Eleanor is an incredibly under-rated hero. While episode 1 of the Cardboard of the Rings podcast was entitled "Don't Ignore Eleanor", the sentiment was sadly somewhat retracted the following episode. A big part of the thing with Eleanor is that her power isn't exactly obvious. Her stats aren't going to do much for you, and even if you were going to make use of them her ability requires you to exhaust her. Yet despite all of this, Eleanor is incredibly useful, especially in multiplayer.
Firstly, I'll talk around the subject and tackle the fringe benefits of Eleanor. Since she's from Gondor, a Gondorian Shield will put her up to a fairly credible 4 . Without that boost, 2 and 3 is risky for defending but you can still do it against weaker enemies barring shadows. Since she's a Noble, she can have the Palantir, which itself can be an incredibly potent support card. And while her statline isn't anything to write home about, she is of course appropriately threat costed for it, at 7. Yes, I know Glorfindel exists, but Eleanor's best setting is multiplayer, where someone else may well be using Glorfindel, and Glorfindel while he has stats has no useful ability unless you count the boost to Asfaloth. Eleanor on the other hand, does have an ability, and that's where the meat of this discussion lies.
So, her ability. Another of my recent reviews was on A Test of Will in which I talked about how it's such a powerful card that the game balance might actually hypothetically be better if it had never been designed. I'm not going to get into reiterating that debate here, suffice to say that the ability to cancel a When Revealed effect is arguably the single most powerful ability on any card in the game. Test of Will is an instant 3-of card in any deck using the sphere for a very good reason. And that's Eleanor's ability as well. OK, Eleanor only cancels treacheries, but guess what? ALL THE WORST ENCOUNTER CARD EFFECTS ARE ON TREACHERIES. OK, Eleanor replaces the cancelled treachery with the next card, but the odds of the next card being worse than the one you just cancelled are decidedly low or you wouldn't have bothered cancelling it in the first place.
Not convinced? I'm just going to list a few treacheries Eleanor could cancel for you. Sleeping Sentry. Collateral Damage. Watcher in the Wood. The Master's Malice. Leaves on Tree. Southron Support. Exhaustion. Roasted Slowly. Are you convinced yet? Because I can probably think of more if you give me a minute, or if I start naming Nightmare cards as well as regular ones.
Now, one might argue that Eleanor is unnecessary because Test of Will already exists for these brutal treacheries, but one of the significant advantages of hero abilities as opposed to other cards is that they start the game in play rather than being contingent on your random shuffle and draw. Eleanor has this advantage. Plus, having both gives you more freedom - wherein either you cancel regular bad things with Eleanor and save the Tests of Will for the really brutal things, or vice versa, Eleanor stays up for the worst effects and you can play your Tests on lesser treacheries. Either way, this should notably reduce the number of treachery effects you're forced to take on the chin.
Now, OK, let's talk about the downsides of Eleanor. As previously mentioned, her stats aren't great, so if you don't cancel anything with her she won't be doing too much for you. She doesn't suit lower player-counts for this reason, because the less heroes are on the table the more you want the heroes who are to actually be doing things. But on the other hand of course, when you have more players you're also much more likely to reveal a nasty treachery which you really want to cancel. I'll say that Eleanor isn't really a solo hero unless in very specialised circumstances. Many people would be critical of the idea of using Eleanor in 2 player as well, but personally I've still found that she can work. 3 or 4 player and she really shines. 3 or 4 player, there are stats everywhere, but the chance to replace a horrible card with a less horrible card when you're revealing that many per round starts to feel worth its weight in resources.
In brief, treachery cancellation is among the most powerful effects in the game, and Eleanor is the most guaranteed way of having cancellation available. She deserves your respect.