Haldir is one of my favourite heroes in the game. He is an archetype all unto his own, that of sniping out enemies in the staging area. And the best defence is truly a good offence in this hero’s case. Who cares about shadow effects let alone defending at all when you never have to engage enemies and can quietly pick them off in the staging area. Though a quick weakness of this archetype needs to be discussed, that that of enemies that either have incredibly low threat or are put directly into engagement with you. In either case Gaffer Gamgee is Haldir’s best friend to stall that Nazgul that decided to come knocking on your front door. And the also in sphere ally Mablung helps to reset your enemy back to the staging area where you can once again use him as target practice.

Warden really hit it home with his review so I will try not to echo his points too much and instead focus on him in a completed card pool.

With the addition of The Grey Wanderer, The One Ring, Strength and Courage, and Strider; Haldir can begin round one of every single game starting with a willpower of 4, not exhausting to quest, an attack of 7 and a mere starting threat of 9. You will spend most quests just quietly sneaking through Middle Earth and putting arrows into the forces of evil. With Golden Belt and some Elven weapons he can increase that attack to 11 fairly easily, and that can comfortably take out all but the strongest of boss enemies in the game.

In fact Haldir is the perfect answer to the insane challenge mode that Caleb Grace announced of playing every quest with the Day/Night mechanic.

If you haven’t given this ranger sniper a go, I highly recommend it and you won’t be disappointed.

For a fun build sample check out:

www.ringsdb.com

I’m yet to find Sam useful. The “higher threat” condition of his trigger means that his small +1 modifier is really only useful in the early game or against foes that you rarely wish to engage, and ignoring will power, his combat and defence stats are paltry even with the mod. The opportunity of utilising the will power mod are slim as it is rare that one can engage an enemy prior to or during questing, so for the most part Sam’s power is a non-power. Similarly, the hobbit cloak has the same condition which basically means only a short window before both he and cloak are redundant. Perhaps more useful in a low threat game but his threat level conversely makes Sam more relevant to high threat games. A neutered card for me.

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In the usual Hobbit line up (Sam/Pippin/Merry) you have plenty of time before your threat is higher then relevant enemies engagement cost (remember that Pippin raise that last number) and thus Sam is almost always able to ready and participate in combat when needed (and remember that Hobbits have some good threat reduction tools. And with the Hobbit cloak he is indeed a serviceable defender for an Hobbit deck. Also worth of note is that his Response has no limit so if you engage 2 enemies with higher engagement cost he gets +2 to all stats. —
Before panning one of the most versatile heroes in the game and a favorite of many players, I would suggest reading the above excellent reviews as they provide numerous ideas for how to make Sam work to excellent effect in a wide range of decks. —

The Evening Star, last of the Noldor discard events, mightiest of the Four. Beautifully illustrated by Katy Grierson, and flavored with the ending lines to a magnificent work of English poetry (a beautiful rendition of which can be found here), the Evening Star is an aesthete's dream, a work of beauty seemingly of Elvish quality. But does it bear the mark of their martial skill as well? Is it only fair to look upon, like stained glass, or does it have the strength to resist the Shadow?

First, it costs 2 to play, making it relatively expensive for an event. However, this cost has a hidden upside, one that I neglected to mention in my reviews of its cousins; it increases the consistency of Zigil Miner, who, as the Noldor Imladris Stargazer improves Dwarf mining decks, improves Noldor discard decks, demonstrating once again the great profit that Unlikely Friendship between these two races can forge. In addition to generating the resources to pay for the Noldor discard events, Zigil Miner helps dump them in the discard pile, powering up your remaining copies. The only thing that could improve this synergy further is a card like Zoey's Amulet from the Arkham Horror LCG, allowing repeated plays of the events while queuing them up again to be either drawn and played or discarded to help pay for the events you do play. But I digress.

Second, the Evening Star places 2 progress on a location. This is close to the power curve for events that place progress, few though those are, though I would argue that the Evening Star is actually above the curve in one respect; unlike Ancestral Knowledge and Strength of Will, but like Ride to Ruin and Expert Trackers, the Evening Star can target any location in play, not just the active location. This is incredibly powerful, allowing you to bypass bad Travel costs or deal with a high-, low-quest-point location that might end up location locking you.

Third, you then resolve this effect again for each copy of the Evening Star in your discard pile when you play it. Because events do not go to your discard pile until they resolve (allowing you to exhaust Mithlond Sea-watcher to pay Skyward Volley's additional cost if there's a character on the top of your discard pile), this means that you only start getting additional resolutions on your second Evening Star. However, as the first Evening Star you play is quite powerful on its own, capable of immediately exploring somewhere in the region of 109 locations, this isn't really a problem; the Evening Star starts out bright and gets brighter as you play more copies as opposed to starting dim and only getting bright when you play later copies (unlike poor Elwing's Flight). Once you do start playing your 2nd and 3rd copies, the Evening Star glows as bright as Earendil himself; being able to either explore multiple locations with ≤ 2 quest points (like the infamous Brown Lands) or being able to explore a bigger location (like Rhosgobel) is incredibly powerful, and being able to spend 2 resources to simply discard the East Bight, while inefficient, is still a great feeling.

And the sphere of those resources brings up my last point about the Evening Star. is justly famous for its card draw, allowing it to assemble multiple copies of the Evening Star much faster than , , and can assemble their respective variants. Daeron's Runes even helps you put copies of the Evening Star in the discard pile, though I personally believe that it's one of the few Noldor discard events that's fine even without copies in the discard pile (along with Anchor Watch, because X * 0 is still 0).

Overall, the Evening Star is like the Noldor it was meant to work with; beautiful to look upon, and at the same time a credible threat to the Shadow and its minions. Point-and-click location removal like this is incredibly powerful, and the sheer flexibility of the Evening Star (it can target locations in the staging area, it's a straight Action instead of a Quest Action) enhances that power. If you don't want to lose due to location lock but don't think that the quest you're trying requires consistent location control (i.e., the quest starts with a threatening location in play, but the other locations in it aren't too bad), follow the Flammifer of Westernesse and slot in the Evening Star; you'll find that, like the light it provided Sam in Galadriel's phial, it will light your darkest hours and truly earn the name Gil-Estel, Star of High Hope.

As if Helm! Helm! needed any more nails in its coffin. Yes, Worthy of Remembrance only deals damage instead of straight-up discarding the enemy, but it's cheaper, the ally doesn't have to be ready, the enemy doesn't need to be engaged with you (giving Worthy at least a niche in some quests in the form of blowing up archer enemies in the staging area) and most importantly you can trigger this before enemy attacks. However, to me there is one major flaw with this card, one that makes it much harder for me to justify including it in a deck;

It isn't called ...And the World's Ending! to more directly parallel Ride to Ruin. Huge missed opportunity on the developers' part.

This card could be fixed with one simple line of text:

After you play Brok Ironfist from your hand, he loses the ally card-type and gains the hero card type.

This would take him from coaster to boaster in no time!

I did consider after he enters play, but that would mean with Sneak Attack you'd be getting an extra hero for just 1 resource, so I think having to pay 6 resources in the sphere for a hero is not too bad.

Alternatively, he could be fixed by simply reducing his cost to 4 with no other changes and then he would be an auto-include in any dwarf deck as an insurance in case you lose a hero but without being a wasted card if not.

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