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

.

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)

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.

Leadership Aragorn

A powerful versatile hero just like he is in the books.

Background

Aragorn, son of Arathorn, AKA Strider is the direct descendent of the kings of Gondor and Arnor. He was the chieftain of the northern remnants of Arnor, the Dunedain. Elrond fostered him at Rivendell after his father was killed by orcs. After he turned 21 and learned of his heirtage, Aragorn travel far and wide in Middle Earth assisting both Rohan and Gondor against Sauron.

He is first introduced in The Lord of the Rings at The Prancing Pony. He soon become the Hobbits guide to Rivendell after Gandalf’s letter to Frodo identifies him as a friend. He joins the Fellowship at Rivendell offering to his life to help Frodo destroy The One Ring. After the breaking of the Fellowship, he tracks the Uruk-Hai to Rohan. There he aided in the defense of Rohan against Saruman. Then braving the Paths of the Dead enlist the dead oath breakers, he defeated the corsairs at Pelargir to brings the reinforcements that turned the tide at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. He leads to the forces of Gondor and Rohan to The Black Gate to distract Sauron that Frodo can destroy The Ring of Power. After The Ring’s destruction, he becomes King of Gondor and marries Arwen Undomiel.

Card Theme

Aragorn is a highly skilled individual with decades of experience navigating the wilds of Middle Earth and countering Sauron’s forces. Questing in this game is often intended to represent the characters traversing Middle Earth. Aragorn being able to contribute to those travels while being ready to fight if needed is very thematic to those same skills and experience as a Ranger.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Resource Acceleration

Any card that can add resources to Aragorn enables using his ability consistently. The Core Set gave players two in sphere options to combo with Aragorn, Steward of Gondor and Theodred. The Aragorn and Theodread combo Card Talk highlighted previously in our Core Set Combo series. Later cycles introduced many other options particularly among Leadership events. Arwen hero and Zigil Miner are chief among the out of sphere options as they are also repeatable like Theodred and Steward. Additional resources on Aragorn are also a great idea if you’re using any of his toys as well.

Aragorn’s Toys

These cards are all attachments that can give other characters an ability or bonus, but they give Aragorn an additional bonus. Typically the additional bonus is another resource icon. Celebrian’s Stone was the first of these coming in the Core Set making Aragorn’s willpower equal to that of the best questing heroes. This makes his built-in action advantage from questing more valuable. It is easier to forgo 2 willpower to use his 3 attack or 2 defense in combat than 4 willpower. The added Spirit icon is also helpful for playing the only toy that isn’t in sphere, Ring of Barahir.

The Ring of Barahir is generally considered the least interesting since it only adds hit points that scales with the number of artifacts. The full card pool has many Artifacts now with the Guarded attachments like Stone of Elostirion and Orcrist. Aragorn doesn’t benefit much from having may hit points like Gloin and Gimli that have damage taken based abilities.

Sword That Was Broken gives any hero the Leadership icon but on Aragorn it is one of the best global willpower boosts available. It can be especially helpful in Dunedain decks since the Dunedain characters tend to have low willpower.

Roheryn is a powerful attachment since it allows Aragorn to attack before the enemy gets a chance to. If Aragorn has enough attack power to kill the enemy, then it effectively cancels the attack. It combos well with Gondorian Fire that can give Aragorn bonus attack for each resource in his resource pool. The One Ring with Strength and Courage can also provide a huge attack boost considering Aragorn’s printed 3 attack power. Firefoot‘s ability to place excess damage on another enemy can kill another engaged enemy before it can attack as well.

Rivendell Bow doesn’t give a resource icon. It is worth noting because it specifically mentions it can be attached to Aragorn besides just Noldor and Silvans.

Thorongil

Thorongil allows any Aragorn to gain the resource icon and abilities of the other versions of Aragorn. This can be used tactically to bring in threat control, additional combat, power, or location control as needed. The Leadership and Spirt versions in particular pair well. The Leadership version’s readying let’s a player double up on questing. Aragorn can contribute his willpower once to quest and again to reduce staging are threat.

Defense Boosts

Aragorn has the Sentinel trait to be able to defend for other players in multiplayer and a large pool of hit points at 5. His printed defense of 2 is not enough to be a dedicated defender in many quests, but Leadership has a few of the best defensive attachments in sphere. Aragorn between his toys and Thorongil has many additional ways to gain resource icons not available to most other heroes. He can turn into a defensive wall with the ability to cancel shadows if built up with Dunedain Warnings, Ancestral Armor, Armored Destrier, and/or Burning Brand. Blood of Numenor is also a strong option since resource acceleration is a good idea to use his readying ability.

Grey Wanderer

Aragorn’s built-in readying and attachments that can give him all 4 sphere icons makes him a great Grey Wanderer hero. His ability let’s him quest without using the contract’s setup ability to get Strider even if it is a very thematic choice. Resourceful can provide resource acceleration cheaply to fuel his readying. Timely Aid and A Very Good Tale are both in sphere to help muster allies and make up for not having 3 heroes worth of stats. A Gondorian Fire and Blood of Numenor build benefits greatly from the contract’s readying and resource acceleration. Lastly, he can use Roheryn more reliably because the low starting threat of a single hero keeps most enemies from automatically engaging.

Quest Specific

Aragorn’s built-in readying can be used to benefit besides just combat. Many quests have encounter car effects that exhaust a character either as a when revealed or shadow effect. This goes all the way back even to the core set. Caught in a Web is the most notorious example since it makes you pay 2 resources to ready the attached hero during the refresh phase. You can play around this condition attachment by making sure to only quest with Aragorn and readying him after. You can do the same in Darrowdelf to avoid the negative effects of Watchful Eyes.

Aside from the encounter deck trying impede your ability to quest, attack, or defend, there are many other times the quest will require you exhaust a hero. Sometimes it is simply to claim an unguarded objective. Many other times it is required for a test to represent the heroes attempting to do something outside the normal questing. Shadow of Mirkwood introduced this idea with Escape tests in The Dead Marshes and Return to Mirkwood. These tests have to commit character’s willpower to exceed escape value on the encounter cards. The Lord of the Rings Saga had similar Hide tests in A Shadow of the Past. A variation that was based solely on number of characters exhausted rather than willpower used in the Dream-Chaser cycle and Mount Doom scenario for Sailing and Fortitude test, respectively.

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 Leadership Aragorn at 3 rings. That is only because I think he’s the 3rd best version of Aragorn. I think the Lore and Tactics versions offer more to players than this one. If playing another version of Aragorn, this one is top of the list to add its sphere and abilities it via Thorongil.

That said, he offers built-in action advantage for a very reasonable cost of one resource. In the sphere that is best known for resource acceleration. On top of that most of his “toys” are in Leadership. It’s possible to get him every sphere in the game via his own attachments plus some great bonuses and a strong ability. Undeniably a powerful and useful hero.

  • Dave – 2
  • Grant – 2
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – 3
  • Average 2.33

Sample Decks

Codus’ Roheryn’s Fire

A deck focused on using Gondorian Fire and Roheryn to kill enemies as soon as they’re optionally engaged. Arwen and Erestor provide resource acceleration and card draw to help get the combo going quickly.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Aragorn (Core Set)
Arwen Undómiel (The Dread Realm)
Erestor (The Treachery of Rhudaur)

Ally (20)
3x Envoy of Pelargir (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Errand-rider (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Ethir Swordsman (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Galadhrim Weaver (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
3x Galadriel’s Handmaiden (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
1x Mablung (The Land of Shadow)
1x Quickbeam (The Treason of Saruman)
3x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)

Attachment (16)
3x Gondorian Fire (Assault on Osgiliath)
3x Roheryn (The Flame of the West)
2x Song of Battle (The Dead Marshes)
2x Steed of Imladris (Across the Ettenmoors)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
3x Sword of Númenor (The Dread Realm)

Event (14)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Elrond’s Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Elven-light (The Dread Realm)
2x Gaining Strength (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Heed the Dream (Flight of the Stormcaller)

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

Sideboard

Event (3)
3x Tale of Tinúviel (The Dread Realm)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Tactics Beregond – Community Review

by Rambokc

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Equipping
    • Resource Acceleration

Background

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

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

Card Theme

Defender, Gondor, Tactics

Card Synergies and Interactions

Tactics equipment and attachments

Ring Rating

Card Talk uses the highly scientific yet arbitrary scale of 1 ring for the card to rule them all to 10 to be cast back into the fiery chasm from whence it came.

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

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

Beravor

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Card Draw

A versatile hero with a incredibly useful ability. Power creep has marginalized her a little, but can still be used to great effect.

Background

Beravor is a character created by Fantasy Flight Games. She made her first appearance in Middle Earth Quest. Then FFG reused the character for LOTR LCG. Clearly she is intended to be one of Rangers of the North with the Dunedain and Ranger traits. The Rangers of the North are the descended from the people of Gondor’s sister kingdom, Arnor. Arnor split into three smaller kingdoms, Cardolan, Arthedain, and Rhudar. The people of these successor kingdoms dwindled after wars with Angmar and a plague until only scattered settlements and wandering bands remained.

There are not many Dunedain in the LOTR books besides Aragorn. Halbarad is the only other named one that in The Passing of the Grey Company arrives with 30 of his kinsmen to support Aragorn. No further details of these 30 are given and there is no one to say that Beravor was not one of them.

Card Theme

Beravor’s card draw is representative of the Lore sphere more than anything else. The Lore sphere is full of card draw effects with Gleowine, Lore Bilbo hero, Daeron’s Runes, Deep Knowledge, Erestor, Drinking Song, and Mithrandir’s Advice representing the knowledge, stories, and songs present in Middle Earth. Beravor’s knowledge as a Ranger would be of natural things like plants and animals, tracking, and how to survive in the wild. Much like the skills and knowledge demonstrated by Aragorn back when the Hobbits knew him as Strider.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Readying

Cards that can ready Beravor are great to allow a player to make use her ability and stats. Her 2/2/2 stats are also advantageous when taking multiple actions. She is equally good at questing, attacking, and defending. A general rule is a 2 cost ally with a 2 stat is considered pretty efficient. Paying 2 resources for Beravor to take an additional action is similar to paying for an efficient ally with more flexibility.

In the core set, there are a few options for readying Beravor. None unfortunately are in the Lore sphere. Unexpected in Spirit, however, is the staple hero readying card. For 2 resources, Beravor can be readied once per round which is amazing value. Many other ready a hero effects are either an event and therefore not repeatable, or come with additional restrictions and/or conditions. Leadership is the only other sphere to offer a couple readying options. Common Cause while cheap in resource cost, requires that you exhaust another hero. This generally is prohibitive to using it. Either a hero will already be exhausted or will have just as good if not better stats to use. The best use case will be a ready defending hero with no enemies to defend who then can ready Beravor. Grim Resolve is the other Leadership card which readies all characters. Usually a mass ready like this will be used to make significant questing push exhausting everyone. Then played to ready everyone for combat. It can really turn a game around, but not one to include just to use Beravor’s ability and stats.

Fortunately as the game has progressed there are a few more great readying cards added or this Dunedain Ranger.

Leather Boots and Wingfoot are in the same sphere as Beravor and cheaper than Unexpected Courage. Both are a little more limited since the ready will trigger after committing characters to the quest for both of them. Basically they’ll allow a player to use her to quest or draw cards before questing. Then maybe ready for combat or any travel effects that require exhausting a hero. Steed of the North is similar although it triggers on engagement. This is more controllable considering all the additional ways Dunedain have to force engagement like Son of Arnor, Dunedain Hunter, and Tactics Aragorn hero. Descendants of Kings much like the other readying events isn’t great for Beravor since it is not repeatable. Still Beravor is a good target among other Dunedain characters in a dedicated Dunedain deck.

Discard effects

There are several cards that give players a bonus when a card is discarded from their hand. Beravor’s card draw can help fuel these abilities. Protector of Lórien and Eowyn both could boost willpower at the cost of a discarded card and defense as well for Protector. Later cards expanded to other effects like Spirit Legolas’s readying and healing with Song of Healing. The Noldor characters in particular expanded the use of discard effects as many of their effects required discarding cards.

Dale

Beravor is often included as third hero in a Dale deck. This is because the Dale engine of playing attachments on allies is prone to stalling. Brand, Son of Bain will let players draw a card for the first attachment played on a Dale ally. Players can hit a string of allies with no attachments or attachments with no allies. More card draw helps alleviate this issue and find whichever the player currently needs.

Quest Specific

Beravor is not a good choice for many of the quests in the Ringmaker cycle. There are several card effects that trigger from the players drawing cards. there are also effects that get worse the more cards a player has in their hand.

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 Beravor at 3 rings. Repeatable card draw is powerful. Most decks need some card draw and resource acceleration to stay ahead of the encounter deck. Drawing 2 cards each turn increases a player’s options tremendously. The only downsides to Beravor are her lower stats for a hero and that the ability requires exhausting her. The second downside can be offset with readying cards. The stats aren’t bad necessarily. They were fine in the core set when 1 or 2 attack enemies were more prevalent. Power creep has marginalized her 2 defense. It still can help with the weaker surging enemies, but most quests, it will be a huge risk to defend with her. Two attack also became less useful as enemies gained more defense and hit points. The 2 willpower is fine for secondary quester since a good start usually require 6 willpower available on turn 1. It can be difficult to squeeze in a utility hero like Beravor when a quest starts off strong. It usually is a better idea to have a designated quester, attacker, and defender heroes that have the appropriate high stat.

  • Dave – 6
  • Grant – 4
  • Ted – 3
  • Matt – 3
  • Average – 4

Sample Decks

Back to Basics – A Killer Deck Using Cards from 1 Core Set by Xanalor

A tri-sphere core set only deck. It is only 44 cards since it was built back when the core set didn’t come with a full play set of each card. The deck description on ringsdb is quite extension highlighting many combos.

Back to Basics – A Killer Deck Using Cards from 1 Core Set

Main Deck

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

Ally (21)
1x Beorn (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 Miner of the Iron Hills (Core Set)
2x Northern Tracker (Core Set)
3x Snowbourn Scout (Core Set)

Attachment (5)
2x Forest Snare (Core Set)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
1x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event (18)
2x A Test of Will (Core Set)
1x Dwarven Tomb (Core Set)
1x For Gondor! (Core Set)
2x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)
3x Lore of Imladris (Core Set)
2x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
3x Stand and Fight (Core Set)
2x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
2x Will of the West (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 44 Cards
Cards up to Core Set

Sideboard

Event (1)
1x Will of the West (Core Set)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Minimum Purchase Dale Deck by Darkling Door

Dale deck built with cards just from Wilds of Rhovanion and the Core Set.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Bard son of Brand (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
Beravor (Core Set)
Brand son of Bain (The Wilds of Rhovanion)

Ally (20)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
2x Gléowine (Core Set)
1x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
3x Long Lake Trader (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x North Realm Lookout (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Redwater Sentry (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
2x Snowbourn Scout (Core Set)
3x Warrior of Dale (The Wilds of Rhovanion)

Attachment (16)
3x Bow of Yew (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
1x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
3x Hauberk of Mail (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x King of Dale (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Map of Rhovanion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
2x Necklace of Girion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
1x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event (14)
2x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Bartering (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
2x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)
3x To Arms! (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Traffic from Dale (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
1x Will of the West (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Wilds of Rhovanion

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Three Wolf Hunters for Wastes of Eriador by kattattack22

A Dunedain Three Hunters deck built for the first couple of scenarios in the Angmar Awakened cycle.

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.

Bombur (Hero)

Thematic Dwarf hero designed primarily to get you to 5 Dwarf characters as quickly as possible.

Background

Poor Bombur. The dude just likes a good meal and strong drink, yet is always the butt of the jokes. In Tolkien’s world, we first meet Bombur in The Hobbit when he shows up along with the other dwarves of Thorin’s Company (along with Gandalf) to Bilbo Baggins’ home of Bag End in the Shire. We learn little of his background, other than the fact that his brother is Bofur and his cousin is Bifur. He likely lived with Thorin and the other dwarves of this tale in the Blue Mountains leading up to the main events of the story – namely the quest to reclaim Erebor from the dragon Smaug. Throughout the adventure, numerous references are made to his, um, girth, and usually in a humorous manner. The card’s flavor text is a perfect example. A memorable scenario involving Bombur’s size is the Enchanted Stream in Mirkwood, where Bombur fell into the water and fell into a deep sleep for 6 days, forcing the other dwarves to carry him and complain constantly about it. He is also depicted in the book as constantly thinking and talking about food. Once Erebor was reclaimed, Bombur remained and lived there (happily ever after with plenty of food we assume).

Card Theme

Dwarves, dwarves, and more dwarves. That’s the goal of a Dwarf swarm deck. However, certain Dwarf heroes and allies have bonuses that trigger once you have at least 5 Dwarf characters in play. Those heroes are Thorin Oakenshield; Ori; and Oin, and the allies are Dwalin; Gloin; and Bifur. The heroes’ ability is passive while you control 5+ dwarves, while the allies’ ability only activates upon being played from your hand while you control 5+ dwarves. Bombur increases your efficiency in getting to that 5 dwarf threshold that much faster, and essentially provides slight, early resource generation in the fact that he counts for 2 of those 5.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Synergies

Did I mention dwarves? Heroes, allies, doesn’t matter. Assuming you’re starting with 3 Dwarf heroes, you technically have 4 Dwarf characters on the table before you even start the game. This means playing a turn 1 Erebor Record Keeper, Dwarven Sellsword, Ered Nimrais Prospector, Erebor Hammersmith, Zigil Miner, Veteran Axehand, or other low cost dwarf ally gives you 5 Dwarves under your control on turn 1 and triggers the abilities of the aforementioned heroes and allies with 5+ dwarf abilities, most of which will then be able to be used right away (other than Thorin and Ori which would then be available on turn 2). If Dain Ironfoot is on the table (which he should be if you’re building a Dwarf swarm deck), Bombur goes to 1/2/2/5 for a statline.

Attachments and Events

Bombur’s statline means you will likely be doing nothing but defending with him. He can chip in the occasional 1 attack power (2 with Dain on the table) if you end up not needing him to defend say, via using Feint, Forest Snare, Ranger Spikes, or some other effect, so you certainly can throw Dwarf-specific weapons such as Dwarven Axe, Dwarrowdelf Axe, or other weapons on him. Or maybe you just defend with one of your other characters or a Sentinel defender across the table does it for you and he can chip in attack that way. You are almost always going to be defending with him, so you want to load him up with defense oriented attachments.

Some of the best attachments for him are A Burning Brand (in-sphere), Protector of Lorien (in-sphere), Dunedain Warning, Ring Mail, Ancestral Armor, Armor of Erebor, Citadel Plate, Dwarven Shield, and Round Shield. He will also benefit from Hardy Leadership on a Leadership hero such as Dain. Readying attachments such as Unexpected Courage or Cram would also be beneficial. Since his 2 defense is not the sturdiest on its own, playing a healing attachment such as Self-Preservation, Healing Herbs, or Dunedain Remedy on him will go a long way.

As for events, a few come to mind you would want to consider using on Bombur. Durin’s Song will give him +2 of all stats (not hitpoints). Lure of Moria will allow him to use 2 of those stats one round, so you could chip in 1 willpower for questing, then ready him for a defense, or you could play it in the combat phase to get 2 defenses out of him.

Some non-bos with Bombur: pretty much any cards traited or designed to be played with traits other than Dwarf. Even a card such as Unlikely Friendship, which requires you to control a Dwarf hero and a Silvan hero, will likely never make it in a Bombur deck. Why would you effectively negate his ability by running a Silvan hero in a dwarf deck? Or render Bombur useless by putting him in a non-dwarf swarm deck?

Contracts

Bond of Friendship is the contract Bombur synergizes the best with. Running him as your Lore hero along with 3 other Dwarf heroes means you now start the game with 5 Dwarf characters (all heroes) and can take advantage of the 5+ Dwarf bonuses from the beginning of the game (although you wouldn’t be able to use Ori due to the contract’s restriction on each hero needing to be from a different sphere, and Bombur already takes up the Lore slot).

Quest Specific

Dwarfs, and swarm in particular, is the earliest, most fully developed archetype in the game. And they are very powerful. While powerful in the majority of scenarios, they really shine in scenarios with Underground and/or Dark and/or Mountain locations due to the numerous player cards that synergize with Dwarves and locations with those traits – such as Untroubled by Darkness, Ever My Heart Rises, and Ancestral Knowledge. Think Dwarrowdelf Cycle, Ered Mithrin Cycle, Vengeance of Mordor cycle, the Hobbit sagas, etc. These are the quests you will be more likely to run a Dwarf deck in, and therefore the quests you will be most likely to play Bombur.

Other Considerations

Traits and Sphere: Bombur is…a Dwarf. That’s it. Thematically this makes sense as the character Bombur most definitely was not a warrior (and in the game you aren’t going to be attacking with him), and he isn’t a noble. I think he should at least have the Sentinel keyword as defending is clearly his intended design, but it was not to be. As already mentioned, his Lore sphere provides access to A Burning Brand and Protector of Lorien which synergize nicely with him, and other helpful cards such as Legacy of Durin, Ancestral Knowledge, Daeron’s Runes, and most healing cards will be in-sphere.

Ally Version: So far in this review, I’ve been fairly neutral and looked at Bombur’s potential upsides, but spoiler alert: from here on we’ll mostly see his downsides (no, that wasn’t a fat joke). Let’s start with the fact that ally Bombur is arguably more useful in the type of quests you’ll be most likely to want to run his hero version. Exhausting to reduce the threat of a location by 1 is a fine ability, but it gets bonkers when you get him on the table in quests with a lot of Underground locations (see the Quest Specific section above). Now you’re shutting down some of those nasty, high threat locations that are notorious for bogging you down in these types of quests, and essentially getting +4 willpower which helps move you forward in the game significantly. I would argue this can make more of a difference for you in the right quests rather than having one additional Dwarf character at the beginning of the game or having a somewhat shaky defense-dedicated hero who needs to get built up a bit. Yes his ally version costs 3, but if you’re generating resources with Thorin Oakenshield, Steward of Gondor, Resourceful, and potentially spreading them around with Bifur or Narvi’s Belt, then his cost shouldn’t be an issue. Not to mention you can get him into play for free with A Very Good Tale or Elf-stone.

Deckbuilding

Opportunity cost is one of the overarching concepts of deckbuilding games, and you really need to take your time here considering whether Hero Bombur is worth a spot in your Hero lineup. There are countless ways to build a Dwarf swarm deck, but let’s examine a basic hero lineup. A strong swarm deck will usually be tri-sphere to give you access to as many dwarf allies as possible, but does not have to be so. It will usually include Dain Ironfoot doing his thing providing that global +1 WP and +1 attack for all dwarf characters on the table. Thorin Oakenshield is also a solid contender due to his resource generation. We’ll add Nori to keep your threat manageable and negate the need for treat reduction by allowing you to lower your threat by 1 for each of those swarming allies you’re playing. Now we need one more hero, and Tactics can be a solid play depending on the quest, so Oin with his swarm-y ability could be a good substitute for Nori unless you need a tank like Gimli. That leaves Lore as the best option for that 3rd hero.

Now let’s narrow down our Lore Dwarf hero options. Bombur will do all the things we already looked at above: get you 1 Dwarf closer to 5 and do some light defending sans any buffs/attachments for 8 threat cost. Bifur is a nice 7 threat cost, will quest for 3 with Dain on the table, can defend for the same amount as Bombur (albeit with 2 fewer HP), and can smooth your resources to boot. Ori is often too good to pass up in many situations like this. His threat is 8 (same as Bombur), he can quest for 3 AND attack for 3 with Dain on the table, and the golden ticket with Ori is his passive ability of drawing an extra card each round during the resource phase (assuming you have 5 dwarfs).

In preparation for writing this review, I re-played Hero Bombur in a variety of decks, in a variety of quests, and even multi-player. To get maximum use out of his ability, one deck I built had Bombur, Thorin, and Oin as the heroes. It was fun getting to use both of their 5+ abilities very early, but I lost every time. I ran him with Dain and Nori which went better, but Bombur could never pull his weight (again, not a fat joke) against the encounter deck with his statline, and I needed every resource I had to get more dwarfs out on the table, and was therefore not able to get any defense buffs or healing for him. One other finding from my playthroughs using Bombur is that he holds up OK against the first 2 cycles, but man is he worthless defending against most enemies in this game (sans building him up). I found myself only able to defend wimpier goblins or birds due to that 2 defense. Even with +1 defense you’re just going to get worn down using him as a dedicated defender and will find yourself needing to chump block or use Dain to defend. It was frustrating trying to build a deck that was actually strong using him that didn’t rely on other players helping beef him up.

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 Bombur at 9 rings. To be honest, the only thing keeping me from giving him a 10 is how much I love the thematic design of the card, which goes perfectly with its artwork. Starting out only 1 dwarf away from hitting 5 instead of being 2 away is nice, but I’ve never found it to be game-changing. How does that help you when you’ve mulligan’ed to get that 1 cost dwarf ally, but your second hand still only has 2+ cost allies and you have a tri-sphere deck? Even if you can use it to your advantage on turn 2, in a dwarf swarm deck you’ll start filling the board with dwarves by round 2 or 3 anyway, and now you have to focus on boosting his defense or healing so you can actually use him the rest of the game. With 15 other Dwarf heroes to choose from, there’s just too many other, better options. Not to mention bypassing his hero version frees me up to use ally Bombur instead! He only goes into literally 1 type of deck, and even then he does not do very much for you without needing to be built up, which takes away from the focus on overwhelming Sauron with your Dwarf swarm. I want to like Hero Bombur, but he’s just not good.

  • Dave – 7
  • Grant – 5
  • Ted – 6
  • Matt – 7
  • Eric – 9
  • Average – 6.8

Sample Decks

Bombur Doin’ His Thing by Stone of Eric

Here is a deck I made that is designed to make maximum impact with the 5+ Dwarf boosts.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Bombur (On the Doorstep)
Óin (On the Doorstep)
Thorin Oakenshield (Over Hill and Under Hill)

Ally (22)
2x Bifur (On the Doorstep)
2x Bofur (The Redhorn Gate)
1x Dori (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Dwalin (On the Doorstep)
1x Erebor Hammersmith (Core Set)
1x Erebor Record Keeper (Khazad-dûm)
2x Fili (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Glóin (On the Doorstep)
2x Kili (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Longbeard Elder (Foundations of Stone)
2x Miner of the Iron Hills (Core Set)
1x Veteran Axehand (Core Set)
2x Zigil Miner (Khazad-dûm)

Attachment (14)
1x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
2x Armor of Erebor (Mount Gundabad)
2x Ever My Heart Rises (The Long Dark)
1x Hardy Leadership (Shadow and Flame)
1x King Under the Mountain (On the Doorstep)
1x Legacy of Durin (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Narvi’s Belt (Khazad-dûm)
2x Ring Mail (The Long Dark)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)

Event (14)
2x A Test of Will (Core Set)
2x Ancestral Knowledge (Khazad-dûm)
2x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
2x Feint (Core Set)
1x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)
3x Lure of Moria (Road to Rivendell)
2x Untroubled by Darkness (Khazad-dûm)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to Mount Gundabad

Sideboard

Hero (1)
Dwalin (Khazad-dûm)

Ally (4)
2x Arwen Undómiel (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)

Attachment (5)
2x Ancestral Armor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
2x Cram (Over Hill and Under Hill)
1x Narvi’s Belt (Khazad-dûm)

Event (2)
2x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Books and Eating (Mono Lore) by Durins_Father

Here is a deck built by durins_father that is a mono-Lore deck designed to be played as part of a Dwarf fellowship.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Bifur (Khazad-dûm)
Bombur (On the Doorstep)
Ori (Over Hill and Under Hill)

Ally (17)
3x Erebor Hammersmith (Core Set)
3x Erebor Record Keeper (Khazad-dûm)
3x Ered Nimrais Prospector (The Morgul Vale)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)
3x Longbeard Map-Maker (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Miner of the Iron Hills (Core Set)

Attachment (18)
2x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
2x Elf-stone (The Black Riders)
2x Expert Treasure-hunter (On the Doorstep)
2x Healing Herbs (Foundations of Stone)
2x Legacy of Durin (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Scroll of Isildur (The Morgul Vale)
3x Self Preservation (Core Set)
3x Thror’s Map (Over Hill and Under Hill)

Event (17)
3x Advance Warning (The Drúadan Forest)
3x Ancestral Knowledge (Khazad-dûm)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
2x Expecting Mischief (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Infighting (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
2x Lore of Imladris (Core Set)
2x Mithrandir’s Advice (The Steward’s Fear)

3 Heroes, 52 Cards
Cards up to The Black Riders

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Gluttony by Beorn

On the humorous side of things, here is a vintage deck from Beorn called “Gluttony” with an article explaining the deck theme in the description.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Bombur (On the Doorstep)
Frodo Baggins (Conflict at the Carrock)
Glóin (Core Set)

Ally (20)
1x Brok Ironfist (Core Set)
3x Erebor Hammersmith (Core Set)
3x Erebor Record Keeper (Khazad-dûm)
2x Fili (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Gandalf (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Kili (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Longbeard Elder (Foundations of Stone)
3x Master of the Forge (Shadow and Flame)
2x Wandering Took (Core Set)

Attachment (15)
2x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Cram (Over Hill and Under Hill)
1x Fast Hitch (The Dead Marshes)
2x Good Meal (The Redhorn Gate)
3x Miruvor (Shadow and Flame)
2x Narvi’s Belt (Khazad-dûm)
2x Self Preservation (Core Set)

Event (15)
3x A Very Good Tale (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x O Elbereth! Gilthonial! (Shadow and Flame)
2x Peace, and Thought (Shadow and Flame)
2x Second Breakfast (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
3x We Are Not Idle (Shadow and Flame)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to On the Doorstep

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Folco Boffin

Mirlonde for Hobbits not that they needed one.

Background

Folco Boffin is a friend to Frodo. He that helps Frodo load up his belongings in a cart for the move from Bag End to Crikhollow. After they finished and had lunch, Folco returned home.

Card Theme

What little screen time Folco has in the books fits pretty well his abilities. Frodo’s move is cover for him to head East and travel to Rivendell. Folco, unwittingly, assists in that deception as seemingly just another Hobbit helping his friend move. Nothing out of the ordinary at all. He even returns home after helping and having lunch with his friends. Nothing there to draw the attention of Sauron. This is consistent with the idea of threat being the awareness of Sauron and his minions to the activities of our heroes. The more heroic and active in opposing to this plans, the more threatening they are to Sauron.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Secrecy

Folco’s low base starting threat makes it fairly easy to put him in a 3 hero line up to start with 20 or less threat. Just looking at heroes with effective starting threat cost of 7 or less there are 10 unique possibilities. 13 options including other sphere versions of the same character. This isn’t counting the low threat options available thanks to Messenger of the King contract.

  • Bifur
  • Eleanor
  • Tactics Eowyn
  • Fatty Bolger
  • Leadership Frodo Baggins
  • Spirit Frodo Baggins
  • Spirit Glorfindel
  • Spirit Merry
  • Tactics Merry
  • Mirlonde
  • Spirit Pippin
  • Lore Pippin
  • Smeagol

Roughly half of these listed above are Hobbits that makes Folco even cheaper. This extends the time you have in Secrecy or more flexibility to include a higher threat cost hero.

You can then utilize 2 great resource acceleration cards Resourceful and Timely Aid. Although you will need Leadership for Timely Aid it can very much worth it wirh expensive but powerful allies like Treebeard and Beorn. Both who are great ally defenders for the generally low defense and low hit point Hobbits.

Even if you are sticking to mono-Lore Secrecy is on a few great Lore cards providing even more resource acceleration from the discounted cost. Ithilien Lookout is a very solid combat ally with its 2 attack and tremendous value at 1 cost. The ability to discard an enemy from the encounter deck is very helpful for the squishy low hit point Hobbit heroes. Then there are 2 of the best encounter control cards, Out of the Wild and Risk Some Light. Needful to Know is another Secrecy Lore card, but even free the chances of reducing your threat after raising it one are not great. Woodmen’s Clearing is a much better option that always costs 0.

Hobbit Engage an Enemy with higher Engagement Cost than your Threat Bonus

Folco’s low starting threat, particularly with other Hobbit heroes, facilitates the Hobbit abilities centered on engaging enemies with higher engagement cost than your threat. Most important among these and in sphere for Folco, Gaffer Gamgee. Attack cancelation is huge for the generally low defense and low hit point Hobbits. The only other in sphere effect is Lore Pippins card draw which drawing more cards is almost always good.

Out of sphere, many of these abilities are simple stat boosts like that of Leadership Sam, Tactics Pippin, Hobbit Cloak, Dagger of Westernesse, Taste it Again!, Hobbit Archer, and Bywater Shirrif. You also get readying effects from Sam, Pippin, and Taste it Again! There’s a little ally mustering from Odo Proudfoot and Raise the Shire. After that it’s a few miscellaneous effects like Farmer Maggot’s direct damage, Tom Cotton’s resource smoothing, and shadow cancelation from Staff of Lebethron.

Houses of Healing

If you want to take advantage of Folco’s sacrifice ability, Houses of Healing is a good in sphere option to bring him back immediately after. The 5 cost is high but easily reduced with the number of Healer characters available in Lore. Elrond, Ioreth, Warden of Healing

Fast Hitch

Quest Specific

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 Folco at 4 rings. He’s a solid hero for enabling Secrecy or the Hobbit engagement mechanism. It’s not difficult to get his threat cost down to 4 or 5. Not quite the stats for cost value of Spirit Glorfindl but still a free stat or 2. His stats are very efficient as well with 2 willpower, 2 attack and 2 hit points. Equally good at questing or attacking. A decent target for Fast Hitch to leverage both of those stats. He also offers some emergency threat reduction by sacrifing him. Easy to bring him back with Houses of Healing in the same sphere.

His low threat cost consistently makes him a third hero choice when building Secrecy Hobbits. It’s also for that reason he’s rather limited to those type of decks. Alone he is just a Lore Hobbit hero at 6 cost putting him in direct competition with Lore Pippin. Lore Pippin in most cases is going to be better for the card draw. There are some 2 hero decks that run him for the single Lore resource then sacrifice him first turn, but they’re fairly niche.

I also find his efficiency rather boring. After setup, he’s just going to help with questing or attacking. He doesn’t have an interesting ability that you can trigger throughout the game or build around like many of the other Hobbit heroes. He just serves a particular role in deck building and does it well.

  • Dave – 4
  • Grant –
  • Ted – 6
  • Matt – 4

Sample Decks

Deck name and creator

short deck description

Leadership Elfhelm

Elfhelm gives stat-boosts to heroes with mount attachments
  • Player Card Categories 
    • Willpower Bonus
    • Attack Bonus
    • Defense Bonus

Background

If you’re solely a LOTR fan of the Peter Jackson films you may be wondering who this “Elfhelm” guy is and why you haven’t heard of him before. Well, that is because they pretty much cut him out of the story for the theatrical release. In the books he has a much more prominent role. Elfhelm eventually became the Marshal of the East-Mark. He was present at the Battle of the Ford of Isen where Theodred had fallen to the forces of Isengard. He later appears in Rohan’s ride to Gondor and fights in the Battle of Pelennor fields. While riding to Gondor he is actually aware of Eowyn’s presence and even supplies her with Theodred’s sword – the sword which would inevitably become the Witch-King’s demise. In the lore we see Elfhelm riding to and fro, making haste to where his king, or Gandalf, needs him most. This is presumably the theme behind his card abilities as well as his stats clearly boost the heroes around him.

Card Theme

Elfhelm is a lord of Rohan. And like any faithful Rider of the Mark he is well-trained in the art of horseback combat. It’s only natural that a lord of Rohan synergizes with the mount sub-archetype. While this sub-archetype is not as fleshed out as the typical Rohan discarding archetype it does have its benefits. Especially if you appreciate passive, versatile abilities. With Elfhelm you get a +1 boost hero to stats when that hero is equipped with a mount attachment. With the exception of Lore, each hero on the table with an attached mount will get at least one stat boost correlating to their sphere. This has the potential to increase hero stats dramatically for all players. Whether you’re building for an epic multiplayer Helm’s Deep game, or just “horsing” around solo, Elfhelm has his place on the table. Or in the stable? Okay, enough with the dad jokes… let’s “mount” up and see what Elfhelm has to offer.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Thematic Deckbuilding Ideas

Elfhelm’s hero version is pretty cut-and-dry in that mounts are needed to make him work. This concept is great in terms of theme and lore. Rohan is unique and powerful in Middle-Earth because of their horseback capabilities. Elfhelm helps reinforce this by rewarding the use of mounts. This reward comes in the form of +1 attack for Tactics heroes, +1 willpower to Spirit heroes, and +1 defense to Leadership heroes. A noteworthy mention is that his ability specifically excludes the Lore sphere. I have seen many people talk about house ruling the inclusion of the Lore sphere to include +1 HP. There is only one Lore Rohan “hero” which is Grima. This could be an indicator his intention may be to boost his Rohirrim comrades. You know, the ones who are not corrupt. While mount cards are what make him work, a potential drawback is how Elfhelm’s ability relies on extra cards to make him work. This can take up valuable deck space. Luckily, there are many useful mount-traited cards in the game. Not all of them are Rohan-themed though there are many thematic options. More on that later.

If you are going for a thematic Elfhelm/Mount deck you are obviously making room in your deck for mounts. Another common strategy is to include Song cards to grant additional spheres for heroes. I see this as particularly thematic when you envision a Rohirrim charge and the accompanying battle cries and chants. For that reason, song cards not only help boost an Elfhelm deck but align with a thematic Rohirrim charge. Much like what we see in the infamous scene of the “Ride of the Rohirrim” in the lore. It is fitting then that Burst into Song is in sphere with Elfhelm, boasts Rohan artwork, and has an incredibly thematic quote from the books:

“And then all the host of Rohan burst into song, and they sang as they slew, for the joy of battle was on them, and the sound of their singing that was fair and terrible came even to the City.”

Okay, now a show of hands: who wants to immediately go and build a thematic Elfhelm/Rohan deck after reading that? I know I do.

Deckbuilding Considerations

We already know Elfhelm can really only work when you give dedicated space in your deck to mounts. Count a few more spaces dedicated to songs and perhaps another two for Burst into song. Here we see the biggest limitation to Elfhelm decks – he requires a LOT of deck space to make him truly thrive. With this being the case, I see him as a great multiplayer hero where you can be the support role. You bring all the mounts and songs and your entire fellowship can benefit. When deciding to bring Elfhelm you will undoubtedly need to answer the question, “Are the mounts going to offer that much of an advantage to justify their use.” Let’s evaluate some thematic options as well as some other popular hero choices to see if Elfhelm can really help them.

Mounts

Rohan has many mounts specific to them. They are all worthy of adding into an Elfhelm deck. Notable cards include:

Snowmane: Give Theoden his steed, boost his willpower, and allow him to get ready for combat. If you use his Tactics version you get an even better combat boost. 

Armored Destrier: Use on Elfhelm himself to boost his defense stat and offer shadow cancellation. Better yet, give it to his buddy Erkenbrand for better stats and advantage.

Firefoot: Could Eomer possibly become a more powerful attacker? Why, yes he can! Because he gets an additional attack if you equip him with Firefoot thanks to Elfhelm.

Rohan Warhorse: What’s that? Giving Eomer more attack with Firefoot wasn’t enough and you want him to attack twice? Or you want to slap it on Tactics Eowyn for a double 11 attack swing? Rohan Warhorse can make it happen!

Windfola: The queen of questing, Spirit Eowyn, gets an extra willpower for one resource. That allows her to accrue two willpower for one resource and a guarantee she will not be removed from any questing thanks to Windfola’s ability. 

Steed of the Mark: A great option for whoever wins the “I get to use Steward of Gondor” debate. 

Not all of your fellowship will be using Rohan of course. Some of the best non-Rohan and mount synergies include:

Arod: For any tactics hero to boost attack and improve the chances of gaining that extra progress token. 

Armored Destrier: Denny and this steed are good friends. Elfhelm is also in sphere for this card if playing solo. 

Asfaloth: Especially for Spirit Glorfindel.

Hobbit Pony: especially for Spirit Merry with Fast Hitch or Unexpected Courage.

Firefoot: Basically any Tactics hero. But Grimbeorn loves him the most!

Shadowfax: Make Gandalf stronger (when equipped with his ring).

Roheryn and Steed of the North: Aragorn loves his horses as much as any of his other toys. He will be boosted an additional stat (attack) if you use Roheryn on his Leadership or Spirit versions. 

Non-Mounts

Song of Battle/Kings/Travel: Grant additional spheres for heroes for extra stat boosts. 

Burst into Song: Nearly an auto include if you run songs. Use it after defending but before attacking. After all, who doesn’t like singing while they slay? 

Westfold Horse-Breeder: Great mount search and acceleration. 

Charge of the Rohirrim: Even more boosts for heroes with mounts?! What are you waiting for? Ride out and meet them!

Forth, The Three Hunters: This contract *elevates* Eflhelm significantly in solo. I’d argue Three Hunters actually makes Elfhelm not only viable in solo, but close to top tier. You don’t have to worry about putting allies on the board and can focus solely on mounts and songs. No to mention Elfhelm becomes a good dedicated defender with Armored Destrier in a Three Hunter’s build. 

Sword-Thain: You get another hero with boosted stats if you attach a mount.

Quest Specific

Given the stat-boosting nature of Elfhelm’s ability you could throw him into any scenario. I personally think he does not play great in solo unless you run him in a Three Hunter’s deck. There are many scenarios which simply do not allow for setup time. If you are running three spheres it becomes even more difficult to accomplish this and get allies on the table. In my experience this ends up being overwhelming (location lock or enemy swarming) and sometimes frustrating.I would argue that Elfhelm shines most in a multiplayer game where he can throw his boosts around the table. So long as others are including mounts in their decks Eflhelm’s ability only increases in strength with higher player counts. This might make epic multiplayer games that much more epic. It’s this type of versatility that allows Elfhelm to potentially excel in most scenarios rather than specializing in any one. With a little coordination your fellowship can gauge what types of mounts and songs are best suited for the scenario and voilà! You’re ready to ride!

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.

  • Dave – 8
  • Grant – 6
  • Ted – 5
  • Matt – 5
  • Joe – 6
  • Average – 6

I have to give Elfhelm a 6 overall. It pains me because I’m clearly biased towards loving Rohan cards. The fact of the matter is he just is not a top tier hero and is often too cumbersome in solo. I will say he is a strong multiplayer hero. As long as another player can offer combat help in the early stages of the game Elfhelm could be a deciding factor in whether or not victory is achieved. The contrast for grading solo vs. multiplayer is quite a large spread for me. I’d give him a 6 for solo (Forth, Three Hunters! saves him from a 7) and a 4 for multiplayer. Unfortunately for Elfhelm, he rides as a middle-of-the-road hero at the end of the day. Still, he is a fun hero to play in the right circumstance!

Sample Decks

Rohan’s Mighty Hunters by The BGamerJoe

A thematic Rohan 3 hunters deck featuring Elfhelm as the defender.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Elfhelm (Temple of the Deceived)
Éowyn (Core Set)
Théoden (The Morgul Vale)

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

Attachment (39)
3x Ancestral Armor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
3x Ancient Mathom (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
3x Armored Destrier (Temple of the Deceived)
1x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
1x Dúnedain Warning (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Golden Shield (The Flame of the West)
2x Herugrim (The Treason of Saruman)
2x Round Shield (Mount Gundabad)
2x Silver Circlet (Wrath and Ruin)
1x Silver Harp (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
3x Snowmane (The Land of Shadow)
2x Song of Travel (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
2x Steed of the Mark (The Morgul Vale)
3x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
3x War Axe (The City of Ulfast)
3x Warrior Sword (The Ghost of Framsburg)
2x Windfola (A Storm on Cobas Haven)

Event (11)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
2x Elven-light (The Dread Realm)
3x Foe-hammer (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Well Warned (The Sands of Harad)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The City of Ulfast

Sideboard

Attachment (5)
3x Raiment of War (The Thing in the Depths)
1x Silver Harp (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
1x Steed of Imladris (Across the Ettenmoors)

Event (6)
3x Sterner than Steel (The Flame of the West)
3x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)

Player Side Quest (1)
1x Rally the West (The Black Serpent)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Earth, Wind, and Firefoot by TheChad

A Grimbeorn + Firefoot deck using Elfhelm’s bonus and other attachments to power up Grimbeorn’s attack.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Elfhelm (Temple of the Deceived)
Éowyn (Core Set)
Grimbeorn the Old (The Withered Heath)

Ally (17)
3x Arwen Undómiel (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Beorn (Core Set)
3x Beorning Skin-changer (The Withered Heath)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)
2x Giant Bear (Fire in the Night)
2x Honour Guard (The Wastes of Eriador)
3x Westfold Horse-breeder (The Voice of Isengard)

Attachment (25)
3x Ancient Mathom (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
1x Arod (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Dúnedain Remedy (The Drowned Ruins)
3x Firefoot (The Dunland Trap)
1x Hauberk of Mail (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
1x Miruvor (Shadow and Flame)
2x Necklace of Girion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Orcrist (Fire in the Night)
1x Snowmane (The Land of Shadow)
1x Song of Kings (The Hunt for Gollum)
1x Steed of Imladris (Across the Ettenmoors)
3x The Day’s Rising (The Antlered Crown)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
2x Windfola (A Storm on Cobas Haven)

Event (6)
2x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)
1x Quick Strike (Core Set)
3x Sneak Attack (Core Set)

Player Side Quest (2)
1x Double Back (Escape from Mount Gram)
1x Gather Information (The Lost Realm)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to Fire in the Night

Sideboard

Hero (1)
Hirgon (Beneath the Sands)

Ally (3)
3x Wild Stallion (Roam Across Rhovanion)

Attachment (9)
3x Armored Destrier (Temple of the Deceived)
3x Steed of the Mark (The Morgul Vale)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)

Event (6)
3x Beorn’s Rage (The Withered Heath)
3x Open the Armory (The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Spirit Théoden

Théoden is the king of Rohan, and perhaps the king of cost reduction. He has a clear role of getting out your Rohan allies efficiently. As is commonly known, Rohan has a strong theme of discarding allies in exchange for card effects. Théoden helps soften the blow of losing an ally by having it cost less. Additionally, one can build up a good sized army of Rohan allies of any sphere with Théoden’s strong resource smoothing and cost reduction features. Let the mustering begin!

Background

Théoden king, the Lord of the Mark of Rohan. He is the seventeenth king of Rohan and plays a prominent role in The Lord of the Rings. During the war of the ring he is under the spell of Saruman before Gandalf shows to free him from said spell. After this he comes to his senses and immediately thwarts Rohan in action against the evil forces of Saruman, and then Sauron. He famously calls for the mustering of Rohan and eventually presses his Rohirrim forward to the Battle of Pelennor Fields. His iconic speech closes with battle cries of death. He does meet his own death in the fields of Pelennor and in doing so leaves behind a legacy of redemption and glory.

Card Theme

Thedoen’s ability matches his theme quite well, specifically the mustering theme. His ability allows a player to reduce the cost the first played Rohan ally to zero. This is much like his attempts to rally his army in Tolkein’s work. Théoden’s ability is not great by shear power, but by numbers. The idea here is a Rohan ally swarm attempting to get any able-bodied warrior into the battle. Such a theme mimics the desperation to form forces to fight the enemy in both the Battle of Helm’s Deep and Pelennor fields.

Thematic Deckbuilding Ideas

The beauty of deckbuilding with Théoden is he can be dropped in any thematic Rohan deck. In fact, there are pages upon pages of deck ideas on RingsDB demonstrating exactly this. He is going to fit best into a Rohan themed deck with many allies and some high-cost allies, ideally both. This is a huge bonus if you love running Rohan. Any time you can drop a Westfold Horse-breeder for 0 resources, or an Eomund or Gamling for 2 you’re at a major advantage. A Spirit Elfhelm for 3 resources? Yes, please.

Other than his high threat there’s hardly any reason to exclude him in a Rohan swarm deck. His sentinel ability makes him a great defender in multiplayer which also has a thematic flare of it’s own. While Théoden boasts great stats, his value does drop outside of Rohan themed decks due to his specialized nature. Dave and Grant explain more about this in the podcast episode.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Théoden is priviledged into having access to tools specific to him. Snowmane and Herugrim both have added bonuses if you attach them to Théoden. Golden Shield is another thematic fit. Théoden can host all three due to Snowmane losing the restricted keyword when attached to Théoden. It’s clear these were developed with him in mind. Snowmane provides a free readying ability barring a successful quest. Herugrim provides and awesome base of +2 attack bonus while Golden Shield provides a fortifying base of +2 defense bonus. An Unexpected Courage ensures Théoden can utilize both of his combat attachments.

Gamling and Guthwine‘s ability to recur Rohan allies sets Théoden for a nonstop swarm. Speaking of swarm, Mustering the Rohirrim can help dig for any Rohan ally within the top 10 cards of your deck. The one resource you spend doing this is negated by Theoden’s cost reduction.

Feel like making Theoden a powerhouse attacker? Add Herugrim to him as well as a Steward of Gondor and a Song of Hope. Boost that willpower and swing away. Do the same with Golden Shield.

Finally, we can refer to Card Talk’s episode on Théoden and Théodred. I love Dave’s (rather insistent) idea of using both heroes’ ability to double resource smooth. The Rohan swarm could be never-ending with this duo. Want to take it a step further? Add Grima for maximum resource smoothing.

Quest Specific

I’m not sure there’s any specific quest Théoden is going to excel in specifically. The only immediate exception I can think of is Voyage across Belegaer where Nárelenya essentially has the same ability as Théoden.

I might suggest staying away from quests which start off combat-heavy. The reason for this is Théoden’s high threat level. For example, we all know what we have to deal with turn one during Journey Along the Anduin if your threat is over 30. Even with a great cost reduction ability it’s hard to build a board state in a situation like this.

Ring Rating

I’d ring Théoden a 3. He’s reached elite status in Rohan decks but is lackluster outside the archetype. He has good stats and the sentinel ability to help his cause but its not enough to make him a versatile hero overall. He’s high specialized and highly effective in Rohan decks which is the primary reason I give him a three. I keep him at a three because there’s no reason to consider building with him outside the Rohan archetype unless you do some Three Hunter’s shenanigans. Oh, and I freely admit I’m quite partial to Rohan!

  • Dave – 4
  • Grant – 3
  • Joe – 3
  • Average – 3.33

External Links

Sample Decks

A Sword-day: Arise, Arise, Riders of Théoden! – Devaresh

A Rohan swarm deck featuring Théoden and his attachments.

A Sword-day: Arise, Arise, Riders of Théoden!

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Éomer (The Voice of Isengard)
Éowyn (Core Set)
Théoden (The Treason of Saruman)

Ally (23)
3x Elfhelm (The Mountain of Fire)
2x Éomund (Conflict at the Carrock)
2x Escort from Edoras (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
1x Gamling (The Land of Shadow)
3x Riddermark Knight (The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat)
2x Rider of Rohan (Beneath the Sands)
3x Steward of Orthanc (Race Across Harad)
2x West Road Traveller (Return to Mirkwood)
3x Westfold Horse-breeder (The Voice of Isengard)
2x Westfold Outrider (The Voice of Isengard)

Attachment (14)
3x Firefoot (The Dunland Trap)
2x Golden Shield (The Flame of the West)
3x Gúthwinë (The Mountain of Fire)
2x Herugrim (The Treason of Saruman)
2x Snowmane (The Land of Shadow)
2x Song of Kings (The Hunt for Gollum)

Event (13)
3x A Good Harvest (The Steward’s Fear)
1x Astonishing Speed (Return to Mirkwood)
3x Elven-light (The Dread Realm)
3x Keen as Lances (Escape from Mount Gram)
3x Open the Armory (The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat

Sideboard

Ally (15)
3x Déorwine (Temple of the Deceived)
3x Elfhelm (The Dead Marshes)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
3x Háma (The Treason of Saruman)
3x Rider of the Mark (Road to Rivendell)

Attachment (4)
3x Favor of the Valar (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
1x Song of Kings (The Hunt for Gollum)

Event (6)
2x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)
2x Mustering the Rohirrim (The Hunt for Gollum)
2x Ride to Ruin (The Hills of Emyn Muil)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Wise Horse Lords of Rohan – Card Talk

A Council of the Wise deck focused on swarming. This deck combos with Théodred for increased resource smoothing.

Wise Horse Lords of Rohan

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Éowyn (The Flame of the West)
Théoden (The Treason of Saruman)
Théodred (Core Set)

Contract (0)
1x Council of the Wise (Under the Ash Mountains)

Ally (22)
1x Ceorl (Temple of the Deceived)
1x Déorwine (Temple of the Deceived)
1x Elfhelm (The Mountain of Fire)
1x Éomund (Conflict at the Carrock)
1x Éothain (The Dread Realm)
1x Escort from Edoras (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
1x Gamling (The Land of Shadow)
1x Grimbold (The Flame of the West)
1x Guthlaf (The Blood of Gondor)
1x Háma (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Horseback Archer (Core Set)
1x Riddermark Knight (The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat)
1x Rider of Rohan (Beneath the Sands)
1x Rider of the Mark (Road to Rivendell)
1x Rohirrim Scout (Challenge of the Wainriders)
1x Snowbourn Scout (Core Set)
1x The Riddermark’s Finest (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
1x Warden of Helm’s Deep (The Antlered Crown)
1x West Road Traveller (Return to Mirkwood)
1x Westfold Horse-Breaker (The Hunt for Gollum)
1x Westfold Horse-breeder (The Voice of Isengard)
1x Westfold Outrider (The Voice of Isengard)

Attachment (8)
1x Armored Destrier (Temple of the Deceived)
1x Golden Shield (The Flame of the West)
1x Gúthwinë (The Mountain of Fire)
1x Herugrim (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Horn of the Mark (The City of Ulfast)
1x Snowmane (The Land of Shadow)
1x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
1x Windfola (A Storm on Cobas Haven)

Event (23)
1x A Test of Will (Core Set)
1x A Very Good Tale (Over Hill and Under Hill)
1x Astonishing Speed (Return to Mirkwood)
1x Battle-fury (The Drowned Ruins)
1x Captain’s Wisdom (The Thing in the Depths)
1x Charge into Battle (Wrath and Ruin)
1x Charge of the Rohirrim (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
1x Desperate Defense (The Flame of the West)
1x Dwarven Tomb (Core Set)
1x Feint (Core Set)
1x Forth Eorlingas! (The Morgul Vale)
1x Gaining Strength (The Steward’s Fear)
1x Helm! Helm! (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Last Stand (Flight of the Stormcaller)
1x Mustering the Rohirrim (The Hunt for Gollum)
1x Parting Gifts (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
1x Ride Them Down (The Antlered Crown)
1x Ride to Ruin (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
1x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
1x Stand and Fight (Core Set)
1x The Muster of Rohan (Challenge of the Wainriders)
1x Valiant Sacrifice (Core Set)
1x We Do Not Sleep (The Dead Marshes)

3 Heroes, 53 Cards
Cards up to Under the Ash Mountains

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.