We’ve had a contract that focuses on allies with Fellowship. We’ve had a contract that enhances events with Council of the Wise, and we have had a contract that puts the spotlight on heroes with Forth, the Three Hunters!. Now it is time to look at an attachment-driven contract with The Burglar’s Turn. This contract probably sees the least amount of play out of all contracts, as taking away attachments from decks can be very tricky to build around. This contract also favors quests with plenty of locations, making it harder to bring to any game in case mechanics are different, like with Temple of the Deceived. But the contract still allows you to play a ton of amazing cards without hindering the players too much, so let’s take a look at how you can build for the Burglar’s Turn!
The first line on the A-side of the contract is the most important one here: You are not allowed to bring any attachments in your deck. This includes attachments for characters, as well as traps and location attachments. You are not allowed to bring any of them in your main deck. This opens up about 25-30% of your deck space for allies and events, which can be nice if you are building a swarm-style deck. It is just a shame you cannot profit from Expert Treasure-hunter in this deck, as that would be more reliable with this deck composition. Alas, it is an attachment, and you are not allowed to bring those in your main deck. Fellow players may still play attachments onto your characters though, so you can coordinate a set of 2 decks where the other one plays a lot of attachments for both players.
I keep mentioning “main deck” because the second part of this side of the contract instructs you to make a secondary “loot deck.” This is a deck of 14 cards that you prepare beforehand. These cards may be Item or Artifact attachments from your collection. Other traits like Mount, Skill, and Condition are excluded from this deck unless they also have either the Item or Artifact trait. This limits your options to 31 Artifact cards and 74 Item cards that don’t also have the Artifact trait. So 105 cards in total to choose from. And as the contract specifies that you have to take 14 different attachments, you are not allowed multiple copies of one attachment, so you’ll end up with about 12.5% of the entire card pool worth of Artifact/Item attachments in your loot deck.
This loot deck is shuffled before being set aside facedown from your main deck (it helps if you give them different sleeves) and will have the B-side of the contract placed on top of it. Note that this deck of 14 cards does not count towards your main deck minimum of 50 cards. You still need 50 cards in your main deck, with the 14 attachments being an added bonus on top.
The B-side of the contract is the part that is actually active during the game. The A-side was just setup text. The B-side will force each active location to get +1 quest point for each attachment on it. This not only means the attachments from your contract (which we will get to) but will also include locations that have objective attachments from the quest or attachments thanks to other players playing attachments on locations as well. The +1 quest point per attachment also means that stacking a lot of attachments on one location will make it more difficult to clear, though even just a single extra quest point could lead to not clearing the active location that round. Of course, players can counter it with Woodmen’s Path, which reduces the number of quest points to 1. Unfortunately, you cannot include it in your own deck, as it is an attachment. So you have to organize this with a fellow player to get going.
But how do you get attachments on the active location in the first place? And how does this interact with the Loot deck that you set up? Not to worry, the following 2 Forced effects cover this. After you travel to a location that is not immune to player card effects, you must attach the top card of your loot deck to that location as a guarded objective. This is not optional and must be done by all players running this contract, so there is no avoiding the +1 quest point if you are struggling a bit. One of the biggest advantages of the contract now comes into play: If the attachment from the top of your Loot deck already has the Guarded X keyword on it, you may now ignore it, revealing no additional encounter cards. These Guarded X cards came in the Ered Mithrin and Vengeance of Mordor cycles and are powerful cards that will give you an edge in your battles. Being able to get these into play without needing to add an encounter card onto them is huge, and this is one of the only times that this is allowed (aside from some rulings during the King’s Quest).
You earn these attachments by clearing the location they are attached to (extra quest point and all). Once it is cleared, you may play all guarded attachments into play at no cost, allowing you to get a lot of resource acceleration if that 4-cost Ancestral Armor is now free! If you are currently unable to play the card or haven’t got the right target for it, then you may take it into your hand instead. The card can now be played by you during any planning phase, though you still have to pay the full cost for it now. You will also require a resource match again, which you didn’t need if you are able to play it right away. 9 times out of 10, you can play the attachment immediately, but I can see you wanting to wait to play Forest Snare until the right enemy shows up.
This is all that the contract does for you, offering 14 free attachments without the need for guarded cards or resource matches. Should you ever run out of cards in your loot deck, then you should already be in a winning position near the end of the game. The contract will, at that point, never be triggered again for the rest of the game. It is important to note that if you happen to have to discard an attachment, it goes to your main discard pile. It does not go back to the loot deck or go to a separate discard pile. This means that you can recur the attachment with Reforged or other effects if you add those to your main deck.
If your deck does not need any attachments to work, then this contract is perfect for you. You can spam your allies like you normally would, but get to burgle for some nice treasure during your game. Not only does this save you a lot of resources, but you can also make your deck more reliable in supporting your ally swarm. Cards like A Very Good Tale have a higher chance of hitting allies now that the attachments have been filtered out. It also protects you from a handful of treacheries like Terror of the North.
The other benefit is, of course, that you are able to get to use Guarded attachments without revealing additional encounter cards for them. This is helpful in multiplayer games, where it can sometimes be difficult to find the right timing to play those attachments. Now, you only have to add 1 quest point to the active location in order to claim some of the stronger attachments in the game eventually! Do note that some of these are Restricted, so you might be able to use them all if the game drags on too long. You also get to distribute these to other players if you run out of Restricted slots or if the attachments make more sense on heroes from your fellow players.
Let’s start by looking at what fraction of the card pool is available to you. You only get 105 different attachments for your loot deck, which will be shrunk down considerably by the different heroes you choose. Artifacts like the Elven Rings of Power or Kahliel’s Headdress can only be included if the hero is under your control as well. While this is not an official rule, there really is no point in including attachments that you cannot equip onto your characters. This is also true for cards that can only attach to characters from a specific trait. So when you figure out what your hero lineup is going to be, you will be left with probably around 50 or so attachments to choose from. This is still a lot of options, but it does mean that every Burglar’s Turn deck will gravitate towards the same powerful staples to include in the loot deck. These cards are often unique as well, so you have to be sure nobody else is playing them. With the Guarded cards, this shouldn’t be much discussion, but players will have to swap out cards from their decks if you are adding Celebrian’s Stone to the loot pile.
Another thing with this contract is the randomness of when you draw the right attachment. Perhaps you are really struggling with defense, and all you need is a piece of armor on a hero to survive. But all that you get for the next 3 locations are weapon or willpower attachments! This can happen as a result of unfortunate shuffling and can be countered by not needing the attachments too much. Defense can also be boosted by characters like Dori and Arwen, which will be more reliable than waiting for 14 locations to draw your entire loot deck. But if you are using characters to deal with defense, perhaps you should reconsider having the Armor attachment in the deck in the first place. This makes picking 14 attachments really tricky, as you shouldn’t have to rely on them too much, but enough to justify playing this contract and not just a regular deck.
Another point of randomness with this contract is the number of locations you will see during your game. In higher player counts, you are usually guaranteed at least 1 location per round, but in true solo, this may take a while, and you could get a string of enemies. You can build around this by adding in cards like The Hidden Way and Dunedain Pathfinder, but in quests with more enemies than locations, you might whiff. This contract is going to be more reliable during the Hills of Emyn Muil than The Seventh Level! Also, note that locations that are immune to player card effects will not receive an attachment either. This can really bite you in the behind during certain quests.
The fact that the active location now also gets extra quest points for attachments on it will mean that you could get stuck in location lock if you are not bringing enough willpower. Even just 1 point can mean you are stuck for another round at that location while the staging area fills up. Either bring Lorien Guide or have another player use Map of Rhovanion to slowly chip away at the active location to clear it on top of questing successfully.
While you are able to play Item and Artifact attachments with the contract, there is a large selection of attachments that you simply cannot include in your deck or in your Loot deck. Mounts are now impossible to play, as well as Conditions, Titles, and Skills for example. This restricts you from playing certain archetypes or requires that you play them without relying on important cards in that archetype. Noldor without Light of Valinor, or Gondor without Steward of Gondor is going to be difficult. Your fellow players must also have a heart of gold if they decide to play those attachments on your characters.
Cards to include
There are a lot of cards that you can include in your deck to make it work better with this contract. First, consider what cards you add to your Loot deck. Most of the Guarded attachments should be in there, as you can get them out for free, and they will add solid stats to your characters. In my opinion, even cards like Mithril Shirt are worth the effort here. Aside from the Guarded attachments, I also enjoy adding Miruvor to the Loot deck. This attachment can be recycled for readying, willpower, or resource smoothing. Being able to put this back on top of the deck ensures that you will gain access to its effects next turn as well. This is an excellent filler card while you wait for other, more powerful cards to show up.
Another selection of cards to include in your deck are those that grab locations from the encounter deck. That way, you will always have a travel destination, which is important in lower player counts or during quests that have a lower percentage of locations in the deck. The Hidden Way may be expensive, but you can get a location active right away, potentially getting you your next attachment during the quest phase! You also reveal 1 fewer encounter card during staging, which is nice. Dunedain Pathfinder is also a card to include if you want some cheap willpower, and search the top 5 cards of the encounter deck for a location. Other players may want to include Put Off Pursuit in order to have a replacement location right away after you clear the active location.
While on the subject of what other players could include in their partner deck, other location attachments are pretty important. Yes, they will boost the quest points on the active location, but you should have enough ways to place progress on the active location if they also bring Map of Rhovanion. Woodmen’s Path is also a great card, reducing the number of quest points on the active location to 1. That way, no matter how many attachments are on a single location, you only need 1 progress to clear it, winning you all the attachments underneath it.
Ways to move the active location back to the staging area or place progress on locations while active or in the staging area are also worth bringing here. This way, you reduce the risk of location lock that your Pathfinders might have caused, and you can win attachments even before you commit to the quest.
Archetypes that work well
Since location control is so important to ensure the contract hits something, I would suggest investing in either Woodmen or Scout traited cards to help you find locations and explore them faster. Woodmen cards might be a bit tricky to get going yourself since you can only use attachments on your active location unless other players are also playing attachments on locations without the contract. Haldan is a nice hero to have with this contract, as you can ensure the active location will always have an attachment (unless it is immune).
Another archetype that does well with this contract is any archetype that likes to spam allies without relying on attachments in the early game. Dwarves are surprisingly strong here, though you will be missing out on cards like Hardy Leadership and Legacy of Durin. But with most of their synergy being on the ally cards and on their heroes, you are not as reliant on attachments as other traits like Hobbits or Dale. Dwarves also get to use some extra Guarded attachments like the Ring of Thror and Durin’s Axe while still maintaining a nice thematic feel to the deck.
Gondor also has access to a lot of cheap allies to bring to the field quickly. While you are missing out on Visionary Leadership, ally Faramir can help to overcome that loss in willpower. You also get to experiment a bit more with cards you otherwise skip in favor of attachments, like Wealth of Gondor, now that Steward of Gondor is not accessible to you.
This contract also allows you to dedicate a larger portion of your deck to focus on an event-driven mechanic. This could, for instance, be Secrecy/Valour, but archetypes like Victory Display and Direct Damage really jump out to me when deckbuilding around this contract. Those mechanics rarely need attachments, and whatever you would need, you can usually include in the Loot deck. Both also draw a lot from the Lore sphere, allowing you to add some location fetching and control to your deck for faster access to your attachments.
The following decks all use different strategies around the Burglar’s Turn contract. Give these a shot, and you’ll come to appreciate the contract for what it does. From there, you can design your own take on the contract. If you have other decklists you’d think to make good use of the contract, feel free to share them in the comments below.
- Mono-spirit Caldara: https://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/19150/theturdburglarcaldaraexplainer-1.0
- Ranged combat deck: https://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/19523/robinhoodsmerrybandofthieves-2.0
- Location management deck: https://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/14173/haldanistheogburglar-1.0
- Dwarven Burglary: https://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/13907/dwarvesburglingontheirown-1.0
- Mono-Lore, Victory Display: https://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/17606/victoryviaaburglarysidequest-1.0
We have covered well over half the contracts now, so it won’t be long before the final contracts receive their articles. My focus will go to Bond of Friendship next. This is another popular contract but has not gotten as much time in the spotlight as the others, being the final contract released in the Vengeance of Mordor cycle.