The developers keep giving us new ways to approach this game, and this mechanic is certainly one of the more unique archetypes. The victory display has been around since the very first days of the game, but up to this point, players had almost no way to interact with it besides the Out of the Wild event from the Dwarrowdelf cycle. During the Angmar Awakened cycle though, we got a lot of cards that suddenly removed cards from the encounter deck and place them into the victory display. After the errata for Out of the Wild so that you had to put that card into the victory display as well, player could no longer remove the entire encounter deck into the victory display. This did not make the mechanic less powerful though, removing some nasty cards from the encounter deck is very important and can be a life saver in a lot of multiplayer games.
How does the mechanic work?
The victory display is a seperate area where all cards with a victory value end up after they have been used or been defeated. Some player cards have the value, but it is most common on enemies and locations. There are next to no encounter card effects that interact with cards in the victory display, making the cards in there irrelevant to the game until the final score is calculated. This mechanic takes cards without a victory value and puts them in the victory display. This allows you to negate its effects during the rest of the game. Having cards in the victory display without a victory value also fuels several abilities on other cards, reducing costs, boosting stats, and being able to cancel cards as they are revealed from the encounter deck. A lot of the cards from this archetype end up in the victory display themselves, making it even easier to fuel the abilities.
While the mechanic has been formally introduced during the Angmar Awakened cycle, some cards were provided beforehand. After that cycle, not a lot of cards were added to the mechanic. This makes it a very well contained archetype and makes it easy to buy and build with minimal purchases.
- Road to Rivendell
- Escape from Mount Gram
- The Treachery of Rhudaur
- Across The Ettenmoors
All of the cards in this mechanic are Lore cards. A mono Lore deck will work great with this archetype, as you will have plenty of resources to fund the cards. Players can also use the manipulation cards from Spirit in order to cancel effects as well, for a complete control deck. Lore is a great fit for this archetype, as it is all about control and removing threats out of the encounter deck and making sure it doesn’t come back to bite you later.
The goal of this mechanic is simple, get as many cards from the encounter deck worth no victory points into the victory display. Doing this will remove some of the worst cards in the encounter deck. When it comes to locations and enemies, Leave No Trace and None Return will remove up to 3 cards each. In thin encounter decks, this means that you won’t see these cards ever again, even if the deck gets reshuffled. When it comes to deciding what cards to put into the victory display, try to pick some cards with a trait that is quite common in the encounter deck. The locations and enemies in most encounter decks tend to have very similar traits, so this makes Rossiel an excellent defender or quester. If you hae the option, try to remove the nastiest location or enemy you can get your hands on.
This mechanic usually pays off in the late game, but your deck will need support in the early game to survive. Staying in Secrecy can allow you to avoid the majority of the enemies, and will make your Out of the Wild events cheaper. While you may not have the most exciting deck on the table, it is a great support deck that prevents cards beforehand, instead of outright cancelling everything. The game could have gone very differently if you didn’t remove that horrible card from the encounter deck before you encounter it.
Synergy with other traits/mechanics
The victory display mechanic is a fairly stand alone mechanic, but the trait still plays well with any faction that has a lot of cards in Lore. This includes Ents, but I haven’t used that combo in a while. Silvans synergise a lot better with the victory display mechanic. Not only is Rossiel a Silvan character, but the trait also has a lot of good allies that you can throw into the deck. Hobbits are another good faction to bring some of these cards to. not only do they avoid a lot of threat since they start off so low, but they also have easy access to Secrecy and to Good Meal, which makes it very easy to play the victory display events.
Out of the Wild is really the most important card in this mechanic. This event can target any card in the encounter deck without victory points in the top 5 cards. This is the only effect that can target nasty treacheries (Sudden Pitfall for example). Scrying the top cards is also important, but you should find a decent option everytime you play this event. The downside to this card is its relatively high cost at 3 Lore resources. This is reduced to 1 cost if you are in Secrecy, which is easy to do in most early game decks if you build for it. There are also other ways to reduce the cost even more with cards like Good Meal and Leaf Brooch. Since the previous FAQ update, Out of the Wild is now also put into the victory display when players have played this event. This is because of some trickery where somebody removed the entire encounter deck and put it into the victory display. This eratta actually helps a lot of the synergy, since the event doesn’t have a victory value. This means that Keen as Lances get 2 resources cheaper with just one copy of Out of the Wild played.
Speaking of Keen as Lances, I really like that event too. This event is a very costly 5 resources, but being Neutral, it can be payed for really easily. The event is a sort of light Gandalf, where the player can pick out of gaining resources, drawing cards or reducing threat. While initially this card isn’t as good as hard casting Gandalf, the cost to play this event is reduced by 1 for each card in the victory display worth no victory points. If you have been putting a few cards into the victory display, this card gets a lot cheaper. Remember that this event itself will also fuel its own ability, making any future copies cheaper. In the late game, this event is usually free, giving your deck a lot of flexibility. You can always use things like more resources, lower threat, and more cards. Since the victory display is shared among all players, every player can add this event to his/her deck to benefit from 1 player putting stuff in the victory display.
“Bad” Victory Display cards
There aren’t actually too many cards for this archetype, so having to pick bad cards is difficult. I will mention that The Door is Closed is a very cornercase card, which requires a bit of setup to get right. You will have to have the exact same card in the victory display in order to cancel another copy. The chance of this happening and you having 1 Lore resource to spare is small. But as I have cancelled a Sleeping Sentry this way, I won’t pan the card entirely. The art on the card is also amazing, so at least you can look at it while it sits in your hand. The important thing about this card too, is that you will cancel any keywords like Surge and Doomed as well if you cancel a card this way, making it more useful than A Test of Will.
There are some different decks that make good use out of this mechanic. Try some of these out for yourself. Bringing some of these decks to your multiplayer games will always be useful.