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The Thing in the Depths: Events Review

by on August 9, 2016

 

thingcover

Gen Con has come and gone, which means I can get back to Tales and catching up with card reviews. Here’s Glowwyrm’s take on the events of The Thing in the Depths! -Ian

Lately, I’ve been trying to avoid spoilers, so that when I open a new pack I get the wow factor of seeing the new cards for the first time.  The events in The Thing in the Depths provoked two strong reactions from me: a whoooooooooo that’s a good card, and a hahahahaha that’s hilarious.  If you’re familiar with the pack, it’s probably not hard to guess which is which.  They’re two fun events to think about, and one became an instant staple.  Read on to find out which is which!

EVENTS

Captain’s Wisdom (Leadership Event, 0 cost):

 

Captain's-Wisdom

This card is soooooooooooooooooooooooooo good.  I think that needs a few more o’s and some capslock.  SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good.  It’s crazy powerful, let’s see why:

Captain’s Wisdom is a free Leadership event.  It’s text reads:

Resource Action: Exhaust a Noble hero you control to add 2 resources to that hero’s resource pool.

Before we drool, let’s cover the restrictions.  Captain’s Wisdom can only target Noble heroes, which is a significant restriction.  Only about a third of heroes have the Noble trait, and they all tend to be the big flashy heroes and not the little guys.  Hobbits don’t have anyone, and the dwarves only have three (though it would be a neat trick to exhaust Gloin and get a head start on your resource nonsense).  Rohan, Gondor, Noldor and Silvan all have lots of targets, but again, they tend to be the heavy hitters.  You’re sacrificing an action from them to gain two resources and that could be a significant drawback, especially early in the game.    You also are only adding resources to their resource pool: you can’t give them to anyone in your fellowship, so they better be the character that you want to have the resources on.  Those restrictions shouldn’t be overlooked if you plan on playing this card.

Second, this is a resource action, the only one of its kind in the game.  This doesn’t matter a whole ton, but it does mean you can’t play any attachments or allies that you draw.  You can only spend on events that can be used in an open action window.  So, you could use your Daeron’s Runes to draw for Captain’s Wisdom and play it, but you couldn’t play Gleowine to try and fish out more copies.  You could use Boromir’s ability to exhaust and ready three times and start your first turn with six resources on him, but you couldn’t play down a Cram and ready a hero so that you can ready them and play another copy of Captain’s Wisdom.  It’s not a huge distinction, but since we’re so used to playing in the Planning Phase, in which everything goes on the table, you need to be careful about the actions you take in the Resource Phase when you play Captain’s Wisdom.

So there are some restrictions to the card, but the benefits!  Oh man, netting two resources for nothing is amazing!  Especially if you can manage it first turn!  Think about the possibility of Denethor, already starting with two extra resources, simply exhausting to have five resources at the beginning.  Think about an Galdor-Denethor-Boromir deck, drawing all the cards and starting with all of the resources!  And you don’t need it on the first turn for it to be good!  At the start of any turn, you can play this with your Noble hero, and if you have readying down on the table (like Unexpected Courage) you can use the actions to play more copies!  It’s an event, so you’ll never have a conflict with other players, unless of course everyone wants to exhaust their heroes on turn one and no one is left to quest.  The only reason not to play this card is if you don’t have leadership or you aren’t running a Noble hero.  It is so so so so so so good.  Play this card!

Versatility: ♦◊◊◊◊

Efficiency: ♦♦♦♦♦

Uniqueness: ♦♦♦◊◊

Glowwyrm’s Rating: Fascinating.  I’m excited by the possibilities easy resource acceleration opens up.

Ian’s thoughts: It’s hard for me to argue with Glowwyrm’s excitement. This card essentially allows you to trade 1 hero action for 2 resources, making it the resource equivalent of Beravor’s card draw ability (exhausting a hero to draw 2 cards). What I like about Captain’s Wisdom is that it works well in a deck with only 1 Noble hero from a certain sphere, where you can exhaust that hero to quickly gather resources to pay for an expensive card of that sphere. If you are playing a deck that really prizes hero actions, especially in solo play, then that is a case where Captain’s Wisdom might not be the best choice. On the other hand, in multiplayer games, you will probably be able to find a good time to play this card, and it avoids some of the necessity of hogging Steward of Gondor. If you are relying on your heroes to serve more of a support function, then this event is also an auto-include. I’d give it a 3 for versatility, 5 for efficiency, and 3 for uniqueness.

Elevenses (Spirit Event, 1 cost):

Elevenses

Captain’s Wisdom blew me away with how good it is.  Elevenses made me laugh.  It’s fun and thematic, and even if you probably won’t use it too much, I’m glad it exists.  Before we break the card down, let’s take a look at what it does:

Elevenses is a one cost Spirit event.  Its text reads:

Play only after the staging step. 

Quest Action: Choose X questing hobbit characters you control.  Ready each chosen character and remove them from the quest.  Then, reduce your threat by X. 

First off, you will probably never use this card to gain a tactical advantage in a game, but that doesn’t make it a bad card.  We already have two cards that allow you to adjust your willpower after the staging step (Late Adventurer and Don’t Be Hasty), but they don’t see much play because a one-time event that interacts only with the quest phase isn’t as good as flexible and/or repeated readying.  Sure, there are some quests in which you’re waiting around to accomplish an objective and you have way more willpower committed than you need, so you might as well lower your threat (an excellent time to use this card).  There are other quests (especially older ones) when you want to stay at a stage and you accidentally sent too much willpower, and this card will both help you slow down and lower your threat.  And there are times when you committed Tactics Merry to the quest only to wish you had him ready for combat, in which case this card could save your bacon.  Those are all nice, niche uses for Elvenses.  But it just feels like this card isn’t even necessary in that situation because Fast Hitch exists.  Fast Hitch provides most of the hobbit readying you need, Sam provides the rest, and you’re not really benefiting from the group hobbit readying this card provides (no one ever said “Thank goodness Barliman is ready for combat now!”).   Lure of Moria is awesome when your army of buffed up Dwarves is ready for combat.  Elevenses is slightly less impressive when the hobbits take a snack break and then turn to combat. So as a readying/quest adjusting effect, it’s alright, but what about the threat reduction you get?

In terms of threat reduction, this is probably the most cost effective in the entire game.  Assuming you have at least five hobbits out (three heroes and two allies) and committed to the quest, you could lower your threat by five for a cost of one!  That’s really good.  And if you’re really into Wandering Tooks and KET (Keen-eyed Took), you could get that number even higher!  However, your threat reduction comes at a cost: you’re removing willpower from the quest.  You do play this after the staging step (but before resolving the quest), so you know exactly how much willpower is needed to pass the quest (and how much you can afford to take away), but there’s always going to be tension between a big threat reduction from removing characters from the quest, and a big threat gain from failing the quest.  Probably in a normal situation, you’re looking at readying a couple of hobbits and reducing your threat by a couple of points, which is pretty great in a hobbit deck, but maybe not worth the card space.  So the threat reduction is nice, the readying is nice, why do I really like this card?

The fun factor is high.  Are you playing solo?  Be willing to fail the quest by a little so that you can drop your threat by a lot.   Want to make your play group angry?  Play this card to drop your threat so that the group fails the quest.  I’m sure you’ll love it when you explain: “Guys, we only failed by six, but I dropped my threat by six, so I really broke even here.  So what if you guys all had to raise your threat?  You need to engage all the enemies anyway.  No, all of my ready hobbits don’t have enough attack strength to take down one orc, you take them.”  Hilarious!  You might not be invited back, but that was worth it, right?  Okay, joking aside, something just makes me laugh about this card.  It’s perfectly hobbity and perfectly thematic.  It has some definite uses and probably ends up on the cutting floor more often than not, but I’m definitely going to play it.

Versatility: ♦♦♦◊◊

Efficiency: ♦♦♦♦♦

Uniqueness: ♦♦♦♦◊

Glowwyrm’s Rating: Interesting.  Definitely going to play it for the fun factor.

Ian’s Thoughts: I think Elevenses works best in multiplayer, where you can go all-in on a Hobbit pipe deck, while other players help take the heat off you. When you have a few Hobbit Pipes out, Elevenses can be fantastic, reducing your threat while drawing cards, all for a cost of 1. It also can help to control the pace of questing, and there are certainly many times in most scenarios, where you are already close to finishing a stage and don’t need a ton of progress, or you would like another turn to build up your forces before moving on. There are real limitations to this card though, and it certainly won’t find much play outside of dedicated Hobbit pipe decks. I’d give it a 1 for versatility, 3 for efficiency, and 4 for uniqueness.

Conclusion

There were only two events, but they were good ones.  Were you blown away by Captain’s Wisdom?  Did you laugh at Elevenses?

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