The Last Homely House

Middle-Earth => Casual => Topic started by: Dictionary on January 20, 2019, 04:30:22 AM

Title: Enhanced Fellowship Block
Post by: Dictionary on January 20, 2019, 04:30:22 AM
I've made a separate thread for the card list of Enhanced Fellowship Block, split from this discussion:,9001.0.html

This list will be updated as required.

The X-List and Additional Valid list have been split into categories to be more readable. X-List is sorted by reason why the card is not legal (Not thematic, too strong, or largely useless). Additional Valid is sorted by culture.

Enhanced Fellowship Block:
Valid sets: 1, 2, 3, 9, 14, 16
Sites from block: Fellowship
Ring-bearer skirmish can be cancelled: No

Anti-Thematic cards: Elendil, the Tall; Gil Galad, Elven High King; Durin III; Linnar; Uri; Sindri; Gimli, BoG; Galadriel, BoW; Boromir, BoC; Smeagol, BoGS; Isildur, BoH; Duilin, Ranger from Blackroot Vale; Duinhir, Tall Man of Blackroot Vale; Horn of the mark; Aiglos; Sapling of the White Tree; Seeing Stone of Orthanc

Overpowered cards: Grimbeorn, Beorning Chieftain; Slippery as Fishes; Huorn.

Irrelevant cards: Horror of Harad; Furious Hillman; Swarming Hillman; Half-Troll of Far Harad; Freca; Ent Draught; The Red Arrow; Narya, Ring of Fire.

R-list: Horn of Boromir, No Stranger to the Shadows

Additional valid (By culture):

The Mouth of Sauron, Lieutenant of Barad-Dur
Grishnakh, Orc Captain
Orc Patrol
Eye of Barad-dur

Saruman's Staff, Wizard's Device
Saruman, Of Many Colours
Throne of Isengard;
Ugluk, SoS
Men Will Fall
Uruk Chaser
Uruk Plains Runner
Broad-Bladed Sword
Black Shapes Crawling
Lurtz's Bow ( [Uruk] )

Fell Beast
Ring of Savagery
The Pale Blade, Sword of Flame
Shadowy Mount
Riders in Black

The Balrog, the Terror of Khazad-Dum
The Balrog, Terror of Flame and Shadow
Durin's Tower
Reaching Tentacle
Strong Tentacle

Evil Smelling Fens

Belt of Erebor
Thorin III, Stonehelm
Thrarin, Smith of Erebor
Grimir, Dwarven Emissary

Elrond, Elven Lord

Anduril, FOTW
Boromir, DG
Sword of Boromir
Aragorn, Strider

Tom Bombadil's Hat
Narrow Escape

Barliman Butterbur, Red-Faced Landlord
Beorning Axe
Ghan-buri-Ghan, Chieftain of the Woses
Radagast's Staff
The Art of Gandalf

Being discussed: Orc Cutthroat, Loathsome, Ranks Without Number, Guidance of the Istari (Or The Flame of Anor?), Naith Longbow, Sword of Gondor, Dwarf Rings, Seeing Stone of Minas Anor.

Title: Re: Enhanced Fellowship Block
Post by: Phallen Cassidy on January 20, 2019, 11:02:04 PM
I'll admit, I never did read all of the discussion on the other topic. Apologies if I tread over worn ground.

Will Forces of Mordor be reprising its role on the R-list? I recommend against it, but I wanted to make sure it wasn't being simply overlooked. The only reason it's restricted at all is because of the Expanded R-list retroactively applying to block formats, per Decipher. Sauron, as I believe had been noted before, will be essentially unplayable, but that's almost perfect: he wouldn't be assaulting The Fellowship himself unless they were really drawing his attention (adding tons of twilight). As for the other cards, they're all good. Grishnakh and Orc Patrol bring new blood to keep Sauron Trackers appealing, with added support for other strategies. Eye of Barad-Dur is a hugely underrated card which will be especially valuable with Sting on the table. The Mouth of Sauron is a great situational pick for any deck, and I could go on for a while on why I think Ithil Stone is the perfect card to bring in. Orc Cutthroat looks fine to me, as I believe he's well costed.

The additional valid list is tricky here. For starters, how have you decided on those Trackers? I mean, why Uruk Chaser and Uruk Plains Runner? Uruk-hai are the shadow side to beat, and I don't think they need as much help as you're giving them considering Keeper of Isengard is legal. Broad-Bladed Sword just isn't necessary. Sack of the Shire isn't either, but I don't see it giving many problems. Black Shapes Crawling is one of my favorite cards, so while Uruk-hai certainly don't need it and many players won't use it, I don't mind it one bit. Lurtz's Bow I support because it adds complexity in an interesting way.

Urgency is neat, I suppose. While I like the overall Saruman support added, I don't support Of Many Colours. What about Master of Foul Folk and/or Black Traitor? Give a bit to Isengard Orcs, and allow anyone to have some expensive condition discard (plus he's the natural companion to Saruman's Staff). It'll be interesting to see how Throne of Isengard plays out. Encourages Gandalf over Last Alliance, but unless you make the changes I suggest for him I think it's unwarranted encouragement.

Riders in Black is overkill, in my opinion. Fellowship block skirmish events for Nazgul exist and are underrated. With the rings and other add-ins (Ithil Stone!), beatdown and burden Nazgul get a bump; I don't think they need any more than that. Loathsome is another one of my pet cards: I say let it roll.

The tentacles are a nice touch, and obviously the two Gollum conditions are for them. Without set 19's Watcher, they're still not a worthwhile strategy in a constructed league because you only get one chance to hoard up the right cards in hand (including Spies of Sauron and an Isengard minion). With set 19's Watcher, it becomes a deadly threat that prevents double moving almost entirely. The additional Balrogs are solid, though, as well as Durin's Tower. I've always thought Host of Moria was a particularly well thought-out card.

Dark as Darkness fits thematically and supports any shadow side well.

Dain and Brand are great additions and will do a lot of work for Dwarves. That, combined with the additional 3 valid companions, brings a bit of firepower to one of the weaker Free Peoples in Fellowship block. Will it be enough? Maybe. It's enough to make people curious, at least. This is one culture in which I would look to beef up in the Additional Valid list, but off the top of my head I don't know what would be thematically fitting. On that same note, I think the rings are nice but detract from the goal.

Glorfindel is a powerful addition, but other than him the cards added here offer nice variety. None of the others add much to Last Alliance choke decks, while they could each add something to other deck types. I don't think companion Elrond will be played, however. I appreciate what Naith Longbow does for Elladan and Elrohir, but I think it does more for Glorfindel. Leave it out, I say.

Another good set of cards, not adding much to top-tier strategies while expanding on others. No Stranger to Shadows belongs on the R-list, but even with Tom Bombadil I wonder how much damage a horn deck will be able to do. There are a good number of ally hate cards available in Fellowship block; Ranks without Number could be added to further curb the behavior (but would need to be discussed thematically). No issue with Sword of Gondor.

Not a fan of Tom Bombadil's Hat. Nazgul get some real burden potential (as they should have all along), I admit, but it isn't too much for existing tools. Cutting the number of burdens added in half - especially along with Shire Countryside's healing - is not necessary. I don't think leaving this out has any real impact on the format's intention, and leaving out the remaining two Gandalf promos (as I advocate for below) offers a clean departure from the promo set altogether. The rest of the new cards look good, in my opinion. Solo Shire decks are very possible in Fellowship block, and Narrow Escape might well make it competitive. Pippin's Dagger finally gives Pippin a place. Might benefit from extra cards, but again I don't know which.

While I can see why you may want to allow Barliman Butterbar to fight, any card added to make a primarily [Gandalf] fellowship work will only really serve to make Gandalf decks (already one of the best deck types) even stronger. Beorning Axe allows the Free Peoples to pull any Gandalf card from the discard pile, which is invaluable; I am envisioning a very fun, but far too strong Friend of the Shirefolk deck, and that's without looking at Radgast's Staff and Sent Back.  This might not be bad in and of itself, but I'm really not seeing any additions to other cultures that make those able to compete for attention. I would remove all Additional Valid cards and X-list Sent Back; Radagast becomes an able companion who can't simply be burned, while Brand is a fine choice for Dwarven fellowships. The cards I suggest removing aren't in The Fellowship of the Ring anyway (except Barliman, who already exists), so I believe the format would be improved while remaining true to its purpose.

Title: Re: Enhanced Fellowship Block
Post by: Dictionary on January 23, 2019, 08:16:22 AM
I think I pushed for [Isengard] Trackers because I wanted Ugluk available and Ugly Fellow is too strong, so some other Trackers were needed for support. Tried to avoid the ones that use concepts not in Fellowship block, and those two have average stats; not too high or low.

Looking at the list, it does seem like Isengard has a lot of extra support, but most of it runs contrary to KoI (Towers Trackers don't benefit from his Fierce boost, OMC means less KoI etc. Broad-Bladed Sword doesn't really work with him either.)

Isengard's list is a lot bigger than other cultures though, and some [Isengard] support for Orcs could be interesting.

16 tentacles + 4 Watchers and 8 recall minion cards should be enough for Tentacle beatdown rather than a one-hand swarm. With the Gollum conditions they can be played at any site. More pumps for them would be nice, but there aren't many options since Urgency is already in.

Beorning Axe only gets back cards when borne by Grimbeorn, who is X'ed. Gandalf decks do get very strong in later formats, but I'm not sure there really were Gandalf decks in that sense in Fellowship, as Gandalf was the only [gandalf] companion. There was TMayoD, but the [gandalf] Men don't have signets.

Your other points I'm inclined to agree with. Maybe Witness to History should be used instead of Elven Lord, as his ability might tip the balance away from using the ally versions?

Title: Re: Enhanced Fellowship Block
Post by: ket_the_jet on January 23, 2019, 08:27:47 AM
I am generally not a fan of these sorts of efforts, but why is Ghan-Buri-Ghan playable in Fellowship block? He wasn't a player until Rohan got involved in Return of the King.

Title: Re: Enhanced Fellowship Block
Post by: Dictionary on January 24, 2019, 05:40:30 PM
I am generally not a fan of these sorts of efforts, but why is Ghan-Buri-Ghan playable in Fellowship block? He wasn't a player until Rohan got involved in Return of the King.

IIRC it's from when Dmaz and DurinsHeir discussed adding the 5 WETA promos.

Title: Re: Enhanced Fellowship Block
Post by: Durin's Heir on February 06, 2019, 03:45:03 PM
Been busy, dizzy and a bit too tired, but I'm back again. This new thread looks great, good job Dictionary!

Huorn should be in the "Anti-Thematic cards" list. And Aiglos might be moved to the "Overpowered" list, since it's broken pieces were probably present in Rivendell during Frodo's journey, but is excluded due to Greenleaf. I'd also specify "Irrelevant cards (not excluded)".

Stand Against Darkness should go to the X-list, if we want to see the big [Sauron] minions in action.

We might even add another list, for lore's sake: "Mutually excluding list" for things that shouldn't be together. That means, "Andúril FOTR + Narsil BotF / The Shards of Narsil." In a logical world, the superb sword is either broken or remade, but not both. So either Boromir carries the hilt to enhance his Hobbit pumping / ally summoning, or Aragorn fences the Flame of the West against the enemies of... the West.


- Fredegar Bolger: We're forgetting about good old Fatty! He'd be weaker than Pippin as cannon fodder, but in a dedicated [Shire] deck he'd be strong in region 1, weak-but-slippery in region 2 (stealths, Bombadil), and somewhat reliable in region 3 (Goldberry, TABA, Bounder / Everyone Knows, Nice Imitation / Seek and Hide). Without a Farmer Maggot of his own and only 3 vitality, he'll need Stout and Sturdy / Hobbit Appetite to survive in the long run. But can keep the Hobbit count high, and that's important.

- Warmed Up A Bit: It's a shame Bolger doesn't have a self-discard skill to stay in the Shire. What about adding that event too? It'd make Hobbits harder to kill (and would still work when the main stealths stop cancelling skirmishes), but would also be counterproducive with double moves (and Narrow Escape). It'd be mostly for Pippin and Fatty, since Merry won't want to lose his Hobbit Sword. Dear Friends / Bilbo RA would bring them back to play (or another copy). Or Knocked on the Head if we're willing to add one more, which is fine to me.

- Tom Bombadil's Hat: Agree with Phallen, Sam SoH is enough a nightmare to also have this cutting burdens by half.

[Gandalf] Wizards
- The Art of Gandalf & Have Patience: I disagree with Phallen: while is true that Gandalf is strong in Rainbow fellowships, he's actually weak in mainly [Gandalf] decks. Has many mighty tricks but depends too much on hand, and even worse, exerts too much without any healing but sanctuaries and extra copies (so often is forced to add Aragorn KiE, Frodo's Pipe or Elrond HtGG and change the deck a lot). He cannot choke or double move well. The Art of Gandalf will help dense [Gandalf] decks with hand dependance, but will provide little to no utility for Rainbow ones. And to correct the lack of healing we can add Have Patience, which is strong but very costly (in a format that tends to punish extra twilight). It's actually much weaker than pipes.

- Sent Back will make those Gandalf-centered decks lose the frailness of depending on one companion, so they can compete in better terms with Rangers and Archery. In regards of Radagast, killing and replaying him for a leap in the sitepath shouldn't mean much with all the stopping power of the format (with no OOTHA or Gil-Galad to clear the board); Shores of Nen Hithoel doesn't care about move limits anyway. It'd be useful vs Grind and Archery, taking 4 wounds to then reappear, but those will get huge reinforcements anyway (big trackers, Gollum DaD, Ithil Stone). Or with Far-Seeing Eyes discard, but they already work well with Gift of Boats (and 40/40+ decks or Old Noakes tend to defeat them with ease).

Sent Back is actually thematic. After returning from death, Gandalf played an important-though-not-explicit part in the book: when the Eye catches Frodo at Amon Hen, Gandalf confronts Sauron's will inside Frodo's mind, giving him a chance to take off the Ring ("The two powers strove in him. For a moment, perfectly balanced between their piercing points, he writhed, tormented. Suddenly he was aware of himself again. Frodo, neither the Voice nor the Eye: free to choose...").

- Radagast's Staff is nothing to fear, only provides nice stats. I'd rather have him wield a Wizard Staff, its skill is much better than the vitality.

[Gandalf] Men
- The Flame of Anor: [Gandalf] Men will need a pump that works for themselves and by themselves. We already discarded Last Stand (tokens and frailness); and TToHC, FaWLD and TSiiTB (too weak). That leaves only GotI, tFoA, and Be Gone. But Be Gone is too much as lasts until regroup (can exhaust Gandy or Radagast to reduce the Witch King to str 8). GotI rises those weak Men to awesome strengths, that's fine, but doesn't force you to use [Gandalf] Man companions to pump Gandalf, while The Flame of Anor requires you to have at least 1 [Gandalf] Man companion along with Gandalf + Radagast. If beefing up Wizard decks is a problem, I'd prefer The Flame of Anor. Only in that case, which might prove wrong with the rise of Dark Fire, No Ordinary Storm (with AFVotA + Urgency) and the new Balrogs wearing Gandalf down.

- Ghan-buri-Ghan: Ket and Phallen are right, he's anti-thematic, but is the only skillful survivor they have. That's only because of his gametext, while Brand has a mild dispersed effect and Barliman RFL's is too random to be good. Even with a pump they'll mostly stand still to get the punches of Uruks/Nazgul that'd be otherwise hitting Frodo. The problem is that they're just stiff stats like Ents, without any built-in or external skill to draw on (they have Great Shield + Armor / Coat of Mail, but that's all). So we must change that before removing Ghan.

I think the following cards will help them: On Your Doorstep, Dasron & Erland DC.
- On Your Doorstep can remove the randomness from Barliman Butterbur RFL's skill, making it useful to recover post-fellowship [Gandalf] events immediately (which is closer to the ally version, but still weaker), or any [Gandalf] card for the next turn (a discared Glamdring, or Sleep Caradhras).
- Dasron's stats are decent, and his skill will hardly work in this format (only Strands of Elven Hair + a Dwarf, for a single use each copy).
- Erland DC seems OP at first, but this is the FOTR card pool and not Expanded: without that format's shenanigans (Grimbeorn, Mithlond site manipulation, initiative abuse, Powerful Guide / Radagast's Herb Bag, Prolonged Struggle) he'll wear down soon to support str 4 to 9 guys (that is, from barehanded Barliman to Brand with Axe + Flaming Brand) vs the old and new Big Monsters of the format. The only events he'll be getting back are Mysterious Wizard, SotSF, Staff Asunder and the new [Gandalf] pump. And is vulnerable to Saruman SotE, Saruman's Snows, No Ordinary Storm, You Bring Great Evil, Black Breath and Hate.

After adding those, I'm totally OK with removing Ghan. They'd have a lot of footwork to face perils, though still less than Greenleaf, Horn of Boromir, Aragorn RotN, his bow, Gandalf's Staff, Filibert Bolger... should be fine.

- Dwarven Rings: It's true that all were lost at the time of the Council. But Dwarves need some permanent support to be competitive, and there's nothing I know to replace them in equal quality... so they'll lose the damage and strength bonuses; and the healing of Ring of Fury, and the ace-up-the-sleeve of Ring of Guile. Brand can help, but gives them str+1 at the expense of a companion slot, in the realm of Shotgun Enquea and Savagery to Match Their Numbers (no Slaked Thirsts or Great Day, Great Hour), so it's not a great trade in my opinion.

Belt of Erebor, the only interesting (generic) possession past FOTR block, is already added. Lord of Moria provides damage, and perhaps Whatever End can help with strength when needed (as a [Dwarven] Saruman's Ambition), but that's all I see. And both are conditions in the neighborhood of Saruman's Power, so the vulnerability is a big problem. Unless we add Feared Axeman to protect them. That'd also make Gloin FoT and Endurance of Dwarves reliable, which are great boosts to the culture when not blown away by an angry Wizard. I can see Gloin fully-geared + 4 Stairs of Khazad-dum (str 13, or 17 vs [Moria]) as a natural balance vs Lurtz, the Witch King + Fell Beast and the new Balrogs. Gimli FA is a gamechanger for [Dwarven] decks, while Rainbow ones will still prefer Son of Gloin or DotMR.

- Counts But One: What about this one? Sword of Boromir will make him jump from one skirmish to the next, so perhaps Gimli might have this to do the same.

- Naith Longbow: It's mainly to disuade from using Elven Bow. +1 str makes Glorfindel powerful, but +1 archery is even worse for the Shadow player. Like Keeper of Isengard with Uruks, we're trying to change the meta from those boring top tier decks, but without X-listing anything from them.

- Elrond: Witness to History will be too powerful recycling Secret Sentinels; just like Hadafang, the easy condition discarding poisons any potential benefit. While it's true that the ally versions are better than Elven Lord in many cases, with the Shadow power creep an [Elven] skirmisher as strong as him shouldn't be underestimated; he'd be the only Elf able to survive a loss to the Balrog ToFaS or Saruman + Throne without any help. Also, his healing skill can keep Gandalf/Aragorn healthy while reducing the skirmish burden from their shoulders. In lieu of HtGG's skill he can also use Master of Healing (without being vulnerable to TPIIT, Fear, MoMT or Anduin Confluence).

- Elven Sword: Having a generic hand weapon would make Elrond and other [Elven] skirmishers more viable versus the huge Shadow power rise. Gwemegil already cycles that much, so it wouldn't add anything new after all. We might even add AND R-list Elven Armaments, it'd make a single fighter much tougher while shutting down for good the use of Greenleaf / White Arrows / TSotB. Due to that, adding it to a deck would promote the dropping of those archery tricks in favor of pumps, Longbows and Swords. Would need to be R-listed due to [Moria] and [Sauron] Grind, who have no way of getting rid of it.

- Lembas: Elladan, Elrohir and the Swords will need a good drawing tool to reload hand resources, moreover if they want to double move often.

- Riders in Black: 'Twas meant for Set 16 Wraiths, not for Nazgul (or Ferny). While those may be interesting with Gates of the Dead City, Otsea LoM, Ferny and Morgul Skulker helping them the best they can, they'll still need something else to be competitive. The lack an event pump makes them too predictable. Dark Swooping Shadows and Between Nazgul and Prey can be added for them, they'd only work for them anyway (no Enduring Nazguls). BNAP would be nice with the 3 Barrow Wights, since would show them well as the ambushers they were (and only they have 3+ vit to play it). Those events would make Riders in Black unnecessary.

- Sense of Obligation: Besides those 2 events, Sense of Obligation can help the corruption power of Barrow Wights (moreover with BNAP). But maybe it's too much for Nazguls, with all the other resources already available for them.

- Isen Orcs: Yeah, Phallen is right, those guys were left outside all our plans! Library of Orthanc can help them, but that's it. I'd add 2 regroup discard Orcs (Isengard Artisan & Isengard Plodder, as their cost and surviving skills are balanced) and add Gnawing, Biting, Hacking, Burning and maybe Iron Fist of the Orc.

Tentacles will also form great corruption decks with Gollum DaD and LttG (since 1 Foul Tentacle can pull up to 4 other tentacles).

Forces of Mordor is positively not R-listed. Sauron tLotR won't be easy to play, but Corruption decks will do it a bit easier. With X burdens + The Ring Draws Them + Ithil Stone, he'll need only (15 - 2X) twilight to be played; that's [7] with only 4 burdens. [Moria] has Troubled Mountains and Goblin Armory in lieu of TRDT. Worry + Tower of Orthanc might do it for [Isengard], while [Sauron] can abuse DDotR (Ferny, the Mouth of Sauron) with OLOAGT supplementing the pool.


Summary of Proposals:
- Huorn is "Anti-thematic", Aiglos is "Overpowered"; Anduril FotW might be "Mutually excluding" with both Narsil BotF and the Shards of Narsil.
- [Shire] Remove Tom Bombadil's Hat; add Fredegar Bolger, Warmed Up A Bit & Knocked On the Head.
- [Gandalf] Add Have Patience. Remove Ghan-buri-Ghan, replace with Erland DC, Dasron and On Your Doorstep. Replace GotI with tFoA only if makes Gandalf too powerful.
- [Dwarven] Add Feared Axeman. If the Rings are X-listed, replace with Whatever End. Perhaps add Counts But One.
- [Elven] X-list Stand Against Darkness; add Elven Sword, Elven Armaments & Lembas. R-list the Armaments. Keep Elven Lord over Witness to History.
- [Wraith] Remove Riders in Black. Add Between Nazgul and Prey & Dark Swooping Shadows. Perhaps add Sense of Obligation.
- [Isengard] Add Isengard Artisan, Isengard Plodder; Gnawing, Biting, Hacking, Burning and perhaps Iron Fist of the Orc.

After all that, the only remaining WETA promo would be Radagast's Staff.


Title: Re: Enhanced Fellowship Block
Post by: Phallen Cassidy on February 09, 2019, 04:43:31 AM
I think I'm lost. What's the purpose here, again? Are you trying to fix problems in Fellowship block, make it more thematically inclusive with later cards, or create a new, interesting format?