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Estel Edain

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  1. Spirit Aragorn has pretty much been confirmed by MalbeththeSeer in his second post (out of two) on reddit (and he correctly spoiled Lothiriel). I'd be happy to see Tactics Sam, Tactics Gwaihir, Tactics Wilyador, or even Tactics Grimbold; Gondor got a bit of love with Lothiriel, Rohan could use some love, and Grimbold is the most important Rohan character we haven't yet seen as a hero.
  2. Ally Éomer Húrin the Tall Bergil Lobelia Sackville-Baggins Ranged non-unique Hobbit ally (with the stat creep on Knight of Belfalas, we might see a 2 cost 1/2/0/2 ally, since so far all Hobbits have at least 1 willpower and all but the elderly Gaffer Gamgee have at least 2 hit points) Éomer is the card I want most, so that I can Sword-Thain him to kill Uglúk when playing The Uruk-hai in my thematic campaign, while having the Three Hunters as my heroes. Since he's mentioned on Lothiriel's card, I think we have a decent chance of getting him. I would love to see ally Aragorn for A Knife in the Dark and Flight to the Ford, though Vigilant Dúnedain does a decent job of representing him. We don't yet have any ranged hobbits, and thematically we kind of need them for a Scouring in the Shire scenario (hopefully next year's PoD, as a fitting close to this iteration of the game). The Rohan trait could use some love. If we get another Rohan hero, I'd love for it to be Grimbold, who was known for his valour and was an important commander at the Fords of Isen and at the Pellinor Fields (and who could accompany Gandalf and Erkenbrand in a reinforcements deck for Helm's Deep). I'd also like another hero version of Sam, if it's comparable in power to Leadership Sam (the option to switch spheres without changing heroes during the campaign can be helpful). I recall seeing new art for Sam a while ago: that might be full art for this year's fellowship event (we should get details soon, right?), or a new Sam hero. Assuming Gildor shows up in this cycle, we only have three heroes unaccounted for (likely Tactics, Spirit, and Lore). Incidentally, I really enjoyed using the Fellowship contract (as well as the new Merry and Pippin allies) for Journey in the Dark, and it definitely helped the Nine Walkers. I wonder how many contracts we'll get. The product page for Wrath and Ruin says that it contains "three copies of each new player card," while the product page for The City of Ulfast doesn't say that, and mentions that it contains a new contract. I'm excited to see what rules the new contracts bend or break.
  3. With release date approaching, I decided to compile all the information we have about players card in this expansion, and add some educated speculation. (Some of this I found through the COTR discord.) The announcement article said that the expansion contains 2 heroes and 39 player cards (3 copies of 13), so it will have more player cards than Khazad-Dûm and The Sands of Harad, fewer player cards than Heirs of Númenor, and the same number as The Voice of Isengard, The Lost Realm, and The Grey Havens. Anything in square brackets below is speculation. 1 Brand son of Bain (fully spoiled) 2 Bard son of Brand (fully spoiled) [3] Redwater Sentry: The name is confirmed through the artist's Instagram: The text is likely: Reduce the [cost to play Armor attachments on] Redwater [Sentry by 1.] Redwater [Sentry gets +1 defense and gains sentinel] while it has [an Armor attachment.]" This is pretty much confirmed by the Spanish card fan: 4 North Realm Lookout (spoiled in fan) 5 Warrior of Dale (fully spoiled) 6 Long Lake Trader (fully spoiled) [7 Leadership attachment with Armor and Item traits that can attach to Redwater Sentry; almost certainly not limited to Dale characters] 8 King of Dale (fully spoiled) 9 Bow of Yew (fully spoiled) [10 Lore Item attachment that can attach to Dale allies and likely heroes; very likely not limited to Dale characters] 11 Necklace of Girion (fully spoiled) 12 Traffic from Dale (fully spoiled) [13] To Arms!: The text has a good chance of being: "Action: Choose an ally with a player [attachment. Ready that ally.]" [14 Tactics event] [15 Lore or Neutral event] The card numbering suggests that Necklace of Girion is the last attachment, so there should be four events. (It could be three events and a side quest, but that seems less likely since the last deluxe focused on side quests. We could also get an Encounter player card, but we just got one in The Crossings of Poros and we'll be getting one in Roam Across Rhovanion. I expect a Lore event that shuffles a player card into the Encounter deck at some point, but not here.) There are no Lore Dale heroes, and there's no way for a Dale deck to play Lore events without a sphere match (King of Dale can play off-sphere allies, and Bard son of Brand can play off-sphere Item attachments), so we might not get a Lore event in this box. Card 7 could technically be a neutral ally, but a Leadership Armor attachment makes much more sense, especially since there's no Armor attachment from the core set (for players who get this as their first expansion) that can go on Redwater Sentry. Like Bow of Yew, it might say "Attach to a Dale or Warrior character," and given how prominent the shield is in Redwater Sentry's art, it might be a shield. The numbering is Leadership-Spirit-Tactics-Lore in each card type, so card 10 is likely a Lore attachment (it has a slim chance of being Tactics or Neutral). It's probably an Item, so that Bard can play it, and in a preview discussing the deluxe Caleb said the Dale trait "rewards you for playing attachments on your allies." The only attachment in the Core Set that can be played on allies is Self Preservation (which is not an item), and Bow of Yew and the Leadership Armor attachment don't seem like enough attachments for allies if a new player gets this as their first expansion (neither King of Dale nor Necklace of Girion can go on allies). It's likely a cheap, generically useful attachment that could work well on North Realm Lookout. As a thematic player, I like getting more generic attachments (like Bow of Yew) that can thematically fit into a wide variety of decks. There's also a fair amount of room in the design space to explore attachments on allies, which can make some allies feel more like heroes (such as ally Legolas with Bow of the Galadhrim). If we never get an ally version of Aragorn, then with all these attachments for allies coming up, I hope we get one that I can play on Vigilant Dunadan to boost his willpower by 1: he could represent Aragorn in my thematic campaign (with hobbit heroes for The Black Riders) for A Knife in the Dark and Flight to the Ford, but I want him to have two willpower to be able to defend against the Witch-king and survive Power in their Terror. I'm also still hoping for Merry and Pippin allies for The Road Darkens, for an Éomer ally (who can be Sword-thained to kill Uglúk) for the Uruk-hai, and for a Grimbold hero (to go with Gandalf and Erkenbrand in a reinforcements deck) for Helm's Deep.
  4. I would be happy to see most of the things mentioned so far. What I care most about, however, is being able to play a thematic campaign that recreates the books as faithfully as possible (most of the campaign will be solo, which allows me to avoid allies that wouldn't fit thematically, but some quests are played with two or even three players). To that end, I'm hoping for ally versions of some key characters: Aragorn (for A Knife in the Dark and Flight to the Ford), Merry and Pippin (for The Ring Goes South and Journey in the Dark), and Éomer (for The Urûk-Hai). I'd also like to see a hero version of Grimbold to complete my "reinforcements" hero lineup for Helm's Deep. (Unfinished Tales expands on Grimbold's valour during the battles of the Fords of Isen, and Gandalf sent Grimbold and his men to join Erkenbrand. It's not clear whether Grimbold reached Erkenbrand in time to participate in the dawn attack, but it certainly seems possible; Unfinished Tales says: "Both on the outward journey [to Isengard], when [Gandalf's] direct route would take him close to the Fords, and on his return south to find Erkenbrand, he must have met Grimbold and Elfhelm," so if Grimbold started moving to join Erkenbrand while Gandalf was travelling to Isengard, he might have joined Erkenbrand in time to participate in the battle. It's not entirely thematic to have a reinforcements deck for that quest, but the enemies that they engage can be thought of as the enemies who didn't reach Helm's Deep because of the Rohirrim's valour at the second battle of the fords, and it gives me the opportunity to use Beyond All Hope'd Gandalf.) If the designers decide that they don't want to release an ally version of Aragorn or Éomer, I want a high cost non-unique ally that I can use to represent them, and then treat that card as though it were unique (though I wouldn't want to Sword-Thain them and then play hero-only attachments if that seemed exploitable). I'd be happy with Vigilant Dúnadan representing Aragorn if there were an ongoing way to boost his willpower (because of Power in their Terror and the Witch-king); with Keep Watch, ally Arwen (which stretches theme a bit), and Tale of Tinúviel, Vigilant Dúnadan is perfect for when you reach stage 3 of A Knife in the Dark. There's currently no non-unique Rohan ally that would be a great representation of Éomer, however. I wanted cards to make a viable Fellowship Frodo/Sam/Galadriel deck with almost no allies. At this point, it can mostly hold its own, with Strider (using the designer-approved house rule that Saga heroes don't count towards the two hero limit), Fireside Song, Rosie, Friend of Friends (Mirror of Galadriel helps to find the second copy relatively quickly), and classic Hobbit attachments. I'm definitely getting closer to having my thematic campaign become a reality.
  5. Magali is a very talented artist, and I love much of her art for this game, especially when she draws elves. The objective ally version of Arwen is one of my favorite pieces of art in the game. I'm not a big fan of the original version of hero Galadriel, however. To me she looks too young and Hollywood-beautiful (wearing makeup that calls attention to itself), rather than ageless and classically beautiful. I prefer Magali's depiction of Galadriel in The Favor of the Lady and The Door is Closed! I'm not in love with the alt-art version (her face seems a bit impassive, and again she seems a bit young rather than queenly), but I like her hand raised as a sign of farewell, suggesting that her thoughts are with the heroes as they journey into danger.
  6. I like how they're developing Dale and Items. The player cards in this expansion might be only focused on the Dale trait, in which case Leadership Brand might be the other hero. We see Dale-related cards in every sphere, whereas The Voice of Isengard (the only deluxe to focus on two traits so far) had no Rohan-related Lore and Leadership cards (except Grima) and no cards that reference the Isengard trait in Tactics and Spirit (though thematically The Wizard's Voice and Power of Orthanc are connected to Isengard). Specifically, the fact that we're getting a Leadership event that's useless if you don't have a Dale hero makes me think there's a decent chance we're getting a Leadership Dale hero. On the other hand, The Wilds of Rhovanion covers a lot of territory, and there are plenty of possible heroes they could include. If we don't get them in the deluxe, I think there's a good chance we'll get Thranduil and Thorin Stonehelm in the following cycle. A new version of Dain Ironfoot as well as Grimbeorn the Old are other possibilities. Since Bard son of Brand is numbered 2, the other hero should be Leadership or Tactics. Since Warrior of Dale has a bow in his art and seems to not have the Ranged keyword (Tactics Beregond, for example, has the Sentinel keyword at the beginning of his text box, before his cost-reducing ability), there's a good chance we'll get a bow (probably not racially restricted) that can attach to allies.
  7. If "Pursued by the Enemy" is earned at the end of Journey in the Dark, it can be removed from the campaign pool through Seat of Seeing. (It might not be earned if the players earn only two burdens--by going quickly enough or killing the Balrog--and choose "Shadow of Fear" instead, but most players seem to find "Shadow of Fear" worse than "Pursued by the Enemy.") If the players explore Seat of Seeing, "Pursued by the Enemy" is likely the best burden to remove, since it had pretty bad When Revealed and Shadow effects. At the end of Breaking of the Fellowship, the players earn either "Followed by Night" or "Ill Fate" (which I'm pretty sure means that Seat of Seeing can't result in players having neither burden, since one is earned through the campaign card resolution, which is after Seat of Seeing would have removed it from the campaign pool). If "Ill Fate" is chosen, "Followed by Night" won't be in the encounter deck in subsequent quests.
  8. Would someone who has a copy of the game be able to tell me whether the rulebook clarifies how to distribute burdens in Epic Multiplayer Mode? Specifically, burdens from Journey in the Dark, Breaking of the Fellowship, and The Battle of Pelennor Fields are supposed to be included in both The Black Gate Opens and Mount Doom. My guess is that the teams can divide up the earned burdens between the two quests as they please (putting Ill Fate in my ally-light deck for Mount Doom minimizes its potential harm and helps with Fortitude tests by adding a card to the encounter deck with no Sauron's Eye icon), but the rulebook might specify some restrictions, or even (though this seems unlikely) add burdens to the campaign pool. For example, if The Battle of Pelennor Fields was played with two players, two copies of Wraith on Wings would be added to the campaign pool. If one of those players played The Black Gate Opens two-handed, and the other played Mount Doom two-handed, both those quests would normally have two copies of Wraith on Wings (unless players managed to remove some copies from the campaign pool). In Epic Multiplayer Mode, should there be 2 copies of Wraith on Wings in total, or 4? (Adding burdens to the campaign pool could lead to running out of burdens and needing buy another set or proxy, if there are more than four players in Epic Multiplayer Mode.)
  9. @Authraw, now that you've had a chance to play through the quests, I'd love it if you gave us some initial impressions. I also have a few specific questions: are there any new boons or burdens? Is Wraith on Wrings included for The Tower of Cirith Ungol? This is a bit spoilery, so I don't necessarily want all the details, but how did you find Mount Doom handled Gollum? Specifically, was he able to help in some way with the final Fortitude check? Did players have the option to kill him/remove him from play for short term advantage, but then lose the benefit he would provide for the final check? @Slothgodfather, I intend to have 3 players for The Black Gate Opens and 1 for Mount Doom in my thematic campaign, using Epic Multiplayer Mode. Apparently Caleb said he liked 4 and 2, and it makes sense to have more players in an epic battle and fewer for a quest focused on keeping your threat low.
  10. I think Rosie's ability is an action, since it seems shorter than "Response" in Elladan/Elrohir's text box. I think the Leadership event is a Quest action, and the Tactics event is a response. Here's what the announcement article said about the player cards from this expansion: The Leadership event is probably related to "the awesome resolve" of the Free Peoples, and perhaps to raising spirits. Orc Disguise likely helps to evade enemies. I have no idea what the Tactics event will do. The neutral attachment looks like it could say "Attach to a Hobbit hero" and its image seems like this one from The Road to Doom preview article, which suggests it will relate to resolve or raising spirits: Caleb is keeping to his custom of having non-Fellowship heroes in the Saga boxes share a trait with allies in the Saga boxes (Gandalf, Bard and Beorn are exceptions, but we have Théoden-Háma, Treebeard-Quickbeam, Faramir-Anborn, Damrod-Mablung, Éowyn-Grimbold, Beregond-Imrahil), but this time there's a sphere swap. When Elfhelm was spoiled as a Tactics ally, I doubted that we would get Gwaihir hero and Meneldor ally (as I had previously expected) because it wouldn't really make sense to have Meneldor as the only Leadership eagle. (I expect we will still get Meneldor at some point.) It makes sense to have Elfhelm be Tactics, because Tactics is more of a Rohan sphere than Leadership, and it makes sense for Rosie to be Leadership (even though that doesn't match her dad) so that she can fit into a deck with Sam. Depending on whether her ability can be interpreted as inspiration from afar, I might include her in my thematic campaign for the Mount Doom, based on this quote: Later, as Frodo and Sam are running out of water, Sam remembers "the cool mud about his toes as he paddled in the Pool at Bywater with Jolly Cotton and Tom and Nibs, and their sister Rosie. ‘But that was years ago,’ he sighed, ‘and far away. The way back, if there is one, goes past the Mountain.’" Master of Lore predicted that we might get a Tom Cotton hero and Rosie Cotton ally a long time ago, referring to Farmer Cotton's role in the Battle of Bywater. (Scouring of the Shire looks likely as a PoD for this year's Fellowship event.) I didn't predict them for this expansion, but I noticed the art for Tom and Rosie Cotton recently, and anticipated that we might see them soon: Quest spoilers: Several of the encounter cards have two eye icons, and one has three, so Fortitude tests are relatively high variance. (I'm pretty sure this is what Caleb was referring to in the video when he mentioned that he was expecting some angry emails, since it all comes down to a Fortitude test at the end.) There's a Nazgûl enemy in the Mount Doom encounter deck, so in Epic Multiplayer Mode the Aragorn players can potentially reduce the threat in Frodo's staging area by letting the Eye of Sauron flip to Frodo's side for one round (hopefully with few Nazgûl moving to Frodo's staging area) and then flip it back, taking all the Nazgûl and keeping them. (If Caleb is careful to avoid having more than eight Nazgûl in play at a time, I expect we'll only have two Nazgûl enemies in each of the encounter decks for the last quest, since there might be four copies of Wraith on Wings in play.) Several of the Orcs have negative effects when they engage you. A deck that keeps its threat low has easier fortitude tests and doesn't have the penalties from engaging enemies, but threat builds up in the staging area. As Caleb said in the Team Covenant video, it will be difficult to keep threat low, since threat is increased by 1 each round for each non-Ring-bearer character you control. I look forward to seeing how Gollum works, including how he can help with the final fortitude test. Reaching the conclusion of the saga campign is exciting, and tomorrow we should have full player card spoilers.
  11. Looks like Tom Cotton will be a decent hobbit defender, with 1/1/3/3? stats as our last unspoiled hero. I think Rosie is 2/0/0/?, as our last unspoiled ally. 3 cost Leadership event with what looks like Aragorn's banner, 1 cost Tactics event, looks like 1 cost neutral attachment (+ Guthwine and Orc Disguise, which says attach to the Ring-Bearer) round out the remaining player cards. Elladan and Elrohir are the only Spirit/Lore cards in the box.
  12. Caleb's love for the books and his excitement in designing the campaign (especially with the Sam quote at the beginning of the article) clearly come across in the article. Some of this was already covered in his interview with Team Covenant, but I'm impressed at how well the campaign fits together (with boons, burdens, and other consequences like the Haradrim enemies who escape to the Black Gate coming back) and captures the key moments of the books while building to an epic conclusion. I love that Shagrat can steal your boons. It seems likely that we won't get any new boons in this box, but it will be a bit of a challenge to hold on to your boons for the final quests. If Shagrat has four Item boons attached to him in a four-player campaign, it's possible to lose all the item boons from the beginning of The Road Darkens (though one-shot boons could be used instead), which would really hurt. In my thematic campaign I'll play this quest solo, and I plan to lose Mithril Shirt to reflect the books. I expect it won't be too hard to kill Shagrat, but if you think you might lose the boons and you want to game the rules, I think you could include Palantir of Orthanc in your deck if you have it (even though you can't play it). If you don't play the final two quests in epic multiplayer mode, the second quest gives the opportunity to remove Wraith on Wings burdens, but taking the time to do that might mean you don't survive as many rounds. (It seems that The Black Gate combos with another card to increase the number of encounter cards revealed each round by 1, which will make surviving many rounds very difficult. The best option to power-game this unwinnable scenario might be a degenerate combo deck that recurs Out of the Wild to remove the entire encounter deck, although even then threat would go up by at least 2 each round from The Black Gate and the refresh phase, less 1 from threat reduction.) Since the burden set for Wraith on Wings is included in Mount Doom, there's a decent chance it will be included in The Tower of Cirith Ungol. That would make sense, since when the Watchers wailed after Sam and Frodo escaped, a winged Nazgûl replied and swooped down, hunting them. I love how important threat is for Fortitude tests, and also how Fortitude tests can only use heroes (further encouraging a thematic focus on heroes in this quest). The article indicates that there will be multiple ways to support the Ring-bearer leading up to the final Fortitude test (including, of course, buying more time and easing pressure with The Black Gate Opens). I'm sure Gollum will be part of this, but at the moment the ending appears unthematic. The players lose if the Ring-bearer claims the Ring, but in the books the Ring was destroyed only after Frodo had claimed the Ring. On Discord, PocketWraith suggested that there might be two different versions of the final stage, and the version shown is used only if Gollum is dead (assuming there's an option to kill him during the final quest). If Gollum is alive, however, and the final Fortitude test is failed, then there's a fallback way to win. That would fit with what Gandalf told Frodo at the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring: Even if PocketWraith is correct (or there's some other mechanic that enables Gollum to convert a failed Fortitude test into a success), I'm not thrilled with the idea of the Ring-bearer completing his quest out of sheer willpower/fortitude. It doesn't fit with Tolkien's theme of eucatastrophe, namely unlooked-for victory snatched from the jaws of defeat. It letter 246, Tolkien writes about Frodo's failure to destroy the Ring, and how victory depended on the mercy shown to Gollum: Of course, eucatastrophe (and not achieving victory on your own) can be difficult to translate into game mechanics. I hope, however, that mercy towards Gollum which helps to destroy the Ring is a significant part of the campaign's final quest.
  13. Correct. Fastred is mentioned in the song of the Mounds of Mundburg as one of the Rohirrim who died in the Battle of Pelennor Fields, but I don't think anything else is known about him. Previously in the game we've seen Dúnhere (chieftain of Harrowdale, and Unfinished Tales mentions that he is nephew to Erkenbrand), Guthláf (Théoden's banner-bearer), Déorwine (chief of Théoden's knights), and Grimbold (who distinguished himself at both battles of the Ford of Isen, who led the muster of the West-mark after Helm's Deep, and who--like Éomer and Elfhelm--led one of the first three éoreds at the battle of Pelennor Fields). Like Fastred, I don't think we know anything else about Harding, Herefara, Herubrand, and Horn. I didn't expect to see any of them as heroes (though perhaps as allies), but the fact that Fastred shares a name (and a similar fate) with a prince buried at the Crossings of Poros (Théoden's great-uncle) likely accounts for Fastred's promtion to hero status.
  14. The French website for FFG recently added several new LOTR LCG avatar options, including some (such as Elrohir, Orc Disguise, and the Mouth of Sauron) which are from the Mountain of Fire. Here's the link: http://imgur.com/a/0El2q? Aside from Arwen, I think none of this art has appeared in released products (please correct me if I'm wrong). The art named Elfhelm (http://www.charroart.com/#4) that Gizlivadi found is there (perhaps he'll be an ally in the Mountain of Fire), as are some new pieces of art. The second from the right image in the bottom row might be art for Rosie Cotton, and the old character next to Arwen might be Gaffer Gamgee or Farmer Cotton. Any other speculation? (If you want to see the avatars yourself, you can login to http://www.fantasyflightgames.fr using the same name and password as the FFG forums. Click on "Mon Profil" in the dropdown menu in the top right, click on "Éditer / Voir mon Profil," and then under "Image du joueur" choose "Le Seigneur des Anneaux LCG.")
  15. I was happy to see this interview with Caleb. He's come a long way as a designer since Over Hill and Under Hill (though I still enjoy those quests), and he has consistently translated the spirit of the books into creative and fun quests in the Saga expansions. He's also told a relatively cohesive and comprehensive story (with each LotR Saga quest taking the name of a chapter) by following Frodo and Aragorn's stories while finding a way to incorporate other highlights (like Rouse the Ents at the beginning of The Road to Isengard). I'm happy to see that players like me who want to recreate the books in their campaign will not suffer from playing a minimal/no ally deck for Mount Doom. BTW, to recreate the books in my campaign, I'm still hoping for ally versions of Aragorn (for A Knife in the Dark and Flight to the Ford), Merry and Pippin (for The Ring Goes South and Journey in the Dark), and Éomer (for The Uruk-Hai). I'd also like a hero version of Grimbold (to accompany Gandalf and Erkenbrand in a reinforcements deck) for Helm's Deep. Here's some speculation about the twist ending Caleb talked about for Mount Doom. He said (slightly condensed, starting at 10:56): While I have no idea how Fortitude tests work, I suspect that the end of Mount Doom (potential SPOILER) will not allow players to win through questing successfully or simply passing Fortitude tests; instead I imagine that players will have to survive long enough for Gollum to destroy the ring, so the conclusion will be a bit more passive once you've managed to reach that point, connected to Frodo's mercy towards Gollum, and perhaps eucatastrophic. There'll also be an Eagle objective ally in The Black Gate Opens, perhaps like the eucatastrophic ally from The Battle of Five Armies, where you expect punishment from the encounter deck and instead receive help unlooked for.
  16. Since 2012 there's always been an adventure pack or a saga expansion available early at GenCon. Last year Flame of the West was released shortly before GenCon, but The Drowned Ruins was available early at GenCon. In 2015 The Land of Shadow was available early at GenCon, and Escape from Mount Gram was released shortly before GenCon. In 2014 The Road Darkens had been intended to be available early at GenCon (the CEO of FFG incorrectly said it was available during his In Flight report), but at least Trouble in Tharbad was available early. In 2013 The Black Riders was available early at GenCon (Assault on Osgiliath had recently been released), and at GenCon 2012 The Hobbit: Over Hill and Under Hill was available early (Shadow and Flame had been released recently). GenCon 2011 was the first GenCon since the game was released, and there was no pack available early (although Conflict at the Carrock had been released recently). I think as the conclusion of the campaign (and especially since two of its quests can played in epic multi-player mode together), The Mountain of Fire has a good chance of being available at GenCon, either in pre-release or as a recently released expansion. The Black Serpent is probably going to be available later this week. Depending on the release schedule, we might see The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat released in late July and The Crossings of Poros available early at GenCon, The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat released shortly before GenCon, or even (if there are delays) The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat available early at GenCon. I think the likeliest scenario (considering the relatively slow release schedule recently) is to have The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat be released shortly before GenCon, and have The Mountain of Fire available early at GenCon. The GenCon PoD quest this year is Attack on Dol Guldur. Its description is: Presumably it will be like the Siege of Annuminas, and can be played in standard mode with one team of 1-4 players, or in Epic Multiplayer Mode, with three teams of 1-4 players.
  17. I've had success with Fireside Song, especially playing Shelob's Lair in campaign mode with a thematic Frodo/Sam/Galadriel deck: the only allies it contains are Core Gandalf and Elrond, and I avoid having them attack or do damage. Not having allies was not a problem once Sam was questing for 6+; he finished one playthrough with 6 songs on him (I was proxying Song of Hope, and Sam had four resource icons from different songs; Resourceful meant he could pay for anything I drew). Permanent willpower boosts in a non-swarm deck (where Sword that was Broken and Faramir are less useful) are rare in the game: Celebrían's Stone is unique, Strider (which I was playing, not counting Frodo towards the 2 hero limit) has significant restrictions, and other options don't boost a character's willpower by more than 1. There aren't many great songs that can attach to Hobbit heroes, but when the neutral song attachments provide +1 willpower on top of access to additional spheres and resource smoothing, they're quite good. With Mirror of Galadriel and Silver Harp to tutor, I included two copies of Song of Battle to provide access to a useful card like Dagger of Westernesse (my only Tactics card, with 2 copies). I certainly don't think Fireside Song is overpowered, but it is the key card that provided enough willpower to recreate Frodo and Sam's tiny fellowship and still beat a challenging quest (Sting and Phial of Galdriel also helped). I haven't tested it fully, but it should also help for beating Shadow of the Past without killing any Nazgûl (using Frodo/Sam/Spirit Pippin, with Out of Sight and Hobbit Sense).
  18. I think we have a good chance of getting Widfara and Lobelia Sackville-Baggins player cards, but they might only be allies. A Rohan Lore Scout would be interesting; so far Gléowine and Gríma are the only Lore Rohan cards. I could see them making Lobelia a hero, partly to include a female hobbit hero (although Rosie's another possibility). Paladin Took was involved in the Scouring of the Shire; he led a group of hobbits to fight ruffians further south during the battle of Bywater. Will Whitfoot bravely protested the changes Lotho was making, and was the first hobbit to be locked up in Michel Delving. With the nickname of "Flourdumpling," Will did not lead hobbits in combat; he might be a better fit as an ally. Saradoc Brandybuck, Master of Buckland, is a less developed character; it's also not clear how much Buckland (which was further from the ruffian's base of operations) resisted against the ruffians, while we know that Tookland resisted. I don't expect to get many hobbit heroes from an older generation. Paladin seems likeliest of those holding official roles, since he was active in story events , and Farmer Cotton plays an important role in the battle of Bywater. We might also get a Thain, Mayor, or Master of Buckland attachment (like Steward of Gondor or Lord of Morthond). Another hero version of Bilbo would certainly be welcome. I wonder how many characters will end up with 3+ hero versions. I could imagine getting a Leadership Merry hero with the Rohan trait and a Tactics Pippin hero with the Gondor trait, who would fit for a Scouring of the Shire scenario (together with a cheap hobbit archer ally). I could also imagine the designers deciding to have Aragorn be the only character with more than two hero versions (not counting Baggins/Fellowship versions). It's possible, but if we get an eagle hero in The Mountain of Fire, then there's a good chance that we'll also get an eagle ally (since saga heroes typically share a racial trait with an ally that shares their sphere). That would work with a Gwaihir hero and Meneldor ally.
  19. As we approach the end of the Lord of the Rings saga expansions, we've seen most of Tolkien's significant characters appear as player cards, and many of them as heroes. To avoid too many duplicate versions of characters, we've been seeing more FFG-created heroes: the Dreamchaser cycle was the first to have 3 FFG-created heroes, and there's a decent chance that we'll have three FFG-created heroes in the Haradrim cycle. Círdan is the only Tolkien-created hero in The Grey Havens + Dreamchaser cycle who hadn't appeared in the game before (although Galdor and Elfhelm hadn't appeared as heroes before), and I wouldn't be surprised if Hirgon is the only hero in The Sands of Harad + Haradrim cycle who's a Tolkien-created character new to the game. I thought this might be a good time to take stock of the Tolkien-created characters who haven't yet appeared as heroes, but have a decent chance of doing so. Here's a list of characters who we haven't yet seen in the game and seem to me to have a decent chance of appearing as heroes (there are license problems for the Blue Wizards). I expect most of these characters to appear as either heroes or allies at some point: Thranduil Thorin Stonehelm Bard son of Brand (could potentially appear with Thorin Stonehelm in a new saga expansion focused on the battles of Dale and Erebor, like the fan-created scenarios Matt Newman was designing before he joined FFG) Grimbeorn the Old Húrin the Tall Bergil Angbor the Fearless Several other Outlands/Gondor possibilities; Duinhir or his sons Duilin and Derufin seem likeliest Leaflock (one of the three oldest Ents, although he's described by Treebeard as "grown sleepy, almost tree-ish") Paladin, Thain of the Shire Farmer Cotton Rosie Cotton Here's a list of characters who have appeared only as allies, but I expect have a decent chance of appearing as heroes: Quickbeam (perhaps in The Crossings of Poros) Skinbark (seems likelier than Beechbone, as one of the three oldest Ents) Saruman Radagast Gwaihir (likely in Mountain of Fire) Gildor Inglorion Rumil Orophin Bofur (less likely, since two ally versions) Anborn (less likely, since two ally versions) Forlong (probably without the Outlands trait) Déorwine (stands out among the many Rohan allies as chief of Theoden's knights) Gamling (also stands out for his commanding role at Helm's Deep) Grimbold (also stands out; he was key in defending the Fords of Isen after Théodred fell, and led one of the first three companies in the battle of Pelennor Fields) Ghân-buri-Ghân Farmer Maggot There are also characters who have appeared as heroes, but I think there's a good chance of getting another hero version of that character (these seem the most likely, but many others are possible): Aragorn (so many people have requested Spirit Aragorn, and it would fit for Aragorn to be the one hero with versions in all four spheres) Frodo Baggins Sam Gamgee Éomer (mentioned in the announcement article for Mountain of Fire; very likely to be a hero there) Did I miss any likely hero candidates? Which Tolkien-created heroes are you most interested in seeing? Which heroes would you like to see appear in another sphere?
  20. I hear you, and there are several canon elements of Middle Earth that I would love to see in the player cards (especially ally versions of some of the central characters, like Aragorn, Éomer, Merry and Pippin). At the same time, I expect that the designers will delay including some of Tolkien's significant characters (or at least good versions of them) until the end of the game, so that players have cards to anticipate. In the first Game of Thrones LCG, House Arryn (which is moderately significant in the story) only got cards for their characters in the last cycle. If this game still has another two or more cycles left after the current cycle, I wouldn't really mind getting three FFG-created heroes this cycle, like in the last cycle: Lanwyn, Argalad, and Na'asiyah. The canon heroes from the Dreamchaser cycle are all duplicates of earlier player cards (although there was no Elfhelm hero before), and there are a limited number of named characters who seem like suitable heroes. Using three FFG-created heroes per cycle (with no FFG-created heroes in deluxe expansions) might allow FFG to prolong the game's lifespan without too many duplicate heroes, which can cause issues with uniqueness clashes, especially in multiplayer. In terms of the specific player cards you mentioned that we're lacking, I think the designers have been addressing some of those issues, although the player card pool expands slowly. They've given more support to archetypes that needed it, like secrecy and sidequests. Rider of Rohan is a minor boost for Rohan, although it requires a side quest to maximize its potential. I'm confident we'll be getting more Rohan support (hopefully including a Grimbold hero at some point). We should be getting a new Éomer hero in The Mountain of Fire, and the announcement article mentioned Beorning support in The Crossings of Poros. I think there's a good chance that we'll see Thranduil in the next deluxe expansion, if the deluxe is set near Erebor/Dale. I'm not sure where a new Bilbo hero might fit, or what support they might print for Istari and artifacts: I could see that being one of the themes they develop during a cycle.
  21. I wasn't sure about Elfhelm, since we already have two versions of him, but this new art spoiler would fit with my prediction (if you right-click to download the image, the art is for Elfhelm): http://www.charroart.com/#4
  22. The flavour text for the song is from Bilbo's song in Rivendell the evening before the Fellowship set out, after giving Frodo Sting and the mithril coat: I sit beside the fire and thinkof how the world will bewhen winter comes without a springthat I shall ever see. Its title could be Fireside Song. I'm delighted with it for my thematic campaign, especially for the Land of Shadow/Mountain of Fire Frodo and Sam quests where I want minimal allies. The Black Serpent contains Song of Hope, a 0 cost Leadership song that can combo with Fireside Song, as well as Burst into Song, which readies all heroes with a Song attachment. A non-degenerate song deck with Love of Tales (although you'd want Song of Wisdom relatively early if you're not mono-Lore, to allow you to play more copies of Love of Tales), Fireside Song, and Burst into Song looks like a fun and perhaps decently strong possibility.
  23. For the Hobbit quests, here's a deck that could work. It's an adaptation of this deck (built with only the Core Set ad Hobbit Sagas). I added some good cards from Shadows of Mirkwood and the LotR Saga boxes (Longbeard Map-Maker makes it easier to reach 5 Dwarves quickly) and cut Faramir for thematic reasons (though the deck is better with Faramir). My description in the decklist gives some advice for playing the Hobbit quests, though with these changes it's probably better to put Steward of Gondor on a Lore Hero. You might want to add Song of Wisdom so that Bilbo can get A Burning Brand (or for resource smoothing, if you put Steward on Thorin), and you might want to include Song of Travel and Will of the West for Dungeons Deep and Caverns Dim. If you want to pair this with another deck, you could try Dain/Nori or Oin/Thalin, Bard, Beorn, or (unthematically) Boromir. Dain makes dwarves much better, and you could include a couple of Songs so that Dain can spend most of his resources on Spirit or Tactics. Hero (3) Thorin Oakenshield Ori Bombur Ally (28) 2x Bifur (OtD) 1x Brok Ironfist 1x Daughter of the Nimrodel 2x Dori (OHaUH) 1x Elrond (TRD) 2x Erebor Hammersmith 2x Fili 3x Gandalf (Core) 1x Gimli (ToS) 1x Gléowine 1x Glóin (OtD) 3x Guard of the Citadel 1x Henamarth Riversong 1x Kili 2x Longbeard Map-Maker 1x Longbeard Orc Slayer 2x Miner of the Iron Hills 1x Quickbeam Attachment (14) 2x A Burning Brand 1x Celebrían's Stone 1x Dark Knowledge 3x Dúnedain Warning 1x Fast Hitch 3x King Under the Mountain 1x Protector of Lórien 2x Steward of Gondor Event (8) 3x A Very Good Tale 1x Burglar Baggins 2x Sneak Attack 2x Valiant Sacrifice For the Lord of the Rings campaign, I like to be thematic and use different decks between The Treason of Saruman and The Land of Shadow, as well as introduce characters in The Road Darkens that weren't in The Black Riders. If you want to play that way, you could try a solo Hobbit deck in The Black Riders (using Sam, Merry, and Pippin, with Elf-stone and A Very Good Tale to get big allies into play; Fast Hitch is great), and perhaps a Gandalf/Merry/Aragorn deck for the Road Darkens (with Boromir, Legolas, and Gimli allies; this deck would need threat reduction). I'm not sure how well those decks (which I haven't sketched in detail) would work with your limited card pool. You might find Tales from the Cards (search his site for campaign mode and the name of the quest) and Warden of Arnor's (scroll down to Lord of the Rings Saga Campaign) discussion of the campaign quests to be helpful, although they're working from a larger cardpool. The Print on Demand quests are quite challenging. A pair of Dwarf decks (including Dain) with Boromir would probably help. You might want to get Khazad-dum and Dwarrowdelf at some point, since Khazad-dum improves Dwarf decks and Dwarrowdelf has a significant number of powerful cards in it: Arwen, Warden of Healing, Master of the Forge, Daeron's Runes, Elrond's Counsel, Glorfindel + Light of Valinor + Asfaloth, Elrond + Vilya, Lore Aragorn + Sword that was Broken, Legacy of Durin + We Are Not Idle + Lure of Moria (for dwarf decks), and Resourceful + Timely Aid (for secrecy/hobbit decks).
  24. 2 has been pretty consistent (Frodo, Elladan, Mirlonde, Idraen, Rossiel, Lanwyn, and Thurindir), and 5 has been almost as consistent (Boromir, Glorfindel, Caldara, Galadriel, Amarthiul, and Na'asiyah). The Ring-maker cycle is the latest cycle to have only one FFG-created hero, and the Dream-chaser cycle is the first cycle to have three FFG-created heroes. We're getting more FFG-created heroes (partly to avoid uniqueness clashes from repeating Tolkien's characters too often), but I would be a bit surprised if the majority of a cycle's heroes were FFG-created. Since we already have two FFG-created heroes in this cycle, I expect that we'll only get one more. Since Argalad showed up, I'm confident we'll get Eometh at some point, possibly in The Black Serpent. If so, I expect the 5th pack's hero will be a slight break with tradition: it won't be FFG-created. Here's a recap of what we know about this cycle's remaining heroes (after two Leadership, one Spirit, and one Lore hero in the Deluxe and first two packs): Beneath the Sands - Scout, very likely Tactics (perhaps Hirgon, Orophin, or Rumil) The Black Serpent - Spirit Rohan (perhaps Eometh, Grimbold, Gamling, or even Éomer) The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat - Lore, perhaps Warrior The Crossings of Poros - Ent, very likely Tactics (perhaps Quickbeam, Skinbark, or even Leaflock) I would love to see a Grimbold hero at some point. The Crossings of Poros mentions that an Ent hero is accompanied by a Hobbit ally. That could be Merry or Pippin, which would decrease the likelihood of them showing up in The Mountain of Fire (though it's possible to get Merry in Crossings of Poros and Pippin in Mountain of Fire).
  25. I agree that we won't get Merry unless we get Pippin, and it seems unlikely that we get no eagles. Éomer and Gwaihir heroes with Merry and Pippin allies might work, although obviously Gwaihir and Pippin wouldn't match traits. Widfara to me would feel a bit anticlimactic in the final saga box. I think Erkenbrand was crowded out of the saga because there were arguably more important Rohan characters at Helm's Deep (Háma and Gamling), and the quest focuses on the defense, not the reinforcements. At Pelennor Fields, the main Rohan commanders (under Théoden) were Éomer, Elfhelm, and Grimbold, and Elfhelm is more present in the story than Erkenbrand is. Also, Elfhelm was fighting in Anórien while Aragorn went to the Black Gate. Ally Elfhelm is not a weak card, but is niche, so I could see us getting another version. All that said, I would not be at all surprised to see Caleb break the matching trait rule and give us a Leadership Gondor ally together with Éomer, especially since Rohan and Gondor are fully allied at this point. Pippin is certainly possible, though it might feel weird to get Pippin without Merry. Bergil and Húrin are, in my mind, the other likely candidates.
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