Elladan and Elrohir […] were out upon errantry: for they rode often far afield with the Rangers of the North, forgetting never their mother’s torment in the dens of the orcs.
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
We’re now only a few weeks away from the release of Shadow and Flame , the climactic finale of the Dwarrowdelf cycle for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game . As we prepare for the Adventure Pack’s epic confrontation with Durin’s Bane ( Shadow and Flame , 150), we continue our review of staff decks with one by Game Producer Jason Walden.
Jason’s Leadership and Tactics deck is built for a tussle, but it also serves to remind us of some of the different ways players approach the game. A self-described “Bilbo” player , Jason built his deck to tell the story of the bond that developed between a young Aragorn and Elrond’s sons, Elrohir and Elladan. Accordingly, Aragorn ( Core Set , 1), Elrohir ( The Redhorn Gate , 1), and Elladan ( Road to Rivendell , 28) form the core of the deck, joining forces to set off on one of their many shared quests.
The “Estel” Deck by Jason Walden
“Estel,” meaning “hope” or “trust” in Sindarin, is the name given to Aragorn while he was fostered at Rivendell.
1x Celebrían’s Stone
3x Dawn Take You All
3x Dúnedain Mark
3x Dúnedain Quest
3x Dúnedain Warning
3x Parting Gifts
3x Snowbourn Scout
2x Steward of Gondor
1x Sword That Was Broken (The Watcher in the Water, 55)
3x Valiant Sacrifice
3x Blade Mastery
2x Blade of Gondolin
1x Horn of Gondor
3x Keeping Count (The Redhorn Gate, 5)
2x Rivendell Blade
2x Rivendell Bow
3x Trollshaw Scout (Foundations of Stone, 104)
3x Watcher of Bruinen (The Watcher in the Water, 56)
Using Keeping Count, the trio of heroes participate in a friendly competition to see who can slay the most foes. They are aided by a few of their allies from the host of Rivendell and a slew of elven and Dúnedain equipment.
The deck was made primarily to be played solo, but can be extremely effective when paired with a deck that provides card draw or questing power, as those are its primary weaknesses. Overall, the deck covers a wide variety of tactical options. There is no single card that is an essential draw, and any duplicates or other cards that might otherwise sit in your hand can be spent to keep Trollshaw Scout and Watcher of the Bruinen in play.
Most of the deck’s cards have very low costs; in fact, there’s only one card that costs three resources. The majority of your resources will be spent on using their abilities to repeatedly stand the three heroes. Each of the three heroes have the potential to participate more than once in a round due to their abilities to stand themselves. So everything revolves around increasing their strengths as much as possible.
I see Keeping Count as one of the deck’s highlights. It is really fun to play with these three heroes, as each is versatile enough to take turns attacking, defending, and questing.
As the world’s first fully cooperative Living Card Game, The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game offers different rewards for all manner of players . While players who fit the “Boromir” archetype may seek the most cost-effective means of slicing through any encounter deck, “Pippin” players delight in new cards, new combinations, and the thrill of unexpected discoveries. Jason reminds us of the abundant opportunities within the game to follow the “Bilbo” path and develop situations and stories that recall the classic fiction by J.R.R. Tolkien. His “Estel” deck recasts the adventures of Aragorn’s youth within the ongoing narrative of the Dwarrowdelf cycle of Adventure Packs.
Soon, Aragorn and Elrond’s sons will have plenty to keep count when they battle Durin’s Bane and the Orcs that reside deep beneath the mines of Moria. Look for Shadow and Flame , the action-packed conclusion to the Dwarrowdelf cycle, to arrive at retailers everywhere in the next few weeks.
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.