The craftsmen of the Elves are one of the two Elven races in this game. They have been present since the Core Set with Lore Glorfindel (Corefindel, Lorefindel). However, they only really got a synergy during the Angmar Awakened cycle. Let’s take a look at the remaining Noldor in exile in Middle Earth who are yet to cross the sea.
Who are the Noldor?
The game glosses over the fact that there are a lot of Elven races, depending on whether they got to see the light of the trees. The game draws a line along the Misty Mountains and names everything left of it Noldor, and everything right of it Silvan. Galadriel is the only exception. Teleri like Cirdan the Shipwright are counted as Noldor since he still lives in Lindon, the ancient Kingdom of Gil-Galad, last king of the Noldor.
The Noldor have been with us since the early days of the game, but only developed during the fifth cycle. The house of Elrond Halfelven got filled during the Dwarrowdelf cycle and is where the first Noldor decks were born. The following packs support the Noldor trait:
- Core Set
- Hunt for Gollum
- The Hills of Emyn Muil
- Dwarrowdelf cycle (not the Deluxe)
- Druadan Forest
- The Three Trials
- Celebrimbor’s Secret
- Escape from Mount Gram
- The Treachery of Rhudaur
- The Battle of Carn Dum
- The Dread Realm
- The Grey Havens
- Flight of the Stormcaller
- A Storm on Cobas Haven
- The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat
- The Road Darkens
- The Mountain of Fire
The Noldor are present in all 4 spheres of influence. However, their Lore and Spirit cards are more popular. Heroes like Erestor, Elrond, and Arwen see a lot more play than Elladan or Elrohir. The early days of the game laid the emphasis on the leadership and tactics sphere, with a Twin deck being able to be built during the Dwarrowdelf cycle. During the Grey Havens days of the game, the more popular decks involved more Spirit and Lore cards. A good example of this is if you see how often allies like Lindon Navigator and Sailor of Lune are used compared to Warden of the Havens and Mithlond Sea-Watcher.
The Noldor are also excellent in getting additional resource icons. All three Elven Rings of Power can be played on Noldor (Narya on Cirdan, Vilya on Elrond, Nenya on Galadriel) allowing them to use resources from their pools to be spent on cards from different spheres. Elrond himself can spend his resources on allies regardless of their sphere. And Rivendell Minstrel can let you search your deck for the 4 Song attachments to gain more spheres if needed.
The Noldor revolve around discarding cards from your hand in order to fuel abilities. You can turn them into resources with Arwen, use them to draw more cards with Erestor, Galdor (hero and ally), and Lindir or make allies cheaper with To the Sea! To the Sea! There are also a lot of cards that benefit the player by being in the discard pile. Ally Glorfindel, Elven Light, and Lords of the Eldar are only able to be played from your discard pile, making them always available to the player once they are in the discard pile. There are also 4 events that become more useful if there are more copies in your discard pile. Combine this with a Record attachment to recycle the event for maximum potential.
To fuel the ability of the Noldor, rapid card draw is often needed. Heroes like Cirdan and Erestor provide the players with this. Erestor himself is quite unique, as you will be forced to play your entire hand or discard the cards before drawing new ones. This can result in you having no more cards in your hand. Not only does this activate new allies like Eregion Survivor, it is also very useful during quests with Dunland enemies. Drawing a lot of new cards at the start of your round isn’t very good against those quests though.
This discard mechanic seems pretty new to most, but it was already hinted at during the Dwarrowdelf cycle with the two Tactics Noldor allies in that cycle. They require you to discard a card in order to keep them in play after they have attacked or defended.
Synergy with other traits
Noldor have a lot of attachements that can also go on Silvan characters, so a combined Noldor-Silvan alliance deck could be built without too much problems. Dunedain and especcially Aragorn are also supported by the Noldor in effects like Heirs of Earendil, Tale of Tinuviel, and Rivendell Bow.
Besides the discard mechanic, Noldor heroes and allies are still considered very powerful. Heroes like Elrond and Spirit Glorfindel (Sporfindel) are still used often in decks. Allies like Arwen Undomiel were auto-includes in many decks that struggled with quests.
Having a Unique Noldor character also allows you to play one of the best events in the game: Elrond’s Council. This nice little event allows you to boost your willpower and lower your threat by 3. This is often included in any deck that plays a unique Noldor ally and has access to the Spirit sphere.
In attachments, the Noldor have some good options too. Asfaloth on Glorfindel nearly broke the game and forced the developers to either make future locations have more than 2 quest points or be immune to placing progress on them. Other good attachments include Protector of Lorien, which turns cards into a boost in Willpower and Defence. A very powerful attachment available to the Noldor is Light of Valinor. This will allow them to quest without exhausting. This can be useful on Sporfindel, Elrond, Cirdan and a number of other heroes. The attachment will allow for additional actions from those heroes, while also protecting them from things like Necromancer’s Reach.
A common problem with the Noldor is that their Heroes also have strong ally versions. Examples are Arwen, Elrond, Galadriel, Galdor, and Glorfindel. If you are playing multiplayer, make sure you keep to the unique rule.
“Bad” Noldor cards
I do not play a lot of Tactics Noldor, but I haven’t seen Veteran Swordelf being played at all. She is too expensive for her ability and requires that you have 2 in your discard pile. This causes you to waste 3 slots in your decklist for 1 ally with mediocre stats.
The Leadership and Tactics allies are not often used. Ally Erestor is overshadowed by his Lore Hero version. Warden of the Havens and Mithlond Sea-watcher are also still found often in binders instead of decks.
Harbour Master is another ally that doesn’t really fit in the Noldor trait. He feels very out of place amongst his fellow Elves.
This brings the end to my analysis of the Noldor trait. I am hoping for some more Leadership and Tactics cards to support the Noldor trait. But until then, this is definitely a trait deck that you want to try. What trait should be explored next? Let me know in the comments below.