6 November 2015 | The Lord of the Rings LCG

The Battle Is Joined

The Battle of Carn Dûm Is Now Available for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game

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"There rode a tall and evil shape, mounted upon a black horse, if horse it was; for it was huge and hideous, and its face was a frightful mask, more like a skull than a living head, and in the sockets of its eyes there burned a flame. The rider was robed all in black, and black was his lofty helm."
     –J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

A captive Ranger. A dark ritual. A realm tainted by centuries of evil. The forces of Carn Dûm once again threaten to swallow the North, and there is no time for delay. The council has ended. The assault has begun… The Battle of Carn Dûm Adventure Pack for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is now available!

Along with its new Leadership hero, Amarthíul (The Battle of Carn Dûm, 115), who eagerly marches to Carn Dûm to take part in the assault, The Battle of Carn Dûm introduces fifty-nine other cards that develop the Dúnedain and Noldor traits, lend additional strength to the Valour keyword, offer healing, protect you from being eliminated as a result of "threating out," and thrust your heroes directly into the middle of an epic battle at the gates of Angmar's stronghold, Carn Dûm.

The penultimate chapter in the Angmar Awakened cycle of Adventure Packs, The Battle of Carn Dûm features a challenging new scenario that comes complete with powerful enemies, dark Sorcery, and a deadly Captain to oversee everything that the encounter deck throws against you.

By Force of Arms

In The Battle of Carn Dûm, several of Midlde-earth's heroes lead an army of Elves and Rangers in order to stop the forces of Carn Dûm from completing a fell ritual on Midwinter's Eve. Time is short, and the fighting is ferocious. In fact, from the moment you complete your setup until you suffer your defeat… or finally manage to defeat the Wraith Champion Thaurdir (The Battle of Carn Dûm, 128)… The Battle of Carn Dûm challenges your heroes with foe after foe, never leaving you a moment's rest.

This is largely because the Undead Thaurdir leads Carn Dûm's defense from the very beginning, as he enters the staging area during the setup of quest Stage 1A :

"Setup: Add Thaurdir to the staging area, Captain side faceup. Add 1 copy of Carn Dûm Garrison per player to the staging area. Search the encounter deck for 1 copy of Accursed Battlefield and make it the active location. Shuffle the encounter deck."

Backed up by the Carn Dûm Garrison (The Battle of Carn Dûm, 129), Thaurdir is an Indestructible menace whose four Threat Strength can't be removed from the staging area by means of damage, even while the Wraith himself cannot be prevented from attacking by means of attachments. Admittedly, you don't need to combat Thaurdir early, nor even the Carn Dûm Garrison, since Thaurdir's engagement cost is a whopping fifty and he adds ten to the engagement cost of each other enemy in the staging area.

However, thinking that you have a moment's respite to plan your approach is likely to prove your undoing, as the threat posed by the staging area is likely to escalate quickly. For example, in a four-player game, if your first quest phase saw you reveal Werewolf of Angmar (The Battle of Carn Dûm, 131), Terror of the North (The Lost Realm, 64), Dark Sorcery (The Lost Realm, 65), and Orc Grunts (The Battle of Carn Dûm, 130), which surged into Vile Affliction (The Battle of Carn Dûm, 137), you would be looking at a total Threat Strength of twenty in the staging area, a total of Doomed 3, some direct damage, the potential discard of any allies you play, and two deadly attacks that resolve immediately against the first player, from Thaurdir and the Werewolf of Angmar.

You might be able to manage the treacheries. You might be able to manage the attacks. But it is the fact that the Carn Dûm Garrison gains strength for each shadow card it is dealt that makes the staging area surprisingly heavy in The Battle of Carn Dûm. Add to this Thaurdir's significant starting Threat Strength, as well as the need to quest with your Attack Strength while Accursed Battlefield (The Battle of Carn Dûm, 132) is the active location, and you'll find that The Battle of Carn Dûm places you squarely against a wall of enemies that you can't wait to engage. You need to come out swinging, or you will surely succumb to the swarms of Orcs and the dark Sorcery surrounding Daechanar's ritual.

Of course, this is easier said than done. First of all, you already need your Attack Strength to quest successfully, which makes it harder to keep enough Attack Strength ready in reserve to strike down the enemies you engage. Second, the enemies you engage can strike with surprising lethality.

Because Stage 1B prevents you from discarding all the unresolved shadow cards dealt to enemies in play, and because Thaurdir deals one shadow card to each enemy whenever you reveal a treachery card with the Sorcery trait, you can easily face enemies that have two or three shadow cards before you engage them. Then, when you add another shadow card during the Combat phase, the odds are very good that you'll hit a nasty shadow effect like that on Accursed Battlefield, Dark Sorcery, or Terror of the North.

With such nasty shadow effects in the encounter deck, it is not out of the question that the enemy you hope to defend with your non-unique ally would gain as much as six Attack Strength from shadow effects and then toss that ally aside, discarding him before forcing you to assign its now-undefended damage to one of your heroes.

So what are you to do? What hope do your heroes have of crashing through Carn Dûm's gates, battling their way to Thaurdir, and then defeating him?

The Battle Plan

In addition to a number of older cards, such as Feint (Core Set, 34) and A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock, 33), that are bound to prove useful in its scenario, The Battle of Carn Dûm introduces a handful of cards that can help you gain the upper hand in your battles, a couple of which feature the new Valour keyword, which gains strength as your threat level rises and places you in a desperate position.

For just one Tactics resource, Hold Your Ground (The Battle of Carn Dûm, 119) allows you to ready a sentinel character, granting you a tempo boost when you need to commit all your characters to the quest or defend against multiple enemies. Or if you've hit forty threat, Hold Your Ground can be played for its Valour effect, which readies all sentinel characters, and this may provide you just the edge you need to safely quest for the last progress on a quest stage before heading to the Combat phase.

Meanwhile, Doom Hangs Still (The Battle of Carn Dûm, 117) introduces one of the most powerful card effects in The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game. At five resources, it's not cheap, but its Valour ability to let you bypass the Quest phase entirely is nothing short of astonishing. In a four-player game, that's a two-threat increase to ignore four or more new encounter cards. Even in a single-player game, a copy of Doom Hangs Still may prove the difference between victory and defeat. For example, say you've managed to place fifteen progress on quest Stage 2B so that Thaurdir is no longer Indestructible. You no longer need to worry about progress; you only need to finish off Thaurdir. In this case, Doom Hangs Still doesn't just allow you to hold back all your characters from the quest, it ensures that Thaurdir won't heal any damage or make an immediate attack when you reveal a treachery card with the Sorcery trait.

Finally, you can rouse your Noldor to incredible feats with Lords of the Eldar (The Battle of Carn Dûm, 121), a three-cost Spirit event that gives one bonus point of Willpower, Attack Strength, and Defense Strength to all Noldor characters until the end of the round. Now, this is a universal effect, much like that of Dáin Ironfoot (Return to Mirkwood, 116), but it can only be played from the discard pile. This means that you first need to get it there, preferably by fueling the effect of a card like Protector of Lórien (Core Set, 70) or Erestor (The Long Dark, 70). Then, however, it becomes increasingly powerful the more Noldor you and your companions have in play.

To that point, there are currently six different Noldor heroes in The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game and fourteen Noldor allies, although some of them are copies of the unique Noldor heroes, and it would not be at all surprising if groups were to begin coordinating tandem Lords of the Eldar decks in order to play six copies of the event, affecting six heroes at each play, as well as dozens of allies.

Cut Down the Enemy, or Be Destroyed

Whether you explore new decks based around Hold Your Ground, Doom Hangs Still, or Lords of the Eldar, there is no time for delay. Thaurdir and his forces are now upon you. Pick up your copy of The Battle of Carn Dûm today!

The Battle of Carn Dûm is now available at retailers throughout the United States. Availability in other regions may vary.

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