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Gizlivadi

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  1. I'm really hoping that Saruman will appear in this cycle somewhat tied to the Master keyword (or Doomed, that would be good too). The themes and usage of the word "master" (as in The Master Ring) and the idea of power to control others is a very important one in Tolkien's writing, and is perfectly represented by Gandalf and Saruman. Gandalf is a "good leader", not adscribing power to himself but instead renouncing to it, and while he's powerful, he's more concerned with helping others reach their goals and achieve power themselves, while he stays as a pilgrim, a wanderer. Saruman is the complete opposite. He couldn't trust anything to anyone, and had to control everything himself, thus becoming a lord with a stronghold and army, a master with other minds and bodies to control for his own goals. He becomes a "master" in the sense Tolkien uses the word, more related to the theme of slavery rather than being a "master at something". (On this note, only Bombadil could truly call himself Master as he was the sole, and only a, master of himself.) So yeah, as soon as I saw the One Ring player card and the Master events we got in the deluxe, I knew the themes of power and corruption were lurking behind them, and so I really really hope this cycle will bring us Saruman and other cards and themes related to powerful, dangerous artifacts like the Palantiri and the art of ring-making.
  2. At this point Saruman must be the character with the most custom hero versions in the game. I just wish Caleb would get on with it and print him! Please! People, including myself, have been clamoring for him for over 5 years now!
  3. Maybe the missing stars are a intended as a reference to lost palantiri? In any case, there is definitely some artistic license regarding this illustration (and all the gondorian shield/banner art in this game depicting the crown).
  4. Thorin Stonehelm, finally! Also, does anybody know why those gondorian shields look so weird? I notice I can count only 5 stars asymetrically aligned, along with the fact that the crown is below the top star (and the fact that it shouldn't even be there, as the crown was only displayed when there was an actual king, and not in the Steward-ruled Gondor of the timeframe the game takes place in).
  5. We know the One Ring is x1 in the box. I hope that's not the case for contracts.
  6. I think Tolkien would've been more disappointed if this game didn't have any reference to Goldberry at all, which it doesn't, and with the FOTR PODs out and no Goldberry the only way was to either have a cycle in the Shire and have them both as objectives, or to have them as player cards with the encounter keyword. They chose the latter, which makes me infintely happier.
  7. Ha! I called it 1 or 2 years ago, that Tom would be an encounter ally. It's the most thematic way of imcluding both him and Goldberry. Glad to see I was right, but even more glad he's finally here as a non-objective ally.
  8. Excellent! I myself haven't played in like 4 months, although of course I continue to collect. Still, even if not playing, I always think about the game, new lineups and builds and interactions to build upon, as well as listening to the podcasts and participating in the online discussion. I have to get back to actual questing though, and for that the idea of ready-to-play, all-rounded solo decks for a variety of quests in standard mode has been invaluable. I too dislike to disassemble decks I actually enjoy, taking out cards for others, etc., so my ever-growing slew of prebuilt solo decks has been one of my biggest treasures (though granted, it is more expensive to keep than a normal collection). Still, the online community has helped tons in maintaining momentum for me. As I've said elsewhere, without the community, discord, podcasts, blogs, forums, etc, I wouldn't enjoy this game half as much as I do. I've played and still play other card games, and this is by far the best community I've seen. I'll have to try the quest a week idea. It's very reasonable, and will keep my skills from getting rusty. Thanks for sharing!
  9. Gotta believe an actual Easterling on this lol. True, I'm not seeing deerskins with antlers on their heads. Make it medieval slavs.
  10. Yeah, I'm down for an Easterling hero that isn't necessarily easterling tribal, something like a weapon synergy hero, as suggested, would be good. As for the appearance of the Easterlings, it's normally assumed that they should look "asian" or "middle-eastern" like they showed them in the movies, but that is really just an interpretation not necessarily contained in the text. In fact it has been suggested that, for example, the Variags (a supposedly alien southeastern group), were inspired by the varangian mercenaries in Byzantium, that is, "easternized" norse. For all we know, to Tolkien all of Middle earth except Harad and the far south could have been germanic aesthetically. Seems like they went for a Rus/Slavic barbarian look for the Easterlings, which is very appropiate IMO. As I've said recently, this game keeps getting better and better, I can't wait for this new cycle.
  11. FFG has been pretty quiet about this game too.
  12. I can't be the only one who's feels that the title The Return of the King on a Thorin themed card, even if it technically fits, is kinda awkward. Still, thanks @LordBird for translating, and these cards all look good, particularly Reforged. Has to be one of my favorite cards in the cycle. All around excellent pack, finally bringing Radagast hero, this is something I had been waiting for for years.
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