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The Cards That Were Broken: Treebeard

by on October 14, 2015

treebeard art

Hello Fellow Questers,

I am honored to have been given a chance by Ian to contribute to this amazing community and blog. I am going to focus on two sections looking at cards on opposite ends of the power spectrum. Without going into too much detail, lets just jump into it!

‘The Cards That Were Broken’ is a new series where I will highlight cards that (while not broken) are probably overpowered. For quite a while now, players have been voicing concern over the power level of some cards being too great. LOTR LCG is unique in that you do not need to play the strongest decks at all times; you can simply omit these cards and play without them if you think they are too powerful.

However, sometimes it really is disheartening to cut out a card altogether or rely on it too much as a crutch. After all this is still a game, and games ultimately come down to having fun – using the same cards over and over again or not using them because you think they will ruin the game is hardly that. As such, I am going to take an objective look at these ‘over powered’ cards and look at exactly how broken they are, and if it’s possible to rein them in a little bit so that they can become playable for all.

There is already an excellent Tales article up here about whether Dain Ironfoot is broken, using 3 key points that fit well for heroes. Although a lot of older cards will eventually be put through the ringer, I am going to fall victim to the cult of the new and take a newer ‘broken’ card that has been making the rounds at the forums.

Type: Ally
Sphere: Neutral
Cost: 4
Willpower: 2 Attack: 4 Defense: 3 Hit Points: 5

Cannot have restricted attachments. Treebeard enters play exhausted and collects 1 resource each resource phase. These resources can be used to pay for Ent cards played from your hand.

Action: Pay 2 resources from Treebeard’s pool to ready an Ent character.



Treebeard is a beast! Usually ally stats are double their cost – Treebeard’s stats add up to 14, meaning he should cost 7. On top of that, he helps pay for and ready Ent cards at will. As if that wasn’t enough, he is neutral meaning you can drop him into virtually any deck. Yep – I think the case isn’t that hard to make.

For my purposes, I am not so much looking for broken cards (I know the title would suggest otherwise, but you gotta love the name) but rather cards that are overpowered and thus alter the game flow too much and make it less fun. I also want to focus on simple ways to use these cards better.

So, I have designed a set of 5 questions I will go through.

Does the card lead to excessive resource or card draw generation?

 ♦  Clearly this would make the card too powerful, as the whole game is based on drawing cards and paying for them.

Does the card alter the game mechanics or lead to winning automatically?

♦  If it changes the way you are playing and destroying the normal flow of the game, then it is clearly quite powerful. Also, a card that almost invariably guarantees victory is hardly fun.

Does the card render obsolete many other cards or thin a deck too much?

♦  If cards are coming out that render too many other cards obsolete, then they are overpowered. Sure, we can replace cards in the card pool and good cards should replace or build upon cards out there (hence the name LCG), but if one card is rendering 2-3 cards obsolete then its clearly too powerful. Along the same lines, if one card is doing the simultaneous jobs of 2-3 cards, then its taking up 3 spots (if you use three copies) versus something like 6-9 spots in your deck, which really changes the power level dramatically.

Is the card too cheap or non-unique?

♦  Cards that have powerful effects should make you pay a price – imagine if ally Gandalf was a 1 resource card! Unique cards (or restricted attachments to a lesser degree) help to offset the cost somewhat by preventing you from playing too many and leaving dead cards in your hand, and limiting them in multipayer to one player.

Is the card needed for your deck to work or does it need a mulligan?

♦  If you are going to mulligan for a card or need a card to make your deck work because otherwise it will make other cards in your deck unusable, then it really is dropping the fun factor a lot. Combos are great – but they shouldn’t be essential and make other cards too needy on one ‘brick’ to hold the house up. The whole point of a deck builder is to avoid doing this and to not reuse the same cards and throw in the towel if one of them isn’t in your opening hand.

A scoring system I came up with to help streamline this is below. A card gets between 0-2 points in each category and the final score is tallied up to give a total. The score can be interpreted as:

  • 0-2 –  Normal Power (no modifications needed)
  • 3-5 – Slightly Overpowered (can use modifications if you like challenge)
  • 5-7 – Moderately Overpowered (should use modifications)
  • 8-10 – A Card that is Broken (should be in the binder, cannot fix)

So, lets start with Treebeard:

1. Does that card lead to excessive resource or card draw generation?

♦  Not really, although it depends – while his resources are limited to paying for Ents, if you get him out early enough he generates quite a bit of resources over the course of a game. They can also be used to help pay for readying Ents, but I do not think that this is excessive. In most games he won’t get out until at least the third round and likely will only have generated about 3-4 resources in total, meaning perhaps 2 readying effects or paying for 2 allies. [0.5/2]

2. Does the card alter the game mechanics or lead to winning automatically?

♦  No. He fits within the scope of the game and doesn’t alter the normal ebb and flow of the game. He also doesn’t automatically guarantee victory. Perhaps the caveat to this is that he can ready Ents the minute they enter play, which does alter their mechanics a little.  [0.25/2]

3. Does the card render obsolete many other cards or thin a deck too much?

♦  Comparing him against neutral allies, we see that as he hangs around the whole game he doesn’t really replace ‘bam’ allies like ally Gandalf and Saurman as he does not have a bomb enter play effect. His closest comparison is probably the wizard ally Radagast.

Adding Radagast’s stats results in a paltry 8, and he costs 1 resource more. They both can help pay for ally cards (Ents and Creatures) although Treebeard’s readying is more powerful than Radagast’s healing, other than in the niche quest A Journey to Rhosgobel Treebeard does enter play exhausted, although you can probably get him out sooner because he is cheaper, effectively taking away the only positive Radgast had going for him. Even in an eagle deck I think I would probably stick in Treebeard over this card, let alone in anything else.

OHAUH Gandalf ally is also a reasonable card to compare against, as his stats add up to 16 and he costs 1 more, likely putting him on par with Treebeard for raw power. However, his need to raise threat each round is pricey, and he doesn’t have the same resource generation effect, although his questing without exhausting is powerful. However, over 4 rounds Treebeard can do this twice as well with his resources, without any threat gain. Overall, Treebeard will not require you to build around his weaknesses, whereas Gandalf will need serious threat control. Advantage: Treebeard

In the end though, Radagast  is a card no one really played anyway, and this ally version of Gandalf was not seeing much play either (the other two versions are more powerful, although this does see more play in solo). I am not sure Treebeard is their proverbial final nail, but he’s pretty close.. However, he is clearly much superior to one card and quite a bit better than the other which are his closest competition. [0.75/2]

4. Is the card too cheap or non-unique?

♦  Yes. Treebeard based on stats should cost 7. When you factor in his unique status and his negative ability that leaves him exhausted for a round, then you are looking at a cost of 6. Maybe 5 at the worst. His cost of 4 really is a head scratcher to be honest, and comparing him against other 4 cost allies nets a usual level of 9 added stats, versus 14. On top of that, he is neutral and will thus hit the table faster than those needing a resource match. I really can’t make a case here for the 4 cost. At least he is unique. [1.5/2]

 5. Is this card needed for your deck to work or does it need a mulligan?

♦  In most situations I can’t see people mulliganing for this, as its hard to get out first turn unless you have Grima or something. Even then, he would be exhausted anyway. It can make Ent decks shine, but it isn’t needed for them to work as they can all be paid for from hand. Of course, he lets you play Ents without a resource match, so it does let you play Ents that would otherwise be unplayable if you aren’t running both Lore and Tactics. [0.5/2]

So, what is the consensus? Treebeard comes out with a 3.5/10, making him Slightly Overpowered. This means that if you like a challenge and are a Nightmare kind of player, then you may want to incorporate some changes. For the most part though, although he gets a lot of press, he isn’t that over powered. Yes, he is under-costed and powerful but he doesn’t have an enters play effect and usually takes a few rounds to get out and be usable. He is going to be DOA for a round, and he still does cost 4, limiting how soon you can table him. He also does not really alter game mechanics either or is a card that you mulligan for – he’s really just a powerful ally, which is perhaps what he should be if you have read the books! Still though, for those high-level sticklers that have stuck him in the binder,  I will highlight 3 modifications to use that I have tried in the past to good result:

  1. Increase his cost to 5: He really should cost 5 anyways to be honest and that level he will likely be a 3rd round play at best.
  2. Make him Doomed 2: Makes some thematic sense as he is likely to make a lot of noise when he enters play and draw the evil eye’s attention, while also giving you some pause to play him multiplayer and bring his cost curve up to a reasonable level.
  3. Don’t let him ready himself: This is probably the easiest fix and the one I use most, although I like the doomed one as well. Thematically Treebeard was the driving force to getting the Ents ready to go – it makes sense to me thus to change his action to simply say ‘Action: Pay 2 resources from Treebeard’s pool to ready any other Ent character‘. Very simple but also limits his ability to ready himself, since he is usually the most powerful and versatile Ent on the table. There are other Ents with powerful attacking and defending abilities, so his ability still has value. It also limits his abuse to cards like A Very Good Tale given his 4 cost. Overall, this simple fix just makes him slightly less powerful, which is all he needs.


Okay, first new column done. Any thoughts on this feature or our Ent in general? Also, are there any other cards you want me to run through the ringer? Next article in this series promoises to be shorter as I leave out the intro text. Thank you for reading!

From → Card Spotlight

  1. This was an awesome idea for a series in the blog, especially by a new voice. I’ve never had a chance to play Treebeard (don’t own him yet), or seen him close up in our okay group. The article does a good job of showing me he’s really only over-powered when he is within his niche, surrounded by other ents, and slightly more if you happen to get him out second turn. Outside of that, he’s really just a powerful, versatile ally that should probably cost s bit more.
    Good read.
    Great work! I look forward to the next article.

  2. Tom permalink

    I think it’s funny that a lot of the same people who complained about Outlands are now singing the praises of Ents to the heavens. Myself, I think all the Ents are too powerful. They are too cheap, and the ‘enters play exhausted’ is a laughably light burden to bear.

    • Might it be because of when it was released?
      I came playing pretty late (bought the core quite early but only even played it before going all in) so never had a very small card pool to play with.

      When Outlands came out I guess it was very powerful considering what APs were out?

    • Alex P permalink

      I do agree Ents are very strong, but at least it makes some thematic sense. Ents are supposed to be large hulking, strong and slow creatures. Makes much more thematic sense then these non-warriors from the ‘outlands’ ie – sheephearders being stronger than Aargorn. I do agree in general that a few more Ents will be put through the ringer before I am done 🙂

      • Silver Swan permalink

        I think it’s like Orc Vanguard having higher attack than Mumak – from numbers, not individual power. The Outlands allies, at their strongest, represent companies, not individuals. They come slowly at first, but then form powerful arrays (being well-drilled), until they are more effective than even the most powerful characters unarmed and on their own. This allows players to relive the battle of the Pelennor Fields, with the drafted soldiers going out from the city on their own, forming companies, and then being supported by their friends on the boats. We even see “Sea-crafty men of the Ethir gazing southward spoke of a change… and our speed grew, until dawn whitened the foam at our prows.” – Gimli, The Return of the King.

        Ethir Swordsman is overpowered, but limiting his bonus to when the active location has the Riverland, River, Stream, or Sea traits removes their use in sailing without an active location, and makes them valuable for crossing rivers.

  3. mndela permalink

    Very interesting new series. Cheers!

  4. I couldn’t be more agreed with this analysis. I usually include him in some of my decks, but when I review the deck I start thinking that he is not that necessary and I often end up without him or with just one copy of the card.

  5. Tony F permalink

    Great idea for an article series! I enjoyed your look at Treebeard and I think both suggestions 1 & 3 are great ones for making him just a bit less powerful while still leaving him as strong as a main character should be in the game.

    While I agree with most of your criteria for OP-ness, I’m not so sure about #5. There are so many decks I have built that have one or two key cards that make them work, but those cards are often not OP, it’s just that they are central to getting the whole strategy behind the deck running. For instance, I recently built a song-centric deck that uses Love of Tales as its central resource generation method, but I doubt many would call Love of Tales OP. Similarly, I’ve built a deck recently that attempts to make use of Keeping Count, so I often mulligan in that deck if I don’t get one KC in my opening hand, and KC is far from being OP. I understand your reason for the criteria as you mean it to address crutch cards that some players are too dependent on, I just think there are many reasons other than OP-ness why you would want to mulligan for certain cards.

    If I were designing criteria for determining OP-ness, I would include one that addresses whether a card can fit into any deck (or any deck with the requisite sphere). Treebeard here would score high on this criteria as there’s really not a reason not to put at least one copy of Treebeard into every deck that exists. Steward of Gondor would score high as, again, there’s no reason not to put at least one Steward in every Leadership deck. It’s that kind of omnipresence that to me is a sign of a card being OP.

    I look forward to future posts on this topic!

    • Alex P permalink

      Thanks for the feedback!

      I tried to incorporate that element into when I looked at the 3rd criteria but I like your idea of giving that a separate section to look into the universality of a card. I think going forward I will put that into the last section. Thanks so much!

      I do see your point re: mulligans etc but I do think that when you are evaluating a card as a whole, its important to look at if you need it in your opening hand when trying to figure out if its too strong. That is an important strike against cards like Light Of Valinor (that will come up later :). However, I do see your point that cards that are otherwise not overpowered but just needed early on shouldn’t be penalized (hopefully they would fail my other criteria anyway 🙂

      Thanks again!

  6. Doug Ratman permalink

    Too versatile, even if you’ve yet to invest in enough packs to have decent ent allies. If it was just the stats, the card would have still been a powerhouse. Now, even without another ent, you have the option to add 2 willpower THEN attack for 4 every other turn. That’s incredibly powerful.
    The only real drawback is that he is weak in early game – he can only get out on turn one if the deck is dedicated to doing that, and he isn’t going to contribute to the early game even if he does come out on turn 2 to 4. That seems to balance things out in single player games. However, I play mostly multiplayer, in which there’s a dedicated spirit questing/troubleshooting deck and a tactics bruiser/tank deck. This card could easily boost either one of those two decks.

  7. Steven A permalink

    I disagree with your assessment of Hobbit Gandalf – in a non-Sneak Attack context, I consider him better than Core Gandalf, unless a quest is really ramping up your threat (and even then, the extra power he’s providing should help you win that much faster before you threat out). I’d still probably agree Treebeard is better, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say “quite a bit” better. People just don’t appreciate the value of Hobbit Gandalf because they’re irrationally scared of having to raise their threat.

    • William O'Brien permalink

      Agreed. My main solo deck runs both, and I’m generally happier to see Gandalf first. The difference in willpower and action advantage (including the turn entering play) is immense.

    • Alex P permalink

      Thanks for the feedback.

      Its very interesting you mention Hobbit Gandalf as he is the (spoiler) 1st focus on my other series which will be making its way down the piple line. Rest assured, I fully agree with you that he is underused!

      I should have stated up front that I am looking at this more from a 2 player + perspective (or solo dual handed). Not from single player solo because I do not play that way anymore and I don’t think I am best suited to speak on that issue. No doubt Hobbit Gandalf is a better solo card than in multiplayer. However, there a couple of reasons I knocked him a peg or two below Treebeard:

      One reason I knocked him against Treebeard is that as you add more players, you are more apt to be ‘Gandalf’ guy because a lot of players still use the other two versions more. Treebeard ally is really only hindered by the hero, who is so new and doesn’t really synergize with the Ents anyway that I don’t think that limitation is as severe on him seeing play.

      The main reason though was also hinted at by a reader above: even though you may not care as much about threat in this world of Spirit Merry, Valor, Galadrial, etc. you still can’t just shove Hobbit Gandalf into a deck like you can Treebeard, who you could argue could go into any deck not containing the hero. You still need to build around the threat gain somewhat.

      If you assume each ally is on the table for 4-5 rounds, Treebeard can ready himself about 2 times like Gandalf does each round, without the gain of 8-10 threat. Although threat means less now, there is still a reason Spirit Glorfindel sees play and Lore Glorfindel does not. You need to deck build somewhat to offset this, and while it may not be that hard to taxing to do, it is still not as plug and play as Treebeard.

      For those reasons I ranked Treebeard above Hobbit Gandalf, although I will acknowledge perhaps ‘quite a bit’ is not always true, especially with less players.

      Thanks guys and don’t worry — I will give Hobbit Gandalf his day shortly 🙂

  8. Mikelius permalink

    I’m agree. He should cost 6.
    We should compare him and the hole ent deck with eagle deck. Ents are definitely slighly OP because of their good stats and mighty abilities (especially attack bonuses).

    Some card are broken from the beginning. In my opinion, Steward of Gondor is broken card and can be considered in your research. Steward lead to excessive resource; thins a deck too much (no need in Resourceful or Gondor Wealth or Gaining Strenght); too cheap (2 Resourceful, omg, 8 cost); Definitely needs mulligan. Steward should be fixed to provide 1 resource and still be very very good card.

    • Alex P permalink

      Steward of Gondor is definitely on my short list to come out soon! I know of someone who only plays it with a house rule and I do agree when I play with him that games are always more fun and challenging.


  9. mndela permalink

    I knew the cost of each hero is adding all his stats, for example: Bearvor is 10 because she is 2+2+2+4.
    I didnt know the cost of allies is the half of adding his stats. Is it true? Is it the official rule?

    • Alex P permalink

      Not an offical rule but one that many people have pointed out (I know COTR did on a recent podcast) that this tends to be a good measuring stick.

      Thanks for reading!

  10. William O'Brien permalink

    To me, Card Power and Card Quality have always been related but separate things.

    Card Quality can be summed up as how likely is the card to have a positive effect, accounting for things such as how easy it is to play, how many different decks can use it, etc. Even the highest quality cards aren’t necessarily “broken”. Light of Valinor is an example of a top quality card that isn’t really all that powerful. It’s 3 extra willpower a turn. The only time a Quality card is broken is if it is also sufficiently powerful so as to limit future design. Dain Ironfoot comes the closest for heroes, since any new dwarf needs to account for his existence. I don’t think any existing ally hits that mark.

    Card Power is how much positive effect can the card have when fully exploited. The example that springs to mind is pre-errata Will of the West. In most decks it really doesn’t do much, since chances are you won’t run out of cards or draw into too many cards that you shuffled in. But in decks with an extreme amount of draw, it enabled infinite combos. Power is more relevant into whether a card is broken or not.

    Treebeard is on the list of best allies in the game, but he’s just stats. It’s hard for stats to be all that powerful. He doesn’t warp the game. This article’s conclusion is right on the money.

  11. Mikelius permalink

    Another broken card from Core Set is Gandalf with this brainless Sneak Attack combo. I don’t know why FFG didn’t fix him (probably to make game easier for new players with Core Set) just like Galadriel: “After you play Gandalf from you hand …” instead of “After Gandalf enters play …”.

    • mndela permalink

      To me sneak-gandalf is a thematic combo. Gandalf usually appears in the most important moments, and his help is very important. Sneak-Gandalf represents this moment. To me, the limit would be 1 per round. 3 sneaks-gandalfs in 1 rounds is not thematic and doesnt make sense.

  12. Gwaihir the Windord permalink

    Great article! I would definitely identify Ents as too powerful if it were not for their cost. When running an Ent deck, I usually go for Lore/Lore/Tactics as far as heroes are concerned, making it actually a bit difficult to get Ents of the minority sphere on the table. Although I don’t think it would have been unjustifiable to have Ents cost three; at their power level, they could use a small buffer.

    • Alex P permalink

      I agree Ents are strong. I think thematically the designers wanted them to be slow and strong like in the books. The slowness is the ‘enter play exhausted’ part. As for strength, if you try to scale them to existing cards then Ents like Treebeard should be like a 6+ attack which is crazy. The only way to have cards like that is make them cost 7-8 resources at which point it becomes silly from a game play standpoint as they would not be played outside of using ally mustering effects.

      So, I think they opted to keep the stats more in line with exisiting cards (ie attack of 3-4) but then make them cost less then other cards to make them seem more powerful.

      Whether it makes them overall too powerful is certainly a valid point given the low cost. If we get the equivalent of ‘lure of Moira’ for them then I think all bets are off. Otherwise, limiting them to lore/tactics is a way to keep them away from leadership and spirit which are probably the two strongest speheres out there. I would have liked more of the Ents to be unique as well limiting their multiplayer power.

  13. Mathom permalink

    This is an interesting article and I agree with the final conclusion about ally Treebeard. He is powerful enough to shake up the status quo of deckbuilding, but is ultimately not more powerful than he should be as a major character. Nerf him if you want a challenge, but errata is not necessary.

    I’d like to respectfully suggest a refinement to your criteria that I think would better assess the power of a card along the lines of what you have outlined.

    CRITERIA #1: Does a card circumvent or alter normal game mechanics?

    I believe this enfolds both criteria 1 and 2 as you have them stated. Mechanically, removing all the fluff we love, LOTR LCG is a game of resource management. Those resources are: cards, actions, resource tokens, and threat. Players normally accrue these resources each turn and spend them to move closer to victory. Each turn, the player: draws 1 card, acquires 3 resource tokens, gains 1 action for each hero and ally, and spends 1 threat. Encounter cards seek to reduce these resources by spending (increasing) threat, discarding or milling cards, exhausting or eliminating allies and heroes, and using or removing resource tokens. Cheap or unlimited card draw (Bereavor) or resource generation (Steward of Gondor), unusually low-threat heroes (Spirit Glorfindel), and cards that generate extra actions (Ally Treebeard) circumvent the natural limitations imposed on players. Granted that all cards alter game mechanics, “broken” cards alter those mechanics to an unusual degree.

    (As an aside, there is no player card in the game that says, “You win the game if . . .” so there aren’t really any cards that lead to winning automatically, and this criteria is impossible to measure objectively.)

    CRITERIA #2: Does a card represent a significant positive deviation from the normal power curve of the game?

    CRITERIA #3: Does a card require all future and existing cards to be assessed relative to it?

    I think this is what you are going for with your criteria 3 and 4. The Youtube series Extra Credits has a good explanation of what I think this criteria is about in their video on power creep in Hearthstone. ( Cards like Spirit Glorfindel or Steward of Gondor force deckbuilders to always ask the question “Should I be playing Glorfindel (or Steward of Gondor) instead of card X?” as they are making decks. Designers have to ask, “How does this card interect with Spirit Glorfindel, or Steward of Gondor?” when designing new encounter cards, or “Will players just play Steward of Gondor (or Spirit Glorfindel) instead of this card (or hero)?” when designing new player cards and heroes. This limits deckbuilding and design choices, and hurts the game.

    CRITERIA #4: Does a card have universal playability?

    CRITERIA #5: Does a card’s inclusion automatically improve the performance and efficiency of a deck?

    As has been pointed out, criteria 5 about mulliganing doesn’t make a whole lot of sense as lots of “build around me” cards are needed for their decks to work, but are underpowered outside their specific decks. Zigil Miner (with errata), without specific deck design, is a 2-card mill without benefit as often as he is a 2-resource token acceleration. On the other hand, Steward of Gondor automatically adds +2 resource tokens per turn to any leadership deck. Looking at a more recent card, Silver Harp automatically improves any deck that includes discard effects. It imposes certain restrictions on its use (e.g. attach to Spirit hero, restricted attachment), however, and so limits it universality.

    As an example, (#1) Treebeard provides extra resource tokens for playing Ent allies. The type restriction is an considerable limitation, though. He also provides action advantage for Ent allies, including himself, but at the expense of his resource acceleration, he gives no action increase on the turn he is played due to entering exhausted, and the extra actions only come every other turn. (#2) He has significantly higher power-for-cost ratio than the average ally, but not much more than is normal for major book characters. He doesn’t discard himself like other power allies, however. (#3 and #4) Treebeard has significantly boosted stats for a 4-cost ally and as a neutral card, can be played in any deck. Most decks will find Treebeard useful, no matter their strategy, but being unique limits his “auto-included-ness.” No deck, except Ents, will want more than 2 copies and many will not want more than 1, so he is only marginally impacting design space and deckbuilding limitations. (#5) Most decks will be better for including 1 copy of Treebeard. His attack and hit-points are greater than other 4-cost allies. However, including more than 1 copy will weaken most decks without ways of using dead cards due to his unique status so his power boost cannot be relied on in all games.

    I really like the idea of your article and I think these suggestions will improve both the objectivity of your assessments and applicability your writing. Keep up the good work.

  14. Steven permalink

    Cool article! For me OP only concerns two questions: does it make other existing cards obsolete and does it break an existing quest through it’s power? So I’ll be a bit critical of your analysis if you don’t mind. 😉

    Your first question is very subjective because what is excessive? Gondorian Fire and Blood of Numenor give the biggest bonusses IF in the right situation. Neither are OP due to the setup required.

    I don’t like the second question either, or atleast in this case. What does Treebeard do that alters the game? Readying and resource generation are common effects. There are so many alternatives that I don’t think he counts. This question is applicable to Dain as he changes all existing dwarf cards.

    The third question I think is the most important, but I don’t agree with with Radagast as an competing card. Both characters power completely different traits and are therefore not exchangable. I’d rather compare him with other 4/5-drops: Haldir, Norther Tracker, Faramir etc. In that case we see that almost all high cost allies have powerful abilities that make them different from Treebeard. There is not a single ally I can see that’s consitently less usefull in all decks. That is because synergy is all-important now, Even Haldir, who doesn’t have any abilities aside from Ranged and Sentinel does things in a Silvan deck that Treebeard can’t.

    The fourth question is valid I suppose, but really it’s just a subquestion of the third one. If it’s stats ARE better than another character AND worth it, it answers yes to the previous question and if not, some drawback makes this question obsolete.

    The final question I think is irrelevant for indiviual cards.

    I think that compared to other cardgames there are two important facts that keep OP in check. First, it’s cooperative forces players to ‘spread out’ powerful uniques among all players. For example Nori is almost certainly better than Dwalin, but if one player already has Nori, the other ‘less powerful option’ because available again unlike competitive games. That is why Steward of Gondor and Heir of Valandil can co-exist in this game.

    Second, because we aren’t playing against another player we don’t have to worry about an OP card being included in every deck we play against. If we don’t play a card, we won’t have it forced upon us.

    I think from a designers perspective, there is absolutely no reason to change Treebeard as he is now. He doesn’t even obsolete earlier cards or break mechanics. There are always more powerful cards and weaker cards and Treebeard isn’t even THAT powerful. Among players there is always a desire to buff weaker cards and nerf stronger cards. But if you read Mark Rosenwater’s ‘why bad cards exist’ you’ll realise how silly that is.

    Hope you don’t find my critisism because I look foreward to more of your articles here!

    • Alex permalink

      Thanks for the feedback.

      You raise a number of good points, and I will certainly look at the issues you bring up going forward. A lot of other people have also offered up some excellent points that I will be incorporating as well.

      Everyone has different methods of evaluating cards, so I don’ think we can all agree on any one way to do this. Hopefully I will be more all-encompassing next time out.

      I do however take some issue with your last paragraph that questions why I am doing this. Ian and Dan and other bloggers have done an amazing job of covering this game that there is very little left for us to sink our teeth into. For me, a big goal has been to get more cards playable for everyone. Some cards are deemed too strong, some too weak and relegated to a binder. I wanted to find a way to evaluate strong cards and see how OP they were, and offer some solutions to use them for very expert gamers. Conversely, my next series looks at using weaker cards in a similar manner with cool deck ideas. I think there is something for everyone; I present objective looks and ways to use these cards right out the box for most people, and some slight modifications for others to get them usable again.

      Ultimately I arrived at the same conclusion you did, which is that Treebeard is not that OP a card at all.

      While I won’t respond to every point, I do think you are a little too dismissive of some points I raise. Resource generation and card draw are the crux of a card game, beyond just Gondoiran Fire. If you can draw your whole deck and pay for it, then I think it would be the very definition of broken. I also don’t disagree that Treebeard does not alter the game mechanics (I think I say that almost verbatim) so I am not sure what issue you are raising there. While Haldir is a good comparison, Radagast has the same sphere and also generates resources to pay for allies and interact with them (ready/heal them). I am not sure why that would not be a valid comparison.

      If you find this ‘silly’, then I apologize but there are many other resources for you which I am sure you will like better. It seems that my writing style and direction may not be for you, which is okay 🙂 Thank you for your response I will try and incorporate some of your ideas going forward.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Nor Am I A Stranger: Shadow of the Past | One LCG to Rule Them
  2. Nor Am I A Stranger: Self Preservation | Tales from the Cards
  3. The Cards that Were Broken: Glorfindel | Tales from the Cards

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