The Drowned Ruins: Events Review
Here’s Glowwyrm’s take on the events of The Drowned Ruins! -Ian
Well, this is an interesting pair of events to consider. One of them is so like another card, but with an added niche benefit, that it seems hard to imagine why it exists. The other is wholly unique and interesting, and I love it. If you know the cards, you probably already know which is which, but you should read on to find out more anyway!
* Battle-fury (Tactics Event, 1 cost):
Let’s get this one out of the way, because there’s not a whole lot to say about it. Battle-fury is a one cost Tactics Event. Its text reads:
Play only before the staging step.
Quest Action: Exhaust a hero you control to immediately declare it as an attacker (and resolve its attack) against any eligible enemy target. Then, the players as a group may spend one spirit resource to commit that hero to the quest.
Um, huh. I want to like this card, if for no other reason than the art has a cool picture of Theoden leading the Rohirrim into battle. But it’s problematic for multiple reasons.
- Quick Strike exists. Yes, Battle-fury does the same thing as an old Core Set card, except that Battle-fury has less flexibility. In case it’s been awhile for you, Quick Strike allows one hero to attack any eligible any during any action window. Pretty much the same thing as Battle-fury, except that, I repeat, you can use it during any action window. As in, after engagement but before enemy attacks. Quick Strike is a popular include in Eomer, Gimli decks in which you have one hulking hero you can stomp out an enemy all by himself.
- You don’t typically quest with attacking heroes. Most attacking heroes who could take an enemy out all by themselves have a boosted attack, but not much willpower. That’s because you want to use their actions to, um, attack enemies, and not to commit to the quest.
So it sounds like you should never play Battle-fury, but I’ve come up with three niche uses for this card and they’re both pretty good. The first is getting three actions out of Theoden (or more!) in a turn. Dernhelm (Tactics Eowyn) and the cool toys in Flame of the West brought Tactcis Theoden back from the dead. I’ve had a ton of fun playing through the saga box with a Dernhelm, Tactics Theoden, Spirit Merry deck. With a partner deck, it breezed through the first two quests in Flame of the West before struggling with Pelennor Fields (which is awesome but tough). Battle-fury allows you to attack an enemy for one Tactics resource (probably an engaged one), and pay one Spirit resource to quest with Theoden. This scenario might not sound all that worthwhile, but imagine this. You have four engaged enemies because you’re playing Pelennor Fields and that’s what happens. You swing with Theoden and Herugrim for six, taking one of the beasts out before questing using Battle-fury. You pay the Spirit resource to send him to the quest, and you somehow quest successfully (maybe it’s the last stage), so that Snowmane allows Theoden to ready up. He can then defend or attack again during combat, and you just got three actions out of your awesome hero for one card and two resources. Not bad, right? Admittedly, it’s a niche case for using the card, but it’s a good use.
Another niche use is with Eomer and Firefoot, but only in certain scenarios. Eomer is so hulkingly good, especially with Firefoot, that you want every opportunity to trample over enemies that you can get, especially alone so that you can pile on the damage with Firefoot. In this case, think about Battle-fury as having three extra quick strikes you can only play before questing. That might seem sorta unhelpful and restrictive, but certain scenarios (Pelennor Fields) pile the enemies on so that you probably won’t be able to kill them all during the combat phase, even with Eomer. Battle-fury gives you a chance to keep clearing them out, and if you feel like it, Eomer can chip in his one willpower to the quest.
The last niche case is using an attacking hero to kill an enemy that engaged during the refresh phase. That list (in non-nightmare) is Gollum, Captain Sahir, and Chief Turch. Sure, Quick Strike would work just as well here, but that’s beside the point. When these big bads (or little annoying in Gollum’s case) engage you, it’s nice to be able to get a shot in against them before they can hit at you, especially if you’ve already damaged them some. Though Gollum is immune to non-fellowship player cards, Battle-fury ought to work on him because it’s worded similarly to Quick Strike.
So that’s what I’ve come up with. The card’s put in good work in my Tactics Theoden deck (the hero I think it was designed around), but it’s niche for sure. If you’ve come up with other good uses for it, please let me know.
Glowwyrm’s Rating: Intriguing
Ian’s thoughts: I pretty much agree with Glowwyrm here. Quick Strike is generally the superior card here, due to its raw flexibility. The one advantage this card has is allowing you to quest with the attacking hero, and most attacking heroes aren’t good at questing. I do like the Theoden application, and that has the additional benefit of matching the theme of the card and art. I also think this card would be potentially amazing against battle stages. This card isn’t terrible, and there are uses for it. You could pull of moves like using a Herugrim attack with Eowyn and then allowing her to quest with her great willpower, combining Fair and Perilous with a Noldor/Silvan hero with high willpower, etc. But I’m just not sure how much it gives you to warrant a valuable slot in your deck. I’d give it a 2 for versatility, 3 for efficiency, and 4 for uniqueness.
* Interrogation (Lore Event, 1 cost):
This card is a thematic and gameplay home run. It is immediately going into my trap deck, and it makes me want to revisit encounter deck manipulation. But that’s getting ahead of myself.
Interrogation is a one cost Lore event. Its text reads:
Action: Choose an enemy with an attached Trap card. Look at the top X cards of the encounter deck, where X is that enemy’s printed Threat. You may discard one of those cards. Return the rest to the top of the deck, in the same order.
Scrying more than one card of the encounter deck is typically expensive. Three resources (unless you’re in secrecy) for Risk Some Light, two threat or more from the Palantir, or finishing a side quest in the case of Scout Ahead. That’s it. Those are all the cards that can look at more than one card of the encounter deck. Interrogation is laughably cheap in requiring a simple two card combo and one resource (plus the trap). And you will be looking at more than one card. 80% of all enemies have at least two threat, and more than half of them have at least three threat.* The stats here are rough and approximate, but you should expect that you’re going to see at least two encounter cards.
*That’s out of all types of enemies without adjusting for the frequency of how often they appear in an encounter set. I also didn’t filter out enemies that can’t have traps attached.
Not only do you get to see the encounter cards, but you get to do something about them if you want to. Did you find a treachery that you can’t stand? Adios. Did you see the obnoxious enemy that keeps popping up in this encounter set? See ya. Did you find a benign encounter card draw that makes the turn a piece of cake? Put it back. This kind of flexibility in encounter deck manipulation is excellent. What makes it even better is that you can look at these cards during any action window. If you have questing nailed down pretty well, you can peek to see the first few shadow cards that will be dealt instead. As far as scrying goes, this effect is as powerful for the cost as they come.
But is it worth all the setup? Scrying is always more powerful in solo than in multiplayer, because you’re revealing more information for a solo player (potentially an encounter card for staging step, a shadow card, and the next turn’s staging step) than you are in a higher player count. At the same time, in the high player count, being able to discard that nasty treachery could save the game. Trapping enemies doesn’t always work out, and is completely ineffective in some quests, but there are enough cards in the trap archetype to build a solid deck around the idea. In a trap deck, Interrogation is a nice throw in that could end up providing a form of treachery cancellation. In other words, if you’re trapping a bunch of enemies, you might as well add two or three copies in your deck because the potential benefits are huge. On the flip side, if you’re playing a deck that focuses on scrying and encounter deck manipulation, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to throw in a Ranger Spike or Entangling Nets in hopes that you get to play Interrogation later on. It is kind of annoying that you need a two card combo to pull this off, but since it’s Lore you’re drawing a lot of cards, right?
But perhaps this is all my personal biases talking. I’m a huge fan of encounter deck manipulation specifically, and of Lore in general. This kind of card appeals to my play style. It’s not doing anything to directly help you win (it’s not contributing directly to questing or combat), and yet knowledge is power. If you know exactly how much willpower to send to the quest, who to hold back for combat, or you get to discard that terrible treachery, those are all things that help you win the game.
Glowwyrm’s Rating: Fascinating.
Ian’s Thoughts: I absolutely love this card. It gives you some of the best bang-for-your-buck scrying around and with no real drawback other than the need to have a trap out. For trap decks, Interrogation is pretty much an auto-include, especially since playing traps effectively can often rely on scrying in the first place. Outside of that, you probably only want to include this card if you have at least a couple of different traps included. I really love the theme of this card as well. For those worried about the moral implications, just remember that Beorn tortured the life out of an Orc in The Hobbit. Smiles everyone! I’d give it a 2 for versatility, 4 for efficiency, and 3 for uniqueness.
Well, there were only two events in the pack, but a lot to say about them. What do you think, reader? Is Battle-fury too niche to be useful? Interrogation too odd to be helpful? Or do you love these new events?
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