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Monday, January 19, 2015

LotR LCG Deck List: Grima's Time to Shine!

When playing a cooperative game like LotR:LCG there's an unspoken agreement that each of the players will work with each other toward the completion of the quest. No player will actively try to sabotage another, since the players will either win as a group or fail as a group. That said, there's a certain deck archetype (of which I am a fan) that pushes this social contract to its limit.

I don't know what it is, but for some reason I have always been drawn toward using the Grima hero card. I think part of it has to do with my loathing of not having enough resources to pay for cards in my hand, so I'll rarely think twice about taking the threat hit if it means being able to play a card. Unfortunately, while the only player I need to keep happy in solo play is myself, in multi-player my companions quickly grow weary of my, ummm... 'audacity' with regard to the threat tracker. 

Having enjoyed the Grima hero card so much I've actually gone back into the books and searched for any sort of moral justification for my affection for Grima. The evidence is slight, but my friends have gotten used to me saying that Grima isn't necessarily evil, just "misunderstood". Many players probably are completely put-off by his ability, but just as in the books I believe his hero card is simply misunderstood. Let's take a look at making Grima work in multi-player.

The deck I've outlined below is fairly thematic. It is well known that Aragorn fought with the Rohirrim at some point prior to the events in The Lord of the Rings, and perhaps in a slightly alternate universe he would have fought alongside Theodred. In terms of gameplay, this deck is capable of generating a ludicrous amount of resources. There are a lot of unique cards in there, but we'll need them if we are going to unleash the full power of this deck while simultaneously rescuing our fellow players from threating-out.

Aragorn (Lore)

Allies (25):

Attachments (12):
Events (14):
Desperate Alliance x 3

Solo Adjustment: Remove the Desperate Alliance and Errand Rider cards, add 2 copies of Henamarth Riversong and 3 copies of Ever Vigilant

Possible Changes: If there is a hero conflict with the unique allies then replace those allies with Ever Vigilant.

In my opening hand I'm looking for either Keys of Orthanc or Steward of Gondor, and preferably both. All of the attachments in this deck are meant for Aragorn, which will ensure that we are able to play Desperate Alliance when we need it (because Celebrian's Stone gives him a spirit resource icon). By the time he's fully kitted-out, Aragorn will have access to the Lore, Leadership, and Spirit spheres. Of course, the primary reason we have Lore Aragorn in this deck is for his ability to reset a player's threat dial. Not only will we be using this for ourselves, but Desperate Alliance allows us to help keep other players in the game.

We have 8 event cards in the deck that'll help us draw more cards, and Ally Galadriel can help thin the deck as well by getting attachments into play for free! Ally Elrond can also help draw cards, but with the rise of condition cards in current encounter decks I generally hold him back to come in and save the day.

You will notice right away that there are a lot of high-cost allies in this deck, and not an Elf Stone in sight! Well, this is where Grima shines. All of those high-cost cards that you're reluctant to include in any other deck become viable with Grima. Haldir is a fantastic ally, and his Sentinel and Ranged ability will help out your multi-player buddies, which will be necessary because they aren't going to enjoy raising their threat just for your own benefit. 

Behold his noble visage! What isn't there to trust?

We continue our trend of un-thematic allies with the Errand-Riders. At a certain point in the game this deck is going to be swimming in resources, and it behooves you to send some money to the other players. Speaking of helping other players, Warden of Healing is the best healer in the game, and should definitely be used to first help your teammates, who will likely shoulder the burden of combat in the opening turns. 

One fun new addition to the deck is the Ents! Treebeard's release in The Antlered Crown AP makes it possible for this deck to access the tactics ally Booming Ent. I've found Treebeard to be an awesome ally, especially when I can use Grima to effectively get him into play for 2 resources (reduced from costing 4 resources to 3, then making a resource back on Keys of Orthanc). Ever Vigilant is a Core Set card that hasn't gotten a lot of use over the course of the game, but I think it'll enter a whole new era of utility with the Ents. This deck can quest and generate resources like a boss, and now the Ents add some combat muscle!

This was the end of a successful solo attempt at The Three Trials 

One problem this deck currently has is that it relies on several allies that have hero cards of their own (Elrond, Galadriel, Gandalf, and Haldir), meaning that it might take a bit of coordination in multi-player to ensure that there isn't a hero conflict. Losing access to Ally Galadriel or Ally Gandlaf is a huge blow to this deck. 

This girl ruins everything!

That just about wraps up my thoughts for this deck. I hope you've given Grima and the Doomed mechanic a second thought - it isn't all negative! If you have any questions or suggestions leave a comment below, or feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @PIflamesofwar or @WWPDFellowship. Thanks for reading!

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