Bombur (Hero)

Thematic Dwarf hero designed primarily to get you to 5 Dwarf characters as quickly as possible.

Background

Poor Bombur. The dude just likes a good meal and strong drink, yet is always the butt of the jokes. In Tolkien’s world, we first meet Bombur in The Hobbit when he shows up along with the other dwarves of Thorin’s Company (along with Gandalf) to Bilbo Baggins’ home of Bag End in the Shire. We learn little of his background, other than the fact that his brother is Bofur and his cousin is Bifur. He likely lived with Thorin and the other dwarves of this tale in the Blue Mountains leading up to the main events of the story – namely the quest to reclaim Erebor from the dragon Smaug. Throughout the adventure, numerous references are made to his, um, girth, and usually in a humorous manner. The card’s flavor text is a perfect example. A memorable scenario involving Bombur’s size is the Enchanted Stream in Mirkwood, where Bombur fell into the water and fell into a deep sleep for 6 days, forcing the other dwarves to carry him and complain constantly about it. He is also depicted in the book as constantly thinking and talking about food. Once Erebor was reclaimed, Bombur remained and lived there (happily ever after with plenty of food we assume).

Card Theme

Dwarves, dwarves, and more dwarves. That’s the goal of a Dwarf swarm deck. However, certain Dwarf heroes and allies have bonuses that trigger once you have at least 5 Dwarf characters in play. Those heroes are Thorin Oakenshield; Ori; and Oin, and the allies are Dwalin; Gloin; and Bifur. The heroes’ ability is passive while you control 5+ dwarves, while the allies’ ability only activates upon being played from your hand while you control 5+ dwarves. Bombur increases your efficiency in getting to that 5 dwarf threshold that much faster, and essentially provides slight, early resource generation in the fact that he counts for 2 of those 5.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Synergies

Did I mention dwarves? Heroes, allies, doesn’t matter. Assuming you’re starting with 3 Dwarf heroes, you technically have 4 Dwarf characters on the table before you even start the game. This means playing a turn 1 Erebor Record Keeper, Dwarven Sellsword, Ered Nimrais Prospector, Erebor Hammersmith, Zigil Miner, Veteran Axehand, or other low cost dwarf ally gives you 5 Dwarves under your control on turn 1 and triggers the abilities of the aforementioned heroes and allies with 5+ dwarf abilities, most of which will then be able to be used right away (other than Thorin and Ori which would then be available on turn 2). If Dain Ironfoot is on the table (which he should be if you’re building a Dwarf swarm deck), Bombur goes to 1/2/2/5 for a statline.

Attachments and Events

Bombur’s statline means you will likely be doing nothing but defending with him. He can chip in the occasional 1 attack power (2 with Dain on the table) if you end up not needing him to defend say, via using Feint, Forest Snare, Ranger Spikes, or some other effect, so you certainly can throw Dwarf-specific weapons such as Dwarven Axe, Dwarrowdelf Axe, or other weapons on him. Or maybe you just defend with one of your other characters or a Sentinel defender across the table does it for you and he can chip in attack that way. You are almost always going to be defending with him, so you want to load him up with defense oriented attachments.

Some of the best attachments for him are A Burning Brand (in-sphere), Protector of Lorien (in-sphere), Dunedain Warning, Ring Mail, Ancestral Armor, Armor of Erebor, Citadel Plate, Dwarven Shield, and Round Shield. He will also benefit from Hardy Leadership on a Leadership hero such as Dain. Readying attachments such as Unexpected Courage or Cram would also be beneficial. Since his 2 defense is not the sturdiest on its own, playing a healing attachment such as Self-Preservation, Healing Herbs, or Dunedain Remedy on him will go a long way.

As for events, a few come to mind you would want to consider using on Bombur. Durin’s Song will give him +2 of all stats (not hitpoints). Lure of Moria will allow him to use 2 of those stats one round, so you could chip in 1 willpower for questing, then ready him for a defense, or you could play it in the combat phase to get 2 defenses out of him.

Some non-bos with Bombur: pretty much any cards traited or designed to be played with traits other than Dwarf. Even a card such as Unlikely Friendship, which requires you to control a Dwarf hero and a Silvan hero, will likely never make it in a Bombur deck. Why would you effectively negate his ability by running a Silvan hero in a dwarf deck? Or render Bombur useless by putting him in a non-dwarf swarm deck?

Contracts

Bond of Friendship is the contract Bombur synergizes the best with. Running him as your Lore hero along with 3 other Dwarf heroes means you now start the game with 5 Dwarf characters (all heroes) and can take advantage of the 5+ Dwarf bonuses from the beginning of the game (although you wouldn’t be able to use Ori due to the contract’s restriction on each hero needing to be from a different sphere, and Bombur already takes up the Lore slot).

Quest Specific

Dwarfs, and swarm in particular, is the earliest, most fully developed archetype in the game. And they are very powerful. While powerful in the majority of scenarios, they really shine in scenarios with Underground and/or Dark and/or Mountain locations due to the numerous player cards that synergize with Dwarves and locations with those traits – such as Untroubled by Darkness, Ever My Heart Rises, and Ancestral Knowledge. Think Dwarrowdelf Cycle, Ered Mithrin Cycle, Vengeance of Mordor cycle, the Hobbit sagas, etc. These are the quests you will be more likely to run a Dwarf deck in, and therefore the quests you will be most likely to play Bombur.

Other Considerations

Traits and Sphere: Bombur is…a Dwarf. That’s it. Thematically this makes sense as the character Bombur most definitely was not a warrior (and in the game you aren’t going to be attacking with him), and he isn’t a noble. I think he should at least have the Sentinel keyword as defending is clearly his intended design, but it was not to be. As already mentioned, his Lore sphere provides access to A Burning Brand and Protector of Lorien which synergize nicely with him, and other helpful cards such as Legacy of Durin, Ancestral Knowledge, Daeron’s Runes, and most healing cards will be in-sphere.

Ally Version: So far in this review, I’ve been fairly neutral and looked at Bombur’s potential upsides, but spoiler alert: from here on we’ll mostly see his downsides (no, that wasn’t a fat joke). Let’s start with the fact that ally Bombur is arguably more useful in the type of quests you’ll be most likely to want to run his hero version. Exhausting to reduce the threat of a location by 1 is a fine ability, but it gets bonkers when you get him on the table in quests with a lot of Underground locations (see the Quest Specific section above). Now you’re shutting down some of those nasty, high threat locations that are notorious for bogging you down in these types of quests, and essentially getting +4 willpower which helps move you forward in the game significantly. I would argue this can make more of a difference for you in the right quests rather than having one additional Dwarf character at the beginning of the game or having a somewhat shaky defense-dedicated hero who needs to get built up a bit. Yes his ally version costs 3, but if you’re generating resources with Thorin Oakenshield, Steward of Gondor, Resourceful, and potentially spreading them around with Bifur or Narvi’s Belt, then his cost shouldn’t be an issue. Not to mention you can get him into play for free with A Very Good Tale or Elf-stone.

Deckbuilding

Opportunity cost is one of the overarching concepts of deckbuilding games, and you really need to take your time here considering whether Hero Bombur is worth a spot in your Hero lineup. There are countless ways to build a Dwarf swarm deck, but let’s examine a basic hero lineup. A strong swarm deck will usually be tri-sphere to give you access to as many dwarf allies as possible, but does not have to be so. It will usually include Dain Ironfoot doing his thing providing that global +1 WP and +1 attack for all dwarf characters on the table. Thorin Oakenshield is also a solid contender due to his resource generation. We’ll add Nori to keep your threat manageable and negate the need for treat reduction by allowing you to lower your threat by 1 for each of those swarming allies you’re playing. Now we need one more hero, and Tactics can be a solid play depending on the quest, so Oin with his swarm-y ability could be a good substitute for Nori unless you need a tank like Gimli. That leaves Lore as the best option for that 3rd hero.

Now let’s narrow down our Lore Dwarf hero options. Bombur will do all the things we already looked at above: get you 1 Dwarf closer to 5 and do some light defending sans any buffs/attachments for 8 threat cost. Bifur is a nice 7 threat cost, will quest for 3 with Dain on the table, can defend for the same amount as Bombur (albeit with 2 fewer HP), and can smooth your resources to boot. Ori is often too good to pass up in many situations like this. His threat is 8 (same as Bombur), he can quest for 3 AND attack for 3 with Dain on the table, and the golden ticket with Ori is his passive ability of drawing an extra card each round during the resource phase (assuming you have 5 dwarfs).

In preparation for writing this review, I re-played Hero Bombur in a variety of decks, in a variety of quests, and even multi-player. To get maximum use out of his ability, one deck I built had Bombur, Thorin, and Oin as the heroes. It was fun getting to use both of their 5+ abilities very early, but I lost every time. I ran him with Dain and Nori which went better, but Bombur could never pull his weight (again, not a fat joke) against the encounter deck with his statline, and I needed every resource I had to get more dwarfs out on the table, and was therefore not able to get any defense buffs or healing for him. One other finding from my playthroughs using Bombur is that he holds up OK against the first 2 cycles, but man is he worthless defending against most enemies in this game (sans building him up). I found myself only able to defend wimpier goblins or birds due to that 2 defense. Even with +1 defense you’re just going to get worn down using him as a dedicated defender and will find yourself needing to chump block or use Dain to defend. It was frustrating trying to build a deck that was actually strong using him that didn’t rely on other players helping beef him up.

Ring Rating

Card Talk uses the highly scientific yet arbitrary scale of 1 ring for the card to rule them all to 10 to be cast back into the fiery chasm from whence it came.

I rate Bombur at 9 rings. To be honest, the only thing keeping me from giving him a 10 is how much I love the thematic design of the card, which goes perfectly with its artwork. Starting out only 1 dwarf away from hitting 5 instead of being 2 away is nice, but I’ve never found it to be game-changing. How does that help you when you’ve mulligan’ed to get that 1 cost dwarf ally, but your second hand still only has 2+ cost allies and you have a tri-sphere deck? Even if you can use it to your advantage on turn 2, in a dwarf swarm deck you’ll start filling the board with dwarves by round 2 or 3 anyway, and now you have to focus on boosting his defense or healing so you can actually use him the rest of the game. With 15 other Dwarf heroes to choose from, there’s just too many other, better options. Not to mention bypassing his hero version frees me up to use ally Bombur instead! He only goes into literally 1 type of deck, and even then he does not do very much for you without needing to be built up, which takes away from the focus on overwhelming Sauron with your Dwarf swarm. I want to like Hero Bombur, but he’s just not good.

  • Dave – 7
  • Grant – 5
  • Ted – 6
  • Matt – 7
  • Eric – 9
  • Average – 6.8

Sample Decks

Bombur Doin’ His Thing by Stone of Eric

Here is a deck I made that is designed to make maximum impact with the 5+ Dwarf boosts.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Bombur (On the Doorstep)
Óin (On the Doorstep)
Thorin Oakenshield (Over Hill and Under Hill)

Ally (22)
2x Bifur (On the Doorstep)
2x Bofur (The Redhorn Gate)
1x Dori (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Dwalin (On the Doorstep)
1x Erebor Hammersmith (Core Set)
1x Erebor Record Keeper (Khazad-dûm)
2x Fili (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Glóin (On the Doorstep)
2x Kili (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Longbeard Elder (Foundations of Stone)
2x Miner of the Iron Hills (Core Set)
1x Veteran Axehand (Core Set)
2x Zigil Miner (Khazad-dûm)

Attachment (14)
1x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
2x Armor of Erebor (Mount Gundabad)
2x Ever My Heart Rises (The Long Dark)
1x Hardy Leadership (Shadow and Flame)
1x King Under the Mountain (On the Doorstep)
1x Legacy of Durin (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Narvi’s Belt (Khazad-dûm)
2x Ring Mail (The Long Dark)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)

Event (14)
2x A Test of Will (Core Set)
2x Ancestral Knowledge (Khazad-dûm)
2x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
2x Feint (Core Set)
1x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)
3x Lure of Moria (Road to Rivendell)
2x Untroubled by Darkness (Khazad-dûm)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to Mount Gundabad

Sideboard

Hero (1)
Dwalin (Khazad-dûm)

Ally (4)
2x Arwen Undómiel (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)

Attachment (5)
2x Ancestral Armor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
2x Cram (Over Hill and Under Hill)
1x Narvi’s Belt (Khazad-dûm)

Event (2)
2x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Books and Eating (Mono Lore) by Durins_Father

Here is a deck built by durins_father that is a mono-Lore deck designed to be played as part of a Dwarf fellowship.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Bifur (Khazad-dûm)
Bombur (On the Doorstep)
Ori (Over Hill and Under Hill)

Ally (17)
3x Erebor Hammersmith (Core Set)
3x Erebor Record Keeper (Khazad-dûm)
3x Ered Nimrais Prospector (The Morgul Vale)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)
3x Longbeard Map-Maker (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Miner of the Iron Hills (Core Set)

Attachment (18)
2x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
2x Elf-stone (The Black Riders)
2x Expert Treasure-hunter (On the Doorstep)
2x Healing Herbs (Foundations of Stone)
2x Legacy of Durin (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Scroll of Isildur (The Morgul Vale)
3x Self Preservation (Core Set)
3x Thror’s Map (Over Hill and Under Hill)

Event (17)
3x Advance Warning (The Drúadan Forest)
3x Ancestral Knowledge (Khazad-dûm)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
2x Expecting Mischief (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Infighting (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
2x Lore of Imladris (Core Set)
2x Mithrandir’s Advice (The Steward’s Fear)

3 Heroes, 52 Cards
Cards up to The Black Riders

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Gluttony by Beorn

On the humorous side of things, here is a vintage deck from Beorn called “Gluttony” with an article explaining the deck theme in the description.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Bombur (On the Doorstep)
Frodo Baggins (Conflict at the Carrock)
Glóin (Core Set)

Ally (20)
1x Brok Ironfist (Core Set)
3x Erebor Hammersmith (Core Set)
3x Erebor Record Keeper (Khazad-dûm)
2x Fili (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Gandalf (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Kili (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Longbeard Elder (Foundations of Stone)
3x Master of the Forge (Shadow and Flame)
2x Wandering Took (Core Set)

Attachment (15)
2x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Cram (Over Hill and Under Hill)
1x Fast Hitch (The Dead Marshes)
2x Good Meal (The Redhorn Gate)
3x Miruvor (Shadow and Flame)
2x Narvi’s Belt (Khazad-dûm)
2x Self Preservation (Core Set)

Event (15)
3x A Very Good Tale (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x O Elbereth! Gilthonial! (Shadow and Flame)
2x Peace, and Thought (Shadow and Flame)
2x Second Breakfast (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
3x We Are Not Idle (Shadow and Flame)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to On the Doorstep

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

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