Nori is a subtle card. When it comes to Dwarves and Spirit, most people look at Óin for access to as well at a minus 1 threat cost. But what you get with Nori even after his errata, is a dependable and reliable hero who can defend early attacks and chip away at your threat every time you play a Dwarf from your hand.

It may not seem like much, but over the course of the game this can easily be 5+ threat. He's also in sphere to give you access to actual threat reduction and Dwarven resource acceleration via Zigil Miner. So if you were to play a Zigil Miner from your hand you gain resource acceleration to play more Dwarves and a nice threat reduction. Double win. No wonder he's so happy!

Thanks Nori!

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Thorin is often overlooked these days for his cousin Dáin Ironfoot whom is arguably the lynchpin of any Dwarf deck. However unlike his cousin he comes with high as standard and in built resource generation. Something few heroes do.

Thorin really shines when paired with other Dwarves such as Ori and Bombur. Where Dáin Ironfoot rouses all Dwarves as the current King Under the Mountain. It was arguably Thorin who put him where he is, utilizing nothing but toymakers and a handful of less than warriors. Restoring the Dwarves to their former riches and that is shown perfectly in his card design.

Before you goto the staple that is Dáin Ironfoot give Thorin a thought. His card design is simple and effective and as Tolkien said "It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life."

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This is one of those cards which just fits perfectly into its archetype. The Dunedain deck archetype is all about keeping enemies engaged. The drawback of this is of course that barring Forest Snares you need to keep finding ways to handle the defences of all those enemies to continue reaping the benefits. You may have a solid plan for them, but then something revealing too many additional enemies (e.g. via Surge) or shadow effects triggering extra attacks can throw a spanner in the works of said plan. Or maybe you're short on ways to handle those enemies until you can get more of a board-state - but you can't easily get out that board-state until you're gaining the benefits of having the enemies engaged, a seeming catch 22 which can only be resolved by some big boost. In all of these circumstances Descendants of Kings comes up trumps.

If all you need is to defend all your attacks, then by readying Dunedain characters equal to your engaged enemies you ensure that even if everyone was exhausted before playing it, Descendants of Kings will allow you to defend everything (so long as your characters are up to the defences, of course). If you have some characters already ready or have already done some defences then you'll have ready characters left over who may be able to attack (perhaps at Ranged so you maintain your engaged enemies bonuses but help out other players) or trigger other effects (e.g. A Very Good Tale, Beravor or Tale of Tinúviel off the top of my head). It's also worth noting that this is a generic action, not limited to the Combat phase, adding to its flexibility. Oh, and we mustn't forget that it only costs a single resource. For one resource this is potentially a hugely potent effect.

Of course this card can potentially also work outside of a Dunedain deck. In or out of a Dunedain deck, it's important of course that the effect is based off the number of enemies engaged with you specifically at the time you play it, so you can choose to use it at the most opportune moments - as opposed to the Dunedain lynchpin Heir of Valandil, which requires that the enemies stick around into the Planning phase. Whether you're playing a Dunedain deck which only wants to keep a certain number of enemies for HoV and other bonuses, or you're playing a regular deck (but using a reasonable number of Dunedain characters) which just wants to kill its enemies efficiently, it's helpful that you can time this card for maximum benefit at the moment when you're engaged with the most enemies and have most or all of your eligible targets exhausted. The primary use is certainly in Dunedain decks but other decks may have a use for it from time to time, especially given how cheap it is.

Ultimately, engaging a bunch of enemies in this game can be a risky prospect, especially in a Dunedain context where you keep them around into subsequent rounds, and when that risk backfires on you, Descendants of Kings is one of the perfect ways to pull your game back out of the fire.

On release I like this card, viewing it as one more piece of the developing Ent deck. Since then my appreciation has grown, and the Derndingle Warrior is pretty much my go-to defensive ally in most contexts now as well as one of the key components of the Ent deck.

So, the standard Ent disadvantage of 'Enters play exhausted' is a problem, but once that's resolved, what do you get? Well, for starters there are very few Sentinel allies costing less than 3, which can be significant for multiplayer. Of those, the Derndingle Warrior's 2 /3 makes him the sturdiest alongside Dwalin (who is unique, and only cheap in a Dwarf deck). Of course they're still not the best defensive stats for the long term, and options for boosting them are limited by the Derndingle Warrior's inability to have attachments (though a Hauberk of Mail would go nicely), but then I haven't mentioned the ability yet.

Now the Derndingle Warrior's ability involves dealing damage to him, so if you want to rely on it repeatedly then you will need healing and/or hit point boosts, but in exchange for that 1 damage the Warrior boosts up to 5 , which is the best you're likely to see on an ally and enough to not take damage from the attacks of the vast majority of enemies in this game. If you can get past that one round where the Warrior is exhausted and give him a bit of support he can easily cover all defences for you for an entire game.

As noted, he is limited in potential boosts, but there are options - in addition to the already-mentioned Hauberk of Mail, he's obviously a great target for an Ent Draught since his ability gives you all the you need so long as you have the hit points to keep triggering it. And of course Narya is a great one with Ents in general - note however that the Derndingle Warrior's ability only lasts through one attack, so if you have him defend multiple times you may need to deal additional damage (though not necessarily, since after using Narya he's already at a base of 3, which may be good enough without the additional boost. Whether you use these options or not, the other key element for supporting a Derndingle Warrior is some form of healing - with the obvious options being Warden of Healing, Imladris Caregiver or of course Wellinghall Preserver (and even in a dedicated Ent deck which wants to keep its Booming Ents at high healing them works since you damage them again when they defend and therefore before you attack).

The Derndingle Warrior is obviously a big deal to an Ent deck as their strongest defensive option, but he can also fill that role for any number of other decks which otherwise have nothing to do with Ents. He's just that good.

This card was largely panned by a lot of reviewers when it came out because it is situational, and unfortunately a lot of players fall into trap of being biased towards thinking only "easy" cards that play well in every situation are good. I personally think it comes from a competitive LCG/CCG mentality but I'll leave that alone for now.

Conditions aside, the effect is fantastic. A +3 stat boost for 0 cost is almost always a really good deal, but the beauty of this card is you get it in attack or defense. While attack boosts are a bit more common, defense boosts tend to be a bit harder to come by. +3 is a good relevant number also because it's just enough to take a non-defensively focused hero (and maybe even ally) to a point where he can answer an attack from most boss enemies and likely survive. What is even better is the flexibility though, you get either/or depending on the needs of the situation, and flexibility is often a quality that's hard to judge at face value and not always terribly apparent when looking at a card in a vacuum. The one draw back is that it only lasts for one attack, but since most characters in the game are not going to have a source of action advantage most of the time, that's all it really needs to do in the majority of cases.

The conditions to play this card are definitely limiting, but that just means that barring certain scenarios, it's a card that is designed to be good in a very specific deck... namely the trap deck. It combos great with Damrod and traps like Ithilien Pit and Entangling Nets because these cards effectively turn into 0 cost markers, that make an enemy eligible to card effects like this one on top of their printed card effects of the trap itself. However, the use of this card isn't only confined to trap decks. There are two other situations where it plays well.

  1. More and more scenarios seem to be including treachery (or even enemy!) cards that turn into enemy attachments. Some good examples are the nazgul and morgul attachments in the Black Riders box, and the Warg enemies that become attachments in Race Across Harad for a couple of examples. This card is definitely a great sideboard card for these quests and others like them.

  2. Many people probably don't realize this but with guarded cards that are guarded by enemies, the guarded card is considered an attachment on the enemy. This makes this card great with the growing "class" of guarded player card attachments like Necklace of Girion, The Arkenstone, and Orcrist, allowing you to play them and then more easily kill (or defend) the enemies guarding them. Valour of the North is only going to increase in value as more of these "guarded" player cards come out, as well as scenarios that make use of the mechanic on objective cards.

All in all, this card is worth a second look as atleast a solid sideboard item, and you might be surprised how great it works out in a deck built with traps or guarded player cards. It can really be a life saver in the right situation. I hope we continue to see more cards like this, situational but very powerful in their niche situations, as they are what makes the game as well as deckbuilding fun and diverse.

I hope you don't mind too mch, since this isn't reallly the right place... Where do you take the ruling that guarded cards on enemies count as attachments? Couldn't find anything (not that i'm doubting you or anything...) —
Nope....that's a great question. I don't recall where that ruling came from. I'll do some research when I get a chance. —
Nothing says "valour" like stabbing a guy in a net. —
I feel like this card's wording got mixed up during development - I think the original idea was to buff a character with an attachment instead (considering it's from the Dale box, the art on the card, and the flavour text). —