Across the Ettenmoors has been released to the public, and with it, we see a resurgence in some of the most classic archetypes of the game, as well as newer ones.
Dori finally gets a proper hero. Like his ally version, he is focused on protecting his companions. In this case, he is a little less self-sacrificial. Adding his defense to the defense of another hero, essentially makes him a Gondorian Shield that gains resources. Unlike the shield, his ability is a one shot. The boost only lasts for the one attack, and even if the defending hero can ready for another defense, such as Boromir or Beorn, Dori is spent. Dori's ability is not limited, so if he could be readied, he could use it again. At that point, you either need to ready multiple heroes, or have multiple heroes to defend, which at that point you're probably limited in your attack, and on the downfall. The bigger issue is that you cannot use his ability reactively, and have to use his ability after declaring defenders, before resolving any shadow effects. This could mean that Dori's ability isn't needed, and thus his 2 attack (more likely 3 with Dain) is wasted.
More than likely, I see Dori finding a home in Dwarf decks, and less so in other decks. His ability definitely mitigates the weakness that Dwarves typically have. In addition, this is the third Tactics Dwarf hero, which means that you can make a mono-sphere dwarf deck for every sphere now.
Longbeard Sentry mitigates the Dwarves' defensive issues, just the same as Dori. At the cost of two cards from the top of your deck, this Dwarf gets additional defense and sentinel. This is a solid card, regardless of deck type. Obviously, in a Dwarf deck, especially paired with Dain, he's going to have better stats. If you include Imladris Stargazer to be able to have control over the top of your deck, then you're also be able to use his ability, while milling your deck for the cards you need. Hidden Cache also is a good one to throw in to gain a bit more resource generation with the ability.
Wellinghall Preserver was spoiled a while back in Spanish, here we see it in English. Though the name isn't quite the same as the translation, the ability translated exactly. After this character readies, you can heal 1 damage from an Ent. Though this could weaken your Booming Ents, this will allow abilities that trigger off of damage, such as Derndingle Warrior, to trigger multiple times. As well, Boomed and Trumpeted gains value by taking damage, readying, attacking, and then getting a heal. In addition, running hero Treebeard also means needing healing to utilize his willpower/attack boosts. Unlike a similar card, Silvan Tracker, the healing is triggered off of the Preserver's readying, rather than the healed character, so your healing is limited by comparison. That said, if you get three of these allies out, your healing capability will be in good shape.
Ranger Provisions comes in as the leadership version of Ancient Mathom. Instead of drawing cards, you add a resource to each hero for the first player. Looking at other event cards that give resources, such as Legacy of Númenor or Gaining Strength, this card costs one resource, which is different. Based on this, I think this card is designed for multiplayer. Leadership has plenty of opportunities to gain resources, and I think the best use of this card is to smooth resources across players.
Steed of Imladris adds another mount attachment that gives Spirit additional location control. Attaching to either a Spirit or Noldor hero, this mount allows you to commit to the quest, and then discard a card to place two progress on the active location. A good effect, but I see some issues. For example, Spirit doesn't have great card draw, except for Ancient Mathom. Obviously, if you want to use the effect, you need cards that you can sacrifice. Additionally, since the effect is limited to the active location, it essentially plays like a Lorien Guide, cheaper but with an ongoing cost. If you pair this card with some Lore, I think you could make it work, especially as new Noldor effects come in to synergize with the discard pile.
Fair and Perilous looks vicious, in both art and card effect. Similar to Herugrim, this event allows a Silvan or Noldor character to boost their attack by their willpower. The first target I can think of is Glorfindel. Combined with Light of Valinor, he gets to quest, and still be up for attacking. In addition, boost his willpower with Favor of the Lady, and his questing and attack is better.
Dúnedain Message is pretty straight forward. Search your deck for a side quest, draw it, and shuffle your deck. That's it. You need Gather Information? Grab it. The one weird thing about this card is that it's Leadership, and to this point, there isn't a Leadership side quest released. Otherwise, it's a fine card. It's also a signal card, which means Weather Hills Watchman can pull it, which can in turn pull whatever side quest you want.
None Return is great paired with the last expansion's hero, Rossiel. This is a mirror of the card, Leave No Trace, except instead of putting a location into the victory display, you can put enemies in. I think I like this better than Leave No Trace, because having Rossiel's defense boosted is great, especially when you're likely to have a bunch of the same type of enemy in a quest.
Hope Rekindled will get better. At this point, there's only one event that can be used with this card, Rallying Cry. It's nice to reduce the cost, but if FFG doesn't continue to put out Valour cards, it will go into obscurity. As it stands, it is basically a version of Good Meal, but more limited.
Delay the Enemy gives Tactics their own side quest. In this case, it includes the Battle keyword. Upon clearing the side quest, each player gets to discard a non-unique enemy engaged with them. I think this is definitely a side quest made for multiplayer. As a Tactics player, I don't seem them being as concerned about the engaged enemies.
It's interesting to see a return to the Dwarf archetype, as well as other newer archetypes continuing to see new cards. The big thing that I noticed in this pack is the cards which have potential, but obviously there are key components waiting to be released.
Saturday, September 5, 2015
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Derek and I take on the latest Gen Con quest. We did make a major error. We forgot to add resources to "Stalking the Ruins," which would of had the dragon come into play sooner, causing us to lose sooner. Regardless, it was fun and I hope you enjoy.