I've been debating as to whether or not I should purchase an additional core set recently with the release of the updated card texts and all. However, I have thought it through and found that, although there are easily identifiable advantages in owning multiple core sets, there are also great advantages (believe it or not) in only owning one core set.
Here are three advantages to owning one core set:
1. You save money (obviously).
Money does not grow on trees (or does it?). With extra cash, you can use it to buy other expansions (one core set runs for about $31 on Amazon right now, which is equivalent of more than 2 adventure packs or about 1.5 saga expansions).
2. You increase your variety/creativity in decision-making when building decks.
Since the core set does not come with 3 of every card, you force yourself to choose alternative cards to add to your deck. For example, you would like more shadow cancellation than just 2 Hasty Strokes, so you decide to build around Balin, or add a Dawn Take You All or Dunedain Watcher to your deck. Or, since you are running Spirit, you add the new attachment Silver Lamp to help planning during the combat phase. If you owned another core set, you could simply just add a third Hasty Stroke since it is most straightforward and arguably better than the others. However, with only 2 in one core set, you are forced to think "outside the box" and find other ways to help with enemy attacks. Hence, you add variety to your decision-making and deck, which adds a greater sense of creativity to the game for you.
3. You "fix" the problem of over-powered and broken player cards and at the same time increase the game's difficulty level.
Recently, there has been much discussion and debate on the forum about over-powered/broken player cards (e.g., "The Problem of Unexpected Courage"). Admittedly, the core set contains some of the more powerful player cards in the game (Unexpected Courage, Steward of Gondor, A Test of Will, Feint, Horn of Gondor, etc.). Many players complain about the fact that Fantasy Flight did not include 3 copies of each card in the core set, and so we are "forced" to buy a second (or third) core set to complete our collection and, more importantly, increase the power of our decks. However, I would argue that this is not so much a drawback as it is a "built-in" limitation of over-powered/broken cards. In limiting yourself to using only 1 copy of Unexpected Courage, you not only open up variety to other readying effects, you also increase the challenge of the game (something which is not always a bad thing nor something we do not want, or why else would they release Nightmare mode?).
Anyways, I think this is the greatest advantage of only owning one core set, as it forces you to play less powerful cards and hence increase the game's difficulty, which is something I personally am always looking for (I really enjoy the Nightmare scenarios). Of course, you can easily own 5 Core sets and still limit your use of the player cards, but let's be honest, people buy additional core sets for those 1 copy and 2 copy powerful cards, but, ironically, in the next breath complain about how over-powered and broken they are. An easy solution to fix these cards it to simply only have one core set. I realize there are other reasons for getting another core set (like extra tokens, threat-trackers, the updated text, easy-mode rings, multi-player decks), however, I simply wanted to share some advantages to not owning another set for those who are on the fence about it as I.
Please feel free to leave your thoughts/comments/disagreements below.
Edited by kyrie, 09 May 2014 - 11:29 AM.