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Author Topic: Which Balrog is the best?  (Read 3060 times)
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Colonel Axolotl
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« on: December 29, 2017, 06:57:43 PM »

I've seen a lot of decks use The Balrog, Flame of Udun, but what about The Balrog, Terror of Flame and Shadow? What are the pros and cons of each one? Thanks!
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Air Power
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« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2017, 07:38:20 AM »

The Balrog, Flame of Udun is designed for Fellowship Block where you're guaranteed to have the original tBoKD as site 5, so you will be able to play the Balrog at an underground site.  He's designed to work with a swarm (playing orcs from discard), and if the Fellowship doubles to 6 he will be discarded for no longer being underground, but the swarm will still be there to punish the fellowship.  Many Fellowship decks run "disposable companions" (Dwarf Guard, Lorien Elf) just to sacrifice to the Balrog rather than putting their front-line companions at risk and trying to keep them alive.

The Balrog, Terror of Flame and Shadow was released in set 6, so you can't run him in Fellowship decks.  He's not restricted to underground sites, so the Fellowship will have to face him again if they double move.  His assignment restriction prevents the disposable companion counter, and at damage +2 he's basically guaranteed to put 3 wounds on a companion each skirmish.  At the same time, Towers and later decks might not expect to see the Balrog every game, so they may not have disposable companions in the first place.  Note that he's not fierce, so the Fellowship only fights him once if they don't double.

For Fellowship Block, Terror of Flame and Shadow isn't legal, so Flame of Udun is clearly better.  In Towers and later, Flame of Udun requires site manipulation to make sure you're underground and can play him, and if you draw him after your last underground site then he's a dead card, but when he makes it into play he's still probably better.  Terror of Flame and Shadow works without site manipulation, so he doesn't require as much building the deck around him and will still be a threat at above-ground site 8-9.
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« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2017, 09:56:41 AM »

Other Balrogs:

Durin's Bane, like Flame of Udun, is designed for fellowship format. It's aimed at non- Moria decks and is cheaper than Flame of Udun.

The Terror of Khazad-Dum is more defensive than Terror of Flame and Shadow, having less damage and no assignment restriction, but being hard to kill underground. Both can use Whip of Many Thongs, Weapon of Flame and Shadow at this point, making Terror of Flame and Shadow better offensively. The Terror of Khazad-Dum has less Moria dependency, with a lower base cost but no Moria discount.

Demon of Might is objectively better than all preceding Balrogs, but is from the final set and requires one of the later formats to be legal.
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Colonel Axolotl
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« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2017, 04:34:57 PM »

thanks a lot guys! Really helpful Smiley
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ghmd
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« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2018, 08:16:20 AM »

I prefer The Balrog, Durin's Bane (2C51). Pretty solid and if you have the appropriate hand weapons, in most cases, someone will die.
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Durin's Heir
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« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2018, 11:01:37 AM »

The Balrog in FOTR block faces 2 problems too often: skirmish cancelling and Armor / Gimli's Helm. To counter skirmish cancelling events you can pack 2x+ Relentless, but that's useful for Flame of Udun only since Durin's Bane fights by himself; also, that's only for events, so does nothing against Filibert Bolger and Gandalf's Staff. Instead, he can rely on Saruman's Snows to assure the skirmish will end in wounds or death.

To counter Armor and Gimli's Helm, you can use the Whip of Many Thongs at site 5, or Beyond the Height of Men / Isengard Smith at previous sites. But Saruman's Snows blocks your whip, and since requires to exert an Isengard minion the Isengard tricks will be better.


To increase the Balrog's strength, besides weapons, you can pack 4x Dark Places in a deck with very good cycling. To reduce strength on FP characters, Goblin Scrabbler can get rid of those irksome Last Alliances while Isengard Smith can do so with weapons. Goblin Warrior can deal with Thrarin (he also removes Endurance of Dwarves' tanking). Horn of Boromir can be a big problem though, and the only efficient ways to remove him I know are 2x+ Frenzy (with bulky Goblins, unique ones with Dark Places or Moria Axe are very good for such task) and Saruman SotE (with a strong, preferrably fierce dmg+1 Isengard minion), also at a different site than Durin's Bane's.


That's if you want to build your deck around The Balrog. But if you just want to splash him, forget all I said above; Durin's Bane is awesome in Sauron grind or Isengard weather decks. He can also be great in corruption decks, 2x copies of him with 4x Must Do Without Hope and the highest cycling possible.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2018, 11:04:05 AM by Durin's Heir » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2018, 11:52:20 AM »

Horn of Boromir can be a big problem though, and the only efficient ways to remove him I know are 2x+ Frenzy
Spam Such a Little Thing. You either kill/exhaust Boromir or discard the Horn. They might have multiple horns, but that seems easier to me unless you're using Frenzy anyway.
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Durin's Heir
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« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2018, 12:03:32 PM »

Yes, but Such a Little Thing does very little to a pipe deck, and in others Athelas, armors and even weapons can take the bullets. That doesn't sound so bad, it also doesn't interfere with Durin's Bane, but if the idea is killing companions and not allies, in my experience (Moria Axe goblins) it's still not enough. While Frenzy picks him by surprise so well! 2x and 2x seems a good balance.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2018, 12:08:36 PM by Durin's Heir » Logged

"Way down in the background,
I can see frustrated souls of cities burnin',
And all across the water, baby,
I see weapons barkin' out the sting of death,
And up in the clouds I can imagine UFOs jumpin' themselves,
Laughin' they sayin',
'Those people so uptight, they sure know how to make a mess!'"


            Jimi Hendrix - Somewhere

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