Skirmish Cancellation

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Hobbit Stealth (1C298)LOTR-EN01S298.0 card.jpg, an indispensable tool in Fellowship Block

Skirmish Cancellation is an informal game term referring to the phenomenon of cancelling skirmishes. When a skirmish is cancelled, there is no skirmish resolution: no winner, no loser. All characters are unassigned and do not have an opportunity to be assigned to new skirmishes until the next assignment phase (provided there is one), unless a card's game text provides such an opportunity. From Fellowship block to Movie block skirmish cancelling waned in availability for Culture Shire.svg Shire, the culture with the most access to it and the largest driver of its use overall. It regained popularity thanks to No Visitors (15C150)LOTR-EN15S150.0 card.jpg and Halfling Leaf (17U106)LOTR-EN17S106.0 card.jpg cards in Standard and Expanded, the only formats in which decks can be built to reliably handle skirmishes by cancelling them all game long.

Skirmish cancelling is used primarily to avoid losing the skirmish and having companions wounded or killed: Hobbits and Smeagol typically have 3 strength without any equipment and are often at risk of being overwhelmed if they have to skirmish. However, there may be other reasons to wish to cancel a skirmish. If an opponent has effects that trigger off of winning a skirmish (such as The Witch-king, Lord of the Nazgul (2R85)LOTR-EN02S085.0 card.jpg or Goblin Swarms (1R183)LOTR-EN01S183.0 card.jpg), the Free Peoples player may go out of their way to cancel those skirmishes and avoid what would otherwise be manageable losses. Because the Free Peoples player takes the first action and cancelling a skirmish ends it immediately, skirmish cancelling can deprive a Shadow player of taking any skirmish actions at all. Úlairë Cantëa, Lieutenant of Dol Guldur (1R230)LOTR-EN01S230.0 card.jpg can wreak long-term havoc by disarming a Fellowship, even if it winds up losing every skirmish -- if only given the opportunity.

Skirmish Cancelling by Format[edit]

Fellowship[edit]

Skirmish Cancelling is a large part of the meta here, for several reasons. First and foremost is the presence of Hobbit Stealth (1C298)LOTR-EN01S298.0 card.jpg and Hobbit Intuition (1C296)LOTR-EN01S296.0 card.jpg. Though they appear rather plain, they are among the most efficient skirmish events in the game: for a Hobbit with 3 strength, there is often no more better possible outcome than cancelling the skirmish completely. Barring that, just +2 strength is a substantial increase and offers even more protection from being overwhelmed than an effect that raises the overwhelm multiplier such as Bounder (1C286)LOTR-EN01S286.0 card.jpg (A 5 strength Hobbit requires a 10 strength foe to overwhelm normally, a 3 strength Hobbit protected by Bounder requires only 9 strength). Any and every deck can benefit from them, so until site 6 the Shadow player must be weary of skirmishes involving a Hobbit being cancelled regardless of the Free Peoples' overall strategy. Second, The Bridge of Khazad-dûm (1C349)LOTR-EN01S349.0 card.jpg requires that every deck have a "Balrog contingency plan." Cancelling its skirmish is typically more realistic than getting a companion up to 18 strength to win the skirmish and more desirable than allowing companions to be wounded or killed. Third, Filibert Bolger, Wily Rascal (2C101)LOTR-EN02S101.0 card.jpg and O Elbereth! Gilthoniel! (2R108)LOTR-EN02S108.0 card.jpg allow a reliable way out of otherwise insurmountable odds, especially at site 9 when the Fellowship has been worn thin and The Ring-bearer is assigned to skirmish minions many times stronger than himself.

While Hobbits are the main driver of skirmish cancelling regardless of format, Gandalf's Staff (2R22)LOTR-EN02S022.0 card.jpg is noteworthy for being the only permanent and reliable way for a character other than a Hobbit or Smeagol to cancel skirmishes until Erkenbrand's Shield (18R97)LOTR-EN18S097.0 card.jpg was released in the last regular set.

Towers[edit]

While it has a place, skirmish cancelling is less prominent Towers site path than it was in Fellowship block; all of the factors that led it to prominence in Fellowship turned against it. Hobbit Stealth / Hobbit Intuition were ruled to only cancel skirmishes on the Fellowship block site path, and the two successor events (Severed His Bonds (4C319)LOTR-EN04S319.0 card.jpg and Swiftly and Softly (4C321)LOTR-EN04S321.0 card.jpg) offer very little once they can't cancel skirmishes anymore. Rather than risk drawing dead cards in the last sites when the opponent's Shadow side is often at its strongest, most players simply didn't include them. Without a reliable big threat like The Balrog, players had no reason to plan for losing skirmishes at any particular point in time. Filibert Bolger and O Elbereth! Gilthoniel! were banned with the introduction of the X-list shortly after the release of set 4. A few new skirmish cancelling cards were added, though the most played of them - Escape (4R300)LOTR-EN04S300.0 card.jpg and Frodo's Cloak (4R303)LOTR-EN04S303.0 card.jpg - are primarily used for their other functions (vitality and burden removal/healing, respectively). In short, cancelling skirmishes happens much less often and is much more predictable. Towers is also the only format without a competitive Hobbit-only deck, though they still tend to make up a majority in Legolas, Dauntless Hunter (4R73)LOTR-EN04S073.0 card.jpg and Smeagol, Stinker decks.

Men gained access to skirmish cancelling in this block with Curse Them (4C113)LOTR-EN04S113.0 card.jpg, Boromir's Gauntlets (4C112)LOTR-EN04S112.0 card.jpg, and Rohirrim Helm (5R89)LOTR-EN05S089.0 card.jpg. However, because these companions are also typically the strongest skirmishers they are less popular -- by and large, deck space spent on cancelling skirmishes is better spent on cards to win them.

King[edit]

Sets 7 and 8 saw even fewer opportunities to cancel skirmishes, and there was no real successor to Severed His Bonds / Swiftly and Softly -- only A Fool (8C14)LOTR-EN08S014.0 card.jpg. In the Standard format of The Return of the King and Siege of Gondor, the only way to cancel the Ring-bearer's skirmish was Curse Them (4C113)LOTR-EN04S113.0 card.jpg. Tom Bombadil, The Master (9R+52)LOTR-EN09S052.0 card.jpg from Reflections appeared to fill the void, but a rules change accompanied the set's new Alternate Ring-Bearers which forbid the Ring-bearer's skirmish from being cancelled altogether. Filibert Bolger and O Elbereth! Gilthoniel! were removed from the X-list as a result (the only time previously banned cards were allowed again without a change in the site path), although since Ring-bearer skirmishes couldn't be cancelled only Filibert Bolger added back to the skirmish cancelling arsenal. Even so, by the end of King Block Hobbits didn't have to rely on cancelling skirmishes to survive anymore. Everyone Knows (9R50)LOTR-EN09S050.0 card.jpg had alleviated much of the need to cancel skirmishes for Merry and Pippin while Sam, Great Elf Warrior (10P122)LOTR-EN10S122.0 card.jpg, the game's strongest version of Sam, was released in Mount Doom. A somewhat controversial substitute to skirmish cancelling, The Tale of the Great Ring (10U116)LOTR-EN10S116.0 card.jpg, picks up any remaining slack, particularly for Frodo who is virtually unkillable through wounds thanks to The One Ring. The result of it all is that skirmish cancelling is more readily available than it was in Towers and less needed than ever before.

Shadows and Beyond[edit]

War of the Ring Block brought the most changes to the game than any set before with the "Standard" format split into two halves: the Decipher-preferred Standard, which introduced set rotation, and the player-preferred Expanded. With each new set released, the oldest set was made illegal in Standard -- set 12 rotated out set 2, which dropped all three skirmish cancelling cards remaining from Fellowship block. The skirmish cancelling cards introduced were weak at best, and the mechanic seemed sure to become an occasional gimmick rather than anything of importance. Then set 15 ushered in Hunters Block and No Visitors (15C150)LOTR-EN15S150.0 card.jpg. A two-card combo with Daddy Twofoot, Next-door Neighbor (13U144)LOTR-EN13S144.0 card.jpg allows the Free Peoples player to reliably dodge a skirmish every turn. Bilbo, Aged Ring-bearer (13R142)LOTR-EN13S142.0 card.jpg knocks off the cost (often removing an extra burden as well) so that players need nothing else to do it every turn, though sometimes Bilbo, Melancholy Hobbit (12R119)LOTR-EN12S119.0 card.jpg is preferred to pull back the same event twice per turn (once by Daddy Twofoot in the maneuver phase and once by Bilbo in his skirmish) while other components of the deck handle the burdens and wounds (two of the Shire culture's greatest strengths). Halfling Leaf (17U106)LOTR-EN17S106.0 card.jpg is even more reliable for unbound Hobbits, particularly in Expanded where it is able to discard Fellowship block pipeweed possessions to cancel skirmishes. With both No Visitors and Halfling Leaf, a Hobbit deck may only ever have to plan on what to do if the Ring-bearer is assigned to a skirmish (see Replacing Characters below).


Shadow Skirmish Cancelling[edit]

Because minions are far more expendable than companions, skirmish cancelling is a mechanic entirely for the Free Peoples. Almost. Race Across the Mark (4R168)LOTR-EN04S168.0 card.jpg provides the only avenue for the Shadow player to cancel skirmishes (though the assignment cancelling from Return to Its Master (1R224)LOTR-EN01S224.0 card.jpg generally provides the same result - see Removing Characters above). The Uruk Trooper (4R199)LOTR-EN04S199.0 card.jpg family of minions most directly benefit, able stack themselves on a site and potentially set up a swarm later. Several Culture Isengard.svg Isengard trackers and Culture Uruk-hai.svg Uruk-hai hunters are much stronger in fierce skirmishes (e.g., Uruk Plains Runner (4C189)LOTR-EN04S189.0 card.jpg and Pursuing Uruk (15C167)LOTR-EN15S167.0 card.jpg), and cancelling the first is one way to keep them alive long enough for their text to kick in. Aside from these specific usages, allowing any minion to avoid a skirmish that would kill it means the Free Peoples will have a much harder time ever moving twice. Realistically though, the setup and cost of using the card outweigh most benefits -- if the Shadow player is able to control a site, they must have already been able accomplish these things (winning skirmishes or minions surviving until the regroup phase) without spending the extra twilight.

Related Concepts[edit]

Removing Characters[edit]

Removing a character from the current skirmish does not cancel it -- if the Free Peoples character or all minions are removed, the other side wins (removed characters are neither winning nor losing characters). However, if all characters from one side of a skirmish are removed before a skirmish begins, that skirmish never occurs and neither side wins or loses. In this case, the assignment is what becomes effectively cancelled -- a very similar result to cancelling the skirmish for whichever characters remain. Unlike cancelling skirmishes, Shadow players have a real opportunity to participate in removing characters, often by killing/discarding their own minions but occasionally by doing the same to Free Peoples characters.

This began in Fellowship block as something restricted to the Free Peoples. Gimli's Battle Axe (1R14)LOTR-EN01S014.0 card.jpg and Long Knives of Legolas offered protection against swarms by allowing Gimli or Legolas to wound minions assigned to Frodo (or anyone else) after they win their own skirmishes, hopefully killing it. The events Dismay Our Enemies (2U17)LOTR-EN02S017.0 card.jpg, Staff Asunder (2R27)LOTR-EN02S027.0 card.jpg, and Flee in Terror (2U33)LOTR-EN02S033.0 card.jpg allow minions to be discarded directly, though somewhat unreliably.

With decreased support for skirmish cancelling in Towers came a new concept: discarding companions, specifically Merry and Pippin. The text on each Towers version of these characters discards them, though only Merry, Learned Guide (4C310)LOTR-EN04S310.0 card.jpg and Pippin, Woolly-footed Rascal (4C314)LOTR-EN04S314.0 card.jpg are able to do it while assigned to a skirmish. Warmed Up a Bit (4C322)LOTR-EN04S322.0 card.jpg may be used with any copy of them to get out of a skirmish, while Knocked on the Head (4C308)LOTR-EN04S308.0 card.jpg, Treebeard, Earthborne, and Gandalf, Greyhame (4R89)LOTR-EN04S089.0 card.jpg offer more reliable ways to pull them back than hoping to draw another copy.

Merry, Unquenchable Hobbit (4R311)LOTR-EN04S311.0 card.jpg and Pippin, Just a Nuisance (4R313)LOTR-EN04S313.0 card.jpg are the only way for the Free Peoples player to remove a minion from a skirmish without killing or discarding it. This is one step up from cancelling a skirmish since it counts as a win for the companion (even though the minion does not lose). Return to Its Master (1R224)LOTR-EN01S224.0 card.jpg and Mordor Assassin (7R284)LOTR-EN07S284.0 card.jpg are the only ways for skirmish assignments to be undone without having one side killed/discarded.

Sometimes the thing that the Free Peoples player is trying to accomplish is not to prevent a companion from being wounded or killed, but prevent a particular minion from being able to win a skirmish and avoid response actions or triggers such as The Witch-king, Lord of the Nazgul (2R85)LOTR-EN02S085.0 card.jpg or Goblin Swarms (1R183)LOTR-EN01S183.0 card.jpg. While rarely ideal, the Free Peoples player is sometimes able to kill their own companions assigned to skirmish other minions to dodge those effects. By discarding a vitality-granting card such as The Tale of Gil-galad (1R66)LOTR-EN01S066.0 card.jpg, the Free Peoples player can kill an exhausted companion. The introduction of threats in King block allowed players to take advantage this more reliably: by allowing (or being forced to) kill a companion in one skirmish, a second may be killed by threat wounds. While certainly a heavy blow to lose two or more companions in a single skirmish, it is often less painful than allowing an opponent to take advantage of these effects -- particularly when the companions were going to die in their skirmishes anyway.

While there are a few Shadow cards that allow players to discard or kill their own minions mid-skirmish, ideal usage is obstructed by the fact that the Free Peoples decides skirmish order. If a Shadow player might benefit from discarding a minion before its skirmish (e.g., using Orc Cutthroat (5U104)LOTR-EN05S104.0 card.jpg to discard an Orc that will be killed in its skirmish anyway), the Free Peoples player can often simply resolve those skirmishes first. The lurker keyword solves issue this by forcing lurker skirmishes to be resolved last, allowing for cards such as Column of Easterlings (11C72)LOTR-EN11S072.0 card.jpg to have a greater chance of meaningful impact. Only cards from War of the Ring block use lurker, however, and it is very limited in scope as a result.

Replacing Characters[edit]

Like Towers before it, King Block offered another new way to get out of a skirmish. This time, by allowing certain companions to take the place of the companion currently skirmishing. Counts But One (8U4)LOTR-EN08S004.0 card.jpg, Mighty Steed (8U17)LOTR-EN08S017.0 card.jpg, and Brave and Loyal (10U105)LOTR-EN10S105.0 card.jpg gave Gimli, Gandalf, and any Hobbit the ability to fight in the place of other companions. While the skirmish still occurs, allowing these companions to "fight twice" can save the replaced character from certain death. Typically these are used so a strong companion wins two skirmishes, but they may also let an expendable companion be wounded or killed and save a more important character from the same fate. The concept was expanded in later formats, most notably in Pippin, Brave Decoy (11R170)LOTR-EN11S170.0 card.jpg able to do it at essentially no cost, Guardian (12U50)LOTR-EN12S050.0 card.jpg opening up access to Culture Gondor.svg Gondor, and Frodo, Frenzied Fighter (13R149)LOTR-EN13S149.0 card.jpg - the only non-Ring-bearer version of Frodo - capable of replacing the Ring-bearer in a skirmish.

Importantly, cancelling a skirmish and replacing a character are not exclusive. Pippin can be assigned to skirmish a minion, cancel the skirmish with Halfling Leaf (17U106)LOTR-EN17S106.0 card.jpg, replace another companion, and then cancel *that* skirmish as well. If the other companion has a sufficiently large defender bonus, this may constitute the entirety of the skirmish phases for the site (with just one opportunity for the Shadow player to act, after the Free Peoples uses Pippin's ability). While The Ring-bearer's skirmish cannot be cancelled in Movie block and beyond, Frodo, Frenzied Fighter's skirmish can -- and because he can replace the Ring-bearer, it is possible for a Hobbit deck to cancel every single skirmish all game long regardless of the original assignments.

See Also[edit]

Most of the time skirmish cancelling is used to protect companions from being wounded or killed by losing their skirmish, but avoiding the skirmish altogether isn't the only way to mitigate these outcomes. Wound Prevention is a much more common practice for both Free Peoples and Shadow players, allowing characters to simply not take wounds. Overwhelm Protection is a Free Peoples effect, helping to prevent characters from being overwhelmed and killed outright. Refer to those articles for more information.


Related Cards[edit]

Skirmish Cancelling[edit]

Card Name Culture Card Type Game Text
Hobbit Intuition (1C296)LOTR-EN01S296.0 card.jpg Culture Shire.svg Shire Event Stealth.

Skirmish: At sites 1 to 4, cancel a skirmish involving a Hobbit. At any other site, make a Hobbit strength +3.

Hobbit Stealth (1C298)LOTR-EN01S298.0 card.jpg Culture Shire.svg Shire Event Stealth.

Skirmish: At sites 1 to 5, cancel a skirmish involving a Hobbit. At any other site, make a Hobbit strength +2.

Gandalf's Staff (2R22)LOTR-EN02S022.0 card.jpg Culture Gandalf.svg Gandalf Artifact • Staff Bearer must be Gandalf.

The twilight cost of each Culture Gandalf.svg spell is -1.

Skirmish: Exert Gandalf twice to cancel a skirmish involving him.

Filibert Bolger, Wily Rascal (2C101)LOTR-EN02S101.0 card.jpg Culture Shire.svg Shire Ally • Home 1 • Hobbit Skirmish: Exert a Hobbit companion twice to cancel a fierce skirmish involving that Hobbit.
O Elbereth! Gilthoniel! (2R108)LOTR-EN02S108.0 card.jpg Culture Shire.svg Shire Condition Tale. Bearer must be the Ring-bearer.

Skirmish: Discard this condition to take off The One Ring or to cancel a skirmish involving the Ring-bearer and a Nazgûl.

Voice of Nimrodel (3C28)LOTR-EN03S028.0 card.jpg Culture Elven.svg Elven Event Tale.

Skirmish: Exert an Elf at a river or forest to cancel a skirmish involving that Elf.

Boromir's Gauntlets (4C112)LOTR-EN04S112.0 card.jpg Culture Gondor.svg Gondor Possession • Gauntlets Bearer must be a Culture Gondor.svg Man.

Skirmish: Exert bearer to cancel a skirmish involving bearer. Any Shadow player may remove Twilight 1.svg to prevent this.

Curse Them (4C113)LOTR-EN04S113.0 card.jpg Culture Gondor.svg Gondor Event Skirmish: Exert a Ring-bound Man to cancel a skirmish involving a roaming minion.
Escape (4R300)LOTR-EN04S300.0 card.jpg Culture Shire.svg Shire Condition Stealth. Bearer must be an unbound Hobbit. Limit 1 per character.

Skirmish: Exert bearer twice to cancel a skirmish involving him.

Any Shadow player may remove Twilight 1.svg to prevent this.

Frodo's Cloak (4R303)LOTR-EN04S303.0 card.jpg Culture Shire.svg Shire Possession • Cloak Bearer must be Frodo.

Skirmish: At sites 1Tower block.svg to 4Tower block.svg, add a burden and discard this possession to cancel a skirmish involving Frodo. At any other site, discard this possession to remove a burden and heal Frodo.

Severed His Bonds (4C319)LOTR-EN04S319.0 card.jpg Culture Shire.svg Shire Event Stealth.

Skirmish: At sites 1Tower block.svg to 4Tower block.svg, cancel a skirmish involving a Hobbit. At any other site, prevent a Hobbit from being overwhelmed unless his or her strength is tripled.

Swiftly and Softly (4C321)LOTR-EN04S321.0 card.jpg Culture Shire.svg Shire Event Stealth.

Skirmish: At sites 1Tower block.svg to 5Tower block.svg, cancel a skirmish involving a Hobbit. At any other site, prevent a Hobbit from taking more than 1 wound.

Rohirrim Helm (5R89)LOTR-EN05S089.0 card.jpg Culture Rohan.svg Rohan Possession • Helm Bearer must be a Culture Rohan.svg Man.

Skirmish: Discard this possession to cancel a skirmish involving bearer. A minion in this skirmish may exert to prevent this.

Rohirrim Helm (5R127)LOTR-EN05S127.0 card.jpg Culture Rohan.svg Rohan Possession • Helm Bearer must be a Culture Rohan.svg Man.

Skirmish: Discard this possession to cancel a skirmish involving bearer. A minion in this skirmish may exert to prevent this.

Sneaking! (7R73)LOTR-EN07S073.0 card.jpg Culture Gollum.svg Gollum Event • Skirmish Stealth.

Heal Sméagol (or cancel Sméagol’s skirmish if he has more vitality than the minion or minions he is skirmishing).

Tom Bombadil, The Master (9R+52)LOTR-EN09S052.0 card.jpg Culture Shire.svg Shire Ally • Home 2 To play, remove 2 burdens or 2 threats.

Skirmish: Spot 2 Culture Shire.svg companions and exert Tom Bombadil X times, where X is the fellowship’s site number, to cancel a skirmish involving a Culture Shire.svg companion.

Slunk Out of Sight (10U115)LOTR-EN10S115.0 card.jpg Culture Shire.svg Shire Event • Skirmish Stealth.

If there are 6 or more Culture Shire.svg cards in your discard pile, cancel a skirmish involving your Hobbit and a minion who is not fierce. Each minion in that skirmish is fierce until the regroup phase.

Sméagol, Scout and Guide (11R51)LOTR-EN11S051.0 card.jpg Culture Gollum.svg Gollum Companion Ring-bound. To play, add a burden.

Each time Sméagol wins a skirmish, you may play the fellowship's next site.

Skirmish: If Sméagol is at a marsh, exert him to cancel a skirmish involving him.

Crouched Down (11C162)LOTR-EN11S162.0 card.jpg Culture Shire.svg Shire Event • Skirmish Stealth. Cancel a skirmish involving a Hobbit and a minion whose strength is lower than that Hobbit's resistance.
Incognito (11C167)LOTR-EN11S167.0 card.jpg Culture Shire.svg Shire Event • Skirmish Stealth. If the fellowship is at a dwelling site, exert 2 Hobbits to cancel a skirmish involving a Hobbit. At any other site, exert 2 Hobbits to make a Hobbit strength +3.
Humble Homestead (13R152)LOTR-EN13S152.0 card.jpg Culture Shire.svg Shire Condition • Support Area To play, spot 2 Hobbits.

When you play this, add a Culture Shire.svg token here for each forest site and each dwelling site on the adventure path.

Skirmish: Discard this from play or remove 3 tokens from here to cancel a skirmish involving a Hobbit.

No Visitors (15C150)LOTR-EN15S150.0 card.jpg Culture Shire.svg Shire Event • Skirmish Transfer a follower from a Hobbit to your support area to cancel a skirmish involving that Hobbit.
Halfling Leaf (17U106)LOTR-EN17S106.0 card.jpg Culture Shire.svg Shire Condition • Support Area Pipeweed. To play, spot a Hobbit.

Skirmish: Discard a pipeweed from play to cancel a skirmish involving an unbound Hobbit.

Erkenbrand's Shield (18R97)LOTR-EN18S097.0 card.jpg Culture Rohan.svg Rohan Possession • Shield Bearer must be a Culture Rohan.svg Man.

The minion archery total is -1.

Skirmish: Add Twilight 2.svg to cancel a fierce skirmish involving bearer.

Response: If a Culture Rohan.svg Man is about to take a wound, spot Gandalf and exert bearer to prevent that wound.

Make a Run For It (18C109)LOTR-EN18S109.0 card.jpg Culture Shire.svg Shire Event • Skirmish Remove 2 Culture Shire.svg tokens to cancel a skirmish involving an unbound Hobbit.
Race Across the Mark (4R168)LOTR-EN04S168.0 card.jpg Culture Isengard.svg Isengard Condition Skirmish: Spot a site you control and remove Twilight 2.svg to cancel a skirmish involving an Uruk-hai.​

Directly Removing Characters from Skirmish Assignments[edit]

While there are many cards that discard or kill skirmishing characters, doing so is just another way to win a skirmish rather than a way avoid one. Therefore, only cards reasonably capable of removing non-skirmishing characters are listed here. Cards indirectly capable of removing characters by wounding or otherwise reducing vitality are excluded.

Discarding Companions[edit]

Card Name Culture Card Type Game Text
Merry, Learned Guide (4C310)LOTR-EN04S310.0 card.jpg Culture Shire.svg Shire Companion • Hobbit Skirmish: Exert the Ring-bearer to discard Merry. Any Shadow player may remove Twilight 2.svg to prevent this.
Pippin, Woolly-footed Rascal (4C314)LOTR-EN04S314.0 card.jpg Culture Shire.svg Shire Companion • Hobbit Skirmish: Add a burden to discard Pippin. Any Shadow player may remove Twilight 2.svg to prevent this.
Warmed Up a Bit (4C322)LOTR-EN04S322.0 card.jpg Culture Shire.svg Shire Event Stealth.

Skirmish: Discard an unbound Hobbit.

Where Now The Horse (17U103)LOTR-EN17S103.0 card.jpg Culture Rohan.svg Rohan Event • Skirmish Spot a Culture Rohan.svg companion to make Frodo strength +5. If Frodo loses the skirmish, discard that Culture Rohan.svg companion.
Bold Men and Grim (7R129)LOTR-EN07S129.0 card.jpg Culture Raider.svg Raider Condition • Support Area To play, spot 2 Culture Raider.svg Men and add a threat. Each time a companion is about to be killed, you may remove a threat to discard a companion (except the Ring-bearer).

Discard this condition at the start of the regroup phase.​

Discarding Minions[edit]

Card Name Culture Card Type Game Text
Dismay Our Enemies (2U17)LOTR-EN02S017.0 card.jpg Culture Elven.svg Elven Event Response: If an Elf archer wins a skirmish, make an opponent choose a minion to discard. That opponent may remove Twilight 3.svg to prevent this.
Flee in Terror (2U33)LOTR-EN02S033.0 card.jpg Culture Gondor.svg Gondor Event Response: If a Culture Gondor.svg companion wins a skirmish, discard an exhausted Orc.

That minion’s owner may remove Twilight 3.svg to prevent this.

Don’t Follow the Lights (6C38)LOTR-EN06S038.0 card.jpg Culture Gollum.svg Gollum Event Response: If Sméagol wins a skirmish, add a burden to discard a minion.
Diversion (12R120)LOTR-EN12S120.0 card.jpg Culture Shire.svg Shire Event • Regroup Discard a Hobbit not assigned to a skirmish from play to discard a minion from play. If the fellowship is at a battleground site, you may add 2 burdens to play this event during a skirmish involving a Hobbit.
Duinhir, Tall Man of Blackroot Vale (14R8)LOTR-EN14S008.0 card.jpg Culture Gondor.svg Gondor Companion • Man While you can spot a mount, Duinhir is damage +1.

Each time Duinhir wins a skirmish, if you can spot more minions than companions, you may exert him to discard a minion that has strength 7 or less.

Orc Cutthroat (5U104)LOTR-EN05S104.0 card.jpg Culture Sauron.svg Sauron Minion • Orc Tracker.

The site number of each Culture Sauron.svg Orc is -3.

Skirmish: Discard another Culture Sauron.svg Orc and exert Orc Cutthroat to wound a companion he is skirmishing.

Úlairë Nelya, Assailing Minion (7R215)LOTR-EN07S215.0 card.jpg Culture Ringwraith.svg Ringwraith Minion • Nazgul Fierce.

Skirmish: Discard a Culture Ringwraith.svg minion to make Úlairë Nelya strength +2.

Gorgoroth Axeman (7U271)LOTR-EN07S271.0 card.jpg Culture Sauron.svg Sauron Minion • Orc Besieger.

Skirmish: Discard this minion to make a Culture Sauron.svg minion strength +1 for each site you control (or +2 if you have initiative).

Orc Fanatic (7C300)LOTR-EN07S300.0 card.jpg Culture Sauron.svg Sauron Minion • Orc Skirmish: Discard this minion to make another Culture Sauron.svg Orc strength +3.
Orc Rager (7C304)LOTR-EN07S304.0 card.jpg Culture Sauron.svg Sauron Minion • Orc Skirmish: Discard this minion to make another Culture Sauron.svg Orc strength +4.
Column of Easterlings (11C72)LOTR-EN11S072.0 card.jpg Culture Men.svg Men Minion • Man Lurker. (Skirmishes involving lurker minions must be resolved after any others.)

Skirmish: Discard this minion to make a Culture Men.svg minion strength +4.

Massing Strength (13C111)LOTR-EN13S111.0 card.jpg Culture Orc.svg Orc Event • Skirmish Discard any number of your Culture Orc.svg minions from play to make an Culture Orc.svg minion strength +3 for each one discarded.
Battlefield Recruit (15S95)LOTR-EN15S095.0 card.jpg Culture Orc.svg Orc Minion • Orc Skirmish: Discard this minion to make a minion strength +2.
Battlefield Veteran (15S96)LOTR-EN15S096.0 card.jpg Culture Orc.svg Orc Minion • Orc Skirmish: Discard this minion to make a minion strength +1.​

Other[edit]

While Merry and Pippin can only remove skirmishing characters, they do so in a way that more closely resembles skirmish cancelling than a conventional skirmish win. The primary function of Return to Its Master and Mordor Assassin are, of course, killing the Ring-bearer. Mordor Assassin is almost impossible to meaningfully use for anything else, but Return to Its Master has been creatively repurposed to take advantage of the assignment cancellation from time to time.

Card Name Culture Card Type Game Text
Return to Its Master (1R224)LOTR-EN01S224.0 card.jpg Culture Ringwraith.svg Ringwraith Event Response: If the Ring-bearer wears The One Ring at the end of a skirmish phase, cancel all remaining assignments and assign a Nazgûl to skirmish the Ring-bearer; The One Ring’s game text does not apply during this skirmish.
Merry, Unquenchable Hobbit (4R311)LOTR-EN04S311.0 card.jpg Culture Shire.svg Shire Companion • Hobbit Skirmish: If Merry is not assigned to a skirmish, discard him to remove a Culture Sauron.svg Orc from a skirmish involving an unbound companion.
Pippin, Just a Nuisance (4R313)LOTR-EN04S313.0 card.jpg Culture Shire.svg Shire Companion • Hobbit Skirmish: If Pippin is not assigned to a skirmish, discard him to remove an Uruk-hai from a skirmish involving an unbound companion.
Mordor Assassin (7R284)LOTR-EN07S284.0 card.jpg Culture Sauron.svg Sauron Minion • Orc Response: If a companion is overwhelmed during a skirmish involving a Culture Sauron.svg Orc, remove a threat to assign this minion to the Ring-bearer (even if the Ring-bearer is already assigned).​

Replacing Characters in Skirmishes[edit]

Card Name Culture Card Type Game Text
Counts But One (8U4)LOTR-EN08S004.0 card.jpg Culture Dwarven.svg Dwarven Event • Skirmish If Gimli is not assigned to a skirmish, add a threat to have him replace an unbound companion in a skirmish.
Mighty Steed (8U17)LOTR-EN08S017.0 card.jpg Culture Gandalf.svg Gandalf Event • Skirmish If Gandalf is not assigned to a skirmish, spot Shadowfax or exert Gandalf to have him replace an unbound companion in a skirmish.
Brave and Loyal (10U105)LOTR-EN10S105.0 card.jpg Culture Shire.svg Shire Event • Skirmish If a Hobbit companion is not assigned to a skirmish, exert that Hobbit to have him or her replace a companion (except the Ring-bearer) in a skirmish.
Pippin, Brave Decoy (11R170)LOTR-EN11S170.0 card.jpg Culture Shire.svg Shire Companion • Hobbit Skirmish: If Pippin is not assigned to a skirmish, spot an unbound companion who has less resistance than Pippin to have Pippin replace him or her in a skirmish.
Gandalf, The White Rider (12R27)LOTR-EN12S027.0 card.jpg Culture Gandalf.svg Gandalf Companion • Wizard Skirmish: If Gandalf is not assigned to a skirmish, exert him and another unbound companion skirmishing a minion to make Gandalf strength +3 and have him replace that companion in that skirmish.
Blade of Gondor, Sword of Boromir (12R42)LOTR-EN12S042.0 card.jpg Culture Gondor.svg Gondor Possession • Hand Weapon Bearer must be Boromir.

He is damage +1.

Skirmish: If Boromir is not assigned to a skirmish, discard a Culture Gondor.svg card borne by him to have him replace an unbound Hobbit skirmishing a minion.

Guardian (12U50)LOTR-EN12S050.0 card.jpg Culture Gondor.svg Gondor Condition • Support Area Toil 2. (For each Culture Gondor.svg character you exert when playing this, its twilight cost is –2.)

Skirmish: If a Culture Gondor.svg companion is not assigned to a skirmish, discard this condition to have him or her replace an unbound companion skirmishing a minion.

Frodo, Frenzied Fighter (13R149)LOTR-EN13S149.0 card.jpg Culture Shire.svg Shire Companion • Hobbit Ring-bound.

While you can spot more minions than companions, Frodo cannot be overwhelmed unless his strength is tripled.

Skirmish: If Frodo is not assigned to a skirmish, exert Frodo to have him replace a Ring-bound companion skirmishing a minion.​


Gameplay
Game Setup Starting FellowshipBiddingMulligan
Deck Building Considerations UniquenessX-ListR-ListErrataFormat
General Strategies BeatdownBombCorruptionDirect Wounding/Undirected WoundingHand ExtensionRun/StopSkirmish CancellationSwarmWin ConditionWound Prevention
Deck Archetypes Auto-Corruption BombBeasterlingsElventsForestgulsHobbit HospitalFruit LoopsGondor KnightsGondor RangersGondor WraithsMoria ArcheryMoria BeatdownMoria NavyMoria SwarmMoria TentaclesNazgul BeatdownNinja GollumOrc CorruptionRainbow WoundingSauron GrindSauron InitiativeSauron RoamingSauron ThreatsSolo SmeagolSouthron ArcherySouthron InitiativeStupid SwarmSuper FriendsTelepathyThreatgulsToken TanksTroll SwarmUruk ArcheryUruk MachinesUruk TrackersWarg Super Swarm
Rules Rule of 4Rule of 9
Mechanics BearDiscardDraw DeckExertExhaustedFellowshipInitiativeIn Play/Leave PlayMove LimitReconcileRoamingSite ControlSpotStackSupport AreaThreats
Gameplay Terms BoatBodyBroken/NPE/OPBuff/NerfChokeChump BlockingComboCultural EnforcementCyclingDead DrawFatFilterFloodGasGlueGrindHand ClogHateInteractionLoopMatchupMetaMillNewbie TrapNukePilePower CreepPumpRainbowRecursionRemovalResourceRogueRule of 6SideSite ManipulationSplashSubcultureTankFetchValue EngineWhiff