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Total Votes : 6
Pipeweed
Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 8:33 pm
Joined: 14 Jun 2006 Posts: 1010 Location: Earth (I think)
--- description ---
An oft-neglected strategic point in deck building is the synergy between Free Peoples and Shadow. This article will analyze that aspect with a kick-butt Forest Gul Swarm Deck.
--- end description ---
Opponent: Nazgul swarm? Quit making up crap and play the game
You: OK (shuffles through cards)
2 seconds later
You: Letís see. Thatís 10 Nazgul for you to face. Oh yeah. Most of them are fierce too. Iím gonna go watch Seinfeld.
Opponent: . . .

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Cycle Engine

Opening
I know what youíre thinking. Yay! Another decklist and tacked-on strategy, but this is different so bear with me and read on.

Many people build decks randomly, and without much thought. Not to say that people donít think about their decks, but they often forget one very important aspect of a deck. Synergy. Let me spell that out to get it through your head: S-Y-N-E-R-G-Y.

The synergy of a deck is one of the many oft-neglected ways to make your deck more powerful. Some people are of the mindset that power cards and sweet deck building will win you the World Championship. Sometimes that is the case, but other times, it wonít do you much good.

This deck focuses primarily on deck synergy between the Free Peoples and the Shadow, and it is the key factor in playing, and hopefully winning the game. As pointed out by some CC members, this is not a TRUE synergy deck, but what Iím trying to get across that in order for one side to accomplish its goal, the other side must work towards it as well. Though both the shadow and the freeps are pretty common builds, they work together in a way that attacks your opponentís fellowship and shadow and beats them into the ground.

Explaining the Deck:
This deck is a solid and tried and true deck. For the full name of the deck, Iíd have to say something outrageous like Gandwarf Site Path Cycling w/ Forest Nazgul Swarm Bomb. For those of you who donít know what Iím talking about, here it is broken down:

Dwarves and Gandalf Men
- They cycle through the deck
- They control the site path
- They survive

Nazgul
- They get played for cheap using forests
- I swarm with them
- I drop a bomb after my FP has cycled

Thatís the deck in a nutshell, but read on for more strategy and tips.

The Almighty Deck of Doom:

Fellowship (30)
Gimli, Bearer of Grudges
The One Ring, The Ring of Rings

1 Dain Ironfoot, King Under the Mountain (Starting)
1 Brand, King of Dale (starting)
4 Gandalf, Leader of the Company
1 Radagast, The Brown
4 Traveled Leader
1 Pallando, Far-travelling One
1 Glamdring, Foe-hammer
2 Watch and Wait
2 No Pauses, No Spills
2 Blood Runs Chill
4 Out of Darkness
2 Dwarven Bracers
1 Proud and Able
1 Ring of Retribution
1 Ring of Fury
1 Axe of Khazad-dum
1 Gimliís Battle Axe, Trusted Weapon

Shadow (30)
2 The Witch-king, Captain of the Nine Riders
2 Ulaire Toldea, Black Shadow
2 Ulaire Enquea, Black Threat
1 Ulaire Attea, Second of the Nine Riders
3 Ulaire Cantea, Fourth of the Nine Riders
3 Black Rider
1 Ulaire Cantea, Black Assassin
2 Ulaire Nertea, Thrall of the One
2 Ulaire Otsea, Thrall of the One
1 Ulaire Lemenya, Thrall of the One
2 Moving This Way
3 Lost in the Woods
1 Out of Sight and Shot
1 Hatred Stirred
4 Dark Approach

Site Path
Woody-End (0)
Caras Galadhon (2)
The Angle (0)
Crossroads of the Fallen Kings (3)
East Road (0)
Old Forest Road (3)
Expanding Marshland (1)
Trollshaw Forest (3)
Hill of Sight (1)

Free Peoples Strategy:
To play this deck, you have to cycle. And thatís one of the best things this deck does. You want to get set up with Moving This Way, and obviously, Dark Approach. This deck is a heavily based shadow kill deck, so your fellowship is built to filter itself out. Donít worry about this.

Normally, it will take a couple turns to filter and set up your necessary shadow cards (Moving This Way, Dark Approach), but with powerful drawing Dwarves and Gandalfís site control, you can safely set up a shadow with the protection of the fellowship.

Gandalf also provides little (but effective) ways to slow down your opponentís strategies while you set up, via important cards like Pallando, Far-Travelling One, and Blood Runs Chill. Your fellowship is key. The only way to get to the actual shadow kill part, is to be patient and pay attention to your fellowship, and using it to set up your Nazgul, and get out your forest sites.

Also, use Radagast to intimidate your opponent by running up the adventure path after youíve destroyed your opponentís conditions. A little early scare may trick your opponent into making bad choices, giving you options to run, or continue with the deviously enjoyable shadow kill. RUN, RUN, RUN!! This will ensure that you are safe if your shadow does not work. Use Blood Runs Chill to clear up the table, and then follow up with Traveled Leader to get more of your sites out.

Now, the main goal of the Free Peoples is to set up the shadow for a nice forest site adventure path, but sometimes you end up playing someone who is playing their own site control deck. This is where you have to win the game with the Free Peoples. Once again, Radagast comes in. By the time you see that you canít win with your Shadow, your FP should be tanked out, and you should be able to run with the help of Blood Runs Chill and Pallando, Far-travelling one to guide the way.

Shadow Strategy:
Letís reverse our gears and talk about something fun: Nazgul Swarm.

If I were to try to sum this shadow up in a few words, hereís what Iíve got: bombtastic, explosive, destructive, amazing. Need some more convincing, OK. Hereís an example:

[You cycle with your FP, until you have all 4 Dark Approaches in hand, and all FP cards filtered out. Lots of counting, so youíd better have a good memory. After that, you end up with 4 Nazgul in hand, 4 Dark Approach, and a cocky opponent who needs to get beat up. Dark Approach is the best. If youíve got Moving This Way out still, youíre set. If not, youíll be lucky and it will still work, but not as well. Also, try to be at The Angle, it will make everything easier.

Since all you should have in your deck by this point is Nazgul, quite naturally (unless there is some sort of divine intervention), you should draw . . . ALL NAZGUL!! (man you guys are thick sometimes).

You start off by playing a 5 cost Nazgul from hand using Dark Approach. Use Moving This Way to grab the Nazgul you want. Follow with Lemenya and Nertea for free with 2 more Dark Approach. Youíve successfully played 3 Nazgul for 1 twilight and still have 1 Dark Approach in hand. Once again, use the wonderful Moving This Way to get Otsea, and play him using The Angle and draw a card.

Moving This Way again (catching on?), to find the Witch-King. Toil him into play for free, using the 4 Nazgul already on the table, and draw another card for the site. Now comes Moving This Way (if youíre not getting this Iím going to cry) to pull out a Black Rider. Play as many Black Rider as you can without using Dark Approach (the one thatís still in your hand, remember?). That way you can use the site to draw more.

Recap. So far youíve only used 5 for 5 Nazgul prior to your Black Rider storm. Good or Bad? Good. Continue on, and make sure to leave enough twilight because you are going to toil out another Nazgul: Enquea, therefore getting you another card. Finally, use your last Nazgul drawn with Dark Approach, getting one more wraith on the board. Done.

OK, so weíve got about 7 to 13 Nazgul on the table (depending on your twilight). Good or Bad? Oh come on guys. Absolutely, supertastically GOOD Throw in Lost in the Woods (or 2 or 3) and not very many decks will survive. Finally, Out of Sight and Shot and pull a Witch-King or Enquea from the discard pile for cheap with their Toil in case you need one more Nazgul.

On a final note: You may think that the shadow does not have enough cycling, needing more moving this way. The honest answer is, you may be right, but the thing is, Iíve tweaked the heck out of this deck, and it works so seamlessly that if I were to add two more moving this way and take something out, it will not work right. Trust me, Iíve tried it over and over. The trick is learning how to set up your fellowship fast and cycle efficiently with that only. Once you try it a few times, you get the hang of it real easy.

Yes. This is a very, very nasty Shadow.

Summing Up The Strategy:

1. Set up your fellowship
2. Survive while your fellowship cycles
3. Start holding on to Dark Approach
4. Get Moving This Way out
5. Once cycled, begin to build a good hand
6. Drop the bomb in a fashion like afore mentioned
7. Gloat and watch Seinfeld

Site Path Notes:
The site path is completely forests with the exception of Expanding Marshland. Marshland is great when you want to kill early. It functions with Toil, and can be responsible for a site 2 or 3 kill. The sites are all for the shadow. The FP does not need site abilities, as all they do is cycle and survive.

Matchups:
Rather than list a bunch of things that this deck can kill, for once in CC Article History, Iíll list the couple things that can kill this deck.

Site Path Control: Ouch. Nazgul are expensive all over again and there are no forests to speak of. Lost in the Woods is worthless, and you have problems. Save this deck for someone else.

Wounding: This is also nasty, especially direct. Look at the above example. 7 or so wraiths out, but against wounding, 3 or 4 will easily be exhausted. Theyíll get killed before they can do any damage. The worst is Eowyn Wounding with elves. Direct + Archery = no fun. Get that in your head.

Knights: They can be a bit troublesome if you give them time to set up. This is where Expanding Marshland comes in. Just drop the bomb and watch it explode. The earlier the win, the more time you have to eat pancakes and smoke pipeweed.

One may think that Ithilien Blade would kill a deck like this, but in reality, it is not much of a problem at all. Think about it. Youíve got 7-13 Nazgul out. Even if they get rid of 3 or 4, youíve still got a considerable force. Plus with more drawing ability, you will be able to consistently play Nazgul, slowly beating them down rather than bombing them.

Closing
OK. Weíve been through the game. Whatís the point? Come on you guys. Use your heads. Seinfeld!! Now go chill and watch Seinfeld. Goal accomplished.

Thanks for reading everyone. Itís good to get back in article writing style. I hope you enjoyed, and please donít rate before youíve made suggestion (and I have changed things).

Cheers!
PW
Last edited by Pipeweed on Fri Mar 09, 2007 12:22 am; edited 10 times in totalPipeweed's Haves/Wants: 100 NEW RARES!!
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Cycle Engine
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NBarden
Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 8:54 pm
Joined: 28 Dec 2006 Posts: 5468 Location: I don't know...
Okay, Iíve never been a big fan of articles that just focus on one deck. But they can still be articles. This is a glorified decklist. Seriously. Its layed out as one, and explained as one, with a (small) match-up sections tacked on.

The article doesnít match the title. Explain more about synergy and how it works. Mention some synergy decks and how they work (i.e. Forest Elves / Forestguls, Dwarf Healing (the Durin Wakes again) w/ Orc underground, and the ultimate synergy deck of all time, Dwarf/Sauron Discard w/ the Irresistible Shadow!

This is a filtering FP. Not a synergistic FP. True, site path control helps, but you need to either add some Morgul gates in case it gets foiled, or give your Nazzies some ways to rule the sitepath.

BTW, almost any shadow strategy is aided by a cycling FP. Name one that isnít. I could run the same FP and kill with Moria, Uruk-Hai site control swarm, Gates of the Dead City Corruption, etc. better than a different fellowship. And control the sitepath? Great! That helps in getting any site to aid my shadow strategy.

Also, in your match-up section, you need to explain match-ups for the FP. Damage Uruks would pose a problem, Forestguls, while helping your shadow, would completely obliterate the FP, probably faster than you could obliterate them. Any well played swarm would obliterate you, especially Orc.

Iím seriously considering a 2, this article needs a lot of work. Good shadow, but the FP will get knocked off before you can bomb, and you need a lot more to make an article.
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elf lvr
Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 9:46 pm
Joined: 13 Jun 2006 Posts: 3065 Location: Rivendell
NBarden, this article definately doesnít deserve a 2. Just becuase it isnít a Felipe-sized article doesnít mean it needs to be pushed down the drain.

Donít count it off because its in a format you dont like (now, you didnít do this, but some people have) or because it only has one decklist. There are strategies that have one optimal decklist. A Dwarf Filter / Forestgul Swarm deck probably doesnít have that many different decklists. Also, a match-up section isnít required for a good article, IMO. And it DOES get boring when you keep on saying, "This deck pwns THIS, and this deck pwns THAT." I think itís good that he stuck to the opponents to watch out for.

An article can be good even if it doesnít follow the norm.

Now, on to where I agree with you. It IS a bit on the short side, and does look like a glorified decklist. It would help if you explained the strategy more in-depth. Now, you got the gist of it, but what if a new player came in here and didnít know what the heck forestguls were. I know, stupid sounding, but possible. So it would be a good idea to explain what the deck is, and why you chose the particular companions/minions/other cards you did, even if it would seem obvious to a veteran player.

Also, the thing about synergy is a bit misleading. The article isnít about synergy, its about a deck that utilizes synergy. (Synergy... thanks for the article idea, by the way. Wink )

I think the freeps could have some problems. With swarms, yeah, but also with quick-kills like Uruk Hunters. To all of you who have had a Durin dropped at site 3, you know what Iím talking about. Iím not quite sure how to improve the freeps enough (without totally changing it *cough*Gloin*cough*), so I probably wonít vote down for it.

It also relies a bit much on having the angle out... otherwise, youíd be crunched two ways:

1) Having enough twilght to play out 8 nazgul

or

2) Playing enough nazzies with Dark Approach clog.

Also, whatís with only two copies of moving this way? You need 4, IMO. If you want a quick kill, you need to set that up FAST.

I liked the article, and the deck. But it does need a bit of work. I will wait before voting. Now... 3-ish, with good changes, 4, easy.
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macheteman
Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 9:58 pm
Joined: 07 Dec 2006 Posts: 1200 Location: The Jungle
yeah, i agree with EL on pretty much everything he said. i was ezpecting an article about many different decks that have synergy. i would go more in-depth on the actual cards. this is not only good for bigginners, but also if someone does not play the deck, they might miss why a certain card is best or how a card can be used for several purposses.

but the actual deck looks good. iíll see what you change, and rate it accordingly. (maybe the best thing to change would be the name Wink )


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Check out my best article The Utterly Corrupt Corruption,
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Pipeweed
Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 10:01 pm
Joined: 14 Jun 2006 Posts: 1010 Location: Earth (I think)
Hey guys, thanks for the comments.

First of all NBarden, please donít rate me down just because my article is shorter than usual. Most of the greatest articles in the history of CC have been this short or shorter:

http://lotrtcgdb.com/community/viewtopic.php?t=284

NBarden wrote:
Also, in your match-up section, you need to explain match-ups for the FP. Damage Uruks would pose a problem, Forestguls, while helping your shadow, would completely obliterate the FP, probably faster than you could obliterate them. Any well played swarm would obliterate you, especially Orc.


The answer would be clear if you had maybe read more carefully. This deck is set up for the FP to cycle fast and then survive. Besides, when you are able to drop a shadow bomb so fast on such little twilight, your FP wonít need to do much besides survive for a few phases.

NBarden wrote:
Iím seriously considering a 2, this article needs a lot of work. Good shadow, but the FP will get knocked off before you can bomb, and you need a lot more to make an article.


Thatís your right to consider, but I think you would be surprised if you actually played the deck or looked more closely at it. This FP survives forever. It never dies. Iíve played this deck for quite a while and won multiple tourneys with it.

Also, may I please ask that you look back at some of the most famous articles in history. They are structured in the very same way as this, so donít write me off as a total newbie to article writing. Iíve won multiple times and people have always complimented me on my good articles.

elf lvr wrote:
It also relies a bit much on having the angle out... otherwise, youíd be crunched two ways:

1) Having enough twilght to play out 8 nazgul

or

2) Playing enough nazzies with Dark Approach clog.


Provided you play your fellowship like you should, neither of these should happen. Also, the nice thing is that if you are not able to bomb, you can always slowly kill your opponent while the fellowship survives.

PW
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NBarden
Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 10:42 pm
Joined: 28 Dec 2006 Posts: 5468 Location: I don't know...
Pipeweed wrote:
NBarden wrote:
Iím seriously considering a 2, this article needs a lot of work. Good shadow, but the FP will get knocked off before you can bomb, and you need a lot more to make an article.


Thatís your right to consider, but I think you would be surprised if you actually played the deck or looked more closely at it. This FP survives forever. It never dies. Iíve played this deck for quite a while and won multiple tourneys with it.

Also, may I please ask that you look back at some of the most famous articles in history. They are structured in the very same way as this, so donít write me off as a total newbie to article writing. Iíve won multiple times and people have always complimented me on my good articles.


Hey, whoa now. I know your not a newbie. Youíve written tons of articles and Iíve read them. Your NG article was awesome.

As for articles being written in this format, I guess I donít have a problem with it if its exhaustive. I prefer other formats, but thatís my personal opinion. But the fact is, this article wasnít exhaustive, it doesnít cover everything, you keep saying let the FP handle it, but donít cover exactly how the FP should handle it, and it doesnít fit the title.

BTW, Iím not rating you down for a short article. Look at ACís minion splash article. It was short, but good. The reason Iím rating you down is because your article isnít exhaustive, it relies to much on the FP setting up the sitepath, and trust me, even if the FP sets up the sitepath well enough, any sitepath control strategy will kill it! Forestguls usually have the problem with Sitepath control FP, but by leaving it to your FP side to cover, they have free reign with the shadow as well!

Pipeweed wrote:
elf lvr wrote:
It also relies a bit much on having the angle out... otherwise, youíd be crunched two ways:

1) Having enough twilght to play out 8 nazgul

or

2) Playing enough nazzies with Dark Approach clog.


Provided you play your fellowship like you should, neither of these should happen. Also, the nice thing is that if you are not able to bomb, you can always slowly kill your opponent while the fellowship survives.

PW


Please explain further on how to play the FP. You focus an awful lot on the shadow and how to play it, please discuss the FP side more.

And change the title to something completely free of synergy, because this isnít a synergy deck. True synergy is, and may I look to the synergy combo of all time, Dwarf/Sauron Discard! Homage One side controlling the sitepath for the other is not synergy, its a good pairing. Synergy is to sides trying to accomplish the same goal, or having a whole lot in common, such as Elf Forest/Forestguls, Till Durin Wakes Again Dwarf Healing/Discard /Orc Discarding Corruption w/ The Beckoning Shadow.
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Pipeweed
Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 10:47 pm
Joined: 14 Jun 2006 Posts: 1010 Location: Earth (I think)
Thanks for the follow-up NB. Iíve added some stuff and changed the title. Donít vote yet, cause Iím not done, but itís coming together.

Thanks,
PW
Pipeweed's Haves/Wants: 100 NEW RARES!!
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Cycle Engine
Joe Meets God: A Humorous Article on a Budget

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Anonymous Prodigy
Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 10:57 am
Joined: 10 Jan 2006 Posts: 4197 Location: United States
I would remove a copy of The Witch-king, Captain of the Nine Riders and add a copy of The Witch-king, Morgul King. Otherwise, the deck looked very nice. Your writing style was very laid back and casual, making it easy and enjoyable to read. At the moment, I would give it a 4. Good job! Applause
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sickofpalantirs
Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 2:35 pm
Joined: 23 Mar 2006 Posts: 7750 Location: somwhere, over the rainbow way up high. There's a land that I heard of once in a lullaby.
my questions is, how well does forestguls work vs. IB? it would be nice if you listed what it beat to. it looks pretty good though, hovering about a 4 but changes could move it to 5.
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macheteman
Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 2:55 pm
Joined: 07 Dec 2006 Posts: 1200 Location: The Jungle
ok, well the change of title bumped it up a notch, and the deck looks pretty solid. i give it a 4. Good work!


-mm
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