Not sure what other people's experience with this card, but personally, I think that having an unique hobbit and cost of 2 is enough. Readying only damaged ones brings this over into "too nische" territory, unless the quests is filled with mass damage/archery effects. Most of the ones I happen to play don't, so this card is basically dead most of the time for me.

Well since a lot of Ents have ways to damage themselves (Hero Treebeard, Hero and Ally Quickbeam, Beechbone, Derndingle Warrior) and other are often sent to defend I think it's not too difficult to find a good time to use it. My main gripe with this card is the 2 cost, I find the other restrictions enough, but 2 cost in the most resource-starved sphere is harsh. For 2 resources I would have expected at least a global effect. —

I'm not sure whether I like this new version of Aragorn. Do I like the ability? Yes - the natural ability to deal with location-lock is obviously a powerful one. The problem though is that in order to use his ability, you are going to have to forego questing with him, which is counter-productive when you are trying to deal with location lock in the first place, or find some readying effect so that he can do both. As he is in the spirit sphere that shouldn't be too hard to do but most of the time, you'd probably prefer to use his 3 attack or reserve him for defence, particularly as your starting threat is likely to be high as he contributes 12 just on his own. This version also having Sentinel is great to see again but it gives you another reason to not use his ability if other players are relying on him to defend for them.

Another benefit of his ability is that you can wait until after staging to clear any potential high threat, single quest point locations that are revealed from the encounter deck (yes I'm looking at you, Brown Lands), but the problem here is that there are only 10 different locations in the entire game with just 1 quest point (11 if you include the Mountain Roots in Solo) and his ability is limited to once per round. Furthermore, nearly half of those would not be impacted unless you have some way of boosting his as they have a higher than his unmodified . Again, this shouldn't be too hard to remedy given there's plenty of options in sphere, but until you do, he effectively is just contributing 4 to questing, something you could quite easily do with Aragorn with a Celebrían's Stone and still have him ready to do everything that this new version can do. I might add that with this powerful artifact attached, Aragorn gains a icon and so would give you access to a powerful ally that renders this ability almost useless, which has also existed since the core set. I am of course talking about our trusty Northern Tracker, which adds 1 progress to every location in the staging area every time it quests. Admittedly, it is one of the more costly allies at 4 resources, but within the sphere resources are easy to come by and there are other ways of getting it in to play for less cost (i.e. A Very Good Tale or Timely Aid) that don't require you to have found Celebrían's Stone to play allies off-sphere.

So why would you choose to use Aragorn over his counterpart or any of his other versions for that matter? Firstly, you might just be bored of playing cards from the core set, however, if that's the case, I doubt this version of Aragorn would excite you as it is essentially the same basic hero as the version from the core set and you are almost guaranteed to want to use Unexpected Courage with him. No, I think the main reason you might want to use Sparagorn is if you have a number of different types of location, some that punish you for travelling to them and some that punish you for clearing them. In these circumstances, you are more likely to want to clear individual locations out of the staging area as opposed to using your Northern Tracker to clear them all. I can also see him working in a secrecy 'Strider' deck as he would then be questing for 4 and would always have the option to use his ability to clear out locations, which he would be much more effective at. He would also have in-sphere access to a host of threat reduction to keep him in secrecy and below enemy engagement costs and a number of readying effects in Unexpected Courage, Miruvor, Defiant Challenge, Desperate Defense etc.

Overall, I'm not hugely excited about this version of the King of Gondor but I can see some situational uses for his ability and he does belong to the most powerful sphere IMO. I think he would be best used within a secrecy questing/support deck chipping in with a bit of defence using Sentinel, whilst another player takes on the majority of combat.

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You know who loves this card? Glóin, that's who! With a side of Lore healing, this Dwarf will have such a delicious breakfast Pippin and Merry would be jealous! Dual defending on a turn? Sure! Warden of Healing would love to help with that. What if Glóin want to go alone? He has a good sense of Self Preservation after all!

If somehow his son got him the The One Ring, he would surely become the most Well Preserved Ring-Bearer of all time! Not to mention the wealthiest! Other minor Magic Rings can also be effective, albeit obviously on a bit smaller scale.

For those who like 'What if' scenarios, or weird anachronistic deckbuilding archetypes, he could sign the Forth, The Three Hunters!, instead of his son, getting Elrond to replace Legolas and keep Aragorn for questing and attacking. What if he becomes The Grey Wanderer and fetch this as the primary attachment, I wonder... Ok, I'm stopping right here, this got silly pretty fast.

Still! This is a nice card to have with Glóin if you like his shenanigans.

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One of my favorite target is Elrond himself, to better use his stats (having him act twice or using Vilya and still have him act once). It can be triggered with lot of cards but the easiest setup is with Theodred (player's order permitting if in a Fellowship). —

Bold statement time: Rhovanion Outrider > Northern Tracker. I will die on this hill.

First off, the Outrider is slightly cheaper, which is always good. In addition, the Outrider is Dale, which means you can reduce its cost with King of Dale, which is overpowered (in my opinion), while Northern Tracker is Dunedain, meaning that if you want to reduce its cost you have to use Heir of Valandil, a card that's much iffier.

Second, in exchange for the cheaper cost, you only get slightly reduced stats relative to the Tracker, -1 and -1 (which can be a problem, admittedly). This does make the Outrider's statline a little weaker, but it preserves the 2 that is so useful for while shaving a resource off the cost. However, all of this is ignoring the Outrider's textbox, a fatal mistake.

Rhovanion Outrider's textbox is fairly simple; after committing it to the quest, place 1 progress on a location in the staging area. This is clearly a weaker Northern Tracker the majority of the time (though there are some exceptions to this), but there's an additional part that makes the Outrider more interesting; if that doesn't explore a location, the Outrider gets +1 . This is where the Outrider really begins to show its quality vs. the Tracker; it's an ability that triggers upon committing to a quest that, for once, isn't on a character with only 1 . At worst, assuming there's a location in the staging area that you can place progress on, the Outrider is a 2 ally with 2 , which isn't good for 3 resources but isn't the worst. Yes, the Outrider does only have 1 if it does explore a location with its Response, but the majority of locations that you'll want to explore have more than 1 ; by exploring them, you effectively replace the +1 boost with +X , where X is the of the location you explored -1 (the Outrider's starting ).

Great, you say. But why don't I just use Northern Tracker for all that? It functions almost exactly the same, reseting the encounter deck's board state with regard to locations every few turns. Is spending 3 for a laser better than spending 4 for a nuke? The majority of the time, I'd say yes, partially because saving money allows you to spend it on other useful things (and has a lot of them), and because of an assumption made in one of my earlier statements; if the majority of locations that you want to explore have more than 1 , it must then follow that there are some locations you don't want to explore. And there are, typically low-, high-quest point ones. The Core Set has a great example in the form of Endless Caverns. With Surge, Doomed, and only 1 , Endless Caverns is much better to see in the staging area than shuffled back into the encounter deck. With the Outrider's surgical strike capabilities, you can avoid that; zap any threatening locations with the Outrider, leave the Caverns in the staging area until the end of time. Northern Tracker doesn't have this; it's a tidal wave, sweeping over good and bad alike. It can get rid of Tower Gate and The Necromancer's Pass, yes, but it will also put Endless Caverns in the discard pile to be shuffled back into the encounter deck and make your life miserable again. Or, for a more extreme example, look at Nightmare Mode Journey Along the Anduin; to be precise, look at Gladden Marshlands and A Flooded Ford. Gladden Marshlands would really, really appreciate location control to help whittle it down. But what if A Flooded Ford comes up shortly afterwards, followed by the East Bight so you can't travel to the Marshlands to get rid of them? The Outrider would be able to target the Marshlands with laser-like precision, while Northern Tracker would, unless you have 6 of them out at once, pretty much doom the players to threating out.

Rhovanion Outrider is a more specialized Northern Tracker, slimming down on potentially unneeded stats and ability targets in exchanged for higher and lower cost. And as the economist in me is happy to notice, in this case, 9 times out of 10 specialization wins.

Nice review, I would only add that sometimes in multiplayer where locations gathering in the staging area the Northern Trackers are still the better card since they might end up placing many more progress tokens each round gettin the group out of some bad situations the Outriders would not be able to. Still they are a very good card. —