|Racing Swiftly to Foundations of Stone
A Spotlight on The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
|The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game | Published 29 May 2012||Rating||17 votes|
Suddenly into view came a white horse, gleaming in the shadows, running swiftly. In the dusk its headstall flickered and flashed, as if it were studded with gems like living stars. The rider’s cloak streamed behind him, and his hood was thrown back; his golden hair flowed shimmering in the wind of his speed.
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Middle-earth’s heroes recently traveled The Long Dark descent through Moria’s abandoned mines, down to its very Foundations of Stone. There, they risk new dangers – the treacherous nature of those deepest caverns, assaults from patrolling orcs, and the threat of other things, older and fouler than orcs, that dwell near the roots of the mountains.
Still, the heroes carry with them the support of their allies. Last week, we saw how predictions made by the Imladris Stargazer (Foundations of Stone, 106) could help heroes plan for success, even within the darkest depths of an ancient, abandoned network of subterranean corridors.
We also announced that Foundations of Stone would introduce the game’s first Mount, an announcement which set our community forums alight with speculation and discussion. This week, as we continue to explore the resources available to Middle-earth’s heroes on their perilous journey, we’ll take a look at the new Mount card, Asfaloth (Foundations of Stone, 110).
“Ride on! Ride on!” cried Glorfindel, and then loud and clear he called to the horse in the elf-tongue: noro lim, noro lim, Asfaloth!
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
In The Fellowship of the Ring, Asfaloth is the shining white steed Glorfindel rides to find Aragorn and the Hobbits before the Ford of Bruinen. When the Ringwraiths give chase to Frodo, the Ringbearer is saved solely by a combination of the horse’s fantastic speed and Elrond’s river magic.
Speed in The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game has long translated to the ability to explore locations, and the Horse-lords of Rohan have naturally excelled in this regard. The Snowbourn Scout (Core Set, 16) and The Riddermark’s Finest (The Hills of Emyn Muil, 77) both allow players to place progress on locations without having to travel to them first. The Snowbourn Scout adds a single progress when it enters play while The Riddermark’s Finest adds two progress when it exhausts and leaves play. However, each ally adds progress only once per card. Likewise, the event Ride to Ruin (The Hills of Emyn Muil, 78) adds three progress to a given location, but enters the discard pile immediately after its resolved and requires the discard of a Rohan ally. While the mounted Rohirrim excel at riding into threatening locations and exploring them, they do so at their own peril, and many are lost for the progress they make.
Asfaloth grants the same ability to make progress on locations that the game associates with speed, but does so repeatedly. One can imagine that Asfaloth simply travels more swiftly than the Rohirrim’s mounts or benefits from greater wisdom and guidance. Either way, Asfaloth provides similar flexibility, allowing you to deal with the mounting threat of multiple locations much as do the Rohan allies and events, but with greater resilience. Locations such as The Brown Lands (Core Set, 87) and the Lightless Passage (Khazad-dûm, 37) have long posed significant problems for fellowships looking to make progress on their quests. Accordingly, players have developed strategies such as playing a Snowbourn Scout with Stand and Fight (Core Set, 51) to clear The Brown Lands or make the final progress along a Lightless Passage. Now Asfaloth grants players the same ability to time their progress on locations for when it’s needed most.
Of course, a horse as noble and intelligent as Asfaloth forms a bond with its rider, and Asfaloth serves your fellowship better when attached to Glorfindel (Core Set, 11). Together, this duo can successfully explore more than a dozen different locations in the game, and they can do so during the Quest phase, removing the threat posed by these locations from the staging area so that the extra progress goes toward the quest card itself.
Look for Asfaloth to race from location to location when Foundations of Stone arrives at retailers next month. In the meantime, head to our community forums to share your thoughts on this exciting new Mount and join other fans of the game in conversations about strategies, decks, challenges, and more memorable experiences from 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.