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Heirs of Numenor: First Adventures, First Impressions (Player Cards)

by on December 12, 2012

I finally got a chance to spend some time with the first and second quests of the Heirs of Numenor, and to incorporate the new player cards into my decks. I thought a lot about what would be most useful for you readers, some of whom have the expansion already and some who are still hoping for Santa to help you out with some Gondor love. I’m breaking down this quasi-review of the expansion into a few different articles: player cardsthemestrategyspeculation, and overall thoughts.

gondor

Player Cards: For me personally, I know my favorite part of any new expansion or Adventure Pack is seeing the new player cards and heroes. Let’s start with the heroes. Leadership Boromir (aka Boromir) makes an appearance, taking on the role of Gondor’s Dain (a hero who buffs all characters of a certain trait). His ability is certainly useful, but will only reach its full potential when the Gondor cycle is complete. Right now, he is merely OK, in my opinion, but he will likely become very good in time. I would like his ability more if it could apply to Gondor heroes instead of just allies. As it is, I don’t use enough Gondor allies to make his inclusion viable (I still use Tactics Boromir instead). On the other hand, Beregond found in an immediate place in my Tactics/Leadership deck. His 4 defense is superb, and can be quickly increased through other cards to insane levels. I also like his ability to put weapons/armor into play for low-cost or nothing, which makes the aforementioned buffing much easier.


As for the rest of the player cards, here is my rating of each out of 4 stars (keep in mind how subjective these assessments are, part of the fun of this kind of game is endlessly debating the merits of relative cards, and how hard it is to isolate these cards since they often depend on what else you play with them):

LEADERSHIP

– Errand-Rider     ♦♦♦◊    Like having Bifur in an ally form, and far more flexible. Love it.

– Citadel Custodian     ♦♦◊◊   Mostly useful because of its low cost (if you’re playing it right), and 3 hit points. However, I think there are better options for the space it takes in a deck.

– Mutual Accord     ♦♦◊◊    Definitely has its uses, because it makes those old Rohan synergy cards a lot more useful, and makes Gondor synergy cards like Leadermir and Citadel Custodian a lot more viable as well. Still, I think this is a card whose true value is more in the future than the present.

– Wealth of Gondor     ♦♦◊◊    I would actually give this card a higher rating if you were just talking about using it for the 3 scenarios in the Heirs set. The set does a lot of resource-draining and so this card becomes more like a 3 or 4 stars. However, for other scenarios it would not be as clutch, which lowers its rating. 

TACTICS

– Defender of Ramas    ♦♦♦♦    Love it. Low-cost and best defense this side of Winged Guardian (and without having to pay a resource). 3 copies, end of story.

– Behind Strong Walls    ♦♦♦◊   Very useful when getting swarmed with enemies to get a two-for-one defense from Beregond or a Defender of Ramas, and provides a defense boost for a low cost. 

– Spear of the Citadel     ♦♦◊◊   I personally love this card. Stick it on a Beregond or DoR (Defender of Ramas) and you have a DYI Gondorian Spearman. However, the case could be made for other weapons to be more important to include depending on the deck, so that lowers my rating a bit.

SPIRIT

– Damrod     ♦◊◊◊    This card has some utility in being one of those rare 2-attack allies for the Spirit sphere. Damrod’s ability could be useful if swarmed by enemies at the end of a game to take off a chunk of threat, but how much could you realistically reduce (maybe 3-5 at most). Would you rather include him at the same cost instead of Elfhelm? I don’t think so. It is essentially paying 4 for a poor man’s Galadhrim’s Greeting, but if you really, really need threat reduction in a scenario, then it is playable.

– Light the Beacons     ♦♦♦◊    I’m always a bit nervous of 5 cost cards that do something really powerful, because I find that despite their strength, I never end up using them (like Fortune or Fare). However, I think this is an exception. Being able to do an epic defense with a Beregond or DoR or Frodo against a swarm of enemies, then being able to counterattack with a horde of characters could be turn the tide decisively for a player.

– A Watchful Peace     ♦♦◊◊    I actually generally like cards like this, that don’t seem like much, but subtly allow you to neuter the encounter deck a bit. If you can put one of those harmless or quasi-harmless locations back on the deck, that’s one less nasty unknown you have to deal with next turn. Over the course of a game, that can add up. However, there are better options for this kind of manipulation. For true solo play, this gets a 3 stars for me. Multiplayer or dual-fisted, it is 2 stars. 

– Blood of Numenor     ♦♦♦◊    Very useful to transform Beregond into an absolute wall that no enemy can bypass, especially if you have some kind of resource-generator on him.

LORE

– Hunter of Lamedon ◊◊◊◊   I know, I know, his name is just calling out for that pun, but I’m not going to do it! I have standards, after all. Not many, but some. Keep in mind this is a case of his power not being developed yet. In time, with actual Outlands cards being introduced, he’ll probably jump up to 2 or 3 stars, depending on the number and power of those cards.

– Ithilien Tracker     ♦♦♦♦    I really love this card, both thematically and in terms of gameplay. It takes some threat out of the staging area during questing, which is one of those subtle differences between victory and defeat over the course of a game. It also costs only 2 and provides 3 hit points and a little bit of attack when needed. I really enjoy the ranger theme of some of these cards and hope to be able to build a range deck one day.

– Master of Lore     ♦♦◊◊   This one reminds me of some of those locations from the AGoT LCG that lower the cost of cards each turn. In terms of this game, I’m of two minds about this one. A lot of those useful Lore cards are expensive, and I generally only play with one Lore character, so those resources can be scarce at times. However, the initial outlay of 3 is a psychological barrier for me, even though it might be able to pay for itself in a few turns. 

– Ranger Spikes     ♦♦♦♦   Can I say that this one of my favorite cards in the entire game? We all have different things about LOTR LCG that excite us, and the concept of traps is my catnip. I want to one day build an entire deck consisting of nothing but traps. OK, I’m kidding, but the fact remains that, despite my bias, this cards is extremely useful. It effectively neuters an enemy card, though how useful that is depends on what enemy pops out first (possible combo with any effect that lets you look at the encounter deck). 

NEUTRAL

– Envoy of Pelargir     ♦◊◊◊   So you pay 2 to get 1 resource back? Sure you are left with an ally left afterwards, but other 2 cost allies would be better choices. You can possibly combo this with a Born Aloft or Sneak Attack to get multiple resources, but that still wouldn’t justify it for me. The best use would be as a resource transfer from one player to another, if one has a wealth of resources and the other player does not. The rich player could pay for Envoy to give a resource to the other player. Still mediocre for my money.

Overall Thoughts on the Player Cards:

So what spheres got the most love from Heirs of Numenor. Here’s is how I would rate it:

Leadership     ♦♦◊◊

Tactics     ♦♦♦◊

Spirit     ♦♦♦◊

Lore     ♦♦♦♦

Overall strength of this player card set:    ♦♦♦◊

I was actually a bit underwhelmed by the player cards initially, perhaps being a bit spoiled when my expectations were raised by the reveal of Defender of Ramas and seeing how blatantly strong it was. However, as you can see in this review, my thoughts have changed after some time spent thinking about and playing with the cards. If you are a fan of this game, and are on the fence about picking up Heirs of Numenor, do not hesitate. You get some good cards, but also as you will see in the next few articles, some enjoyable theme and scenarios as well.

Ok, that’s it for this portion of the Heirs Review. Next up will be a look at the theme of the set and the 3 scenarios provided. What do you guys think about the player cards? Do you agree or disagree with any of my ratings? What are your favorite cards? What have your experiences been using them so far? Sound off below!

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6 Comments
  1. Envoy of Pelagir is the best card in the set IMO. It’s a 1 cost ally that quests for 1 Willpower, in tactics if need be, & has a one off Bifur effect. It can also hit for an axe in an emergency or chump block like a good ‘un.

  2. I’ve actually changed my thoughts on Envoy a bit. I think she deserves a bit of a bump for being neutral, which ups her utility, and I missed the boat a bit on how her value as a resource manipulator (kind of a key theme of this set). Still, I find myself leaving her out of most of my decks. As I play these quests more and more, I find my ratings of certain cards changing. For example, Blood of Numenor has not been as useful for me as I originally imagined. I find myself needing resources for a ton of other things (putting allies out, encounter deck manipulation, healing, etc.) and can’t really spare any to use to bump up defense, so it is getting cut out of a lot of my decks now.

  3. svartelric permalink

    This is the first Expansion I bought for the game, and it really made a difference on how easily my girlfriend and I (the game’s hers) faced the core adventures; I use Lore/Leadership or Lore/Spirit decks, Tracker & Spikes have become a steady addition – my girlfriend seems to prefer Tactics/Leadership and she’s made great use of the Defender & Strong Walss cards. I personally liked Leadermir too, as it works on all allies of the Gondor type for both of how (double useful), but I can see your point. We still haven’t tried any of the adventure packs of the set, so I’m kinda curios to see what synergies can be achieved!

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      As the years have gone by, the player cards in Heirs have aged pretty well, and those cards still pop up in decks quite often!

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