Ambush

From LOTR-TCG Wiki

Ambush is a loaded keyword that appears only on minions. If a minion with Ambush Twilight x.svg is assigned to a skirmish in the assignment phase by the Free Peoples player, the Shadow player may add X twilight to the pool. First introduced in The Two Towers, it's the signature keyword of the Culture Raider.svg Raider Southron subculture, although it appears on a handful of cards in other Shadow cultures.

In theory, Ambush was meant to allow Southron Shadow decks to afford powerful, expensive skirmish events like On the March (4C241)LOTR-EN04S241.0 card.jpg and Whirling Strike (4C260)LOTR-EN04S260.0 card.jpg, or pricey card effects like Desert Warrior (4C222)LOTR-EN04S222.0 card.jpg, Southron Spear (4C255)LOTR-EN04S255.0 card.jpg, and Army of Haradrim (5R70)LOTR-EN05S070.0 card.jpg. Decipher also meant for it to synergize with Southron oliphaunt mounts like Mûmak (5C73)LOTR-EN05S073.0 card.jpg: if you give a minion Fierce, that means it can activate Ambush twice per site. In practice, it did not work out that way.

Ambush was one of several mechanics in Towers Block that did very little on its own unless the player had both halves of a combo. Ambush minions are generally overpriced up front, but partially refund that cost later in the turn. However, that partial refund comes late in the turn, making it only useful for the Skirmish Phase and Regroup Phase at that site, as well as all of the phases of any subsequent site if the opponent makes a double move. If the Shadow player doesn't have a card in hand or in play that can use excess twilight in those specific phases, and their opponent doesn't move again this turn, that twilight will very likely go to waste.

Many of the cards that purport to use this excess twilight, like Howl of Harad (4U236)LOTR-EN04S236.0 card.jpg and Harsh Tongues (7C150)LOTR-EN07S150.0 card.jpg, require the Shadow player to win skirmishes or keep their minions alive. That's unreliable, because Ambush minions are just not very good. Even in a swarm, a minion like Southron Scout (4C252)LOTR-EN04S252.0 card.jpg isn't likely to contribute very much at all, especially compared to Goblin Runner (1U178)LOTR-EN01S178.0 card.jpg. Ambush didn't end up particularly useful to deter double moves, either, because a bit of extra twilight is nowhere near as good as minions that actually survive the skirmish phase. In practice, players ended up finding a use for the few reliable twilight dump cards, like Whirling Strike (4C260)LOTR-EN04S260.0 card.jpg and Red Wrath (7U157)LOTR-EN07S157.0 card.jpg, but mainly used them against opponents that flooded rather than pairing them with the relatively weak Ambush minions.

Ambush also has a key weakness in that it triggers only when the Free Peoples player assigns the Ambush minion to one of their characters. The Free Peoples player can simply choose not to do that, and let the Shadow player assign their minion freely if it's too weak to make a big difference anywhere. A clever opponent can guess that the Shadow player is winding up to use Red Wrath (7U157)LOTR-EN07S157.0 card.jpg simply by looking at the twilight pool, or, when faced with a swarm, can choose to assign the (generally stronger!) non-Ambush minions and leave the Ambush minions for the Shadow player to assign. This doesn't come up too often, but it does mean that Southron swarm strategies couldn't count on Ambush triggering, making Ambush-based decks that much more unreliable.

Ambush largely came and went with the Southron subculture as a whole. It only appears on a small handful of cards after set 7.

Comprehensive Rules 4.0[edit]

When the Free Peoples player assigns one of his characters to skirmish a minion with the keyword "Ambush Twilight x.svg," the Shadow player who owns that minion may add Twilight x.svg. (See assignment phase.)

If your minion with Ambush Twilight 2.svg is assigned by the Free Peoples player, you may add two tokens to the twilight pool. The Free Peoples player may decide not to assign any characters to your minion with ambush, allowing you to assign it later in the assignment phase.

When a minion with the keyword Ambush Twilight x.svg is given the keyword Ambush Twilight x.svg by another card or special ability, each of those instances of ambush is resolved separately. When that minion is assigned to a skirmish by the Free Peoples player, the Shadow player has the option to add pool for each instance in the minion's text.

Desert Scout (7U134)LOTR-EN07S134.0 card.jpg ("Ambush Twilight 1.svg.") is equipped with Raider Bow (7C155)LOTR-EN07S155.0 card.jpg ("Bearer is ... Ambush Twilight 5.svg."). When it is assigned to a skirmish by the Free Peoples player, the Shadow player may add Twilight 1.svg, Twilight 5.svg, neither, or both (as separate actions).

- ambush section

Cards with Ambush[edit]

This includes cards like Raider Bow (7C155)LOTR-EN07S155.0 card.jpg that grant a minion Ambush.


Portrait Card Name Culture Card Type Game Text
LOTR-EN05S050.0 portrait.jpg
Foul Horde (5R50)LOTR-EN05S050.0 card.jpg Culture Isengard.svg Isengard Minion • Orc Warg-rider.

While Foul Horde is not exhausted, it is fierce.

While Foul Horde has at least 3 vitality, it is Ambush Twilight 1.svg.

While Foul Horde has at least 4 vitality, it is damage +1.

LOTR-EN05S125.0 portrait.jpg
Foul Horde (5R125)LOTR-EN05S125.0 card.jpg Culture Isengard.svg Isengard Minion • Orc Warg-rider.

While Foul Horde is not exhausted, it is fierce.

While Foul Horde has at least 3 vitality, it is ambush Twilight 1.svg.

While Foul Horde has at least 4 vitality, it is damage +1.

LOTR-EN11S079.0 portrait.jpg
Fearsome Dunlending (11C79)LOTR-EN11S079.0 card.jpg Culture Men.svg Men Minion • Man Ambush Twilight 1.svg. When you play this minion at a plains site, you may spot an unbound companion to make that companion resistance –1 until the end of the turn.
LOTR-EN11S103.0 portrait.jpg
Warrior of Dunland (11C103)LOTR-EN11S103.0 card.jpg Culture Men.svg Men Minion • Man Ambush Twilight 1.svg. While this minion is at a plains site, it gains an additional ambush Twilight 1.svg.
LOTR-EN12S064.0 portrait.jpg
Enraged Southron (12C64)LOTR-EN12S064.0 card.jpg Culture Men.svg Men Minion • Man Ambush Twilight 3.svg.

The move limit for this turn is +1.

LOTR-EN14S013.0 portrait.jpg
Horror of Harad (14R13)LOTR-EN14S013.0 card.jpg Culture Orc.svg Orc Minion • Half-troll Ambush Twilight 1.svg. Damage +1. Fierce. Lurker. Muster. Toil 2.
LOTR-EN04S218.0 portrait.jpg
Desert Legion (4R218)LOTR-EN04S218.0 card.jpg Culture Raider.svg Raider Minion • Man Southron. Ambush. Twilight 1.svg

While you can spot 4 burdens, this minion is strength +5.

While you can spot 5 burdens, this minion is fierce.

While you can spot 6 burdens, this minion is damage +1.

LOTR-EN04S249.0 portrait.jpg
Southron Commander (4U249)LOTR-EN04S249.0 card.jpg Culture Raider.svg Raider Minion • Man Southron. Ambush Twilight 1.svg.

Assignment: Spot 6 companions to assign this minion to the Ring-bearer. The Free Peoples player may discard an unbound companion to prevent this.

LOTR-EN04S251.0 portrait.jpg
Southron Fighter (4R251)LOTR-EN04S251.0 card.jpg Culture Raider.svg Raider Minion • Man Southron. Ambush Twilight 1.svg.

Maneuver: Exert this minion and spot 5 companions to make the Free Peoples player exert a companion.

LOTR-EN04S252.0 portrait.jpg
Southron Scout (4C252)LOTR-EN04S252.0 card.jpg Culture Raider.svg Raider Minion • Man Southron. Ambush Twilight 2.svg.
LOTR-EN04S254.0 portrait.jpg
Southron Soldier (4C254)LOTR-EN04S254.0 card.jpg Culture Raider.svg Raider Minion • Man Southron. Ambush Twilight 2.svg.
LOTR-EN04S256.0 portrait.jpg
Southron Troop (4R256)LOTR-EN04S256.0 card.jpg Culture Raider.svg Raider Minion • Man Southron. Archer. Ambush Twilight 1.svg. To play, spot a Southron.

Assignment: Spot 7 companions to assign this minion to the Ring-bearer. The Free Peoples player may make you discard a companion (except the Ring-bearer) to prevent this.

LOTR-EN04S257.0 portrait.jpg
Southron Veterans (4R257)LOTR-EN04S257.0 card.jpg Culture Raider.svg Raider Minion • Man Southron. Ambush Twilight 1.svg.

Maneuver: Exert this minion and spot 6 companions to make the Free Peoples player exert 2 companions.

LOTR-EN04S258.0 portrait.jpg
Southron Wanderer (4C258)LOTR-EN04S258.0 card.jpg Culture Raider.svg Raider Minion • Man Southron. Ambush Twilight 1.svg.

Assignment: Exert this minion and spot 5 companions to assign this minion to the Ring-bearer.

The Free Peoples player may add Twilight 4.svg to prevent this.

LOTR-EN05S072.0 portrait.jpg
Desert Stalker (5R72)LOTR-EN05S072.0 card.jpg Culture Raider.svg Raider Minion • Man Southron. Ambush Twilight 2.svg.

Maneuver: Exert this minion and spot 4 Free Peoples cultures to exert every companion.

LOTR-EN05S074.0 portrait.jpg
Southron Marcher (5C74)LOTR-EN05S074.0 card.jpg Culture Raider.svg Raider Minion • Man 'Southron.'Ambush Twilight 2.svg. While you can spot a Southron, this minion’s twilight cost is -2.
LOTR-EN05S075.0 portrait.jpg
Southron Runner (5C75)LOTR-EN05S075.0 card.jpg Culture Raider.svg Raider Minion • Man Southron. Ambush Twilight 2.svg.

While you can spot a Southron, this minion’s twilight cost is -2.

LOTR-EN05S076.0 portrait.jpg
Southron Traveler (5C76)LOTR-EN05S076.0 card.jpg Culture Raider.svg Raider Minion • Man Southron. Ambush Twilight 2.svg.

Response: If a Southron is about to take a wound, remove Twilight 3.svg to prevent that wound.

LOTR-EN06S081.0 portrait.jpg
Southron Invaders (6C81)LOTR-EN06S081.0 card.jpg Culture Raider.svg Raider Minion • Man Southron. Ambush Twilight 1.svg. When you play this minion, you may spot another Southron to play a minion with ambush from your discard pile.
LOTR-EN07S133.0 portrait.jpg
Desert Runner (7C133)LOTR-EN07S133.0 card.jpg Culture Raider.svg Raider Minion • Man Southron. Ambush Twilight 1.svg.

When the Free Peoples player assigns this minion to a character and you have initiative, wound that character.

LOTR-EN07S134.0 portrait.jpg
Desert Scout (7U134)LOTR-EN07S134.0 card.jpg Culture Raider.svg Raider Minion • Man Southron. Ambush Twilight 1.svg.

When the Free Peoples player assigns this minion to a character and you have initiative, wound that character.

LOTR-EN07S135.0 portrait.jpg
Desert Sneak (7C135)LOTR-EN07S135.0 card.jpg Culture Raider.svg Raider Minion • Man Southron. Ambush Twilight 1.svg.

When the Free Peoples player assigns this minion to a character and you have initiative, wound that character.

LOTR-EN07S155.0 portrait.jpg
Raider Bow (7C155)LOTR-EN07S155.0 card.jpg Culture Raider.svg Raider Possession • Ranged Weapon Bearer must be a Culture Raider.svg Man.

Bearer is an archer and Ambush Twilight 5.svg.

LOTR-EN07S170.0 portrait.jpg
Suzerain of Harad (7R170)LOTR-EN07S170.0 card.jpg Culture Raider.svg Raider Minion • Man Southron. Archer.

While you have initiative, the Ring-bearer may not take wounds during the archery phase and this minion is ambush Twilight 8.svg.

LOTR-EN11S253.0 portrait.jpg
Pelennor Fields (11S253)LOTR-EN11S253.0 card.jpg Culture Site.svg Site Site Plains. Each Culture Men.svg minion gains ambush Twilight 1.svg.​


Cards that interact with Ambush[edit]

This includes cards that interact with Ambush without granting it, as well as cards that do not mention Ambush by name but can prevent the Ambush trigger.


Portrait Card Name Culture Card Type Game Text
LOTR-EN12S111.0 portrait.jpg
Coif (12R111)LOTR-EN12S111.0 card.jpg Culture Rohan.svg Rohan Possession • Armor Bearer must be a Culture Rohan.svg Man.

Each time a Shadow card adds any number of twilight tokens, you may exert bearer to prevent that.

Each time the fellowship moves from a forest site, exert a companion.

LOTR-EN03S114.0 portrait.jpg
Three Monstrous Trolls (3C114)LOTR-EN03S114.0 card.jpg Culture Shire.svg Shire Condition Tale.

Response: If a Shadow card is about to add any number of twilight tokens, exert a Hobbit ally to prevent this.

LOTR-EN05S077.0 portrait.jpg
Strength in Numbers (5U77)LOTR-EN05S077.0 card.jpg Culture Raider.svg Raider Condition To play, spot a Southron. Plays to your support area.

Maneuver: Discard this condition to add Twilight 1.svg for each Man with ambush you spot.

LOTR-EN06S081.0 portrait.jpg
Southron Invaders (6C81)LOTR-EN06S081.0 card.jpg Culture Raider.svg Raider Minion • Man Southron. Ambush Twilight 1.svg. When you play this minion, you may spot another Southron to play a minion with ambush from your discard pile.​



Loaded Keywords
Numeric Damage + X Defender + X Ambush X Hunter X Toil X
Non-numeric Aid Archer Enduring Fierce Lurker Muster Sanctuary Ring-bearer Unhasty
Item Class [Classless] Support Area Armor Brooch Box Bracers Cloak Gauntlets Hand Weapon
Helm Mount Palantír Phial Pipe Ranged Weapon Ring Shield Staff