(Cover art by Jovan Delic)
LOTRED is nearly finished! I love this set of 6 new LOTR decks featuring some of the most powerful entities in Middle Earth. Lots of fun stuff going on with each deck and frankly, it’s fun to design powerful decks as opposed to more balanced ones. When I say “nearly finished” I mean that we need your feedback to know if it’s finished or not. If you’re going to play any of these, let us know.
Minors: Elf Archers (strong)
Theme: Action manipulation
Bread and Butter: 3x HADHAFANG: A3, after attacking you may attack the same character again with this card without using an action. The character may defend the new attack.
Big attack: 1x IMMORTAL BLADE: A11, draw a card. You must have 2 available actions to play this card and it costs 2 actions.
Game changer: 1x 3000 YEARS OF WISDOM allows you to take 3 actions on your turn OR grant an immediate action to an ally.
Minor: Elendil (strong)
Theme: Father dies, powers up son.
Bread and Butter: 3x LAST ALLIANCE: A5, after attacking move all allied characters up to 3 spaces.
Big attack: 1x BROKEN BLADE (Elendil): A6*. *If Elendil has been destroyed, Isildur may play this card as his own with an attack value of 12 then remove from the game.
Game changer: 1x LAST HOPE lets you search the discard OR draw pile for BROKEN BLADE and put it in your hand.
Minors: Ents (strong)
Theme: Move and root.
Bread and Butter: 3x LAST MARCH. A5. After attacking, you may move Treebeard up to 4 spaces. Then move Ent #1 up to 4 spaces and move Ent #2 up to 4 spaces.
Big attack: 2x NASTY LITTLE ORC: A4*. *If Treebeard did not move this turn, the attack value is 8.
Big move: 1x RELEASE THE RIVER! Choose a straight line away from Treebeard. All characters in that line receive 4 damage. Treebeard may not move until your next turn.
Minors: None (single character)
Theme: Discarding to power up and cycling through deck quickly.
Bread and Butter: 3x DURIN’S BANE. A6/D6. After attacking or defending, you may discard a card to do 2 damage to the defending or attacking character, if adjacent.
Big attack: 1x FLAME SWORD. A*. *Attack value is equal to the number of cards in your discard pile, rounded down.
Game changer: 2x ROARING INFERNO. Look at the top 5 cards of your draw pile. Put 3 in your hand and discard the rest.
Eye of Sauron
Minor: Mouth of Sauron (strong)
Bread and Butter: 4x CORRUPTION. Choose a character. That character takes 3 damage, or the player controlling that character discards 3 cards, or any combination up to 3, plus one for each CORRUPTION in your discard pile.
Big attack: 2x SERVANTS OF SAURON. A6. Play face up when attacking. You may attack any character on the board. (The Mouth of Sauron also has up to 4 A8s).
Sauron the Dark Lord
Minors: Mordor Orc Archers (weak)
Bread and Butter: 3x DARK MACE. A8. You may attack all other characters adjacent to Sauron with this card. They may defend.
Big attack: 1x INVINCIBLE. A12. Sauron may not defend or play SEARING TOUCH until the start of his next turn.
Big move: 1x SEARING TOUCH. Choose a character adjacent to Sauron with 5 or fewer hit points. That character is destroyed.
Game changer: 2x LORD OF THE RINGS. Move all characters in play, including Sauron, up to 3 spaces each.
Elrond and Isildur might be too good relative to Sauron but they’re all really fun decks.
So I took Elrond and Isildur against Sauron and Smaug. This is what happened:
Elrond and Isildur won, and I tried to help Sauron and Smaug as much as I could, letting Smaug’s big MY TEETH ARE SWORDS get through for A10 on Elrond. Sauron didn’t get a great draw. He got the new A12 early, but it’s not a good card in the thick of the game since you can’t defend. He got off a big DARK MACE and a pair of MALICE AND HATE but it wasn’t quite enough to counter Isildur’s A8 and A12. He and Isildur basically canceled each other out, leaving Elrond to face Smaug. Elrond is just so very tough and played a patient game waiting for WEAK SPOT so he could carve Smaug up with his A11. In the end it came down to Elrond’s Elf Archer facing Smaug with 1 HP and both Fire Pillars, but he took them all down without really breaking a sweat. Those strong minors make a big difference. The new Sauron isn’t too strong, I can tell you that. Isildur might need to be toned down a little. I don’t know if he needs BLADE OF THE HIGH KING, he already has STRENGTH OF MANY as a potential big attack plus his A12. Elrond is just so very tough.
My last of couple of duels with the new versions of these decks.
Team Left (Aragorn and Smaug) vs. Team Right (Sauron and Gandalf)
The luck of the draw seemed to pick favorites early with Sauron drawing INVINCIBLE on his second turn and Aragorn drawing SHARDS on his second turn. Gandalf was steady as always, which helped Sauron immensely.
Smaug’s MY BREATH IS DEATH and FIERY EXPLOSION combo went off pretty often, taking out the Orcs early and nearly killing Pippin. As I’ve seen before POWER OF THE RING laughed off BREATHE, but in an odd reversal DARK MACE was stopped by a DRAGONSCALES and THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE, which put Aragorn one draw away from an A9 ANDURIL.
It was at this critical juncture that Sauron had to make a choice to use INVINCIBLE or not and hope that Aragon didn’t have his last A1/D4 which would leave the king with 1 HP remaining and Sauron defenseless against the ANDURIL that Aragorn had been holding back while he bluffed out Sauron’s defense. Sauron took the chance and killed Aragon who only had a D3 and with Arwen already gone, Smaug wasn’t able to win the 2v1, although, he made Sauron pay by bringing him down to 2 HP, but Gandalf was still strong and in the end, the ignored nearly dead Pippin used his PALANTIR to find the STAFF OF LIGHT, which cleaned up what was left of Team Left.
Isildur and Treebeard vs. Sauron and Eye of Sauron
After seeing this match, I agree that Isildur might be too tough. Because of a daring and bold assault by The Mouth, Elendil did nothing except power up a COURAGE OF MEN (although Mouth didn’t last long after that.) Any decent Epic Duels player knows how to arrange their characters to avoid THERMAL DETENATOR like cards, but some will need to take a few lumps in order to do the same with RELEASE THE RIVER, which came up big, hitting Sauron, his Mouth, and an Orc. Sauron didn’t draw into his POWER OF THE RING until he had already been wailed on by Isildur’s A8s (all 3 of them!) and Treebeard managed to get an A8 NASTY LITTLE ORC through finishing the Dark Lord off although not before he knocked off quite a lot of bark off the Ent with twin DARK MACEs. The orcs of Mordor evidently built the Tower of Barad-Dur to last, as the Eye was able to survive the 2v1 for several turns in which he finished off Treebeard, but ultimately Isildur and the Ents won the day.
-Treebeard actually had a pretty great game even if he didn’t survive to the end.
-Sauron had a bad game with playing two DARK MACEs against Treebeard being his only contribution. He could have played INVINCIBLE, but since he had a POWER OF THE RING in hand it didn’t seem like the best move.
-The Eye is a deck I’ve actually come to like a lot. In this duel he had as good a duel as any.
-Isildur could stand to lose his BLADE OF THE HIGH KING although I’m at a loss right now as to what to replace it with.
Great report! I actually like hearing about Pippin coming through with PALANTIR. It’s like he kinda sucks but that’s a good card for him to have. It’s really cool to hear that Treebeard and the Eye of Sauron are fun, because if they are then this is a great set. The other decks are all fun because they all have these huge moves.
For now I’m removing BLADE OF THE HIGH KING and just giving him a 3rd COURAGE OF MEN but that’s a good card too. I feel like removing an attack card, though, would take a lot away from him. If we really need to water him down we could give him some kind of movement & draw cards or something but at least he’s fun this way. I thought about reducing Elrond’s A11 too but it’s his only big move, shouldn’t he have one big move? They’re fun decks to play, and yes, they’re tough and so is Gandalf, but so are Sauron, Smaug, Balrog and the Eye, even though they seem to keep coming up short.
Shortly after posting this I ran another play test and Sauron and the Eye pretty much mopped up Elrond and Isildur. Mainly, they killed Isildur before he did much and Elrond couldn’t do enough on his own.
I’m actually adjusting Smaug’s DRAGON SCALES to make them a little better, but I think I’m happy with the LOTR Legends set the way it is.
Glad to hear that the bad guys could get a win against the big two good guy decks. I haven’t played any more since my last report as other games have been taking up my time these days.
So, I guess for the time being this set is “done”; or at least as done as any Epic Duels deck can be. 😀
Yeah lol Hobbit was done years ago but I tweaked Bilbo, Thorin and especially Smaug because of this set.
I also made some final changes to Isildur.