does make it more useful.

    • I’m pretty certain what wouldn’t cancel that attack. As far as I can tell the only section of the attack which is concerned about whether you are engaged or not is the first part where you begin the Enemy’s attack.

  10. Another great podcast guys.

    2 things I picked up though. You’ve done it again with Restricted Items. you talk about giving legolas 2 Blades of Gondolin and having him place 4 progress tokens on the quest each time he kills an enemy. The Blade is a restricted item which means he can only be equipped with 1…Damn, just went back and reread this. You can have 2 Blades equipped, they are not unique. I’ve been playing this all wrong. You can have 2 restricted items of the same type.

    The other thing is the first Quest – Path through Mirkwood and Specifically the “Don’t leave the Path” where you talked about not having to kill Ungoliant’s Spawn to win. You do need to Kill Ungoliant’s Spawn to win. If you read the bold text right at the very bottom of the quest it says – “The players must find and defeat Ungoliant’s Spawn to win the game”.

    • Indeed, you do need to find and kill Ungoliant’s Spawn which we have been doing since the last cast in nightmare mode. It is so funny that we though quest 2 was unbeatable and now we are rocking though nightmare mode without breaking a sweat.

      Legolas with double blades FTW!

  11. About negative score: I built a deck similar to Apophenia’s but mine was a triple sphere one with Eowyn Bereavor and Theodred. The key cards are of course the two that reduce threat: Gandalf and The Galadhrim’s Greeting. At the beginning of the game Theodred quests with Eowyn to give her resources (as spirit resources are the most useful in this deck) and Bereavor draws cards. I am always able to play Gandalf or The Galadhrim’s Greeting at the beginning of the second turn if I have them in my hand (and I always Mulligan if I don’t have at least one of them in my first hand). Other very important cards here are:
    – Unexpected Courage – goes to Bereavor to draw as much cards as possible
    – Dwarven Tomb – to play once again The Galadhrim’s Greeting
    – Sneak Attack – to play Gandalf a couple more times (it’s sweet to have an opening hand of Gandalf, Sneak Attack and The Galadhrim’s Greeting – that’s a threat reduction of 11 on the second turn
    – Stand and Fight – to play more Gandalfs
    – Steward of Gondor – to have plenty Spirit resources
    – Will of the West – to shuffle the cards when most of the important cards were played

    I had my fun with this deck not losing even once to the first two scenarios and not winning even once with the third one 🙂 But a triple sphere deck in a solo game in Dol Guldur is right now in my opinion impossible.

    About Nightmare mode:
    I understand that you left all the allies in play after the first scenario? The way I interprate the rules you should reset your deck leaving just the damage on the heroes and the threat. But that part in the rulebook leaves space to many interpretations

  12. Sorry to “necro” this but I was listening to your older podcasts and while you were discussing the usefulness of “common cause” it struck me: we are playing LotR with 2 players, one Leadership/Spirit deck and one Lore/Tactics with Beravor. I’ll include “common cause” to the Leadership/Spirit deck and in combination with Beravor the card now reads: Exhaust one of your heros to draw 2 cards for free.

  13. I just wanted to go ahead and throw out there that I just today played the first quest, through Mirkwood, and I got a score of -1.

    I was playing on Solo.

    My deck: (which I just submitted to cardgamedb.com as Will Is King)

    Will is King

    Hero (3)
    Denethor (Core) x1
    Dunhere (Core) x1
    Eowyn (Core) x1

    Ally (16)
    Daughter of the Nimrodel (Core) x3
    Gandalf (Core) x3
    Gleowine (Core) x1
    Northern Tracker (Core) x3
    Miner of the Iron Hills (Core) x1
    Lorien Guide (Core) x3
    Longbeard Map-Maker (CatC) x1
    Erebor Hammersmith (Core) x1

    Attachment (14)
    Dark Knowledge (Core) x1
    The Favor of the Lady (Core) x3
    Forest Snare (Core) x3
    Protector of Lorien (Core) x1
    Song of Wisdom (CatC) x3
    Unexpected Courage (Core) x3

    Event (20)
    Stand and Fight (Core) x3
    The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core) x3
    Fortune or Fate (Core) x1
    Secret Paths (Core) x3
    Radagast’s Cunning (Core) x3
    Lore of Imladris (Core) x1
    Dwarven Tomb (Core) x3
    A Light in the Dark (Core) x3

    I used Gandalf as often as possible to lower my threat. I used Stand and Fight to pull Gandalf out of my deck and lowered threat. I used Dwarven tomb to pull out either Stand and Fight or The Galadhrim’s Greeting to further lower my threat.

    At the end of the game, I had a threat of 3. I killed the Uthfak Chieftan for my extra 4 victory points. Dunhere was vital to the strategy. I used him to take out enemies before they could ever engage me. I used him to slowly add up damage on Ungoliant’s Spawn when he came out (which was quite early in the game). Last thing I did that was vital was using Denethor to make sure to get rid of any enemies with a low enough threat to actually attack me.

      • (Probably answered elsewhere already, but for I’ll post it here for new readers who have started listening to this podcast from the beginning)

        Page 27, paragraph 1: “a tournament deck must contain a miniumum of 50 cards”.

        No maximum is given.

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