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EBerling

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This pack looks incredible! Pipes, Hobbits, Eagles... So many uses for that contract too. Someone's already brewing a Hobbit deck with Rosie that's for sure.

Love that Gwaihir attempts to make some of those terrible Eagle events into playable cards too!

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My thoughts:

Gwaihir is a powerful and well-rounded hero, but not readying in the refresh phase is a massive limitation that Eagles coming and going are not adequate compensation for.  I'm surprised he doesn't get a threat discount, especially with his threat so high.  The only bit of compensation is that with Radagast you can play Gwaihir's Debt out of the gate and (with Wizard Pipe) have Gwaihir exploit the heck out of core Gandalf.  Gwaihir/Hama/Radagast Eagle deck....

I don't usually pay much mind to encounter cards, but Ulwarth looks badly designed to me -- his existence will preclude a fair number of decks from being able to attempt the quest.

I like Eagle Emissary, it will be a nice boon for Eagles decks and another great way to boost Misty.

Wilyador as the first neutral Eagle I wasn't expecting, the low cost and maintenance from *anybody* makes him pretty splashable, I think.

Dale Messenger has a lot of healing potential in a Dale deck, but strikes me as a sideboard card for such decks.  The flavor text is odd -- the messengers that came to King Brand were from *Mordor*.

Spare Pipe isn't terribly useful on its face, but a pipe that can go on anyone could come in handy in a Pipes deck.

Messenger of the King is the most intriguing contract yet -- so many possibilities!  Treebeard and Radagast allies unfortunately off the table, but this card adds *dozens* of low-threat (if fragile) heroes to the game.  Now the twins come in all spheres!  I also like the idea of Tactics Pippin, Halbarad, Forlong, the three Haradrim, Galdor, Erestor, Gimli, Legolas, Rosie etc.  If you don't need Sentinel/Ranged, I think using this contract with the Gwaihir ally may be better than using the actual new Gwaihir hero.

Edit: Put Hama in the Eagles deck, since Gwaihir's Debt is the one card that makes his errata necessary.

Edited by dalestephenson

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45 minutes ago, dalestephenson said:

Gwaihir is a powerful and well-rounded hero, but not readying in the refresh phase is a massive limitation that Eagles coming and going are not adequate compensation for.  I'm surprised he doesn't get a threat discount, especially with his threat so high.  The only bit of compensation is that with Radagast you can play Gwaihir's Debt out of the gate and (with Wizard Pipe) have Gwaihir exploit the heck out of core Gandalf.  Gwaihir/Eomer/Radagast Eagle deck....


I'm inclined initially to agree, especially since I find his ally version to be very valuable in Eagles decks.  While his Threat is really high in combination with his big penalty preventing normal readying and the lack of access to Restricted attachments, as long as you play one Eagle ally each planning phase he readies "at the start of the turn" well enough.  Still, I understand the conservative approach here, given that a 4 Attack / 3 Defense hero that starts with Ranged and Sentinel is unprecedented.  Plus, I'm also holding out hope (though it's a long shot, I'm sure) that the unspoiled Tactics card is some sort of "Wind-Lord" attachment for an Eagle that is akin to something like Prince of Dol Amroth, Khaliel's Headdress, Horn of the Mark, or Horn of Gondor.  Something that offers a tribal bonus for Eagles, and might also justify Gwaihir's threat.

 

45 minutes ago, dalestephenson said:

Spare Pipe isn't terribly useful on its face, but a pipe that can go on anyone could come in handy in a Pipes deck.


The card fan also has some sort of Pipe-Event for spirit.  Likely, being able to get more pipes in play (or attached to non-Istari, Dwarf, Hobbit, Dunedain characters) could become more valuable. 
 

 

45 minutes ago, dalestephenson said:

Messenger of the King is the most intriguing contract yet -- so many possibilities!  

To say nothing of the obvious go-to Firyal, who presents as possibly one of the best heroes in the game especially in solo (9 Threat for 3 WP and incredible protection from the Encounter deck).   I agree that this Contract is incredibly exciting and versatile, especially for anyone like me who prefers to build and play thematic decks and sometimes wants more options for a particular spheres.  For instance, if you want to build a pure Rohan deck (or pure Rohan decks in multiplayer) having new options for additional heroes in every sphere offers so much for thematic deck-building (Lore = Gleowine who is a wonderfully cheap Bereavor, Leadership = Eothain, Spirit = Elfhelm or Gamling, and Tactics = Derowine, all of whom offer something compelling as a starting hero and something previously unavailable to Rohan decks).

Edited by EBerling

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24 minutes ago, EBerling said:

The card fan also has some sort of Pipe-Event for spirit.  Likely, being able to get more pipes in play (or attached to non-Istari, Dwarf, Hobbit, Dunedain characters) could become more valuable. 

Perhaps a threat reduction card, since Hobbit Pipes like that?

It also looks like we might *finally* get a ranged character for the missile-minded hobbits.

Song of Healing is the most spoiled of the fan -- healing in any action window triggered by any player choosing to discard.  Since there's apparently no limit to the number of times the action can be taken, I wonder why it's limit 1 per hero -- what's the point?

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Leaflock doesn't seem quite so bad as a starting hero, since you don't pay threat for his initially non-existent willpower.  In a deck with Treebeard and Quickbeam you can get his willpower to 2 in the first turn and shouldn't have much trouble maintaining it at 4.

Skinbark would be fun against orc quests -- 4 base attack, ignores defense, for only 9 threat.  Squash.  Squash.  Squash.

Ingold can deliver an impressive three willpower for five threat, if the heroes all have a resource.

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Best contract so far in terms of sheer deckbuilding veriety and fun. Probably one of the most powerful too with some good deck building. 

On the Eagle hero, I put judgment on hold. While he seems good in tandem with radegast 24 combined threat is too high a starting base, limiting third hero choice.  The penalty of not readying is a big one but let's wait to have a full overview of how designers follow up with other eagle sinergizing cards before assessing how heavy it is. 

 

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29 minutes ago, Amicus Draconis said:

Well, there is our third card with the Archer trait. Maybe we will also get another Steward.

Bree,  se ne more bree cards...

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Angbor the Fearless could be used very effectively alongside Loregorn for a Valor deck. Take L. Boromir, Loregorn, and Angbor for 28 threat. Pillar of the kings up to 40, and then drop back down when you get too high.

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Ad-hoc evaluation of unique allies as contract targets:

General consideration: The expectation is that the best targets are those that have low stats, but are highly costed for amazing and recurring abilities. 

Lore Anborn: 8 threat cost, fair stats, relevant traits. Recurring traps is a relevant ability. Fair target. 
Leadership Anborn: 8 threat costs, fair status, relevant traints. Increase engagement cost and dealing damage ok, but not amazing. Ok target. 
Angbor the Fearless: 5 threat cost for a fair quester. Relevant traits. The valor trigger nombos with the low threat cost. Niche target. 
Arwen: 5 threat cost, relevant traits and her tried and proven ability make her a good target. To consider: her ally cost of only 2 which is part of what makes her great in the first place. Also you can't use her hero version. Good target. 
Azain Silverbeard: 7 threat cost, relevant traits. The ability is interesting, albeit a bit niche. Could be an interesting pick for quests with a number of low HP enemies. Niche target. 
Barliman Butterbur: Nope.
Beechbone: The general problems with ents is that it is their ally cost that makes them attractive. Paying for the stats in threat and starting with an exhausted hero is meh. 
Beorn: 13 threat costs makes him one of the more expensive hero options out there. His ability is likely a tad better then Tactics Boromir discard ability, but then Beorn lacks his mad readying skills. Niche target. 
Bifur: Nothing to see here. 
Bilbo Baggins: 4 threat costs for a 2WP quester that does not die to 1 damage. Looks like a good deal. Starting with a pipe is also nice. I expect that he will be a popular target. Good target. 
Bill the Pony: The only way to get a hero with the coveted pony trait. Someone will play it for that reason alone, but other than that not very interesting as the main selling point of the ally is that its resource cost is 0. 
Spirit Bofur: Nothing to see here. 
Tactics Bofur: 7 threat costs for 2WP, 2 ATT and 3 HP is ok. The ability to repeatedly tutor for weapons will surely make him see play. Good target. 
Bombur: Maybe against quests with high threat underground locations? Very niche at best. 
Boromir: 9 threat cost with two relevant abilities and traits are likely sufficient to make him see play. The contract's readying limitation does matter here. Fair target. 
Brok Ironfist: Not very exciting to say the least. You could replace hero Brok by ally brook if the latter bites the dust just for the memes. Meh target. 
Ceorl: A hero that can be passed around the table. Very interesting. Fair target. 
Damrod: Discard for small benefit. Not very interesting. Meh. 
Denethor: Pay for stats with only downside abilities? Pass. 
Derwine: 7 threat costs for 3DEF 3P sentinel with built in shadow cancelling? I expect that this will see play. Good target. 
Derufin: Discard for small benefits? I do not see the point. Meh. 
Dori: His ability to take damage instead of a hero does not shine here. Pass. 
Dwalin: Blank ability. Pass. 
Spirit Elfhelm: Hot tech against certain quests. Niche target. 
Tactics Elfhelm: Blank ability. Pass. 
Elladan and Elrohir: Ok alternative to their hero versions with lower threat cost, lower HP and lower off-stat (the one that is not boosted by the sibling). Interesting to have options against Orc heavy quests. Fair targets.
Elrond: 11 threat cost for an additional card at the start of the game and a body does that does not stick around? Pass. 
Emery: Blank ability: Pass. 
Eomund: Even though his ability requires to discard him, the effect of readying everyone Rohan can be powerful. Niche target. 
Eothain: 8 threat costs puts him in actual hero territory. His ability is ok, but not spectacular. Also Imrahil exists. Niche target. 
Erestor: 6 threat costs for an interesting ability that is not quite as extreme as that on his hero counterpart. Good target. 
Leadership Faramir: This was featured in the article, so it better be ok. I think it is. Ok target. 
Lore Faramir: Surely there has to be a quest or two where his ability matter during setup (depening on the precise rules for setup order). Niche``?
Farmer Maggot: Meh. 
Fili: Meh. 
Firyal: 9 threat costs for a good quester with an amazing ability. Good target. 
Forlong: Everyone's favourite unique outlands ally as another hero? Surely this will be a thing with Hirluin and outlanded Imrahil. Good target. 
Gaffer Gamgee: 3 threat cost for a hobbit hero will put a lot three hobbit decks comfortably into secrecy territory. The ability is niche, but relevant. Ok target. 
Galadriel: Nope. Another white council member that does not like this contract. 
Galdor of the havens: Same stats as his hero version, but a interesting different ability. Will see play. Good target. 
Galion: 1 threat cost for a third hero will be good enough to make it into secrecy decks wanting another spirit hero. Ok target. 
Gamlin: Ability to recur Rohan allies on a stick may make this good enough. Meh stats for 6 threat costs. Niche target. 
Ghan-Buri-Ghan: If you ever wanted a wose hero, here is your chance. For only for threat cost, is ability is quite ok. The discard ability will rarely be used, but it's a nice bonus. Good target. 
Gildor: Hero quality stats and cost with an amazing ability. This will enable new decks. Good target. 
Gimli: 9 threat cost for an allrounder make him fairly expensive. Relevant ability. Ok target. 
Gleowine: 3 threat costs for card draw on a stick make this a Beravor light that will fit in a number of secrecy decks. Good target. 
Gloin: Nope. 
Glordfindel: 11 threat costs with a hero-level ability make this an eligible target. Fair target. 
Grimbold: Discard hero to feint? Not great, but you get a 2 WP tactics hero for 6 threat cost. Niche target. 
Guthalf: 6 cost sentinel tactics hero. Niche target. 
Gwaihir: If you always wanted a Gwaihir hero, but the actual hero Gwaihir is too expensive for you, then this will do. The response will fizzle though. Too bad. Meh. 
Halbarad: Too high cost for an all-rounder hero. Ability not relevant enough. Meh. 
Haldir of Lorien: Also too high cost for all-rounder. Ranged and sentinel are nice though. Niche taret. 
Halfast Gamgee: 5 threat cost leadership hobbit hero that quests for 2 and comes with a free resources. This will go in a number of hobbit secrecy decks. Good target. 
Hama: Meh stats and discard to use ability. Very very niche at best. 
Henamarth Riversong: Everyone's favourite scrier now collects 1 lore resources for round for 3 threat cost. Squishy, but good. Good target. 
Ingold: 5 cost for a strong leadership quester. Why not? Fair target. 
Ioreth: Covered in article. Good target. 
Jubayr: Defender that discards shadow cards. Good target. 
Kili: Nope. 
Landroval: The question here is whether he can bring himself back. Need some rulings, but likely niche. 
Leaflock: An ent. Niche. 
Leogolas: Nice to have options. Good stats, traits and ability. Good target. 
Lindir: Not sure on the rule here. If his ability triggers before you draw the starting hand, then this may be fantastic, but that I doubt that this is the case. Meh otherwise. 
Mablung: A 5 threat cost hero that quests for 2 in ok. The ability to increase an enemies engagement cost (if the setup timing allows it to trigger) is very narrow in application. Niche target. 
Meneldor: Another mediocre way to get an eagle hero. Niche for that thematic reason, but meh otherwise. 
Merry: 4 threat costs for a 2WP quester that doesn't die to a single damage. If you can afford 3 threat cost more for Sam, then this will be the better option unless you already run him. Niche target. 
Nori: 6 threat for an ok ability in a dwarven mining deck. Ok target. 
Orophin: 6 threat for a good quester/attacher stat distribution with ranged. Ok target. 
Pippin: 4 threat for 2WP and 2HP is ok. Both abilities are very relevant, makeing him a stand-out amongst hobbit targets. Good target. 
Prince Imrahil: Nombo time!
Quickbeam: An ent. The main selling point as an ally is his ridiculously low cost. Less good as a hero, though the readying make this playable in some cases I suspect - even with the contract limitation on readying. Niche target. 
Robin Smallburrow: 5 threat cost for a 2 quester and an ability that is only occasionally useful at best. Ok, but there are likely better options. Ok target. 
Rosie: Everyone's favourite female leadership hero. Good target. 
Rumil: Ok stats and ranged, but nothing more. Meh. 
Sam Gamgee: I think the hero version is the better one here. However, this may find a spot in a hobbit deck that is looking for another spirit hobbit that isn't Pippin. 
Skinbark: Does nothing the first round, but the ability may be good enough in some quests. Haven't checked. Niche. 
Sulien: 3 WP for 7 threat cost is ok, but in spirit you could pay 1 or 2 threat more to get Lothiriel or Eowyn. Niche target. 
Wigalf: I suppose the readying ability makes him ok, but not exciting. Ok target. 
Yazan: Hero grade stats and hero grade ability (albeit on the weaker side). Probably the worst of the Harad allies as targets. Ok target. 


In my count that makes 17 good targets and a lot of other options to play around with. Also nothing seemed OP. A very interesting contract overall, that opens up a wealth of deckbuilding options. Happy to see this contract! 
 

Edited by Gibby

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Does Bilbo's response come into play during setup?  That makes him more useful, especially with Wizards.

Whether Landroval can bring himself back or not, the ability to make someone else come back might be more useful than keeping Landroval around. The unique Eagle allies don't have cool abilities, but being able to enable Gwaihir's Debt on turn one has some value, I think.  At 7 threat Meneldor is a whole lot cheaper than Gwaihir hero, without his limitation.

I like the idea of Leaflock as a hero in an all-ent deck because he is only 7 threat, but can get to 2 wp easily with Treebeard/Quickbeam abilities and max at 4.

Bill the Pony sadly can't be a hero, since the contract is an attachment.  Of course, that also means that Wiglaf in a Dale deck *starts* with 3 willpower and an attachment he can use to ready.  Good King of Dale target.

I'm not sure why you're down on Halbarad.  Yes, 9 cost makes it hard to fit in a secrecy deck, but across from one his passive effect would be extremely valuable.

I'm not as high as you on Gildor -- he's got great stats, so when is he going to spare the exhaustion for his ability?  I prefer non-exhausting abilities like Galdor and Erestor have.  Dori has a similar issue -- if he didn't have to exhaust to absorb hero damage, he could be really valuable at 7 threat with a few good attachments.

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3 hours ago, Zura said:

You can have a Ceorl deck with the contract, send him over to another player, then use Justice Shall be done and the second deck has 4 heroes for free :P

 

You are going to want to do justice shall be done first so you can get the resource boon too😉

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You'll be able to ready Gwaihir with unexpected courage. Just not during the refresh stage in any way. But stick UC on him and ready him in the planning stage etc.

 

Lembas will also work on Gwaihir if you also have an elf or make him an elf friend. 

So I think his threat value doesn't feel so high now. 

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1 hour ago, Gibby said:

Ad-hoc evaluation of unique allies as contract targets:


In my count that makes 17 good targets and a lot of other options to play around with. Also nothing seemed OP. A very interesting contract overall, that opens up a wealth of deckbuilding options. Happy to see this contract! 
 

Bless you. Your analysis is longer than the article itself lol

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My take on the contract--

Spirit:

I think, if it stands, Lindir is my go to in a Noldor deck. The ability to pull 3 more out the gate is huge boost. Plus he can be a target for Light of Valinor, though his other stats aren't great. He does allow for a spirit boost for low threat.

Glorfindel and Arwen are decent choices.

Lore:

I like Anbor and Galdor. I think they round out their respective decks well. But yes my go-to would be fiyral. 

Tactics:

Legolas paired with the leadership gimli could work alright, though you would need some reason to exhaust him before attacks. Hands upon the bow or any range exhaustion, because you probably aren't questing with him.

I really like pippin hero here. Could round out a solid tactics hobbit deck.

Leadership:

I love the idea of building a sniper deck around Anborn hero. Wiglaf with the auto attachment is nice (get to ready him once per phase with each successive attachment) and this works well with Brand.

Gimli is a solid pick as well, fits his sphere nicely.

 

What I love most about this contract is that they basically gave us 30+ more heroes to combo into decks. Sure some arent great, but that just increases the possible decks and hero line ups tremendously! They gave us a lot work with with the break upcoming.

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My take on the other cards.

Hero -- withholding judgement here. I need to ponder if this is done to really push for a Gwahir - Radagast combo, though that might be a difficult deck to run on the expense side of things. The cheaper eagles certainly help the cause, but I wonder. I think it could do well in a splash leadership deck that has a lot of readying effects. 13 seems high. I will still need to think and read more thoughts on this.

Wilyador -- 3/5 cool. Nice stats. Works well in a multiplayer game. 

Eagle emissary-- 3/5 non unique eagle, a bit of a double edge sword. But cheap. I like that. Tactics needs more resource generation to support these eagles, though.

Tactics mystery card ???

Song of Healing -- 5/5 if I am reading this correctly, healing based on hand discard, anyone can trigger? No limit? I love it.

Dale messenger -- 3.5/5 and could be higher in the right decks. Look. Everyone is going to have heroes with attachments. For a cheap lore ally, bringing them in and spreading the healing love is excellent. In a dale deck, really good. Great way to help a partner out who doesn't have healing. 

Spare Pipe -- 2/5. I still like it, even with the lower rating. It's just not incredibly powerful. I like that it can go on anyone and theres no limit. 3x on Dori helps Beorn a little more (though what are you doing in that messy deck??). Like I say below I do like pipes and want to have a workable pipe deck.

Smoke and Think -- has to be some event that gives a boon for pipes. I like this last push for pipes here, with two more eligible targets for wizard pipe in the last 5 packs, and new pipe in this pack, I hope there might be a chance to make a workable pipe deck. Perhaps I dream. Regardless, has to be some synergy with the spare pipe. 0 cost looks good so far.

Hobbit archer -- I can already tell I like it, though a 1, 1, 1, 2 stat line would be a slight disappointment, even for 2 cost. Base 2 attack would be great.

Leadership mystery card....? GUARDED maybe??

 

No master cards?? 

 

Be gentle. I am not huge on eagle decks, and though these guys are okay in a general splash, I have to shrug a little because of their mercenary ways.

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20 minutes ago, RogueSeventeen said:

Better hope you don't draw your starting ally in your hand, as we know contract setup is *after* quest setup... ... ...

Dang it I forgot that setup on contracts happen after starting hand. That means Lindir is out.

I'm not sure I understand the ruling on this. Aren't hero/deck setup effects prior to hand draw? Why do contracts get stuck with post quest setup setups?

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