Hero. Threat: 10. 1   2   3   4  

Rohan. Warrior.


While Erkenbrand is defending, he gains: "Response: Deal 1 damage to Erkenbrand to cancel a shadow effect just triggered."

Down from the hills leaped Erkenbrand, lord of Westfold. The Two Towers
Sebastian Giacobino

The Antlered Crown #137. Leadership.


Erkenbrand is a fantastic and oft overlooked Leadership hero whose only failure comes from the fact that his ability pales in comparison to his spiritual (albeit lore) older brother, A Burning Brand. This failure is made even more apparent by the fact that, in order to truly make Erkenbrand shine, you must include healing... And healing is a lore thing. Sooo you start to ask yourself when building for Erkenbrabd "if I need Lore for healing then why don't I just include A Burning Brand", thus invalidating the want for poor Erky in the first place!

However, I believe that Erkenbrand still has his place in the world.

  • For one, he is a Leadership hero contributing 3 defense and 4 hp, that alone is pretty cool.

  • For another, Erkenbrand likes a bunch of attachments already (cram, lembas if you can, that one healing attachment that I can't remember the name of) and so a Burning Brand may seem superfluous anyway since you need to save room for allies and events.

  • He's sentinel!

  • you dont have to find an attachment to make him work
ransomman 213
I'd say the other point against Erkenbrand is that Leadership Rohan is kind of a rudderless tribe. You have Mutual Accord, which is as much a Gondor card as a Rohan card, but otherwise all of the best trait boosts (and most of the best trait allies) are in either Tactics or Spirit. So he's one of the less-likely Rohan heroes to make his way into a deck based on his trait alone, unless you're specifically going for a Gondor/Rohan fellowship with plenty of Mutual Accord goodness. — Some Sort 3687
Yeah, I'm putting together an all sentinel build for multiplayer games with Leadership Aragorn and Beregond and somehow he just doesn't seem to contribute all that much in my play throughs. But then what Sentinel character can really stand out next to Beregond?! But yeah, he definately likes lots of healing. And I agree with Some Sort, Leadership Rohan just doesn't have it together :( It's too bad, really. — AVeryGoodTale 173
Soooo good with raven winged helm. — flightmaster101 1
Can Honour Guard be used to cancel the damage? Or does the damage have to actually happen for the shadow cancellation to work? — Nystrum 40
Damage has to actually happen - the damage is the cost, if the cost isn't paid the effect doesn't trigger. — Mythik 209
Im going to disagree on the above. Based on how Honor Guard reads (the same language as Raven Wing Helm), the damage was dealt and there for the effect of the cancelled shadow effect resolves first. Next, Honor Guard and/or Raven Wing helm resolve as they cancel that damage which was dealt. — SubwayTolkien 125
Official Caleb ruling on this: — Mythik 209
I stand corrected! Excellent to know moving forward. — SubwayTolkien 125
I think the nerf to Burning Brand since the review was posted has strengthened Eelenbrand — Quetzal513 95
Maybe, but the one Ring Inner strength has weakened him : everyone ca — Emmental 418
...everyone can cancel a shadow effect turn 1 nowadays — Emmental 418
Depends on your typical player count. Erk has sentinel, that leans multiplayer, and the One Ring is unique, so that can only be played by one player at a time. Lots more could be be updated from the original review as the card pool expands. But an errata is relevant since the review featured that card, Burning Brand. — Quetzal513 95

Erkenbrand has very quickly become my go to defender. His ability is so strong compared to other shadow cancellation options - it's available from turn one, it doesn't take up a restricted slot, doesn't cost resources, and it's can be used on every shadow card for every attack he defends. Having Sentinel also helps protect other players before their shadow cancellation is found ready to go. The only restrictions are that he needs to be the defender and the number of hit points he has available.

The release of Ancestral Armor and Hauberk of Mail has improved his capability significantly - they increase both defence and hit points which is exactly what Erkenbrand needs. If he has both he sits at 6 and 7 , and still has an additional restricted slot for an Armored Destrier to make sure he can use those stats to their fullest.

Any readying he gets can always be put to good effect - taking multiple defences, his 2 can be important in the early game, and in desperate times he can commit to the quest for 1 as well.

Including healing with him is important, but that isn't the restriction for deck building that it may have been - Magic Ring is another strong attachment that can provide healing or readying at the cost of threat, if including Lore isn't what you want to do. Dúnedain Remedy can also work when in combination with Rune-master or The Day's Rising (which are all in sphere), but takes a bit more to set up. Including Lore is the easiest way to get the required healing, but I've found I include Lore anyway to provide the card draw to find Ancestral Armor and/or Hauberk of Mail sooner rather than later.

Even if you consider healing as requisite to using his ability to ensure it can be used repeatedly, the cancellation is still available before the healing turns up and the damage can then be healed later. Finding the healing is no different to finding A Burning Brand or Staff of Lebethron, but being able to use the ability while still searching for the combo piece is significant.

It's a fantastic ability, and I've found myself longing for it in decks that don't include him. The early shadow that causes an additional attack, or the attack to be undefended, or to discard the attachment just played can really hurt, and Erkenbrand makes sure that doesn't happen.

Mythik 209
I feel like Balin has a better shadow cancel effect because it doesn't hurt him and he doesn't need to defend. — nelloianiro 1024
Balin's difference is that you still risk a shadow effect — Alonewolf87 2307
And because it's limit once per attack, so multiple shadow cards can sting you too. — Mythik 209

A sorely under-rated hero. Granted, he's not quite Beregond (or even Beregond), but 3 is still solid enough to withstand the majority of enemies, barring shadow effects. Speaking of which, innate shadow cancellation is an incredibly valuable ability for a defender to have. Potentially worthy of note is that there is no limitation on his ability, so it can work even if the attacking enemy has multiple shadow cards you want to cancel - the only limit is of course Erkenbrand's hit point total.

Using Erkenbrand against higher enemies is admittedly a more risky prospect, since combining damage from his ability with damage from the attack can easily put him at risk of death, but with any dedicated defender you should be considering -boosting cards and in general you should always consider bringing healing, but especially with a hero like Erkenbrand who triggers his ability by taking damage. Dúnedain Remedy is the in-sphere option, beyond that you want to be looking at the sphere (I should point out that while it still helps with defending, damage cancellation effects are of no use for Erkenbrand's shadow cancellation - if the damage is cancelled, the shadow effect is not). Warden of Healing is obviously the standard, but since we're focusing on a single hero Self Preservation and Lembas are also excellent choices for Erkenbrand, and basically anything works.

There are a couple of ways to further improve Erkenbrand's ability to disregard shadow effects - with readying so he can defend more attacks obviously, and by increasing his hit points so he can trigger his ability more times before needing to be healed (particularly relevant if your healing is Lembas and you want to get the most out of it). Armored Destrier is a great option since it readies him and discards another shadow card, making that enemy safe to be defended by someone else, but another valid option is Raiment of War - if he has other readying (like the standard Unexpected Courage) then the boost may not go to waste, the boost obviously helps, and 2 extra hit points help with his ability as noted. For a non-Restricted possibility, Ent Draught also adds 2 extra hit points.

It can certainly be argued that Erkenbrand is not the ideal defensive hero. He lacks a Gondor trait to synergise with the Gondorian Shield or Blood of Númenor, and shadow cancellation can be provided through other means, including the ultimate option in A Burning Brand, though this may require a Song of Wisdom to get it on a lot of the better targets - but that really highlights the worth of Erkenbrand. While Beregond has higher base , getting him repeatable shadow cancellation requires a two card combo. Innate heroes have immediate access to Burning Brand, but that's still dependent on drawing it, it costs 2 resources, and they all either have lower than Erkenbrand or lack his Sentinel keyword - Erkenbrand is the only 3 hero with Sentinel we have in the game thus far. So other defenders may have a higher potential, but Erkenbrand starts stronger and can save the game early on, before you draw all those important boosts you need Erkenbrand's closest competition for early game shadow cancellation is Balin, but aside from not being such a great defender himself and thus most likely consuming an additional hero slot in any hypothetical deck, Balin requires resources for his cancellation which you may not have available, especially in the early game; whereas Erkenbrand's hit points are guaranteeably going to be ready for use whenever you need them (unless he's already taken too much damage).

Overall, if you're not concerned about shadows then sure, Beregond is better, and cases could be made for other heroes, though Erkenbrand still definitely holds his own; but if shadow effects are a significant concern for you, then Erkenbrand's front-loaded innate cancellation combined with his stats and Sentinel is about the best you're going to get - having cancellation based on damage and having to wait to draw/play healing may be preferable than having to wait to draw/play your cancellation and being killed by an early shadow effect before you have it. How much you're worried about that depends on your approach to the game and perhaps what quest you're playing, but if you expect it to be a problem then the Lord of the Westfold might just be able to save the game for you.

Erkenbrand is such a dude. — thereelaristotle 7
Accidental early post. The guy has single handedly made Carn Dum feasible for me — thereelaristotle 7