The Thing in the Depths: Attachments Review
There are only two attachments in The Thing in the Depths AP, but there’s plenty to talk about here as one has received a fairly warm reception while the other has been met with a mixture of declarations of coaster-hood and puzzled looks of painful confusion. Is Raiment of War good enough to warrant practicing your best pronunciation of “raiment”? Is Guarded Ceaselessly so terrible that it should be attached to your trash can, gaining the garbage trait as it does so? Read on to find out!
* Raiment of War (Tactics Attachment, 2 cost):
Raiment of War is a brand new Tactics attachment that is a bit unique in the way that it combines a weapon and armor card in one:
Attach to a Warrior character. Raiment of War counts as 2 Restricted attachments.
Attached character gets +1 , +1 and +2 hit points.
When I first saw Raiment of War, I must admit that I was somewhat underwhelmed. Giving up 2 restricted slots on a hero for a couple of +1 stat boosts and a bump to hit points didn’t seem worth it when you consider that most heroes specialize in attack or defense. Throwing a couple of weapons on an attacker or a couple of pieces of armor on a defender seems a better use of resources and cards. However, the key to appreciating this card is realizing that it can go on allies, not just heroes. Suddenly, its overall worth and possibilities become abundantly clear. In fact, Raiment of War is part of a sub-theme of the player cards of this cycle, which is really emphasizing allies as characters that can contribute as much as heroes, especially in terms of defense. The extra cost of an additional restricted slot doesn’t matter as much for an ally as well, since you generally don’t put more than one attachment on a given ally in most cases.
The main question has to do with who the best candidates for Raiment of War are, and the answer is a bit expansive because there are actually quite a few strong choices. In fact, one of the best aspects of this card is how flexible it is, since it can be placed on any character with the warrior trait. I won’t be able to hit every possibility, but my favorite candidates are:
- Defender of Rammas: This ally has been a defensive staple since he was released as part of the Heirs of Numenor deluxe expansion. However, he has always had one huge weakness, which is that he only has 1 hit point, leaving him vulnerable to direct damage and shadow effects. Raiment of War bumps him up to 5 defense and 3 hit points, which is huge, and puts him on the level of some of the best defending heroes. This combination is well worth the effort and resources, in my opinion.
- Gimli: Gimli is already a strong ally, given his ability to quest and either attack or defend. With the Raiment of War, he becomes more dependable as a defender (with 3 defense and 5 hit points) and better in attack.
- Warden of Helm’s Deep: This is a similar choice to the Defender of Rammas, in this case giving this ally 4 defense and 4 hit points.
- Boromir: The Boromir ally greatly benefits from some additional hit points (since his ability to ready triggers off of being damaged), while 4 attack and 2 defense is certainly nothing to ignore.
- Deorwine: This defensive powerhouse becomes unreal with the Raiment, given that he is able to cancel shadow effects at will with his ability.
The main question that players might have is whether it is worth it to include an attachment that is essentially dedicated to allies, as the problem of consistency could creep up if you happen to draw this card but not its intended target (or vice versa). I’d say it really comes down to a matter of strategy and intention. If you really need the Raiment for your deck to function, because you are going to be relying on allies to defend, for example, then consistency might be a real issue. On the other hand, there are now more card draw and card search effects in the game than ever before, so if you really want to build for making a Raiment combination happen, you definitely have the tools to do so. At the same time, you can also just use the Raiment as a sort of toolbox card, throwing one or two copies in a deck that has a wide range of targets for this attachment, and just putting it on whoever can use it best at a given moment. Either approach is valid. While I’ve stressed the use of this card with allies, there are heroes that can definitely put this card to good use too, so don’t sleep on possibilities like attaching Raiment of War to Erkenbrand (giving him the higher defense he needs and extra hit points to use his ability) or Amarthiul. Overall, the Raiment won’t go in every Tactics deck but this was a type of card that was needed in the card pool, and it will see a good amount of play. Its biggest strength is doing the work of several cards, boosting attack, defense, and hit points all at once without having to include three separate cards for those purposes.
* Guarded Ceaselessly (Lore Attachment, 0 cost):
Guarded Ceaselessly is a brand new attachment that interacts with locations, lowering the threat of the attached location:
Attach to a location.
Action: Exhaust a Ranger or Scout character to give attached location -2 until the end of the phase.
Guarded Ceaselessly is the equivalent of getting your significant other a nice gift after you royally screwed something up, only to find that your gift is only moderately less offensive than the original insult. I am of course referring to the fact that we have had a card since the Core Set days called Power in the Earth, which attaches to a location and lowers its threat by 1. That card is almost always included in lists of the worst cards in the game and is almost never used. This is the case for several reasons. First is that you can simply use your resources to play an ally with greater willpower instead who will help you quest more effectively every single turn. Paying 1 to deal with 1 threat just isn’t an efficient use of your cards or resources. Second is that you might end up just traveling to the location with Power in the Earth and getting rid of it through exploration, which is what you are supposed to be doing with locations anyway, rendering your attachment worthless.
With that stage set, consider that Guarded Ceaselessly does essentially the same thing but ups the ante to -2 threat instead of -1 threat. On the other hand, it introduces an added cost of exhausting a ranger or scout character to activate the threat reduction. I really want to like this card, and I’ve tried talking myself into liking it, so we’ll see if I succeed. The greatest benefit to this card is that it is 0 cost, unlike the 1-cost Power in the Earth. This is a partial counter to the argument of, “Why don’t you just play an ally with 2 willpower instead?”. In this case, if you assume a perfect scenario where the location with Guarded Ceaselessly stays in the staging area forever, you are using this attachment to essentially give a ranger or scout character the equivalent of 2 willpower for free. So you could imagine a situation where you have a second copy of Ithilien Tracker who isn’t doing much since the ability on the Tracker doesn’t stack, and Guarded Ceaselessly would basically turn that Tracker into the equivalent of a 2 willpower, which isn’t bad at all in Lore. Alternatively, you could have a lowly Snowbourn Scout sitting around just waiting for his moment to be thrown under the stampeding feet of a Mumak or Troll. Until then, you could use that Scout to reduce threat in the staging area by 2 each round, which is better than him doing nothing. Finally, I’m always a fan of cards that let you adjust threat or willpower after staging, and this card lets you do that, deciding whether to keep that ranger or scout ready for combat or have it help with questing instead depending on the situation.
Are you convinced yet? If you still have reservations, it’s probably for the same reason I do, which is that while this card is free in terms of resources, it is taking up space in your deck. We all know that it’s getting harder and harder to cut down to 50 cards and using up card slots for this type of effect doesn’t seem like necessarily the best use of deck space. It’s probably out of the question in solo play, where locations aren’t as big of an issue, although it does allow you to keep a location in the staging area that you don’t want to travel to for some reason. In multiplayer it could have some use, but then there is a greater chance that other players can specialize in piling up huge willpower numbers, in which case that 2 threat isn’t going to matter much. I feel like this card does have utility and can provide some questing help in certain kinds of decks, and I like the idea of turning my utility allies into viable questers, but overall, despite my reputation for liking every card, I can’t give high marks to this one.
The attachments of The Thing in the Depths have been reviewed, and the events stare at us just around the corner!
Readers, what are your thoughts on the attachments in this pack? What are your favorite uses for Raiment of War? Is there any hope for Guarded Ceaselessly?