I'm surprised there aren't any reviews for Elrond yet, considering how powerful he is, hero Gandalf or no. Although I suppose it is quite evident. It's going to be a tall order summarizing his perks, so let's get into it.

Two attack is reasonable, but I don't think anyone would ever use him for that, considering his usefulness in other ways. The first thing you notice, other than his thirteen threat, is his willpower. Three willpower is quite good, especially if you can get him Light of Valinor or Unexpected Courage, both of which fit him well. So what will you do with his extra action? Well, a three-four defense line is top-notch. His first ability amplifies any healing, so that makes him an even better defender. I should take the time know to point out the power of that response. He's amazing in any quest with a lot of direct damage, and combo-tastic with the in-sphere Warden of Healing. Of course, no super defender would be complete without Burning Brand, which, Whoop-dee-doo, is in-sphere. But Wandalf! you say, How are you going to reliably fetch all these attachments that make him so good? Why with the Master of the Forge, of course! Who is conveniently (wait for it . . .) in sphere.

So, next, his passive smoothing. This effect is underrated and is one of the best things about Elrond. Having the initiative to slot any ally you want into your deck on a whim, knowing that Elrond will be able to play it. Resource generation makes this much smoother and more reliable, so go ahead and put in Steward for Master of the Forge to pull. And finally, Vilya. The swiss army knife MacGyver of all swiss army knife MacGyvers. Elrond was already OP, and this card puts him over the top. I've convinced myself while writing this that Elrond is the most powerful hero in the game. You tool tour deck (which, if you've been paying attention to this review, is kind of pre-built) to blind Vilya, but its true power comes from lining up your shot with Imladris Stargazer or ally Gildor. If you don't like what you see, reshuffle with the MotF. And them, play a card for free! Turns out that's pretty good in practice.

And what's the downside? His traits? Well, not with Noldor there in pretty Italics. Nothing! Other than his completely mitigateable threat cost (that's a word, right), the Lord of Rivendell is pure gold.

This guy doesn't appear that strong at first. Until you look at what you can actually play on him. Hauberk of Mail is free on him and give him both of it's abilities, suddenly this guy becomes a 4 Defence 4 Hitpoints monster with the Sentinel keyword. Abuse him with To Arms! for maximum efficieny. Bonus points if you played him for free with King of Dale. Another strong Dale ally!

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This ally is incredibly strong, in an already strong achetype. Dale has come out of it's deluxe box swinging and this guy is proof of it. Throw a Spare Hood and Cloak or Map of Rhovanion on him and enjoy not exhausting with your 3 (Assuming you are running Brand son of Bain, why wouldn't you?.) Excellent card and a staple of any Dale deck worth it's salt.

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With the release of Mountain of Fire, I think Pippin actually adds more value and synergy to hobbit secrecy decks. Tom Cotton allows you to bring in a hobbit ally (without a resource match) after you engage an enemy. Raise the Shire allows you to search for a hobbit ally, but again only after you engage an enemy. So if the Hero line-up is Merry, Pippin and Tom Cotton, Merry can reduce the threat when an enemy comes into play, Raise the Shire can search the deck for Rosie Cotton or other hobbit ally, Tom Cotton can bring in said hobbit ally, and if our lowly hobbits aren't prepared to face said enemy, Pippin can push said enemy back to the staging area. The net gain could be having lower threat and a good ally in play. Depending on the deck, Pippin could still be a better hobbit to use, especially since there are a lot of usable Lore cards in a hobbit secrecy deck, but it does give another option of playing Pippin. Pippin needs more love!!!

Cool combo! —
Tom Cotton doesn't really combo with Pippin, since to benefit from Tom the enemy needs to still be there in the Planning phase, whereas Pippin can only trigger immediately after engaging. —

Gandalf is so powerful card, that I still was not able to create a deck without him. This card saved and won my games more times, that any hero did. It's versatile, strong and gives you number of reasons why to add it to the deck in all 3 copies. It work well with Sneak Attack which is the best known and working combo since start of the game. Also goes well with Born Aloft and in very specific cases with To the Eyrie, but in this case you must use him as chomp for very strong opponent as Attercop, Attercop for example. The mechanic of this card is also very thematic and the artwork is one the best from the core set. Verdict can be only 5/5.

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