UPDATE: There have been clarifications made to the following Entries:

Frodo, Tired Traveller
Hornburg Armory
Dunlending Arsonist

Please reference these specific entries as being updated with new rules clarifications. Thanks!

Welcome to the second FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) List dedicated to The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game!

If you would like to read and reference the first ARMS and TACTICS FAQ, please click HERE.

In this second installment, we will delve deeper into the LOTR TCG in order to better understand many of the more common, uncommon and rare situations where card texts and rules applications become unclear and questionable. Be sure to keep your most current rulebook handy since this FAQ does site specific areas of text from both the Starter and Deluxe rulebooks found respectively in both the Two Towers Basic and Deluxe Starter Decks. And without further delay…

Part 2: Delving Deeper towards Shadow and Flame

Q. If I bid 4 twilight and place 4 burdens on Frodo, Tired Traveller and I use Faramir, Captain of Gondor (CoG) and Mablung as my starting companions – can I remove 2 burdens – one for each Ring-Bound man played? Are Faramir and Mablung considered being “played” even if they have no twilight cost as the starting Fellowship?

A. From Page 10 in the Deluxe Rulebook:

Starting Fellowship: Your fellowship begins with Frodo bearing The One Ring. You may play other companions (not allies, possessions, artifacts or conditions) from your draw deck (in any order), as long as the total twilight cost of your starting companions is 4 or less.

You do not add twilight tokens for playing your starting fellowship. Site text is not active when the starting fellowships are played.

You may use “When you play” game text on a starting companion. You may spot a companion in your starting fellowship as a requirement to play another starting companion.

CLARIFICATION: Playing Starting Companions is a START OF GAME situation. Frodo’s game text is a FELLOWSHIP PHASE action. Therefore, since you are not playing these starting companions in the Fellowship phase then you are NOT able to remove those burdens from Frodo, Tired Traveller as per his game text.

Q. Does a companion’s text apply if I want to use him in my starting Fellowship? For example: Mablung, Soldier of Gondor. His text says: “To play, spot a Ring-bound man”. Would that only apply if he’s in my hand and I want to play him? Or would I have to also have a Ring-bound man in my starting fellowship to play him as per his game text?

A. As stated in the rules excerpt above, since you are playing companion’s from your deck, then he or she must be played in accordance to the rules of their text as well. Therefore, if you want to use Mablung in your starting Fellowship, you must have a Ring-Bound man and spot that companion in play BEFORE Mablung can be played. Then you may play Mablung accordingly.

Q. Can I exchange a weapon that’s been played? If so, where do I put the one that I am exchanging? Example: Sword of Gondor is in play on Aragorn. I draw Ranger’s sword. Can I give Sword of Gondor to another Gondor companion and then play Ranger’s sword on Aragorn? Or, if I do not have another Gondor companion, who can use this possession? Can I discard Sword of Gondor from Aragorn in order to play Ranger’s sword?

A. From Page 23 in the Deluxe Rulebook:

Transfer of Artifacts and Possessions: You may transfer an artifact or possession between your Free Peoples characters during your fellowship phase by paying the twilight cost for that artifact or possession again. (Minions may not transfer artifacts or possessions.) Both characters involved in the transfer must be at the same site. (Remember that an ally is always at his home site during your fellowship phase.)

An artifact or possession may be transferred only to a character who may bear it (as indicated by a “bearer must be” phrase in its text). You may not voluntarily discard a possession or artifact borne by your character.

Transferring a card is not playing that card, even though you must pay its twilight cost. “When you play” game text is not performed when transferring a card.

Q. Troop Of Uruk-Hai says that a companion doesn’t gain strength bonuses from weapons. But does the TEXT of the weapon still apply? Example: Bow of the Galadhrim makes Legolas strength +1 and its text says “Each time
Legolas wins a skirmish, you may would a minion.”

A. The text of the weapon DOES still apply since the text does not add a strength bonus. However, in the case of RANGER’S SWORD – Blade of Aragorn, this card’s grants ARAGORN +2 as both a strength modifier and as a text based strength bonus only against an Uruk-Hai. Against the Troop of Uruk Hai – BOTH strength modifiers are nullified as specifically addressed by the Troop’s card text.

Q. Can you discard a companion who has already been played? Example: You already have 5 companions in play and you finally draw Aragorn and instead of having 6 companions, I would like to get rid of the weakest one
to replace him with Aragorn. Can I just discard him?

A. From Page 19 in the STARTER Rulebook:

You may not play a card from your hand to replace another card IN PLAY, even if those cards have the same card title or represent the same personality.

Q. HORNBURG ARMORY Site 6 text states “Fellowship: Play a possession to draw a card”. If you play more than one possession, can you draw more than one card?

A. Yes. As long as you can fulfill the text of any card – unless it is an action which specifically states may only be executed once, then you may repeat that action until you are unable to do so. In this case, when you can no longer play possessions, then you cannot draw any more cards utilizing the site text.

CLARIFICATION – RULE OF FOUR: Remember, you are only allowed to draw no more than 4 cards during your Fellowship Phase. So, if you have other means of drawing cards, aside from using the text of this site – you are still only able to draw a limit of 4 total cards.

For example, Eowyn and Legolas are in play. You play Eowyn’s sword on Eowyn: Draw a card. The card drawn is Bow of the Galadhrim. Play the Bow on Legolas: Draw a card. That card is another powerful Fellowship support card. So, as seen by the example – this site allows you to not only arm companions with weapons and armor, but it also allows you several added extra benefits of card cycling. However, the balance – or drawback – is that the twilight pool will become larger with the additional twilight generated by playing multiple possessions.

Q. The Dunland Minion DUNLAND ROBBER states “Each time this minion wins a skirmish he is strength +2 and fierce until the regroup phase.” Since you don’t skirmish again until after the regroup phase, how
would this apply?

A. From Page 16 in the Deluxe Rulebook:

FIERCE: Assignment Phase (Fierce): During the fierce assignment phase, ignore an effect that results in assignment with a minion that is not fierce. A minion must be FIERCE at the START of the fierce assignment phase to participate in a fierce skirmish.

An ally that was able to be assigned to a normal skirmish (because the fellowship is at that ally’s home or as a result of a card effect) is also able to be assigned to a fierce skirmish.

EXAMPLE: The FIERCE Skirmish (phase) takes place after the normal Skirmish Phase and BEFORE the REGROUP phase. Therefore, if the Dunland Robber wins his first Skirmish, during the Fierce skirmish phase you must re-assign him to another companion (or the same companion) and he will then receive the +2 strength bonus. After that Fierce Skrimish – then you enter the regroup phase.

SCENARIO: During assignment – you place the Dunland Robber against Gimli. Now you enter normal Skirmish phase. Gimli loses. Since Gimli has lost – the Dunland Robber is now FIERCE and strength +2. Now you must fight the Dunland Robber again. This is the FIERCE Skirmish phase. When this phase is over, you then enter the regroup phase.

Q. The HORNBURG COURTYARD Site 5 states “While you can spot Aragorn, the shadow number of Hornburg Courtyard is -2”. What does this mean and why is this important?

A. The shadow number on a SITE card is the number in the black circle – the twilight cost if you will – and NOT the site number. Therefore, while you can spot Aragorn (as part of your Fellowship) as you move to Site 5: Hornburg Courtyard – the twilight cost is -2 of its original Shadow Number. This helps the Fellowship reduce the twilight pool by 2 and could possibly limit the amount of minions and resources the Shadow player may use during his Shadow phase.

Q. STILL THEY CAME “Skirmish: exert an Uruk-hai who is not assigned to a skirmish to make another Uruk-hai strength +3.” When would you have minions not assigned to skirmishes?

A. Remember, Skirmishes are always a one-to-one singular Skirmish event. Meaning that if an Uruk-Hai is skirmishing Gandalf, and Gandalf loses – that skirmish is over and you move to the next skirmish, say Legolas versus another Uruk-Hai.

NOTE: This is why assignment and skirmish order is so important. When this happens, the Uruk-Hai skirmishing Gandalf is no longer in a Skirmish and you now can play STILL THEY CAME and exert that Uruk-Hai in order to make the minion skirmishing Legolas strength +3. Skirmishes all fall under the SKIRMISH PHASE – the phase where all ‘singular’ skirmishes and Fierce skirmishes take place.

Q. WARMED UP A BIT “Stealth. Skirmish: Discard an unbound hobbit.” A. Does this mean from your hand or from your playing area? B. what benefit would it be to discard any player. EXAMPLE: Pippin and Merry both have cards that say to add a burden or exert the Ring-bearer to discard them. WHY?

A. From page 39 in the Starter Rulebook:

DISCARD: The default meaning of the word “discard” is “discard from play.” Discarding from other locations (such as from your hand or from the top of your draw deck) is always specified.

EXAMPLE: There are several reasons why you would use this card, or use the discard ability shared by Merry and Pippin. Treebeard: Earthborn and Gandalf: Greyhame are two of the biggest reasons, since you may discard an unbound Hobbit into Treebeard and play him later on. Or as in Gandalf: Greyhame’s case – for 1 twilight, play a companion from your discard pile. This will save your Hobbits from an early overwhelming and keep them alive for future strategy towards the endgame. The penalty for using their game text is exerting or burdening the ring-bearer. With as much burden removal and companion healing that is available – this isn’t really a major concern. However, discarding in this fashion is really only used as a last resort, or if your deck is designed to counter the effects of such a playing dynamic.

Q. DUNLENDING ARSONIST “Each time this minion wins a skirmish, play a Dunlending man from hand. His twilight cost is -2. That man is fierce and damage +1 until the regroup phase.”

SCENARIO: Ok, so you’ve laid out all your minions, you maneuvered, shot arrows, assigned and skirmished. Now if this guy wins, and there is enough twilight pool to cover the -2 cost, you can pull out ANOTHER one? If you do that, how is it decided who he fights, especially if all companions have been assigned to a skirmish?

A. If you have the resources to play another Dunland minion, then he enters the FIERCE Skirmish Phase in the next ASSIGNMENT round.

EXAMPLE: You have 4 companions assigned one-to-one to fight four minions in play – two of which are Dunlending Arsonists. If both Dunlending Arsonists win, and if there is enough twilight in the pool, then each of the Dunlending Arsonists can use their game text to retrieve and play another Dunlending minion from the discard pile. Now you have 2 extra minions to re-assign and defend against in the FIERCE Skirmish Phase.

CLARIFICATION: FIERCE SKIRMISH Minions are subject to a secondary assignment phase after completion of the first Skirmish phase.

Q. Can you look through YOUR OWN discard pile at any time to count how many cards you’ve discarded of a certain type or any other reason other than searching for something that a card specifically tells you to go to your discard pile for?

A. From Page 22 in the Deluxe Rulebook:

DISCARD: Discard piles are always face-up, and cards are discarded one at a time so all players can see which cards are being discarded.

You may look through your own discard pile at any time, but you may not look through an opponent’s discard pile.

When a card leaves play for any reason, any cards played on that card (or borne by or stacked on that card) are discarded.

Playing cards from draw deck or discard pile

The order of your discard pile is irrelevant, and you may place any card you wish on top after playing a card from there.

There is no penalty if you don’t find (or choose not to play) a card you are looking for in your draw deck.

WHEW!!! Well I think that’s enough for now. I hope this newest FAQ was able to shed some light on several of the newer and more difficult rules interpretations – which always seem to pop-up from time to time. And if there is something that has not yet been covered that you would like to see addressed – let us know! Please continue to send in all of your questions and concerns no matter how large or how small.

Thanks for reading and keep an eye out – or two as often as you can spare them – for the next installment of ARMS and TACTICS – The Official Gaming Havens LOTR FAQ!

And for all official and current tournament rulings and FAQ’s, please visit DECIPHER.COM and DGMA.COM.

More to come…

Lao of Gondor