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gil-estel
Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 4:36 pm
Joined: 25 Apr 2007 Posts: 545 Location: Groningen, the Netherlands
There are many reasons to start the beautiful game of LotR TCG, but to me there is only one which justifies spending all my money -and my wifeís money as well : FUN


I think it was in 2003 when I came accross this cardgame. Iím addicted to spending quality-time with my closest friends playing all sorts of games, so I visited our local gameshop very often. In those days -I was already in my 20ís- I had just read (in 2001) the book for the first time, I had seen the first 2 movies and I liked what I saw.
Anyway, at a given day, me and a friend of mine entered the gameshop like we used to do. We noticed that the shelf behind the counter was dominated by LotR displays. It wasnít busy that time of the day, so we asked the shop-owner, what it was.........those few words, I could not imagine that those words would change my life!
The shop-owner turned out to be one of Hollandís best players those days along with a group of regular visitors of his shop, so he was willing to drag us down with him. He forced us to buy a starter deck -I bought the Gandalf starter from FotR- and he sat down with us for like 2 hours. From that moment on we brought all of our money to his shop.....and we thought it was great!

Playing this game has always been about fun. We did not visited any tournements, we were always a few sets behind and we didnít have a community for expanded trades and other related business. So we were appointed to eachother. Therefor we developed into different kind of players. We became collectors, trading everything with eachother -for example, the value was decided by wheter you had the card yes or no, so morgul gates for weight of a legacy was almost possible- and we had to find ways to slaugther eachother.
Slowly there were other friend who were lured, but very reluctant to spend much money. So we had to balance the game. I guess you all agree that the player who spends the most money and is willing to invest in certain decks is likely to win the most games -generaly spoken. So we came up with ways to make it attractive for anyone to participate. Because we want everyone to enjoy his game of LotR.

In this article Iím going to descripe what fun ment for us. What ways we went to achieve our main goal.

1. Building theme-decks
2. Building decks centered around a certain card
3. Building decks in our own format (certainly most fun)

1. Building theme-decks

If youíre building a theme-deck, you look at certain themeís that show up in the book. For example, and itís an easy one, Frodo, Sam and Smeagol. Itís an easy one because even Decipher came up with this one. What you try to do, is work out a reliable deck, that only works with character in that theme.
More fun than just picking themeís Decipher offers is to make another deck.
I had fun with my 5 person fellowship in which we celebrated the marriage between Aragorn and Arwen Šnd Faramir and Eowyn. Frodo was there to carry around the (wedding)ring. It became a deck that was centered around wounding/killing all minions that dared to ruin their day.

It looked something like this:

Frodo, Resolute Hobbit
The One Ring, Such a Weight to Carry (those human rings weigh sooo much)
Arwen, Queen of Elves and Men
Eowyn, Lady of Ithilien

Aragorn, Elessar Telcontar 3x
Faramir, Dunadan of Gondor
Aragornís Bow 2x
Faramirís Bow 2x
Hadafang 2x
Asfaloth, Elven Steed
Faramirís Sword 2x
Anduril, Sword that was Broken
Brego
Eowynís Sword, Dernhelmís Blade 2x
Elven Bow
Gondor Bowmen 4x
Athelas 2x
A Rangerís Versatility 2x
Ithilien Trap
Coif
Feathered 2x

32 cards, which all serve one purpose: make this marriage an undisturbed one. A bit healing, condition removal, and mainly lotís of fun.
I would pair it with I think something they all had faced: NazgŻl, probably the forest ones. Forestsites also help out this fellowship a bit, think of Rangerís Versatility, heal Elven site. The only one who feels a bit awkward is Eowyn, but hť, becoming Lady of Ithilien, she must get used to it!
This deck could do well against alot, but I think they would hate to see Corsairs to show up. It is a bit possesion reliant, and if they donít stick around, youíre in for a tough ride.
But if you lose, Iíve got the line for you: itís a fundeck!
Other potential theme-decks:

- the best one, but also one of the hardest! The last Alliance of Elves and Men. All the key characters are there: Elendil, Isildur, Anarion, Gil-Galad, Elrond, Glorfindel, Galadriel. Itís hard to pull of, because you can only start with one extra companion. So your starting fellowship is a bit weak. Other companions need to spot other guys, so youíve got 2 potential starters: Isildur and Anarion, so you can play Elrond, Elendil, Glorfindel and at last Gil-Galad. The other option is to start with either Galadriel and Glorfindel, or Galadriel and Elrond. Elrond, Elven Lord is good because of all the Elven artifacts and Men artifacts, Elrond, Witness to History is good just for his subtitle -history being my main subject, history as a theme of this deck- and ofcourse his possibilities. Try to stay as much as you can with in the theme. No shards of Narsil ofcourse, for you need Narsil to slice the Ring of Sauronís hand. Itís pretty straight-forward, The Last Alliance of Elves and Men on all Gondor men, some swords, Narsil and Aiglos, Host of the Last Alliance to prefent some wounds and you got yourself a pretty neat fellowship...if you pull the companions in time!
- On decktech I saw a hilarious one. The ride of the chicks! Arwen, Galadriel and Eowyn working their way through minions, trying to safe the ring.
- The they-who-suffered-loss-theme. Denethor and Elrond lost the women they loved. I can add Theoden to this possy, but weíre still in need of a ring-bearer. Thoughts anyone?
- Guard of the White Tree. Protecting itís sappling....but itís going to be a knight deck, so nothing exciting there.
- Ofcourse the nine companions, given to us -hopefully- by the last set. I made attempts, but itís hard to play, especially with all the +5 companionhate there is.
- Bilbo writing tales in Rivendel. Elrond, Glorfindel and Aragorn could join him. Aragorn was allways a big help in old Bilboís songs and poems. Elrond listened as probably Glorfindel did.

The list could be extended, and maybe I will, but after this week. Iíve got some time to think about these matters, lying in my tent, listening to the wind going through the trees, the soft and gentle water floating by in the river. Delicious!

2. Building decks centered around a certain card.

This is also a great format! With al these cards, approximately 2300, there are a lot of cards waiting to be used. These are cards that cost a lot, needing comboís to be triggered, there are easier ways to pull it off, etc. But the fun -the main reason to built such a deck- when you pull it of: priceless! It requires a lot of creativity and patience. You have to built, reconsider, try it out and maybe go back to the drawingboard. That way I spend a lot of time trying to make a card work. The downside is that mostly if the opponent has got a way to come around your deck, you wonít win. Or you should make it versatile enough to switch from one card to another way to win. The deck I came up with is a deck centered around Sense of Obligation . A beautiful card with a lot of potential. Players maybe use it as an extra card in a deck like TurboCorruption with Enquea, TotO, but a whole deck centered around this card? Well it was worth the try, and extremely fun!
This was what my twisted mind came up with:

Shelob, Her Ladyship x3
Gollum, Stinker x2
Evil-smelling Fens x2
Captured by the Ring x4
Sense of Obligation x4
So Polite
Ulaire Enquea, Lieutenant of Morgul x2
Web x2
Ulaire Enquea, Thrall of The One x2
Between Nazgul and Prey x2
Morgul Brute x2
Ulaire Nelya, Third of the Nine Riders x3
Ulaire Nertea, Black-Mantled Wraith

I combined it with my three little friends: Frodo, Sam and Smeagol. Also a theme deck and you know: I like it!
This shadow can be potential killing. With Shelob eliminating certain key characters to skirmish, especially the one who has a sense of obligation, youíre building up burdens for the ring-bearer. The deck is small, so vital cards tend to show up soon. Of course this deck is vunarable, and a bit more then the general decks, but the satisfaction after pulling this one of, well I can tell you, it blew my mind! It was made in a envirnment that likes to play Open, but itís very well possible to make it standard.
Other cards to think of:

Lost to the Goblins.
I wrote an article about this card. One card, great potential. Hard to pull, but if done, killing!
The Irresistible Shadow.
A bit negative to play against, because youíre going to discard a whole bunch of cards. But oh men, the moment you instantly corrupt the ring-bearer, itís awesome!
Put Forth His Strength.
Very, very hard to pull, I never saw it done. But I can imagine the fun trying to.
Called Away.
Awesome! Return a companion to itís ownerís hand. Your starting Durin III returned. The next turn, you playing your fellowship phase, you unleash The White Arrows of Lorien, meaning bye bye Durin. Nice.
Ulaire Lemenya, Winged Hunter.
He has got the same possibility as Called Away.
Peril.
The last one Iím adding here. Iíve seen amazing things with this card. Wisp of Pale Sheen was played over and over in the regroup, adding tons of burdens! Never thought I would face that card, eventough I love corrupting the ring-bearer. Play a high-vitality orc to make peril work in the regroup. Also Shapes Slowly Advancing could take advantage of this card. Think about it!


3. Building decks in our own format

Well, I saved the best for last. At least, in my opinion the best. When you are dealing with friends who only have so many cards, and are a bit behind collecting stuff -for example one friend of mine is opening his first Shadows booster box this week, 1st of june 2007- so you can imagine you have to be creative about playing this game. When I ordered a starterbox I shared all the sitepaths with my friends, so we can all play with them. But to make it possible for everyone to come up with a competitive deck, we think of certain formats. There are ofcourse given formats, expanded, open, standard, fellowship block and so on, and so on. But we like to mix it up a bit. And to make sure everyone has the same posibilities we, for instance, made a C/U only tournement.
How did we do it? Well the first thing is simple. We state that only common and uncommon cards can be used from the first ten sets. Can all C/U cards be used? Well, we had a discussion concerning this. We decided that everyone could bring in a few cards and we would vote about them. I myself thought of Mordor Fiend, knowing the brute power of the card. I even had nuked a few of my friends with this card, so I thought it was an easy picking. You can imagine my surprise when no-one seemed to agree, so this card was free to use. I had something to think about. Finally, we decided we would use fellowship sites. It is great fun to watch certain minions wander around in the Shire, and certainly taking advantage of these given sites!
Well, there we have it. Fellowship sites, C/U from the first 10 sets, and almost no limits. Mordor Fiend was written all over me. What does Mordor Fiend needs to be succesful? A filtered deck. The whole combo of The Dark Lord Summons and Mordor Fiend is depending on drawing shadowcards, because with drawing to many fellowshipcards you will have no cards left to play with. I was really killing myself to come up with a deck to pare with these ugly dudes. I thought of massive card drawing, but I found out that drawing doesnít help this deck, not at all. But how to filter my deck? The awnser was given by an agricultural hobbit: the hobbit farmer! He made me able to gain the text of my first site. Well I didnít gain the text, he did it all! So I worked some thing out and here it is:

Description
I had to prove my friends that Mordor Fiend is broke! What better moment for them to find out during a tournement!

Cards
starting:
Frodo, Reluctant Adventurer
The One Ring, The Ruling Ring
Sam, Great Elf Warrior
Merry, Learned Guide
Pippin, Woolly-footed Rascal

sites:
1:exert hobbit to play Merry or Pippin
2:only hobbits = no assignement
3:play hobbit to draw a card
4:add a burden
5:play the ancient deamon
6:heal the hobbits
7:Why donít we stop the archery
8:Hey, maybe I spot 5 orcs
9:when people are still around..play 3 trackers

freeps:
Merry, Learned Guide 4x
Pippin, Woolly-footed Rascal 4x
Stout and Sturdy 2x
Bill the Pony
Hobbit Stealth
Hobbit Sword
Old Noakes, Purveyor of Wisdoms
Bounder
Hobbit Party Guest
Hobbit Farmer 3x
Filibert Bolger, Wily Rascal
Bilbo Baggins, Well-spoken Gentlehobbit 3x
Rosie Cotton, Hobbiton Lass
A Talent for Not Being Seen 2x
Practically Everyone Was Invited (PEWI)3x
the tale of the great ring
There and Back Again

shadow
Orc Ambusher 2x
orc butcher
orc insurgent 2x
great hill troll 4x
mordor fiend 4x
The Eye of Sauron 2x
great peril of fire
The Dark Lordís Summons 4x
Forces of Mordor
trollís chain 2x
tower walkway
their marching companies 4x
great siege towers 4x

I loved this deck. The hobbits filtered like crazy! Every skirmish I discarded my two hobbits, and every next turn I played them from my deck. Bilbo invited practically everyone to his party and so it became a night to remember. I won all my games.

Some cards:

PEWI: play hobbits from my drawdeck

Hobbit Farmer: plays my site 1 and is so kind to gain the gametext so I can play from my drawdeck Merry and Pippin whom I discard during skirmish

Great Peril of Fire: Awesome card. My engines are only there to make my trolls cheap. If my opponent depends on conditions theyíre all gone in the maneuver! If I donít need it I discard it when TDLS draws me a fellowshipcard

Eye of Sauron: play it immediately. To draw cards in your shadow is just great.

Orc insurgent: facing a rainbow fellowship this cheap orc adds twiligth and draws cards! Great!

Orc Butcher: People get butchered when they see 12 conditions

Orc ambusher: cheap orc with possibility to make other minions cheaper. Comes in handy to play all your conditions.

forces of mordor: adds 1 for each minion..pretty good

Trollís chain: maybe I can play it, adds strength and draws a card. I sure donít need it so it can be discarded when TDLS draws me a fellowship card.

It was great to see a friend of mine who didnít know what to expect. He walked down my sites, never saw a minion and thought he was in for an easy game. Wrong. At site 7 his entirely healthy fellowship got whiped out by a whole bunch of minions.

Well, my second article. I hope it was fun for you all to read, maybe I gave you some inspiration, now this great game has come to an end. If there are thing to be noticed, please do so before reviewing, so I can change it. Iím leaving for a short holiday by the way, so Iíll see you guys next weekend! Thanks.
Last edited by gil-estel on Mon Jun 04, 2007 4:27 pm; edited 8 times in total
CarpeGuitarrem
Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 6:59 pm
Joined: 07 Apr 2006 Posts: 3361 Location: Franciscan University of Steubenville
One quick thing to note...youíve got a lot of no-links in your article for various reasons. Example: youíve got Arwen, Queen of Men and Elves when it should be Arwen, Queen of Elves and Men. Also, all the Nazgul donít link with the accents in their names, unfortunately. And some of them arenít linking for some other reason.

But the article looks to be nice and fun.
"ok, change of plans. the Cobracards christmas party is coming to my house, and weíre gunna teach FM how to hunt." (mm)
Anvar
Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:23 pm
Joined: 28 Jun 2006 Posts: 251 Location:
I think what I would most like to see added to an article like this are more ideas. Not every idea has to be spelt out with an entire decklist but at the moment your article only actually has three ideas.

1] What other themes might make good decks? Are there other characters that make a good theme? All women fellowships? Decks based on other movies or books? A few sentences on each of a few more themes would be welcome.

2] What other single cards might be fun to build around? Particularly cards that most people do not use. Sense of Obligation is a great card, and I like how youíve used it, but it is often used. A few more peculiar, comboish type cards with a few sentences about how a deck might be built around them would be cool.

3] What other wacky formats might be interesting? You mention no-rares, but why not come up with some new ones?

I like the idea of your article, but would like to see it as more of a mine for inspiration than it currently is.

Keep up the good work,
Anvar
sickofpalantirs
Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:31 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.
I agree with most of anvars point. Your article will I hope remind people that this is a game and the goal of a game is too have fun. At least in casual play. If you are an ego-maniac who loves to use an uber-broken orc deck and crush everyone he plays fine, if that is fun for you. But remember, this is a game, and when it stops being fun for them , your friends/siblings/spouses might not want to play with you.

But enough of me ranting. good article, and if you flesh out some of the ideas anvar has given you. definitely you will get a 5
ArrowSop's haves/ top wantsExclamation
(mm)"SoP: you will always be the Official CC Spammer in my heart"
"DŠinIronfoot"
Spammers really are amazing creatures. You can learn all there is to know about their ways in a month. And yet, after a hundred years, they can still surprise you. Razz
Glamdring
Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:58 pm
Joined: 13 Oct 2006 Posts: 575 Location:
Just skimmed a little bit as usual. Looks great! I love articles like these that explain many different types of deck styles, so a 5 from me!

Keep up the good work!
Great minds think alike.~CarpeGuitarrem
Rangers will rule the World!! (CC's Official Ranger Lover)
My Haves/Wants Please look!!

...much debate much hard feelings. ~SOP
gil-estel
Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 3:07 pm
Joined: 25 Apr 2007 Posts: 545 Location: Groningen, the Netherlands
Thanks for the responses so far! Iíll work some things out but for now Iím leaving you (for real this time). Iím a teacher and this week we go on a trip to a mountainy area outside the Netherlands. Mountainbiken, rafting, abseilen, all crazy things you can do in those regions! The best thing is: Iím getting payed to do so! So this weekend Iíll be back....
TheShyzle
Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 3:19 pm
Joined: 19 May 2006 Posts: 289 Location: Grand Blanc, MI
Great Article. There are some minor spelling errors that will bother some nitpickers. Not me. Good topic especially since people tend to forget that it is just a game. 5 from me Very Happy
LOOK HERE:
http://lotrtcgdb.com/community/viewtopic.php?t=5185
gil-estel
Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 4:30 pm
Joined: 25 Apr 2007 Posts: 545 Location: Groningen, the Netherlands
Iíd like to lurn also a bit. Especially when it comes to spelling. Iím a bit pride (not good) and I always think my English is good. So if some thing went wrong, donít be reluctant to let me know.
But concerning the article, I updated it with cards and themes! Enjoy!
NBarden
Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 12:39 pm
Joined: 28 Dec 2006 Posts: 5468 Location: I don't know...
You may want to use The One Ring, The binding Ring with Frodo in the marriage deck. Laughing And then grab The Ring of Barahir.

Peril is awesome with Gothmog, Lieutenant of Morgul.
Exclamation-Trade With MeExclamation
Popcorn Add the popcorn smiley to your sig, help it achieve world domination.
What if the hokey pokey really IS what its all about? Shocked
As I lay in bed staring at the stars last night, I thought to myself, "where the heck is the ceiling?"
Arrow Spotlight on....Sense of Obligation.
sickofpalantirs
Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 1:03 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.
do you have a program with an English spell check and grammar check?
ArrowSop's haves/ top wantsExclamation
(mm)"SoP: you will always be the Official CC Spammer in my heart"
"DŠinIronfoot"
Spammers really are amazing creatures. You can learn all there is to know about their ways in a month. And yet, after a hundred years, they can still surprise you. Razz

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