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The Nin-in-Eilph: Allies, Attachments, and Events Review

by on November 11, 2014

FFGMEC29

With The Nin-in-Eilph being out for a couple of weeks now, Celebrimbor’s Secret is soon to follow hot on its heels. Despite my busy schedule, I’ve been knee deep in the swamps, as well as catching up with all the latest Nightmare scenarios and still playing through The Road Darkens as well. This has meant exploring several new decks, continuing my campaigns, and more. With this in mind, I feel like I need to do a bit of catch-up when it comes to player card reviews, especially since I’ll soon be able to pore through the cards from Celebrimbor’s Secret, due to arrive this week, at least in the United States. So although I know that people appreciate the lengthy treatment I usually give each card in a pack, I’m going to condense the allies, attachments, and events of The Nin-in-Eilph into one review, limiting myself to one paragraph per card. I’ll do my best to pack as much analysis into each paragraph as I can, but taking this approach will allow me to spend time on deck spotlights, campaign reports, and other articles, and be ready to tackle Celebrimbor’s Secret head on as soon as I get it in my hands. So with that in mind, let’s embark upon a lightning sweep through the player cards of The Nin-in-Eilph!

ALLIES

* Galadhon Archer (Tactics Ally, 2 cost, 0 willpower, 2 attack, 0 defense, 1 hit point):

Galadhon-Archer

This cycle has been fleshing out the Silvan trait by introducing a new Silvan ally for each sphere. This time around, we get a Tactics Silvan ally focused around direct damage and ranged attacks:

Ranged.

Response: After Galadhon Archer enters play, deal 1 damage to an enemy not engaged with you.

This is a pretty simple and understated ability, but the overall value of this ally is superb. In a Silvan deck using Celeborn, the Galadhon Archer will have 3 attack when she enters play, but even the standard 2 attack for 2 cost is pretty standard for the sphere (compared to Veteran Axehand, Westfold Outrider, etc.), but made even better with the ranged keyword. If you’re playing Silvan, you should be using O Lorien!, so the Galadhon Archer could only cost you 1 resource, which gives you the same attack-to-cost ratio with ranged as Vassal of the Windlord, but you actually get to keep the ally in this instance. The single point of direct damage is not necessarily game changing, but can be part of an overall strategy or several combos centering around direct damage, of which Silvan has several. You could, for example, play Galadhon Archer to deal 1 damage, then play Rumil to deal a few more points of damage, then return the Galadhon Archer to your hand using Pursuing the Enemy to deal 1 damage to each enemy engaged with a player. I was a bit down on Pursuing the Enemy before, but where it can really shine is in combination with other Silvan direct damage effects, and the Galadhon Archer brings more synergy to the table. In this way, you can’t look at any of these direct damage effects in a vacuum, but it’s really about killing with a thousand cuts. Keep in mind, though, that while the latter 2 effects can target enemies engaged with any player, including yourself, the Archer has to deal its damage to an enemy not engaged with you. Still, this allows a Silvan player using Tactics to provide invaluable support to others in multiplayer. The 1 damage can also be applied to an enemy in the staging area, so this could combine well with Haldir or even someone like Dunhere. Since Silvan is all about bringing allies back into hand and then playing them again, it’s also important to remember that each copy of Galadhon Archer will probably be dealing more than 1 damage over the course of a game. Since the ability keys off of entering play (unlike Rumil’s “play from hand”), you can use Sneak Attack to get extra value and damage out of this ally, or cheat her into play using The Tree People, A Very Good Tale, etc. Outside of Silvan, I still find this ally playable. There are quite a few solid allies in the Tactics sphere already that are relatively cheap, but 2 attack with ranged and a free point of damage is a great deal. In solo play, perhaps the lack of utility for the ranged keyword lessens the value somewhat, but not enough to undercut the Archer completely. When combined with the plethora of other direct damage options in the sphere, the verdict is clear here.

Versatility: ♦♦♦♦◊

Efficiency: ♦♦♦♦◊

Uniqueness: ♦♦♦◊◊

* Celduin Traveler (Spirit Ally, 3 cost, 2 willpower, 0 attack, 1 defense, 2 hit points):

Celduin-Traveler)

Previously, we received the Ithilien Lookout, which is a 3 cost Lore ally with the Secrecy 2 keyword, which allows players to look at the top card of the encounter deck and discard it if it is an enemy. The Celduin Traveler is pretty much identical, except for it does the same thing for locations instead of enemies and is part of the Spirit sphere:

Secrecy 2.

Response: After Celduin Traveler enters play, look at the top card of the encounter deck. If it is a location, you may discard it.

At first glance, the Ithilien Lookout seems clearly superior. In general, locations are the type of encounter card that you’re happiest to see, and enemies tend to be far more dangerous than locations. While I’ve often used the Lookout to discard a nasty enemy that was on its way, I imagine that usually I’ll use the Celduin Traveler’s ability and simply leave the location there. Still, there are a few cases where I would be truly glad to get rid of a location, even if it meant drawing a treachery or enemy instead. Most obviously, if you are at risk of getting location locked, then discarding a location might get you out of a jam, at least temporarily, although there’s no guarantee that the next card won’t be a location either. There are also some incredibly nasty and pivotal locations, especially if you’re playing Nightmare scenarios. Just look at the Gladden Marshlands from Nightmare Journey Along the Anduin, and tell me you wouldn’t gladly discard that location before it could emerge without a second thought. However, perhaps the real value here is in bringing a touch of encounter deck scrying to Spirit. This isn’t such a big deal in Lore, where the Ithilien Lookout is just one of a whole host of options for looking at the encounter deck. Spirit, however, doesn’t specialize in this area, so the ability to simply look at the top card of the encounter deck is more valuable than it might otherwise appear for decks that are running Spirit without Lore, especially in solo play. The 2 willpower combined with 2 hit points is also quite useful. 2 willpower is pretty common in Spirit these days, but it’s always great to have an option that doesn’t have just 1 hit point for those quests that pile on the direct damage. For Secrecy decks, this ally is pretty much an auto-include, as 2 willpower and a decent ability for 1 resource is too good to pass up. Outside of Secrecy, the choice is a bit more difficult, and will probably depend upon the exact deck you’re playing and the scenario that you will be facing. As a final note, since the ability does trigger off of entering play, you could pull Sneak Attack shenanigans, but it’s not really worth the effort here, unless you want to peek at the top card of the encounter deck after questing for some reason (i.e. seeing whether a Tentacle enemy’s effect will trigger in The Watcher in the Water, trying to open the Doors of Durin in that same quest, looking at what one of the shadow cards will be during combat, etc.).

Versatility: ♦♦♦◊◊

Efficiency: ♦♦♦◊◊

Uniqueness: ♦♦♦♦◊

Mirkwood Pioneer (Lore Ally, 2 cost, 1 willpower, 0 attack, 0 defense, 2 hit points):

Mirkwood-Pioneer

The Mirkwood Pioneer continues the theme in this cycle of an ally providing an optional ability at a Doomed cost. In the case of the Pioneer, this ability is equivalent to a one-time Radagast’s Cunning or Secret Paths::

You may give Mirkwood Pioneer doomed 1 when you play it from your hand. If you do it gains: “Response: After you play Mirkwood Pioneer, choose a card in the staging area. Until the end of the round, the chosen card does not contribute its .”

I really want to love this guy. He has a bushy beard, is sporting the underdog’s choice of trait (Woodmen), and is a close copy of 2 cards that I love. Radagast’s Cunning and Secret Paths are both endlessly useful, canceling out a high threat enemy or location in the staging area and often saving the day. In theory, Mirkwood Pioneer should be an all-star, as unlike Radagast’s Cunning and Secret Paths, he allows you to actually choose either an enemy or location, providing more versatility. The problem here is really in the cost and timing. The difference between the 2 cost of the Pioneer and the 1 cost of Paths/Cunning is substantial, as usually you leave behind 1 Lore resource in case you need to play those 2 events. Spending 2 resources to cancel out threat temporarily  is a bit much to ask, though, when those resources could be spent to more permanently build up your position. If the Pioneer actually did that himself, by bringing along some stats that were worthwhile, then the cost would not feel as painful, but 1 willpower and 0 attack/0 defense doesn’t quite cut it in these trying times. The timing is potentially even more damaging. What makes Radagast’s Cunning and Secret Paths truly useful is that they can be used after staging, which allows you to only use those events when you know that they are really needed and the exact effect they will have on the progress you will make. They also give you the opportunity to choose the highest threat enemy or location after staging may have potentially revealed something even worse. By contrast, you have to play the Pioneer during planning, since its ability can only be used when played from hand, which means you have to make a decision without knowing what will come up during staging. The main use of this card would be against quests that feature a ton of high threat locations and/or enemies, when including a full complement of Secret Paths/Radagast’s Cunning and the Mirkwood Pioneer will ensure that you are able to have at least 1 of these in hand at all times to cut down on threat in the staging area. The Pioneer can also serve as a potential answer to enemies/locations that you have to leave in the staging area for one reason or another over the course of several rounds, as opposed to traveling to them or defeating them. Of course, the Pioneer will only nullify the threat for one round, which may or may not be enough to justify inclusion. When there are so many other strong 2-cost Lore allies out there, it’s a tough ask for the Pioneer to crack into decks with those stats and an ability that is outclassed by other Lore cards. The one advantage the Pioneer has over Radagast’s Cunning and Secret Paths is that the threat is canceled out for the whole round instead of just one phase. However, this almost never comes into play, but could potentially be useful if an enemy’s threat matters during some other phase of the game. You could also argue that the Pioneer provides some value by combining threat cancellation and a chump blocker in one card, but the cost and other drawbacks already mentioned still don’t make this a tempting deal. There haven’t been many true coasters in this cycle so far, but the Pioneer is making a strong case.

Versatility: ♦♦♦♦◊

Efficiency: ♦◊◊◊◊

Uniqueness: ♦♦◊◊◊

ATTACHMENTS

Bow of the Galadhrim (Tactics Attachment, 1 cost):

Bow-of-the-Galadhrim

I seem to recall several custom cards around the idea of a Galadhrim Bow in the past, so this weapon is one that has been a long time coming :

Attach to a Silvan character with the ranged keyword. Restricted.

Attached character gets +1 . (+2 instead if attacking an enemy not engaged with you.)

It was probably a safe bet that the “Silvan cycle” would see at least one weapon designed to accentuate the Silvan playstyle. We already have the Rivendell Blade, which is a great weapon that Silvan can use, but the Bow of the Galadhrim more specifically plays upon the ability of characters like the hero version of Haldir and the new Galadhon Archer that take aim at enemies not engaged with you. This means that the attached character gets the +2 attack bonus either when attacking another player’s foes via ranged or when shooting into the staging area. Bow of the Galadhrim perhaps works the best with Haldir, who can use it in conjunction with his ability to attack for 5 (7 with 2 copies of the Bow attached) against an enemy engaged with another player or in the staging area, all before that enemy can attack. He can also use it conventionally to make a ranged attack. Legolas isn’t a bad candidate either, as he can pop in to help out other players and gain some progress at the same time. The Bow of the Galadhrim is restricted, but you can put up to 2 copies on a single hero, although the Rivendell Blade makes a fantastic partner weapon, as you can get the -2 defense to an enemy at all times along with a +2 attack when attacking an enemy that is not engaged with you. Keep in mind that Hands Upon the Bow would count as attacking an enemy not engaged with you, so with the +1 from that event plus the +2 from the Bow of the Galadhrim, you could attack at +3. For this reason, Hands Upon the Bow and Bow of the Galadhrim should definitely be paired together in most decks (Great Yew Bow is also a possibility, but I still find that attachment a bit fiddly to get use out of on a consistent basis). Where things get really interesting is the fact that the Bow of the Galadhrim can be attached to Silvan allies as well as heroes. The Galadhon Archer in this same pack is an obvious choice, as she can attack for 4 when making a ranged attack (5 during the first turn if Celeborn is in play). However, either the Silverlode Archer or Rumil can also make use of the Bow, with the latter being a particularly good candidate as he is slightly less fragile than the 2 non-unique allies.  This is great as it allows you to get more use out of the Bow instead of having extra copies sitting in your hand, and you could potentially have a bunch of ranged Silvan characters attacking around the board at an attack strength of 4+ each. The one downside of the Bow is that it definitely does have less value in pure solo play, where ranged attacks aren’t possible. If you are using a staging area attack deck with low threat in solo play, though, then the Bow can still have good value. There are only a few ranged characters with the Silvan trait around, as well, so the versatility is a bit limited, but as the card pool expands, these specific options for specific archetypes are emerging, and that’s generally a good thing.

Versatility: ♦♦◊◊◊

Efficiency: ♦♦♦◊◊

Uniqueness: ♦♦♦◊◊

Wingfoot (Lore Attachment, 1 cost):

Wingfoot

We now come to my favorite card of the pack as a Lore and Ranger fanboy. We finally have permanent readying for Lore!:

Attach to a Ranger hero.

Response: After attached hero commits to a quest. name enemy, location or treachery. If a card of the named type is revealed during this quest phase, ready attached hero.

Wingfoot fits in perfectly with the Lore sphere, as this is the sphere with the best encounter deck scrying, making it simple to guess correctly each round and always get an extra action out of the attached hero. It’s as simple as playing the dirt cheap 1-cost Henamarth Riversong and never having to worry about naming the right type again, although Rumour from the Earth is certainly a possibility as well, although a bit more resource intensive, not to mention the myriad other possibilities (i.e. Denethor, Ithilien Lookout, etc.) that are out there. If you haven’t yet drawn your scrying or are choosing to do without scrying for whatever reason, then you’ll have to gamble. All either things being equal, and when in doubt, the best best is to name “enemy”. Most quests have a fairly high ratio of enemies to the other card types. More importantly, the only time you’ll really need readying (in most cases) is if an enemy emerges after questing, in which case an extra body for attacking or defending can be key. However, things aren’t always equal in LOTR LCG, so what happens if you’re already engaged with an enemy, but want to be able to use the hero with Wingfoot attached for both questing and combat against that enemy? You can still simply name “enemy”, because if another enemy comes out, then you’ll really need that hero to be ready. On the other hand, if you guess incorrectly, then it could all turn out badly for you. In this case, you’re either better off not using Wingfoot so that you can avoid the risk altogether, or if the situation warrants the gamble, then you can base the guess on what seems most likely given the situation. Is this a location heavy scenario? Is this an enemy heavy scenario? Is the board flooded with locations, so that there are fewer in the encounter deck? Have a ton of enemies already shown up, so that the ratio of enemies in the encounter deck is probably lower than the other types at the moment? These are all things to keep in mind. Of course, this all becomes a bit easier in multiplayer, particularly with 3 or 4 players, as any guess is likely to pay off more often than not since more cards are revealed and you only need one hit to trigger Wingfoot. As far as potential beneficiaries of Wingfoot, almost any hero with the Ranger trait works, although Elladan/Elrohir, Leadership Aragorn, and Idraen are weaker candidates in that they already have in-built readying. Still, I wouldn’t mind being able to quest with Elladan or Elrohir before throwing them into combat in my decks featuring the twins. Leaving those heroes aside, though, Beravor is a great choice for Wingfoot, in order to get more frequent use out of her card draw ability. Haldir can also benefit from this attachment, being able to use both his solid 2 willpower for questing and still use his action. Lore Aragorn, Faramir, and Mablung, meanwhile, all work for Wingfoot as well, as action advantage allows them to make the most of balanced stats. Generally, if you are using Spirit, you probably won’t need Wingfoot, as Unexpected Courage can give you unconditional action advantage. Wingfoot, however, is great because it gives readying to Lore without having to dip into Spirit, which is a positive boost for the entire sphere (even though only heroes with the Ranger trait can benefit) and the card pool in general. Even with Unexpected Courage, if I’m running several heroes that need readying, I would be fine with including both attachments, and I love that Wingfoot only costs 1, which feels much cheaper than the 2 resources for Unexpected Courage.

Versatility: ♦♦♦◊◊

Efficiency: ♦♦♦♦◊

Uniqueness: ♦♦♦♦◊

Defender of the West (Neutral Attachment, 1 cost):

Defender-of-the-West

This oddball attachment allows you to turn one unique ally into a special character that travels with the first player and can take undefended attacks:

Attach to a non-objective unique ally in play.

The first player gains control of attached ally. Damage from undefended attacks against you may be assigned to attached ally.

First off, I’ll say that I love allies that can take undefended damage. Dori, Barliman Butterbur (for Hobbits), and the White Tower Watchman (for mono-sphere) are all previous allies that can take undefended damage instead of heroes, although the latter two can only do so in specific instances depending on the type of deck you’re running. Dori is even better because he can be used in any deck (that’s running Lore) and can exhaust to take on any damage, not just undefended attacks (although the exhaustion requirement is a limitation he has that the other 2 don’t). Shunting undefended damage onto an ally is a valuable defensive asset, giving you more options, as being able to take an undefended attack frees up a character for attack without the danger involved if a hero has to take the damage. Such an ally also serves as a valuable escape option when you have no choice but to take undefended damage, for whatever reason. The problem with Defender of the West, of course, is something that I already mentioned: there are 3 other allies that can do the same thing. Of course, Defender of the West is wide open to any deck type, which is its own advantage. It’s also important to remember that this attachment has a second effect, which is to allow an ally to be passed around the table in multiplayer. Defensively, ally Beorn is probably the best option, as his 6 hit points are unparalleled among allies. However, Gwaihir, Landroval, and ally Boromir are all strong options as well, with 4 hit points each. The latter can even benefit from Defender of the West by using the undefended damage to ready. You could, conceivably, defend normally with Boromir, then place undefended damage on him to ready him for attack, taking care of 2 enemy attacks and having a strong attacker still available. However, the best overall option is probably the OHaUH version of Gandalf, as passing him around the table spreads the threat gain out among several players, and perhaps reduces some of the pain of one player stopping everyone else from playing a version of Gandalf. The only other benefit for passing an ally around would be to lend Tactics Bofur’s, Erestor’s or Gildor Inglorion’s player deck scrying/card draw to everyone throughout the course of a game. Whatever option you choose, healing seems like a must-include along with Defender of the West so you can really get maximum use out of the ability to take undefended attacks. For this reason, ally Haldir is even an option, along with Silvan Tracker to provide constant healing, although hr only has 3 hit points, which limits his ability to take large amounts of damage. Overall, I feel like this is an attachment whose time has not yet arrived and is waiting upon a future unique ally that really can give it life. It’s a nice ability, especially with Beorn or OHaUH, but I’m not sure I’d kick something else out of one of my decks to include it. On the other hand, Defender of the West is a viable option in solo play if you’re not using Lore or running mono-sphere to turn a low-cost unique ally, such as Arwen or Bilbo Baggins, into an emergency option, which can be valuable against certain scenarios or to compensate for defensive frailties. This is different from chump blocking because you could use these allies to quest normally, but then have them available if needed to soak up an attack. Even if you are using Lore, the 1-cost Henamarth Riversong is unique and a great option, as you could still use him to scry each round but also have an undefended option as well. Perhaps this attachment isn’t so bad after all..

Versatility: ♦♦◊◊◊

Efficiency: ♦♦♦◊◊

Uniqueness: ♦♦♦♦◊

EVENTS

Follow Me (Leadership Event, 1 cost):

Follow-Me

If Defender of the West is the oddball attachment of the pack, Follow Me is surely the oddball event, being the first player card to directly affect the first player token:

Action: Take control of the first player token and draw 1 card.

Let’s be honest, the draw of 1 here is just gravy and not consequential for our discussion. You can include Campfire Tales or The White Council while running the Leadership sphere and get 1 card as well with more options available. So the real question is whether taking control of the first player token is important enough to warrant the deck space. Strangely enough, I feel that both Defender of the West and Follow Me are directed towards the LOTR Saga Expansions, even though they are both part of a random Adventure Pack in a regular cycle. I say this because one use of Follow Me could be to allow a player to pull over the Frodo from Road Darkens in order to use his defensive ability or to grab the upcoming Fellowship Aragorn and his great stats (remember that the Fellowship hero travels with the first player token). Beyond that, the main reason for changing one player into the first player in most games would be to make sure that more enemies engage that player, since engagement checks are made in player order. Still, there’s far better options for dealing with engagement, from useful allies and effects that allow you to pull over enemies to the judicious use of ranged and sentinel in order to attack and defend enemies engaged with other player. I had to ask myself how far I was willing to go down the rabbit hole to find a use for this card, as I could possibly look through every quest in the game for an interaction. However, even I’m not that crazy, so I just peeked at a few that I thought might have some applicability off the top of my head. It turns out that there’s a ton of possibilities out there, as countless locations require the first player to satisfy the travel cost, while many treacheries impact the first player. So theoretically a player could use Follow Me to be able to pay a travel cost or take on a harmful effect from a treachery, such as engaging an enemy, but how do you even plan effectively for this type of usage without heavy encounter deck scrying? If I’m really that concerned about the first player not being able to pay a travel cost, I’ll just include Thror’s Map instead and always have that aspect covered. If I want to put nasty treachery effects onto a certain player, then somehow I have to anticipate that happening in advance (since Follow Me is an action and not a response), which doesn’t seem realistic. A more logical and realistic use would be to keep a big boss enemy engaged to the player that can actually do the damage. For example, in The Lonely Mountain, Smaug the Magnificient is considered to be engaged with the first player. The combat deck could play Follow Me to get 2 turns in a row of smashing Smaug, whereas otherwise that deck would have to wait 1 or more turns to get to grips with the big lizard once again. There are only a few quests that use this type of mechanic, but Follow Me could make a significant difference in these cases  (another example would be taking control of the Smaug deck in Battle of Lake-town). Still, overall, there’s just so many other and better ways to get what you want without using this event, based on the particular scenario and the decks that are being sued. This isn’t a useless card, but it’s extremely difficult to justify in terms of deck space.

Versatility: ♦♦◊◊◊

Efficiency: ♦◊◊◊◊

Uniqueness: ♦♦♦♦♦

Tighten Our Belts (Leadership Event, 0 cost):

Tighten-Our-Belts

Tighten Our Belts is a special form of resource acceleration/generation that rewards a player for holding onto their resources for one round:

Refresh Action: Choose a player. Each hero that player controls that did not spend any resources this round gains 1 resource. Only 1 copy of Tighten Our Belts can be played by the players each round.

While Steward of Gondor will always be the king of Leadership resource acceleration, Tighten Our Belts isn’t really in the same category, being a temporary resource boost rather than a repeatable resource engine. As such, it compares favorably to 2 other Leadership events that provide temporary doses of willpower: Wealth of Gondor and Gaining Strength. Each provides 1 resource for free. Tighten Our Belts, by contrast, can generate up to 3 resources for no cost, which makes it clearly better in terms of pure power. Of course, it also is not as flexible as Wealth of Gondor or Gaining Strength (although Gaining Strength also requires a hero to save up resources), as it is dependent upon a very specific condition: a hero not  spending any resources, which includes not just planning, but also means that a hero cannot use their resources to pay for any events that round either. You can, of course, use Tighten Our Belts to generate only 1-2 resources instead of the full 3 if you really need 1 hero to spend on something. 2 is probably the ideal minimum, but it is possible that you could use it even for the 1 in case of an emergency where you really needed an extra resource for next turn to play a vital card. I find Tighten Our Belts to be ideal for dual or tri-sphere decks (mono-sphere usually doesn’t struggle for resources), especially the latter. Oftentimes, you may end up not being able to play any cards you want on the first turn of a tri-sphere deck anyway, so being able to essentially double resource generation for the next round so that each hero starts with 3 is huge. Another comparison that could be made in the sphere is Legacy of Numenor, which is also free but gives 1 resource to each hero in the game without restriction. This is clearly more powerful than Tighten Our Belts but comes with a huge disadvantage in the form of Doomed 4. Thus, although I’m not necessarily a huge fan of devoting extra deck space to resource generation beyond Steward of Gondor when using Leadership, Tighten Our Belts provides a nice middle ground between Wealth of Gondor/Gaining Strength, which possibly might be too marginal to include, and Legacy of Numenor, which comes with such a hefty cost in terms of threat that only certain decks can effectively make use of it. While Tighten Our Belts isn’t necessarily an auto-include, I’ll certainly give it a look for all of my tri-sphere decks, and some of my dual-sphere decks, that include Leadership.

Versatility: ♦♦♦◊◊

Efficiency: ♦♦♦◊◊

Uniqueness: ♦♦♦◊◊

Island Amid Perils (Spirit Event, 0 cost):

Island-Amid-Perils

The Silvan trait has largely been developed by introducing event cards in each sphere that return a Silvan ally to hand in order to trigger some effect. Lore had The Tree People, Leadership had Feigned Voices, Tactics had Pursuing the Enemy, and now Spirit has Island Amid Perils:

Action: Return a Silvan you control to your hand to reduce your threat by X where X is the printed cost of the ally returned to your hand.

Threat reduction can certainly be useful for Silvan decks, as some measure of defensive frailty, especially in the early game, means that you’ll want to be able to control when you engage enemies. If you’re using Haldir in solo play, then keeping a low threat becomes even more important, and you’re probably using Spirit Glorfindel, so access to Spirit and Island Amid Perils should not be too difficult. The biggest weakness of this card, however, is that unlike all of the other Silvan events, this one actually ties its effectiveness to the cost of the returned ally. This is unfortunate as part of the fun and effectiveness of a Silvan deck is being able to return that 1-cost Henamarth Riversong to your hand to completely cancel a huge enemy attack using Feigned Voices, or turning a 2-cost Naith Guide into a 4-cost Haldir using The Tree People. With those events, cheap allies become a valuable commodity, but with Island Amid Perils, you actually have to return at least a 2-cost Silvan ally to your hand, if not a 3 or 4-cost one, to truly get meaningful value out of the event. This is the only Silvan event to work this way. You also have to consider that the Spirit sphere already has strong threat reduction, with Elrond’s Counsel providing a threat reduction of 3 also for no cost, and you’ll probably be able to use it since a Silvan deck using Spirit will probably be using either Glorfindel or Galadriel, both of whom have the Noldor trait. Furthermore, The Galadhrim’s Greeting may cost 3, but it reduces threat by an amazing 6. Still, the real value of Island Amid Perils, as with all of the Silvan events, is in simply being able to return a Silvan ally to hand. The more of these events you have in  your deck and your hand, the more often you’ll be able to use the stat boosts from Celeborn, the “enters play” abilities of the allies, and the action advantage of Galadriel. Spirit was missing this component, so Island Amid Perils is welcome from that perspective, if for no other reason. In addition, even if you look at Island Amid Perils as reducing your threat by 2-3 at most as a realistic scenario, if you pair this with threat reduction provided by Galadriel and Galadriel’s Handmaiden (this recently spoiled card from Celebrimbor’s Secret reduces a player’s threat by 1 when it enters play), this can all add up to extensive threat reduction. Also consider that O Lorien! reduces the cost of Silvan allies by 1, so returning a 3-cost ally to hand basically gives you a threat reduction of 3 for 2 resources, rather than 3, along with the ability to keep the Silvan engine running. Based on these considerations, Island Amid Perils is better than it appears at first glance.

Versatility: ♦♦◊◊◊

Efficiency: ♦♦♦◊◊

Uniqueness: ♦♦♦◊◊

Conclusion

Overall, The Nin-in-Eilph provides a solid set of player cards with a special eye towards Silvan and Rangers. There a couple of cards that appear a bit more marginal, such as Mirkwood Pioneer, Follow Me, and possibly Defender of the West (although I like the latter), but I actually don’t mind them too much, as I would argue that rather than being coasters, they are intriguing cards just waiting for the right use to come up or an intrepid player to untap their potential. Perhaps more importantly, this pack contains a staple in the form of Wingfoot. Lore and Ranger players will be pointing to The Nin-in-Eilph far into the future as a must-buy in order to pick up this key attachment. The quest itself is challenging, entertaining, and set in an interesting location, with the random quest cards placing substantial limitations on players that prove to be the biggest obstacle. With the cycle soon coming to a close, we are on the brink of what should be a couple of amazing adventure packs: Celembrimbor’s Secret and The Antlered Crown.

Readers, what is your favorite card in this AP? What uses can you think of for Defender of the West and Follow Me? Who’s the best target for Wingfoot? How would you rank Island Amid Perils in the Silvan event card hierarchy? Sound off on these questions and more below!

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From → Reviews

25 Comments
  1. Thaddeus Papke permalink

    ‘Follow Me’, leads me to think that we’ll be seeing some Leadership cards in the future that give you bonuses while first player. Which strikes me as a reasonable way to develop the theme of that sphere.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      That’s an interesting idea that I hadn’t thought of, but would certainly make sense for the sphere. It would just take some balancing as obviously a pure solo player would always be able to benefit from those effects, whereas it would be pretty inconsistent in a 4-player game (which is where I guess Follow Me becomes crucial).

      • Thaddeus Papke permalink

        You could always stage the boosts such that in solo play there’s little to no benefit, a slight boost in two-player, and a more substantial boost for three and four players.
        That would let a card like Follow Me become actually pretty interesting.

        • TalesfromtheCards permalink

          True. We’ve seen plenty of encounter cards use X = number of players, and player cards could do the same thing. Like “Play only if you are the first player. A hero you control gets +X willpower” with X equal to number of players in the game. Not that great in solo, but fantastic in 4 player, but you have to wait to get that first player token…unless you use Follow Me. Great idea, Thaddeus!

  2. Kjeld permalink

    The value of Tighten our Belts would seem to increase in multiplayer, where it is more likely that at least one player will be saving up their resources for a turn anyway. This could be an especial boon to Lore decks, which often are running high hand size and are extremely resource poor.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Definitely. More targets is a good thing for a card like this!

  3. GrandSpleen permalink

    Tighten Our Belts could potentially combo with a Refresh-phase play of Desperate Alliance to yield 4 resources, just for a bit of fun if you’re going for some crazy Loragorn threat reset shenanigans. It’s also nice insurance in some quests that pick at your resources. Follow Me looks to be a fantastic scenario-specific card. Flies and Spiders came to mind immediately, where you tend to try to set up a particular player to have Bilbo Baggins when you split up into separate staging areas. A player could use it to snatch Ancient Mathom cards away too.

    • catastrophic09 permalink

      Totally agree, I can’t wait to steal the card draw of Ancient Mathom (4 cards drawn total) and laugh at my friend who was wanting the card draw lol.. but then some terrible treachery will come up I’m sure screwing me over as the first player 😉
      But yeah it would be great as mentioned above if Leadership gets more bonuses or playing around with the first player token.

      • TalesfromtheCards permalink

        Haha, you guys are evil! Although I wouldn’t mind snatching my Elfstone away from the first player at the last moment. Yoink!

        The Flies and Spiders use is great. I remember having to wait a turn or 2 until the “right player” was the first player before advancing to the captured stage, and Follow Me could avoid that delay.

  4. Pengolodh permalink

    Follow Me can also be useful in the engagement phase, at least in multiplayer games. Since I play two-handed, it never fails that one deck could engage two enemies if it were first player, and so on. And, just paying a resource to gain a card is useful, especially if there wasn’t room for traditional card draw.
    Tighten Our Belts has proved itself to me since it was released. Silvan tri-sphere decks and Gandalf decks have benefitted from the extra resource. Also (this probably will never occur, but still a fun idea to imagine), while playing a Saga Expansion, one could use Follow Me to gain control of Frodo or Aragorn, use Desperate Alliance, and then Tighten Our Belts to gain five resources! If none were spent, that is.

  5. For Silvan decks, I generally run a Spirit/Leadership Deck (Glorfindel, Elrohir, Celeborn) and a Tactics/Lore (Haldir, Legolas, Elladan) – for the first deck, I’d play Island Amid Perils just as a zero-cost event to return Naith Guide to my hand, so I could re-play it next turn for the Willpower boost and the non-exhausting hero. -2 threat is just a bonus.

  6. Stoian permalink

    Sorry, I have a question:Can I use Gandalf’s (HERO) ability , but just the resources from other heroes pool.For example:I want to use Gandalf’s ability to play Daughter of Nimrodel ,but I don’t have recources on Gandalf.Can I use instead Pippin’s(LORE) resources?

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Yes, you can. You get to play the card “as if it were in your hand”, meaning that other heroes can pay for it and Gandalf doesn’t even have to use any of his resources, although he can.

  7. William O'Brien permalink

    I like that all three non-Spirit spheres will (after Celebrimbor’s Secret) have their own re-usable, but limited readying attachment. That should help people build action advantage into their decks without needing to pay the price for extra copies of Unexpected Courage.

    Now we need some better low-cost Spirit heroes to wean players off of Glorfindel.

    • Thaddeus Papke permalink

      I agree, but the problem with having other good low-costed Spirit heroes is that then they’d just end up getting played WITH Glorfindel.

      • TalesfromtheCards permalink

        See, that’s why they should make a low-threat Arwen hero in the Peter Jackson style “Glorfindel cannot be in play while Arwen is in play.” :p

  8. Nusse permalink

    Galadhon Archer/Rain of Arrows/Pursuing the Enemy is a bloody and messy fun combo to play. Not a killing machine, but i like the feeling of guerilla tactics 🙂

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Yesss! Something satisfying about killing enemies with some hit and run.

  9. Gibby permalink

    I haven’t tried the Mirkwood Pioneer yet, but to me he doesn’t look that bad.
    Escort from Edoras is a card that sees some play and essentially provides a one time 4WP boost for two resources. If there is a card with three threat in the staging area, Mirkwood Pioneer does the same and for the cost of doomed 1 sticks around as a chump or a 1WP per turn.
    Sure, there are many arguments to be made about the restriction that the Pioneer has to be played from a hand, that Lore is not the same as Spirit and that the Rohan keyword has more value that the new Woodman keyword, but I wouldn’t quite dismiss him yet.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      You definitely raise some interesting points, and I like when people go to bat for hated cards. I particularly like the comparison to Escort from Edoras, and I could see the Pioneer pulling his weight in a similar fashion against quests with high threat enemies and/or locations (although he is more dependent than Escort, since his power is based off what is in the staging area when is played). I think this is a case where the only way to know for sure is throw him into decks and see how he works in actual play, which I hope to do soon.

  10. Glowwyrm permalink

    Follow Me would be absolutely awesome in Breaking of the Fellowship if you could predict when Frodo would show up again. But you can’t, so the best you could do is just keep playing it and hope for the best I guess. It feels like Message from Elrond, a card that it’s fun to imagine possibilities for but likely to always end up on the cutting floor.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Totally agree and that was the comparison I was thinking of as well. Follow Me and Message are fun to speculate about, but I don’t think they’ll show up in most decks because fun speculation doesn’t cut the mustard when it’s crunch time.

  11. MacDaddy permalink

    ‘Follow Me’ looks great for a deck where ‘Ancient Mathom’ is among your only card draw mechanics. The weakness with the Mathom has always been that if it doesn’t trigger exactly when you intend you don’t get your card draw – I almost exclusively play multiplayer and the Mathom has bypassed me many a time – now (provided you’re playing Leadership/Lore) you can get four cards for a measly two resources. Not too bad!

  12. sweetnesswhachacha permalink

    What a killer cycle for player cards! And well balanced too! This pack continues the trend! Follow me seems great for specific scenario builds,and defender of the west is an oddball I’m jot sure is useful at the moment. But the others are pretty great!

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