The final chapter of The Ring-maker cycle for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is coming. The Antlered Crown is scheduled to arrive at retailers next week, and after Middle-earth’s heroes have had their chance to help Saruman and the White Council throughout the scenarios from The Voice of Isengard and the first five Adventure Packs from The Ring-maker cycle, they must now enter a region at war and fighter their way through to the cycle’s climactic conclusion!
As the heroes are going to need all the help they can get, developer Matthew Newman has decided to share a strategic pairing of decks that features the newly revamped Silvan trait. Featuring a slew of cards from The Ring-maker cycle and playable with just one copy of the Core Set and one copy each of several Adventure Packs, these decks provide a nice balance of willpower and muscle, along with a thematic exploration of what it means to be a Silvan Elf in The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game .
The Elves of Northern Rhovanion
In last week’s Second Breakfast article , I shared with you some thoughts on the Silvan Elves from The Ring-maker cycle and offered a sample deck, The Elven Highborn , which was designed to take advantage of the strengths of the Elves of Lórien and their leaders, Galadriel and Celeborn.
Still, there is another kingdom of Elves in Rhovanion. Thranduil, father to Legolas, rules the Elven kingdom of northern Mirkwood. As Legolas meets with the Elves of Lothlórien, I’d like to share with you a second deck, meant to pair together with The Elven Highborn. I’ll also share some thoughts on how these two decks might play together.
This week’s deck, The Spear of Mirkwood , focuses on combat and healing, using direct damage and swiftness to take care of enemies before they ever become a threat.
Daughter of the Nimrodel
3x Galadhon Archer ( The Nin-in-Eilph , 87)
2x Galadhrim Minstrel ( Trouble in Tharbad , 63)
2x Henamarth Riversong ( Core Set , 60)
3x Mirkwood Runner ( Return to Mirkwood , 123)
2x Rúmil ( The Three Trials , 28)
3x Silvan Tracker ( The Dead Marshes , 102)
Bow of the Galadhrim
2x Cloak of Lórien ( Celebrimbor's Secret , 120)
2x Elven Mail ( The Three Trials , 29)
2x Lembas ( Trouble in Tharbad , 64)
3x Ranger Spikes ( Heirs of Númenor , 17)
2x Rivendell Blade ( Road to Rivendell , 31)
2x Rivendell Bow ( The Watcher in the Water , 57)
3x Foe-hammer ( The Hobbit: Over Hill and Under Hill , 15)
3x Hands Upon the Bow ( Shadow and Flame , 131)
3x Pursuing the Enemy ( Trouble in Tharbad , 60)
2x Rain of Arrows ( Core Set , 33)
2x The Tree People ( The Dunland Trap , 9)
2x Unseen Strike ( The Redhorn Gate , 4)
Playing The Spear of Mirkwood
The Spear of Mirkwood is all about managing enemies in the staging area and preventing them from ever becoming a threat. This is accomplished in a number of different ways, and becomes easier the more players are added to the game. Because Mirlonde ensures the deck features a low starting threat of just twenty-three, it can slip past many enemies unnoticed. Those that would engage you may still be trapped with Ranger Spikes or taken out swiftly using Hands Upon the Bow, Galadhon Archers, and Rúmil. The trick is to prevent enemies from engaging you so that you can take advantage of Haldir’s ability, using him to strike enemies in the staging area or enemies engaged with other players, before they get the chance to attack. If you find yourself engaged with several enemies, a well-timed combo of Rain of Arrows and Pursuing the Enemy can defeat more than one enemy at the same time!
In order to make this strategy easier, The Spear of Mirkwood contains an assortment of weapons which can be placed on Haldir or Legolas. The goal is to allow them to take enemies out in one shot, using Bow of the Galadhrim and Rivendell Blade. If these weapons are not enough to take out stronger enemies, Unseen Strike and some direct damage can surely do the trick. You can even place a Rivendell Bow on Mirlonde so she doesn’t feel left out. Better yet, give your Rivendell Bows to the Mirkwood Runners and they can take advantage of their abilities to penetrate an enemy’s defenses from afar.
Because most of the deck’s allies are a bit expensive, you have two Lore heroes and two copies of The Tree People. Your best bet is to use The Tree People on Galadhon Archers or Galadhrim Minstrels, so that you can play them again and trigger their Response abilities. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to get a three-cost Silvan Tracker, Mirkwood Runner, or Daughter of the Nimrodel for free. Since The Tree People doesn’t require exhausting the target character, you can also play it on Henamarth Riversong after looking at the top card of the encounter deck, then play him again for one resource and commit him to the quest.
Customizing The Spear of Mirkwood
As with The Elven Highborn , The Spear of Mirkwood can be customized or altered in many ways to suit your own needs or wants. Since this deck is very attachment and event-heavy, you might wish to add some other non- Silvan Tactics or Lore allies to help round it out. Also, The Spear of Mirkwood is built with the themes of the Silvans and the woodland realms in mind, so there are many cards that have been left out in order to complement this theme. In particular, the Horn of Gondor ( Core Set , 42) makes for a wonderful addition to this deck, giving you resources every time you bounce a Silvan to your hand. Finally, if you have enough copies of The Tree People and Galadhrim Minstrel, these cards are useful enough to increase to three copies in both The Spear of Mirkwood and The Elven Highborn .
The Woodland Realms Unite!
While both The Elven Highborn and The Spear of Mirkwood are solid decks when played by themselves, they really shine when paired with one another.
Due to the high gap in starting threat between the two decks, most enemies will engage your partner. Your role is to focus on ranged combat and defeat the enemies revealed each turn, using Haldir’s ability as often as possible. If your partner is besieged by too many enemies to pick off with Haldir, you can use Rain of Arrows and Pursuing the Enemy to let fly a volley of arrows, and then you can pick off any stragglers with your ranged heroes. While your Willpower isn’t as high as your partner’s, you can still contribute to the quest. Ranger Spikes reduces an enemy’s threat, and Hands Upon the Bow allows you to pick off enemies in the staging area before resolving the quest.
Your deck features two defensive attachments, Cloak of Lórien and Elven Mail, which are intended for your partner; they can turn Celeborn, Elrond, or a Defender of the Naith into a defensive powerhouse who can grapple with the toughest of enemies, keeping them occupied while you pelt them with arrows from afar.
Your most important boon to offer your partner is Celeborn’s ability, which is global and affects all Silvan allies that enter play, even the Lore and Tactics allies your partner plays. You can also use O Lórien! to discount your partner’s allies, making it easier to play clutch allies like Silvan Tracker or Galadhon Archer. Used tactically, O Lórien allows you and your partner to take the best advantage of the allies in your hands at any given moment. Additionally, the healing generated by your partner’s allies are amplified by Elrond’s ability, which makes even a single Silvan Tracker a huge benefit to both players. If your partner’s threat is starting to get high enough to attract the attention of enemies, thus reducing the benefit of Haldir’s ability, you can use Galadriel to lower the threat and provide some helpful card draw. Finally, in a pinch, you can use Stand and Fight to retrieve a defeated Silvan Tracker or Galadhon Archer from your partner’s discard pile.
The Woodlands Await You
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about these two decks and the strengths of the Silvan Elves of Mirkwood and Lothlórien. Feel free to assemble them and give them a shot through The Ring-maker cycle, or if you feel you have an even better Silvan deck to share, post it on our forums and discuss it with the rest of the community! As smoke rises over the ragged hills of Dunland, we’ll need all the help we can get…
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.