The Elvenking stands as both a brilliant yet strange attachment.

As a 1 cost unique, but not restrictive readying attachment that must be attached to a Silvan Hero, The Elvenking has many pros going for it. An action to ready makes it a cheaper Leadership equivalent to the omnipowerful Unexpected Courage. A deck building joy for Silvan decks that don't use Spirit, as Silvans are a 4 sphere archetype, though the inclusion of Spirit should not discourage the use of this card. Additionally, an action to ready makes it more versatile to other cheap, repeatable readying effects, such as Heir of Mardil or Snowmane, which have conditions for their readying powers.

Arguably, the two main contenders for The Elvenking are Thranduil and Celeborn. Thranduil to allow him to defend twice with his 3 or Celeborn to allow him another action in addition to using his 3 (making Mirkwood Long-knife a great choice for the Lord of Lorien).

Whilst there are no conditions on the readying effect, The Elvenking does come with an additional "cost" to activate; to return a Silvan Ally to your hand. Silvan players will note the immediate benefit to this cost; presenting the opportunity to play the Ally again for it's entering play effect, which is the main gimmick of Silvan decks. A guaranteed source of Ally recursion in such decks is a major boon in many cases to generate additional value. It synergies extremely well with mainstay Silvan engine/force multipliers such as Celeborn and Galadriel, showcasing the narritive harmony between the two Silvan Elvish realms quite nicely.

However, this additional cost is not without it's drawbacks. One cannot activate The Elvenking if one does not have a Silvan Ally to return. This is admittedly, not the most pressing drawback. More pressing is that The Elvenking fuels the traditional central tension of Silvan decks; the cost/benefit analysis of reducing your board state to fuel cheap, yet powerful effects. Unless the flicker effect immediately returns the Ally to the field i.e Host of Galadhrim, you must sacrifice your board state to activate many Silvan cards such as Feigned Voices, The Tree People, Defender of the Naith and Pursuing the Enemy. Thus, to gain the benefit of such cards and have the returned Ally in play, you must play, and therefore pay for, the Ally again. This puts a heavy toll on your resources to keep your board state developed, particularly for tri or quad sphere decks (though Thranduil helps smooth resources). This tension does provide most of the interesting decisions when piloting Silvan decks though it can be mitigated through in sphere resource generating cards such as O Lórien! or Steward of Gondor. Admittedly, The Tree People puts an Ally into play, hence it's ubiquitousness in Silvan decks.

Furthermore, deck building potential is stifled by the parasitic nature of the additional cost of returning a Silvan Ally. For Trait specific cards such as Herugrim and Fair and Perilous, one can make creative deck building choices by including Trait bestowing cards such as Nor am I a Stranger or Elf-friend. The return of a Silvan Ally cost means the card is only useful in Silvan decks. Whilst one could include The Elvenking in decks that have some Silvan Allies, in my opinion, it would be too inconsistent to justify it's slots in a deck.

Overall, The Elvenking is a fantastic inclusion in many Silvan decks. It allows for Ally recursion to generate Silvan enter play value on top of readying a Hero. It facilitates many interesting decisions, just don't thoughtlessly destroy your board state. What can men do against such reckless recursion?

Nice review. Though don't forget Galion! —
Thanks. Galion will be my next review. He's got a lot of goodness and strangeness around him that warrants it's own discussion. —

Mono only, and not an impressive ally in stats or abilities. However, being able to give any player a chump blocker for free at instant speed can't be all bad. Almost like a cheaper, less reliable Feint.

But a great Caldara enabler. —
And a decent teller of A Very Good Tale —

I'm a little surprised that no one has commented on this card yet as of 12/2/2023. It has a pretty solid 1-for-1 cost on Willpower to start, which certainly isn't amazing but makes me want to read on to the game text. It cannot chump block, which is a downside for sure. It's the ability that makes the card, though it's very niche. The kind of deck that wants Messenger Raven is one that's running scry effects like Imladris Stargazer, Gildor Inglorion, or Wizard Pipe. Hero Gandalf is moderately popular and since Vilya is one of the strongest cards in the game and pairs so well with scrying, there should be quite a few players running this kind of deck. On the other hand, Vilya always comes with Elrond so must be played alongside for the Messenger Raven (but is likely already added for Steward of Gondor and the raven is thus automatically available). In such a deck, the raven becomes essentially the ability of Gildor Inglorion (spend a buck to draw a card) and makes for a lovely resource dump for extra money.

its only good for radagast, else the is usually better —
The.... What? Your link isn't a link. And you didn't include a card name. —
I assume doomguard is referring to Expert Treasure-hunter, which is a 0-cost Lore attachment that essentially has the same effect. —
Note that in a deck with Elrond you do not need to include Leadership heroes to play the Messenger Raven due to Elrond's ability to pay for allies of each sphere. But yeah in a deck that does lot of scrying Expert Treasure-hunter is better. —
Wait I thought Elrond could simply pay for other spheres allies but didn't count as having the needed resource icon to play them from your hand —

I was going through the On The Doorstep cards and I noticed that this card has no reviews, so I felt like I should leave one. I normally don't like events that boost stats temporarily. But this card offers you a big boost - you get to add Bilbo's total , and to each of the stats of another character. This means you're getting a minimum of 3 of each stat added to another character for one phase, which could be as much as 6 or 9 or even more if you have Sting or Burglar Baggins! And the quests in the second half of the Hobbit saga are tough, so you might end up needing such a huge temporary boost to push through a questing or combat barrier. I didn't use this card much during my first play of the Hobbit saga, but now that I've rethought it, I'm going to give it another better try.

PS: This whole review was prompted because I noticed that this card is right in the middle of the player card list for On the Doorstep despite the other and cards being at the end of the player card list for the other saga expansions. At first I was curious why this was, but then I noticed that it's because they made this card's number 13. Very clever.

PPS. EDIT: I know this card's wording isn't the clearest about whether you add the sum of Bilbo's stats to the other character (e.g. +3 to each stat with unmodified Bilbo) or just his individual stats (e.g. +1 to each stat with unmodified Bilbo). But what convinces me that you add the sum is that the text says "total." If the text didn't say "total," then it would be clear that it adds Bilbo's individual stats and not the sum of his stats. Also because spending a resource and a card just to give a character +1 to each stat for one phase is rarely worth it, especially considering you only get to use cards in quests in The Hobbit saga, which is only 6 quests out of the whole game, and those quests make you want to hang onto your resources to use for other things.

I don’t think this is correct. The card says “respectively” so the target character will get +1 willpower, +1 attack, +1 defence (assuming unmodified Bilbo). —
@tburrows What makes me believe the other character gets +3 to each stat is because the card says to add the "total" to each stat "respectively", which gives me the idea that you sum up the 3 stats and then add the total to each stat separately. And because spending 1 resource and a card to add 1 to each stat for one phase is nearly useless, especially when you consider that you can only use this in The Hobbit saga, which is only 6 quests in the entire game, and the fact that you need to spend a <span class="icon-baggins"></span> resource on it, which the quests in The Hobbit saga require you to spend at specific points. —
Whoops, it looks like the formatting of my comment reply above got messed up. The last sentence should say "Baggins resource" instead of that code nonsense. —

This Elvish cloak is a niche card and has lots against it on the outlook. There are other, better attachments that boost raw defence, it's limited to Noldor and Silvan, limit 1 and it requires to be played against quests that have forests to even gain the +2 defence. However, there are 2 aspects to this card that I believe make it stand out and warrent consideration in deckbuilding.

The first is that is it only 1of 2 attachment cards in the Lore sphere that provides a raw defence boost, the other being Protector of Lórien. In multisphere decks, it may be worth considering your defence boosts to come from Lore if you already have too many cards in the other spheres to help smooth the resources. Cloak may also gain the edge over Protector if discarding cards to fuel Protector is an issue and you would rather the static +1.

The second advantage is that Cloak is a raw defence boost that is not limited to Heros, it can be played on Noldor and Silvan Allies. This flexibility in the right decks, specifically decks that are wanting to use allies are thier main line of defence, makes Cloak a more viable choice. The best allies that come to mind for Cloak are Guardian of Rivendell and Greenwood Defender. Noldor decks in particular that utilise Círdan the Shipwright and Narya can turn two Guardian of Rivendell allies into brutal defence and killing machines whilst making them a bit more durable against those higher attack enemies.

Cloak is by no means a card that has broad applications, nor will it ever be anything but a niche defence attachment in certain decks, but it has it value and will help keep some of your defenders alive.

Third advantage is that it's not restricted. I always include at least one copy of this in any Lore deck where I think the primary heroic defender will be a Silvan or Noldor. It won't block any other defensive attachments. A permanent extra point of defense (sometimes two) is *always* worth a resource and a card to me. —
Fantastic point. —