Strider is the single most powerful and versatile attachment card from this cycle. I would push "this cycle" back a lot further too and say this card is on the level of Steward of Gondor and Expert Treasure-hunter. While other reviews correctly point out how this card finally glues secrecy decks together, I really want to say that this card is not for secrecy decks only. This card is very good for almost every deck and absolutely great for any deck with decent draw power. Strider gives any deck two for 1 resource of any sphere early game and whenever you are losing ground against the quest deck.

The early game is where this card truly shines, before you can play an army of allies. If you run three copies of Strider in a 50-card deck, the probability of opening a copy turn 1 (out of 7 cards) is 37%, just over a third. If one of your heroes is Círdan the Shipwright the probability goes up to 42%; if one of your heroes is Erestor, half the time (49.5%) you will open it. Card draw like Daeron's Runes and Elven-light of course increase the probability of seeing it turn 1. How likely will you have more than 5 characters on board turn 1, or even turn 2, turn 3? Not that likely. Even if you are playing mono-sphere with a guaranteed resource accelerator like Arwen Undómiel, that's still 4 resources turn 1, maybe enough for 2 allies if you are not looking to save any for important events. Never mind you might lose allies just as quickly from the encounter deck or chump blocking. Basically Strider offers a guaranteed, relatively safe 2 for any one resource early game, and it does not require any other combo piece like O Lórien!. Previously the only card that will give you 2 for 1 resource is Silvan Refugee.

The card is also not absolutely dead as soon as you have more allies. Its effect is continuous which means it will spring into action when you need it the most. Many encounter decks hit you with direct damage and it's entirely possible to lose allies in the questing phase, and suddenly Strider pulls you back up. The other 2 for 1, Silvan Refuge, adds insult to injury when your game state deteriorates (when you lose an ally, she also goes), while Strider strengthens your position when you lose some ground. Similarly, if mid to late game you lose a hero, Strider instantly bolsters your position by giving you action advantage on another.

Also, because Strider offers a semi-permanent boost to , it means other equipment and events become much more powerful. Early game, Éowyn equipped with Golden Shield and Strider will be defending for SEVEN. Glorfindel with Light of Valinor and Strider will quest for 5 and attack for 3, or attack for a whooping EIGHT if boosted by a Fair and Perilous. And let's not forget the hero meant for this card: if Aragorn is thus equipped, he will be questing for 4 and attacking for 3 (or defending sentinel) without even needing another card.

So do not pack Strider away in your secrecy box just yet! Any time you play deep card draw like with Cirdan, Erestor, Daeron's Rune, etc. you should also strongly consider Strider. Any time you play cards that take advantage of high like Golden Shield, Fair and Perilous, Ride Them Down you should also consider Strider. This is not a niche card to bolster a specific deck, it really is a versatile, powerful, and cheap boost that saves you when you are just getting out the door or downtrodden and in great peril. It combines especially well with decks that have inherent action advantages as well as decks that have deep draw (hence better chance of opening it). And it has neutral resource requirement, neutral! Next time you build a deck just throw 3 copies in and test it out, and let me know how it works for you. :)

The Greyflood Wanderer is not inherently a bad design, but suffers from the existence of other cards which do his job better than he does. As I've noted elsewhere, the primary utility of Doomed player cards is in either granting an early-game boost when resources are scarce but threat is plentiful - obviously the Greyflood Wanderer can't really fit this category since he costs 3 resources; or in granting an ability which can't be easily acquired through other means. On the second criterion Greyflood looks a bit better, as placing a progress token on all locations in play is a very powerful ability, and certainly not a common one. If the Greyflood Wanderer were even just in a different sphere he might be OK, but his downfall is that for one more resource in the same sphere you can play a Northern Tracker instead. The difference between each location in play and each location in the staging area is only the active location - which already can be explored via questing so it's not such a big concern as those in staging, and of course the Northern Tracker's ability triggers every time he commits to the quest rather than just once when you play him, and doesn't cost you any threat. Now one could certainly argue convincingly that the Northern Tracker is a bit too powerful, and if he were designed now rather than back in the Core Set days his ability would be less potent. But since the Tracker does exist, he cannot be disregarded, and the Greyflood Wanderer simply doesn't stand up to the comparison.

If you do want to use the Greyflood Wanderer, it would likely be in a context where you want as much location control as possible and so have Norther Trackers already. Given that Rhovanion Outriders also exist now, along with many other location control cards I don't feel like there's a spot for the Wanderer even then. I briefly thought I saw a glimmer of hope for him when I realised he's a Dunedain and can thus be cheapened by Heir of Valandil, but then I remembered the Northern Tracker is a Dunedain as well. The only hope for Greyflood may lie in his Scout trait which allows him to trigger Distant Stars, Expert Trackers or Guarded Ceaselessly; or to be part of a Scouting Party. Perhaps if Scout synergy continues to be developed we'll find a place for this ally after all, but then if the synergy continues to be developed we'll probably also get other Scout allies released to replace him with, so alas he may have to remain in the binder.

Perhaps the one exception would be against Temple of the Deceived, the third quest of the Dream-chaser cycle. Since all the locations are in play all the time, forming the map, but most of them will not be considered to be in the staging area, this is a case where (unless I've forgotten a rules point) the Greyflood Wanderer would actually do a lot more than Northern Tracker. But outside of that he's pretty hard to justify including. If Northern Tracker didn't exist he'd be good, or if he was in a sphere other than and thus not in such direct competition he might stand a chance, but neither of those things are the case and since the Tracker was a Core Set card he can't even win out in a limited card pool context. Alas, this one's kind of a dud.

This card is solid. The obvious and pretty much best hero to put it on is my man Beregond and Beregond, but Beregond is better because you can put Gondorian Shield on him as well as Raven-winged Helm with more ease than Power Beregond. You can also use Blood of Númenor and then you can pretty much defend against anything. If you add in ways to cancel the odd nasty shadow effect, you can pretty much get an extra resource every time there is an enemy in play. That extra resource is extremely handy for Tactics in particular, as they have little to no resource generation, and it will give you more freedom on who to attach Steward of Gondor with. This card is especially good in multiplayer because then you can get your friend to go leadership and use this card on your hero, which might be better for you, and also an enemy might engage your friend instead of you for whatever reason (sometimes it is forced, sometimes you might actually want to enagage an enemy), so this card having direct synergy with sentinel just adds versatility and freedom. Also, the extra card in the staging phase can be in your favor as there is more of a chance of an enemy appearing.

Great card. Albeit a bit limited on who you can effectively play it on.

Treebeard is amazing. The ultimate Ent ally. He is for the Ent trait what Radagast should have been for the Eagle trait, but here they made it work so instead of an ally who can work in the specific context of a certain trait-based deck if you preferably cheat him into play for cheap you have an ally whose primary role is to support a trait (which unlike Radagast he belongs to himself as well) but who is not just worth the cost but actually one of the best unique allies in the game even outside of that particular deck type.

Let's explore this in a bit more detail. Of course Treebeard enters play exhausted, like all Ents. That's his only real downside - he also can't have restricted attachments, but it's pretty rare that one puts restricted attachments on allies in any case. His beneficial abilities are of course the Ent equivalent of Radagast's abilities - he generates resources which can pay for Ents just as Radagast does for Eagles, and if you don't have Ents to pay for then he can use those resources instead to ready the ones you already have. But as noted, the consistent issue across the whole trait is entering play exhausted, so that means Treebeard can potentially negate the downside of these otherwise very powerful allies. That he is very rarely used for this purpose indicates that alternatives are even more powerful, which I think is saying something when you put the comparison like this. (By contrast, Radagast's healing didn't have the same potency and synergy because taking damage was never really an issue for Eagles). Most likely though you use his resources to pay for other Ent cards (it's worth noting here that Ent Draught and Boomed and Trumpeted both have the Ent trait and so Treebeard can pay for them as well as for the allies).

So by that logic, in 4 rounds he'll recoup his own cost. Unless you have some form of resource generation or cost reduction to draw on, you can't play him until round 2 at the earliest, and running at a net loss until 5 rounds into the game doesn't sound like such a great deal, does it? This is the same reason Radagast isn't particularly well thought of. And if Treebeard's stats were as lacklustre as Radagast's then he might have been received in a similar fashion, but they're not. I'm pretty sure the only allies in the game who have more stats than Treebeard are Gandalf, Gandalf and Saruman. Ally Treebeard has one more stat point than his hero version, putting him on a par with hero Gandalf. The approximate rule of thumb for ally costing is that a lot of allies seem to cost half their sum of stats, by which logic ally Treebeard should cost 7 resources. OK, he enters play exhausted, but is that single round of not using him really equivalent to the value of 3 resources? I would say no, he's a ridiculously good deal, and then he generates his own resources to help you play more Ents, or ready them.

2 is decent, but it's the combat stats which really get you your money's worth here. 3 and 5 make Treebeard one of the solidest defensive allies in the game - it could even be argued the solidest, with the only reason he isn't used more in that capacity being that he also has 4 , which at the time of his release was completely unprecedented. Hero Beorn had 5, but he was rather a special case being immune to player card effects, and other than that no character, hero or ally, had a printed value higher than 3. Even now the only other is fellow Ent Skinbark. Treebeard, on top of being hilariously good value, was also breaking new ground in terms of ally power level - scratch that, character power level.

The final point of note is of course his readying ability, which I've hitherto mostly passed over. The best target for that readying is almost always Treebeard himself - and this is the final piece of the explanation for why Treebeard is a ridiculously good ally to have even without any other Ents. The only real exceptions are when Treebeard is already ready and you need more Ents up to attack together, or a Booming Ent when you've got a bunch of damage around, again for high purposes. Or, it should of course be noted that the ability does not specify an Ent that you control, just an Ent, so if your fellow players are also using Ents you can ready one of theirs, which may be helpful since Treebeard's many good qualities admittedly do not include a Ranged or Sentinel keyword. In general though, just have him ready himself whenever you need it - and when you don't just stack up those resources for later use if you don't have other Ent cards to pay for.

When last year PsychoRocka ran a Unique Ally Championship on the forums, Treebeard came second, having been the only really credible opposition to Arwen. Since then, we've seen the release of hero Arwen, and as a result the ally sees a lot less play and we've all gotten used to doing without her. With that in mind, I think a serious case could be made for Treebeard being now the best unique ally in the game. Ridiculous statline that puts most heroes to shame, resource generation in the right deck, (mostly self-)readying, and of course he's neutral and can thus go in literally any deck. Central to the functioning of an Ent deck, but still one of the best options for pretty much any other deck as well. However you may feel about the Arwen comparison, there are certainly very few allies that can even hold a candle to Treebeard.

Mostly notable for its interaction with Lure of Moria in dwarf barf decks, but any deck with leadership can also run three of this as a thinner - exhaust zero dwarves, draw a card for free. Now your deck is effectively 47 cards. Cheesy, but strategically sound.