Apr 10, 2017

LotR LCG: The might of Gondor

"There is a great fleet drawing near to the mouths of Anduin, manned by the corsairs of Umbar in the South. They have long ceased to fear the might of Gondor, and they have allied them with the Enemy, and now make a heavy stroke in his cause."
- Beregond, in the Lord of the Rings, book V, chapter I

John Howe: Watchful Peace, 1990


As part of my project to put together a series of thematic decks that can work together, I created a Leadership/Tactics/Outlands Gondor deck. Here it is in its original form:

50 cards; 29 Leadership, 11 Tactics, 3 Spirit, 3 Lore, 3 Neutral; 32 allies, 8 attachments, 9 events. Starting threat 29.

Hirluin the Fair
Prince Imrahil

Allies: 32 (17/6/3/3/3)
Forlong (TDF) x2
Veteran of Osgiliath (EfMG) x3
Guard of the Citadel x3
Errand-rider (HoN) x3
Squire of the Citadel (TBoG) x3
Warrior of Lossarnach (TSF) x3
Gondorian Spearman x3
Knights of the Swan (TSF) x3
Envoy of Pelargir (HoN) x3
Anfalas Herdsman (TSF) x3
Ethir Swordsman (TSF) x3

Attachments: 9 (4/5)
Visionary Leadership (TMV) x2
Sword of Morthond (AoO) x2
Citadel Plate x2
Captain of Gondor (TAC) x2
Gondorian Shield (TSF)

Events: 9
For Gondor! x3
Valiant Sacrifice x3
Wealth of Gondor (HoN) x3


I tried this out solo, and it turned out to be fun enough that I decided to take this seriously, and actually try to build a somewhat functional Gondor deck. This involved trying some new attachments, and stealing the Sneak Attacks and Gandalfs from my brother-in-law's Dwarf deck. The occasionally strange numbers of cards are because the other copies are in use elsewhere in our decks.

53 cards; 32 Leadership, 13 Tactics, 3 Spirit, 3 Lore, 2 Neutral; 30 allies, 17 attachments, 5 events, 1 side quest. Starting threat 29.

Hirluin the Fair (TSF)
Prince Imrahil (AJtR)
Beregond (HoN)

Allies: 30 (13/9/2/3/3)
Faramir x2
Forlong (TDF) x2
Veteran of Osgiliath (EfMG) x3
Warrior of Lossarnach (TSF) x3
Errand-rider (HoN) x3
Soldier of Dol Amroth (TCoC) x3
Defender of Rammas (HoN) x3
Knights of the Swan (TSF) x3
Gandalf (Core) x2
Anfalas Herdsman (TSF) x3
Ethir Swordsman (TSF) x3

Attachments: 17 (10/5/2)
Armored Destrier (TotD) x2
Steward of Gondor x2
Visionary Leadership (TMV) x2
In Service of the Steward (FotS)
Sword of Morthond (AoO)
Rod of the Steward (FotS) x2
Citadel Plate x2
Gondorian Shield (TSF)
Gondorian Fire (AoO) x2
Prince of Dol Amroth (TCoC) x2

Events: 5
For Gondor! x3
Sneak Attack x2

Side quests: 1
Send for Aid (TToR)

My brother's Leadership/Lore deck is around sideboard:
remove Faramir x2 and Steward of Gondor x2, add Envoy of Pelargir (HoN) x3


I took this version out for a couple of solo attempts at Journey Down the Anduin, but had some difficulty getting set up with such a high opening threat. We had a new player try it out, and it made a positive contribution. Still, though, even with Outlands, I'm not entirely happy with the way the deck works. Although Gondor decks have arguably been around since the core set, compared to other factions like dwarves, silvan elves or Dúnedain, say, there's just not a lot that makes them very unique. There really aren't many worthwhile cards that key off the Gondor trait, nor is there really a distinctive Gondor play style. Dúnedain decks like engaged enemies, hobbits have secrecy potential and voluntary engagement, silvan decks bounce allies in and out of play, and so on; while a Gondor deck has, well, a bunch of allies? A Gondor deck probably works best as a Leadership ally swarm - I tried one of those as well - but in that case there isn't really a very good argument for making it a specifically Gondor deck at all, because the Gondor synergies are so limited.

It's a little weird that a faction that's been around since the core set, had a deluxe box dedicated to it and has kept getting new cards still kind of doesn't really have an identity of its own in the game. I like Gondor, so I hope the designers can get around to creating a Gondor playstyle. Right now, Gondor decks still feel too generic for me to really be inspired to play them.


Meanwhile, my New Amazons deck has stayed the same, except for one change: I've ditched Éowyn's toys. While getting both Herugrim and Snowmane on her can be cool, with no way to search for them, it happens too rarely and, in fact, ends up having too little impact to justify taking up four card slots in a Spirit/Lore deck packed to the brim and over. I'd been using Elrond's Counsel as a replacement when Éowyn wasn't around, so I'll go with that for now. Even that isn't such an amazing card any more, though, with threat not being such a huge issue in many of the newer quests and making use of Keen as Lances. So when and if something more interesting shows up later in the Haradrim cycle, I can definitely try it.

55 cards; 33 Spirit, 18 Lore, 4 neutral; 21 allies, 11 attachments, 21 events, 2 side quests. Starting threat 28.

Arwen Undómiel (TDR)
Idraen (TTT)
Rossiel (EfMG)

Allies: 21 (16/4/1)
Jubayr (TM) x2
Northern Tracker x2
Súlien (TCoC) x2
Rhovanion Outrider (ToTD) x3
Bilbo Baggins (TRD)
Galadriel's Handmaiden (CS) x3
West Road Traveler (RtM) x3
Firyal (TM)
Warden of Healing (TLD) x3
Gandalf (OHaUH)

Attachments: 11 (7/4)
Unexpected Courage x2
Ancient Mathom (AJtR) x3
Light of Valinor (FoS) x2
A Burning Brand (CatC) x2
Cloak of Lórien (CS) x2

Events: 21 (9/9/3)
A Test of Will x3
Elven-light (TDR) x3
Elrond's Counsel (TWitW) x3
Leave No Trace (EfMG) x3
None Return (AtE) x3
Daeron's Runes (FoS) x3
Keen as Lances (EfMG) x3

Side quests:
Double Back (EfMG)
Scout Ahead (TWoE)

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