It's funny to see how some of the cards that are removed to achieve easy mode are the 'iconic' cards of that expansion/encounter set.
Chieftain Ufthak, Marsh Adder, Hummerhorn, majority of Hunters from Mordor, most of trechery from Rhosgobel, Mumakil, Old Tomnnody, etc.
But it's always good to have more option to play.
I don't think Easy Mode is cheating, especially since it is an official variant posted by the developers,
and I could actually see myself using this mode.
Play standard mode when playing a new quest,
Play nightmare mode when playing with a finely-tuned cutting-edge deck,
Play easy mode when playing a Cycle of quests using thematic decks.
Edit: Just realized I didin't explain why I think easy mode is 'legetimate' way to play.
I would probably dismiss this easy mode as 'cheating' as well if it was fanmade variant.
Only reason I would consider it otherwise and actually give it a try myself is that it came from the developers,
and even then I might have dismissed the easy mode as 'temporary fix' to quiet the increasing complaints about difficulty.
But Caleb and other developers are doing such a good job with LotRLCG that I am trusting this easy mode is a 'balanced' way of reducing difficulty to enable players to try out thematic decks… and I've been playing without Denethor for too long.