|The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game | Published 19 December 2011|
As they sang the hobbit felt the love of beautiful things made by hands and by cunning and by magic moving through him, a fierce and jealous love, the desire of the hearts of dwarves. Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking stick. He looked out of the window. The stars were out in a dark sky above the trees. He thought of the jewels of the dwarves shining in dark caverns.
Two of Thorin and Company’s estimable members join the heroes of Middle-earth and The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game with the upcoming release of Khazad-dûm. These Dwarves have traveled extensively with Balin, and now that Balin and his fledgling Dwarven colony have gone missing, it only makes sense that they would offer their services as brave fellowships form to search for the missing Dwarves within the mines of Moria.
A number of players have already found images of Dwalin (Khazad-dûm, 1) floating about the internet. This spirited Dwarf was the first to introduce himself to Bilbo Baggins at the beginning of The Hobbit, and we originally previewed this card in an article for Game Trade Magazine.
Dwalin plays nicely into two of the Spirit sphere’s common strengths with his low starting threat and his built-in ability to reduce your threat whenever he destroys an Orc enemy. Meanwhile, it’s a fairly safe bet that Dwalin will have plenty of opportunities to confront Orcs within the mines of Moria.
However, with only two Attack Strength, Dwalin is certainly not the game’s mightiest warrior. In fact, as a combatant he pales in comparison to heroes like Gimli (Core Set, 4) and Boromir (The Dead Marshes, 95), who can cleave through foes in a single axe stroke or stand against multiple foes, fending them off and cutting back at them. Still, Dwalin is a Dwarf and benefits from a number of racial synergies. While Dáin Ironfoot (Return to Mirkwood, 116) remains standing, Dwalin gains additional prowess in battle, and a single Dwarven Axe (Core Set, 41) can boost Dwalin to four Attack Strength, enough to destroy most Orc enemies. With support, Dwalin can more than carry his weight in combat, and when he starts cutting through Orcs, he buys you time to complete your quest, safe from the threats massing in the shadows.
Furthermore, it’s worth noting that Dwalin is the game’s first Dwarven Spirit hero, and this opens up a whole range of new deck types built around Dwarf cards. Many of the game’s most powerful events require Spirit resources, and players utilizing Dwalin in their Dwarven fellowships will have the resource icon to play them.
Similarly, the second new Dwarf hero from Khazad-dûm offers fans of the all-Dwarf party their first Lore hero. Bifur (Khazad-dûm, 2) gives fans of the short and sturdy Dwarves tremendous deck-building versatility, but he can also make an excellent addition to any deck in need of a Lore hero. Bifur shares the lowest starting threat, at seven, of any hero in the game. In fact, he’s a bargain. As many players have noticed, most heroes have a starting threat equal to the sum of their Willpower, Attack Strength, Defense Strength, and Hit Points, but Bifur’s is one point lower. It’s worth remembering that in key moments, a single point of starting threat may prove the difference between having one last turn to prepare for combat with a Hill Troll (Core Set, 82) and having it make paste from your exhausted heroes.
While his special ability is useful, allowing players to feed him resources (often from Leadership heroes with more resource tokens than ways to spend them), it doesn’t allow him to ready himself or boost all Dwarves or damage every enemy that enters play or draw cards. Thus, Bifur gives players better base statistics than any other hero of his cost. Built into the right deck, this economic advantage can pay off in dividends, especially since Bifur’s two Willpower makes him a decent hero to commit to a quest, and his two Defense Strength can make him a decent defender, especially when paired with a Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock, 33).
Neither Dwalin nor Bifur stole the spotlight in The Hobbit, but both played their roles in the success of Thorin and Company. As the heroes of Middle-earth prepare themselves for a dark and deadly journey into the depths of Khazad-dûm, these stalwart Dwarves once again offer their services. They may not be the stars, but they’re excellent help, and your companies are going to need all the help they can get…
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is a cooperative card game that puts 1-2 players (or up to four with an additional Core Set) in control of the most powerful characters and artifacts of Middle-earth. Players will select heroes, gather allies, acquire artifacts, and coordinate their efforts to face Middle-earth’s most dangerous fiends. The Living Card Game format allows players to customize their gaming experience with monthly Adventure Pack expansions to the core game.
I agree with everything you say except one point: I think Bifur's artwork is of better quality and look over Map-maker.
but you can only have 3 heros
Bifir is only 7 threat for a 2/1/2 character, so I guess the tradeoff is HP for Threat. I'm ok with that. Besides,, depending on the rest of the Dwarves in the set, you may be able to pull off a 4-Hero team for 30ish threat. That tells me his ability/life isn't useless since you're now pushing the realm of a 3-4 Skill team, and that excites me.
Great job with Dwalin he got great ability and great artwork, but Bifurs ability is totally useless and his 3 hp , what he was smallest dwarven child :) Still great artwork on his card too.
Excellent point, Scoob.
"There's a finite number of major characters that can be heroes and so they have to make some minor characters into heroes in order to pace the release of major characters out through the adventure packs in a cycle."
I'm looking forward to seeing both aspects of the Hero version and the Ally version of characters. The Hobbits seem very much like Ally-style characters, but obviously will need to be Heroes. The most intriguing part of this design is that each major Hero have fairly clear ability types depending on their design. For example: I see Aragorn as a Combat- ero, but as a Location Control-Ally. I think of Elrond as a Control-Hero, but a Healer-Ally. Etc . . .
I love these Dwarf heroes. Dwalin goes well with Tactics to help make sure he can destroy Orcs. Bifur goes great with Leadership. His ability is nice since most Lore cards are expensive. It also allows you to have Steward of Gondor on a different hero and be able to split the extra resources easily.
I do not see how the ability of Bifur is so good...
Very well said below.
Avalanche, I don't really find it too odd. I think we get the (in the grand scheme of the LotR universe) minor dwarf characters as heroes for the same reason that Eleanor, Beravor, and Thalin were heroes in the original release: There's a finite number of major characters that can be heroes and so they have to make some minor characters into heroes in order to pace the release of major characters out through the adventure packs in a cycle.
Add that to an interview Nate French did where he suggested we might see second versions of heroes, and it's possible that some characters will end up being both allies and heroes.
Overall, it works for me. The Bilbo in me will definitely enjoy putting together decks with the characters I know and love best, but the Boromir in me will appreciate these more minor characters for their stats and text.
Does anyone else besides me find it strange that Bifur and Dwalin are heroes but Faramir is an Ally?
great artwork!!! and I love Bifur!!!
I like it!
Dwarf deck 1: Dain +Dwalin for the Spirit to play Unexpected Courage on Dain, who readies and makes Dwalin better.
Dwarf deck 2: Gloin +Bifur for the Lore to play Self-Preservation on Gloin. Gloin feeds Bifur a resource every turn. Bifur quests, Gloin defends, Gimli attacks.