If I had to give this hero a score it would be an A, possibly even an A+.

I included him in a beorning deck for fun and thematic purposes, and boy was he fun. I underestimated him at first thinking that he would be a fun gimmick, but not as good as his younger self, and I was proven to be dead wrong. I would put him on par with his other version if not better. That's saying something considering I like the other hero Beorn a lot.

For one thing, he has sentinel which is great for me because I only play on multiplayer so I can support weaker combat decks.

His ability is reeaaaallllllllyyyyy good! I was so impressed at how many times I found myself using it. It is basically built in action advantage with a bonus that he reduces the enemies by 2, effectively giving him a boost in attack power.

His stats are also all in the right place so he functions effectively as a defender AND attacker.

I can see that Fantasy Flight designed him to help the player with combat for the early rounds before your deck gets set up. I wonder if you're allowed to make a deck with Grimbeorn the Old and Beorn? That would be fun!

Good designing Fantasy Flight! You guys have my approval.

You certainly can make a Beorn + Grimbeorn deck. These are different people -- this is Beorn's son (cub?). And you're right his ability is crazy powerful! —
Since his attack is part of a response, would you be allowed to use him for a second attack if you could ready him with unexpected courage? —
Yes you can ready him with cards like unexpected courage for a second attack - since there is no text on his card about limit once per phase / round. Any limits has to be specified or it's considered to have no limits. BUT remember that all the resources has to be spent from his personal pool. So you either have to save up, or make a combo that includes both readying AND resource-acceleration. —

Tom is a very fun card to use. I had a blast messing around with him in a semi-combat based hobbit deck. He combos sooooooooooo well with Raise the Shire, espesially when used with one of the stronger hobbits like Farmer Maggot. His first ability allows you to play allies from any sphere(Yay we can always have Rosie Cotton) and his second one increases the of hobbit allies the turn they enter play. Not to mention he is an amazing low threat here that can defend very well.

I have had a great success in my hobbit decks with this card, it is awesome cuz there are a surprising amount of uses for it. The most common use for it is with Merry because it lets you choose whether you want to quest with hum or use his ability to lower your threat. It lets you choose after encounter cards have been revealed so you know if you need the or not. The lesser known use is with Elevenses to put the attached hero back into the quest after using Elevenses on that hero, it lets you not give up that character's to use this card.

Also, Elevenses works great with Rosie Cotton with a Fast Hitch and Elevenses because she will never lose her willpower!

To be totally honest, I don't think I have ever used Fatty's ability. I have always just used him for his defensive stats which are actually pretty good, especially for a low threat hobbit(koff koff Bilbo). I'm kinda sad about this because I always liked Fatty as a character and it's a real bummer that Folco Boffin is amazing while Fatty's ability is awful. I hope they come out with a new version of Fatty eventually or errata this one to improve it(or both!).

I always try to make it a point to review cards that I initially think are pretty lame, and turn out to be a diamond in the rough after playing with them extensively, and Livery of the Tower is most certainly one of these.

The instant you see this card, the initial reaction should be to compare it to Blood of Númenor; it's same cost, same sphere equivalent. At first glance it appears much weaker, as it is unfortunately restricted, "more" restrictive on the type of heroes it can be played on, it's effects are only relevant for a single attack vs. the entire combat phase, and it makes any boost >1 more expensive. Indeed on most defensive characters, it probably isn't as good as Blood and I initially included 1x in my Beregond deck as a "2nd rate blood" option just to have 4x boosting options.

However, what I learned is that on Beregond (whom it's obviously designed to play on), there is a case to be made that it's actually a really good card that can outperform Blood in the right circumstances. To illustrate this, I need to do a little bit of math.

So Beregond already starts out at a hearty 4 , and let's be realistic, if you are playing Spirit Beregond you are probably auto-including 3x Arwen Undómiel for both compensatory and extra boost for a strong defensive sentinel character in sphere. That means in most games Beregond should be defending at 5. What this means is that for any single up to 6 (5 without Arwen), Livery is effectively mostly equivalent to Blood in boosting. However, it has an ADDED benefit of also being able to cancel any form of direct damage, whether it be from enemy ability or shadow effect. This also guarantees that you will trigger Beregond's reduction from this defense (since the way I read his ability, a shadow effect that does direct damage counts as "damage during an attack" and thus negates his ability). Blood does not stop direct damage. As enemy increases to 7+ (6+ without Arwen), the defensive boost on Livery gets marginally more expensive.

So which is better? Well that depends on the Circumstances. I'll look at each dynamic that impacts the decision numerically:

  1. Multiple enemy s at the defender's +1 or s at defenders +2 or greater make Blood a more attractive option, with it's attractiveness increasing with number or magnitude of enemy attacks. This also means that Blood is more likely to be a better option at lower while Livery becomes a more attractive option when is higher. For most decks on most heroes, Blood is going to tend to be better.... but one can argue in a properly built and played Beregond deck, by the time that you are facing multiple enemies with giant s in most decks, you are typically already in late game and should have a mountain of resources on him where the extra potential cost of Livery matters less.

  2. Quests with more direct damage very obviously favor livery, since it does protect against it whether it comes in the from of shadow effect or treachery. As mentioned earlier, cancelling direct damage shadow effects might allow Beregond to trigger his threat reduction in a circumstance where he otherwise might not have. More direct damage in a quest makes Livery much more valuable.

  3. Blood is applicable to a wider range of defensive heroes, so it does have that going for it although that is a deckbuilding problem and not a gameplay one.

  4. The biggest dig against Livery in my opinion is that it is restricted. This is a detriment because it discourages attachment stacking on big defensive heroes. However, once again this is less of a problem for spirit Beregond than it is for defenders of other spheres, as most of the defensive attachments in Spirit are not also restricted. It's a much bigger problem for Tactics Beregond who tends to want to accumulate other restricted attachments.

  5. Lastly, it's important to note that even in a deck/quest combination where you deem Blood to be the better option, Livery can still function as a 4x-6x "2nd rate" Blood in order to better concentrate the deck and increase the chances of a 0 cost defensive option in the opening hand.

In summary, Blood is a much easier played and generally powerful card overall, but Livery outshines Blood in certain builds, quests, and circumstances. Whichever one you deem to be a better option for your situation, the other can function as a less ideal substitute as well.