Lord of the Rings:LCG - reviews and general thoughts

It all started with accepting 100 plays challenge and pledging to comment each play. Soon my thoughts outgrew the BGG comment format and also FFG's forum. I decided to post them in a form of a blog here. In time I got rid of session reports and replaced them with expansions reviews. Enjoy.
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[Cards] Aragorn in his lore role

Wojtek Wojcik
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Board Game Designer
I very much like designing games but I think I prefer to play them.
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This is the first article in a new sub-series tagged Interesting Cards. It is intended to have a closer look at a card that I found quite intriguing for whatever reason. I will try to present at least few uses of presented card, possible combos and potential pitfalls. Please note: All discussions I present are in a restricted card pool (namely up to the current expansion I am plying - in this case The Watcher in the water)

Card: Aragorn (The Watcher in the Water)
Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – The Watcher in the Water

It has been quite long since I was excited about a hero card (I guess really since Boromir in Dead Marches, although I do acknowledge that Dain Ironfoot is strong), many of them seem to only make much sense in a multiplayer game (eg.: twin elf brothers). At first glace I was not too thrilled about new version of Aragorn, as I am very weary (ever since Journey down the Anduin) of high threat cost heroes. Soon enough I discovered that his ability to reset threat is very strong especially in a good combination (i.e. with Frodo).

Uses of the card itself
- Strong stats make him useful for almost all tasks (quest, attack and defend)
- High hitpoints should keep him alive and even help with unexpected undefended attack
- Huge threat reduction possibility (as far as high 30s although just below 20 seems more likely)
- Allows you to skip questing few times if you have a big fight coming up, threat gain can be negated by reset later on.

Uses in its sphere
- Lore has few strong attackers at this point so his very useful in this regard
- Lore has (almost) no threat reduction abilities so his ability is a great asset.

Very strong against
- Return to Mirkwood - This scenario is brutal solo due to huge and constant influx of threat. Using lore Aragorn will almost double the amount of turns you have to complete the quest making it much easier as it gives you needed time to prepare at its start.

Card combinations
- Frodo in a Spirit/Lore deck. Such combo inspired this article - Frodo can convert damage into threat that can be latter reduced by Aragorn. This gives you a great option of letting quite a few attacks go undefended provided that they do not happen in one phase (especially that in newer packs undefended attacks are not as deadly as far as shadow effects go). This in turn saves you decent allies that would have to be sacrificed to stop those attacks. After your threat reaches dangerous area of high 40s you reset it and in the mean time you can establish firm supremacy on the table. I had a great success using this strategy in The Watcher in the Water (especially because of the tentacles that can have undefended attacks anyway)

- Combination with Aragorn specific cards if quite weak in my opinion. You will need to play Lore/Leadership or songs as both of Aragorn friendly attachment (Stone and Sword) come from Leadership. This sphere combination is quite difficult to pull off solo (at least for me)
- Cards that rise threat in order to accomplish something (eg. Boromir)

Replaces in your deck
- Threat lowering cards loose a lot of appeal
- Cards that ready all characters after questing (we do not sleep, grim resolve) or reduce penalty for questing unsuccessfully (Ever Onward) as you can usually suffer the threat rise few times to have your characters ready for battle.
- Due to high attack may decrease the need for high cost/high attack allies in Lore heavy deck (together with Glorfindel they can swing for 6 which is very respectable for non-tactics deck)

- Aragorn with his huge threat cost is secrecy unfriendly despite his ability that seems to support it

What combination have I missed? Or am I putting too much stock in the "new" Aragorn?
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