Jon A.
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Of these collections, I've heard that Oath of the Outcast has the best heroes and Crusade of the Forgotten the best monsters. For someone concerned about value, which collections are really good, which are mediocre, which are poor? By value, I am referring to the quality of monsters and heroes in actual gameplay, not the production quality of the miniatures themselves.
 
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Paul
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Bonds of the Wild is very good. Crusade of the Forgotten has all female heroes, if that interests you. Oath definitely has some interesting heroes, but I don't think they're necessarily the best.
 
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Paul
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"Must buy" is really subjective. I had a lot of fun with my Descent stuff before H&M packs existed, let alone were part of my collection. I bought the packs because they're interesting, and add diversity to the hero and monster selection process.

If you are looking to buy the most essential expansions only, I recommend you skip the H&M packs completely for now and focus on the boxed expansions. Labyrinth of Ruin and Shadow of Nerekhall both add much more significant content in terms of mechanics, classes, OL cards, and quests which I would miss much more than a few heroes or monsters.

If you've already got the large and small box expansions and you're at the point of saying, "I definitely want a hero and monster pack, it is just a question of which one," then I recommend Bonds of the Wild first and foremost. It has the most interesting heroes, because 3 of the 4 come with familiars as well. Kobolds are the largest monster group by number, and hellhounds are a useful 2x1 base monster.

Crusade of the Forgotten adds 4 exclusively female heroes. Of all the the heroes released for D2E thusfar, about a third of them are female. Sorcerers and golems are also very handy monsters.

Oath of the outcast has Trenloe and Mok, two heroes that shine in their respective archetypes. Shiver and Laurel are fine, but not as impressive. The razorwings and beastmen have nice flavor, but are not essential.

Crown of Destiny has giants, chaos beasts and Jaes the exile. This pack is fun and all, but also nonessential. I would say the same for guardians of deephall (though the crypt dragons are sweet.)

Visions of Dawn arguably has the most underwhelming collection of monsters, in the sense that they will probably be chosen least often for open groups. They have interesting abilities and good sculpts, they just don't stand out. The heroes in this pack are quite interesting, especially ispher and master thorn.

I suggest browsing the FFG news pages- they have news releases from months past about these packs- each one highlights a monster and hero from a particular pack. See if any jump out at you, since it is really a matter of personal taste. As I said before though- I would strongly advise you not to purchase these packs instead of the boxed expansions. Those add so much more to the game in my opinion (even the small ones, which are only a few dollars more than a hero an monster pack.)



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Jon A.
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Thank you so much. This was precisely the type of response that I was looking for.
 
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My thoughts as a primarily Overlord player:

1.) OATH OF THE OUTCAST - If you're a big fan of the Terrinoth flavor, I would go for this one. It has Beastmen and Razorwings, staple creatures in the world. Beastmen in particular are incredibly common, so if you're about keeping the flavor they are a necessity. I'm also personally a big fan of Shiver, as he's so unlike the rest of the heroes (let's face it, there's heaps of standard fantasy warriors/wizards/healers to choose from). The downside is that the monsters aren't nearly as powerful as some of the later choices, so if sheer power is what you are looking for as an Overlord, this might not be the best option.

2.) CROWN OF DESTINY - Giants are pretty powerful, but Chaos Beasts are a bit situational. The Lava Beetles are ranged and have Blast, so they can be somewhat powerful, but are still lower-tiered monsters. I was a bit "Meh" about this set personally.

3.) CRUSADE OF THE FORGOTTEN - This one is my personal favorite of the ones released so far. Sorcerers are like Beastmen in that they're Terrinoth regulars, and the master's "Death Wish" ability can keep him alive indefinitely if there are reinforcements. Golems are incredibly hard to kill and make for great barriers. Medusae are one of my favorite monster groups with the variety of conditions they can inflict, but as a whole they're not incredibly powerful. It's also great to see a set with all female heroes (Andira is my favorite of the lot).

4.) GUARDIANS OF DEEPHALL - I haven't actually bought this one yet, so I can't say too much on the use of the monsters. I have Wendigos from the first edition and conversion kit, and they're excellent monsters to have around. Dark Priests are very weak but can provide healing if you wish, and Crypt Dragons seem really cool but a tad unnecessary with the Shadow Dragons around.

5.) VISIONS OF DAWN - This set is great if you want three large monster groups. Manticores are another one of my favorite monster groups, since they're ranged and have Ravage. Unfortunately, their attack dice is a bit low, so I could see them not being as loved as I do. They're also medium-sized (like barghests) now instead of large. Trolls and Ogres are both good heavy hitters, though the Ogres lost Undying which makes me sad.

6.) BONDS OF THE WILD - Good set if your hero players are looking for characters with familiars. Kobolds were a popular monster group from the conversion kit, but I haven't heard many people talking about the updated versions. Dark Elves are pretty good with Stealthy but they come with low attack and low defense. I've actually never used Hellhounds so I can't really comment much on them.

7.) TREATY OF CHAMPIONS - This is the one I'm most excited for, as it introduces an entirely new monster group. Crow Hags seem like they will be excellent with their ability to make heroes choose between taking damage or a condition card. Demon Lords and Skeleton Archers are also finally making their return, though we haven't seen their cards yet. Personally, Zyla was always my favorite of the first edition heroes, so I'm happy she has been updated in this set as well.

If I had to break it down for recommendations, it would go like this:

First, buy Crusade of the Forgotten.
Second, buy Oath of the Outcast.
Third, buy Visions of Dawn.
Fourth, buy Treaty of Champions.
Fifth, buy Bonds of the Wild.
Sixth, buy Crown of Destiny.
Seventh, buy Guardians of Deephall.
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