Word of Command is a card which can often seem better in theory than in practice. In the right deck it can be pretty amazing though. So let's take a look. You get to search your entire deck for any card of your choice and add it to your hand. That's incredibly powerful. However it does require you to exhaust an Istari character, and there aren't many of those in the game - only Gandalf, Radagast, Gandalf, Saruman and Gandalf. Hero Gandalf is obviously the most reliable option but that means you're using up a hero action on this - specifically the action of a 14 threat hero with powerful stats which you might want to use or indeed be relying on using - though those stats mean you may already want to give him action advantage with Unexpected Courage or Shadowfax. Core Gandalf and Saruman are temporary allies - though handily if you can wait you can use Word of Command in the refresh phase after characters ready but before the temporary ally is discarded. Hobbit Gandalf is a pretty good option if you can stomach the threat, since he has built-in action advantage, but as noted, threat. Radagast has no downside but isn't particularly useful in general, and as useful as Word of Command can be, it's probably not worth playing a 5-cost ally for no other purpose.

If you can manage the cost though? Any card from your deck for that exhaust plus 1 resource is a pretty good deal. An obvious and significant use is that you can use it to grab any of those cards with the annoying "Limit 1 per deck" restriction if you wnt to use them more reliably. Path of Need is an obviously powerful choice, but I'm also somewhat partial to The Fall of Gil-Galad for shenanigans. Justice Shall Be Done would also be a great shenanigans option. On the other hand, you can also use it when you simply need/want a particular card at a particular time, like wanting A Test of Will for security, Feint when you have too many attacks, that sort of thing. Or of course, finding crucial cards for your deck when you haven't been lucky enough to get them in your opening hand/mulligan/early draws. Like Light of Valinor, Steward of Gondor, Master of the Forge or other such mulligan cards. In a pinch, if your hero Gandalf deck likes its action advantage, you could make a case for exhausting Gandalf for Word of Command to grab Unexpected Courage which you can then play and ready him, leaving you with the same number of actions you otherwise would've had for that round, but one more in subsequent rounds for the rest of the game.

The main reason Word of Command can be viewed as less useful in practice than in theory is that often a lot of decks will prefer to use cards which let them draw a higher number of unidentified cards rather than a single specific one. With the ability to just draw 2 for free with Daeron's Runes or Deep Knowledge, or 3 for 1 in the right deck with Mithrandir's Advice, paying 1 and exhausting a very powerful character for only one card may not seem like such a great idea, unless it's a particularly useful card. Add to that the fact that while Word of Command is cheap, unless you use hero Gandalf it's a 2 card combo and thus less reliable. Ironically one good use for Word of Command would be to find combo pieces, but it is itself a combo if triggering it with one of the allies, so you have to open the box with the crowbar you find inside.

Despite all those difficulties, I really like Word of Command and wonder if perhaps I should use it more often. With the allies it's unreliable but can be a useful option, with hero Gandalf it's incredibly potent if you can cope without the action. Worth consideration at least.

This is an interesting and somewhat variable card. I like it a lot but it's difficult to make it work consistently in a lot of quests. Moving the top card of the discard pile back onto the encounter deck in general merely gives you the advantage of foreknowledge. Which is useful to have, but it's not necessarily worth 2 resources, though at least they are neutral resources so anyone can pay for this card. The best reason to play this card is not just because you want to know in advance what the next encounter card is, but furthermore because it's a card you actually want to see revealed.

So why would you want to see a particular card revealed? Well, obviously because it's a relatively nice card. In some cases it may simply be that it's low threat; or that it's a location when you're getting swarmed by enemies; or an enemy when you're at risk of location lock. Sometimes of course there are even those rare cards which under the right circumstances actually do nothing. There's at least one treachery in the Angmar Awakened cycle which under certain conditions is Doomed 2 and nothing else, and I could certainly see the benefit in recycling that unless you're particularly worried about your threat. Mostly the general, not quest-specific instances of these gentle or nothing cards are from earlier in the life of the game - if you're using Thalin then any 1 HP enemy becomes a dead card, earlier quests had more 1 threat cards which are obviously far preferable to pretty much any other card in the encounter deck, any location with only 2 quest points can be instantly explored by Asfaloth (with Glorfindel) so it has no real impact on the board-state, that sort of thing. More recently, a slightly different one is of course that in a Sailing quest you could return to the top of the encounter deck a card with a wheel on it so you know you only have to commit one character to the next Sailing test. And even now there are a fair number of locations with beneficial effects when they're explored, so there might be a case when you particularly want to trigger one of those effects (Perhaps the most notable being the Seat of Seeing in Breaking of the Fellowship in campaign mode - very helpful in the long run if you can do it). But then there are also a fair number of even more quest-specific cases, which may be the more interesting ones. Certainly they're the cases where Shadow of the Past really comes into its own.

Item one in this category is objectives for victory. Signs of Gollum in Hunt For Gollum; Athelas in Journey to Rhosgobel; Gollum in Dead Marshes if he gets shuffled into the encounter deck and goes as a shadow card; the victory point mountains in Redhorn Gate (while not as effective for winning, the Dimrill Stair is also a decent one because of its positive effect on travelling); a card you can match the starting letter of in Watcher in the Water. Again this was more a thing earlier in the life of the game. But this isn't the really juicy stuff to my mind, this is mostly just insurance against your own shuffling of the encounter deck screwing up your chances of victory. Correcting an issue in the design of the quests where crucial objectives could be lost as shadow cards and force the players to sit around until the whole encounter deck got reshuffled and then try again. I'd inlude Shadow of the Past for a bunch of these quests, but I wouldn't be particularly enthused about playing it.

Item two is the good stuff. Non-essential but very helpful/fun objectives, such as: Grimbeorn the Old in Conflict at the Carrock; Rangers of Ithilien in Massing at Osgiliath; the random bits of equipment in Long Dark and Foundations of Stone; Ithilien Guardians in Into Ithilien; Misty Mountain Eagles in Battle of Five Armies; the Gildor Inglorion boon in Shadow of the Past in campaign mode (and further if you add him to the campaign pool); Tom Bombadil in Old Forest and Fog on the Barrow Downs; and the Dunedain of Annuminas in Siege of Annuminas. All of these can be very helpful to get a hold of, so in my opinion well worth spending two neutral resources to retrieve if they go as shadows. Of note, some of them (Gildor and Bombadil at least, off the top of my head) don't even surge, at which point your 2-cost neutral Shadow of the Past is providing a more powerful effect than the 3-cost Gildor's Counsel. A final note on this front is that using Ranger Summons can allow you to seed your own objectives into the encounter deck, those being Rangers of the North, and so in this case Shadow of the Past would be a bit less quest-specific.

So that as far as I'm concerned is the best and most fun use of Shadow of the Past. Beyond that... well, as I said, there are still other instances where simply having that foreknowledge is useful, cases where a bit of control over the enemy to location ratio could be helpful, and cases where you want a certain card recycled because of the positive effect you get for defeating it. And occasionally even now there can be dead cards. This card can certainly be at least a valid consideration for decks focused on encounter deck manipulation, but in a lot of cases it may be best as a sideboard card to swap in where it'll be particularly useful rather than an all-the-time thing.

Silver Lamp is a card I really liked the sound of when it was first released, but which I then proceeded to not put in any decks for a long time thereafter. It suffers from the problem scrying cards tend to have (and it is essentially a scrying card, just with a fairly specific focus) in that it gives you knowledge but no means by which to act on that knowledge, so a lot of the time it'll get disregarded in favour of cards which actually let you do things. That being said, on consideration I feel like Silver Lamp has been getting more relevant in the course of the last couple of cycles.

Let's look first at the functionality - it lets you see all shadow cards on enemies engaged with you. But it only does this while the attached hero is ready, and it only attaches to heroes. Those are not irrelevant restrictions - apart from anything else since has a bit of a and questing focus, a lot of heroes would not be expected to be ready in the combat phase as they quested. Additionally, a questing-focused deck isn't so likely to engage that many enemies. So getting the effect to actually work isn't that easy in a lot of decks, and then it isn't particularly useful when you do. No wonder it doesn't see that much play.

However, in decks which are more built to make use of it - decks which can handle combat but still use , or even decks which are actually combat-focused - it becomes very useful. It takes away one of the two random elements which impinge on your decision-making process in the form of shadow cards (the other random element is of course staging). With the Silver Lamp working for you you know exactly what will happen with each attack you take, and therefore you know who can defend what without dying, or indeed what you can take undefended without dying. There's a lot of utility in having that knowledge. On the other hand, a large amount of the time you can make those decisions without needing that knowledge, and you could spend those 2 resources on something else. How much are the shadows really going to mess you up? I mean, it's not like you get that many, presumably.

In the course of those last two paragraphs I've essentially passed by the reasons why Silver Lamp has gained relevance since its release. It's not so useful in questing-focused decks, but then we've been getting more sphere bleed, and has been acquiring more combat power with heroes like Beregond (an excellent target for Silver Lamp). Advance knowledge of shadows is often regarded as not so needed because the shadows generally aren't too worrying, but then I would say shadow effects have been getting a bit worse over these past couple of cycles. Finally I raised the question of how many shadow cards you have to deal with - obviously the more shadows you're getting the more it'll help to know them in advance - and this leads into one of the best contexts for Silver Lamp which is of course a Dunedain deck, following the archetype as established a cycle later than Silver Lamp.

Since Dunedain decks like to engage everything in sight they tend to see a lot of shadow cards on the enemies they aren't killing because they're powering various effects. Of course one can simply use Forest Snares to stop those enemies attacking, but there are limits, and what if you don't have ? Having a Silver Lamp means you know what to defend where, what to chump, what to use a Feint on because the shadow effect will screw you over. Given that a decent Dunedain deck could in some quests end up engaging every enemy that turns up all game, and leaving several of them alive for most of it, that's a lot of shadow cards to not worry about. Unfortunately people have generally disregarded the possibilities in Dunedain, which i a bit of a shame, because Star Brooch, while not amazing, is still useful, and Warden of Annúminas is ridiculous when you can use Heir of Valandil to make him a 0-cost 4 ally. Not to mention free Northern Trackers as well.

The other really great synergy with Silver Lamp is of course anything which cancels or discards shadows. Assuming your defender with A Burning Brand doesn't have enough actions to defend everything, you can use the Lamp to know exactly which attack needs its shadow cancelled. Or you can know exactly which shadow card to discard with Armored Destrier or Gandalf's Staff.

The difficulty with Silver Lamp lies in actually finding the right deck for it, but if you do, the possibilities it can offer are really quite impressive once you take the time to consider them properly.

The greatest of all underused cards. —

I'm surprised there isn't a review on this card yet. It's only downside being that there aren't any Noldor Heroes in the tactics sphere other than Elladan, Revealed in Wrath is great across a variety of quests. I have used it to get rid of some archery damage for a round, negate engagement effects, etc. "Southron Archer" and "Uruk of Mordor" from the recent Sands box have been some great targets as are many of the differing versions of Nazgul you can encounter in other sets. I think it's also perfectly costed at 1 as well.

As enemies continue to have nasty text boxes and with the hope that we will one day see more Noldor Tactics support, this card will only get better. Unless they start getting trigger happy with the "immune to player card effects" clause or load up encounter decks with unique enemies, this card will always be worth consideration.

Using Revealed in Wrath to negate Archery doesn't work because Archery happens at the beginning of the combat phase before you get an action window. I agree that it's a great card though! —
This card is fabulous in certain quests like Ettemors nightmare. —
@warden, thanks for that! Now I have to put asterisks on many a quest lol. Maybe just a few, but still! Archery aside though, still a great card. —

This is a card most people just dismiss as a coaster without giving it a second glance. It's easy enough to see why, but personally I put this card in the 'difficult to use' category rather than actually bad. I also picked it out as one of my top 10 favourite cards I never use. Given the difficulty in making it work, I obviously don't pull it out too often, but the two cases where I have it has worked out incredibly well for me.

The obvious place to start is of course, why is this card so difficult to use? The answer is that it requires you to lose a hero to gain the benefit - more than that, it specifically requires the hero to be destroyed, so you can't combo it with discarding Caldara. The one hero where you might generally plan on them getting destroyed is Beorn, who can't have attachments, so there aren't any particularly obvious targets at first glance. And the other downside of course is that inconvenient "Limit 1 per deck." That one you can kind of get around though, with Master of the Forge perhaps, or definitely with Rivendell Minstrel. The big problem is the need to kill a hero. That said, there's definite value in the consequent effect. There are two ways to look at using this card - one is assuming the hero will remain dead, the other is assuming you'll bring them back afterwards. Let's consider them separately.

So, firstly, what if the hero remains dead? Well, then you're now playing a 2-hero deck, with corresponding threat since you've reduced by the threat cost of your now dead hero. That's not necessarily a problem though. Two hero decks can be made to work, and in particular they've gotten some support in the Dream-chaser cycle in the form of Strider and Vanish from Sight. Of course, one might ask, if you want to play a two-hero deck why not just build a two-hero deck in the first place? The thing is, this way you have a third hero to help out at the start of the game (generally the most difficult point when you're most likely to want that extra resource and action), then sacrifice them to turn into a two-hero deck with all the corresponding goodies once you're already somewhat set up. The one downside is that one thing you're liable to get from running a two-hero deck is access to Secrecy, which you may lose to threat raises while you're establishing a board-state and digging Fall of Gil-Galad out of your deck - though of course Vanish from Sight can get you temporarily back in Secrecy regardless. If you're taking this option then there's less pressure to specifically sacrifice a high threat cost hero to get maximum reduction - in fact I'd say more emphasis should be put on how much the hero can do for you in the time before they're sacrificed - a focus should therefore go on heroes with significant early-game impact. Treebeard is a good one since you can use his ability with reckless abandon to make quest progress or kill enemies, knowing it won't matter in the long run, and potentially you can even use his ability to have him kill himself if you don't have a convenient enemy available when you want to do it. Any hero with a setup ability seems a good candidate - Denethor could play some early cards (e.g. Steward of Gondor) and/or give away his starting resources to give you a head-start before dying; Galdor of the Havens can get you a better opening hand, and if you have some means of emptying your hand you could trigger his once per game draw 6 as well before killing him; Éowyn's 4 will be very impactful early on, and either you can use her boost to kill a dangerous enemy or sacrifice her without triggering it, with the result that thanks to her setup ability the two-hero version of your deck will be running at -3 threat compared to what it would be if you just built it as a two-hero deck. Following the Galdor once per game idea, Aragorn could work, perhaps in a deck that ramps up fast with Doomed - ramp up (hopefully including drawing your useful two-hero cards), reset to starting threat, then kill Aragorn with FoGG attached to drop your threat down. There may well be other good options, but those are the ones which really spring to mind for me.

An alternative option to the three-hero/two-hero bait-and-switch in the modern card pool would of course be to play the ally version of Prince Imrahil, so you'll still have three heroes generating resources and all you've lost is the stats of your dead hero, and of course their threat.

And now we turn to the possibility wherein you don't leave the hero dead, but bring them back afterwards. In this instance obviously it's best to use a high threat cost hero. In this instance though, while Fall of Gil-Galad itself costs only 1 resource, all means of reviving a hero cost 5, meaning you're effectively paying 6 for the threat drop, at which point in the vast majority of cases you'd be better off just playing The Galadhrim's Greeting twice. However, there are ways around this. Say your hero-revival method is Landroval - he can be cheated into play with Sneak Attack or Elf-stone, at which point the cost seems much more impressive for that large threat reduction. All possibilities could be played for no resources via Vilya of course. Finally of course the recently released card The Houses of Healing can have its cost reduced by exhausting healers. Given that if this hero is taking a bunch of damage, if they didn't die you might well want to heal them up anyway, you may not even be losing out on that many actions, and you're getting a big threat drop out of it, so this definitely seems like a viable option. The one big remaining difficulty is that of course if you plan to kill off a hero you shouldn't give them any (other) attachments as that'd be a waste of resources in the long run, but the high threat cost heroes who will give you the biggest benefit for doing this are quite likely to be heroes you want kitted out with attachments. It's certainly doable though.

One final note is that while FoGG is limit 1 per deck, it is not unique. So if you build a multi-deck fellowship around this (or just convince a friend to stick a copy in their deck for you), you can double, triple, or even quadruple the threat reduction, which makes it distinctly better value whether you subsequently revive the hero or not.

Fall of Gil-Galad is certainly a difficult card to use, and it must be admitted that when it was released it didn't have so many good applications as it has now. But even then it was potentially useable for some pretty potent shenanigans, and with the ways the card pool has expanded now, this is a card which I think deserves some definite reconsideration by many of the people who have dismissed it in the past. I know I'm now tempted to try and build decks around two or three of the ideas I mentioned in this review.