Towers Standard

From LOTR-TCG Wiki

When the Lord of the Rings TCG began, there was only one format: the cards that existed. With the release of The Two Towers, Decipher split the game into three formats:

It quickly became apparent that the open format had problems in a competitive environment; in particular, there was a lack of deck diversity at the top level[1]. In order to solve this issue, Decipher introduced a new format, Standard, which had the same card pool as the Open format but with an X-List of banned cards. This was done in March 2003, right on the heels of the release of Battle of Helm's Deep.

Unlike block formats, which were continuously supported by Decipher mostly unchanged, Standard was always an evolving format. Once set 7 was released there was a new King Block site path and drastically different culture focuses, and so it represented a logical branching point. Over time, the term "Towers Standard" came to refer to the Standard Format as it existed immediately before the release of The Return of the King in November 2003 -- sets up to Ents of Fangorn using the Towers Block site path.

Because Towers introduced several completely new cultures and self-complete subcultures, there is considerable overlap between the two Towers formats anyway -- the World Champion deck of Towers Standard included just 8 cards from Fellowship Block[2], most of them at only one copy. The biggest difference is how to handle swarms, as Towers Block has almost no support for Frodo (Hobbit Sword (4C306) and The One Ring are the only ways to increase his strength) and relatively tame controls for large fellowships. Towers Standard and Towers Block, while less popular than Fellowship Block, Movie Block, or Expanded, are still mainstream and together account for 5-10% of all casual games on Gemp (other formats rarely break 2% in any 30-day period).

Ring-bearer skirmishes can be cancelled in Towers Standard, as that rule had not yet been introduced. However, only cards from Towers Block are able to accomplish the task: those from Fellowship Block had either been banned (O Elbereth! Gilthoniel! (2R108) and Filibert Bolger, Wily Rascal (2C101) ) or ruled to only function on the Fellowship site path (Hobbit Intuition (1C296) and Hobbit Stealth (1C298) ).


Decklists for Towers Standard can be found at this subforum of the Last Homely House.


The following cards cannot be included in Towers Standard decks, with a brief description of why they were banned. Most Free Peoples cards on the inaugural list were banned because they had little or no "cultural enforcement," meaning almost any deck could too easily benefit from them. For more details, see X-List.


Sets 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10 9 11 12 13 14 15 17 18 16 19
Historical Decipher Formats Fellowship Block Towers Block King Block War of the Ring Block Hunters Block
Towers Standard
King Standard
Movie Block
War of the Ring Standard
Player's Council Formats (including PC Errata) 1 2 3 V1 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
Unofficial Formats 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10 9 11 12 13 14 15 17 18 16 19
French French
Austrian (Movie)
Austrian (Shadows)
Other Variants
SealedBooster DraftCube DraftCulture ShockHighlanderPoor Man'sPC Errata