Aside from the weird Legend of Zelda Zora-esque armor, Guardian of Rivendell is an amazing card. First, those states: 3 cost is a bit expensive, but him being neutral means that you can play him the turn you draw him in a 3 hero deck, and his cost-to-stat ratio is Ent-worthy, with 1 that you probably won't use most of the time, 2 that you will use sometimes, and 3 and 3 that you'll use a lot of the time.

However, speaking of cost-to-stat ratios brings up his text box and the additional cost it incurs, in the form of forcing you to discard 2 cards from your hand before playing him. However, while this additional cost can be troublesome at times such as if you have a lot of card discarding effects or poor card draw in your deck, most of the time it's just a minor nuisance, if even that.

The additional cost also helps point players in the direction of which decks Guardian of Rivendell fits best in, those being Noldor, , and especially .

Guardian of Rivendell's Traits and card discarding firmly establish him as a card for Noldor decks, providing them with another way to get Elven-light in the discard pile as well as some fairly strong combat prowess that isn't dependent on using Stand and Fight to special-summon an off-sphere ally from the discard pile. In addition to being a very good target for Narya if you're running Círdan the Shipwright, Guardian of Rivendell is also a great target for Lords of the Eldar, becoming an absolute beast in combat and a semi-competent quester if need be.

He also provides previously somewhat lacking combat prowess to , with his cost being mitigable either through Dwarven Tomb, Silver Harp, Elven-light, Lords of the Eldar, and Glorfindel. Once again, if you're running Círdan the Shipwright, Guardian of Rivendell is an excellent target for Narya, as well as ally Arwen.

However, it's in that I would argue that Guardian of Rivendell really shines. In a sphere rich in card draw but poor in resource acceleration and somewhat poor in combat power, especially outside of unique allies like Quickbeam, Guardian of Rivendell fits like a key in a lock. His additional cost can even become a bonus in , allowing you to potentially draw cards with either Galdor.

Guardian of Rivendell is quite possibly one of the best neutral cards from the Dream-chaser cycle, outside of Narya, providing a dramatic boost in combat power to and and a lesser but still appreciated boost to and . While the Guardian of Rivendell may be boring (aside from that weird art), as cards like Éowyn, Defender of Rammas, and Marksman of Lórien have shown time and time again, boring doesn't have to mean bad.

Marksman of Lórien boring? what?! Sorry but I used her in Imrahil Deck, and also on a Silvan decks. They ways she can get enter or not into play, y so funny to see. —
Even when you manage to find Marks(wo)man of Lorien using Tactimrahil, all that does is get her cost down and make it so that you can trigger her ability multiple times, and said ability is a straight-up combat bonus. Markswoman is straight-up beef, providing you with, outside of 1 spare hitpoint, nothing distracting from her core mission of killing things. Now, this isn't to say that she's bad, I actually think she's almost too good, but I would say it makes her less fun or at least less interesting than the likes of Galadhon Archer who do something outside of provide you with overwhelming stats. —

Less a review and more an amusing realization: there's no "Limit 2 copies of Keeping Count in play" like there is on Friend of Friends, meaning that you could potentially get out 3 to 12 (in a 4 player game) Keeping Counts if you manage to draw into all of them.

Now, there is a legitimate question in here; why in Arda would you ever want to play any copies of Keeping Count, let alone 3 or more? The short answer is you don't, competitively speaking: Keeping Count's slow to get set up, it requires you to draw into 2 copies to have any effect, making sure the resource ratio on the two copies is good (holding one hero back from combat to build up resources on the other's Keeping Count is risky, using them in combat mitigates the boost Keeping Count provides) is a challenge, and overall the card is just very clunky, especially compared to the fire-and-forget nature of the likes of Dagger of Westernesse and Dúnedain Mark.

However, there is a case to be made for Keeping Count, under two specific conditions:

  1. Your deck (or decks) are dedicated to finding multiple copies of Keeping Count as soon as possible (i.e.; via Heed the Dream)

  2. You want to have fun.

Here's how it works; you mulligan hard for your first copy of Keeping Count and put it on an attacking hero like Gimli, building up let's say 3 resources before finding the second copy.

You play that second copy on another attacking hero, like Glorfindel with Light of Valinor, giving him +3 . You attack with both him and Gimli while waiting for your third Keeping Count to show up, getting 2 more resources on Gimli's Keeping Count and 2 on Glorfindel's.

Then, after drawing your third Keeping Count, you play it on Dúnhere, giving him +5-

Wait a second...

"Attached hero gets +1 for each resource token on another copy of Keeping Count that is above the current number of resource tokens on this card."

Both Gimli's Keeping Count and Glorfindel's are other copies of Keeping Count, and both of them have resource tokens on them greater than the number on Dúnhere's (none, at the moment). This means that Dúnhere's Keeping Count activates off of both other Keeping Counts, giving him a grand total of +7 (5 from Gimli, 2 from Glorfindel).

Going by this logic, in multiplayer if you deckbuild around Keeping Count, the sky's the limit with how ridiculous you can get your Keeping Count boosts. Instead of the Fibonacci Sequence, you'll be dealing with the Keeping Count Sequence: +0, +1, +3, +6, +10, +15, ad infinitum so long as you can keep killing enemies.

Is this enough to make Keeping Count good? Not by a long shot (seriously, FFG, errata: "Response: After playing Keeping Count, search your deck for another copy and add it to your hand. Shuffle your deck afterwards." And, quite possibly, "Limit 2 copies of Keeping Count in play." The Keeping Count Sequence made more reliable is a recipe for nightmares). But it is a fun thought experiment, and a reminder of how sometimes it's that which we dismiss as bad or weak that can surprise us with its strength.

Bofur is deceptively simple looking; spend a resource during the quest phase for 2 additional and, if you quest successfully, return him to hand. Viewed in this way, Bofur looks very similar to Courage Awakened, in that he almost functions as an event that never stays in play longer than a phase unless you don't quest successfully. But this cloak of simplicity hides quite possibly one of the most intricate cards in the game, one that, with a bit of thought, can give you a lot of bang for your buck.

First, there's the obvious "quest unsuccessfully with Bofur so he stays in play." And, on paper, this is a good move; spending 1 resource for 2 is very efficient, and 3 on top of that is amazing. But I'd argue this is getting rid of two of Bofur's greatest strengths; his flexibility and his continuous returning to hand.

First, his flexibility. Because he's a quest action, you can play Bofur for 2 more on the quest during almost any action window in the quest phase, meaning you can either hold him back until after staging to decide exactly how much you want to commit or commit him prior to staging, preferably if you know already that you're going to succeed, to mitigate an encounter card. For example, if you know that the top card of the encounter deck is the Dol Guldur Orcs, you can commit Bofur at the start of the quest phase and have him absorb the damage. At the worst, then, you traded 1 resource for canceling two points of damage and 2 in the staging area. Not shabby.

But then this ties in to his second great strength, which is that, at the end of the phase, if you quest successfully, Bofur returns to your hand. Following revealing the Dol Guldur Orcs (Dorcs), you quest successfully, at which point you bounce Bofur back to your hand, fully healing him the next time he enters play. So long as you don't destroy Bofur during the quest phase, you can effectively pay 1 resource every turn for 2 and 2 cancelled damage. If you were to use Bofur's ability every quest phase for 3 turns and deal 2 damage to him every quest phase by encounter card effects, he would effectively be a 3 cost ally with 2 and 7 .

So don't try to cheat Bofur into play for 1 : instead, pay X resources, where X is the number of turns the quest takes. X cost may sound a bit high for 2 , but for X * 3 ? That, not 1 cost for 2 and 3 , is a true bargain.

Some cards are rocket science. Some cards are primarily useful for game-breaking combos, like pre-errata Master of Lore. Some cards you basically need a PhD to use effectively, like Word of Command.

Then there are the Dúnedain Warnings of the world. +1 , isn't restricted, no 'attach to' restrictions, can be moved around if needed. I'm not sure you need anything more than your brainstem to use this card effectively; draw, spend 1 resource, attach to hero who will defend, ???, profit. There is a very useful quote I got from the website regarding cards like this; "Beef is beef." (Link to article including the quote: If something has good cost to stats and it works, you don't need to type the next LotR describing how good it is; sometimes, you can just say that beef is beef.

Love sat alone on his re-writ throne

And every other turn made a resource stone;

If a Song was played, he a resource made,

But Songs were hard to come by.

Done by! Gum by!

In a binder's tabs Love dwelt alone

For Songs were hard to come by.

Then up came Stew with his bearing rude

And asked he Love: 'Why, who are you?

You're no card of note or your name I'd know;

You must be binder fodder.

Plodder! Splotter!

You're a stranger to me but not quite new;

You must be binder fodder.'

'My friend,' said Love, 'you knew me old of;

Why, once we were close as a hand in glove!

But Caleb was vexed by my ready text,

And to fix it he had me erratad.

Lottad! Hoppad!

He took a red pen to my box of text,

And I was knelt down by errata.'

'No wonder you're here!' Stew said with a sneer,

'Our players have no need for a crippled deer!

If you're not right strong then move right along;

The fans have no need of weaklings.

Sweetlings! Deetlings!

There exists no room for weak cards here,

And errata makes you but a weakling.'

'For Boromir, true,' says Love back to Stew,

'but there are other players with a different view.

And, though I have zip for the players Pip,

I have plenty for players Bilbo.

Pilbo! Trillbo!

I have naught for the others, this fact is true,

But I have plenty to offer Bilbo.'

Now, Stew was stunned and right outgunned

For Love had repeated what Caleb had sung;

'You can be strong or part of combo long,

But there's also room for thematic.

Mathematic! Dramatic!'

There was a need for those cards that had the game outgunned,

But there was also a need for thematic.

Stew bid Love 'good day' and then ran away,

Lest Caleb decide his text, too, to slay;

But Love don't care, for he didn't stay there,

For a Bilbo player found him.

Pound him! Ground him!

He was taken on out, The Long Dark to play,

For a Bilbo player had found him.