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Beginners guide to LotR


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9 replies to this topic

#1
FinalWarrior

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Hello everyone. I recently purchased LotR to try out with a friend of mine and I can see how I might get hooked very easily. I'm sure there is a post somewhere I didn't see, but I was hoping someone could direct me to a good beginners guide to the game as far as deckbuilding and what to buy.

I'm an AGoT player, so I can see some similarities. Like AGoT, is it recommended to get two core sets? And also what would be the best adventure packs/expansions to look into first? Shadows of Mirkwood seems like a good place to start since it only relies on the core set. Thanks!

#2
mnBroncos

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Yes Mirkwood first and it is important to know that in order to play the next cycle you need the expansion that came before it. Example need Khazad-dum to do the Dwarrowdelf cycle, need Heirs of Numenor to do the Against the Shadow expansion however, the hobbit and the black rider expansion can play by themselves but little harder to go right to them.

You should get 2 cores is good to get more of those core cards and gives you everything to play with 4 players. Deck building will get easier after playing their is no real "right" way to do it since is Co-op don't need to always try the best decks experiment when building decks if you fail (and you will) try again.

#3
FinalWarrior

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Awesome, thanks mnBroncos. Also, as far the the adventure packs go- do they follow a story? For example, would it make sense to play all of the scenarios from The Hunt for Gollum before moving on to Conflict at Carrock?

#4
KennedyHawk

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Awesome, thanks mnBroncos. Also, as far the the adventure packs go- do they follow a story? For example, would it make sense to play all of the scenarios from The Hunt for Gollum before moving on to Conflict at Carrock?


They follow a loose story, in the later cycles the story becomes more driven. The first cycle has little intros for each quest that piece the individual quests together.

In the lastest cycle Heirs of Numenor + Against the Shadow there is a story to read before the quest and then another connecting part to read aloud to the group once the quest is completed. A fun way to play is to start with just the core set, then use the cards in each proceeding pack as a quest reward, (so when you beat the code add the cards from the first Mirkwood AP to your pool and reform decks). It lets you see how the game evolved and how challenging some quests were without the full cardpool.
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#5
mnBroncos

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Just so you don't get to stressed out with the game. The last(3rd) quest in the core is VERY VERY hard with just core so be ready lose like 12 times before you beat it (:

#6
FinalWarrior

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Alright, thanks. That's a good idea about the adventure pack reward- probably going to try that. Plus that could help break up the cost. So far my only complaint is the amount of adventure packs you would need to buy to really customize a deck.
And as for that 3rd quest.... it whipped us pretty soundly. But not before Gandalf took out that Nazgul after our prison rescue!

#7
JTG81

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Since all the cards from the core and Mirkwood cycle were designed together, I have no problem adding the entire pool at once to help with some of the more difficult quests like Conflict. Just my two cents though.

#8
WasteMaLife

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Lord of the Rings: The Card Game (LoTR) is a deck construction game at heart. Hey, BTW.. is anyone else pissed that the term "deck building" was stolen form the TCG community by that game Dominion to name its new genre as "Deck Builders"?... anyway.. LoTR is a deck construction game, much like the other LCGs. The big difference of course is that this game is a Co-Op and not a duelling game.

This leads many new players and even some vets to grossly misunderstand the basics of deck construction for this game that guides the creation of strong Co-Op decks. A misconception that is exacerbated by the fact that for the official solo player rules there is a completely different methodology to construct decks than there is for Co-Op.

The basic crux of the point I will slowly labour over here is that; this is a Co-Op game in every sense, and from now on I'll only be talking about Co-Op unless I say otherwise. Anyway, when you build two decks for LoTR you are not building two decks. You are building a single deck, that two players use. This is the core of the entire problem many players have with LoTR. In fact, generally if a deck is good at the solo game it is by definition an inefficient Co-Op deck.

So lets more accurately redefine the term "Decks". When I talk about a "deck" I mean every player card between all players. So a single "deck" for a 2 player game consists of 2-6 Heroes + 100 Cards at a minimum. Now lets define each individual player's cards with the term "Hands". So a 2 player deck contains 2 hands. Player 1 is "Hand 1" and player 2 is "Hand 2".

Now anyone with some understanding of deck construction games in general understands that what makes a great deck function is card synergies and combos which fire among the various cards you choose to build the deck out of in the first place. The strength of the deck is directly linked to how well these synergies and combos play off each other and how fast you can get them to fire. This exact methodology works in a LoTR deck, but remember the individual hands of the deck are not in a vacuum, they are directly linked and these combos and synergies needs to flow between both hands, not just on a single hand as with a normal one player deck.

There are 4 types of cards in LoTR. Hero, Allies, Attachments and Events. The only cards that need to be contained in a specific hand are Allies and Heroes. Every other card in the game. Every other card can be cast from one side of the table to the other. There is no reason for any of these other cards to exist in any particular hand beyond the restrictions of resourcing.

Lets start with some basics on how Co-Op play works.

Co-Op Basics

The first thing to think of when designing the hands of your deck is to think about the functional needs of the game itself. A deck needs to do various things to be able to complete the quest regardless of your fancy synergies, combos, your choice of allies, quest requirements and whatever.

  • You need to quest every turn to generate the needed power to to quest successfully.

  • You need to defend vs enemy threats during combat.

  • You need to be able to attack those threats and destroy these enemies, through combat or DD (Direct Damage)

  • You need to either be quick or be able to manage threat to some degree.

These basic functions are the core of any LoTR deck and they need to be considered when you try to construct one. Yet remember in a Co-Op game the individual hands of the deck do not need to cover all these bases. In fact it can greatly improve the power of your deck for each hand to specialise in a few tasks and completely ignore the other tasks, leaving them to be handled by the other hand, and visa versa.

The core idea behind all deck construction is dilution. A deck wants to fire as fast as possible in a certain way to be as powerful as possible, but to make the deck consistent you need to be able to handle a variety of game states, some of which you may not even encounter in a given game. This versatility allows the deck to handle more situation and increases your win ratios but these situations only show up now and then, so these cards can often become completely dead draws. The more versatile your deck, the weaker the synergies and combos become that power it.

It is a balance. To much protection and the entire deck is weak and your win rate drops. If it is to high it can not handle enough situations and your rate drops.

So this general rule of dilution can be used to empower the individual hands, as you no longer need each hand to handle all the basic game requirements. So you are reducing the versatility of each hand, witch increases its power.

The most basic of the hand set ups for 2 players is for one hand to handle combat and the other to handle questing, and threat reduction. Leaving support to be equally shared between both hands, for as we have already talked about all attachments and events are not required to be held in the hand that is the intended target. You can place support attachments designed for a combat hand in the quest deck, ensuring the combat deck gets a stronger draw on cheap chump blockers. You just cast it form the quest hand and target the combat hand. The end result is that you have 2 hands, each one extremely good at some aspects of the game and this is the key to stong LoTR decks.

Heroes

Heroes are the main focus in the LoTR-LCG and are the crux of any deck. Imagine a deck construction game, like say Netrunner and your most powerful card doesn’t need to be drawn. In fact you have access to it from the start of the game at all times. The single most common mistake in deck construction for LoTR is to focus hero selection on resource icons or theme. Now theme is a different article all together and one not important to me, for this article I'll be focusing on how to make the best decks, not thematic decks.

Resource icons are obviously important but not nearly as important as picking Heroes that compliment each other. If you can find a cool combo that bounces between your hands on your heroes alone you are well on the way to building a great deck before adding any other cards.

So in your hero selection, your first thoughts should not be the "jobs" the hand is going to cover. Instead just like selecting any other card for your deck you should be looking at synergy or combos. After you have your synergistic or combo-ie heroes selection, you now look at the Hand Job (yuk, yuk) because cross casting will allow you to put in what you need for each hand on either hand and dilution will allow both hands to be strong at what job they are designed for.
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#9
FinalWarrior

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Awesome write-up, and very insightful! I can see how it would definitely be different since this is a co-op game. Taking the view of a single deck seems to be fitting. Could it be advised then, that all four spheres really need to be present in some way? Or can balanced decks be built with say, Spirit/Leadership and Tactics, omitting Lore?

#10
WasteMaLife

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I wouldn't say all spheres need to be present, but often this will be the case. Tactics is the forgotten sphere for solo, though with the recent addition of outlands it is making a comeback. Still with its huge sentinels and ranged values it make a massive showing in 2+ players. Spirit is as powerful as ever and lore's encounter deck control is weakened due to more than 1 card being revealed, but its card draw is still as strong as ever.

I would say leadership is still the weakest sphere. Yet cards like Steward are still the most powerful in the game.