Happy Holidays everyone! I apologize, as it often seems to be the case, for my delay in posting but time as usual got ahead of me. It was fun to focus on Grima in November and I intend to return to him in the future and give him a more proper spotlight but it’s time to move on… for now.
It could be because it’s the new “hotness” or because I like enemy engagement shenanigans but December’s Hero of the Month will be the Objective-Ally turned Hero, Amarthiul!
Amarthiul is a Leadership Ally with 10 starting threat and three awesome traits: Dunedain, Ranger, and Warrior. Her stat line reads 1/3/3 with 3 Hitpoints and her card reads as follows:
“While you are engaged with at least 1 enemy, Amarthiul gains the resource icon.// While you are engaged with at least 2 enemies, add 1 additional resource to Amarthiul’s pool when you collect resources during the resource phase.”
When I first read Amarthiul’s card I was excited for a number of reasons. The first is her being a Hero in general. As far as I can remember we have yet to see an objective ally turn into a playable Hero (in fact most objective allies are around for a hot minute or SPOILER ALERT end up being evil END SPOILER ALERT). Not only is this just a nice “Ahh that’s cool” moment for us as players but it makes for decent development on a non-canon character. We have journeyed with Amarthiul, learned a bit about her and have been through some tough adventures, forming a connection when we look at the Hero card. This is a neat concept in terms of creating a brand new character and though I hope they don’t do it too often to the point of making it stale I’d be happy to see the developers attempt this again from time to time.
True “Dual-Sphere” Heroes aren’t exactly a dime a dozen and those that we have are burdened with weak stats, deckbuilding restrictions, or aren’t that worth it. Engaging just a single enemy to gain a tactics icon seems a little more reliable and manageable. And it doesn’t take much to find little tricks to encourage enemies to engage us sooner than expected. Amarthiul’s other ability is the more exciting in my opinion because after all, who doesn’t love getting more resources? For just two enemies engaged with us, we get to have an extra resource at the start of the round and we get to have another sphere icon. Sign me up.
Amarthiul’s stats, which are impressive, give her another plus in my book. I have enjoyed playing with Heroes that have the nice 2/2/2 stat line, allowing them to be molded to our liking as they game goes on, but it’s nice to have a specialized Hero out the gate that doesn’t require a lot of building up. Her defensive stat is a welcoming one as her ability could’ve been a bummer if we were given a less sturdy Hero. Thankfully Amarthiul can take a hit and can easily hit back with her equally strong attack stat. Her Willpower is negligible, but nice to have in certain quests, and her only real downside are her hitpoints. Anyone controlling Amarthiul will just have to keep an eye on those three hitpoints. When you play with Amarthiul you know you have a combat oriented Hero, just don’t go overboard.
There are so many ways to take advantage of Amarthiul’s abilities it almost seems ridiculous. Off the bat Halbarad the Hero and the Dunedain Hunter are two cards that Amarthiul would love to see. In a deck I recently built I was able to play the Dunedain Hunter turn one, give myself an “extra” tactics resource due to the icon change, and play a two cost tactics ally on the first turn with only one true tactics Hero. Later on that turn I naturally engaged an enemy, shrugged off their attack, and found myself with five resources on turn two, three of which could be spent on Tactics. I was pleased to say the least. To continue our pursuit of drawing the enemy towards us cards such as Tactics Aragorn and Westfold Outrider can ensure we have enough enemies at our front door and have Amarthiul’s abilities online.
Now that we’ve made sure Amarthiul’s abilities are working what can we do to take advantage of this? A card I’ve played around with to fun success is Gondorian Fire. Having a Hero inherently gain extra resources is nice for a card that usually requires some combo to be set up. So long as the enemies keep coming, Amarthiul can keep swinging. Better yet while she is swinging she can now be equipped with a Rohan Warhorse or Support of the Eagles granting her either extra attacks or extra power. On a defensive front, the complement to Gondorian Fire, Blood of Numenor can be placed on Amarthiul to great effect. Attachments such as Spear of the Citadel are now easily a possibility, adding more value to an already great Hero.
There seems to be a lot of room to play when it comes to using Amarthiul. Upon reading her card text I found myself already brainstorming and, before long, came up with a deck I thoroughly enjoyed (a post on that deck coming soon). I like that her engagement requirements seem reasonable and her stats allow whoever is playing her to hold their own against the extra enemies without being overrun, something that Dunedain decks struggle with. Amarthiul looks like she can only get better as the card pool grows. Whether that’s the case or not will yet be seen but as for right now, I’m happy with her as she is.
What are your thoughts on Amarthiul? Leave your comments below!
-The Secondhand Took