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Subject: Balin rss

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jakub praibis
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Last night I could not but resist to cut out a little piece of paper, write the name Balin on it, and insert it over a sleeved card of Prince Imrahil. My initial experience is rather overwhelming and brings me to the following thoughts.

I have previously pointed out an interesting development of Treachery and Shadow cancelation. Whilst the core set provided two means to cancel Treachery and only one to Shadow, since then there has been A Burning Brand, Dawn Take You All, Dúnedain Watcher, Rider of the Mark, and now there is Balin; all dealing with Shadow, none with Treachery. Whether we shall see that one soon, and whether it may even come in the shape of Óin, is another story though.

One can see a parallel in comparing A Test of Will to Hasty Stroke and Eleanor to Balin. Comparing the two Spirit events seems easy now, A Test of Will is basically a must in every Spirit hero deck, Hasty Stroke is just one of many options. Not only has the card gained competitors, Shadow cards can also be avoided with the cards that prevent the attack, direct damage or other ways of destroying the attacking enemies prior to their turn: all these have also been growing in number.

There has already been a discussion about Balin’s usefulness. Some pointed out that his worth is less in Shadow-heavy quests. I could add that his ability also very much depends on the strength of the defences. I have built many decks that were close to not needing any Shadow cancelation – thanks to the cards mentioned above; yet, it was there in the beginning, before a strategy could have been developed, that those decks were most vulnerable. For these Balin seems to provide a perfect answer. It has also happened many times in my experience that even with plenty Shadow effects about, there was only very few that could ruin the day at a particular time. But they happened. Against such, the second chance allowed by Balin’s ability is almost a guarantee. And that is the great difference between Eleanor and Balin (though comparing them is not nearly as fair as comparing Test to Stroke). Eleanor needs be ready to perform her duty, and her exhaustion will almost always result in more trouble. Balin’s resource shall hardly be not worth spending, given the deck is apt.

Finally, the stats are really quite nice. Getting a 2 willpower Leadership hero for the threat cost of 9 is certainly special. Théodred and Glóin had previously been the only single digit Leadership heroes. It is also quite nice to get a Dwarf who does not rely on (or supports) Dwarven synergies.
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Nikos II
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Which set is Balin in? (Somewhere in Heirs of Numenor?) Anyone have a screenshot of him?
 
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Keith Wilson
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Traekos77 wrote:
Which set is Balin in? (Somewhere in Heirs of Numenor?) Anyone have a screenshot of him?


He is in the upcoming The Hobbit: On the Doorstep Saga Expansion.

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ys jo
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jpraibis wrote:
Théodred and Glóin had previously been the only single digit Leadership heroes. It is also quite nice to get a Dwarf who does not rely on (or supports) Dwarven synergies.


This is probably the biggest value I see in Balin.

Imrahil, Elrohir, Leadership Boromir, Leadership Aragorn, Dain, Thorin, all have high threats and require specific deck building for them.

Balin is a nice choice if you would like to have access to Leadership sphere without having to make your deck around the leadership hero but does not need any more resource accleration, and comes with shadow control as added bonus.
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Jan Probst
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I am unreasonably fond of Eleanor despite her unpopularity. This isn't so much because she provides unlimited treach cancellation (drawing a new card is kinda crummy, being then unprepared for further cards is kinda crummy), but because she supports existing "real" cancellation by stretching it out to last longer. Your "need a counterspell" situation basically gets upgraded from "nasty more than merely inconvenient treachery" to "2 such in a row/quickly after each other).

Balin scratches the same itch for shadows, in my opinion. Dont want to rely on him alone, but if you have other limited-supply shadow control, he can help lend a lot of support.
 
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I very much agree with the analysis presented here, and I really like the thought of using him in a deck as a way to mitigate risk until your shadow proof enemy killing engine can get moving. I place enormous weight on a hero's ability to provide large value for the first couple of turns and Balin certainly delivers there with strong questing or defending while still being able to cancel a shadow effect if needed (and a resource is on hand).

I would love to see Oin (or anything) provide another mechanism for cancelling or even mitigating treacheries.
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Cordeiro Cordeirooo
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I couldn't believe my own eyes when I saw Balin.
Seriously, he is a MACHINE!

I enjoyed very much reading your write-up! You should consider doing this more often.
 
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Brendon Russell
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compton9890 wrote:
I would love to see Oin (or anything) provide another mechanism for cancelling or even mitigating treacheries.
Indeed - I wonder if the designers have almost backed themselves into a corner right from the start, by including A Test of Will in the core set at a cost of only 1.

Still, there may well be some creative variations available in the design space. A treachery-cancelling variant of Dunedain Watcher is certainly a possibility, and the idea has appeared at least once as a fan-designed card.
 
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jakub praibis
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Hey, thanks guys for the contribution. There are some here who already do a very thorough (and proper) analysis, so I can add up something short for a quick read every now and then. Cheers.
 
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Nikos II
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compton9890 wrote:
I would love to see Oin (or anything) provide another mechanism for cancelling or even mitigating treacheries.

Everyone seems to want another way to counter treacheries but I think that would probably be a net negative to the game.

Over the course of an average game, how many treacheries do you experience? I'd estimate 5 or less in a single-player game? (Remember that some are missed due to being played as Shadow cards.) Compare that to the number of shadow cards that you will face in an average game. I'd guess 15+ in a single-player game?

If you are experiencing roughly triple the number of shadow cards than treacheries (your experience may vary) then it would follow that the number of counters for shadow cards should be about triple than is available for treacheries. So maybe the balance is somewhat okay for now?

Yeah, treacheries are more significant in a multi-player game since they will happen more regularly and impact everyone. However, you will certainly have indirect counters available to you like healing, greater questing or threat reduction.
 
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