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 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. —

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.