Contest: Most Underrated Hero

ImageWell, GenCon 2013 has come to a close, and, after briefly being waylaid by Southron spies in the fell city of Dallas, I am home at last. To say that GenCon was awesome would be a tremendous understatement. Meeting the members of the Cardboard of the Rings podcast, Ian from Tales From the Cards blog, and Matthew from The Progression Series videos was fantastic. Being able to play The Black Riders, with the designer of the game watching us play, was a real treat (thanks from coming by, Caleb!). The last time I was this excited was when I discovered a dozen bonus barrels of mead behind my couch.

In the coming days, I look forward to sharing my thoughts on the new Saga Expansion (spoiler alert: it is awesome), the Stone of Erech GenCon quest, and the latest Adventure Pack. I’m still not even unpacked yet, and I head back to work tomorrow; in these hard times, under the shadow of Mordor, even a bear needs a job. In the mean time,  I thought that it would be fun to have another contest.

I picked up an extra pack of The Blood of Gondor at GenCon and I would like to give it away to a member of the community. Instead of having readers design a custom card, this time we will do something a little different. One of the the things that surprised me playing the game at GenCon, was just how many people commented on my use of Mirlonde in the Secrets of the Wise deck. As I detail in that article, she is essential to allowing the deck to start at 19 threat and take advantage of secrecy for Resourceful, and the low overall threat that she provides also allows time for the deck to setup.

In any case, many other players were shocked to see me include her in a deck; apparently the consensus among some players is that Mirlonde is not a very good hero. While I certainly understand that her stats and ability are nothing spectacular when you compare them to heroes like Dain, Glorfindel (FoS), or even Hirluin (in an Outlands deck), I find that I really enjoy utility heroes like Mirlonde. It is not so much her stats that I like (she usually quests early, and sometimes helps with attacks in the late game), but the fact that her ability opens up different kinds of decks that were not as viable before. Everyone has their own taste and heroes that some players use all of the time, others have never taken out of the box. Still, I truly believe that many heroes go underappreciated.

As the card pool gets larger, there are more and more heroes to choose from. It is ultimately a subjective take, but there are always going to be unheralded heroes that are better than most people think. We may not agree on which heroes are thus underrated, but we can certainly all agree that they exist. One of the great things about a Living Card Game is that an evolving card pool means that cards which seemed useless only recently can suddenly become powerhouses, because new cards create new synergies and archetypes (I’m looking at you Dunhere).

So rather than bore everyone with my arguments why Mirlonde is an underrated hero (hint: she totally is), I want to hear your thoughts. At stake is a chance to win Blood of Gondor, before it even goes on sale! As always the special eagles delivery service will provide shipping, anywhere in the world (it will just take a bit longer for international addresses). So here are the rules:

  1. No Orcs, Trolls, Fell-Beasts or Agents of Sauron
  2. Beornings are not allowed to enter, as they work at the Hall of Beorn and that would look suspicious
  3. Each reader may enter only once, subsequent comments by the same user will not be counted as an entry (though feel free to reply to other comments if you agree/disagree)
  4. Add a comment below, as long or as short as you’d like, making a case for your favorite underrated hero. It should be someone that a) you think most players don’t use on a regular basis and b) you enjoy using in your decks.
  5. The contest will end at Midnight CST a week from today, on August 26th.
  6. I will choose my favorite entry. For international readers, don’t worry, spelling and grammar are not part of my determination. Heck, many Americans aren’t very good at English, either, so don’t feel bad. What I’m looking for is a compelling case for a hero that does not get enough attention, and why they should be included in more players’ decks.

That’s it, so bring your comments and I look forwarding to reading about everyone’s favorite underrated hero. After the deadline I will announce the winner, and we will ship you a free Adventure Pack! Once I get settled back into my lair, and make sure that Mrs. Beorn hasn’t forgotten what I look like, you can be on the lookout for more articles about all of the awesomeness that was GenCon. Good luck to all who enter, and watch out for suspicious-looking Breelanders, they may be up to no good.

Last but not least, I would like to extend a warm and hearty thank you to everyone that I met, talked to, shared ale with, and joined for games at GenCon. You helped make GenCon 2013 an amazing experience and this bear thanks you from the bottom of his enormous, fur-covered heart!

bear print

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18 Responses to Contest: Most Underrated Hero

  1. Michael (Zwerg) says:

    Thanks for the contest!

    I’d like to make a point for Beorn, who is my second-most used Tactics hero (only trailing the much earlier released Legolas). I commonly read comments about him being useless due to immunity to player card effects, and his rating on the BGG Hero Database is an indicator of this general perception.
    In my eyes, Beorn is a stellar hero! Starting off, you receive a large ‘discount’ regarding the usual formula to count starting threat. Beorn’s stats add to 16, so you ‘save’ four points of initial starting threat. This is the second-biggest ‘discount’ after Spirit Glorfindel, by the way.
    Beorn particularly shines in the opening rounds of my games. These early stages can often be the most difficult, since you lack resources to pay for your good cards and consequently lack action advantage. Beorn gives you just that. Being able to defend multiple times without exhausting frees your other heroes up for their tasks, such as committing to the quest. With his massive paws, Beorn attacks back for 5, which takes out all but the most hardy enemies in one swing.
    Come late game, I don’t require Beorn to defend any longer, since I will have my primary defenders in play (e.g. Defender of Rammas) or equipped to accomplish the task (e.g Burning Brand, Gondorian Shield). The lack of healing on Beorn is not a big drawback, since there are ways around his immunity to player card effects. Dori, for instance, targets the damage applied to Beorn, rather than his card, and can thus protect our ursine friend. Landroval is a must in my Beorn decks, since he is fully capable of returning an exhausted (read 0 HP) Beorn by targeting the card after it leaves play (thus disregarding the immunity).
    Beorn is absolutely essential in scenarios that feature an enemy-heavy opening. Massing at Osgiliath? He can take care of the opening round by himself. Journey along the Anduin? The Hill Troll will be gone in the first round. Peril in Pelargir? Have you ever seen a bear in a tavern brawl?
    Finally, quests with the Battle keyword are made for Beorn, who suddenly becomes a better quester even than Lady Eowyn. If you struggle with Into Ithilien, Beorn helps you to get off the treacherous Ithilien Road in the first round.
    I truly recommend giving this Beorning another chance. If you like to have a sample deck to use him in, have a look at a session report I created around Beorn and two elf lords here: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1001244/combining-lego-and-the-lotr-a-pictorial-session-re

  2. Leadership Boromir
    According to FFG’s Quest Tracker, he’s one of the least used heroes. Somewhat surprising, but not entirely. As of yet, Gondor synergy hasn’t been really been developed a whole lot, but if you want Gondor synergy, he’s got it.

    Though synergy hasn’t been built up, there certainly have been several Gondor cards released in this cycle. 6 new allies have the Gondor trait, 3 more spoiled to be coming in Blood of Gondor, and that’s exactly what Boromir boosts. Sadly, only one of the Outlands characters also has the Gondor trait, so we can’t build on that much, but we can mix Gondor into Outlands decks in other ways. Using Sword of Morthond, we can give a Gondor ally double synergy, which means there are several awesome allies that just got a whole lot more awesome.

    Pitch in a few more of the newly released cards that target Gondor cards (Gondorian Discipline, Gondorian FIre, Gondorian Shield) and you’ve got some characters that you just don’t want to mess with. You’ll need a red hero to get access to any of those, but Beregond is up to the task.

    Or you can mix in Faramir for some Lore Gondorian Ranger action, giving Ithilien Archer a better chance of damaging an enemy when attacking by himself.

    I know people have been complaining that they haven’t released any good Gondor synergy, but we’ve had a decent Gondor synergy card for a few months, and now his synergy is more useful, so in a way, Boromir made the new sets better, and the new sets made Boromir better. I agree that this is still a lot more that can be done for the Gondor trait, but I think we’ve got a decent start with Boromir.

  3. John says:

    Bilbo Baggins (The Hunt for Gollum: Lore Hero: Threat 9, 1W, 1A, 2D, 2HP: The first player draws 1 additional card during the resource phase.)

    I live near the Fantasy Flight Event Center in Roseville, MN and attend monthly LOTR:LCG game days there. I have never seen Bilbo played in a deck that someone else put together. People have laughed when I put him on the table. However, I believe he is great for four reasons.

    1. Bilbo’s ability is completely passive, requiring no actions to be taken: no exhausting, threat gain, or waiting for an action window. Just let the first player draw twice as many cards this resource phase. Huzzah! (Even better in solo play…)

    2. His ability underscores the co-op nature of the game and encourages true cooperative play, as opposed to “group solitaire” play. I’ve been in many casual games of LOTR:LCG at Fantasy Flight and have unfortunately sat down to a few too many group solitaire games. Bilbo’s ability reminds players, “Hey, everyone gets some love here. We’re a team. Have a card, bub.” Plus, card draw is truly king in any card game.

    3. Despite relatively weak stats, there are a host of good attachments and events can make Bilbo shine w/o making a “hobbit only” deck. Ring Mail is a hit, and the new Dark Knowledge + Small Target can turn him into a one-hobbit mayhem machine. Give him some action advantage with Cram or Fast Hitch, then drop Good Meals all over the place to help pay for expensive events. Gee, this guy almost pays for himself! Plus, this kind of play is highly thematic, as a deck full of allies, while fun, isn’t exactly at the heart of Tolkien’s stories.

    4. For those of us who are into thematic decks, Bilbo truly shines in many situations. He can be a mentor to younger hobbits like Pippin and Frodo in a Hobbit deck, up to his old tricks in a Dwarf deck, or have a home in any deck that centers around Rivendell, the Lone Lands, or Laketown. He is arguably the most beloved character in Tolkien’s Middle Earth and including him in a deck helps ground everyone at the table and reminds them what Middle Earth is all about: myth, everyday people stepping up to become heroes, friendship, and the value of sacrifice.

  4. Mike D (Pharmboys2013) says:

    As much as I would love to support Mirlonde as an underrated hero, you’ve already done a fine job acutely explaining her strengths and I’d rather not re-tread material.

    So my case will be made for Balin, last lord of Moria, who carries a magnificent community usage percentage of 0.3028%.

    Taking his stats at face value, he is respectable but not overly powerful. At 2 WP, 1 Atk, 2 Def, and 4 HP he makes decent quester and ok defender if necessary. His best base attributes however, are present before the first encounter card is even revealed from the deck, which is referring to his 9 starting threat and leadership sphere. I mention these specifically because it is the strong leadership sphere that I feel leads to his lower conceived value. It can be hard to shine as a hero when you share the same sphere as some of the strongest and most popular heroes in the game such as Aragorn, Dain, Boromir, and Thorin Oakenshield. In that same vein although, the fact that he is leadership but currently tied for the 3rd lowest starting threat in the sphere (Only Sam, Theodred, and Gloin are less/equal…the latter two have much higher play percentages, ~6% and ~3% respectively, and the first will undoubtedly be incredibly popular once he is officially released) makes him extremely playable in a wide range of decks where he can give access to some of the more powerful cards in the game like Steward of Gondor and ally Faramir while not sacrificing your threat level like most of the leadership heroes. He also obviously carries the dwarf trait which has strong synergies and provides card draw thru king under the mountain if that is an avenue you want to pursue (yet he is not limited to that archetype like many of his erebor brethren…an important distinction). Like nearly all heroes although *cough*Spirit Glorfindel*cough*, Balin’s main strength comes from his ability.

    Balin’s ability (for the zero people who are reading this and not aware) requires you to discard 1 resource from his pool to cancel a just revealed shadow card, and to deal the enemy another card (limit 1 per attack). Shadow cancellation itself can be argued as a very underrated part of the game, as I know personally many games have ended where the enemy got a plus 2 attack and killed a weakened hero who should have had enough defense, eliminated all my resources, or forced me to discard the cards in my hand, or worse! I also can’t tell you the amount of times Balin has rescued the heroes from certain death by a particularly nasty treachery from the appropriately terrible Smaug (both laketown and the lonely mountain scenarios) or from a brutual string of multiple shadow cards from the Heirs of Numenor encounter sets, and of course, the much maligned sleeping sentry. Even the cost of 1 resource per shadow card is not unreasonable given Balin is in the leadership sphere and the wealth of resource gaining cards can easily keep his pool filled.

    Part of why Balin’s ability may be overlooked is that there is a significantly stronger alternative to his ability in the form of a Burning Brand. The brand however is more conditional has it requires being attached to a lore hero which means unless the card is going on lore’s natural defenders like Elrond and Denethor, you will also be required to take up valuable space in your deck for a song of wisdom. Balin’s power also has an advantage over the burning brand in that it has the capactiy negate the shadow effect from every single enemy engaged with every single player (granted you would need a lot of resources) whereas the brand only negates the shadow effects associated with the defending character with whom it is attached. I do have to acknowledge that since Balin’s ability does deal another shadow card, it is possible that you receive another negative or effect or even worse, an effect more evil than the previous one; but in my many plays with the character this normally doesn’t happen.

    Balin also faces competition in the spirit sphere from hasty stroke. Hasty stroke is advantageous in that it completely nullifies the shadow effect, but it is a single use event so it likely will only be used 2-3 times per game (barring recycling) whereas Balin can be used every turn on multiple enemies. Balin also has considerably weaker competition in his own sphere from the dunedain watcher and dawn take you all. The watcher is a decent card as she outright negates the shadow card and can still contribute her 1 WP towards questing without having to worry about exhausting to use the ability, but her cost of 3 can be regarded as somewhat pricey for a single use ally whom is designed to be discarded. Dawn take you all is nice in that each player can discard 1 shadow card, but the fact that the card is unrevealed is a huge disadvantage as it has the potential to negate zero effects and still carries a mild price of 2 resources.

    In conclusion, Balin’s sphere, low threat cost, and universally helpful ability make him a fine addition to nearly any kind of deck and I feel that since he is relatively new, not enough people have tried him or realized his full potential among the other strong and popular heroes. Given the opportunity however, this dwarf can make a huge difference in every single game…and not a lot of heroes can say that.

  5. Étienne says:

    I don’t see Dwalin getting played too often (Nori was more popular before getting an errata). Yet I had tremendous success in two-player games with this hero, combined with another Tactics-heavy Dwarf deck. Song of Earendil is wonderful with him, since you can essentially absorb all the threat from your partner’s deck and, assuming you can kill an orc every turn thanks to the Dwarrowdelf axes thrown your way, maintain both players’ starting threat level throughout the game.

  6. Erik A. says:

    Without question, the mighty Prince Imrahil.

    The 22nd Prince of Dol Amroth, who courageously led a company Swan Knights and 700 men in battle to defend the great city of Minas Tirith, who rescued his nephew, Captain Faramir, from certain death and temporarily took up command in the White City as Steward until Lord Aragorn could rightfully claim his crown, and who marched to the Black Gate itself to confront the Enemy and thus enable the Ring-Bearer to destroy the Ring, is one of the most underrated heroes of our time.

    His narrative prowess aside, the leadership hero Prince Imrahil in this game is a force to be reckoned with. While his initial threat level is somewhat high (11), the Prince of Dol Amroth makes up for it in his powerful stats and awesome ability. Imrahil is a jack-of-all-trades hero, boasting 2 willpower, 3 attack, and 2 defense, with a considerable pool of hit-points (4 hp). While many players may see any one of his stats as “wasted,” I love the fact that he is a well-rounded hero because then he is suited for all occasions, especially when you take advantage of his readying ability. He can quest, and then either attack or defend. Or you can hold him back from questing and then defend and attack in the same phase. If you are facing a keyword quest (battle), even better! Quest for 3 and then ready to attack when your chump-blocker leaves play. Also, the 2 defense cannot be overlooked, as there have been countless of times which I used Imrahil to defend and he is able to survive no problem.

    The trick with Imrahil is that you must utilize allies that are cheap and can be easily “sacrificed” (the chump-blocker). The cool thing is that in Lord of the Rings you usually find yourself defending with cheap allies as it is, due to many of the higher attack enemies (especially as of recent). Also, there are so many cheap allies in the leadership sphere that are fit for this (Snowbourne Scout, Errand Rider, and the new Squire of the Citadel are perfect!). Or then there is the ever popular Sneak Attack Gandalf one-trick-pony that almost everyone is doing these days it seems. Quest with Imrahil, then Sneak in Gandalf for damage, threat reduction, or card draw, then off goes the wizard and boom––the Prince is ready to strike back against the Enemy. There are several other allies which have effects that make them leave play as well (Rohan allies especially, a natural synergy with the Gondor Hero).

    Being leadership, he obviously gives access to the Steward of Gondor resource acceleration (which is thematically fit for him as previously mentioned). With the recent Outlands synergy mono-leadership seems to be the new powerhouse for them and so Imrahil is perfect fit alongside Hirluin and another leadership hero. This is great theme as well, as the Prince can lead his Knights of the Swan into battle. And if you are teaming up with Hirluin, Prince Imrahil can make up for the initial weakness of Hirluin in giving you questing power plus an additional action (action advantage is pivotal in the early stages).

    The obvious comparison to Imrahil is, of course, the leadership (core version) Aragorn. A quick check on the Fantasy Flight Quest Log shows that Aragorn one of the more popular heroes while the Prince is definitely in the lower percentile. Thus, popular opinion would say that Aragorn is the superior choice. I think the reason for this is because while they almost have identical stats (Aragorn only has 1 threat and 1 hp more), Aragon’s readying ability is more “reliable” than Imrahil’s.

    However, I would like to argue that Prince Imrahil is the superior hero and his readying ability is actually better than Aragorn’s. For one, Aragorn’s ability only triggers when you quest with him, meaning that he cannot defend and then attack. By himself, he can only quest, and then attack or defend. Imrahil’s ability is more versatile in that he can quest and attack, quest and defend, or defend and attack. Not only does Imrahil give you more options and the ability to respond to better cope with what the encounter deck throws at you, I believe it is more cost effective in the long run. By this I mean that while Imrahil’s readying ability requires an ally to leave while Aragorn’s costs one resource, the truth is, Imrahil’s ability should be seen more as a passive effect than something that costs you. In other words, Imrahil will ready as a result of something that was going to happen anyways, while Aragorn requires that you invest one resource to ready him.

    Think of it this way, while you can spend one resource to ready Aragorn after he quests, with Imrahil you can spend that same resource to play a one cost ally (or Envoy of Pelagrir which is essentially the same), and use it as a chump blocker to defend an attack which would in turn ready Imrahil to attack back. With Aragorn you invest one resource to get one extra action. With Imrahil, you in essence get two extra actions (one from the chump, and one from Imrahil). Therefore, Imrahil is the superior hero in my opinion because not only is he more cost effective, he actually gives you an extra action advantage over Aragorn and more versatility in how you spend that extra action. I almost always choose Imrahil over Aragorn for these very reasons.

    All that being said, while I know Imrahil is in no way shunned by the player community as some other heroes are (poor old Brandy…), I do believe he is often overlooked and is definitely underrated by people. The Prince of Dol Amroth is one of the best leadership heroes (and heroes overall) in my opinion because he provides the player with versatility (quest/attack, quest/defend, defend, attack), power (2 wp, 3 at, 2 df is nothing to scoff at), and great synergy among the card pool (Steward, Sneak Attack) and to the natural playing of the game (allies always seem to be leaving play, especially in multiplayer). I hope that more players will be willing to try out the mighty Captain of the Swan and see for themselves just how great of a hero he truly is!

  7. Korey says:

    I’ve only been playing for a few months, and am just now working through Khazad-dum, so my opinion’s just based on the heroes I’ve played with so far.

    But I don’t see Dwalin mentioned very often as a useful hero. It seems like his biggest limitation is that in quests with few orcs, his threat-lowering ability will rarely (if ever) trigger. Maybe it’d be better if you could choose an enemy type, or if it somehow worked in quests without a bunch of orcs. A starting attack of 2 is pretty low for a combat hero, but that can be boosted. Plus there are several other threat-lowering effects in the game

    I’ve had great success running him through the Khazad-dum quests and its hordes of orcs. I was worried about leaving Galahdrim’s Greeting out and relying on expensive Gandalf for threat reduction. But with Dwalin killing an orc almost every turn, my threat starts going down right from the beginning, sometimes ending in the teens

    And his 2 attack can easily be boosted, most obviously by Dain, who’s awesome. Pair Dwalin with some of the great tactics weapons (I’ve been using Dwarrowdelf axe), and he’s soon able to kill most orcs by himself. Of course, you can always have another character attack with him, but for me, Dwalin prefers to work alone.

    I don’t know that I’ll use Dwalin much outside of the Dwarrowdelf cycle, but I’m having a lot of fun with him in the depths of Moria. It’s nice having a decent spirit attacker, once he gets boosted a little.

  8. Noccus says:

    I’d have to go with Brand son of Bain.
    This much neglected hero sees little play and is disliked all over the web or so I read.
    While his art is subjective; I really don’t like it and he gets the top spot of worst hero around in my book on the art part. I just don’t dig that face, nor his expression.
    Anyway, the card itself is quite awesome in multiplayer.
    I can understand he’d not be first choice as a tactics hero single player; fair enough.
    Though this game is mostly about multiplayer and I don’t ever play single player; so here’s to Brand son of Bain in multiplayer:

    -His ability of readying other players heroes is great all by itself when you are the first player. After the defending phase you can dispatch a foe on the other side of the table to ready a hero there and it will be able to join in on that players attack. Great stuff!

    -Also of note, you can easily buff his attack with weapon attachments as he belongs to the tactics sphere. So dispatching foes gets relatively easy, as he already has 3 attack of his own.

    -He really starts to shine with unexpected courage. Many heroes can put it to good use I know, but Brand’s stats are way high which makes people dislike him also, yet in this case it puts him to REALLY good use as he has 2 willpower on him as a tactics hero to quest; and 2 defence to block if needed. This makes him a VERY versatile hero, useful in almost every situation. Here’s one hero with high stats that are all useful with a unexpected courage. Add to that that unexpected courage means playing spirit, which in turn gives access to threat reduction so your mates will engage foes 1st if things start to get out of control a bit.

    -Let your buddies engage the foes and pick them off 1 by 1, readying their heroes. Even if you are not the 1st player you can ready a hero like Beravor who are good questers or defenders, to make use of that fine card draw ability.

    -Last but not least is making use of Quick strike. This tactics event card lets you kill off something whenever you want to ready whatever hero that player controls when needed. This works great when you also include Hama to recycle the card over and over.

    As you see, all in all Brand is awesomely versatile in multiplayer given his stats, sphere and ability! His art sucks, but that’s not what this is about. This card plainly rocks! The readying effect saved us quite a few times from certain doom, no joke. Give him a chance people!

  9. Glowwyrm says:

    I’d like to make a case for the recently released spirit Pippin, voted on a the Fantasy Flight forums as the worst and most useless hero released so far:

    http://community.fantasyflightgames.com/index.php?/topic/88413-what-is-the-worst-and-most-useless-hero-so-far/

    Poor Pippin, always getting the bum rap as being the most reckless and useless member of the fellowship. It seems his reputation has carried over into the game. his biggest competition is that, if you aren’t running an all Hobbit deck, Frodo is just one more threat and has an awesome ability. However, I’ve found some really fun uses for him:

    First, at only 6 threat, he allows a mono-Spirit deck of Glorfindel, Eowyn and himself to start at the all important secrecy threshold of 20. Sure, Frodo would be more useful overall, but a first turn Resourceful can really speed up your deck. And since your goal (especially solo) is to quest as fast as possible and avoid all enemies, Pippin is worth a consideration here. But there’s even better cases for using him:

    He’s also been a staple in a deck I call Boromir abuses the Palantir. I start with Tactics Boromir, Glorfindel and Pippin (who belongs in a deck that showcases the power of the Palantir. And uh, Glorfindel does too…). I start at 22 threat, load up Boromir with the Palantir, Gondorian Fire, Gondorian Shield, Horn of Gondor, and Blood of Numenor, and then abuse my threat dial like crazy for scrying and readying Boromir. Scrying that far into the enouncter deck opens up the opportunity to use Small Target with Pippin, and Good Meal makes it cheaper to play Galadhrim’s Greeting and bring my threat back down. Frodo could be useful in this deck, but Boromir handles all the defense and I don’t need to take any more threat increases than I already am. This deck is fun and thematic, and fairly competitive.

    In the saga expansion, Pippin will allow you to play with a spirit hobbit other than Fatty (or to run two spirit hobbit), get those pipes and smoke rings out, and to push some of those nasty Nazgul away if you need to.

    Finally, Pippin opens up a lot of possibilities in multi-player. Running him in an all hobbit deck opposite a Faramir/ranger deck allows for all kinds of staging area shenanigans. If Faramir needs an attack boost, push an enemy back to the staging area. If an empty trap is sitting in the staging area (because no enemies were revealed that turn), push an engaged enemy back into it (a fun thematic moment imagining Pippin pushing an enemy into a pit. Maybe the enemy trips over him). If your partner has a Great Yew Bow or Hands Upon the Bow, push the enemy back into the staging area and let them deal with it. After all, isn’t the spirit of a cooperative game to pass your problems along to someone else?

    Admittedly, none of these decks are top-tier power decks, but they’re fun, they’re fun to play with someone else, and they can beat enough scenarios that they are playable. So give Pippin a chance.

  10. Gobliin says:

    I’m not sure he is a underrated hero, but my pick go for Bifur. First of all, is stats are higher than is threat. Second, he is a good quester and a interesting defender (like many said, burning brand is a lore card). Third, he has a low threat cost.
    But what make him really shine in my eyes is is ability. If he is my only lore hero in my deck, it like I have 2 lore hero in make deck, which make splashing lore a lot more easier. If you happen to have another lore hero on is side, it like having 3 lore hero, so that high cost lore card can be use more easily. Another great thing about is ability is that it increase the power of the songs that add resources icon. Imagine that you can only use Leadership cards if you have a song in play. Then, when you use that song on Bifur, it like you cast a song on 2 characters. So there your first turn Steward of Gondor at your first turn without a single Leadership character. The last great thing about is ability is that, if the others players are generous, they can give you resources. So let share Steward of Gondor (but I must admit that I never see it happen),

    Resource management is one of the most important thing to have in a multiple sphere deck and that why Bifur is my first hero pick.

  11. speedy says:

    First hero(ine) that comes to my head is poor Mirlonde. But I cannot write about her, because my feelings are strongly influenced by your blog 😉

    So, I will choose Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth, with his sea-grey eyes and high blood. By many people, he is considered weak in comparsion to other leadership heroes, mainly Aragorn and Boromir. But I think, that his ability to be prepared when we need him most truly shine above these two. With his strong stats, good health and very usefull ability, he quickly managed to took place in most of my decks (and also, together with Denethor II., he is my favorite character from LotR universe 😉 ).

    1) Stats – Quick look on his card and we immediately know, that we have something to do with one of the most superversatile heroes. Willpower, attack and defense are the same as Aragorn´s, exactly like in books! After all, he has the blood of old kings and elves in his veins. His health is lower, but I think that this is balanced by less threat cost. And 4 healths are good enough for most of the cases. So, we have a hero that can easily go to perilous quests, battle nasty enemies and defend kingdom of Gondor (or at least, what is left of it). But unlike Aragorn, who spent many years in wild adventuring, Imrahil is more like army commander and warrior. We will see that, when we closely compare their abilities…

    2) Ability – Response: After a character leaves play, ready Prince Imrahil. (Limit once per
    round.)
    Well, you may now say „And what? Aragorn does the same, and he need not to sacrifice ally and is Sentinel and cool!“. But our tall and proud Prince have significant advantages – Aragorn can ready only after questing, but Imrahil can be readied in the heat of battle, to protect his comrades and strike with great skill of arms! And also, his ability is passive, you don´t need to pay for it (yes, you must play some cheap chump-blockers, but you will play them even with Aragorn, don´t you? Look at all these Rohirrim and Eagles…Or Gandalfs ambushing from treetop, with his robe waving in the wind. True paratrooper). This is even better in multiplayer (slightly negating the missing Sentinel). Such a shame, that it is limited to only once per turn.

    3) Theme – Oh, I love the Gondor with his Stewards and lords, knights and rangers, cities and trees. And our Prince perfectly fit to it. With, let´s say „good“ art (Imagine Imrahil drawed by Magali…), stats that takes into account the lore of LotR, access for Steward of Gondor (do you remember his short stewardship?), which is crucial to donate some allies to table. There is only one defect. Why he don´t have the Outlands trait? I know, that trait was designed long after him, but isn´t it a pity, that his own knights are different brand? He was the main Outland lord that arrived to Minas Tirith from his distant fiefdom. The one that actually lead Gondorian/Outlands army. But I know, Outland trait would change him into unstopable killing machine.

    4) Decks – (note. I play only strongly thematical decks) What about Gondorian monoleadership with Boromir and Hirluin? Field mass of allies that are inspired by Boromir and demonstrate service to his lord living or dying? What about heavy-hitting squad with Aragorn and Denethor (as primary defender, he has lower threat cost than Beregond and he is Imrahil´s brother-in-law)? I have much succes with this group in first cycle quests. Or include him in some spirit Rohan deck (you know, his daughter Lothíriel was wife of Eomer) to maximize his ability potencial. In short, he has wide use. And in battle scenarios, he is even better.

    Thanks for reading and sorry for my english, I am from Czech Republic.

    All that I wrote is based on OCTGN playing and searching/reading about LotR LCG, because currently, we (I and my playmate. I mostly play multiplayer) are only at Hills of Emyn Muil. We also have splitted decks – I have Lore/Leadership. And because of finances, we will skip the Khazad-dum and 2nd cycle and go straight to HoN and AtS. Imrahil needs his army 😉

    • Beorn says:

      I just wanted to mention, of all of the cities in the world that I have visited, Prague is one of my absolute favorites. Czech people are very friendly, your food is good, and your beer is amazing. Hopefully one day I can go back (too bad you guys use the Euro now though, I’ve heard that everything is more expensive) and we can drink good beer and play some Lord of the Rings!

      • tomtomiszcze says:

        +1 for Whitman, that was great 😀
        As for Czech beer, you can still pay for it there in local currency, the nasty Euro-thing hasn’t arrived there – yet.

      • speedy says:

        Euro is used only in Slovakia. We are proud of our czech crown, and I hope that we will keep it.
        Czech beer is the best! Beer fit for the bear! 😉

  12. Whitman says:

    Thorin woke suddenly, startled by the growl of some unknown creature. As the dwarf’s eyes adjusted to the starlight above him, Thorin strained to hear through the thick silence, not sure if the growl had been real or a dream. The Hills of Evendim could play all manner of tricks on the unwary, if the wizard’s stories were true.
    Tense seconds passed before Thorin heard the growl again, deep and fearsome. The dwarf got to his feet, cursing passionately to himself. He realised he had been woken by Bombur snoring. Again.
    Thorin strode over to the remains of the camp fire, where Gandalf sat, gazing into the embers.
    “I needs must speak with you about Bombur,” Thorin grumbled, sitting down heavily beside Gandalf.
    “Now?” Gandalf asked. “You realise the hour? And the terrors that sleep beneath these hills?”
    “If they can sleep through Bombur’s snoring, they’re a step ahead of me!” Thorin snapped. “It’s bad enough that we have to feed him and trudge around at his wearisome pace. But it is six nights since I last slept the night through.”
    “Then you fare as well as your comrades,” Gandalf replied. “They all take a share of the watch.”
    Thorin glared at Gandalf, but the wizard simply tugged his pipe from his pack and began filling it, whistling some tune to himself all the while.
    “You told me Bombur would count for two dwarves,” Thorin continued. “Well he might eat for two, and he certainly makes as much as noise as two very noisy dwarves, but he is otherwise entirely useless. Fat and useless.”
    “Fat and under-appreciated, perhaps,” Gandalf said, before drawing deep on his pipe. “Must I remind you of his qualities?”
    “I had not seen him eat, nor heard him snore when last we spoke of this,” Thorin said. “Your clever words will not save him this time.”
    “Then I shall use statistics,” said Gandalf. “Your ability triggers when there are five dwarves in play. With only 3 dwarf heroes, you must play 2 dwarf allies before your ability will trigger. Do you know the probability that your ability will trigger in round two without Bombur? A little less than 5% (assuming you draw 2 Erebor Record Keepers and have either Bifur or 2 other lore heroes). With Bombur (and another lore hero), your ability will trigger in round two 77% of the time.
    “If you’re also playing Ori, that means you can plan on drawing 2 cards and generating 4 resources from round two onwards. This will greatly enhance the consistency of your deck. If you play 3 copies of everything, you more than double your chances to draw a given card this way. Even if you only include 2 copies of every card, you have more chance of drawing a given card than if you included 3 copies but only drew one card per round.”
    “That’s Ori, not Bombur,” Thorin grunted.
    “But without Bombur, how long do you have to wait for Ori to start drawing extra cards? How long until you start generating extra resources? Round four? Bombur can almost guarantee extra cards and resources from the second round onwards, which is often when you need them most. Did I ever tell you about the time I Journeyed Along the Anduin and a Hill Troll jumped us?”
    “Many times,” Thorin said. “I might not have had to suffer so many tellings and re-tellings if Bombur had been with you.”
    Gandalf drew on his pipe and breathed out a smoke ring that uncoiled and became a dragon. It wheeled here and there over the embers, before dispersing with a flash. The wizard smiled as Thorin started at the sudden light.
    “He’d have lasted longer against a Hill Troll then you, son of Thrain. Bombur’s girth would serve him better than any hunk of bark.”
    “That’s as may be…” Thorin began.
    “And he’s a damn sight handier with a Burning Brand than you are. No nasty shadow effects for Bombur. Not even Dain Ironfoot can make that boast.”
    “But…”
    “And speaking of boasting, Bombur is humble. You might complain about his snoring, but you attract a lot more attention than he does.”
    “Hmmph!” Thorin snorted, getting to his feet. “If you’re so fond of him, I’ll send him to you first for second helpings of Cram.”
    “Please do,” Gandalf muttered, as Thorin stamped back to his bed roll.

  13. mordororc says:

    First of all, I really like the underrated, seldom used heroes. I started going to my local game for random games of LOTR a while back and immediately found that everyone was using similar decks or redundant unique cards (i.e. Steward of Gondor). To avoid this duplication, I decided to try an archetype I hadn’t tried before. More precisely, I decided to build a deck around Gloin’s resource generating capability. Several articles have been written about this archetype in the past, so I won’t go into too much detail. It basically resolves around controlling shadow effects (Dark Knowledge, Dawn Take You All Dunedain Watcher), taking undefended attacks with Gloin for maximum resource generation, and using healing affects to be able to repeat the process the next round.
    This deck was mainly for multiplayer and I typically paired Gloin with Bifur (for resource smoothing) and Bilbo (for Dark Knowledge and Healing Herbs). One problem I had with this deck was generating enough attack power to dispatch enemies when multiple would engage with me. I was not much of a fan of including Narvi’s Best to be able to include Tatics cards. It wasn’t reliable enough for me. There are a few cards that were recently released (or soon to be released for those not at GenCon) that have me interested in trying the Gloin Engine archetype again. Ithilian Pit allows others to attack enemies engaged with me without needed the Ranged trait. Poison Spikes attached to enemies with eventually kill the enemy without the need to attack. Anborn has a very respectable for Lore, 3 attack strength. He also has the ability to recycle traps from the discard pile. Finally, the new Hobbit Cloak fits right in for Bilbo to be able to defend stronger attacks if needed, since he is so fragile.
    So, there you have it. My vote for underrated hero is Gloin. Heck, according to others above, my deck is running 3 underrated heroes 🙂

  14. Pingback: Contest Winner: Most Underrated Hero | Hall of Beorn

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