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Durins_Father

2019 Hero's Tournament!

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I voted for Tactics Legolas, as I think there is a lot to be said for reasonably low threat specialized heroes. Due to his fairly low threat 9, his specialized nature with 3 attack and few wasted stats, his sphere and trait combination granting easy access to excellent weapons, and his ranged keyword, Legolas can slot into a lot of different decks and always pull his weight. 

Thurindir is a hero I have been playing with more frequently lately and I have to say that he has become one of my favorites - his ability to start with any side quest is actually pretty amazing... even if Gather Information is the only side quest you include, it makes him a low threat 3 willpower hero and gets you that essential card early, really opening up deck building options. If you include additional side quests, his ability essentially allows you to tech against the scenario. Lots of threat increases? Find Double Back. Lots of minor enemies? Get the tactics quest that reduces non-unique enemies attack by 1. I like him quite a bit more than Gandalf, and am sad he is currently loosing a fairly lopsided vote.

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My final 16 prediction is:

 

Radagast - new, Eagles are awesome and one of the Istari.

 

Beregond (T) - King of defense

 

Galadriel - Amazing with her husband or on her own the true white queen. 

 

Elrond - Vilya aside Elrond can work in any deck and the boost to healing of any type is unmatched.

 

Eowyn (T) - move aside Glorfindel there is a new efficient hero on the block.

 

Dain (L) - long live the king of the Dwarves 

 

Gandalf - Istari, different play style entirely and the most beloved character by many

 

Saruman - the new hotness, one of the most requested heroes ever and as Grima has shown it's cool to be bad sometimes

 

Aragorn (L) of his three incarnations I believe this one is the strongest for it's amazing effect and it helps being in the best sphere.

 

Legolas (T) - only hero in the game that can sneak through quests whenever he wants, always been a game changer

 

Arwen - Super efficient and powerful 

 

Sam Gamgee - always trustworthy and strong of heart I believe he'll make it to the final.

 

 

 

I thknk Boromir (T), Hama and Caldera would also be up there if not for silly errata as well.

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I definitely prefer "favorite hero" over "best hero" for these types of polls. Favorite leaves so much more room for discussion of how fun, thematic, and unique a hero might be, rather than just how likely they are to carry you through a quest. When I pick my favorite and least favorite heroes, I don't really have a clear and consistent system, but there are some patterns that arise. 

My least favorite heroes often have at least one, or a mixture, of these features: 

  1. Heroes that encourage ally swarm decks: Bombur, Le Boromir, Caldara, Le Dain, Hirluin, Oin, Ori, Le Thorin
  2. Heroes with weak or restrictive abilities: Bombur, Caldara, Dori, Dwalin, Elladan, Elrohir, Lo Glorfindel, Mirlonde, Lo Faramir, Fatty, Na'aasiyah, S Pippin, Rossiel, T Theoden
  3. Heroes that are more suited for single-player: Lo Bilbo, Lo Denethor, Grima
  4. Heroes that are overpowered in a passive way: Le Dain, S Glorfindel
  5. Heroes with limited traits: Bard the Bowman, Lo Bilbo, Bombur, Le Dain, Hirluin, Oin, Ori, Dori, Dwalin, Mirlonde, Fatty, Na'aasiyah, S Pippin, Quickbeam, Rossiel, Treebeard

I'm sure you'll notice how totally subjective and inconsistent some of my picks are. I grant you that, but I can explain some of them:

  1. I simply do not enjoy the Dwarf or Gondor ally swarm play-style. Except for a few select quests, I prefer to control under 10 characters.  I've also always disliked it when I have way more allies than there are enemies in the encounter deck. Defending with one character, then attacking with 10 has never felt right to me. Caldara's spirit ally resurrection play-style is far more dynamic and relies on more powerful allies, but I never liked the mono-spirit restriction or how samey her decks felt after a few games. If you hate Outlands, we agree; if you don't, Hirluin is your man! Arguably, Le Brand should be here, and that might be the case once I get tired of Dale ally decks. For the moment, I find arming and readying allies to be more fun than multiplying them. 
  2. Weaker heroes can be fun, but not when they're this limited or bland. Bombur is a thematic triumph, but only exists to support an archtype I've grown to dislike. Dori (I'm sorry Durins_Father) could have had one of my favorite hero abilities if the timing of the action was tweaked or if he worked with allies; I truly love what Dori could have been. Dwalin has poor stats and only works in some quests. Elladan and Elrohir are certainly not weak, but they are a resource hungry package deal that limits deck options. Lo Glorfindel is nearly one of my favorite heroes because of nostalgia, but the only way I enjoy him is when he's being carried by Elrond. Lo Faramir is a hero I want to love but can't; I've run into the wall over and over trying to make him work, and at best he is just fine in certain quests. With all the amazing hobbit heroes, I simply don't have time to bother with Fatty and S Pippin. Na'aasiyah is another hero I want to make work, but I don't enjoy her resource hungry ability. Rossiel isn't incredibly restrictive, but I haven't had the patience for Victory Display shenanigans, and her ability is unreliable in many quests. Caldara, Mirlonde, and T Theoden basically demand mono-sphere decks, which aren't my favorites. 
  3. I nearly always play two player.
  4. I hate Spirit Glorfindel's design, as I'm sure many people do. It remains one of the strangest balance departures in the entire card-pool. And worst of all, the ability (if you can call it that) is really boring. 
  5. Poor Bard the Bowman is the only Esgaroth character, lacks the useful Dale trait, and occupies a really awkward thematic position since he'd be dead in any timeline well before most of the quests take place. The weak dwarves, hobbits, and silvans aren't weak due to their single traits, but that limitation certainly doesn't help them. Le Dain should be a noble, Dori should be a warrior, Mirlonde should be a ranger or scout, and Rossiel should be a scout. I included Quickbeam and Treebeard here simply because I'm not fond of Ent decks... not much else I can say there. 

My favorite heroes are harder to categorize. Some enable deck types or play-styles that no other hero can match. Some are jack of all trades or fit into nearly any deck. Some encourage getting multiple uses out of them and playing with low character counts. Some are just cool or thematic enough that I can't help but include them in decks. I tend to think of my favorites by sphere: 

LEADERSHIP

  1. Sam Gamgee: His stats kick ***, and building them higher is a blast. Innate readying is so much fun, especially when the trigger is engaging an enemy. He is incredible in hobbit decks, but doesn't need to be kept in the Shire. Rangers and Dunedain love him. He comes with a free pony. He's Samwise Gamgee, and he just feels right.
  2. Elfhelm: I love the way mounts empower heroes, and Elfhelm really gives the archetype a much-needed boost. Part of me wishes he was a Spirit hero, but I still think he's wonderful as is. He certainly isn't among the most powerful heroes, but I always smile when all six of the heroes on the board are mounted up and riding off on a quest. 
  3. Amarthiul: I really dig his combat focused stats and ability. His low health isn't great, but I've found it strangely fun to work around that weakness. His amazing traits, icon flexibility, and resource gain really boost aggressive decks. 
  4. Denethor: I don't use Steward of Gondor, and so I really appreciate heroes that give you an early resource bump. Couple that with low threat, high defense, and resource smoothing and you've got one of the strongest and most versatile backbone heroes in the game.
  5. Celeborn: Solid stats all around, and an ability that greatly enhances the dynamic Silvan archetype. Whereas I tend to dislike wide boards with lots of static allies, I love the guerrilla play style of Silvan decks. 


LORE

  1. Aragorn: I love to run with a high starting threat, and bringing Aragorn is one of the best ways to enable that. Even better, he comes with great stats, traits, toys, and sentinel. This will always be my favorite Aragorn, and among my all time favorite heroes. 
  2. Erestor: Created an entirely unique deck-type that is a joy to play. 
  3. Pippin: Like with Sam, its such a great feeling to be rewarded for engaging an enemy... for being brave. Pippin is probably even more splashable than Sam, and he brings you almost everything you could want from Lore: card draw, enemy management, willpower, hobbit tech, and low threat. The gap between this version and the other is the widest in the entire game.
  4. Haldir: Killing a ravenous warg with a terrible shadow card before it has a chance to strike remains one of my greatest joys in this game. Ranged characters are great in general, but Haldir is a true sniper. 
  5. Thurindir: Sidequests have added such a cool new dimension to the game, and Thurindir makes them a reliable part of your deck. Couple that with low threat, efficient stats, and great traits. The only reason I don't put him higher is that side-quests don't work well with many older scenarios and also clash with some of the newer ones. 
  6. Honorable mention to Damrod, Folco, Bifur, Haldan, Elrond. These guys might cycle into my favorites list from time to time. 

SPIRIT

  1. Cirdan: I believe he's my favorite hero in the entire game, and certainly my favorite spirit hero... which I never would have guessed. Amazing stats and traits. An ability that essentially thins your deck, and with a drawback that's easy to turn into a benefit. I love running unique cards, but hate when they clog up my hand. With Cirdan around, that rarely happens. He fits into many decks, and sings in a Noldor deck. But most importantly, he can use Narya, and unlike Gandalf, Cirdan has no ally version to compete with. His greatest flaw is that he doesn't have a full-art alternate card yet. 
  2. Idraen: I feel insane putting Idraen higher than Arwen or Galadriel, but I'm really fond of heroes with innate readying that triggers reliably. I also love her stats, her art, and her general vibe. I don't think she's particularly powerful, but she was in a ton of my favorite decks and beat some of my favorite quests. I'm also biased towards all the FFG original Dunedain heroes because they, like Aragorn, fit so well into every scenario. 
  3. Arwen: No argument to make here. She's amazing and efficient. Gorgeous art and solid theme. 
  4. Galadriel: While I don't love having to rely on Nenya to make Galadriel truly shine, the truth is that she's fine without it. Her ability is just so insanely good that she doesn't even need to have willpower to justify her inclusion. 
  5. Undecided between Dain, Eowyn, Frodo, and Theoden: I really dislike about one half the Spirit heroes, and really like the other half. The sphere contains my favorite and least favorite heroes in the game. Dain is the type of dwarf hero I love, because he incorporates dwarf archetypes without demanding to be in a dwarf deck. Eowyn has been solid forever, but the shine is off her a bit since her Tactics version arrived. Frodo has such a unique and useful ability, and his art is among my all time favorites. Santa Theoden empowers my beloved but oft struggling Rohirrim. 

TACTICS

  1. Mablung: As with Sam and Pippin, I really get a kick out of being rewarded for engaging enemies. Mablung is a resource making machine. It's not terribly hard to get 3-4 resources out of his ability per round, but even 1 is great. Well rounded stats and good traits let Mablung fill in as needed. He's useful in anything from mono-tactics to tri-sphere. As long as you find a way to draw cards, Mablung will make sure you can pay for them. If only he was an honorary Dunedain... 
  2. Beorn: The big bear is such an unusual and restrictive hero. Playing with him feels akin to running a contract that buffs one hero immensely, but blanks them. The key to Beorn is figuring out the right tempo to use him. Will you engage everyone you can as early as possible and let them stab at the bear until he's down to one hitpoint? Will you only defend the weakest enemies, and rely on attack reduction and shadow control to keep Beorn in tiptop shape? Even though he is an incredibly restrictive hero in many ways, I've found myself putting Beorn in all sorts of decks. He's risky but exhilarating. 
  3. Aragorn: With Mablung at number 1, it's no wonder that Aragorn is along for the ride. I like engaging enemies, and I like doing it during unusual windows. Add in the defense reduction and you've got a premium killer on your hands. I still prefer Lore Aragorn, but they did such a good job making each version feel unique while still portraying some key aspect of the character. 
  4. Legolas: Like Tactics Aragorn's engagement timing, I love Legolas' ability to clear the active location or advance the quest at unusual times. There really is no hero like him. For such an efficient and reliable killer, Legolas is a deceptively weird and dynamic card. And that art is among my favorite depictions of Legolas. 
  5. Undecided between Beregond, Boromir, and Eowyn. Beregond is a tank, Boromir is a machine, and Eowyn is a god. All very powerful and fun, but somehow not higher at this moment. Ask me tomorrow and I'll have changed my mind. 


GANDALF

  1. Gandalf: Because of everything about him. The only knocks against him are his amazing allies, his hunger for deck space, and that he might be overly strong in some cases. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Wandalf the Gizzard said:

What do you guys think? How strong of a correlation is there between your favorite heroes, and the most powerful ones?

I think it's somewhat correlated, maybe 70%. Too me obviously the weaker heroes don't get played as much because this game is pretty hard and you need right deck-building most times. But also what people value as their favorite could also be connected to their favorite heroes or playstyle. Example I was never much into Radagast and the hobbit movies didn't help but I love Eagles and he makes them amazing. So he jumped onto my favorites list. On that list is Legolas and Boromir because of the books/movies and even if their cards aren't as good (Le Boromir and Sp Legolas) I still like all their hero versions more than the standard power characters. Like not being a Dwarf fan I don't care about any of their characters even though many are quite powerful. So to me power is related to favorite but it's definitely secondary to how much I enjoy the playstyle they are creating or the lore of the character.

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4 hours ago, Wandalf the Gizzard said:

What do you guys think? How strong of a correlation is there between your favorite heroes, and the most powerful ones?

There's definitely some correlation for me, but not direct causation. My favourite heroes tend to be based on how fun they are to play and how interesting their abilities are to play with or build around - interesting abilities often enable more options, and with the breadth of the card pool at this point more options often translates to more power; and using more powerful heroes often makes it easier to do interesting and fun things, so I like those heroes perhaps less for themselves but more for the kind of things they can enable.

But then less powerful heroes also sometimes have interesting and fun abilities, so my favourites can be spread across the spectrum of power (of course this also helps my view of those heroes who are just straightforwardly powerful and help to enable these fun strategies)

Edited by PocketWraith

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Part of it has to do with how many games I've played (dear god, so many...) and the size of my card pool. In the early days, I relied on the likes of Dain, Arwen, and Glorfindel to have a decent shot at the harder quests, but as my options grew I felt more confident in trialing less powerful heroes. At the same time, I got tired of some of the old stalwarts, whose effects - as has been mentioned - are often passive and not particularly interesting. Now, I tend to get the most enjoyment from heroes who offer specialized deck-building possibilities or synergize with less frequently used cards and archetypes: Folco, Haldan, Spirit Dain, Damrod, Tom Cotton, etc. The game has done a great job in these last two expansions (after what I considered a lackluster Harad cycle) in opening up new playstyles.

I do think Tactics Eowyn has a good chance at coming out on top because she's the best combination of powerful yet still interesting, and she ticks so many boxes: strong theme, great art, low threat, efficient stats, top questing (in tactics no less), and with an ability that's not only strong but also flexible (save it for a boss, use it in an emergency, or get a handle on the game early).

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Round 2 is over, you can now vote for round three here: https://challonge.com/LOTRLCGHero2019

Some interesting results:

* Sam Gamgee vs Cirdan the Shipwright was a tie
* Thalin vs Rossiel was a tie

Biggest losers of this round were Caldara (7% vs Galadriel), Spirit Pippin (5% vs Thranduil), and Fatty Bolger ( 3% vs Thorin Oakenshield)
So not much love for those Spirit heroes, but perhaps they can redeem themselves in the next round! Vote now.

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Wow some hard choices this time, Boromir versus Treebeard, Grima and Gandalf, Cirdan and Saruman, and the hardest choice my wife's favorite Prince Imrahil versus Eleanor (she trumped my vote haha)

 

Caldera might get a win! 

 

Also hilarious that Frodo and Smeagol from the same pack are fighting it out over the One Ring hahaha.

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There is so many heroes I have never played... When I have to choose between two of them, I asked myself "If I have to play with one of them, who would I choose ?".

But who is lothiriel ? I don't find that card on ringsdb or carddb.

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6 hours ago, Miceldars said:

But who is lothiriel ? I don't find that card on ringsdb or carddb.

The new hero for The City of Ulfast, you can find her on Hall of Beorn. In the books she is Imrahil's daughter ( a fact you can see reflected in her ability which is quite similar to her father's Tactics version) and after the War of the Ring she becomes Eomer wife (once again a fact you can see reflected in her gaining the Rohan trait when Eomer is in play).

Edited by Alonewolf87

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image.thumb.png.78cb1c4931c99abb744557408b80ddc4.png

This is your top 16 as of Round 3. But many heroes still have a chance of catching up. Round 4 is now available to vote on.

We had one tie in this round, Haldir vs Spirit Glorfindel. Other than that, I noticed that most matches are no longer as clear cut as they used to be. Many heroes only win by a margin of less than 10%.
One of the worst losers (besides Spirit Pippin) was Leadership Gimli, who lost 6% vs 94% against Sam. 
As for the battle between resources and card draw (Leadership Denethor vs Erestor), Erestor narrowly beat Denethor.
Hope to see some nice results for round 4 within a few days!

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3 hours ago, Amicus Draconis said:

Why is Spirit Legolas below Dori, eben though he has more votes?

It looks like the second to right column is a measure of "opponent score", which is a common tie-breaker in swiss pairings. In other words, the heroes that Dori has lost against on average have a higher score than those that Legolas has lost against and point difference is only a tie-breaker after that.

By the end of the swiss rounds a few of top 16 heroes will likely be decided based on this metric

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On 11/27/2019 at 9:19 AM, Calyx said:

I voted for Tactics Legolas, as I think there is a lot to be said for reasonably low threat specialized heroes.

This is the reason why I've always liked Balin and Bifur. They're fairly low threat, decent stat lines (2 wp), and have highly splashable utility abilities that can benefit a range of decks. I think it's a shame that they're both standing in the bottom quartile.

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26 minutes ago, Kjeld said:

This is the reason why I've always liked Balin and Bifur. They're fairly low threat, decent stat lines (2 wp), and have highly splashable utility abilities that can benefit a range of decks. I think it's a shame that they're both standing in the bottom quartile.

I agree that Balin and especially Bifur are much better heroes than their performance in this tournament so far would imply - though they both have had the misfortune of going up against a version of Eowyn, which would be a rough matchup for any hero. I'd put Balin and Bifur solidly in the middle of the pack, but both are currently in the bottom quarter. This is way too low for how useful they can be.

Having said that, I don't think they are comparable to Legolas. Balin and Bifur are, as you say, highly splashable utility heroes - you include them for their sphere, their low threat, and their abilities. You use Legolas for his low threat and his stats - the ability is just a bonus.

How much better would Balin and Bifur be if they had three willpower and only one defense?

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2 hours ago, Calyx said:

How much better would Balin and Bifur be if they had three willpower and only one defense?

I mean, 3 wp would be amazing... but probably OP for Bifur, whose stats are just fine for his 7 threat (though it'd be nicer to have 2 att rather than 2 def). Balin at least has 4 hit points to go with his 2 def, meaning he can survive a medium sized enemy in a pinch, which isn't useless.

I wonder if they're bigger problem is that they don't have much direct/specialized synergy with popular contemporary archetypes. Both are great utility heroes, but only synergize specifically with dwarf swarm or attachment decks, neither of which are hugely popular (and have arguably better hero choices). I think that both heroes, especially Balin, get better in multiplayer, which may also hurt their chances in this competition. It may also be that dwarves just aren't in vogue today.

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