With the ninth cycle of the game introducing the new Contract card type, it was only natural to have them all compete in a poll. With most people having access to the final AP in November, this was the ideal time as many people would have had enough time to play with all of the contracts already. This excludes the Perilous Voyage contract, which will be released alongside the Hunt for the Dreadnaught POD next month (hopefully). But at least we have had the spoilers for that contract out for a month already, so people could theory craft a deck and see if they like it better than the other contracts. With all 8 contracts in the poll, and with 127 votes, it is now time to look at the results!
In the top spot we find the Messenger of the King. This single card has increased the pool of heroes in the game by nearly 100 extra heroes, of which about half of them are actually decent. The contract will make any non-Neutral unique ally a hero, meaning that you can start your game with a crutch ally without having to dig for it. Examples of this are the Legolas ally providing Tactics with card draw from the start of the game, or having Firyal in play from the start, saving you 5 Lore resources. The balance of this contract is quite nice, though you can get some more stats out of some allies than their threat cost (Ingold and Forlong for example). A wonderful contract that will really impact the way that decks will be made in the future! If you want to read more about the possible heroes you get with this contract, see this list.
Second place goes to the Fellowship contract. Not only is this the first contract that we ever got, it is also one of the more thematic contracts of the bunch. This contract limits your card pool by not allowing you to play any non-unique allies. Then, once you have 9 unique characters on the table, you flip the contract and everyone gets buffed. This buff can do some serious work, as it can stack with other effects to make your small company even more powerful. The restriction of not allowing non-unique characters is quite severe, as you lose out on some key allies. But there will probably be a unique alternative for what you need. You do also need to keep your allies alive, as you will constantly flip back and forth between the A and B side of the contract. For more info on this contract, see this post.
Third place is a really close tie between Bond of Friendship, Forth The Three Hunters, and The Grey Wanderer. These contracts each shake up their respective decks significantly by focusing a lot on the heroes you play with. Grey Wanderer limits you to just one starting hero (outside of the Saga) and Bond of Friendship can get you 4 heroes from the start of the game by forcing some rules on how you build your deck. These all still allow you to get allies into play to help you out as well, which The Three Hunters no longer allows. Instead, that contract has you play with only your heroes, but makes up for this by allowing them to have more attachments and giving the heroes buffs and healing past the early game. All three contracts are very popular in the community and have may different decks to be found online. Bond of Friendship is not as flexible as the others in my eyes, as that contract forces you to either take a lot of threat to start with, or you must play Hobbits. Still, there are a lot of fun variations on that deck that are wort exploring, and playing a Bond of Friendship Hobbit deck against A Shadow of the Past is very thematic.
In last place, we find the Burglar’s Turn and A Perilous Journey. Now I did not expect A Perilous Journey to make it very far, as it hasn’t been released yet. And with not many people playtesting this contract until they get their hands on it, it is no surprise that it received no votes. Proxying a deck with 100 cards in it is quite tricky, so that might have been another reason.
The other contract that received no votes is the Burglar’s Turn. This one has been out for quite some time already, so it has less excuses than A Perilous Journey. Many people told me that they didn’t really like this one, as it would require players to get a lot of locations and have to design their deck without any attachments. This can be rough for many decks that require a lot of attachments to get going. Even if your attachment deck can contain 14 cards, you still can only use Item or Artifact cards in it. So you lose out on things like Light of Valinor and Steward of Gondor, which means that certain archetypes will really struggle to include this contract in the decklist. However, you do get the option to put into play all of the Guarded attachments without revealing extra cards. This can be a pretty good boost for your deck. You also get some more space in your deck for side-quests, events, and allies. So your deck can be more consistent in that regard, while sacrificing consistency with the attachments.
And that is the poll for this month. Before moving on to next month’s topic, I would like to point your attention to the poll made by Dave from CardTalk. He is planning something big for February and will need a ton of input for this from the community. Filling in the poll also gives you a good chance at winning some prizes, so it’s very much worth your time!. See his video on the subject here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrJktUSL24Q&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR1ZsUaPF5REIQndIoHs0OALQbcgCqS9GluFwHgpIwgEWoUF42qT-S1wLdY or you can go to the poll straight away through this link: https://bit.ly/CardTalkFebruary. I’ll be looking forward to seeing the results in a few months!
I would also like to point people to the poll I am still taking on artwork for LOTR LCG for an upcoming article. If you would like to see your favorite artist featured in the article, then fill in this poll: https://forms.gle/22HhR1e2KkVtQCk7A. I hope to conclude this poll in the coming month, but you should have plenty of time to fill it in.
As for the monthly poll of December, I usually tend to do a large community bracket and let people vote on that topic. However, this is quite time consuming for me, and I’m afraid that I don’t really have that time this year. So we will just be doing a regular poll on the site as usual.
With the final cycle of the game concluding this year, I think it would be nice to settle on what quest we all think is the best from the past cycle. We have all had enough time to try and try again at some of the tougher quests, so I am curious to see which quest takes the top spot on this list. As always, I will be giving everyone 2 votes for this poll, and will share the results towards the end of the year.