Gloin (Hero)

  • Player Card Categories
    • Resource Acceleration

Pain is truly gain with this hero.

Background

Gloin was a member of Thorin’s Company in the quest to retake Erebor and father of Gimli. Gloin in The Hobbit is described as wearing a white hood and good at making fires. He fought in and survived the Battle of Five Armies. Afterwards, his share of the treasure made him wealthy.

He also appears in The Fellowship of the Ring. He and Gimli had come to Rivendell to inquire about Balin’s colony at Moiria. He tells Frodo about Erebor since the Battle of Five Armies while he recovers from the Morgul blade wound. He also speaks at the council relating how a messenger from Mordor came to Erebor asking about Hobbits.

Card Theme

Gloin trading damage for resources is pretty thematic. This is if you consider he took long arduous journey, fought in a big battle, lost some kin in the process, but in the end had a lot of gold to show for it all. Some players will be refer to resources as money or dollars since you have to pay to play the card. Once the resources are spent they’re gone until the player gains more. The mechanics work then work to represent Gloin’s wealth from retaking Erebor although it came at a personal cost.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Healing

Healing lets a player basically turn Gloin into a resource generation machine. The Core Set included Self Preservation that did this well since it healed 2 damage a round. Many of the enemies in the first cycle had 2 attack that was fairly safe to take undefended. It could be assigned to Gloin and fully healed with Self Preservation. It essentially turned into second Steward of Gondor.

Darrowdelf, the second cycle, introduced the best healing card in the game with Warden of Healing. One point of healing isn’t great for Gloin, but then Elrond hero also released in the same cycle. Elrond boosts to healing 2 damage. The Warden’s action also lets it ready for 2 Lore resources. Giving Gloin a Lore resource icon then lets him take damage again and again. Then use the resources generated to just heal it all. The Warden then at the same time can heal 2 damage from any other character.

There were of course other healing cards introduced in later cycles. Many the healing cards were more one time effects that aren’t as effective as Self Preservation or Warden. Then the last cycle introduced 2 more healing attachments with easily repeatable healing. Well Preserved in particular is fantastic for Gloin. It can be found with The One Ring at the start of the game, gives Gloin +1 hit point, and will heal all damage once per round. It is fast to set up and get Gloin generating resources from taking damage right at turn 1.

Song of Healing trades cards in hand for 1 point of healing. It synergizes with Gloin thanks to Elven-light. Once Gloin has the Spirit icon, his resources can be used to draw cards. Elrond allows Gloin to net 1 resource for each Elven-light discarded and played.

Hit Point Boosts

The more hit points Gloin has, the more damage he can take at once. This has become more important as the game introduced enemies with higher and higher attack values to allow Gloin to absorb those attacks safely.

Damage Redirection + Ent Heroes

The other trick to generating resources on Gloin is have him take damage. Defending enemy attacks, undefended attacks, damage from the Archery keyword, or other encounter direct damage effects are always options available. There are limits to this especially in multiplayer since players are limited to one optional engagement each. Song of Mocking helps get around the limitation on engaging enemies. Another play just has to make sure to assign all damage to the hero selected by Song of Mocking. It is not limited and multiple copies can go on Gloin to cover more players. Vigilant Guard is similar although it doesn’t move all damage. It has 3 big advantages over Song of Mocking.

  1. It gives Gloin 2 additional hit points.
  2. The damage is redirection is a response.
  3. It is not limited to damage deal to heroes.

Gloin will need to gain the Warrior trait from Mighty Warrior. Once set up, however, just any source of damage can be sent to Gloin. This is huge because with the 2 Ent heroes, players can trigger the resource generation. Treebeard hero is best for this since the ability only deals 1 damage, and he can use his ability 5 times per phase. He won’t get the bonus if the damage is redirected because he isn’t paying the damage cost. Still 5 resources in a single phase is a Gandalf ally into play. Quickbeam can also work for this although he will still take a damage and it can only be used 1 per phase. Quickbeam also has to exhaust first before the action will work.

Resource Smoothing

Resource smoothing really opens up what players can do with the pile of resources on Gloin. I previously mentioned that with Lore or Spirit icons, Gloin can continuously ready Warden of Healing or draw cards from Elven-light. Narvi’s Belt and A Good Harvest are two of the best smoothing options since they can smooth for any sphere over a phase. The cycle of Song attachments provide a more permanent way for Gloin to get the right resource icon.

High Cost Cards

Gloin can enable playing some of the most expensive and powerful cards in the game even including his son, Gimli. Players can get unique allies with hero level stats and abilities, make an ally into hero, ready all their characters, or have a heroes (or all heroes in valour) defend and attack without exhausting.

Dunedain Allies

The Dunedain allies work very well with Gloin enabling their engaged enemy bonuses and providing much needed resources. Many of the Dunedain allies cost 3 or more resources and more resources in all spheres can help get them into play. A built up Gloin ideally with healing and plenty of hit points can just take several undefended attacks making it easier for Dunedain to keep enemies engaged round after 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 Gloin at 3 rings. He basically has a whole deck type centered around his ability to turn damage into resources. There isn’t just one build of it, but most of the very effective ones do share a few cards in common like Elrond hero and Warden of Healing. The Gloin voltron deck though is very vulnerable to attachment removal from the encounter deck. It can also be quite slow to set up. They can do some crazy combos like drawing the entire player deck in a few turns, reduced all player threat to zero, or attack every enemy in the staging are without heroes exhausting. The investment in Gloin can be very worthwhile.

There are some builds are less centered on Gloin using just a little healing and not going all in on additional hit points. Core Set builds in particular work well as an alternative to Steward and gain action advantage by taking undefended attacks. These less centric builds can even include Dwarf decks considering he will have 3 willpower and 3 attack when Leadership Dain is in play and ready. The addition of Well Preserved with The One Ring I think makes it easier to include Gloin without having the entire deck center around maximizing his ability. His threat cost of 9 is not high although he doesn’t bring much stat wise with 2 willpower and attack (sans Dain), but he can still slot in pretty well into a variety of decks.

Dave – 5

  • Grant – 7
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – 3

External Links

Sample Decks

Sample Decks

The Dain and the Discard by Dave Walsh

A Dwarf Mining voltron deck although Gloin is really only used for Leadership access.

The Dain and the Discard

Main Deck

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

Ally (17)
2x Erebor Guard (The Sands of Harad)
3x 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)
3x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)

Attachment (24)
1x Ancestral Armor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
2x Gandalf’s Staff (The Road Darkens)
1x Hardy Leadership (Shadow and Flame)
2x King Under the Mountain (On the Doorstep)
2x Narya (The Grey Havens)
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)
3x Squire’s Helm (The Withered Heath)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
3x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
2x Wizard Pipe (The Road Darkens)

Event (15)
3x Durin’s Song (Khazad-dûm)
3x Hidden Cache (The Morgul Vale)
3x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
3x Well-Equipped (The Blood of Gondor)
3x Will of the West (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 56 Cards
Cards up to Mount Gundabad

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

My strongest Core Set deck for solo play – revised for 202 by warlock000

Core Set only deck that can handle each of the Core Set quests in campaign mode.

2

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Beravor (Core Set)
Éowyn (Core Set)
Glóin (Core Set)

Ally (20)
1x Beorn (Core Set)
2x Erebor Hammersmith (Core Set)
2x Faramir (Core Set)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
1x Gléowine (Core Set)
2x Guard of the Citadel (Core Set)
1x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
1x Longbeard Orc Slayer (Core Set)
2x Miner of the Iron Hills (Core Set)
1x Northern Tracker (Core Set)
3x Snowbourn Scout (Core Set)
1x Son of Arnor (Core Set)

Attachment (14)
1x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
1x Dark Knowledge (Core Set)
2x Forest Snare (Core Set)
2x Protector of Lórien (Core Set)
3x Self Preservation (Core Set)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event (16)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
1x Ever Vigilant (Core Set)
2x For Gondor! (Core Set)
2x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)
2x Lore of Imladris (Core Set)
3x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
3x Stand and Fight (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to Core Set

Sideboard

Ally (2)
1x Erebor Hammersmith (Core Set)
1x Guard of the Citadel (Core Set)

Event (1)
1x Ever Vigilant (Core Set)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Gloin Resource Engine (Single Core Only) by Tribster

Core Set only deck focused on Gloin gaining resources to play allies and build up the board state.

Gloin Resource Engine (Single Core Only) 6.0

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Denethor (Core Set)
Glóin (Core Set)
Glorfindel (Core Set)

Ally (20)
3x Daughter of the Nimrodel (Core Set)
2x Erebor Hammersmith (Core Set)
2x Faramir (Core Set)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
2x Gléowine (Core Set)
3x Guard of the Citadel (Core Set)
1x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
2x Longbeard Orc Slayer (Core Set)
2x Miner of the Iron Hills (Core Set)

Attachment (10)
1x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
1x Dark Knowledge (Core Set)
2x Forest Snare (Core Set)
2x Protector of Lórien (Core Set)
2x Self Preservation (Core Set)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)

Event (20)
2x Common Cause (Core Set)
2x Ever Vigilant (Core Set)
2x For Gondor! (Core Set)
1x Grim Resolve (Core Set)
3x Lore of Imladris (Core Set)
2x Lórien’s Wealth (Core Set)
2x Radagast’s Cunning (Core Set)
2x Secret Paths (Core Set)
2x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
2x Valiant Sacrifice (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to Core Set

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

The Dain and the Discard by Dave Walsh

A Dwarf Mining voltron deck although Gloin is really only used for Leadership access.

The Dain and the Discard

Main Deck

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

Ally (17)
2x Erebor Guard (The Sands of Harad)
3x 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)
3x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)

Attachment (24)
1x Ancestral Armor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
2x Gandalf’s Staff (The Road Darkens)
1x Hardy Leadership (Shadow and Flame)
2x King Under the Mountain (On the Doorstep)
2x Narya (The Grey Havens)
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)
3x Squire’s Helm (The Withered Heath)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
3x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
2x Wizard Pipe (The Road Darkens)

Event (15)
3x Durin’s Song (Khazad-dûm)
3x Hidden Cache (The Morgul Vale)
3x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
3x Well-Equipped (The Blood of Gondor)
3x Will of the West (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 56 Cards
Cards up to Mount Gundabad

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

DúneGlóin by Seastan

Gloin’s resources help play and power up the Dunedain.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Elrond (Shadow and Flame)
Glóin (Core Set)
Mablung (The Nîn-in-Eilph)

Ally (20)
3x Dúnedain Hunter (The Lost Realm)
2x Dúnedain Watcher (The Dead Marshes)
2x Fornost Bowman (The Dread Realm)
2x Galadhrim Minstrel (Trouble in Tharbad)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
3x Master of the Forge (Shadow and Flame)
2x Warden of Annúminas (The Lost Realm)
3x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)

Attachment (15)
3x Citadel Plate (Core Set)
3x Narvi’s Belt (Khazad-dûm)
3x Self Preservation (Core Set)
3x Song of Mocking (The Dead Marshes)
3x Song of Wisdom (Conflict at the Carrock)

Event (15)
3x A Good Harvest (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Peace, and Thought (Shadow and Flame)
3x Sneak Attack (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Dread Realm

Sideboard

Ally (2)
1x Fornost Bowman (The Dread Realm)
1x Warden of Annúminas (The Lost Realm)

Attachment (3)
3x Boots from Erebor (Khazad-dûm)

Event (3)
3x We Are Not Idle (Shadow and Flame)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Seventeen a Round by Seastan

Gloin gains 17 resources per round thanks to Treebeard hero + Song of Healing + Elven-light. Note,

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Elrond (Shadow and Flame)
Glóin (Core Set)
Treebeard (The Treason of Saruman)

Ally (4)
1x Nori (Challenge of the Wainriders)
3x Rivendell Minstrel (The Hunt for Gollum)

Attachment (28)
2x Boots from Erebor (Khazad-dûm)
1x Citadel Plate (Core Set)
2x Dwarven Axe (Core Set)
3x Ent Draught (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Golden Belt (Challenge of the Wainriders)
1x In Service of the Steward (Flight of the Stormcaller)
3x Mighty Warrior (Race Across Harad)
1x Nor am I a Stranger (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Song of Battle (The Dead Marshes)
3x Song of Healing (The Land of Sorrow)
3x Song of Travel (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
1x Sword-thain (The Dread Realm)
3x Vigilant Guard (A Storm on Cobas Haven)
1x War Axe (The City of Ulfast)

Event (18)
3x A Good Harvest (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Drinking Song (Mount Gundabad)
3x Elven-light (The Dread Realm)
3x Heed the Dream (Flight of the Stormcaller)
1x Hour of Wrath (The Dread Realm)
1x Oath of Eorl (The Black Serpent)
1x The Hammer-stroke (The Blood of Gondor)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to Challenge of the Wainriders

Sideboard

Event (2)
1x Khazâd! Khazâd! (Khazad-dûm)
1x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Boromir (Tactics Hero)

Pre-Errata

The top tier version

Background

Eldest son of Gondor’s Steward and a commander in their army. Driven by a dream he had to go to Rivendell where he joined the Fellowship of the Ring. He fell to the temptation of the Ring and tried to take it from Frodo causing the breaking of the Fellowship. Shortly afterwards, the Uruk-Hai attacked Merry and Pippin as they searched for Frodo and lead to Boromir’s demise as he defended them. As he lay dying, he confessed his attempt to take the Ring to Aragorn.

Card Theme

The pre-errata Boromir hero card reflected his combat capabilities from the book very well. He slew many of the orcs that had Merry and Pippin surrounded when they had been out searching for Frodo at the breaking of the Fellowship. Then at least 20 more before another host overpowered him to take the Hobbits. The pre-errata version could ready as much as the player had threat available to attack every enemy and if that wasn’t enough then discard him to finish off the enemies.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Stat Boosts

Boromir’s built-in readying means that every stat boost can be utilized more. His strong attack and decent defense put him disposed to combat. Fortunately, the Tactics sphere has most of the weapon and armor attachments that can maximize his combat potential. In particular, Gondorian Shield a defensive staple boosts his defense to 4 putting him on par with the Beregond that has the highest printed defense. Raiment of War and Captain of Gondor work well to boost both his attack and defense. Blade of Gondolin grants a conditional attack boost, but more importantly it turns his combat ability into a way to help quest by placing progress for each enemy defeated. While not in sphere, Valiant Sword and Shining Shield synergize with the drawback of his ability since they each provide a +2 bonus once at a player’s threat is 40 or higher.

Support of the Eagles + Eagle allies is an older more expensive way to boost Boromir’s combat ability. It still can be quite effective. Eagles of the Misty Mountains with a few facedown attachments maximizes the boost, but even Vassal of the Windlord‘s 3 attack or Winged Guardian‘s 4 defense are huge for Boromir.

The zenith of his combat ability is achieved not with weapons or armor attachments, but two tied his Numenorian ancestry often referred to simply as “Blood and Fire”. Blood of Numenor and Gondorian Fire will boost defense or attack, respectively, by the amount of resources on the hero at the cost of 1. A few turns building up with Steward of Gondor and gaining 3+ to either stat is easily achievable.

The errata limiting Boromir’s readying to once per phase made willpower boosts on Boromir more worthwhile. Tactics doesn’t have many ways to boost willpower although Tactics Theoden hero and The Red Arrow give a couple options. Grappling Hook is generally going to be the better option for Boromir to contribute to the quest since even without any boosts, it turns his 3 attack into 3 willpower. Leadership offers more options with Celebrian’s Stone, Dunedain Quest, and Visionary Leadership. Spirit has The Favor of the Lady, Windfola, and Silver Circlet although the later two requires Boromir to gain the Spirit icon first.

The One Ring and the Master trait attachments provide a quick way to boost Boromir’s stats because each gives +1 to a stat and a player gets to fetch Master trait card during setup and there. Strength and Courage’s response doesn’t work that well with his readying since it only affects 1 attack. Inner Strength’s is likely the most useful to Boromir since it puts his defense on par with the likes of Erkenbrand and Grimbeorn plus can cancel a shadow. Power of Command provides a willpower boost but the response will depend on the number of unique characters in the deck. There are a couple downsides to playing these with Boromir, and that is the reduced elimination level and they also increase threat. It can easily become too much threat too quickly.

Forth, The Three Hunters Contract

This contract really enables a “voltron” Boromir build to maximize his readying. It requires each hero have 2 restricted attachments in order to flip to side B. Once on side B, each hero gets +1 willpower for each restricted attachment. The Most restricted attachments are weapons and armor that Boromir wants already to improve his attack and defense. The even contract increases the restricted attachment limit from 2 to 3. This can get Boromir up to 3 or 4 willpower pretty easily while also improving his combat effectiveness. It will also provide repeatable healing which is handy since Boromir isn’t the best defender without some set up.

Threat Reduction

Threat reduction is key to using Boromir’s readying as much as possible in game. Tactics only has 1 option in sphere with Secret Vigil that is conditional on the enemy it can be played on. The good news is Boromir won’t have trouble destroying the enemy to trigger the threat reduction. There are two solid neutral cards for threat reduction, Core Set Gandalf and Favor of the Valar. Lore Aragorn hero offers the largest potential threat reduction. A Boromir player could get all the way to 49 and reset back to their starting threat. Spirit offers the staple Galadhrim’s Greeting. More notably Spirit has heroes that can reduce threat every turn. Beregond and Fastred can do so by defending. Merry just needs an enemy revealed during staging. There is one more that is a twofer in a Boromir deck.

Galadriel Hero

Galadriel can exhaust every round to reduce a player’s threat by 1. That is essentially a free ready on Boromir. Additionally she can boost Bormir’s willpower with her ring Nenya and some readying of her own.

Hero Revival

Normally losing a hero can set a player way back in a game. Boromir’s second ability is used rarely because of the lost resources of being down a hero. When used it usually is because the player would likely lose Boromir anyway or as a game finishing move in a scenario that requires all enemies to be defeated. The game does have Landroval, Fortune or Fate, and Houses of Healing that can bring Boromir back after using his second ability. They are all very expensive at 5 resources making it very difficult to build around using his direct damage multiple times in a game.

Quest Specific

The best quests to use Tactics Boromir in are quests with enemy swarms or start off with a lot of enemies in play. Seventh Level, Over the Misty Mountains Grim, and Fate of the Wilderland can easily see swarms of enemies coming out. Massing at Osgiliath starts off with 3 enemies in play per player. Boromir being able to defend and attack or attack twice right away can really help even the odds against those 3 enemies.

Scenarios to watch out for using him in are those with enemies that prevent readying or feature lots of Doomed or other effects that raise threat. The Haradrim cycle in particular has scorpion and spider enemies that can prevent a character from readying until the end of the round. Threat focused scenarios like Return to Mirkwood and Murder at the Prancing Pony are going to be tough for Boromir to use his readying. The Steward’s Fear, The Crossing of Poros, and The King’s Quest can possibly have a significant amount of raise threat effects. The Steward’s Fear depends on the plot revealed in Stage 3. The Crossing of Poros has a quest stage and encounter set that has a lot of threat but that might only be seen instead of a direct damage focused one. The King’s Quest it is at the player’s discretion to raise threat or add another location to the staging area. Temple of Doom and Fortress of Nurn can also feature lots of threat depending on the cards revealed from the Power of Mordor deck.

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 Boromir at 2 rings. The built-in readying and solid attack, defense, and hit points make him good at combat immediately. A couple boosts and he’s great. Blood of Numenor and Gondorion Fire with some resource acceleration and he’s amazing at combat. It’s also not that difficult to give him decent willpower so questing and using him in combat is worthwhile. Even post-errata it is still great considering there are some scenarios that have enemies that attack when a player engages them or make immediate attacks when revealed. Boromir can ready and help to defend them all. It is conceivable to use him in every phase of the game thanks to cards like Captain’s Wisdom and Quick Strike.

I mentioned Forth, The Three Hunters contract works really well with Boromir but really a few of them can work well with him. Fellowship gives all nine unique characters in play +1 to every stat which Boromir’s readying can make great use of. Grey Wanderer let’s the player start at 11 threat providing lots of threat to use with Boromir’s ability. The contract even gives him another way to ready. Then on top of that Strider gives him a willpower boost and not exhausting to quest. Grey Wanderer Boromir then can ready at least twice during combat and doesn’t need to exhaust to quest. Plus, doesn’t need a resource match to play Blood of Numenor if it is the first card played. Not to mention he will start in Secrecy for Resourceful to fuel Blood and Fire. Council of the Wise offers repeatable threat reduction for just playing events. As mentioned before, Boromir already starts off with solid combat stats and doesn’t need much to get going and would fit right into an event heavy deck.

I’ve noticed in this game that veterans (myself included) will avoid certain powerful cards in the card pool. I do this to experiment with different deck builds and enjoy the variety of deck types out of there. Others likely have similar reasoning or may just want to preserve the challenge in the game. It could be they are disappointed he can’t endlessly ready anymore. No matter the reasoning, Boromir is still a very effective hero albeit straightforward one. I would rate him at 1 ring pre-errata since he could just effectively handle combat on his own. Post-errata he needs more to do everything in combat, but still can do a lot for the players even just readying once per phase.

  • Dave – 4 (originally 5)
  • Grant – 5
  • Ted – 4
  • Brandon – 1
  • Matt – 2
  • Average – 3.2

External Links

Sample Decks

Screw You Fate of the Wilderland by kattattack22

As the title says, I built this to handle Fate of the Wilderland. The plan is basically Eomer and Boromir quest primarily to avoid gaining too much threat. Boromir readies before combat. Grimbeorn defends and uses his response to hopefully kill the attacker. Boromir is back up defender or can hopefully finish off the enemy.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Boromir (The Dead Marshes)
Éomer (The Mountain of Fire)
Grimbeorn the Old (The Withered Heath)

Contract (0)
1x Forth, The Three Hunters! (The City of Ulfast)

Attachment (44)
3x Armored Destrier (Temple of the Deceived)
3x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
3x Firefoot (The Dunland Trap)
3x Golden Belt (Challenge of the Wainriders)
3x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
2x Hauberk of Mail (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Raiment of War (The Thing in the Depths)
3x Rohan Warhorse (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Round Shield (Mount Gundabad)
3x Secret Vigil (The Lost Realm)
3x Shining Shield (The Fortress of Nurn)
3x Spear of the Mark (The Morgul Vale)
3x Valiant Sword (Under the Ash Mountains)
3x War Axe (The City of Ulfast)
3x Warrior Sword (The Ghost of Framsburg)

Event (6)
3x Foe-hammer (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Open the Armory (The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Fortress of Nurn

Sideboard

Event (3)
3x Sterner than Steel (The Flame of the West)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Optimus Prime… SUPER MODE! by BeestThouNotInHaste

Gondor is strong, but the might of Gondor wanes, and even under the leadership of the great Optimus Prime (Boromir), his meager 2 and 3 are not enough to stand up to the forces of evil. Fortunately for his troops, Boromir has a secret weapon he can use to face the darkness: he can invoke the power of the Matrix Of Combination (Support of the Eagles) to combine with his trailer (Eagles of the Misty Mountains) to enter into…

Optimus Prime… Super Mode!

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Boromir (The Dead Marshes)
Galadriel (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
Mablung (The Nîn-in-Eilph)

Ally (23)
3x Descendant of Thorondor (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Eagles of the Misty Mountains (Return to Mirkwood)
3x Galadriel’s Handmaiden (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)
2x Gwaihir (Trouble in Tharbad)
3x Vassal of the Windlord (The Dead Marshes)
2x Westfold Horse-breeder (The Voice of Isengard)
2x Westfold Outrider (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Winged Guardian (The Hunt for Gollum)

Attachment (18)
3x Ancient Mathom (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
2x Born Aloft (Conflict at the Carrock)
2x Mirror of Galadriel (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
3x Nenya (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
2x Power in the Earth (Core Set)
2x Rohan Warhorse (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Support of the Eagles (Return to Mirkwood)
1x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event (9)
2x A Test of Will (Core Set)
2x Feint (Core Set)
3x The Eagles Are Coming! (The Hunt for Gollum)
2x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to Celebrimbor’s Secret

Sideboard

Event (2)
2x Power of Orthanc (The Voice of Isengard)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

The Very Wise Captain by Seastan

Play Song of Travel on Boromor. Then use Captain’s Wisdom, Steward of Gondor, and Leadership Denethor to give Boromir 8 resources turn 1 for Blood and Fire.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Boromir (The Dead Marshes)
Denethor (Flight of the Stormcaller)
Erestor (The Treachery of Rhudaur)

Ally (10)
2x Anfalas Herdsman (The Steward’s Fear)
2x Arwen Undómiel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Envoy of Pelargir (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Ethir Swordsman (The Steward’s Fear)

Attachment (16)
2x Blood of Númenor (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Gondorian Fire (Assault on Osgiliath)
3x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
2x Silver Harp (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
3x Song of Travel (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)

Event (24)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Captain’s Wisdom (The Thing in the Depths)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Elrond’s Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Gaining Strength (The Steward’s Fear)
3x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
3x Wealth of Gondor (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Will of the West (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Thing in the Depths

Sideboard

Ally (3)
3x Galadriel’s Handmaiden (Celebrimbor’s Secret)

Attachment (6)
3x Dúnedain Cache (The Dead Marshes)
3x Favor of the Valar (The Battle of Carn Dûm)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Bilbo Baggins (Lore Hero)

  • Player Card Categories
    • Card Draw

They done the first version of Bilbo dirty.

Background

Bilbo once a respectable Hobbit from a respectable family that didn’t go off having adventures, went on an adventure to burgle treasure from a dragon. Along the way, he won or found a magic ring (depending on the telling) that would change the course of Middle-Earth. That however is another story. Bilbo aided by the magic ring, verbally sparred with a dragon in trying to burgle some treasures. In so doing provoked the dragon to attack a nearby town leading to its demise and liberation of a Dwarven ancestral home and its treasures. Elves, Men, and Dwarves afterwards nearly came to war over the liberated treasures until the host of goblins, orcs, and wargs arrived. Bilbo was soon knocked out in the fighting but survived to take a nice stash of treasure home to retire on.

Card Theme

The game is set in the 17 years after Bilbo’s party and presumably living in Rivendell while finishing his book. It follows then that as he is compiling and recording the lore of his adventures that he can give additional knowledge to the heroes he is with. Knowledge often is represented by the cards in this game. The Lore sphere is full of examples cards representing Middle-Earth’s knowledge, stories, and songs with Gleowine, Daeron’s Runes, Deep Knowledge, Erestor, Drinking Song, and Mithrandir’s Advice representing the knowledge, stories, and songs present in Middle Earth.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Discard from Hand

Bilbo’s passive ability has an additional use besides just playing the cards and that is to discard them for other effects. The core set gave players a couple ways to discard cards for bonuses. Protector of Lorien is in sphere with Bilbo. Most importantly, it can help with Bilbo’s low stats. Especially defense which is his best stat at 2. Additionally there was Eowyn’s willpower boost which having the option to increase willpower by 1 can be handy to avoid failing questing or ensure to clear an active location.

Angmar Awakened and Dream-Chaser built up the Noldor archetype that centered around this mechanic. This allowed players to discard cards for resources, cost reduction, action advantage, healing, and other effects. Noldor decks typically don’t need Bilbo considering Elven-light, Cirdan, and Erestor hero offer lots of card draw.

Sting and Other Stat Boosts

Sting, Bilbo’s sword provides the 3 stats to equal his threat cost. The resulting 2/2/3 stat line also starts to make Bilbo a reasonable target for action advantage like the Hobbit specific and in sphere Fast Hitch attachment. Rosie Cotton offers the most versatile way to boost Bilbo’s stats. It can even become much stronger if Rosie becomes a hero via Messenger of the King or Sword-thain. There are of course many other stat boosters than can improve Bilbo and really the cheap readying from Fast Hitch.

Thorongil

The Tactics version of Bilbo did much to try and make up that his printed stats don’t equal his threat cost like most other heroes. Thorongil offered the means to bring in the bonus willpower effect and keep drawing extra cards. Not to mention a little direct damage and access to Tactics sphere for playing Sting.

Quest Specific

The Ringmaker cycle is full of card draw hate. Enemies will make extra attacks or other effects when a player draws a card. Some effects will penalize the player for having cards in hand.

Deadman’s Dike and Under the Ash Mountains both have players lose the game when they run out of cards in their deck. Drawing additional cards only accelerates the end of the game in those scenarios.

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 hate to give this low a rating to one of my favorite characters, but this version deserves it. The big drawback is that he has little stats for his threat cost. He was the first hero released after the core set, and it shows. The passive card draw is good, and I’m sure people appreciate that it goes around the table in multiplayer. The additional 3 threat over his 6 stats was too much. It isn’t even just that he is 3 more threat, but his stats are incredibly inefficient. His best stat is defense at 2. In the early days of the game, 2 defense might mean a hero could defend and not take damage. The problem lies that he also only has 2 hit points. One bad shadow and Bilbo can’t defend anymore or is dead. It would be a long time before decent cheap hit point boosts would be available besides Citadel Plate. Pretty much It was up to Protector of Lorien with either Burning Brand or Dark Knowledge to make him into a reasonable defender. The alternative was for 1 more threat play Beravor that had also a card draw ability and enough hit points to defend well enough to survive long enough where healing could help.

Later on, the game provided the update of Lore Bilbo with Lore Pippin hero.

Lore Pippin had the same breakdown of stats, but arranged in a better configuration. Questing typically won’t cause a low hit point hero to die (except for the first cycle that liked to target questing or exhausted heroes with direct damage.) He also doesn’t need to exhaust to draw cards, has lower threat, and has another passive to help keep Hobbits from engaging enemies. Bilbo in comparison is very inefficient, costly, and doesn’t work well with the Hobbit archetype that eventually developed. Lore Bilbo then usually sits in odd place it the card pool. Usually on a direct comparison basis, there are better heroes to play if additional card draw is needed. Lore Bilbo, however, does end up still seeing play because card draw is just that useful. He’ll be doubled up with other heroes with card draw ability to draw a massive amount of cards quickly and get some crazy combo going.

It was also mentioned briefly that the card draw always going to the first player is very nice in multiplayer. Lore with encounter scrying, encounter control, and victory display effects can make for a great support deck. If the other players have questing and combat covered, providing some all around utility is always appreciated. Lore Bilbo will still get played, but the situations where he works well are few making him a niche hero.

  • Dave – 9
  • Grant – 8
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – 7
  • Average – 8

External Links

Sample Decks

YOU get a card! And YOU get a card! And YOU get a card! by stone_of_eric

Fun, mono Lore, multiplayer support deck. Designed for 3-4 players where other players are handling the questing and combat, and you get to give everyone across the table lots of card draw, healing, play traps, get side quests out, etc. This deck has very low starting threat of 22 but will need to be protected by other players’ Ranged/Sentinel characters.

I’ll emphasize here…DO NOT PLAY THIS DECK SOLO!

Have fun, the other players will love you!

Main Deck

Hero (3)
(MotK) Gléowine (Messenger of the King Allies)
Beravor (Core Set)
Bilbo Baggins (The Hunt for Gollum)

Ally (18)
3x Daughter of the Nimrodel (Core Set)
3x Elrond (The Road Darkens)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)
2x Gildor Inglorion (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
2x Haldir of Lórien (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
1x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
2x Ioreth (A Storm on Cobas Haven)
3x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)

Attachment (22)
3x Elf-stone (The Black Riders)
2x Forest Snare (Core Set)
3x Legacy Blade (The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat)
2x Poisoned Stakes (The Blood of Gondor)
3x Protector of Lórien (Core Set)
3x Ranger Spikes (Heirs of Númenor)
2x Scroll of Isildur (The Morgul Vale)
2x Stone of Elostirion (Under the Ash Mountains)
2x The Long Defeat (The Battle of Carn Dûm)

Event (7)
2x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
2x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Waters of Nimrodel (The Antlered Crown)

Player Side Quest (3)
2x Explore Secret Ways (Race Across Harad)
1x Scout Ahead (The Wastes of Eriador)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to Messenger of the King Allies

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Bilbo Remembers Being a Burglar by kattattack22

Fun, mono Lore, multiplayer support deck. Designed for 3-4 players where other players are handling the questing and combat, and you get to give everyone across the table lots of card draw, healing, play traps, get side quests out, etc. This deck has very low starting threat of 22 but will need to be protected by other players’ Ranged/Sentinel characters.

I’ll emphasize here…DO NOT PLAY THIS DECK SOLO!

Have fun, the other players will love you!

Bilbo Remembers Being a Burglar

Main Deck

Hero (1)
Bilbo Baggins (The Hunt for Gollum)

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

Ally (8)
1x Bill the Pony (The Black Riders)
3x Master of the Forge (Shadow and Flame)
3x Rivendell Minstrel (The Hunt for Gollum)
1x Rosie Cotton (The Mountain of Fire)

Attachment (32)
1x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
1x Blood of Númenor (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Expert Treasure-hunter (On the Doorstep)
3x Fast Hitch (The Dead Marshes)
1x Fireside Song (Beneath the Sands)
1x Hobbit Pony (The Wastes of Eriador)
1x Love of Tales (The Long Dark)
2x Mariner’s Compass (The Grey Havens)
1x Mithril Shirt (The Fate of Wilderland)
1x Necklace of Girion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
1x Orcrist (Fire in the Night)
3x Resourceful (The Watcher in the Water)
1x Song of Battle (The Dead Marshes)
1x Song of Eärendil (Road to Rivendell)
1x Song of Hope (The Black Serpent)
1x Song of Kings (The Hunt for Gollum)
1x Song of Mocking (The Dead Marshes)
1x Song of Travel (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
1x Song of Wisdom (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
1x Sting (Mount Gundabad)
1x Stone of Elostirion (Under the Ash Mountains)
1x Strider (The Drowned Ruins)

Event (10)
3x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Drinking Song (Mount Gundabad)
1x Helm of Secrecy (Under the Ash Mountains)
3x The Shirefolk (Mount Gundabad)

1 Hero, 50 Cards
Cards up to Under the Ash Mountains

Sideboard

Hero (1)
Bilbo Baggins (Mount Gundabad)

Attachment (3)
3x Poisoned Stakes (The Blood of Gondor)

Event (9)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Durin’s Song (Khazad-dûm)
3x The King’s Return (The Fate of Wilderland)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Frodo Baggins (Spirit)

  • Player Card Categories
    • Damage Cancelation

Background

The nephew of Bilbo Baggins and his designated heir. The One Ring was left to Frodo along with Bag End when Bilbo disappeared after his 111th birthday. This all lead to Frodo carrying The Ring first to Rivendell and eventually all the way to Mount Doom where it was destroyed.

Card Theme

Frodo’s ability to cancel damage once per phase appears to represent him as the ring bearer. It makes sense that Frodo can avoid danger using The One Ring to turn invisible much like his uncle did many years before. In the books, we see Frodo do this to escape Boromir when he tried to take The Ring. Earlier he tried to do this as well to escape the Ringwraiths although they could see him as they were also bound to the Ring. The Ring also draws the attention of its master hence why its use raises the player’s threat.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Threat Reduction

Threat reduction offsets the threat gained by using Frodo’s ability. A deck packed with threat reduction can utilize it with little risk of losing due to threat. Hobbits have access to a couple nice threat reduction events, The Shirefolk and Elvenses that provide a nice amount of threat reduction for a reduced cost compared to the Core Set staple, The Galadhrim’s Greeting. Elrond’s Counsel also works well for cheap threat reduction as long as the player(s) control a Noldor. Galadriel can fulfill that requirement and provide repeatable threat reduction. The classic hero pairing with Spirit Frodo is Lore Aragorn because Aragorn can reset threat back to the starting level once per game.

Another way to lower threat in a large chunk after using Frodo’s ability several times is Vanish from Sight + A Elbereth! Glithoniel!. The basic setup is engage a lower engagement cost enemy but higher than 20. Let’s say 25 for illustrative purposes. The player uses Vanish from Sight so threat is treated as 20 and plays A Elbereth! Glithoniel! The player gets to treat their threat as 20 for A Elbereth, put the enemy on the bottom of the deck, and set their threat to 25.

Hobbit Pipe

Players will want threat reduction to make the most use of Frodo’s ability and most of it is available from events. Hobbit Pipe allows the player to also draw cards as well from this dynamic.

Sam Gamgee Ally

Sam Gamgee similar to Hobbit Pipe will have plenty of triggers to use his ability. Any time Frodo cancels damage Sam can ready and get +1 to all stats for 1 resource. Most times this will make him into an attacker with 2 attack. Two defense while reasonable in the first cycle, won’t be enough to help him survive an enemy attack in later cycles.

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 Frodo at 3 rings. He’s a very solid defensive hero with a very useful ability. It is not difficult at all to include enough threat reduction to avoid threating out despite using it heavily. Often just pairing him with Lore Aragorn is enough. His 2 willpower can even help out in questing if need be because the damage cancelation also works on an undefended attack. The only real downside is the ability is limit once per phase. This can be problematic in later scenarios when boss enemies can get multiple attacks or multiple enemies can build up. Then other defenders with higher defense and hit points that can turn into a “super defender” like Spirit Beregond or Messanger of the King Jubayr are going to be a better choice.

  • Dave – 3
  • Grant – 3
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – 3

External Links

Sample Decks

Smoke Yourself Thin by NoSoup4you

A threat reduction focused deck using Hobbit Pipe as a card draw engine.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Frodo Baggins (Conflict at the Carrock)
Gandalf (The Road Darkens)
Sam Gamgee (The Black Riders)

Ally (19)
3x Bilbo Baggins (The Road Darkens)
2x Bill the Pony (The Black Riders)
2x Errand-rider (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Galadhrim Weaver (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
1x Pelargir Ship Captain (The Morgul Vale)
2x Skinbark (The Land of Shadow)
2x Treebeard (The Antlered Crown)
2x Warden of Helm’s Deep (The Antlered Crown)
2x Wellinghall Preserver (Across the Ettenmoors)

Attachment (16)
2x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
2x Expert Treasure-hunter (On the Doorstep)
2x Gandalf’s Staff (The Road Darkens)
3x Hobbit Pipe (The Black Riders)
1x Shadowfax (The Treason of Saruman)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
3x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
1x Wizard Pipe (The Road Darkens)

Event (15)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
2x Hidden Cache (The Morgul Vale)
3x Island Amid Perils (The Nîn-in-Eilph)
3x Smoke Rings (The Black Riders)
3x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
1x Will of the West (Core Set)

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

Sideboard

Event (1)
1x Flame of Anor (The Road Darkens)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Bilbo Baggins (Tactics)

  • Cycle
    • Ered Mithren 
  • Set
  • Player Card Categories
    • Direct Damage
    • Staging Area Control

But one day Bilbo was asked to go
On a big adventure to the caves below
To help some dwarves get back their gold
That was stolen by a dragon in the days of old

The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins by Leonard Nimoy

Background

Bilbo once a respectable Hobbit from a respectable family that didn’t go off having adventures, went on an adventure to burgle treasure from a dragon. Along the way, he won or found a magic ring (depending on the telling) that would change the course of Middle-Earth. That however is another story. Bilbo aided by the magic ring, verbally sparred with a dragon in trying to burgle some treasures. In so doing provoked the dragon to attack a nearby town leading to its demise and liberation of a Dwarven ancestral home and its treasures. Elves, Men, and Dwarves afterwards nearly came to war over the liberated treasures until the host of goblins, orcs, and wargs arrived. Bilbo was soon knocked out in the fighting but survived to take a nice stash of treasure home to retire on.

Card Theme

The willpower boost Bilbo gains from an enemy in the staging area is very thematic to Bilbo in The Hobbit. While he is initially resistant to the adventure, he always rises to the occasion when confronted with adversaries.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Guarded X Cards

This version of Bilbo is basically designed for these cards considering he does 2 damage to an enemy guarding a card. The guarded card Bilbo most wants besides for thematic reasons, Sting, is Guarded (enemy). This is great as it gives Bilbo a potential target and once free of encounters +1 willpower, attack, and defense. It also builds on his ability to directly damage enemies dealing 1 damage each time Bilbo attacks. This set ups Bilbo damaging an enemy in the staging area and dealing the final point of damage just by blocking. Durin’s Axe is similar as the only other Guarded (enemy) card and also with a direct damage effect.

Most of the others are Guarded (enemy or location), and there’s at least a chance they will add an enemy for his ability. Of course, there is always A Shadow of the Past to help set up an enemy preferably with lower hit points for one of these wonderful attachments. Necklace of Girion or The Arkenstone both can help make Bilbo a better quester. Of course these can always be given to other heroes as well even those under the control of other players. In multiplayer, there will likely always be a target for Bilbo’s ability and more willpower available to handle an additional encounter card.

Commit a Hero or Character to the Quest

Both Hobbit Pony and Late Adventurer let a player commit him in the action window after staging but before quest resolution. This opens up any enemy revealed during staging as a target for his ability and maximize Bilbo’s willpower bonus. You can chose to Hobbit Pony is better considering it is an attachment and can be used every round once it is in play.

A fun combo is use one or both of these with Elevenses. Commit Bilbo during the regular commit characters to the quest step. After staging, remove him from the quest with Elvenses and reduce your threat by 1 (assuming you only remove Bilbo). Then recommit him with these two to trigger his willpower boost a second time. This works because his response lasts until the end of the phase. Per FAQ 1.55, lasting effects from player cards are not recalculated even if the game state changes. In this case, Biblo’s questing status. Additionally, his response does not have a stated limit. It can be triggered again if he is recommitted to the quest creating a new trigger and another lasting effect boosting his willpower twice. Windfola can also potentially commit Bilbo to the quest twice, but it requires a Song of Travel and a quest that can removes characters from the quest.

Direct Damage

Bilbo’s ability alone typically won’t destroy an enemy in a single round. Some quests early in the game’s life had a many 1 or 2 hit point enemies like The Seventh Level or Over the Misty Mountains Grim. Later scenarios, the norm was enemies with 3 or more hit points. In those, more is needed if a player wants to destroy an enemy with direct damage.

Tactics is full of direct damage options including Bilbo’s signature weapon, Sting. Sting deals a damage whether attacking or defending. This works quite well considering Hobbits have additional readying via Fast Hitch. Spear of the Citadel can also go directly on Bilbo to deal damage when defending or on Gondorian Spearman. The spearman then can deal 2 damage when defending. Thalin can also soften up any enemies revealed during a turn when he quests. Galadhon Archer, Descendent of Throndor, and Rumil have direct damage effects are like Gandalf ally from the Core Set dealing direct damage when they enter play.

Lore is the other main sphere with direct damage effects. Argalad can team up with Bilbo to deal 1 damage to an enemy in the staging area provided he has enough attack power to reduce their threat to 0. Poisoned Stakes trap can also deal 2 damage at the end of each round. This works well when building around keeping an enemy in staging for Bilbo to target over multiple rounds.

These that I’ve listed is not an exhaustive list. These are most of the recurring ones or could be recurred fairly easily. There are many event based ones like Swift Strike, Hail of Stones, Goblin-Cleaver, or Expecting Mischief.

Staging Area Attack

Similar to Bilbo’s ability, staging area attack lets a player damage an enemy before engaging it. Dunhere introduced the ability in the Core Set. Haldir hero and Leadership Eomer have staging area attack built in as well. Heroes with ranged can also gain it via Great Yew Bow and Hands Upon the Bow. Bilbo’s old acquaintance, Bard the Bowman using the Great Yew Bow can even give the enemy -2 defense.

Engagement Control and Threat Reduction

There are 2 kinds of effects that allow a player wants to keep an enemy in the staging area. Engagement control that either skips the encounter phase or increase the enemies’ engagement cost, or Threat Reduction to reduce a player’s threat. There are only a couple cards that can increase an enemy’s engagement cost, Take No Notice and Mablung ally. Both only do so by 5 and for a single phase. This limits their usefulness significantly because 5 will not push the enemies with very low engagement of 10 – 20 above the threat of most decks. This cross-section of enemies are the ones this effect would be the most useful against and needed, but they don’t increase it enough. The only repeatable engagement cost increase is from Lore Pippin‘s ability which Biblo helps to boost. Unfortunately there are only 2 cards that prevent engagement checks. Ranger Spikes is a bit of a nonbo since it lowers the enemy’s threat. Advance Warning isn’t available because all the heroes require a printed Lore resource to play it.

Threat reduction is better considering there are several more cards for it. Unfortunately, in sphere there is only Secret Vigil that at best will reduce a players threat by 4. Fortunately, hobbit focused decks have The Shirefolk that can reduce threat by 4 for free and it is neutral. Elevenses is another option with some other combo potential mentioned earlier. Then there always the threat reduction staples of Galadhrim’s Greeting, Elrond’s Counsel, and Woodmen’s Clearing. Galadriel, Fastred, and Spirit Beregond all provide repeatable threat reduction. Galadriel and Beregond won’t help lower threat below more enemies’ engagement costs, but they’ll maintain threat turn after turn. If the Bilbo player is already low enough, they’ll keep the enemies up in staging Fastred can help get threat lower and put the enemy back into staging for Bilbo to target.

Grey Wanderer

Grey Wanderer has many advantages for Bilbo. One, the player’s threat starts very low avoiding most if not all enemy engagements allowing him to use his ability easily. Two, the free 1 cost attachment can get Strider allowing him to quest every round without exhausting and boost his willpower to quest even without an enemy. Third, it has a built in readying to maximize direct damage when Bilbo uses Sting.

Quest Specific

Escape from Dol Guldur, The Hunt for Gollum, A Journey to Rhosgobel, Across the Ettinmoors, A Storm on Cobas Haven all feature the Guarded keyword. While it is not guaranteed an enemy will be the encounter card guarding each objective, they still present more opportunities for Bilbo to deal 2 damage. Shadows of Mirkwood and Darrowdelf have a couple great targets for Bilbo, Goblin Sniper and Khazad-Dum’s Orc Drummer. High engagement cost, low hit points, and an incredibly annoying ability while they’re in the staging area. Little surging enemies in later cycles similar to Ered Mithren’s Stray Goblin are also good targets. It creates action advantage by not having to defend them and gets a little threat out of the staging area. Ered Mithren also has some enemies like Mirkwood Patrol and Hobgoblin that end up guarding cards on their own that Bilbo can counter.

Intruders in Chetwood, Dungeson of Cirith Gurat, and Helm’s Deep are all ones to avoid using Bilbo in. Intruders in Chetwood enemies can’t be damaged while Orc War Party is in play. The quest starts with one in play and there are 2 others in the encounter deck. More often than not, enemies won’t be able to take damage. Dungeons of Cirith Gurat is a real heartbreaker for Biblo. Enemies guarding objectives are immune to player card effects during stage 1 otherwise they would take 2 damage from him! They’re even often guarding something because they will capture allies as objectives. The second stage when the players have to avoid engaging enemies for 2 turns where it would be another great time for him, except they’re all immune to damage. Helm’s Deep many of the enemies have the toughness X keyword that cancels the first X damage any time damage is dealt to them. Bilbo’s damage then will just get canceled every time it is used against them.

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 preface this rating with Tactics Bilbo is one of my top heroes I like to play. If I rated on how much I like the card, the rating would be at least a 2. Still based on his general usefulness, power level, and how many deck types he would fit into he’s a 5. He can work fine in many decks because he can basically offset an enemy’s threat and possibly soften up an enemy before it is engaged. This only gets more powerful when combined with player guarded attachments or more effects that can damage enemies in the staging area. Bonus willpower in the willpower poor Tactics sphere is a huge boon to monosphere Tactics.

One problem is his stats are all low. Still his base willpower isn’t enough for him to be the main questing hero without several willpower boosting attachments or Forth the Three Hunters side B active. His best stat is defense but at 2 and 2 hit points, he can’t defend well without a couple defense boosts. Sting can help since it boosts all his stats and gives him direct damage for defending. Plus 1 to all stats though makes him more like the Dunedain heroes that are jack of all trades. Hobbit heroes fortunately has additional readying with Fast Hitch and additional stat boosting from Rosie Cotton. It is a lot of setup to put him on par with many other heroes.

The other problem that is carried over from his earlier Lore version is the 9 threat cost. It is the highest of the Hobbits and a bit counter to his ability. His ability requires the player to avoid engagement at least once to trigger unless using Hobbit Pony or lots of engagement control and threat reduction.

This is all to say that without much support, Tactics Bilbo is often outclassed by others in the same sphere and threat cost like Core Set Legolas. When built around, Bilbo can be powerful and fun to play. Contracts in particular make it easier to get him built up quickly.

  • Dave – 3
  • Grant – 3
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – 5
  • Average 3.66

External Links

Sample Decks

Wandering Burgler Discovers Fate of Numenor by kattattack22

Basic idea is to leverage Bilbo’s ability combined with direct damage from Gandalf and Descendent of Thorondor to clear enemies guarding Sting or Necklace of Girion. Also the Eagles of the North might discard a non-unqiue enemy guarding a card. Azain’s direct damage ability is another possibility since can engage an enemy not guarding a card that shares a trait and have ability deal more damage to enemy in the staging area.

Wandering Burgler Discovers Fate of Numenor

Main Deck

Hero (1)
Bilbo Baggins (Mount Gundabad)

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

Ally (22)
3x Azain Silverbeard (Flight of the Stormcaller)
3x Descendant of Thorondor (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Eagles of the Misty Mountains (Return to Mirkwood)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
1x Gwaihir (Trouble in Tharbad)
3x Meneldor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
3x Mirkwood Explorer (The Thing in the Depths)
3x Northern Tracker (Core Set)

Attachment (16)
3x Fast Hitch (The Dead Marshes)
3x Necklace of Girion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Resourceful (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Sting (Mount Gundabad)
1x Strider (The Drowned Ruins)
3x Support of the Eagles (Return to Mirkwood)

Event (12)
3x Flight of the Eagles (Roam Across Rhovanion)
3x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
3x The Shirefolk (Mount Gundabad)
3x Timely Aid (The Redhorn Gate)

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

1 Hero, 51 Cards
Cards up to Challenge of the Wainriders

Sideboard

Ally (9)
3x Eagle of the North (Roam Across Rhovanion)
3x Vassal of the Windlord (The Dead Marshes)
3x Winged Guardian (The Hunt for Gollum)

Attachment (6)
3x Born Aloft (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Poisoned Stakes (The Blood of Gondor)

Event (6)
3x The Eagles Are Coming! (The Hunt for Gollum)
3x The King’s Return (The Fate of Wilderland)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Guarded-o-rama by Card Talk Dave

This deck was created because of an episode of Card Talk where Grant and Dave discuss ways to get Guarded Cards, namely Durin’s Axe into play. To see that episode, click on over to it HERE. The idea is that Éomer can attack into the staging area and, coupled with Firefoot, excess damage can be assigned to enemies engaged with you. While this isn’t even remotely the “new hotness,” coupled with Bilbo Baggins is a great twist.

Guarded-o-rama

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Bilbo Baggins (Mount Gundabad)
Éomer (The Mountain of Fire)
Éowyn (The Flame of the West)

Contract (0)
1x Forth, The Three Hunters! (The City of Ulfast)

Attachment (39)
3x Cram (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
1x Durin’s Axe (Wrath and Ruin)
2x Firefoot (The Dunland Trap)
3x Golden Belt (Challenge of the Wainriders)
2x Golden Shield (The Flame of the West)
2x Gúthwinë (The Mountain of Fire)
1x Magic Ring (The Crossings of Poros)
2x Mariner’s Compass (The Grey Havens)
1x Mithril Shirt (The Fate of Wilderland)
1x Necklace of Girion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Rohan Warhorse (The Voice of Isengard)
2x Spear of the Citadel (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
1x Sting (Mount Gundabad)
1x Stone of Elostirion (Under the Ash Mountains)
1x The Arkenstone (The Withered Heath)
1x Thorongil (The Fortress of Nurn)
3x War Axe (The City of Ulfast)
3x Warrior Sword (The Ghost of Framsburg)

Event (12)
3x Bilbo’s Plan (The Land of Sorrow)
3x Foe-hammer (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Open the Armory (The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat)
3x The King’s Return (The Fate of Wilderland)

3 Heroes, 51 Cards
Cards up to The Fortress of Nurn

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

The Burglar and the Bowman by Hollowbandit

A Bard and Bilbo buddy deck with Fastred defending them and reducing threat.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Bard the Bowman (On the Doorstep)
Bilbo Baggins (Mount Gundabad)
Fastred (The Black Serpent)

Ally (12)
1x Arwen Undómiel (The Watcher in the Water)
1x Azain Silverbeard (Flight of the Stormcaller)
1x Bofur (The Redhorn Gate)
2x Curious Brandybuck (The Wastes of Eriador)
3x Galadhon Archer (The Nîn-in-Eilph)
1x Gandalf (Core Set)
3x Honour Guard (The Wastes of Eriador)

Attachment (23)
2x Ancient Mathom (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
1x Black Arrow (On the Doorstep)
2x Book of Eldacar (Encounter at Amon Dîn)
3x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
3x Great Yew Bow (On the Doorstep)
1x Hobbit Pony (The Wastes of Eriador)
1x Magic Ring (The Crossings of Poros)
1x Necklace of Girion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Round Shield (Mount Gundabad)
1x Song of Battle (The Dead Marshes)
3x Sting (Mount Gundabad)
1x The Arkenstone (The Withered Heath)
1x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event (15)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Feint (Core Set)
3x Foe-hammer (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Hands Upon the Bow (Shadow and Flame)
3x Straight Shot (On the Doorstep)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to Mount Gundabad

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Halbarad (Hero)

“2 against 1, eh? It’s almost a fair fight for you but you really should have brought at least one more to make it even.” – Halbarad probably

Background

Halbarad received a message to join his Chieftain Aragorn in Rohan. He and 30 other Dunedain rode south. Later joined by Elrohir and Elladan, they met Aragorn and accompanied him through the Paths of the Dead. Once Aragorn summoned the dead, they rode for Pelargir fighting off the Corsairs they found there. Halbarad took command of one the Corsair ships and sailed for The Battle of Pelennor Fields. He fought in the battle but died in the fighting.

Card Theme

Halbarad like many of the Dunedain heroes has balanced stats with 2 willpower, 2 attack, and 2 defense. This fits with the Dunedain considering their small population having to be self-sufficient and ready to defend their people. The Dunedain in the game generally gain bonuses for having an enemy engaged. This makes sense with their severely depleted population and many enemies around that they would have to rise to each challenge. His ability to quest without exhausting while engaged with an enemy represents this. His ability to optionally engaged 2 enemies is more representative of the Dunedain’s actions during the Watchful Peace. During that time they fought many minor battles with orcs and goblins to keep the lands of Eriador safe.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Stat Boosts

Halbarad’s built in action advantage and balanced if mediocre stats make him a prime target for stat boosts. In sphere and in theme are the Dunedain signal attachments from the first cycle.

While the bonus is only +1, the ability to move to other heroes shouldn’t be discounted. Especially for Dunedain Warning’s defense boost that can help another hero defend for a turn. Dunedain Quest’s willpower is a bit expensive especially when the Core Set gave players Celebrian’s Stone that gives +2 for the same cost. There aren’t many options for targeted willpower boosts in Leadership although the global boosts from Leadership Faramir ally of Aragorn with Sword That Was Broken are also options.

Aside from Dunedain Mark, Leadership doesn’t have many permanent attack boosts. Sword of Numenor is a very thematic one that comes with the possibility of some resource acceleration if fighting some tougher enemies. If utilizing the side quest bonus Dunedain alongside Halbarad, Legacy Blade can be a fantastic attack buff. Tactics has more possibilities with Dagger of Westernesse being the best to possibly get more than +1 attack from a single attachment.

Defense bonuses are generally better to build up on him at least when using other Dunedain. Another defender that can safely keep a 3 or 4 attack enemy engaged helps build up their bonuses. Fortunately, Leadership has some of the best defensive attachments with aforementioned Dunedian Warning, Ancestral Armor, and Armored Destrier. The destrier doesn’t convey a bonus to defense, the action advantage and shadow control is just what the Dunedain archetype needs to keep multiple enemies engaged for several turns.

Traps

Specifically, Forest Snare and Entangling Nets synergize very well with Halbarad and the rest of the enemies engaged bonus Dunedain. Forest Snare allows a player to just keep an enemy engaged for the entire game without having to worry about defending or any shadows. Entangling Nets is similar because of the attack reduction making defending easier. The action disadvantage of defending can be offset with Outmatched or just taking the attack undefended. Shadows effects can still be an issue with it in some scenarios.

Early Engagement Effects

Normally a player can’t get Halbarad to quest without exhausting unless puts an enemy engaged with a player first thing. Dunedain Hunter and Wait No Longer can help get that ability going. They can be especially useful in true solo play if no enemies are forthcoming since they both search the top 5 cards of the encounter deck for one.

Forth, The Three Hunters Contract

One of the downsides of this contract is that the player is limited to just 3 heroes. Action advantage is key to maximizing the heroes questing and combat potential. Any hero with it built in can make use of the contract’s willpower bonus and the combat bonuses of the extra restricted attachment better than ones without.

Quest Specific

The Shadows of Mirkwood featured the Goblin Sniper that could only be engaged if it was the only enemy in the staging area. This could lead to the dreaded double Goblin Sniper situation where neither can be engaged optionally. This left only Son of Arnor and reaching 48 threat as a solution early on in the game’s life. Halbarad’s ability gives players another way to engage both snipers before 48 threat.

Intruders in Chetwood is another quest that benefits from his ability to optionally engage 2 enemies since they don’t make normal engagement checks. Leaving enemies in the staging area is not a good idea since each one raises the players’ threat by 1 for each enemy there. Wastes of Eriador similarly has enemies not make engagement checks when the day/night objective is on the day side. Engaging multiple enemies during the day is better since many have additional effects or are stronger during the night.

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 Halbarad at 6 rings. The built in action advantage works pretty well with his balanced stats. Keeping an enemy engaged to quest isn’t that difficult for many quests especially if also running traps or with an Armored Destrier. Still it has its risks especially since his balanced stats are only 2 on each. He always requires a bit of set up to be more than just a little supplement questing and combat power. Even when built up, he won’t rival the more specialized heroes with a stat of 3 or 4. Still can be a good addition to line ups with a good questing and defending hero. Starting a quest with 6 willpower from heroes typically provides enough willpower to start. Defense is hard to skimp on since one bad enemy attack can easily take out a hero. Attack power can usually wait a turn or two to come online and easy enough to get from allies or attachments.

His ability to optionally engage 2 enemies doesn’t have many uses for solo play. Still in multiplayer it can supercharge a Dunedain deck. It is still tricky to use well considering the Dunedain can take a little while to get rolling. The heroes often have weaker balanced stats. The allies can be expensive and span all 4 spheres. This can encourage players to build tri-sphere to cram as many Dunedain allies into a deck.

Halbarad at one point was one of my most played heroes. He can be used to good effect but he takes some building around and time to set up. Many quests won’t give players time for it. He’s a decent hero and well worth playing. There are just many that are better because they don’t need that set up and support.

  • Dave – 8
  • Grant – TBR
  • Ted – 7
  • Matt – 6
  • Average – 7

External Links

Sample Decks

Three Wolf Hunters for Wastes of Eriador by kattattack22

A Forth, The Three Hunters deck utilizing Halbarad as a primary quester and secondary combatant.

Three Wolf Hunters for Wastes of Eriador

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Aragorn (The Lost Realm)
Beravor (Core Set)
Halbarad (The Lost Realm)

Contract (0)
1x Forth, The Three Hunters! (The City of Ulfast)

Attachment (41)
3x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Armored Destrier (Temple of the Deceived)
2x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
3x Dúnedain Warning (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Expert Treasure-hunter (On the Doorstep)
2x Favor of the Valar (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
3x Golden Belt (Challenge of the Wainriders)
3x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Ranger Spear (The City of Corsairs)
2x Roheryn (The Flame of the West)
3x Steed of the North (Race Across Harad)
3x Strider (The Drowned Ruins)
3x Sword of Númenor (The Dread Realm)
2x Sword that was Broken (The Watcher in the Water)
3x War Axe (The City of Ulfast)

Event (9)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Feint (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to Challenge of the Wainriders

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Erkenbrand – Community Review

by Phil Chesbro

  • Card Talk Season TBD Episode TBD
    • Video episode
    • Audio episode

Background

He charged in with Gandalf and helped save humanity!

Editor’s Note: Phil here is referring to Erkenbrand arriving at Helm’s Deep with all the men he could gather and Gandalf. For those only familiar with the movies, Eomer being banished and brought back by Gandalf is one of the changes made from the book. In the book, he was imprisoned and freed once Gandalf broke the spell on Theoden. He then was at Helm’s Deep with Theoden and the rest.

Card Theme

He came paired with The Day’s Rising, which I love, but don’t actually use much. He really lives up to the role when he defend, readies, then attacks. Get ’em Erky! Plus, his ability cancels shadow effects, which could be a reference to breaking the ranks of Saruman’s forces.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Hauberk of Mail, Armored Destrier, and Warrior Keyword

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 like Erkenbrand as much as I like Beregond. Sure, he doesn’t start with the same defense, but his ability is better than either Beregond abilities in my opinion. Canceling any shadow effect adds an incredible amount of control to combat. He’s also in Leadership, giving him access to Hauberk of Mail and Armored Destrier, meaning he can block for 4 twice without sweating any shadow effects. I’ve just started splashing him into my decks as a go-to defender and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

  • Phil – 2
  • Dave – TBR
  • Grant – TBR
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – TBR
  • Average – 2

Killer Solo Leadership by The BGamerJoe

A mono-Leadership deck featuring Erkenbrand as the main defender that BGamerJoe used to beat the entire Harad cycle.

Killer Solo Leadership

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Aragorn (Core Set)
Erkenbrand (The Antlered Crown)
Gildor Inglorion (Two-Player Limited Edition Starter)

Ally (20)
1x Ceorl (Temple of the Deceived)
3x Envoy of Pelargir (Heirs of Númenor)
1x Erestor (The Long Dark)
2x Faramir (Core Set)
3x Galadriel (The Road Darkens)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
1x Gimli (The Treason of Saruman)
3x Knight of the White Tower (The City of Corsairs)
1x Ranger of Cardolan (The Wastes of Eriador)
1x Redwater Sentry (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
1x Rosie Cotton (The Mountain of Fire)

Attachment (22)
2x Ancestral Armor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
3x Armored Destrier (Temple of the Deceived)
1x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
2x Dúnedain Remedy (The Drowned Ruins)
2x Hauberk of Mail (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
1x Heir of Mardil (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
1x Sword of Númenor (The Dread Realm)
3x Sword that was Broken (The Watcher in the Water)
1x The Day’s Rising (The Antlered Crown)
3x Tome of Atanatar (The Blood of Gondor)

Event (7)
1x Second Breakfast (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
3x Strength of Arms (The Drúadan Forest)

Player Side Quest (1)
1x Prepare for Battle (The Mûmakil)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to Roam Across Rhovanion

Sideboard

Attachment (1)
1x Necklace of Girion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)

Event (3)
3x Bulwark of the West (The Crossings of Poros)

Player Side Quest (2)
1x Gather Information (The Lost Realm)
1x Send for Aid (The Treachery of Rhudaur)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

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.

Eleanor

Extra treachery cancelation hero that shines in multiplayer.

Background

Eleanor is a FFG created character with the Gondor and Noble traits. If the traits weren’t enough of a clue, her art shows her wearing a diadem. It even looks reminiscent of the Aragorn’s crown in Peter Jackson’s Return of the King.

Card Theme

Eleanor’s ability to cancel a treachery and reveal a new encounter card doesn’t match the abilities of most Gondorian heroes. Heirs of Numenor really started to establish the Gondor trait being linked to resources and resource acceleration with Leadership Borormir giving an attack bonus when he has a resource in his pool and Tactics Beregond discounting Armor and Weapon attachments. Other Gondor cards expanded on this theme with more resource acceleration like Wealth of Gondor, Mablung hero, Captain’s Wisdom and Leadership Denethor

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Eleanor’s ability is similar to Lore Denethor‘s ability to look at the top card of the encounter deck and either put it on the top or bottom. There weren’t any more Gondor themed encounter control cards until the Gondorian Rangers and Traps in Against the Shadow and then it was limited to Lore. Eleanor’s ability is more aligned with the Spirit sphere’s encounter cancellation cards like A Test of Will and Hasty Stroke. I think this is largely a result of the initial design not being as centered around traits as what eventually developed in larger expansions.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Defense Bonus

Defense is Eleanor’s only stat besides hit points greater than 1. At 2, it is sufficient for the Core Set scenarios where many enemies have 2 attack and there is even 1 attack enemies. Gondorian Shield since it gives +2 defense to Gondorian heroes turns her into a decent defender. Blood of Numenor is a solid option in the Spirit sphere and works well with all the resource acceleration options for a Gondor deck. Eleanor’s low threat of 7 also makes it possible to pair it with Resourceful. Still even with these significant defense boosts, Eleanor’s 3 hit points keeps her from being a great primary defender.

Readying

Readying is good if a player wants to use Eleanor as a defender in addition to her ability. Unexpected Courage, of course is the quintessential readying card. Miruvor also is a decent option to ready Eleanor after using her ability. It can even add a resource to Eleanor for use with Blood of Numenor.

More Encounter Control

Eleanor can become an adequate defender, but it is really her ability that is most useful considering how much build up she needs. Utilizing it alongside more encounter control, can shut down the worst the encounter has to offer. This strategy is usually limited to multiplayer since it leaves little room in a deck for cards to aid in questing and combat. In Spirit, there’s A Test of Will and Hasty Stroke. A Watchful Peace can also control the encounters by recurring an innocuous locations. Lore, however, will need to be added for more direct encounter manipulation and cancelation. Lore Denethor, Risk Some Light, Out of the Wild, and Scout Ahead can either move or outright remove the worst cards from the encounter deck. Lore also has Leave No Trace and None Return like Out of the Wild that can add cards to the victory display but only after dealing with them at least once. This, however, opens the possibility of canceling another copy of that encounter card with The Door is Closed!

Quest Specific

Eleanor can be useful in many quests considering all of them have treacheries. The first two cycles more so than later cycles. Shadows of Mirkwood included many that dealt direct damage to heroes and allies that could lay waste to a players board state. Massing at Night in multiplayer especially at 3 and 4 players can be overwhelming. Roasted Slowly and Gollum’s Bite are outright hero killers.

The Darrowdelf cycle, however, it is almost a requirement to bring Test of Will. The Hazards of the Pit set that is part of many of the scenarios includes the notorious Sudden Pitfall that can easily take out a hero if there are no other questing characters to discard. Crumbling Ruin in the same set can also often result in the loss of an ally and even a hero if they don’t have an ally instead. Watchful Eyes also in one of the deluxe sets means many additional encounter cards or not being able to use a hero. Then there’s Road to Rivendell with not 1 but 2 terrible treacheries to watch out for. The infamous Sleeping Sentry that has ended many a game when A Test of Will is not available to cancel it. Then there’s Orc Ambush that as Ted pointed out in Superlative February covering the best and worst encounter cards not only can give bring a ton of enemies into play late game, but surges on top of it.

These cancel or lose type treacheries are part of why the first few cycles can be very “swingy” for new players. If you don’t see them in your game, the scenario can seem very easy. If you get one or two at the wrong time, it can be very difficult if they don’t end the game outright.

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 Eleanor at 6 rings. I think she’s dropped off in importance as the card pool has grown and scenario design moved away from treacheries having such a large effects. In the first couple of cycles, I would have rated her a 3 especially in multiplayer. She doesn’t do a lot for a player turn to turn without significant investment in building her up. She’s got it covered, however, when you really need to cancel Massing at Night or Crumbling Ruins. The more players you add, the more likely that a treachery will show up to wreck havoc on the players. Later cycles treacheries are less prevalent and the effects are more manageable. Part of that is just having more options in deckbuilding. More allies have more than 1 hit point to absorb direct damage. Threat reduction options expanded even beyond Spirit. Lore encounter control options have grown in number. There are even more ways to return heroes to play.

  • Dave – 6
  • Grant – 5
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – 6
  • Average – 5.33

External Links

Sample Decks

The Nope Deck by Qwaz

This deck is entirely devoted to controlling the encounter deck. Eleanor cancels treacheries, Balin cancels shadows, and Damrod helps trap enemies. On top of that, victory display cards remove the nastier encounters.

The Nope Deck

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Balin (On the Doorstep)
Damrod (The Land of Shadow)
Eleanor (Core Set)

Ally (3)
3x Errand-rider (Heirs of Númenor)

Attachment (14)
3x Forest Snare (Core Set)
3x King Under the Mountain (On the Doorstep)
3x Ranger Spikes (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
2x Thrór’s Map (Over Hill and Under Hill)

Event (31)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Gildor’s Counsel (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)
3x None Return (Across the Ettenmoors)
3x Out of the Wild (Road to Rivendell)
3x Power of Orthanc (The Voice of Isengard)
3x The Door is Closed! (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
3x We Are Not Idle (Shadow and Flame)
1x Will of the West (Core Set)

Player Side Quest (2)
1x Gather Information (The Lost Realm)
1x Scout Ahead (The Wastes of Eriador)

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

Sideboard

Ally (6)
3x Miner of the Iron Hills (Core Set)
3x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)

Attachment (13)
3x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Entangling Nets (Temple of the Deceived)
3x Song of Wisdom (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Thrór’s Key (On the Doorstep)
1x Thrór’s Map (Over Hill and Under Hill)

Event (9)
3x A Good Harvest (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Dwarven Tomb (Core Set)
3x Heed the Dream (Flight of the Stormcaller)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Fellowship Frodo Baggins (TBR) – Community Review

by Owen Watson

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Encounter Control

Background

Black Rider’s Frodo is really thematic in my eyes. Exhausting the One Ring symbolizes putting it on and vanishing from usually an enemy and then running away and finding himself someplace different, like a location.

Card Theme

Throughout the books and movies Frodo (against Gandalf’s strict warnings) has used the ring to escape deadly situations and flee the servants of Mordor. For me, this card represents his heroic escapes and him fleeing from one situation and falling into another.

Card Synergies and Interactions

This card combo’s really well with other Hobbit heroes for a few reasons. Reason number one is that Frodo has 0 threat, meaning with a few Hobbits (who, besides a few exceptions, are the lowest threat heroes in the game) you can have easy access to Resourceful (which can be brought in for cheap due to the Secrecy Keyword and help provide Frodo with resources for him to use for his ability, as well as to pay for Neutral and Fellowship sphere cards. Another reason for Hobbits is that Frodo’s Intuition is in-sphere for Frodo. For a cheap total of 2 resources, you can give each hero +1 Willpower AND draw 1 card for each hobbit hero you control, thus drawing you as much cards as you have Hobbit heroes. Throughout the whole Saga campaign, the only quests that seem to not work so great with Frodo are the ones that have cards in them that have negative effects if the One Ring is exhausted (ex. Morgul Wraith). For the most part, considering Frodo can only be used in LotR Saga quests, his ability is great and has little to no negative effects.

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 strongly believe that this deserves a 3 rating and is the best Fellowship/Saga hero in the game. Let me explain why it is (Black Riders) Frodo Baggins.

First, stats: 2 willpower is pretty good for a Hobbit hero, so no complaints there. This version of Frodo will be questing almost every time so his 1 attack and 2 defense don’t really matter unless he has some way of readying. 2 HP is a bit on the lower side, so it’s usually a good idea to have strategies in place to cancel direct damage effects or simply by giving him attachments that boost his HP.
Lets talk about his sphere. He is one of the 7 (8 counting ALeP Scouring of the Shire) Fellowhsip sphere heroes. Unfortunately, belonging to that sphere means he can’t be used outside of LotR Saga quests, but on the plus side you get access to all of the Fellowship cards which for the most part are really helpful with willpower.

Now let’s talk about what makes him so great. His ability. By spending one resource and exhausting the One Ring, you can choose and CANCEL the effects of a card revealed from the encounter deck. You heard that right. CANCEL! If you reveal a tough enemy you can’t deal with until your deck is set up, no problem, simply trigger his response and shuffle the card away. One too many locations? Nasty treachery and no Test of Will? He can solve them all. There is a couple of downsides to his ability however. The first and most obvious one is that you have to shuffle the card back into the Encounter deck and reveal another card. Imagine if the encounter deck is almost empty, the odds of drawing the same card again would be pretty good. Another thing to point out is that you could draw a worse card then the one you just canceled which could screw you over. And finally, throughout the Saga quests there are cards that have effects which are very nasty if the one ring is exhausted, and because you need to exhaust the One Ring to use Frodo’s ability, you are running the risk of having something nasty trigger. This is why, in my opinion, Frodo is one of the best cards in the game.

  • Owen – 3
  • Dave – TBR
  • Grant – TBR
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – TBR

Sample Decks

Three is Company

Main Deck

Hero (5)
Fatty Bolger (The Black Riders)
Frodo Baggins (The Black Riders)
Merry (The Black Riders)
Pippin (The Black Riders)
Sam Gamgee (The Black Riders)

Contract (0)
1x Bond of Friendship (The Fortress of Nurn)

Ally (16)
1x Barliman Butterbur (The Black Riders)
1x Bilbo Baggins (The Road Darkens)
2x Bill the Pony (The Black Riders)
2x Bywater Shirriff (The Fate of Wilderland)
1x Farmer Maggot (The Black Riders)
2x Gaffer Gamgee (Mount Gundabad)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)
2x Odo Proudfoot (Under the Ash Mountains)
1x Robin Smallburrow (The Drowned Ruins)
2x Rosie Cotton (The Mountain of Fire)

Attachment (13)
2x Ancient Mathom (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
2x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
2x Fast Hitch (The Dead Marshes)
2x Hobbit Cloak (The Black Riders)
2x Red Book of Westmarch (The Land of Sorrow)
1x Spare Pipe (The Land of Sorrow)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event (19)
2x A Good Harvest (The Steward’s Fear)
2x A Test of Will (Core Set)
2x Drinking Song (Mount Gundabad)
1x Feint (Core Set)
2x Frodo’s Intuition (The Black Riders)
2x Halfling Determination (The Black Riders)
2x In the Shadows (The Land of Shadow)
2x Raise the Shire (The Mountain of Fire)
2x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
2x The Shirefolk (Mount Gundabad)

Player Side Quest (2)
1x Gather Information (The Lost Realm)
1x The Storm Comes (The Sands of Harad)

5 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Fortress of Nurn

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

The Hobbit Bond of Friendship For July Solo League

Main Deck

Hero (5)
Frodo Baggins (The Black Riders)
Merry (The Wastes of Eriador)
Pippin (The Black Riders)
Sam Gamgee (The Black Riders)
Tom Cotton (The Mountain of Fire)

Ally (18)
1x Barliman Butterbur (The Black Riders)
1x Bilbo Baggins (The Road Darkens)
1x Bill the Pony (The Black Riders)
2x Bywater Shirriff (The Fate of Wilderland)
2x Cautious Halfling (Wrath and Ruin)
1x Farmer Maggot (The Black Riders)
2x Gaffer Gamgee (Mount Gundabad)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)
1x Halfast Gamgee (The Crossings of Poros)
2x Halfling Bounder (The Sands of Harad)
1x Odo Proudfoot (Under the Ash Mountains)
1x Robin Smallburrow (The Drowned Ruins)
1x Rosie Cotton (The Mountain of Fire)

Attachment (7)
2x Hobbit Cloak (The Black Riders)
1x Hobbit Pipe (The Black Riders)
2x Hobbit Pony (The Wastes of Eriador)
1x Ring Mail (The Long Dark)
1x Sword that was Broken (The Watcher in the Water)

Event (22)
2x A Good Harvest (The Steward’s Fear)
2x A Test of Will (Core Set)
2x Drinking Song (Mount Gundabad)
2x Feint (Core Set)
2x Frodo’s Intuition (The Black Riders)
2x Halfling Determination (The Black Riders)
2x Raise the Shire (The Mountain of Fire)
2x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
2x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
2x The Shirefolk (Mount Gundabad)
2x Tighten Our Belts (The Nîn-in-Eilph)

Player Side Quest (3)
1x Gather Information (The Lost Realm)
1x Rally the West (The Black Serpent)
1x The Storm Comes (The Sands of Harad)

5 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to Under the Ash Mountains

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.