This is absolutely the best of the Doomed player cards. For one thing of course card draw is the most crucial and powerful effect in the game, and for another the cost is easily manageable. Everyone gets 2 threat, everyone gets 2 cards. When Voice of Isengard was originally released I had a bit of a knee-jerk negative reaction to the Doomed player cards, but one more mature reflection I've come around and now it's exceedingly rare for me to build a deck with that doesn't include Deep Knowledge, just like Daeron's Runes. It's pretty hard to justify omitting it unless you're really concerned about your threat. And even then, I might well still use it because the extra cards you draw make you that much more likely to find whatever threat reduction you have.

I've commented elsewhere that the real power of Doomed cards lies in either accelerating the early-game, when resources are scarce and threat is low; or in providing benefits which other cards cannot. Obviously this is not the latter as a wide variety of other effects exist which draw cards, but it is to my mind the archetypal defining case of the former. A fair few times I've had issues because after paying 1 resource for Mithrandir's Advice I can no longer afford to play the useful cards I drew from its effect, but Deep Knowledge being free in terms of resources doesn't have that problem; and given that I'm sometimes reluctant to discard anything from my hand, plus the fact it affects everyone in multiplayer, I tend to even prefer this card to Daeron's Runes (though I'm liable to run both). That multiplayer benefit can be very significant as it really helps out decks which don't have such strong card draw of their own, but really gets bonkers when they do, and when perhaps multiple decks are using this card. Because then each draw effect gives some chance that someone will draw another draw effect, either for themself or for everyone (such as another Deep Knowledge or Campfire Tales), which in turn can draw into more draw, and so on and everyone ends up with a bunch of useful options for what cards to play that round.

As I said, I put this card into almost every deck I build. The only definite exceptions are if I'm specifically building for one of the Dunland quests fro the Ring-maker cycle, if I'm wanting to make use of Secrecy, and if I'm playing a quest which may have a significant engagement cost early on which I want to stay below (Such as 30 for the Hill Troll in Journey Down the Anduin or Murzag in The Morgul Vale), and even then it obviously depends on the starting threat of my deck(s). Otherwise, pretty much always use this, it's just incredibly good.

Unless you're playing in a quest where Threat is a concern (something along Trouble in Tharbad - though I'd argue even that quest is safe) there is no reason to exclude this card in a multiplayer game. Even when I'm hoping to keep my threat low with a Hobbit deck, I'm not upset if another player throws this down. —

Firstly, dam Éowyn. Best Waifu in Middle Earth.

How is she as a card though? Her version is a questing powerhouse, probably the strongest quester in the game. Eowyn likewise has 4 , which is great but is it enough by itself? When you look at the most used heroes with 3-4 , the 3 is just a + while their ability is the main driving force. Arwen Undómiel's insane resource generation, Celeborn being the backbone of any Silvan deck, Elrond having ridiculous versatility, Círdan the Shipwright having reliable and powerful draw, Glorfindel being one of the most OP heroes in the game or as Éowyn being able to increase her to much higher lengths.

Her ability is tough to gage, because it only matters IF you use it. It isn't something you should rely on. There are times where you will never use it. If you don't use her ability then she is just a 4 hero with 6 threat, which is perfectly fine and I can imagine that being a merit for some decks in itself. She also has the powerful Rohan trait, so if you have the cards in your deck she can become a powerful damage dealer, like Herugrim for example, but it's far more powerful on Éowyn and it's in the same sphere too. There is also Golden Shield which is in sphere for , but again.. it's still better for Eowyn. Regardless, ombine these two with Unexpected Courage and you have an absolute powerhouse, or even one of them with Snowmane.

Let's talk about her ability though. It changes the hero to basically a 9 threat hero but it gives her a total of 10 attack for 1 phase, also readying her, so it doesn't matter if you quested with her. Let me just say, this can be absolutely insane. You can destroy almost any enemy in the game. Add a readying affect to her and you can destroy 2 enemies. It's great knowing you have this in case you need it, even if you don't. Not to mention, that 10 attack can help you clear quests with the 'battle' keyword much more faster. These quests can be extremely difficult in the first few turns.

But, she's kind of boring and doesn't do anything special. She's just there, questing and that's it. If you have in your deck then sure, you can turn her into a questing and attacking powerhouse. If you REALLY need to you can kill an enemy or do a battle quest with her ability, but it's really just a panic button, and when you don't use it she's fairly mediocre. You want heroes to define your deck. Éowyn is a hero I feel that you include if for some reason there isn't anything better to add, but you need in your deck along with some form of high and/or you need low threat.

3
For solo, it's difficult not including her when I build a deck with tactics (usually only one hero). —

This is a really good card which I think is somewhat underused and underappreciated, including by me. There are I think three main reasons why:

  1. It does nothing in solo play. There is a significant portion of the community who only play this game solo, and barring the odd quest which makes you reveal extra staging cards, Gildor's Counsel does absolutely nothing there given the minimum of 1.

  2. It doesn't feel like you're doing anything. And of course, in fact, you aren't. Playing this card doesn't actually do anything to the state of the game when you play it, it merely prevents one encounter card being added to it. As such it doesn't feel as potent as playing an ally or attachment which directly alters your boardstate moving forward, or a different event which clearly interacts with the boardstate at the time (or at least with your hand). This is kind of an illusion though, this card is in fact very powerful. And of course unlike other preventative cards like A Test of Will or Feint, you don't get to choose what you prevent (unless you've scried the encounter deck), but regardless, less encounter cards is pretty much always better.

  3. It costs 3 resources. This one is a valid problem to have as 3-cost cards can be difficult to afford. After all, that's all the resources you get for a round spent on one card. And of course if, as is likely, you're not playing mono-, it will in fact take you more than one round to get enough resources to play this event. Combine that with the fact that access gets you some good card draw to fill up your hand with a wide variety of other good cards you could be playing, for less resources and this becomes a difficult sell. However a bit of logic would suggest that this is an absolutely worthwhile way to spend 3 resources in a multiplayer game, pretty much by definition.

Consider, in this game, the number of cards revealed in staging each round is equal to the number of players in the game. Ergo, in order to be pulling their weight and at least maintaining parity with the encounter deck, each player deck should be in one way or another dealing with the consequences of one encounter card reveal. Of course there are complications thrown into this by any quest effects producing additional cards and whatever cards were already there in setup, but by and large it holds true as a general principle - one deck should be able to deal with one card every round. And in this light it makes perfect sense that Gildor's Counsel costs the exact number of resources most decks will generate each round, because this is in fact the most direct way for a deck to deal with its one card for the round - at the cost of the full round's worth of resources, it simply deals with that card by not revealing it in the first place. And of course that's just the resources - whatever boardstate that deck has in play can still contribute and allow that deck to handle more than its one card for the round.

And that's all there realy is to say about it. Gildor's Counsel isn't a flashy card - as noted, it doesn't directly do anything, and it's a bit on the costly side. But it is logically, mathematically, worth that cost, and as such I would say that if your deck can reasonably afford to play it, you should probably at least think about putting it in.

Well it was inevitable that I'd review this card at some point. A lot of people are very negative about this card - unfairly so in my opinion, but even with that said this card is used so rarely that I have occasionally forgotten that Warden of Arnor is the name of a card as well as my blog, and have to remind myself when someone actually mentions the card.

Let's first look at the issues with the card. It only attaches to Scout heroes - which at the time it was released was only Idraen. Haldir of Lórien came in the next AP but suits this card less well since he quests less. Since then we've had Lanwyn, Elfhelm, Argalad and Legolas added to the ranks of Scout heroes. Argalad is less likely to quest than use his ability unless you give him some action advantage to do both, and Elfhelm being versatile could quest or not (might well end up defending since with a mount his ability would boost his ), but certainly we have more options now. Idraen is probably still the best fit though, because she naturally synergises with location control. The other downside of Warden of Arnor is a minor one - you have no control over where the progress goes, so if there are locations which have negative effects for progress being placed on them then this card is to be avoided.

Now on to the good points. Warden of Arnor is cheap at 1-cost, and it boosts location control up a bit. This is not a card you put in as your only location control in general, though that one progress will in each case make the location 1 point easier to explore when you travel to it; but no, this really is a card you include alongside other location control, and there it works very nicely. Consider the most obvious example, Asfaloth - since the release of Asfaloth a large majority of locations have at least 3 quest points to ensure they cannot be instantly explored by Asfaloth (attached to either version of Glorfindel). But if a 3 quest point location is the first location revealed when the Warden of Arnor is questing, then you're back to being able to simply nuke that location before quest resolution. A similar principle obviously applies to The Evening Star. On the other hand, if you're exploring locations in the staging area by means of Northern Trackers and/or Rhovanion Outriders then Warden of Arnor will let you explore the loction in question one round faster, which is not insignificant.

One progress every round (assuming you consistently reveal locations) isn't much, but the card only costs 1 resource. For that same 1 resource in the sphere you'd play a Snowbourn Scout and get just one progress full stop, plus a chump blocker. It might be argued that the chump-blocking is of more value than the one progress, and of course the Scout's progress is targeted, but how much of a difference does that make? How many more progress do you need before it becomes equivalent? And how many rounds is the game likely to last? How many progress will you get out of Warden of Arnor?

Warden of Arnor is not a card that's going to blow anyone away with how good it is, certainly not by itself. But in conjunction with other location control effects, and especially at higher player-counts where location control becomes that much more significant, it provides a vey useful supplement to those other effects, and can make a small but significant difference.

Message from Elrond is a tricky card. It's not particularly easy to come up with good uses for it, which is one reason why it is in my opinion rather under-rated. The other reason is that it's a purely co-operative card. While this game is co-operative, most people most of the time will not build their decks co-operatively. Rather they will build to make sure their deck can do the things it's supposed to do and hope any gaps can be covered by other decks' capabilities. Message from Elrond thus loses out because it's something which will is unlikely to really work unless you build multiple decks in concert specifically to work well together.

So let's take a look at the effect. You can move a card from one player's hand to another's - a point which a lot of people will forget is that you don't have to be passing a card from your hand to someone else, it could be them to you, or them to someone else. This adds some additional flexibility. The problems are twofold however - firstly just because you can move a card from one player to another doesn't mean the receiving player can play that card; and secondly the card will be shuffled back into its owner's deck if it's still in hand or in play at the end of the round. The first isn't complicated to solve - you just need to have multiple decks in the game running at least one of the same spheres. The second is where it gets a bit more fiddly, because it means this isn't a solution for just not being able to afford your big ally or attachment as they wouldn't remain in play. It could work with Gandalf, Saruman, Galadriel or Elrond (or any other temporary allies in future), with Gandalf and Saruman being particularly good candidates since they're Neutral and can thus be played by any deck. Temporary attachments have consistently been cheap thus far so it might seem more of a waste. Mostly though, this card is good for passing events around.

Before I get into that main use I just want to mention a couple of the side-points. The other significant point is of course that it transfers the card, which can have a reason other than letting it be played. If a situation arises where you need to discard one more card to Éowyn to clear a location or quest stage, or someone urgently needs a card to discard to boost with Protector of Lórien, or with Elven Spear but the relevant player doesn't have any cards then you can pass one over. If someone is using Galdor of the Havens and the last card in their hand is something useful enough to not discard but not currently useful (e.g. Power of Orthanc with no harmful Conditions in play), then Message from Elrond could let them pass that card away, emptying their hand so they can draw six with Galdor. And when the card is shuffled back in at the end of the round, well they can hopefully draw it again by the time they actually need it. Or there might be odd cases where someone really wants a card shuffled back into their deck, like Hidden Cache, or an expensive card they want to bring in with Vilya. These aren't really reasons to put Message from Elrond in your deck, but they are odd useful things you can do with it once it's there for other reasons.

But as I said, the main use of Message from Elrond is to pass events around, and there are a few different categories which could come up:

  1. Assuming decks share spheres, this could be a case of expedience - who has the resources for this useful event right now? Give it to them then. This would apply for events like Gildor's Counsel or Light the Beacons where it doesn't matter who plays the event so long as someone does, since everyone benefits equally.
  2. Passing events which only work on the deck which played them, such as Elrond's Counsel - if a deck really needs to drop its threat but hasn't drawn any of its own threat reduction then this possibility could be a lifesaver.
  3. Messing with probabilities for combos. For example, if two separate decks are both running Sneak Attack Gandalf, then the chances of putting together both halves of the combo will be increased if at least one of them is also using Message from Elrond so that if one of them draws one half and one draws the other then they can combine the two across the table. Or another possibility might be if one deck is using A Good Harvest for Steward of Gondor and another is using it for Unexpected Courage (from out of sphere in each case); the first deck only needs one copy of AGH but probably has 3, and the whole table will probably benefit from that Steward being out early, so if the second deck draws it first then passing it over could be very useful.
  4. The further extreme of the previous example, a deck could include copies of a significant event which it cannot even play/doesn't even want, purely so they can be passed over to the deck which does want them. I've done this myself with Hands Upon the Bow, but it's easy to think of other possibilities - Feint, obviously, Sneak Attack as mentioned above and Reinforcements would work for a similar reason, Advance Warning for shenanigans, Strength of Arms for big plays, Stand and Fight or Dwarven Tomb for recursion-focused decks, Fortune or Fate for Caldara, A Very Good Tale for ally swarms, etc. The list goes on. This one has some fairly ridiculous potential if you make it work, because not only are you upping your chances of seeing the relevant event sooner, you are also effectively breaking the "limit three copies per deck" rule. How much can your deck do by playing this event three times in a game? How about if you can play it six times? What if you have additional recursion and can do even more? You'll need to have pretty great card draw to fuel this, but the results are, again, ridiculous.

Message from Elrond certainly takes a bit of thought to make it work really well, but the ceiling for what crazy stuff it can do is really high if you're willing to go the effort of constructing two or more decks specifically to work together around sharing events like this. It's not for everyone I suppose, it's really a card primarily for the more tricksy and shenanigansy players so if you prefer to keep things simple it's not unreasonable for you to give this one a miss, but if you are the kind of LotR player who enjoys indulging in shenanigans from time to time you should really give this card a try!

Nice ideas for the card! I would like to add that it could also be used to add onto a chain of The Evening Star, Skyward Volley, and so on. That's always seemed like a fun idea to me. —