Heir of Valandil

  • Player Card Categories
    • Cost Reduction
    • Resource Acceleration

The trait based resource acceleration for Dunedain.

Background

You might be wondering who is the Heir of Valandil? Spoilers, it is Aragorn. I know what you’re thinking. Aragorn is Isildur’s Heir. How can he be the Heir of Valandil too? It is because Valandil was the original heir of Isildur. As Isildur’s youngest son he became the king of Arnor after his brothers and Isildur died at the Disaster of Gladden Fields. Valandil ended being the longest reigning king of Arnor at 239 years.

Card Theme

The card’s ally cost reduction by engaging an enemies is similar to idea behind Dunedain Hunter. The Dunedain rangers went where there was trouble during The Watchful Peace. It makes sense that their chieftain would have an easier time mustering them to deal with an immediate threat.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Dunedain Allies

A player might wonder why they might use Heir of Valandil when there is already a staple 2 cost unique resource acceleration attachment, Steward of Gondor. There are a couple reasons to highlight. The first is that the cost reduction can be applied to any Dunedain ally that a player already has a resource match for. This is very advantageous considering the 23 Dunedain allies in the game span all 4 spheres.

The second is, a player can use both. Nearly 2/3 of the Dunedain allies cost 3 or more resources. All the resource acceleration Dunedain can get help get a critical mass of allies and overcome the scenario. Lastly, it provides an alternative in multiplayer when someone else already has Steward of Gondor.

Traps

Traps are ideal way to increase the attachment’s cost reduction. Forest Snare in particular works really well because the enemy remains engaged but no longer attacks. Entangling Nets and Outmatched create a similar more safely engaged enemy that can be defended without sacrificing an action. Shadow effects are still a concern unless the player has a defender with some shadow cancelation like A Burning Brand.

Attack Cancellation

Attack cancelation effects like Feint, Thicket of Spears, The Wizard’s Voice, and Coney in a Trap like Trap attachments can help increase the cost reduction and reduce the risk of the engaged enemy albeit just temporarily.

Gloin hero

Gloin can be an interesting way to increase the effect. Song of Wisdom or Narvi’s Belt or a Warden of Healing make it that Gloin can heal all damage done to him quite easily. Some hit point bonuses from attachments like Citadel Plate, and he can take undefended attacks even from boss level enemies. Provided shadow effects don’t discard attachments, it can be quite easy to keep several enemies engaged without much trouble. Heir of Valandil might become a “win more” card at that point since combat is essentially neutralized.

Attachment Search

Ted often points out that a big drawback to any card is you have to draw it. Fortunately, there are 2 cards that help find an attachment in a deck. Galadriel ally searches the top 5 cards and puts it into play. She is even in sphere with Heir of Valandil. Master of the Forge will do the same expect put it into a player’s hand, but it can be used each round.

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 Heir of Valandil at 7 rings. It is only going into a Dunedain focused deck considering it requires a Dunedain hero and works only on Dunedain allies. That alone immediately makes it a niche card. Then the effect is conditional on having at least 1 enemy engaged. The Dunedain generally want to do that anyway, but it is risky. Especially if keeping any enemies engaged to keep the bonus. The only really nice part of the effect is that it is unlimited. The cost reduction can get high enough to even play a 5 cost Dunedain Wanderer into play for free.

The other major drawback is that it has the same sphere, cost, and also unique like Steward of Gondor. In solo play, unless your Dunedain are really spread across 3 or 4 spheres, Steward is going to be better. In multiplayer, it has the advantage of being a potential alternative if Steward is already taken. It is going to see some play in dedicated Dunedain decks, but not much outside of them.

  • Dave – 8
  • Grant – TBR
  • Ted – 5
  • Matt – 7
  • Average – 6.67

External Links

Sample Decks

Dunedain Trappers by Seastan

The most popular Dunedain deck utilizing traps to maximize engaged enemies and power up the effects of Heir of Valandil and Dunedain allies.

Dunedain Trappers

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Amarthiúl (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
Aragorn (The Watcher in the Water)
Damrod (The Land of Shadow)

Ally (20)
2x Dúnedain Hunter (The Lost Realm)
2x Dúnedain Watcher (The Dead Marshes)
3x Galadriel (The Road Darkens)
3x Guardian of Arnor (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
3x Master of the Forge (Shadow and Flame)
3x Northern Tracker (Core Set)
2x Sarn Ford Sentry (The Lost Realm)
2x Warden of Annúminas (The Lost Realm)

Attachment (17)
2x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
3x Forest Snare (Core Set)
1x Gondorian Fire (Assault on Osgiliath)
2x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
2x Heir of Valandil (The Lost Realm)
2x Ranger Spikes (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
2x Sword that was Broken (The Watcher in the Water)

Event (13)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)
2x Descendants of Kings (Escape from Mount Gram)
3x Feint (Core Set)
2x Tighten Our Belts (The Nîn-in-Eilph)

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

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Tactics Beregond – Community Review

by Rambokc

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Equipping
    • Resource Acceleration

Background

Beregond didn’t appear in the movies but I have definitely heard of him somewhere within the books.

Editor’s note – Denethor assigned Beregond to show Pippin the ropes after joining the Guard of the Citadel.

Card Theme

Defender, Gondor, Tactics

Card Synergies and Interactions

Tactics equipment and attachments

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.

Do keep in mind I am a relatively new yet very enthusiastic player of LOTR LCG! Tactics Beregond is a great card as it provides some of the highest defense values in the game. Another plus point of the card is its ability to lower the cost required to play armour and equipment attachments on him that can further bolster his defensive ability, such as Spear of the Citadel or Citadel Plate. Beregond often forms the very heart of my defense and he has not let me down – having 4 health points means that should enemy attack slip past his defense, Beregond will still be able to soak up some damage and stay alive. While some might be tempted to compare Tactics Beregond with defensively-oriented characters out there such as Spirit Beregond or Denethor (both Leadership and Spirit versions), bear in mind that Tactics Beregond has aged very well. He was released rather early in the game’s lifespan and he fact that he is still regarded as one of the top defenders shows the value of the card. The drawbacks of Tactics Beregond are him having 0 quest points and a mere 1 attack point, meaning that his role is mostly limited to defense, which I have to admit, he does very well!

  • Kenddrick – 2
  • Dave – 3
  • Grant – 5
  • Ted – 2
  • Matt – 2
  • Average 2.8

Zigil Miner

  • Artist
    • Magali Villeneuve
  • Pre-errata
    • Action: Exhaust Zigil Miner and name a number to discard the top 2 cards of your deck. If at least one of those cards has a cost equal to the named number, choose a hero you control. That hero adds resources to his resource pool equal to the named number.

Extremely thematic resource acceleration card. Pre-errata it rivaled even Steward of Gondor. Post-errata it is still fantastic and fun.

Background

Zigil is the Dwarven or Khuzdul word for silver. The Silvertine mountain in the Misty Mountain range is known as Zirakzigil to the Dwarves. Mostly notably, Gandalf defeated the Balrog on its peak, The Silverlode river that runs through Lothlórien is also called Zigil-nâd.

Card Theme

First, I will refer to the discarding cards from the top of a player deck from here on out as mining. This card was the first player card to utilize discarding cards from the top of player’s deck. Subsequent cards with this mechanism, like Ered Nimras Prospector, have consistency linked it to mining and the Dwarves. I also can’t help but note how similar this is to the Magic the Gathering short hand, milling, for the same mechanism. As a long time Magic player, I really appreciate this because it’s not a hard switch to make.

I think matching this mechanism to the Dwarves and their love of mining is a perfect thematic match. Discarding from your deck you don’t know you don’t know what you’ll find until you start digging. That is at least without some tools to aid you. I’m not a mining expert, but I know that modern day tools allow for scanning underground to find likely mineral deposits. Similarly in the game players have a few options to see what their top card(s) are or even choose them.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Player Deck Scrying and Manipulation

Imladris Stargazer, Gildor Ingorion ally, and Wizard Pipe all provide players with the ability to manipulate the top card(s) of their deck. Imladris Stargazer and Gildor are great for setting up Zigil Miner because they can reorder the top 5 and 3 cards, respectively. This let’s the player choose both cards that will be mined. Gildor has the added bonus of letting a player swap a card from their hand to the top. This can be very useful to make use of duplicate unique cards along with a couple other uses I’ll cover later. Wizard Pipe can also choose the top card by swapping from hand much like Gildor. It doesn’t provide the ability to scry the player deck on its own. Typically that comes from Gandalf hero’s ability to play with the top card revealed. Still this can at least ensure the miner provides 1 resource using his ability.

Hidden Cache and Ered Luin Miner

These two cards are designed to be mined. Hidden Cache offsets the nerf Zigil Miner received from its errata down to 1 resource per card with a matching cost. Ered Luin Miner is not an efficient ally for 3 cost, but great value when put into play for free. If you have the misfortune to draw them, then Gildor and Wizard Pipe can put them back on top.

Discard Recursion

There are two card effects that I classify as discard recursion. The first takes cards from the discard pile and either puts them directly into play or into a player’s hand. The other puts cards from the discard pile back into the deck.

There are quite a few cards that can pull cards back from the discard pile. Stand and Fight, Caldara, Reforged, To me! O my kinsfolk!, all can put one directly into play. Last one is a a crossover since the ally is put on the bottom of the deck at end of the phase and shares the Dwarf theme. Dwarven Tomb, Erebor Hammersmith, and Second Breakfast can all return a card to a player’s hand. Four of these are even in the first cycle for progression players to combo with the miner.

Recursion cards that take cards from the discard pile and put them into play or hand can turn Zigil Miner’s ability into pseudo-card draw or tutoring. For example, the miner could mine an Erebor Hammersmith and Unexpected Courage. Stand and Fight then could target the Hammersmith and put it into play. Hammersmith could put Unexpected Courage into a player’s hand. This a fairly optimized example, but very possible. Stand and Fight, Reforged, To me! O my kinsfolk!, and Dwarven Tomb can target any non-neutral ally, non-neutral attachment, Dwarf ally, or Spirit card, respectively. Aggressive use of Zigil Miner’s abililty with multiple copies in play only increases the number of possible targets in the discard pile for each card.

The downside to mining ability of course is running out of cards in your deck. Fortunately, the core set provided the ultimate means of refilling it, Will of the West. Once the entire discard is back into the deck, the player is free to mine or draw those cards again. Later cards like Dwarf Pipe, Tactics Nori, and Galadhrim Weaver only put 1 card back into the deck at a time. The use of them ends up being more tactical to shuffle in the most useful card(s). The upside is dead cards like duplicate unique ones don’t have to be returned to the deck.

The Record attachments of Map of Earnil, Tome of Atanatar, Scroll of Isildur, and Book of Eldacar cover both discard recursion effects. They let you play an event in your discard pile. Then put it back on the bottom of your deck. Map of Earnil and Tome of Atanatar also can replay the recursion identified earlier.

Cards with the Same Cost

Another way to make the miner’s ability very consistent is just to build your deck with cards that all have the same cost. Two or three cost are generally the best to use for this. There are a lot of options at those costs particularly for allies (see table). Those costs are high enough that Zigil Miner’s resource acceleration is still useful, but not so high that slows down early game tempo. Even just building mostly of the same cost card and playing the odds of what is left in your deck can work well.

CostCountAlly Count
01695
127926
2228129
3146104
46747
53318
622
Count is player card results returned by Hall of Beorn search for that cost on November 27, 2021. These numbers may include double counts due to reprinted cards in the Limited Edition Two Player Starter and Revised Core Set.

Quest Specific

In the Saga quests, you have the option in Helm’s Deep to take the Poisoned Counsels burden. If drawn, you have to discard your hand. Zigil Miner offers a way to avoid drawing it. In the Ered Mithren cycle, there is a treachery with a similar effect. Lost in the Wild when it is revealed it goes directly to a player’s hand and discard your hand when a card is played. Gildor or Wizard Pipe plus the miner, however, can put it on top of a player’s deck and mine it away.

There are a couple quests where if your deck runs out, you lose and Zigil Miner is not a good idea. Deadman’s Dike in the Lost Realm is the first. You can play Will of the West or a larger deck to play around the loss condition and still use the miner if you want. There are few encounter card effects, however, that are based on cards in your discard pile. For example, the shadow effect on Dark Sorcery will discard the defender if there is a copy of that ally in your discard pile.

The other is Under the Ash Mountains. It’s even more punishing than Deadman’s Dike. It forces the players to mine down to 40 cards. This one doesn’t allow events to shuffle cards from your discard pile back into your deck barring Will of the West. The quest will mine a minimum of 2 cards per turn from your deck but often more.

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 Zigil Miner at 2 even post-errata. It provides solid resource acceleration in Spirit. It is not difficult to make reliable either with Imladris Stargazer or just building your deck with all or mostly cards with the same cost. You can easily get bonus ally and resources with Ered Luin Miner and Hidden Cache. It also can provide pseudo-card draw when paired with Stand and Fight, Reforged, and Dwarven Tomb that are all in-sphere. If you don’t need the miner’s ability, it has 1 willpower and attack so it can help out with questing or attacking as needed. In a pinch, it can even chump block. The only downsides are it is not neutral and its 1 hit point that makes it vulnerable to direct damage effects like Necromancer’s Reach. If I’m playing Spirit, Zigil Miner is always under consideration for the deck.

  • Jeremy – 2
  • Dave – 6
  • Grant – 3
  • Ted – 2
  • Matt – 2
  • Average – 3

Sample Decks

The Dain and the Discard by Dave Walsh

This Dwarf mining deck is more focused on using Gandalf to set up putting attachments into play with Well-Equipped and Ring of Thror. Still Zigil Miner plays a role to accelerate resources to

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Dáin Ironfoot (The Ghost of Framsburg)
Gandalf (The Road Darkens)
Glóin (Core Set)

Ally (15)
2x Erebor Guard (The Sands of Harad)
2x Erebor Toymaker (Mount Gundabad)
3x Ered Luin Miner (Temple of the Deceived)
3x Ethir Swordsman (The Steward’s Fear)
2x Gimli (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Glorfindel (Flight of the Stormcaller)
2x Zigil Miner (Khazad-dûm)

Attachment (21)
2x Gandalf’s Staff (The Road Darkens)
2x King Under the Mountain (On the Doorstep)
1x Magic Ring (The Crossings of Poros)
2x Narya (The Grey Havens)
1x Orcrist (Fire in the Night)
1x Ring of Barahir (The Steward’s Fear)
2x Ring of Thrór (The Ghost of Framsburg)
2x Shadowfax (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Silver Lamp (The Voice of Isengard)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
3x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
2x Wizard Pipe (The Road Darkens)

Event (18)
3x Durin’s Song (Khazad-dûm)
3x Hidden Cache (The Morgul Vale)
3x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
3x Untroubled by Darkness (Khazad-dûm)
3x Well-Equipped (The Blood of Gondor)
3x Will of the West (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 54 Cards
Cards up to Mount Gundabad

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Love of the Halfling’s Leaf by MrSpaceBear

This is a really interesting combination of the mining and pipes archetypes. I have based a few different decks off this one.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
(MotK) Bilbo Baggins (Messenger of the King Allies)
Dáin Ironfoot (The Ghost of Framsburg)
Gandalf (The Road Darkens)

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

Ally (19)
1x Arwen Undómiel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Ered Luin Miner (Temple of the Deceived)
1x Faramir (Core Set)
1x Firyal (The Mûmakil)
1x Gimli (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Glorfindel (Flight of the Stormcaller)
1x Legolas (The Treason of Saruman)
2x Northern Tracker (Core Set)
3x Rhovanion Outrider (Temple of the Deceived)
1x Súlien (The City of Corsairs)
1x Thalion (Fire in the Night)
3x Zigil Miner (Khazad-dûm)

Attachment (18)
1x Ancestral Armor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
1x Armor of Erebor (Mount Gundabad)
3x Dwarf Pipe (The Mûmakil)
1x Expert Treasure-hunter (On the Doorstep)
1x Gandalf’s Staff (The Road Darkens)
1x Hobbit Pipe (The Black Riders)
1x Inner Strength (Wrath and Ruin)
1x Shadowfax (The Treason of Saruman)
2x Silver Circlet (Wrath and Ruin)
2x Spare Pipe (The Land of Sorrow)
3x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
1x Wizard Pipe (The Road Darkens)

Event (18)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Hidden Cache (The Morgul Vale)
3x Old Toby (The Black Serpent)
3x Smoke and Think (The Land of Sorrow)
2x Smoke Rings (The Black Riders)
2x Well-Equipped (The Blood of Gondor)
2x Will of the West (Core Set)

Player Side Quest (1)
1x Double Back (Escape from Mount Gram)

3 Heroes, 56 Cards
Cards up to The Land of Sorrow

Sideboard

Ally (3)
1x Lórien Guide (Core Set)
1x Northern Tracker (Core Set)
1x Treebeard (The Antlered Crown)

Attachment (1)
1x The One Ring (A Shadow in the East)

Event (1)
1x Well-Equipped (The Blood of Gondor)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Everything* Costs 2 by Seastan

The deck contains 41 cards that cost 2. Galdor to help find Zigil Miner on the first turn. Then uses Zigil Miner and Arwen to accelerate resources for a swarm of cheap allies. Elven-Light can also use those resources to draw extra cards a turn.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Arwen Undómiel (The Dread Realm)
Beregond (Heirs of Númenor)
Galdor of the Havens (The Grey Havens)

Ally (29)
1x Bilbo Baggins (The Road Darkens)
3x Envoy of Pelargir (Heirs of Númenor)
2x Erebor Hammersmith (Core Set)
2x Ered Nimrais Prospector (The Morgul Vale)
3x Ethir Swordsman (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Galadhon Archer (The Nîn-in-Eilph)
2x Galadriel’s Handmaiden (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
1x Gléowine (Core Set)
3x Honour Guard (The Wastes of Eriador)
2x Mithlond Sea-watcher (The Grey Havens)
1x Quickbeam (The Treason of Saruman)
3x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)
3x Zigil Miner (Khazad-dûm)

Attachment (11)
2x Protector of Lórien (Core Set)
2x Ranger Spikes (Heirs of Númenor)
2x Raven-winged Helm (The Wastes of Eriador)
2x Spear of the Citadel (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event (10)
2x Elven-light (The Dread Realm)
3x Hidden Cache (The Morgul Vale)
3x The Evening Star (The Grey Havens)
2x Will of the West (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Grey Havens

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Ranger of Cardolan

TL;DR A versatile neutral ally well positioned for unexpected combat requirements.

Background

[In] the wild lands beyond Bree there were mysterious wanderers. The Bree-folk called them Rangers, and knew nothing of their origin. They were taller and darker than the Men of Bree and were believed to have strange powers of sight and hearing, and to understand the languages of beasts and birds. They roamed at will southwards, and eastwards even as far as the Misty Mountains; but they were now few and rarely seen. When they appeared they brought news from afar, and told strange forgotten tales which were eagerly listened to; but the Bree-folk did not make friends of them.
—The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1, Ch 9, At the Sign of the Prancing Pony

The Ranger of Cardolan was released during the Angmar Awakened cycle which featured heavy development of the Dunedain archetype. These descendants of the kingdom of Arnor are capable of an aggressive, combat focused style of play as they seek to protect and guard those more vulnerable, and happen to be able to tell a good tale now and again. As such, Ranger of Cardolan makes an excellent contributor to this style of play.

Card Theme

If you’ve played the Angmar Awakened Cycle (which is likely since that’s where this card originates), you’ve been exposed to a fair smattering of Dunedain history. However, it isn’t intuitive to piece the scraps together solely from playing the card game. Hence a brief (and hopefully accurate) review of the foundational historical pieces of Arnor, of the Northern Kingdom of the Dunedain.

Following the defeat of Sauron in the War of the Last Alliance, the rule of Arnor is assumed by Valandil, Isildur’s only surviving son following the Disaster of the Gladden Fields. Thereabout eight uneventful centuries pass until the unity of Arnor is splintered into three kingdoms: Arthedain, Rhudaur and Cardolan.

Arthedain was in the North-west and included the land between Brandywine and Lune, and also the land north of the Great Road as far as the Weather Hills. Rhudaur was in the North-east and lay between the Ettenmoors, the Weather Hills, and the Misty Mountains, but included also the Angle between the Hoarwell and the Loudwater. Cardolan was in the South, its bounds being the Brandywine, the Greyflood, and the Great Road.
—The Return of the King, Appendix A, “The Númenorean Kings”, “Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur”

Image credit to The Mad Hobbit blog

The chronicle of tales shows that the dread realm of Angmar was established and Rhudaur fell under it’s control. Cardolan allied with Arthedain to hold back the evil forces, but it was eventually overwhelmed and it’s royal line destroyed. A band of survivors took refuge in Tyrn Gorthad (Barrow Downs and Old Forest region) where they interred the Last Prince of Cardolan (possibly the tomb Frodo encounters) where they endured for two centuries; but eventually they were ravaged by the Great Plague and perished, allowing the evil wights of Carn Dum to possess the barrow region. Upon rescuing Frodo, Tom Bombadil remarks of his memory of the fallen people of Cardolan; to what extent he interacted with these people is unknown, but he was certainly present and contemporary with them, and may have had friendly relations.

It is speculative to suggest this ally card represents a faint, unbroken lineage of Cardolan Dunedain. Rather, it likely depicts rangers of intact Arthedain descent who are stationed, posted, or positioned in regions of the former Cardolan kingdom (additionally, similar for the Sarn Ford Sentry). Nevertheless, card’s ability is a thematic success for to spring into play from the shadows in order to protect others.

Synergies and Interactions

Let’s establish one thing at this point, the stats on the Ranger of Cardolan are quite good. A combined nine stats for four resources is cost effective and it’s neutral (non-)sphere to boot. There are a good number of heroes that have a 2/2/2 statline as well as several allies in the “Vilya Champions” group. It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to call it the strongest non-unique neutral ally in the game (although there are interesting cases to be made for Guardian of Rivendell, etc).

Researching this card provided a lot of different clever uses for Ranger of Cardolan. But its high stats are a bit of a drawback when it comes to all of the effects that Ranger of Cardolan could trigger. If a card effect requires you to exhaust an ally/Dunedain/Ranger, then there is almost always a lower stat ally that could fit the bill (provided they are actually in play). These come at the opportunity cost of not being able to use its stats, which we’ve verified, are quite good.

To establish just a couple other points on the card’s ability that will come up later. “After you engage an enemy” is not limited to the Engagement phase. This could be triggered during non-traditional phases for engagement such as planning, questing, combat, etc. Also note, when triggering the ability, Ranger of Cardolan stays in play until the end of the round (i.e. the very end, after the refresh phase); you could get several uses out of this card over the course of the round with various readying effects available, or even in the narrow window after it refreshes but before the round ends and is discarded.

I’ll briefly acknowledge some combo’s that are viable, but on fringe of productive. Expert Trackers has an interesting combo to engage an enemy, bring in the Ranger of Cardolan and exhaust it place progress on a location; but it’s not really that productive since a different Scout/Ranger could be used to exhaust and our Ranger of Cardolan could be used to help deal with the enemy. He’s only here for a limited time, let’s make the most of it. Similarly, attachments on the Ranger of Cardolan could be useful, but that means you’re not using his ability (although very much still viable), and as before, other allies may be better targets.

There’s another set of combos that are intriguing, but still only situationally applicable because several pieces may need to be in place.

  • Descendants of Kings: more ways to get uses out of Dunedain stats/actions and you’ll likely have enemies engaged if you trigger Ranger of Cardolan’s ability
  • Tale of Tinuviel: always takes some finesse since it’s not providing action advantage. Since the stat boosting lasts until the end of the phase, extra readying is needed to get maximize the benefit (say from: Descendants of Kings)
  • Dunedain Hunter: an alluring gamble to directly take on an extra enemy to get a strong ally in play for not cost. Sometimes that enemy is more than you can handle right away, and the Ranger of Cardolan could help double-team that enemy if necessary. Plus, played during the planning phase, it gives you more opportunities to get an extra use.
  • Wait no Longer: a similar combo as previous, play during planning and appreciate exactly what extra enemy you are dealing with this round. However, it starts to get a little bit expensive to pull off.
  • Heir of Valandil: a perfectly acceptable way to reduce the cost once you’ve got some enemies engaged. Appreciate the flexibility to play Ranger of Cardolan this way if you missed the opportunity to trigger the response, of if you have Ranger of Cardolan back in your hand later in the game when the response isn’t as needed.
  • Mablung (hero): while he doesn’t share the right trait with the Ranger of Cardolan to trigger its ability, Mablung effectively defrays the cost of putting the Ranger into play during any phase.

Now to the substantive analysis, putting Ranger of Cardolan against the two staple 1-cost cards dealing emergency/unexpected combat:

Feint
Completely shuts down an attack and no secondary effect triggers: no shadow card, no forced effect related to the attack, etc.

Sneak Attack
Allows ‘enters/leaves play’ effects to trigger. If the ally survives, it could be paid for conventionally during the next planning phase, or a second sneak attack during a later phase of the same round.

Ranger of Cardolan
One resource cost is not specific to a sphere. Ally remains until the end of the round. Card is shuffled into owner’s deck for potential reuse. Takes up less ‘deck space’ with the integrated ability.

Objectively, Feint and Sneak Attack deserve their spots among the most popular and abused effects from the core set. But looking comparatively at the Ranger’s ability, would Feint and Sneak Attack be improved if they were neutral (non-)sphere? Would Feint and Sneak Attack be improved if they were shuffled into their owner’s deck after use (say, conditionally if no shadow effect was dealt to the target enemy)? The fine print to shuffle back into the owner’s deck can be incredible if there is sufficient card draw in a Dunedain deck.

The Ranger of Cardolan can be an excellent archery damage soak, effectively healing itself as it leaves play (also true for Sneak Attack). But it is also significant card economy, as it takes up half the space in your deck as a Sneak Attack and the corresponding ally.

Clearly there are some restrictions on Ranger of Cardolan. Controlling a Dunedain hero is much more limiting than being able to pay for one tactics or lore resource based on any hero lineup; there’s only six Dunedain heroes by name, and a couple more Messenger of the King candidates. But there is quite a bit of sub-archetype flexibility here: the multifaceted Aragorn, Idraen with location control, Thurindir (and Thalion) with side quests, and Beravor with card draw support. It also is only triggerable at the moment you engage an enemy; while that usually is the most impactful moment to have use of an extra ally, it lacks the flexibility to enter play if that isn’t the case.

Sidebar: Thalion mirrors the Ranger of Cardolan. Differing only in ability and unique status, they share the same card type, stats, cost, traits and sphere. It would really be a bonus achievement to trigger Ranger of Cardolan if your only Dunedain hero was Thalion after three side quests have been cleared.

Peak Power

Here we go; you’ve been looking for that overpowered combo to abuse the encounter deck with. Here we go! It was an unexpected surprise when I found the quote at the head of this article that mentioned when the Rangers would appear in Bree they “told strange forgotten tales which were eagerly listened to“.

Alright, you’re smart. You’ve probably known this combo was coming all along. But let’s go over some extra abuses of A Very Good Tale when used in the refresh phase before Ranger of Cardolan is discarded at round’s end. If you’ve snuck it into play using only one resource, you’ve got a chance to get excellent value out of that one resource.

To be explicit, all characters will ready during step 7.2 and then A Very Good Tale is playable during the action window between 7.4 and 7.5. Exhausting an ally, especially one with a high printed cost, that is about to leave play maximizes A Very Good Tale’s already potent resource acceleration and card draw effect.

Remember, there is that sneaky little action window after all cards ready and before the round ends

Here’s an extra achievement to unlock for yourself: pair Ranger of Cardolan with another ally leaving play at the end of the round. Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel and Saruman, while costly, all have powerful when enters play effects that you can squeeze one more use out of before they depart. Combined with Ranger of Cardolan, they can bring in a pair of high cost allies. Frankly, a pair of Rangers makes a perfectly viable combo on their own.

Dwarven Sellsword and Wilyador similarly leave play at the end of the round, but they are remarkably cheap allies whose value decrease the longer you keep them hanging around; what better than to play them on the cheap, yet get another stable ally into play as they leave (however, you are compromised to a total cost of incoming allies at five resources, but still plenty of respectable allies can be brought in this way).

Backing off “Peak Power” for a moment, imagine blanking the textbox on Ranger of Cardolan; gone is the ability, but also the restriction. Is it still worth playing? Consider how playable a neutral ally is in a tri-sphere deck.

Consider also if a Bond of Friendship contract is played. Per the setup restriction, ten non-sphere cards need to be included in your deck and, with four heroes, paying for a four cost ally doesn’t require any forethought or resource hoarding. As good as they are, a strong neutral ally is much more playable than one belonging to a specific sphere. (And if you really want a third neutral ranger, remember Thalion.)

Rating, Conclusion

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.

The Ranger of Cardolan has a lot of strengths. As a neutral ally, it can fit in almost any deck. Its statline is versatile and above average per stat to resource value/ratio. With a Dunedain hero, it can bounce into play many times during a game especially as an emergency combatant and archery soak.

With a mature card pool, it can’t always get included, but it’s certainly worthy of consideration in many decks even if its ability isn’t triggerable.

  • Dave – 4
  • Grant – TBR
  • Ted – 5
  • My rating – 3
  • Average – 4.00

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.