This is my first card review. I plan to add a few more over the course of my time playing LOTR LCG. I have been playing through the game progressively up to Treachery of Rhudaur (excluding Saga), and am just now starting to see the wondrous deckbuilding variety that is out there. This is my first card to review because, up until now, I have used this little beaut in just about every one of my decks. This card, paired with Gandalf, allows for a ton of flexibility. I have often included Born Aloft in my decks to milk Gandalf's value for all I can.

Some other strong allies I have used with Sneak Attack are Beorn and Elrond.

However, I feel like it's time to try other cards and stop relying so heavily on the same mechanic.

FINAL THOUGHTS: This card (paired with Gandalf) is probably the most powerful play in the game in my experience, but maybe newer players should push themselves to try and succeed without it and enjoy the wide variety of options this game offers.

I RATE THIS CARD - 10 out of 10

This ally is so good that I would argue he's completely and utterly broken. Allow me to explain.

First, let's assume for the moment that you always trigger his ability since, as others have pointed out, there's little reason not to. Then, to simplify analysis, we can regard him as a 2/3/1/2 ally. Normally, allies in this game are balanced around having stats:cost ratio somewhere in the range of 2:1 - 2.5:1. Allies who have less than this usually have a beneficial effect to compensate. Similarly, allies whose ratio is above this range typically have some sort of drawback. For example, Gandalf has a very high ratio of 3.2:1, but you only get him for one round. Treebeard has a whopping 3.5:1 ratio, but is unusable on the turn you played him (still OP, but that's a different story). So, how does Quickbeam measure up then? His ratio is 4:1, with no real downside other than being unique and not allowing restricted attachments. That's insane! We're talking about a 2-cost ally whose stats total matches or exceeds 29% of the heroes in the game!

Now let's look at the stat distribution, which is arguably more important that total stats. Does that tell a different story? Nope, still broken! 2 for 2 resources is as good as the best 2-cost allies in , which is the sphere that supposedly specializes in . And 3 for 2 resource is strictly better than all other 2-cost allies in the game, including all allies! We have both of these facts being simultaneously true of a single ally, and he has decent survivability with 1 and 2 .

All of the above assumed him having one damage. If you manage to heal him (easy to do in sphere, e.g. via Wellinghall Preserver), or for some reason you don't trigger his ability, then things become even more broken. Now you have a 4.5:1 ally with even more survivability whose stats total matches or exceeds 60% of heroes in the game, all for a measly 2 resources.

This analysis also only considers him in a vacuum -- his ability and Ent trait have powerful synergy with other cards like Booming Ent, Boomed and Trumpeted, Leaflock, and Ent Draught, making him even stronger in decks with those cards.

I get that Ents are cool and FFG wanted to make them feel powerful, but I feel like they just threw game balance completely out the window with this one. Needless to say, you need a pretty good reason not to include at least 1 of these in your deck if you have access to the sphere. I usually only exclude him when Ents don't make sense thematically or if I just want more of a challenge.

35

If you are using any Silvan and Dwarf combo, especially Hero Legolas with Gimli (see my Legolas review on why this is one of the best Hero pairs in game), this is a must include x3 card

Why? Because there is only upside and no downside to having 3x of this card in your deck, as long as you keep meeting the requirement of a unique Silvan and Dwarf trait character. And in early game with the aforementioned heroes, meeting the requirements is a sure thing.

Let's look at the two upsides:

(1) The card has zero cost and draws 1 card, shrinking your deck as you use/discard this for free and replace with the next card. This makes your deck effectively 3 cards smaller (47 cards instead of minimum 50), so all your other cards have a greater % chance of being drawn into your hand.

(2) The above by itself would make the card worth including x3 - but then it also adds one resource to any hero you control!

Bonus Combo: Add a readying benefit (and choose the exact timing of it) by adding that resource on a Heir of Mardil Hero.

And if you have a "perfect" 50 card deck already? Add 3x of this card anyways (if you meet the Silvan/Dwarf requirement) - it makes your deck effectively the same 50 card size, but you still gain the benefit of additional resource generation.

Multi purpose, interesting combos, free to play... this card is magnificent.

Similar to Knights of the Swan, this card is straight forward to use - the more of them in play, the better your combined . However, this is a 2 cost card, so the benefit to cost ratios are a little different than Knights of the Swan and Anfalas Herdsman.

Let's look at the multiplicative impact of this card and its passive bonus, passive bonuses being the best types of bonuses in games.

The first Ethir Swordsman you play on the table gives 2 for 2 cost. This is a 1:1 stat to cost ratio, already better than the average 0.57 stat to cost "average ratio" of the 56 ally cards released as of Cycle 9, AP 1 (Wrath and Ruin).

The second Ethir Swordsman played adds +4 , as both Ethir Swordsman combine for 3x2 or 6 . That is a 2:1 stat to cost ratio. Incredibly good.

If you can get the third and final Ethir Swordsman on the table, it adds +6 for 2 cost, bringing three Ethir Swordsman to 12 (3 x 4 each). This is a 3:1 stat to cost ratio. One of the best cost investment values for in game.

And this doesn't count the bonus added to the usual Outlands ally swarm that accompanies this archetype, Anfalas Herdsman, Knights of the Swan, Warrior of Lossarnach, and Forlong!


How does Ethir Swordsman stack up against Core set staple Faramir? Faramir adds a +1 bonus for all characters, including heroes.

The downside is Faramir has to exhaust to use his power, which means his 2 will usually not contribute to questing. So 4 cost initially gives you typical +3 (+1 for each hero, if no other allies in play), a better than average 0.75 to cost ratio (especially in Leadership sphere), but not as good as a single Ethir Swordsman in terms of return on investment.

However, having another ally on table (5 characters total, including Faramir, brings Faramir's stat to cost ratio back to the 1:1 of Ethir Swordsman.

But having a second Ethir Swordsman on the table swings the ratios strongly back in favor of the Outlands swarm. Note however, that it is much more difficult to draw a second Ethir Swordsman in the Outlands use case, vs just drawing "any other ally" in the Faramir use case.

And Faramir can double his bonus if he can be readied, such as with Ever Vigilant. I think Faramir is a better pure boosting play.

However, Ethir Swordsman is still a great value, and if you really want the you can still use it with Faramir - and it would still be thematic!

Pretty straightforward usage - the more of these you have, the more powerful the attack of this card and all your Outlands characters, Ethir Swordsman, Warrior of Lossarnach, Anfalas Herdsman, and notably, Forlong.

But lets look at some numbers to see how really strong this card is.

1 for one resource cost is already better than the 0.68 "per resource spent" average of the 55 Tactics ally cards released as of Cycle 9, AP 1 (Wrath and Ruin), and is clearly better than the other spheres average as well.

The second copy of this card on the table gives +2 to the party for a single resource cost, as both cards now total 4

Add the third copy of this card to the table, and you get a ridiculous +5 added for a single resource, as you go from 4 , to 9 (3 cards at 3 )

And that's not counting any other Outlands allies that would benefit....

If you can draw two or more Knights of the Swan, and keep them alive against archery, treacheries and what not (use some Anfalas Herdsman), this is the best power to resource ratio around.