Deck: GenCon 2014 (Updated)

GenCon2014-badgeAnother year has flown by, and it is once again time for my pilgrimage to the far-off kingdom of Indianapolis. The convocation of nerd-wizards always brings some surprises, and an early look at the latest expansions for our fair game. Best of all, it will provide an opportunity to play multi-player games with friends, and without the need for OCTGN and Skype.

Gandalf-TRDThis year, recent talk has focused on the just-announced Gandalf hero, and how dramatically he looks to shake up the meta-game. I for one and very excited about the GenCon exclusive quest. This year we will be traveling to the Barrow Downs. This bear is hoping to run into an old friend, Mr. Tom Bombadil, along the way. As good as my honey cakes are, the only food that I’ve had to better them is the food served by Tom Bombadil and his wife Goldberry. In any case, there will no doubt be lots of nasty undead enemies to slay along the way, which should help to build up a powerful appetite.

We of The Grey Company have decided to coordinate our decks this year, so that we can play four player games using heroes that represent the members of Fellowship of the Ring. The hope is that The Road Darkens will be available at GenCon, so that we can play it together with these decks. With 12 heroes between us, and only nine in the original fellowship, we will obviously have to make some allowances for more minor characters in our decks. Another interesting twist, and one that needs to be accounted for when gauging the relative strength of the new Gandalf hero, is the impact of not being able to use either version of his ally card. Looking at the deck list below, the absence of Sneak Attack and Core Set Gandalf are both notable.

Campfire TalesAside from the omission of the ever-present wizard, this deck has several other features which mark is as a multi-player and support deck. Bill the Pony, while always a worthwhile ally to include in any deck with Sam Gamgee, is also here to boost the other decks which will include Hobbit heroes, as well as the Frodo Baggins fellowship hero. Campfire Tales, often not worth including in a solo deck, is quite strong in four-player games, especially when some of the other decks will lack card draw. Vassal of the Windlord and Rivendell Bow will provide some much-needed Range – always vital in multi-player games. The latter card is an excellent target for another player’s Glorfindel, as that hero will often be ready for combat after the quest phase.

Elven-Mail-smallAs illustrated in one of last year’s GenCon decks, Elrohir can become quite the defensive power with aid from Steward of Gondor and Gondorian Shield. The latest adventure pack brought us Elven Mail, which provides two things our defender has typically lacked: Sentinel and extra hit points. Those extra two hit points are almost as important as the Sentinel, because this deck lacks shadow cancellation. Still, the Sentinel is the biggest advantage of this attachment, with it Elrohir should be able to defend for all players at the table.

the-wizardss-voice-smallIn cases where we lack the Leadership resources for extra defending, or the enemy is simply too large, Feint is a logical inclusion for a support deck. In case of emergency, this deck even features two copies of The Wizard’s Voice. While Doomed 3 might seem like a hefty cost, the idea of being able to use 1 card to prevent 4 attacks in a critical round makes this a worthwhile inclusion. While a player might complain about raising their threat by 3, if it means saving one of their heroes from death, it seems like a fair trade.

This deck also includes an excessive amount of readying effects, if it was to be used for solo play. Given that each of our heroes already has an ability to ready themselves, some might wonder at the choice to include three copies of Cram and Grim Resolve. The idea here is that these cards are for the benefit of the other three players at the table. Grim Resolve, in particular, is an amazingly powerful card in a four player game. Cram will most likely be attached to Legolas, or Aragorn, given their useful keywords.

Errand-rider is a must in any deck which features resource acceleration or heroes from different spheres. In the case where there are fewer enemies, and Elrohir starts to pile up excess resources, we can always send them to other players. It is always a good idea, for example, to ensure that the players who include Spirit in their deck can afford to pay for their cancellation cards. If for some reason other players don’t need extra resources, this deck has a handful of powerful but expensive allies that it can pay for as well.

FaramirThe last card worth mentioning is Faramir. Three copies may seem excessive, but like Grim Resolve, the power of this card is so magnified in a four player game, that we want to make absolutely certain that we can get him on the table at some point. To be clear, it is very unlikely that I will be using Faramir to boost my own characters. This deck is much more designed as a combat and support deck – it’s primary role is not to quest. Other decks at the table however, will be committing many more characters to the quest, at which point Faramir’s ability becomes truly game-changing.

Apart from the as-yet unknown fate of The Road Darkens, it is always fun going into a new GenCon scenario not knowing what you will face. Four player games can be particularly challenging, as a bit of bad luck or an odd mix of locations can mean staging area lock and a quick death for all. This risk is precisely why this deck is so extreme in some of its choices. The main goal of this deck is two-fold: to use Elrohir and combat tricks (Feint, Wizard’s Voice) to ensure that we can safely engage most enemies immediately, and to use global boosting and readying effects to ensure that the other players can focus on making quest progress unimpeded. The fact the the readying will also allow other players to help out with combat is another benefit of this approach.

In any case, it will be interesting to see whether or not the lack of Core Set Gandalf greatly hinders this deck. I am also curious to see whether or not The Wizard’s Voice can be a life-saving card, or it just sits dead in my hand. More than anything, I can’t wait to see my friends from the Grey Company and enjoy some intense multi-player games of The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game. For anyone attending GenCon 2014, we will be at the Cardboard of the Rings event Friday morning, as well as hosting our own event off-site that same evening. Safe travels to all those attending, and I look forward to meeting you there!

Fellowship – Elladan, Elrohir, Sam Gamgee

elladanelrohirSam Gamgee

Heroes:
Elladan (RtR)
Elrohir (TRG)
Sam Gamgee (TBR)

Allies: 18
Errand-rider (HoN) x3
Vassal of the Windlord (TDM) x3
Bill the Pony (TBR) x3
Bofur (TH:OHaUH) x2
Denethor (EaAD) x2
Erestor (TLD) x2
Faramir (Core) x3

Attachments: 18
Cram (TH:OHaUH) x3
Gondorian Shield (TSF) x3
Rivendell Blade (RtR) x3
Rivendell Bow (TWitW) x3
Steward of Gondor (Core) x3
Elven Mail (TTT) x3

Events: 14
The Wizard’s Voice (VoI) x2
Foe-Hammer (TH:OHaUH) x3
Campfire Tales (THfG) x3
Feint (Core) x3
Grim Resolve (Core) x3

Post-GenCon Update!

Here are the rest of the Grey Company’s Decks.

Ian’s Deck

Gandalf-TRD-smallAragorn (TWitW)glorfindel

Heroes:
Gandalf (TRD)
Aragorn (TWitW)
Glorfindel (FoS)

Allies: 16
Bilbo Baggins (TRD) x3
Elrond (TRD) x2
Ethir Swordsman (TSF) x3
Ithilien Tracker (HoN) x2
Warden of Healing (TLD) x3
West Road Traveller (RtM) x3

Attachments: 18
Miruvor (SaF) x3
Gandalf’s Staff (TRD) x2
A Burning Brand (TWitW) x2
Light of Valinor (FoS) x3
Sword that was Broken (TWitW) x2
Expert Treasure-hunter (TH:OtD) x2
Asfaloth (FoS) x2
Unexpected Courage (Core) x2

Events: 18
Flame of Anor (TRD) x3
Feint (Core) x3
A Test of Will (Core) x3
Hasty Stroke (Core) x3
Elrond’s Counsel (TWitW) x3
Daeron’s Runes (FoS) x3

Matthew’s Deck

Boromir (Core)Gimlilegolas

Heroes:
Boromir (TDM)
Gimli (Core)
Legolas (Core)

Allies: 25
Westfold Outrider (VoI) x3
Veteran Axehand (Core) x3
Gondorian Spearman (Core) x3
Winged Guardian (THfG) x3
Beorn (Core) x2
Landroval (AJtR) x2
Vassal of the Windlord (TDM) x3
Eagles of the Misty Mountains (RtM) x3
Farmer Maggot (TBR) x2
Knight of Minas Tirith (AoO) x2

Attachments: 19
Rohan Warhorse (VoI) x2
Blade of Gondolin (Core) x2
Horn of Gondor (Core) x3
Dwarrowdelf Axe (KD) x2
Rivendell Blade (RtR) x2
Ring Mail (TLD) x3
Gondorian Shield (TSF) x3
Gondorian Fire (AoO) x2

Events: 6
Foe-Hammer (TH:OHaUH) x3
Feint (Core) x3

Derek’s Deck

fatty-bolger-tbr-smallmerry-tbr-smallPippin (TBR)

Heroes:
Fatty Bolger (TBR)
Merry (TBR)
Pippin (TBR)

Allies: 14
Farmer Maggot (TBR) x2
Barliman Butterbur (TBR) x2
Escort from Edoras (AJtR) x3
Arwen Undómiel (TWitW) x2
Bilbo Baggins (TRD) x2
Warden of Healing (TLD) x3

Attachments: 12
Fast Hitch (TDM) x3
Good Meal (TRG) x3
Hobbit Pipe (TBR) x3
Dagger of Westernesse (TBR) x3

Events: 24
Daeron’s Runes (FoS) x3
Take No Notice (TBR) x3
Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core) x3
Test of Will (Core) x3
Dwarven Tomb (Core) x2
Smoke Rings (TBR) x3
Unseen Strike (TRG) x2
Halfling Determination (TBR) x3
Power of Orthanc (VoI) x2

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25 Responses to Deck: GenCon 2014 (Updated)

  1. Ian says:

    Hey beorn. Will you be posting your fellow Grey company’s decks also? I’d like to give Em a try with your gen con deck

    • Beorn says:

      I don’t have all of their final deck lists yet, but once I do I will go ahead and post them here.

    • Beorn says:

      Please check the updated post above, it now includes all of the deck lists. Unfortunately, since The Road Darkens is not yet released, you will need to use proxies to enjoy these decks right away. Have fun!

  2. Does Gandalf (hero) lose his effectiveness, the more players there are? Solo, he is fantastic, I’ve yet to try him 2 handed, but with 4 players – you’re missing out on a lot of ‘gandalfing’ !

    • Beorn says:

      Yes, this is definitely one of the real disadvantages of a Gandalf hero. For so many decks, Core Set Gandalf is the do-everything utility card that gets them out of trouble. Losing this versatility can be a serious problem, depending on the design of the other decks.

  3. OnkelZorni says:

    Enjoy GenCon, hope to see some updates from there. Would be nice if you could share any lotr-news.

    • Beorn says:

      I absolutely will post updates about the GenCon exclusive quest, and hopefully The Road Darkens. You can also check the Grey Company Podcast Facebook page.

  4. Glaurung says:

    Good man! Sounds like you really prepare for Gen Con! I should come there next year! i must go yes! Wish you luck and hope you will tell us all news about our lovely Lotr lcv

    • Beorn says:

      Thanks Glaurung! You should come next year, GenCon is a lot of fun.

      • Glaurung says:

        I thinking come this time actually but so much works and i travel a lot, I’m just……forget about it…..
        .Next year i should to come! Hope to see you and talk to all of your Grey Company team! Your videos is Blast! I love it! Hope you will make more! 3 or 4 players some Nmode scenarios maybe? That will be awesome!

        Cheers!

  5. Traekos77 says:

    When using the Gandalf Hero, does everyone play with their top card visible or just the Gandalf player?

    With 9 Fellowship Heroes amongst the 13 in play (4 * 3 + 1). I’m surprised you only had one Fellowship Hero in your deck. I’m curious which versions of Aragorn and Boromir will end up vein played. With Legolas, Gimli and Merry as Tactics Heroes, I’d think the four of you would avoid using any others.

    • Traekos77 says:

      Forgot about Pippin too! Another sphere choice for him!

    • Beorn says:

      Theme is one thing, but also wanted to make each of the decks strong, from a strategic standpoint. Pairing Merry with Gimli and Legolas is not the best use of his ability, since his attack is only 1. Granted, his readying ability is still quite powerful, it makes more sense to pair him with Lore Pippin to take increase the effectiveness of both of their abilities. In any case, as I mentioned in the article, there were going to be three non-Fellowship heroes, so using Elladan and Elrohir for two of them was a good balance of theme and strategy. Ultimately, the deck did well and allowed us to surviveThe Old Forest, so see it as a success. Thanks for your feedback!

  6. The text on Gandalf says “your” – so just the player playing Gandalf reveals his top card.

    I’ve been playing Gandalf with merry and Glorfindel for a starting threat of 25!

  7. Beorn says:

    For anyone interested in the decks used by the other members of The Grey Company, check the updated post above.

    • Ian says:

      Hey, thanks for the deck lists. Great stuff. The second deck with Gandalf, were the cards just printed out and used cause some are from the road darkens? Im guessing ffg policy is as long as its spoiled proxies can be used? Just curious cause I havent played in their events yet.

      • Beorn says:

        Ian actually did not end up playing his Gandalf deck, since The Road Darkens was not at GenCon as expected. FFG has no official policy on proxies. As a cooperative game, it is really up to the players what they deem acceptable. We did play one game at the Cardboard of the Rings listener event with a player that had a Gandalf, Galadriel, Beravor support deck which featured many proxies. I certainly did not complain about having my threat lowered and drawing extra cards! After all, I wouldn’t be a very nice bear if I turned down gifts.

  8. Sean says:

    Uhm any thought of revising this deck as a general use revision? Ie not assuming gandalf hero would be in play and not really restricting it in ways that you did for that specific pairing… Basically, how you would update called to the sea if you made it fresh today?

    • Beorn says:

      Remove 1 copy of Grim Resolve, 2 copies of Wizard’s Voice and 3 copies of Cram to add 3x Sneak Attack and 3x Gandalf (Core). Until you have Elrohir setup w/ Steward, Shield and Mail, always use Gandalf for card draw. Otherwise threat reduction helps Sam trigger his ability more often, or direct damage can take out a hard-to-kill enemy. Good luck!

  9. Sean says:

    Uhm do you consider it superior to called to the sea? Beside supporting another hobbit or hobbit centric deck….

  10. Sean says:

    Also if you kept this deck in the core gandolf version what changes do you think would improve its pairing with secrets of the wise? That would be a good revision set of decks for an update… Ie if gencon 2013 were today and you could use the current card pool and tried to use those two , how would you do it? Seems hard to make secrets of the wise more hobbit centric without radically altering the design… I have been thinking of a mod of both to carry hobbits (as hobbits are just cool).

  11. Sean says:

    Being thematic also kills the power level duh… So, I don’t think it could afford the luxury… But that would be a cool set of decks too.

  12. Gwaihir the Windlord says:

    Very cool decks! I am a slave to theme when it come to LotR, however, and as such I am determined to use only members of the Fellowship (until we come to Rohan and Gondor, of course). I plan on building decks that use only attachments and events, and even them I will be restricting my use as far as theme is concerned (no Steward of Gondor for me!). So far I just have the heroes:
    Deck One: Gandalf, Boromir. Deck Two: Strider, Legolas, Gimli. Deck Three: Merry, Pippin, Sam.
    If anyone’s got ideas, please share them with me. I haven’t gotten past this yet.

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