The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game was released in 2011. Since then there have been three deluxe expansions, five adventure cycles (belonging to each expansion plus the core set) and five saga expansions. This doesn’t even include the various print on demand quests from Gen-Con and from Fellowship Events. At this point in the game the card pool is quite daunting. There is so much to choose from that it can be troublesome to newcomers trying to comprehend the immense number of cards and their various abilities and even more various degrees of complexity. From Bombur to Gandalf the Heroes we have at our disposal range from quite simple to difficult to learn and master. Prince Imrahil thankfully, falls in the middle.
“Response: After a character leaves play, ready Prince Imrahil. (Limit once per round.)”
Imrahil was introduced in the AP A Journey to Rhosgobelwhich was part of the Shadows of Mirkwood Cycle which introduced the various Eagle and Eagle focused cards that many of us still use today. Many of the eagles had abilities that danced around coming in and out of play. There’s Vassal of the Windlord and Winged Guardian which had a nasty habit of wanting to leave play after performing their duties. Then you have Descendent of Thorondor which dealt damage as it came in and out of play. These three allies synergize well with Prince Imrahil. Being in Leadership gives a player controlling Imrahil access to even more ways to make sure Imrahil’s readying ability triggers. The easiest example to mention is Sneak Attack which works well with many allies, the above mentioned Descendent, Gandalf, Beorn, and many more.
When newer players begin to play the game, the easiest route is to give them a single role (attacker/ or defender, quester, threat reducer, etc). As players become more familiar they can begin to take on dual roles. A Leadership and Tactics deck for instance, could allow a player to be the primary combatant as well as quester, healer, supporter, and so on. Using Prince Imrahil a player could boost his willpower a bit, quest with him, then ready him and prepare him for combat along with his other Tactics Heroes. If however, a player wished to simply enhance their singular role, we’ll go back to combat again as an example, then they could set Imrahil up as a defender and take advantage of his ability to have Imrahil defend against two enemies as opposed to one, or to defend and attack, or to attack twice. It’s nothing overly complicated but it gives players a chance to experiment without biting off more then they can chew.
Having mostly well rounded stats means that Prince Imrahil can do pretty well in any role he is given. This is thanks not due to his card ability but to his two traits; Gondor and Noble. In the Leadership Sphere we have Heir of Mardil which when combined with Steward of Gondor can make sure that Imrahil is ready whenever he is needed. In the Tactics Sphere there are quite a few options as well. Gondorian Discipline and Gondorian Shield can turn Imrahil into a sturdy defender while Gondorian Fire and the above mentioned Leadership Attachments can turn him into a fierce attacker. The Spirit Attachment Blood of Numenor can enhance the defense that Gondorian Discipline and Gondorian Shield provide while the Leadership Attachment Celebrian’s Stone gives Imrahil the same questing strength as Eowyn.
Imrahil is happy to see other cards across from him as well. Many Rohan themed decks, which thrive off of sacrificing themselves for various abilities (see Westfold Outrider) will keep Imrahil’s ability triggering. Where Heroes are concerned Eomer prince and eventual King of Rohan will also be glad to see allies coming and going. Whether Eomer is on the same side as Imrahil or not doesn’t matter but as long as allies leave play they both can do quite a bit of work. If Imrahil sees himself playing alongside a Silvan deck then it go without saying that Imrahil will be ready almost all the time. With that in mind a more experienced player could run the Silvan deck, allowing the newer player controlling Imrahil to pay more attention to simpler things and to take advantage of Imrahil’s ability as needed.
Prince Imrahil is a very versatile Hero. His card ability, his stats, and his traits give him the chance to be anything you want him to be. Not only is this a good thing for more experienced players, whose knowledge of the vast card pool can create many interesting combinations, but it is also good for novice players who want a useful card that’s easy to learn and fun to master.
Later this week I’ll post a deck that contains some of the cards mentioned in here and that plays off of Imrahil’s readying effect.
What do you think of Imrahil? Is he still viable with so many great options of Leadership Heroes? Or is action advantage always a desirable option?
-The Secondhand Took