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.

A while ago, Fantasy Flight had a Design Journal on their website, describing the two main kinds of cards they designed; the hit and the haymaker. The haymaker is an explosive, incredibly powerful but expensive effect, like Hour of Wrath or the Boromir bomb. The hit, on the other hand, is a more miniscule effect that is cheaper but needs time and most likely additional assistance to really help the players. Argalad definitely falls into this latter category.

First off, his stats: Argalad has a threat cost slightly lower than the average for heroes (9 vs. 9.26), while his is around the average (2 vs. 1.91) and his is slightly above average (2 vs. 1.91). His 1 clearly leaves him unsuited for defensive work, except in great need, though his 4 makes him able to eat some weak undefended attacks or direct damage from the quest.

So, Argalad should work best either for attacking or questing: the fact that he has Ranged pushes one more towards combat, but his ability makes him more useful for questing.

What of his ability, by the way? While lowering the of an enemy by 2, or more if you can pump up Argalad's , doesn't sound too impressive, and 1 point of damage sounds even less so, Argalad is a clear case of the power of 'hit' cards. Argalad's semi-low threat makes it easier to avoid enemies, and 's engagement trickery (Ranger Spikes, Take No Notice, Noiseless Movement, etc.) makes it even easier to trap enemies in the staging area, leaving you free to whittle them down with Argalad, who, conveniently, helps solve the main problem of leaving enemies in the staging area; having to deal with their .

Now, I am not saying that Argalad is a magic bullet; it takes time to destroy an enemy this way, point by point, and, more often than not, I merely use Argalad's ability to deal 1 damage to an enemy who then proceeds to engage my other deck, whose threat I am not so paranoid about keeping below engagement costs. But even then, Argalad is still handy, helping at least somewhat ease combat for the other deck.

Overall, Argalad does not provide the 'in-your-face' power of Éowyn or Boromir, but that is not to call him weak; he is definitely a 'hit' card, but a very good one, one who, like the Hobbits in Tolkien's work, is not impressive to look at but, in time of great doom, may deliver a stroke of great power, awesome even to the Wise, or may simply do what he can to till and clean the earth for those who come after him.

completely agree. not a BOOM kind of hero, but extremely solid in a trap deck with Haldir, or even in concert with Thalin. throw some attachments on Argalad and you're cancelling some serious threat. I love this hero. great review! —

This card is mental in a Dale deck. My first game playing a Dale deck I played two of these (number three was lost somewhere in the bottom of the deck) and gained 11 resources. Less the cost of the card, that’s a gain of 9 resources for two cards. (!)

Long story short, in the right deck this card is an awesome resource accelerator.