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The Lord of the Rings TCG Wiki: Starter Packs

Starter Packs

Starter Packs were boxed ready-made simple decks that were intended to be easy enough for brand-new players to pick up and play. Each set typically had two starter decks, each one focusing on different cultures and strategies, so one could conceivably purchase both with a friend and get a good taste of what the game as a whole had to offer.

Unlike actual legal decks, starter decks had only about 50 cards, and the Shadows and Free Peoples sides did not always have the same number of cards. Combined with the fact that the starter rulebooks didn't explain all of the rules of the game (but only rules needed to play the decks provided, plus a starter-only rule that allowed you to reshuffle the discard pile) meant that while valuable from a learning perspective, the decks themselves were not very usable in a normal play environment.

To offset the fact that veteran players would not need the starter packs, Decipher included 2 P-rarity cards in each starter pack that were not obtainable in booster packs. Also, for most sets, Decipher packed 3 random rares with each starter deck, giving collectors additional reason to purchase them (it was sometimes cheaper to buy boxes of starters instead of boxes of boosters, as each box of starters included 36 rares.) In Battle of Helm's Deep and Ents of Fangorn, Decipher did away with the random rares and instead included 3 predetermined rares, with the idea being to make sure that included rares went according to the theme of the starter deck (predetermined rares also saved printing costs, as it allowed the entire deck to come from one print sheet instead of two.) Fixed rares annoyed players, as it removed the incentive for veterans to purchase the decks, and it reduced the value of the 6 rares affected in each set. With The Return of the King Decipher reverted to the original random rare distribution for starter packs.

To the right you can see each of the starter decks for the first 13 sets (The Hunters and Rise of Saruman are not shown).


Deluxe Starter Sets

For the The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers blocks, Decipher also released Deluxe starter sets, which besides including a starter deck also had booster packs from each set in that block as well as a card box and glass tokens. Unlike other starter sets, Deluxe starters did not include starter-only cards. Due to the inclusion of boosters, a Deluxe Rulebook was included in lieu of the Starter Rulebook, to make sure that players would have access to all the rules if needed. No Deluxe Starter Set was released for any other block.

Gemp-LotR Starter Decks

Starter decks are used as part of the card pool in sealed deck leagues on Gemp-LotR. The official Decipher starter decks (listed below) are used in most of the leagues, but there are two leagues that use custom starter decks: one based around Towers Standard and another based around Movie Block. Decklists for those two leagues can be found at Towers Standard Sealed and Movie Block Sealed, respectively.

Starter Deck Lists

Below are lists of the contents of each starter deck, organized by set. Information is taken from gondorian.com and the Last Homely House forums, here and here, as well as from the decklists compiled for GCCG.

starter_pack.txt · Last modified: 2019/06/20 21:47 (external edit)

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