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Author Topic: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.  (Read 548 times)
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menace64
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« on: November 11, 2019, 12:00:56 AM »

0 By River and Plain Gondor
Event • Maneuver
Exert 2 Gondor companions (or exert Aragorn) to discard a Raider possession for each time the fellowship has moved this turn.
"'So we mounted again before night had passed and went on with all the speed that our horses could endure over the plains of Lebennin.'"

This card would be a silver bullet against corsairs, but maybe not quite enough to bring them into balance. Of course, this card synergizes well with Gondor Wraiths, which happens to be another trouble spot in the meta...

------
1 No Heart to Abide Wraith
Condition
To play, spot 3 enduring characters of the same culture. Plays on an unbound companion. Limit 1 per bearer.
Bearer is strength -1 for each enduring character you spot (limit -3).
"'But defenders and foes alike gave up the battle and fled when we came, crying out that the King of the Dead was upon them.'"

Spots enduring characters on either side of the aisle, and punishes the FP player for their over-reliance on Gondor Wraiths.

------
3 Sundered Doom Isengard
Event • Regroup
Discard 2 Isengard cards from hand to wound an Elf twice (unless that Elf is the Ring-bearer). The Free Peoples player may discard another Elf to prevent this.
"'And now, what ship will bear you back across so wide a sea?' he mocked. 'It will be a grey ship, and full of ghosts.'"

I just want to hurt the Elven culture with this card. I know it's broken. It's just a starting-point, and I'd appreciate a few voices of reason to chime-in. These are just spit-balling cards anyhow, meant to stir the pot of conversation a bit. What other cultures/subcultures need to get checked, and what cards do you think would be effective in checking them?
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Phallen Cassidy
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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2019, 01:56:01 PM »

My problem with Sundered Doom is that the FP can't do anything to stop it (the same way so many Elven cards are broken, haha! Is that on purpose?), though I guess they could add in some Elf allies to take the bite away... But they're already going that route as a counter for Terrible as the Dawn in Movie, so maybe it doesn't do enough. I dunno; it seems it'd either be broken or totally ineffective. There's a cost to forcing Elven decks to run allies (even if they do have utility), but it's hard to say what impact this card would have or how much it would shape the meta. Maybe it is the hero we need.

But I hate Elves too. Decipher's attempts at silver bullet cards largely ended after Fellowship block, leaving the Free Peoples side with very broad tools (Curse Their Foul Feet) or tools that had staying power against new threats (Fearing the Worst) while the Shadow side was mostly given very narrow ones (One of You Must Do This is probably the best one, but its potency was weakened by the soft 3-culture limit. I mean, what else -- Too Great and Terrible? Terrible as the Dawn?). And it wasn't as if there wasn't any opportunity to introduce more counters. A series of minions might emulate the attack on Lothlorien, for example:

3 Dol Guldur Soldier Wraith
Minion • Orc
Strength: 8
Vitality: 2
Site Number: 4
Each Elf skirmishing this minion is strength -X, where X is the number of Elves you can spot.
"Some quote about how Lorien was getting assaulted, too."

2 Dol Guldur Assassin Wraith
Minion • Orc
Strength: 6
Vitality: 2
Site Number: 4
While you can spot 3 archers, this minion is damage +1 and cannot take wounds in the Archery phase.
Assignment: Exert this minion or remove a burden to assign it to an archer. That archer may exert to prevent this.

1 Dol Guldur Grunt Wraith
Minion • Orc
Strength: 3
Vitality: 1
Site Number: 4
While you can spot 4 Elves, the Free Peoples player may not assign a character to skirmish this minion and the Shadow player may not assign this minion to the Ring-bearer.
Each Elven event gains this cost: "Exert a companion"

That could be a decent start to stomping out some of those Elven strategies that permeate Movie block. What else is missing?

On a slightly related note, I hate Vilya. There should've been an errata to Vilya or rule to the effect of "cards bearing tokens or other cards can't be returned to hand by an opponent." Or at least some defense.

1 •Malicious Construct Isengard
Condition
Machine. Plays to your support area.
Each time a Machine is about to be removed from play by an opponent, you may exert a companion for each Isengard token on that machine.

It feels wickedly overpowered to exert for each token and way underpowered to exert for every 2 or twice for every 3. But the choice is still in the hands of the FP, especially when using targeted discarding. Machines are mostly protected by Siege Engine anyway... I dunno. Maybe it would be better to wound allies instead, or allow the Shadow player to move those tokens to another machine (in which case it couldn't be unique anymore). Or perhaps a regular ol' condition would be better:

3 Industrial Plating Isengard
Condition
Plays to your support area. The twilight cost of this condition is -1 for each machine you can spot.
If a machine is about to be removed from play by an opponent, spot an Isengard token on that machine to exert a companion or wound an ally.

With 5 machines out, this can be played for free in spite of Dauntless Hunter. Note that these aren't machines, so the FP is free to take them out first without any negative repercussions. Since the effect stacks per copy it still feels strong when the only condition discard the FP has is some sweeping measure like Sleep, Caradhras. But then, don't play it? The Shadow player will have to spread tokens in what may be a sub-optimal way for this to be at its most dangerous, and he can also decide he'd rather use Siege Engine to save them than grab some exertions. This is the sort of dynamic I'd want to see: both players have to consider new and interesting constraints, but neither is a slave to them. And it kills Elrond.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2019, 06:28:43 AM by Phallen Cassidy, Reason: Tidying » Logged
ket_the_jet
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« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2019, 01:25:08 PM »

3 Aim for the Trolls! Gondor
Event • Maneuver
Discard a Knight from play to discard a besieger. If that besieger is a troll, you may discard an engine from play.

2 • Riding from the East Rohan
Condition • Support Area
For each Rohan mount you can spot, the twilight cost of each engine or machine is +1.

6 Avatar of Ilúvatar Gandalf
Condition • Support Area
Gandalf is strength +5.
Each minion comes into play exhausted. Skip the archery phase. At the start of the regroup phase, discard this condition.
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menace64
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« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2019, 06:21:59 PM »

Quote from: Phallen Cassidy
My problem with Sundered Doom is that the FP can't do anything to stop it (the same way so many Elven cards are broken, haha! Is that on purpose?), though I guess they could add in some Elf allies to take the bite away... But they're already going that route as a counter for Terrible as the Dawn in Movie, so maybe it doesn't do enough. I dunno; it seems it'd either be broken or totally ineffective. There's a cost to forcing Elven decks to run allies (even if they do have utility), but it's hard to say what impact this card would have or how much it would shape the meta. Maybe it is the hero we need.

Well, the FP can put a stop to Sundered Doom by not playing Elves. Twisted! Ha!

Quote from: Phallen Cassidy
But I hate Elves too. Decipher's attempts at silver bullet cards largely ended after Fellowship block, leaving the Free Peoples side with very broad tools (Curse Their Foul Feet) or tools that had staying power against new threats (Fearing the Worst) while the Shadow side was mostly given very narrow ones (One of You Must Do This is probably the best one, but its potency was weakened by the soft 3-culture limit. I mean, what else -- Too Great and Terrible? Terrible as the Dawn?). And it wasn't as if there wasn't any opportunity to introduce more counters. A series of minions might emulate the attack on Lothlorien, for example:

Hmm... more silver bullet cards, you say...

Quote from: Phallen Cassidy
3 Dol Guldur Soldier Wraith
Minion • Orc
Strength: 8
Vitality: 2
Site Number: 4
Each Elf skirmishing this minion is strength -X, where X is the number of Elves you can spot.
"Some quote about how Lorien was getting assaulted, too."

2 Dol Guldur Assassin Wraith
Minion • Orc
Strength: 6
Vitality: 2
Site Number: 4
While you can spot 3 archers, this minion is damage +1 and cannot take wounds in the Archery phase.
Assignment: Exert this minion or remove a burden to assign it to an archer. That archer may exert to prevent this.

1 Dol Guldur Grunt Wraith
Minion • Orc
Strength: 3
Vitality: 1
Site Number: 4
While you can spot 4 Elves, the Free Peoples player may not assign a character to skirmish this minion and the Shadow player may not assign this minion to the Ring-bearer.
Each Elven event gains this cost: "Exert a companion"

These are pretty great cards. Nice and flavorful too!

Quote from: Phallen Cassidy
That could be a decent start to stomping out some of those Elven strategies that permeate Movie block. What else is missing?

Maybe:

4 •Dol Guldur Arsonist Wraith
Minion • Orc
Strength: 9
Vitality: 3
Site Number: 4
The fellowship's current site loses forest and cannot gain forest.
Regroup: Exert Dol Guldur Arsonist to make the Free Peoples player wound a companion (or wound 2 companions if you spot more Elves among companions than any other race).

Quote from: Phallen Cassidy
1 •Malicious Construct Isengard
Condition
Machine. Plays to your support area.
Each time a Machine is about to be removed from play by an opponent, you may exert a companion for each Isengard token on that machine.

It feels wickedly overpowered to exert for each token and way underpowered to exert for every 2 or twice for every 3. But the choice is still in the hands of the FP, especially when using targeted discarding. Machines are mostly protected by Siege Engine anyway... I dunno. Maybe it would be better to wound allies instead, or allow the Shadow player to move those tokens to another machine (in which case it couldn't be unique anymore). Or perhaps a regular ol' condition would be better:

3 Industrial Plating Isengard
Condition
Plays to your support area. The twilight cost of this condition is -1 for each machine you can spot.
If a machine is about to be removed from play by an opponent, spot an Isengard token on that machine to exert a companion or wound an ally.

With 5 machines out, this can be played for free in spite of Dauntless Hunter. Note that these aren't machines, so the FP is free to take them out first without any negative repercussions. Since the effect stacks per copy it still feels strong when the only condition discard the FP has is some sweeping measure like Sleep, Caradhras. But then, don't play it? The Shadow player will have to spread tokens in what may be a sub-optimal way for this to be at its most dangerous, and he can also decide he'd rather use Siege Engine to save them than grab some exertions. This is the sort of dynamic I'd want to see: both players have to consider new and interesting constraints, but neither is a slave to them. And it kills Elrond.

What about something like this:

1 •Malicious Constructs Isengard
Condition • Support Area
To play, spot 3 Isengard minions.
Response: If your Isengard machine is about to be discarded, remove an Isengard token from another Isengard machine to prevent that.

Dunno if that's any better; just what popped into my head.
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Phallen Cassidy
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« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2019, 02:26:53 PM »

3 Aim for the Trolls! Gondor
Event • Maneuver
Discard a Knight from play to discard a besieger. If that besieger is a troll, you may discard an engine from play.

Not the intended purpose, but I would run this card in every knight deck. Discarding a companion at will? I'll take it. Definitely won't be doubling afterward, but could make your next turn what you need it to be. Or hey, run 6-7 companions and bail when Enquea comes around. Getting rid of those pesky Besiegers is nice too Tongue

2 • Riding from the East Rohan
Condition • Support Area
For each Rohan mount you can spot, the twilight cost of each engine or machine is +1.

It's pretty slick how this fits nicely into both The Two Towers and Return of the King.

6 Avatar of Ilúvatar Gandalf
Condition • Support Area
Gandalf is strength +5.
Each minion comes into play exhausted. Skip the archery phase. At the start of the regroup phase, discard this condition.

I'd add something along the lines of "When the fellowship moves to site 9, discard this condition." I'm a fan, though. My first thought is to pair it with Numenor's Pride.

Hmm... more silver bullet cards, you say...

Uh-oh.

4 •Dol Guldur Arsonist Wraith
Minion • Orc
Strength: 9
Vitality: 3
Site Number: 4
The fellowship's current site loses forest and cannot gain forest.
Regroup: Exert Dol Guldur Arsonist to make the Free Peoples player wound a companion (or wound 2 companions if you spot more Elves among companions than any other race).

Burn, baby, burn. Wraith Orcs already have a natural synergy with wounding the RB, so the Free Peoples player will have an interesting choice on their hands.

What about something like this:

1 •Malicious Constructs Isengard
Condition • Support Area
To play, spot 3 Isengard minions.
Response: If your Isengard machine is about to be discarded, remove an Isengard token from another Isengard machine to prevent that.

Dunno if that's any better; just what popped into my head.

It's doing the job of Siege Engine for far less, but it's also unique and has a pretty stern spot requirement. And it's not a machine so it can't be saved, itself... Interesting card. Potentially unintended consequence is that you could use this to save one of your machines from being discarded by its own text (especially harrowing with Weapons of Isengard or Scaling Ladder). I'd change it to say "about to be removed from play" to nullify Vilya.
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« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2019, 02:36:48 PM »

Re: Aim for the Trolls!
Good point about the free ability to discard a companion, potentially dodging Shotgun Enquea and other nastiness. The obvious answer is to make it an archery action rather than maneuver.

Riding from the East was rather inspired, was it not?

Regarding the other cards here, Dol Guldur Assassin is my favorite, because I can see him sniping Elven allies (as rare as they are in Movie Block). I don't love minions (or characters) that make sites gain terrain keywords, but how about this:

3 Into the Bramble Gandalf
Condition • Support Area
While you can spot 5 Ents, the current site gains forest.
Each minion not bearing a possession is strength -1. Each minion bearing a possession is strength +1.

Don't know that this card needs to exist, but when five or more Ents gather in Yvanna's name, it's a forest to me!
-wtk
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« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2019, 12:34:05 AM »

Regarding my take on Malicious Constructs allowing a Shadow player to save their own machines: yeah I totally hadn't considered that. My inclination is to add "...discarded by a Free Peoples card..." but I'm not totally sure that I've got a problem with the Shadow player getting to recycle their own machines. Hmm...

------
Quote from: ket_the_jet
3 Into the Bramble Gandalf
Condition • Support Area
While you can spot 5 Ents, the current site gains forest.
Each minion not bearing a possession is strength -1. Each minion bearing a possession is strength +1.

Don't forget about Huorn! "...spot 5 Ents and/or Trees..."

I like the second line of text when the card is unique, and I'm curiously-uncertain about it as non-unique. I like the flavor of the card since it relates to both the FP player and the SH player, regardless of the sort of deck the latter is running.

------
Here's a silver-bullet card, one for each Shadow culture that doesn't already have one. Each of the original silver-bullet events were Maneuver and at 0 cost, spotting a single minion to snipe a unique character. The FP player then has an option to make, saving said character by committing to a negative alternative which always involves the number 2 somehow.

0 Beset Both East and West Dunland
Event
Maneuver: Spot a Dunland Man to return Eomer to the Free Peoples player's hand. The Free Peoples player may discard 2 mounts to prevent this.
"'Indeed in this riding north I went without the King's leave, for in my absence his house is left with little guard.'"

Originally I had this as an Isengard card using "Spot an Isengard Man" to bounce Eomer, since the effect feels very Grima-esque. I ultimately gave the card to Dunland, for little better reason than Dunland lacking another sensible target for a silver-bullet card.

------
0 Make Him Crawl Gollum
Event
Maneuver: Spot Gollum (or Sméagol) to exhaust Sam. The Free Peoples player may add 2 threats to prevent this.
"To his simple mind ordinary hunger, the desire to eat hobbits, had seemed the chief danger in Gollum. He realized now that it was not so: Gollum was feeling the terrible call of the Ring."

I added "(or Sméagol)" at the last second. I'm glad I did. On paper, Sam is the weakest character to target with a silver-bullet, so I tried to keep the drawback effect similarly under-powered when compared to the other bullets.

------
0 War Will Make Corpses of Us All Raider
Event
Maneuver: Spot a Raider minion to discard Faramir. The Free Peoples player may add 6 to prevent this.
"'For the Enemy increases and we decrease. We are a failing people, a springless autumn.'"

Adding 6 feels slightly uninspired when writing within Raider but I went with it anyways since it ties into the overall flavor of the card quite nicely.

------
(I forgot about Terrible as the Dawn when I wrote this card, so Sauron gets a second silver bullet. Meh. If any culture deserves to have 2, it's Sauron.)

0 Ages That Were Gone Sauron
Event
Maneuver: Spot a Sauron minion to place an Elf on the bottom of the Free Peoples player's draw deck. The Free Peoples player may exert 2 of his or her unique characters to prevent this.
"...grey figures, carved in stone, memorials of forgotten things now lost in unpeopled lands."

Soooo this one doesn't hate on a specific Free Peoples character... Elven has too many worthwhile targets to choose from. That being said, I wanted to ensure that this card didn't outright kill any Free Peoples character while also providing the Shadow player a tool for targeting any Elf for removal. Putting the Elf on the bottom of the deck prevents the FP player from employing any discard-pile shenanigans. Note that the drawback is VERY open-ended, allowing for allies and non-Elves to do the exerting. Seems fair, given how wide of a net this silver-nuke casts.
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« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2019, 03:20:51 PM »

Silver bullets are cool and all, but having so many different obnoxious companions disrupting opponent's decks in so many different ways makes them little more than fancy cards. So I'd at least broaden their targets a bit, for instance...

- Make Him Crawl might say "Spot Gollum (or Sméagol) to exert a Ring-bound companion (or exhaust Sam)."
- Beset Both East and West: "Spot a Dunland Man to return a non-unique Rohan Man (or Eomer)...", so can target also Elite Rider.
- War Will Make Corpses of Us All: "to discard a Knight (or Faramir)." Or even "Spot a Raider minion and a Gondor Man to make the Free Peoples player choose "to discard Faramir or add 4", so it gets an effect even without Faramir at all.


But I believe the meta is distorted more due to permanent cards piling ugly OP combos than due to the effect of specific OP characters like Eowyn LoI. Look at Knights for instance: even with 3 or 4x generic Knight of Gondor on the board you can defeat a Balrog by putting recyclable conditions on him! (BTW, those fortifications should work only at certain stretches of the sitepath like Hobbit Intuition / Stealth do, and do something much milder like "heal a Gondor companion" or say "draw a card" outside of them.)

So the counter should be put on permanent cards, I believe. Counter either the effects (special abilities and triggered effects), or the card itself. Which might be approached in a "get-outta-my-way" kind of surprise events, like this one for Isengard and Dunland decks:


1 Something Strange At Work Isengard
Event • Response
Spell.
If the special ability of a non- Gandalf card is used, spot Saruman or 2 Isengard conditions to cancel it (and return that card to its owner's hand if is not a character).
"'Yet I am weary... There is some will that lends speed to our foes and sets an unseen barrier before us...'"

Don't step in the way of an Istar! (Unless you're an Istar too.) So Eowyn wants to stab your expensive Uruk Vanguard to death, or Greenleaf is about to shoot your Lurtz? Try again, girl! Aragorn RotN wants to block all your surplus of barefoot hillmen? Well, he might be falling a bit short on that. But the effect is greater against tools like Vilya, Gondor Bow / fortifications, Aragorn's Machine Gun, Preparations, Ring of Guile, Sapling... which get Vilya'd to hand besides cancelling their effect.


Surprise events to disrupt lame always-on-board predictable effects. Gollum has Final Strike to do that, but being a support area card its effect can be predicted (or discarded), so it's not the same. Each Shadow culture might have one for each mastermind: the Balrog, Sauron, the Witch King, Gollum, even Gothmog. Here is one for the Witch:


2 This Is My Hour! Wraith
Event • Shadow or Skirmish
Spot the Witch-King (or 2 Nazgul) to remove all game text from a Free Peoples card (except card type and subtype) until the next assignment phase. Any companion with a twilight cost of 4 or more (or Merry) may exert twice to prevent this.
"'Do you not know Death when you see it?'"

You can stop Sam cold from taking the Ring from a dead Frodo. Or freeze Greenleaf, Cirdan, Garrison of Osgiliath, Merry FtS... or remove annoying skills like Eomer TMoR's or Glimpse of Fate. And only Gandalf, Aragorn, Treebeard or a power of that kind can try to stop you.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2019, 01:37:49 AM by Durin's Heir » Logged


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menace64
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« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2019, 04:17:23 PM »

I was merely sticking to the pre-described formula of how silver bullets functioned in the past, but DH I love everything about your input. Something Strange At Work is hands-down a more-efficient use of card space than just an Isengard card going after a unique companion. If I were to alter anything about SSAW it would be "...spot Saruman or 2 Isengard conditions borne by Free Peoples characters..." just for the flavor despite it taking some of the 'Surprise!' out of the card. Honestly I think your card looks great as-is, and it'd be interesting to see what sorts of tense moments it induces during play.

Saruman as a minion has always felt a little too predictable, since typically he's WYSIWYG. A beefy ability-cancelling event is right up his alley.

This Is My Hour! feels more like a Wraith card than most Wraith cards. Gold Piece Although I'd squee-with-glee to see a built-in clause for unbound hobbits getting around the event somehow, but, again, that's almost entirely a flavor-thought and the card itself is something I would want to use.

0 Devouring Desire Gollum
Event • Response
Search.
If the Ring-bearer is about to put on The One Ring, wound Gollum twice to prevent that and remove all game text from The One Ring until the start of the regroup phase.
"Gollum and Frodo were locked together. Gollum was tearing at his master, trying to get at the chain and the Ring."

Originally I wrote this just as a "prevent that action" card, but going that route leaves most versions of The One Ring free to activate on the FP's next action, making the event generally useless. So I beefed up the wording a bit (taking another lead from TIMH) and worded the card to outright-nullify the Ring's ability to be worn, or any other action printed on the card. Yeah that sounds evil enough now! Twisted!
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« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2019, 01:36:00 AM »

I like Devouring Desire a lot! It's evil indeed: if the Ringbearer is in dire need to convert wounds into burdens or to pump himself, and there is no other resource available (Nice Imitation, Boromir SoD, Sam) to keep doing so, game is over! With Archery Shadows can disrupt the usual Isildur's Bane / SAWTC counter, also during a time of the turn when Gollum usually has full vitality to pay the high cost. Twisted!

Can be worded also like RTIM ("the One Ring's game text does not apply"). If so, it wouldn't necessarily prevent the Ring from being worn, which would keep things like The Twilight World or Uruk Spy working still.


Something Strange At Work is taken from the Uruk trackers part of the story, that's true, but is meant to portray Saruman's willpower punching the 3 Hunters hard in the distance, and not the Isengard trackers themselves. The same will was bringing Caradhras down much before. So "spot 2 Isengard conditions" is meant to show Saruman working for his plans but not necessarily present in the scene. Those "strong-willed bosses" events must be not too restrictive to play.

Agree totally about Saruman. He was built as a "discard at the end of the turn" condition, not as a real minion. There are no real pumps or nasty tricks for him, or cards to fetch him. His Staff is too expensive and weak (moreover for a 2-cards minion) and should have appeared at Set 3. Saruman's Ambition should pump any Isengard minion... Still, as a condition-minion is really aggressive, so that should have been nerfed a bit to allow the tricks and tools to happen more a la Gollum. Post-Mount Doom versions are better, moreover with Throne of Isengard, but the new cultures are a total blunder so it's still insufficient as a fix (only Of Many Colours and the Throne help the core Isengard cards).


This Is My Hour! can include Merry as the only non- 4 challenger to the Witch King, if some letters are cut off, or the whole lore text. Still, TIMH is about the Witch's duel with Gandalf, not about Eowyn... but portrays his attitude towards Eowyn well too... Alright, Merry is now included!
     "Any companion with a twilight cost of 4 or more (or Merry) may exert twice to prevent this."


Finished the one for Sauron:

2 Ever Watchful Sauron
Event • Response
Search.
If the triggered action of a Free Peoples card in play is used, spot 3 Sauron cards to cancel it. If that card is a character, exert him or her; if is not, discard it.
"And suddenly he felt the Eye. There was an eye in the Dark Tower that did not sleep."

So this blocks AND discards Shadowplay / Rohan mounts when exerting your minion, or Dwarven Axe / Eowyn's Sword when hurting your deck/minion, or Narya when removing a burden. Destroys initiative losing conditions. Also, blocks AND exerts Aragorn CoG / Elrond HtGG when trying to heal. Dwarven Bracers / Sapling / HotLA is trying to save a FP tank? Watch him/her die anyways!

Works with "each time", "when" and "at the start/end" effects, as well as Response Special Abilities. All on permanent cards. Response Events are "triggered actions" too, but events are never "in play" (they go to "the void" and later to discard); that wording excludes them on purpose, so this event doesn't reduce the protagonism of other events. Followers Aid costs are "at the start" triggered actions too, so this provides follower counter for the later sets.


I'm intrigued about what can you (or Phallen, or Ket) do with Gothmog's event. And the Balrog's.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2019, 02:21:49 AM by Durin's Heir » Logged


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« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2019, 11:45:14 AM »

Quote from: Durin's Heir
Something Strange At Work is taken from the Uruk trackers part of the story, that's true, but is meant to portray Saruman's willpower punching the 3 Hunters hard in the distance, and not the Isengard trackers themselves. The same will was bringing Caradhras down much before. So "spot 2 Isengard conditions" is meant to show Saruman working for his plans but not necessarily present in the scene. Those "strong-willed bosses" events must be not too restrictive to play.

Agree totally about Saruman. He was built as a "discard at the end of the turn" condition, not as a real minion. There are no real pumps or nasty tricks for him, or cards to fetch him. His Staff is too expensive and weak (moreover for a 2-cards minion) and should have appeared at Set 3. Saruman's Ambition should pump any Isengard minion... Still, as a condition-minion is really aggressive, so that should have been nerfed a bit to allow the tricks and tools to happen more a la Gollum. Post-Mount Doom versions are better, moreover with Throne of Isengard, but the new cultures are a total blunder so it's still insufficient as a fix (only Of Many Colours and the Throne help the core Isengard cards).

"Flavor Talk" - a Card Game Design Podcast coming to an audio platform near you! (I'd listen for sure LOL!) I like your description of Saruman as more of a condition than any other card type; I've not thought of him in that way before and I wouldn't be surprised if that led to some ideas down the road.

Quote from: Durin's Heir
2 Ever Watchful Sauron
Event • Response
Search.
If the triggered action of a Free Peoples card in play is used, spot 3 Sauron cards to cancel it. If that card is a character, exert him or her; if is not, discard it.
"And suddenly he felt the Eye. There was an eye in the Dark Tower that did not sleep."

Ouch! That is perhaps one of the broadest nets I've seen and it feels right at home in Sauron. It could be seen as a NPE by many FP players due to its versatility at cancelling things. I could also see such a card becoming a condition.

Quote from: Durin's Heir
I'm intrigued about what can you (or Phallen, or Ket) do with Gothmog's event. And the Balrog's.

Well as soon as you said 'Gothmog' I was thinking about his nebulous identification in the book, how he was mentioned only the once as just some lieutenant present at the Siege.  I certainly didn't end up with an event Mr. Green!

6 •Gothmog, Siege-lieutenant Wraith
Minion
Strength: 11
Vitality: 2
Site Number: 5
Fierce. When you play Gothmog, name Man, Nazgûl, or Orc. Gothmog gains that race until the end of the turn.
Each minion of Gothmog's race gains besieger.
Response: If this card is in your hand when your Nazgûl is killed during a skirmish, play this card from your hand for free.
"...but Gothmog the lieutenant of Morgul had flung them into the fray..."

This is a weird card for sure. I haven't put much thought into what cards Gothmog might interact with.
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