|Forth into the Vale of Isen!
A Second Breakfast Article by Developer Matthew Newman
|The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game | Published 14 February 2014|
In earlier previews, we’ve looked at the expansion’s Time X and Doomed X mechanics. We’ve looked at its three scenarios and how they represent the threat posed by bands of ferocious Dunlendings. We’ve seen how the expansion portrays Gríma (The Voice of Isengard, 2) as a counselor with the potential to do great good. And we’ve looked at Éomer (The Voice of Isengard, 1) and some of the other Rohan cards the expansion has to offer.
Today, in this Second Breakfast article, developer Matthew Newman takes a different look at the expansion. He looks at how its cards can blend seamlessly into decks with identities rooted in the Core Set and earlier cycles.
Developer Matthew Newman on the Rohirrim of The Voice of Isengard
The end of 2013 also marked the conclusion of the Against the Shadow cycle, and now that the deluxe expansion, The Voice of Isengard, is just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some fun and thematic decks that can be built using cards from the entire existing card pool, as well as some from The Voice of Isengard. With that in mind, let’s dive right in with a brand new, updated Rohan deck.
A while back, in the second of our Second Breakfast articles, lead developer Caleb Grace shared one of his staple decks, which had a heavy emphasis on questing and the Rohan trait. Now that the release of Éomer is less than a week away, I’d like to revisit this deck type with some of the new Tactics cards from the Against the Shadow cycle, as well as some new cards from The Voice of Isengard.
2x Escort from Edoras
3x West Road Traveller
3x Westfold Horse-Breaker
3x The Riddermark’s Finest
2x Westfold Horse-breeder (The Voice of Isengard, 7)
1x Guthlaf (The Blood of Gondor, 110)
2x Horseback Archer
3x Westfold Outrider (The Voice of Isengard, 6)
3x Gandalf (Core Set, 73)
2x A Light in the Dark
2x A Test of Will
2x Astonishing Speed
1x Dwarven Tomb
2x Hasty Stroke
1x We Do Not Sleep
2x Mustering the Rohirrim
2x Ride to Ruin
2x Forth Eorlingas! (The Morgul Vale, 138)
The Rohirrim now have several different strategies at their disposal. While many of the Rohan allies and events from the Shadows of Mirkwood cycle revolved around Willpower and questing, the new Tactics cards they receive from Against the Shadow and The Voice of Isengard emphasize combat. This deck attempts to balance both questing and combat, two of the most important factors in achieving victory in The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game.
Mounts form an important backbone for this deck’s attachments. With Steed of the Mark and Rohan Warhorse supplementing Unexpected Courage, both Éomer and Dúnhere have an extraordinary amount of flexibility. Given enough time and resources, this deck can eventually get to the point where Éomer is questing, defending, and attacking twice per turn. That’s a lot of action advantage! To facilitate this strategy, the new Westfold Horse-breeder is an absolute must-have, because of her ability to find either of this deck’s two different Mount attachments.
With a starting threat of twenty-seven, this deck isn’t going to win any awards for low starting threat, but it’s certainly low enough to take frequent advantage of Dúnhere’s ability, which has become even better with the inclusion of Spear of the Mark. This powerful weapon is cheap and effective; draw one in your starting hand, and Dúnhere can attack enemies in the staging area for five damage. Attach two to him and he can attack for a whopping seven damage! Best of all, the spear still provides a one-point bonus to its bearer’s Attack Strength even after your threat has reached a high enough level that enemies are engaging you left and right. This makes it a wise purchase in any situation, but if you want to take full advantage of the spear’s bonus, you can use A Light in the Dark to push enemies to the staging area and then play Forth Eorlingas! so that both Dunhere and Éomer can ride together to obliterate them.
As for Éomer, his already formidable attack value of three is boosted to five whenever an ally leaves play. To that end, this deck features a good number of allies that have abilities that discard them, or that trigger when they leave play. For example, you can use a Westfold Horse-Breaker to ready Éomer and give him an additional two points of Attack Strength whenever you need it, or you can use a Westfold Outrider to engage an enemy in the staging area, removing its threat as you quest, and giving Éomer two more Attack Strength in the process. Use Ride to Ruin to discard Éomund, and you can place three progress on a location, ready all Rohan characters in play, and give Éomer a boost to his attack! There are many more combinations and tricks to find.
This deck performs adequately in single-player, but the inclusion of Nor am I a Stranger (Conflict at the Carrock, 31) can make it truly shine amid an alliance between several decks. Giving another hero on the table the Rohan trait is not something to be taken lightly when there are enough powerful effects in your deck to take advantage of it. Éomund, Astonishing Speed, We Do Not Sleep, and Forth Eorlingas! provide more than enough ways to take advantage of this card, and that’s only the beginning.
Like the Rohirrim in Middle-Earth, this deck truly shines when paired up with a dedicated Gondor deck. Together, they form a powerful and thematic duo that can tackle some of the tougher challenges The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game has to offer. You’ll see this updated Gondor deck in our next Second Breakfast article. Until then, “Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!”
The above deck list presents one way you may incorporate the cards from The Voice of Isengard into existing decks, but it’s certainly not the only possible use for the expansion’s cards. Its powerful Doomed X cards all offer tremendous benefits for reduced resources, and you’ll find a number of potent new interactions between them.
There are other surprises in store in The Voice of Isengard, as well, so keep your eyes open for more news about this expansion. It’s due to arrive at retailers later next week!
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.