Faramir

Hero. Threat: 11. 2   2   2   5  

Gondor. Ranger. Noble.

Ranged.

Faramir gets +1 for each enemy in the staging area.

"The road may pass, but they shall not! Not while Faramir is Captain." Mablung, The Two Towers
Magali Villeneuve

Assault on Osgiliath #81. Lore.

Faramir
Reviews

Faramir is one of my favorite heroes in the game despite some generally poor reviews from the community. The heroes that take some deckbuilding and finesse to bring out their potential are so much more fun to play than the overpowered "do everything" heroes that fit into any deck type, and Faramir is no exception. Tactics "Boring"mere may be great for new players, but should be a big yawn for those of us who like some variety and spice in our LOTR:LCG.

The first thing to know about Faramir is that he exists for pretty much one deck archetype, the "Ithilien Ranger Trap" deck. His stats are balanced, making him a great target for action advantage cards such as "Wingfoot", and they correctly match his starting threat. The downside of Faramir is that his ability really isn't that great in general use decks. However, the upside is that it Is boss in the "Ithilien Ranger" deck, which specializes in locking enemies into the staging area and dealing with them there. He combos great with Ithilien traps, which lock enemies into the staging area and thus provide a "permanent" attack boost for Farimir, and Ithilien pits, which make enemies in staging open to normal attacks from anybody (including the guy who gets boosted from them). Once you get Faramir set up, he can crush with the best of them. With a properly built "Ithilien Ranger" deck, it is no problem to have 4 enemies in staging in most games, which gives Faramir a 6 attack unmodified. I've had him attacking for as high as 10+ when modified!

The biggest criticism I've seen of Faramir so far, is that he has to compete with another qualified candidate for his own niche... Haldir of Lorien. At first glance, Haldir might seem like he is the better Ithilien trap hero with a base attack of 3, lower threat (making it easier to keep enemies in staging), and the ability to target enemies in staging. However, I've found that when I create Ithilien trap decks, I'm tending to use low threat characters like Hobbits or Mirlonde that are squishy on hitpoints. For my money, Faramir's 2 extra threat is a constraint that I can work around for the 2 extra hitpoints and extra point of defense that is crucial in covering up one of the glaring weaknesses of Ithilien Trap decks, which is those pesky low engagement enemies that get past traps and engage. Bottom line, Faramir can take a punch where Haldir can't, and that's value. He can defend "slip through" attacks early on, and can also soak up more direct damage and take most undefended attacks in a pinch.... and don't forget that he inhabits the one sphere in the game with healing!

Haldir does have a bit of an advantage being able to attack staging, but Ithilien pits do the same thing... and though they may be less consistent, they also have the advantage of "trapping" an enemy, which also trigger ancillary benefits that are built in to a good trap deck. If you are worried about good targetting, keep some Ithilien archers or ally Mablung around to "engage and bounce" the enemy of choice back into your pit. Plus, even though Haldir might come out of the gates with a higher attack, how many times have you seen Haldir swing for 10?

Faramir may not be the first hero I'd recommend to a brand new player, but if you are looking for a hero who has some great potential that requires a bit of finesse to unlock, give him a try! He is a lot of fun.

Totally agree with your review on this card. He's super powerful, but you have to build a deck around him. For more general decks, I think Faramir's Leadership version will be more useful. — jodudeit 11
Strangely, I have yet to even give Leadership Faramir a test run. The problem I see with him is that in general purpose decks, he is competing with his amazing leadership ally. — mduckworth83 573
Do you have a sample solo deck to try with him? — bzgaming 65
Yeah, actually. Just posted one yesterday. It's titled "Ye Olde Ranger Trap deck". It's the perfect type of solo deck to try him out. — mduckworth83 573
@mduckworth83 Leadership Faramir is awesome with Ents :) My wife is running ldr Faramir, Damrod and Treebeard with Ents deck which is amazing. — qkieu 1

Faramir is an incredibly under-rated hero. Now, don't get me wrong, if we take a purely objective viewpoint he's pretty low on the power rankings, but that doesn't mean he's actually bad. It's a source of great frustration to me to hear people say "Maybe some day there'll be a deck which makes Faramir work," and I'm sitting there thinking. "There is. There are several. It's actually not that difficult."

So let's start with the (allegedly) bad points. A lot of people in this community continually under-rate flexible all-rounder statlines for some reason, and so they have an irrational dislike of Faramir's 2/2/2/5. I don't want to go on too long about this, but suffice to say it can be incredibly helpful to have a hero who can switch roles from round to round. He can contribute 2 if you need it (or if he has some readying, since he's an obvious target for Wingfoot), but his ability obviously pushes you towards keeping him back for combat to attack. But then if things don't go quite to plan, that 2 and 5 can come in very handy if you suddenly have more enemies than you expected since he can either be an OK defender or just take an undefended hit.

The other big thing people love to throw at him is that his high threat cost of 11 works against the desire to keep enemies in the staging area to power his ability. People will also tend to throw at him the fact that he can't innately attack into the staging area, so you have to engage the enemies and thus reduce his attack in order to kill them, though I would view this as a partial counter to the previous point - you engage some enemies and leave others. As to the threat cost, take a look at engagement costs in most quests. Some have criminally low engagement costs, but there are many many enemies with engagement costs of 30 or more, for example. Depending on what other heroes you match him up with, you could have a starting threat as low as 22 if you really want, and of course an obvious pairing would be with Hobbits such as Pippin who raises enemy engagement costs that bit further and also helps you play Take No Notice if you're really worried. If you go mono- you also have the option of playing Advance Warning to only engage the enemies you actually want to deal with. Even without such shenanigans though, how often in a game do you look at the staging area and say "Well, we have to take these enemies, but I don't think we'll be able to deal with all the others at the same time and they have 40+ engagement costs so let's just leave them there" ? In my experience it can be quite common, and in those circumstances Faramir will be hitting quite hard. Consider as an example Conflict at the Carrock, where the standard strategy involves staying below 34 threat and dealing with the trolls one at a time. So if you follow that approach Faramir will have at least 5 against the first troll, then get smaller as you take more, but then you're playing more cards to make up the difference in that time.

This brings me to his good points. In my review of hero Beorn I commented that very few heroes could have 5 right at the start of the game with no attachments, but Faramir is one of them. It is conditional of course, so that's not a big selling point. But the key point which makes it impressive is that while he may not reliably have that high an value right at the start of the game, he can have that high an value without using up any of his restricted slots, which you could then fill up to give him even more killing power. If you're deliberately staying below engagement costs so you can pick and choose your enemies, then Daggers of Westernesse would be an obvious choice. If you can get everything into play then a consistent value of 9 is not out of the question, and that at Ranged. Éowyn, eat your heart out.

Now before I get into that specific number I just want to point out one of the impressive things about Faramir's ability is that it has no limit. Faramir's potential value just from his ability is theoretically limited only by the number of enemies in the encounter deck, though in practice you probably can't quest past them effectively if all the enemies are in the staging area, unless perhaps if the quest is a Battle quest, which should definitely not be disregarded since Faramir was released in the Against the Shadow cycle. Faramir is an excessively good Battle quester since every enemy you reveal will increase his and thus improve your questing. Imagine for a ridiculous example if you were playing 4-player Massing at Osgiliath and a mono- deck played the usually terrible card Trained for War - Faramir would then quest for a minimum of 14 if you revealed no additional enemies.

Alright, so despite the fact his ability isn't limited, I've persistently referenced the possibility of 5 (2 base and +3 from his ability), and there's a reason for this. That reason is the limit of 3 copies of a card in your deck by title. The card in question is of course Ranger Spikes. Stick your Spikes in the staging area and have Faramir at 5 forever without using his Restricted slots. Of course you could argue that you've been spending resources on the Ranger Spikes where with a different attacking hero you'd have been spending them on weapons to comparable effect, but the thing is Ranger Spikes is an incredibly good card which a lot of the time you want to play anyway, whether Faramir is in play or not. Now OK, it's not so realistic to assume you'll always get all 3 copies. But on the other hand we are in the sphere, with all its draw effects (including of course the Master of the Forge) so let's say 2 copies is likely enough. Sure, I'll take that 4 Ranged , sounds good, and then it can still be added to by high engagement cost enemies which we just don't want to deal with, or of course big boss enemies like The Balrog which just sit in the staging area the whole time regardless. Finally, if we want to not even engage the enemies and attack into the staging area, thus having them boost him even as he shoots them, obviously we can give him a Great Yew Bow, or perhaps pull out one of the less used Trap attachments, Ithilien Pit, which will make the enemy a valid target for everyone wherever it is.

So once we consider all the quests with Battle questing, boss enemies that constantly sit in the staging area and just regular high engagement costs, there are a fair few for which Faramir is a good include. Add in our ability to play around with traps and boosting engagement costs/keeping our threat low and there's quite a bit of utility to be drawn from Faramir if you're willing to make the effort. He's not going to blow you away most games, but he can quietly contribute a lot.

I think that his problem is that you have to build a deck around him. I have a tendancy to play Haldir of Lórien when I want to include a lore hero with some attack capabilities. — Lecitadin 129
Part of the point I was making in this review is that you don't need to build around him that much to make him work. Include Ranger Spikes, have some high engagement cost enemies and/or boss enemies sat in the staging area, and a consistent 4-5 attack is pretty plausible. — Warden of Arnor 2140
I've always loved Faramir as one of my favorite heroes. Last weekend I played my first 3 player game ever with him and found out where he "really" comes alive. Faramir keeps getting better as the cardpool expands and number of players increase. — mduckworth83 573
If you have two player decks with Ranger Spikes he can get downright silly! — WolfOfWinter 1