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Spirit Hero Poll #2 Results

by on January 9, 2017


The time has come to finally put the second edition of the favorite Spirit hero poll to bed. The first run of the Spirit hero poll was conducted early in the days of this blog. Which Spirit heroes have grown in popularity? Which have fallen from favor? Which of the newer heroes have endeared themselves? Let’s get some answers!

The sample size for this poll was 1,225 voters. For the second version of the Tactics poll, Legolas repeated his victory from the first version. However, the first place finisher in Spirit last time around, Glorfindel, did not repeat his domination this time. Instead, we have a Core Set staple hero winning the sphere in the form of Eowyn. The shieldmaiden of Rohan gobbled up 28.24% of the vote. Her victory this time wasn’t too surprising, as she did earn second place in the first poll (with 29.28% of the vote among a much smaller field). More importantly, Core Set heroes will always have an advantage in that every player will have experience with them, no matter how many expansions they have or their experience with the game. Eowyn happens to be the best of the Core Set heroes, and has lasted as a mainstay of decks due to her simple nature and no-nonsense willpower. The arrival of new questing alternatives might mean that she doesn’t show up quite as often as she used to, but there will always be a place for her in the game.

Glorfindel dropped to a respectable second place with 18.12% of the vote. Due to his ludicrous stats-to-starting threat ratio, it’s hard to image there will ever be a day when he isn’t in the top three of Spirit heroes. The battle for third place was perhaps the most interesting, as two relatively new heroes competed for that spot: Galadriel and Arwen. Ultimately, Galadriel took third ahead of her granddaughter, with 11.92% to Arwen’s 9.71%. Both of these heroes occupy somewhat similar positions as they fill the support role and help to provide some fundamental abilities that the Spirit sphere was previously lacking (card draw in Galadriel’s case and resource generation in Arwen’s case). I somewhat suspect that Galadriel and Arwen voters were a kind of bloc that was split, and if either was missing, the other might have had a shot at first or second place. Altogether, a strong showing from both of these heroes, and in the early months of the poll, Arwen was actually in the lead for awhile. Few can deny that these two are among the top tier of Spirit heroes and fully deserve their spot alongside Eowyn and Glorfindel.


After the top 4, the rest of the field looked like this:

5th: Cirdan – 5.22% (not present last time)

6th: Frodo – 4.16% (down from 3rd place)

7th: Eleanor – 3.18% (down from 5th place)

8th: Theoden – 2.94% (not present last time)

9th: Dunhere – 2.78% (down from 4th place)

10th: Merry – 2.61% (not present last time)

11th: Fatty – 2.53% (not present last time)

12th: Idraen – 1.88% (not present last time)

13th: Dwalin – 1.55% (down from 6th place)

14th: Lanwyn – 1.47% (not present last time)

15th: Pippin – 1.39% (not present last time)

16th: Caldara – 1.22% (not present last time)

17th: Nori – 0.73% (down from 8th place)

18th: Oin – 0.33% (down from 7th place)

There’s not much separating heroes after the top 4, but there are a few interesting observations. First is that Frodo has seen one of the biggest tumbles, falling from a top tier spot at 3rd place down to 6th place. I attribute this more to the arrival of a few very strong Spirit heroes in the form of Arwen, Galadriel, and Cirdan that have usurped his spot rather than a fall in his power. In fact, Frodo’s fall from favor is possibly unwarranted, as an argument could be made that his ability has only become more clutch as direct damage, archery, and high attack values have become a constant in the game. So if you haven’t played Frodo in a long while, give him a try against more recent scenarios.

Perhaps the craziest result of the whole poll was Caldara coming in at a dismal 16th place, capturing a mere 15 votes. Although she received a lukewarm reception upon release, in the last year or so, she has really come to the forefront of the community as the lynchpin of one of the strongest deck types in the meta. Caldara decks are easily up there with Dwarves and Boromir super builds in the top tier, so it is definitely surprising to see such a lack of love for this hero. Of course, it could just be a matter of players either not being familiar with Caldara or not having an attachment to the hero herself even if the deck type is acknowledged as powerful. Other heroes are also more versatile in terms of what decks they can fit within.

If I had to pick my own favorites (not necessarily strongest), it’s a tough call once more, but Caldara would probably be third (I’ve developed a bit of Caldara fatigue, but she’s still a blast to play), Glorfindel would earn second place (yes, I get it, he’s boring and everyone hates him, but he’s so useful and I love the character), and Arwen would be my pick for the top. She is just so amazingly useful and requires so little setup that I find myself using her in deck after deck these days.

With Spirit and Tactics out of the way, it’s time to check in on the Lore heroes. Will a Core Set hero win the day again or will a newer hero take the crown?

From → Poll Results

  1. AceBean27 permalink

    In terms of power, rating Eowyn above Glorfindel is is complete nonsense. However, in terms of whom you like the most, I would have thought that Glofindel’s obvious brokeness would see him further down the list. I guess some people just like the most powerful hero best though.

    Either way, I find Eowyn hard to understand; If you’re voting for the strongest hero, you vote for Glofindel or possibly Galadriel. If you’re voting for the hero you like the best then isn’t Eowyn rather boring and one-dimensional? She just quests, nothing else. Dunhere and Caldara, for example, are surely far more interesting.

    • PocketWraith permalink

      If you’re voting for the strongest hero, the top three are Caldara, Arwen and Galadriel. Glorfindel only just makes it into the top 5, *below* Eowyn.
      And the above is a clear indication of why bemoaning the results of something like this is a waste of time. Even if people agree on specific criteria they still won’t agree on who best meets those criteria.

      • AceBean27 permalink

        I’d love to hear you argue for how Arwen is stronger than Glofindel, given she’s flat out inferior in every way, and only her pretty good but vastly inferior to Asfaloth ability could make her better.

        A lot of it depends on “meta”. Until better location control than Asfaloth is introduced, or the card has an errata or something, Glofindel will remain the strongest hero in the game for most location heavy quests.

        Thinking about it though, my rating of Asfaloth as the strongest card in the game along with Steward of Gondor might be a by-product of how I mostly play: 3 players, but drawing 4 encounter cards. I imagine location control is basically a non issue if you draw one encounter card a turn, but when drawing 4 I think some quests actually become almost impossible without Glofindel and Asfaloth, like Druaden forest.

        • Full disclosure, I play 2 to 3 palyer games. We’ve used both Eowyn and Spirit Glorfindel a lot, separately and in conjunction with each other mainly in the first two cycles and Hobbit saga.

          Eowyn’s power doesn’t come from raw stats like Glorfindel. If you compare them on that, and especially factoring in Glorfindel’s toys, then yes, he outshines Eowyn by far. I see he place as mainly providing two things that he can’t: early board state and pace control.

          Eowyn shines most in a multiplayer questing deck. Round one, she can quest for up to 8 if you need without any setup. That can free up valuable heroes to be able to clear the board of enemies so that you can get a foothold, as Ian was just talking about in the last article. Glorfindel, for all his stats, needs LOV to be able to contribute in a similar manner, which may not happen even if you include 3 copies. Plus, she saves you a resource.

          As for pace, her power allows you to either quest harder than you’d otherwise be able to or quest for just enough, giving you time to set yourself up, something Glorfindel can’t do on his own.

          In my opinion, she’s a very helpful hero for a questing deck for multiplayer. Outside of a questing deck, and in solo play, she doesn’t do as much. On harder quests, we usually use both. Consistently being able to quest for 3 hero’s worth of willpower by only exhausting one, once you have LOV, is extremely helpful.

          Tldr; Glorfindel has better stats and toys, Eowyn is a more valuable questing hero and gives indirect action advantage.

  2. Strategian permalink

    Do we know why FFG released Glorfindel (spirit) with such low threat?

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      The most likely reason is that the cycle he was part of first introduced the secrecy mechanic and the idea of low-threat decks, so he was probably designed with that in mind.

  3. What about Thorin or Dain?

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      They will be featured in the Leadership poll!

  4. Hi! Long-time reader, first time commenter. Thank you for this blog and everything you do here!

    I completely agree with Eowyn’s choice as #1. I think a lot of her value comes not from what she can do very well herself (which is obviously questing) but from the fact that she takes some of the responsibility for questing away from other heroes you pick. That alone really opens up your options for deck-building, especially in a solo game where you know that by picking Eowyn you basically fulfilled the questing requirements and are free to pick two other heroes in whichever way you want.

    The ability to “top up” the questing also grants a measure of control over the unpredictability of this game, which is a very powerful tool indeed (controlling the unpredictable is a point that you make repeatedly in this blog and one I strongly agree with).

    As for my own preferences – I would have to put the underdog Eleanor as my top choice. The peace of mind her treachery cancellation provides is unparalleled, low threat, Gondor and can even defend vs. weak attackers in a pinch. Maybe because I haven’t moved on to the later quests yet but I really enjoy playing her. My #2 would be Frodo for his amazing defensive ability (which is generally absent in Spirit) and #3 is Eowyn for all the reasons I listed above. #4 incidentally is Idraen – I love the multiple high stats with the built-in action advantage.

    Look forward to the Lore poll!

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Thanks for the kind words and popping in to leave your comment! There are definitely good arguments in favor of Eowyn which you have laid out here. Being able to add willpower after questing is sometimes an underrated ability but one of the most important ones around!

      • Dragoon permalink

        Also she allows us to discard cards which for whatever reason we might nees in our discard pile 🙂

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