Monthly Poll: May 2021

With the poll on our favourite mats being quite a success, I couldn’t wait very long to post the same question to you all, but for the alt art heroes this time. The Fellowship 2020 kit did give us 5 new entries for this poll, so you all had enough cards to choose from. While I don’t own all of the alt art heroes yet, I did just complete my collection of event playmats, so hopefully, one day I can own all of these wonderful heroes; as soon as somebody has a spare alt art Gimli and Celeborn, they don’t need anymore.

But that’s not really the focus of this poll; let’s take a look at the favourite alternative arts used on heroes by FFG. While some of these are pretty basic, and some are even shrouded in mystery (nobody quite knows who illustrated alt art Bilbo, the artist credited denies it), there are some gems packed in this part of the collection. I gave everyone 3 votes, which resulted in the poll getting a total of 260 votes. Let’s look at the distribution and find out what the top-ranking alt arts are!

As expected, some of the more rare alt arts that were only released during GenCon are near the top spot. Boromir and Celeborn are some of the hardest heroes to find, and it looks like there is still a huge appreciation for the cards because of their artwork. Alt art Boromir is a very nice depiction of his last stand, arrows in the chest and all. Celeborn doesn’t trail far behind, as he, too, is one of the more rare heroes on this list. Both him and Boromir are estimated not to have more than 400 copies made to be handed out during GenCon, hence why they are so difficult to get. It would be fun to make a spreadsheet at some point to keep track of them all.

The other GenCon exclusive heroes are relatively high up as well, with Lore Glorfindel taking fourth place on this list. Gimli just lost to Legolas, though that might be biased towards more people playing Tactics Legolas than Tactics Gimli. The artwork is quite similar as they are a part of the same piece. Lore Glorfindel is one that I did not expect to rank this high on the list. His hero card is not that well appreciated by the community, as his Spirit version is a lot easier to include in decks, thanks to his massive discount on threat. So it was quite odd to the community when the alt art version of Glorfindel was his less popular Lore version. Nevertheless, the artwork is quite nice, and the card is decently rare, thanks to it being a GenCon exclusive.

Looking at the alt art cards that were handed out during Fellowship events, we see a few heroes ranking pretty high on the list. Eowyn takes the top spot, as her Dernhelm interpretation of the alt art is quite beautiful and a nice transition of her base art. She evolves from her Core Set art to her Flame of the West art, to this version where she is riding into battle. Spirit Eowyn is also a staple in the game and has helped many players survive the Core Set when they started. This will no doubt also influence her popularity on this list.

The latest alt art that we got, Gandalf, is also decently popular, still receiving 17 votes from the community. While I am personally not a fan of the artwork, it is different enough from all other times we have had Gandalf in the game and one of the only times that we see him as Gandalf the White. Most cards in the game feature him as Gandalf the Grey, with some exceptions like Inspiring Presence. It’s nice to get some variety with his artwork, though I doubt many people will need 2 copies of Gandalf, as he isn’t really a splash-hero. 

The other 2020 Fellowship kit heroes didn’t do too well. Since these are technically not alt art heroes, I was a bit hesitant to put them on this list. But they were at least full-bleed art versions of their original cards. These four heroes are also some of the most popular heroes in their respective spheres, so I’m sure that these cards will see some play at conventions. I’m not a huge fan of the large “Fellowship 2020” emblem in the middle of some of the arts, though. As for the ranking, Arwen was the highest-ranking of them all, helped by her art being one of Magali’s finest pieces, in my opinion. She even outranked official alt art heroes like Galadriel, which is an impressive feat. The other heroes got under 10 votes, being just simple reskins of their originals. They are nice to own, but most people would rather look at some new art.

I will note that the bottom-most hero on this list is Lore Bilbo. He is a GenCon exclusive (2019) but doesn’t rank as high as others. He does also have some nostalgic value, but Bilbo hasn’t been a very popular hero for a while, as he is overcosted and doesn’t help the Hobbit archetype that much. His artwork is also a mystery, as nobody is quite sure who drew him. People aren’t a real fan of this art, and it’s the reason why Bilbo is probably the easiest GenCon hero to get when searching to buy alt arts online. He won’t go for crazy high amounts, unlike Boromir, Gimli, and Celeborn.

For June, I want to revisit an old poll that I did a while back. In July 2018, I asked everyone what their favourite archetype was. I would like to repeat that poll and see how the results differ now that we are almost 3 years further into the game. More content has been released, and new archetypes have become viable. For those of you interested in the previous results, see the old article here. I will allow everyone to pick their top 3 archetypes again and compare the results at the end of next month. 

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