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Total Votes : 5
Posted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 11:55 pm
Joined: 07 Apr 2006 Posts: 3361 Location: Franciscan University of Steubenville
--- description ---
Even the road beneath the fellowship’s feet can help it along on its quest...do you know how to use it?
--- end description ---

"And whither then? I cannot say."

The site path has always been an integral part of the LOTR TCG. During Fellowship of the Ring, Two Towers, and Return of the King, it was a portion of the game that temporarily changed the battlegrounds on which the war between good and evil was fought out. Players dreaded The Bridge of Khazad-Dum for the monster which often came out of it: the Balrog. Sites like Silverlode Banks ensured pain for an opposing fellowship at the crucial breaking point of Site 7 through Site 9. Rohirrim Village stifled Free Peoples strategies, letting the Dunlendings rampage freely. And Slag Mounds could prove to be a terror for fellowships teetering on the brink of destruction.

Then came War of the Ring block, with new rules for the sitepath, and suddenly, the focus shifted. Now, you could play sites when you needed them, where you needed them-and even replay them. Ulaire Nelya, Third of the Nine Riders was the next step in gameplay, as well as cards like Well-Traveled and Pathfinder. Speak "Friend" and Enter became a powerhouse for card-drawing. In this world of new rules, and so many possibilities, it’s easy to get confused. Fortunately, understanding how to use sites isn’t beyond reach! There are a lot of different aspects that go into this part of the game, and it’s a little complicated. Hopefully, I can simplify things a bit in this article, and show you how to use sites to best help your Free Peoples side.

The Five Site Types
In this game, I divide sites that help the Free Peoples into five categories: Ability, Boost, Protection, Recovery, and Setup. These classifications are based on the different ways in which sites help your fellowship down the path. Here’s a short description of what each site type is:

    -Ability Sites are those sites which allow you to do something special.
    -Boost Sites are sites which provide companions with some sort of enhancement, usually a strength boost.
    -Protection Sites are sites which hinder the Shadow in some way.
    -Recovery Sites are simply sites where you can remove burdens or heal.
    -Setup Sites are (as their name implies) sites which allow you to set up your fellowship, usually by playing cards from your draw deck.

Now, here are all of the sites which help the fellowship, arranged according to type...


Cavern Entrance-This old standby can be a blessing and a curse. If your fellowship doesn’t depend on skirmish abilities, and you want to stop nastNOLINKy skirmish-phase wounding or skirmish-phase boosts. On the other hand, if you thrive on skirmish abilities, this site will shut you down.

Chamber of Mazarbul-Transferring possessions between companions is not something you usually have to do, but if you’re shifting swords and shields around with twilight costs of 1 and 2, that twilight can add up. This site is definitely useful if you need to shift possessions around often.

City of Kings-If your deck double-moves, this card is pure gold. An extra card drawn is always good, especially if you use cards like Lembas to reconcile. Be sure to pack one of these if your deck can easily handle woundNOLINKed minions.

Falls of Rauros-Wow. This card, right here, is amazing. By removing a dead companion from the game, you can break the Rule of 9 or even play a copy of a dead unique companion. If your deck plans to drop companions like flies, keep this site in mind.

Morannon Plains-Reinforcing culture tokens is one of the most powerful abilities you can have from a site. Just beware: this card also aids any token shadows as well.

Moria Guardroom-The dwarves love cycling, and here’s yet another card-drawing site. Spot a dwarf, draw two cards. It’s that simple.

Mount Doom-This site can really shake up the opposition, depending on what you need to do. If your own strategy depends on replacing sites, this is obviously not going to be the best. However, if you’re going against a site-manipulating Free Peoples or Shadow, this site should definitely find its way into Region 2...or, you can use it to secure a Site 3. But more on that-later.

Pinnacle of Zirakzigil-A simple card to see the use of: it’s an instant Sent Back. Costly, but useful in the right situation.

Starkhorn-Again, some Dwarven cycling for you. They win skirmishes left and right, and at this site, they draw cards left and right. Need a pump? It’s probably lurking in the deck, waiting for you to draw it...

Trollshaw Forest-There’s a few Free Peoples who seem to thrive off of possessions and artifacts, and this card was made for them. Play those cards, and max out the Rule of 4! Or, if you manage to play those cards outside of the skirmish phase (i.e. Eowyn’s Sword, Dernhelm’s Blade), draw more cards!

West Gate of Moria-This card here is a standard choke card. Remove 2 when you move from it. Pretty nice, and simple.


Ettenmoors-Reprinted all the way from FOTR Block, this classic card gives you an easy strength bonus in a pinch. Just beware...those minions get the same bonus, so this card has limits.

Fords of Isen-You too can be a Durin III! In fact, this card is even better, because it counts every card borne by a character...even The One Ring! Again, though, this gives bonuses to minions as well, so beware.

Helm’s Gate-Most of the time, the simple +2 strength boost given by this card is all you need to beat those weaponless minions...and minions with hand weapons aren’t the most common. Mordor Scimitar and the weapons that Uruks have are the most likely to show up, but if you don’t find these in your meta...

Moria Stairway-Damage bonuses...always fun to have. Just keep in mind, minions get them too. But in the right deck, those damage bonuses can finish off a few minions.

Westfold Village-Hunters can be few and far between when it comes to minions, so this site could help your Three Hunters or your Rohan hunters deck greatly...I mean, a +1 strength bonus goes a long way when it’s dumped on every companion who’s got hunter. In fact, this even covers a Frodo with The One Ring, the Ring of Doom.


Caras Galadhon-Protecting the Ring-bearer is obviously the top priority of the Fellowship. This is one of the best sites to do so. With this site, you can beat a swarm over the head quite easily. In addition, if enough low-strength minions are played, you can actually prevent a dangerous minion from being assigned!

Foot of Mount Doom-This is quite possibly one of the most interesting cards to come out of TreacherNOLINKy and DeNOLINKceit. Each time a card is about to be placed in the discard pile...it’s removed from the game instead! This puts a huge kink in shadows such as the Evil Men Possessions loop, and also prevents minion recursion! Goblin Hordes giving you problems? Stick this on the site path, and the Shadow won’t have any minions in the discard pile to retrieve! Against the Orc culture, Balin Avenged just became a lot more powerful as well.

Harrowdale-Okay, how often do you get to make minions lose fierce? In a Rohan deck, this card completely stops fierce minions! Survive skirmish one, and now there’s no awful side effects from skirmish two.

Hobbiton Market-Well, as cards go, this one is very nice. Wound each non-lurker for a double-move! Combine this with the ability of Sam, Bearer of Great Need and the card Narrow Escape, and you won’t have any minions left on the table when your hobbitses double-move. It also works quite well with non-hobbit free peoples, like Elvents with Gil-galad.

North Undeep-Minion archery...nasNOLINKty stuff, especially with the new Gothmog and Frenzy of Arrows to cause you pain. While this card doesn’t nullify minion archery, it goes a long way towards reducing it, with no penalty on the part of the Free Peoples! Against other archery shadows, it’s a potent force as well.

Window on the West-Defender+ bonuses are always welcome in a deck, and this card goes a long way towards giving you those. Unfortunately, it doesn’t combo well with Ranger of the North, unless you use Invigorated to remove those exertions, but it’s still a good card to pull out in a pinch. After all, having two or three companions who are automatically defender +1 isn’t too bad, is it?


Caves of Aglarond-This card is really quite simple. With a double-moving deck, this card begins to look very nice and powerful, as well. Burden removal is a plus, quite obviously, for many Free Peoples, like Gondor, which lacks reliable removal. Is Boromir, Bearer of Council getting hammered by burdens? This card will help.

Crossroads of the Fallen Kings-Ah...taste the rainbow. Free healing is always very fun to use, and this card makes it easy to achieve. A Three Hunters deck could easily use a healing for each companion-after all, that’s Shire for the Ring-bearer (unless you use Gimli as your Ring-bearer), then Gondor, Elven, and Dwarven. Four free healings, with another healing if you used Gandalf as a splash.

Imladris-With this card, corruption decks took a huge turn for the worse. Imagine...at site 3 and site 6, you get to remove 2 burdens...for no cost at all! That’s crazy! Combine this with cards like the Caves of Aglarond, and you’ll be singing to those nazzies: "Na-na-na-na, na-na, na-na CAN’T TOUCH THIS!"

Mithlond-I don’t think I’ve seen a card this good...for a long while. Heal each character? With a single-move into this site, that’s far better than Neekerbreekers’ Bog, or events like Farewell to Lorien. And it has no cultural enforcement! That’s one powerful card.

Neekerbreekers’ Bog-This has always been a standby, but mostly because of its exerting ability. However, that does have a flipside, and this flipside is easily used. Keep burdens off of your Ring-bearer, and this adds up to heavy healing for your freeps, combined with heavy healing for the Shadow. In fact, when used right, this site is much better than Mithlond.

Osgiliath Reclaimed-Gondor has always had problems with burden removal, and so have Freeps like Dwarven and Elven. This changes that. If you need a burden removed in a pinch (and if you have three burdens, it is in a pinch!), this will do that.

Old Forest Road-This is an excellent card, if you need a forest on the site path that helps your elves. Stick this at site 3, and that’s 7 wounds healed! Not too shabby...

Valley of the Silverlode-This is a very specific card, but still useful in other decks. Pure hobbit decks will find plenty of use for it, and other decks can use it to simply heal the Ring-bearer. Not much else to say about this card. Simple, but it could save you.


Barazinbar-Exert a Dwarf, play a possession from your draw deck. Simple, deck-specific, and usable. What else can I say?

Dammed Gate-Stream-This card is a must to set up Solo Smeagol, but with Something Slimy, it can easily set up any condition-toting Free Peoples. Simply grab Something Slimy, then grab your condition.

East Wall of Rohan-This is an example of a great utility card. Hunters have been made a focus in four decks now: Three Hunters, Gondor rangers, Elven wounding, and Rohan. Playing a companion from your draw deck is a fairly sweet ability, and it’s definitely not one to be overlooked.

Green Dragon Inn-Well, this is another nice card. Exert two hobbits, play another one from your draw deck. Simple as that. This can set up any number of decks, since starting two hobbits is easy as pie for most decks.

Mere of Dead Faces-You might dispute the placing of this card, but I believe that site path manipulation is key to setting up your Free Peoples. If you control the site path, you shape your journey.

The Prancing Pony-While the cost of this card can be hefty (especially in Gondor ranger decks), the benefit is good. In fact, Elven ranger decks can actually remove burdens with Elf-Song, so this isn’t too bad of a price to pay.

Stables-Well, Rohan and mounts go hand in hand, and this card is another example of how this can be seen.

Site Specialities
In this game, not only do sites do different things, but there’s also sites that help specific cultures, or are beneficial to a certain culture. I call these "Site Specialities". Here’s a list of some of the best sites for each culture...

Fords of Isen
Helm’s Gate
Moria Guardroom

Chamber of Mazarbul
East Wall of Rohan
Old Forest Road

Pinnacle of Zirak-zigil

Dammed Gate-Stream
Mere of Dead Faces

The Prancing Pony


Green Dragon Inn

A Word on Site Path Manipulation
Okay, you say, this is all very nice...but what about keeping the sites you need on the site path? And here is where I place my words regarding site path manipulation. Your Free Peoples will direct this, mostly. If your fellowship can manipulate the site path like none other, and pretty much switch all the sites at once, then it should be an easy matter to keep the sites you want on the site path. If, on the other hand, you can’t do a thing about what’s played there...you’ll have to make sure you go second, so that you can play all of the sites.

How About Some Meat?
It is now time for probably my favorite part of this article: putting it all together. One of the most important things to consider when looking at sites is that it’s helpful to work not on a site-by-site basis but by groups of sites. In fact, the best way to look at it is actually by Region. Each seperate region has different types of strategy, and this strategy can also shift, depending on your short-term goals. So, let’s look at Region 1, Region 2, and Region 3. (Quick recap: Region 1 is Site 1-Site 3, Region 2 is Site 4-Site 6, and Region 3 is Site 7-Site-9)

Region 1
Okay, so this region is all about getting your Freeps set up, and ready to tangle. High on your list should be Setup and Protection sites, obviously. The thing to keep in mind, though, is that you’ll probably only get two sites played if you go second, unless you go first and have insane site path manipulation. Setup should take precedence over protection, unless you already have a good setup.

There’s also a trick you should keep in mind. If you try and play a Site 3 setup site, an Ulaire Nelya can always step in and ruin your chances. For this reason, you can use one of my favorite sites: Mount Doom. Play that as Site 2, and now you’ve got Site 3 guaranteed.

Finally, West Gate of Moria makes an excellent Site 1, because of its choking. It can easily scrub away some of your starting twilight.

Region 2
Okay, so you’ve set up, and you’ve healed at the sanctuary. Now what? Region 2 is all about survival. As a result, you’re going to want to stock this region with Boost, Protection, and Recovery sites. Depending on situation, you might want to have a look at Ability sites. For example, if you’re running Dwarves, Moria Guardroom would be an excellent choice for a site 4. But above all, this region is about survival.

Region 3
Okay, you’ve made it through the home stretch. Now what? Well, it’s typically time for leftovers now, and most of this region is going to be filled up with Shadow-friendly sites. Ability sites will take prominience here. Need to grab Gandalf back? Pinnacle of Zirak-zigal would work well. Recovery sites will also be welcome here.

All-Purpose Sites
There’s some sites, like Cavern Entrance, which can be used at any time, and should be used at any time. In this case, it’s best to ignore the above rules. Examples of sites like these are: Neekerbreekers’ Bog, Foot of Mount Doom, and Caras Galadhon. If possible, play and replay these sites with incredible site path manipulation.

In Conclusion...
Hopefully, you’ve learned a bit more about sites than you knew before. Now, as a sort of summing-up, we’ll take a look at a sample fellowship, along with a site path that would help it out greatly.

The Freeps...
A skirmishing dwarf deck, filled with tanks.

The Site Path
Obviously, there’s very little Dwarven site path manipulation. As a result, we’ll have to go second, so we can’t count on Site 1. So let’s start with Site 2-Site 3. Barazinbar will do well, because we need to pull Dwarven possessions. So how about trying Moria Guardroom as Site 2, and Barazinbar as Site 3? That would let us draw extra cards, then set up at the sanctuary.

Region 2 is a bit more interesting. We probably want Fords of Isen as Site 4, just in case we don’t have all our pumps out yet, followed by Helm’s Gate, for further pumpage. Site 6...Starkhorn should do nicely, since now we’ll have all pumps out.

Region 3, how about Hobbiton Market, Moria Stairway and Foot of Mount Doom? That just leaves one final site, so we’ll throw in North Undeep, just in case. And there’s our site path!

So, I hope you did learn a bit from this article. Thanks for reading! And never forget the site path!
"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 11, 2007 8:00 pm
Joined: 28 Dec 2006 Posts: 5468 Location: I don't know...
Mount Doom goes in protection. With the Orc culture running rampant, stop site manipulation for a WHOLE REGION! Nelya is worthless. Drop a Mount Doom and suddenly Forestguls need another region to set-up dark approach, and Lost in the Woods doesn’t hurt bad either.

The point being, WHERE’S MOUNT DOOM?!?!?!
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Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 8:58 pm
Joined: 07 Apr 2006 Posts: 3361 Location: Franciscan University of Steubenville
I stuck Mount Doom in ability, but I suppose it could go in protection...especially because I stuck Foot of Mount Doom in protection.
"ok, change of plans. the Cobracards christmas party is coming to my house, and we’re gunna teach FM how to hunt." (mm)
Posted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 4:34 pm
Joined: 13 Oct 2006 Posts: 575 Location:
Hmm, an interesting description of sites. I’ll vote when I read it well enough, but it still looks good so far.
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Posted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 8:18 pm
Joined: 19 Mar 2006 Posts: 1218 Location: Wow, its hot in Iowa
Good job CG.
I don’t think this topic has ever been covered, and certainly not this well.
Very good job, 5 from me.
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Posted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 8:41 pm
Joined: 28 Dec 2006 Posts: 5468 Location: I don't know...
Okay, since you got that up, interesting topic, and nice, but a little narrow. I would have liked to see some shadow sites as well. Good article, well-earned 4.
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Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 2:21 am
Joined: 25 Jan 2007 Posts: 240 Location: Corvallis, OR
Great article. I thought about writing this on the day you posted it, it must’ve been a Professor X mind-wave thingy you sent out. The only thing I would change would be to replace the end section on Dwarves with a keyword breakdown (plains, marshes, undergrounds, etc.). That would get a 5 from me. Otherwise a srong 4. I’ll wait to vote. Applause
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Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 9:11 am
Joined: 10 Jan 2006 Posts: 4197 Location: United States
Great article, CG! Smile It was neat to see a facet of the game that has not been examined in-depth, which is what you did in this article.

I agree with yerkamig on one point, though; I would add a site keyword breakdown.

I will wait to vote, but right now I would give it a solid 4. Thumbs Up
I had to put something here.
Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 3:40 pm
Joined: 22 Apr 2007 Posts: 191 Location: Quebec, Canada
While the article was fun to read, I feel like it could have a stronger focus on strategies about the site path mechanism, like some already built advanture decks that tends to fit well together, or a kind of "what should you pack to be ready to face almost any deck"... something like that. Anyway, a well earned 4 from me.
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Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2007 7:52 pm
Joined: 07 Apr 2006 Posts: 3361 Location: Franciscan University of Steubenville
yerkamig wrote:
Great article. I thought about writing this on the day you posted it, it must’ve been a Professor X mind-wave thingy you sent out. The only thing I would change would be to replace the end section on Dwarves with a keyword breakdown (plains, marshes, undergrounds, etc.). That would get a 5 from me. Otherwise a srong 4. I’ll wait to vote. Applause

All right, I should have that up soon. I’ve been away for a bit, but thanks for the review!
"ok, change of plans. the Cobracards christmas party is coming to my house, and we’re gunna teach FM how to hunt." (mm)

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