Extra treachery cancelation hero that shines in multiplayer.
Eleanor is a FFG created character with the Gondor and Noble traits. If the traits weren’t enough of a clue, her art shows her wearing a diadem. It even looks reminiscent of the Aragorn’s crown in Peter Jackson’s Return of the King.
Eleanor’s ability to cancel a treachery and reveal a new encounter card doesn’t match the abilities of most Gondorian heroes. Heirs of Numenor really started to establish the Gondor trait being linked to resources and resource acceleration with Leadership Borormir giving an attack bonus when he has a resource in his pool and Tactics Beregond discounting Armor and Weapon attachments. Other Gondor cards expanded on this theme with more resource acceleration like Wealth of Gondor, Mablung hero, Captain’s Wisdom and Leadership Denethor
Eleanor’s ability is similar to Lore Denethor‘s ability to look at the top card of the encounter deck and either put it on the top or bottom. There weren’t any more Gondor themed encounter control cards until the Gondorian Rangers and Traps in Against the Shadow and then it was limited to Lore. Eleanor’s ability is more aligned with the Spirit sphere’s encounter cancellation cards like A Test of Will and Hasty Stroke. I think this is largely a result of the initial design not being as centered around traits as what eventually developed in larger expansions.
Card Synergies and Interactions
Defense is Eleanor’s only stat besides hit points greater than 1. At 2, it is sufficient for the Core Set scenarios where many enemies have 2 attack and there is even 1 attack enemies. Gondorian Shield since it gives +2 defense to Gondorian heroes turns her into a decent defender. Blood of Numenor is a solid option in the Spirit sphere and works well with all the resource acceleration options for a Gondor deck. Eleanor’s low threat of 7 also makes it possible to pair it with Resourceful. Still even with these significant defense boosts, Eleanor’s 3 hit points keeps her from being a great primary defender.
Readying is good if a player wants to use Eleanor as a defender in addition to her ability. Unexpected Courage, of course is the quintessential readying card. Miruvor also is a decent option to ready Eleanor after using her ability. It can even add a resource to Eleanor for use with Blood of Numenor.
More Encounter Control
Eleanor can become an adequate defender, but it is really her ability that is most useful considering how much build up she needs. Utilizing it alongside more encounter control, can shut down the worst the encounter has to offer. This strategy is usually limited to multiplayer since it leaves little room in a deck for cards to aid in questing and combat. In Spirit, there’s A Test of Will and Hasty Stroke. A Watchful Peace can also control the encounters by recurring an innocuous locations. Lore, however, will need to be added for more direct encounter manipulation and cancelation. Lore Denethor, Risk Some Light, Out of the Wild, and Scout Ahead can either move or outright remove the worst cards from the encounter deck. Lore also has Leave No Trace and None Return like Out of the Wild that can add cards to the victory display but only after dealing with them at least once. This, however, opens the possibility of canceling another copy of that encounter card with The Door is Closed!
Eleanor can be useful in many quests considering all of them have treacheries. The first two cycles more so than later cycles. Shadows of Mirkwood included many that dealt direct damage to heroes and allies that could lay waste to a players board state. Massing at Night in multiplayer especially at 3 and 4 players can be overwhelming. Roasted Slowly and Gollum’s Bite are outright hero killers.
The Darrowdelf cycle, however, it is almost a requirement to bring Test of Will. The Hazards of the Pit set that is part of many of the scenarios includes the notorious Sudden Pitfall that can easily take out a hero if there are no other questing characters to discard. Crumbling Ruin in the same set can also often result in the loss of an ally and even a hero if they don’t have an ally instead. Watchful Eyes also in one of the deluxe sets means many additional encounter cards or not being able to use a hero. Then there’s Road to Rivendell with not 1 but 2 terrible treacheries to watch out for. The infamous Sleeping Sentry that has ended many a game when A Test of Will is not available to cancel it. Then there’s Orc Ambush that as Ted pointed out in Superlative February covering the best and worst encounter cards not only can give bring a ton of enemies into play late game, but surges on top of it.
These cancel or lose type treacheries are part of why the first few cycles can be very “swingy” for new players. If you don’t see them in your game, the scenario can seem very easy. If you get one or two at the wrong time, it can be very difficult if they don’t end the game outright.
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 Eleanor at 6 rings. I think she’s dropped off in importance as the card pool has grown and scenario design moved away from treacheries having such a large effects. In the first couple of cycles, I would have rated her a 3 especially in multiplayer. She doesn’t do a lot for a player turn to turn without significant investment in building her up. She’s got it covered, however, when you really need to cancel Massing at Night or Crumbling Ruins. The more players you add, the more likely that a treachery will show up to wreck havoc on the players. Later cycles treacheries are less prevalent and the effects are more manageable. Part of that is just having more options in deckbuilding. More allies have more than 1 hit point to absorb direct damage. Threat reduction options expanded even beyond Spirit. Lore encounter control options have grown in number. There are even more ways to return heroes to play.
- Dave – 6
- Grant – 5
- Ted – TBR
- Matt – 6
- Average – 5.33
The Nope Deck by Qwaz
This deck is entirely devoted to controlling the encounter deck. Eleanor cancels treacheries, Balin cancels shadows, and Damrod helps trap enemies. On top of that, victory display cards remove the nastier encounters.
The Nope Deck
3x Errand-rider (Heirs of Númenor)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Gildor’s Counsel (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)
3x None Return (Across the Ettenmoors)
3x Out of the Wild (Road to Rivendell)
3x Power of Orthanc (The Voice of Isengard)
3x The Door is Closed! (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
3x We Are Not Idle (Shadow and Flame)
1x Will of the West (Core Set)
3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Land of Shadow
3x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Entangling Nets (Temple of the Deceived)
3x Song of Wisdom (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Thrór’s Key (On the Doorstep)
1x Thrór’s Map (Over Hill and Under Hill)
Decklist built and published on RingsDB.