Let's analyze Core set Lorien Guide almost 9 years later against a full Spirit card pool.

As of Cycle 9, AP 1 (Vengeance of Mordor - Wrath and Ruin), there are 56 allies, and the average across all of them gives these stat values per point of resource cost: 0.57 , 0.33 , 0.34 , and 0.79 .

Lorien Guide's cost of 3 means it needs 3x the above, or 1.75 , 1 , 1 and 2.4 to meet the Spirit ally card pool average. Clearly it falls short in willpower, defense (which likely doesn't matter as you will be questing with this card every round or using it as a desperation chump blocker), and health (barely).

However, this card has a subtle bonus. Adding one progress to an active location is roughly equivalent to adding 1 as long as you have an active location. This brings the equivalent to 2 - which is just above the cost to willpower average for spirit allies.

Another minor downside to needing an active location is this bonus is almost useless on the first turn of play - since the turn sequence does not allow you to have an active location until after you quest. However, the odds of this card being able to be played (much less desired to be played) on turn one are low - unless you mono-sphere Spirit or have some other resource generation on turn one.

The upside of this bonus making it worth more than one , is if you fail a quest - either intentionally or by happenstance - yet still have an active location with one point left before it is explored. Lorien Guide will clear that location, allowing the group to travel to another one and remove its threat from the staging area.

This becomes equivalent of up to 5 , on the next round. Opening up travel a round earlier after a quest fail, means you no longer need to overcome that threat next round to progress - and this benefit applies even if the Lorien Guide is killed off during the quest phase the next round!

Of course there are many other cards in sphere that do similar function of placing progress on a (active) location, but they all have drawbacks (and advantages) compared to Lorien Guide:

The Riddermark's Finest will progress 2 on the active location, but you must exhaust (can't quest with it) and discard it (!) to do so. Strength of Will also places 2, but you must have drawn this card, must discard it, and have a Spirit character non-exhausted - which means you likely didn't get its use during the quest phase. Steed of Imladris is repeatable and also progresses 2, but has recurring usage costs and takes 3 cards to set up: (1) a restricted slot on a hero, (2) the Steed itself, and (3) a discarded card on each use. Woodland Courier with one less cost and one less is not repeatable without "Silvan bouncing" actions, and will only add 1 location progress once on entering play.

Out of sphere, there is the overpowered Asfaloth. But it is out of sphere, and regardless, it can work in conjunction with Lorien Guide.

Lorien Guide still retains a niche after all these years. One card, decently survivable with 2 , and since you are questing each round, the recurring bonus takes no effort or action outside of making sure there is an active location.

I'm not suggesting that Lorien Guide is a "must play" ally. But it is still a good card with a unique bonus useful in some situations and deck builds.

This recurring bonus helps it overcome its initially poor looking 3 cost, 1 ratio, especially if playing progression style.

At first, I thought this card was severely limiting - because the full benefit only applies with Gimli. But a deeper analysis of this card combined with equivalent Hero pairs changed my mind. This is a very underappreciated hero.

Lets compare Legolas plus Gimli, vs. the best quest hero in game - Éowyn plus (another hero). Let's also focus on early game first turn, when every advantage is critical. Both Legolas and Éowyn start with 9 threat, so that is equal.

The first comparison layer is questing Willpower . Spirit Éowyn discards one card to get 5 , and Eowyn is exhausted. Legolas plus Gimli discards one card to get 4 , and only Legolas is exhausted.

And of course, a built in Spirit Hero discard mechanic is useful for the usual Spirit sphere combos: out of sphere Ally play using Stand and Fight, card draw recursion with Elven-light, and you can even negate the discard with Silver Harp.

So with the first comparison layer, Legolas (+Gimli) is almost on par with the best quest Hero in game, Spirit Éowyn (+ some other hero) - each exhausting only themselves while opening up the discard mechanic. Yes, Gimli is also "exposed" to quest action encounter cards, this may be a good or a bad thing - but he certainly gives more hit point options to sop up unexpected quest damage.

We then go to the second comparison layer to see the benefits of the Legolas/Gimli combo. Defending Gimli can ready Legolas in the combat phase for one resource, and also adds 1 attack to Legolas, bringing him to 4 . Thus the combo of these two hero friends brings the following by the end of the first round:

Legolas + Gimli = Three phase actions: 4 to quest, 2 (with 5 hit points backing the defender) vs. an engaged enemy, and 4 to strike back. Cost: 1 card discard, 1 resource spent, 20 starting threat.

What paired hero would it take for Éowyn to match this? We need to get extra actions out of this hero, with decent stats on attacking/defending, at the cost of one resource. Aragorn comes to mind. He comes in at one more threat, but can spend a resource to ready himself after questing. This totals to:

Éowyn+Aragorn = Two phase actions: 7 to quest, and "one of" 2 (with 5 hit points backing the defender) to defend an engaged enemy, OR 3 to strike back. Cost: 1 card discard, 1 resource spent, 21 starting threat.

Basically trading off 3 questing in exchange for an action loss of either defending or attacking (with one less ). Sentinel vs. Ranged can be treated as roughly equivalent multi-player extras.

Is one pair superior to the other? They each have their situational best uses, but I think in the long run, the extra action advantage of the Elf and Dwarf could offset the loss of 3 additional from the "not-fated for each other" human couple, especially in an enemy heavy encounter deck.

Legolas and Gimli can quest, optionally engage, defend, and attack each round. They even start at 20 so you can play with just two heroes and starting secrecy. Meanwhile, Éowyn+Aragorn would not be able to reliably reduce an increasing enemy staging threat, and combat with the pair would be longer, and with more risk, since that duo can only attack, OR defend.

Legolas and Gimli can also add the same Aragorn as the third hero, making for a very thematic and powerful combo. There is no third hero to pair with the Éowyn and Aragorn combo to reach equivalent power.

And with the new contract card, Forth, the Three Hunters! having no allies available makes built-in Hero readying even more important, especially with the thematic trio mentioned here.

Having looked at all this, I think Legolas is a great Hero card. Sure, you have to pair him with Gimli to get the most out of it, but given the analysis above - you should absolutely make that pairing when playing either hero.

This also shows how the card designers made such a thematic pairing in the novels, equally compelling in game. Well done, FFG.

I haven't yet tried him with Gimli but that will be my next pairing! Been having lots of fun running him with Elrond —

Do you ever find yourself swimming in cash and yet not the right cards in hand? This is the card you want to include then. Sometimes if steward is played early to get the right cards out the gate, you might find yourself with a ton of cash and no cards to play. This is why drinking song is so popular in this sphere.

I believe it to be unfair to say this is one of the worst cards in the game. First of all, there is no limit to X. Heck, if you have 20 lore resources you can reorder the next 20 cards of your deck. Toss duplicates near the bottom, vital cards to the top. You can combo it with vilya. You can use it for a very good tale. Or zigil miner. Or recur card draw for the next x/2 turns with expert treasure hunter. You can get timing right with thror's ring, hidden cache, or other discardable cards. In certain quests (the riddle one comes to mind) deck scrying is very important. The pure versatility of this card makes it worth it. Yes galadriel costs 3 and puts one into play -- shes a great card for sure. She also leaves play at the end of the round, so it's not a permanent boon. Also her attachment trick might whiff. So while galadriel is an excellent card, she does not set the standard for how scrying should work nor is it a perfect card to begin with.

I will say I do not play with this card often, but I could name 10 cards worse than this one right off the bat.


I feel like Warden summarized most aspects of this card already, but the only thing I would add is that with the new Burglar's Turn contract or guarded player cards in general when it comes to solo play this is a great way to select what you want to go up against and keep a location stocked when you need one most.

This card is one of the most unique ways to manipulate the encounter deck and so far one of the very few ways to put certain encounter cards back into it, especially ones that you want to draw again (such as helpful locations in some quests).

I can see why people wouldn't rate this ally, and initially I didn't either - Silvans were just too squishy for this to be that helpful. Now that they are a much more robust archetype though, the value of these has increased dramatically. They are perfect for keeping your Silvan heroes (especially Thranduil) healthy. They are also a great way to deal with Archery, as you can scatter the damage across multiple characters (most of the better Silvan allies have two hp, so can take a hit each), who will all heal in the refresh phase. Has definitely gone from somewhat of a coaster, to a card I use regularly in my Silvan decks.