With the release of The Antlered Crown, the Ring-maker cycle has been brought to a close. The Grey Company just released our last episode of the year in which we had an in-depth discussion about this cycle. Now, it seems only fitting to present the poll results and see which archetypes readers wanted to see supported. As with all cycles, some players will be delighted to see their favorite archetypes receive a wealth of new options, while other players will be dismayed at the lack of attention paid to their decks of choice.
Players were asked which archetype or theme they most wanted to see supported in the Ring-maker cycle. Polls are closed and results are in. After some intriguing spoilers, it is not a surprise to see Silvan elves as the most sought after trait for this cycle. Hero cards of the lord and lady of Lórien form the basis of these new decks. But they are far from alone – Celeborn and Galadriel are flanked by an impressive host of allies and events (and a few key attachments), which have helped to create an archetype that is not only viable, but tremendously entertaining to play.
To a lesser extent, Noldor have received some support from this cycle, but only of the most supplemental kind. Rohan received quite a bit of attention in the Voice of Isengard deluxe expansion, but like Gondor in the previous cycle, support for this trait seemed to wane a bit as the cycle progressed. Still, Tactics Rohan, especially as part of a “leaves play” strategy, is becoming an increasingly powerful archetype. Mounts represent another interesting synergy with these new Rohan cards – one that I am actively looking to explore with some paired Rohan and Gondor decks. Other than a couple of Spirit characters, Dúnedain did not see much support, but with the announcement of The Lost Realm, we can expect to see plenty more from this trait in the next cycle.
With Galadriel’s ring Nenya, we did see more Rings, but many players (myself included) are still looking forward to a Narya attachment for Gandalf – and possibly even a future Círdan hero. From a narrative standpoint this cycle was more about Saruman’s attempt to create a ring, so it makes sense that we would not have other rings as player cards. Still, as a big fan of the Middle-earth CCG from the 90s, I would love to see minor rings make an appearance in our beloved LCG.
Secrecy received minor but notable support in this cycle. Ithilien Lookout in particular is a card that I have found very valuable in my Hobbit secrecy deck. A set of interesting pseudo-Secrecy events were also included in the cycle. The flexibility of an event that works at its normal cost regardless of threat level is much appreciated for the late game, when a Secrecy deck has shrugged off its protective veil. Noiseless Movement is especially potent when combined with the new hero version of Haldir of Lórien.
One of the few disappointments of the cycle for some players is the Isengard trait. With two allies in The Voice of Isengard that keyed off of player cards with the Doomed keyword, it seemed as though a “Doomed-deck” built around Gríma and Keys of Orthanc. Sadly this archetype was not to be. While the cycle saw a few more doomed cards, of varying quality, it is hard to say that there is a specific archetype around this cards. It seems more likely that these cards will be splashed into existing decks – probably ones with threat-reduction effects.
Hobbits and Dwarves received almost no attention in this cycle, but between The Hobbit and The Black Riders saga expansions, these traits were already well-established. The good news is that the game is as healthy as it has ever been. Saga expansions are going full-bore and from what little we know of the next deluxe expansion, we have many excellent cards and quests in our future. Thanks again to everyone who voted, and please be sure to participate in the latest poll. From everyone at the Hall of Beorn, we wish you all a happy and safe New Year and a 2015 filled with Friendship and Adventure!