Elrond wore a mantle of grey and had a star upon his forehead, and a silver harp was in his hand, and upon his finger was a ring of gold with a great blue stone, Vilya, mightiest of the Three.
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

The climactic final chapter of the Dwarrowdelf cycle arrives at retailers next week, so today marks the fourth and final installment of our Decks in the Dwarrowdelf series of previews. The deck lists featured in the series have all been inspired by the cards from the Dwarrowdelf cycle and have represented a diverse range of approaches to the game.

Marketing Coordinator Josh Grace presented a deck built around card draw and the attachment, Love of Tales ( The Long Dark , 85). Then, Caleb Grace, Lead Developer on The Hobbit: Over Hill and Under Hill , offered not one deck list, but two, both featuring Dwarves and built to complement each other as they delved down into the Mines of Moria. Last week, Game Producer Jason Walden explored the freedom that the game offers us to explore new stories with familiar heroes, developing his “Estel” deck around the adventures the young Aragorn shared with Elrond’s sons, Elrohir ( The Redhorn Gate , 1) and Elladan ( Road to Rivendell , 28). Now as we head into the cycle’s climactic confrontation with the Balrog of Moria, we have the opportunity to view the game through another lens, exploring the chances it gives us to see “what might have happened.”

The cycle’s Lead Developer, Lukas Litzsinger, prepares us for the epic showdown with Durin’s Bane ( Shadow and Flame , 150) by presenting us with a deck that asks, “What might have happened if Elrond had led the charge into Moria?”

The Master of Rivendell and His Ring of Power

Prince Imrahil

2x Dúnedain Mark
1x Faramir
3x Grim Resolve
3x Sneak Attack
3x Steward of Gondor
3x A Test of Will

3x Daeron's Runes
2x Fast Hitch
1x Forest Snare
2x Gildor Inglorian
1x Gleowine
2x Peace, and Thought
2x Warden of Healing

1x Arwen Undomiel
3x Elrond's Counsel
3x Imladris Stargazer
3x Light of Valinor
2x Northern Tracker
2x Unexpected Courage

1x Beorn
1x Vassal of the Windlord

3x Gandalf
3x Vilya

This deck is built to handle any scenario, and it’s also really fun to play. Elrond (Shadow and Flame, 128) is the glue to the deck; everything is designed around making sure that you get the most value from him and his ring of power. His ability to pay for allies of any sphere and the excellent defensive capabilities Frodo (Conflict at the Carrock, 25) can provide, give you a strong early game.

Ideally, you’ll get Light of Valinor (Foundations of Stone, 107) and Steward of Gondor (Core Set, 26) in your opening hand. Put them both on Elrond. Then start digging for Vilya (Shadow and Flame, 137). Unexpected Courage (Core Set, 57), Light of Valinor, Fast Hitch (The Dead Marshes, 103), and the self-readying ability of Prince Imrahil (A Journey to Rhosgobel, 50) provide you the means to exhaust heroes to play Peace, and Thought (Shadow and Flame, 135) for massive card draw, and Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone, 108) increases the speed with which you can cycle through your deck.

Once you have Vilya, don’t be afraid to blindly trigger it any time after you’ve already committed Elrond to the quest (he has Light of Valinor on him, right?). There are very few cards his ring can’t play or put into play in any phase. Of course, Vilya is even better if you have an Imladris Stargazer (Foundations of Stone, 106) or Gildor Inglorian (The Hills of Emyn Muil, 79) in play. Then you can start calling upon some Northern Trackers (Core Set, 45) for location control or use Grim Resolve (Core Set, 25) to get double use out of all your characters.

The deck handles enemies with its many tools: Sneak Attack (Core Set, 23) and Gandalf (Core Set, 73), Imrahil and Dúnedain Mark (The Hunt for Gollum, 2), Beorn (Core Set, 31), and the Forest Snare (Core Set, 69). You will want to avoid putting heroes other than Frodo at risk too often, as you will be at the mercy of all Shadow effects. Still, Elrond’s Counsel (The Watcher in the Water, 59) should help you lower your threat enough to avoid the nastiest enemies until you are ready for them. Nonetheless, if you do find yourself taking a beating, don’t forget about Elrond’s powerful response. When you pair him with a Warden of Healing (The Long Dark, 83), each of the Warden’s exhaustions can heal up to four damage!

During testing, I played some really entertaining games. It's a good deck; it might not the best, but it offers a lot of interesting choices during play and has a lot of fun synergies.

Thanks, Lukas!

Find your own synergies and see what new legends you can forge with Elrond and his ring of power when Shadow and Flame arrives early next month to a retailer near you!

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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