06 August 2015

#2 Ally for Cost Value - Wandering Ent

The runner-up in our list of Allies with the best Cost Values is the humble Wandering Ent. This Lore ally is found in the Celebrimbor's Secret adventure pack from the Ring Maker cycle expansions. His Cost Value is 225%.

As we have already noted, Lore characters often have average stats in all areas, so you have plenty of options when they are in play. Another thing we have previously noted is that Ents (such as Treebeard and Booming Ent who also had good entries on this list) enter play exhausted to balance their cheap costs.

Wandering Ent is no exception to either of these. When compared to the two Ent cards we have already seen, this one scores even higher possibly because he has no text power at all. Treebeard provided resources and Booming Ent could build up quite a large bonus to their attack, but the Lore Ent is just a plain useful ally.

But to really see how good value he is, we can compare him to a Lore ally released much earlier; Haldir of Lorien. This Ent and Haldir are Lore allies with exactly the same stats, but Haldir costs four resources whereas the Ent only costs half of that! Well, what are we losing when we swap Haldir for the Wandering Ent? The Ent doesn't have the Ranged or Sentinel keywords, but in my opinion the Lore sphere is the best one for solo play anyway. We have the entering exhausted effect, but I'm not convinced that that balances the cheap cost of this tree herder. He is very simple, and very good value. That is why Wandering Ent makes it into second place on this list. So which card is the only card that offers better Cost Value?...

04 August 2015

Team - Tactics Heroes with the Best Stat Values

Let us have another look at a Hero Team made up by the best Stat Values. In the Tactics sphere, the best Hero for Willpower is Merry, with a Stat Value of 133% because of it. For a Stat Value of 167% from his Attack value, Beorn is the second Hero in the team. For a Stat Value of 160% from his Defence, Beregond is the final member.

Just as with the Leadership Team constructed in the same way, there is no single trait shared by any two of these Heroes, so there is no obvious theme.

It is no surprise to me that Beorn and Beregond are on this team. They have amazing Stat Values, and enemies should not survive long when they are against this pair. The only possible downside I can see, however, is their conflict with attachments. Beregond's power encourages you to have weapon and armour attachments in your deck because you can put them on him cheaply. However, once you have already loaded him up with two restricted attachments, you have nothing useful left to do with the others. This is because Merry is meant to be committing his time to questing instead of fighting, and Beorn (who will be doing plenty of fighting) refuses to have attachments put on him. So you might think that you should only include a very small amount of weapon and armour attachments in your deck, which is probably more sensible, but you will have a hard time finding them because the Tactics sphere provides very little help with drawing cards. That Gondorian Shield may be really useful, but you also may never see it for the entire game!

Last of all, Merry brings his hobbit feet on the road to help with questing. I have already discussed in an earlier post about him that although his power encourages you to use him in a team with lots of other hobbits, his low threat and high Willpower (for a Tactics Hero) could make him a useful third member in any Tactics-only team. And here he is, fitting in nicely. He also keeps our starting threat just below thirty (it is twenty-eight), which is impressive considering he is standing next to two Heroes with double-figure Threat Costs.

This team won't have any trouble with enemies, but the player deck should be built with questing support in mind where possible. If that can be achieved, or if the quest being taken is combat heavy anyway, then I think this is quite a good team.

28 July 2015

#3 Ally for Cost Value - Vassal of the Windlord

Vassal of the Wondlord took first position in our list for Stat Value and now takes the third position in our list for Cost Value. This Tactics Ally is found in the Dead Marshes adventure pack from the Mirkwood Cycle expansions. His Cost Value is 200%.

As we have already seen in the previous post from the Stat Value list, this eagle earns high places in lists because three attack for a cost of only one resource is amazing value. The catch is that after attacking, the eagle does what so many powerful characters do; it runs away. Before ever playing LOTR LCG you may have thought that the weak, non-unique allies would be the ones constantly running away, but using it to balance powerful cards is now a well-established mechanic in this game.

This is one of those entries that doesn't highlight the ally in the best way; his entry at the top of the Stat Value list better describes the role of Vassal of the Windlord than an entry on the Cost Value list does. He has earned his place here because of low cost, not because of flexible stats.

21 July 2015

Stat Values for All Tactics Allies

Here is the list of all the Tactics Allies, and where they sit in the list for Stat Values.

Name - Stat Value
Vassal of the Windlord - 600%
Defender of Rammas - 400%
Winged Guardian - 400%
Booming Ent - 200%
Veteran Axehand - 200%
Watcher of the Bruinen - 200%
Trollshaw Scout - 200%
Westfold Outrider - 200%
Knight of Minis Tirith - 200%
Galadhon Archer - 200%
Boromir - 150%
Veteran of Nanduhirion - 150%
Bofur - 133%
Guthlaf - 133%
Henneth Annun Guard - 133%
Farmer Maggot - 133%
Horseback Archer - 133%
Gwaihir - 120%
Landroval - 120%
Eagles of the Misty Mountains - 100%
Beorn - 100%
Rumil - 100%
Beorning Beekeeper - 100%
Gondorian Spearman - 100%
Descendent of Thorondor - 100%
Erebor Battle Master - 67%
Knights of the Swan - 0%

16 July 2015

#4 Ally for Cost Value - Elrond

The fourth position in our list of allies with good Cost Values is the elf who runs Rivendell, Elrond. This Lore ally is found in the Road Darkens box from the LOTR Saga expansions. His Cost Value is 183%.

It is quite normal to see characters in the Lore sphere that have good stats for everything. You are left looking at several good options and wondering which is the best for right now. Elrond is one of these characters, offering particularly good Willpower and Defence

But he offers these at a really good cost. These same stats have been seen before on the Lore ally Gildor Inglorion, who costs five resources. So Elrond's cost of three shows why he has such a good Cost Value! The balance put in by the game designers is that, like Gandalf, he won't stay around for long. He leaves play at the end of the round.

If you consider that whichever stat you use will only be useful for a single round, you may think that Elrond is really just a bit like an Event card. Need to boost a characters attack by two this round? Elrond can effectively do that by entering play and joining with the attack, but paying three resources for this doesn't seem like good value for money any more.

Which is why it is also good that Elrond, like the Core Set version of Gandalf, offers us several options when he enters play. Healing and drawing a card are both useful, but Lore already offers several other cards for these. What makes Elrond stand out most is that he is only the third card released that allows you to discard Condition Attachments. This, all by itself, may be the reason you want to include him in your deck.

09 July 2015

#5 Ally for Cost Value - Treebeard

The fifth Ally in our list of allies with a great Cost Value is Treebeard. This neutral Ally is found in the Antlered Crown adventure pack from the Ring Maker cycle. His Cost Value is 175%.

Treebeard is the most well-known Ent character from Lord of the Rings, and appears in the trilogy as a leader of the tree herders. Like all Ents, he enters play exhausted because he is not willing to be hasty and get involved too quickly. But from the next round onwards, you find that your four resources have been well spent! He has average Willpower and very good attack and defence values.

So he would be considered good value for money anyway, but if you have any other Ent allies in your deck then the resources he collects effectively mean you get money off for playing them!

Last but not least, even if Treebeard is the only Ent in your deck, he can still be really useful. Like Gandalf, the fact that he is a neutral card makes him useful in multi-sphere decks. Also, every other round you can use his resources to get some action advantage; need a good push on questing but not sure if you will have enough defenders if another enemy appears? Treebeard can quest, and then (assuming you didn't do it in the previous round) spend his resources to ready himself when you know you need an extra defender or attacker later on.

07 July 2015

Team - The Bottom 3 Heroes for Threat Value

As a challenge, or maybe just for the twisted fun of it, I wondered about seeing what the worst three Heroes for Threat value would be like as a Hero Team. And, to my surprise, it doesn't look bad!

As we have seen, the three Heroes with the worst Threat Values are Hirluin The Fair (88%), Tactics Merry (83%) and Bilbo Baggins (67%). Going by the way designers normally price Heroes, we should have a starting threat level of eighteen, but we actually have a starting threat level of twenty-three! But although we aren't getting good value for money from the printed stats, this is where the team starts looking surprisingly OK. Because none of these Heroes are what you might call a team "Captain" (Threat Cost above ten) we still have an extremely low starting threat, so enemies won't be too quick to engage us.

This works to our advantage for two of the Heroes. First, Hirluin is worthwhile only if you include as many Outlands ally cards as possible in your deck, so we can assume that we will do this. As mentioned in our previous post for him, if given enough time to build up an Outlands army, this can be very powerful.

The second advantage that we have from the time gained by the low threat is Bilbo's ability to give us an extra card every turn (if we are playing solo). He is the worst Hero for Threat Value, but it can be argued that he has the most powerful and versatile power out of all Heroes in the game. So he can make it more certain that we will find the Outlands cards that Hirluin can pay for.

If it seems like Merry is left as the weak link in this team, that isn't the case. Since two of the Heroes in this team are Hobbits, his Attack strength is raised to two. This means that he can be a fair quester or attacker on any turn, or, thanks to the hobbit-exclusive Lore card Fast Hitch which Bilbo gives us access to, both.

So this team that was made up of what one formula considered the "worst" Heroes in the game turns out to prove that it really isn't just all about the numbers.