Welcome to Volume Two of my Unsung Heroes of Middle Earth series. Today's article will be looking at Glorfindel, the elven lord of legend.
Available from the word go in the core set, (Lore) Glorfindel offers strong questing and attacking abilities with 5 hit points and a total of 12 threat. Like Prince Imrahil, this makes him a typical balanced hero. Thematically, his healing ability can feel slightly disappointing for a hero who famously slew a balrog. He is portrayed in this case, more as the Glorfindel who delivers Frodo to Rivendell. With the release of Foundations of Stone, we were presented with a Spirit version boasting a powerful low threat value and a cheap card (Light of Valinor) to off-set his disadvantage. This, with the reduction in usefulness of healing as the game has progressed has tended to render Lorefindel less useful.
So let's look at the details. For 1 resource per turn, you can heal 1 damage from any character. The good thing about this ability is that, unlike many others, Glorfindel doesn't need to exhaust in order to use it. This leaves him free to commit to another action without wondering whether he'll be needed in the healing department. The downside is the cost of 1 resource token to recover a fairly meagre 1 damage. Since lore is the sphere focused around healing, he could potentially put his tokens to better use with a card like Warden of Healing. Simply save two tokens and bring in the warden who can then heal not just 1, but 2 characters and for free every turn.
So how can we get more out of Glorfindel and find a good use for his abilities that render him more useful than his alter ego? A great choice is to pick Elrond as one of your heroes. With his passive ability to boost all healing by 1, he doubles the effectiveness of Glorfindel's ability and can really make that resource token feel worth spending. Thematically, it's also great fun to be in control of a couple of Elven lords. With Elrond's high defence, he's the perfect partner to work with Glorfindel's weakness in that area. The downside is their combined threat cost of 25, as high as 3 heroes might give in many spirit heavy decks. So what are your options? Another Lore hero seems redundant and the cheap ones don't have an obvious role with these two. Spirit is a good option to open up some very nice cards like Light of Valinor and Elrond's Counsel. Eleanor comes in at a nice 7 threat and gives you the chance to cancel those nasty treachery cards from the word go. Dwalin or Nori can work well in a dwarf focused deck (though really, you'd be mad to use Elrond and Glorfindel over Dain in that set up) and Eowyn gives strong questing power from the word go. Leadership is also an interesting option to think of with potential to use Gloin and find a use for Glorfindel's healing. Finally tactics can make for a powerful deck to blitz through quests. Consider Hama and eagles for event recycling and the fact that Elrond could give a bonus to Radagast's healing power as well as sharing the cost of eagle allies.
Personally, I think a great advantage of Lore Glorfindel over Spirit Glorfindel is starting with a bonus rather than a disadvantage. Spirit Glorfindel needs to find Light of Valinor before you feel entirely comfortable questing with him, Lore Glorfindel can quest immediately and also start spreading the healing if things go badly in the early turns. Combined with someone like Eleanor, you can feel pretty confident about dealing with whatever comes out of the encounter deck. Then, as the game progresses you can add in things like Asfaloth to really make him shine.
Below is a summary of useful cards with synergies.
Elrond (Boost his healing)
Gloin (Pair up for resource factory)
Asfaloth (Very strong location clearing ability – made for Glorfindel)
Light of Valinor (No exhaust to quest, allowing use of his attack skill as well)
Resourcefulness (Spare tokens for healing)
Rivendell Blade (Use on a Noldor)
Rivendell Bow (Use on a Noldor)
Steward of Gondor (Extra generation to spend on healing)
Elrond's Counsel (Powerful threat reduction for Noldor characters)
Ultimately, it is very difficult to make a case for Lore over Spirit when it comes to Glorfindel, but hopefully this gives you some ideas about where he might be the better choice and possible deck building around him where you have a starting set-up that's ready for anything the game throws at you.