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Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 8:31 am
Joined: 15 Feb 2006 Posts: 26 Location: Denmark
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This article deals with an Elven Telepathy deck. The question is: Is the deck good enough to be considered as one of the best Free Peoples sides?
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The Time of The Elves is Over!?


In this article concerning the Elven culture I will take a closer look at the development the elves have undergone since Emir Delic won the world championship in 2004. Firstly I will have a brief look at Emir Delic’s deck and examine why it was so effective. The main body of the article will consist of an analysis of an Elven Telepathy deck (pre-Hunters standard format) containing strengths and weaknesses. Lastly I will attempt to look into the future (a very delicate art) and predict how the elves will fare in the post-Hunters environment.

The Shadow of the past

One of the deck types I have enjoyed to play the most is without a doubt an Elven deck revolving around events. It is one of the most powerful decks ever built and it has an answer to almost every shadow side. This type of deck has stayed at the top of the ladder for a very long time (a very difficult feat) and has at times changed the playing environment radically due to its overwhelming power.
The elves are able to appeal to each and everybody, with the slightest interest in The Lord of The Rings TCG, not only because of the inexhaustible pool of tricks they have at their disposal but also because of the special position they have in the hierarchy of Middle-Earth.
The Elves posses a unique aura of aesthetics, mystic and wisdom which are enhanced by the fact that they live untouched by the erosion of time.

This is the way it is with the elves in Middle-Earth but when speaking of The Lord of The Rings TCG it is becoming increasingly different. The latest online WCQ’s have shown that the elves are being played less and less. The elves are discarded in favor of dwarves leaded by Durin, hobbits sneaking alongside Smeagol and noble men of Gondor who tends to discard minions before the skirmish phase (Ithilien blade). The current situation of the elves online (post-Hunters) is very much to the point described by Legolas in this quote:

”For the Elves the world moves, and it moves both very swift and very slow. Swift, because they themselves change little, and all else fleets by: it is a grief to them. Slow, because they do not count the running years, not for themselves. The passing seasons are but ripples ever repeated in the long long stream. Yet beneath the Sun all things must wear to an end at last.” – Legolas to Frodo

This acute observation by Legolas is by all means not completely wrong. The meta has flowed past the elves unable to keep up especially due to the lack of powerful new cards and strategies. They are no longer situated at the top. They were once though!

The first time an Elven event deck saw the light of day was in 2004 when Emir Delic won the world championship with his elven event deck paired with Ninja Gollum. The Free peoples side of the deck looked thus:

Ringbearer – The One Ring
Frodo, Resolute Hobbit
The One Ring, The Binding Ring

Free Peoples (35)

Companions (13)
Glorfindel, Revealed in Wrath (starting)
Legolas, Greenleaf (starting)
Galadriel, Lady Redeemed (starting)
Sam, Son of Hamfast x2
Cirdan, The Shipwright x2
Elrond, Venerable Lord
Gil-galad, Elven High King x3
Radagast, The Brown x2

Possesions/Artifacts (6)
Aiglos x2
Narya, Ring of Fire
Nenya, Ring of Adamant x2
Vilya, Ring of Air

Conditions (4)
Shadow between x2
The tale of gil-galad
The tale of the Great Ring

Events (12)
Alliance reforged x4
Curse their foul feet x2
Forearmed x3
Stand against Darkness x3

This deck was the natural answer to the inevitable challenges one could face at the given time. Morcs was hit hard by Curse Their Foul Feet, besiegers was determinately eradicated with the help of Stand Against Darkness and all shadow sides relying on conditions or possessions were shut down due to Galadriel, Lady Redeemed.
The most obvious weakness about this deck is Frodo. The fact that he is the ring-bearer could prove to be fatal. Galadriel, Bearer of Wisdom would have been way easier to defend. But the skill of Galadriel, Lady Redeemed is of course unmatched. Despite this soft spot the positives aspects of this deck is many: Condition/possession removal, burden removal (Sam), direct wounding, Healing, Card drawing and so forth.

Long the golden leaves have grown upon the branching years

This deck was utterly torn apart when Decipher announced Galadriel, Lady Redeemed was banned. Suddenly the elves had to find other means of dealing with condition based shadows, which by the way saw increased play due to Galadriel, Lady Redeemed being gone.

A plausible alternative to the traditional Elven event deck is an Elven Telepathy deck. In the following paragraphs I will discuss which cards are essential to this type of deck, how it ought to be played along with its strengths and weaknesses.
My point of departure will be the pre-Hunters standard format but later I will look into the possibilities of implementing cards from the Hunters expansion set.

After the x-listing of Galadriel, Lady Redeemed Galadriel, Bearer of Wisdom suddenly became relevant. Her low strength is a limitation, yet it is weighed out by the fact that all the elven events packed in the deck can be used to save her. This means she is much easier to keep alive than ex. Frodo. It is very meta dependant what ring to use. Is there a lot of corruption decks present use The One Ring, The Ring of Rings. Is swarm or archery shadow sides dominant then use The One Ring, Answer to All Riddles or The One Ring, Such a Weight to Carry for the vitality and/or strength boost.

An Elven Host assembles

Seeing that this is an Elven Telepathy deck with events as the pivotal point the two brothers cannot be omitted. When Elladan, Son of Elrond and Elrohir, Son of Elrond is on the field simultaneously they make minions weaker and effectuate twilight denial. They are simple deadly combined with the other elven cards in the deck. Other companions that must be included is Cirdan, The Shipwright, who is almost indispensable to the deck, and Gil-Galad, High Elven King, who allows the fellowship to move more than once with his ability. Celeborn, The Wise has potential to increase card flow by providing the fellowship with muster or to get key events back into hand. Elrond, Witness to History also bring back important cards and combined with either still needed, attunement, forearmed or Nenya, Ring of Adamant he can seriously reduce the strength of minions.

And of course no telepathy deck without Gandalf, Manager of Wizards. He is not included in this deck mindlessly. He is actually performing more tricks than just stacking cards on top of the draw deck. He can help the elves accomplishing tasks they themselves have difficulty doing. First and foremost he discards conditions with Brooding on Tomorrow. Furthermore he provides burden removal trough Glamdring, Foe-Hammer and Watch and Wait.
Lastly Radagast, The Brown ought to be present in order to be able to triple move.

The corner stone of the deck is almost needlessly to say events. Elladan and Elrohir use them, Cirdan takes advantage of them and Galadriel is easily protected. Forearmed is unquestionably crucial in a telepathy deck being able to reduce a minions strength by 18! Attunement can provide massive strength bonuses when cards are placed on top of the draw deck either by Gandalf, Nenya, Elrond or still needed. Seclusion is included so the elves wont suffer from annoying conditions if Gandalf is not pulled early on. It also helps fuel Cirdan.

All these events rapidly hitting the discard pile causes one to lose initiative numerous times. In order to take advantage of this Glimpse of Fate and Brooding on Tomorrow are incorporated further increasing the effectiveness of the events and Gandalf’s ability.
The options of regaining initiative when it is lost is diverse. There is Banner of Elbereth but it is in my opinion an unreliable possession taking up deck space. Celeborn, The Wise is much more versatile and fills out other functions in the deck. Lembas is a great way of drawing quite a few cards preparing yourself for a double or triple move.
These triple or double moves are made easier with the ability of Gil-Galad and Aiglos.

Ring-bearer/The One Ring
Galadriel, Bearer of Wisdom
The One Ring, The Ring of Rings

Free peoples (36)

Companions (11)
Elladan, Son of Elrond (starting)
Elrohir, Son of Elrond (starting)
Gil-galad, Elven High King
Cirdan, The Shipwright
Elrond, Witness to History
Celeborn, The Wise
Gandalf, Manager of Wizards x4
Radagast, The Brown

Possessions/Artifacts (5)
Nenya, Ring of Adamant x2
Glamdring, Foe-Hammer

Conditions (5)
Glimpse of Fate x2
Brooding on Tomorrow
Watch and Wait x2

Events (15)
Forearmed x4
Still needed x4
Attunement x4
Seclusion x2
Alliance reforged

The immortality of the Elves

This deck enjoys the synergy that exists between almost every card. The advantages one achieves when playing this deck are huge:

• Corruption shadows
If all of the elven companions are on the table Galadriel has a total resistance of 12. This in itself is quite good and with all the events in the deck the new orcs is not going to corrupt you. Other more heavier corruption based shadows is countered by Gandalf and his set of tools. So all in all corruption will not be an issue.

• Possession/condition removing shadows
This deck can deal pretty easily with possession discarding shadows due to the fact that it relies so little on them. The total amount of possessions is low and the deck can function properly without them. Concerning condition removal this deck is not hurt miserably by it. The conditions is a nice asset to be able to use but once again the events can compensate for eventual losses of conditions.

• Swarm shadows
These shadow sides ought to be easy to deal with. Galadriel has ultimate protection due to the events. This also has other implications. The largely popular bill ferny kill deck will not have an easy time overwhelming Galadriel. If set up correctly it will be the other way around. (Bill Ferny will only be encountered though if the deck is updated to fit Post-Hunters standard format).

• Beat-down shadows
Beat-down shadow sides do not pose a threat at all. In fact beat-down decks is the best match-up for the elves. The deck is packed with so many strength reducing mechanisms that even against Sauron the elves will have a field day.

• Archery shadows
The main concern for this deck is minion archery. This deck has in particular had difficulties with Evil men archery (I collected this experience in the playtest phase). The deck simply has not got enough ways to heal the companions and against archer minions winning skirmishes is somewhat obsolete (it is in the archery phase the Evil men archery deck deals its wounds). This issue can partially be solved by including Elrond, Venerable lord or the more unreliable Farewell to Lorien. Shadow Between could also be used.

• Twilight denial
The companions present in this deck has a somewhat high twilight cost. And if all of them has been played the twilight generation when moving will be relatively high. If faced with a shadow finding this beneficial I will highly recommend holding back on playing your companions. Elladan and Elrohir has the potential to stand up for themselves due to the many events. If this option is chosen you will have to be certain that your shadow side is able to halt or eliminate the opponent. If not he will just comfortably run to site nine.
Not considering the companions, the deck actually does not throw out much twilight. Most of it is generated in the skirmish phase (this is not a certainty seeing that the two brothers together nullifies the cost of the events).

Diametrically opposite shadow side

This leads my on to what shadow side to pair this deck with to gain maximum efficiency. In order for forearmed to work the twilight cost of the minions ought to be high. Furthermore the site-path needs to help both sides of the deck. The sites that the elves benefit from the most is forests or rivers. It is not a necessity for the shadow side to cycle well seeing that the elves and their events do this job pretty well.
The different options coming to mind is Forestguls or besiegers although the last mentioned is barely up to date. The other possibility is to do as Emir Delic did and pair the deck with Ninja Gollum and take advantage of Gollum’s ability to ditch events thereby fuelling Cirdan. I would recommend using Forestguls if you are aiming for the entire deck to be coherent. If this is not necessary Morcs or Corsairs and shadow sides that generally do not care about what free peoples side they are paired with can be chosen.

With Radagast in the deck the possibility of running from the opponent is very much viable. Therefore to gain the upper hand from the beginning and putting pressure on the opponents’ fellowship it is a good idea to bid 1 or 2 in order to go first. This unfortunately means that the site-path will be dominated by the opponents’ sites. However if the deck is paired with Forestguls Nelya can easily alter the site-path to the advantage of the other nazguls.

It is dependant on what shadow one is facing but as a general rule one ought to be able to double move almost every turn. This is made possible because most of the skirmishes are won either inflicting a wound or overwhelming the opposing minion. The last thing is considered to be wise if it is a minion with high vitality. The minions that have lost their skirmish can then be obliterated by either Aiglos or Gil-galad setting up for the double or triple move.

A look into The Mirror of Galadriel

If one wants to adapt this deck to the post-Hunters standard format a couple of changes will have to be made. Forearmed along with Lembas and Alliance reforged must be ditched. So the first thing to do is find replacements for these cards preferably events. Kindreds estranged or Final shot are medium good substitutes. Especially final shot can be very good once the fellowship has moved more than once which the fellowship of this deck does quite a lot. Kindreds estranged is more of a last minute backup that can be pulled out of the discard pile. It can save lives in some situations.

Of new interesting cards can be mentioned:

Sword of the fallen
The Mirror of Galadriel, Dangerous Guide
Gift of the Evenstar, Blessed Light

The first of the three is probably the best. For one exertion the opposing minion can be exerted. This ability in itself is sweet. The card really kicks in though because of the negative strength bonus it provides when the enemy is wounded. This card facilitates even more double moves due to the exertions. It is a good card to pack to compensate for the lack of direct wounding.
Mirror of Galadriel, Dangerous Guide demands a whole bunch of exertions, but is able to filter the top of the draw deck. The option of being able to draw other cards than the top card is really nice. One can then easier adapt to the current situation by choosing a card that is direly needed or just skipping a card that would not be very effective in the given situation.
Gift of the Evenstar, Blessed Light is likewise demanding quite a few exertions. What this card an the previous has in common is that if they are to be included more healing needs to be included in the deck as well. This can, as mentioned before, be done via Elrond, Venerable.
With all the skirmishes being won the card is bound to get some tokens on it. Generally the ability to draw cards other than when reconciling is good so this card will definitely see play.

The last two cards belong to a new branch of the elven culture that was vaguely introduced in bloodlines: Double moving and token strategy. This strategy could prove to interesting and I am already thinking of a way to implement the strategy into the Elven event deck.. The question is though: Is it as effective as Elven Telepathy? Time will show.


Even though this Elven Telepathy deck appears strong almost invincible other free peoples sides are slightly better and more efficient. In particular Ithilien blade decks and dwarves. Then again this deck has many pros for example its ability to adapt to the strategy of the opponent. Also it has not got any fatal match-ups faring well against most shadow sides. Archery poses a threat though. But if you are able to guess how the opponent plays and counter his moves you can get quite far even without drawing what you need at the right time.
If the deck is paired with Forestguls a profound synergy between the two deck halves occur which of course is very helpful.

However the most dominant elven deck is Elven archery. This deck probably sees more play due to Deciphers increased focus in that specific branch.
It can be concluded that the elves have not entirely left Middle-Earth yet. They are still holding on with the tip of their fingers waiting for an elven renaissance in which they once again will blossom and take over the stage.

Thanks for taking the time to read the article. I hope that I have communicated something useful and I will really appreciate constructive criticism in order for me to improve the deck as well as the way I compose my articles.
Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 8:54 am
Joined: 05 May 2006 Posts: 131 Location: Warsaw (Poland)
Great article. I would say it is the best I ever read on this forum. Great language, article form kept all the time (everything is readable, separated in paragraphs), smart history background, nice decks, intriguing intro and good conclusion. There is nothing I could complain about. It’s clear that you put a lot of effort to write this article. It’s looking good, reading it is fun and you can learn something new. I’ll give you 5, as it is the only grade which can be given here.
I wish you happy spending your 25$ store credit Smile
Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 1:39 pm
Joined: 07 Apr 2006 Posts: 3361 Location: Franciscan University of Steubenville
Wow. That’s all I can say. I’ve neNOLINKver seen an article this good...ever! A few typos, but that doesn’t detract at all from the article. It may be the longest article I’ve ever read, but it really doesn’t feel long at all. A smashing success, I’d say!

I hope you’ll be back with more! (But not too many...I want to win a few contests here and there!)

One thing: you should probably explain "Telepathy" decks, for the sake of newcomers. Regardless, 5.
"ok, change of plans. the Cobracards christmas party is coming to my house, and we’re gunna teach FM how to hunt." (mm)
Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 2:19 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.
HUmm I have to say this is not the best articel I have seen some fo Ac’s and bobtheorcs were pretty good. also the deck woudl seem to be hit hard by cards that took advantage fo the "rule of Five"

overall a pretty good articlethough i hoep to see more of you in the future.
ArrowSop's haves/ top wantsExclamation
(mm)"SoP: you will always be the Official CC Spammer in my heart"
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
Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 5:50 pm
Joined: 07 Apr 2006 Posts: 3361 Location: Franciscan University of Steubenville
This article is unquestionably the best-written. However, you do have a few points on strategy. I’d like to see Rule of 5 defense.
"ok, change of plans. the Cobracards christmas party is coming to my house, and we’re gunna teach FM how to hunt." (mm)
Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 6:52 pm
Joined: 31 May 2006 Posts: 189 Location: Iowa
WOW! I hope my article doesn’t go up against yours, this is great writing. You are most likely going to win, unless someone gets something more amazing than yours, which would be hard.5 here too.
Last edited by Aragorn_Ellessar on Thu Jun 22, 2006 8:08 am; edited 2 times in totalOne Ring to rule them all
One Ring to find them
One thing to bring them all
And In the darkness bind them
elf lvr
Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 8:38 pm
Joined: 13 Jun 2006 Posts: 3065 Location: Rivendell
The only bad thing about this article is that you wrote it before I did. I am so glad someone finally wrote an article that does the elves justice. Wow, Gandalf is appearing in a lot of decks lately, maybe I should try splashing him into some of mine. However, I would like some advice on how to make this deck work even without Gandalf (I have no Radagasts and only one Gandalf) so I would love it if you could help me out. But besides my own needs...

GREAT ARTICLE I will give it a five. I think it is one of or the best on the site.
Posted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 2:44 am
Joined: 15 Feb 2006 Posts: 26 Location: Denmark
Well I can’t say anything but thanks. It is great to know that I got some of it right.Very Happy

I’d like to see Rule of 5 defense.

This apsect of the deck could potentially prove to be fatal. The best solution would be to hold back on playing companions keeping the total number at five or below at all times.
The downside about this method is that it will limit the effectiveness of the deck. However I have managed to survive even win with only Elladan and Elrohir out against tough shadow sides. (Corsairs, Beasterlings, Forestguls).

Another option would be to go in the opposite direction and dash out all of the companions at once. Often the shadow player won’t have enough shadow cards to take full advantage of the twilight. It is slightly more risky though.

However, I would like some advice on how to make this deck work even without Gandalf

There is the option of making the deck a mono-elven deck. It will need some tweaking though. The tasks that Gandalf takes care of will still have to be fulfilled. Concerning condition removal Hadafang along with seclusion is the right approach in my opinion.

Burden removal is an entirely different matter. Elves have a long tradition of not having any burden removal (The only card that can remove burdens for the elves is Elf song i believe and this card is not legal in this format).
The only answer is to splash cards from other cultures. Maybe Pippin, Wearer of Black and Silver together with Home and Hearth could do the trick.

Lastly if you are short of cards and don’t know what else to include just throw in events like Final shot, Kindreds Estranged, Supporting fire, company of archers or Might of the Elf-lords.
Posted: Wed Jun 21, 2006 11:59 am
Joined: 07 Apr 2006 Posts: 3361 Location: Franciscan University of Steubenville
Oh, and did I mention that this article is pretty much 10 times as good as one of those Decipher articles?
"ok, change of plans. the Cobracards christmas party is coming to my house, and we’re gunna teach FM how to hunt." (mm)
Posted: Wed Jun 21, 2006 1:01 pm
Joined: 12 Jul 2005 Posts: 1202 Location: Austin, TX, USA
Wow, that’s a very nice LOTR TCG article. Apart from a few minor nitpicks about spelling and style (easily fixed if you have the time), it’s almost perfect! Good decklists, great explanations, and even a nod to the Lord of the Rings books. You’ve written a huge amount of content here, perhaps more than some readers can handle at once; but it works because you’ve organized it well, kept the strategy level consistently high, and also kept it entertaining. Well done! Applause

As others have mentioned, the game’s informal five-companion limit may become a bit restrictive. Assuming you plan to stop at five companions anyway, you could consider something like this:

-1 Celeborn, The Wise
-1 Elrond, Witness to History
-1 Gil-galad, Elven High King
+3 Cirdan, The Shipwright

With these changes, rather than drawing a random Elf to round off your fellowship and then having dead cards in hand late game, you’d always draw your best Elf and then be able to keep him healthy.

Then again, there’s also something to be said for having extra companions as insurance for when things don’t go as planned... It’s probably just a matter of play style.

There are actually two Elven cards that can remove burdens: Elf-song and Songs of the Blessed Realm. But that doesn’t help in Standard format, so you’ll need to splash a companion of another culture. If your LOTR TCG meta has a lot of Shadow archery decks, the Hobbit idea might be worth a try as Pippin, Hobbit of Some Intelligence and/or Merry, Swordthain can soak up a ton of wounds. Otherwise, Gandalf is the way to go because he’s a much better fighter and has great synergy with the Elves’ topdeck manipulation.
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