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Recently, while gaming at my local card shop, I was about to begin a game, but looked through my sites and found that I had the wrong site in there! I made a comment to my opponent about it, and got up to buy a replacement, when I heard him say “Sites don’t matter anyways, I don’t even look at my sites when I choose them.” Well, unfortunately for him, this lead to his ultimate defeat, as he had chosen Golden Hall, not remembered it, and then had 4 of his key people’s possessions discarded at site 3.
Though most people don’t realize it, the proper (or improper) selection of sites can affect the outcome of a game dramatically. Over a span of nine articles, I’ll describe some of the uses of each of the varying sites available in the Two Towers Block format for Lord of the Rings TCG. Also, I will be paying special attention to point out sites that I find are particularly useful in a variety of decks; in other words, the most universal sites.
East Wall of Rohan --- When the Fellowship moves from East Wall of Rohan, add 2.
This site has some distinct possibilities, beginning with the Southrons. Desert Soldier, Desert Spearman, and Desert Warrior all carry the ability to remove 3 at the start of their skirmish to wound a companion they are skirmishing. This site adds even more twilight to the pool to make sure that these minions can deal out some more fatal wounds before the Fellowship reaches site 3.
Also, you can count the addition of twilight as being able to play 1 minion with no roaming cost!
Additionally, if you aren’t playing a fellowship that can benefit from any other site 1, this will certainly benefit your shadow side. However, you must take into consideration whether or not your Fellowship will be able to withstand a rather large assault at site 2, or if you should go with a more Fellowship-minded site.
One of the best combinations I have seen work with this site is in Standard/Open with Attea (non-twilight version). In combination with the Wold of Rohan, Attea, if you have him in your hand, is almost certainly going to be able to be played, and more than likely be pumped, providing an excellent opportunity to knock off one or two of your opponent’s companions before they ever reach site 3.
Eastemnet Downs --- Each time you play a companion here, you must discard 2 cards from hand.
This is one of the most distinctly dangerous site 1’s to grace the game so far. Unless you start all the companions you are going to be playing, or won’t benefit from any other site 1, I would steer clear of this site.
The advantages of it, however, are that it will make an opponent think twice about playing companions at site 1, brining a swarm with 4-5 minions at site 2 a distinct possibility. Moria would have the easiest time pulling this off, with runners and armories running amuck.
Overall, I would say that this site is not one for 95% of decks, and I would keep my nose out of it if I were you.
Eastemnet Gullies --- Fellowship: Exert 2 unbound companions to play Legolas from your draw deck.
This site has a fair number of strategies attached to it, as well as quite a few deck types. First of all would be an elf-based deck. This site would allow you to start Haldir and Arwen, and then exert them to pull Legolas, giving you three of the (if not THE) best Elf companions in the game so far. This will also gives you the three Elf spots necessary to play the beefy Naith Troop.
Secondly, I could see someone starting Gimli, Lockbearer, and the 2 unbound hobbits, and using this site to pull Dauntless Hunter, allowing for rather powerful Hunters right off the bat.
Thirdly, a Dwarf/Elf deck can start 2 Dwarves, or a Dwarf and an Elf, and have what they need to get the combos started right away.
From a Shadow point of view, this site gives no bonus or penalty.
Horse-Country --- Plains. While you can spot a (Rohan) mount at Horse-Country, the move limit is +1 for this turn.
For solid Rohan decks, this would be my site 1 of choice 99% of the time. Even if you don’t believe that you will use the bonus to the move limit most of the time, once in a while it will come in handy, and hey, what else are you going to use? Most Rohan-based decks will get a mount out on their first turn, and if they don’t, they’re prolly in trouble =).
Plains of Rohan --- Plains. Fellowship: Exert 2 unbound companions to play Gimli from your draw deck.
For this site, I would refer you back to the ideas presented for the gullies and Legolas. All of them still hold true, but for Dwarf-based decks, which, unfortunately, don’t show up much anymore, which is sad.
The Riddermark --- Plains. Fellowship: Exert 2 unbound companions to play Aragorn from your draw deck.
This seems to be THE most played site in the game. With so many decks based around, or at least including Aragorn, I see this site in 75% of my games.
For Help In Doubt And Need decks, the Riddermark is almost essential, as it is a means to get out an unbound Gondor companion to trigger with your Rohan companions.
Also, Three Hunters decks, whether full fledged or Dauntless choke, benefit greatly from this site’s ability to get out their precious Wingfoot right away.
Additionally, just about any strategy that involves Gondor/Elves revolves around Aragorn and his bow, so this site provides easy access to him early in the game.
I rank this as one of my top Universal Sites!
Western Emyn Muil --- When the Fellowship moves from Western Emyn Muil, each Ring-bound companion must exert.
This is a nasty site for many decks, placing a wound before the shadow player ever plays a minion. It’s even worse for Ring-bound Ranger decks, exerting practically every companion before the skirmish phase!
This is a dangerous site to play if you don’t have a strategy in mind. The best I have heard of (and actually heard of working… once), was a Nazgul deck that took advantage of this site.
They banked on getting Eastern Emyn Muil out first turn, and tricking their opponent into double-moving from 1-3, pushing 3 wounds on Frodo. They then had enough twilight to drop a Nazgul, play a few Resistance Becomes Unbearable, and then slam them with a Return to Its Master!
Overall, this is a dangerous site to play, and should be considered carefully before being thrown in willy-nilly.
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