“There lies the Gap of Rohan,” said Gandalf. “It is now almost due west of us. That way lies Isengard.”
“I see a great smoke,” said Legolas. “What may that be?”
“Battle and war!” said Gandalf. “Ride on!”

       - The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien

War and conflict is prevalent throughout the sagas of Middle-earth, and it indeed has its place in The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game . Our previews thus far have covered many different aspects of the game, including an overview , a look at quests , and previews of the first three spheres of influence - Spirit , Leadership , and Lore . Today we will look at the Tactics sphere and how combat works.

The sphere of Tactics focuses on martial prowess and cunning in battle. Throughout the game enemies will appear and attempt to thwart your quest, and the primary way of dealing with them is through combat. This is where Tactics-focused decks really shine. With strong allies and combat driven attachments, the Tactics deck is well-suited for players looking to meet orcs and goblins on the field of battle.

First off, let’s take a look at how combat works in The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game . Enemies emerge from the Encounter deck during the quest phase, after players commit their chosen characters to the quest. Unless Enemies are engaged, they will remain in the staging area, making it harder to make progress on the quest. While in the staging area, Enemy and Location cards contribute their Threat strength to “block” the players from questing. The cumulative sum of these cards are what the players must overcome by adding up the Willpower of their questing characters. To increase their chances of making progress on the quest, players will want to clear out the staging area of Encounter cards.

Engaging enemies is the first step in combating them. And while players can each optionally engage a single enemy, the enemies themselves will charge from the staging area if their Engagement Cost is lower than a player’s threat. This can cause certain players to be overwhelmed with enemies. It’s times like these that events such as Feint are best utilized.

Once engaged, Enemies strike first in combat. Players must exhaust a character to declare it as a defender. The Core Set Tactics deck contains the Gondorian Spearman , who is more than up for such a task. And with the Sentinel keyword, this card is eligible to declare itself as a defender during attacks that are made against any player in the game...how’s that for having each other’s backs?

But players have to think ahead when declaring a defender, since a defending character will be unable to participate in the following attack. Unlike defending, however, attacks can be made by multiple characters.

Of the three Tactics heroes included in the Core Set, Gimli has the potential to be the most devastating as an attacker. With his ability to shrug off his injuries, and enter a ferocious battle state that leads to more and more attack strength, he is capable of taking down many foes by himself. But, when armored in the Citadel Plate , his increased damage threshold can turn him into a wrecking machine, able to cleave a Marsh Adder in two.

Stay vigilant, heroes! More will be revealed soon in our next preview of The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game !

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is a cooperative card game that puts 1-2 players (or up to four with an additional Core Set) in control of the most powerful characters and artifacts of Middle-earth. Players will select heroes, gather allies, acquire artifacts, and coordinate their efforts to face Middle-earth’s most dangerous fiends. The Living Card Game format allows players to customize their gaming experience with monthly Adventure Pack expansions to the core game.

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