Lord of the Rings LCG
Ranking the 18 heroes Core through Mirkwood
Let me start by saying that these rankings are based on my experience in the 9 scenarios before Khazad-dum. I realize this is pretty dated but I’m a little behind I just ripped the cellophane off my Khazad-dum expansion today. I’ve played 100-150 games using decks created from cards only available in the core set and the shadows of mirkwood cycle. Always two-handed either with a friend or playing solo with two decks. I’ve used every Hero at least once in an attempt to not “judge a book by its cover”. I apologize in advance for the big wall of text I’m about to hit you with.
18. Eleanor – Spirit
She has low willpower, low attack, average defense but low hit points. She is nothing more to me than an emergency button. Her special ability is ok but it does bring another card to the staging area. In a pinch she can defend but that can be dangerous with the low hit point pool.
17. Denethor – Lore
One of the best defenders in the game at this time. Starting with his high defense and native access to A Burning Brand. However, his special ability isn’t all that spectacular in a two player game, and his rather low hit points can be a problem.
16. Gloin – Leadership
Pretty good attributes, and a somewhat versatile hero. The “Gloin engine” is fun to get going and can make you very wealthy. However, I always end up with a bunch of resources with nowhere to spend them. The cards I mostly use in the leadership sphere aren’t terribly expensive.
15. Dain Ironfist – Leadership
Dain is a superb defender, and his special ability will be amazing. However before Khazad-dum I didn’t find a lot of dwarf synergy. The dwarf allies are, with a few exceptions; underwhelming and expensive and the dwarf heroes… well, we’ll get to those later. I’m sure Dain will jump up the list as I get into Khazad-dum and the Dwarrowdelf cycle but for now this is where he sits.
14. Aragorn – Leadership
I know lots of people will disagree with this placement, but for me this boils down to the sphere. In my decks, with this card pool, I rarely want to include two Leadership heroes. Which means Aragorn’s special ability becomes prohibitively expensive. Couple that with the extraordinarily high threat and he is a hero I just can’t use.
13. Prince Imrahil – Leadership
Imrahil is a another high threat leadership hero, he does have a readying effect which means with an Unexpected Courage he could be used in all three phases of the game. However, the effect can be a bit clunky to trigger and there are simply other 3 attack heroes I’d rather use.
12. Thalin – Tactics
Early on I used Thalin quite a bit. His special ability made crows and bats a non-factor. Indefensible damage is always good, but the biggest problem with Thalin is that you have to use him for questing to make use of his ability and with only 1 willpower it feels like a waste (this is a statement I will contradict later in this article).
11 Bilbo Baggins – Lore
Bilbo was the most difficult hero for me to pin down. I wanted to use him very badly, passive card draw seemed amazing. But, he can do so little else. Being a hobbit does give him access to Fast Hitch, and lore does give him native access to A Burning Brand, but that just isn’t quite enough to put him into the top half.
10. Boromir – Tactics
Boromir is a fine hero, and one of only two heroes at this time that use threat as a resource. His built in action advantage is very cool as long as you build threat control into your deck(s); witch you should, everything is great. So why so low? Synergy. The tactics deck at the time of Mirkwood lends itself to a range/sentinel build. Boromir is neither. With that build I want the enemies to engage my partner which means Boromir is just a high threat hero walking around doing nothing.
9. Dunhere – Spirit
Dunhere is a lower threat hero, and his very unique ability to attack in the staging area made him almost mandatory for Journeying Down the Anduin with only a core set. That ability also neutered Goblin Snipers, Hummerhorns and those pesky Wargs. All in all a good but not great hero landing just inside the top half of my rankings.
8. Theodred – Leadership
The hero that seemingly is meant to pair with Aragorn, drop a Celebrian stone on Aragorn and now Theodred is essentially questing with 5 willpower. That combo is great early on, it also gives Aragorn a spirit icon allowing for pretty cool Spirit/Leadership decks. However, as the cycle developed I found myself wanting to use Theodreds resource generation for other things which is why Aragorn dropped so low in the rankings. Theodred is always one of the six heroes I use when building from this card pool his resource smoothing is something I rely on. But, that doesn’t mean he is one of the top six heroes.
7. Glorfindel – Lore
Glorfindel is another hero that I will almost always use with this card pool, mostly because I want two Lore heroes. The high starting threat is painful, but Lore is an expensive sphere to maintain. Glorfindel’s special ability is a little bland and not something I use often because of the previously stated need to pay for Lore cards. Which is why Glorfindel falls outside the top six.
6. Gimli – Tactics
Is there anything cooler then throwing a Citadel Plate, Dwarven Axe, and Unexpected Courage on Gimli and setting him loose to rain down carnage? I don’t think so. He is sort of a one trick pony, but it is a great trick. I didn’t use him much during the later time in Mirkwood due to the range/sentinel nature of the tactics sphere. But, I am excited to bring him back into the fray with Dain and other dwarves.
5. Eowyn – Spirit
Eowyn is almost mandatory if you are going to play single handed. But, I never play single handed. Her 4 will power which can be increased to 5 with her special ability is nice. The lower threat makes her more appealing than a Glorfindel/Spirit of Lorein combo. However, I use the latter because I only want one Spirit hero and there is a better one.
4. Legolas – Tactics
As I’ve said more than once with all of the range/sentinel allies in the tactics sphere it made a lot of sense to me to use ranged heroes. Legolas is a Silvan hero which pairs well with the Lore card Silvan Tracker for a built in healing effect just in case Legolas ends up with damage which he really shouldn’t. His big impact is the 3 attack and his special ability. Those two progress can really make a difference with some pesky location cards like Enchanted Stream.
3. Brand son of Bain – Tactics
The other ranged tactics hero with a pretty cool special ability for my play style. I like to use him with Beravor on the other side of the table, this helps improve the reliability of her card draw. This combo is another reason Bilbo dropped so far in the rankings. The reason he is higher than Legolas. I asked myself if I had an Unexpected Courage who would I rather use it on Brand or Legolas?
2. Beravor – Lore
Just awesome. It is a card game after all and she allows you to get 200% more cards every turn. She is ahead of Brand because he is used mostly to make sure I can trigger her ability. She is behind Frodo mostly because if I’m playing Escape from Dol Guldur I actually want her to be the captive.
1. Frodo Baggins – Spirit
Frodo is my crutch, he always ends the game with the most attachments. It’s not unusual to see him with Steward of Gondor, a Dunnedain Warning or two, Song of Wisdom, A Burning Brand, and Fast Hitch all attached to him. His ability is a double edged sword, but it is also very thematic which is amazingly cool to me. I never go anywhere in Mirkwood these days without Frodo Baggins.