In the last 2 weeks, we’ve had a couple of articles come out of Fantasy Flight about the LCG. One was a second-breakfast article discussing theme, and the other was the announcement of an upcoming adventure pack in the Ring Maker cycle.
Whilst there were lots of interesting odds and ends in these articles, the thing I’m interested in today, is the support they’ve announced for some of the exiting “traits” in the game. We’ve had spoilers of the cards which will interact with the “Ranger” and “Warrior” traits, as well as strong indications that we can expect something similar for “Scout” and “Noble.” I’m hopeful that we may see something for the “Healer” trait, although without any expectation, given the limited number of heroes that would apply to (Elrond as printed, plus whoever you’ve given the relevant boon to after completing Knife in the Dark.)
Given how few cards there are which interact with these traits presently, this seems like it can only be a good thing for the future.
These cards seem to be useful additions to the pool, without being overpowered. They are both 1-cost, unique attachments which attach only to a hero with the relevant trait. The “Warrior” card is a tactics attachment which boosts combat stats after an optional engagement, whilst the “Ranger” card is a Lore attachment which allows re-readying after successful scrying/guesswork.
The Ranger card, entitled “Wingfoot” is evidently themed for Aragorn, and takes its name from the encounter of the three hunters with Eomer on the plains of Rohan. That said, it will go just as well on Beravor or Faramir, and even Elladan or Elrohir if you can find a sphere match to play it. Action advantage, particularly at a cost of 1, and available in a mono-Lore deck, is powerful, and will really draw out the advantages of the various “all-rounder” heroes in that sphere.
The Warrior Card is designed most evidently for Boromir, allowing him to block more securely, or smash that bit harder – if you’re using the Tactics Version, the benefits grow as you get multiple attacks (or blocks) in a single round, although you do have to exhaust the attachment, so there’s no “Hammer-Stroke” shenanigans to be worked, bringing him up to crazy power-levels.
The biggest disappointment with this card is the name. It’s entitled “Captain of Gondor,” which Caleb explains is designed as a ‘generic’ reference to Boromir, allowing players the flexibility to play it on other characters.
Unfortunately, whenever I hear the phrase “Captain of Gondor,” it’s in the mock-rural tones of Sean Astin, or the sneering derision of John Noble, repeating the lines “A Chance for Faramir, Captain of Gondor, to show his quality.” Incidentally, google agrees, putting various hits for Faramir (and Beregond, if you’re using quotation marks) above any Boromir-related hits, on a search for ‘Captain of Gondor.’
It’s a minor complaint, I know, but I found it ironic, that in an article addressing the thematic beef some people have with cards like “Steward of Gondor” being played on… well, anybody, they also showed us this card. Perhaps when these cards come out, it will be the queue for a campaign-mode play-through, to give Faramir the “Warrior” trait, but given that this attachment is clearly pulling in the opposite direction from the Ranger-Trap / keep-enemies-in-the-staging-area, I may not bother.
As a last note, I mentioned earlier that I hoped to see some support for the “Healer” trait, although I’m not particularly optimistic, as Elrond is the only “healer” hero we currently have. The reason for this is the Boons of Black Riders, which gives our heroes a small boost to one of four stats, along with access to one of four traits: Ranger, Warrior, Noble and Healer. The Boon cards can feel a bit underwhelming versus the burdens which come with them, and it would be nice to see some proper deck-building incentives for using them.
In the meantime, I’ve created another Healer for people to be getting on with. A character who I hope we’ll see in official form at some point (although perhaps more likely as an ally than a hero), Ioreth is a nurse from the houses of healing in Minas Tirith, also notable for her inability to stop talking for five minutes during Aragorn’s Coronation. (As an aside, Elessar-era Aragorn would also be a good candidate to be a “healer” hero, but is a bit late in the time-frame for this game.)
Ioreth is a fairly old lady, so she isn’t going to be charging round the battlefield laying waste to orcs for you, but she is skilled in her arts, and has the ever-useful Gondor trait (technically she’s from Lossarnach, but I thought that making her “Outlands” would just be cheesy and game-breaking, so I took my lead from her latter-day residence in Minas Tirith).
As ever, I hope people enjoy the custom card – I’d be interested to know your thoughts, both on the new card recently spoiled, and on the issue of traits more generally. What are your hopes and expectations for the upcoming cycle?