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Celebrimbor’s Secret: Events Review

by on December 19, 2014

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Celebrimbor’s Secret provides an embarrassment of riches to players, with a meta-changing hero and an amazingly strong set of allies and attachments. However, such abundant wealth means that something has to give somewhere along the way, and this is why there is only a single event to review from this pack. Never fear, though, as this scarcity of events means that we can give the Charge of the Rohirrim the full discussion it deserves. Coincidentally, this is probably the one card in the entire expansion whose value is questionable, and this should hopefully make for some ripe analysis and debate. Get saddled up, it’s time to join the charge!

EVENTS

Charge of the Rohirrim (Tactics Event, 2 cost):

Charge-of-the-Rohirrim

The Silvan trait has been the clear focus of this cycle. While Rohan received a good deal of support in the Voice of Isengard, with Eomer, two new allies, and the Rohan Warhorse all making an appearance, the Ring-maker cycle itself has only brought Firefoot to the table. This looks set to change with the promise of a new Rohan hero around the corner and an interesting new event in this pack focused on Mount synergy:

Action: Until the end of the phase, each Rohan character with a Mount attachment gets +3 .

There certainly was a need for an effect that could add value to Mount attachments, especially when you consider Steed of the Mark, which is admittedly clearly inferior to its in-sphere competitor, Unexpected Courage. Charge of the Rohirrim is potentially a reason to include Steed of the Mark instead of, or in addition to, Unexpected Courage, beyond just thematic reasons. This event also is a means to add further attack value to the Tactics incarnation of Rohan, pumping Eomer up to even more insane levels as one possibility. It also can turn Rohan characters that aren’t usually combat-oriented into strong attacking options at certain points in a quest, as long as they have a Mount attached. Even better, this is a global effect, so for the two resources, more than one character can benefit from the attack boost. So there clearly is potential to the Charge of Rohirrim, but further investigation is required, especially given the cost of two, which is fairly expensive for a one-time event.

The value of this event really depends upon the number and quality of Mounts available. There are currently four attachments with the Mount trait in the game: Steed of the Mark, Asfaloth, Rohan Warhorse, and Firefoot. One of them, Asfaloth, doesn’t work with Charge of the Rohirrim, as it can only be attached to a Noldor or Silvan hero. It would be possible to give a hero with Asfaloth the Rohan trait with Nor Am I A Stranger, but this combination doesn’t seem likely to be used all that often due to the marginal value beyond this one event and the number of pieces it would require to pull off. This leaves us with Steed of the Mark, Rohan Warhorse, and Firefoot. All three can be attached to a Rohan hero, with the Warhorse and Firefoot having the additional option of being placed on a Tactics hero, while Steed of the Mark can also be attached to a Gondor hero (although remember that Charge of the Rohirrim specifically gives the attack boost only to Rohan characters). Note that all of these Mounts can only be attached to heroes, so while Charge of the Rohirrim refers to Rohan characters, so far this distinction is moot, as we’re really not talking about allies here, although this could change in the future. Both Rohan Warhorse and Firefoot are useful attachments and can fit into a variety of Tactics and Rohan decks, and adding an additional three attack to such decks does seem tempting. To take just one example, Eomer with Firefoot attached and with his built-in attack boost triggered (from a character leaving play) could attack for 10 with Charge of the Rohirrim! This is quite impressive and could certainly make a difference against larger enemies. This is potentially one problem with Charge of the Rohirrim, though, as the attack boost may just be a case of adding a cherry on top of an already loaded sundae rather than making a game-changing difference. Certainly this depends upon the quest, as extra attack may be crucial against boss enemies, while it may go to waste against scenarios that don’t feature these types of foes. Of course, Firefoot can spill this additional damage over to another enemy, which makes for possibly the best synergy with Charge of the Rohirrim.

Steed of the Mark, however, is a bit of a different story. It’s usually widely acknowledged that this attachment is only really viable for thematic reasons, as Spirit has better and cheaper readying available (Unexpected Courage). Charge of the Rohirrim could, however, make this Mount more playable. Imagine Eowyn using Steed of the Mark to ready after questing, and then taking advantage of Charge of the Rohirrim to attack for four! This would definitely make for one of those cool moments that constitute a memorable game experience, but it’s probably not practical enough to make an appearance consistently, especially against more difficult quests. Spending one resource to attach the Steed to Eowyn and then readying once or twice to use with the Charge is a good deal of resources and deck space to devote to what is essentially a gimmick, and it might make more sense to include more dedicated attack options. On the other hand, someone like Theodred could probably make more consistent use of Steed of the Mark, and then could attack for five with Charge of the Rohirrim. In this case, the Steed of the Mark would probably get more use, and bumping up Theodred to participate in some key attacks could definitely prove useful. All these single cases, however, possibly ignore the most important aspect of Charge of the Rohirrim, which is that it is a global effect, rather than focused on one character. In an ideal situation, you could have Firefoot on Eomer, Steed of the Mark on Theodred, and Rohan Warhose on Dunhere, just to take one example, and then benefit from a total of nine additional attack for two resources. This is when Charge of the Rohirrim starts paying its way. The problem again here, though, is the number of cards that need to be put into play here (three Mounts and the Charge of Rohirrim), as well as the resources this whole setup takes. If you were going to use these Mounts anyway, then adding in Charge of the Rohirrim potentially makes sense. However, if you’re including Mounts specifically to make use of them for Charge of the Rohirrim, then this seems a more questionable decision. Either way, including three copies of Westfold Horse-breeder seems like a no-brainer, in order to pull out the Mounts as quickly as possible.

A compelling combination exists between Charge of the Rohirrim and another two-cost Rohan event that is interesting, although of questionable utility: Forth Eorlingas!. With three mounts and that nine additional attack from Charge of the Rohirrim, you could use Forth Eorlingas! to send all that attacking strength into the staging area for an epic cavalry charge for the ages. This would be the kind of moment that you could tell stories about for an eternity. Again, realism arrives to rain on the parade, though. The two events would cost four resources just by themselves, not to mention what it takes to bring two to three Mounts to the table. Then, there also is the existing problem with Forth Eorlingas!, which is that it is difficult to maintain a low enough threat to execute it successfully as a combat action. Still, I’m sure that I will try to make this happen at least once or twice, potentially with one of my old Rohan decks built around Forth Eorlingas! already.

Perhaps the best bet to making Charge of the Rohirrim viable is to make use of some kind of threat reduction. Merry already makes a good partner to Rohan decks because of the thematic fit and his low threat, which helps to facilitate staging area attacks. You can make use of Merry to play Good Meal in order to play Charge of the Rohirrim for free, which would make it much more useful. Another option would be to use Grima to lower the cost to 1, which would again make the Charge an easier play (Grima himself has the Rohan trait and is a good candidate for Steed of the Mark, so he could benefit from the Charge as well). In general, I would say that the cost of two for Charge of the Rohirrim is the biggest obstacle, so any way to lower this cost or remove it altogether seems to be the key to making it usable. The opposite strategy would be to emphasize resource generation, perhaps with Horn of Gondor paired with the leaving play mechanic of Rohan. Of course, the cost is only one part of the equation. The other is the necessity of drawing all of the necessary cards to make the combination function. This makes card draw essential to Charge of the Rohirrim, and I would suggest pairing the Westfold Horse-breeder with at least one or two other substantial card draw effects. If you can fetch with Word of Command or Mirror of Galadriel, all the better, but that could possibly muddle the Rohan focus too much.

Overall, the Rohan trait is solid and can get the job done in terms of both combat and questing. However, it also is the home of several effects that are rich with thematic flavor and can facilitate amazing gameplay moments, but are perhaps not as practically feasible as players would prefer. I don’t necessarily mind this too much, as I’m fine with effects that players can take a gamble on if they feel so inclined, even if they never become deck staples. The cost of two is possibly too high, but lowering the cost might have made the effect too powerful, given its global nature. However, a cost of one would perhaps have made Charge of the Rohirrim more useful. As it is, Charge of the Rohirrim seems worth one copy (two copies at the most) in a Rohan deck focused around Mounts. It is the kind of effect that could turn the tide, but it is not necessarily something that you can or should rely upon to trigger successfully every game, or even most games.

Versatility: ♦♦◊◊◊

Efficiency: ♦♦◊◊◊

Uniqueness: ♦♦♦♦◊

Conclusion

The player cards review of Celebrimbor’s Secret has come to a close, leaving room for The Antlered Crown to soon arrive. While Charge of the Rohirrim does not perhaps live up to the hero, allies, and attachments in this pack, it is still an enjoyable card that is begging for creative players to build a deck around. The rest of the player cards are still quite strong, and this is the pack of the cycle so far in terms of player cards.

Readers, what do you think of Charge of the Rohirrim? Will you be using it? What kind of decks will you use it in?

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15 Comments
  1. Gwaihir the Windlord permalink

    I believe Charge of the Rohirrim would work wonderfully if Rohan had just one of two things (preferably both): resource generation or another Leadership hero with a more trait-specific ability than Theodred. I personally hold fast to the belief that the upcoming hero in The Antlered Crown will be either Erkenbrand or Grimbold, two amazing characters that get no credit in the films. That way, the Rohan trait could utilize Charge of the Rohirrim more fully. it would certainly be a great card to use at the Battle of Pellanor Fields . . .

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      You were right on the money with Erkenbrand being the hero, although he doesn’t necessarily enhance the Rohan trait. I agree about Rohan definitely needing some resource generation or cost reduction to make cards like Charge of the Rohirrim and Forth Eorlingas! more usable. I suppose with Erkenbrand being Leadership, you can throw Steward of Gondor to a Tactics hero like Eomer to fund these cards, but I’ll have to try it out to see just how workable it is.

      • Gwaihir the Windlord permalink

        After a recent game, I have begun to wish Charge of the Rohirrim read “Action: Until the end of the phase, each Rohan hero depicted riding a horse gets +3 attack.” Overpowered? Definitely. Fun? Oh yeah.

        • TalesfromtheCards permalink

          Haha, well that would be something!

  2. Robin Munn permalink

    The Antlered Crown annoucement revealed that it will include “allies and events that further depict the ability of Rohan’s finest warriors to charge headlong into battle.” Sadly, they do not mention attachments, so it’s likely that we’ve seen all the mounts we’re going to get until Shadowfax shows up (who attaches only to Gandalf, so he’s in the same position as Asfaloth as far as Charge of the Rohirrim is concerned). Which means that +9 attack strength is the upper limit for Charge, since there are no mounts that can attach to allies. (Theoretically you could get +12 attack strength with a Fellowship or Baggins hero and Nor Am I A Stranger. Fellowship Aragorn would make the most sense there, with his base attack value of 3.)

    Hmm, I just had a thought. I might experiment with putting Nor Am I A Stranger on Merry, so that he participate in a Rohan charge. (He can already be mounted on a Rohan Warhorse). It may not be extremely powerful, but it would be extremely fun.

    I think the Charge of the Rohirrim is going to end up being a clutch card, used to pull your bacon out of the fire in a desperate situation. It may not be useful every game, but when it does come into play, it will be immensely fun to see the Rohirrim sweep down on the enemy and wipe them out. And to me, that makes it worth including in my Rohan decks.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      I’ve wanted to build the Merry with Nor Am I A Stranger for a bit, but perhaps Charge of the Rohirrim provides the final impetus to do it. I agree that Charge is a “save your bacon”/epic moment type cards, but not one that is going to consistently hit, which is why I think it’s a one copy/two copy at most cards.

  3. Kjeld permalink

    Now I want to see a Theoden, Hama, Eomer deck with Charge and Hammer Stroke used together. Imagine dealing 6-9 damage to up to six enemies, with possible spill-over to a seventh from Firefoot. With Hama’s ability, simply rinse and repeat as needed. Combat for a 3/4-player game would be covered!

    Problem of course is that there’s no spirit in such a build to fetch the mounts or make use of steed of the mark. Subbing Dunhere for Theoden would work (and probably be better), though loses major points thematically.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      That would definitely be interesting! Especially if those heroes are using some Rohan Warhorses so that they can ready and attack multiple enemies. It probably wouldn’t hit too often, but when it did, it would be amazing to see.

  4. Buz permalink

    The other thing with this event is that it buffs everyone at the table rather than just characters you control, giving it an even higher ceiling. Sure, it’s still gimmicky but what about Mutual Accord and Rohan Warhorses all around?

    It’s also worth noting that this is an excellent event for Battle quests, since it’s not limited to any particular phase.

    All told, as you concluded, this is a ‘niche’ card for fun decks, not a powergaming staple. And that’s just fine!

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Argh, I forgot to mention the use for battles. I suppose that the battle keyword is perhaps more niche than I originally anticipated, as it hasn’t popped up again other than in some Saga quests, but it’s still a valuable use I think if you are going back to play AtS quests. Mutual Accord and Rohan Warhorses could be interesting. Definitely gimmicky but tons of fun.

  5. The cost of this event is what really bothers me – I can’t help but compare to ‘Kazad! Kazad!’, which costs 0, and does the same thing for a single Dwarf. Of course, the ceiling for ‘Charge of the Rohirrim’ is much higher – potentially +9 attack, assuming a single deck – but it costs 2 and requires the drawing and playing of mount attachments first!

    Until additional mount attachments that can be played on allies are released, this card just doesn’t measure up.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      The cost is really what kills this card. Even 1 cost would be more doable, I think. The one build I might try it in that could give it some life is with Grima, as then it would be a 1 cost card.

  6. fouilloux permalink

    I think the cost problem is larger than that. True, the card is potentially super strong, but let’s take a scenario: You did manage to have, let’s say, 3 heroes with mount attachement. And good news, you have so many opponents that you definetly need your 3 heroes to attack. I might be a poor player, but frankly, if I am overwhelmed by ennemies, I will never be able to use my 3 heroes to attack, for a simple reason: I need to quest and defend first! And we are talking about rohan deck, so with allies leaving play all the time. I can not see a realistic scenario where my 3 heroes will be ready for combat! So in the end, I am pretty sure that only one of my hero will be able to use the bonus.
    That’s why I feel a bit disapointed with this card: it cost two more that “Kazad! Kazad”, you need an attachment to use it, but still it will aply to only one character.

    (in case you haven’t guess yet: I am a bit fan of rohan decks, not so much of dwarves decks…)

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Presumably, you could use Steed of the Mark to ready a questing hero and chump blockers to cover defense in order to build up for a big Charge of the Rohirrim moment, but you’re right that getting all 3 heroes ready, especially when cornered by enemies, is not easy.

  7. sweetnesswhachacha permalink

    Too many pieces to make it worthwhile, on that I would agree. Having 3 worthwhile attackers, all mounted, drawing and playing all mounts, then paying for this on top of all that, no thank you. Too bad. It’s conterpart Kazad Kazad requires one card only and is free. Thematically it works of course, too bad. But what is it you said in an article, bad cards exist so that good players can determine their value and avoid them in deck building?

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