Another good use of this card might be in conjunction with Guarded attachments, so that you can attach them to the best possible cards for you (a location you can clear somewhat easily, an enemy you might kill with Hands Upon the Bow or Éomer and so forth) and possibly discarding some bad treacheries in the meantime, of course at the cost of the foreknowledge of the encounter deck this cards grant.

I really like the fact that the discount can be used by the next player and not only by the one who played the Toymaker, it really opens up a lot of nice interactions.

Also some strong Santa vibes from this dwarf

never saw that. great!! —

Don't let the "0" cost lead you into thinking this card is a "must include".

I'm not a big fan of the Dunedain Pathfinder ally if you mostly consider its near and mid term effect on board state when deciding to play it. Sure the 0 "resource" cost is tempting, but there are other hidden costs....

Just looking at the 53 eligible location cards in the Harad cycle AP packs it comes from, 9 locations have 1 , 23 locations have 2 , and 21 have 3+ . This is counting multiple copies of each eligible location in the encounter decks.

That means roughly 40% of the time you are going to increase the staging area threat by more than the 2 you get from this ally, and another 40% of the time you are breaking even. Short term this is not good.

Now in exchange you get a zero resource cost emergency chump blocker and some long term upside of having 2 more per round for no resources spent - if you can keep the ally alive. However, this is not a "net" +2 as you still have to overcome the additional of the added location card that came with deployment of the Pathfinder before you get a "net" bonus.

And if this poor net / exchange wasn't enough to give you pause, there is also the chance the Pathfinder finds no eligible location, and goes away without deploying. This is equal to one turn of card draw with absolutely no return for it, when you could have drawn something else more predictably useful.

Now let's compare this to Celebrían's Stone, which gives you net +2 on the turn you use it, and every turn thereafter. You are also less likely to lose the hero it is attached to as you would an ally. Yes, this counterexample costs 2 resources, but very few cards are truly "free". ( Unlikely Friendship being an example of one that is almost truly free.)

This card has its uses - quick deployment of a chump blocker for no cost, when quest threat isn't an issue. It is a better card when the encounter deck is mostly <2 locations.

However, the hidden costs of this "free" ally may not be worth it in many situations.

The card's effect is “added” rather than “revealed” so can avoids any nasty surge or when revealed effects, this can help you decrease encounter threat later on. —

This card is gold! For two resources it essentially either wipes out the attacks of a plethora of enemies, or at least makes them easily manageable. Both of these will usually allow one to take the attack of all enemies undefended, leaving any character not used for questing ready to attack. The fact that there are few cards in the game that can singlehandedly allow one to clear their board of enemies only increases this cards value. Of course, to maximize this cards ability, one must be above forty threat. Normally valour cards are hard to splash into any random deck, but in my opinion this card is the exception. Its effect is straightforward enough that one does not need to change their deck for it. When one plays it in the context of valour, however, it becomes even better. With Hope Rekindled! it can be played for free. Combine these two cards with the Hour of Wrath and the effect is deadly, and crazy fun. Horn's Cry allows one to defend unlimited enemies with Hour of Wrath, without taking much damage at all. To spice things up even more, run these cards with tactics Aragorn. For the price of four resources, you can kill every enemy engaged with every player in the game, as well as all the enemies in the staging area! Talk about value! On its own this card has great value, but combine it with a few others and its effects are legendary.

Defender of Cair Andros is a very powerful card. That is pretty clear to see. But is it worth it for 4 resources?

Lets first look at his stats.

One on a character is always welcome, though the cases when he will be questing, since he is a defender, are admitedly few. This does save him from effects like Power in their Terror.

One attack is ok, but since he does have the Gondor trait that can be boosted by effects like Boromir if you need it.

Where the Defender really shines is... defending. Shocker. In most decks, (i.e. non secrecy) he is immediately able to defend for at least 2. His three hitpoints also make him much more difficult to kill than, say, Defender of Rammas. His Valour response is icing on the cake, allowing direct damage, similar to Spear of the Citadel or Gondorian Spearman. This also helps for extra damage opportunities on enemies like Nazgul of Minas Morgul or the stage 3 effects on Shelob.

Finally, Defender of Cair Andros is an excellent pair with Raiment of War. He also works very well with Hirgon or Prince Imrahil

All in all, Defender of Cair Andros is very much worth it and can be splashed into many, even non-Gondor decks.