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.

Brok Ironfist

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Leaves Play
    • Messenger of the King

The Core Set’s consolation prize for losing a hero.

Background

Brok Ironfist is a FFG created character. He is presumably one of Durin’s Folk or a Longbeard Dwarf. The Longbeards are the only Dwarves introduced in The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings although there are other clans of Dwarves descended from the original 7 fathers created by Aule.

Card Theme

Brok is not a thematic card aside from being a character created for the game. His ability doesn’t match the damage for a bonus of Gloin and Glimi from the Core Set. Much less the have 5 Dwarves in play mechanic of Thorin’s Company introduced in The Hobbit expansions and mining developed in Against the Shadow and later cycles. I speculate that Brok’s ability is tangential to the damaged Dwarves get a bonus theme since if they get too damaged, you can put Brok into play for free. Especially as it seems from Veteran of Nihuadon that it was a mechanism intended to be developed for the Dwarf trait that later switched to Ents.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Leadership Dain Ironfoot

Brok with Dain in play stats 3/3/1/4 stats that are more in line with his cost. The comparison to the only other 6 cost ally, Beorn, is much closer. Then Brok is only 2 stat points lower than him. I suspect part of the reason Bork costs 6 is because of Dain. The designers have mentioned in interviews that player cards in a cycle are all developed at the same time.

Fellowship Contract

In the same vein as Leadership Dain (mining reference intended), the Fellowship contract can boost Dain’s stats to rival that of many good heroes that have 2 non-hit point stats of 3 like Glorfindel. Dwarves of likely one of the few traits in the game to have enough unique allies to fulfill the contract without including one of the other Middle Earth races. A player could even get 4 willpower and 4 attack with Leadership Dain boosting him as well.

A Very Good Tale

A Very Good Tale can be another way to put Brok into play cheaply besides his own ability. The real value is from exhausting Brok to determine how many resources worth of allies you can put into play. alone he ensures Beorn or Gandalf (Core or Over Hill and Under Hill versions) are eligible. A 2 cost ally exhausted as well then you can usually guarantee just about combination of 2 allies can enter play. Even great value can be extracted if Brok is put into play with Sneak Attack or To Me! O my Kinsfolk!

Flame of Anor

A great use of Brok is actually to not play him, but to discard him. Flame of Anor gives an Istari like Gandalf, Saruman, or Radagast +6 attack. A player could get Saruman in particular to an extremely high attack combining this play with The One Ring with Strength and Courage for +5 attack (15 attack). A War Axe, Golden Belt, and Legacy Blade with 3 completed side quests for an additional +6 (21 attack). Dunedain Marks could bring the final total all the way up to 24 attack. Setting up Brok to be discarded is not difficult with Imladris Stargazer to reorder the top 5 or Wizard Pipe to put him on top.

Messenger of the King

A player could make Bork a hero with Messenger of the King and start with him in play. If Dain is in play, he only has 1 less hit point than Thorin Oakenshield, but costs 3 less threat. Granted, you wouldn’t get a useful ability which would be the big downside. Especially considering the large number of other Dwarf hero options with very useful abilities like Balin.

Quest Specific

The first two cycles and The Hobbit Saga expansions included many encounter cards that were outright Hero killers. In the Core Set, players had to watch out for taking too much direct damage from Necromancer’s Reach and Evil Storm. Not to mention Hummerhorns dealing 5 damage to a hero when engaged or 1 damage to each character when revealed as a shadow. There are also a few shadow effects that become worse on an undefended attack that is often necessary in the early game.

The Darrowdelf cycle even more notoriously included effects that can outright discard a hero if the player(s). Not just as the when revealed effect but also in the shadow effect! A free ally with hero level stats won’t completely offset the loss, but it is still something that might let a player limp to the end of the quest.

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 Bork at 8 rings. He’s undoubtedly expensive for the stats you get unless Leadership Dain is in play. Partly it is due to core set where the cost curve was slightly higher. Later expansions lowered overall cost curve with many efficent 2 cost allies. Also he’s in Leadership and Leadership cards tend to be a little more expensive. It is the sphere with the best and most resource acceleration and as a result Leadership cards tend to be a little more expensive. Another consider I’m sure was that he was developed with Dain.

Still, he has hero level stats as many of them have a couple 2’s in willpower, attack, or defense. Only Dain, Thorin Oakenshield, and Thorin Stonehelm having a 3 stat that isn’t hit points. His ability isn’t one that you want to plan for. Especially since The Houses of Healing and Fortune or Fate both cost 5 and don’t provide much of discount to play him. It can still be a nice consolation prize if you lose a hero particularly in the late game when resources may not be needed as much. The stats to make the last questing push can be key to securing victory.

I think that Brok is consigned to being considered one of the worst cards in the game by the community for a few big reasons. First that he came out in the Core Set without Dain. This was compounded by that Dain came out in the last pack of the cycle with a huge gap of time between the Core Set and the first AP. Players had a long time to form an opinion without a major boost card. Second, the only other 6 cost card in the game is ally Beorn that comes with two major stats at 3 and more printed hit points than any player except his hero version. On top of all that, Beorn has an amazing ability that is a huge help against the biggest enemies in the core set. Lastly, the cost curve ended becoming lower with more good 2 cost allies and no more 6 cost cards.

Is Brok the worst card in the game? I don’t think so. Discarding him to Flame of Anor is a least one really good way to use him. Playing him as an ally with Dain on the table is not bad, but it is a big investment. Particularly when Dwarves are extremely well developed trait with many different ally options.

  • Dave – 10
  • Grant – 10
  • Ted – TBR?
  • Matt – 8
  • Average – 9.3

Sample Decks

Deck Tech: Dwarf Starter Deck by chrsjxn

A limited purchase Dwarf Swarm deck using cards only from the original Core Set, Return to Mirkwood, and Khazad-Dum.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Bifur (Khazad-dûm)
Dáin Ironfoot (Return to Mirkwood)
Gimli (Core Set)

Ally (24)
1x Brok Ironfist (Core Set)
2x Daughter of the Nimrodel (Core Set)
2x Erebor Hammersmith (Core Set)
3x Erebor Record Keeper (Khazad-dûm)
2x Faramir (Core Set)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
2x Gléowine (Core Set)
1x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
1x Longbeard Orc Slayer (Core Set)
2x Miner of the Iron Hills (Core Set)
3x Veteran Axehand (Core Set)
2x Veteran of Nanduhirion (Khazad-dûm)

Attachment (10)
2x Blade of Gondolin (Core Set)
1x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
3x Dwarrowdelf Axe (Khazad-dûm)
2x Self Preservation (Core Set)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)

Event (16)
3x Durin’s Song (Khazad-dûm)
2x Feint (Core Set)
3x Khazâd! Khazâd! (Khazad-dûm)
2x Lórien’s Wealth (Core Set)
2x Quick Strike (Core Set)
2x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
2x Valiant Sacrifice (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to Khazad-dûm

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

The Company of Brok Ironfist by Durin’s Father

A mega stat boosting deck with Leadership Dain, Fellowship contract, and The Arkenstone.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Bifur (Khazad-dûm)
Dáin Ironfoot (Return to Mirkwood)
Thorin Oakenshield (Over Hill and Under Hill)

Contract (0)
1x Fellowship (A Shadow in the East)

Ally (16)
1x Azain Silverbeard (Flight of the Stormcaller)
1x Bofur (Over Hill and Under Hill)
1x Bombur (Road to Rivendell)
1x Brok Ironfist (Core Set)
2x Dori (Over Hill and Under Hill)
1x Dwalin (On the Doorstep)
2x Fili (Over Hill and Under Hill)
1x Gimli (The Treason of Saruman)
2x Glóin (On the Doorstep)
2x Ioreth (A Storm on Cobas Haven)
2x Kili (Over Hill and Under Hill)

Attachment (18)
1x Ancestral Armor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
2x Armor of Erebor (Mount Gundabad)
2x Armored Destrier (Temple of the Deceived)
2x Cram (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Dúnedain Remedy (The Drowned Ruins)
2x Hardy Leadership (Shadow and Flame)
2x King Under the Mountain (On the Doorstep)
2x Legacy of Durin (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Narvi’s Belt (Khazad-dûm)
1x The Arkenstone (The Withered Heath)

Event (16)
3x A Very Good Tale (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Durin’s Song (Khazad-dûm)
2x Lure of Moria (Road to Rivendell)
3x To me! O my kinsfolk! (On the Doorstep)
2x We Are Not Idle (Shadow and Flame)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to A Shadow in the East

Sideboard

Ally (2)
1x Arwen Undómiel (The Watcher in the Water)
1x Bofur (The Redhorn Gate)

Event (3)
3x Parting Gifts (A Journey to Rhosgobel)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Wielders of the Three by Master of Lore

A Three Elven Rings deck full of powerful unique allies that Vilya can put into play. Narya can ready and boost them. Extra copies can fuel a big attack from Gandal with Flame of Anor.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Elrond (Shadow and Flame)
Galadriel (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
Gandalf (The Road Darkens)

Ally (20)
2x Arwen Undómiel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Beorn (Core Set)
2x Bilbo Baggins (The Road Darkens)
2x Brok Ironfist (Core Set)
2x Faramir (Core Set)
2x Gildor Inglorion (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Master of the Forge (Shadow and Flame)
2x Treebeard (The Antlered Crown)
2x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)

Attachment (22)
2x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
2x Expert Treasure-hunter (On the Doorstep)
2x Gandalf’s Staff (The Road Darkens)
2x Light of Valinor (Foundations of Stone)
2x Narya (The Grey Havens)
2x Nenya (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
2x Protector of Lórien (Core Set)
3x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
3x Vilya (Shadow and Flame)
2x Wizard Pipe (The Road Darkens)

Event (8)
2x Elrond’s Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Flame of Anor (The Road Darkens)
2x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
1x Will of the West (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Grey Havens

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.

Eagles of the Misty Mountains

The capstone card of the Eagles cards released in the first cycle of the game. While 4 resources can be a big investment in LOTR LCG, this is one is very much worth it.

Background

The Eagles of the Misty Mountains were descendants of the Great Eagles, servants of Manwe in the First and Second Ages. They came to the aid of Gandalf, Bilbo, and Thorin’s Company when trapped in trees after escaping from dungeons dim and caverns deep pursued by goblins and wargs. They also aided the men, elves, dwarves in the Battle of Five Armies turning the tide along with the arrival of Beorn. In the Lord of the Rings, their involvement is more off-screen as Gandalf later relates to Frodo his rescue from Orthanc by Gwaihir . Then again, Galadriel sends Gwaihir to retrieve Gandalf from the top of Celebdil after his battle with the Balrog. They join the Battle of the Morannon as Aragorn leads the armies of the West against Sauron as a distraction for Frodo. Most notably Gwaihir, Meneldor, and Landroval fly to Mount Doom after The One Ring’s destruction to save Frodo and Sam.

Card Theme

This card is incredibly thematic. You can easily imagine a Vassel of the Winglord swooping down from sky to attack an orc and then flying back up to rejoin the convocation. This card represents that as those Eagle allies with discard effects getting attached to it making the whole convocation stronger.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Other Eagle Allies

The more Eagle allies you run in your deck, the more potential attachments you have to build up the Eagles of the Misty Mountain’s attack and defense. The primary ones for this are Eagle Emissary, Vassel of the Winglord, Wilyador, and Winged Guardian since they can discard themselves. Descendent of Thorondor and Meneldor could be attached too after using Born Aloft, Meneldor’s Flight, or Flight of the Eagles to trigger their leave play effects. Although, you might really want to just return them to your hand to replay them.

Put Ally into Play & Resource Acceleration

The Eagles allies that discard themselves tend to be the cheaper ones that can get into play early. Eagles of the Misty Mountains at 4 cost are difficult to play early in the game before discarding any other Eagle allies. Having any effects that can put allies into play or accelerate your resources to play them helps the Eagles build up more attachments quickly.

Top among put into play effects is Vilya which for the cost of exhausting Elrond can put the top card of a deck into play. The classic ally mustering card, A Very Good Tale could be difficult to get an Eagles of the Misty Mountains with only the cheaper Eagle allies. A little trick is to an ally put into play via Gwaihir’s Debt, Sneak Attack, or Horns! Horns! Horns! Meneldor, Descendent of Thorondor, or Gandalf core set ally are good ones to use for triggering their enter and leave play effects along with higher costs.

For decks with a lot of questing power, Elf-Stone and the side quest Send for Aid are good options for getting the Eagles of the Misty Mountains in play. Hirgon is another popular resource acceleration choice. He can reduce the cost by 1 when the player quests successfully. He has additional combat synergy since the ability has the option to add 1 attack and defense when played with his ability at the cost of 1 threat.

Low threat Tactics heroes like Merry, Éowyn, Na’asiyah, and Tom Cotton or Messenger of the King and Grey Wanderer contracts can also allow for 2 great options in Secrecy. Resourceful can provide amazing value over the course of a game providing an extra resource for the Secrecy cost discounted cost of 1. Timely Aid will search the top 5 cards for an ally to put into play also for the low, low 1 cost. It’s not necessarily a reliable means for getting Eagles of the Misty Mountains into play without some player deck manipulation like Imladris Stargazer’s rearranging the top 5 cards or swapping the top card with Wizard Pipe. One advantage for Timely Aid is that there are a few other expensive Eagle allies that it can help with. Also it could put one other ally that will help play Eagles.

The much maligned Radagast ally offers creature specific resource acceleration. His cost of 5 is more prohibitive then Resourceful played out of Secrecy. If put into play with Timely Aid, Elf-Stone, A Very Good Tale, etc. then it still provides a good value. Additionally, you an make use of his staff to lower the cost of the Eagles to 2. Wizard Pipe can also be put on him to set up Eagles for a second Timely Aid. Of course, you can always run his hero version which provides access to Word of Command to find the staff or Eagles to help get them out sooner than later.

Ally Readying

Ally readying effects let you get more use out of their solid base stats or hopefully their built up attack and defense. Radagast’s Staff offers this effect along with the cost discount to play the Eagles. Also in hero specific attachments, Narya can ready them and boost their combat stats further. Ever Vigilant is the base ally readying event from the core set. Spare Hood and Cloak is cheap option for a single ready if there is another ally that isn’t needed or used often. Long Lake Trader could always move Spare Hood and Cloak back to an available character. Leadership Faramir hero‘s ability to ready an ally on engagement isn’t as useful as the others since it means the readying will only help to use Eagles to quest or defend an immediate attack prior to step 5. Their 2 willpower is still good for questing and there are some scenarios where enemies can attack when revealed. It is just not as flexible as the others.

Support of the Eagles

Before Gondorian Fire and Blood of Numenor, there was Support of the Eagles. This is the other way to take advantage of an Eagles of the Misty Mountains with several attachments. It synergized incredibly well with pre-errata Tactics Boromir because he could ready multiple times during combat. In modern decks, it has found a new preferred target, Gwaihir hero. Gwaihir readies as any Eagle leaves play that can be attached to Eagles of the Misty Mountains allowing Gwaihir to take advantage of that stat boost immediately.

Grappling Hook

This card can let you leverage the Eagles attack stat for questing outside of a Battle quest. It could easily provide a mid to late game questing push to get through at particularly bad stage or rush to the end. The Haradrim cycle has a couple quests where it can be important to push through a stage quickly. Race for Harad in particular is one where having the option to convert strong attack into a questing boost at the end before the orcs catch up can be very valuable.

Quest Specific

The Eagles of the Misty Mountains can be very helpful in quests with the Battle and Siege keywords. Quests with those keywords have characters quest with their attack and defense stats. These are featured in all three of the Heirs of Numenor quests. They’re also good to use in Battle of the Five Armies aside from thematic reasons as Battle and Siege show up in that quest as well.

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 this card at 3 rings. The Eagles have stats comparable to a 9-10 threat hero and they can get better if you are running other allies with the eagle trait. I’ve found their 2 willpower to be very useful in willpower poor mono-Tactics. It also just very fun to get them into play early and start building up them up into a massive attacker or defender. The main drawback is the high cost especially as you want to play them as early as possible to avoid wasting a discarded or destroyed eagle ally. The high cost, however, is well justified considering what they bring to the table. There are also more 4 costs allies in Tactics that are better, Legolas, or just as good as the Eagles. While I don’t consider them a staple Tactics ally anymore, they’re still a really good value for the cost and only get better the more eagles in the deck.

  • Dave – 5
  • Grant – 4
  • Ted – 3
  • Matt – 3
  • Average – 3.75

External Links

Sample Decks

Eagles of the Misty Riddermark by peacefrog3 (Chris G)

Chris’s deck tries to get as much value as possible from Eagles leaving play as possible. Eomer and Eagles of the Misty Mountains get boosts when any leave play. Chump blocking will generate resources with Horn of Gondor.

Eagles of the Misty Riddermark

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Éomer (The Voice of Isengard)
Éowyn (The Flame of the West)
Théoden (The Morgul Vale)

Ally (24)
1x Bofur (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Descendant of Thorondor (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Eagles of the Misty Mountains (Return to Mirkwood)
1x Envoy of Pelargir (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
2x Grimbold (The Flame of the West)
1x Guthlaf (The Blood of Gondor)
1x Gwaihir (Trouble in Tharbad)
1x Landroval (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
1x Legolas (The Treason of Saruman)
3x Vassal of the Windlord (The Dead Marshes)
2x Westfold Outrider (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Winged Guardian (The Hunt for Gollum)

Attachment (15)
3x Firefoot (The Dunland Trap)
2x Golden Shield (The Flame of the West)
3x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
2x Grappling Hook (The Grey Havens)
2x Horn of Gondor (Core Set)
3x Spear of the Mark (The Morgul Vale)

Event (10)
3x Feint (Core Set)
2x Foe-hammer (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Hail of Stones (Road to Rivendell)
3x The Eagles Are Coming! (The Hunt for Gollum)

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

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Flame of the West

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Two Istari Try To Fly Far-i! Gandalf/Eagles! by Attercop! (Shane M)

Shane is having a blast playing this Eagle deck against the Haradrim and a bit of the Vengeance of Mordor cycles. He mentioned something about explaining later some bike spoke card choices in this deck, but I have no idea what he could be referring to. I see a lot of solid resource acceleration and put ally into play options with this deck!

Two Istari Try To Fly Far-i! Gandalf/Eagles!

Main Deck

Hero (1)
Gandalf (The Road Darkens)

Contract (0)
1x The Grey Wanderer (Challenge of the Wainriders)

Ally (20)
3x Descendant of Thorondor (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Eagles of the Misty Mountains (Return to Mirkwood)
1x Gwaihir (Trouble in Tharbad)
1x Landroval (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
2x Meneldor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
3x Radagast (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
3x Vassal of the Windlord (The Dead Marshes)
2x Wilyador (The Land of Sorrow)
2x Winged Guardian (The Hunt for Gollum)

Attachment (12)
3x Gandalf’s Staff (The Road Darkens)
1x Narya (The Grey Havens)
1x Radagast’s Staff (The Fate of Wilderland)
3x Resourceful (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Shadowfax (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Song of Battle (The Dead Marshes)
1x Wizard Pipe (The Road Darkens)

Event (21)
3x A Very Good Tale (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Flame of Anor (The Road Darkens)
3x Flight of the Eagles (Roam Across Rhovanion)
3x Gwaihir’s Debt (The Fate of Wilderland)
3x The Eagles Are Coming! (The Hunt for Gollum)
3x Timely Aid (The Redhorn Gate)
3x Word of Command (The Long Dark)

1 Hero, 53 Cards
Cards up to The Land of Sorrow

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Legolas Shoots Locations by kattattack22 (Matt Kell)

A mono Tactics deck I played through Against the Shadow where Eagles of Misty Mountains 2 willpower is pretty key.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Beregond (Heirs of Númenor)
Éowyn (The Flame of the West)
Legolas (Core Set)

Ally (24)
2x Beechbone (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
2x Bofur (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Defender of Rammas (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Derndingle Warrior (Escape from Mount Gram)
3x Dúnedain Hunter (The Lost Realm)
3x Eagles of the Misty Mountains (Return to Mirkwood)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)
3x Honour Guard (The Wastes of Eriador)
3x Knights of the Swan (The Steward’s Fear)

Attachment (17)
2x Arod (The Treason of Saruman)
3x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
3x Favor of the Valar (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
3x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Rivendell Blade (Road to Rivendell)
3x Secret Vigil (The Lost Realm)

Event (9)
3x Feint (Core Set)
3x Foe-hammer (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Hands Upon the Bow (Shadow and Flame)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Flame of the West

Sideboard

Hero (1)
Aragorn (The Lost Realm)

Ally (10)
1x Gandalf (Core Set)
3x Grimbold (The Flame of the West)
3x Legolas (The Treason of Saruman)
3x Vassal of the Windlord (The Dead Marshes)

Attachment (5)
3x Dwarven Axe (Core Set)
2x Horn of Gondor (Core Set)

Event (9)
3x Sterner than Steel (The Flame of the West)
3x The Eagles Are Coming! (The Hunt for Gollum)
3x Thicket of Spears (Core Set)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.