A Storm on Cobas Haven: Allies, Attachments, and Events Review
As mentioned last time, I’m going to be doing a lightning round review of the player cards of A Storm on Cobas Haven in an attempt to play a little catch-up. In an attempt to limit my inevitable tendency to expound at length, I’ve restricted myself to a maximum of four sentences per card. Brace yourselves, there’s a storm coming!
* Veteran Sword-elf (Tactics Ally, 3 cost, 1 willpower, 1 attack, 1 defense, 3 hit points):
Veteran Sword-elf gets +1 and +1 for each copy of Veteran Sword-elf in your discard pile.
I like the idea of this ally as a way of focusing in on the Noldor discard playing style in order to give that trait a boost in the area of combat (which is potentially the Noldor deck’s main weakness). However, the ability in practice is completely underwhelming. In order to make this ally at all worth the effort and cost (although you can reduce the cost with To the Sea, to the Sea!, you basically need to get two copies of the Sword-elf into the discard pile to boost the final copy up to three attack and three defense. That would make for a fairly powerful ally, but it’s all too much work for too little reward.
* Linhir Sea-captain (Spirit Ally, 3 cost, 2 willpower, 0 attack, 1 defense, 2 hit points):
Response: After you play Linhir Sea-captain from your hand, if you paid all of its resouce cost from a single hero’s resource pool, both that hero and Linhir Sea-captain do not exhaust to quest this round.
Any new Spirit ally really needs to justify its place given the abundance of awesome and relatively cheap allies in the sphere. Unfortunately, the Linhir Sea-captain is not up to the task. While I’m a big fan of the Naith Guide, which has a similar ability to allow a hero to temporarily quest without exhausting, the difference between two and three resources is actually quite prohibitive. There’s no benefit to having the Sea-captain himself stay ready, and while I appreciate the extra hit point, there’s just not enough here to keep this ally out of the dark corners of your binder.
* Ioreth (Lore Ally, 0 cost, 0 willpower, 0 attack, 0 defense, 1 hit point):
Cannot attack or defend.
Action: Spend 1 Lore resource and exhaust Ioreth. Then, heal 3 points of damage on a character. Any player may trigger this action.
Finally a strong ally arrives to cleanse the palette of the more mediocre cards on offer! Ioreth can make a strong case for being an automatic one copy in most Lore decks (more copies if the deck really relies on healing to function). Getting a free body on the table is always good, even if she can’t contribute to combat, and the nice thing about her ability is that even though it is expensive over the long term if you keep using it, you only have to pay when you really need the healing. The efficiency is also really good, as providing 3 points of healing for only 1 resource far exceeds the rate of something like Daughter of the Nimrodel or Self Preservation.
* Rune-master (Leadership Attachment, 1 cost):
Attach to a Ranger or Leadership hero.
Response: After a Signal attachment is attached to a hero, exhaust Rune-master to add 1 resource to that hero’s resource pool.
The ability of Rune-master is a ripe for confusion, but it actually does not give a resource to the hero to which Rune-master is attached. Instead, it grants a resource to a hero that has just been passed a Signal attachment. This seems like a decent utility attachment, although it isn’t life-changing by any means. It helps to facilitate the passing around of Signal attachments, including the relatively new Dunedain Remedy, and it can also allow you to splash out some resources here and there to go along with any Signal attachments you play in the normal course of a game.
* Vigilant Guard (Tactics Attachment, 3 cost):
Attach to a Warrior character. Limit 1 per character.
Attached character gets +2 hit points.
Response: When another character would be assigned any amount of damage, place 1 of that damage on attached character instead.
Vigilant Guard’s worst flaw is that it’s quite expensive at 3 resources and so isn’t viable as just a source of extra hit points. However, this is potentially the card in the pack with the most interesting and tricksy applications. You could use Vigilant Guard in combination with healing to transform a particular character into a damage soak for the rest of the board (this could be particularly interesting as a way to intercept damage meant for hero Beorn), and this could also be an underrated way to set up a safety valve for those unexpected bits of damage from treacheries or shadow effects. This attachment will also be an interesting tool in the box of heroes that want to take on damage, such as Core Gimli.
* Windfola (Spirit Attachment, 1 cost):
Attach to a Spirit hero, or to Éowyn.
Attached character gets +1 .
Response: After attached character is removed from the quest, exhaust Windfola to commit attached hero to the quest.
I don’t mind a single copy of Windfola as a cheap source of extra willpower for Eowyn or a spirit hero if you don’t plan on using their restricted slots. Paying one resource for one willpower is perfectly reasonable and makes The Favor of the Lady look pretty silly in comparison. The response is a nice bonus and could work as a way to counter specific effects in a particular scenario that continually remove characters from the quest. Overall, though, this is something you might want to consider as a one of in Spirit decks, but space is tight enough these days that it will probably be the first cut as well.
* Terrible to Behold (Leadership Event, 1 cost):
Response: After you declare a Noble character as a defender against an attack made by an engaged enemy, return that enemy to the staging area. Then, cancel the attack.
While effects that allow you to return enemies to the staging area are often derided as underpowered and counter-productive, the card pool contains enough questing power and staging area shenanigans these days to make such cards potentially useful. We are a long cry from the time when A Light in the Dark could be easily panned as a useless card, for example. So I like Terrible to Behold a cheap way to cancel an attack and return an enemy to the staging area in a sphere that was previously lacking in such effects, and it could definitely work well in a deck centered around staging area attacks, avoiding enemies, and/or traps. I’m not sure how much I’ll actually end up using this thing, as there is still something to be said for not putting enemy threat back in the staging area, but I don’t think it’s as “terrible” as it seems at first glance.
* Knife-work (Tactics Event, 1 cost):
Action: Choose a player. Each enemy engaged with that player gets -1 until the end of the phase. Then, the players as a group may spend 2 Lore resources to have the chosen player draw 1 card each time he attacks and destroys an enemy this phase.
Card draw effects for Tactics are always a bit exciting, and Legolas and Foe-hammer are two of the best cards in the sphere for their ability to make combat decks much more consistent. The biggest problem with Knife-work is that it enabling it is almost prohibitively expensive (1 Tactics resource plus 2 Lore resources) and getting to the point of being able to kill multiple enemies and draw multiple cards will take some time, whereas card draw is often better towards the beginning of games. If you are already able to mow down a group of foes, it begs the question of why you need Knife-work’s help in the first place. Oddly enough, it might actually be the reduction in defense that is the real attraction here, as paying one to reduce enemy defenses by one is roughly analogous to paying one to boost all of your character’s attacks by one, which isn’t a horrible deal.
* The Houses of Healing (Lore Event, 5 cost):
Response: You may exhaust any number of Healer characters you control as part of this card’s cost. Reduce the cost to play this card by 1 for each Healer character you exhaust in this way.
Refresh Action: Choose a hero in any player’s discard pile. Put that hero into play under its owner’s control, with 1 damage token on it.
Strangely enough, it’s the Lore healing-themed cards in this pack that are the stars of the show. At worst, The Houses of Healing is a Lore alternative to Fortune or Fate, broadening the range of decks that can experiment with a hero resurrection focus. At best, The Houses of Healing can be a much cheaper way to recur heroes, and potentially bringing back a hero for only two or three resources is an appealing prospect. While Fortune or Fate will still be the best choice for Caldara, this card can breathe new life into Beorn recycling decks, and it might even be worth bringing a copy or two along as insurance, especially in multiplayer games.
* Justice Shall Be Done (Neutral Event, 0 cost):
Limit 1 per deck.
Planning Action: Add Justice Shall Be Done to the victory display to draw 3 cards and add 3 resources to the resource pool of each hero you control. At the end of the round, you are eliminated from the game.
There are some cards that are high on fun factor, even if they aren’t the most practical in terms of deck building. Justice Shall Be Done definitely falls into this category. Most of the time, 3 cards and 3 resources won’t make the difference between victory and defeat, and you have to be fortunate enough to draw the single copy of this card under the right circumstances. However, this card does have the potential for enabling those kinds of epic stories that you can tell for months, and it’s a worthy addition to the card pool on those terms.
That concludes the player cards of A Storm on Cobas Haven! The player cards in this pack have been labeled as a mediocre bunch by many parts of the community. Is this a fair assessment? Or have some of these cards been cheated out of their due?
Soon, Glowwyrm and I will return to review the player cards of the final Adventure Pack of the cycle: the City of Corsairs. Stay tuned!
From → Reviews