Strength is one of the defining attributes of all character cards (along with vitality). It is an extremely important number to track; indeed, about one-third of all the cards in the entire game modify strength in one way or another. Strength represents a mix between a character's brute force and their combat ability, so characters with high skill (Aragorn) or characters with a large size or ferocity (Uruk-hai) tend to have high strength, while those with neither (Hobbits) have low strength.
Strength is primarily modified by the use of weapon artifacts and possessions, though every card type in the game can change a character's strength via game text. If a card is attached to a character, it is placed below the character's card, slightly sticking out to the left so the strength bonus is visible. This does not always show all of the strength bonus granted, however, as is the case with Vile Blade (2C95) which also has game text that modifies strength.
Strength is used when calculating both attack and defense, usually during the Skirmish phase. The attacker's strength is compared to the defender's strength, and whoever is lower receives one wound. In the event of a tie, the Shadow side always wins. Strength is therefore of utmost importance to many strategies, as winning skirmishes without good strength is very rare indeed.
In the event that one side's strength doubles the other side's, the loser is Overwhelmed rather than wounded, which instantly results in death (though this can be mitigated through use of cards such as Coat of Mail (1C101) ). This makes super-strength minions such as The Balrog, Durin's Bane (2C51) or The Witch-king, Lord of Angmar (1R237) very dangerous, as companions need to meet a certain strength threshold (9 and 8, respectively) to avoid being one-shot.
Minions with high strength tend to cost more twilight than a careful Free Peoples player will want to put on the table, so simply packing your deck with high-strength minions is not a very good strategy. And a high-strength character is not in itself a sure-fire victory, either, since there are other means of killing your opponent (such as direct wounding with cards like Mordor's Strength (1C255) or Éowyn, Lady of Ithilien (10R72) ), or even avoiding combat altogether (with Hobbit Stealth (1C298) , etc).
If the total strength of one side is more than the strength of the other side . . . the side with the most strength wins that skirmish.
See more information available in the Skirmish Phase entry in the Comprehensive Guide. There is no "!strength" entry, so information is spread throughout the guide.
Cards That Modify Strength
Due to the sheer number of cards that modify the strength modifier, the list has been moved to List of Strength Cards.
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