ARMS and TACTICS: The Lord of the Rings TCG FAQ
Welcome to the first FAQ (or Frequently Asked Questions) List dedicated to The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game!
Thanks to the efforts and questions of our many loyal, tenacious and talented trading card game fanatics (with a special thanks to Gaming Havens Ringers Tamara, The Blue Kat and Dot), we at Gaming Havens now have quite a nice collection of the common, uncommon and rare questions which have come across our E-mails over the last few months. So without further delay…
THE OFFICIAL GAMING HAVENS
LORD OF THE RINGS TCG FAQ Version 1.0
Q. What is the advantage of having additional copies of the same UNIQUE COMPANION and what happens to a UNIQUE Companion he or she is killed in a skirmish?
A. Using ARAGORN as an example: To answer the first question, the reasons why you would place multiple copies of a Unique Companion in your deck are:
1. To heal him at the beginning of your turn (start of turn action)
2. To draw him faster (increasing your card draw odds)
3. To discard him if necessary, only to pull another copy of him in a later time in the game for these subsequent reasons:
a. Because your Fellowship is too large or you do not need him at that time (twilight pool denial)
b. Or to retrieve him from your discard pile (using the new GANDALF Greyhame Text)
NOTE: HEALING: The healing of a UNIQUE COMPANION is a Fellowship phase action. During your Fellowship phase, spot a UNIQUE COMPANION (or unique ALLY) with at least ONE wound token and discard a card from your hand with the same card TITLE (and not necessarily the same subtitle) to heal that character.
To answer the second part of this question: If ARAGORN dies in a skirmish, then he is placed in the DEAD pile and you cannot play another version of ARAGORN at all. Once a companion is DEAD then all other cards that are on that companion are immediately discarded and cannot be transferred as well. Also, any of his or her COMPANION SPECIFIC cards may also no longer be played – i.e. Aragorn’s Bow, Aragorn’s Sword, etc. These cards may be discarded following standard reconcile procedure of discarding when you reconcile your hand – i.e. Aragorn’s Bow, Aragorn’s Sword, etc.
Q. How is it possible to CANCEL a skirmish?
A. If there is a card or an effect that cancels the SKIRMISH, or cancels a skirmish involving a companion, then the skirmish does not take place, nor do skirmish actions involving that companion/minion. However, there are effects that do not require a skirmish to take place during that phase, and they remain unaffected.
Example: The Fellowship Card “Hobbit Stealth”” cancels a skirmish involving a Hobbit at Site 5. Which means, the skirmish never took place and your Hobbit hides and lives. You may assign the BALROG to a Hobbit (during the assignment phase) and then play Hobbit Stealth (skirmish phase) to cancel “a” skirmish – meaning ONE only. Since this skirmish never happened, total strength and the ability to use and effect such as the Bounder’s game text (which prevents a Hobbit from being overwhelmed unless his strength is tripled) no longer applies – unless that Hobbit Stealth card effect is somehow cancelled or negated.
The BALROG (either flavor) however is FIERCE and has the opportunity to skirmish a second time Since Hobbit Stealth will only work once per skirmish, hopefully, there will be a second one in your hand to play at that time or you can assign another Companion to combat the FIERCE Balrog.
NOTE: The SHIRE Ally Filibert Bolger always works well against FIERCE minions: While Filibert is in play, exert a Hobbit companion twice to cancel a FIERCE skirmish involving that Hobbit.
Q. What does SPOTTING Mean? For example: using the Gandalf culture card SERVANT OF THE SECRET FIRE: Spot Gandalf to make a minion strength -3.
A. Spotting means physically locating that card in order to play certain cards requiring that particular card to be present.
EXAMPLE 1: Spotting to use a card effect: Spot Gandalf on the table. Once Gandalf has been identified as legally in play, then you may play “Servants” and benefit from the strategy in the text of the card.
EXAMPLE 2: Spotting to use an effect on a companion: Spot Gandalf and heal a companion twice”. Would this effect also include Gandalf himself since he is a companion? Yes it would. Spotting a companion means any companion. Unlike ARAGORN, King in Exile – his text clearly states: heal “another” companion who bears the Aragorn Signet.
Q. If you prevent a wound, do you still win the SKIRMISH?
A. NO. If you prevent a wound as a RESPONSE action to losing a skirmish, you have still LOST that skirmish and are subject to all penalties of that loss.
1. Ulaire Attea is a strength 12 Nazgul. Boromir is a strength 7 companion.
2. During the SKIRMISH phase, Boromir loses to the Nazgul.
3. However, Gandalf prevents the wound using INTIMIDATE and Boromir does not suffer a wound token.
4. However, the Nazgul player has BLADE TIP in his support area which is used as RESPONSE action to winning the skirmish – even if the wound was prevented.
5. Intimidate is an EVENT-RESPONSE action to taking a wound. Therefore, the Blade Tip can be transferred to that companion from your support area.
Q. Can you have more than one copy of the same CONDITION in play at the same time?
A. Yes – as long as the condition is not UNIQUE – which requires that card to adhere to all regulations concerning UNIQUE cards in play.
EXAMPLE: You can have 2 Blade Tips in the Support Area at the same time because they are non-unique conditions. However, the Sauron Culture condition THIN & STRETCHED does have the unique “dot” by the title which meaning that this card is in fact UNIQUE and you may only have one in play (in this case, on the ring-bearer.)
Q. Can Allies Heal at a Sanctuary?
A. NO. Allies cannot be healed at Sanctuary – even in TWO TOWERS site path , unless it is in their ability to do so or if you discard a UNIQUE ALLY card from your hand to heal the same UNIQUE ally in play (like healing UNIQUE Companions). Only specific Allies with the ability to heal in their CARD TEXT can do so.
NOTE: Be observant to the new TWO TOWERS Site Path rules. For example:
1. Elrond, Lord of Rivendell CAN heal at FELLOWSHIP Site 3 and can use his special abilities only at THIS Site.
2. He CANNOT do so at the TWO TOWERS Site 3 since it is a completely different Site Path indicated by the TOWER-SHAPED icon underneath the Site number.
3. All TWO TOWERS sites are marked like this and are made in reference to on TWO TOWERS cards to make them completely unrelated to all FELLOWSHIP sites in terms of allied abilities.
Q. Why would you choose to DISCARD a COMPANION Card from your hand?
A. There are specific strategic and timing reasons to do this such as:
EXAMPLE: 1. In your deck you have:
Faramir, Son of Denethor x 1 (Starting Companion)
Merry, Learned Guide x 1 (Starting Companion)
Boromir, Lord of Gondor x 1
Gandalf, Greyhame x 1
Aragorn, Heir to Elendil x 4
Legolas, Greenleaf x 1
2. Now, throughout the course of 4 sites, you have managed to fully arm and keep healthy: Boromir: with Sword of Gondor, Armor and Flaming Brand Faramir: with Faramir’s Bow, Faramir’s Cloak, Sword of Gondor and Armor Gandalf: with Gandalf’s Staff and Glamdring Legolas: with Long Knives of Legolas and Bow of the Galadhrim Merry: with Hobbit Sword.
3. Remember, every time you move you are adding the SITE Twilight number, PLUS 5 Twilight: one for each companion.
4. You have just finished your Shadow phase and it is now your regroup phase. In your hand, you have one ARAGORN card. You know that you have three left in your DRAW DECK and you need to replenish your hand with as many FELLOWSHIP cards as you can draw so – you already have 5 healthy companions in play, do you really need the sixth? – which will add 4 to the pool (Aragorn’s cost) plus and additional 1 to make a total of six twilight for your Fellowship when you move. That’s TEN twilight when you move PLUS the Site Twilight number. You could possibly give your opponent a HUGE POOL depending on the next site’s twilight cost.
5. Discarding ARAGORN at this time would be a wise choice because it will give you an extra card draw during REGROUP, it will give you the possibility to draw another strength adder or valuable possession or even a Hobbit Stealth if you are lucky. But you have discarded 1 out of 4 Aragorns in your deck – you still have three more in your Draw Deck or you can even use Gandalf, Greyhame’s card text to retrieve ARAGORN from your discard pile if need be.
6. You really don’t want to DISCARD any companion if you don’t have to but there are situations where sometimes you don’t need that multiple copy of a companion in your hand at that time. Remember, any time you can draw additional cards is very, very good.
Q: What is the purpose of adding more than one copy of a UNIQUE COMPANION in your deck design?
A. It all comes down to strategy and odds and being able to employ different tactics in your gameplay so that you can exercise your playing options.
EXAMPLE: if you know that ARAGORN (any version) is your favorite character, then you will use the PRANCING PONY or the new TT Site 1 which exerts 2 unbound companions to play ARAGORN from your draw deck. Many times, players will only put ONE copy of Aragorn in the deck because they will (and mind you, this only works in OPEN format because of the card availability):
1. Begin with SAM (burden removal) and Legolas (direct archery)
2. BID high (around 4-6 burdens)
3. Use Sam’s game text to remove 3 burdens
4. Depending on the SITE TEXT – retrieve ARAGORN from your draw deck.
However, what will happen if you cannot get ARAGORN by LOSING the opening bid? Or what if he is only one exertion away from death? Or what will happen to your deck strategy if ARAGORN is either KILLED or your only other copy is somehow DISCARDED, unavailable for healing? This is where multiple copies of UNIQUE Companions come into play. You must know that about your deck and how it affects your play.
Most of the time, adding additional copies of a particular card means that you are tailoring your deck towards that certain COMPANION and either not drawing or losing that COMPANION (because you cannot heal or are past sanctuary at SITE 6) will hurt your deck and eventually will cost you the game.
NOTE: Never rely on one companion to champion your fellowship. If you lose him, or her, your deck will stagnate due to the related cards and strategy tied into that companion. Try to see how other companions will benefit from the support cards that you have used to bolster you main fighter/leader. Like this:
Companions: Mablung, Boromir, Ranger of Ithilien and Faramir
All can use: ARMOR, SWORD OF GONDOR, FLAMING BRAND, NO STRANGERS TO THE SHADOWS, ALL cards which spot RANGERS, etc.
Q. If ARAGORN dies in a skirmish, but I have a second copy of him in my deck, I could play him again when I draw him?
A. NO. He is placed in the DEAD pile and you cannot play another version of ARAGORN at all. Once a companion is DEAD then all other cards that are on that companion are immediately discarded and cannot be transferred as well. All COMPANION SPECIFIC cards may also no longer be played – i.e. Aragorn’s Bow, Aragorn’s Sword, etc.
Q. Can you combine LOTR Cards from previous sets?
A. You may combine cards only if the tournament format allows you to do so. Unless that is specified, then you have the choice of playing 1 of three formats:
1. FELLOWSHIP Block: Fellowship of the Ring Expansion cards only.
2. TWO TOWERS Block: Two Towers Expansion Cards only.
3. OPEN Block: Fellowship and Two Towers Cards are both playable however, you are only allowed to play the site path from the Two Towers Expansion.
NOTE: OPEN BLOCK: Future expansions – such as Return of the King, will require you to only use the site path of the most current expansion which is legally playable – in this case, Two Towers.
Q. ARAGORN: King in Exile – how does his special ability work? Game text: At the start of your turns you may heal another companion with the Aragorn signet.
A. You may only heal up to ONE wound from any ONE companion who bears the Aragorn signet. The key words here are “other companion”, which also means that Aragorn cannot heal himself as well. If in fact you could heal more than one wound then the text would declare “X” as being how many wounds you may heal. For example – Heal X companions where X equals the number of companions you spot with the Aragorn signet. If you can spot 3 companions with the Aragorn signet than you may heal up to one wound from each companion.
Thank you for all of these great and challenging questions. Please keep them rolling in! If there is a question that you need answered…then Lao of Gondor will see it done!