Since so many new players are joining the game these days (seriously, it’s like every day I see a “Hi, I’m new” post on the forums, welcome all!), I decided to poll a common question that is asked to the community. It concerns what to buy after you buy your first Core Set. Since we have had some stock issues over the past years (including the time of writing), not everyone started their collection in the same way. So I laid out all possible expansions to get after your first Core Set, and asked a good chunk of the community to pick what they got after their initial buy. The results should guide players towards what expansions to get after their first purchase.
I listed every cycle, saga box, and other group of expansions for this poll, but excluded a few that didn’t make sense to get after your first Core Set. An example of this are the Nightmare Packs for packs that you don’t already own. While during this content-drought, it is wise to get the NM packs whenever you can, it is not recommended to get NM Storm on Cobas Haven if you only got a Core Set so far. You would need 2 other expansions to even play the quest, and will need a decent chunk of the card pool to stand a chance. So those expansions were excluded, although the NM packs for the Core Set were included, since you could technically play those quests with just a Core Set (Note: You probably won’t stand a chance with Core Set decks, but winning is different than playing xD).
In total, the poll received 234 individual votes. This is great and will be a good representation of the community. Hopefully these results help newer players with what the veterans got, and they can make their buying decisions based on that, plus the various guides that exist online. Here are the results:
With nearly 50% of all the votes, the Shadows of Mirkwood cycle is the most popular set of expansions after the Core Set. This is a logical choice, as they were both the chronological and the narrative next expansion after the Core Set. Many veterans who bought the game in progression mode started with these expansions afterwards. The player cards in the cycle aren’t amazing, like they are in the Dwarrowdelf cycle, but there are some important cards in here for certain archetypes like Dwarves, Rohan, Eagles, and Hobbits. The cycle also has some generic cards that help the early decks to be more rounded. The stat-boosting Signals and sphere-granting Song attachments help to balance the early decks. The quests aren’t the best, but still hold some nostalgic value when playing through them with a complete card pool.
The next set of expansions that were the most popular after the Core Set are the Khazad-Dûm Deluxe box and the Dwarrowdelf cycle. This is the first Deluxe box and is the cycle with some of the most ridiculous cards in the card pool to this day. It is a great cycle to get after your Core Set, but you do have to love either Dwarves or Noldor, as that makes up the majority of the player cards. The quests in these expansions are also worth getting early, as they are a lot of fun to play, and can sometimes be a good challenge for early decks.
The next two expansions on the list are both Saga series, with the Hobbit just beating LOTR. This is likely due to the fact that The Hobbit saga was released earlier. These two series are great for people who want the game to go through the stories of the books and see some familar faces. The player cards are fantastic, and the quests closely mirror the narrative of the books. The quests do have extra gimmicks most of the time, with more tests and keywords than most other quests. But this is a great hook for players to later invest into the regular cycles
The following spots are taken up by most other cycles and their corresponding Deluxe boxes. The votes are pretty close together, so you can’t really go wrong with any Deluxe and the cycle. However, a word of warning for those players looking to get Heirs of Numenor and/or Shadow in the East after their Core Set: You probably will have a bad time dealing with the scenarios of those cycles since your decks aren’t strong enough. It will take some luck and a lot of attempts before you can beat some of these scenarios. A better suggestion is to stick to Wilds of Rhovanion or Grey Havens for you first purchases.
A couple of options did not receive any votes, as it won’t make a lot of sense to get POD quests or Nightmare packs after your Core Set. These packs don’t give you any player cards, but instead offer a much more challenging scenario for you. It is advised to grow your card pool first, before you attempt these packs.
For September, we return to our format of traited player cards removed from the card pool. While we have already covered weapons, armor, and mounts, we will now look to something that the books are full with: Songs. You can now select the top 3 Song attachment and events in the side-bar of the blog. The poll will look at the actual player cards, not the actual songs themselves, otherwise Durin’s Song would crush the competition (fite me). The poll will run until the end of September, after which I will share the results with you all.