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Posted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 1:03 pm
Joined: 15 Feb 2006 Posts: 26 Location: Denmark
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This article examines the potential of a Rohan archery/wounding deck in the standard format and provides an alternative to the mainstream decks.
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This article tied for 2nd place in the February 2006 LOTR TCG Strategy Article Contest, earning a $5 store credit for its author.


With The War of the Ring block Rohan was seemingly neglected seen from an elite player’s point of view. The naked fact that the recent tournament winners have not played Rohan says it all. The Rohandalf deck actually saw quite a lot of play when shadows was released, but with rotation the deck slowly slipped out of the spotlight. Since then Rohan has received little attention which is highly unfair.
This article will discuss a new type of Rohan deck which will focus on archery, exertions more exertions and a scarce touch of wounding. Firstly I will address the issue of selecting what cards will go in the deck. This will be done in order for the general concept of the deck to be maintained.
Secondly I will be discussing how to play the deck and which shadow side it is optimally paired with. As a last comment I will be briefly looking at bad and good match-ups.

Throwing with sticks

First of all I must stress that this deck only uses cards that are currently legal in the standard format (in the physical world). The purpose of this deck is to stay alive as long as possible while your shadow side harasses the opponents fellowship. And to stay alive the minions that your opponent plays must not kill, overwhelm you etc. (fairly simple right?).
To do this the companions of this deck utilizes the power of the javelin. The main card that this deck will center around is Riddermark Javelin. With this in mind plus remembering that exertions and wounds are the way to kill minions the starting fellowship can be chosen.

The Return of The Third Marshal

The starting fellowship will first of all be comprised of Éomer, Third Marshall of Riddermark. The strength bonus that he enjoys when facing wounded minions is too much to ignore. Plus he fits wonderfully with the theme of the deck. As Éomer’s riding companion I have chosen his sister Éowyn, Lady of Ithilien. When the wounds start to pile up on the minions she will most surely deal out several wounds thus killing them.
To go with these two horse riding relatives I have picked Isildur, Bearer of Heirlooms. This I have done mainly because I want a ring-bearer able to take care of himself so that additional deck slots are left open for other purposes. I could have included Frodo, Protected by Many but I decided against it due to the hobbit’s need for special attention.
Now it seems that these three friends are ready to set out from Rivendell and cast The Ring into Mount Doom. They most certainly are, but they will receive help from a little nasty fellow called Sméagol, Always Helps. He has been put into the deck to control the site-path. This is done with two copies of Follow Sméagol and to add a little something to the mix a single Don’t Look at Them has also been included. This way Sméagol can assign minions to himself thus exhausting them, making the job of Éowyn easier.

I thought of the possibility of starting Gamling, Defender of the Hornburg in order for him to filter the deck, but I figured that Éowyn contributes so heavily to the theme of the deck that I would not be without her in the beginning of the game. Still recognizing the power of Gamling I put two copies of him in the draw deck so that his ability to filter can be used later. The other companions in the deck is firstly Théodred, Second Marshall of the Mark. On his own he works like a mount exerting minions he is skirmishing. Combined with a horse and he can double exert minions for again helping out Éowyn.
This deck runs best when it is behind, I will explain why later, but to insure victory with the Free Peoples side a triple move from site six to nine is very much needed. Théoden, The Renowned does that for us. When he can spot Théodred the move limit is plus one thus allowing you to outrun your opponent. I chose him simply because of this ability and also because he also receives bonuses from spotting Éomer and Éowyn.

Bread and Butter

Once the companions have been selected it is time to pay a visit to the armory and equip them. This is almost the standard Rohan possession package. Éome’s spear and Firefoot are obvious choices. This makes Éomer capable of handling several minions and winning skirmishes. Two Rider’s spear to pump the basic strength of my other companions in order for them to not be overwhelmed. Rohirrim Mount does what any horse of Rohan does: Exert minions. On top of this it makes its bearer defender +1. This is very handy taken into consideration what Éowyn does. For example make her skirmish two minions each with two wounds and have her exert: 4 wounds to be distributed among the servants of Sauron.
Coif is to be played on Éowyn so that her ability can be used more than twice. Herugrim, Sword of the Mark serves as wound prevention for Théoden, which is important when you want him to stay alive from site six to nine. Snowmane, Noble Mearas can add tokens to your conditions plus exhaust them be removing tokens.
Riddermark Javelin is what makes this deck so funny. With four of them in the table you will, on a plains site, be able to dish out 8 archery wounds. Most shadow sides will have severe difficulties dealing with massive wounding like this, but of course all four javelins are rarely seen together on the table. Last but certainly not least the blade that was broken reappears. Narsil, Blade of the Faithful serves as protection for Isildur both strength and vitality vise.

Black Rider provided Rohan with a very interesting condition: Cast out. Being able to discard minions in the maneuver phase is extremely good. The obvious weakness of this card is that Rohan has no pre-maneuver wounding and therefore minions are not likely to be discarded when moving for the first time. On the other hand when you have moved twice minions will definitely be loaded with wounds making the triple move from six to nine possible.
The task of replaying and catching the javelins will be performed by Sword Rack and Border Patrol can exert minions at plain sites by removing tokens (that was either added when playing the condition or added by Snowmane). King’s Board is in here for emergency strength boost. It can prevent Éomer and other companions for being overwhelmed when facing more than one minion.
The site-control package with Follow Sméagol and Don’t Look At Them for extra wounding makes an appearance too. To timely get your companions or possessions out the all time greatest Rohan event Simbelmynë is included.

Playing the deck

With the deck-list in place it is time to focus on how to steer the fellowship safely to the chasms of Mount Doom. This feat is very much dependent on the overall goal of the deck which involves the shadow-side. Since this deck revolves around plains-sites the most reasonable thing to do (if not abandoned for madness) is to pair the deck with evil men archery. This type of deck also relies on plains-sites and with Sméagol in the deck this can turn out to be a lethal combo (check the deck-list to see which sites have been selected). This is how it could work. Bid 1 or 2 (preferable 1 since Isildur has not got that much resistance). Play Damned Gate-stream and get out Follow Sméagol from your deck. Move into site three and try to stay ahead. In the regroup phase Follow Sméagol will insure that you get your plains-sites out both for the good of your Free Peoples but also your Shadow-side. This means that each time you double move it will be into a plains-site where Border Patrol and Riddermark Javelin can be used.
If this does not work and you get caught behind the other fellowship either because of bad draws or your opponents shadow-side, the heavy filtering/cycling of Rohan helps to set up your shadow-side and drop a bomb of 9-10 archery. Then surprise your opponent by triple moving from six to nine. This means that the adventure deck will consist of mostly plains with Caras Galadhon for a guaranteed victory at site nine.

The bane of the Riddermark

To efficiently stay alive it is imperative to know the weakness of your own deck. When you are familiar with your weaknesses you can immediately get a notion of when to stop running with your fellowship and instead count on your shadow-side.

• Burden removal
• Condition removal/Possession removal
• Healing

With Isildur as the ring-bearer things start to get really messy just when a few burdens are added. His low resistance and the lack of burden removal in the deck makes this the number one issue. Secondly you will not be harassing the enemy’s support area as much as you would like. Both Rohan and Gondor is known for their lack of condition removal and this could eventually spell doom for the ring-bearer. Possessions on the other can easily be dealt with. I have decided not to include any due to the scarce appearance of possession based shadows in my area. Although if you are constantly presented with corsairs consider taking out 3 Cast out and King’s board and put in either Unyielding or For the Mark.
This deck has minimal healing capability and relies solely on healing at sanctuaries. This can be a problem if you are playing against pre-skirmish wounding shadow-sides, but if you are not your javelins and Éowyn should be able to prevent your companions from losing skirmishes (the minions will simply die before ever being allowed to win the skirmish). If facing multiple pre-skirmish wounding/exertion decks (for example Orc Lurkers) then make room for Léowyn and Thundering Host perhaps by taking out one Gamling, Defender of the Hornburg and some Cast Out’s.

This means that the worst match-up would be corruption decks. So if you by coincidence run into an Orc corruption deck (and you will) then just single move and shoot your opponents fellowship down with your shadow-side.


There you have it. Pony-ridding guys with pointy spears able to stick out the eyes of the enemy. And their potential is really great I think. The War of The Ring block defined the Rohan culture as a plains loving civilization exerting and wounding the minions of Sauron to death. Unfortunately the deck misses a killer card that could make it go straight to the top. Perhaps in future sets this type of deck will be viable maybe with more focus pre-skirmish wounding or minions discarding which seems to be the new trend (Ithilien Blade).
That’s it for now. Here is the deck-list you have probably been waiting for (if you haven’t scrolled down and looked). Thank you very much for reading. Feedback will be greatly appreciated in order to improve the deck as much as possible.


Isildur, Bearer of Heirlooms
The One Ring, The Ring of Rings

Total cards (35)

Starting fellowship:

Eomer, Third Marshal of Riddermark
Eowyn, Lady of Ithilien
Smeagol, Always Helps

Draw deck

Gamling, Defender of the Hornburg x 2
Theoden, The Renowned
Theodred, Second Marshal of the Mark

Eomer’s spear
Riddermark Javelin x 4
Rohirrim Mount x 2
Snowmane, Noble Mearas
Herugrim, Sword of the Mark
Rider’s spear x 2
Narsil, Blade of the Faithful

Follow Smeagol x 2
Don’t look at them
Sword Rack x 2
Border Patrol x 2
King’s Board
Cast out x 3

Simbelmyne x 3

Adventure deck

Anduin Banks
Northern Pelennor
Pelennor Fields
Rohan Uplands
Flats of Rohan
Wold Battlefield
Caras Galadhon
Dammed Gate-stream
Bilbo, Retired Adventurer
Posted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 5:50 pm
Joined: 17 Feb 2006 Posts: 54 Location: Zagreb, Croatia
Toooooooooooo looooooooooooong.
I would like to read it,but I don’t have the nerves.You should ommit every other sentence and some paragraphs and leave only important ones. Wink

Narsil isn’t worth it really(better Footman’s Armor) and Follow Smeagol is rotating,as is Don’t look at them.

Have you thought of an idea of Rohan Mery(much better then Smeagol),Frodo ringbearer and 2-3 Shadowplays.You can prevent opponent from changing sites with Nelya and Frodo has more resistance.Important thing is to start second so you could put plains for Javelins.And for that you have to bid higher.Shadowplay also takes care of Enquea,Toto,Coraair Plunderer,and Nazgul toiling.
I will suggest this deck to a friend of mine.
Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 1:45 pm
Joined: 04 Jan 2006 Posts: 444 Location: Up North
One weakness that I noticed right away is the extremely high twilight gamble your taking. This strategy is very well put together and explained very well, but look at the costs. Its expensive. If I was about to play against this deck, I would be rubbing my hands together with an evil smile saying "Hmmmm....twilight!"
Like you mentioned, you will have an awful time playing against corruption decks.
But if not corruption, there is always Dunland minions.
Dunland minions have no vitality to exert for your abilities. You may have archery, but they have too many ways to discard your possesions and conditions before your opportunity to use them.
Almost all Dunland decks can play minions from the discard pile, so your biggest problem would be the high twilight. They can use every last twilight no matter how few minion cards in hand.

There are some grammer and spelling issues in this article.

On the plus side...

I really really like the way you explain how it all fits together instead of just saying "I wanted a good card to go with (watever), so I put (blahblahblah) in."

The bold headings between paragraphs makes it allot more comfortable to read.

For me, length is not a problem. Why would it be? Just stay on topic and do whatever you can to keep it interesting for the readers.

Bilbo has a great idea! You should switch Smeagle with a hobbit and use Frodo as the ring bearer. Then, you can use Shadowplay.

I wont vote just yet. Personally I think it is somewhere between 3 and 4 stars. I might give 4 if you edit it up alittle bit by tomorrow.
Some of the best scenarios on EE...
Up All Night Productions
Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 1:59 am
Joined: 15 Feb 2006 Posts: 26 Location: Denmark
Hi Hazael

Thanks for the constructive critizism. The grammar thing is something I really need to look into. Although English is not my first language I still feel somewhat obliged not to make those kinds of mistakes. So later today this will surely be dealt with.

After playtesting the deck a few times I’ve notived that Sméagol doesn’t work that well. His site-manipulating tricks are hard to pull off. Therefore the option of switching him for a shadowplay package is very relevant.

Lastly my experience with dunland is veru limited, but you are right even when I play versus more twilight heavy shadow-sides my opponent tends to play quite a few minions. I can’t really see though how this problem can be fixed without altering the deck too much.
Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 11:00 am
Joined: Posts: Location:
Now, this was a wonderful read of one of probably my favorite cultures of all time, Rohan. Rohan is by far (save Gandalf) the most stable of all cultures. The amount of abilities that they have at their disposal is amazing, and it’s good that there’s someone with the patience to tell us all how it is.

The only type of deck that would have any kind of distinct advantage would be Corsairs. Corsairs would easily eat this deck alive. But, besides that, Dunland would easily be decimated. Dunland doesn’t have the possession removal to in anyway, signifigantly harm this deck (but there’s always luck). Also, you shouldn’t have too many problems with burdening, but, then again, there is always a small threat.

Hazael: There is this card called Sword Rack, check it out. Also, with the extra twilight thing: that’s why they have wounding. To kill the big minions.

I loved this article and I gave you a very respectable 5. Your grammer is not bad at all, I hope you will write more articles in the future. Good job. And props to you man.
Last edited by Guest on Wed Mar 01, 2006 12:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 11:38 am
Joined: 15 Feb 2006 Posts: 26 Location: Denmark
Wow Very Happy

This sort of thing really encourages me to write more articles in the future. It is always great to know that your contribution is being appreciated.

Nevertheless i’ll still try to improve my grammar, reading any future articles more thoroughly through.

Bilbo, Retired Adventurer
Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 1:36 pm
Joined: 17 Feb 2006 Posts: 54 Location: Zagreb, Croatia
Some condition removal would be nice to squeeze in(Fortress never fallen).
Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 1:58 pm
Joined: 15 Dec 2005 Posts: 253 Location: Hyrule
Going with Isildur is not a good move in my opinion. Too weak toward corruption and swarming. Also think Smeagol is a waste in this deck (even with the advantages of site-playing). With the shadowplay Merry Swordthain gimmick you can also use Pressing On which can be really good. You did bring out some good points too though. *gives thumbs up*
Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 4:41 pm
Joined: 10 Oct 2005 Posts: 1199 Location: Out on the front line
good article Very Happy it was kind of long, but you had some good points, and on some things if you make it short you loose the affect of the article. so i wouldn’t change it. it was a good article. Smile

ingold Cool
There is a power in this world beyond any of us, and Jesus is that power and The Savior.

Cool this is my attempt to look cool.
Trade list (Want Balrogs and Aragorns)
Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 5:06 pm
Joined: 04 Jan 2006 Posts: 444 Location: Up North
I wasnt trying to criticize you about your article.... I just gave you my opinion on the things you could improve on and the things I liked best. I am not trying to discourage you by saying this, but simply stating a fact: This deck is by far the most expensive one I have ever seen.
I do, however, like the article.

I dont even fully understand the english language myself, and I live in the USA. lol ...so I gave you 4.

I notched it up a star because your article is actually a "strategy" article... not one of those articles where you list out a bunch of cards and give your personal opinions about them. Cool

GJ looks like you might have yourself a 2nd place winner!
Some of the best scenarios on EE...
Up All Night Productions

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