Eleanor is an incredibly under-rated hero. While episode 1 of the Cardboard of the Rings podcast was entitled "Don't Ignore Eleanor", the sentiment was sadly somewhat retracted the following episode. A big part of the thing with Eleanor is that her power isn't exactly obvious. Her stats aren't going to do much for you, and even if you were going to make use of them her ability requires you to exhaust her. Yet despite all of this, Eleanor is incredibly useful, especially in multiplayer.

Firstly, I'll talk around the subject and tackle the fringe benefits of Eleanor. Since she's from Gondor, a Gondorian Shield will put her up to a fairly credible 4 . Without that boost, 2 and 3 is risky for defending but you can still do it against weaker enemies barring shadows. Since she's a Noble, she can have the Palantir, which itself can be an incredibly potent support card. And while her statline isn't anything to write home about, she is of course appropriately threat costed for it, at 7. Yes, I know Glorfindel exists, but Eleanor's best setting is multiplayer, where someone else may well be using Glorfindel, and Glorfindel while he has stats has no useful ability unless you count the boost to Asfaloth. Eleanor on the other hand, does have an ability, and that's where the meat of this discussion lies.

So, her ability. Another of my recent reviews was on A Test of Will in which I talked about how it's such a powerful card that the game balance might actually hypothetically be better if it had never been designed. I'm not going to get into reiterating that debate here, suffice to say that the ability to cancel a When Revealed effect is arguably the single most powerful ability on any card in the game. Test of Will is an instant 3-of card in any deck using the sphere for a very good reason. And that's Eleanor's ability as well. OK, Eleanor only cancels treacheries, but guess what? ALL THE WORST ENCOUNTER CARD EFFECTS ARE ON TREACHERIES. OK, Eleanor replaces the cancelled treachery with the next card, but the odds of the next card being worse than the one you just cancelled are decidedly low or you wouldn't have bothered cancelling it in the first place.

Not convinced? I'm just going to list a few treacheries Eleanor could cancel for you. Sleeping Sentry. Collateral Damage. Watcher in the Wood. The Master's Malice. Leaves on Tree. Southron Support. Exhaustion. Roasted Slowly. Are you convinced yet? Because I can probably think of more if you give me a minute, or if I start naming Nightmare cards as well as regular ones.

Now, one might argue that Eleanor is unnecessary because Test of Will already exists for these brutal treacheries, but one of the significant advantages of hero abilities as opposed to other cards is that they start the game in play rather than being contingent on your random shuffle and draw. Eleanor has this advantage. Plus, having both gives you more freedom - wherein either you cancel regular bad things with Eleanor and save the Tests of Will for the really brutal things, or vice versa, Eleanor stays up for the worst effects and you can play your Tests on lesser treacheries. Either way, this should notably reduce the number of treachery effects you're forced to take on the chin.

Now, OK, let's talk about the downsides of Eleanor. As previously mentioned, her stats aren't great, so if you don't cancel anything with her she won't be doing too much for you. She doesn't suit lower player-counts for this reason, because the less heroes are on the table the more you want the heroes who are to actually be doing things. But on the other hand of course, when you have more players you're also much more likely to reveal a nasty treachery which you really want to cancel. I'll say that Eleanor isn't really a solo hero unless in very specialised circumstances. Many people would be critical of the idea of using Eleanor in 2 player as well, but personally I've still found that she can work. 3 or 4 player and she really shines. 3 or 4 player, there are stats everywhere, but the chance to replace a horrible card with a less horrible card when you're revealing that many per round starts to feel worth its weight in resources.

In brief, treachery cancellation is among the most powerful effects in the game, and Eleanor is the most guaranteed way of having cancellation available. She deserves your respect.

blood of numenor or a gondorian shield and she shines as a defender as well. —

Contrary to what a lot of people would tell you, this is not an absolutely terrible card. It's just an incredibly incredibly niche card such that there are almost if not actually always better and more flexible options you could be using instead. OK, that sounds a bit terrible, but bear with me here.

The thing is, since is the one stat you can't usually pool together, you have to assume that you won't be able to do it. Stand Together is not something you can rely on, and thus even if you include it you still need to have a more standard defensive strategy, be that a powerful defender or a steady stream of chumps. With that being said, in many games you will have those moments where you have more character actions than you need and a powerful enemy to defend. Under those circumstances, using Stand Together with those extra actions as an alternative to chump-blocking could be a decent idea - and then you'll still have all your chumps available the following round when perhaps you may have more enemies. It's still niche, but it's not useless. It's most likely covering you for the fact you haven't drawn some other more useful card, but if it's a valid option then that's a kind of increase in consistency because it gives you that ability to cover yourself given a bad draw which you might not otherwise have.

OK, I'm reaching pretty far to find a use for this card other than the one thing I actually do use it for on occasion. I put this card in my 'difficult to use well' category, and it most definitely is that. Because it specifies enemies attacking the chosen player you can't even do Sentinel shenanigans which might otherwise be a thing.

So, the one purpose for which I do actually think this card has a place is when used with characters who do something when they defend. Erkenbrand and Déorwine for example can cancel shadow effects, so there might be a circumstance where you want to chump-block a boss enemy but are worried you'll get wrecked by a shadow effect, so then you can have Erkenbrand or Deorwine chip in just for their ability to cancel shadows (a similar principle would apply to a character with A Burning Brand attached, or a character with a weapon or armour would let you use Sterner than Steel). But then it has been ruled that if you have multiple defenders you still assign all the damage to only one of them so your more powerful character is entirely safe. An odd one could be if you're playing a Noldor deck and desperately want to discard a lot of cards to a Watcher of the Bruinen without getting him killed, though realistically you should have easier ways to discard those cards. You could use it as a way to damage a Derndingle Warrior and thus boost your Booming Ent, or with an Armored Destrier to discard a shadow card, but yeah OK these are getting increasingly more implausible. I think some of the ones I mentioned further up might be reasonable in very specialised circumstances, but there's only one case which I know from experience definitely works, and that is as follows:

  1. Play multiple copies of Gondorian Spearman. 1a. (optional) play Spear of the Citadel on the Spearmen/Beregond/other defenders.
  2. Play Stand Together to declare them all as defenders at once and deal multiple damage all at once.
  3. Hopefully the enemy is dead now.

It's still niche and easy enough to manage without it, but it's also really fun to be able to do that when it comes up, so I consider Stand Together a valid and OK card just for that one combo. There's nothing quite like the potential ability to one-shot kill the Nazgul of Minas Morgul (Each Spearman and Spear is a separate source of damage) just by defending it.

This is a really bad card. The Core Set in general fell prey to some unfortunate overcosting, but healing in particular got the short end of the stick, with this card being the worst offender of all. 5 resources, in , to heal all heroes controlled by one player? Pull the other one, it's got bells on, what does the card really do? Wait, that is the real card? Well, that's never getting out of the binder/box.

The thing is, firstly, healing is something you can manage without often enough. You try to avoid damage stacking up too much. When damage does stack up, a lot of the time it'll stack up on one or two characters. Getting it spread evenly between your heroes is pretty rare. Even if it is, the theoretical maximum this card could heal without you using hit point boosting effects is 12 damage, 4 on each hero. Realistically, it's never actually going to be that good. While remembering that all Core Set healing was too expensive, compare this to the Daughter of the Nimrodel. Still pricey at 3 resources, but heals 2 damage every single round unless she dies. Now that's more reasonable.

The thing is, if you compare Beorn's Hospitality in its ideal circumstances to the Daughter then maybe it looks somewhat favourable. The thing is though that as I mentioned, the ideal circumstances are never going to happen, and 5 resources is really expensive. Without acceleration, which isn't easy to come by in the sphere, that's almost two full rounds worth of resources, and given that is the classic card draw sphere, you're almost bound to draw something more worth spending those resources on. Perhaps something which will actually advance your board state rather than just waiting to reset it after you take a bunch of damage which you might not need to if you advance your board state. Plus, it's almost 2 full rounds worth of resources if you're mono-, which you may well not be. 3 rounds with two heroes. The effect is potentially decent but often won't be relevant since as I mentioned damage is unlike to be spread out in a convenient manner for this to be useful, and you're pretty much bound to have something else you'd rather be paying for. For 5-cost, a card has to be making a really huge effect on the game, and this is not huge enough.

The final nail in the coffin of this card was of course Waters of Nimrodel, which is basically what this card should have been. Not limited to heroes, cheaper, filling out extra cost in the form of Doomed, but that's easier to pay than resources, and targets all players. All of which is why Waters of Nimrodel is an amazing healing card, whereas Beorn's Hospitality is just an amazingly bad one.

I wish that FFG woould sell a pack of 20 or so cards with new and better replacement cards for cards from the core set such as this one... —

One of the most interesting cards released recently, I think. Two hero secrecy decks were a curiosity when secrecy was introduced. Sometimes they could work out well, other times, overcoming the starting lag in actions and stats was too difficult to be feasible. Now we have this card, which helps cover the old problems of secrecy. Granting both action advantage and two more , Strider goes a long way to helping two hero decks compensate. Now the question is, which heroes does it synergize with best? I've seen decks that play it on Treebeard, allowing him to contribute his big stats to both questing and combat. This certainly can be effective, enabling a hero to both quest and attack or defend, but what if you aren't playing a deck designed to do any combat? There are ways for this card to be used to good effect by decks focused on questing or support. Heroes like Beravor, Eleanor, Dori, Haldir of Lórien, spirit Merry, and Argalad all have an action they can exhaust themselves for. Strider enables them to quest and exhaust for their useful actions after questing! So you can send Beravor to the quest and exhaust her for card draw or even Distant Stars or Quick Ears. You can send Eleanor to the quest and always have her ready to cancel a treachery, and the other four mentioned heroes can all use their actions to help when enemies show up after questing. What about using it to make Elrond or Círdan the Shipwright quest hard and still have 'em ready to use their rings, Fair and Perilous, or Tale of Tinúviel? This is just one way it can be used to help the team in multiplayer games. The simple fact that Strider provides another action means it will work well with heroes that can be exhausted to use another action, whether they provide it from their own text box or from an event or attachment. It is an enabler of many new possibilities.

A very simple but potentially very effective effect. One of two cards (the other being Stand and Fight) which immediately in the Core Set marked out as the primary sphere for recursion effects. It's a very simple, but very effective ability. But despite its power I would also consider it well-balanced. The ability to recur things over and over is potent to be sure, and it offers incredible flexibility to decks, which for a cost of an extra 1 resource can treat any card in their discard pile as in their hand. The thing is though, any serious balance issues with Dwarven Tomb I would say are more issues with the cards it's being used to recur than with the Tomb itself.

So let's talk about why this card is so good, and about its limitations. It's not for every deck, of course - many decks will be happy to simply draw and play things from hand, and to only play each card once. But some decks want to use their events multiple times, while others may get enthusiastic about discarding from their hand or their deck. In such decks as those this may well be the perfect card. And sometimes it's just nice to have that flexibility.

The flexibility is the biggest point in its favour, as I've already alluded to. You can use Dwarven Tomb to get back an ally who died, an ally who you discarded to a player or encounter card effect, a temporary attachment, an attachment which was discarded by an encounter card effect, an event you played, or of course any card which you discarded from hand or discarded from your deck. The recent support for Noldor discard mechanics and the Dwarven deck-mining mechanic have given Dwarven Tomb a serious resurgence. Of course it's limited by the fact it can only target cards, but at the time of writing a search on RingsDB for cards which aren't heroes in the spirit sphere returns 116 results, which is easily enough to be getting on with. Now if you want to use your recursion for events, it might seem like the Map of Earnil is more flexible, since you don't have to choose which event you want to recur in advance - on the other hand though, the Map requires an action window to trigger it and you can take the same approach with the Tomb, on top of which you can use Dwarven Tomb to pull back events which are responses (like A Test of Will) in advance, which the Map cannot do. Finally of course, Dwarven Tomb always costs 1 whereas the Map only costs 1 if you're mono-sphere.

Dwarven Tomb is a card which can easily be pigeonholed into just a way of recycling Test of Will, and while that may well be the most potent option since Test of Will is an incredibly powerful card, the fact you have that flexibility is what drives Dwarven Tomb into being a truly great card. In a Caldara deck you may well use it to recur Fortune or Fate. If your threat is a concern you can obviously use it to recur threat reduction. In a dwarven mining deck of course you can recur anything you've been mining away, but most especially Imladris Stargazer or Zigil Miner. In a Palantir deck I've used it to recur Minas Tirith Lampwright to cancel a Surge which I've scried. If a quest has attachment discarding effects you can bring back your Unexpected Courage or Mirror of Galadriel or To the Sea, to the Sea! or whatever else is absolutely key to your deck's strategy. In any deck which goes crazy with its discards (from hand or deck) you may want it to recycle Will of the West. The options are far too extensive to list all of them, which is basically my whole point. You can do so much with Dwarven Tomb, it's such a flexibly powerful card, granting you additional access to various other powerful cards, it just opens up so many options and that makes it one of the most potentially interesting cards released in the Core Set.

I've always wondered why they did not release equivalent cards for the other spehres... —