Bear Draft v3: Card Pool

bear-diving-into-pool

Over the long weekend, the Austin LotR LCG group met and we had the opportunity to test the latest version of the Bear Draft. For the first time, we included the optional Signature Squad rules which I detailed in an earlier post. Being able to choose a General and receive 6 additional cards was a well-received tweak to the existing draft format. Players enjoyed being able to focus a strategy that was already present in their decks, or even add one that might have been lacking.

By it’s nature a draft pool is limited, so everyone is not going to be able to include 3 copies of each staple card in their deck. These constraints are a big part of the fun of draft – it forces you out of your comfort zone as a deck-builder and player. Still, players want to feel like their draft decks have some kind of strategic and thematic cohesion, and Signature Squads and Havens both allow for this.

argaladBecause of time constraints we decided not to include the optional Haven cards, but I hope to test those out in the near future. All told, we drafted a wide array of decks, including a staging area control deck built around Argalad. It was exciting to have my first exposure to this new hero be in a draft game.

The card pool for this game has slowly but steadily grown to the point where a limited format like draft is not nearly as difficult to play as it once was. In particular, the unique allies released in the last couple of Saga expansions have provided a notable improvement to the pool of available characters.

With so many characters appearing as both heroes and allies in multiple spheres, one important change to the games rules for draft is the uniqueness rule. Unique characters and attachments apply to each player rather than the entire group. This allows a player to play the Legolas ally while another player already controls the hero. With the number of duplicate unique cards in this game it would be very difficult to avoid this problem. In any case, the constraints of a limited card pool seem to more than make up for relaxing such a fundamental rule.

Before drafting player cards, we first drafted heroes. We took 1 copy of each hero printed to date, shuffled them up, and dealt out (mostly) even piles to each player. Since we didn’t want to eliminate any heroes, it was decided to allow for some players to receive larger piles than others. While this meant that some players ended up with one extra hero in their draft cards, it avoided having anyone’s favorite hero removed from the pool accidentally. With heroes drafted, we moved on to the main event of the Bear Draft, drafting the player cards.

glorfindel-allyWhat follows is a list of the player cards included in Bear Draft v3. Cards are divided into three rarities: common, uncommon and rare. Common cards have 3 total copies in the pool, uncommon cards have 2 copies and there is only a single copy of each rare care in the card pool. While this might at first seem too limiting for making a variety of decks, remember that Signature Squads and Havens both afford six additional cards for each player.

With 512 total player cards in the draft pool, cards are shuffled and built into 16 card “packs”. Players then receive 4 such packs and draft them over four successive rounds. To keep things interesting we alternate passing cards clockwise and counter-clockwise with each subsequent round. When all is said and done, players have 64 player cards drafted. From there each player has the chance to improve their decks through the optional rules which I’ve outlined in previous articles.

Gandalf-CoreOf their drafted heroes, each player will select up to 3 (so far no one has had the guts to run a 2 hero deck, but it may yet happen). With heroes selected, players can then choose a General and receive the Signature Squad for that General. Then, players can choose a Haven and receive its corresponding haven cards. Any of these bonus cards are optional, so players can include any or all of them in their decks. If they feel that there deck is strong enough, people can even opt out of receiving bonus cards entirely. Lastly, we gave each player the option of adding one copy of Core Set Gandalf and 1 resource Song card to their decks.

The minimum deck size for draft is 40 cards. We have found that this size is easy to meet with a starting pool of 64 cards plus bonus cards. In our latest draft, I even took a risk and fielded a 50 card deck which faired well. We chose a quest on the easier side of the difficulty scale, again because draft decks tend to be less powerful. That said, there is no reason why you could not play draft decks against a more difficult scenario, to truly put your drafting and building skills to the test. Variant game formats like draft are something which I’ve always enjoyed in card game, and its an enjoyment that seems to be shared by many in my local playgroup. I’m interested to hear other players’ perspectives on the card pool, rarities and bonus features of this exciting format. Those with interest in draft are encouraged to leave me comments and feedback below!

Leadership (120 total cards)

Common x3 (36 total cards)

ALLIES

Errand-rider Naith Guide Warrior of Lossarnach Dwarven Sellsword

ATTACHMENTS

Steward of Gondor Dúnedain Mark Dúnedain Warning Cram

EVENTS

Sneak Attack A Very Good Tale Gaining Strength Campfire Tales

Uncommon x2 (64 total cards)

ALLIES

Squire of the Citadel Weather Hills Watchman Warden of Helm’s Deep Pelargir Ship Captain
Herald of Anórien Snowbourn Scout Dúnedain Watcher Guardian of Arnor
Veteran of Osgiliath Longbeard Elder Silverlode Archer Son of Arnor
Gimli Faramir Orophin Galadriel

ATTACHMENTS

Hobbit Cloak Rod of the Steward Armored Destrier Visionary Leadership
Heir of Mardil King Under the Mountain Heir of Valandil O Lórien!

EVENTS

Captain’s Wisdom We Are Not Idle Feigned Voices Valiant Sacrifice
For Gondor! Tighten Our Belts Legacy of Númenor Anchor Watch

Rare x1 (20 total cards)

ALLIES

Halbarad Anborn Bill the Pony Glóin Fili
Forlong Erestor Ingold Ceorl Eldahir

ATTACHMENTS

Narvi’s Belt Dúnedain Signal Dúnedain Cache Celebrían’s Stone Sword that was Broken

EVENTS

Grim Resolve Lure of Moria Reinforcements Timely Aid Descendants of Kings

Tactics (120 total cards)

Common x3 (36 total cards)

ALLIES

Vassal of the Windlord Defender of Rammas Derndingle Warrior Knight of the Swan

ATTACHMENTS

Gondorian Shield Rohan Warhorse Dagger of Westernesse Raiment of War

EVENTS

Feint Quick Strike Hands Upon the Bow Sterner than Steel

Uncommon x2 (64 total cards)

ALLIES

Veteran Spearman Gondorian Spearman Honour Guard Westfold Outrider
Galadhon Archer Winged Guardian Booming Ent Fornost Bowman
Dúnedain Hunter Eagles of the Misty Mountains Erebor Battle Master Marksman of Lórien
Bofur Legolas Skinbark Grimbold

ATTACHMENTS

Captain of Gondor Blade of Gondolin Bow of the Galadhrim Rivendell Blade
Citadel Plate Spear of the Citadel Gondorian Fire Dwarven Axe

EVENTS

Foe-hammer Hold Your Ground! Behind Strong Walls Horn’s Cry
Boomed and Trumpeted The Eagles Are Coming! Skyward Volley Hail of Stones

Rare x1 (20 total cards)

ALLIES

Beorn Landroval Guthlaf Rúmil Gwaihir
Beechbone Farmer Maggot Boromir Déorwine Azain Silverbeard

ATTACHMENTS

Elven Mail Ring Mail Great Yew Bow Rivendell Bow Horn of Gondor

EVENTS

 Close Call  Straight Shot Hour of Wrath  Revealed in Wrath Thicket of Spears

Spirit (120 total cards)

Common x3 (36 total cards)

ALLIES

Galadriel’s Handmaiden Imladris Stargazer West Road Traveller Ethir Swordsman

ATTACHMENTS

Miruvor Unexpected Courage Ancient Mathom Light of Valinor

EVENTS

A Test of Will Hasty Stroke The Galadhrim’s Greeting Elven-light

Uncommon x2 (64 total cards)

ALLIES

Westfold Horse-breeder Escort from Edoras Zigil Miner Galadhrim Weaver
 Sailor of Lune Wandering Took Westfold Horse-breaker Northern Tracker
 Bofur Elven Jeweler Pelargir Shipwright Rhovanion Outrider
Arwen Undómiel Háma Lindir Elfhelm

ATTACHMENTS

Hobbit Pony Hobbit Pipe Silver Harp To the Sea, to the Sea!
Steed of Imladris Steed of the Mark Snowmane Blood of Númenor

EVENTS

Stand and Fight Fair and Perilous Dwarven Tomb Island Amid Peril
Tides of Fate Elwing’s Flight Free to Choose Elrond’s Counsel

Rare x1 (20 total cards)

ALLIES

Éomund Kili Dwalin Bilbo Baggins Sam Gamgee
Gamling Emery Damrod Prince Imrahil Glorfindel

ATTACHMENTS

Livery of the Tower Song of Earendil Silver Lamp Herugrim Ring of Barahir

EVENTS

Lords of the Eldar Scouting Party Will of the West Fortune or Fate Shadows Give Way

Lore (120 total cards)

Common x3 (36 total cards)

ALLIES

Erebor Hammersmith Warden of Healing Wandering Ent Anfalas Herdsman

ATTACHMENTS

Protector of Lórien Forest Snare Self Preservation Ranger Spikes

EVENTS

Daeron’s Runes Deep Knowledge Heed the Dream The Evening Star

Uncommon x2 (64 total cards)

ALLIES

Ithilien Tracker Daughter of the Nimrodel Galadhrim Minstrel Wellinghall Preserver
Ithilien Archer Sarn Ford Sentry Erebor Record-keeper Master of the Forge
Longbeard Map-maker Silvan Tracker Rivendell Minstrel Mirkwood Explorer
Gléowine Dori Elrond Quickbeam

ATTACHMENTS

Legacy of Durin Lembas A Burning Brand Entangling Net
Asfaloth Wingfoot Cloak of Lórien Ent Draught

EVENTS

Secret Paths Peace, and Thought Arrows from the Trees Distant Stars
Entmoot The Tree People Noiseless Movement Mithrandir’s Advice

Rare x1 (20 total cards)

ALLIES

Henamarth Riversong Gildor Inglorion Anborn (TBoG) Mablung Galdor of the Havens
Haldir of Lórien Bifur Barliman Butterbur Ghân-buri-Ghân Robin Smallburrow

ATTACHMENTS

Ranger Bow Fast Hitch Thror’s Key Expert Treasure-hunter Elf-stone

EVENTS

Quick Ears Take No Notice Word of Command Out of the Wild Advance Warning

Neutral (32 total cards)

Common x3 (9 total cards)

Envoy of Pelargir Resourceful A Good Harvest

Uncommon x2 (16 total cards)

Defender of the Naith Guardian of Rivendell Ered Luin Miner Ranger of Cardolan
Treebeard Elf-friend Sword-thain Hidden Cache

Rare x1 (7 total cards)

Saruman Radagast Good Meal Keys of Orthanc
Favor of the Valar Strider The Seeing-stone
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8 Responses to Bear Draft v3: Card Pool

  1. Kakita Shiro says:

    So what decks actually for built from the draft?

    • Beorn says:

      Galadriel, Hirluin, and Mablung: Heavy Silvan/Outlands quest deck with support from ally Faramir
      Beregond, Lanwyn and Bard the Bowman: A combat deck with Feint, Hands Upon the Bow and Great Yew Bow
      Argalad, Pippin and Mirlonde: Mono-Lore staging area control and support with card draw and healing
      Aragorn (Tactics), Amarthiul and Damrod: Dunedain Trap deck
      Dori, Glorfindel and Bifur: Hybrid Questing/Support deck

  2. Oh man. Thanks for posting the list. Going to be making a lot of proxies in the near future 🙂

    Also, always love the featured images. Nicely done!

    • Beorn says:

      Thanks, Took! One of my next projects is to post some more alternate art for the staple cards in the draft pool. That should prove useful to you when you are printing proxies.

  3. Daniel Lane says:

    Could you send me all your alternate art card images? I find them awesome!!!!! Also do you know what the exclusive cards are that came in the fellowship and game night kits?

  4. Daniel Lane says:

    Also what is the First Age expansion and the Doom Master cycle?????

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