Galadriel (Ally)

  • Card Talk Season 3 Episode 58
    • Video episode
    • Audio episode
  • Cycle
    • The Lord of the Rings Saga
  • Set
    • The Road Darkens
  • Player Card Categories
    • Card Search
    • Played from Hand
    • Equipping

Leader of Lothlórien, Giver of Gifts

Background

Galadriel is the co-ruler of Lothlórien, Lady of the Galadhrim, founder of the White Council, and bearer of Nenya, one of the three Elven Rings. She came to Middle Earth from Valinor when most of the Noldor followed Fëanor to war against Melkor and retrieve the Silmarils. Galadriel came however seeking a place to rule as her own. She married to Celeborn near the end of The First Age and had one daughter, Celebrian who would wed Elrond. It is in the Third Age, Galadriel that became the Lady of Lothlórien. Growing darkness in Mirkwood and Dol Guldur caused her to found the White Council.

Card Theme

The Galadriel ally fits pretty well with what we see of Galadriel in the books. She only has willpower as a leader of the Free Peoples but she doesn’t directly engage with Sauron or other forces of darkness. She finds an attachment and puts into play essentially gifting it to the players’ heroes or allies as she gifted the Fellowship Lembas, Elven Cloaks, Three Golden Hairs to Gimli, Elven rope to Sam, Bow of the Galadhrim to Legolas, Elf-stone to Aragorn, a Golden Belt to Boromir, and the Phial of Galadriel to Frodo. The ally version only sticks around for a round considering she only provides some limited aid to the main characters before they leave her lands.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Key Attachments

Galadriel’s ability can help find any attachment that costs 3 or less that is vital to a player’s deck functioning well. Steward of Gondor one of the the best resource acceleration cards is a valid target. Getting an early Vilya also can be a huge boon that Galadriel can pull out. Trait based support attachments like Heir of Valandil, O Lorien, The Elvenking, or King of Dale can all found and put right into play. Galadriel’s ability can help make those decks more consistent by getting whichever attachment is needed right out into play.

Player Guarded X

Galadrial ally’s ability unfortunately doesn’t work with these cards very well and is a bit of a nonbo. This is due to what is affectionally referred to as the “hot second” ruling.

You cannot “cheat” guarded attachments. The guarded keyword triggers after it enters play; so no matter what you do, you will have to attach it to an enemy or location. In the case of Well-equipped, it would attach to the Dwarf for a hot second before forcing you to mill for an enemy or location and attach it to that encounter card.

Caleb Grace’s Hot Second Ruling

A player could at least pull out a Guarded X attachment from their deck. Then once it was attached to a hero, the guarded keyword would trigger putting it in the staging area.

Put Ally into Play

Unfortunately, these cards are largely another nonbo. The ability specifies that Galadriel has to be played from hand to trigger putting an attachment into play. Born Aloft can let a plyer use the same copy of Galadriel for multiple triggers. Although the player has to pay full cost again. To the Sea, To the Sea does work to get a discounted Galadriel into play. There is a is a little bit of a combo with Timely Aid and Send for Aid. Galadriel puts the other cards not put into play with her ability back in any order instead of shuffling. Any desired ally she finds can put into play later with either card.

Dwarf Mining and Vilya

As just mentioned, Galadriel’s ability allows the player to put cards back on top of their deck in any order. This can set up Zigil Miner to generate 2 resources, put another attachment in play with Well-Equipped, or even draw a card with Expert Treasure Hunter. Even better is to put any ally or attachment into play with Vilya.

Quest Specific

Galadriel usually will only quest with her 3 willpower, but she has a good number of hit points for an ally and leaves play at the end of the round. This makes her a great target for archery. The Against the Shadow, Haradhrim, and Vengeance of Mordor cycles have quite a bit of archery. The Lord of the Rings saga quests starting in Treason of Saruman features Archery quite heavily as well.

Ring Rating

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

I rate Galadriel at 5 rings. A willpower boost for a turn and getting to fetch an attachment from the top 5 are pretty useful. The deck does need a fair number of attachments to make sure it doesn’t whiff. While she is generally useful, 3 resources for only a temporary boost to questing seems steep even in Leadership. It is just enough that early game it can be difficult to get and play her to help set up a player’s board state with 3 or less cost attachment. Also the opportunity cost of only putting in a temporary ally when ramping up willpower might be necessary can be a big ask. Late game her usefulness really drops off as typically willpower will be sorted out and key attachments already out in play. The limitation on her ability that she has to be played hurts her usefulness and fun factor. The fun factor loss seems worse as she is in the same sphere as many of the put an ally in to play cards. All these drawbacks, it often is just better to run more card draw to find a key attachment than Galadriel ally.

  • Dave –
  • Grant –
  • Ted –
  • Matt – 5

External Links

Sample Decks

All That is Gold Does not Glitter by Gizlivadi

A solo Dunedain deck with a fair number of non-trap attachments

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Amarthiúl (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
Aragorn (The Watcher in the Water)
Halbarad (The Lost Realm)

Ally (20)
2x Errand-rider (Heirs of Númenor)
1x Fornost Bowman (The Dread Realm)
2x Galadriel (The Road Darkens)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
3x Guardian of Arnor (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
3x Master of the Forge (Shadow and Flame)
2x Ranger of Cardolan (The Wastes of Eriador)
2x Sarn Ford Sentry (The Lost Realm)
2x Weather Hills Watchman (The Lost Realm)

Attachment (17)
2x Armored Destrier (Temple of the Deceived)
1x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
1x Dúnedain Remedy (The Drowned Ruins)
3x Dúnedain Warning (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Forest Snare (Core Set)
1x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
1x Heir of Valandil (The Lost Realm)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
2x Sword that was Broken (The Watcher in the Water)

Event (14)
3x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)
1x Descendants of Kings (Escape from Mount Gram)
3x Feint (Core Set)
3x Heed the Dream (Flight of the Stormcaller)
2x Legacy of Númenor (The Voice of Isengard)
2x Sneak Attack (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 51 Cards
Cards up to The Drowned Ruins

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Finally, a Feasible Fellowship by Priate Brahm

A solo Dunedain deck with a fair number of non-trap attachments

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Amarthiúl (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
Aragorn (The Watcher in the Water)
Halbarad (The Lost Realm)

Ally (20)
2x Errand-rider (Heirs of Númenor)
1x Fornost Bowman (The Dread Realm)
2x Galadriel (The Road Darkens)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
3x Guardian of Arnor (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
3x Master of the Forge (Shadow and Flame)
2x Ranger of Cardolan (The Wastes of Eriador)
2x Sarn Ford Sentry (The Lost Realm)
2x Weather Hills Watchman (The Lost Realm)

Attachment (17)
2x Armored Destrier (Temple of the Deceived)
1x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
1x Dúnedain Remedy (The Drowned Ruins)
3x Dúnedain Warning (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Forest Snare (Core Set)
1x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
1x Heir of Valandil (The Lost Realm)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
2x Sword that was Broken (The Watcher in the Water)

Event (14)
3x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)
1x Descendants of Kings (Escape from Mount Gram)
3x Feint (Core Set)
3x Heed the Dream (Flight of the Stormcaller)
2x Legacy of Númenor (The Voice of Isengard)
2x Sneak Attack (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 51 Cards
Cards up to The Drowned Ruins

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Bilbo Baggins (Tactics)

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

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

The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins by Leonard Nimoy

Background

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

Card Theme

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

Card Synergies and Interactions

Guarded X Cards

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

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

Commit a Hero or Character to the Quest

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

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

Direct Damage

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

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

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

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

Staging Area Attack

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

Engagement Control and Threat Reduction

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

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

Grey Wanderer

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

Quest Specific

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

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

Ring Rating

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

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

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

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

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

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

External Links

Sample Decks

Wandering Burgler Discovers Fate of Numenor by kattattack22

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

Wandering Burgler Discovers Fate of Numenor

Main Deck

Hero (1)
Bilbo Baggins (Mount Gundabad)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sideboard

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

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

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

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Guarded-o-rama by Card Talk Dave

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

Guarded-o-rama

Main Deck

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

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

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

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

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

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

The Burglar and the Bowman by Hollowbandit

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

Main Deck

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

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

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

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

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to Mount Gundabad

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Heir of Valandil

  • Player Card Categories
    • Cost Reduction
    • Resource Acceleration

The trait based resource acceleration for Dunedain.

Background

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

Card Theme

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

Card Synergies and Interactions

Dunedain Allies

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

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

Traps

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

Attack Cancellation

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

Gloin hero

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

Attachment Search

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

Ring Rating

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

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

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

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

External Links

Sample Decks

Dunedain Trappers by Seastan

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

Dunedain Trappers

Main Deck

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

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

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

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

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

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Dunedain Hunter

  • Player Card Categories
    • Encounter Control
    • Enters Play
    • Engagement Control

A great way to kick start the Dunedain engagement bonuses.

Background

Dunedain Hunter is one of the 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. Dunedain Hunters gives the game another way to represent members of the Grey Company.

Card Theme

The card’s mechanism here to get a free ally for engaging an enemy is pretty reflective of the Rangers during the Watchful Peace. During that time they fought many minor battles with orcs and goblins to keep the lands of Eriador safe. This to the people of Bree it just appeared that the Rangers were just wandering East and South telling tales of older times. In reality they were going where there was trouble. Also it fits with how Aragorn comes to join Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin in Bree. He only shows up when the enemies are near joins them to guide and protect them on their journey to Rivendell.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Engagement Bonus Dunedain

These are the cards Dunedain Hunter was designed to facilitate. Dunedain Hunter’s cost of putting an enemy into pay transforms into an immediate benefit with these cards in play. Amarthuil can immediately gain his Tactics sphere during planning and be halfway to generating an additional resource a turn. Halbarad can quest without exhausting. Any Dunedain or Noldor hero with Star Brooch, Warden of Annuminas, Fornost Bowman, and Guardian of Arnor all get a stat boost. Sarn Ford Sentry, Heir of Valandil, and Descendants of Kings provide more utility centered abilities for that enemy engagement with card draw, cost reduction, and readying.

Vengeance of Mordor also gave the Dunedain engagement bonus archetype a couple of other allies. These it is more a restriction but one could argue the bonus for engaging an enemy is a cost reduction. Normally allies with 2 willpower in Spirit and 2 attack in Tactics cost at least 2 resources. These only cost 1 which is helpful considering Dunedain are spread out among the 4 spheres. Dunedian Hunter helps makes these playable on the first turn.

Mablung Hero

Mablung hero also can be considered an engagement bonus effect. Dunedain Hunter is one of the few ways to trigger his resource acceleration twice in a turn since it is limit once per phase.

Hobbits Engage an Enemy with Higher Engagement than a Player’s Threat

Similar to Duendain, Hobbits can get bonuses for engaging enemies although there is another condition to it. They have to engage an enemy with higher engagement cost than their threat to get the bonus. Still it can be worthwhile to search the 5 encounter cards for the right enemy to engage. Also getting the bonus during planning is advantageous when playing Tom Cotton, Odo Proudfoot, and/or Raise the Shire. This can ensure that the first Hobbit ally doesn’t need a resource match and Odo or Raise the Shire can find one to play in a subsequent round. Raise the Shire during planning also opens up finding a questing ally for the round like Bywater Shirriff that will also get additional willpower for having the enemy around.

Traps

Normally the downside to Forest Snare is a player has to defend an attack from the enemy first. Dunedain Hunter provides another way besides Son or Arnor to attach it to an enemy without defending first. It’s truly an advantage since Dunedain Hunter is putting an additional encounter card into play than normally would be. This really equates to a cost reduction for Dunedain Hunter. Dunedain Hunter most likely would be 4 resource cost considering he has the exact same stats as Legolas ally. Legolas is also unique but he has an amazing ability that the Hunter doesn’t so it still balances out. The cost reduction can be even more with Damrod hero since the first trap played each turn costs 1 less and a player will draw a new card for attaching a trap.

The trap that is best played with the hunter is Followed. Followed can reduce staging area threat by the threat of the attached enemy but player’s are at the mercy of the encounter deck revealing a high treat enemy once it is out. Unless a player waits until they see one and can maintain a low threat to choose. Dunedain Hunter can give the players more control and options for this trap since it is a choice from the top 5 of the encounter deck. Best of all it goes right to being engaged with the player avoiding any possible engagement mishaps in a multiplayer game. Outmatched can also be used in conjunction especially if the player pulls out a weak enemy (especially with surge) they want to just keep engaged turn after turn.

Attack Cancellation

Feint, Thicket of Spears, and The Wizard’s Voice are solid alternatives to deal with the enemy put into play by Dunedain Hunter. This is because if played early, an additional enemy can be too much for a deck to handle. Canceling the attack avoids the situation where the hunter might have to chump to the enemy it brought in. It also lets the player bring that 3 attack to bear and hopefully get rid of that enemy right away.

Quest Specific

One of the best things about Dunedain Hunter’s cost is that it puts the enemy into play. This doesn’t reveal the enemy which means When Revealed effects and Surge do not trigger. In quests with many weaker surging enemies like The Seventh Level it can be very handy to pull out one. Many of the Angmar Awakened quests feature the Cursed Dead that when revealed return all Cursed Dead from the encounter discard pile to play.

The risk of the hunter’s cost, however, is twofold.

  1. Not finding an enemy
  2. Finding a very strong enemy

The first one can be mitigated by looking at the enemy breakdown in a quest. A couple notable quests that are light on enemies are Hills of Emyn Muil and We Must Away ‘Ere Break of Day. Hills of Emyn Muil was the game’s early location focused quest. We Must Away ‘Ere Break of Day is Thorin’s Company fight with 3 Trolls and there are only a couple weak crow enemies to detract from that fight.

The other possibility can find examples through each cycle. Shadows of Mirkwood has Hill Trolls, Marsh Adder, Hummerhorns, Chieftain Ufthak, and Attercop that players would rather not see if at all possible. Darrowdelf has very tough Cave Trolls. Heirs of Numenor has Umbar Assassins and Zealous Traitors that can wreak board states with direct damage. Dream-Chaser has Ship enemies with Boarding that puts more enemies into play engaged. Haradrim had various Southron enemies that either remove progress or negative effects when engaged. Ered Mithren brought back high attack tough trolls not to mention dangerous werewolves. Vengeance of Mordor putting an enemy in play often just gives the treachery attachments targets to be buffed.

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 Dunedain Hunter at 8. It is a gamble to play. Sometimes it is less of a gamble if the enemies in the quest are not that tough, or if played later in the game. When defense is well established, getting a zero cost ally with 3 attack is nice and powerful. Typically I want to play him early and get the Dunedain bonuses rolling. The trouble is that Dunedain lack a strong early defender. Amarthuil, Halbarad, or even Lore Aragorn can get there with Dunedain Warnings, Ancestral Armor, or Blood of Nuemenor. It is much more manageable with a good early defender like Beregond or traps that can negate whatever enemy that comes out. Even attack cancellation can be enough to get rid of the enemy and the player enjoy the 3 attack going forward.

All of these considerations on how and when best to play the hunter is why it is so low. It is not a simple card to play needs at least some support if a player wants to use it early. If used mid to late game when a player is stabilized, it can easily become win more or too much and push a game towards a loss. Then it has to compete with Fornost Bowman. Fornost Bowman’s attack can become much higher than Dunedain Hunter’s 3. The bowman also has ranged making it a very good multiplayer ally. Hunter works better solo since getting and keeping 2 enemies engaged can be tough outside a Trap deck, but an extra enemy early in true solo is also difficult to manage. I like what the card can do for the Dunedain archetype. It is difficult to play at the right time and use well.

  • Dave – 7
  • Grant – TBR
  • Ted – 4
  • Matt – 8
  • Average – 6.33

External Links

Sample Decks

Legolas Shoots Locations by kattattack22

Mono Tactics deck for Heirs of Numenor and Against the Shadow cycle. I tweaked the deck as I played through the cycle and through the various iterations it beat every quest. It definitely settled into a final form by Encounter at Amon Din.

Legolas Shoots Locations aka Mono Tactics v4

Main Deck

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

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

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

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

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

Sideboard

Hero (1)
Aragorn (The Lost Realm)

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

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

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

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Halbarad (Hero)

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

Background

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

Card Theme

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

Card Synergies and Interactions

Stat Boosts

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

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

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

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

Traps

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

Early Engagement Effects

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

Forth, The Three Hunters Contract

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

Quest Specific

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

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

Ring Rating

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

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

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

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

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

External Links

Sample Decks

Three Wolf Hunters for Wastes of Eriador by kattattack22

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

Three Wolf Hunters for Wastes of Eriador

Main Deck

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

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

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

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

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

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Asfaloth – Community Review

by Clare Bernier

  • Card Talk Season TBD Episode TBD
    • Video episode
    • Audio episode
  • Cycle
    • Darrowdelf
  • Set
    • Foundations of Stone
  • Player Card Categories 
    • Location Control

Card Background & Theme

The art, flavor text and mechanics reflects the description J.R.R. Tolkien provided in one of his letters, including “ornamental headstall, carrying a plume, and with the straps studded with jewels and small bells.” The card’s flavor text and mechanics are true to the lore, as Asfaloth was Glorfindel’s horse, who was commanded to bear Frodo across the Bruinen after his wounding at Weathertop.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Mostly pros here, with a few drawbacks due to cards that may be part of the Encounter deck. Asfaloth is pretty cheap to get out – but he is also Unique (only 1 copy of him can be in play). Of course, you have to be playing the Lore sphere (or at least have access to Lore sphere resources), and you must have a Noldur or Silvan hero to attach him to. He’s useful with or without Glorfindel – placing even 1 progress token on a land can be huge, especially in scenarios where you can easily become land-locked. True, the designers have come up with many ways to thwart Asfaloth’s progress — lands that cannot be targeted by card effects, and so on. If I’m playing Lore, I usually consider Asfaloth at some point in the deck design.

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.

A large part of what I enjoy most in playing LOTR:LCG is being able to construct an exciting narrative around the heroes and allies struggling to complete each scenario as I play. Asfaloth helps deliver that in a very satisfying way. We summon Asfaloth to the aid of one of our heroes and command him bear our hero more quickly (and thus more safely!) through the ravaged lands of Middle Earth on our way to complete this leg of the journey To me, this is the most wonderful thing about this card.

  • Clare- 2
  • Dave – TBR
  • Grant – TBR
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – TBR
  • Average – 2

Hobbit Cloak

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Defense Bonus
    • Surprise
    • Burglar Treasure

Hobbit tribal defense boost

Background

The flavor text comes from Chapter 3 of the Fellowship of the Ring, Three is Company. It comes not long after Frodo leaves Bag End and overhears Gaffer talking to a black rider that is asking after him. It describes Pippin, Sam and him walking silently in the night as they leave Hobbiton.

Card Theme

The game represents the Hobbits affinity for stealth with various bonuses for engaging enemies with higher engagement cost than their threat. This can easily be construed as the advantage they get from the element of surprise. The description of how the Hobbit cloaks help the characters is a bit of stretch to a defensive bonus. It does help them in a defensive manner by avoiding discovery. There already are a couple mechanisms for that in game, engagement and threat control. It seems like threat reduction or increase engagement cost would have been much more thematic in this case. It is not entirely without precedent. Dunedain Warning, the first Leadership attachment with a defense bonus, arguably more about avoiding danger than protective gear.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Engagement Control and Threat Reduction

The game has 2 ways to help ensure Hobbit Cloak defense bonus can trigger, increase the enemies’ engagement cost and reduce a player’s threat. The only repeatable engagement cost increase is from Lore Pippin‘s ability. There are only a couple cards that can increase an enemy’s engagement cost further, Take No Notice and Mablung ally. Both only do so by 5 and for a single phase. This limits their usefulness significantly because 5 will not push the enemies with very low engagement of 10 – 20 above the threat of most decks. This cross-section of enemies are the ones this effect would be the most useful against and needed, but they don’t increase it enough.

Threat reduction is better considering there are several more cards for it. Unfortunately, in sphere options are limited to Leadership Frodo and Sneak Attack and Gandalf. Fortunately, Hobbit focused decks have The Shirefolk that can reduce threat by 4 for free and it is neutral. Elevenses is another hobbit specific option can significantly reduce threat mid to late game when lots of hobbit allies are out. Leadership Frodo, Spirit Merry, Galadriel, Fastred, and Spirit Beregond all provide repeatable threat reduction. Galadriel and Beregond won’t help lower threat below more enemies’ engagement costs, but they’ll maintain threat turn after turn that a lower threat deck can still ambush the same enemies from beginning to the end of the game.

Hobbit Heroes

Sam Gamgee is an excellent target for the cloak. His ability also triggers when engaging an enemy with higher threat readying him to defend. On top of that his base defense is boosted to 2 and with the cloak he gets up to 4 defense matching that of Beregond. Sam also has the most base hit points of the Hobbit heroes only matched by his father-in-law, Tom Cotton. Tom also makes a great target since he has the best defense stat. Both versions of Frodo also can benefit from it. Leadership Frodo provides Leadership access and threat reduction to help keep triggering it as the game progresses. Spirit Frodo already is great defender thanks to his ability, but it only works once per phase. The cloak can allow Frodo to save his ability for when it is really needed and still defend some lesser enemies.

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 Hobbit Cloak at 7 rings. It is fairly niche considering it is limited to Hobbit heroes and conditional on the attacking enemy having a higher engagement cost. The bonus however is fair costed compared to the +1 defense of Dunedain Warning that can go on any hero and no conditions. It is also similar to the other tribal defense boosts like Gondorian Shield, Shining Shield, and Cloak of Lorien that give a conditional +2 defense for 1 cost. It is slightly less powerful considering it doesn’t provide +1 defense all the time like the others. It works well in a Hobbit deck that focuses on utilizing the bonuses for engaging enemies with higher engagement cost. It is not going to see much play outside that deck type.

  • Dave – 6
  • Grant – 4
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – 7
  • Average – 6.67

External Links

Sample Decks

Three Hobbit Treasure Hunters for Antlered Crown by kattattack22

A Hobbit Three Hunters deck utilizing Expert Treasure Hunter for card draw and Fast Hitch for action advantage.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Bilbo Baggins (Mount Gundabad)
Pippin (The Black Riders)
Sam Gamgee (The Black Riders)

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

Attachment (41)
2x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
3x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
3x Dúnedain Mark (The Hunt for Gollum)
3x Expert Treasure-hunter (On the Doorstep)
3x Fast Hitch (The Dead Marshes)
3x Golden Belt (Challenge of the Wainriders)
3x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Hobbit Cloak (The Black Riders)
1x Magic Ring (The Crossings of Poros)
2x Necklace of Girion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Protector of Lórien (Core Set)
3x Ranger Spikes (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Ring Mail (The Long Dark)
3x Staff of Lebethron (The Land of Shadow)
3x Sting (Mount Gundabad)

Event (9)
3x Feint (Core Set)
3x Heed the Dream (Flight of the Stormcaller)
3x The Shirefolk (Mount Gundabad)

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

Sideboard

Attachment (3)
3x Secret Vigil (The Lost Realm)

Event (3)
3x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Bond of Hobbitship by Dave Walsh

Dave’s LOTR Saga campaign deck using Bond of Friendship.

Main Deck

Hero (4)
Frodo Baggins (Conflict at the Carrock)
Merry (The Black Riders)
Pippin (The Black Riders)
Sam Gamgee (The Black Riders)

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

Ally (20)
2x Bilbo Baggins (The Road Darkens)
2x Bill the Pony (The Black Riders)
2x Boromir (The Road Darkens)
2x Farmer Maggot (The Black Riders)
2x Gaffer Gamgee (Mount Gundabad)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)
2x Quickbeam (The Treason of Saruman)
2x Rosie Cotton (The Mountain of Fire)
2x Treebeard (The Antlered Crown)
2x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)

Attachment (18)
2x Boots from Erebor (Khazad-dûm)
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)
2x Ring Mail (The Long Dark)
2x Spare Pipe (The Land of Sorrow)
2x The Arkenstone (The Withered Heath)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event (12)
2x A Test of Will (Core Set)
2x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)
2x Peace, and Thought (Shadow and Flame)
2x Raise the Shire (The Mountain of Fire)
2x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
2x The Shirefolk (Mount Gundabad)

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

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Palantir – Community Review

by Erik Miller

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Card Draw
    • Encounter Scrying
    • Encounter Control
    • Burglar Treasure

Background

It’s a big shiny ball that men, Hobbits, and corrupt wizards like to stare into. Too bad only Nobles can use it in the game.

Card Theme

The theme is spot on. Look into the future, and you may be rewarded …. or cursed.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Grey Wanderer, Risk Some Light, Lore Denethor, Needful to Know, Celduin Traveler, Ithilien Lookout, Far Sighted

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.

The Palantir got a lot easier to use with the Grey Wander contract (although it can still to be fun to use with low starting threat heroes), making its value increase since it first came out. With the contract, your threat starts low, you can start with the Palantir in play, and you can ready after using the Palantir. There are also secrecy cards that let you peek at the top cards of the encounter deck when in secrecy. This makes your hit rate with the Palantir increase. With three players, you know exactly what cards you will be getting. In solo, you can set yourself up for multiple rounds. And, even if you don’t know what’s coming the fun of guessing the card type and revealing could (maybe) make up for any threat increase you end up taking.

  • Erik – 4
  • Ian Martin – 5
  • Dave – 7
  • Grant – 7
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – 6
  • Average – 5.8

CON LGrn – To Scry or not to Scry by Erik Miller

Grey Wanderer Denethor with a few different ways to scry and control the encounter deck.

CON LGrn – To Scry or not to Scry

Main Deck

Hero (1)
Denethor (Core Set)

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

Ally (20)
3x Celduin Traveler (The Nîn-in-Eilph)
2x Firyal (The Mûmakil)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)
1x Gléowine (Core Set)
1x Haldir of Lórien (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
1x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
3x Ithilien Lookout (The Dunland Trap)
1x Mablung (The Land of Shadow)
2x Mirkwood Explorer (The Thing in the Depths)
1x Quickbeam (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Treebeard (The Antlered Crown)
2x Wandering Ent (Celebrimbor’s Secret)

Attachment (8)
1x Dark Knowledge (Core Set)
1x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
1x Palantir (Assault on Osgiliath)
3x Resourceful (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event (19)
3x Far-sighted (Challenge of the Wainriders)
2x Gildor’s Counsel (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Needful to Know (The Redhorn Gate)
3x Risk Some Light (Shadow and Flame)
2x Shadow of the Past (Return to Mirkwood)
1x Swift and Silent (The Dunland Trap)
2x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
3x Timely Aid (The Redhorn Gate)

Player Side Quest (3)
1x Double Back (Escape from Mount Gram)
1x Gather Information (The Lost Realm)
1x Scout Ahead (The Wastes of Eriador)

1 Hero, 50 Cards
Cards up to Challenge of the Wainriders

Sideboard

Ally (11)
2x Anfalas Herdsman (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Ethir Swordsman (The Steward’s Fear)
1x Ithilien Tracker (Heirs of Númenor)
1x Robin Smallburrow (The Drowned Ruins)
3x Silvan Refugee (The Drúadan Forest)
1x Treebeard (The Antlered Crown)

Attachment (2)
1x Elf-stone (The Black Riders)
1x Strider (The Drowned Ruins)

Event (13)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Drinking Song (Mount Gundabad)
1x Gildor’s Counsel (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Out of the Wild (Road to Rivendell)
1x Shadow of the Past (Return to Mirkwood)
2x The Hidden Way (The Withered Heath)

Deck built on RingsDB.

Fellowship of the Ring

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Willpower Bonus

A very thematic Saga only card that has a pretty big drawback and some opportunity cost.

Background

Title of the first book in trilogy. Also name given to the company charged with destroying The One Ring.

Card Theme

The mechanism here is very thematic as the company is very strong when they are together. The willpower bonus highlights their determination as they traveled from Rivendell through Moira and Lothlorien to Argonath. The Fellowship was broken when Boromir tried to take the Ring forcing Frodo to leave the Fellowship, and shortly after Boromir is killed protecting Merry and Pippin from the Uruk-hai. This card reflects that by forcing it be discarded if a character is destroyed.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Willpower Based Abilities

There are certain cards that provide a bonus based on a character’s willpower stat. Prime among them is Rosie Cotton. Her ability provides great flexibility and can help in both questing and combat with a Fast Hitch to ready her. Note this assumes you play her with Messenger of the King or Sword-thain to benefit from Fellowship of the Ring’s bonus. Spirit Aragorn while his ability seems lackluster gets much better the more willpower he has. Especially if he has any sort of action advantage to quest and lower a location’s threat like the from the readying staple Unexpected Courage. He even has a couple thematic options. Strider in a Grey Wanderer deck or 2 hero deck lets him quest without exhausting. Thorongil can also give him the ability to ready by spending a resource from his Leadership version.

Rohan heroes also have a couple attachments that can take advantage of the willpower boost besides more than just questing. Herugrim applies that willpower to attack and Golden Shield applies it to defense. There is also one very notable attachment that can basically double the willpower bonus for a character, Nenya. Fellowship of the Ring will boost Galadriel hero’s willpower. Then exhausting Nenya to add her boosted willpower to another character that also has boosted willpower results in getting the bonus twice. It can be even tripled if Galadriel’s willpower is added to Rosie who then adds her boosted willpower to a Hobbit hero.

Ring Rating

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

I rate this card at 8 rings. It is limited to only the LOTR Saga scenarios by virtue of being a Fellowship sphere. It can’t even be used in all of them since Fellowship Aragorn doesn’t have the Ring-bearer trait. The very limited number of scenarios it can be used in makes it just not up for consideration in most decks despite its effect is fairly powerful. A global willpower boost is great. This in most decks will add 3 or 4 willpower which is really good for the 2 cost. Normally 2 willpower for 2 cost is nice and efficient as seen in many Spirit allies and Celebrian’s Stone. This is balanced with a significant drawback, it is discarded if a character is destroyed. There are already a number of encounter effects that can force an attachment to be discarded and this drawback only makes it harder to keep in play.

Then there is the consideration of what else Fellowship resources can be used for. The first Fellowship versions of Frodo have very powerful abilities. Canceling an encounter card or an attack are well worth 1 resource. Then to play Fellowship means foregoing these game saving effects for 2 rounds. Depending on how the scenario is going, this could be a large opportunity cost.

  • Dave – 6.5
  • Grant – TBR
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – 8
  • Average 7.25

External Links

Sample Decks

Hobbits BoF July 2020 Solo League by kattattack22

I made this deck for a solo league challenge to beat Flight to the Ford, Breaking of the Fellowship, and Mount Doom. It’s a fun voltron style deck that builds up the hobbit heroes than use an ally swarm. The various songs help smooth resources plus add willpower for Fireside Song to build up Pippin and/or Folco into super quester(s). Sam is meant to be a mega defender and Merry with his bonus is the primary attacker.

Main Deck

Hero (5)
Folco Boffin (The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat)
Frodo Baggins (The Mountain of Fire)
Merry (The Black Riders)
Pippin (Encounter at Amon Dîn)
Sam Gamgee (The Black Riders)

Attachment (37)
2x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
2x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
2x Expert Treasure-hunter (On the Doorstep)
2x Fast Hitch (The Dead Marshes)
2x Fellowship of the Ring (The Road Darkens)
2x Fireside Song (Beneath the Sands)
1x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
2x Hobbit Cloak (The Black Riders)
2x Ring Mail (The Long Dark)
2x Self Preservation (Core Set)
2x Silver Circlet (Wrath and Ruin)
1x Song of Battle (The Dead Marshes)
2x Song of Hope (The Black Serpent)
1x Song of Kings (The Hunt for Gollum)
1x Song of Mocking (The Dead Marshes)
1x Song of Travel (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
1x Song of Wisdom (Conflict at the Carrock)
2x Staff of Lebethron (The Land of Shadow)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
2x Strider (The Drowned Ruins)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
1x Windfola (A Storm on Cobas Haven)

Event (13)
1x A Test of Will (Core Set)
2x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)
2x Drinking Song (Mount Gundabad)
2x Feint (Core Set)
2x Frodo’s Intuition (The Black Riders)
2x Power of Orthanc (The Voice of Isengard)
2x The Wizards’s Voice (The Voice of Isengard)

5 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to Wrath and Ruin

Deck built on RingsDB.

The Road Darkens – Minimum Purchase 1 by Darkling Door

Deck made for The Ring Goes South using only The Road Darkens and the Core Set. See Darkling Door’s blog post for more details.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Aragorn (Core Set)
Éowyn (Core Set)
Gandalf (The Road Darkens)

Ally (22)
2x Bilbo Baggins (The Road Darkens)
2x Faramir (Core Set)
3x Galadriel (The Road Darkens)
3x Guard of the Citadel (Core Set)
1x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
2x Lórien Guide (Core Set)
2x Silverlode Archer (Core Set)
3x Snowbourn Scout (Core Set)
2x Son of Arnor (Core Set)
2x Wandering Took (Core Set)

Attachment (13)
1x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
3x Fellowship of the Ring (The Road Darkens)
3x Gandalf’s Staff (The Road Darkens)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
1x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
3x Wizard Pipe (The Road Darkens)

Event (15)
2x Common Cause (Core Set)
2x Ever Vigilant (Core Set)
3x Flame of Anor (The Road Darkens)
2x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)
2x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
2x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
2x Valiant Sacrifice (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Road Darkens

Sideboard

Hero (1)
Frodo Baggins (The Road Darkens)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Ring around the Rosie (saga) by Chad Garlinghouse aka TheChad

short deck description

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Merry (The Wastes of Eriador)
Pippin (The Black Riders)
Sam Gamgee (The Black Riders)

Ally (18)
1x Bill the Pony (The Black Riders)
2x Celduin Traveler (The Nîn-in-Eilph)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
2x Ithilien Lookout (The Dunland Trap)
3x Master of the Forge (Shadow and Flame)
1x Quickbeam (The Treason of Saruman)
3x Rosie Cotton (The Mountain of Fire)
1x Treebeard (The Antlered Crown)
2x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)

Attachment (18)
1x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)
3x Fast Hitch (The Dead Marshes)
2x Fellowship of the Ring (The Road Darkens)
2x Fireside Song (Beneath the Sands)
3x Friend of Friends (The Mountain of Fire)
2x Resourceful (The Watcher in the Water)
1x Song of Hope (The Black Serpent)
1x Staff of Lebethron (The Land of Shadow)
3x Sword-thain (The Dread Realm)

Event (15)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Elevenses (The Thing in the Depths)
3x Frodo’s Intuition (The Black Riders)
3x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
3x Timely Aid (The Redhorn Gate)

3 Heroes, 51 Cards
Cards up to The Mountain of Fire

Sideboard

Attachment (5)
3x Hobbit Cloak (The Black Riders)
2x Hobbit Pony (The Wastes of Eriador)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Spear of the Citadel – Community Review

by Anthony Burke

  • Card Talk Season TBD Episode TBD
    • Video episode
    • Audio episode
  • Cycle
    • Against the Shadow
  • Set
    • Heirs of Numenor
  • Player Card Categories 
    • Direct Damage
    • Ally Attachment
    • Burglar Treasure

Background

I adore the notion of ‘reach’. Defence in depth provided by spears and shield walls really highlights Gondor going into its shell under Denethor’s reign. With a renewed vigour during the Battle of Minas Tirath, the spear becomes aggressive again and wields itself with devastating efficiency.

Card Theme

Given it is a ‘thorns/reflection’ style card it works well with ANY blocker. Anything where you’re needing a tactics defender OR a defender that can have this cost paid by someone with Tactics is nice.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Beregond Tactics is a super synergy as you can play 2 cost attachments for free. If this is drawn in the opening hand you’re in a good stead. Things that search your deck for attachments (Master of the Forge) allows you to find something quickly outside your opening 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.

Spear of the Citadel provides a defender an ability to damage an enemy. The timing of “is declared” can be used to the advantage of the player. Enemies that have 1 health or have one remaining will die before resolving their attack and shadow card.

In addition to this a defender can provide the additional damage, block the attack, and then have declared attacks hit the said attacker and this damage could be enough to kill it.

Pairs nicely with Beregond Tactics.

  • Anthony – 4
  • Dave – TBR
  • Grant – TBR
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – TBR
  • Average – 4