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Subject: Hammer & Anvil 2.0 - Build your own decks rss

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Sebastian Barth
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Howdy Forum,

it has been a while since I first released my article about the Hammer & Anvil strategy template and it is time for a major update.

*Warning: Wall of text incoming, buy a bigger screen before reading on*

Hammer & Anvil in a nutshell: You build two synchronized decks around one theme, that theme being a high/low threat distribution between the two decks, so instead of having both decks sit at 30 threat, you prefer one to have 20, the other 40. The goal of that is to ensure that all enemies end up on one side of the table and then being able to profit from that.

I have to clear up two misconceptions at this point: The old concept revolved around a high/low threat distribution and then the Hammer using ranged allies/heroes to attack those enemies on the Anvil side, but the high/low threat distribution has been the key strategic piece in this, while the ranged support is only one way to profit from that, it is not mandatory. (But I admit, that this ranged thing has given birth to the name in my head at first and I don't blame anybody who thinks the ranged support is the center piece)

The other misconception that came up from time to time was that people thought I'd say you have to play a certain sphere combination, which is in fact not needed (or only to a small extend, but we'll get to that later). Some comments have been made like "I prefer this sphere on the Anvil side" or "I'd rather take this hero." and I wasn't even sure, why people would bring that up, because I am not opposed to using different heroes or sphere combinations. Quite the opposite: I encourage everybody to use their own preferred cards and no offense is taken whatsoever , if you swap out the heroes I use.

Long story short: I believed it back then and believe it right now, that the Hammer & Anvil strategy is a template rather than a fixed set of decks, heroes or spheres. My goal with this article is to give you a guide about how to use this template to create your own version of Hammer & Anvil decks.

During this article I will use the template myself and create two decks from scratch, sort of as an experiment as I go. I have no finished decks as of this point, so I'm quite curious how my template is working. Everything concerning that concrete deckbuilding example will be written in italics to better differentiate it from the rest.

I should probably note that I own 2 Core Sets and all 6 Shadows of Mirkwood APs, but no Khazad Dum yet.


Off we go

Hammer & Anvil 2.0
or 8 steps to your own decks


Part 1: Team Spirit

So, here is (probably the only) part that has to stay fixed imo: Spirit has to go on the Hammer side. Boom. Thats all there is to it. The reasons are plenty and while none of these are valid on their own, the sum of them makes Spirit a 99%-must-go-hammer sphere:
- Spirit is weak in combat
- Spirit provides the best quest power in the game which is preferred on the Hammer side
- Spirit has the lowest threat heroes
- Spirit has a key card for the Hammer (that being Wandering Took)

Now with that being out of the way, you have to choose one of the three remaining spheres to go on the Hammer side. These are your choices and the kind of game you can expect:

Spirit + Lore

With Spirit and Lore on the Hammer side you split the decks into one very combat oriented Anvil and a very support oriented Hammer, because Lore brings a lot of utility and only very limited ranged allies. This combination is probably suited best for players who want a very clear game plan, very precise splits of tasks. One side takes almost all the combat, while the other takes almost everything else.

Spirit + Leadership

Leadership currently brings the only threat reducing card outside of Spirit to the game (being Sneak Attack), so this combination is probably best suited for players, who want to maximize the high/low threat distribution. As a derivate to that, this combination will be best suited for people who want to explore the upcoming secrecy cards within their Hammer & Anvil decks.

Spirit + Tactics

Tactics has the most ranged allies and the only ranged heroes in the game, so going with tactics is for players, who want to maximize on the ranged support aspect. The Anvil can build a little bit more defensive and flexible then, since you will provide a not too small amount of attack power.

Those are not the only reasons, why you might want to pick those spheres, so go ahead and pick one for any reason you prefer.

The two other spheres should go on the Anvil side then.

Ok, so building a deck from scratch, I currently prefer to max out my threat lowering potential on the Hammer side. This also frees up some Galadrims Greetings sometimes, should the Anvil ever get too close to 50 threat. So Spirit + Leadership it is for me.


Part 1b: Holding the Triforce

A small side note at this point: You can absolutely build tri-sphere decks, if you want to, they are certainly viable. But for the sake of this article I am not going to talk about it (much), because it gets more complicated from there. But if you are confident with this type of stuff, go ahead.

When doing that, you wanna look out for cards that give your resources a lot of "stability", for example Theodred, he can glue a tri-sphere deck together like no other. Ok, thats about it, I am not going to dive into that topic.


Part 2: The first major decision

Given the nature of the game (max 3 heroes per player) each duo-sphere deck will usually have a major and a minor sphere of influence. Now is your time to decide which sphere gets two heroes and which gets one. I have created a complicated formula to even out all the probabilities and tell you exactly which sphere you should make major under which circumstances, here is is:

Choose the spheres to make major upon your personal preferences and nothing else. Fancy, huh?

Maybe to clarify a bit: I don't believe in power rankings, one sphere being better than any other, they simply have a different focus. There might be quests where one choice serves you better and other quests where a different choice would be stronger. Since you want to build these decks for a variety of quests, the biggest impact to me is, whether you feel comfortable playing that particular sphere.

Hope this makes any sense.

So, I decided on Spirit/Leadership and Lore/Tactics in part one. And here I have to admit, that I feel most comfortable playing with the Leadership and Lore spheres, thus it will be LEADERSHIP/Spirit and LORE/Tactics for me.


Part 3: A time for heroes

Now is a good time as any to choose your heroes. You pick two heroes each for your major spheres and one each for the minor spheres. You can usually pick heroes, that you like and feel comfortable playing with, but there are some that are more suited for a Hammer & Anvil strategy than others. If you have trouble deciding which heroes to pick, you can consult this list, where I try to give my impressions on the usefulness of each hero for either the Hammer or Anvil side. (Work in progress there)

This is also a good time to pick a theme (if you are into that) for your decks, like dwarves. A composition like Dwalin (make sure to give him ranged!), Bifur and Thalin on the Hammer side and Gloin, Dain and Gimli on the Anvil side sounds like good dwarven fun. A small note here: Even though the Hammer is a tri-sphere deck now, you don't have to play it as one. For starters just consider giving Thalins resource to Bifur every turn and you now have a duo-sphere deck again, but with the extra bonus of adding just some choice tactics cards like Vassal of the Windlord or Born Aloft).

In my example I am going with Theodred, Aragorn and Frodo on the Hammer side. There currently are only few viable heroes for the Hammer side from the leadership sphere, so Aragorn is somewhat of a compromise, but since leadership provides more threat reduction than other spheres, I should be fine. I pick Frodo to compensate the threat a bit.
For the Anvil side I go with Boromir, Denethor and Bilbo. Boromir is just so sick and has "Anvil" written all over his forehead. And I just like the others.

I make a mental note here about the weaknesses at present:
1. I am not using Aragorns attack, so I am not using his full potential (Also true for Theodreds attack and Frodos defense, but the values are smaller and you don't want to complicate things too much.
2. Bilbo might be in a bit of danger on the anvil side and need some protection.



Part 4: The Core Set

This part is easy. There are some cards that you simply have to play or at least as long as the card pool is somewhat small and those cards are threat reducers for the Hammer side:

Wandering Took
Ghaladrims Greetings
Gandalf

I probably won't build any deck without Gandalf, so add three for the Anvil, too.

Easy, I do exactly that plus add Sneak Attack as another way to reduce threat on the Hammer side. The decklists currently look like this:

Hammer (12 cards)

3x Wandering Took
3x Galadrims Greetings
3x Gandalf
3x Sneak Attack

Anvil (3 cards)

3x Gandalf



Part 5: Forging the Chain

In order to be successful with your decks you have to be able to deal with all the possible cards the encounter deck might throw at you. I've seen many people ask about a certain ratio of allies/attachments/events to put in their decks, but I usually don't like that stance. I view it slightly different, as I try to balance cards dealing with treacheries/enemies/location. A Veteran Axehand, Forest Snare or Feint are all cards that deal with enemies, so assigning a fixed ratio to those is a not an optimal viewpoint in my opinion. With this in mind, I usually aim for balance along 6 aspects of the game, these being:

card advantage
resource generation
location/quest progress
offensive power
defensive power
treachery/encounter deck control

There are probably more aspects and I am going to talk about them briefly:

Threat management: Threat is a resource like any other and you usually have to think about what to do with your threat (or to voluntarily ignore it). In this case we have included our threat management in part 4, so there are no more choices to make concerning threat management.

Action advantage: One of the FFG articles talked about action advantage (being able to do more with your cards), but when building a deck, this action advantage usually falls under one or two of the above categories. So for example, if I take Unexpected Courage with me and plan to attach it to Beravor, then this is falls into the card advantage category, if I put in on Denethor, then I have more encounter deck control. Boromirs action advantage clearly belong with the offensive and defensive aspects and so on. So action advantage is a sub-theme of pretty much all other aspects, thats why I am not going to talk about it more in detail.

Now to the actual template: You want to have something of everything in your decks (remember, we want to fight many quests with them). You need to have a look at your heroes and what they already bring, try to look at each aspect and find out whether your heroes are weak, average or strong in that aspect.

The simple way of doing that is to assign each hero to one aspect and then count:

0 heroes with that aspect: You are weak there.
1 hero with that aspect: You are average in that aspect
2+ heroes in that aspect: You are strong there. (I'd stop at 2 heroes per aspect, you might end up too focused)

Now for each aspect you do the following:

If you are weak there: Add roughly 20 more cards in total to both decks for that aspect
Tf you are moderate in that aspect: Add roughly 10 cards in total for that aspect
If you are strong: Add roughly 5 cards for that aspect.

But don't be too strict with those numbers!

When picking those cards, you should not care too much about spheres or cost at this point, the resources will be fixed later. So onward to aspect 1.


Part 5a: Card draw equals win

The title is so true in all card games I've ever played (M:tG, W:I) and seems to be true in card games I have only heard of so far (like AGoT) and I totally believe it to be true for LotR:LCG, too. You want card draw. The point in card draw is not so much to get all those cards out, but to have more options to choose from, so that you end up with a good "solution" more often than not. Consider having A Test of Will, Feint and Strider's Path in your hand, you will feel well prepared for your turn, rather than having only one of these in your hand. You don't need to play them all, you just have to play the right one at the right time, but for ding that, they have to be in your hand first.

So, now is the time to put cards into your deck, that will get you more cards depending on whether you are strong, average or weak in that department.

In my scenario I consider Bilbo a hero of the card draw aspect, so I am average there. The ten cards I choose are (11 actually):

Hammer (18 cards total)

3x Ancient Mathom
3x Campfire Tales

Anvil (8 cards total)

2x Gleowine (since he is unique, I not always run 3 of him, but he is strong!)
3x Erebor Hammersmith (this dwarf is so awesome. He is a very solid ally and since his main purpose is to retrieve Ancient Mathom he can be considered being from the card advantage aspect. When building your deck it is important to look out for those flexible solutions, since he is way stronger as a card draw card now, than Lorien's Wealth for example, which is a more obvious card from that aspect)



Part 5b: Get rich or die trying

Money makes the world go round and LotR is no exception. Having enough resources makes you go bananas. I don't think this needs further explanation, but feel free to ask, if I am wrong.

There are two things to look out for here:

1. You want to generate more resources (aka Steward of Gondor et al)
2. You want to be more flexible with your resources (aka Songs, Narvi's Belt, Parting Gifts, etc.)

Give priority to the first one, because having more resources is already an improvement in resource flexibility, for example playing Steward of Gondor on Prince Imrahil will get you tons of Leadership resources, that you can also use to pay for Gandalf. This means you can safe the resources that you have less of.

And just a quick shout out to Theodred: You, bro, are awesome, because you do both!

I consider Theodred to be of the resource aspect, so I aim for roughly 10 cards there (resources are important, so I slightly up it):

Hammer (25 cards total)

3x Steward of Gondor
2x Celebrians Stone
2x Parting Gifts

Anvil (14 cards total)

2x Horn of Gondor
1x Song of Battle
3x Rivendell Minstrel (this card basically means that I have 4 Songs of Battle in my deck, thus making it a card of the resource aspect)



Part 5c: The three important things in LotR estate: Location, Location, Location

There is no way around it, you better be able to deal with some locations during the game. I have coupled this category with quest progress, because more willpower will not only translate to more quest progress, but also explore more locations. So there are two types of cards to look out for:

1. Cards that deal directly with locations, like Northern Tracker or Strider's Path
2. Cards that have/add Willpower for more quest progress, like Escort from Edoras or Celebrians Stone (see what I did there )

Then there are also cards that do both, like West-Road Traveller.

Frodo will be used questing only, so I consider myself average in that aspect and should roughly aim for 10 cards here. However, Frodo's willpower is not that stellar, so I up the cards to around 15 already:

Hammer (38 cards total)

3x Northern Tracker
3x Snowbourn Scout
3x West-Road Traveller
2x Ride to Ruin
2x Riddermarks Finest

Anvil (16 cards total)

2x Strider's Path



Part 5d: My axe

When building decks that can fare well against multiple quests, then you need to bring something to chop down those orcs. If you only build for a certain quest however, you might be fine with a couple Forest Snares, but this is not our goal here. When adding offensive power to your deck, keep in mind that the Hammer only has use for ranged allies (as far as allies go).

Boromir for certain can be accounted to the offensive aspect, so I am average there and aim for 10 cards (you probably knew that by now):

Hammer (41 cards total)

3x Dunedain Mark (makes Boromir go nuts)

Anvil (23 cards total)

3x Vassal of the Windlord
3x Veteran Axehand
1x Blade Mastery (also nice for Boromir)



Part 5e: Bring your Mithril shirt

another rather obvious part to cover, you don't stand much chance when each enemy means potential hero death.

Again, allies (Winged Guardian), attachments (Forest Snare) and events (Feint) can all fall under the defensive aspect, so don't force yourself into a certain ratio. Be aware, that healing effects belong also in that aspect, enabling you to reuse your defenders instead of having to play a new one each time. Additionally card that interact with shadow effects are defensive, like Dark Knowledge or Hasty Stroke

And (like in all categories) be on the lookout for flexible solutions, for example a Citadel Plate is a defensive card, but when you bring Gimli it is offensive at the same time.

Aragorn will probably be my main defender, so (again) I consider myself average on the defensive side and pick the following (11) cards:

Anvil (34 cards total)

3x Daughter of the Nimrodel
3x Silvan Tracker (even without other Silvans around he is very strong in my opinion)
3x Feint (your all around life saver)
2x Winged Guardian



Part 5f: Don't let them get you

In this last aspect I will talk about treachery control and encounter deck manipulation as a subtheme of it. The reason why I grouped encounter deck manipulation in here, is the following: Treachery cards usually have the biggest single impact on your game, so encounter deck manipulation very often falls back to treachery manipulation.

It is true that some treacheries are toothless (Evil Storm on setup? Gimme more. Despair with no progress on the quest? I'm shivering.), but they also contain the most game changing events out there (Gollum's Anguish can be an instant game over, Exhaustion, nuff said, and so on). So if you don't bring cards for treachery control your games will be very dependent on the luck of the draw, which I don't like...

Unfortunately the current card pool is very limited and cards for this aspect are rare, so I would advise running either Denethor or Eleanor in your deck to have something ready. A solo deck can get away without them, but with two players chances are that much higher to see nasty stuff coming up. Of course this is still not mandatory, if running without them make sure to bring your full arsenal of A Test of Will, Dwarven Tomb and probably Miner of the Iron Hills. Be prepared, I told you

Denethor is my encounter deck manipulator, so average again (completely unintentional):

Hammer (44 cards total)

3x A Test of Will

Anvil (41 cards total)

3x Gildor's Counsel (I am building these cards around Denethor, with Gildor's Counsel or Shadows of the Past, you can fully predict a turn and that is huge.)
1x Henamarth Riversong
3x Shadows of the Past



Part 6: Bringing it all together

Now you are almost there. You need to add just some extra cards. That is what you are looking out for:

1. Add some cards that you simply like and want to try/play.
2. Add some cards that you consider very powerful (Sneak Attack anyone?)
3. Look at unique cards and consider putting a single one of them into your deck (unique cards are more powerful than non-unique cards and putting them into your deck once is not going to hurt you)
4. If you have noted any weaknesses along the way, look for cards to fix those weaknesses.
5. Stop at 50 cards. If you have an authority problem, then you can go ahead and play with 51 cards, but no more

Now you might ask yourself: Am I getting the right resources for my deck? That is a good question and one we haven't covered yet. Some people consider resources first and pick cards 2nd, but I think resources are only a means to an end. So by doing it the other way around, we now have all cards we want and have to take a look, whether we can make those resources work. Here is what we have to do now (the example should make it more clear, I believe):

Add all resources from all your cards of each sphere in each deck and write them down as a ratio, like:
Deck 1 -- total cost of cards from sphere 1 : total cost of cards from sphere 2 : total cost of neutral cards
Deck 2 -- total cost of cards from sphere 3 : total cost of cards from sphere 4 : total cost of neutral cards

Try to find a way to assign the cards you picked in section 5b to certain heroes/spheres and see if you can match the ratios from above with the ratio of resources generated per turn. For example, if you have just one major and a minor sphere your resource ratio is 2:1. If you attach Steward of Gondor to one of those heroes you can get a ratio of 4:1 or 2:3. If you attach a Song of the minor sphere to a hero of the major sphere, you have good flexibility being able to generate ratios of 2:1, 1:1 or 1:2 as needed. I hope this makes sense and I think the example shall clarify this a bit more.

Finishing touches

Hammer (50 cards total)

1x Dunedain Cache (remember how I made a note about not using Aragorns attack? Now he can have ranged. This card is like a joker, if I draw it, fine, if not then no problem. But I'll never need two of them. This card is also a small nod to Journey to Rhosgobel)
1x Dunedain Signal (same here, just for Frodo. Also note that these cards can be pushed around should the quest force enemies on the Hammer side)
2x Unexpected Courage (strong card? 1st one is probably going on Denethor to strengthen my encounter deck control theme)
1x Grim Resolve (A back up card)
1x A Light in the Dark (same here)

Anvil (50 cards total)

2x Miner of the Iron Hills (I quite like him for his emergency value)
2x Burning Brand (another weakness patched, Bilbo can now safely do stuff)
3x Lore of Imladris (A big nod to Journey to Rhosgobel)
1x Song of Mocking (played on Frodo to use it for Bilbo, can also be searched with Rivendell Minstrel)
1x Landroval (A card, that I want to try out)

So now comes the resource calculation. I have no idea how evenly the spheres have been distributed by me or not.

Lets see:

Hammer

Sum of Leadership resources: 30
Sum of Spirit resources: 51
Sum of Neutral resources: 15

Anvil

Sum of Lore resources: 63
Sum of Tactics resources: 25
Sum of Neutral resources: 22

Ok, there are some observations to be made here:

1. Even though the Hammer has two Leadership heroes, I have more Spirit resources to pay. Solution: Let Theodred put his resource on Frodo all the time and count the neutral cards as leadership cards. That brings my resource per turn ratio to 2:2 and the total resource ratio to 45:51. Pretty close. But once Celebrian's Stone hits the table the problem is completely solved.

2. The Anvil uses more total resources than the Hammer. Solution: Steward of Gondor is reserved for Denethor (fans of thematic gameplay rejoice). This ups the resource ratios to 4:1 against 85:25 (when counting neutral to Lore). Again, once the Song of Battle hits the table, no problem whatsoever.

3. That leaves the Horn of Gondor as a card still to be decided. Solution: Spirit is the only sphere slightly behind in resources, so either play the Horn on Aragorn once he has his Stone, or play it on Frodo when you cannot give Aragorn the Spirit icon.

All in all the resources appear to be pretty stable. Me satisfied.

An important note here: If you cannot make your resources work, because your hero is not Aragorn, or you have packed way too many cards from one sphere or whatever than you have to find a solution (obviously). But don't think about rebuilding your deck immediately, try to find other solutions, that are simpler. For example, lets say I would still be missing out on Spirit resources, now an elegant way to solve the issue would be to include ONE Song of Travel in the Anvil deck. The Anvil already has Rivendell Minstrels and is likely to get the song to you.



Part 7: On the Journey

Think it was exhausting so far? Think again, now comes the most important part...

Play some games.

Have fun.

Win some quests.

Enjoy yourselves!

(Tweak your decks along the way)

Profit.

I'll do that


Part 8: Of stories to tell

The last part is important for me: Share your experiences with this awesome community. So you've used this template and built two decks? I encourage you to publish them here. Have any questions? Ask away. Had a satisfying win? Why not post it?

Or just let me know, how to improve this guide and I'll get back to you.

I wish you a pleasant journey.

And I will go ahead and test these two decks against the first 9 quests and let you know how it went.
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this are the decklists as they have been created at the end of the article. Further down you will see the actual deck list and the change log, that lead to there.


Decks Built with CardGameDB.com LotR Deckbuilder

Hammer

Hero (3)
Aragorn (Core) x1
Frodo Baggins (CatC) x1
Theodred (Core) x1

Ally (17)
Gandalf (Core) x3
Northern Tracker (Core) x3
Snowbourn Scout (Core) x3
The Riddermark's Finest (THoEM) x2
Wandering Took (Core) x3
West Road Traveller (RtM) x3

Attachment (15)
Ancient Mathom (AJtR) x3
Celebrian's Stone (Core) x2
Dunedain Cache (TDM) x1
Dunedain Mark (THfG) x3
Dunedain Signal (RtM) x1
Steward of Gondor (Core) x3
Unexpected Courage (Core) x2

Event (18)
A Light in the Dark (Core) x1
A Test of Will (Core) x3
Campfire Tales (THfG) x3
Grim Resolve (Core) x1
Parting Gifts (AJtR) x2
Ride to Ruin (THoEM) x2
Sneak Attack (Core) x3
The Galadhrim's Greeting (Core) x3



Anvil

Hero (3)
Bilbo Baggins (THFG) x1
Boromir (TDM) x1
Denethor (Core) x1

Ally (29)
Daughter of the Nimrodel (Core) x3
Erebor Hammersmith (Core) x3
Gandalf (Core) x3
Gleowine (Core) x2
Henamarth Riversong (Core) x1
Landroval (AJtR) x1
Miner of the Iron Hills (Core) x2
Rivendell Minstrel (THFG) x3
Silvan Tracker (TDM) x3
Vassal of the Windlord (TDM) x3
Veteran Axehand (Core) x3
Winged Guardian (THfG) x2

Attachment (6)
A Burning Brand (CatC) x2
Horn of Gondor (Core) x2
Song of Battle (TDM) x1
Song of Mocking (TDM) x1

Event (15)
Blade Mastery (Core) x1
Feint (Core) x3
Gildor's Counsel (THoEM) x3
Lore of Imladris (Core) x3
Shadow of the Past (RtM) x3
Strider's Path (THFG) x2


Change log:

11.2.2012: Quickly after building these decks, I realized that Dunedain Signal was a bad decision. Lets face it, I screwed up. Frodo is almost never going to be ready to defend with it and even if he would be, then Song of Mocking already doing a better job, so

Hammer

- 1x Dunedain Signal
+ 1x Dunedain Warning (most likely for Boromir)



And these are the decks as they are now:


Hammer

Hero (3)
Aragorn (Core) x1
Frodo Baggins (CatC) x1
Theodred (Core) x1

Ally (17)
Gandalf (Core) x3
Northern Tracker (Core) x3
Snowbourn Scout (Core) x3
The Riddermark's Finest (THoEM) x2
Wandering Took (Core) x3
West Road Traveller (RtM) x3

Attachment (15)
Ancient Mathom (AJtR) x3
Celebrian's Stone (Core) x2
Dunedain Cache (TDM) x1
Dunedain Mark (THfG) x3
Dunedain Warning (CatC) x1
Steward of Gondor (Core) x3
Unexpected Courage (Core) x2

Event (18)
A Light in the Dark (Core) x1
A Test of Will (Core) x3
Campfire Tales (THfG) x3
Grim Resolve (Core) x1
Parting Gifts (AJtR) x2
Ride to Ruin (THoEM) x2
Sneak Attack (Core) x3
The Galadhrim's Greeting (Core) x3



Anvil

Hero (3)
Bilbo Baggins (THFG) x1
Boromir (TDM) x1
Denethor (Core) x1

Ally (29)
Daughter of the Nimrodel (Core) x3
Erebor Hammersmith (Core) x3
Gandalf (Core) x3
Gleowine (Core) x2
Henamarth Riversong (Core) x1
Landroval (AJtR) x1
Miner of the Iron Hills (Core) x2
Rivendell Minstrel (THFG) x3
Silvan Tracker (TDM) x3
Vassal of the Windlord (TDM) x3
Veteran Axehand (Core) x3
Winged Guardian (THfG) x2

Attachment (6)
A Burning Brand (CatC) x2
Horn of Gondor (Core) x2
Song of Battle (TDM) x1
Song of Mocking (TDM) x1

Event (15)
Blade Mastery (Core) x1
Feint (Core) x3
Gildor's Counsel (THoEM) x3
Lore of Imladris (Core) x3
Shadow of the Past (RtM) x3
Strider's Path (THFG) x2
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Hammer & Anvil 2 - 0 Shadows of Mirkwood

Passage through Mirkwood

Ok, there is not too much to say about the first quest. It was a walk in the park. Maybe one thing to note: I had no Stewards of Gondor or Horn of Gondor in play at all and the resources still were enough, but that is probably due to a difficulty 1 quest.

Final threat: 8 & 39

Journey along the Anduin

This quest reminded me, why I like to take Eleanor with me. Pursued by Shadow raised the Anvils threat by 9 at once. If it would not have been for A Test of Will, then it would have been 18 and one player down instead...
The Hill Troll was not too big of a problem, engaged him on turn 3, used one Feint and a chump blocker the next turn and he was down in those two turns between Boromir, a Veteran Exehand, Vassal of the Windlord and Gandalf.

Final threat: 22 & 48
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Livin's mostly wasting time, and I waste my share of mine
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Awesome article. I can't wait to try out your strategy.
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Derek Coon
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When I play double fisted I use a similar strategy with Spirit & Lore on one side and Aragorn & Legolas on the other (for Sentinal & Ranged). With the decks well tuned to the quest and synchronous with each other it becomes ridiculously easy for almost all the quests.

This is in fact where I feel the game breaks down the most: the disparity between 1 player and 2 player. That horse is long dead however.

Thanks for the post. I'm going to try tweaking my decks with a couple of your ideas.
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Noah D

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Very awesome post with great ideas! It's so valuable to share the entire thought process when constructing decks (as you've done) rather than just posting the finished product.

Great job! thank you
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Joel Miller
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Love how you laid out your thought process, reminds me how much i enjoy deckbuilding and how eager i am for the next round of expansions!

My only critical comment would be that campfire tales is not that helpful in a 2 player game, and that you might consider a little more attack power in your deck for quests like carrock/anduin.
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Noah D

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joelmiller2002 wrote:
campfire tales is not that helpful in a 2 player game


Oh, I don't know about that. It replaces itself within its own deck (making the deck in essence smaller) and increases the 2nd players hand-size at the cost of a single resource. Not too shabby.

Since he's got it as part of his "hammer" deck(a bit of a Misnomer for this particular configuration, as he acknowledged) swapping them out for something else would only give him more "attack power" if it were ranged allies which are fairly expensive. Instead, the campfire tales will help his Anvil deck get to its Veteran Axehands all the faster...
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jakub praibis
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Why Silvan Tracker?
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ys jo
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and Sirprim does it again!

now all I need to do is find someone to play 2 player game XD

And just a quick question, has there been official ruling on Wandering Took yet? (Whether or not a chracter still counts as defender if defending character has been removed from defending player's control, but still in the game)

I can't believe that isn't a big topic, especially considering that would mean Wandering Took is 2 cost 1 WP, 1 AS, 1 blocker, or 1 Dark Knowledge.
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97% Fat Free
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Great stuff mate thanks for sharing

I'm also curious on the Wandering Took verdict as I currently don't use him.
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Tom Howard
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ellareth wrote:

And just a quick question, has there been official ruling on Wandering Took yet? (Whether or not a chracter still counts as defender if defending character has been removed from defending player's control, but still in the game)


I believe someone's sent an e-mail to FFG, and we're waiting to hear back! In the meantime, there's a discussion about this on another of sirprim's threads:
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/757764/wandering-tooks-abili...
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Sebastian Barth
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Hi guys,

thanks everybody for your kind words, I am glad my article is helpful.

joelmiller2002 wrote:
My only critical comment would be that campfire tales is not that helpful in a 2 player game, and that you might consider a little more attack power in your deck for quests like carrock/anduin.

Well, first of all, you are welcome to switch out any cards you want, there is no offense taken whatsoever.

On Campfire Tales: I think it is a meh card in single player and already totally bonkers with 3 people, so the value now lies somewhere in between and everybody has to decide for themselves. Which cards do you prefer in its place?

One Hill Troll on the Anduin is probably not going to be a big problem, 4 Trolls at the Carrock might be a problem, yes. My idea (as of now) would be: Don't follow the strategy to a tee. If having 34 threat is bad even for the Anvil then, use Boromir less often and get your threat reduced somewhat (it is not forbidden to do that ). If you can do that, then picking up the Trolls 1 by 1, should be no problem between Boromir, Grimbeorn and a couple of attack points here and there.

Of course the jury is still out and I haven't tried these decks yet.

argus88 wrote:
"hammer" deck(a bit of a Misnomer for this particular configuration, as he acknowledged)

I could do it Tolkien style and name the 3 combinations "Hammer", "Hummer" and "Himmer"...
but you are absolutely right of course, I just had the impression that the name has stuck to a certain degree.

jpraibis wrote:
Why Silvan Tracker?

Why not?
Ok, now for the more serious answer: Just keep in mind that I have not tested these decks yet. They are the sole result of theorycrafting. And should the Silvan Tracker not satisfy me, I will happily change him out. Would you have taken any particular card in its place?

ellareth wrote:
now all I need to do is find someone to play 2 player game XD

We can always try a game or two via LackeyCCG (but you probably knew that already )
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jakub praibis
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Mirkwood Runner, for instance. Also more copies of Henamarth as you probably access more than one core set from what I have seen. The inclusion made me think about the card, I think it may prove rather very strong with many more Silvan characters coming up, especially heroes though. It could one day see Legolas taking more undefended attacks, for instance. However, without any of those, I see it as a poor deckbuilding after so many thoughts involved and combos at your service.
 
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Sebastian Barth
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Hmm, I don't want to derail the thread too much about single card discussion, but I am really not a fan of the Mirkwood Runner.
I see the Silvan Tracker as a reusable blocker for smaller enemies, as he can defend against 3 attack every other turn or each turn once you have two in play. That is enough value for me at the moment.
But again, feel free to use the template with your own flavor.
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Daniel DuBois
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argus88 wrote:
joelmiller2002 wrote:
campfire tales is not that helpful in a 2 player game


Oh, I don't know about that. It replaces itself within its own deck (making the deck in essence smaller) and increases the 2nd players hand-size at the cost of a single resource. Not too shabby.

I would argue that's very shabby. Cards are easy to come by. Resources are damn hard. How often in paying LOTR:LCG do you find yourself saying, "Oh man, I have all these resources, I wish I had some really expensive spells to cast"?
 
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