Hello everyone! I hope everyone is enjoying the change in season. The days are getting warmer, the sun is staying up longer, and if you’re anything like me your sinuses are kicking you in the face and you can’t stop sneezing. Despite the warm weather and allergies abound, I hope you all have had a chance to stay indoors once or twice and get a game or two in.
Anyway, on to the point of this post. I realized I have yet to cover a Lore hero in this monthly series. Spoiler Alert, I won’t be doing a Lore hero for May either. I am going to go a step in the right direction, however, in that this Hero has pretty easy access to the Lore sphere. “What Hero is this?” you may ask? It is none other than the Lady Galadriel, co-ruler of Lothlorien and one of the most prominent Noldor elves in Middle Earth.
Who is Galadriel? As I mentioned above, she is one of the Noldor (of the House of Finarfin) and co-ruler of Lothlorien. At her side is her husband Celeborn, the other ruler of the sacred Elven Realm. Galadriel journeyed across the seas to Middle Earth and so was a part of the group of Elves who followed Fingolfin over the Helcaraxe (think Bering Strait land bridge) instead of partaking in the Kinslaying. She survived the Journey, after countless centuries wed Celeborn and ruled over Lothlorien and came into possession of one of the Three Rings of Power: The Ring of Water, Nenya.
Galadriel is a very powerful and, especially when the Fellowship meets her, mysterious character. Described as ageless, she is very wise yet proud. When she had a chance to return to Valinor, being offered safe return since she was not part of the kinslaying, she chose to remain behind and helped maintain the power of the Elves in Middle Earth. Despite her love over many things, she could be quite ruthless, and admitted that she had long pondered over what she would do should the One Ring of Power come into her possession. She could enter the minds of those she met speaking words of inspiration or dread, however she saw fit. Despite all of this, she was able to reject the One Ring when presented to her and sent the Fellowship on their way with her blessing and her gifts.
Though she isn’t in the story physically as often as say Gandalf, it’s very clear that Galadriel’s involvement in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and in the lore of Middle Earth in general, is profound. To create a Hero Card out of Galadriel that is powerful but balanced while still being tied to theme is certainly a challenge. Thankfully, I think the designers really nailed it.
Hailing from the Spirit Sphere, Galadriel is a hero with very impressive stats. She has 9 starting threat and her stats read 4/0/0. She has 4 hitpoints and has the Noldor and Noble traits. Her text reads as follows:
“Galadriel cannot quest, attack, or defend. Allies you control do not exhaust to commit to the quest during the round they enter play// Action. Exhaust Galadriel to choose a player. That player reduces his threat by 1 and draws 1 card. (Limit once per round.)”
I love Galadriel as a Hero Card. The best way to have such a powerful character function as a Hero is to limit that hero in some fashion. As far as Willpower, it can’t be denied that Galadriel should be up there with the highest printed willpower so far. But instead of just giving us the players 4 willpower to play with, we have a Hero that isn’t really “with us.” Much like in the books, Galadriel observes and acts from a distance, using other methods to help the Heroes instead of getting directly involved. I think it is a thematic hole in one that the designers have achieved.
Thankfully, like with most well desired Heroes, Galadriel comes with a few toys that we can use to really make her shine. I will go into those in a future article but they really create a fun play style.
Lastly, despite her traits, I think Galadriel really excels in that she isn’t married to being Noldor or Noble. A Hero like Celeborn or Dain Ironfoot only really strives in a deck that contains allies that share their trait and so are limited in terms of deck lists. Galadriel isn’t good for just Noldor, or Nobles. She is good for any player who wants to quest. Any ally, whether they be Rohan or Hobbit, that enters play will find that they get action advantage out the gate. Her low threat and ability to reduce threat can even cause one to not even focus on the action advantage of her first ability during deckbuilding. For instance she can excel even in a tactics deck, perhaps one that contains Boromir 😉 since she can keep the player’s threat at bay and provide a pretty decent card drawing engine.
As a quick note, I’d be very surprised if I found anyone who didn’t like the artistic portrayal of Galadriel. Recently in this game some of the depictions of our favorite Heroes have either been polarizing or unanimously disappointing. With the artwork as a nice cherry on top, Galadriel seems to fire on all cylinders. She truly does look ageless, old and wise yet young and beautiful, with a frightful bit of mystery about her (as she is described in the books).
What are your thoughts on Galadriel? Do you still use her and if so how? Look for another article later this week where I go into detail into what cards you can use with her and what type of decks she can call home.
-The Secondhand Took