This is not a review per se, but rather me pointing out an easteregg: This card actually depicts Caleb Grace, the main designer for LOTR for the past 7 or so cycles. It is customary at FFG to allow employees of five years to make cameos in their products.

Source: kotaku.com

Ceorl is quite possibly one of the best allies from the Dream-chaser cycle. Sure, against Veteran Sword-elf, Master Ironsmith, and Soldier of Dol Amroth that's not much competition, but I'd say he can stand his ground even against the likes of Marksman of Lórien (which is actually really really OP, hashtag change my mind) and Glorfindel.

First off, the most important thing about Ceorl; he's cheap. 2 is pretty much nothing, and while 1 isn't stellar, it is serviceable, and his 2 cost for 2 is a ratio often restricted to allies, while his 2 means he won't die to a stray damage like Silverlode Archer. Ignoring his text box, Ceorl is already a solid one-of in pretty much any deck.

When you take his text box into account, Ceorl really starts showing his quality. Spending 1 is arguably a bit expensive, especially if you want to consistently ready Ceorl, but there is one major mitigating factor: Ceorl is , just like the best card in the game, meaning that you can slap Steward of Gondor on a hero, turn it 90 degrees sideways, and ready Ceorl pretty much constantly.

And you want to know who one of the best targets for Steward of Gondor is? Círdan the Shipwright, because of his potential to go dual-sphere with Narya- Wait a minute, that's and together right there. Ceorl is a fantastic target for Narya, being able to, if you play your cards right, be declared as an attacker, ready with Narya, have 3 for the first attack due to the timing window, hit another enemy for 3 , then ready with a resource to hit another thing for 3. That's three attacks with as much base as Legolas for 12 starting threat, 2 resources, 1 , two , and whatever it cost you to ready Círdan. The ability to pass Ceorl to other players isn't to be forgotten either, giving them either 2 extra , an emergency chump who won't be killed by "Deal 1 damage to the defending character," or even just an extra body for the likes of Sailing or Hide tests.

All in all, Ceorl is a great ally without his text box, providing with cheap , and with his text box he can be a real workhorse, questing while still being able to attack, potentially multiple times. Add in Narya for more and Faramir for and Ceorl can quickly turn from just another unique ally into a superhero.

This is the card your allies have been waiting for!

In the spirit realm I would rate it as one of the strongest allies for its cost. On it own it's not steller but once you use its action to attach to another Ally you really get to see how good this horse can get. Counting as restricted means Ents and Eagles are out, but the rest of the Ally pool is wide open and fair game.

It's best paired up with already strong allies to push them into hero-stats levels and even better with ones that have some readying effects (or paired up with Leadership Faramir (or valiant determination attachment) to be able to use their cross-boosted stats multiple times in a round.

My favourite targets are Hobbit ally Gandalf who becomes a 5/5/5 monster stronger than any other hero that can quest and battle since he doesn't exhaust to quest. Other decent ones are Boromir, Gimli and Wiglaf who all benefit from the boosted stats and built in readying.

Hope you enjoy this excellent steed for our allied friends!

One of the strongest Spirit heroes in the game. Arwen was later to enter the game as a hero but she sure made a splash once she did. Solid stats compliment a lower cost hero that can either quest or defend decently. But it's her ability that really stands out, similar to the core set Eowyn and SoH Spirit Legolas she discards a card from your hand to grant a benefit, in this case it's a resource, and it has further effect by being able to be placed on any Noldor hero or thematically her husband Aragorn, to smooth a multi-coloured hero pairing.

Obviously you want to combine her with some card draw to fuel her ability so you have things to spend your extra resources on, and on that note she combines excellently with the Elven Light card released in the same pack to be able to actually re-use the effect again and again while also giving up card draw. For fun try pairing her up with Spirit Legolas and Eowyn for some extra Elven Light madness.

She fits in any deck requiring a Spirit hero but also works particularly well with Noldor discard decks that want you to put certain cards in your discard pile. If you haven't tried her with Cirdan and Caldera, you definitely should.

There you have it, another massive thematic win and incredibly powerful representation of one of Tolkien'a female heroines. There aren't many of them in the original lore but thankfully all of them are well represented game-changing powerhouses.

Firyal is the best ally in the game. I will die on this hill.

Perhaps the best way to answer those who disagree with this statement is to ask which other ally has a more powerful effect on the game. Gandalf is of course the go to choice here, and understandably so. His abilities can be game saving and game changing. About to threat out? Play Gandalf. Too many enemies around for healthy living? Gandalf again. And if one is ever in need of an extra surge of willpower to push you over the top, Gandalf will answer the call. The downside? Gandalf is one of those allies who only stick around for one round. As such, he is generally more like an event card and can be hard to compare. However, though she works in a differant way than Gandalf, Firyal can be even more effective. Gandalf is great at taking down an extra difficult enemy, or just knocking one off if there are too many around. But with Firyal, that enemy might never have been in play to begin with. Gandalf can reduce your threat by 5 points at a time, but treachery cards are the main source of threat increase. With Firyal, those Treachery cards will never make it farther than the discard pile. In fact, Firyal operates mainly through prevention. Treachery, enemy, location, and especially encounter side quest, if your're not ready to handle it at the moment, the Haradrim scout will make sure you don't have to. Now, many people have compared her ability to that of the hero Denethor. However, though Denethor can avoid a difficult card, in the end he can only postpone its arrival because it will never leave the encounter deck. Firyal on the other hand will discard it, ensuring that the player will not have to worry about it until the encounter deck is reset. And for those treachery cards that require one to put the top enemy of the discard pile into play, Firyal merely works her magic again. In addition, Denethor must exhaust to trigger his ability, thus costing him an action. Firyal triggers her ability when she commits to a quest, allowing her to put her three willpower to good use. Another ally which many people consider to be the best in the game is the mighty ent, Treebeard. Firyal can prevent much of what Gandalf is so good at remedying, but how does she compare to this statistical monster? For this is precisely what Treebeard is. With four attack and three defense, as well as five hit points, he needs very little help to take down most enemies and as a defender can tank any attack in the game. In addition, he has an inbuilt readying ability which he can trigger every other round, allowing him to be a huge force during combat as well as giving him a good opportunity to contribute with his two willpower. And all of this still leaves out his extremely low cost! For a statline of fourteen points, four resources is cheap. Any other ally in the game would cost at least seven. This is partially balanced by the fact that he enters the game exhausted, but still he remains an absolute steal. And when one plays him in the context of ents, his abilities are magnified even further. How does Firyal compare to this powerhouse of combat energy? First of all, one must consider that each ally's strengths are inherently different. Treebeard focuses on dominating the game statistically in the resource and combat phases. Firyal on the other hand, though she does provide major questing support, ensures through her skrying ability that one will not be overwhelmed by the encounter deck. One must then ask the question, "Which is more important?" The answer is without a doubt the latter. If a card with surge is never revealed, or a nasty treachery card can never reach the table, one might never need Treebeard's readying action, threat out, or lose a hero to damage. In the end, Firyal's preventative ability will do more for you than any amount of Gandalf cards or extra actions ever can.

No honorable mention for core Faramir? I'm disappointed! —
Firyal's utility varies also a lot depending on if you are playing solo or not, in 4 players she definitely has less value than Faramir for me. —
You convinced me! She seems amazing. And currently she is running against Treebeard for utility and Gandal OHaUH for sheer boss-hero-factor. I haven't got to Harad yet but looking forward to try her out. —