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Wandalf the Gizzard

Heirs of Numenor: Dethroned

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8 minutes ago, Halberto said:

With an Action ability instead of a response it would have made a solid multiplayer card. 

I don't understand why its ability being a Response would be worse than it being an Action, since it being a Response means you can use it also in those steps where you can't play Actions (like an immediate attack during the staging step of the quest phase).

Edited by Alonewolf87

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14 minutes ago, Alonewolf87 said:

I don't understand why its ability being a Response would be worse than it being an Action, since it being a Response means you can use it also in those steps where you can't play Actions (like an immediate attack during the staging step of the quest phase).

Because as an action you could wait until after a shadow card has been flipped to decide whether you want to use the ability. As a response you are locked in beforehand. This action window exists regardless of when the attack occurs.

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I really like Dori with Grimbeorn.  Actually, I think Dori already is a solid multiplayer card.  He can handle some early sentinel defense and after getting banged up can turn half the heroes in existence into solid defenders.  I've played a lot of Dori fellowships, and being able to provide Beregond-level defense without Beregond -- or provide 6 defense out of the gate with Beregond -- shouldn't be underrated.  If Beregond didn't exist, I think Dori would be a very popular multiplayer hero.

Now since Beregond does exist (in two versions, yet) he might still be below average for all heroes, and I don't think he'd be overpowered if he lent his defense for the whole phase, and/or had an action instead of a response and/or was able to help out allies as well as heroes.  And using two heroes for defense hits hard in one-deck solo unless you pair him with Grimbeorn.

I think he's more useful than the post-errata Hama.

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This is my dream version of his ability.

Response: After a hero is declared as a defender, add Dori's defense to the chosen hero's for this attack. Any damage dealt by this attack is assigned to Dori. Limit once per round.

I think allowing the boost to last all round or phase could be abused by stacking readying on your defender. I think the fact that Dori needn't exhaust justifies this. I also didn't want him to help with Battle questing.

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On 1/27/2019 at 1:00 AM, Wandalf the Gizzard said:

After playing each quest multiple times, I was somewhat disappointed. I have a bold statement to make: HEIRS OF NUMENOR IS NOT THAT HARD! I concede that its three quests are much harder than most others that I've played,

*snip*

Or did I just mis-perceive how our fine community looks at this expansion?

So, you concede that the quests are much harder than most others you've played, but you don't think it's that hard?

Yes, I think you've mis-perceived how the community looks at the expansion. Ultimately, a lot of the perception of HoN has been passed on from people who got it when it was new. Viewed in the context of all the quests that exist now its difficulty level isn't so ridiculous, but compared to the two cycles which came before it it was a significant difficulty spike which came as quite a shock. And on top of the increase in difficulty it also turned traditional questing on its head with Battle and Siege, thus invalidating a lot of tried-and-true decks. Some people may have been so put off that they never went back to those quests, in which case the first impression becomes the only impression, while others even if they have revisited the quests may not have done so enough for greater experience to overcome their initial feelings based on that first impression. Hence a lot of the reputation. It doesn't help that the need to handle Battle and Siege questing restricts deck choices or pushes you to custom-building, which further discourages revisiting the quests.
Even on more careful consideration the difficulty of the HoN quests is a bit out of whack - in the first two cycles there were some truly brutal cards but the encounter decks were so bloated that a lot of the time you wouldn't see them, or would see them once in a game, and it'd probably be OK. For HoN the designers had figured out it was better for the encounter decks to be tighter and more consistent, but some of those brutal card designs still remained as vestiges of the old ways (Collateral Damage, Watcher in the Wood, Orc Assault, etc) - only with the decks being more consistent now those brutal cards were much more of a constant problem (at least in multiplayer), which contributes to the feelings of unfairness.
And all this is also precisely why new players are still warned against HoN. If, at the most extreme end, they're coming straight from the Core Set, then they'll have an even worse shock at the difficulty spike (EfDG notwithstanding), and without additional experience of the game they probably won't be able to easily figure out what to do. Also a limited card pool makes all problems in this game harder to solve. While the difficulty is manageable, the skill required to manage it (in both deckbuilding and playing the game) is usually only found in people with enough experience of the game not to be considered 'new' any more.

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Your post got me thinking, @PocketWraith. I think maybe part of the reason I was surprised by the lack of difficulty is that I had braced myself for it. Unlike the community when HoN was released, I anticipated extra difficulty.

I misspoke and exaggerated slightly when I said HoN's quests were "much harder" than the others I've played. My main point was that I understood that they are still difficult quests, even if they aren't nearly as anticipated/as hard for me.

Great point on the encounter decks' consistency and density of stronger cards!

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3 hours ago, Wandalf the Gizzard said:

Your post got me thinking, @PocketWraith. I think maybe part of the reason I was surprised by the lack of difficulty is that I had braced myself for it. Unlike the community when HoN was released, I anticipated extra difficulty.

I misspoke and exaggerated slightly when I said HoN's quests were "much harder" than the others I've played. My main point was that I understood that they are still difficult quests, even if they aren't nearly as anticipated/as hard for me.

Great point on the encounter decks' consistency and density of stronger cards!

Just for the fun of it, give Into Ithilien another try in progression mode with the pre-errata Blocking Wargs. It's definitely beatable, as many here have done it, but I'm just curious to see if your own personal experience would change significantly.  

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9 hours ago, dalestephenson said:

I really like Dori with Grimbeorn.  Actually, I think Dori already is a solid multiplayer card.  He can handle some early sentinel defense and after getting banged up can turn half the heroes in existence into solid defenders.  I've played a lot of Dori fellowships, and being able to provide Beregond-level defense without Beregond -- or provide 6 defense out of the gate with Beregond -- shouldn't be underrated.  If Beregond didn't exist, I think Dori would be a very popular multiplayer hero.

Now since Beregond does exist (in two versions, yet) he might still be below average for all heroes, and I don't think he'd be overpowered if he lent his defense for the whole phase, and/or had an action instead of a response and/or was able to help out allies as well as heroes.  And using two heroes for defense hits hard in one-deck solo unless you pair him with Grimbeorn.

I think he's more useful than the post-errata Hama.

Post errata Hama is really downgraded. I don't see many reason to play him anymore outside thematic deckbuilding. His trait make him below the avg tactic attacker hero and the needed ability don't compensate it anymore. But that's life.

 

I see your point on Dori maimly in 3/4 multiplayer game and especially with boss level enemy early on. But generally speaking there are better option for defence both in sphere and offsphere. Beregond leads the list obviously.

However in specific quest where the "lost" action matters less than the stat boost I see his value. But in most case if you just want to replace him in a deck you can find superior alternatives. More so in solo or 2 players game. 

But I agree that when you try him  you realize he is better of what he is generally credit of.

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Beregond is better, flat out.  By himself he provides rock solid defense and a single Gondorian Shield gets him to six.  He costs the same as Dori, but Dori needs another hero's help to provide Beregond-level potential.  It's no wonder Dori is unpopular.

Behind Beregond is a host of 3 or 2 defense heroes that can provide Beregond-level defense with the right attachments -- or with Dori's help.  Unlike an attachment, you can guarantee 4-5 defense with dozens of heroes, when combined with Dori.  Some of these heroes want to defend, so having Dori around enables them to do that safely, even against big hitters, from turn one if necessary.

Dori's not really a defensive option per-se, although he has sentinel and can take some emergency defenses.  He's more of a living, transferrable, +2 defense exhausting attachment that doesn't take a restricted spot and is always in your starting hand (and can be readied).  With only three hero slots, that's a hard luxury to afford.  With six heroes, I think it opens up a *lot* of heroes as dedicated defenders.  With 3-4 players it's very likely he'll be useful.

In the role as living attachment, he has no hero peers [except Galadriel w. Nenya, though willpower is linear, unlike defense].  Other defensive options in Tactics aren't really competing with Dori, because they don't do they same thing -- and they can't compete with Beregond defensively either unless they have Dori's help.  Beregond aside, there's only three Tactics heroes who have abilities related to defense, Beorn, Grimbeorn, and Na'asiyah.  Beorn unfortunately can't use Dori, which is too bad because no hero needs him more.  Grimbeorn works beautifully with Dori, allowing him to defend for five and attack for effective five, for the cost of a resource.  Dori can pump up Na'asiyah to 4, saving her a resource.  (In addition, Theoden is sentinel, but with 2 def, 3 wp, and 3 attack is using his weakest stat to defend.  Dori makes him a 4/4 sentinel defender.)

Consider this -- there's two allies that can boost your defense, Arwen (+1/sentinel) and Rosie (+2 defense without wp boost, restricted to Hobbit heroes).  Those are arguably the two best allies in the game.

Edited by dalestephenson

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Rosie and Arwen are powerful because they contribute to both questing and defence. (They would both be solid without boosting defence.) 

A 10 threat hero compares unfavorably to 2-cost ally, even a good 2-cost ally, is not exactly a strong recommendation. 

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Rosie and Arwen are good value questing allies at 2 wp for 2 cost, but there's quite a few allies that can do that, especially in spirit (Arwen's sphere).  What makes Arwen so special is her defensive buff.  On Rosie's side, the ability to add her willpower *after* staging is what makes her special, much more than adding two marginal willpower, but that only has value because of her ability to buff combat instead.

I'll admit that Rosie's ability compares favorably to Dori's *if* you have Hobbit heroes used in combat. But there's no shortage of 2-cost ally abilities that would be better than the abilities some heroes actually have, and no shortage of heroes that routinely quest or attack for 2 just like some 2-cost ally does.  If a treachery forces you to discard a character, you aren't going to toss Dori to keep Rosie or Arwen-ally around.  1/2/2/5 isn't my favorite stat distribution for a defender, but the fact that Dori *can* defend on his own and survive, unlike Rosie and Arwen, is certainly worth something.  So is the fact that Arwen's defensive boost can't be bumped at all, Rosie's is difficult to boost, and Dori's is easy to boost.

I missed another ally buffer; Kahliel's tribesman exhausts to give another Harad character +1/+1/+1.

I really wish Dori's ability could contribute the defense for the whole phase, rather than being tied to a specific attack.  I don't think he would be overpowered with that change.  But if you haven't tried him, he's easy to underrate.

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13 minutes ago, dalestephenson said:

If a treachery forces you to discard a character, you aren't going to toss Dori to keep Rosie or Arwen-ally around

I think I would pitch Dori 100% of the time before I would pitch a sword-thain Rosie or Arwen...

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19 minutes ago, dalestephenson said:

I really wish Dori's ability could contribute the defense for the whole phase, rather than being tied to a specific attack.

I really hope Spirit Dori's ability will be "exhaust Dori to cancel X damage, where X is equal to Dori's defence"

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A sword-thained Rosie or Arwen is now a hero, not an ally (and no longer just 2 resources in cost).  There's a lot of sword-thained allies that could potentially be more valuable than the heroes they came with.  However, I certainly wouldn't take either, when sword-thained, over Dori 100% of the time -- just sphere considerations alone could dictate a different choice.  Rosie's more likely to be picked over a starting hero, since the whole point of sword-thaining her is to buff her willpower and give her readying effects.  Arwen doesn't really benefit from being a hero like Rosie would.

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11 minutes ago, dalestephenson said:

A sword-thained Rosie or Arwen is now a hero, not an ally (and no longer just 2 resources in cost)

Yes... But it's a meaningless comparison otherwise, the resource generation is the deciding factor not the other ability.

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Fair enough.  But part of the reason that Arwen and Rosie are so awesome is because they are 2 resources in cost.  So let's look at it the other way:

Suppose Dori with his 1/2/2/5 stats and his exact same ability were in form of a 2-cost tactics ally.  Would Arwen and Rosie be "better"?  I think you'd find Dori would be *way* more popular and would be considered ridiculously overpowered.

Suppose 2/0/0/2 Rosie and 2/0/1/2 Arwen with their amazing abilites were 10-threat heroes.  Would Arwen and Rosie be considered "better" than Dori?  Both would be considered hideously overpriced for what they provide, and Rosie's high threat works directly against the Hobbit decks she wants to be in.

Suppose 2/0/0/2 Rosie and 2/0/1/2 Arwen with their amazing abilities were 4-threat and 5-threat heroes.  I think they would be *much* more popular than Dori.

You can't remove the cost from the equation.  Arwen and Rosie are popular, Dori is not.  But that's *because* they are 2-cost allies instead of 10-threat heroes.  If you take out cost considerations, I question whether they really are better, even though Rosie's ability itself is more powerful.

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Cost / treath and card tape (hero/ally) cannot be left outside the evaluation.

Sure, the ability can be rated in itself but in the real game life experience those elememts are pivotal in defining which cards end up being  played. 

Still Dori in some circumstances can be a real toolkit hero to solve the puzzle posed by some specific quests 

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6 hours ago, dalestephenson said:

Suppose Dori with his 1/2/2/5 stats and his exact same ability were in form of a 2-cost tactics ally.  Would Arwen and Rosie be "better"?  I think you'd find Dori would be *way* more popular and would be considered ridiculously overpowered.

I think you are just confusing yourself now ... if there was a 2 cost ally with 1-2-2-5 stats, that'd be an awesome ally - WITHOUT considering his ability - that's not a useful thing to consider when trying to evaluate how good the ability is.

If there was an Arwen hero with the same stats/threat as the existing Arwen hero, but with her ally skill, I think she'd still see a LOT of play, (which is saying a lot, since Arwen is among the best hero's in the game.)
(Rosie is already very powerful with sword thane; giving her hero status out of the box would be very popular.)

The real failure of Dori is that there is no synergy in his abilities. You have to hold him - and someone else - back if you are going to defend. If you are using him to boost, you aren't defending with him... so his stats are a waste.  Arwyn/Rosie both help you quest or defend (or in Rosie's case: attack). No matter what you do with Dori - you are wasting his ability or some of his stats.

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Abilities don't exist in a vacuum.  I wasn't pushing back against the idea that Rosie's *ability* isn't better than Dori's.  Certainly Rosie's ability is better than Dori's assuming Hobbit Heroes are involved in combat, it's considerably more flexible and lasts for the whole round.  But that's not the same as Rosie being better *as a character* than Dori.  Rosie's got her ability, and it's a really terrific ability.  But when she's not using her ability she's a 2 wp quester, and 2/0/0/2 has less value than 1/2/2/5 sentinel.  Yes, if a 2-cost ally is more valuable than a hero, that says bad things about the hero.  But they aren't, even though there's a lot of allies that have abilities that would be *really powerful* if they were on heroes instead.  Think of Guardian of Esgaroth or North Realm Lookout powers on a hero.

Yes, Arwen with her hero stats and her ally ability would be very powerful and popular.  It's a terrific ability.  But with ally ability and ally stats, she wouldn't be popular at ten threat, and if you're claiming that Arwen + Sword Thain is better than Dori 100% of the time, I disagree.  Rosie as a hobbit hero with the same ability would be very popular, but ten threat would take a lot of the attraction away.

Dori's a 1-wp hero without a questing-related ability.  Reserving him for combat isn't wasting him, it's the natural fate of combat-related hero.  But if you have combat, it's unlikely to be wasted.  He can defend across the table, he can help another hero defend anywhere on the table, and he can attack if he's not needed for defense.  Of all the 2-defense heroes in the game, Dori is the one hero who's *least* likely to waste that stat, because he can still put it to use when he's too banged up to keep defending himself.  And he can keep other 2/3 defense heroes in the defensive game far longer.

I really think Dori's ability should have been better, but the flaw in Dori isn't that his ability is bad or useless.  He's got extraordinary flexibility, and in quests with boss fights (a large chunk of them) he gets you to tower defense much faster.  The big problem is Beregond providing 4 defense for the same threat cost, 6 defense with a single 1-cost attachment.  You don't need to use two hero actions to set some up 4+ defense because Beregond will do it himself.  If Beregond (and now Spirit Dain) didn't exist, I think you'd see a lot of Dori fans, because strong hero defense out of the gate is really, really useful in helping you build your board state.

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Another thing to consider is that a lot of us play primarily in solo, and cards that work best in multiplayer often get overlooked in that context. I think Dori falls into that category.

When I build a solo deck, I often break it down into 3 things:

1. How will I quest successfully? 

2. How will I handle enemy attacks?

3. How will I clear enemies from the board?

Dori is clearly meant to help solve #2, but he can't do it by himself. Furthermore, if I'm planning to use Dori effectively, my answer for #2 is almost certainly "a hero defender other than Dori". That locks down 2 of my 3 hero choices just answering question #2, leaving me with only one hero slot remaining to answer questions #1 and #3.

That doesn't mean that you can't do it, of course. Grimbeorn is pretty compelling since he answers #3 as well, leaving your final hero slot to help you answer question #1 (although you'd still have to get clever with your questing in a majority Tactics deck, but I digress). 

Anyway, my point is that Dori is pretty difficult to build around in a solo environment, which is likely to hamper his reputation even further. See also: Tactics Brand Son of Bain. 

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Brand, Bilbo and Dori rocking and wrecking their way through Rhovanion? 

The deck you want to see someone else at the table play? Or if you see that do you groan and quietly put the nightmare cards back into the box?

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I don't play nightmare, which may skew my perceptions, but it very much depends on what deck I'm running.  Do I have a potential hero defender for Dori to buff?  Do I have a character I want Brand to be readying?

One of my earliest Dori fellowships had both Brand and Dori (of course) in it, Dori and the Rings:

https://ringsdb.com/fellowship/view/113

Dori, TaBrand, TaLegolas were on one side in a mono-tactics deck that didn't really want to engage enemies, with Gandalf/Galadriel/Elrond on the other side.  With those three there's practically always someone worth readying with Brand; Elrond to use Vilya, Galadriel to use her power, Gandalf to use Word of Command.  Gandalf and Elrond are both potential targets for Burning Branch and first class defenders with Dori's help.  Subbing in Bilbo for Legolas gives me less initial killing power, but also gives my Three Rings deck more card draw.  Yes, I'd be happy to see that lineup on the other side of the table if I'm running three rings.

On the other hand, if I'm bringing my Beorn's Path descendant deck of SpEowyn/Thalin/TaGimli, seeing Dori/Bilbo/Brand on the other side of the table doesn't do much for me.  Unless there's multiple enemies out, Brand's ability doesn't help me much, and while TaGimli could be a good defender with Dori's help, I really want him killing things instead.  Getting more cards with Bilbo would be welcome, though.

The main issue is that in multiplayer, you'd typically rather see Beregond to do defending for you rather than Dori to help you defend.  OTOH, if I'm running Spirit Beregond, having Dori around as a back up defender or (if not needed for an extra defense) someone who can make sure my ability triggers wouldn't be a bad thing.  There's a number of quests that having Beregond + Dori on turn one can make much easier.

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21 hours ago, dalestephenson said:

So is the fact that Arwen's defensive boost can't be bumped at all, Rosie's is difficult to boost, and Dori's is easy to boost.

Unless I am missing something, Arwen's ability does stack. So with cards like Spare Hood and Cloak, Elwing's Flight, Tale of Tinúviel, To Arms! (all Spirit), Grim Resolve, Ever Vigilant, A Very Good Tale or Strength of Arms (all Leadership) you can ready her and exhaust again. Just be sure to not give her Valiant Determination.

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