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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

LOTR LCG - Resource Smoothing: Heroes, Attachments, Allies, and Events!

By Grant "pfcamygrant" Ellis

Resource smoothing is the technique used to pay for events, allies, and attachments beyond the native sphere of a hero. A prime example of this is  Bifur, a Dwarf hero right out of Khazad-Dum with an innate ability to once per round add a resource to his pool as long as a hero is willing to give him one. With respect to the lore, many of the artifacts and items of legends were of great importance; they were held and passed from the greatest and valiant inhabitants of Middle-Earth and while seem may be less than impressed with their overall effects, we must remember that this is a game that comes down to a single phase; the value of a single resource is great. Thus the ability to add a sphere of influence is seen as rare and great. Likewise, fortuitous events that occur can turn the tide of a battle.

 If you are going to sacrifice a Hero slot to a character that can smooth resources, either innately or through Attachment effects, you have options. We have mentioned Bifur and his ability to add one resource to his pool. The Lore-sphere hero Elrond is capable of paying for allies of any sphere, and when his ring of power, Vilya, attaches to him he gains the Spirit Resource icon (and the ability to pay for cards at no cost when triggering the card effect). Likewise, Galadriel gains the Lore resource icon when her ring, Nenya, attaches to her. Aragorn (who comes in Leadership, Lore, Tactics, and Fellowship spheres) gains spheres through artifacts that pertain to him, such as the Ring of Barahir, Celebrian’s Stone, and The Sword That Was Broken. As an outlier, the Neutral Hero Gandalf can pay for the card on top of the deck (which he constantly has the ability to scry and manipulate through the use of his pipe) as if he has the icon of any sphere.  Some of the cons when using heroes in conjunction with unique attachments is the reliance on drawing the cards that enable the smoothing to occur.

Outside of the artifact attachments, other Attachment cards that provide resource smoothing are the Neutral-sphere Songs that can add an additional sphere to a hero character, useful in tri-sphere or to even out the odds of being able to pay for a particular card. Sometimes these cards can help ease the stress of a tri-sphere group of Noldor elves or pay for additional dwarf allies that Dain can give bonuses to. Additionally, heroes that bear the Dwarf-trait can utilize the Leadership attachment Narvi’s Belt and pay for cards of any sphere during the phase in which the effect is triggered.

As we look to the Ally cards, the previously mentioned Errand-Rider is a bargain at 1 resource cost and two hit points, with the ability to smooth resources. Within the Leadership Sphere, we also see the 2-cost Pelargir Ship Captain smooth resources upon entering play, while contributing modest Willpower, Questing, and HP to the party. A Neutral Ally, the Envoy of Pelargir, can add a resource (effectively accelerating) the resource pool of a Gondor or Noble hero. In multiplayer games, the Blue Mountain Trader can be sent to another player should the player elect to move a resource to the pool of a hero you control.

A pair of zero cost event cards also help smooth resources during a game, Parting Gifts can be utilized to move resources from a Leadership hero to any other hero’s pool. The Neutral card A Good Harvest can be used to allow any resources to pay for cards of a named sphere during a phase.

Over the course of this article we have examined many different ways to smooth resources, whether it is through Unique Attachments that add a resource icon to a character, a low-cost Ally, or a neutral Event that lasts for the duration of a phase. We can conclude through examining the cards that the bulk pertain to the Leadership-sphere. How does this work practically in a deck?

This week I assembled a deck that emphasized Resource Smoothing, making use of Elrond’s ability to pay for Allies of any sphere or at no cost through his ring, unique attachments that mention Aragorn by name, and the resource smoothing Dwarf Bifur.

Check out this Resource Smoothing Deck on CardGameDB

Hero: (3)
Aragorn (Core Set)
Bifur (Khazad-dum)
Elrond (Shadow and Flame)

Starting Threat: 32

Ally: (20)
3x Arwen Undomiel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Errand-rider (Heirs of Numenor)
2x Faramir (Core Set)
2x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
2x Erebor Hammersmith (Core Set)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
3x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)
2x Descendant of Thorondor (The Hills of Emyn Muil)

Attachment: (17)
3x Sword that was Broken (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Ring of Barahir (The Steward's Fear)
3x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
2x Narvi's Belt (Khazad-dum)
3x Vilya (Shadow and Flame)
2x Celebrian's Stone (Core Set)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event: (13)
2x A Good Harvest (The Steward's Fear)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Elrond's Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Gaining Strength (The Steward's Fear)
2x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)

Want to join the conversation? Please sound off in the comments below, or let us know on our forum!

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