Monthly Poll: July 2020

After having gone over the different armor and weapon attachment that are currently in the cardpool, I turned to the different Mounts that can be given to your characters. There is quite a wide variety in Mount attachments, and the Rohan trait even has some interaction with having Mounts attached to characters, so I decided to put up a poll to find out which Mounts are best. The poll drew a lot of attention, and received nearly 400 votes in total, which I believe is the most so far. This was helped by the fact that people got to pick 3 Mounts, but that still means that over a hundred people voted. It also means that the ranking of the Mounts should be a pretty decent representation of the community’s feelings towards these horses.

What surprised me about these results is that the spread is quite even between all cards. There is a winner of course, but only by slightly more than 1% of the votes. This means that the community has different deckstyles that it prefers, and in which Mounts play a different role. Do note that I forgot to add the Wild Stallion to this list, as that is actually an ally first, and can only later be turned into a Mount attachment. On this technicality it didn’t make the list, but I could imagine it ranking quite high if it was included.

The horse who gets a golden ribbon is the Armored Destrier. This Leadership Mount is a defensive attachment that allows the attached Leadership or Sentinel character to ready after they exhaust to defend. They can then get rid of a shadow card from another enemy engaged with them. This is great for many reasons, the first being that readying effects on your defender is always nice to have. Many games have been lost after a big enemy got to attack again, causing the defending player to lose a hero. This constant readying is good to get in Leadership, allowing you to not have to include Unexpected Courage. The readying can be used to allow the defender to attack back (Grimbeorn is a great target with this), have the hero ready for an ability (Leadership Dain), or to defend again. The second ability where the Destrier discards a shadow card is also nice for when you find yourself engaged with more than one enemy. Dunedain and Valour decks will need this Mount to take care of randomness when defending against multiple enemies. The only downside to the Destrier is its Restricted keyword, as your defender tends to fill those slots pretty quickly, but it is an understandable cost to this amazing attachment.

In second place is the only Lore Mount in the game, Asfaloth. Now I could list the many ways in how Asfaloth breaks the game and why so many locations after the Dwarrowdelf cycle have either 3+ quest points or immunity to player card effects. But I think that we all understand the power that Asfaloth brings to the table, being one of the most powerful location control cards in the game. Asfaloth is so good, that I myself am currently running Lore Glorfindel in my location control deck, just to have access to this fantastic Mount. Asfaloth isn’t restricted to just Glorfindel, but that extra progress on any location boosts this horse into the top tier of Mounts. The fact that this is the only Lore Mount does damage its power a little when looking to dedicated Mount decks. Having to spend Lore resources means having a Lore hero, which in turn means that cards like hero Elfhelm won’t boost the Lore hero until they get a different sphere, and that Rohan really can’t use this Mount due to a lack of Lore heroes and the correct traits. But bringing Asfaloth to the table on any version of Glorfindel is a sure way to get through location lock, and works wonders when alongside a Woodmen deck!

With 11% of the votes, Shadowfax comes in at third place. This iconic Mount is the lord of all other horses and can only be attached to Gandalf. In return, Shadowfax gives Gandalf both Ranged and Sentinel, and can be exhausted to ready Gandalf. With Gandalf’s amazing stats, it is only logical to be able to use those stats across the table, and Shadowfax fills that role. The extra readying is also great for Gandalf, so that he is able to use more of his stats, or to be able to exhaust for effects like Narya. Shadowfax is one of the more expensive cards on this list, but being a Neutral Mount, it is easier to pay for.

Arod being in fourth place surprises me a little. The Mount is good, but I would have expected the Rohan Warhorse or Firefoot to be the highest ranking Tactics mount, not Arod. This one cost mount can attach to any hero and even to ally Legolas. Then, when the attached character attacks and destroys an enemy, the player can exhaust Arod to place a point of progress on any location. This has a lot in common with Tactics hero Legolas, where killing enemies gets you through the quest and locations faster. These abilities helped mono-Tactics decks to not fall completely flat on their face in a time before Hirgon and Tactics Eowyn. The added progress during the combat phase is nice, and Arod even works when there is no active location, since you can target locations in the staging area as well. Kill enough enemies over the course of several rounds, and Arod might even clear a single location by itself. It is more of a tool to soften up the locations, but it works great. Add the fact that Arod is a cheap, non-restricted Mount that can trigger Leadership Elfhelm, and he is a fantastic inclusion if the other Mounts are already taken up by other players.

We have a four way tie for fifth place between the 3 unique Rohan mounts and the Rohan Warhorse. These Mounts are staples in many decks with Rohan heroes. Windfola and Firefoot can even be used effectively in other decks, adding extra stats and abilities to heroes that need it. The Warhorse is my favourite because it adds a lot of action advantage during the combat phase. Throw a Warhorse on a Ranged hero like Tactics Legolas, and you’ll be able to dish out a lot of damage to different enemies across the table, and still get your progress! Snowmane is fantastic for Theoden, as it allows him to quest and use his willpower without taking up a Restricted slot. That opens up the way to attack or defend with Theoden effectively using Golden Shield and Herugrim. I understand the 4-way tie, as these Mounts are very useful in their respective deck, but don’t quite outshine the others above them (with the exception of Arod in my eyes).

Towards the end of the list, we get the more generic Mounts that all start their title with Steed. These horses are more restricted in what decks can use them, and their effects are far more niche than the others higher on the list. The worst Mount attachment of them all according to the community is Roheryn, who is Aragorn’s horse. This horse can go on other Dunedain heroes as well as Aragorn, but the extra attack that Roheryn allows you to make works against the Dunedain archetype of keeping enemies engaged with you. The extra attack does help as a pre-emptive strike against an engaging enemy, but I myself haven’t really pulled it off in a long time. Roheryn on Aragorn does grant him the Tactics resource icon, which gives that version of Aragorn a +1 to his attack if Elfhelm is in play, which is a nice bonus. Roheryn is also not restricted, but the cost of 2 resources makes it compete with Armored Destrier in the same sphere, which is often the more popular option as this poll proves.

For the month of August, I would like to know what the next expansion was for everyone after their initial Core Set. I have listed down all possible options, though I know that not all of them will receive votes. It would be very bold of you to pick up a Core Set and get the Nightmare packs for the Core Set immediately afterwards. But this poll will show how people expanded their cardpool in times where not everything is available. I am definitely looking forward to the results and would like to thank RedSpiderr for suggesting this topic. If you have an idea for the monthly poll, feel free to reach out to me and I’ll see if I can put it up for September or later. You can vote for the new poll now!

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