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Card Spotlight: Ever Onward

by on January 29, 2013

In this second edition of Card Spotlight, we will take a look at Ever Onward, always with an eye to that eternal question: is this a gem or coaster material? Ever Onward is an event in the Leadership sphere, which states that when players quest unsuccessfully, this ever-onward-kdcard can be played as a response to prevent one player from having to raise their threat. The main use is to prevent drastic threat increases as a result of quest failure that might lead to ultimate defeat or enemies being able to engage with players. At a cost of 3 resources, which is not cheap, you probably wouldn’t want to use this to prevent just a few points of threat gain here and there (unless they were crucial). If you had this card in hand, you could also essentially skip questing altogether for a round, choosing to keep all your characters ready for an epic round of combat if you found yourself swarmed with enemies (though you would still have to deal with staging). This intentional failure would be cancelled by Ever Onward. However, keep in mind that this card only works for one player, so its utility diminishes the more players are present in a game.

Are there any cards that work particularly well with Ever Onward? Any scrying effects that let you peek at the encounter deck, such as those provided by Denethor, Henamarth Riversong, Rumour from the Earth, or Risk Some Light, would synergize well with Ever Onward. If you are able to look ahead at what is coming in the encounter deck, and know for a fact that questing successfully will be impossible on a given turn, then you can strategically choose to not commit any characters to the quest, spending that round building up your forces for subsequent turns instead. You could use your stable of readied characters, free from questing worries, for a variety of purposes: exhaust all your Dwarf characters to gather a huge number of resources using We Are Not Idle, make the most of the card draw of Gleowine/healing power of Daughter of the Nimrodel/resource generation of Zigil Miner, or mount an all-out attack on enemies.

There also are some situational uses of Ever Onward, specifically dealing with quest card effects. For example, Quest Stage 2B of Return to Mirkwood (“Escape Attempt”) has the condition that if the players ever quest unsuccessfully, they automatically and immediately lose the game. Obviously, Ever Onward could serve as insurance against this auto-fail situation. Another example is Quest Stage 2B of The Long Dark (“Continuing Eastward”), which triggers all “lost” effects in play if players quest unsuccessfully. Since these “lost effects” can be quite nasty, Ever Onward could also save the day here as well. The final quest situation of note is that regarding the objective ally, Celador, in Into Ithilien, who takes a point of damage if you quest unsuccessfully. Ever Onward could be used to save him from an unexpected last point of damage, preserving your strategy for the quest. Another use for this card, and here we are really drifting into corner-case land, is to put Spirit Bofur into play for only 1 resource instead of 3. Normally, you can put Spirit Bofur into play during the quest phase for 1 resource (as opposed to his normal cost of 3) committed to the quest, and if questing is successful, he returns to your hand. However, if questing is unsuccessful, he would remain in play, effectively netting a 2 resource discount. Ever Onward could allow you to pull this off without having to eat any threat. This could be worthwhile if you have a surplus of Leadership resources and need to save Spirit resources. To be honest though, I can’t imagine this combo ever being worthwhile or consistent enough to justify the cost, both in terms of resources and deck space. If anything, this Bofur play would perhaps be a fortunate byproduct of using it for more conventional purposes.

So the big question remains: should you put this card in your deck? The effect itself is useful, I won’t deny that. The problem is that, as the card pool grows, there are more and more cards that have useful effects, and Ever Onward never seems to earn a place in my decks. In that way, it is like a lot of other cards where I can see the possible utility, but unfortunately other cards have more consistent and powerful effects. The high cost of 3 resources also lessens the value of Ever Onward, although Leadership is the one sphere that can perhaps afford it. The main reason, though, that this card is not higher in my estimation is that it just doesn’t do enough compared to other cards to justify the deck space it takes up. The problem is that it is most useful in the early stages of a quest, when you may be struggling to generate enough power to quest successfully, especially for those stage 1B’s that begin with a lot of threat in the staging area. Ever Onward can serve as a safety net to bail you out if you fail or allow you to build a better position by intentionally failing. Unfortunately, this is exactly the time when you are least able to spend 3 resources on a one-shot effect instead of on something that builds a foundation for the rest of the quest. You could look at Ever Onward as an indirect form of readying, similar to Grim Resolve or Lure of Moria, in that you get to avoid exhausting characters that would normally be used for questing. The difference, though, is that with the former you still get the benefit of a turn’s worth of progress tokens, whereas with Ever Onward, you lose that time. For the same cost, and assuming I’m playing Dwarves, I would rather put Lure of Moria in my deck. At the end of the day, Ever Onward probably is most useful for exactly what it says on the card: bailing you out when you unintentionally fail a quest. Still, I would rather save the deck space for cards that make sure that doesn’t happen or straight threat reduction effects.

Verdict: Coaster

* Note: These verdicts are meant to be controversial and make things more interesting.

 

Readers, do you agree or disagree with my assessment? What uses have you found for Ever Onward? What stories do you have?

Also, let me know in the comments below what cards you would like me to spotlight next.

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21 Comments
  1. I think it’s possible that Ever Onward actually wouldn’t work for the quests you mentioned. The card doesn’t say that the player has now quested successfully, they just don’t suffer the consequences of questing unsuccessfully (the threat raise). Since it’s a response card, the players have already quested unsuccessfully by the time you would play the card, and the nasty effects would have taken place already.

    That said, I totally agree with your final verdict. Too expensive and too niche.

  2. Etienne permalink

    Concerning “Escape Attempt”, “Continuing Eastward” and Celador, I have to disagree with your rule interpretation. In all cases you would still quest unsuccessfully, and all the evil effects that such effect triggers (losing the game, triggering lost effects and Celador taking a wound, respectively). Ever Onward doesn’t avoid you questing unsuccessfully, it only keeps you from raising your threat as a result.

    If I’m wrong on this by all means correct me.

  3. shipprekk permalink

    I think Kevin may be right about the rules in those cases.

    And I agree; this card is too useless. I got excited when I saw that you were highlighting it, hoping to find a use, but it looks like we’ve drawn the same conclusion: coaster. I fully expect a redux of this card effect in some other form and cheaper, but maybe with some stipulations attached.

  4. TalesfromtheCards permalink

    Both Kevin and Etienne are correct. It appears in grasping at straws to find some uses for this card, I reached a bit too far. Ever Onward only cancels the threat from questing unsuccessfully, but does not cancel the failure itself, so all those effects would still trigger. In my opinion, this makes my verdict even stronger. This card would be have a bit more utility, now and in the future, if it did in fact negate the quest failure completely.

  5. Thaddeus permalink

    I’d pretty much just consider this card in a deck with lots of Resource generation that I was using for Solo play… so, yeah…. not likely to get used.

  6. legolas18 permalink

    I agree with everything. But I do like the idea of saving available characters for one big attack. If you decided to do something like that, one card that might be useful is Gildor’s Counsel, deducting the amount of cards you have to draw so that you wouldn’t be as affected by the encounter cards drawn. But of course this would mean having multiple players, and since Ever Onward only targets one player, it might be more useful to not play Ever Onward at all and only play Gildor’s Counsel.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Perhaps for those quests that you beat by killing a final “boss” instead of questing, it might be useful to play Ever Onward. That way you don’t have to worry about questing, which serves no purpose except avoiding threat increase, and can focus all your attention on that final battle instead.

      • Greg Mahler permalink

        I think this might be useful if you felt like you would threat out by not questing. It it cost like 0 or 1 it would have more appeal I think. As it is, it’s not worth the resources to have a little “possible” threat reduction, even in a sphere that has very little of those options.

        • TalesfromtheCards permalink

          Definitely this one is over-costed. If it was 0-cost, it might be worth inclusion against certain quests.

  7. Timothy permalink

    TalesfromtheCards said, “The main reason, though, that this card is not higher in my estimation is that it just doesn’t do enough compared to other cards to justify the deck space it takes up.”

    Speaking of this, what is the official deck size? I’m new to the game, please forgive my kindergarden question.

    The rule book states that a tournament deck should be at least 50 cards. That is very open-ended. What do you normally use as a deck size?

    As for tournaments, has FFG ever come out with tournament rules? I’ve never seen anything about this.

    Thanks.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Good question. The only guideline that has ever been given is what you mentioned: the 50-card minimum for tournaments mentioned in the rulebook. Most people have taken this to mean that 50 cards is the minimum we should all use, despite there being no tournaments and no tournament rules currently existing. All the decks I build follow the 50 card minimum because that is what I prefer, and it gives a good baseline and level of challenge. However, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from building decks of any size you want, and I encourage you to do so if it works better for you, especially when you are first starting out.

      • TalesfromtheCards permalink

        Just to be more specific a bit, my decks range from 50-52 cards. I don’t go above 52, although I have been known to run a 53 card deck if I really can’t live with cutting anything. Any more than that and your decks become too inconsistent. What I mean by building decks of any size you want is that sometimes when players are first learning the game and have a smaller card pool they run 30 or 40 card decks.

  8. Thaddeus permalink

    While most go for the 50 card minimum rule (it is what the game was designed for), most also try to not build much more than 50 cards in their deck. There is a standard convention in games where you construct decks to make them as small as is reasonably possible as the fewer cards you have, the more likely it is that you’ll pull the good stuff.
    Just this month they’ve started putting out LotR game night kits with some tournament rules (including some optional competitive rules I understand). I haven’t checked them out yet though.

  9. Timothy permalink

    If you guys don’t mind, I’d be open to telling you how my deck-building is going every so often. My very first deck-build was utter failure. I’ll give details if you’re interested.

    Thank you TalesfromtheCards and Thaddeus for your responses. Thaddeus, do you have a link for the information you gave about the tournament rules? It’d be great if FFG finally started tournaments for the game.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      I’d be interested in hearing your deck-building experiences. Details are welcome!

  10. Thaddeus permalink

    All the info I know is from this article: http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_news.asp?eidn=3792

  11. Timothy permalink

    I’ll post something later tonight about my first deck-build. High comedy, folks. I’ll include every card. You’ll see I have no ego I’m attempting to protect. I’ll give you every foolish decision I made and why.

    🙂

  12. Timothy permalink

    There once was a foolish lad named Tim. I’ll call him Skidd, because of the many marks left on him from crashing.

    Skidd reads, but doesn’t always retain. Silly boy, Skidd!

    Skidd learned a lesson. I’ll call it, The Lesson of The Tower of Babel.

    In the Holy Bible, there is the historical recounting of a large group of people–as large as a nation!–who were all of one culture, even of one mind. These people knew each other well. So well, even God Himself stated that, “Nothing that they purpose to do will now be impossible for them.”

    Each person complemented every other person in some way.

    “Hmm…there’s a message in there,” Skidd said. “But I won’t waste time finding it. I’ve better things to do.”

    Skidd liked games. Skidd found a game he thought was super cool. It was called, Lord of the Rings: The Card Game. Skidd said, “This is my game and I’m gonna become the best Lord of the Rings card player in the world!”

    Skidd knew that to be the best, he needed to learn. He found an article that suited this need. It was called, Deck Building 101: Core Set Construction. “Bingo,” Skidd said, “I’ll be great in no time.”

    Skidd read. He liked this part:

    “Tri-sphere decks are very possible and can be extremely effective, but take a bit more expertise.”

    “Extremely effective,” Skidd mused. “I want to BE extremely effective.”

    Silly Skidd. He ignored the part that stated tri-sphere deck construction could only be effective with a player who had more expertise. Skidd didn’t have ANY expertise.

    Skidd was dumb.

    He constructed. Skidd liked construction.

    Skidd was clever. He knew the Journey Along the Anduin River needed those who hammered and those who healed. Skidd’s heart swaggered when he added those who allowed him to hide.

    “This is why I’m gonna be great!” Skidd said. “Because it’s good to think of everything and everything I think is good.”

    Skidd immortalized his deck with pen and paper. “Posterity,” he reasoned. “So those that exist after me may be gifted with the innards of my mind.”

    He called his deck, “From Whence I Came, There I Go.”

    His deck was thus:

    HEROES: Glorfindel (Lore), Gimli (Tactics), Eowyn (Spirit). Threat = 32.

    ALLIES: 2 Veteren Axehands & 1 Gondorian Spearman (Tactics), 2 Lorien Guides (Spirit), 3 Gandalf (Neutral).

    ATTACHMENTS: 2 Horn of Gondor, 2 Dwarven Axe & 2 Citadel Plate (Tactics), 2 Favor of the Lady, 2 Unexpected Courage & 1 Power in the Earth (Spirit), 2 Dark Knowledge, 2 Forest Snare & 2 Self Preservation (Lore).

    EVENTS: 1 Feint, 2 Blade Mastery & 2 Swift Strike (Tactics), 2 Galadhrin’s Greeting, 2 A Light in the Dark, 2 A Test of Will, 2 Strength of Will, 2 Hasty Stroke & 1 Will of the West (Spirit), 2 Lorien’s Wealth, 2 Lore of Imladris, 2 Radagast’s Cunning & 2 Secret Paths (Lore).

    Skidd was content in the work he had accomplished, though he had yet to take one step in his journey. Concerned friends worried for his lack of Lore allies to support their leader, Glorfindel. “Extraneous pomp,” Skidd scoffed. “Ill-needed fodder.”

    “But the threat that you pose will immediately bring Hill Trolls to bear,” they warned. “I am ready,” Skidd said. “Let them come.”

    Foolish Skidd.

    His journey is memorable not for it’s length, but for it’s emptiness. Skidd lasted 8 rounds, but accomplished not one thing. No location was journeyed, nor one enemy defeated. If his quest were a cinematic movie, it would be 8 minutes of the characters spinning in circles, screaming for help.

    Dizzy Skidd. No help was had, because he brought none.

    Long ago, the people of Babel learned the harsh lesson of allowing their ego to close their ears to God’s wisdom. They became confused, scattered to the ends of the earth, and forced to begin again.

    Skidd learned his lesson. Listen to the learned. Start small. Begin again.

    Smart Skidd.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      A very entertaining read! Thanks for that. As long as you have the courage to experiment and laugh at yourself along the way, you’ll go far.

  13. ishallcallusting permalink

    testing to see what happens if I leave a comment

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