There are a lot of allies in the card pool at this time with a stat distribution that makes them versatile in any situation. With 2 willpower they can contribute to the quest while making a measurable impact on that quest. 2 attack allows them to join in on combined attacks in order to kill an enemy. And 2 defence allows the allies to defend smaller enemies without too much problem. This makes the 2/2/2/X allies real jacks of all traits (despite having one/two actual traits).
Despite having such similar stats, the different allies in the game have at least one feature that defines them. Either their cost is lower, they have an ability, or they share traits that make it easier to bring them into play. That is why I wanted to compare these allies in a poll for the month of January. Because of the many allies and the fact that you can have more than one favourite, I allowed 2 picks from the list, resulting in a total number of votes of 59 (why this is odd, I don’t know, someone apparently had a single favourite). Here are the results:
The good old Eagles of the Misty Mountains take the top spot. Not only were they one of the oldest allies in the card pool, but the Eagle trait has gotten some new life in this current cycle. On top of that, the fact that the Eagles have 2 willpower in Tactics makes them very valuable, especially in early card pool mono-Tactics decks. In an Eagle deck however, these birds get even crazier thanks to their ability. The ability to stack Eagle allies underneath the Eagles of the Misty Mountains for a +1 to both attack and defence is great! Small wonder that these birds swooped in to take the first spot.
In a shared second place, we find the Ranger of Cardolan and the Wandering Ent. The Ent’s defining feature is that he is dirt cheap for his stats. He only costs 2 resources, when other allies with similar stats tend to range between 3 and 4 resources. Many allies on this list are 4 cost, so at the cost of one of those allies, you can have yourself 2 Wandering Ents. The downside to this cheap cost is that they come in exhausted, though there are ways around this, of course.
What did surprise me is that the Ranger of Cardolan ended up this high on the list. But at 4 cost in Neutral, this ally can go into many decks without needing a sphere match, which makes it quite a versatile ally to draw. Even better, the Ranger can come in for a quarter of the cost when you engage an enemy, giving it a build in Sneak Attack. I will likely be taking an extra look at this guy next time I need to throw in some more cards in my decks.
Towards the bottom of the list, we come across the losers of this poll, with the biggest being Halbarad. While his cost reduction is nice, it is not often that you can get him in for cheap if you are running a Hobbit deck, which synergizes with his second ability. While he has little competition from his hero counterpart, the ally is still too lackluster for many players to pick him over some of the other allies on this list.
The Descendant of Girion is the newest card on this list, and hasn’t been officially released yet. I hope to see him get some plays in the future as well, so that a follow-up poll might see him higher on the list. For now, he has to stay on the bottom of the poll, with 0 votes. Newer allies do well in this poll however, as both Thalion and Mirkwood Hunter received some votes. Thalion even got to a shared 5th place with Gimli!
That finishes the poll of this month, hopefully, we can repeat this topic again some day when new allies with the 2/2/2/X stat line have been introduced to the game. For February, I am curious to find out which two scenarios of the Dream-chaser cycle are your favourite. A recent poll in the facebook group showed that Dream-chaser is regarded as the best cycle by most, but I want to find out which part of the cycle is seen as best (and which as worst). The new poll should be up by the time you are reading this and can be found in the side-bar of the blog or at the bottom for mobile users.