Welcome to Volume One of this Unsung Heroes of Middle Earth series. The aim is to look at those heroes that have been left by the wayside as the game has developed; languishing in your heap of cards with the likes of Dark Knowledge while their friends go on exciting missions, visit amazing locations and experience glorious victories or horrible deaths. I will be looking at ways to utilise these characters, including synergies with other cards, thematic decks and other general musings.
First to the fore is Prince Imrahil, the Swan-Knight-leading ruler of the Dol Amroth. At present, he is without thematic allies beyond standard Gondorians, though that may change with the release of the next cycle.
He is what I like to think of as a 'balanced' hero, in that his threat count is equal to the sum of his Willpower, Attack, Defence and Health. An imbalanced hero could be one such as Elrond (Extra threat due to his strong ability) or Spirit Glorfindel (Lower threat and a compensating disadvantage). With his 2|3|2 attributes and 4 hit points, Imrahil is a jack of all trades. However, in a game where a character can only choose 1 among many roles each round, this is not as useful as one might imagine. Better surely to use Theodred for questing, Thorin to attack or Dain to defend in the leadership sphere? Well, if you manage to utilise Imrahil's ability, then he can do 2 or more of those things. Response: After a character leaves play, ready Prince Imrahil. (Limit once per round.) On paper (or card?) it looks good, but in reality how many times do you lose allies or heroes each game? Perhaps not so often. One thing to consider though, is that the turn you lose an ally (or even a hero) is probably just the turn when you need another character to turn up and defend an attack. Consider the situation, you've rationed out your defenders and then you get hit with a shadow card that knocks out your weak exhausted allies. Just when you need him, Imrahil will be ready.
That is the simple way to use Prince Imrahil, to carry on as normal and be thankful when he gets a bonus readying. But maybe with a little bit of careful deck construction we can come up with something interesting…
In the immortal words of MC Hammer, 'It's Hama time'.
The staging area is hotting up, you've got a location you need to clear and a couple of bad guys adding to the threat total. Your heroes are Hama, Prince Imrahil and a 3rd unknown entity (let's face it, it's probably Spirit Glorfindel) In your hand are Menedlor's Flight and Vassal of the Winglord. In an ideal world, you've got Support of the Eagles and Horn of Gondor equipped to Hama. Play Vassal of the Winglord, commit Imrahil to the quest, exhaust Support of the Eagles to give Hama a total of 6 attack. Use Menedlor's Flight to get Vassal of the Winglord back to your hand. Imrahil gets readied, Hama gets his resource back and when he declares his attack, you get Menedlor's Flight back as well. Rinse and repeat as desired.
Anyway that might be a bit far fetched but it gives you an idea of the sort of thing the Prince can be involved in. Below are some cards which have good synergies.
Boromir (Can raise your threat to ready him)
Elrohir and Elladan (Pay to ready)
Hama (Recycle Menedlor's Flight)
Brok Ironfist (Put him into play when you lose a Dwarf Hero for a double whammy)
Beorning Beekeeper (Discard to damage enemies, desperate measure)
Bofur (Spirit Version - If you quest successfully he goes back to your hand)
Descendent of Thorondor (Even better with Menedlor's Flight or sneak attack)
Dunedain Watcher (Discard to cancel a shadow effect)
Eomund (Ready all Rohan characters when he leaves)
Escort from Edoras (Focus on the quest, knowing that you can clear it and still have Imrahil ready afterwards)
Landroval (Discard to Get a hero back)
The Riddermark's Finest (Discard for 2 progress on a location)
Trollshaw Scout (Attack and discard)
Vassal of the Winglord (Attack and discard)
Watcher of the Bruinen (Defend and discard)
Winged Guardian (Defend and discard)
Born Aloft (Like Menedlor's Flight, consider using with Snowborn Scout or similar)
Cram (Discard to ready)
Horn of Gondor (Gain a resource point whenever a character leaves)
Miruvor (Ready Imrahil again and reusable)
Unexpected Courage (Ready again)
Grave Cairn (Add the attack of a just discarded character to Imrahil for some revenge)
Meneldor's Flight (Return an eagle to your hand)
Rear Guard (Discard a leadership ally for +1 willpower per hero)
Ride to Ruin (Discard a Rohan ally for 3 progress on a location. Combine with SS for 4 progress)
Sneak Attack (You know the drill)
Valiant Sacrifice (Draw two cards when an ally leaves)
I can see some opportunities to make Prince Imrahil into that all rounder that he wants to be. Give him a couple of Dunedain attachments and he can be a force to be reckoned with in questing, attack and defence.