|The Lost Realm
The Fourth Deluxe Expansion for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
|The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game | Published 18 August 2014|
“Many evil things there are that your strong walls and bright swords do not stay. You know little of the lands beyond your bounds. Peace and freedom, do you say? The North would have known them little but for us.”
–Aragorn, The Fellowship of the Ring
Prepare to face dangers that would freeze the blood of lesser folk…
Middle-earth is a richly detailed world, full of different lands and peoples and creatures, and their untold stories lie at the heart of The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, which is set during the seventeen ominous years that follow the events of Bilbo’s birthday party and lead up to Frodo’s departure from the Shire near the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring. Within the game, we’ve already trekked through the shadows of Mirkwood and the abandoned halls of Khazad-dûm. We’ve fought alongside the heirs of Númenor to turn back the Orcs of Mordor, and we’ve risked our lives to help the White Council find any knowledge and strength that might help forestall the Shadow and Middle-earth’s impending doom.
Now, we turn our attentions toward the lands of the North, which at first seem quiet and tame in comparison to the wild roads we’ve traveled. However, the truth is that this peace is purchased at a cost, and a high one at that. Here, the Rangers of the North have dwelt for many generations, ceaselessly roaming the lands and hunting the servants of the Enemy. These noble Dúnedain work in secret, and are often met with scorn by the simple folk they protect. Still, that is the way they would have it, and their countless, secretive efforts come to light with the heroes, player cards, and three new scenarios of The Lost Realm.
With its 165 cards, The Lost Realm brings new focus to the wilds of the North, where a handful of Rangers tirelessly follow their prey in order to safeguard the quiet and simple lands to their south. As part of this focus, The Lost Realm introduces two new Dúnedain heroes, numerous Dúnedain allies, and a wealth of player cards that reward players for engaging enemies. Additionally, The Lost Realm relates the dangers of the North in nine new encounter sets that you and your friends will use to play through the expansion’s scenarios. These encounter sets also lay the foundation for your future journeys into the Angmar Awakened cycle of Adventure Packs.
For more information about how The Lost Realm allows you to confront these perils alongside the Rangers of the North, we turn to lead developer Caleb Grace.
Lead Developer Caleb Grace on the Rangers of The Lost Realm
“Lonely men are we, Rangers of the wild, hunters – but hunters ever of the servants of the Enemy; for they are found in many places, not in Mordor only.”
–Aragorn, The Fellowship of the Ring
The Dúnedain theme in The Lost Realm was inspired by the passage from The Fellowship of the Ring in which Aragorn explains to Boromir how the Rangers of the North have long protected the free peoples of Middle-earth. These Rangers were the greatest hunters of their time, and their constant vigilance drives the majority of the expansion’s player cards.
Not only was this a fun theme to explore, it opens a lot of exciting new possibilities in the game. While many of the game’s most successful strategies focus on maintaining a low threat in order to avoid engaging multiple enemies at once, the Rangers work very differently. They actively seek out their foes and gain strength from being engaged with them.
One great example of this theme is an ally unlike any other: Dúnedain Hunter (The Lost Realm, 4). Though this Dúnedain ally has attributes typically found on an ally with a cost of four or more resources, he costs zero. That is because the Dúnedain Hunter has a Forced effect that triggers when he enters play:
“After Dúnedain Hunter enters play, search the top 5 cards of the encounter deck for a non-unique enemy and put it into play engaged with you. If no enemy enters play by this effect, discard Dúnedain Hunter. Shuffle the encounter deck.”
The Rangers were always scouring the hills and woods for signs of the Enemy’s servants, aiming to remove any threat they might pose, and that’s why the Dúnedain Hunter isn’t content to wait for enemies to appear from the encounter deck. Instead, he brings the enemy to you.
But why would you want to engage an enemy? Is the reward really worth the risk of engaging an Orc, or Troll, or Nazgûl? If you include enough Dúnedain and Ranger cards in your deck, the answer is “absolutely!” Aside from allowing you to gain a powerful ally without paying any resources, the Dúnedain Hunter’s ability to engage an enemy opens up some amazing combos.
For example, immediately after you put that enemy into play engaged with you, you can exhaust the Dúnedain Hunter to play Expert Trackers (The Lost Realm, 9): “Response: After you engage an enemy, exhaust a Scout or Ranger character to place X progress tokens on a location. X is the engaged enemy’s printed threat strength.” This lore event allows you to track the enemy you just engaged back to its lair, be it the active location or a location in the staging area, and then explore it, potentially well before you’d be able to travel to it.
But that’s not the only advantage the Dúnedain gain from being engaged with enemies. During the same planning phase that you play Dúnedain Hunter and Expert Trackers, you could also play Sarn Ford Sentry (The Lost Realm, 5) and trigger her Response effect: “After Sarn Ford Sentry enters play, draw 1 card for each enemy engaged with you.” The Dúnedain possessed an uncanny ability to observe their quarry without being detected, and in this way they were able to gain knowledge of their enemy’s movements. The Sarn Ford Sentry’s ability represents that knowledge with card draw based on the number of enemies you are engaged with. Even drawing one card can make a huge difference, but with a well-crafted Dúnedain deck, it isn’t difficult to draw three or more cards when the Sarn Ford Sentry enters play.
Of course, no one can stay engaged with three or more enemies indefinitely, and it will eventually become necessary to destroy those enemies. That is why The Lost Realm also includes a new Tactics hero who excels at just that – the Chieftain of the Dúnedain, Aragorn (The Lost Realm, 1).
While previous versions of Aragorn have stressed his abilities as a guide and protector, this Tactics version emphasizes his mighty fighting prowess and peerless hunting skills. In the books, few could match Aragorn’s skill at arms. His presence in battle was enough to inspire his companions and intimidate his enemies. This is represented in the first line of his text: “Each enemy engaged with you gets -1 defense.” If you’re going to be engaged with multiple enemies at once, that one-point reduction of their defense can make a big difference when it comes time to deal with them.
The second line of his text represents his skill as the greatest hunter of his time:
“Response: After Aragorn participates in an attack that destroys an enemy, choose an enemy not engaged with you and engage that enemy.”
This effect is incredibly versatile in its uses. Is there an enemy in the staging area that is just waiting to pounce once your threat goes up at the end of the round? Use Aragorn to turn the tables on that enemy by engaging it and giving it a penalty to defense, making it that much easier to defeat, potentially within the same Combat phase that you engaged it. Is your teammate engaged with an enemy he can’t handle? Just destroy an enemy engaged with you, and Aragorn can draw that enemy away from your friend’s heroes. Aragorn’s versatility is fitting for a hero who accomplished so many different tasks before and throughout The Lord of the Rings, and it can easily make him the centerpiece of any deck built around the Dúnedain trait.
Knowledge of the Enemy
What evils will the Dúnedain uncover in The Lost Realm? The expansion’s three scenarios pit your heroes against a rising tide of Orcs, Undead, and even Sorcery. Moreover, the expansion also introduces a number of side quests that your heroes will be able to explore even as they hunt the Dark Lord’s servants throughout the North.
You can find more information about the expansion and its Dúnedain, scenarios, and side quests on the expansion’s description page, and we’ll share even more details about The Lost Realm and its cards in an upcoming series of previews.
The Lost Realm is scheduled to arrive at retailers early in 2015. Until then, stay vigilant and continue your work to shield Middle-earth’s simpler folk from terrors that would freeze their blood!
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.