Council of Lórien

Version 3 (last)

As of May 9, 1998, the following policy is in place for official Sanctioned and Qualifier Council tournaments. A Sanctioned Council tournament is an MECCG event that requires advance approval for sanction status and use of the Council package for running the event, awarding Council prizes, and reporting results to ICE to rank the players. Winners of Sanctioned Council Events may qualify to participate in that year’s Council of Lórien Annual Championship event. A Qualifier Council tournament is a special type of Sanctioned Council tournament that ICE determines in advance to guarantee the winner(s) participation in that year’s Council of Lórien Annual Championship event.

ICE reserves the right to award Sanctioned or Qualifier status to MECCG tournaments and will periodically review its award policy. Non-sanctioned MECCG events may receive promo material and prize support, other than that reserved for Council of Lórien Sanctioned and Qualifier tournaments, from ICE, but winner(s) will not be ranked, and are not qualified to participate in that years Council of Lórien Annual Championship event.

Each Sanctioned or Qualifier tournament has a tournament coordinator. This is the person in charge of running the tournament. In the text below “tournament coordinator” means the coordinator or any staff member assigned by the coordinator to assist him or her. Tournament coordinators are responsible for seeing that the council guidelines are kept, prizes are properly awarded, and that that the tournament is run in a fair and impartial manner. Tournament coordinators need to make sure that all results (including the individual score sheets of each player) are returned to the Council of Lórien by the deadlines on page two so that they can be properly recorded. Failure to report the results of a Sanctioned or Qualified event may mean that ICE will not Sanction or Qualify future events run by said coordinator.


  1. Participation– Anyone is welcome to participate in a Council of Lórien sanctioned tournament except:
    1. ICE employees, their spouses, and their immediate family. Free-lance contractors and artists are eligible to compete.
    2. Official representatives of Iron Crown Enterprises in an on-going agency status such as on-line representatives.
    3. Show staff who are working in any capacity for ICE at the event where the tournament is run. This status includes people who wish to volunteer time running demos at an ICE booth, sanctioned demo, or sanctioned tournament area. This also includes any staff working a sales booth and anyone receiving a badge from ICE.
  2. Two Player Games Only-All Council matches will be between two players unless pre-approval is obtained. Solitaire tournaments will not be official Council events. To obtain permission for a multi-player event, the tournament coordinator must submit a written proposal for the tournament structure he or she proposes to use. All such submissions become the property of Iron Crown Enterprises which may choose to publish them (with credit to the original designer).
  3. Accommodations-Players must be provided with reasonably comfortable accommodations. The playing environment must be clean and reasonably free of elements that pose a threat to the physical integrity of each player’s cards.
  4. Using Maps-If standard rules are being used, an appropriate map of the regions of MECCG can be used to depict region movement (instead of using actual region cards). The text of region cards takes precedence over maps, however. Certain regions, which may appear to be adjacent on a map, in fact, are not listed as adjacent on the appropriate region cards (e.g., Rohan and Dagorlad, Cardolan and Lindon, Old Pûkel Gap and Andrast). Such regions are not considered adjacent, even when a map is used for region movement. Maps from the Middle-earth CCG Maps were designed to minimize any discrepancies.
  5. Character Draft-Starting characters will be determined by draft as per the guidelines printed on page 55 of the Middle-earth: The Wizards Companion. and page 68 of the Middle-earth: The Lidless Eye Companion.This method is called the Character Draft (and is detailed below).

Character Draft

Each Player selects up to 10 characters to put into his or her pool of potential starting characters. This happens before characters are selected for the play deck. Certain cards may be revealed as thought they were starting characters. These cards are included in the pool of starting characters, but do not count against the 10 character maximum. Each player reveals his or her first choice for a starting character simultaneously with opponent. If a unique character is duplicated by opponent’s selection, both characters are set aside (this character may not appear in either player’s starting company).

Each player then selects a second character to reveal (but not a unique character revealed earlier). Each unduplicated revealed character goes into its player’s starting company. Each player continues this process until one of the following occurs: the player has 5 characters in his or her company (6 for a minion player), the total Mind of that player’s starting characters is 20, the player has exhausted his or her pool of 10 potential starting characters, or the player decides to stop revealing characters (i.e., he or she is satisfied with the starting company). Note that when one player stops, the other player continues revealing characters until one of the four conditions is met. A player may not reveal a character that would bring the total Mind of all of his or her starting characters above 20.

In his or her play deck, each player may now assign up to 10 characters, and this may include any unrevealed or duplicated (set aside) characters from his or her pool of starting characters. Note that the Character Draft differs from the rulesbook in that a duplicated starting character does not automatically go into the play deck, and that its inclusion in the play deck does count against the deck’s 10 character maximum.

Allowing players to introduce characters in this fashion minimizes matches where each player starts with very few characters because of multiple duplications.

  1. End-of-Game Ties-The End-of-Game is a general term that encompasses a game’s final “process:” Free Council, Audience with Sauron, Day of Reckoning, etc. The Weakest Link Method, as printed on page 57 of the Middle-earth: The Wizards Companion (and detailed below), is used to break ties at the End-of-Game.

The Weakest Link Method

If both players have an equal number of marshalling points when the End-of-Game resolves (i.e., there is a tie), add one corruption point to each non-Wizard, non-Ringwraith character in play. Each character (including any Wizard) must make another corruption check. Marshalling points are recounted and victory is awarded to the player with the most marshalling points. If there is still a tie, add one more corruption point to each non-Wizard, non-Ringwraith character and each makes another corruption check. Again, assess marshalling points to see if a winner emerges. If not, continue adding one corruption point, making corruption checks, and reassessing marshalling points until a winner emerges.

If, in the unlikely event, all non-Wizard/Ringwraith characters in play are corrupted away by this method, and there is still a tie, each player receives 3 tournament points (see description of the Swiss System tournament format below).

Note that the Weakest Link Method simulates who will most likely fail in the final struggle against the enemy. The characters are not actually being corrupted during the End-of-Game. Instead, the End-of-Game Council is “peering into the heart and soul” of each character and assessing him or her.

  1. End-of-Game Order-To determine which player’s characters make their corruption checks first when going into the End-of-Game (and possibly carried into The Weakest Link Method), each player makes a dice roll. Rerolling ties, the player who rolls highest chooses which player’s characters go first. This rule only has a significant application in limited cases, such as when a Traitor card is in play.
  2. Creature Minimum-A 12 creature minimum is required in each play deck’s hazard mix. Creatures that are also events count as only half a creature towards this limit (rounding down). Such creatures include the Nazgûl, Mouth of Sauron, and Shelob. Dragon Ahunt and At Home manifestations count as half a creature for these purposes. Agents (introduced in Middle-earth: Dark Minions) also count as half a creature for these purposes, when constructing a hero or Balrog deck. Agents count as characters in minion and Fallen-wizard decks for these purposes. Sideboards have no such creature restrictions.
  3. Card Minimums-The minimum number of hazards and resources in a play deck is increased from 25 and 25 to 30 and 30.
  4. Wizard/Ringwraith Allowance-Up to 3 of the same Wizard/Ringwraith or up to 2 of the same Wizard/Ringwraith and 1 of a different Wizard/Ringwraith may be included in a play deck. Up to 3 of the same Wizard/Ringwraith, and one of each of the other Wizards/Ringwraiths, may be included in a play deck and sideboard combined. Wizards/Ringwraiths are an exception as such to the rule of unique cards.
  5. Dual-Purpose Cards-A card that can be played as either a resource or as a hazard can be counted in either the resource mix or hazard mix of a deck for the purposes of including an equal number of resources and hazards.
  6. End-of-Game MP Modifications-Players and the coordinator should make certain that, for standard rules games, all of the marshalling point modifications printed on page 39 of the Middle-earth: The Lidless Eye Companion are properly accounted for. The MELE Companion contains the most current version of the End-of-Game rules for all players. Interpret Audience with Sauron as End-of-Game for the general case. These modifications are to be interpreted in the order they are printed. Subtractions for eliminated characters are applied before these modifications, although subtractions for eliminated Wizards or Ringwraiths are applied after these modifications.

Rules of etiquette

  1. Deck Construction-The cards used in deck building may be from any edition or expansion of MECCG (including non-English translations and official promotional cards). Cards existing only in non-English versions may not be used. The mechanics of any given card will be determined from the most recent English printing (as well as from official errata and the official rulings). No proxy cards will be allowed, except for those provided by the tournament director (see 16 below). Cards from any particular expansion may only be used in Council events after a minimum time of 30 days following their official retail release.
  2. Deck Integrity-Each player is required to use the same play deck, sideboard, pool of starting characters, and starting minor items for the entire tournament. The elements are collectively called the player’s deck. No card substitutions are allowed between games. A player must start each game with the same cards in his or her play deck, sideboard, and pool of starting characters as he or she started the tournament. The tournament coordinator may choose to require each player to submit a written copy of all cards of all elements of his or her deck (spot checks may be used to ensure decks are legal).
  3. Marked Cards-A player may petition the tournament coordinator to disallow a non-location card from an opponent’s cards if the offending card has a distinguishing mark, tear, or fold visible on its generic side. Disallowed cards may be replaced by proxies provided by the tournament coordinator, if deemed necessary.
  4. Protective Sleeves-A player may play with his or her cards in protective sleeves unless the tournament coordinator requires the cards to be taken out of the sleeves. An opponent may petition the tournament coordinator to require that a player remove his or her cards from their protective sleeves, if the opponent reasonably believes that one of the following rules is being violated.
    • Each of a player’s cards must be in the same make of protective sleeve.
    • Each card must be oriented the same way with respect to the opening of the sleeve.
    • No distinguishing marks or inconsistent degree of wear is allowed on individual sleeves.
    • Only one card is allowed in each sleeve.
  5. Shuffling-All deck shuffling must be made above the edge of the table (in clear view of your opponent). After you shuffle your cards at least three times, your opponent will be allowed to shuffle your cards and/or cut your deck up to three times. An opponent must shuffle a player’s cards in a manner that will not damage the cards’ physical integrity. It is highly recommended that an opponent shuffle a player’s cards by dealing them out in some number of face-down stacks, or with a gentle riffle-shuffle.
  6. Conventions of Play-Each player and opponent should make sure that any conventions used for card play (including denoting play decks and discard piles) are obvious and agreed upon by both players.
  7. Players that Stall-If an opponent is believed to be stalling for purposeful gain, or if an opponent is believed to be stalling through a lack of respect for or sensitivity to the time limit, the player can petition the tournament coordinator to observe the game. If the coordinator observes that the opponent is stalling more than what is reasonable and necessary, the coordinator can call the game in favor of the non-stalling player.

In a Swiss System format (see below), the player receives the maximum tournament points for the capability of his or her deck. The tournament coordinator would have to make a judgment as to what the deck’s capability is. There are exactly two choices: the deck is either capable of winning with The One Ring ; or the deck is only capable of the maximum marshalling points win. For a deck to win with The One Ring, the tournament coordinator must determine that the deck contains the cards necessary to make winning with The One Ring the deck’s primary goal.

  1. Players Dropping Out-A player should be discouraged from dropping out of a game before the game has reached its natural conclusion. A player is expected to drop out of the tournament between rounds if he or she believes he or she will be unable to complete the following round’s game. Certain emergencies cannot be avoided though, and a player may be forced to drop out of a game.

If a player drops out of a game, he or she drops out of the tournament, cannot reenter the tournament in a later round, and receives no consideration for prizes or tournament ranking. If a player drops out of the game, the player concedes the game and the opponent receives the win. In a Swiss System format (see below), the opponent receives the maximum tournament points for the capability of his or her deck (as outlined in 19 above).

  1. Rules Violations during Play-Rules violations will probably occur in tournaments. It is suggested that these violations not be policed or worried about until a player involved notes it. At that point in the game, the correct rule is adopted. A previous violation is not affected or retroactively corrected after both players implicitly agree to the violation. For example, if a player chooses Sting (a unique minor item) for his starting company, and his opponent notices after the first turn of the game that unique minor items may not be chosen for starting companies, do not replace Sting at this point. If the opponent noticed the violation before either player had taken a first turn, the offending player must replace Sting with a non-unique minor item. The tournament coordinator may choose to immediately correct any rules violations brought to his or her attention.
  2. Cheating-If a player cheats, he or she is immediately ejected from the event. This should be reported to the Council of Lórien, so that further action can be taken if necessary. In a Swiss System format (see below), an opponent receives the maximum tournament points for the capability of his or her deck (as outline in 19 above).

Clarifications and Rulings

  1. Legal Play of Cards-A player may not play a card just to discard it (i.e., just get it out of his or her hand). Specifically, a card may only be declared if it meets at least one of the following criteria.
    1. The card must have an immediate effect on the game.
    2. The card is a long-event. Long-events can always be played, even if ultimately they will not affect play.
    3. The card has a potential effect on play that could be triggered later (e.g., the second use of Dragon’s Desolation). Most permanent-events fall into this category. Only those that are playable on or with a certain entity are restrictive. For example, you cannot play a corruption card if no character exists that would be affected by it.

In all cases, if a card “cannot be duplicated,” a second copy of that card cannot be declared-unless the first copy of the card is targeted for removal earlier in the same chain of effects when the second copy is played. This is a clarification of Annotation 11 given on page 50 of the Middle-earth: The Wizards Companion.

  1. When Cards Are Played-A player may not declare any resources during the opponent’s turn. Additionally, a player may not actively engage any resource or character effect during the opponent’s turn (e.g., a player may not tap a Palantír during the opponent’s turn). A player may not declare any hazards and may not actively engage any hazard permanent-events, etc. outside of the opponent’s movement/hazard phase.
  2. Illegal Targets-A player may not target an opponent’s characters, companies, items, followers, etc. with his or her own resources. Of course, resource long-events and other cards which do not target and have global effects will affect opponent’s cards.
  3. Card Text vs. Rules-A card’s text takes precedence if it contradicts a rule of the game (or these rules).
  4. Revealing Manipulated Cards-Certain cards, effects, and/or rules allow a player to search for cards and add them to his or her hand, play deck, or discard pile outside of the normal sequence of play (i.e., in addition to filling out the hand and drawing cards when a company moves). A player may or may not be required to reveal some or all of the identity of such manipulated cards. If the card manipulated must be a specific type of hazard or resource, then it must be revealed to the opponent. If the card must be either a hazard, resource, or character, then enough of the manipulated card’s face must be revealed to show opponent that it is the correct type. If there are no restrictions on which cards may be manipulated, the manipulated card does not have to be revealed.
  5. Official Rulings Source-All rulings from the Collected Rulings File (compiled by Van Norton) given on ICE’s WEB page at “” are official rulings for use with Council events.

Additional Rules

In addition to these guidelines, a few rules which do not appear in older versions of the rulesbook take effect for tournament play.

  1. Removing Corruption Cards-A character may choose to ignore the restriction that he or she tap to remove a corruption card (as printed on a corruption card), and suffer a -3 penalty to the dice roll to remove it. This means a character can remain untapped to remove a corruption card and modify his roll by -3. The character can remove a corruption card when already tapped (or wounded) and modify his roll by -3. A character may only attempt to remove each corruption card once per organization phase if he or she ignores the tapping restriction to do so.
  2. Larger Sideboard-The sideboard (which is not used with starter rules) has been increased according to the Middle-earth: The White Hand rules insert. The maximum number of cards a deck may have in its sideboard in a 1-deck or 2-deck game is 30, 3-deck game is 35, and 4-deck game is 40.
  3. Accessing Hazards in Sideboard-A player can access hazard cards in his or her sideboard when the opponent’s Wizard or Ringwraith is in play-or if the opponent is Sauron. A player must do this at the end of the opponent’s untap phase. Specifically, the player may either bring up to 5 hazard cards from the sideboard into the discard pile, or 1 hazard card from the sideboard into the play deck and shuffle (if at least 5 cards are in the play deck). In either case, the hazard limit against all of the opponent’s companies this turn is halved, rounded up.
  4. Movement to Gorgoroth-Wizard players may only move to or from sites in Gorgoroth by using specific region movement from a site Imlad Morgul, specific region movement that passes through Nurn or Udûn, Under-deeps movement or using special movement resources like Gwahir or Mountains of Shadow.
  5. Victory Conditions-The elimination of a player’s Wizard or Ringwraith no longer ends the game. The eliminated Wizard/Ringwraith should be placed in the player’s out-of-play pile. It provides -5 marshalling points, subtracted off the player’s final marshalling point total at the End-of-Game. The -5 also comes off the player’s “raw” total for the purposes of calling the End-of-Game. A player whose Wizard or Ringwraith has been eliminated may not reveal another Wizard or Ringwraith. This includes all Wizards who fail corruption checks.
  6. General Influence Bonus-Ringwraith/Sauron players have +5 unused general influence at all times. This bonus general influence can never be used to control characters.
  7. Starting Companies-Ringwraith/Sauron players may have starting companies at Dol Guldur and/or Minas Morgul. A ringwraith may also be brought into play at Dol Guldur, Minas Morgul, or his home site.

The Swiss System Format

The Council of Lórien has adopted a variation of the Swiss System for its official tournament format. This tournament format allows the success of each player to be determined by a total of tournament points awarded from the play of several games, thereby decreasing the deterministic role of luck in each game. Keep in mind that this format measures a player’s performance versus the field of players, not necessarily against specific players. It is important that players not be allowed to scout their opponent’s decks.

The Swiss System format can be used for any of the actual types of games being run (two-deck standard rules, sealed deck starter rules, scenario, etc.). The guidelines below assume a game type using an End-of-Game. will be run. This is as opposed to a Resource/Character scenario tournament; see the special section below for specific suggestions on running a Resource/ Character scenario tournament. Here are the basics of the Swiss System tournament structure that The Council of Lórien has adopted:

  • Number of rounds-A Swiss System tournament is comprised of a certain number of rounds as dictated by the number of participants in the tournament.
Players Rounds Official
 2 1 No
3-4 2 No
5 3 No
 6-8 3 Yes
9-16 4 Yes
17-32 5 Yes
33-64 6 Yes
64+ 7 Yes
  • Each player may participate and play (unless a bye is given) in each round. If a player drops out of a tournament, he or she must inform the tournament coordinator.
  • Awarding Byes-For each round, it must be determined if an even or odd number of players are participating. If an odd number are participating, one player is given a “bye”. The player given the bye does not play a game that round. If a bye needs to be given for the first round, the tournament coordinator randomly chooses a player from all players. If a bye needs to be given for any later rounds, the tournament coordinator randomly chooses one player from the group of players having the lowest tournament point totals. No player should recieve two byes in one tournament. A player given a bye recieves tournament points depending on the round of the tournament:
Round Points
 1 6
2 5
3 4
4 3
5 2
6+ 1

After awarding one player a bye, an even number of players will remain to play in the round. It is encouraged that the tournament coordinator take steps to avoid giving a bye for the first round. If at all possible, the tournament coordinator should have someone available to play or not play, to make sure there is an even number of players.

  • With an even number of players participating in a round, players are paired off. Paired players play one game within a time limit. Specific game rules and time limits are dictated by the game type of the tournament (two-deck standard rules, sealed deck starter rules, scenario, etc.).
  • For the first round only, players are paired off randomly (i.e., each player has zero tournament points).
  • Pairing Players -For each round after the first round, each player is paired off with another player with the exact same total of tournament points. A tournament coordinator begins pairing each round with the group of players who have the highest total tournament points. When pairings are being determined, choose a player at random from the pool of available players with the same total of tournament points, and then choose the player with whom he or she is paired.

If more than one eligible player exists with whom a player may be paired, the second player is determined randomly from all eligible players. If no eligible players exist with whom a player may be paired, the player is paired with a player with the next lowest total tournament points (chosen randomly if more than one player exists with the next lowest total).

Tournament coordinators must try to avoid having the same players play each other more than once. If a player’s tournament points indicate that he should face an opponent he has already faced, try to rearange the pairings with other players of the same tournament points, so that all player’s are facing a new opponent. If this is not possible, randomly choose a player from with the next lowest number of tournament points as that player’s initially chosen opponent.

  • Each player is awarded a certain number of tournament points based upon the result of each game he or she plays.
  • Upon completing a game, a player must notify the tournament coordinator if he or she intends not to participate in the next round. A player can feel free to drop out of the tournament after any round, but the player would then be ineligible to reenter the tournament and ineligible to receive any prize or ranking consideration.
  • A total of accumulated tournament points is kept for each player. The winner of the tournament is the player with the most tournament points when all rounds of the tournament are completed. Runners-up can also be determined at that time by comparing tournament point totals.
  • Tournament Points-A player is awarded a number of tournament points for the following game results (only one result can apply to each player at the conclusion of each of his or her games).
    1. Winning with The One Ring (i.e., successfully executing Cracks of Doom, A New Ringlord, etc.)-10 (in sealed deck game), 8 (in a single-deck game), 7 (in a two-deck), 6 (in a three-deck or four-deck game);
    2. Defeating opponent with a Marshalling Points Ratio of 2 or greater-6;
    3. Defeating opponent with a Marshalling Points Ratio less than 2 but greater than or equal to 1.5-5;
    4. Defeating opponent with a Marshalling Points Ratio less than 1.5 but greater than one-4;
    5. Defeating opponent with the Weakest Link Method of breaking ties at the Free Council-3.5;
    6. Achieving a tie as per item 6 under GENERAL at the top of this document-3;
    7. Losing with the Weakest Link Method of breaking ties at the Free Council-2.5;
    8. Losing to an opponent who wins by result (d) above-2;
    9. Loosing to an opponent who wins by result (c) above-1;
    10. Losing the game otherwise-0.
  • Tournament Point Ties-When all rounds are completed, it is possible that more than one player will have the same highest tournament point total (i.e., the leaders will be tied). The following menu of tie-breaking criteria is followed. Each tied participant is in contention until a criterion is resolved that takes him or her out of contention. Those leading participants removed from contention are relegated to the tier of runners-up (and possibly could face another series of tie-breaking criteria-see below). The coordinator resolves the list of criteria in the order given, establishing each player removed from contention, until one player is left in contention, or until the entire list of criteria is resolved and a tie still exists (see below for this case).
    1. Head-to-Head. Tally the number of losses of each tied player from all games played with any other tied players. The players with the fewest total head-to-head losses stay in contention. All other players are out of contention.
    2. Number of Wins. Tally the number of games each tied player received 3.5 or more tournament points-these are wins. Players with the most wins stay in contention, all others are out of contention.
    3. Sum of Opponent’s Scores. For each tied player, add up all of their opponent’s tournament point totals. The player with the highest sum wins the tie-breaker.

If more than one player is still in contention after criterion III is resolved, playoff rounds are held. The playoff rounds are formatted in the same manner as the tournament. See the Number of Rounds note above regarding the number of rounds to be played. If both players and the tournament coordinator agree, however, no tie breaker actions are taken, and each tied participant is recognized as co-champion. The pre-determined prizes for the number of top finishers equal to the number of co-champions should be divided up and awarded evenly amongst the co-champions.

If multiple players are tied in a lower tier, the previously mentioned guidelines also apply. Replace the concept of players tied with the most points with players tied with the same number of points.

The tie-breaking policy requires that tournament coordinators keep a running record of each player’s opponent in addition to tournament point results each round.

  • Time Limits-Each game has a time limit that depends on the type of game being played. The time limit is the amount of time allowed for the play of games. A tournament coordinator needs to consider an additional 15 minutes or so between rounds for administrative tasks. Also, a coordinator needs to consider an amount of start-up time (20 minutes or so).
    • one-deck game-50 minutes
    • two-deck game-1 hour and 20 minutes
    • three-deck game-2 hours
    • campaign game-3 hours
    • sealed deck game-50 minutes*
    • resource/character scenario game-1 hour*

* See the descriptions of the different games below for further information.

  • A tournament coordinator will have an official time keeping device. He or she should announce the time approximately 10 or 15 minutes before final time will be called. When the time limit is reached according to the official time keeping device, play of each game continues until: the player who went second in the game finishes a turn (i.e., until both players have played the same number of turns); or until the End-of-Game is called normally according to the rules. After the player who went second finishes his or her turn, the End-of-Game begins automatically, regardless of marshalling point totals.
  • Marshalling Point Ratios-If, at the Free Council after the final marshalling point (MP) totals have been tallied (including all standard rules interpretations), one player has more MPs than the opponent, that player wins. The winner receives either 4, 5, or 6 tournament points depending upon the ratio of his MP total to the opponent’s (see above). The loser receives 2, 1, or 0 points respectively. To determine a winner’s MP ratio, divide the winner’s total MPs by the loser’s MPs. A loser with zero MPs automatically gives the winner 6 points.
  • Negative MPs-A player’s final MP total after all End-of-Game modifications cannot be negative. In this case, the MP total is zero.
  • If, at the Free Council after the final MP totals have been tallied (including all standard rules interpretations), both players have the same number of MPs (i.e., they are tied), use the Weakest Link Method to determine a winner and a loser (see above). The winner receives 3.5 tournament points; the looser receives 2.5.


The following formats are allowed for sanctioned tournament play. Other formats will require a written proposal, as outlined above.

Hero alignment includes Wizard players. Minion alignment includes Ringwraith, Sauron, and Balrog players. Fallen-wizard alignment includes Fallen-wizard players. As new avatars come out in future expansions, they will specify to which alignment the avatars belong.

Single Alignment

Each player is the same alignment: hero, minion, or Fallen-wizard. Any hazards from any MECCG expansion may be used, but only the appropriate resources, characters and sites may be used. As an exception, hero items may be used in a minion tournament, and vice versa, as per the rules on p.75 of the MELE rulesbook. In a Fallen-wizard only tournament, each player should declare which Fallen-wizard he or she is playing to the tournament coordinator. The tournament coordinator should, and is allowed, to break normal pairing rules to not pair two players with the same Fallen-wizard against each other. Single Alignment tournaments require players to each bring one deck.

General Opponent

You may play either any alignment you choose: hero, minion, or Fallen-wizard. You do not know the alignment of your opponent until he tells you at the start of the game. You may bring two decks of the same alignment to the tournament. One must be dedicated for play against minion opponents, and the other against hero opponents. Either deck may be used against a Fallen-wizard. You may have cards which are used in both decks, but each deck must contain the same cards for each game it is used in.

If your opponent declares he is a Fallen-wizard, he must also declare which one he is. You may add ten predetermined cards to your sideboard against a Fallen-wizard opponent. If you are playing with the Wizard corresponding to the Fallen-wizard your opponent is playing, then you may replace those Wizard cards with an equal number of other Wizard character cards that you have available (these need not come from any deck). In any case, you may not play the Wizard corresponding to your opponent’s Fallen-wizard.

The Sealed Deck Game

Due to size considerations, sealed deck tournaments only require a 25/25 card minimum deck size (as printed in the rulesbook). For a sealed deck game tournament, each player receives a starter deck and three booster packs. ICE suggest using either 3 boosters from Middle-earth The Wizards, or 1 booster from Middle-earth the Wizards and two from either Middle-earth: Dragons or Middle-earth: Dark Minions. No other cards are allowed in the play area besides the cards received from the Tournament Coordinator. Tournament coordinators should feel free to enforce this policy any way they see fit.

Each player is allowed 45 minutes to construct a deck for a one-deck game. It will have to determined if standard or starter rules are being used by the tournament coordinator. It should be noted that on average, seven cards (not counting region cards) from each player’s set of cards will not be playable at all. Players should be aware of this extra baggage when constructing their decks. If a player does not have 25 playable hazards or resources, he or she should play with all that he or she does have, and still play with 25 of the other.

Players may exchange cards between his or her deck and the set of cards he received but did not use between rounds. Such exchanges must be completed in the time allotted between rounds and may not interfere with the running of the tournament (i.e., when the Tournament Coordinator announces that the players are to pair up and begin the next round, players must immediately stop exchanging cards and get ready to play the next round).

The Challenge Deck Game

Each player brings a Challenge Deck to the tournament, or purchases one at the tournament. No cards may be added to or removed from the deck, and all cards in the deck must contain the proper icon for that deck. Standard rules should be used for the tournament, and it should be run as a two-deck tournament.

The Resource/Character Scenario Game

It is recommended that resource/character scenarios be considered by a tournament coordinator who has the means of communicating to all players in advance what the pool of scenarios will be for the tournament. It is suggested that the coordinator post (in advance) three resource/character scenarios that will be used for the tournament. Each player comes to the tournament with a deck constructed for his or her chosen scenario.

Present Official Scenarios-Presently, the three scenarios for official Council event tournaments are:

  1. A Hobbit’s Quest (found on page 72 of the Middle-earth: The Wizards Companion)
  2. Barrels out of Bond (found on page 66 of the Middle-earth: The Wizards Companion)
  3. The King beneath the Mountains (found on page 67 of the Middle-earth: The Wizards Companion)

Resource/character scenario game tournaments can be run within the same tournament Swiss System structure as the other Free Council games (which are the games presented in the rulesbook). Each player attempts to complete the victory conditions of his or her chosen scenario instead of playing for the Free Council. After starting characters are revealed, each player must announce to the opponent which scenario he or she has chosen. The opponent then knows what victory conditions the player is trying to achieve.

Other resource/character scenarios can be used if approved by the Council of Lórien. To obtain permission, the tournament coordinator must submit a written proposal for the scenarios he or she proposes to use. Original scenarios so submitted become the property of Iron Crown Enterprises, which may choose to publish them (with credit to the original designer).

  • Time Limit-For a Resource/Character Scenario tournament game, time is called after one hour . If, at this point, no player has achieved the victory conditions for his or her scenario, the player who currently is taking his or her turn finishes the turn. If the opponent did not have the first turn, the opponent then takes one final turn (i.e., both players get the same number of turns). Assuming in the interim no player achieves the victory conditions for his or her chosen scenario, the winner is the player who achieves the higher “rank” as indicated by his or her specific scenario.
  • Ties-If both players have achieved the same “rank” as indicated by the specific scenarios, the players tie. Each receives 3 tournament points.
  • Tournament Points-A player is awarded a number of tournament points in a resource/character scenario game for the following game results:
    • Achieving the victory conditions of his or her chosen scenario-6
    • Achieving the higher rank at the game’s end-4
    • Tying-3
    • Losing with a lower rank at the game’s end-2
    • Losing if opponent achieves his or her victory conditions-0

Common house rules for tournaments

Some tournaments deviate (slightly) from the normal tournament rules. Such house rules should in all cases be clearly announced; so read your tournament’s announcement to find out. Some of the most common deviations are listed here for easy reference. These are not official rules: each of these rules is only in effect if the tournament announcement clearly states so.



And more


Use all sites

Many find the limited means of sealed a special challenge and charm. Some find it a bit over the top and vividly remember drawing several factions and other resources they couldn’t play because they didn’t draw the matching sites. Therefore in some sealeds it is allowed to use all sites. A downsite is of course that the sites you do draw don’t give you any advantage at all.

If you go to a sealed like this you should bring your location deck from home if possible, for convenience. Not having a copy of your own with of each site should not limit you though.

Add one proxy site to sites drawn

Another, probably more balanced way to enhance the sealed experience is to allow one proxy site; just one. Other than that you have to make do with what you draw.

When you are done making your deck you can choose one site and add it. This site remains fixed for the tournament. Usually a proxy is made from a superfluous region or site card.


Balrog character trickses are limited to two minders

It is widely believed that the Barlog, being the last set ICE introduced, is a bit too powerful and would have been rebalanced by new cards and errata by now, had ICE still been around to do so. Some players went over the set looking and found the ease with which the Balrog throws in fresh characters worth MPs and all the most disturbing.  They suggest to limit the Balrog’s ability to play characters from dicard pile or sideboard to characters with a maximum of two mind (instead of three mind). So the Balrog’s rules on playing characters read like this:

• During his organization phase, a Balrog player may bring into play (and/or remove from play) up to two characters – one of these characters must be non-unique. The normal requirements for bringing into play (or removing from play) a character must still be met.
• When a Balrog player brings into play a non-unique character with a mind of 2 or less, that character may come from his hand, his discard pile, or his sideboard.

The suggestion is detailed here on the forums. We’d appreciate it if you’d use that thread to share your experiences with tournaments that used this rule.

And more

These are just the most commonly used ones we’re aware of. Many more are waiting for you to try them, comment on them and contribute to them on the optional rules forum. Some especially recommended ones are bundled in the UEP, as this introduction explains.