Gwaihir (Hero)

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Enters Play
    • Leaves Play

The art doesn’t show him with a tiny crown, but the card demonstrates why he deserves it.

Background

Gwaihir is the most prominent Eagle of the Misty Mountains which are the descendants of Manwe’s servants in the First and Second Ages, the Great Eagles. He is only one of three Eagles to be named in the trilogy along with Landroval and Meneldor. The first mention of Gwaihir is when Gandalf explains to Frodo how he was rescued from Orthanc. His second mention is in yet another Gandalf telling tale of his exploits this time to Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas. This one relating that Gwaihir carried him from the mountaintop where he slew the Balrog after being returned to life to Lothlorien and then did some scouting for him along the River Anduin. Gwaihir makes his third appearance as one of the three eagles to fly to Fields of Cormallen and eventually Mount Doom to rescue Sam and Frodo after The One Ring’s destruction.

Card Theme

The readying Gwaihir whenever an Eagle enters or leaves play as Gwaihir preparing to swoop down on some enemies right after another eagle gets out of the way. It could also show Gwaihir being a lead from the front type of leader to the Eagles. He’s not going to let them go in alone against the forces the Shadow. He’s going to be right there with them divebombing the orcs.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Eagle Allies

The more Eagle allies you or the other players run in your decks, the more times you can ready Gwahir. The primary ones for this are Eagle Emissary, Vassel of the Winglord, Wilyador, and Winged Guardian since they can discard themselves. This also synergizes well with returning Descendent of Thorondor and Meneldor to hand with Born Aloft, Meneldor’s Flight, or Flight of the Eagles to maximize their enter and leave play effects.

Put Ally into Play

Another way to ready Gwaihir is to just put the Eagle allies into play. Sneak Attack from the core set is the staple card of this effect. It works great for a combat phase ready especially if Gwaihir committed to the quest. The ally is put into play to ready Gwaihir and he’ll ready at the end of combat when the ally is returned. Horns! Horns! Horns! is a Doomed alternative, but then it shuffles the ally into the deck rather than returning it to the player’s hand. Gwaihir’s Debt offers an is in sphere option to ready him twice in combat. The requirement to have an Istari and Eagle in play can be a little restrictive unless using hero Radagast, Gandalf, or Saruman. It’s also not as consistent since it is from the top 5 of the deck.

More general ally mustering cards like A Very Good Tale, Send for Aid, Timely Aid, Vilya, and The Red Arrow can also help get another Eagle ally into play. Like Gwaihir’s Debt, they are not as reliable since it is possible to whiff if there isn’t one near the top of the deck.

Stand and Fight also offers a way to put an Eagle ally into play outside the planning phase. Akin to the ally mustering effects, the ally won’t necessarily leave play triggering another ready. It does have the added bonus of being able to bring back one of the self discarding Eagles.

Unrestricted Attachments

Gwaihir’s constant effect keeps him from readying in the refresh phase is drawback to offset his readying ability. Unexpected Courage can offset this drawback and help Gwaihir function in the mid to late game if the supply of Eagle allies runs short.

Gwaihir’s other constant effect that he can’t have restricted attachments and his biggest drawback compared to other Tactics heroes. Tactics has the most restricted attachments of any of the spheres and most are centered on making characters better in combat. Gwaihir has a strong attack with decent defense and hit points, but he is prohibited from many of the best attachments to increase them. There are still a few options to help him be a better defender and attacker. Ent Draught, Self Preservation, and Lembas can give him some additional hit points and healing to help survive attacks with just his base defense. Dunedain Warning even with just one copy attached gets his defense up to 4 and on par with Beregond. Dunedain Mark gives a way to boost his attack further. He can even wield the Black Arrow to gain +5 for a single attack. He probably has to carry the arrow in his talons and just release it at target during a swoop down to “launch” it, but it could work. These few options, however, aren’t the best way to boost his attack and defense.

Support of the Eagles

Support of the Eagles is the best unrestricted attachment for Gwaihir. It is in-sphere. The bonus it gives is based on an Eagle ally’s stats so it synergizes already running many Eagle allies. The bonus lasts until the end of the phase meaning it can be exhausted at the beginning of combat to get a boost from Vassel of the Winglord, Wilyador, or Winged Guardian. Those allies can be used then to block or attack. Timed just right, this can give let Gwaihir defend and attack several times in a single combat phase. For example, Gwaihir could defend an enemy, then Winged Guardian defends another, the Guardian leaves play, Gwaihir readies, Gwaihir attacks an enemy, Vassel of the Winglord attacks another enemy, Vassel is discarded, Gwaihir readies, and is ready to attack another enemy. Even if there isn’t another enemy engaged with the Gwaihir player, he has ranged to attack across the table.

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’m going to rate Gwaihir at 4 rings. My initial rating for him was 5 because he’s a better multiplayer hero. I have played him solo and he is fine with enough Eagle allies and at least one Unexpected Courage that he can consistently ready at least once a turn. He is a hero you really need to build around. It effectively limits him to Eagle decks which tend to be low on willpower and combat oriented. In true solo, where the deck needs to handle all aspects of the quest can be too limiting. That he has both Ranged and Sentinel reinforces that he is stronger in a multiplayer setting. In multiplayer especially if another player also has Eagle allies, he can be incredibly good.

What pushed him into a 4 for me is the fun factor. He introduces a lot of interesting timing decisions to the Eagle archetype. Smart play with cards like Sneak Attack and Gwaihir’s Debt can make Gwaihir play like pre-errata Tactics Boromir. This really makes Eagles play a bit more like Silvans with the Eagles swooping in and out of play. Late game with a built up Eagles of the Misty Mountains and a Support of the Eagles, Gwaihir can take some beefy enemies alone. He’s a really fun hero for fans of Eagles and those that want to capitalize on them leaving play besides just with Eagles of the Misty Mountains.

  • Dave – 3
  • Grant – 5
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – 4
  • Matthew Dempsey – 1

External Links

Sample Decks

Slippery… Eagles? by Dave Walsh

Eagle deck designed to benefit from them entering and leaving play with Gwaihir and Tactic Eomer. Leadership Frodo provides a way to ready Gwaihir if needed.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Éomer (The Voice of Isengard)
Frodo Baggins (A Shadow in the East)
Gwaihir (The Land of Sorrow)

Ally (18)
3x Descendant of Thorondor (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Eagle Emissary (The Land of Sorrow)
3x Eagles of the Misty Mountains (Return to Mirkwood)
2x Meneldor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
2x Radagast (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
3x Vassal of the Windlord (The Dead Marshes)
2x Wilyador (The Land of Sorrow)

Attachment (18)
2x Gúthwinë (The Mountain of Fire)
2x Necklace of Girion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
2x Rod of the Steward (Flight of the Stormcaller)
2x Rohan Warhorse (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Secret Vigil (The Lost Realm)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
1x Strength and Courage (The City of Ulfast)
2x Support of the Eagles (Return to Mirkwood)
1x The One Ring (A Shadow in the East)

Event (15)
3x Flight of the Eagles (Roam Across Rhovanion)
3x Meneldor’s Flight (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
3x The Eagles Are Coming! (The Hunt for Gollum)
3x Valiant Sacrifice (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 51 Cards
Cards up to The Land of Sorrow

Sideboard

Ally (3)
3x Eagle of the North (Roam Across Rhovanion)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Rohan and Eagles Race Wainriders by Matt Kell

This deck uses ALEP’s Last Alliance contact and has a readying focus so that the heroes are available for the appropriate racing test in Challenge of the Wainriders. Westfold Horse-Breaker in particular is key. You can use the contract in order to get Gwaihir to ready along with Eowyn or Thengel. Once Light-footed Steed is on one of them, all the heroes can ready from the discard.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Éowyn (Core Set)
Gwaihir (The Land of Sorrow)
Thengel (ALeP – Children of Eorl)

Contract (0)
1x The Last Alliance (ALeP – Children of Eorl)

Ally (25)
3x Escort from Edoras (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
3x Gamling (The Land of Shadow)
1x Grimbold (The Flame of the West)
1x Meneldor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
2x Morwen Steelsheen (ALeP – Children of Eorl)
2x The Riddermark’s Finest (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
1x Théodwyn (ALeP – Children of Eorl)
3x Vassal of the Windlord (The Dead Marshes)
3x Westfold Horse-breaker (The Hunt for Gollum)
3x Wilyador (The Land of Sorrow)
3x Winged Guardian (The Hunt for Gollum)

Attachment (16)
3x Golden Shield (The Flame of the West)
3x Horn of the Mark (The City of Ulfast)
3x Light-footed Steed (ALeP – Children of Eorl)
2x Snowmane (The Land of Shadow)
3x Thrór’s Key (On the Doorstep)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event (9)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Flight of the Eagles (Roam Across Rhovanion)
3x The Eagles Are Coming! (The Hunt for Gollum)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to ALeP – Children of Eorl

Sideboard

Hero (1)
Éowyn (The Flame of the West)

Ally (3)
3x Eagle of the North (Roam Across Rhovanion)

Attachment (6)
3x Ancient Mathom (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
3x Born Aloft (Conflict at the Carrock)

Event (3)
3x Ride to Ruin (The Hills of Emyn Muil)

Deck built on RingsDB.

Gwaihir Gets The Bling by bobbymcbobface

A deck designed solely to see how many useful attachments could put on Gwaihir.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Bilbo Baggins (Mount Gundabad)
Gwaihir (The Land of Sorrow)
Radagast (The Fate of Wilderland)

Ally (19)
3x Descendant of Thorondor (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Eagles of the Misty Mountains (Return to Mirkwood)
2x Landroval (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
3x Meneldor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
2x Messenger Raven (The Fate of Wilderland)
3x Vassal of the Windlord (The Dead Marshes)
3x Winged Guardian (The Hunt for Gollum)

Attachment (21)
1x Black Arrow (On the Doorstep)
2x Fast Hitch (The Dead Marshes)
1x Magic Ring (The Crossings of Poros)
1x Mithril Shirt (The Fate of Wilderland)
2x Necklace of Girion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Radagast’s Staff (The Fate of Wilderland)
1x Song of Travel (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
2x Sting (Mount Gundabad)
2x Support of the Eagles (Return to Mirkwood)
1x The Arkenstone (The Withered Heath)
2x Wizard Pipe (The Road Darkens)
3x Woodmen’s Clearing (The Withered Heath)

Event (10)
3x Flight of the Eagles (Roam Across Rhovanion)
2x Gwaihir’s Debt (The Fate of Wilderland)
3x Meneldor’s Flight (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
2x The Eagles Are Coming! (The Hunt for Gollum)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Land of Sorrow

Sideboard

Ally (3)
3x Eagle of the North (Roam Across Rhovanion)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Core Gandalf

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Card Draw
    • Direct Damage
    • Threat Reduction
    • Enters Play

The most thematic Gandalf and so powerful that it’s a challenge to not include him in a deck.

Background

Gandalf is one of five Istari, Maiar emissaries in the form of old men, sent to Middle Earth by the Valar in the Third Age. They were sent to help the elves and men against Sauron. He traveled the Westlands extensively combing to know the men, elves, dwarves, and hobbits. In the books, he is the architect of the plan to burgle treasure from Smaug and eventually remove the dragon. He recruits Bilbo Baggins to be that burglar. Then it is in Lord of the Rings, Gandalf learns Biblo’s magic ring that he discovered during the adventure with Thorin’s company is The One Ring forged by Sauron. Gandalf is the one to advise Frodo to leave the Shire initiating the chain of events leading to the formation of the The Fellowship of the Ring, the ring’s destruction, and Sauron’s ultimate defeat.

Card Theme

The biggest thematic element is that Gandalf only remains in play for a round. Just like the books, Gandalf shows up, helps tremendously, and is gone again for a while. Just take The Hobbit for example, Gandalf mysteriously disappears right before Thorin’s Company is captured by trolls and reappears later to free them. He leaves them again later at the beginning of Mirkwood to deal with the Necromancer. Then rejoins the narrative after Smaug is defeated and the Dwarves, Men of Dale, and Elves of Mirkwood are having a stand off over the ownership of Erebor’s treasure.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Put into Play and Return Ally to Hand Effects

Sneak Attack + Gandalf, the core set combo that cemented Sneak Attack as a Leadership staple and delivers tremendous value. It is so good, I’ve written and Dave made a video about it before in the Core Set Combo series For the low, low cost of one Leadership resource the player can draw 3 cards, lower threat by 5, or deal 4 direct damage to an enemy. Additionally you get to use Gandalf’s 4 willpower, attack, or defense for a phase. The value is very apparent comparing the cost of card draw, threat reduction, and direct damage on other cards. For example, Galadhrim’s Greeting can reduce a single players threat by 6 for 3 cost. Sneak Attack and Gandalf can reduce threat by nearly the same amount for a third of the cost.

There are a few more cards that can let players put Gandalf into play temporarily much like Sneak Attack and get additional triggers of his enters play abilities. Horns! Horns! Horns! is arguably a Doomed version of Sneak Attack costing 2 threat instead of resource and shuffling the ally into the deck instead of returning it to hand. Still a great way to get Gandalf into play cheaply especially if using the threat reduction which then it becomes a net reduction of 3 threat and can use Gandalf for a phase. Reinforcements is a double sneak attack for decks with 3 Leadership heroes, A Good Harvest, or some other resource smoothing. Gwahir’s Debt is a little trickier since Gandalf would have to be in the top 5 cards, but still an option particularly in an Eagle deck giving it more potential uses. Lastly, Born Aloft while free, doesn’t put Gandalf into play. A player can use it on a full cost Gandalf, get to use him for nearly the entire round and then return to hand during the action window in the refresh phase.

Ally Readying

Gandalf’s limitation of being in play for 1 round often means players aren’t able to take advantage of his amazing stat line. Readying effects that target allies or characters fix that issue. The Core Set gave players using Leadership Ever Vigilant to ready a single ally and Grim Resolve to ready all characters. As the game progressed many single target and global readying effects have been added. Narya (attached to Cirdan in this case) is very powerful to use with allies that already have strong stats since it further boosts their attack and defense. Flame of Anor is limited to Istari, but can make for huge attack if a high cost card is mined from the player deck. Leadership Faramir hero like Narya offers a repeatable ally readying effect rather than rely on one time events.

Stand and Fight

Stand and Fight notoriously is not a combo or nonbo in card game parlance with Core Gandalf. The first FAQ clarified that Stand and Fight can only target allies that belong to a sphere. Neutral cards do not belong to any of the spheres and therefore Gandalf is not an eligible target.

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 Core Set Gandalf at 1. His power is very apparent with 4s across all his stats which few heroes has equal printed values in either willpower, attack, and defense and only 1 surpasses in printed attack. On top of these amazing stats, he gives players 3 fantastic choices for an enters play effect. He’s neutral which means any deck can play him without having to plan in resource smoothing. Core Set Gandalf is what Magic the Gathering players would call a bomb card. He has such a big effect on the game that it change the course of it. It is a testament to that card that veterans often talk about getting tired of putting this version of Gandalf into decks. He’s so good there’s often no reason to not include him and became seen as a crutch in deck builing to the point veterans will avoid using him.

  • Dave – 2
  • Grant – 2
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – 1
  • Average – 1.67

External Links

Sample Decks

Play Gandalf Every Turn by Dale Stephenson

A combo deck that uses The Elvenking + Elf-friend + Bard Son of Brand to be able to play Gandalf every turn. Basically the player plays Gandalf and attaches Elf-friend to him. Later The Elvenking can return Gandalf to the player’s hand. Bard Son of Brand’s ability returns Elf-friend to the players hand. Steward of Gondor + Arwen or Steward + Necklace of Girion supplies the 6 resources to be able to play Gandalf and Elf-friend round after round.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Arwen Undómiel (The Dread Realm)
Bard son of Brand (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
Thranduil (Fire in the Night)

Ally (8)
1x Galion (Fire in the Night)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
1x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
1x Legolas (The Treason of Saruman)
2x Marksman of Lórien (The Drowned Ruins)

Attachment (17)
2x Ancestral Armor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
1x Cloak of Lórien (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
1x Dúnedain Remedy (The Drowned Ruins)
3x Elf-friend (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
1x Mithril Shirt (The Fate of Wilderland)
1x Necklace of Girion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
1x Self Preservation (Core Set)
2x Staff of Lebethron (The Land of Shadow)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
2x The Elvenking (Fire in the Night)

Event (25)
2x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Elf Guide (Mount Gundabad)
3x Elrond’s Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Elven-light (The Dread Realm)
3x Feigned Voices (The Three Trials)
3x Island Amid Perils (The Nîn-in-Eilph)
3x Reforged (The Fate of Wilderland)
3x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
2x The King’s Return (The Fate of Wilderland)

Player Side Quest (1)
1x Gather Information (The Lost Realm)

3 Heroes, 51 Cards
Cards up to The Fate of Wilderland

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Cirdan’s Solo Support Group by The Purple Wizard

This deck is designed to play Reinforcements multiple times through recycling the discard pile with Will of the West. It also features Cirdan and Narya to ready and boost the allies Reinforcements puts into play.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Balin (On the Doorstep)
Círdan the Shipwright (The Grey Havens)
Denethor (Flight of the Stormcaller)

Ally (18)
1x Arwen Undómiel (The Watcher in the Water)
1x Beorn (Core Set)
2x Elrond (The Road Darkens)
3x Envoy of Pelargir (Heirs of Númenor)
1x Erestor (The Long Dark)
3x Galadriel (The Road Darkens)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
1x Gimli (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Glorfindel (Flight of the Stormcaller)
1x Orophin (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
1x Squire of the Citadel (The Blood of Gondor)

Attachment (20)
2x Armored Destrier (Temple of the Deceived)
3x Dúnedain Warning (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x King Under the Mountain (On the Doorstep)
3x Light of Valinor (Foundations of Stone)
3x Narya (The Grey Havens)
3x Silver Harp (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)

Event (12)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
1x Captain’s Wisdom (The Thing in the Depths)
3x Reinforcements (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
3x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
2x Will of the West (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to Temple of the Deceived

Sideboard

Ally (3)
1x Beorn (Core Set)
2x Squire of the Citadel (The Blood of Gondor)

Attachment (4)
1x Magic Ring (The Crossings of Poros)
2x Tome of Atanatar (The Blood of Gondor)
1x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event (4)
2x Legacy of Númenor (The Voice of Isengard)
1x Second Breakfast (Conflict at the Carrock)
1x Will of the West (Core Set)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Meneldor

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Location Control
    • Enters Play
    • Leaves Play
    • Messenger of the King

Background

Meneldor is one of the Eagles of the Misty Mountains that are descended from Thorondor. Thorondor was the leader of the servants of Manwe, the Great Eagles in the First and Second Ages. More specifically, Meneldor is one of the three eagles to fly to Mount Doom to rescue Sam and Frodo after the Battle of the Morannon.

“Side by side they lay; and down swept Gwaihir, and down came Landroval and Meneldor the swift; and in a dream, not knowing what fate had befallen them, the wanderers were lifted up and borne far away out of the darkness and the fire.” –The Return of the King, Chapter 4: The Field of Cormallen

Meneldor along with Gwaihir and Landroval are the only named eagles in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Card Theme

Knowing that Meneldor was one of the Eagles to rescue Sam and Frodo, it would seem like his card should have an effect to return an ally or hero to play or at least back to hand for an ally. The problem is there are already eagle cards with those effects.

Meneldor’s Flight in fact already references Meneldor and has an effect that can “rescue” an Eagle ally from play. Landroval and Born Aloft represent are more thematic to those three as they can rescue any hero or ally. The of course to complete the trio, Gwaihir ally can also return an Eagle ally from the discard pile. The rescue theme then is well covered.

The earlier mention of Meneldor in the same chapter then seems to be the inspiration for the location progress mechanism:

“‘The North Wind blows, but we shall outfly it,’ said Gwaihir. And he lifted up Gandalf and sped away south, and with him went Landroval, and Meneldor young and swift. And they passed over Udûn and Gorgoroth and saw all the land in ruin and tumult beneath them, and before them Mount Doom blazing, pouring out its fire.” –The Return of the King, Chapter 4: The Field of Cormallen

This isn’t the first time that the Eagle’s ability to quickly traverse Middle-Earth is demonstrated. In the Hobbit, they also carried Thorin’s Company from the Misty Mountains to The Carrock. Progress in the game is intended to represent the characters traveling and exploring Middle Earth. It is still very fitting then to have one of the Eagles represent their ability to swiftly travel across Middle-Earth. Meneldor who is called out as swift in the passage is fitting then to have ability to place progress directly on a location.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Put into Play and Return Ally to Hand

Sneak Attack from the core set covers both effects and rightfully is the staple card to bounce allies with enter and/or leave play effects. Sneak Attack + Meneldor will place 4 progress on a location making it the location control version of Sneak Attack + Gandalf. Alternatively, Horns! Horns! Horns! can also make both triggers happen but then Meneldor is shuffled into the deck. Gwaihir’s Debt is another way to trigger both effects that is limited to Eagles or Istari. The requirement to have an Istari and Eagle in play can be a little restrictive unless using hero Radagast, Gandalf, or Saruman. It’s also not as consistent since it is from the top 5 of the deck. Horns! Horns! Horns! shuffling a copy back into your deck could even help set up Gwaihir’s Debt later especially late game when the deck is thinner.

Meneldor’s Flight, Born Aloft, Flight of the Eagles, and much like the core set Sneak Attack let you get extra triggers on the Eagles enter and leave play effects. Discard recursion effects like Gwaihir ally, Stand and Fight, and To the Eyrie are even better at getting to double up on Meneldor’s response considering he can chump block first.

Effects that Trigger off Leave Play

There are a number of cards that also combo with bouncing Meneldor in and out of play. Gwaihir hero and Leadership Prince Imrahil heroes both get to ready when he leaves play. Gwaihir can also ready when he enters play that can make him ready for combat if Meneldor is Sneak Attacked into play after Gwaihir is committed to the quest. Tactics Eomer can get a nice attack boost. Valiant Sacrifice can provide some additional card draw and is in the same sphere with Sneak Attack and Horns! Horns! Horns! to help set it up. Pre-errata Horn of Gondor could provide a resource for bouncing Meneldor since it triggered off a character leaving play. The errata making when a character is destroyed still provides some benefit, but no longer combos with the return ally to hand effects.

Eagles of the Misty Mountains

In order to reliably utilize all the bouncing effects, you will likely want to run more than a single copy of Meneldor. This means there’s a good chance with him being a unique the second or third copy could be a dead draw. The Eagles of the Misty Mountains allow the extra copies to be useful once the first one is attached to bolster the Eagle of the Misty Mountains.

Direct Location Progress

In sphere, Tactics Legolas Hero and his mighty steed Arod can build on this part of Meneldor’s effect. Especially if you include many of the previously mentioned cards to bounce him in and out of play. There’s also the Beorning Guardian, but the effect can only be triggered after he destroys an enemy. On top of that the progress is conditional on the enemy’s threat, and you have to discard him. It’s a little too conditional with a fairly high cost of 3 resource ally with a hero level attack stat of 3.

Spirit does have many options with Northern Tracker, Spirit Aragorn Hero, Lórien Guide, Steed of Imladris, Woodland Courier, and Backtrack. Woodland Courier in particular has some synergy with the put into play and return ally to hand effects as it places progress when it enters play. Lore also has many cards with this effect, such as, Mirkwood Explorer, The Evening Star, and Asfaloth. Leadership, unfortunately, only has Snowbourne Scout and Longbeard Elder. While the Snowbourne Scout also benefits from Sneak Attack and similar cards, it is usually not worth the cost. At 3 cost, he is a little pricey to include in a dual sphere deck with more direct location progress effects.

Guarded X Cards

Meneldor can help free any of the Guarded X cards that are guarded by a location. He can likely do so in a single turn if combined with a bounce effect as many locations have 4 quest points or less.1 Unfortunately, the two Tactics ones, Sting and Durin’s Axe can only be guarded by enemies. The good news is there are neutral ones. Necklace of Girion in particular is helpful in an Eagle focused deck for the willpower boosting and resource acceleration. Stone of Elostirion as one of the two that has to be guarded by a location Meneldor can help get into play. It also is in sphere with hero Radagast that is often played with Eagles since his staff provides strong resource acceleration and readying for eagle allies.

Quest Specific

Hills of Emyn Muil is notorious for being the first location focused quest. Location lock is really the only threat in the quest and any way to place progress on locations in the staging area is a good idea. The Antlered Crown’s locations all have Time X with effects that trigger if they’re not explored in 2 or 3 turns.

The Haradrim cycle featured many locations that have forced effects when they become the active location. Among others with costly Travel effects. The Mumakil Although there are some counters to direct location progress like Gates of Iron that prevents progress being put on locations in the staging area.

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 Meneldor at 3 rings. I really do think of him as the location control equivalent of Sneak Attack + Gandalf. Few cards can drop 4 progress on a location at one time like that. Besides Sneak Attack, there are quite a few ways to bounce him in and out of play to get the effect. The 3 cost isn’t the easiest if you have pay full cost each time but in a deck with Radagast and his staff, Steward of Gondor, or Hirgon it is very reasonable.

Then there are his stats. Two willpower in Tactics is very good for that sphere. He’s an auto-include in mono-Tactics that wants to do any questing. The two attack is nice too, but I often find that I wish it was lower to give him more willpower or hit points. Speaking of hit points, two is always good to see on ally. It gives just a little bit of margin to take direct damage effects like Necromancer’s Reach or Archery.

If there is any complaint that I have about the card, it is that he’s unique. When playing him without any return ally to hand effects, you won’t trigger his effect more than once a game usually. His willpower is just too good to chump block with him just for another 2 progress. That is until you draw another copy or have an Eagles of the Misty Mountains in play. Even then, it may not be worth it in opportunity cost since he costs 3 resources.

Overall, he’s a great card. The willpower and location control effects were still needed in Tactics even in the full card pool. It was needed even more so for Eagles that are fantastic at combat but had little to no questing power for the longest time. Lastly, he’s just fun to play when you can bounce him in and out of play to clear some troublesome locations.

  • Dave – 3
  • Grant – 3
  • Ted – 2
  • Matt – 3
  • Average – 2.75

Footnotes

  1. I sampled approximately 140 locations from Shadows of Mirkwood, Darrowdelf, Ered Mithren, and Vengence of Mordor cycles found the average to be slightly less than 4 quest points. Also 4 quest points was the most common.

External Links

Sample Decks

Slippery… Eagles? by Card Talk Dave

Dave takes his expertise in bouncing Silvans in and out of play and applies it to an Eagle deck.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Éomer (The Voice of Isengard)
Frodo Baggins (A Shadow in the East)
Gwaihir (The Land of Sorrow)

Ally (18)
3x Descendant of Thorondor (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Eagle Emissary (The Land of Sorrow)
3x Eagles of the Misty Mountains (Return to Mirkwood)
2x Meneldor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
2x Radagast (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
3x Vassal of the Windlord (The Dead Marshes)
2x Wilyador (The Land of Sorrow)

Attachment (18)
2x Gúthwinë (The Mountain of Fire)
2x Necklace of Girion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
2x Rod of the Steward (Flight of the Stormcaller)
2x Rohan Warhorse (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Secret Vigil (The Lost Realm)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
1x Strength and Courage (The City of Ulfast)
2x Support of the Eagles (Return to Mirkwood)
1x The One Ring (A Shadow in the East)

Event (15)
3x Flight of the Eagles (Roam Across Rhovanion)
3x Meneldor’s Flight (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
3x The Eagles Are Coming! (The Hunt for Gollum)
3x Valiant Sacrifice (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 51 Cards
Cards up to The Land of Sorrow

Sideboard

Ally (3)
3x Eagle of the North (Roam Across Rhovanion)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

#justiceforBilbo by Pirate Brahm

Main Deck

Hero (3)
(MotK) Bilbo Baggins (Messenger of the King Allies)
Gandalf (The Road Darkens)
Radagast (The Fate of Wilderland)

Contract (0)
1x Messenger of the King (The Land of Sorrow)

Ally (23)
2x Arwen Undómiel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Erebor Toymaker (Mount Gundabad)
2x Giant Bear (Fire in the Night)
3x Loyal Hound (The Fate of Wilderland)
2x Meneldor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
3x Messenger Raven (The Fate of Wilderland)
3x The Riddermark’s Finest (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
2x Vassal of the Windlord (The Dead Marshes)
3x Wild Stallion (Roam Across Rhovanion)

Attachment (19)
2x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Expert Treasure-hunter (On the Doorstep)
2x Gandalf’s Staff (The Road Darkens)
1x Narya (The Grey Havens)
3x Radagast’s Staff (The Fate of Wilderland)
2x Shadowfax (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Silver Circlet (Wrath and Ruin)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
3x Wizard Pipe (The Road Darkens)

Event (18)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Drinking Song (Mount Gundabad)
3x Flame of Anor (The Road Darkens)
3x Hidden Cache (The Morgul Vale)
2x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
1x Will of the West (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 60 Cards
Cards up to Messenger of the King Allies

Sideboard

Ally (4)
2x Ghân-buri-Ghân (The Flame of the West)
2x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)

Attachment (2)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)

Event (6)
3x Bulwark of the West (The Crossings of Poros)
3x Word of Command (The Long Dark)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Envoy of Pelagrir

  • Card Effect Categories 
    • Resource Acceleration
    • Resource Smoothing
    • Enters Play

A flexible cheap efficient ally that was necessary early in the life of the game. Now in the larger card pool, it’s a fine filler or resource smoothing card.

Background

Pelagrir is the primary coastal city of Gondor located along the Anduin. An envoy based or from Pelagrir makes sense as the envoy can board sailing or river ships to travel to many places in Middle Earth. Most notably in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Aragorn lead the dead men of Dunharrow against the corsairs of Umbar that had taken the city.

Card Theme

Steward of Gondor back in the core set introduced the resource acceleration mechanism to the game. Heirs of Númenor as the first Gondor focused deluxe expanded on the Gondor trait having resource related mechanisms. Envoy of Pelagrir and Errand-Rider both gave it ways to move resources around. Wealth of Gondor gave it another acceleration option, and Leadership Boromir boosted ally attack while he had a resource. This is a nice way to represent the manpower and materials at Gondor’s command. It makes a lot sense as the kingdom was the largest and strongest of the free peoples during the later years of the Third Age.

Envoy of Pelagrir and Errand-Rider both provide another great thematic representation of the mechanism of moving resources from one hero to another. Both are traveling around and interacting with the various peoples of Middle Earth. The Pelargir Ship Captain, introduced later in the cycle, continued the thematic link of traveling allies with a resource smoothing ability that isn’t limited to just Gondor or Noble. Squire of the Citadel is another later example of the thematic link. Although it is not as obvious as the prior examples considering the squire would need to leave play first to basically move the resource to a different Gondor hero. Still a squire could be expected to run messages for their knight and it can tie in.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Gondor Global Boosts

Envoy is a pretty good value with 1 willpower and attack for essentially 1 resource. You can get more stats with Leadership Boromir hero or For Gondor! boosting its attack. Gondor has many good allies for combat.

I tend to think of Envoy as a cheap questing ally. Especially since it’s easy to boost its willpower with Visionary Leadership, Leadership ally Faramir, and even Sword that was Broken on Aragorn.

Bond of Friendship

The Envoy fits in well with this contract’s deckbuilding restrictions considering you have to include at least 5 neutral or Saga sphere cards. There aren’t as many neutral card options as the regular 4 spheres. It’s ability to smooth resources between Gondor and Noble heroes is even better value with the mandatory quad sphere build.

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 the Envoy at 5 rings because it is one the best filler cards. I could see a a strong argument for 4 on that basis. I just find that being a good or even great filler usually gets cut from my deck. In larger card pool, I often find better choices for the particular deck I’m building. Even Gondor swarm has many great cheap options that are competing for space like Solider of Gondor, Herald of Anórien, Defender of Rammas, or Knight of Belfalas.

When it came out, the Envoy was fantastic. It was just the kind of card the game needed for the small card pool, a flexible ally that could go in any deck. Also it could make your early game much better by giving a hero that one resource needed to play another card in the same turn especially in dual sphere decks. Now, there are better cheap allies for most decks and better resource smoothing options. It still is useful, but not as universally as it was back in Against the Shadow.

  • Dave – 5
  • Grant – 4
  • Ted – 5
  • Matt – 5
  • Average 4.75

External Links

Sample Decks

A Family of Leaders by emorlecallor

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Boromir (Heirs of Númenor)
Denethor (Flight of the Stormcaller)
Faramir (The Land of Shadow)

Ally (29)
1x Anborn (The Land of Shadow)
2x Citadel Custodian (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Envoy of Pelargir (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Errand-rider (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
3x Herald of Anórien (Trouble in Tharbad)
1x Ingold (The Wastes of Eriador)
2x Pelargir Ship Captain (The Morgul Vale)
3x Squire of the Citadel (The Blood of Gondor)
3x Veteran of Osgiliath (Escape from Mount Gram)
2x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)
3x White Tower Watchman (The Drúadan Forest)

Attachment (12)
3x Rod of the Steward (Flight of the Stormcaller)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
3x Tome of Atanatar (The Blood of Gondor)
3x Visionary Leadership (The Morgul Vale)

Event (10)
3x A Very Good Tale (Over Hill and Under Hill)
1x For Gondor! (Core Set)
3x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
3x Strength of Arms (The Drúadan Forest)

Player Side Quest (1)
1x Send for Aid (The Treachery of Rhudaur)

3 Heroes, 52 Cards
Cards up to Flight of the Stormcaller

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.