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Hero Hall of Fame

by on December 7, 2012

One of the aspects of this game that I enjoy the most, and that differentiates it a bit from some of the other LCG’s, is the selection and use of hero cards that are essentially the core of play. I personally have a lot of fun figuring out which heroes work best together, and trying out ones that I haven’t used that much and figuring out ways that they can work for different play styles. Note: This isn’t meant to be an objective list of which cards are the best, merely which ones I like the best and work for me specifically. One of the great things about this game is that one person’s trash (I’m looking at you Brand Son of Bain) might be someone else’s Elrond. Ok, here we go…

Eowyn card

#5: Eowyn

Why I Like It: I feel bad including this card, because I don’t necessarily like it for any specific flavor or lore reasons, and don’t have any great stories about it. But I do have a bit of sentimental attachment to Eowyn because I used her in pretty much 100% of my games until recently. Her 4+ willpower ability was just too good, and I liked the simplicity of knowing that she was going to quest every turn, and didn’t need to figure out a way to get her involved in anything else.

Best For: Questing and more questing. Yup, that’s about it. She serves only one purpose in this game, but is really good at it. That being said, she might be too limited for those who want to get multiple uses out of most or all of their heroes.

Should she be re-skinned?: Yes! I would like to see a Tactics Eowyn that gives some kind of bonus to fighting Nazgul. Preferably this would appear in a cycle or scenario that involved fighting multiple Nazgul or Nazgul-related enemies.

She’d be fun to play the game with in real life because… She is used to making her way successfully in male-dominated activities. After fighting the Witch King, I don’t think fending off the advances of gamers would be too hard a task.


Bifur card

#4: Bifur

Why I Like It: The only Dwarf hero to appear on my list. I didn’t include Dain, who is probably the best Dwarf hero, because I’m not a big fan of using the Dwarf-heavy decks, other than in the Hobbit scenarios (because I feel a bit weird using anything but a Dwarf deck for thematic reasons). However, Bifur is a big help not just in Dwarf decks, but in all dual or tri sphere ones because of his ability to clump resources. He also allows you to move resources from another player’s hero who has a ton of resources and essentially spreads the wealth a bit.

Best For: Questing, defending, and spreading resources. Coupled with Dain, he can quest for 3 each turn, which is nothing to sneeze at. His defense of 2 makes him a fairly credible defender when needed (although he’s a bit fragile with 3 hit points, so I try to avoid it when possible unless he’s buffed with a Dunedain Warning or Arwen). Finally, as I said his resource transfer ability makes him ideal for decks that use 2, 3, or 4 spheres and anticipate a possible lack of resources. I usually attach a few songs to him or Narvi’s belt to maximize this ability.

Should he be re-skinned: Not really, I think he’s fine as he is.

He’d be fun to play the game with in real life because… I don’t know if it’s the art on the card or what, but I imagine him being the classic rules lawyer player who would be constantly referring back to the rules and studiously examining the text of every card. Wait, I’m supposed to be talking about why he’d be fun to play with…

Prince Imrahil

#3: Prince Imrahil

Why I Like It: This is an example of the “one man’s trash” phenomenon. I’ve seen some people say they wouldn’t touch Prince Imrahil with mithril gloves on, but in my experience he’s been a blast to play with. On one level, I love the thematic feeling of “aww man, someone just died” followed by “oh wait, Imrahil to the rescue” and seeing him physically jump to the ready. But more than that, his stats make him pretty effective at all three parts of the game (quest, attack, defend) and so he’s someone you want taking multiple actions per round. The main reason why I like using him is because he fits perfectly with the Eagle super blitz/super fun deck that I’ve built.

Best For: As I said, he can quest, attack, or defend, and do all three pretty well. Depending on how you want to use him, you can buff one or more of his areas to suit your needs. For my part, I usually use him to quest, and then he pops up to either attack or defend. While he can work as part of a normal deck, and have his ability activated in the course of normal play when a chump block or treachery leads to a character leaving play, I feel he is most effective when used with a deck that is built around allies popping in and out of play (Eagles cards like Descendant of Thorondor, Sneak Attack, etc.). In my deck, he ends up using his ability 8 out of 10 rounds I would say, which is great value.

Should he be re-skinned: Not really.

He’d be fun to play the game with in real life because… Let’s face it, he wouldn’t. Who wants to play with the perfect, gallant guy who makes everyone else look bad?

boromir

#2: Boromir

Why I Like It: Anytime you can use a hero for more than one thing in a turn, you have an advantage. With Boromir, you can use him as much as you want, provided you have the threat to spend. More importantly, my favorite play experience of all time was a last-minute victory in The Watcher in the Water scenario. I was playing solo double-fisted, one hero on each side had died, and both decks were on the verge of threating out if I didn’t win on this one particular turn. In the end, Boromir sacrificed himself in defense, so that Legolas could mount one last attack to win the game. It was the most epic, rewarding, and thematic experiences I’ve had playing the game.

Best For: Attacking and defending, sometimes both in the same turn. You can also use Boromir to attack multiple enemies. I’ve found that Boromir really comes into his own when your back is against the wall and allies and heroes are dropping like flies. I usually use him as part of the same deck as Prince Imrahil, which means that heroes are readying all over the place, which makes for a dynamic and fun play experience. Boromir obviously makes best sense as part of a combat-minded deck.

Should he be reskinned?: Already has, although I still like this version of Boromir the best. I couldn’t really see a Spirit or Lore version of Boromir, so I think these might be the only two Boromirs that we get.

He’d be fun to play the game with in real life because… Boromir looks like the kind of guy who would be fun to party with. He’d knock back a few, tell some jokes, and when the night really got crazy he’d blow on the Horn of Gondor until the neighbors called the cops. Of course, if he lost, I could imagine him knocking over the table and ripping up some cards in the process, so a bit of a crap shoot. Just don’t bring the ring along to the party, and you’d be fine.

Legolas

#1: Legolas

Why I Like It: Perhaps a surprising pick, but along with Eowyn, Legolas has sentimental value as the hero that I’ve used the most consistently since the early days of the core set. He doesn’t get quite as much play anymore, sadly, but I still use him as part of my Eagles deck at times, and I could imagine finding a place for him in future decks as well. His ability to put progress on quests is still useful, especially for the Tactics sphere, and I felt he was invaluable throughout a good chunk of both of the AP cycles so far. I haven’t yet played through the Heirs of Numenor cycle, so others can report back in the comments about how useful he is with the new Battle mechanic. I also appreciate the simplicity of Legolas, similar to Eowyn, in that I know that he is going to be my attacker and that’s it. If I need to defend or quest with Legoals, then something has gone horribly wrong. Since the part of the game that I love best is combat and destroying enemies, Legolas’ ability to let me have my cake and eat it too (questing) bumps him up to the #1 spot. On a side note, I also appreciate that the artist went for a different portrayal than that used in the movies.

Best For: Attacking, plain and simple. With the new Battle mechanic, he can provide some help in that realm as well. He helps with questing indirectly through his ability. He is best used when you can maximize his ability through using Blades of Gondolin, as well as any cards that allow him to ready and attack multiple enemies in one round.

Should he be reskinned?: Yes! I could imagine a Spirit or Lore Legolas, with my money being on Lore. Some type of ability revolving around tracking and reducing the threat of enemies would be most appropriate in my opinion.

He’d be fun to play the game with in real life because… Elves never run out of stories about the good old days, and when needed he can surf down the staircase to grab some snacks for everyone.

 

There it is folks, my top five heroes. Please sound off in the comments about YOUR top five. Before I wrap up, here’s what’s coming up next week:

– My Fab Five Walk of Shame (also known as, believe it or not, the five heroes I have never used so far in this game): I will be doing some play-throughs with these forgotten heroes and reporting back on how they worked, or didn’t work, as the case may be. For the curious, they are: Brand Son of Bain, Beravor (I know, this is sacrilege to many), Elrohir, Elladan, and Beorn.

– Impressions/Experiences of Heirs of Numenor

– Strategy Discussion: I will post my Eagles deck and discuss some of the thought behind its construction and use.

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From → Top 5 Lists

13 Comments
  1. shipprekk permalink

    Keep up the good work!

    And I’m glad to see you went with some of the ‘old school’ heroes, especially since (Spirit) Glorfindel and Elrond have gotten so much attention of late.

    I skipped most of the Mirkwood cycle and went straight through Khazad-dum when I started playing several months ago. I should be filling out my collection come the holidays and this post makes me interested in setting up an Eagle-type deck to better utilize things like Boromir, Imhrail, Horn of Gondor.

    I’d also like to try a threat deck with (Lore) Aragorn, Frodo, and (Tactics) Boromir.

    -Derek

  2. Great article. Liked your picks even if I do not use some of the heroes you do.
    According to quest log my favorite heroes are:
    Name: Usage (percent of games I used them)
    Denethor 16% (encounter deck control, defense)
    Thalin 16% (those pesky one hit point surges)
    Gimli 25% (attack and defense)
    Frodo 50 % (defend, soak undefended/un defend-able attacks, quest)
    Théodred 60% (resource generation, sometimes attack)
    Éowyn Always (quester)

    Note that this numbers are a bit skewed (giving core heroes much advantage since I played with them linger than with newer heroes) but on average I do find myself drawn to core heroes (Frodo being only one major exception)

  3. Frodo and Denethor barely missed the cut when I was composing my list. It is nice to see other people’s lists. I haven’t used heroes like Theodred, Gimli, and Dunhere much since the core set/Passage Through Mirkwood days. I’ve been thinking about giving them another go just to see how they do against the more recent scenarios.

  4. John permalink

    Perhaps I’m just a front-runner, but I really love Elrond. It’s not just that he’s stupid good (which he is), it’s that he’s insanely effective and really thematic at the same time. He can pay for allies from any sphere, which represents his ability to bring the races of Middle-earth together during the formation of the Fellowship. His ability to amplify healing effects is a nod to the restorative power of the Elves in Rivendell.

    Oh yeah, and then there’s Vilya. That card isn’t bad.

  5. No doubt that Elrond is worth every point of his 13 threat. I’m actually surprised at how much I am investing in healing powers in my new decks because of the damage the Heirs scenarios dish out on a regular basis. I haven’t had to use healing much for awhile, but now it is absolutely key. One of the next things I plan to include is bringing Elrond into my decks again to amplify that healing (as well as churn out allies with Vilya).

  6. Since I’ve only played with the core set so far, I will stick to its heroes. Let me think… In no particular order, I like those guys the most, both because of abilities/stats and personality/art/theme:

    Aragorn
    He is the one I will give unexperienced players when introducing them into the game (same goes with the core Leadership deck in general). He was the one who helped me with my very first adventure in LotR LCG and I appreciated his solid stats, simplicity, flexibility and effectiveness. He just quests and immediately gets ready to risk his life to defend others.

    Legolas
    He is simply a killer. Like you’ve just said, he has one purpose only: removing enemies + nice boost to questing. His stats and abilities make him incredibly thematic and games in which I use him are ones when I feel immersed the most. I also like the art very much, which beside Eleanor’s is probably my favourite among heroes of the core set.

    Glorfindel
    Quite versatile, can quest and attack or even take some undefended assaults when exhausted. Additional healing doesn’t hurt either (see what I did here?).

    Gimli
    His attack boost doesn’t see much of a use so far, maybe comes in handy once or twice (especially while facing Hill Troll, tanking during initial assault and responding when boosted the next turn), but coupled with Citadel Plate he can take a lot of beating and removes anything that showes up from the encounter deck in an instant.

    Eleanor
    I’m putting her here only because of the art and to make it a top 5 list. Otherwise it’s pretty much a top 4 for now. I hope her ability will see more use (or I should say: any use at all) during future quests. But even when facing the encounter deck that has lot of treacheries, I don’t think I’ll take her with me. I think she shouldn’t reveal the next card from the encounter deck after cancelling the first treachery. It’s a waste of hero’s action and if you play Spirit and want to cancel treacheries, it’s better to put some Test of Will into your deck.

    My preferences will surely change with time as many, many heroes from Adventure Pack look awesome. I’ve already looked through whole list of heroes from Expansions and APs and cannot wait to try them out.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      I like your core set list here. I used Gimli a lot in the early days of the game, then stopped using him for awhile. With the Heirs of Numenor quests, which require you to quest with attack value at times, Gimli has become insanely good. Eleanor is super-situational. I will only break her out when a quest has an extremely nasty, game-ending treachery that I need to be able to cancel at all costs, but with just the core set, she definitely has a place.

  7. legolas18 permalink

    I love your list, it’s great. I think you should do a profile on all the heroes to show their strengths and weaknesses. I always love a good hero assessment.
    As for my favorite heroes, right now it’s mostly dwarves. I think Gimli might fit in as my favorite, simply because you can let him get hurt by anything the first few turns, and them buff him up even more with Dwarven and Dwarrowdelf Axes and you have an invincible killing machine. But Legolas is also very close in the favorite spot. I just put a Blade of Gondolin and a Rivendell Bow and Sword on him, and he can also defeat almost anything, with the benefit of ranged. And I can’t deny his obvious usefulness with Hands upon the Bow.
    Some other heroes I enjoy are:
    Prince Imrahil
    Dain Ironfoot
    Nori
    Beregond
    and yes, sometimes even Brand

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Your profile on heroes idea sounds great. That’s something I’ll look into for the near future. I’ve been using Nori in a lot of my Dwarf decks lately, as he is pretty well-rounded with Dain in play and has a useful ability.

  8. Here is my top five:

    #5: Frodo Baggins

    #4: Aragorn (Lore)

    #3: Denethor

    #2: Eowyn

    #1: Legolas (of course)

  9. #5: Dain Ironfoot

    #4: Frodo Baggins

    #3: Legolas

    #2: Eowyn

    #1: GIMLI

  10. TalesfromtheCards permalink

    Thanks for the lists folks! You all have reminded me about this post and that it may be time to do an updated version!

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