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The Treachery of Rhudaur: Attachments Review

by on November 24, 2015

treachery

The newest hotness, The Battle of Carn Dum, has already been released, but there is the small business of finishing up the review of The Treachery of Rhudaur player cards.  This cycle has placed special attention on the Noldor trait, and the attachments in The Treachery of Rhudaur really hone in on it. Two of them play a part in helping the emerging Noldor deck function, and they will likely be staples of the Noldor deck for some time to come, or at least that is the hope. The third actually grants the Noldor, as well as the Silvan trait, to characters. However, how exactly can these cards be used, what combinations and synergies exist, and just how valuable are they really when the chips are down? Read on to find out!

ATTACHMENTS

* Elven Spear (Tactics Attachment, 0 cost):

Elven-Spear

Protector of Lorien has existed since the very beginning of the game, granting a defense or willpower boost to the attached character for each card discarded from hand. It seemed to be a given that at some point there would be a corresponding card for attack strength, especially once the Noldor trait began to focus in on card discard as its main mechanic. Elven Spear has arrived to fill this role:

Action: Discard a card from your hand to give attached hero +1 until the end of the phase. Limit 3 times per phase.

In a general sense, a card like this is only as good as (or as bad as) the other options in the card pool. At this point in the game, there are plenty of other weapons and attachments in the Tactics sphere that boost attack strength. In addition, of those attachments, many already support Elves of both the Noldor and Silvan variety. The Rivendell Blade, for example, reduces enemy strength by 2, which is a form of attack boost, albeit in reverse, while the Rivendell Bow helps out ranged characters. Outside of these trait-specific options, Gondorian Fire uses resources as the basis for an attack boost, as Elven Spear does with cards (although there are some differences). All of this is to say that Elven Spear arrives on the scene facing strong competition, so what exactly does it provide that distinguishes it from the pack?

First, Elven Spear is the only one, other than Gondorian Fire, that is 0-cost. Unlike Gondorian Fire, it also doesn’t require resources to activate or provide the boost. This means that Elven Spear is really the only “free” attack boosting option out there. Of course, there is a cost to using this weapon, which is discarding cards from hand, but what this means in practice is that the Spear is a means of adding attack power to a deck that is built around card draw (and discard) rather than resource generation. It’s important to understand that the presence of alternatives does not immediately invalidate a card, rather we must ask ourselves whether the card in question offers something that its competitors do not. In this case, the answer is a clear yes. If I’m building an Erestor/Noldor deck centered around card draw and using extra cards to fund effects, then the Elven Spear is a better choice than other weapons, because I can get it into play for free, saving resources for other cards (and then leverage cards in hand for extra attack when needed). And, leaving aside trait restrictions, it’s better than Gondorian Fire because such a deck will likely be wealthier in cards than resources. Basically, it’s all about playing to your deck’s strengths when all is said and done.

On the other hand, the Elven Spear is not a great choice in many other decks. If you happen to be running a heavy Tactics deck without much card draw, the last thing you want to do is discard cards from hand, which will lead quickly to you being choked of options. So the main conclusion here is that Elven Spear is a great inclusion for Noldor decks that include Tactics, or any decks with heavy card draw that use Tactics. Otherwise, there are much better options out there. For the decks that can use it well, the Elven Spear does provide a great deal of flexibility, as you can gain just the attack strength you need, up to +3, which is a much higher ceiling than most other weapons and attack-boosting effects out there. You can also trigger the effect during any phase, which could be helpful for battle questing. Finally, the Elven Spear is yet another way to get desirable cards into the discard pile, to be played through certain effects later.

Versatility: ♦◊◊◊◊

Efficiency: ♦♦◊◊◊

Uniqueness: ♦♦♦♦◊

* Silver Harp (Spirit Attachment, 2 cost):

Silver-Harp

Every archetype needs its single, defining attachment, the engine that keeps the motor running, or at least that’s the way it seems. The Dwarves have Legacy of Durin, the Silvan have O Lorien!, and now the Noldor have the Silver Harp:

Response: After a card is discarded from your hand, exhaust Silver Harp to return that card to your hand.

Is it going too far to declare the Silver Harp as the definitive Noldor attachment? I don’t believe so, when you consider that discarding cards from hand is the central mechanic of the Noldor, allowing them to fund all manner of effects (Elven Spear, Trollshaw Scout, etc.), and standing in for resources in many cases. The main drawback of this mechanic is that, even with significant card draw, sometimes you just don’t have enough cards in hand to discard for everything you want to do, especially when you consider that you need to hang onto at least some of your cards to actually play them onto the board. This is where Silver Harp comes in and proves its quality, by essentially allowing a single card to pull double duty. So you could discard a card to add defense through Protector of Lorien, and then bring that card back to hand with Silver Harp, so that you can discard it to fuel attack with Elven Spear. Alternatively, you could use the Harp to pay the cost of a card and then bring it back to hand so that you can actually play it later. To put all of this another way, if a card allowed you to return a resource to the resource pool of a hero after spending it, it would definitely be considered a worthy attachment. Silver Harp plays much the same role in a Noldor deck. In an Erestor deck, it becomes even more useful, allowing you to save at least one card from your hand at the end of a round, which can enable you to actually preserve that essential A Test of Will between turns.

Are there uses for the Silver Harp outside of Noldor deck? There is the possibility of using the Harp with Eowyn so that you can always discard a card for the extra willpower each turn, transforming her into a 5 willpower hero. By itself, this is probably not enough to justify including the Harp, as Favor of the Lady is a 2-cost attachment that offers an additional willpower as well, and it’s generally not played. However, if the Eowyn use is one option among many in your deck, then the case may be better. There also is solid synergy with Hama. Hama has a strong ability that lets you recycle Tactics events, but it comes at the cost of discarding cards from hand, which can end up draining your hand if you don’t have enough card draw. Silver Harp can completely nullify this cost. There are some other interesting Silver Harp possibilities:

  • Erestor (ally): You can have your cake and eat it too, discarding a card to draw one, while keeping the discarded card with Silver Harp.
  • Mirror of Galadriel: The Silver Harp is the ultimate counterpart to the Mirror of Galadriel, completely eliminating the risk by saving the card that is randomly discarded. I’ll be adding at least 1 copy of the Harp to every deck with the Mirror from this point forward.
  • Daeron’s Runes: Daeron’s Runes is already a great card draw effect, but Silver Harp sends it off the charts, transforming it into a 0-cost event that draws 2 cards without any penalty.

There will likely be other synergies for Silver Harp in the future, as discarding a card from hand as part of a card’s effect is not an uncommon mechanic. The Silver Harp definitely falls into the category of those cards that fill an essential role for certain decks, but does not fit into many other decks. For those decks that can make use of Silver Harp, just how essential is it? The Harp is certainly worth 3 copies in any Noldor deck, although if your card draw is substantial enough, then 2 copies may be sufficient (I’d still probably lean towards 3 to increase the chances of drawing it in the opening hand). In a Galadriel deck with the Mirror, I’d probably lean towards 2-3 copies as well. Other cases are a bit more difficult to judge and would likely depend on the exact role Silver Harp plays in that particular deck.

Versatility: ♦♦◊◊◊

Efficiency: ♦♦♦◊◊

Uniqueness: ♦♦♦♦◊

* Elf-friend (Neutral Attachment, 1 cost):

Elf-friend

Surprisingly, there aren’t many cards that allow the granting of a trait to a character that doesn’t already have it. I say surprising because a large part of deck building in this game centers around traits. One of the few exceptions, Nor Am I A Stranger, which grants the Rohan trait to a character, is almost never played. Elf-friend may have a much more favorable fate:

Attach to a character.

Attached character gains the Noldor and Silvan traits.

Elf-friend has the same cost as Nor Am I A Stranger, and essentially the same wording/effect, however the reason I believe that the former is better is simply because the Noldor and Silvan traits have many more applications than the Rohan trait. While Rohan decks are quite strong these days, their strength is not really based on the Rohan trait itself, at least not in a fundamental way. By contrast, there are many attachments and other cards that play directly off of the Noldor and Silvan trait. Let’s take a look at what is possible with Elf-friend.

First off, the Silvan Tracker grants substantial healing to a Silvan character, allowing them to recover 1 hit point each time they ready during the refresh phase. Attaching Elf-friend to a hero like Treebeard or Gloin, one that relies on taking and healing damage, offers an alternative to something like Self Preservation.

Another intriguing option is using Elf-friend to allow a hero to make use of Light of Valinor. We all know how potent that attachment is for Glorfindel, imagine the possibilities for other heroes with high stats all around. You could, for example, make Gandalf an Elf-friend and then give him Light of Valinor. He could then easily quest and still be available for combat. The problem here is one of cost and consistency. This combination requires 2 resources and 2 cards, and you could simply use Unexpected Courage for an equal cost and using only 1 card rather than 2. For this reason, it probably makes most sense only to pursue this route if you are interested in having the target character make use of other Noldor/Silvan effects as well. For example, attaching Elf-friend to Treebeard so that he can use Light of Valinor and Silvan Tracker healing would make sense.

There are also a suite of Noldor/Silvan weapons that could be made available to non-Elf characters through Elf-friend. The creative applications really open up when you consider that Elf-friend can be attached to allies, not just heroes. The possibilities are too many to fully explore here, but here are some tantalizing glimpses to get your imagination sparking:

  • Elven Mail + Defender of Rammas: A Defender of Rammas with the Noldor/Silvan trait and Elven Mail would have 4 defense, 3 hit points, and sentinel. This would be a truly formidable defending ally indeed. Of course, we’re talking about a 5 resource investment and 3 cards, yet it could be worthwhile.
  • Rivendell Bow + Erebor Battle Master: A Battle Master is a truly formidable attacker, as any experienced player knows, and yet there is no way to give this ally ranged. However, with Elf-friend and Rivendell Bow, a Battle Master could smash enemies across the board.

Finally, there are a variety of Silvan events that allow a Silvan ally to be returned to hand to trigger certain effects. In the great majority of cases, there’s really no benefit to giving a non-Silvan ally the trait so that they can be used for this purpose, but there are some exceptions of interest. You could play Core Gandalf, attach Elf-friend to him, and then return him to hand using Island Amid Perils later in the round. This would reduce your threat by 5 from Island Amid Perils and give you an additional use of Gandalf for a later round.

Overall, Elf-friend is the kind of card that deck builders love: flexible, relatively cheap, and ripe with possibility, yet not hitting you over the head with obvious power and utility. It will take some time for players to unlock the full potential of Elf-friend, but this is a card that has a much brighter future than Nor Am I A Stranger.

Versatility: ♦♦♦◊◊

Efficiency: ♦♦♦◊◊

Uniqueness: ♦♦♦♦♦

Conclusion

Soon, we will close out (finally!) the review of The Treachery of Rhudaur and begin work on The Battle of Carn Dum. Fear not, restless readers, we will catch up to our quarry soon enough. For now, it’s a good time to look back at the attachments in this pack and consider their full potential. Elven Spear is relatively straightforward, but requires some skill to use. Silver Harp doesn’t make an immediate impact on the board state, but is the kind of subtle effect that can roll you towards victory. And Elf-friend has the scent of a card that is more interesting than useful, yet in the hands of a skilled deck builder, this card has the capacity to impress.

Readers, what are your thoughts on the attachments in this pack? Which is your favorite? Which is your least favorite? What are the best uses you have found thus far?

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8 Comments
  1. ChasmosaurusChris permalink

    Recently I’ve been using the harp with Eowyn. Often I haven’t had the chance to play it because there are more immediately important things to play. However I remember playing it a couple of times in my Spirit/Leadership Rohan deck. It was a relief to know that I could boost Eowyn’s willpower without ditching a card. In a Rohan deck with limited draw capacity I found this quite useful.

    Haven’t tried it with Galadriel yet, looking forward to it though. Seems like I’m always discarding the card I’ve just tutored for with mirror. So many unexpected courage has been lost..

  2. Traekos77 permalink

    Interesting to note that the Silver Harp is restricted but NOT unique, so two or even three copies (depending on Hero selection) can be in play.

    I hate discarding cards (and outside of unusable cards, avoid it whenever possible, making the Noldor archetype less suitable for me), especially randomly. That being said, I find the risk/reward of Mirror of Galadriel to be perfect and a lot of fun to play. Eliminating the risk makes it somewhat less fun (strangely).

    • Yea, I was surprised not to see that fact mentioned. With some Songs of Travel (totally worth it with that much card draw, plus potentially Love of Tales), every hero could have one, and honestly you only need 2 spirit heroes since one can hold 2 harps.

      • TalesfromtheCards permalink

        I meant to include a short discussion on the point, but it slipped my mind. Doh! I’m wondering where the point of diminishing returns on Silver Harp would be. Having 2 or 3 in play would definitely be beneficial, but 2 resources isn’t a trivial cost. I’m thinking 2 in play is the ideal situation, whereas 3 is more of an extravagance.

        • Yea, but I think it depends more on how many cards you tend to discard each round that you would rather keep around.

  3. I really like that “Silvan Gandalf” combo. 10 threat for 6 resources, plus 4 stat points toward some phase of the game. Not quite as much threat reduction for 6 resources as Galadhrim’s Greeting, but the 4 stat points for a phase (or 2 phases with Galadriel in play) can outweight that and all the resources that need to be spent are neutral, so you only need one Spirit hero that doesn’t even need resource acceleration… you can save that for the other heroes.

    Of course, 6 resources and 3 cards can be a difficult combo to set up, but it sounds like more of a mid-to-late game play anyway. There are lots of interesting combos with these cards. I love it! Now, all I gotta do is find time to try them……..

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Heh, I know what you mean! I want to try out a bunch of Elf-friend shenanigans but just need to find the time.

  4. I think “Elf-friend” should have read “Attach to a non-dwarf character (other than Gimli.)”. Missed opportunity there ^^

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