Alternate Art: The Greatest Adventure

The greatest adventure is what lies ahead
Today and tomorrow are yet to be said
The chances, the changes are all yours to make
The mold of your life is in your hands to break.

The greatest adventure is there if you are bold
Let go of the moment that life makes you hold
To measure the meaning can make you delay
It’s time you stop thinking and wasting the day.

A man who’s a dreamer and never takes leave
Who thinks of a world that is just make believe
Will never know passion
Will never know pain
Who sits by the window
Will one day see rain.

The greatest adventure is what lies ahead
Today and tomorrow are yet to be said
The chances the changes are all yours to make
The mold of your life is in your hands to break.

The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.

–Lyrics by Glenn Yarbrough

Nostalgia is one of the most powerful emotions, all the more so because we are often blissfully unaware of its hold on our hearts. It is impossible for me to judge The Hobbit with an objective eye, as it is one of the first stories I ever read. Before that, when I was still too young to read any but the shortest books, my father would read Tolkien’s word to me as bedtime stories. Even now, all these years later, I can close my eyes and imagine my father sitting on the end of my bed. His words echo down through time; visions of dragons and elves, magic swords and goblin kings, taking me back to my childhood.

Long before Peter Jackson even conceived of bringing Tolkien’s stories to the silver screen, Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass created an animated version of The Hobbit. This adaptation is not without its flaws, but its evokes fond memories in me, in no way diluted by the passage of time. The animation was drawn by a precursor to Studio Ghibli, and much of it holds up even 40 years later. Also, John Huston was a brilliant bit of casting as Gandalf, his gravely baritone summons the wizard as if out of thin air.

Continuing in my series of alternate art designs, I’ve built a Dwarven Digging deck with art taken from the 1977 animated classic. This deck represents several firsts for me. It is the first deck I’ve designed around hero Gandalf. It is also the first Dwarven Digging deck I’ve been able to build that plays with an acceptable level of consistency. I’ve wanted to feature the Spirit version of Dain Ironfoot, but this list took some twists and turns before it arrived at this version.

The full deck list can be found on RingsDB. Gandalf’s passive ability of making the top card of your always visible is powerful in any deck, but doubly so when we want to be digging specific cards off the top. Without the insane stat boost of Leadership Dain, the deck lacks the late game punch of traditional Dwarf Swarm decks, but Spirit Dain gives us an impressive defender for the critical early rounds.

I usually put the first copy of Unexpected Courage on Dain, though Gandalf can be a good choice. Armor is obviously intended for Dain, and the allies typically help with questing. With so many attachments, the new Erebor Toymaker is a perfect fit for our strategy, giving us an attachment and and additional quester for a relative bargain. Without a Leadership hero, remember to wait until Gandalf has Narya otherwise Leadership cards must be played using Gandalf’s ability from the top of the deck.

Unlike traditional swarm decks, combat is mostly handled by our heroes – which makes action advantage on them all the more important. Nori provides consist threat reduction, which is key in a deck with a high starting threat. The heroes do most of heavy lifting here, which is a nice change of pace. I mostly play multiplayer games these days, so this deck intentionally omits key components to a well-rounded solo deck.

Healing, location control and shadow cancellation are absent here. As much as possible, I tried to hew to a thematic interpretation of the story of The Hobbit. This naturally leaves many strategically powerful cards for other, more mechanically inclined decks. Even so, this deck can be quite effective, particularly in multiplayer where Dain and Gandalf prove a stalwart defensive presence once they are loaded up with gear.

Guarded attachments are here, and are central to the theme of the deck. Some quests require the players to race, which can turn the early tempo hit of Guarded attachments into a very risky proposition. In those situations, I would recommend using the sideboard to replace these Guarded cards with additional support in the form of A Test of Will, Narya and Gandalf’s Staff. Reforged is another valuable option, as the Dwarves, in their overly enthusiastic digging, will sometimes bury desirable attachments in your discard pile.

My favorite aspects of heavily narrative decks such as this one is when small touches work both thematically and mechanically. As case in point is when ally Bilbo is used to fetch Gandalf’s Wizard Pipe. That attachment is critical among a long list of useful attachments, as it lets us stack cards like Hidden Cache and Ered Luin Miner back on top of our deck, after they end up in hand. Gandalf’s ability to see into the future is such a natural fit with the Dwarven Digging archetype, that it makes this style of deck a thematic and strategic success.

I hope you enjoyed this trek down memory lane, and for younger readers who may not have experienced the animated version of the Hobbit, I encourage you to seek it out. As always, contact the Hall if you are interested in printing these alternate art cards for yourself. May you all have the greatest of adventures down memory lane, and throughout Middle-earth!




Posted in Alternate-Art, Community, Deck Building, Deck Lists, Fun, History, Lore, Movies, The Hobbit, Theme | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Alternate Art: A Weary Pilgrim

Gandalf by Donato Giancola

When evening in the Shire was grey
his footsteps on the Hill were heard;
before the dawn he went away
on journey long without a word.

From Wilderland to Western shore,
from northern waste to southern hill,
through dragon-lair and hidden door
and darkling woods he walked at will.

With Dwarf and Hobbit, Elves and Men,
with mortal and immortal folk,
with bird on bough and beast in den,
in their own secret tongues he spoke.

A deadly sword, a healing hand,
a back that bent beneath its load;
a trumpet-voice, a burning brand,
a weary pilgrim on the road.

A lord of wisdom throned he sat,
swift in anger, quick to laugh;
an old man in a battered hat
who leaned upon a thorny staff.

He stood upon the bridge alone
and Fire and Shadow both defied;
his staff was broken on the stone,
in Khazad-dûm his wisdom died.
―J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

In retrospect, the Dwarrowdelf was the most powerful cycle ever released. This opinion is uncontroversial if one simply looks at the number of cards from this cycle which have subsequently received errata. The poor Erebor Battle Master is so unbalanced, his text was amended twice. When compared to the power packs which came later in the cycle, The Redhorn Gate is less impressive. Even so, it introduced what remains one of my favorite cards – and a keystone of an entire archetype – Timely Aid. Mustering any ally from the top 5 cards of your deck for a single measly resource was powerful way back in 2012, but the pool of high cost and powerful allies has grown exponentially since those halcyon days.

The Hobbit saga expansions added two more vital pieces to the nascent Secrecy archetype: A Very Good Tale and Gandalf. Secrecy decks were finally viable, with two hyper-efficient ally mustering events and the perfect ally to target. In particular, Hobbit Gandalf’s amazing stats and built-in action advantage were essential for decks which rely so heavily on heroes with less than impressive stats. Still, early secrecy decks were overly reliant on Spirit Glorfindel – they were waiting for alternatives as low threat heroes.

It wasn’t until The Black Riders saga expansions introduced the Hobbit heroes from the Fellowship of the Ring that Secrecy really took off as an archetype. Going all the way back to that release, I have tinkered with some iteration of a Hobbit secrecy deck. Many of these iterations are among my more powerful decks. As a long time fan of the Hobbit secrecy archetype, I am overjoyed with the support provided by The Ered Mithrin cycle.

The Shirefolk and Drinking Song are incredibly powerful. In many decks, Drinking Song is better than Daeron’s Runes, which is quite an accomplishment. Removing Spirit Glorfindel from the hero lineup has a serious downside. With only Hobbit heroes, these decks can struggle to amass enough attack strength to kill enemies. While a Secrecy deck typically wants to keep enemies in the staging area and quest pass them, there are low engagement enemies and plenty of quests which punish this turtle strategy. If we are going to rely exclusively on our allies for combat strength, we will need every advantage we can find to empower them.

So the last missing piece to my favorite iteration of my Hobbit secrecy decks is the Wild Stallion. In this last deluxe and cycle, Dale introduced the idea of decks where the heroes have a supporting role, and allies do most of the heavy lifting. While the Wild Stallion is good in a Dale deck, you still need action advantage to benefit from it multiple times per round. It turns out that Wild Stallion is an even better fit with one of the long-time staples of the Secrecy archetype: Hobbit Gandalf.

As threat reduction goes, The Shirefolk is the most efficient event in the game – even better than another Dwarrowdelf staple in Elrond’s Counsel. Merry replaces Spirit Glorfindel, which provides repeatable threat reduction. In most decks, this level of threat reduction would be overkill, but we want to keep Gandalf in play as long as possible. Keeping the wizard around means that we can truly build around him. To that end, this decks includes Narya, Gandalf’s Staff and Shadowfax. It is risky to build so much of a deck around an ally, but the mustering and card draw should be sufficient to get setup within the first few rounds.

Drinking Song effectively gives a Hobbit deck three extra mulligans, a feature of which we will take full advantage. We’re looking for Timely Aid in the opening hand, and to a lesser extent Resourceful. After your mulligan, if your hand does not include any secrecy cards but does include Drinking Song, feel free to shuffle your entire hand back into your deck for another chance at early game secrecy cards. It cannot be overstated just how much Drinking Song improves the consistency of secrecy decks. Between Timely Aid and A Good Harvest, you should be able to have two expensive allies in play by about the third round.

At that point, A Very Good Tale will transform a strong start into an onslaught. Most decks will use A Very Good Tale during the planning phase, but Gandalf changes that strategy just a bit. Because he does not exhaust to quest, we can benefit from his 4 willpower committed to the quest, then we can use A Very Good Tale later in the round. Another option which Narya affords us is to immediately ready the two allies that we exhausted to pay for A Very Good Tale, with the added benefit of a stat boost. Narya’s boost only lasts until the end of the phase, so be sure to do this during the combat phase.

One of my favorite things to do with this deck is to exhaust Gandalf and Narya to ready Gandalf and another powerful ally, giving them both a boost. Between Arwen, Wild Stallion, and Narya, it is not uncommon to have Gandalf defending for 7. With his staff, he can even discard shadow cards from non-unique enemies. Speaking of uniqueness, it might seem odd to only include one of each ally (other than Gandalf and Wild Stallion). I have intentionally eschewed the traditional strategy of 3x every powerful ally.

While it cannot be argued that three copies of Firyal are incredibly powerful in a control deck, I find decks which play the same every time quickly become stale. One of the benefits of this deck is that it plays differently every time. It’s a funky tool box, where I can almost always pull out something useful, but it is not guaranteed to be the same one that I used last game. If you prefer power and consistency over surprise, feel free to swap out some of the lesser allies for extra copies of staples like Arwen, Faramir, and Firyal. Personally, I find that having only a single copy of unique allies gives the deck a more thematic, almost RPG-like feel. Everyone is encouraged to play the game in whatever way they enjoy.

It should come as no surprise to regular readers that I’ve made alternate art cards for this deck, seeing as how the archetype is near and dear to me. This time I’ve chosen to focus on another favorite Tolkien artist: Donato Giancola. I recently picked up the updated edition of Middle-earth: Journeys of Myth and Legend, and the paintings are even more beautiful in print than they are online. For fans of Tolkien-themed art, particularly those who appreciate a renaissance style of painting, I give this book two massive paws up.

In any case, what follows are alternate art cards for my latest Hobbit secrecy deck, A Weary Pilgrim. The art featured is mostly Donato’s, with only a few cards by other artists. You can find the full deck list on RingsDB. I hope that you enjoy the art and please contact the Hall if you are interested in printing these for yourself.




Player Side Quests

Posted in Alternate-Art, Card Lists, Combo, Control, Deck Building, Fun, RingsDB, Secrecy, Strategy, Theme | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Alternate Art: Aggro Outlands

Continuing in my series of alternate art decks, I’d like to present an Aggro Outlands deck which I keep in case of emergency. As listeners of the Grey Company podcast may recall, my view of Outlands was less than favorable when The Steward’s Fear was first released. Oft is time the salve, to the blunt the sting of extreme opinions.

The game has come a long way since the inception of Outlands, and my play style has naturally evolved and changed with the passing of years. During the Against the Shadow cycle, I was much more concerned with designing the cleverest most unique decks – all the more so as Battle and Siege threw the conventional archetypes in disarray.

These days, I typically only have time to play multiplayer games at my Austin LotR meetups, and what deck I play is much less of a priority. My primary concerns in selecting a deck for multiplayer are twofold. Above all, I want to avoid unique characters and attachments which will conflict with another player’s deck. This can be a logistical challenge, as the metagame often means that multiple players want to try out the new unique cards as they are released.

Aside from avoiding conflicting unique cards, my other concern in multiplayer games is to field decks which support the other players. Encounter card effects with text like “Each player does *something bad*” can be devastating in 3 and 4 player games. Not only does this make cancellation like A Test of Will and Eleanor that much more valuable, but it puts added pressure on any deck which does not excel at any facet of the game.

In all but the easiest quests, there will be rounds where there are one too many enemies in play, or the staging area is suddenly flooded with locations, or an ill-timed treachery pushes one players threat dangerously high. This is why a well-rounded deck with versatility is even more important with higher player counts. Solo favors unorthodox decks, where many turns will result in only a single encounter card revealed. Four-player games can be punishing to decks with gaps in their capabilities.

This is where the Aggro Outlands deck enters the discussion. This is probably the most pure aggro deck I’ve ever built, so nothing in the deck list should be too surprising. At its heart, it uses Erestor and Denethor as the engine of an ally swarm. All the way back in my Beorn’s Path articles, I discussed how powerful it can be to  pair card draw with resource acceleration in the same deck. Put simply, the goal here is to outrun the encounter deck.

To that end, we have a nice mix of 27 allies and 20 events. The events all either function as additional card draw or resource acceleration. The only attachment in the deck is 3 copies of Steward of Gondor. If another player absolutely needs Steward for their deck, this can easily be replaced with an event like Man the Walls, or Wealth of Gondor. If you include Man the Walls, make sure to play your Ethir Swordsman second during the planning phase (when possible), so that they can still quest.

The number of zero-cost cards in this deck coupled with the 3 extra cards per round granted by Erestor can lead to a sort of feedback loop. In an ideal round, you will drawing into more card draw, with which you can draw into more resource acceleration and allies. The goal is to play at least two allies ever turn. By the time Faramir shows up, you should have an army of allies ready to capitalize on the willpower boost.

Enough about strategy, you can here for the alternate art and the bear does not disappoint. Enjoy the art, and let me know what you think. As always, contact The Hall if you would like printable copies of these cards.




Posted in Aggro, Alternate-Art, Art, Austin LotR Group, Community, Fun, Multiplayer, Opinion, Strategy, Thanks, The Grey Company, Tribal Deck | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beorn 2020

For far too long, the needs of Skin-changers have been ignored in modern politics. This slight against multi-body beings is becoming unbearable. It is high time that someone addressed the needs to this historically under-represented group, and I’m just the bear for the job. It is with great pleasure that I am announcing my candidacy for the 2020 presidential election.

The Bear Party might be new on the political landscape, but we have hundreds of years of policy experience, with particular expertise in slaying trolls. Our platform is pro-creature and open to all who do not serve Dark Lords or Fallen Gods. Unlike some members of other political parties, we support an open immigration policy – even uninvited Dwarves are welcome. We envision a future where the free peoples band together in fellowship, against our common enemies of ignorance and xenophobia.

In these trying times, the first questions many voters have for a new candidate are about economic policy. The defense budget for 2019 was 716 Billion Dollars. Such a gross waste of money might be necessary for human begins to “defend” themselves, but we bears are gifted which natural defenses of extra thick hides and razor sharp claws. Additionally bears have a long-standing allegiance with the eagles, so drones will no longer be used to “spread freedom”.

These savings will be used to improve the woeful state of our health care system. We spend more than any other country on health care, and yet our average life expectancy is decreasing. Health care is a complicated issue, but clearly our privatized health care system is not working for many citizens. After months of hibernation, I am ready with answers to these tricky questions.

Infrastructure might not be an exciting subject for many voters, but we have cities without clean water. It is the government’s responsibility to ensure all citizens the opportunity to be successful in their adventures, and a functioning infrastructure is critical to that opportunity. In addition to clean water and air, the Bear Party platform includes government supplied honey for all citizens. Not only is it delicious, but honey provides numerous benefits to the immune system and is essential for growing cubs.

I encourage anyone who shares my vision of a brighter future to donate to my campaign. Check back here for exciting updates on my quest to reclaim our government from the clutches of usurpers, plutocrats, and sycophants.

This message was approved by the Bear Party Super Pack.


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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!


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


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


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


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


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



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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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


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

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


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


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


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

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

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


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

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


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


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

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

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

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!

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

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

Player Cards


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


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


Common (x3)

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

Uncommon (x2)

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
Dúnedain Remedy Dúnedain Mark Dúnedain Signal
Dúnedain Warning Hauberk of Mail Dúnedain Cache
Armored Destrier
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)

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


Common (x3)

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

Uncommon (x2)

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
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
Foe-hammer Proud Hunters Sterner than Steel
Behind Strong Walls Hands Upon the Bow Swift and Strong
Wait No Longer

Rare (x1)

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


Common (x3)

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

Uncommon (x2)

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
Light of Valinor Thror’s Key Steed of Imladris
Mirkwood Long-knife Silver Harp Unexpected Courage
Valiant Determination
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)

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


Common (x3)

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

Uncommon (x2)

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
Elf-stone Lembas Thror’s Map
Ranger Spear A Burning Brand Ranger Spikes
Forest Snare Protector of Lórien
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)

Ghân-buri-Ghân Mablung Robin Smallburrow
Bifur Dori Elrond
Leaflock Anborn Haldir of Lórien
Gildor Inglorion
Leather Boots Legacy of Durin Fast Hitch
Asfaloth Wingfoot Map of Rhovanion
Ent Draught
Entmoot Gildor’s Counsel Waters of the Nimrodel
Posted in Community, Draft, Game Variant, Lure of Middle Earth, Metagame, Multiplayer, Strategy, Theme | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alternate Art: Whispers in the Trees

While it’s nice to have the Ghost of Framsburg finally released, new players are still anxious to get their hands on reprints. I’ve designed another alternate art deck, to tide everyone over while they wait patiently for their critical missing packs to arrive. This deck is based on an updated version of my standard Silvan deck. It is called Whispers in the Trees, and I hope that you enjoy alternate art interpretations of some familiar faces.

As with any Silvan deck built around Galadriel and Celeborn, Silvan allies are the foundation of our strategy. In particular, low cost allies like Galion, Henemarth Riverson, and Galadhrim Weaver make excellent targets for our bounce effects. The variety of responses these allies provide when they enter plays makes this deck function as a sort of toolbox.

Need readying to use Galadriel’s ability and the power of Nenya? Bring Greenwood Archer into play. Is a quest throwing too many Doomed encounter cards your way? Galadriel’s Handmaiden will help bring your threat back down. Did you just discard the one card you were looking for after gazing too long in the Mirror of Galadriel? The Galadhrim Weaver can help shuffle that card back into your deck.

None of the attachments here should come as much of a surprise, though they have been updated to include The Elvenking and a few new weapons. Giving Silvan decks a repeatable way to return allies to hand makes the archetype that much more consistent. The two powerful Guarded weapons will require an extra effort to discover and wield. Once obtained however, they can transform Haldir into a formidable force in combat.

Lastly, events are a critical piece of any Silvan deck. Resources are scarce in any multi-sphere deck, and this one is no exception. Between The Tree People and Captain’s Wisdom, the aim is to be able to play  multiple allies on the same round. Having numerical advantage over the encounter deck is essential, as some of these allies will be returning to our hands in order to fuel other effects. We need must a sufficiently large host of elves, if we hope to defend our forest from intruders.

I hope that you enjoy these beautiful alternate art cards, and be sure to contact the Hall if your are interested in printing them for yourself. Happy travels!

Posted in Alternate-Art, Community, Fun, Tribal Deck | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alternate Art: The One Deck

It’s been about 8 months since Seastan posted The One Deck on RingsDB. Elrond (with Vilya) decks have been among the game’s most powerful ever since Shadow and Flame was released. Still, this deck is taking the archetype to a whole new level. Using the power of Elrond’s ring, this deck fields an army of powerful but expensive allies, at a speed which few other decks can math. Paired with card draw effects which help fetch Vilya as quickly as possible, this deck has beaten every quest in the game.

As a solo deck, the unique Harad allies feature prominently here. In addition, the new ally version of Glorfindel is a perfect fit with Noldor heroes like Arwen and events like Elven-light. As potent neutral allies, Core Set Gandalf and Treebeard are a natural fit for most decks, here they are that much easier to get into play. Elfhelm is an important addition for quests which multiple threat-raising effects, and ally Beorn is the perfect choice for quests which require defeating a powerful boss enemy.

The One Deck wants to be able to pay Vilya blind, in case we don’t draw Imladris Stargazer in the opening hand. With that in mind, the attachments here are limited. While not technically an attachment, Gather Information is here to help the deck find whichever card is most essential to defeat a quest. This deck is excellent at questing, so completing a side quest is not a problem.

The events here should come as a little surprise. Card draw, in the form of Heed the Dream and Elven light, allows you to find Vilya as soon as possible. With the number of game-ending treacheries, A Test of Will is an essential inclusion for any powerful deck.

I hope that you enjoy these alternate art cards. Contact the Hall if you are interested in printable versions of these cards.

Posted in Aggro, Alternate-Art, Community, Deck Lists | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment