Wednesday, December 21, 2005

What is the Meta?

For players new to the game (and even some of the old), there's this word flying around: 'meta' that doesn't seem to make any sense. Rather than sitting there nodding your head and pretending you understand what it means, here's some help.

The 'meta' refers to the current playing environment, particularly the types of decks being played, the cards that are being used most often, and what's popular in general. Understanding the meta allows a player to refine his or her deck to account for cards that are becoming strong (perhaps too strong).

For example, the prior post mentioned Madril and how powerful he can become given an Ithilien blade. If the meta of your local playing environment included many players with Madril decks, you could account for this by playing cards such as this:

By playing this wicked Nazgul card, you are countering the meta in several ways. First, you have given yourself a method by which you can remove the threats that are keeping your minions roaming. Second, you have a method by which you can play minions for cheap. This allows you to play more Nazgul, so even if your minions are still roaming, your opponent may not be able to discard all of them. Additionally, playing Nazgul in general is a good counter to this meta. Each one that survives should easily be winning skirmishes against a deck that is dependent on not fighitng.

So the next time you're playing at your local card store, ask yourself, 'What is the Meta?' and think about how you can beat it!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Roam If You Want To

As some of you may know, the release of The Hunters set was pushed back as Decipher makes sure that the set is as awesome as we all expect it to be. Unfortuantely that leaves little to write about or report on. While you wait for the set to be released (hopefully before 2006) think about this new combination that brings rangers back into the fold with a vengeance:


You read that card right, it says discard. That means that once you have five or six threats on the board, Madril makes all those minions roaming during the Maneuver phase and you can discard any of them for the low cost of two vitality.

I'll leave it as an excercise for the reader to find the companions that Madril can bring along to provide the vitality, and the cards that this fellowship needs to add just a few threats. Once you've got those cards, just sit back and think about how many minions you can discard as your fellowship roams over to site 9 unopposed!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Errata Rapidly Needed

For the more experience LotR TCG players, get ready for another 'broken' card. With The Hunters comes Rapid Reload:

By itself, the card is pretty powerful. For two or three twilight you can get out an Evil Man, and with this combo on the table, all left over twilight becomes an exertion (essentially a wound) on an unbound companion. No big deal right? Just don't give your opponent too much twilight.

Wrong. Add on an oldie but a goodie, Demoralized:

Now your fellowship is in trouble, because each exertion ads back a twilight. Drop two of these conditions out and each exertion only costs one twilight. Drop one more...You get the picture.

Together these easy to obtain, easy to play cards can exhaust a fellowship FOR FREE.

You've got two options: Play only Ring-bound companions (not likely with the majority of them being roated out with the Tower block), or get rid of all Evil Men before the Archery phase (more likely, but more expensive). The best option? Have Decipher X-list or errata Rapid Reload before your fellowship gets too demoarlized to make it past Site 5!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


In honor of some of the incredibly disturbing Gollum costumes from Halloween, a Gollum card!

At first glance, this may not seem like the most intimidating card. Take a second glance. This bad boy will deal one wound to any companion with strength 8 or more. Key companions like Aragorn, and then pretty much anyone with a weapon, can be killed by this card!

As a Regroup event you'll need to play it at sites 5-7 to slow your opponent down. But for the easy task of keeping Shelob alive, all you need to do is stack one or two copies of this card in your Shelob/Gollum decks and your opponent will be seeing his Fellowship fall to Unseen Foes!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Forth the Three Hunters!

So for those confused, 'The Hunters' refer to Gimli, Legolas and Aragorn as they hunted down the Uruks who had kidnapped Merry and Pippin. The Hunters first set will focus strongly on this trio, using cards such as this:

For the first time in the Lord of the Rings TCG history, this card has been printed across multiple cutlures coming in an Elven and Gondor version.

This multi-faceted card allows you to take advantage of the three hunters in a whole array of new ways from being able to shoot down minions before fighting them, to overwhelming them in the fight, to gathering a storm in hand before moving on to fight them again. With three ways to make use of this card, it will surely be a must in both Hunter and non-Hunter decks!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Hunt Begins

Decipher has announced the beginning of their fifth Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game block: Hunters. This is probably the set where strength battles will start getting out of hand! Just check out the new version of Gamling:

Just imagine that with a little help, Gamling will be a base 10 strength beast, tearing through minions. Add on a steed and a spear and Rohan should be right back in the mix of things.

Look for the release of this new set in November of 2005 and get ready to hunt or be hunted!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Gandalf's Got the Ring!

What would have happened if Gandalf hadn't wussed out and given Frodo the ring? Find out, with Gandalf, Bearer of Obligation:

This powerful new version of Gandalf opens up a horde of new deck possibiliies as you finally have a starting Gandalf that won't eat up any of your 4 twilight alotment. While it will be burdensome to maintain his cost of moving, the added bonus of being able to start with the key member of this 'spot' heavy culture for free more than makes up for the price.

Having Gandalf from the get go, you can now start Radagast, more Ents, or even some fun companions like Erland, Dale Counselor and carve through the site path with Gandalf holding the ring!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


I've been quite quiet recently, since nothing new was happening in the world of Lord of the Rings. However, Decipher has recently started spoiling the next expansion for the LotR TCG: Bloodlines!

Here is a peek at one of the new Shadow cards, Voice of the Dessert:

Bloodlines focuses on grouping cards into powerful combos and the Voice of the Dessert is no exception. With just one other Evil Man this exceptionally low cost minion slows the Fellowship down at any region.

Keep checking in for updates to see what combos will make your deck more powerful. Bloodlines release July 15h, 2005.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Buying Cards

I've received several emails from my blog's viewers asking where to buy Lord of the Rings TCG cards. The answer is: In the store of course! But apparently, not everyone lives close to a good card shop. In that event, you'll have to go to the internet (which you can obviously do since you are reading this).

If you're looking for just a few packs, or some singles, I recommend They have a good selection with relatively good prices. If you're looking to buy in bulk, then I recommend This site is supposedly only for distributors and retailers, but they don't seem to mind selling to the average Joe as long as you spend more than $100; they'll even throw in free shipping!

That being said, if you're new to the game, you're best served by trading for the cards that you need instead of buying incessantly. And don't forget that if you ever need cards, you can just ask me.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Tourney Report 3/28/05 - Resistance is Futile

Went to my first tournament since the last post that said "Went to my first tournament in a long while..." last night. First tournament with Fellowship x'ed (although I forgot to remove all Fellowship Block cards!!!). The tournament went well with 12 players showing up.

My tournament was uneventful with my only real (read: challenging) match being against a guy named Nate who was playing a hobbit deck with a Gollum/burden shadow. Against my Gondor deck, I was close to corruption by site 4 and finally fell at site 8. I'd give more details, but all you need to know is that burdens are the way to go! With everyone and their mother using a new ring-bearer, corruption is easier than ever. Even 12 resistance Frodo's are having trouble making it to Site 9 without giving in to temptation these days.

One card in particular stands out: Retribution.

At first glance, this may seem like a 'crappy rare'. To fully appreciate it's value, just watch it in action. With powerful orcs like the Orc Artisan and easy to play weapons such as the Orc Spear, Retribution easily becomes at least 1 burden each site. Paired up with fierce orcs, multiple orcs per site, and additional helper cards, you had better start relying on a shadow win, because resistance is futile.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Black Rider Released!

Black Rider has hit the streets and will be tournament legal soon! Be prepared to upgrade your decks to defend against a whole new meta where resistance actually matters and staples like Greenleaf and Enquea are no longer an issue. See you at the next tournamnet!

Monday, February 28, 2005

The Nazgul Swarms

With the rotation out of the Fellowship block and the subsequent loss of Morgul Gates, things were looking grim for the Nazgul. At a pricely average of 6 twilight per Wraith, they simply were too expensive to be effective. That is, until Dark Approach.

Dark approach is Morgul Gates.... only better. With the ability to control the site path on both the Free Peoples and Shadow side, you can easily deploy a 4 forest stie path within the first half of the game. From that point on, each of your Nazgul comes at a hefty discount using this card. With the new Black Lord or the Toil 2 Captain of the Nine Riders, your Witch King and Nazgul will be able to drop on the table in groups of 4 at least, leaving things looking dark for your opponent!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Fierce Assassin

Decipher has finally begun spoiling the next set, Black Rider, and thus far it has been quite underwhelming. All of the cards have pretty much been a newer, more up to date version of the cards that are about to be rotated out of the set from the Fellowship of the Ring block.

However, one card finally caught my attention: Ulaire Cantea, Black Assassin. With the rotating out of the Fellowship block, one thought on everyone's mind has been, "What are we going to do without Ulaire Enquea?". Here is the answer:

For the ridiculously low cost of spotting ANY other Wraith card (such as the new conditions), you can instantly kill any companion Cantea is skirmishing if your opponent inflates his fellowship beyond 5. Beyond 6, and your opponent can kiss two of his companions goodbye because this black assassin is Fierce.

What's more, is if you can manage to bring your opponent's companions down to resistance zero (a strategy for another article), you can choose which companions are on their way to the dead pile.

With a 5 cost Nazgul this strong, you had better start figuring ways out to make it to site 9 with only 5 companions, because any more and they'll be assassinated.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


For those new to the game, the 'X-list' is a list of the cards that are not allowed in Standard Tournaments. Basically, these are cards that are just too powerful and make the game stale and boring.

For those acquainted with the game, you realize that Galadriel, Lady Redeemed belonged on this list the second she was printed:

Besides having the invaluable special ability to take out conditions, this monster of an elf could be started in ANY starting Fellowship for free! That fact alone made her a staple in nearly any deck. Her departure should help increase deck diversity and curb the power of those accursed Elves!

Also X'ed was the powerful Final Account which allowed anybody playing Gandalf (i.e. everybody) to have a virtually unlimited supply of any Shadow card in their deck.

With the Vegas Premiere Series coming up, it should be very interesting to see what these changes do to the meta!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

I said I'd hook you up, didn't I?

My first 'care' package was received. Someone wanting to get into LotR TCG came here, emailed me and I sent him a box full of cards. Among the more noticable things in the box were 2 starter decks and a Red Arrow from Reflections:

While it's not the most powerful card in the game, it certainly gives you exciting options in Help in Doubt and Need decks, allowing you to move forward without providing too much twilight until the Skirmish phase.

I'd like to start giving away more cards! One of my ideas was to start posting a card on here every few days and giving it away to the first person that can post an answer to a trivia question as a comment to the post. However, I think that will have to wait until I get some more visitors! In the meantime, please feel free to email me if you're interested in getting into the game.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

For Gondor!!! (Again!)

I participated in my first constructed tournament in who knows how long yesterday. It was a small tournament, barely sanctioning, and not much to report on. I was playing the Gondor deck with the Boromir, Faramir, Aragorn, Denethor start mentioned in a previous post. It worked out alright, but the one card that simply boggled my mind was Anarion, Lord of Anorien:

Anorien is Isildur's brother. This special card was only released as a promotion thus far and it is absolutley spectacular.

With Denethor, you can play this bad boy at Site 3 with a Saga of Elendil and Narsil. From that point on, any time you play a skirmish event, each minion skirmishing him gets -5 strength while he get's boosted up.

The highlight of my tournament was when I had I Will Go on Anorien and placed two Evil Men on him, one with 14 strength and one with 15 strength. I played 4 skirmish events to reduce their total strength to 5, while Anorien was strength 12, overwhelming both minions! What more could you ask for in a companion?
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