Temple of the Deceived: Allies Review
Glowwyrm returns with his review of the allies of Temple of the Deceived! – Ian
Greetings, readers! Glowwyrm here to look at the allies from the Temple of the Deceived adventure pack. When this cycle was announced, the designers promised a focus on unique and powerful allies. They have certainly delivered so far, and each of the packs in this cycle have had four allies in them! For my sake, and for yours, instead of this review being marathon, we’ll sprint through each with a game of The Good, The Bad, and The Glowwyrm. Which ally will fare the best as we run them through this reviewing gauntlet? Read on to find out!
* Ceorl (Leadership Ally, 2 cost, 1 willpower, 2 attack, 0 defense, 2 hit points):
I’m glad I don’t have to read this guy’s name out loud. How many syllables should it contain? KEE-OR-ALL? SEEERL? Feels like there should be an accent in there or something. Middle Earth scholars with the correct pronunciation should feel free to chime in in the comments section. Oops, we started our Glowwyrm portion of the review early. Let’s start properly:
Ceorl is a two cost unique Leadership ally. He has one willpower, two attack, zero defense, and two hitpoints. He has the Rohan and Scout traits. His text reads
Action: Spend one Spirit resource to ready Ceorl. Then, you may give control of Ceorl to another player. Any player may trigger this action (Limit once per phase).
The Good: Ceorl’s a natural match for Rohan decks: most of the ones I build feature Leadership and Spirit, and Elfhelm will only enhance that connection. Ceorl’s cost to stats ratio is good: two attack for two resources is on par with most Tactics allies (let alone Leadership allies), and it’s really awesome if you’re getting Ceorl for one with Theoden’s discount. Rohan Spirit-Leadership decks can be a bit light on attack, and Ceorl helps that. Rohan is really lacking in ranged, and he sort of meets that need. If you’re playing a strict Rohan trait deck, passing Ceorl around to other players in combat can take the place of some of the ranged you’re missing.
The Bad: His readying ability is expensive. While it’s nice to be able to ready him and pass him around, I’m typically going to want that Spirit resource for another purpose: shadow cancellation, dropping an Escort from Edoras every turn, or saving up for Herugrim. I can’t imagine using his ability more than a couple of times a game, if that. He’s awfully weak for a unique character: I’d like him a lot better if I could have more copies of him. It’d be a lot more fun if you could pass three of him around like a Rider of the Mark and send attack wherever you need it on the board, but that would also be a bit too powerful I suppose.
The Glowwyrm: Readying and the Scout trait! Setting aside the Rohan decks for a minute, is Ceorl’s best use in a Scouting deck? He has some action advantage, so he can exhaust to trigger Scout cards like Guarded Ceaselessly, Distant Stars, Mariner’s Compass, etc. Readying shenanigans seem to be in order: he’s a good target for Spare Hood and Cloak (and could singlehandedly bring that attachment back into my decks). What would be really interesting is throwing a Sword-thain on him to counter encounter cards that require you to exhaust a hero. Not worth the card and resource investment, but still.
The Verdict: Glowwyrm
His cost to stats ratio is good, and he deserves a look in any Rohan deck, but where he really shines is in shenanigans with his readying ability. He’s going to be a fun ally to play around with, and I have no intention of passing him to anyone else.
Glowwyrm’s Rating: Interesting. I’m definitely going to experiment with some of the deck building opportunities he opens up.
Ian’s thoughts: I’m pretty much happy to throw one copy of ol’ Ceorl into most of my Leadership decks. 2 resources for 2 attack is some of the best value you’ll find in the sphere and Leadership allies just aren’t that great as a collective. He’s not a world-beater but he has some utility and I do like the potential to pass him around as needed, although that will probably only happen once or twice a game. I’d give Ceorl a 4 for versatility, 3 for efficiency, and 4 for uniqueness.
* Deorwine (Tactics Ally, 4 cost, 0 willpower, 1 attack, 3 defense, 3 hit points):
Deorwine is a four cost unique Tactics ally. He has zero willpower, one attack, three defense, and three hitpoints. He has the Rohan and Warrior traits, and the Sentinel keyword. His text reads:
Action: While Deorwine is defending, spend one Leadership resource to cancel a shadow effect dealt to the attacking enemy. Any player may trigger this action.
The Good: Shadow cancellation is always good, especially since the designers fell in love with “attacking enemy makes an additional attack after this one.” Tactics doesn’t have any shadow cancellation (Tireless Hunters comes closest), and even this doesn’t exactly count, because you have to pay a Leadership resource for it. That’s not terrible news though, because Leadership is a natural sphere to include in a Rohan deck, and if any sphere might have some spare resources to throw around, it’s Leadership. (I could see Deorwine induced fights happening at the table when the Tactics player is mad that the Leadership player drew cards with Rod of the Steward instead of cancelling a shadow). Sentinel is great too, because Deorwine can defend any attack on the board.
The Bad: Four cost is a lot for this guy. Even with Theoden’s discount, he’s an expensive ally. With three defense and three hitpoints, he’s not going to stand up to a whole lot of attacks. While his ability to cancel shadow effects is great, it has to be on the enemy he is defending: you’re left to guess which enemy has the nasty shadow effect. Before this pack, Rohan was a bit lacking in the defensive department, but Armored Destrier and Elfhelm will help change that (Erkenbrand is really good too). Ally defenders just aren’t as good as hero defenders: it’s much more difficult to boost them up and get them action advantage, and you have to find and play that ally first.
The Glowwyrm: You can slap a Raiment of War on him and make him a better than Beregond (base stats) four defense five hitpoints defender with shadow cancellation. Of course, that’s a six resource investment, but that’s a pretty good defender you’ll have. Hold your Ground can help you get some action advantage out of him, and he’s a great target for Sword-thain if that’s how you really want to spend your resources. Cheating him into play (Elf-stone, A Very Good Tale, Vilya, *SPOILER* new Imrahil *End Spoiler*) gives you a very nice defensive ally for a fraction of the cost, and you can save some resources to trigger his ability. He’s a great target for Narya and might be a nice defender in Noldor decks that include Tactics.
Glowwyrm’s Rating: Meh.
Ian’s Thoughts: This is one where Glowwyrm and I disagree. I would rate Deorwine as one of the strongest allies of the cycle and worth considering for all of your defensive needs (has my used car salesman approach worked yet?). It is absolutely true that he is expensive, often requires setup, and isn’t as consistent as a hero defender. However, if you are willing to build around him a bit, he can be absolutely amazing. Shadow cancellation is one of the most powerful abilities in the game, as it lets you completely remove one of the two major points where the encounter deck can hit you, and consistent shadow cancellation is worth its weight in resources. 3 defense and 3 hit points doesn’t seem like much, but these stats can be boosted with cards like Narya, Arwen (ally), and Raiment of War. In addition, when you have shadow cancellation available, you can defend stronger attacks and cancel or heal any excess damage without worrying about outright destruction. Even without building around Deorwine, there is value in having a strong defender that can mop up mid-level attacks, especially as the encounter deck increasingly loves to swarm players. Admittedly, I am a player that values defense rather highly, and appreciate the push towards ally defenders in this cycle. I’d give him 2 for versatility, 4 for efficiency, and 4 for uniqueness.
* Rhovanion Outrider (Spirit Ally, 3 cost, 1 willpower, 2 attack, 1 defense, 2 hit points):
Rhavanion Outrider is a three cost spirit ally. He has one willpower, two attack, one defense, and two hitpoints. He has the Dale and Scout traits. His text reads:
Response: After Rhovanion Outrider commits to the quest, place one progress on a location in the staging area. If that location is not explored by this effect, give Rhovaion Outrider plus one willpower until the end of the phase.
The Good: Holy cost to stats ratio wackiness Batman! The standard for Spriit is two willpower for two resources but this guy is one willpower for three resources? Madness! It’s his questing ability that’s throwing you off though: what you’re really paying for is the attack. Two attack in Spirit is rare on an ally: only seven of them have it, and they all cost at least three (usually four or five). So if his attack is what you’re paying for, why does he have an ability that focuses on questing? Versatility! This ally is the best in the pack. You are either getting a solid Spirit ally who will help you on the attack, or you’re getting a solid questing ally who will quest for the standard two and pitch in a progress on a location. Since you control where the progress goes (and the order that the progress is placed in), you should always be able to trigger his bonus. Say you have two Rhovanion Outriders and a Northern Tracker, and a staging area with some almost explored locations. Commit them all to the quest, put the progress from the Outriders down first so that they get their willpower boost, and then place progress for the Northern Tracker that explores the locations in the staging area. You get the boost and the explored locations! Since he’s got that lovely two attack, if there aren’t any locations in the staging area, you can hold him back for combat (or exhaust him to trigger something for a Scout). And don’t ignore the two hitpoints. The vast majority of the two willpower two cost questers in Spirit only have one hitpoint. Rhovanion Outrider is good, versatile, and he will be making it into my Spirit decks.
The Bad: Three is a bit expensive for a questing ally. You could play three two willpower two cost questers for the price of two of these guys. Does the extra progress he’s placing make up for the difference in willpower? He’s not nearly as helpful in solo. Locations don’t become a problem as often, though you could use his attack in that case. The Dale trait feels like the designers are taunting us at this point.
The Glowwyrm: He will be a staple of the “people on horses riding to the right” deck. As if Caldara need any more help, this guy is a great pull out of the discard pile for her. He can be used to trigger any of the “exhaust a scout” cards, though he’s one of the worst targets for those kinds of cards because you want to use his stats/ability.
The Verdict: Good
As someone who loves Spirit and versatile cards, I love this card. The three cost might put you out a bit, but he’ll be well worth it, especially if you can get a couple on the table. The progress that they stack will add up quickly, and you should be able to explore a location every other turn (with two on the table). He’s a solid quester with his ability, he’s a solid attacker in a pinch, and there’s not a lot to criticize here.
Glowwyrm’s Rating: Interesting.
Ian’s Thoughts: No real argument from me here. The only thing that lowers the value of this guy a bit is just the fact that Spirit is so spoiled in terms of cheap allies that are efficient. What saves Rhovanion Outrider is he does something different, which gives him a role. He is one of the better attacking options for Spirit allies and provides a valid alternative or supplement to Northern Tracker. The Outrider is not an auto-include but a strong new option and that extra hit point is way more meaningful than it appears at first glance. I’d give the Outrider a 4 for versatility, 3 for efficiency, and 4 for uniqueness.
* Ered Luin Miner (Neutral Ally, 3 cost, 1 willpower, 1 attack, 1 defense, 2 hit points):
Ered Luin Miner is a three cost neutral ally. He has one willpower, one attack, one defense, and two hitpoints. He has the Dwarf trait. His text reads:
Response: After Ered Luin Miner is discarded from the top of your deck, put it into play under your control.
The Good: Free Allies! Free allies are always the best, because you don’t have to pay anything for them. He’s a Dwarf, and any ally that has the dwarf trait is helpful just by being a body on the table. With Dain out, he quests and attacks for two, so that’s solid. The fun factor is high: you’re busy mining through your deck, looking for Zigil or being the King Under the Mountain, when you find this guy and get to throw him into play for free! It’s nice that the best Dwarf archetype (mining) is still getting some support. Did I mention free?
The Bad: He’s a terrible ally. He’s got no ability once he’s in play and his stats aren’t good. Should you draw him, you will be severely disappointed.
The Glowwrym: Gandalf? Gandalf! Wizard pipes and revealed top cards make it easy to discard Ered Luin Miner. Are there better cards to throw into a Gandalf deck! You bet! But a Gandalf-Dwarven miner deck is both thematically satisfying in the Hobbit and fun to play. Expert Treasure Hunter is another good way to drop him into play (you should guess wrong in that case), and if he’s discarded by A Very Good Tale, you can put him into play that way too (not as one of the allies that gets to come into play through a Very Good Tale, but by triggering his text)! Did I mention that he’d be a free dwarf in a dwarf swarm deck?
The Verdict: Glowwyrm.
Free allies with the dwarf trait in a dwarf deck are awesome. Mining for this guy is weirdly entertaining. In every other sense, he’s not very good at all.
Glowwyrm’s Rating: Fascinating. He’s a fun free ally. (Did I mention free?)
Ian’s Thoughts: The Dwarven mining archetype is still one of my favorite deck types, and I didn’t expect it to see much further support, to be honest. However, the Ered Luin Miner is an amazing addition to this deck type, providing a way to accelerate the pace of a deck by getting bodies out more quickly (particularly invaluable for Dwarves). As Glowwyrm said, free allies are great, and I find that free allies are always better than they seem on paper. Even if the Miner doesn’t do much when he hits the table, having a free chump blocker, if nothing else, is worth the price of admission. Outside of mining decks, this ally won’t see much play because of cost, but he’s a solid addition to the card pool. I’d give the Ered Luin Miner a 1 for versatility, 3 for efficiency, and 4 for uniqueness.
Well that does it for those four allies! Were my verdicts fair? Which of them are you looking forward to playing the most? How do you say Ceorl? Please leave your feedback below!