Bear Draft v5 at Lure of Middle-earth 2019

In less than a week, I will pack my bags and head out from the Hall on an adventure. I’m heading to Castle Stahleck for the Lure of Middle-earth 2019 Convention. If I’m going to travel half way around the world to play the Lord of the Rings, it seems only fitting that I should update the Bear draft in honor of the occasion.

For those unfamiliar with this format, you might want to refer to previous articles about the Bear Draft. In short, this is a limited format of the game, where eight players will sit around a table and draft hero cards and player cards in order to build their decks. The players will be split up into teams, and we will then use the new dynamic encounter sets from The Wizard’s Quest and The Woodland Realm to have each team build quests for the opposing team. Teams will then play their drafted player decks again the opposing team’s quest, with the team who finishes fastest (in number of rounds) being declared the winners.

This will be the first test of this format with the new dynamic quests, and I’m excited to see how that plays out. I’m considering requiring players to reveal their starting heroes to the opposing team before the quests are built, as this can add a deeper level of strategy. At Con of the Rings last year I had a chance to play against a devilishly clever dynamic quest built by Caleb and Matt Newman, so these quests seem like a perfect fit for draft.

It would have been nice if the Ered Mithin cycle was further along by this point, but the release of The Ghost of Framsburg does mean that the draft pool includes two thirds of this cycle. Dale and Woodmen should be viable archetypes now, along with a personal favorite, Beornings. The new Spirit version of Dáin is finally officially available, along with the lost Dwarven ring of power: Ring of Thrór. I’m curious to see how viable a Dwarven digging deck is in a limited format like draft.

Other than an updated card pool, I took opportunity to streamline the signature card lists down to 3 cards per hero. This means that I can now offer players (at their option) the signature cards from each of their three starting heroes. In addition, I have added back Havens from v3 of the draft, which have likewise been trimmed down to 3 cards each. After drafting heroes and players cards and collecting signature cards for each of their starting heroes, players will have the option of selecting one haven as the “home base” for their deck. This gives the players three additional cards to add their decks.

Havens are not only thematic (and a nice call-back to the beloved Middle-earth CCG), but they solve a growing problem with such large card pool. The game now includes many trait-specific and archetype-specific cards. In the right deck, these cards are incredibly powerful, but they are often dead cards in any other deck. A draft pool which includes too many of these niche but powerful cards and not enough generic staple cards will lead to an awkward mix of powerful and weak decks. The goal is for everyone to have a chance to build a viable deck, even with the constraints of this limited format.

To this end, most trait specific cards are now Rare. This means that archetype defining cards like O Lórien! and Visionary Leadership now only have one copy each in the base card pool. This frees up space for more solid staple cards and ensures that each player has the chance to fill gaps in the decks which might be otherwise difficult to fill with archetype-appropriate cards. Even so, signature cards and havens allow players still build viable trait-specific decks.

Let’s use O Lórien! as an example of how this might work. After the hero draft, each player ends up with 8 heroes and they don’t to choose which of those will be their starting heroes. Still, this gives everyone an idea of cards they might want to be on the lookout for during the player cards draft.

If I draft Celeborn as one of my 8 heroes during the hero draft, I’m going to be on more likely to take powerful Silvan allies which come my way during the player draft. If I happen to see the one copy of O Lórien! in the player draft, it makes sense to go ahead and draft that – given the synergy it has with Celeborn. Still, it might be difficult to find one copy of an attachment in a 40 card deck (draft deck minimum size is smaller to account for the limited card pool). This is where signature cards and havens come into play. Celeborn’s signature cards are: Orophin, O Lorien!, and Feigned Voices.

These three cards are an excellent start to a viable Silvan deck, and gives me my second copy of O Lorien!. If I want to go all-in on the Silvan strategy, I can select The Naith as the starting haven for my party. This grants me the following cards: Galadriel (ally), O Lórien!, and Swift and Silent. This means that it is possible to draft a Silvan deck which three copies of O Lórien!

This comes with a couple of caveats. First of all, eacg haven can only be chosen by one player and players randomly determine the order in which they choose their havens. So it is possible that another player will have chosen your desired haven first. Also, each haven has requirements which must be met in order for a player to select it as their starting haven. The Naith, for instance, requires that a player has at least two heroes with the Noldor or Silvan trait.

Havens are a great way to supplement heroes with commonly paired attachments, so it is not a given in the above example that I would choose The Naith. It might make more sense to use your haven choice to supplement one of your other heroes.

For example, if one of your other heroes is Galadriel, it doesn’t make as much sense to choose The Naith as your haven. You can’t play ally Galadriel in a deck which already includes her as a hero, so one of your haven cards would be useless. Moreover, Galadriel is far less versatile without her ring, Nenya. I just so happens that the haven Caras Galadhon includes Nenya, Defender of the Naith, and Silvan Refugee. These cards not only support Galadriel, but they give you sentinel (otherwise lacking in most Silvan decks) and extra early game questing support.

Below are the lists of heroes, signature cards, havens and player cards for Bear Draft v5. I look forward to meeting players for around the world, and seeing how well this latest version of the draft performs. Happy travels, fellow adventurers!

Overview

Draft Pool: 512 player cards and 64 hero cards

  • 8 players
  • 1 hero draft round with an 8 card pack (8 heroes per player)
  • 4 player card draft rounds with 16 card packs (64 player cards per player)
    • 160 common player cards (5 per pack)
    • 256 uncommon player cards (8 per pack)
    • 96 rare player cards (3 per pack)

Each Sphere: 120 player cards

  • 36 common: 18 allies, 9 attachments, 9 events
  • 64 uncommon: 32 allies, 14 attachments, 14 events, 4 side quests
  • 20 rare: 10 allies, 5 attachments, 5 events

Neutral: 32

  • 16 common: 6 allies, 3 attachments, 4 events
  • 16 rare: 3 allies, 2 attachments, 2 events, 1 side quest

Each player receives (at their option):

  • 1 copy of Core Gandalf
  • 1 resource song (Battle, Kings, Travel, Wisdom)
  • The signature cards for each of their starting heroes
  • The haven cards from one haven (requirements must be met)

Heroes with Signature Cards

Leadership

Denethor: Faramir, Rod of the Steward, Wealth of Gondor
Hirluin the Fair: Forlong, Lord of Morthond, Men of the West
Sam Gamgee: Bill the Pony, Rosie Cotton, Hobbit Cloak
Théodred: Snowbourn Scout, Heir of Mardil, Gaining Strength
Balin: Dwarven Shield, Narvi’s Belt, We Are Not Idle
Thranduil: Greenwood Archer, Elvenking, Orcrist
Amarthiúl: Weather Hills Watchman, Heir of Valandil, Descendants of Kings
Erkenbrand: Armored Destrier, Day’s Rising x2
Brand son of Bain: Guardian of Esgaroth, Hauberk of Mail, Traffic from Dale
Elfhelm: Steed of Mark, Steed of the North, Rohan Warhorse
Khaliel: Kahliel’s Tribesman, Haradrim Spear, Kahliel’s Headdress
Boromir: Knight of the White Tower, Visionary Leadership, For Gondor!
Celeborn: Orophin, O Lorien!, Feigned Voices
Dáin Ironfoot: Hardy Leadership, King Under the Mountain, Durin’s Song
Aragorn: Arwen, Celebrian’s Stone, Captain’s Wisdom
Thorin Oakenshield: Glóin, Arkenstone, To me O my Kinsfolk

Tactics

Merry: Farmer Maggot, Dagger of Westernesse, Halfling Determination
Legolas: Galadhon Archer, Arod, Hands Upon the Bow
Hirgon: Gondorian Spearman, Knight of Minas Tirith, Red Arrow
Éowyn: Riddermark Knight, Windfola, Battle-fury
Beregond: Raven-winged Helm, Gondorian Shield, Behind Strong Walls
Brand Son of Bain: Warrior of Dale, Bow of Yew, Hour of Wrath
Éomer: Westfold Outrider, Firefoot, Guthwinë
Mablung: Dunedain Hunter, Followed, Wait No Longer
Bard the Bowman: Great Yew Bow, Black Arrow, Straight Shot
Boromir: Defender of Cair Andros, Captain of Gondor, Blade Mastery
Gimli: Erebor Battlemaster, Vigilant Guard, Khazad! Khazad!
Grimbeorn the Old: Beorning Skin-changer, Giant Bear, Beorn’s Rage
Prince Imrahil: Knight of Dol Amroth, Boromir, Captain of Gondor
Aragorn: Fornost Bowman, Sword that was Broken, Tireless Hunters
Beorn: Honour Guard, Horn’s Cry, Beorn’s Rage
Théoden: Elfhelm (Tactics), Snowmane, Herugrim

Spirit

Glorfindel: Light of Valinor, Asfaloth, Fair and Perilous
Merry: Hobbit Pony, Hobbit Pipe, Smoke Rings
Eleanor: Minas Tirith Lampwright, Damrod, Watchful Peace
Frodo Baggins: Sam Gamgee, Friend of Friends x2
Caldara: Emery, Prince Imrahil, Pelargir Shipwright
Arwen Undómiel: Glorfindel, To the Sea, To the Sea!, Elven-light
Bard son of Brand: North Realm Lookout, King of Dale, To Arms!
Éowyn: West Road Traveller, Windfola, Elven-light
Fastred: Rider of Rohan, Háma, Tides of Fate
Galadriel: Mirror of Galadriel, Nenya x2
Legolas: Woodland Courier, Mirkwood Long Knife, Island Amid Perils
Nori: Blue Mountain Trader, Bofur (Spirit), Untroubled by Darkness
Beregond: Blood of Numénor, Livery of the Tower, Desperate Defense
Dáin Ironfoot: Erebor Guard, Ring of Thror, Hidden Cache
Círdan the Shipwright: Narya x2, Lords of the Eldar
Théoden: Gamling, Herugrim, Snowmane

Lore

Pippin: Robin Smallburrow, Fast Hitch, Take No Notice
Bifur: Ered Nimrais Prospector, Longbeard Map Maker, Legacy of Durin
Denethor: Palantir, Dark Knowledge, Deep Knowledge
Ori: Erebor Record-keeper, Dori, Legacy of Durin
Thurindir: Thalion, Legacy Blade, Scout Ahead
Bilbo Baggins: Rivendell Minstrel; Fast Hitch; Peace, and Thought
Damrod: Anborn, Mablung, Poisoned Stakes
Galdor of the Havens: Lindon Navigator, The Long Defeat, Lorien’s Wealth
Haldir of Lórien: Lembas, Bow of the Galadhrim, Noiseless Movement
Beravor: Sarn Ford Sentry, Weather-stained Cloak, Quick Ears
Erestor: Galdor of the Havens, Protector of Lórien, Will of the West
Haldan: Mirkwood Hunter, Woodmen’s Path, The Hidden Way
Faramir: Guardian of Ithilien, Ranger Spear, Arrows from the Trees
Aragorn: Leather Boots, A Burning Brand, Wingfoot
Elrond: Imladris Caregiver, Vilya x2
Treebeard: Quickbeam, Ent Draught, Entmoot

Havens

Arnor

Annúminas
Requirements: 1 Dúnedain hero
Cards: Dúnedain Pathfinder, Northern Tracker, Warden of Annúminas

Archet
Requirements: 1 Dúnedain hero and 1 Player Side Quest
Cards: Thalion, The Storm Comes, Gather Information

Bree
Requirements: 2 Hobbit heroes
Cards: Barliman Butterbur, Leather Boots, Take No Notice

The East Road
Requirements: 1 Dúnedain or Hobbit hero and 1 Player Side Quest
Cards: East Road Ranger x2, The Road Goes Ever On

Fornost
Requirements: 1 Dúnedain or Hobbit hero
Tactics: Vigilant Dúnadan x2, Keep Watch

Weather Hills
Requirements: 1 Dúnedain hero
Cards: Halbarad, Heir of Valandil, Descendants of Kings

Erebor

The Gate of Erebor
Requirements: 1 Dwarf hero and 3 Dwarf allies
Cards: Kili, Fili, Untroubled by Darkness

Thráin’s Hall
Requirements: Dain Ironfoot or Thorin Oakenshield and 3 Dwarf allies
Cards: King Under the Mountain, The Arkenstone, Durin’s Song

Esgaroth

The Master’s Hall
Requirements: 1 Dale or Esgaroth hero and 3 Dale allies
Cards: Descendant of Girion, King of Dale, To Arms!

The Lake-town Quays
Requirements: 1 Dale or Esgaroth hero and 3 Item attachments
Leadership: Wiglaf, Ancestral Armor, Traffic from Dale

Fangorn

Derndingle
Requirements: 1 Ent hero or 3 Ent allies
Cards: Beechbone, Skinbark, Boomed and Trumpeted

Wellinghall
Requirements: 1 Ent hero or 3 Ent allies
Cards: Treebeard, Ent Draught, Entmoot

Gondor

Dol Amroth
Requirements: 1 Gondor hero and 2 Spirit heroes
Spirit: Prince Imrahil, Emery, Shadows Give Way

Drúadan Forest
Requirements: 1 Noble hero and 2 Lore heroes
Cards: Ghan-buri-ghan, Gléowine, Mithrandir’s Advice

Emyn Arnen
Requirements: 1 Gondor hero and 1 Ranger hero
Cards: Anborn, Emyn Arnen Ranger, Ithilien Pit

Houses of Healing
Requirements: Aragorn or 1 hero with the Gondor, Rohan, or Hobbit trait
Cards: Ioreth, Athelas, Houses of Healing

Osgiliath
Requirements: 1 Gondor hero and 1 Warrior hero
Cards: Boromir, Followed, Outmatched

Rammas Echor
Requirements: Hirgon hero or (1 Gondor hero and 1 Rohan hero)
Cards: Guthlaf, The Red Arrow, Oath of Eorl

The White Tower
Requirements: 1 Gondor hero and 3 Gondor allies
Cards: Denethor, Visionary Leadership, Wealth of Gondor

Imladris

Ettenmoors
Requirements: Aragorn hero
Cards: Celebrían’s Stone, Roheryn, Sword that was Broken

Fords of Bruinen
Requirements: 1 hero with the Noldor, Dúnedain or Hobbit trait
Cards: Glorfindel, Steed of Imladris, Fair and Perilous

Hall of Fire
Requirements: Elrond hero
Cards: Vilya, Guardian of Rivendell, Message from Elrond

House of Elrond
Requirements: 1 Noldor or Dúnedain hero
Cards: Elrond, Elladan, Elrohir

Khazad-dûm

Chamber of Mazarbul
Requirements: 1 Dwarf hero or 3 Dwarf allies
Cards: Bofur, Dwarrowdelf Axe, Ring Mail

Lindon

Ered Luin
Requirements: 2 Dwarf heroes
Cards: Ered Luin Miner, Ring of Thror, Well-equipped

The Grey Havens
Requirements: Círdan the Shipwright hero
Cards: Narya, Favor of the Valar, Silver Harp

Lune
Requirements: 1 Noldor hero and 3 Noldor allies
Cards: Lindir, To the Sea! To the Sea!, Lords of the Eldar

Mithlond
Requirements: 1 Noldor hero
Cards: Erestor, Warden of the Havens, Mariner’s Compass

Lothlórien

Hithaeglir
Requirements: 1 Noldor or Silvan hero
Cards: Rúmil, Elven Spear, Elven Mail

The Naith
Requirements: 2 Noldor or Silvan heroes
Cards: Galadriel, O Lórien!, Swift and Silent

Nimrodel
Requirements: 1 Noldor or Silvan hero
Cards: Silvan Tracker, Galadhrim Healer, Cloak of Lorien

Caras Galadhon
Requirements: Galadriel hero
Cards: Nenya, Defender of the Naith, Silvan Refugee

Mirkwood

The Carrock
Requirements: 1 Beorning hero or 3 Beorning allies
Cards: Beorn, Vigilant Guard, Beorn’s Rage

The Eyrie
Requirements: 3 Eagle allies
Cards: Gwaihir, Support of the Eagles, The Eagles are Coming

Elvenking’s Hall
Requirements: 1 Silvan hero or 3 Silvan allies
Cards: Galion, Quicker than Sight x2

Enchanted River
Requirements: 1 Silvan hero or 3 Silvan allies
Cards: Legolas, Arod, Pursuing the Enemy

Old Forest Road
Requirements: Haldan hero
Cards: Mirkwood Hunter, Forest Road Traveler, Woodmen’s Path

Rohan

Aglarond
Requirements: 1 Silvan hero and 1 Dwarf hero
Cards: Unlikely Friendship x3

Edoras
Requirements: 1 Rohan hero and 1 Leadership hero
Cards: Ceorl, Éothain, Guthwinë

Hornburg
Requirements: 1 Rohan hero and 1 Spirit hero
Cards: Gamling, Herugrim, Helm! Helm!

Westfold
Requirements: 1 Rohan hero and 1 Tactics hero
Cards: Grimbold, Déorwine, Firefoot

The Shire

Bag End
Requirements: 1 Hobbit hero
Cards: Bilbo Baggins, Hobbit Pipe, Small Target

Bagshot Row
Requirements: Sam Gamgee hero or ally
Cards: Rosie Cotton, Hobbit Cloak, Taste It Again!

Crickhollow
Requirements: 1 Hobbit hero or starting threat under 25
Cards: Leaf Brooch, Resourceful, Timely Aid

The Southfarthing
Requirements: 1 Hobbit hero and 1 Dwarf hero
Cards: Gandalf (Hobbit), Shadowfax, Glamdring

The Woody End
Requirements: 1 Dúnedain or Hobbit hero
Cards: Gildor Inglorion, Gildor’s Counsel x2

The South

Harad
Requirements: Kahliel hero
Cards: Southron Refugee, Kahliel’s Headress, The Storm Comes

Player Cards

Neutral

Common (x2)

Defender of the Naith Envoy of Pelargir Southron Refugee
Ered Luin Miner Guardian of Rivendell Favor of the Valar
Hidden Cache A Good Harvest

Rare

The Arkenstone Necklace of Girion Sword-thain
Ranger of Cardolan (x2) Treebeard (x2) Gandalf (Hobbit) (x2)
Magic Ring (x2) Open the Armory (x2) Resourceful (x2)
The Storm Comes

Leadership

Common (x3)

Allies
Errand Rider Naith Guide Andrath Guardsman
Warrior of Lossarnach Longbeard Elder Warden of Helm’s Deep
Attachments
Cram Ranger Provisions Steward of Gondor
Events
A Very Good Tale Man the Walls Campfire Tales

Uncommon (x2)

Allies
Dwarven Sellsword Snowbourn Scout Squire of the Citadel
Pelargir Ship Captain Greenwood Archer Herald of Anorien
Warden of the Havens Weather Hills Watchman Guardian of Arnor
Guardian of Esgaroth Khaliel’s Tribesman Veteran of Osgiliath
Knight of Dale Knight of the White Tower Longbeard Orc Slayer
Rewater Sentry
Attachments
Dúnedain Remedy Dúnedain Mark Dúnedain Signal
Dúnedain Warning Hauberk of Mail Dúnedain Cache
Armored Destrier
Events
Captain’s Wisdom Feigned Voices Gaining Strength
Tighten Our Belts Sneak Attack Valiant Sacrifice
For Gondor!
Side Quests
Prepare for Battle Send for Aid

Rare (x1)

Allies
Bill the Pony Rosie Cotton Ceorl
Galadriel Glóin Orophin
Erestor Faramir Gimli
Wiglaf
Attachments
The Elvenking Heir of Mardil O Lórien!
Orcrist Heir of Valandil King Under the Mountain
Visionary Leadership
Events
Lure of Moria Timely Aid Grim Resolve
Side Quests
One Two Three

Tactics

Common (x3)

Allies
Knights of the Swan Vassal of the Windlord Veteran Axehand
Defender of Rammas Derndingle Warrior Marksman of Lórien
Attachments
Warrior Sword Secret Vigil Raiment of War
Citadel Plate
Events
Feint Quick Strike

Uncommon (x2)

Allies
Dúnedain Hunter Gondorian Spearman Winged Guardian
Galadhon Archer Booming Ent Honour Guard
Mithlond Sea-watcher Beorning Skin-changer Westfold Outrider
Fornost Bowman Grimbold Meneldor
Warrior of Dale Eagles of the Misty Mountains Legolas
Giant Bear
Attachments
Bow of Yew Blade of Gondolin Bow of the Galadhrim
Dagger of Westerness Rivendell Blade Rohan Warhorse
Dwarven Axe Support of the Eagles Gondorian Shield
Events
Foe-hammer Proud Hunters Sterner than Steel
Behind Strong Walls Hands Upon the Bow Swift and Strong
Wait No Longer

Rare (x1)

Allies
Azain Silverbeard Bofur Skinbark
Boromir Rúmil Déorwine
Elfhelm Yazan Landroval
Beorn
Attachments
Gondorian Fire Captain of Gondor Followed
Golden Shield Outmatched Firefoot
Elven Mail
Events
Oath of Eorl Thicket of Spears
Side Quests
Keep Watch

Spirit

Common (x3)

Allies
Westfold Horse-breeder Ethir Swordsman Galadriel’s Handmaiden
Imladris Stargazer Long Lake Fisherman Zigil Miner
Attachments
Spare Hood and Cloak Ancient Mathom Miruvor
Events
A Test of Will Hasty Stroke The Galadhrim’s Greeting

Uncommon (x2)

Allies
Dúnedain Pathfinder Galadhrim Weaver Arwen Undómiel
Elven Jeweler Eregion Survivor Escort from Edoras
North Realm Lookout West Road Traveller Sailor of Lune
Wild Stallion Rider of Rohan Pelargir Shipwright
Rhovanion Outrider Erebor Guardsman Northern Tracker
Jubayr
Attachments
Light of Valinor Thror’s Key Steed of Imladris
Mirkwood Long-knife Silver Harp Unexpected Courage
Valiant Determination
Events
Elrond’s Counsel South Away Tides of Fate
Well-warned Desperate Defense Dwarven Tomb
Heirs of Eärendil Stand and Fight
Side Quests
Double Back

Rare (x1)

Allies
Dwalin Bofur Éomund
Háma Galion Lindir
Elfhelm Prince Imrahil Sulién
Glorfindel
Attachments
Blood of Numénor To the Sea! To the Sea! Snowmane
Windfola King of Dale
Events
Elven-light Fair and Perilous Untroubled by Darkness
Lords of the Eldar Shadows Give Way

Lore

Common (x3)

Allies
Anfalas Herdsman Erebor Hammersmith Galadhrim Minstrel
Master of the Forge Wandering Ent Warden of Healing
Attachments
Woodmen’s Clearing Entangling Nets Self Preservation
Events
Daeron’s Runes Heed the Dream Lore of Imladris

Uncommon (x2)

Allies
Ioreth Erebor Record-keeper Guardian of Ithilien
Henamarth Riversong Emyn Arnen Ranger Gléowine
Imladris Caregiver Long Lake Trader Miner of the Iron Hills
Quickbeam Daughter of the Nimrodel Ithilien Archer
Sarn Ford Sentry Silvan Tracker Wellinghall Preserver
Firyal
Attachments
Elf-stone Lembas Thror’s Map
Ranger Spear A Burning Brand Ranger Spikes
Forest Snare Protector of Lórien
Events
The Tree People Coney in a Trap Distant Stars
Mithrandir’s Advice Secret Paths Deep Knowledge
The Hidden Way
Side Quests
Scout Ahead

Rare (x1)

Allies
Ghân-buri-Ghân Mablung Robin Smallburrow
Bifur Dori Elrond
Leaflock Anborn Haldir of Lórien
Gildor Inglorion
Attachments
Leather Boots Legacy of Durin Fast Hitch
Asfaloth Wingfoot Map of Rhovanion
Ent Draught
Events
Entmoot Gildor’s Counsel Waters of the Nimrodel
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