The Two Towers

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Battle of Helm's Deep
The Two Towers
NameThe Two Towers
Release Date2002-11-06
Is Officialyes
PlatformsPaper LotR-O GEMP mLOTRO Tabletop Simulator Lackey gccg

Treebeard, Earthborn (4R103) interacted with the new Bouncing Hobbits archetype.

Set 4, The Two Towers (or TTT) is the second base set of the Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game, and the fourth expansion overall. It was released on November 6, 2002 (one month before the movie of the same name), as the first set of Towers Block. It introduced the Ents, the Riders of Rohan, Dunlendings, Southrons, and Easterlings. Overall, the set had little to no power creep, and was well-produced, making it easier to find sealed product than the Realms of the Elf-lords set that came immediately before it.

Notable Cards[edit]

Starter Decks[edit]

Themes and Mechanics[edit]

Like The Fellowship of the Ring before it, New Line disallowed certain concepts from being represented on cards which were considered "spoilers" for the film. The most famous of these was Gollum, who wouldn't premier until the next set of Battle of Helm's Deep.

Rumor has it that Decipher originally tinkered with producing a brand new game rather than continue to extend the mechanics of the TCG, which which were tied closely to the events and structure of The Fellowship of the Ring. This would have been similar to what they did for Star Wars Episode 1, where its content was kept entirely within the Young Jedi TCG instead of the SWCCG (at first, anyway). Whether or not those rumors have any truth to them, the TTT set struggled to implement mechanics which represented the plot of the film and book as well as FOTR had done before it.

The most impactful new mechanic involves the split Ring-bound and Unbound labels for companions, which was an attempt to represent the story split between Frodo in Mordor and everyone else in Rohan. Ring-bound companions (Ithilien Rangers, Frodo, Sam, and later Sméagol) were part of Frodo's storyline, while unbound companions were off fighting in Rohan. Raider cards would target and gain bonuses from fighting Ring-bound companions, while Isengard and Dunland cards would target unbound companions.

This mechanic endured, if only because having a shorthand of "unbound" instead of "(except the Ring-bearer)" was convenient for game design. However, even with the number of culture-level designs around targeting specific subsets of individuals, you had the issue of a Rohan fellowship dragging Frodo with them as their Ring-bearer, or a Ring-bound Ranger fellowship trekking through Rohan, which remained thematic issues that made TTT more ill-fitted to the game mechanics thematically than FOTR was.

Also related to the Ring-bound/unbound split was the treatment of the site path--the Towers Block site path in general follows the "unbound" plotline, but various "ring-bound" conditions were included that offered flavor relating to Frodo's journey at specific sites. These cards include:

New Cultures[edit]

This set introduced three new cultures:

  • Raider, representing the evil nations of Men sworn to serve Sauron
  • Dunland, a faction of evil Men influenced by Saruman (and only split off from Raider because Decipher thought that 2 Shadow cultures was too few)
  • Rohan, the kingdom of horsemen led by Théoden and his heirs Éomer and Éowyn

It was also the first set to contain zero cards from already-established cultures Moria, Ringwraith, and Sauron.

New Loaded Keywords[edit]

The Two Towers introduced four new loaded keywords:

  • Ambush, which appeared in the Southron subculture of the Raider culture
  • Ring-bound, which retroactively applied to all versions of Frodo and Sam and was used to create the Ring-bound Ranger subculture in Gondor
  • Unbound, which was never written as a keyword on any companions, but meant "not ring-bound"
  • Unhasty, which appeared in this set only on the two versions of Treebeard

New Unloaded Keywords[edit]

The Two Towers introduced seven new unloaded keywords:

Other mechanics[edit]

The Two Towers introduced several other new mechanics:

Reprinted cards[edit]

Similar sites[edit]

Because The Two Towers introduced a completely new site path, the set included some sites very similar to sites previously released in Fellowship Block in order to enable the same strategies.

Official Decipher Sets Promotional Promotional
Fellowship Block The Fellowship of the RingMines of MoriaRealms of the Elf-lords
Towers Block The Two TowersBattle of Helm's DeepEnts of Fangorn
King Block The Return of the KingSiege of GondorMount Doom
War of the Ring Block ShadowsBlack RiderBloodlines
Hunters Block The HuntersRise of SarumanTreachery & Deceit
Non-Block Sets ReflectionsExpanded Middle-earthThe Wraith CollectionAge's End
Unreleased Sets The Great EyeShelob's Lair
Unofficial Fan Sets Player's Council PC Kitchen Sink (V0)Shadow of the Past (V1)
The Hobbit Draft Game Main DeckShadow PacksSupplementary Packs
mLOTRO MLOTRO Promo CardsMLOTRO Reflections II
The Journey Continues The Journey Begins