Play Report: The Might of Caldara

Caldara - Passing of the Grey Company Round 2

This photo was from a game that we played last night against The Passing of the Grey Company, at our local Austin LotR LCG group. It must seem unbelievable, but it captures the end of my second planning phase. Prince Imrahil, in addition to having amazing art, is the last piece to catapult Caldara decks into the upper echelon. I’ve built an Aggro Caldara deck, inspired by the one I used last night, that you can check out over on RingsDB.

Prince-Imrahil-FotWOne of the nice things about card games is that, every once in a while, the randomness falls in your favor. In over 20 years of playing card games, last night’s game was one of the best starts I’ve ever had – in any game. There is a rush when your deck gets the perfect draw and is firing on all cylinders, with everything is playing out exactly as you planned. It more than makes up for the frustrating defeats and false starts of past games. In a way, I’m glad that made changes to the deck that I used last night, because there was no way for that collection of cards to ever again achieve such a start. For those who are curious about the details, I’ve reposted them here from the deck description.


The setup for The Passing of the Grey Company allows you to raise your threat by 3 in order to gain an additional resource on each of your heroes. Whether or not you decide to take these extra resources, you have to discard your hand at the end of the first planning phase. Both of these changes to the normal setup proved to be instrumental to a wonderful turn of events. Caldara decks are pretty unique, in that forced discard actually ended up being beneficial.

I opened my first planning by playing Emery for free, and got lucky when she discarded Glorfindel, Damrod and Prince Imrahil from the top of my deck. With six resources, I then played Sword-thain on Emery and paid for an Imladris Stargazer (in retrospect, I should have played the Stargazer first and used her to setup Emery – but it worked out anyway). Next, I discarded Caldara to put Glorfindel, Damrod and Prince Imrahil into play (Emery being a hero allowed me to put 3 allies into play). I discarded Elven-light to give a resource to Arwen. At the end of that planning, I had to discard A Test of Will, Ethir Swordsman and two copies of Pelargir Shipwright.

On my second, with no cards in my hand, Prince Imrahil showed just how powerful he is with Caldara. Thanks to Elven-light and the Stargazer, I was able to draw into Fortune or Fate and a Northern Tracker. I discarded the Northern Tracker to Arwen, then played Fortune or Fate to return Caldara to play. She was not long for play however. I immediately discarded her again, which turned Prince Imrahil back into a hero and put me at 4 Spirit heroes (thanks to Emery). This allowed me to put Northern Tracker, Ethir Swordsman and two copies of Pelargir Shipwright into play on my second turn. For essentially the entire game I had ~25 willpower to commit to the quest.

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5 Responses to Play Report: The Might of Caldara

  1. Benjamin Comstock says:

    That is definitely some good draws there. Love the shipwrights get an extra willpower from Sword-thain. That combo makes them extremely efficient 4WP for 3 resources. How did the game run after that though? I only ask because we just tried this quest last night (with 4 players) and were destroyed with threat issues.

    • Beorn says:

      Yeah, the Shipwrights are great questers with 4 willpower – it’s even better when you can get them into play without paying for them. We were able to win in our three player game, but each of us had threat in the 40s before we finally took control of the game. The key was keeping the Overcome by Fear off of our threat dials (once we each removed it). We then used Double Back and The Galadhrim’s Greeting to lower everyone’s threat. One player also used Sneak Attack and Gandalf to reduce his threat. My Caldara deck focused on questing and we had a Gondor deck (Tactics Boromir, Leadership Faramir and Mablung) to help with combat. The third deck was also mono Spirit and helped with questing, threat reduction and action advantage (Cirdan + Narya). This is quest is not easy, but it is manageable with some luck and the right mix of decks. It benefited us to multiple Spirit decks to handle questing, cancelation and threat reduction. The Leadership/Tactics deck was specifically designed to handle combat, but everyone pitched in a bit on critical rounds. With the massive number of threat raising effects in that scenario, I would strongly suggest that multiple players include threat reduction in their decks.

  2. Anonim says:

    “I have a hard time imagining Caldara getting much play.”
    Ian, blogger.

    • Beorn says:

      To be fair, when she was first released I had a hard time imagining why anyone would use her either. It is quite an understatement to say that she has received major support since then. Glorfindel ally, Elven-light (and everything else played from the discard pile), and especially Prince Imrahil ally have all been major improvements to this strategy. Arwen hero is another critical piece to the puzzle as you can discard the expensive allies and offset the loss of a hero while Caldara is out of play.

  3. jamesarthurharrison says:

    Wow! That was awesome 🙂

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