The White Council

Event. Cost: X.

X is the number of players in the game.

Action: Starting with the first player, each player chooses 1 different option: ready a hero he controls, add 1 resource to the resource pool of a hero he controls, draw 1 card, or shuffle 1 card from his discard pile into his deck.

"I it was who first summoned the White Council."
Galadriel, The Fellowship of the Ring
Sacha Diener

The Dunland Trap #10. Neutral.

The White Council

I'll admit it: I love cards that can do more than one thing. Maybe it's because I was a utility player when I played baseball. Like Miruvor, the utility player of attachments, The White Council is the utility player of events and can do four different things. Unlike Miruvor, it can only do one of those things at a time, but has more flexibility as to who and what it can affect and where and when it can do so. It also has a different flavor depending on whether you're playing solo or multi-player. This review will only look at its application in one-handed solo play.

As a Neutral card costing 1 resource in one-handed solo play, it can fit into any deck and can have one of four different effects: 1.) ready a hero you control, 2.) add 1 resource to the resource pool of a hero you control, 3.) draw 1 card, or 4.) shuffle 1 card from your discard pile into your deck. While there are often better cards to provide each of these effects individually, it is the flexibility of The White Council that make it a solid card to consider. Let's look at each of its effects:

Since action advantage is almost always useful, paying 1 resource to ready 1 hero is a pretty good effect. It can't be played for 0-cost like Cram or give you an additional effect like Miruvor or Lembas, but unlike those attachments, which must be attached in the Planning Phase before they can be used and can only ready the attached hero, The White Council can be played from your hand in any phase to ready any hero you control. A Miruvor in your hand won't help you ready a hero in the Combat Phase to defend, but The White Council can. And unlike other events that can ready a hero--Behind Strong Walls, Hold Your Ground!, Tale of Tinúviel, or Flame of Anor, for example--The White Council requires no resource matching and has no restrictions or conditions, though it lacks those cards' additional effects. It is basically Swift and Silent played outside of Secrecy mode. But while I probably wouldn't include Swift and Silent in a non-Secrecy deck, I might include The White Council for its additional effects...

In solo play, paying 1 resource to gain 1 resource might, at first glance, seem to be pointless. However, if you look at the effect as resource smoothing rather than resource acceleration, it is similar to the effects of Bifur or Denethor, but with more flexibility since, as a Neutral card with no restrictions, any hero of any sphere can pay for it, while its effect can provide its resource to any hero of any sphere. And while Bifur & Denethor can only move one resource per round, you can play up to 3 copies of The White Council in the same round to move 3 resources between any heroes. Of course, Bifur and Denethor aren't taking up slots in your deck but, then, The White Council also offers other effects to choose from...

Paying 1 resource to draw 1 card certainly won't make The White Council your first choice for card drawing. In solo play, it is basically Campfire Tales without the sphere restriction. However, unlike other card drawing events of similar or lower cost--Mithrandir's Advice, Foe-hammer, Valiant Sacrifice, Deep Knowledge, or even Daeron's Runes--it has no restrictions, conditions, or additional costs, so can be played in any deck at any time for just 1 resource. While this doesn't make it a replacement for any of those cards, it can be useful as an additional method of card drawing, especially in the early game when other card drawing effects have yet to materialize. If this were The White Council's only effect, I would file it with Campfire Tales for solo play. Luckily, though, it offers other effects to choose from...

Last, but certainly not least, shuffling 1 card from your discard pile back into your deck is definitely an effect that makes The White Council worth considering. In fact, when I put it in a deck, it is usually for this purpose, with its readying and card drawing providing useful alternate effects, when needed. Unlike Dwarven Tomb, To me! O my kinsfolk!, Second Breakfast, or Tome/Scroll/Map/Book, it won't put that recycled card back into your hand or directly into play but, again, it has no restrictions. For 1 Neutral resource it can recycle any card, giving you up to 6 chances to play Tale of Tinúviel in a Dúnedain/Noldor deck or Lembas in a Treebeard deck or Gandalf in any deck. And, if your deck is built around a crucial card, you probably already have a way to fish it from your deck, like Galadhrim Minstrel, Master of the Forge, or Timely Aid.

In the end, The White Council's range of effects, as well as its flexibility regarding who and what it can target and where and when it can target them answers the question of why you may want to include it in your deck. All hail the Utility Player!

Herumen 551

While this card didn't make my list of my top 10 favourite cards I never use, it was a strong contender. This is a card which I have often wanted to put in decks and then ended up cutting for space. I'm always really pleased when I do find a use for it.

Despite the interesting point that the cost and number of effects triggered scale with number of players, I feel like this card may be better at lower player counts. As nice as it can be to play a card in 4-player which benefits everyone, the 4 resources become much more of an obstacle, and the benefits may not be as useful. There can be notably more utility in this card at lower player counts, when it's more affordable and you simply have the flexibility of the different options. That flexibility makes this card a classic case of a card you can put in your deck for one specific purpose and then end up using for another - I've put this in discard-happy decks to retrieve cards from the discard pile and then actually used it to ready a hero, for example. Those two are really the stand-out effects to my mind - readying can be very powerful, and recursion is somewhat limited. In a multi-sphere deck that has plenty of cards the resource option could actually still be useful in solo just as a means of moving a resource from one sphere to another, and while 1 resource to 1 card isn't a great exchange rate in a pinch you'll take what you can get; but in general it's the first and last options listed which are the obvious reasons for including this card in your decks to my mind.

I picked this out from the Ring-maker cycle as one of the most difficult cards to use well. It tends to end up that decks will focus on one thing and choose a card which only does that thing but does it better - or if they want to do multiple things which this card does then they'll include multiple cards for them, valuing power over versatility. Which is fair enough, it's rare that this is the obvious choice, though it is a little disappointing since this is a very nice and interesting card. The problem can also arise that generally decks are built in isolation without considering what or even how many other decks they will be played alongside, and as such primarily only include cards to fulfil their own needs - for which this is a problematic choice, because if there are 3 or 4 players in the game then you're paying quite a lot to get the one effect you actually want, and it may not come as that big a comfort that the other decks have also received minor benefits. If you're going to play this card in multiplayer then you need to have a few resources to spare (though since you're benefitting everyone by playing it, maybe you can prevail upon your teammates to use some Errand-riders and help you out? Worth considering especially if you're deckbuilding co-operatively).

The real stand-out effect, once again, is the ability to shuffle a card back into your deck, even more than the readying, because it has less competition - there are plenty of options for readying heroes, gaining resources and drawing cards, but consider the other recursion effects in the game. Dwarven Tomb only does cards, Erebor Hammersmith and Second Breakfast only do attachments, Háma only does events, Galadhrim Weaver only does the top card of your discard pile, Ered Nimrais Prospector discards more cards in the process, and in solo is more expensive while not necessarily providing that much more benefit, and Will of the West gets everything rather than just the specific card you wanted back. Also of note is that none of those cards are Neutral. The White Council offers this targeted recursion to absolutely any deck, along with the flexibility to choose other options if you wish. If you're being forced to discard by e.g. Mirror of Galadriel, Erestor or Círdan the Shipwright, not to mention quite a few encounter card effects, this may be a useful means of getting back the odd really important card you don't want to lose (so long as you also have decent draw to find it again once it's shuffled in - note though that all the examples I gave will help with your draw).

I've touched very little on the higher player count possibilities other than saying it's expensive. But some decks can easily find themselves swimming in resources once they're set up, and in such circumstances, this could be a nice way to spread some nice boosts around the table to decks which don't power up as fast as you. Again the readying and recursion are the best effects, but no-one is ever going to complain about getting additional cards or resources in my experience, and that hero readying can be really clutch when the encounter deck throws something really unexpected at you. I wouldn't say this is ever going to be a great card, but it can be a good one.

This card is excellent for solo play because of its versatility, especially if running multiple spheres. It does what you want, when you want. I am putting this into more and more of my solo decks and have had great success. In multiplayer it can be expensive, but your friends will like you!

Sadly, the versatility makes each effect a bit weak, so really the hero readying is the only consistently string option on solo. If you have a die need for card draw or to get a card back from the discard, those can be good too. Overall though, unless you're playing tri-sphere, I feel the resource is weak. I still think it's good, but I've never been ecstatic to see it in my hand. — bzgaming 66