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The Three Trials: Hero Review

by on July 24, 2014

treetrials

It seems to be the way of LOTR LCG that famine is quickly followed by feast. After a long, at times interminable, wait between the Voice of Isengard expansion and the first Adventure Pack of the Ring-maker cycle, we now have quickly been bestowed the second AP, The Three Trials! As always, a new expansion means a look at the player cards contained in this newest expansion, as I keep an eye out for how they expand or add to the card pool. Unlike last time around, when the hero was spoiled in advance, players came into The Three Trials not knowing quite what to expect, other than some speculation based on the cover art. As it turns out, this art is indeed the art for our newest hero: Idraen. She continues a now established history of female FFG-created heroes, adding to the ranks of Eleanor, Beravor, Caldara, and Mirlonde. I have expressed support for this path in the past, and my feelings have not changed one iota. In fact, FFG have really upped the ante this time around by including a full page of story text adding some background flavor to Idraen. This is a great touch and helps to make players feel more connected to a brand new character. Now, I wish that the designers would go back and add a similar story for the other created heroes, although that is undoubtedly just a pipe dream. For now, though, we have an interesting new Dunedain hero to build decks around. Let’s investigate further…

HERO

idraen

* Idraen (Spirit Hero, 11 threat, 2 willpower, 3 attack, 2 defense, 4 hit points):

Idraen hails from the Spirit sphere and brings a balanced set of stats, along with a high starting threat to the table. In addition, she has a readying ability, one of the strengths of Spirit, that triggers off of locations:

 Response: After a location is explored, ready Idraen.

In terms of length and complexity, this ability is the model of simplicity. Still, there is plenty to discuss when it comes to this new hero. Before we get to her ability, Idraen is notable for bringing plenty of uniqueness to the table. First, she is only the fourth hero to have the Dunedain trait (third if you count the 2 Aragorns as a single hero), and the first from the Spirit sphere. This adds a bit more life to the Dunedain archetype as the designers look to spread the love around. She is the very first hero to have the Scout trait, which is notable because of the brand new attachment, Warden of Arnor, which is also included in The Three Trials. It is assumed, although not certain, that this means that the Scout trait could become more meaningful in the future, which could add value to Idraen. Already, the fact that she is the only hero that can use Warden of Arnor enhances her overall place in the game beyond mere stats and ability. However, the biggest distinction is the fact that Idraen is only the second hero in the Spirit sphere to boast an attack strength of 3 (Glorfindel is the other).

In many ways, Idraen begs an inevitable comparison to Prince Imrahil, who also readies based on a certain trigger and has identical stats. In most cases, Imrahil is the superior choice, as having an ally leave play is much more common and much easier for the player to control than a location being explored. This is particularly true in solo play, as with only 1 card being revealed during staging, it is quite possible that only a few locations will be exploring during the course of an entire game, while sacrificing an ally each turn is quite feasible regardless of the number of players (although both heroes become better in multiplayer). In addition, timing plays an important role, as since allies generally leave play during combat, Imrahil can often both quest and attack/defend or defend and then attack. By contrast, locations generally leave play only during the quest phase, which means that Idraen is more restricted and will usually quest and then engage in combat, rather than engage twice in some aspect of combat, which makes her less flexible. Of course, such comparisons violate one of my cardinal rules, which is that you cannot compare 2 cards from different spheres without taking their respective place in their spheres into account. There are 4 heroes in the Leadership sphere with 3 attack, counting Imrahil, while, as mentioned before, Idraen is only 1 of 2 heroes in the Spirit sphere with such an attack value. This makes Idraen a potentially more valuable hero in her particular sphere than Imrahil is to Leadership. On the other hand, readying is much more prevalent in the Spirit sphere than the Leadership sphere, which perhaps gives him the edge in his realm in that respect. When you combine the readying and attack strength at once, though, the picture certainly becomes murky, far murkier than simply declaring Imrahil’s ability to be superior.

This is because for far too long, the only option available for mono-Spirit players in terms of a viable attacking hero has been Glorfindel. Long have I decried this state of affairs and a second 3 attack strength hero for Spirit has been near the top of my wish list because of this fact. Of course, this means that if Idraen is not being compared to Imrahil, then she is being compared to Glorfindel. However, I don’t think this is a fruitful comparison for a few reasons. First, Glorfindel’s amazing value in contrast to his starting threat means that almost any hero will come out looking worse for wear in comparison. However, that doesn’t mean that players (myself included) aren’t willing to take on a potentially inferior hero simply for the sake of having a much-needed alternative and something new. Second, oftentimes it is tempting to compare 2 heroes in the same sphere while forgetting the possibilities of them being used together! Idraen and Glorfindel can make a potent team in a mono-Spirit or Spirit-heavy deck, with a massive 5 willpower and 6 attack between the two of them, with the chance of having both of those stat combinations available during a round, with the help of Light of Valinor and Idraen’s ability. This all comes at a low starting threat of 16, which leaves plenty of choice in terms of a third hero. Rather than comparing the two then, teaming up Idraen and Glorfindel seems like a more tantalizing discussion point. Finally, Idraen has access to the Dunedain and Scout traits, whereas Glorfindel does not. While the Noldor trait perhaps has better options at the moment, with such cards as Light of Valinor, Rivendell Blade, and Elrond’s Counsel, being available, Idraen can have access to Blood of Numenor to be an incredible defender. In fact, this is an advantage that she has over Glorfindel, in that she can actually serve quite well in defense, and thus can cover all three areas of play quite competently. Beyond Blood of Numenor, Idraen’s traits mean that she can also make use of Gondorian Fire, as well as the brand new Warden of Arnor. With time and more Dunedain and Scout cards, the distinction between Glorfindel and Idraen will become more apparent.

Beyond the comparisons, how good is Idraen on her own merits? More importantly, what is the best way to maximize her power? With her readying ability being based around exploring locations, any cards that get rid of locations more quickly and allow you to pick when locations are explored are key in an Idraen deck. Keep in mind that locations that are explored in the staging area count just as much as the active location. Thus, cards like Ride to Ruin, Northern Tracker, Lorien Guide, The Riddermark’s Finest, and Asfaloth (another reason to pair with Glorfindel) can all play a part here. The idea here is that you could use Idraen to defend, then play Ride to Ruin, for example, to pop a location out of play in order to ready her for another defense or for attack. This would get around the usual quest resolution timing, which forces Idraen to normally only ready after questing. Although even just this form of the ability is useful, as it allows Idraen to contribute her 2 willpower to questing and still be available to either defend or attack, making her somewhat analogous to Leadership Aragorn in this respect. While Northern Tracker can’t help with controlling the timing aspect directly, he does indirectly help by putting progress on locations so that they are more easily explored by other effects. There may even finally be a reason to include Ravenhill Scout here, as if you are piling up resources on locations with other effects (or even on the active location), you could use the Scout to transfer 2 resources over to another location in order to explore it at the right time (when you want Idraen readied). As a final point on this topic, if you are using disposable cards like The Riddermark’s Finest and Ride to Ruin as your primary source of location exploration, it makes sense to include Dwarven Tomb and Stand and Fight to get more uses out of these.

There are also a couple of other cards that would work well in an Idraen deck, even though they don’t directly explore locations. Strength of Will works well, as you could quest with Idraen, ready her when the active location is explored, and then use her to activate Strength of Will on the next location. Of course, it could also just work in general as another way to put progress on locations even if you use another character to activate it. Strider’s Path is another strong option, as it can allow you to immediately move a location revealed during staging to the active location spot. This is helpful because you might face a turn where there is no active location sand no locations that can be explored in the staging area using effects, and thus you would have no way to ready Idraen. Normally, if a location was then revealed during staging, you would have to wait to travel to it and then explore it on the next round. Strider’s Path provides an opportunity to immediately make a location the active location, which means it could be explored during that turn’s quest resolution, thus readying Idraen when you really need her to be available. Finally, A Watchful Peace is a woefully under-utilized card (understandably so given the strong Spirit events that are competing for spots), and one that I haven’t seen mentioned yet in connection to this hero, that is gold for an Idraen deck. Especially in solo play, where drawing a location is not guaranteed, A Watchful Peace can help you to get more locations into play.

A-Watchful-Peace

I hear the objections already though. If you explore a location and put it back on top of the encounter deck, then it will simply be discarded as a shadow if there is an enemy in play, and if there is no enemy in play, then on the next turn you will explore another location, but you won’t need the readying because there still won’t be enemies around! Fear not, my friends, as there is still a use for this card. Note that A Watchful Peace, like Idraen, can be used anytime a location is explored, not just the active location. This means you could explore the active location, ready, and fight in combat with Idraen. Only after would you trigger an effect like The Riddermark’s Finest or Asfaloth to explore a location in the staging area (or even a new active location), playing A Watchful Peace to put it back on top of the encounter deck for next round’s staging. Anything that helps to control locations and when they will emerge is useful for Idraen, so Shadow of the Past could work here as well, although A Watchful Peace is cheaper. For similar reasons, scrying can be quite helpful with this hero, as it at least can help you figure out when locations are coming. Denethor is even more useful, as he can drop non-locations to the bottom of the encounter deck in the hopes that a location will end up on top of the encounter deck instead. Finally, Ravens of the Mountain can serve a dual role here, both shuffling the encounter deck in case you see that the top card is not a location and potentially putting progress on the active location. This means that outside of mono-Spirit, Idraen also plays well with Lore because of its scrying and location management. Obviously, all these methods are not as necessary in multiplayer, where you are more likely to have plenty of locations to use for readying Idraen.

With some methods and tricks in hand to ready Idraen as often as possible, how can we get the most out of her actions? The key as usual is in attachments. I have already mentioned Blood of Numenor, which can make Idraen into a strong defender, as long as you can stockpile some resources in her pool. Gondorian Fire is a great choice for attacking in the same vein. Blade of Gondolin is a weapon that seems to have long fallen out of favor, but may be worth a shot to pour some extra progress on locations, especially if you can get 2 attached to Idraen (or another hero). Pairing Idraen with Legolas, either in the same deck or in another player’s deck, is extremely useful for the same reason. All of the Dunedain Signals of course make useful and thematic options as well. Within the Spirit sphere, I really like Miruvor as an option for Idraen. This utility attachment could allow her to ready whenever her ability can’t be activated, or could provide a resource for Blood of Numenor or add some willpower during questing. Silver Lamp also finds another viable Spirit candidate aside from Glorfindel, as Idraen can be ready during combat (even after questing) and thus can make use of the Lamp to reveal shadows. This can be especially handy since she may end up acting as the defender at times.

With all this in mind, the final verdict beckons. It is clear that Idraen is better in multiplayer than solo, just based on the frequency of locations being revealed and explored. It is also clear that Glorfindel is better in a pound-for-pound, threat-for-threat analysis. Critics might also point out the easy availability of Unexpected Courage in the Spirit sphere to grant more consistent readying to any Spirit hero. All of that does not detract from the value and utility of Idraen, even in solo play. More than anything, I would say that the balanced stats and strong attack of this hero, within the context of her sphere, is what counts the most and helps her to provide what most other Spirit heroes can’t, even with Unexpected Courage or other readying. The further development of either the Dunedain or Scout traits (or both) will also give her a boost in the future. While some might worry that introducing too much attack strength into Spirit might unbalance the spheres or ruin their distinctiveness, as long as this is restricted to only a couple of heroes, I don’t believe that there is too much to be concerned about. Idraen is not overpowered and perhaps is not among the most powerful of heroes. What she does bring to the table is support for a much-neglected trait, much needed interaction with locations, and strong and balanced stats to fill a weakness for her sphere. In fact, more than her strong attack, it is this balance that is so crucial, with almost every Spirit hero being biased towards a particular area of play in some way. Sometimes you just need versatility, and this is what Idraen provides in spades.

Versatility: ♦♦♦◊◊

Efficiency: ♦♦♦◊◊

Uniqueness: ♦♦♦♦◊

Possible Attachment Choices: Blood of Numenor, Gondorian Fire, Dunedain Warning, Dunedain Mark, Celebrian’s Stone, Warden of Arnor, Miruvor, Silver Lamp, Blade of Gondolin

Conclusion

Idraen continues the Ring-maker trend started by Celeborn, which is a powerful, yet not overpowered hero, that helps to build a certain trait. How do the rest of the player cards compare to those found in The Dunland Trap? You’ll just have to catch up with the allies, attachments, and events reviews to find out!

Readers, what are your thoughts on Idraen? Useful and balanced hero? Or a redundant and inconsistent addition?

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From → Reviews

44 Comments
  1. Matthew D. permalink

    I love our new hero and can’t wait to try her out this weekend!

  2. Jeremy permalink

    Got the pack yesterday and really liked her. I have made and seen my friends make Spirit decks and it’s usually the same 3-4 heroes. I think she brings a nice aspect and something to build around (location removal). My first thought was to team her, Glorfindel and Bifur. Using Bifur and Ancestral Knowledge with Strength of Will you could have here readied even with a 4 progress location. I like the idea of West Road Traveler too, in case of annoying travel effect locations. Asfaloth and Glorfindel are great, but I’m kind of getting tired of Glorfindel (he’s everywhere, lol). I know people don’t like her, but I’m really liking Eleanor more and more. I think she’s very underrated. Nice candidate for UC, nice blocker with Gondorian Shield. I’ve been playing some 3-4 player games and when you have the scenarios where you reveal and add cards for players at the beginning before resourcing up, she is money (IMO). Put Elf-Stone in the deck too so I can drop in Tracker for cheap.

    Really like this pack as a whole, but I’ll wait until you review those cards, lol.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      I agree completely about Glorfindel. Even just in terms of bringing something new to the table and more variety, I think Idraen is a win.

      • Thaddeus Papke permalink

        Having to be compared to Glorfindel is basically just not fair. For any Hero. 😛

        • Mndela permalink

          If Idraen is compared to Glorfindel it means that Idraen is very powerful. ^^

  3. Traekos77 permalink

    First Spirit Hero with double digit threat! Never thought I’d see one.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      It’ll be interesting to see if we ever get any others with that much threat in Spirit.

  4. Never forget Legolas as a progress maker, since he could even explore a location to ready Idrael for another attack.

    Much waited hero for some tatics-spirit decks i’ve been trying on solo mode.

  5. Thaddeus Papke permalink

    I like her. A deck to use her with hasn’t quite come together in my head, but I look forward to trying her out.

  6. As far as Unexpected Courage goes, whilst I’d pretty much always run it with Spirit, I rarely play it on the Spirit character – it usually ends up on Legolas or Elrond.

    For multi-player, I quite like the idea of having Idraen with Warden or Arnor, and Thalin questing, whilst Eleanor stands ready – it basically allows you to slightly blunt the edge of whatever the encounter deck throws at you.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Definitely a good point about UC (with it going to non-Spirit heroes as a higher priority), which I think speaks to the point about Spirit characters generally not having balanced stats (usually being straight questers for the most part). Idraen breaks this mold and thus would be a good candidate for UC, but thankfully she has her own in-built readying.

      I like your idea of Idraen/Warden with Thalin and Eleanor. Each of the three encounter types would be addressed in some way.

  7. banania permalink

    Jeremy,

    I really like your idea of pairing Eleanor with Idraen as part of a “control” deck. I’d probably throw in a lore hero in there. Eleanor is actually very popular in my group of players. I see it every time on the table, her ability is very useful indeed.

    I’ve recently rediscovered events from the Core Set, namely “Common Cause” and “Strength of Will” which are absolutely cool for heroes with specific abilities that don’t always need triggering every round.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      For some reason, I’ve never made use of Strength of Will that much, even when I just had the Core Set. I have been giving it more of a look of late though, and Idraen gives me more of a reason to do so.

      • Mndela permalink

        I like Strength of Will with Thror’s Map. You can explore 2 locations in a same round by placing progress tokens on a active location.

  8. After listening to your most recent podcast lamenting the lack of interesting mechanics around locations (and any hero with a location focused ability), this card is a welcome change of pace. It certainly doesn’t elevate location control to a level of enjoyment found in dealing with enemies, but it is a step in the right direction. I’m eager to give Idraen a try!

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Definitely nice to get some location control love in hero form! Let’s hope that we get more in the future.

    • Matthew D. permalink

      Indeed! She’s not what I was envisioning (ideally), but I really like her! In other words, she doesn’t “control” locations or make them more interesting, but she certainly interacts with them (in a way).

  9. An important distinction between her and Prince Imrahil that I didn’t see mentioned: she has no limit to the number of times she can be readied. This means that if you have the abilities to explore multiple locations per round, then she can be readied multiple times!

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Indeed, and I think it was a good design move not to limit her. While Imrahil has the advantage in that it is easier to get allies out of play, at least Idraen now has the edge of not being limited if you can find a way to get multiple locations out of play in a single turn.

  10. Tracker1 permalink

    From reading all comments here and at ffg site, I seem to be the only one not very happy with her. I think the high threat 11 is what bothers me most. Her ability is kind of redundant in a sphere that has lots of readying options, and i don’t like that her best bud is spirit Glorfindel to make her viable in a deck, since pairing her with a dunedain thematic deck puts you at a starting threat of 33, and with out him she doesn’t fit into any decent deck that I can think of.

    To me she falls into the same category as Faramir hero, in fact her hero stats and ability would have been a perfect fit for the faramir hero, and I would have been happy if she had Faramir’s ability for lore. Switching the two seems a better fit in my mind, but that’s neither her nor there.

    Still my main problem is the 11 threat. I mean she’s a scout and a ranger, my picture of that type of character has a low threat that does not attract much attention. I realize ffg is pretty stuck in their stat distribution formula, but it often does not jive thematically with the characters role. Of course making another low threat character with decent stats makes it more attractive to pair with Glorfindel, for an even more broken deck, and that’s not what I’m asking for.

    I think there are creative ways around this, for example: Idraen’s starting threat is 11 if she is paired with any heroes with threat 9 or less, and it’s 5 if she is paired with heroes threat 10 or more.

    That gives her a lot more flexibility. You can pair her with Glorfindel and a hobbit and be at threat 22, or pair her with Aragorn and Beravor, and be at threat 27. Makes, a lot of sense to me and gives deck builders a lot more options while eliminating the possible low threat powerhouse combinations. At 11 threat they have pretty much forced us to play her with spirit Glorfindel which kind of sucks.

    I play primarily solo one hand, and at this point I don’t see her having a profound impact on my deck building. Disappointed, but I do hope I’ll make make or see another deck that makes me eat my words some day. Sorry for the rant.

    • Glowwyrm permalink

      This is a great idea. I understand the game balance issues of giving her high stats and a high starting threat, but it is odd that sneaky characters like rangers (Faramir is a great example of this), have trouble staying hidden from enemies. The idea of scalable starting threat is a cool one, but I think it is too complicated to ever be implemented. Maybe we’ll get a Mirlonde equivalent for Dunedain and Rangers: the starting threat of each Dundedain and Ranger you control is reduced by one. Either way, when we finally get Galadriel, all our threat cost evaluations are going to change (especially for solo players)

    • Matthew D. permalink

      So, basically, you don’t like her because she’s not good for solo, secrecy, thematic decks? 😉

      As a non-theme, never-will-try secrecy, and multi-player player, I love her.

      • Tracker1 permalink

        We’ll those are some of the main ways I like to play, but it goes a little deeper than that.

        This is the first spirit hero we have had in about a year. The last three Pippin, Fatty and Caldera. We’re all quite interesting, but all three take very specific decks. Some players would consider them some of the worst 3 heroes in the game, but I tried to make them work and had a good time playing with them.

        Interestingly enough i find those 3 heroes, with all their issues, more interesting then Idraen. Wow, she has 3 attack and can ready when a location leaves play. That’s probably a big deal for multiplayer, and i can understand why others are excited, but for solo it does not seem to interesting. I like many of Ian’s ideas about how to maximize her ability with some interesting card combinations, but to utilize them seems like a waste of deck space to me. i mean we’re just talking about readying her, just slap an unexpected courage on her and call it done.

        I spend a lot of time building solo decks and have exhausted many deck building options, When I wait a year to get a new spirit hero, I’d like it to stir the pot and try out different hero combinations, but after trying to build a few decks with her she just doesn’t click for me. Interestingly I asked players at FFG site who they would team her with, and we all basically thought the same thing spirit Glorfindel and another lore hero, either Aragorn or Beravor. Mono-spirit was another option. So, at this point she does not seem very versatile from a deck building perspective, but I suppose a lot of heroes can be pegged like that too.

        I look forward to hearing reports on how she’s working for other solo or multi-player players.
        I’ve tried her out and was not impressed. Anyone else have any experience with her?

        • Matthew D. permalink

          I won’t be pairing her with any of those you named. And, the fact she can ready herself, frees up UC for some other valuable hero – I don’t just need to slap it on her – in fact, it’d be a waste.

          The fact of the matter is, she’s going to add much needed questing power to non-Spirit decks, and then, more often than not, be able to use her 3 attack, or even her defense in a pinch, in handy situations.

          I’m much more excited to pair her with Leadership or Tactics decks, to help with their questing, and not have it be as “useless” after questing as Eowyn.

          • Matthew D. permalink

            I’ll also add I’m not excited by Galadriel in the slightest, but she seems to be the Spirit hero you are waiting for (at least, more than Idraen).

            Not every hero should be for solo-only, or multiplayer only – I like seeing heroes that fit multiple roles. Additionally, the more and more heroes we get, the more “niche” I think they can be (as opposed to “general use”).

            In this case, it matters not to me we haven’t had a Spirit hero in a year (which I don’t think is even relevant, given the large gaps between releases, since we got no heroes of any sphere), but you could make that argument any time between cycles. We get two heroes per sphere, per cycle. The wait seems less important and should have no direct impact on the design of any given card.

            • Tracker1 permalink

              I agree, those are just my expectations and I was disappointed after the wait. From what I gather you play multiplayer every so often. I play this game at least once a day solo. It’s no surprise that to me that we see the game through very different eyes and probably have different expectations for what the card pool provides. For instance, you are right Galadriel suits my tastes perfectly. Regardless, I’m happy that you see great value in the new hero, and I hope she offers you some new strategies to work with in your decks. Best of luck, I look forward to hearing of your successes.

              • Matthew D. permalink

                Yes, I am exclusively multi-player, after being an exclusively solo-player the first year or so of the game. After I had my first taste of multi-player play, I’ve never looked back. I just – personally speaking – don’t find the game satisfying solo in any way.

                I’m not sure how it’s relevant to the discussion, but as for how often I play, certainly not every day, but I would say 2-3 times per week, with a mixture of 2, 3 and 4 player games. Congrats on getting to play daily, though. I wish i could! 🙂

                With that said, I love how the game suits many different play styles, both from the perspective of how the spheres work, and then with the added layer of from a solo or 2/3/4 player perspective! It really does offer different experiences and different cards shine in different situations!

  11. citrus permalink

    While the comparison was Glorfindel, to me she’s competing with Eowyn as primary quester due to her free readying ability. Since most posts seem to be pointing to that pairing, I’d say that she makes a strong case as the potential readying effect, while readily available to Spirit, is still less available compared to Willpower.

  12. Fouilloux permalink

    Well I think also he is exactly what spirit needed: a versatile hero. And that is what make me me angry. It’s like they are telling us: ok, all the sphere have advantages, but look at that, Spirit has access to ALL the advantages of the others sphere:
    attacking character? Glorfindel, Dunhere, and now Idraen.
    Readying, questing and location dealing? No need to say.
    Defending? Frodo, plus all the opportunities to use the will instead of Défense. Oh, and what is the cost for that? Threat. And guess which sphere is the best for threat managing?
    Which sphere is the only one that can counter treacheries? It can now even deals with condition attachment!
    Which one has the best option to deal with shadow cards?
    Card draw? We have ancient mathom.
    Ressource generation and manipulation? Let’s look at some blue dwarves. Plus, why do we need ressources when the blue cards are so cheap?
    How and what about ressurecting a hero, or getting back cards that are in our discard pile?

    Ok it lack two thing: healing and weapons. But hey, what is spear of the mark if not a weapon designed only for a blue character?

    It would not be a problem if the other sphere had access to the same benefits. But that is really not the case, so I am disappointed that spirit receive so much attention.

    Well that was the complain of a Tactic fan…

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Yeah, I definitely get what you mean. When we did our Spirit episode on The Grey Company, that was one of my little beefs with Spirit: that it seemed to be able to address more areas of the game more powerfully than any of the other spheres. From that viewpoint, I suppose that Idraen does make the situation worse…

  13. Tracker1 permalink

    I tend to agree that spirit is probably the best sphere, leadership also has lots of cards that draw from other spheres niches.

    Anyway, back to Idraen. I tried a solo Dunedain deck with her, beravor, and Aragorn leadership, and then Aragorn lore. Not surprising with 33 threat they got trounced.Went back to Glorfindel and Beravor, and the deck is okay, but not totally satisfied with it.

    I was hoping Wingfoot would be cool card for Idraen, but it really does not work good with her response. The majority of the time I’ll probably call enemy with Wingfoot, since reading for an enemy is what’s needed. Sure that’s great for Idrean, but now if a location leaves play she will already be ready, so her response is wasted. Wingfoot does not seem to be a card for her, and it’s probably better on another ranger, however in solo play her response is not consistent at all, so she will need another card like Unexpected Courage, but I would rather have that on Beravor in the deck I’m working on so I can get consistent card draw, which means I’ll need 2 copies early to get things working well, since Beravor is the main defender, if she only readies with wingfoot to defend then she will not ready to draw cards unless she has at least 1 UC, but Idrean needs a copy to quest and then attack, especially if Glorfindel does not have LoV yet. But, if she does not have a UC and a location does not leave play she will not be ready to attack. So basically she needs another card besides her ability to make sure she will be ready if needed.

    Sorry to elaborate on my little deck building dilemma, but these are the little nuances about her card that bug me for solo play. Basically, my main grip is that her ability can’t be relied on to do it’s thing each round. So, for consistency I’ll need to waste a readying card on her to maximize her potential, which is a shame since her ability could have provided a much more reliable trigger, something like like: she readies when progress is placed on a location or quest card, and make it once per round. More reliable, but there are times when no progress is placed, so it’s not a guarantee that the ability would trigger each round.

    Okay, Sorry to sound like a broken record describing my discontent with the new hero, but these are some issues that are coming up with actually trying to play with her, so I think they have merit and hopefully will lead to healthy discussion, since I would like to try and make her work for me, so I look forward to seeing what others do with her.

    • Matthew D. permalink

      Not every hero should be solo friendly. Brand certainly isn’t. But he’s a Top 5 hero in multi-player, hands down.

      I’ve played her in 2, 3, and 4 player games. She readies nearly *every* round, no matter the number of players. Then attacks consistently. That makes her a top-notch hero.

      She doesn’t work in solo? I suppose that stinks for some players. As an exclusive multi-player player, she’s an absolute rock star.

      • Tracker1 permalink

        Awesome, I’m starting to get warm a bit for solo play. Not so much for her response, but 3 attack with glorfindel for 6 total provides something spirit could not do before. So, she is providing a new deck type for me.

        • Matthew D. permalink

          Totally! 🙂

          And I bet once we get more “toys” for her (Dunedain cards, Scout cards) she might improve in solo play, too!

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      I’m really, really looking forward to Wingfoot, but mainly as a readying option for Lore in the absence of Spirit. Lore Aragorn will definitely love Wingfoot.

  14. Jeremy permalink

    As stated before, I think she will shine more in multi player games. Just more ways to get locations explored, Legolas, someone else running Glorfindel-Asfaloth, lore, etc…. Could also give her Mirovur. I haven’t got her to the table yet, but my plan is her, Eleanor, and Bifur for now and see how that goes.

  15. Silver Swan permalink

    I hope FFG provides more support for less-than-three-hero decks. That will make Idraen able to work with secrecy.
    I don’t mind coming up with new female heroes, but I hope they come up with a version of Gilraen (Aragorn’s mother). Her death is one of the few things mentioned in the Appendix B for this time period

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      I think Gilraen should be fair game since we have characters like Eomund, not to mention Thorin or Fili/Kili.

    • Kjeld permalink

      Agreed on the hope for more support for less-than-three-hero decks. I really like what Ian has done with the Solitary Outlaw card from First Age, which uses a “setup” mechanic to allow for a super-powered lone hero from turn 1. While this version might be a bit overpowered for the normal Third Age scenarios, I can imagine similar cards that would offer specific benefits for starting the game with only one or two heroes. While arguably secrecy is supposed to offer this advantage, it’s simply not powerful enough yet due to a limited range of cards and the fact that they’re spread across several spheres, making access difficult.

  16. Going back to the ideas above. I think having scaleable threat, although a nice idea would be too difficult to work. That said, I love the idea of a trait-based version of Mirlonde – Ranger would seem the most versatile option, but “Dunedain” or even “Scout” could work if they add support for the trait

  17. Mndela permalink

    Does she runs with northern tracker or silvan guide? You commit characters to the quest. Response: place progress tokens on locations. Response of it it some location is explored: ready Idraen. It is ok. Isn’t?

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Yup, that works just fine, as Idraen triggers whenever a location is explored. It doesn’t have to be the active location.

  18. Gwaihir the Windlord permalink

    I’m only halfway through my first attempt of Trouble in Tharbad, but Idraen has been invaluable. Nearly every turn a location is explored, and Strider’s Path is almost a sure way to explore a location that round. Her three attack, combined with Haldir’s on the other side of the table, has cleared the board of several enemies.
    In a pinch I can have her defend, and her two defense four hit points is not to be overlooked, especially in Spirit. Off the top of my head, Glorfindel is the only Spirit hero who can beat her in that category.
    I ‘d love to try her out in Assault on Osgiliath or another location-heavy scenario.

  19. sweetnesswhachacha permalink

    I hadn’t even really considered the 3 attack thing. I saw this card and was very excited. I like the concept of locations, and when I saw this my brain was full of ideas on what to do.

    My favorite ideas are ranger bow and strength of will (separately). Sometimes readying a spirit character can result in nothing to do for the round if a tactics deck is snagging the enemies, and the bow helps to grab an extra point of damage when needed. Strength of will explains itself.

    Thand again!

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