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Playing with Traps: Getting Excited for the Steward’s Fear

by on January 16, 2013

Players everywhere, including myself, are still spending quality time with the three Heirs of Numenor quests. However, with the first Adventure Pack, The Steward’s Fear, slated for a Quarter 1 release, we can hope that it will be coming out relatively soon. With that in mind, it’s never too early for Tales From the Cards to evaluate some of the new cards that have already been spoiled.

anborn

The first one I want to talk about is Anborn. Now it is not quite clear if this card is going to come out in The Steward’s Fear or a later pack in the cycle, but it was spoiled in the official article about the first AP. Anborn is a Lore ally, with 1 willpower, 3 attack, 1 defense, and 3 hit points. His special ability is to exhaust to bring 1 trap card from the discard pile back into the player’s hand. Let’s just say that I am already a big fan, and no, it’s not just because I’m a Lore fanboy. His cost is quite expensive at 4 resources, whereas I find the sweet spot for allies to be usually 3 resources or less. An ally has to be quite exceptional to be worth 4 resources. The good news is that Anborn fits the bill. With a printed attack of 3, Anborn is now the best attacking ally that Lore offers. Since he is Gondor, if Leadership Boromir is in play, he boasts an absolutely astounding attack value of 4. Needless to say, this is worth the price of admission alone. His ability is decent, and can only get better with the release of more trap cards, which I assume will be coming soon. As it is now, and if you have been following this blog at all, you will know that Ranger Spikes is one of my favorite cards, allowing you to neutralize threat during staging and possibly taking an enemy out of the game completely. Being able to recycle Ranger Spikes indefinitely could thus be incredibly powerful (you could also include Forest Snare to make use of this effect). The only thing I don’t like is that exhausting him to use his ability means that his attack value will be wasted during certain rounds. Still, I don’t think its too early to say that Anborn will quickly become a favorite for many players.

the hand of castamir

Looking at the not-so-fun side, we had a new enemy spoiled: The Hand of Castamir (as a side note, I can’t help but think of “The Rains of Castamere” when I read that name). This enemy is absolutely brutal. I imagine that it will be the subject of a few forum posts when players get to grips with it. It has 3 threat, 4 attack, 3 defense, and 6 hit points. The stats alone are on the nasty end of things, with a strong defense, large amount of hit points, and a low engagement level of 30. To make matters worse though, it has not one, but two “forced” effects. The first requires players to reveal the top card of the encounter deck after it attacks, resolving the effects before discarding it. The second states that the Hand of Castamir makes an immediate attack on the first player whenever a treachery is revealed from the encounter deck. The power of these will depend on the percentage of treacheries in the encounter deck, and the harshness of the included “when revealed” effects, but I think it’s safe to say that this is already one of the worst enemies around. The fact that the first effect can chain into the second effect is just downright ugly. I imagine that there will only be one of these enemies, since it is unique, and I’m thinking that he may even be a boss that needs to be defeated to pass one of the stages, or perhaps the quest itself (the fact that The Hand of Castamir has the type, “villain” also is suggestive). The best strategy for dealing with this enemy will be encounter deck manipulation, with Denethor and cards like Henamarth Riversong, Out of the Wild, and Shadow of the Past really being key, not to mention basically throwing everything you have at it to kill it as soon as possible. Talking about Anborn earlier also has me thinking about traps, and since The Hand is not immune to attachments, he may justify bringing some Forest Snares to the party since his effects depend on him being able to attack.

*Addendum: I thought I would add in a note about the lore regarding The Hand of Castamir, for those who would like a refresher of their Tolkien lore. Castamir, also known as Castamir the Usurper, was briefly the King of Gondor after taking the throne from Eldacar during a rebellion. After ten years of misrule, Eldacar came back with a vengeance and slew Castamir. The sons and followers of Castamir fled south, eventually becoming the pirates known as the Corsairs of Umbar. His descendants were ultimately killed by another King of Gondor a few hundred years later. These events took place about 1500 years before the timeline of the game. With this in mind, it’s anyone’s guess who exactly the Hand is and how he is related to Castamir.

That about does it for The Steward’s Fear, at least for now. I’m looking forward to its release, and integrating Anborn into what is quickly becoming a very viable Ranger deck. Readers, what are your thoughts about Anborn and the Hand of Castamir?

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4 Comments
  1. Glaurung permalink

    Yes is also like the idea of Gondor ranger deck with Traps. I think i will combine hobbit-ranger deck with manipulation of enemies and encounter deck Pipin/Frodo/Bilbo deck with Amrod and traps. Should work very well!

  2. I really like the idea of traps and Amrod seems cool, but I wonder about the usefulness when both of the current trap cards are attachments. As it stands, you would need to spend time killing already-neutralized enemies just so the traps will end up in your discard pile. Seems a little counter-intuitive. Maybe there will be some kind of Feint-like Event trap in the cycle that will make it work a little better.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      That’s a great point, Kevin. I’ve been crossing my fingers that they will release some traps that are one-time use types and/or can be used outside the planning phase, and my hunch is that will be the case. I imagine there will be one that can temporarily trap an enemy, another that deals damage and then is discarded, another that lowers enemy’s stats either permanently or temporarily, etc.

  3. Sweetness Whachacha permalink

    Good addition of the lore at the end. I love the history Umbar, how aragon (not as aragorn) burns the ships in a night raid. Learning more about them really makes them far cooler than just some pirates Sauron is in league with. Their presence at the battle of the pelennor fields is far more interesting when you know more about them.

    I didn’t read most of this article now though as I won’t get to start the numenor set until this weekend and don’t want enemy spoilers

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