Everyone knows Eleanor's deal, there's no need to rehash it. In higher player counts and against quests with especially brutal treacheries, she's one of the best insurance cards in the game. In lower player counts or against quests with more typical treacheries, her ability is rarely useful enough to justify the heavy hit to your starting board state from bringing her. Since I mostly play true solo with a smattering of two-handed, I can appreciate her power, but I virtually never play her.

Or at least, that was true until Helm of Secrecy. The helm isn't a super popular card, and I get why. Since it's a 1-of, you can't count on seeing it until you're fairly well established-- and even if you could, you won't be able to afford to drop four resources to replace one hero with another (who, thanks to the printed threat restriction, is likely weaker than the first one) until you're in a pretty strong position. But if the first hero was good enough to get you into that position in the first place, why would you want to replace him or her?

But some heroes really front-load the value they provide. Denethor would perhaps be the most famous example-- often I'll run decks where he's the only leadership hero and Steward of Gondor is the only leadership card. Once Steward is down, he passes his one resource per round to the hero in your "main" sphere or occasionally just uses it to pay for neutrals. There are other examples-- Erestor or Galdor of the Havens in combo decks once they've gotten you to all your key pieces, say. Thurindir, Gilraen, or Widfast if you just want the setup effect.

And in decks like that, I love Helm of Secrecy as a toolsy late-game option. Once Denethor is no longer contributing much, why not chuck him and replace him with a new hero? The new hero will need to be cheap, which means you're probably not grabbing them for their stats but for their ability. And "on-demand treachery cancellation" is one of the most impactful abilities in the card pool. (Plus seven printed threat makes it an easy pivot no matter who you're tossing.) Once your board is established, about the only thing you have to fear is a terrible treachery coming along and wrecking it.

There are lots of other quality "toolsy" heroes you can pivot to. Théodred for resource acceleration, Merry or Galadriel for threat reduction, Either version of Beregond for a clutch defender, Balin for shadow cancellation, Dúnhere for picking off shy enemies, Legolas for ranged attack and progress, Frodo Baggins for the ultimate in hero insurance. But the frequency with which I find myself just automatically grabbing Eleanor even in true solo reinforces how much peace of mind her ability really provides.

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I'm relatively new to this game and am wondering why this card has no reviews as yet.

Lothiriel has quickly endeared herself to me as my favourite quester. I'm getting the feeling that more people prefer spirit Eowyn. My preference is for Lothiriel. Given that she has one less printed willpower: why?

For one thing, she costs one less threat point. But that's hardly the reason, on its own, for my preference. It's her ability I really love...

Assuming that you have Eomer in play (which gives her the Rohan trait) , there are just so many opportunities to put cards into play (albeit for questing only) for free. Got a Rohan character in hand that could help with questing? No worries, bring them along for free. A Gondor character? Well they could come instead. A noble character? Sure... Why not. Granted , they only stick around for one round (she looks well enough but maybe she has bad breath?) before waving goodbye to the fair lady. But boy can you quest fast with this gal! For instance, say you have an Escort From Edoras in hand. Normally, you'd pay 2, it would give you four willpower towards a quest and then disappear. With Lothiriel in play, it'll do the same thing but for free. And four willpower for free, even if for one phase only, seems pretty awesome to me. Compare that with the apparently more popular Eowyn... get rid of one card for only one more willpower.

But what I really love is that when Lothiriel puts a character into play for free, you not only get the benefit of that character's willpower for free, but also that character's card text for free. For example, bring a Westfold Horse-breeder questing for free and have a look through your deck for a mount attachment as a bonus. Or bring a Westfold Lancer along and do some damage to some creature lurking in the staging area while you're at it. Eomund with Lothiriel is one of my favourite combos... He comes along for the quest (again, for free) and, when waving goodbye, readies every other Rohan character in play. What's not to love?

And if all that wasn't enough... when Lothiriel's chums leave her side, they (generally) don't get discarded, but go back into the deck, ready to join her again at some critical point.

Having played Anduin a good number of times, with various kinds of decks (to get a feel for the game) I eventually plucked up courage to face the infamous Dol Guldur. Used a couple of random decks and took a beating. Thought about what was needed and realised... "OK, I need to quest hard but I can only play one ally from my hand per round.... BUT. I can sneak them in another way." Again, enter Lothiriel. Built a deck around her (and a second deck to compliment it) and BOOM. Instant win. Fluke? Tried it again... and again... and again. I'd estimate an 80 percent win rate. I'm now building up to trying the thing true solo. I'll see if Lothiriel can work as the linchpin.

So if you haven't tried a deck with Lothiriel, I'd recommend taking her along with Eomer and loading up a deck with useful allies that share a trait with her.

Apologies to all those people to whom all these musings of a newbie are either completely obvious, outdated in the light of later cards, or both

Just so you know this version of the card is a re-release for the starter deck so people left their reviews on the original version. Great review! I would love to see more of these starter deck versions of cards get reviews and have intended to give some myself but never found time. —
As it turns out there was only one review on the other version of Lothiriel so I guess she is underrated lol —
Thanks for the comments. I wasn't really aware that some of the cards had changed. I'll check it out and try to write some more reviews. I tried to a short one on Escort from Edoras but Rings DB wouldn't let me post it. Something about my reputation not being hight enough. But I can't find any further info about that. Anyone know how it works? —

This attachment slots into my Noldor builds quite nicely for the following reasons:

  • with a cost of 0, Erestor decks never have to worry about not affording it
  • Noldor decks are capable of bringing large amounts of to bear very quickly, which is necessary to benefit from the Almanac
  • it's a great target for Reforged, and so can be brought into play at strategic moments
  • unlike The Evening Star, you are not forced to run 3x for max effectiveness

There are many quests that will place unfriendly (or high ) locations into staging early and often, and it is a great feeling to just dodge things like Rolling Seas, Eregion, or the burning ships in Raid on the Grey Havens. Explorer's Almanac may not be a staple, but it has its place in the card pool.

Wiglaf has a strange action description because the mention is to exaust an attachement to ready him.. any kind of attachemnent like contract, condition like spider web, item, artifact, title.. is correct? I'm playing with him like (MotK) Wiglaf.. I ready him once per fase for every attachemnents he as, maybe a Strider. I hotel to play correct.. thanks for answers..

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Note that Messenger of the King has text on Side B that reads: Messenger of the King is immune to card effects while attached character is in play. So Wiglaf cannot exhaust MotK to use his ability. —
Yes ok, but the other attachemnents? —
Yes any other attachments you control (so no to Spider Web since you must control a card to use to pay a cost, like exhausting it). So yeah if you give MotK Wiglaf Strider you can exhaust Strider to ready Wiglaf. Yeah he has some great innate action advantage. Too bad that with MotK you miss out on Wiglaf's Response. —
Yes but he has no hight threat level and a lot of trait that we can combine with other, like warrior scout and dale.. i find him a sourprise to play. —

This card with Beregond is legit amazing. It's a great way to keep enemies occupied and out of the encounter deck. I legit do not want to kill them because it's like you are just toying with them.

[How do I make this review 200 characters long...]