|image borrowed from Tales from the Cards- check them out for tons of LOTR awesomeness!|
Campaign mode adds a few additional constraints to regular play. First, the players are allowed to change their decks, but not their heroes. If you absolutely must change a hero, each player takes a permanent +1 penalty on their starting threat from there on out. Similarly, if a hero dies, they must be replaced and all players take a +1 penalty. So we must choose our starting heroes wisely!
(all card images courtesy of Hall of Beorn- yet another amazing LOTR LCG resource!)
Boons the players earn boons as a reward for their questing. These boons come in the form of cards either added to their deck, attached to a hero on setup, or added to the encounter deck.
Burdens Unfortunately, as the weight of the ring grows on the ringbearer, burdens hinder the players and follow them from quest to quest. Like boons, burdens may begin the game attached to a hero, in the staging area, or even mixed into a player deck!
As Parker and I sat down to figure out what heroes to take, we knew we wanted to stay relatively thematic. At the very least, the heroes had to be present in the book, and ideally were directly interacting with Frodo and company. Parker's choice was simple as he decided to play Hobbits. Initially, I wanted to make an Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli deck work- but decided that's best saved for The Treachery of Saruman whenever that comes out!
Instead, I focused on the first part of the adventure, and chose as my heroes Lore Aragorn (Strider), Spirit Glorfindel, and Gandalf. My starting threat is 31 which is nothing to sneeze at, but I have three very powerful, very capable heroes.
1x Aragorn (The Watcher in the Water)
1x Gandalf (The Road Darkens)
1x Glorfindel (Foundations of Stone)
2x Envoy of Pelargir (Heirs of Numenor)
3x Northern Tracker (Core Set)
3x Elrond (The Road Darkens)
2x Master of the Forge (Shadow and Flame)
2x Erebor Hammersmith (Core Set)
2x Gleowine (Core Set)
2x Arwen Undomiel (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Bilbo Baggins (The Road Darkens)
2x Galadriel (The Road Darkens)
2x Gandalf Staff (The Road Darkens)
2x Wizard Pipe (The Road Darkens)
2x Celebrian's Stone (Core Set)
2x Sword that was Broken (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
3x Light of Valinor (Foundations of Stone)
2x Asfaloth (Foundations of Stone)
3x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
2x Gondorian Shield (The Steward's Fear)
2x Wingfoot (Nin-In-Eilph)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Elrond's Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Flame of Anor (The Road Darkens)
I really wanted the deck to be a swiss army knife capable of dealing with most obstacles. It can quest well, it can deal with locations well, it's got some treachery cancellation, and it can fight reasonably well. With Aragorn's ability to reduce my threat to my starting threat (31), combined with 3 copies of Elrond's Counsel, I feel confident I can keep from threating out in all but the most dire situations.
The Envoy of Pelargir is all about resource smoothing. Northern Tracker is obviously to join up with Asfaloth to manage locations. Elrond can help keep us healed and gives us a way to get rid of any nasty conditions. Master of the Forge, Bilbo, Galadriel, Gleowine, and Erebor Hammersmith are all about finding and keeping my important attachments.
Boy are there a lot of attachments in this deck. I think they're necessary to make my heroes all they can be, and get the most of them. All 3 heroes are fantastic, so I really wanted to focus on readying effects: 3x Unexpected Courage, 2x Wingfoot for Aragorn, and 3 Light of Valinors for Glorfindel (not to forget 2 copies of Flame of Anor for Gandalf!). By turn 3 or 4 I expect to be using all of my heroes twice in a turn. Other attachments include the musts for Gandalf (his staff and pipe), the Steward (and Shield!) of Gondor. Celebrian's Stone and the Sword that was Broken, while out-of-sphere do have a few different ways of making it into play. These will beef up Aragorn to be a questing beast.
Not much to say about these! A test of Will felt right, and Elrond's Counsel was necessary to help deal with my threat. Flame of Anor is primarily to ready Gandalf, but if discarding the right card, it could also help him gank a big meanie!
The deck does what I wanted it to do. It's thematic, it's well rounded, and it's capable. Will it see the ring to Rivendell? to Lorien? All the way to the Rauros Falls and the inevitable breaking of the fellowship? We'll find out at Fall In!
As a follow on- I officially apologize for being "Gandalf Guy" here! I am bringing several other decks along with me to play with people outside of our quest, to make sure I don't make anyone need to redo their deck!
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