After torrential downpours this week led to, among other things, a really slow commute today, I was able to listen to all of the Grey Company’s most recent episode. I always enjoy listening to their Book Club episodes, which are second only to their cycle review episodes. For a few moments they batted around the question of Fellowship Frodo and how to build with him. I have three (!) campaigns going at the moment: one with my wife, one with a college buddy, and one two-handed solo. In each case, I’ve used Black Riders Frodo to great success, since the ability to shuffle a bad card away and draw another one is incredibly powerful. This is especially important in Saga mode, when surging burdens can chain together and wreck your day pretty quickly.
I’ve not been so lucky with The Road Darkens Frodo or The Land of Shadow Frodo. Don’t get me wrong–I’ve tried them, but they just don’t work well for me. In the case of the first, the benefit is obvious: “This attack deals no damage.” But consider what must be paid to achieve that affect:
- Frodo must exhaust
- You must pay 1 Fellowship resource
- Each player raises his threat by two
- You must exhaust the One Ring (!)
Goodness. Stack that up against all the combat control cards on Hall of Beorn. Not a single one of that requires you to pay that must to, in essence, mimic of Feint.
Frodo Baggins from The Land of Shadow is a bit better–pay 1 Fellowship resource and exhaust the One Ring to give him +2 attack and +2 willpower. However, if you want to use both, you’ve got to get some kind of readying on him. Again, it seems a bit too steep a price, especially when you consider Halfling Determination exists.
So, why is Black Riders Frodo so good? It’s because there are so few cards that can outright cancel the effects of a card. Granted, he’s not as powerful as A Test of Will because his ability means you still must shuffle the card back into the encounter deck, but there’s always a chance it will be discarded in some other way, for instance, as a dud shadow effect.
So, readers, what are your feelings on the Fellowship sphere Frodos? Who is a stud, and who is a dud?