Poll Results: Favorite Defending Hero

mother bear defending cubs

It seems like Tulkas was still wrestling with Melkor the last time we posted poll results. It is high time we discovered which heroes are most preferred by players for defense. As the game evolves and enemies grow larger and more fearsome, having a dedicated defender is essential for most decks. Some archetypes, like the Silvan deck built around Celeborn, can get away with mostly using allies for defenders. Still, scenarios will often punish this strategy, and it is often more safe over the course of a game to have a single strong defender.

Beregond-smallThe results are in, and it should come as little surprise that Beregond is by far the most popular hero to use a defender. With 4 defense, the Sentinel keyword, and a discount card when it comes time to shop for armor, the captain of the Citadel is the obvious choice. His Gondor trait is valuable as well, as we see with some of the other heroes receiving votes.

Gondorian Shield is the biggest reason for the defensive value inherent in the Gondor trait. Other less-heralded cards like Gondorian Discipline and For Gondor also contribute to that faction’s formidable reputation. The only thing missing is some readying – either repeatable like Unexpected Courage, or one-time from events like Behind Strong Walls – and Beregond can safely defend against most enemies in the game. Shadow cancellation can also be a concern, particular in scenarios with chaining shadow effects, and that is where the next two heroes come in.

A Burning BrandRounding out the top three vote-getters we have Denethor and Erkenbrand. While Erkenbrand’s built-in shadow cancelation makes him another obvious candidate for a dedicated defender, Denethor is a less likely choice at first glance. The key to the Steward of Gondor’s prowess as a defender of his people is more than just his ability to wield a Gondorian Shield (no doubt a mean feat in itself at his advanced age). The fact that he has the Lore sphere makes him a natural choice for A Burning Brand. It doesn’t take a palantir to know that a hero with 5 defense that cancels all shadow effects on attacking enemies is powerful indeed.

Other notable heroes can be found as you scan down the list of votes: Elrohir, Frodo Baggins, Boromir, Dain Ironfoot, Elrond and Gandalf all received votes. Obviously there are many factors at play in deciding which hero to use as your primary defender: the spheres that your deck includes, whether or not your deck is primarily focused on questing, combat or support, and which traits or strategies you are trying to explore.

All of these considerations are what make deck-building for this game so interesting. For me it is often more fun to take a less-obvious choice and transform them into an epic defender. In my solo saga deck, Sam Gamgee gets loaded with a Hobbit Cloak, Staff of Lebethron and Sting, and ends up laughing off most attacks. This just goes to prove that you never have to take any card at face value – the card pool gives you plenty of options for brining out the hidden qualities in a hero.

Inspired by your votes, I am planning on building a deck with Beregond, Denethor and Erkenbrand and attempting to survive the Siege of Cair Andros. That is one of my all-time favorite quests, and these heroes should be well-suited to the task of holding off the onslaught of the enemy. Keep an eye out soon for a video (with deck list) of this bit of community-driven deck building.

Thanks to everyone who voted, and be sure to vote in the latest poll which is online now. Lastly, I want to give special acknowledgement to the brazen individual with the write-in vote for Spirit Pippin. Whoever you are, you are my winner of Troll of the Week!

Hero Votes %
Beregond (HoN) 139 35.28%
Denethor (Core) 47 11.93%
Erkenbrand 36 9.14%
Frodo Baggins (CatC) 28 7.11%
Elrohir (TRG) 20 5.08%
Boromir (TDM) 19 4.82%
Dain Ironfoot (RtM) 17 4.31%
Gimli (Core) 13 3.3%
Elrond (SaF) 12 3.05%
Gandalf (TRD) 8 2.03%
Aragorn (Core) 7 1.78%
Bilbo Baggins (THfG) 6 1.52%
Sam Gamgee (TBR) 6 1.52%
Beorn (TH:OHaUH) 5 1.27%
Eleanor (Core) 4 1.02%
Aragorn (TWitW) 4 1.02%
Treebeard (ToS) 4 1.02%
Idraen 3 0.76%
Prince Imrahil (AJtR) 2 0.51%
Mablung (NiE) 2 0.51%
Gloin (Core) 2 0.51%
Bombur (TH:OtD) 2 0.51%
This entry was posted in Community, Deck Building, Poll Results and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Poll Results: Favorite Defending Hero

  1. shipwreck says:

    Rossiel is climbing my list.

  2. WinterWolf says:

    Great to see Bombur just sneak in I really like him in dwarf decks where he can accelerate the five dwarf principle and with burning brand, the deeply “thematic” protector of lorien, dwarven card draw and easy access to healing he is a surprisingly useful defender for the cost. I have also used Dark Knowledge on him to help with a spot of action advantage through undefended attacks.

  3. Unfortunately, none of these heroes could stand the might of a balrog–a balrog has never failed to make the kill. Unfortunately for me, it seems that Ecthelion has the same uncanny ability… My personal favorite is Elrohir, he and his brother make one of my favorite combos in the entire game.

  4. HawkRose says:

    A little surprised to see Coragorn beat out Loragorn on this list, since Loragorn has Protector of Lorien in-sphere, and has access to a Burning Brand. Still, a very reasonable list. Interesting to see that more well-rounded heroes like Elrond and Gandalf are further down the list. Is this due to higher threat cost? Or do we just not think of them as dedicated defenders because they aren’t confined to that role? Also, I’m curious: Elrohir fans, does your rating of him assume that his brother is present?

    • Beorn says:

      Agreed. I believe that there is a growing pool of new players, with a more limited card pool. In this case, Core Aragorn makes a lot of sense as a defender – especially as one of the few early heroes with sentinel.

  5. lleimmoen says:

    It is really, really strange to me how can Tactics Boromir be so low on the list. I was away for too long to vote but he would easily be my pick. Beregond is of course very nice but Boromir is just so versatile and even as a sole defender, the ability to defend more is for me more valuable than to defend stouter. The fact that Gondorian Shield alone takes him to 4 defence for 1 card and 1 in-sphere resource makes him good enough for a majority of foes.

    • Beorn says:

      Agreed. He is far and away the best defender in any deck I’ve built. The only heroes that come close are Elrohir and Elrond (with UC), but neither of them reap the full benefit from the shield. I have a feeling that many of the votes were from new players who have yet to discover the power of Tactics Boromir.

    • HawkRose says:

      Also, Blood of Numenor: so good. I recently built a deck to tackle the Dunland Trap, and I’ve had Boromir block five plus attacks in a round without breaking a sweat, let alone taking damage.

  6. lleimmoen says:

    Also, Beorn is quite amazing… the best early game defender for sure.

  7. Tom says:

    I voted for Elrohir, and yes, I assumed his brother would be present. Also, the question was ‘favorite’ which in my mind is subtly different from ‘the one you think is best’. Had that been the question, it would have been a tossup between Beregond and Tactics Boromir, Boromir probably winning by virtue of being repeatable.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s