CotR Fellowship Spotlight: New Player Introduction Decks


In case you haven’t heard, the game is not dying. Seriously, go check the forums on your favorite board gaming site, and count the number of threads that have been started by newcomers asking about purchasing advice, deck-building fundamentals, or just how to get started. What you’ll find is that, six (!) years in, this game is attracting new players every day. We have a vibrant community, and gamers on the outside looking in can see that. They see all of the fun that we’re having, and are naturally curious as to what all the fuss is about.

It’s easy for veterans of the game to suggest to these newcomers that they experience the game in chronological order; after all, that’s how we experienced it. But this is a living card game, which by definition means that the game we are playing now is not the same one that we started playing when it first came out. So when newcomers come around asking what we’re up to, it’s a little disingenuous to just toss them the core set.

Let’s talk about those core set “starter decks”, which deserve the quotation treatment because they were never designed to be functional decks. They are in no way cohesive, and are completely ineffective against anything other than Passage Through Mirkwood. That’s not really the best way to get your friends interested in the game, is it? Wouldn’t it be great if we had a set of mono-sphere decks that featured recognizable characters, and that were both newcomer-friendly and effective? Well, thanks to community member Qwaz, we do.

Join us today, as CoTR shines a spotlight on…

New Player Introduction Decks

by Qwaz

Tactics Intro Deck

Hero (3)
Gimli (Core Set)
Legolas (Core Set)
Merry (The Black Riders)

Ally (21)
3x Defender of Rammas (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Descendant of Thorondor (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Eagles of the Misty Mountains (Return to Mirkwood)
3x Gondorian Spearman (Core Set)
3x Vassal of the Windlord (The Dead Marshes)
3x Westfold Outrider (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Winged Guardian (The Hunt for Gollum)

Attachment (17)
3x Citadel Plate (Core Set)
3x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
3x Horn of Gondor (Core Set)
3x Rivendell Blade (Road to Rivendell)
2x Rivendell Bow (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Support of the Eagles (Return to Mirkwood)

Event (12)
3x Feint (Core Set)
3x Foe-hammer (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Hands Upon the Bow (Shadow and Flame)
3x The Eagles Are Coming! (The Hunt for Gollum)

Spirit Intro Deck

Hero (3)
Éowyn (Core Set)
Frodo Baggins (Conflict at the Carrock)
Glorfindel (Foundations of Stone)

Ally (20)
2x Arwen Undómiel (The Watcher in the Water)
1x Bofur (The Redhorn Gate)
2x Emery (The Blood of Gondor)
3x Imladris Stargazer (Foundations of Stone)
3x Northern Tracker (Core Set)
3x Pelargir Shipwright (Assault on Osgiliath)
3x West Road Traveller (Return to Mirkwood)
3x Zigil Miner (Khazad-dûm)

Attachment (12)
3x Ancient Mathom (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
3x Light of Valinor (Foundations of Stone)
3x Thrór’s Key (On the Doorstep)
3x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event (18)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Dwarven Tomb (Core Set)
3x Elrond’s Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)
3x Stand and Fight (Core Set)
3x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)

Lore Intro Deck

Hero (3)
Beravor (Core Set)
Denethor (Core Set)
Pippin (The Black Riders)

Ally (18)
3x Erebor Hammersmith (Core Set)
3x Erebor Record Keeper (Khazad-dûm)
1x Gléowine (Core Set)
1x Haldir of Lórien (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
1x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
3x Ithilien Tracker (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Master of the Forge (Shadow and Flame)
3x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)

Attachment (20)
3x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Asfaloth (Foundations of Stone)
3x Fast Hitch (The Dead Marshes)
3x Forest Snare (Core Set)
2x Protector of Lórien (Core Set)
3x Ranger Spikes (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Thror’s Map (Over Hill and Under Hill)

Event (12)
3x Advance Warning (The Drúadan Forest)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Mithrandir’s Advice (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Secret Paths (Core Set)

Leadership Intro Deck

Hero (3)
Aragorn (Core Set)
Balin (On the Doorstep)
Sam Gamgee (The Black Riders)

Ally (22)
1x Bill the Pony (The Black Riders)
3x Citadel Custodian (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Envoy of Pelargir (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Errand-rider (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
3x Pelargir Ship Captain (The Morgul Vale)
3x Squire of the Citadel (The Blood of Gondor)
3x White Tower Watchman (The Drúadan Forest)

Attachment (13)
3x Dúnedain Warning (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x King Under the Mountain (On the Doorstep)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
2x Sword that was Broken (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Visionary Leadership (The Morgul Vale)

Event (15)
3x A Very Good Tale (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Campfire Tales (The Hunt for Gollum)
3x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
3x Strength of Arms (The Drúadan Forest)
3x Valiant Sacrifice (Core Set)

Since Qwaz has detailed his design philosophy in the Fellowship desciption, I won’t regurgitate everything here. What I will stress is that you need a complete collection (including multiple core sets), so this fellowship is intended for the veteran player that wants to introduce new players to the game.

These aren’t power decks; rather than focusing on specific strategies, each deck showcases a couple of different themes that their respective spheres are known for. Still, they are far more effective than the core set starter decks, which means that you can introduce the game with a more interesting quest than Passage Through Mirkwood.

So, the next time that a friend inquires about that massive LoTR collection that you keep building, or the next time that someone on OCTGN asks for help in learning the game, consider giving these decks a try. For any game with an intimidating card pool, a friendly method of introduction is an important tool to have; for this reason, New Player Introduction Decks is worth a second look.

– WanderingTook

PS: What quests would you use to introduce LoTR to your friends? The Seventh Level? The Battle of Lake-town? Post your comments below!

2 thoughts on “CotR Fellowship Spotlight: New Player Introduction Decks

  1. Thanks so much for the spotlight! We bring these along to most of our play group sessions in case a new player rocks up. Definitely not designed to be top tier decks. Not even really designed to be played 4 handed…the 5 guiding principles are in the description 🙂

    For the mixture of being an easy quest and loads of fun to play, Encounter at Amon Din!

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