Naur dan i ngaurhoth

Questlogs using this decklist
Road to Rivendell - 1 Player - 2020-12-12
Fellowships using this decklist
Derived from
Naur dan i ngaurhoth 1 0 0 1.0
Inspiration for
Sammath Naur 3 1 0 1.0
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AJ_800 266

AJ_800 has a newer deck inspired by this one: Sammath Naur

This is an Elrond/Vilya/Gandalf/Wizard Pipe deck with the following design aims:

  • Keep Starting Threat under 30 to give the Vilya engine time to start running before larger enemies engage.
  • Use a wide range of Allies to avoid wasting Vilya and provide solutions to multiple challenges.
  • Utilise Word of Command as a reliable way to get the key cards into play, and then as a toolbox for the wide range of Allies, Attachments and Events.
  • Utilise Flame of Anor as an attack swing and readying effect, taking advantage of the high cost Allies that are already in the deck for Vilya to target.
  • Add a range of readying effects, all of which can be used by Gandalf.
  • Provide a toolbox of options so that the deck can be played against any quest, including those that the player has never played before.
  • Integrate solutions for an Expert Game as detailed on Page 10 of the LOTR FAQ Version 1.9.

Expert Game

  • When playing the “expert game” variant each player’s threat, wounds, and discard pile do not reset when setting up a new scenario.

  • To reset the other game elements at the beginning of a new “expert game” scenario, perform the following steps in order:

    1) All non-hero cards in play and in hand are shuffled into their owner’s decks. All encounter cards are returned to their encounter sets so they are available for the next scenario, if needed. This includes cards in players’ victory display.

    2) All unspent resources are discarded from the heroes’ resource pools.

    3) Each player draws a new starting hand per the regular setup rules of the game. A single mulligan may be taken by each player at this time.

    4) A player cannot start a scenario with a threat level that is lower than the combined threat cost of his heroes. If a player’s threat is lower than the starting threat cost of his heroes, he must increase his threat to that value.

    5) Follow all setup instructions for the new scenario.

  • Each scenario should be scored separately, and then all the scores added together at the end of the variant.

(MotK) Ioreth as the third Hero

  • (MotK) Ioreth generates a resource that can be used for Master of the Forge and Word of Command in the early game.
  • The availability of her healing ability on Turn 1 (especially in combination with Elrond’s healing boost) allows Elrond and/or Gandalf to take damage in the early game if necessary.
  • The reliable source of healing removes the need for Warden of Healing, freeing up deck space.
  • Being able to remove one copy of Ioreth from the deck during setup effectively reduces the deck size to 49, providing a marginal consistency gain.
  • She does all of this for 1 Starting Threat, giving the deck a total Starting Threat of 28.

Card Commentary

  • There are two copies of Ioreth in the deck. The reasons for this are: to allow the player to confidently mulligan for Vilya with minimal chance of not leaving at least one copy of Ioreth in the deck for Messenger of the King to target and; to provide a backup copy to be played as an Ally if (MotK) Ioreth is destroyed (which will also remove Messenger of the King from the game).
  • Wizard Pipe makes Vilya, Gandalf and Flame of Anor more effective, and should be searched for as a second priority after Vilya.
  • Imladris Stargazer sorts the top of the deck to set up Vilya, Gandalf and Flame of Anor. She is a Ally, but resources from Elrond can be used to pay for Allies of any sphere, and resources from Gandalf can be used if she is the top card of the deck.
  • Unexpected Courage and Shadowfax maximise the usage of Gandalf, especially considering Flame of Anor and Word of Command. It is also worth considering putting a copy of Unexpected Courage on Elrond as he will exhaust every turn once Vilya is in play.
  • Elrond's Counsel is the deck’s main threat control but requires the sphere. Vilya will give Elrond the sphere, and Gandalf can play it from the top of the deck prior to this. A single copy of The Galadhrim's Greeting can be searched for with Word of Command if necessary,
  • Beorn serves two major functions while in play: he can soak up damage and be healed by (MotK) Ioreth and; he can get a single-turn boost and go back into the deck. There are three copies because he is also the primary target to be discarded from the top of the deck to give Gandalf +6 when playing Flame of Anor.
  • Firyal is the other unique Ally with three copies in the deck. This is because her ability to look at and discard the top card of the encounter deck is incredibly powerful against some of the more unforgiving quests.
  • Boromir, Elfhelm, Faramir, Gildor Inglorion, Jubayr, Northern Tracker, Treebeard and Yazan present a range of cost 4-5 Allies to be brought into play with Vilya or discarded from the top of the deck when playing Flame of Anor. Some are stronger than others, but keeping them at one card each avoids uniqueness issues and allows for a customised approach to each quest thanks to Word of Command.
  • A Test of Will is a standard defence card. Some care needs to be taken that Vilya is not wasted by leaving A Test of Will at the top of the deck, but this should not be problematic in this deck.
  • Flame of Anor allows Gandalf to Quest+Attack, Defend+Attack or Attack+Attack with both Attacks having the Flame of Anor bonus. This is achieved by exhausting Gandalf to Attack an Enemy in Attack step 6.8b, then playing Flame of Anor in the Action Window between steps 6.8.1. and 6.8.2. Then, in step 6.8.4., Gandalf will be ready, so the process loops to step 6.8. to begin another Attack. If Gandalf also has Unexpected Courage and/or Shadowfax ready, he could continue to declare Attacks in the same phase, all with the Flame of Anor bonus.
  • Gandalf's Staff and Narya are toolbox cards that can be kept at one copy thanks to Word of Command. Narya works well with Faramir, allowing him to use his ability twice for a big boost on questing characters.
  • The Houses of Healing is in the deck to bring back Elrond or Gandalf if they are destroyed (this is especially important in an Expert Game as they will not automatically be brought back between Scenarios). It cannot be used to bring back (MotK) Ioreth as she becomes Ally Ioreth in the discard pile while Messenger of the King is removed from the game when (MotK) Ioreth is destroyed.
  • Will of the West is a one-use card to shuffle the discard pile back into the deck. The use of this card needs to be timed carefully to recycle key cards (this is especially important in an Expert Game as the discard pile will not be shuffled back into the deck between Scenarios).

How to Play

  • Mulligan for Vilya, or a way to find it (Master of the Forge or Word of Command depending on the circumstances). In the unlikely situation where your second (mulliganed) Starting Hand contains both copies of Ioreth, you will have to choose another unique Ally to become a Hero for this Scenario. There are some good options, but be mindful of your starting threat level.
  • Turn 1 is about finding Vilya and surviving. If you don’t have Vilya, play some combination of Master of the Forge and Word of Command. Quest enough to avoid threat increase. Defend if necessary though don’t be afraid of a small undefended Enemy Attack.
  • Utilise (MotK) Ioreth to heal damage when needed, though it is best to do this at the end of the Combat Phase. This avoids her being killed by effects that damage exhausted characters and still allows her to be readied in the Refresh Phase.
  • Play other exhausting effects at the end of the Combat Phase unless you absolutely need to use them before. This maximises your options during the prior phases and still allows the exhausted characters to ready during the Refresh Phase.
  • Once Vilya is in play, start bringing in the high cost Allies and support cards. In general, use Vilya for the high cost Allies while using resources for low cost Allies and support cards.
  • If playing an Expert Game, play Elrond's Counsel and The Galadhrim's Greeting sparingly and only as much necessary for the current Scenario (you cannot carry over a low threat level between Scenarios).
  • If playing an Expert Game, be aware that cards are a finite resource. Be careful which card you discard for Glorfindel if you use his readying ability. If you are forced to discard Attachments, consider your strategy for replacing or recovering lost Attachments. Vilya and Wizard Pipe have multiple copies, but other Attachments will rely on Will of the West to get back into the deck.
  • If playing an Expert Game, remember that Flame of Anor automatically goes back into the deck between Scenarios (because it is in the Victory Display) but the card that it burns from the top of the deck when being played is discarded, so plan carefully which cards you can afford to lose this way.

Highlights playing Version 1.0 of this deck

  • The Seventh Level - Gandalf killed two Goblin Archers (in the staging area) and two Goblin Scouts in one phase.
  • Flight from Moria - Gandalf picked up Abandoned Tools and used them four times in the same turn to win the game.
  • The Redhorn Gate - Gandalf killed a Mountain Troll and another enemy in one phase, using two copies of Flame of Anor.

Changes in Version 2.0

I would welcome any feedback or comments.


Nov 30, 2020 ira212 234

It is an interesting design challenge to play the expert game. Personally, I don't like it and don't understand why the designers even included it, but it seems like some players are interested in it, so I guess they were right to include it! :)

I think the Expert game must warp your deck pretty heavily if you want to succeed. Any quests that discard cards from your deck or hand will be pretty brutal, but let's assume you're playing a quest chain that doesn't actively discard too many cards.

How many games in a row do you hope to be able to win? I think if you're planning for the expert game, I'd try to increase the number of attachments, since those are most likely to stick around from game to game.

For example: Magic Ring - I know you already considered this, but it seems to me you could add it in addition to Narya.

A Burning Brand - Seems like a good one for Elrond, and you have plenty of Restrict spots available.

Celebrían's Stone (once Gandalf has Narya) or Silver Circlet (once Elrond has Vilya) - Good willpower boost, and perhaps more likely to stay in play than an ally.

Armored Destrier and/or Ancestral Armor - Take up restricted spots, but you have a couple more to spend. Powerful attachments, and then your heroes can be defending more safely.

Will of the West - If you're really trying for the Expert game, I think 3x of these seems really important. I'd tend to cut down on the other events, since you just can't play them very often. I'm assuming that any player card removed from the game or in the victory display also doesn't go back in your deck when you reset for the expert game.

Other notes I tend to just give up once a hero goes down, so The Houses of Healing feels like mostly a dead card to me, but maybe you can use it.

I still like 1x Warden of Healing for to provide ongoing healing effects, since you have beefy heroes and allies.

If you weren't trying to play this deck for the Expert game I might have different comments, but it's certainly an interesting challenge. Have fun!