While the occupation traits have not seen a lot of synergy yet, we have seen quite a lot of Crafts(wo)men in this game. We even had one in the Core Set. They have been sprinkled between packs but are still awaiting a synergy. The craftsmen might prove useful during the upcoming cycle since it will focus a lot on attachments.
Who are the Craftsmen?
With a lot of amazing gear and artefacts in the realm of Middle Earth, there are the men and women behind the scenes, making these items. They are shared between all 3 kindreds, each focusing on enhancing the craft of their people. The Craftsmen trait bundles all of these people of different fields into one. You have the regular weapon and armour smiths, but shipwrights and weavers are also thrown in there.
The Core Set introduced the first Craftsman, and he has been used in a lot of decks since. The latest Craftsman has been introduced during the Dream-chaser cycle, so the trait is still a little bit relevant. More Craftsmen are expected with the new Deluxe and the new cycle. There have been some cycles that do not feature any craftsmen, and some cycles have back to back craftsmen, so there isn’t really a line that can be drawn here.
- Core Set
- Shadow and Flame
- Encounter at Amon Dîn
- Assault of Osgiliath
- Escape from Mount Gram
- Treachery of Rhudaur
- The Thing in the Depths
Spheres and Synergy
The trait has been split between Lore, Spirit, and Tactics. No Leadership Craftsmen have yet been seen. Tactics will focus a lot on the weapons and armour they make. Lore deals with attachments in general, returning them to your hand or fishing them out of your deck. Spirit Craftsmen are a bit all over the place, having to do with willpower, encounter deck manipulation, and the synergy of their other respective traits.
Synergy with other traits
The two Spirit Craftsmen: Elven Jeweler and Galadhrim Weaver work very well with their Noldor and Silvan synergy respectively. The other Craftsmen can be widely used outside their racial traited decks.
Erebor Hammersmith has been a staple in many early card pool decks. The Dwarf trait it has makes it a pretty strong ally with the ability to bring back an attachment from any players discard pile. The 3 hitpoints are amazing to have on a 2 cost ally, making him strong enough to withstand direct damage.
Master of the Forge is a great card to use if you are playing a deck that relies on a lot of attachments. It will allow you to draw an additional card if you can find an attachment consistently in your deck. It is, however, a very weak ally, so you should time his effect well.
Pelargir Shipwright is usually an auto-include in many mono-spirit decks. Having a 3 cost/3 willpower/3 hitpoints ally is a great deal. It is solid willpower and can withstand a bit of punishment.
“Bad” Craftsman cards
Minas Tirith Lampwright is not a card that is seen in a lot of decks. This effect is not that useful and will require you to play a quest that has a lot of surge in the encounter deck. His other stats are useless, and even in a Gondor deck, he is at best a 1 cost 1 willpower ally. There are a lot of other, better options for this deck space.
Master Ironsmith is a relatively new card, so perhaps he hasn’t found his space in some decks yet. He is quite expensive and will require one hero to pay for this ally. Then, players have to have a Weapon or Armour attachment in hand. The benefit of this ally is only noticeable if you have to pay for expensive attachments like Citadel Plate.
Since the trait is yet undeveloped, there are no real consistent decks that focus on this trait yet. I will update this when decks will become viable that centre around the Craftsman trait.