The Balrog – Geektopia Games

The Balrog

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The Balrog is a great candidate for a single-character deck.

by JAG and Roman

23 HP
Blue Deck + Weak Melee (Geektopia version) Minor deck (19 total cards, Melee)

The Balrog – 17 Talent Cards

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.

2x Fire Whip
A7. May attack a target up to 3 spaces away and move target adjacent to Balrog.

1x Fire Sword
A*.  *Attack value is equal to one half the number of cards in your discard pile, rounded down.

2x Foe Beyond Any
All enemies adjacent to Balrog take 3 damage.  You may discard a card to draw a card.

2x Roaring Inferno
Look at the top 5 cards of your draw pile. Put 3 in your hand and discard the rest.

2x Drums in the Deep
Move the Balrog up to 3 spaces.  Draw 2 cards.

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  1. JAG18 says:

    I’ve taken this deck for a spin a few times and it’s always under performed. I mean I don’t think it’s a weak deck, but 21 HP plus a red deck, power defense that drains your offense, and no minors equals a relative fragile deck. He looks like he can have a good game what with 6 killing cards, but I don’t know.

    Concerning a “Legends” expansion, I’m pretty sure the deck list is set in stone right? (Sauron, Elrond, Isildur, and this guy?) In which case, my Sauron deck is coming along and they are draft forms for all the other decks so what’s the next step?

    • roman says:

      You know what I think the big problem is? The Red deck, plain and simple. Change to a Blue or Green and he’s a lot better, right away.

      Let me ask this, do you want to see him as a single character deck, or would you rather see him with 2 Goblin archer minors? I like the FLAMES concept but Goblin archers basically act like minors to the Balrog in the movie.

      I’ll do a post on Legends!

      • JAG18 says:

        No doubt swapping red for blue/green would solve a lot of his problems.

        As for being a single character or not, I know it would definitely be easier and more conventional to just give him a couple of Goblin archers, but maybe the best reason for keeping him as a single character is that it fits LOTRED’s theme of exploring different character sets. You know, the Nazgul are 3 equal characters, the Uruk-hai are a group of 4, and The Great Goblin can have up to 4 minors; having at least one single character in the mix would continue this theme.

  2. JAG18 says:

    I don’t know how attached everyone is to this design, but here’s something I’ve been cooking up as an alternative.

    The Balrog: 24 HP, Blue Deck

    3x Durin’s Bane
    A4*/D4: *When attacking, you may discard a card to add 4 to this card’s attack value. When defending, if the attacker is adjacent they receive 2 damage.

    3x Wings of Shadow
    Move The Balrog up to 7 spaces. Draw a card.

    2x Foe Beyond Any
    All characters the Balrog can attack receive 4 damage. You may discard a card to draw a card.

    2x Roaring Inferno
    Look at the top 5 cards of your draw pile. Put 3 in your hand and discard the rest.

    2x Flame Sword
    A*: The attack value of this card is equal to the number of cards in your discard pile up to 15.

    5x Flames
    The Balrog does 1 damage to one character he can attack. Playing this card does not count as an action.

    4x Ignite
    The Balrog recovers 1 hit point. Playing this card does not count as an action.

    • roman says:

      This is well received because I was looking at the deck last night and realized there isn’t much about it that I’d like to keep, except for the FLAMES card. I don’t like all of the cards you’ve proposed, of course, but there are enough ideas here to come up with something. Should have something soon.

      Also, let me know what you think if the Eye of Sauron is worth including.

  3. roman says:

    So I ran the Balrog and Sauron’s Eye against the big boy team of Gandalf and Elrond. To my surprise the bad guys won.

    Balrog is really, really tough and probably needs to be toned down. With his FOE BEYOND ANY + FLAMES, he’s just a ticking bomb, a complete and total direct damage wrecking ball. He stepped up and killed Pippin. The good guys retaliated by taking down the Eye without the Eye getting off any specials at all. The Mouth had a lot of defense and got off an A8 but that’s all the Balrog needed. Gandalf didn’t have a great game and the Mouth took a lot of Gandalf and Elrond’s firepower. Elrond still hit Balrog with an A12 and a 4-point WATER HORSES but didn’t find the second one fast enough. Once Balrog started going through his deck a second time he just cycled for A8s and direct damage until he had enough to kill everyone. It was extremely close at the end but the Elves didn’t have enough to finish him off.

    Balrog should be at the Smaug level while Sauron the Dark Lord should top them all IMO, but right now Balrog is tops. The FLAMES card might be too much direct damage. Or, he might need fewer than the 24 hit points he had this game, or possibly both.

  4. JAG18 says:

    My first suggestion would be to drop FLAMES and replace them (and his A1/D2s) with a Weak Melee deck. Both to reduce his direct damage and because this is a more standard build for a single character deck. My next suggestion would be to switch his blue deck back to red. I would rather do that then lower his HP. Of course, if we do that then we might not need to make any other changes.

    BTW, here’s how I see the power levels (roughly):
    Balrog, Smaug
    Gandalf, Saruman, Elrond, Witch-King, Eye of Sauron
    Aragorn, Isildur

    • roman says:

      If we swap out FLAMES for the minor basic deck, that might do the trick. The problem with a red deck is that you know you can just tee off on that character and he won’t be able to stop you, so I’d rather let him keep the blue and drop a couple of HP if we need to.

  5. roman says:

    I ran a play test of Smaug and Balrog vs. Treebeard and Elron. Smaug went first, Elrond last.

    All of the characters lacked movement. Some damage was exchanged with many minors plus Treebeard taking some damage, but Treebaird laid into Balrog, and Balrog ran away. Treebeard stepped deep into enemy territory and hit Balrog a couple more times, taking him down to 5 HP. The Balrog played A8 + A8 and had just enough to kill off Treebeard. It took Elrond a bit, and Balrog did additional damage, but Elrond finished off Balrog and had an injured Ent on his side to take on Smaug. Elrond played defensively until WEAK SPOT came out, then used his A11. Smaug battled, made it close, but lost.

    Balrog has some major weaknesses that rob from his overall strength. He has to discard a lot. FIRE WHIP is weak. I found myself discarding it for DURIN’S BANE, which you really need to save for defense, because he doesn’t have any big defense at all. Add to that, you kill him, and he’s got nothing left, no minors to bother you. It’s such a huge difference in this game. I’m trying another draft, with max HP. This version of DB would actually have failed to kill Treebeard last game so I don’t know, but it would be better in a lot of games.

    Smaug had a bad draw, but I was really disappointed in him, to the point of wanting to adjust him. Displaying his A8s, Elrond just used his MITHRIL for 2 of them, defended with D4 on the third, and kind of shrugged it off. Smaug doesn’t have a lot else for offense. He really needs FIERY EXPLOSION. I might make BREATH into an A9 because it should probably be better than Cave Troll and just as good as powered up Aragorn.

    Elrond is a hard ass. He’s as tough as anyone. Great offense, great defense, great movement, some game-changers — you name it, he’s got it. He got a really good draw and crushed the game.

    Treebeard doesn’t have to be as strong as the others, but he has a lot of offense to bring to the party and a lot of defense and staying power to carve through. I kind of think he should have a card that activates the Ents and has them do some damage, but I don’t know what card it would be. FURIOUS KICK is fun and cool though it actually doesn’t fit the deck very well.

    • JAG18 says:

      Balrog: based on my extensive experience with single character decks, I’ve definitely found that they sometimes need more power to compete with decks with a minor or minors. Personally, I think the new DB is a little weak; maybe 3 damage instead of 2? On the topic of discarding, I originally made the deck on the idea that it would power up FLAME SWORD (hence why they were two in the deck). Straying away from that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s just something to keep in mind.

      Smaug: I’d support increasing his A8s to A9s.

      Treebeard: I was having the same thought last night about wanting something to activate the Ents. Maybe change RELEASE THE RIVER! to include the Ent minors? Like, all three do 3 damage to all characters in a straight line, but no one can receive more than 3 damage?

      • roman says:

        I’m aware of the discarding power up to FLAME SWORD and I think it’s a very cool mechanic, so I want to keep it. Just pointing out that it does weaken him so he needs powerful cards.

        We could try A6/D6 for DB but the deck already has up to 12 direct damage, and I’m against increasing it to 15.

        • JAG18 says:

          What about making DB a straight up A7/D7 (or A8/D8) and then changing the effect to “you may discard a card to draw a card.” That way it’s still useful without having to discard. And if we don’t want it to have the same effect as FOE BEYOND ANY we could try and come up with something different.

          • roman says:

            I like the “discard to do more damage” effect, the way it adds to FLAME SWORD, and the way its different than FBA. Let’s just try it at A6/D6 with the 2 added damage.

  6. JAG18 says:

    Works for me, although I don’t think DB needs an asterisk on the card (since the effect resolves after the attack is resolved and not before).

    For that matter, FLAME SWORD should probably have an asterisk instead of a star, but hey it’s not a huge deal. 😛

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