An Unlikely Friendship

Preview the Heroes of The Sands of Harad Deluxe Expansion
 

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"I beg you two, Legolas and Gimli, at least to be friends, and to help me. I need you both."
     –Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring

To make their way through the streets of Umbar and survive their passage of Harad's grueling deserts, Middle-earth's heroes will have to rely upon each other like never before…

As we mentioned in our announcement, your adventures in The Sands of Harad deluxe expansion for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game begin deep within hostile territory. Your band of heroes are stranded. Their ship has been destroyed. And they find themselves surrounded by thousands of enemies. Their only recourse is to make their escape from Umbar and hope they can lose their pursuers in the desert beyond.

Of course, the desert is full of challenges and dangers of its own, and as your heroes seek passage through the sand dunes, they will need to find shelter from storms, fend off strange predatory beasts, and forage for food and water.

With your heroes hard-pressed just to survive their desert passage, there will be no room for animosity within their ranks. You'll want to make sure your heroes are working together as well as possible. In fact, you'll likely want to win over more allies to your cause if you can. But if you want to make it out of the desert, your first task is to make sure you don't waste any energy quibbling. You want your efforts to be as peaceful and efficient as possible…

Legolas and Gimli

As it promotes the development of peaceful fellowships and unlikely friendships, The Sands of Harad offers us new versions of Legolas (The Sands of Harad, 2) and Gimli (The Sands of Harad, 1), the Elf and Dwarf who famously bickered for much of The Fellowship of the Ring before learning to respect each other and, eventually, becoming fast friends.

While both these heroes also appeared in the Core Set, their Core Set versions were—like most heroes—more individualistic. Tactics Gimli (Core Set, 4) didn't give anyone else a bonus to Attack Strength whenever he got wounded; he only fueled his own attacks. Similarly, Tactics Legolas (Core Set, 5) may place progress on the quest whenever he helps defeat an enemy, but he won't make anyone else better at questing or ready them for future action.

By contrast, the new versions from The Sands of Harad may not reach some of the same heights. Leadership Gimli is unlikely to swing his axe with an Attack Strength of ten or better. Spirit Legolas is unlikely to let you explore locations or even complete quests during the Combat phase. But these new versions represent the sort of maturity that comes forged in the direst of situations: some challenges are too tough to face alone, and if you want to stand against them, you'll need to stand together.

That's the first of it. Both the new Legolas and Gimli are able to get their companions up off their knees and ready for action. Legolas comes with the text, "Response: After Legolas commits to a quest, discard a card from your hand to ready another hero." And Gimli comes with language that mirrors Legolas' ability, swapping only the timing and a disard for the expenditure of a resource: "Response: After Gimli is declared as a defender, spend 1 resource from Gimli’s pool to ready another hero."

These abilities are already solid and establish both heroes as fantastic team players who improve the heroes around them. But their abilities are even better when they're working together. When Legolas readies Gimli with his ability, Gimli gains a point of Willpower for the rest of the Quest phase. And when Gimli readies Legolas, Legolas gains a point of Attack Strength for the rest of the Combat phase. Between the two of them, they can quest, defend, and attack. They don't need much more to handle the basics of most scenarios—just some extra points of Willpower, Defense Strength, and Attack Strength.

Fortunately, The Sands of Harad has those covered, as well, through the introduction of Dwarven Shield (The Sands of Harad, 10) and Mirkwood Long-knife (The Sands of Harad, 11). A pair of Dwarven Shields can boost Gimli's Defense Strength to the point where he can resist all but the toughest enemies without taking a scratch, and should he still suffer any wounds, the Dwarven Shields ensure the effort will at least be profitable. Meanwhile, each Mirkwood Long-knife adds one point of Willpower and one point of Attack Strength, meaning that if Legolas equips two, he and Gimli will be able to quest for six Willpower, stand firm with a Defense Strength of four, and then slice apart your foes with an Attack Strength of six.

Altogether, these heroes and their new attachments offer enough synergy that once you consider adding a third hero, like Aragorn (Core Set, 1), you would likely feel optimistic about your chances of surviving Harad and testing your Unlikely Friendship (The Sands of Harad, 7) against the Dark Lord's minions—wherever you might find them.

Strengthen Your Fellowship

Whether you use these new version of Legolas and Gimli together or use them with other heroes, their new abilities are sure to promote all manner of new fellowships and new deck lists. How will you use them to strengthen your fellowships? Share your thoughts on our community forums.

Then be sure to get to your local retailer and pre-order your copy of The Sands of Harad!

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