In every RPG party, you need someone who looks out for the group and makes sure that all other characters remain alive. In this game, that job is for the Healer trait. While relatively undeveloped, there are still some Healer cards in this game who heal via various means. While a lot about these cards has been mentioned in my Staples article on Healing, I still want to focus a little more on the trait itself, and why you should add it to your deck.
Who are the Healers?
The healers are those that specialise in healing wounds and curses, and without them, the story of the Lord of the Rings would have gone very different. There are not many characters in the game at the moment who have the Healer trait, but those that do either belong to the Houses of Healing in Minas Tirith, or are Elves who have perfected their craft over countless years.
After the first introduction of the trait during the Dwarrowdelf cycle, it has been a long time before more cards got added during the Angmar Awakened and Dream-chaser cycle. We also got one healer character during the Saga boxes, where we could also earn the trait and get a bit more synergy. In the end, the trait still lacks a lot of development that may come in the future.
- The Long Dark
- The Lost Realm
- The Dread Realm
- Flight of the Stormcaller
- A Storm on Cobas Haven
- The Road Darkens
From the very first Core Set, the ability to heal has almost entirely been kept to the Lore sphere. Because of this, it is obvious that the Healer trait has also only appeared in this sphere. While there has been some sphere-bleeding for healing in other spheres, the Healer trait has remained with the Lore sphere exclusively. This brings up a problem, as the Ranger trait is the big trait that is developed within the Lore sphere as well. Over time, the Ranger trait has received far more cards and a fleshed out synergy that the Healer trait lacks. There have been only a handful of cards that interact with the Healer trait, which means that it could be expanded in the future.
With so few cards in the trait, there isn’t really a synergy between the Healers in this game. The only card that interacts with multiple Healer characters is The Houses of Healing, and that card doesn’t see a lot of play these days. What can be noted about some of the Healers, is that action advantage can be important for them. Some Healers, like Ioreth and Warden of Healing, need to exhaust for their ability. Other Healer cards like Athelas and Houses of Healing also require those characters to exhaust, so being able to ready them will come in handy. Luckily the Warden of Healing has a built-in readying effect, albeit an expensive one. If you want to get the most out of your Healers, you will have to find a way to ready them. If future synergies appear, I will be updating the article, as this is quite early in the development of the trait.
Synergy with other traits
The Healers are spread out over several second traits with which they work well. Imladris Caregiver plays well with the Noldor trait, fueling the discard pile with his ability to heal at the cost of discarding a card from your hand. The two Gondor Healer characters help very little with the synergy and are in a sphere that is not well suited for the trait. However, I have seen players add these allies to their deck and even justifying a Good Harvest to play them, just for their strength. The Galadhrim Healer plays well with the Silvan synergy and does not discriminate when healing all of the heroes owned by the selected player. Her low cost and enter-play ability suit her well in the Silvan deck and has been a common sight in those.
The same Staples as the previous Staples: Healing article apply for this trait. Warden of Healing is still one of the most important cards in the game when it comes to healing damage, but other Healers are also strong when combined with their other synergies.
“Bad” Healer cards
As Healers are always necessary for your deck, as you are bound to get damaged, there are no “bad” Healer cards in my eyes. Each and every Healer character has its uses, and both Athelas and Houses of Healing have their purpose if you choose to add them to your deck. In fact, I would like to talk in this segment about the cards that should have the Healer trait for thematic reasons but don’t.
Hero Elrond is the most obvious one, as his ally version does have the Healer trait. The trait was first introduced in the cycle he came out so it wouldn’t have been that crazy to give Elrond a third trait. He is renowned for his healing ability, and the hero’s sphere and ability even work with the synergy of the Healer trait. I can see why it got overlooked, and Elrond’s lack of a trait is certainly not unique in the first 2 cycles of the game (Dain Ironfoot and Brand son of Bain not having the Noble trait still bugs me). While it may not impact the trait a lot, I would have liked to see Elrond get the trait, for thematic reasons.
Other Lore characters that could be justified with the Healer trait include Daughter of the Nimrodel (though the Healer trait didn’t exist back in those days) and Wellinghall Preserver. Having just a few more characters with the trait would make Houses of Healing more affordable, while not changing a lot to the strength of the individual characters. So in the end, the worst Healer characters, are the characters that miss the trait altogether.
There are no actual healing decks out there, as the trait is undeveloped. Should there be a Healer deck in the future, I will add it here. There are many decks that run healing characters though, so you will find traces of the trait in plenty of other decks.
With this trait review done, I will move on to the two remaining occupational traits, with the next probably being the Noble trait. The Warrior trait will follow afterwards, and the remaining mechanical archetypes will be finished afterwards. Once the list has been completed, I will redo some articles based on newly released cards that have had an impact on the synergy of certain traits.
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