E11 – Ruined my Ride

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Episode 11

– Welcome
– Welcome
– Trivia winner + trivia

– News
– Get massing now + Hills!
– New LOTR LCG podcast  thefellowshipofthecards.com with Eric and Kevin

– Preview cards from FFG website

– Content

– 3 Core sets or not?
– Massing play through revisited
– Hills review

– Sign off

38 thoughts on “E11 – Ruined my Ride

  1. In case the link above isn’t working for anyone, try the following link (right click, save as):


  2. Just a quick shout out: You want a dead guy looking out of Water in the Dead Marshes Expansion? Look no further than the art on the Expansion pack itself!

  3. I don’t understand the hate for the Wandering Took. Why would you single him out and not the Guard of the Citadel? In terms of cost and stats they’re the exact same EXCEPT that the Took has one HIGHER defense (in that he has any). I just don’t get why you’d single him out as terrible, when there’s worse for the same cost.

      • I myself use a couple of Wandering Took in my support deck. He’s a very decent ally for the cost, and there has been a time or two when I’ve used his ability to toss control of him to my combat-focused ally to do some chump blocking in order to free up Gimli for butchering some Carrock trolls.

  4. Ok, now I have time for a longer comment…

    First of all: Awesome show. You guys are getting better and better at what you do, so keep doing it!

    I knew you’d all be in the 3 Core Set group given the fans you are, I mean how can someone start a podcast about about this game and NOT have three Core Sets…
    But for me two has been the sweet spot. There have been many cards I wanted three of, like Steward of Gondor, Northern Tracker and Sneak Attack to name the most obvious, but paying a full Core Set for 13 cards of which I don’t need all was just too much. (The one card I’d love to have three of would be Henamarth Riversong, this guy is just BROKEN in Solo play, Unexpected Courage of course is strong, too, but I often find myself running three heroes that can’t make good use of it.)

    And now: You asked for the internet rage, so you’ll get it :p

    I think you have been way off on some of the new cards. Gildor’s Counsil is one of the best cards up to date (for multiplayer). I’d rate it up there with Steward of Gondor and all the other Allstars, its a “three of” for ANY multiplayer Lore deck in my opinion, here’s why (I have to elaborate a little bit, so bear with me):

    LotR:LCG has sort of two game elements, that players have to manage, the static parts (read “current game state”) and the dynamic parts (the resources – in a wider sense – that each side gets each round.
    The static part can be roughly differentiated into three evaluations:

    a “negative” game state: the game is going downhill should nothing good happen, lots and lots of resources are needed to elevate to the next state. And the game usually starts there (where would the challenge otherwise be, right?)
    a “balanced” game state: The game is roughly equal, you could play on for quite a while without one side gaining an advantage. There are still lots of resources needed to get to the third game state.
    a “positive” game state: If the Encounter Deck doesn’t have any last minute surprise tricks, then the game is just basically over, you win. Thats what many players have experienced: Once the game is under control, the rest is fairly easy.

    Now the dynamic aspects are basically all(!) resources, that both sides have available, they are (per player):

    – One extra card per turn
    – three resources per turn
    – all actions of your characters

    – One Encounter card per turn
    – Threat raise of 1

    Now here is what you do during play from a very (very) theoretical standpoint: You spend as many of your resources as needed to offset the dynamic resources of Sauron and then spend the leftovers on either improving the current game state until you win or play cards that increase your resources in the long run (like Gleowine, Steward of Gondor, allies or threat reduction).

    And thats why Gildor’s Council is so awesome: It totally messes the dynamic “equation”, instead of the above it is now “all actions of your characters” vs. “a threat raise of 1” and since threat is more or less like a credit/debt (you only have to pay at the end) this new situation is absolutely freakishly good.

    In order to get a feel for the power, lets just do an imaginary example. Gandalf + Sneak Attack = awesome, right? Actually they are so awesome, if you could play a deck with 10 Gandalfs and 40 Sneak Attack, you would be nigh unstoppable (I know that this is ridiculous, but the fact that this would be a very strong deck attributes for the power of this Combo).
    Now we do something similar with Gildor’s Counsil. You bring any deck you deem strong and I bring a deck consisting of the three basic Lore heroes and 50 Counsils. All I would do is play a Counsil each turn and use my heroes. What we essentially get, is you playing a Solo game on steroids: You draw two extra cards each turn thanks to Beravor and I either help you with 4 extra Willpower during questing or take care of a small enemy for you. Now how’s that for awesome strong?

    That all being said, that card seems to be almost broken in my eyes and probably should have cost 4 or 3 + exhausting one hero or something like this.


    Puh, longer than I thought it would be, hope you don’t mind.


    P.S.: Please tell me, if anything I wrote is unclear since english is not my native language

    P.P.S: I think you need to Brand some slack, but I’ve written enough

    • I understand exactly what you’re getting at, and I think that in a lot of ways you are absolutely right – by preventing the encounter deck from getting as many cards into play as it usually would have, you gently tip the scales in the favor of the players, and as you explain quite clearly, in theory the players are indeed able to focus all of their characters and resources that round on contending with less encounter card than they normally would (essentially, they just have to deal with everything in play plus the addition of one less encounter card than normal, to a minimum of 1). In multiplayer games, when the expenditure of 3 resources is a less significant loss to the players, this effect is even more powerful, and can of course tilt the “balance” of the game toward the “positive” game state that you mention.

      My basis for not being overly enthused at the prospect of including Gildor’s Counsel in my own decks, however, stems primarily from three reasons:

      1) I tend to play only one Lore hero (in two-player games), which makes 3 Lore resources a rather steep cost for a one-time effect (even though I of course understand it can grant long-term leverage toward player victory).

      2) With a few exceptions, because of consistently using player cards like Gimli and Northern Tracker, most encounter cards just aren’t that difficult to overcome or become rather trivial to take care of to the point that I cannot justify in my mind the expenditure of 3 resources to counteract (in all actuality, delay), a single, unknown encounter card (as compared to, say, Feint being played to counteract a Hill Troll [presuming I have adequate attack strength to kill it off], which would be a mere 1 resource to counteract an encounter card that I know is powerful and threatening, as opposed to 3 to just delay the reveal of one which could for all I know be an Evil Storm when I have less than 35 Threat or something).

      3) As a resource investment, Gildor’s Counsel essentially counteracts a single encounter card, whereas for the equivalent amount of resources, other cards can be used to great effect time and time again; for example, Northern Tracker, for just one more resource (though Spirit instead of Lore, of course), instead of counteracting one encounter card, could potentially explore/counteract an infinite number of locations/encounter cards.

      I find the third point above to be the most persuasive argument toward not jumping at the opportunity to include Gildor’s Counsel in my decks, as considering the current state of the game, with the same 3 Lore resources that I could use to pay for Gildor’s Counsel, in many cases I would be able to derive more benefit (i.e., counteract more than just 1 encounter card), by spending those same resources otherwise. For example, by paying the same 3 Lore resources for a Self Preservation instead of Gildor’s Counsel, in many scenarios I could potentially transform a 2 Defense hero into a defending machine, keeping him or her alive indefinitely and using that single Self Preservation to not just counteract one enemy card (by keeping the hero alive far longer than it would normally remain), but essentially an infinite number over the course of the game.

      In a scenario like Massing at Osgiliath, however, where the reveal of a single encounter card could mean multiple surge effects, etc., Gildor’s Counsel could quickly become far more useful than normal (as it prevents the reveal of more than just 1 encounter card, and establishing the “positive” game state you describe is all the more difficult for players), but in any case, hopefully my taking the time to jot this all down explains my rationale behind my decision a little bit more clearly. Hope that made sense, and thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts! We always love to hear other players’ opinions, and I love discovering new ways to use cards, especially the ones I initially dismiss!

      • Thank you very much for your kind response. And I gotta say, I mostly agree with you. Maybe I can elaborate a little bit more on my rationale, so let me answer your points:

        1) I personally think (but I’m not sure) it would be even worth it, if you play only one Lore hero. But since this is not your main point and mine neither, I’ll leave it at that.

        2) Here I think lies the reason why people underestimate this card: Sure, you delay the next card, but then next turn there would’ve been a different card instead, so this card is delayed by a turn and so is the next card and so on and so forth. It doesn’t matter, if the very next card is actually weak, because you are delaying the complete Encounter deck and not just one card. In essence: You have one less card to deal with AND you can’t even tell which one that would’ve been, because you don’t know which card is delayed on the last turn of the game.

        3) Here I mostly agree: There are many cards out there that (per resource) outweigh more than one Encounter card, the most obvious one being the Northern Tracker kicking location butt. But there are two reasons why I think Gildors Counsil is special:

        A) I don’t feel like I can build a deck consisting of 50 cards, where each card outperforms more (or even slightly more) than one Encounter card. The current pool is too limited for that (Was it Brian who plays 30-card decks, probably for that reason?)

        B) The current strong cards “only” counteract a certain type of Encounter cards, Northern Tracker vs. Locations, Feint vs. Hill Troll (enemies), A Strength of Will vs. Treachery, etc.
        The goal of deckbuilding usually is to make sure that you have something to counter anything the Encounter deck might have. So in some situations the Northern Tracker might not find locations, no Treacheries get revealed for A Strength of Will or Feint looks stale in your hand at The Hunt for Gollum.
        But the Counsil gives you a positive leverage no matter what the Encounter deck throws at you, it gives you 100% value everytime. Thats what makes it so great in my eyes. Sure some cards are stronger in some circumstances, and few cards are stronger in many circumstances, but I have I hard time finding cards that are so universally useful.

        Hope this clarifies my standpoint

        Have a nice game,

      • You are right, maybe I am biased towards “universal” decks. I don’t really find it interesting to tailor my deck/decks to a certain scenario.

        This might be a future discussion topic for you, I guess? Building a deck for each scenario or playing a set of decks “to rule them all”?

  5. Brand is awesome in my LotR meta. We do 3 player games and it is always useful to stand my partners characters. I play pure Tactics of Gimli, Thalin, and Brand, my one friend plays Spirit/Leadership of Eowyn, Prince Imrahil, and Eleanor or Theodred, and the other one plays Tactics/Lore of Legolas, Glorfindel, and Denethor. So it is very useful with standing Prince Imrahil, Legolas, Glorfindel or Denethor. And that is just the heroes. Getting multiple uses of Legolas is always good and standing Denethor for a peek at the encounter deck is a nice back up.

    Gildor’s Counsel is good for that big push at the end. When you have finished the quest requirements and you just need to finish that last stage, Gildor’s Counsel is very helpful. Questing with a lot and adding less threat to the staging area will make that big push easier.

    Keen-Eyed Took works very well with Prince Imrahil. Being able to stand him whenever you want. There is also seeing the top cards of the deck before a player allows someone to draw. Seeing the top card and knowing that your teammate will get Feint and it seems necessary, then you can allow him to draw with Beravor or Gleowine to make sure he has it.

    • The interactions with keen-eyed took with Imrahil are good. When we were recording I could feel that k-e took would have a variety of applications but my brain was starting to fry at the two hour mark.

      Based on the love for Gildor’s Counsel it must be good. In this episode we were evaluating just by reading the card. I look forward to playing with it, as the mounting evidence suggests that it is far better than our initial impressions suggest. On paper it just doesn’t seem that exciting, but you guys are making sense.

  6. About the upcomming Star Wars LCG I would be very (happily) supprised if they did anything different from the LotR LCG for the coreset (some x1, some x2 and some x3). This has been done in all the other LCGs and there were hate for this way before the LotR-LCG-coreset-card-distrubution-hate was an issue and they’ve done it anyway. So be prepared for the 3x Core Set buy 😦

  7. Great show as always guys. Just the right mix of news, strategy, and silliness.

    I have to say though, I was disappointed in the responses for the “do I need 3 core sets” discussion. I wasn’t surprised, just disappointed. The rationale give when boiled down was simply, “we’re weak gamers so we had to buy.”

    No one really justified the expense even on a discounted set. I’ve had plenty of fun with one set and put my money into expansions. My take is over time you’re going to rely less and less on the core set as new cards are introduced. If I feel I really need another card from the core set, my scanner and color printer are only a few feet away for a quick proxy.

    I was at my FLGS last night and saw the two dozen or so expansion sets for Call of Cthulhu and their larger cards sets too. I’d like to ask an experienced CoC player how important the cards from their core sets are. Looking at the winners for the World Championship, I think I know what the answer is . . .

    Keep on . . .

    • Thanks for your honesty!

      Since the episode was already getting a little out of hand in length when we got around to that part of the discussion, and I for one didn’t want to drag things out much further into what could have easily been a long episode by itself, I didn’t want to delve into extreme detail, but here is essentially the long and short of what I think. Before I say anything though, you mentioned using a scanner and printer to simply make proxies — considering that someone could do that to play the game without purchasing as much as a single Core set, lets just consider whether a 3rd Core set would be worth it for someone playing that either cannot (i.e., tournament setting), or simply does not, want to play with homemade reproductions of the cards.

      So, three questions:

      – Is it *necessary* to get 3 Core sets? Absolutely not.
      – Would I personally recommend *anyone* buy 3 Core sets? No.
      – Is it probably a frivolous purchase to buy 3 Core sets? Considering the game’s current, non-competitive state (i.e., no tournaments or league play, etc), I say yes.

      To explain my rationale for answering that way, lets look at each of the cards individually that you would be purchasing 3 Core sets just to have your full 3 copies of, and consider whether they are worth the money (I think I included all of them):

      * Brok Ironfist – Unique. I can see no need whatsoever for 3 of this guy.

      * Grim Resolve – A very good event, but very costly and often a “game finisher” in my experience. I would include maybe 2, but probably not 3 in a deck. I typically play with none.

      * Celebrian’s Stone – Unique. Very good, but not an absolute “must have 3.” I would be fine with 2 copies (and indeed run only 2), unless you’re playing some weird Aragorn gimmick deck or something.

      * Beorn – Unique. Very strong, but very expensive. Considering the current state of the Tactics sphere, I can’t see anyone using 3 unless they’re maybe in a 4 player game playing mono-Tactics.

      * Swift Strike – Powerful in a lot of different situations, but again, Tactics being what it is (highly proficient in killing enemies), I personally haven’t used this card much, and my decks succeed very consistently without it. Unnecessary to have 3, though it could be fun (read: not necessarily good, or “tournament worthy”), combo’ed with Descendant of Thorondor, Thalin, Gondorian Spearman, etc.

      * Stand Together – Not that great, and there are not a lot of fans of this card in the LCG community.

      * Horn of Gondor – Unique. Lately, I *have* been using 3 copies of this card, but 2 would probably work just fine.

      * Dwarven Tomb – Very useful, but considering the length of my typical games, 3 appears no means necessary and I usually end up with so many cards in hand thanks to Beravor the utility of this card sharply declines.

      * Fortune or Fate – This can situationally be a game-saver for the players, but 3 copies is excessive, especially considering that Landroval has been released for another “ressurection” option. Lots of people don’t allow this card to take so much as 1 spot in their Spirit deck, so 3 seems absurd.

      * Beorn’s Hospitality – I wouldn’t run a single copy of this card, let alone three.

      * Dark Knowledge – Useful, but I’ve had great success without using this card at all, which makes using 3 very questionable. Considering that A Burning Brand has been released, what is the point? Like you mention, better cards will come out in time and replace most or all of these, and Dark Knowledge is largely old news.

      which brings us to…

      * Unexpected Courage – If you are playing any Spirit, you will want 3 copies of this card. Is the 3rd copy worth $30 to you? I would imagine that anyone that has played Magic the Gathering or some other card game competitively has paid much more for far less, but that brings us back to the fact that at the moment, LOTR is NOT a competitive or tournament-type game by any means. Will it ever become that? Who knows. In any case, I would be curious to see if this card is ever replaced – Fast Hitch certainly indicates it might be, one day.

      In summary, I really don’t see much of a reason to buy 3 Core sets. I know that my buying 3 was entirely frivolous – a decision I gave little thought beyond “you must have 3 Core sets if you want to have 3 copies of every card.” Do I regret my purchase? No, but I definitely recognize that it was largely (entirely), unnecessary. I indulged my feverish enthusiasm for this game when it was first released by picking up another 2 Core sets (for a good deal), after I loved my first, and I have no regrets. The way my brain works, I find it rather satisfying to have 3 copies of every card (and sleeved, even), even if I don’t ever plan on using “Brok Ironfist,” or “Rain of Arrows,” etc.

      It’s certainly silly, and pretty much a pointless purchase, but it was worth it to me since the value was worth the price. Mileage will always vary, of course, but I’ve got no regrets.

      • @Sirprim: I KNEW I forgot one! I always hear that a lot of people love Henamarth for solo play (and I’m pretty fond of him for two-player), so maybe he’s worth $15? 😛

      • Thanks for the detailed explanation. I know I’ve made my share of frivolous game purchases. I guess what surprises me is how prevalent the 3-core purchase is given what you’ve described.

        If you’ve got the cash and it makes *you* happy, who’s to complain. I just think the ‘cast came across as making it sound like it was an absolute must. That is a bit strong to say the least especially since the original questioner was new to the game.


      • Personnaly, the third core set isn’t worth it, in general. The only reason I would buy a third core set is when only one player as cards and must build 4 decks to play with is friends.

  8. Just a thought regarding Brand Son of Bain:

    Are people willing to or not alter how he plays for solo? Ie. make his response apply to themselves.

    Obvious this can become dangerous altering cards and how they work but I would actually consider it for this card.

    Have people also considered altering other cards in any way for solo. I keep thinking to myself as I play that the Horseback Archer (cost 3) is the same as the Veteran Axehand (cost 2) for solo play but I stop myself from altering the card cost down to 2 as I don’t want to ‘mess with the game’.

    Just curious on other peoples thoughts on this topic and in particular if anyone would do this for Brand to make him playable solo.

  9. My group of 4 just finished playing Hills of Emyn Muil and Escape from Dol Guldor and Brand son of Bain was incredible. I was attacking with Legolas and Brand son of Bain on enemy’s that were attacking my friend who was using Aragorn and Prince Imrahil. He was able to use Aragorn twice each round (because of his pay 1 resource to ready) and Prince Imrahil 3 times (he would use him to quest, ready him after someone chump blocks and dies, and then was ready after Brand son of Bain killed an enemy attacking him.) and was able to progress with Legolas. It was really fun I really enjoyed using Brand son of Bain in our 4 player games we played tonight, he definately was the shining hero of the night!

    • Not having had a lot of chances to really test him out (since I don’t get to play a lot of real 2+ player games), did you feel like Brand was often able to *really* give you extra actions? Or, did you often “waste” his attack action just to activate his ability to ready another hero (i.e., adding 3 damage to an already killed enemy)? Alternatively, would that readied hero (targeted by his action), often have something to use its extra “ready” action for, or would it just go to waste? He has a very cool ability in theory, but in practice I’d be interested to know just how often it gets “wasted,” especially considering that unfortunately it won’t always even get activated in the first place.

      • Honestly Brands ability was handy a few times to get rid of more enemies, but like you said often times his readying did just go to waste. I agree its a cool ability in theory, but maybe it would be more useful in an enemy loaded quest. I dunno what do you think? When I typed that about our questing it was 1:30 am and I was tired but excited about the whole readying thing but unfortunately it was a lot of wasted readying.

  10. I tried a game using both Brand and Legolas, it got silly pretty quickly. We were using the Hammer & Anvil strategy from BGG, so he focused on tanking everything while I shot it down. 6+ ranged strength will take care of most anything engaged with my partner, ensuring the trigger for both heroes. He had Beravor, so Brand’s ability would always un-exhaust her for more cards; we were regularly getting an extra 6 cards per turn.

    • I’m glad to hear people use and like the Hammer & Anvil strategy. Brand plus Beravor sounds pretty sick! Put Unexpected courage on Brand and you might get double actions of both.

    • Yep, I have started using a similar strategy, and this is where Brand really shines. In this setup, I think he’s worth his figurative weight in gold just for the 3 attack and Ranged keyword; the ability is just a healthy dose of gravy. With the Leadership/Lore player engaging most of the enemies, 6 Ranged attack right from the start of the game means lots of progress tokens from Legolas and allows Beravor to use her ability virtually every turn. It’s so good that Boromir probably won’t make it into my deck once Dead Marshes is released.

      Obviously, Brand is less helpful in location-heavy scenarios like Hunt for Gollum and THoEM, but I’ve rarely had to “waste” his ability (unless he and Legolas happen to kill all of the enemies engaged with the other player, a situation I consider acceptable :D). He’s best paired with a Lore player (readying Beravor to draw or Denethor to control the Encounter Deck), but, with the right setup, he essentially allows any single Hero to defend and attack (or attack twice) in the same turn.

      One final note: in a two-player game, Brand can be decidedly less useful when his controller is NOT the First Player. If Player A acts first and does not control Brand, the attack phase sequence will diminish Brand’s effectiveness. Should Player A exhaust all of his or her characters questing and defending, Player A’s attack step will pass before Brand can ready any characters. Consequently, Heroes with utility effects (Beravor, Denethor…not Eleanor :P) and cards like Quick Strike make Brand a lot better.

      Really enjoyed the episode, and here’s to more awesomeness upon the release of The Dead Marshes. Keep up the good work!

  11. I know some of you dont think that discarding from the player deck is a big deal and in some ways I agree. But today I revealed a Goblintown Scavenger and had to discard a Sneak Attack (I had Gandalf in Hand) and a Galadhrin’s Greeting. 😦

  12. Great show guys. You were talking about Descendant of Thorondor/Eagles deck, and here it is:

    This deck is supposed to be played in a 2-player game (it wont work solo due to a lack of questing power). The other deck should have some healing ability in order to fully exploit this Tactics/Leadership deck. This deck is supposed to cycle fast by having lots of cheap cards and card drawing effects. Blocking is done by cheap meat shield allies and Eagles, the killing is done by the Heroes equipped with Axes and Dunedain Marks.

    The Gondorian Spearman is a placeholder and is will be repleaced by any future card that fits better in this deck (like a cheap eagle or a leadership utility card for drawing/resources/leaving play effect). You can replace now it with Quick Strike or Born Aloft if you like.


    Gloin, Gimli, Legoas

    Allies (25):

    Gandalf x3, Radagast x2

    Veteran Axhand x3, Gondorian Spearman x3, Horseback Archer x3, Winged Guardian x3, Descendant of Thorondor x3, Landroval x2

    Snowborn Scout x3

    Attachments (10):

    Dwarven Axe x3, Horn of Gondor x2,

    Stuart of Gondor x2, Dunedain’s Mark x3

    Events (15):

    Feint x3, The Eagles are Coming x3

    Valiant Sacrifice x3, Campfire Tales x3, Sneak Attack x3

    • Love it! Here’s one that I just made that swaps out Legolas, but adds a greater ability to bring high willpower to bear while questing, and goes even further with the Descendant gimmick and damaging enemies in the staging area:

      Gimli, Theodred, Thalin

      Allies (21):
      Gandalf x3, Radagast x2, Descendant of Thorondor x3, Faramir x2, Gondorian Spearman x3, Guard of the Citadel x3, Landroval x2

      Attachments (14):
      Horn of Gondor x2, Born Aloft x3, Celebrian’s Stone x2, Citadel Plate x2, Steward of Gondor x3, Dunedain Quest x2

      Event (15):
      Feint x3, The Eagles Are Coming! x3, Valiant Sacrifice x3, Sneak Attack x3, Meneldor’s Flight x3

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