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Dungeons of Cirith Gurat: Allies, Attachments, and Events Review

by on November 15, 2018


When you are ready to embark upon a daring mission to save innocent lives from a dark dungeon, Folco Boffin might not be the first name that escapes from your lips in terms of a friend that you might want to bring along. However, he is indeed the hero of this Adventure Pack, and last time around we looked at all the ways in which he can be helpful. This time around, the rest of the player cards in this pack are up for review. Will they serve as a light in the darkness? Or are they better off left in the deepest, dankest cell you can find? Read on to find out!

ALLIES

* Riddermark Knight (Tactics Ally, 2 cost, 0 willpower, 2 attack, 0 defense, 2 hit points):

The Riddermark Knight is a solid attacker that can hit even harder for one turn:

Response: After Riddermark Knight is declared as an attacker, it gets +2 for this attack. At the end of this attack, discard Riddermark Knight.

The main aspect of this card that I like is that there aren’t really any wasted stats. This guy is geared entirely for attack and there are no points in willpower or defense to push up his cost. At 2 cost for 2 attack, you are getting a solid deal. There are other 2 cost, 2 attack allies in Tactics, so what might push the Knight over the edge to the point that you’ll choose him over those other options is his ability and/or traits. The ability is a nice panic button to have if you are really running short of the attack power you need to finish off a troublesome enemy. Obviously, you’ll want to get some value out of the Riddermark Knight before you discard him, but it’s always comforting to know that you have extra attack on tap if needed. In terms of traits, being Rohan gives the Knight some added synergy with quite a few cards. First off, ally Gamling can exhaust to bring the Knight back to hand when you discard him. Spirit Théoden reduces the cost of the Knight to 1, which makes him an even better value. In terms of the warrior trait, the Riddermark Knight is also a fantastic grab for Tactics Prince Imrahil (who shares the warrior trait), as he can be brought into play for just 1 resource, then used for his discard ability. Overall, the Knight is a solid new 2-cost ally for Tactics.

Versatility: ♦♦♦♦◊

Efficiency: ♦♦♦

Uniqueness: ♦♦

* Eregion Survivor (Spirit Ally, 2 cost, 1 willpower, 1 attack, 1 defense, 3 hit points):

The Eregion Survivor is clearly meant as direct support for the Noldor archetype, which is based off of discarding cards from hand:

As long as you do not have cards in your hand, Eregion Survivor gets +1 , +1 and +1 .                                               

First things first, I don’t think the Eregion Survivor will see much play outside of Noldor decks, simply because most decks don’t empty out their hand very often. The native stats of the Survivor are not great without the boost, and you can definitely find better questers in Spirit for 2 cost. But when he is included in Noldor decks, the Survivor can be quite powerful. Suddenly, he becomes a 2 willpower, 2 attack, 2 defense ally with 3 hit points, which provides you with a ton of flexibility. Even just having a 2 willpower ally with 3 hit points is huge in my book, as it provides cover against those treacheries that deal damage to questing characters or exhausted characters. The real question is how often you will be able to trigger the boost on the Eregion Survivor. Generally, Noldor decks shouldn’t have too much trouble in this regard. Simply making sure to include cards like Protector of Lorien and Elven Spear that allow you to discard cards from hand at will can take you a long way. What may sometimes be a bit tricky is that if you want the Survivor’s willpower boost to matter for questing, then you will have to empty out your hand during the quest phase, which means that you won’t be able to have cards in hand to trigger any effects you might be interested in triggering during the combat phase. So I will stop short of saying that the Eregion Survivor is an auto-include for every Noldor deck, because not all Noldor decks are built the same and some won’t have an empty hand all that often. But for those that do (looking at you, Erestor draw-and-dump decks), this card definitely can help increase the power level of a deck.

Versatility: ♦♦

Efficiency: ♦♦♦♦

Uniqueness: ♦♦♦♦◊

* Leaflock (Lore Ally, 3 cost, 0 willpower, 2 attack, 2 defense, 3 hit points):

Leaflock is the questing analogue of Booming Ent, gaining more willpower for each damaged Ent you control:

Leaflock gets +1 for each damaged Ent you control (limit +4 .)                                              

Unlike the Booming Ent, however, the boost on Leaflock has a limit (in addition, Leaflock is unique). I don’t think Leaflock is a terrible card, as all the Ents are powerful in terms of stats, but the problem is that it is outclassed by a card for the same cost in the same sphere: Wellinghall Preserver. The Preserver has the same attack, defense, and hit points and starts with 3 willpower. This means that the Preserver hits the board already superior to Leaflock, while Leaflock has to have 3 damaged Ents on the board just to get up to par with the Preserver’s 3 willpower, and the Preserver has an amazing healing ability within an Ent deck whereas Leaflock does not have an ability. Essentially, the only advantage Leaflock gives you over the Preserver is that he can get up to 4 willpower instead of 3 willpower, which doesn’t really seem like huge enough of a difference to warrant inclusion. I could see throwing one copy of Leaflock into an Ent deck if you want to increase the percentage of Ents in your deck, but if you have to make a cut, then Leaflock has to be the one on the outside looking in.

Versatility: ♦♦◊◊◊

Efficiency: ♦♦◊◊◊

Uniqueness: ♦♦♦◊◊

* Knight of Dale (Leadership Ally, 4 cost, 2 willpower, 2 attack, 1 defense, 3 hit points):

Knight of Dale is a Dale ally that can ready for the cost of a Leadership resource:

Action: Spend 1 Leadership resource to ready Knight of Dale. . (limit once per round).

Valour Action: Ready Knight of Dale (limit once per round.)                                           

Generally, readying effects aren’t as useful for allies as they are for heroes, due to lower stats and a tendency to be specialized, however there are some notable exceptions. Thankfully, the Knight of Dale is one of them. With a solid 2 willpower and 2 attack, it’s nice to have the option of sending this ally to quest while knowing that you have the option of readying him for extra attack power if needed. The Leadership sphere is flush with cash, so the resource cost for the readying isn’t too burdensome (and the valour action gets rid of the resource requirement completely). Of course, once you add in the Dale trait, the value of this ally increases even more. Any attachment on the Knight combined with Leadership Brand on the board turns this ally into a fantastic 3 willpower quester. The various combat attachments that came out in the Wilds of Rhovanion expansion (Bow of Yew, Hauberk of Mail) can similarly increase the combat potential. Overall, I see value in the Knight of Dale even outside of Dale decks, but this ally becomes amazing within Dale decks.

Versatility: ♦♦♦◊◊

Efficiency: ♦♦♦♦◊

Uniqueness: ♦♦♦◊◊

ATTACHMENTS

* Legacy Blade (Lore Attachment, 0 cost):

The Legacy Blade serves as a potentially powerful combat supplement to side quest decks:

Attached hero gets +1 for each side quest in the victory display. (Limit +3 .)     

Legacy Blade was spoiled early on in the Haradrim cycle and players were forced to wait a long while to put it to use. The wait was well worth it, because this attachment is one of the best weapons around in terms of value, although obviously it only works if you are planning to use side quests. (There are encounter side quests, but you can’t necessarily rely on them for the purposes of triggering a player card like this one.) One potential trap of Legacy Blade is thinking that you have to maximize the attack boost in order to make including this card worthwhile. In fact, with just 1 side quest completed, you get +1 attack for the cost of 0 resources, which is one of the most efficient attack boosts you can find. You can even attach multiple copies to the same hero, and Legacy Blade has no requirements on who it can be attached to (other than that the character must be a hero). If you do lean heavily into side quests, then the Legacy Blade can reach the full boost of 3 attack fairly easily. Obviously, Thurindir is the best partner for Legacy Blade, as you can use his ability to complete a side quest as quickly as possible, but there are many other potential partners. A Lore hero like Haldir that has an ability that centers around attacking is just one example of a great target. It’s definitely a welcome development to have an attack boosting attachment in the Lore sphere, especially one that’s so powerful. Overall, while there is one significant requirement (completing side quests) that limits the decks Legacy Blade can fit into, if you are planning on using side quests, then Legacy Blade is well worth a look.

Versatility: ♦♦◊◊◊

Efficiency: ♦♦♦♦◊

Uniqueness: ♦♦♦

* Diligent Noble (Leadership Attachment, 1 cost):

Diligent Noble brings the trait-granting attachments to the noble trait:

Attached hero gains the Noble trait.

Response: After you play Diligent Noble from your hand, draw a card.

The noble trait isn’t referenced as often as the warrior or ranger traits, but there are a few possibilities:

  • Captain’s Wisdom could be used in conjunction with Diligent Noble to generate resources.
  • Heir of Mardil brings readying to the Noble trait, as long as you have a means of consistently gaining resources.
  • Proud Hunters/Well Warned both trigger off of the noble trait (in conjunction with a second trait) to generate resources and lower threat respectively.
  • Palantir attaches to a noble hero. Generally, you want the Palantir to be attached as soon as possible, so it might be a bit much to ask to get both Diligent Noble and Palantir out quickly, but it does open up more heroes to using this attachment.

While there are some options here, none of them seem all that intriguing as an alternative to just using a noble hero in the first place, especially since noble is one of the more common traits to appear on heroes. All this means that Diligent Noble is perhaps the weakest of the “skill” trait-granting attachments.

Versatility: ♦♦♦◊◊

Efficiency: ♦◊◊◊◊

Uniqueness: ♦♦♦♦◊

EVENTS

* Heirs of Earendil (Spirit Event, 1 cost):

 

Heirs of Earendil provides one of the most powerful forms of location control now available:

Play only if you control a unique character with the Noldor trait and another unique character with the Dunedain trait.

Action: Choose a non-unique location in the staging area and increase your threat by X to discard it. X is the chosen location’s printed quest points.

Most location control effects and events place a certain number of progress tokens on a location. Heirs of Earendil, by contrast, completely discards a location, which means that it can take out any location no matter the number of quest points. This discard wording also means that you bypass any nasty effects that trigger off of progress being placed or the location being explored (and this also bypasses effects that prevent progress from being placed on locations in the staging area). Of course, this raw power comes at the additional cost of raising your threat. The quest points of locations often reside in the 3-6 range (with exceptions of course), which is a hefty amount of threat to take on. Thankfully, this event is in the Spirit sphere, which possesses some of the best threat reduction in the game, so this cost isn’t too dire in most cases. If there is one drawback here, it’s that the traits required (Noldor and Dunedain) require a bit of forethought and aren’t necessarily as common a combination as something like noble and warrior. I don’t think I would run this card in solo much, as you generally don’t run into a ton of location lock problems, although there are certainly some scenarios that are exceptions, such as The Steward’s Fear or Passage Through the Marshes. Where this card really shines though is in 3 or 4 player games, where location lock is a real danger and can often be incredibly frustrating. At that player count, I would now always consider Heirs of Earendil as one of my first picks for any deck that can run it.

Versatility: ♦♦◊◊◊

Efficiency: ♦♦♦♦♦

Uniqueness: ♦♦♦♦◊

* Open the Armory (Neutral Event, 1 cost):

Open the Armory is an effective new way of searching for your weapon and armor attachments:

Action: Search the top 10 cards of your deck for a Weapon or Armor attachment and add it to your hand. Shuffle your deck.

Valour Action: Search the top 5 cards of your deck for a Weapon or Armor attachment and put it into play. Shuffle your deck.

While not every deck uses weapon and armor attachments, those that do often rely heavily on drawing those attachments as quickly as possible. For example, any deck that uses Gondorian Shield to turn a hero into a super defender needs to find ways to find that Shield as soon as possible. In terms of weapons, Haldir and Dunhere decks are reliant on grabbing weapons within the first few rounds so that their sniping abilities can be used to the fullest. For a long time, though, players have faced the problem that the Tactics sphere is home to most weapon and armor attachments in the game yet still lacks great card draw options. This drawback of the sphere is why Open the Armory being neutral is one of the best aspects of the card. It can not only serve as an important alternative to draw for Tactics, by straight up finding and grabbing the needed card, but it can play that role in absolutely any sphere. The valour option is also useful, in order to play the card as well as finding it, but my luck with fetch effects is often so bad that I might simply opt for the regular action. Overall, this card fills an essential role in the card pool.

Versatility: ♦♦♦♦◊

Efficiency: ♦♦♦◊◊

Uniqueness: ♦♦♦♦◊

* Fierce Defense (Tactics Event, 3 cost):

Fierce Defense is a powerful, if costly, new form of direct damage and enemy management:

Combat Action: Deal 3 damage to a non-unique enemy engaged with you.

Valour Combat Action: Discard a non-unique enemy engaged with you.

Perhaps the closest comparison for Fierce Defense is Goblin-cleaver, which is a 0-cost event that deals 2 damage to an engaged enemy (3 damage if the enemy is an orc) if you have a weapon to exhaust. Goblin-cleaver is dramatically cheaper at 0 cost, but it does require you to have a weapon card in play. The damage output is also less than Fierce Defense if the enemy is not an orc. Still, as long as I was running weapons, I’d much prefer Goblin-cleaver as the difference between 3 and 0 cost is monumental. However, there are some cases where I’d consider running Fierce Defense, and I like thinking of it as a tech card to counter specific scenarios. This is true especially when you consider the valour action of this card, which just straight up discards a non-unique enemy. The idea of immediately discarding a Mumak, which usually requires 3 rounds to kill, or a Troll or Giant before it can even attack is a tantalizing thought and well worth the 3 resources. The other opportunity I could see for this card is running it in a direct damage deck that has ways of reducing the cost of Fierce Defense somehow (Good Meal in conjunction with Hobbits, for example). Overall, this card probably won’t fit into most of my Tactics decks, but I’ll definitely keep it in mind as a tech card.

Versatility: ♦♦♦◊◊

Efficiency: ♦♦♦◊◊

Uniqueness: ♦♦♦◊◊

Conclusion

As with most of the Haradrim cycle packs, this one provides support for a variety of deck types: Rohan, Noldor, Noble, side quest, Ent, and Dale. Overall, there is a range of power levels here, with two cards that can straight up discard locations (Heirs of Earendil) and enemies (Fierce Defense in valour mode).

Readers, what are your thoughts on the player cards of The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat? Which are the best? Which are the worst?

From → Reviews

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