Since starting my “Hero of the Month” series on the blog I have covered nine heroes thus far. Though I have been short on Leadership Heroes, having only covered Sam Gamgee and Prince Imrahil, I am still low on Lore Heroes, having only covered Treebeard at this point. My issue with choosing a Lore Hero comes from multiple fronts. For one, it’s the sphere of which I play the least. Second, it’s a sphere I usually only splash, and so choosing a particular Lore Hero to spotlight proves difficult. Lastly, it’s not really a sphere that does what I want to do when I play this game (though that seems to be changing with the newer Lore cards we are seeing). I was on the Hall of Beorn, trying to figure out what Hero to pick for this month, when I did notice one Hero that I have used on more than one occasion that also happened to be Lore. Not that the title of this article and the picture haven’t spoiled it already but that Hero is Elrond!
Elrond, one of the older Heroes in the history of the game, was introduced in the Shadow and Flame AP, an expansion that came out in August 2012, a measly three years ago. Since then a lot has changed in the game: Dwarves are no longer present like they were, Outlands has come and gone, Hobbits became a viable archetype, and we’ve seen two more versions of Aragorn. Needless to say the game has changed considerably and yet, Elrond is still a very useful Hero in the game. Why? Well you’ll have to wait until after my Lore (no pun intended) overview.
Elrond was one of the elves, a member of the White Council, a participant in the Last Alliance against Sauron, and a wielder of one of the Three, Vilya. Needless to say Elrond was not only a prominent and powerful character in the Lord of the Rings novels but in the history of Middle Earth as a whole. He was also known as Elrond Half-Elven, coming from a long line of Elves and Men who’s love bridged the gap between cultures. At a young* age he was given the choice to choose between Elf and Man, and chose the former. Though known as Half-Elven, Elrond was still a fine example of the Elven race, and even served as captain under the High-King of the Noldor, Gil-Galad. As he mentions in the novels, he was there when Sauron was defeated by the Last Alliance, and he was there when the Ring was nearly destroyed. By the time the Hobbits have met Elrond he is the host of the Last Homely House, a bastion for not only the good people of Middle Earth west of the Misty Mountains but a bastion for the last of his kin who, along with the other Elves on Middle-Earth sought to depart Middle Earth by the end of the Third Age. He was also a major participant in the Council of Elrond, where it was ultimately decided that The One Ring of Sauron should be destroyed and that nine-walkers would work on achieving this task, set against the nine Nazgul. Without Elrond’s guidance, the events in the Lord of the Rings may very well have not unfolded the way they did, if at all.
What you just read was a very blunt and rushed overview of a very major character in the Lord of the Rings universe. That being said, this Took can only imagine the task the designers saw before them when they set out to make Elrond into a playable Hero. Thankfully, I think they did quite well. First off, Elrond comes from the Lore Sphere, which is very important given how much knowledge he has at his disposal. Not many beings in Middle Earth at the time of the novels knew as much as Elrond, except maybe Gandalf or Saruman (or even Sauron himself). Despite his wealth of knowledge, Elrond was also a skilled combatant, having commanded large armies and participated in many battles. Elrond was also a symbol of hope and perserverance as evident by Rivendell, one of the last “homely houses” in the land, and a place where the weary (such as Bilbo) could rest at ease. Despite all of that what Elrond truly was someone who could rally the people. After all it was he who gathered the free folk to the Council of Elrond. This is excellently portrayed in his first ability which reads:
Despite his allegiance to the Lore Sphere Elrond can help rally any ally to the battlefield no matter their origin. This alone makes him a very powerful Hero. Having an inherent resource smoothing ability is very useful. Having one that doesn’t require exhaustion is even more so.
Of all the things I listed regarding Elrond and his accomplishments and his nature as a character, there is one thing I did gloss over, and that his skill as a healer. When Frodo was stabbed by the Witch-King on Weathertop there were some who figured he would not be able to survive the injury. Those that did not, like Gandalf, easily surmised that the wound would never dissipate completely. It’s made very clear to the reader that there is typically no turning back from such an attack and yet, thanks to Elrond, Frodo survives. The designers portray this in a very nice second ability:
“Response: After a character is healed by another card effect, heal 1 damage on it.”
Elrond is a skilled healer and though I think the designers may have missed one other trait to add when they printed this card his ability more than makes up for it. This can be easily seen in a card such a the Warden of Healing which goes from great to downright game-saving when a Hero like Elrond is on the table. What’s better yet is that his ability isn’t limited to player cards but encounter cards as well. If any objective ally or quest happens to heal a character then Elrond’s ability will trigger and a bonus damage will be healed. His ability is as powerful as it is unique and we really haven’t seen anything like it since, even after three years of cards.
As for his stats, I think Elrond just continues to excel. They read 3/2/3 with 4 hitpoints and 13 starting threat. With those numbers Elrond will be questing or defending and with the help of some other cards like Unexpected Courage, or Light of Valinor he can easily be ready to do either. His 4 hitpoints are considerable and should an enemy get through, even if cards such as A Burning Brand and Cloak of Lorien are attached he can suffer a hit or two. His only “downside” is his starting threat, which sits just one step above what one might expect with his 12 points of stats. Given his wonderful traits and strong ability, I think this is very fair, especially since in the same cycle we saw the exact opposite in a card like Spirit Glorfindel.
I’m really excited about showing some of the builds that make use of Elrond. At this point in the game there are already a few archetypes that make use of him and his abilities and with the development of the Noldor trait I can only imagine what else Elrond has in store for us as a card.
Keep an eye out for some lists in the near future and let me know what you think of Elrond!
-The Secondhand Took