|Boromir's Guide to Deck Construction, Part Three
A Lord of the Rings: The Card Game spotlight on successful solo play
|The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game | Published 23 January 2012|
There was a horn-blast and a rush of feet, and orcs one after another leaped into the chamber.
How many there were the Company could not count. The affray was sharp, but the orcs were dismayed by the fierceness of the defence. Legolas shot two through the throat. Gimli hewed the legs from under another… Boromir and Aragorn slew many. When thirteen had fallen the rest fled shrieking.
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Without companions to aid you, how can you survive the perils of Khazad-dûm? Within the ancient dark of Moria, your heroes must survive crumbling stairwells, choked passageways, and other natural dangers. Still, those are not the only concerns your heroes must consider during their travels through the dwarven mines. Orcs and fouler things lie in wait, their numbers too great to count.
Parts one and two of this series highlighted four aspects of deck construction generally crucial in all Living Card Games and provided examples of cards that help players gain action advantage, card advantage, resource acceleration, and synergy. The ultimate goal, however, is to draw upon all our lessons to construct a deck that can survive the perils of Khazad-dûm.
There’s gold in those mines
The true wealth of Moria may be in mithril, but Dwarven miners have already uncovered vast reserves of other resources in Khazad-dûm. A number of players have already remarked upon the powerful deck strategies made possible by the combination of the Zigil Miner (Khazad-dûm, 9) and Gildor Inglorion (The Hills of Emyn Muil, 79).
The Zigil Miner gives you the potential to accelerate your wealth at an astonishing rate, so that when you begin your journeys into Khazad-dûm your heroes don’t go alone, but take with them an army of allies. While you can build your deck to increase the odds the Zigil Miner’s efforts are well-rewarded, the sage counsel of Gildor Inglorion removes the risk of errant mining entirely. Gildor allows you to manipulate your deck and hand. You can take the best card from the top three of your deck into your hand to place an expensive card on the top of your deck (usually either a duplicate of a unique card in play or a card that you won’t need for some time). When you use the Zigil Miner, you know which number to name, and your fellowship gets richer.
Dáin Ironfoot (Return to Mirkwood, 116)
Starting Threat: 27
Beorn’s Hospitality x1
Daughter of the Nimrodel x2
Erebor Hammersmith x2
Erebor Record Keeper x3
Gildor Inglorion (The Hills of Emyn Muil, 79) x3
Henamarth Riversong x1
Miner of the Iron Hills x2
Protector of Lórien x2
Total cards: 50
Tackling the mines of Moria with an army of Dwarves
Dáin Ironfoot leads the Dwarves to Khazad-dûm in this deck, draws upon the principles of action advantage, card advantage, resource acceleration, and synergy to survive the Orcs and Trolls of Moria.
You gain action advantage from the large number of allies (29 of them), and though it would normally be difficult to pay for all of them, the resource acceleration from your Zigil Miners and Steward of Gondor (Core Set, 26) should shortly provide you enough resources to play all the cards that come to your hand. If you don’t draw a Zigil Miner or Steward of Gondor in your opening hand, you’ll want to take your mulligan. Without the resource acceleration these cards provide, it can be difficult to play many of the cards in your deck.
Of your 29 allies, thirteen of them are Dwarf characters, as are all your heroes, meaning that Dáin can provide some truly substantial and synergistic bonuses to your fellowship’s Willpower and Attack Strength. Untroubled by Darkness (Khazad-dûm, 10) can further boost your Willpower in key situations, gaining monumental questing potential. Meanwhile, because you’re recruiting a massive army, you gain other, subtler synergies between the high-cost events you’ll most often feed to your Zigil Miner but that can grant you fantastic benefits at key moments. Grim Resolve (Core Set, 25), for example, lets you commit all your characters to the quest, then ready them to defend and attack later. It’s not often that you consider a card’s high cost to be part of a deck’s synergy, but in this deck, each card has the potential to be mined for resource acceleration.
The deck includes only a modicum of card advantage, but you should eventually find ways to stock your hand with answers to the challenges before you. Gléowine (Core Set, 62) accelerates your draw as can Gandalf (Core Set, 73), and Gildor effectively increases your hand size by three, as you can play each turn with the ability to take the best card from the top of your deck and replace it with a card to mine. Finally, since you’ll be mining so many cards, your three copies of Stand and Fight (Core Set, 51) effectively increase your hand size to include all the allies in your discard pile, even the Tactics ally, Beorn (Core Set, 31).
Finally, because all your mining will eventually thin out your deck, you want two copies of Will of the West (Core Set, 49) to shuffle your discard back into your deck before you run out of cards entirely and collapse the walls. Dwarven Tomb (Core Set, 53) allows you to return Will of the West to your hand if you should accidentally discard both copies, or if you draw your Will of the West, you can play Dwarven Tomb to get another Stand and Fight, A Test of Will (Core Set, 50), or Hasty Stroke (Core Set, 48). These last two Spirit cards are the best defense your deck can give you against the nastiest Treachery and Shadow effects among the dark tunnels of Moria.
More to come…
The Zigil Miner deck is a radical new development in The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, opening up a lot of rich combinations and card interactions, the likes of which we’ll continue to see throughout the Dwarrowdelf cycle of Adventure Packs. Indeed, the vital role provided by Gildor Inglorion may someday be entirely supplanted by another, cheaper Elf Spirit ally…
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is a cooperative card game that puts 1-2 players (or up to four with an additional Core Set) in control of the most powerful characters and artifacts of Middle-earth. Players will select heroes, gather allies, acquire artifacts, and coordinate their efforts to face Middle-earth’s most dangerous fiends. The Living Card Game format allows players to customize their gaming experience with monthly Adventure Pack expansions to the core game.
I've been persuaded; Ziggy hurts the game.
Man, I need to L2PBIP2TCB.
Wow; thanks for the link. I didn't even watch the whole thing; I hadn't realized the Gandalf's Search Interaction. I think the video shows a pretty fortunate draw (both from the player deck and the encounter deck), but I still think it shows that "Ziggy" is overpowered.
Maybe if he was nerfed to "Exhaust and discard" to use his ability, instead of just "exhaust"?
PS: Personally, I thought it was cool just to watch someone using use Gandalf's Search.
@Eldil No, you need 2 miners + gildor to draw around 15 a turn EVERY turn. It is not hard to set up, in fact it is super easy. All you need is a tight 50 card deck and then either you or your partner to have a hardcore card draw engine. You will get the cards you need in 2 maybe 3 turns (on average). Then you keep that card draw pumping, as you want to have your 6 cost cards in your hand to swap out with Gildor. Then you use Stand and Fight to cycle your deck, so while you have 20+ cards in hand you constantly re-cast your discard pile back into your deck assuring that you hit 5/6 cost cards every turn, keep the card draw going.. soon you have 40 cards in hand or so, BUT unlike the draw decks of old you can in fact PLAY everything in your hand with resources to spare, not just discard to pump Protector.
If you can not get this combo working then you need to L2P.
@Eldil, @ AUCodeMonkey
Actually, Boored has a point. Have you seen this playthrough of Hunt for Gollum using a Miner deck? Reliably 2x 5-6 Resource Miners per turn (on top of the standard 3) which reliably turns out 13-15 resources per turn. Runs three Northern Trackers so it never needs to travel. Can bring enough combat strength to bear that none of the enemies even make him break a sweat. Granted, Hunt for Gollum isn't the most difficult quest, but a miner deck makes it look absolutely silly.
""what is the point of a resource phase when you can consistently draw 15 resources a turn?"
This is ridiculous hyperbole. In order to ""consistently draw 15 resources a turn," you would need to:
A) Get 3 Zigil Miners into play (3 cards out of a 50 card deck) - Cost: 6 spirit resource points
B) Get Gildor into play (assume you're running x3: 3 cards out of a 50 card deck) - Cost: 5 Lore resource points
C) Get a copy of Unexpected Courage on Gildor (3 cards out of a 50 card deck) - Cost: 2 spirit resources
D) Run a deck that consisted of at least 1/3rd 5-cost cards
If you managed all that, yes, you could consistently draw 15 resources a turn. But it's a 5-card combo that costs 13 resource points across two spheres, so I'm not worried that it's going to break the game.
In practice, the 2-card combo of Gildor and a Zigil Miner can reliably net 2-3 resources per turn, at the cost of exhausting a 5-cost and 2-cost ally, and shedding high-cost cards (aka powerful) from your deck.
My two cents.
@booored, why does it break the game? The Steward of Gondor has sped up resource generation since the beginning, as has the Horn of Gondolin (or whatever that Tactics card is, don't have my cards at work). In fact, the Horn combined with Sneak Attack and that Eagles card to make stuff return to your hand are already ridiculous for resource generation. It's just another way of accomplishing something similar. Honestly, what that does is make me wonder what difficult thing is lurking in this next AP cycle to cause a card like that to be printed...
not bard, that was his pa.....brand was who i meant
yes we had a discussion about this, him and bard, both kings neither noble
Interesting read, but I'm still baffled as of why Dain Ironfoot is wearing a crown and yet isn't a noble.
are we still getting an ad pack preview?
More, please! How about a deck suggestion/build for each scenario?
Ziggy is terrible and breaks the game.. what is the point of a resource phase when you can consistently draw 15 resources a turn? This card is a joke and really hurts the game as a whole.... absolutely terrible. It was bad enough that Northern Tracker made the Travel phase completely useless.. now the game don't even use resources. Seriously.. what were the designers thinking?